Remember, the expected HP loss from the ritual is less if Arjhan and Zimelda "aid another" in the heal check for the ritual (and of course Zimelda can heal the HP back more effectively than you just burning surges). Zimelda wasn't with the group at the temple. So if you want just Arjhan to help, we can retcon it (in fastforward if you want). If you want Zimelda to help also, you'll have to RP making peace with her and then going back to the temple.
Not that it mattered here since Arjan AND the priest both blew their checks out of the water, but I think the DCs for Aid Another were errata'd quite some time ago to be 10 + half level instead. Not that +1 to the DC would make much difference for us, but its something to keep in mind.
According to what Salvana told you about the ale...
The ale was stolen on the road. Salvana was going to pay for it on delivery, and it was never delivered, so she didn't pay anything, but now she has less ale to sell and thus her potential profits are less. She raised the price of the ale for two reasons: one, to decrease the consumption of it so her current stock will last longer, and two, to make up some of her lost profits. The dwarves from the mountain took a big loss, so they won't make the trek to Winterhaven until the kobold problem is dealt with and the roads are safe. The "rightful owners" of the ale are the dwarves of the mountain. Their closest representative is probably in Fallcrest (Douven's home).
Also note that this is not all of the ale, it's just a small cask; what was stolen was a huge barrel.
It's slightly interactive. The way to use it is to drag your token to where you want it to be, then hit enter. Then copy the URL from the browser's address bar and paste it into your post.
Features of the map:
The stream is shallow and does not affect anything in any way unless you're Prone. If you're prone it gives partial cover but is difficult terrain.
The cobblestone-looking things (both in the stream and out) are slippery rocks that are difficult terrain.
The magic circle is in p7; it has an aura 1.
I didn't get to draw the cliff face. It should be all the way across row 16, 50 feet high (10 squares), hard to climb.
Features of the cliff face that you can see, or suspect based on what Ninaran told you:
- a concealed opening (total concealment) at g16 which is 10 feet high, easy athletics check to climb. Ninran suspects there's a sentry in there, though you haven't spotted it yet.
- I didn't get to draw the waterfall. It should be across l16 to p16. According to Ninaran the bulk of the cave is behind the waterfall. The waterfall provides total concealment and partial cover, and squares it's in are difficult terrain. Ninaran suspects there's a sentry just inside.
- an outcropping from y15 to C15. It's 30 feet high, moderate athletics check to climb. There is an unconcealed opening at A15-A16; a weak-looking kobold darts in and out every minute or so (it hasn't seen you yet).
Please roll your initative and give starting location somewhere in row 0 or 1.
Dekkah makes a good point -- you can do any preparations you want for free (transferring items around, rolling skill checks, etc.) Also you may want to give some direction to your minions.
During the encounter, it's a minor action to direct one of the minions to do something (doing this flavorfully and rolling bluff/diplo/intimidate will help). Rat has actual combat experience so his morale and loyalty will be higher.
These three minions (Crabb, Goyle, and Rat) are standard minions: take no damage if they're missed, any hit makes them Unconscious and Dying. They do not get any death saving throws; if they're Dying and their turn comes up, they die. The only advantage they have over monster minions is that you can bring them back with magic healing or first aid (DC 15 heal check) if you can get to them before their turn comes around. As they're level 1 and 2 NPCs, they only have one healing surge per day.
One last thing. When you see an enemy, you can make a Nature roll for that enemy type as a free action, and if you pass the DC you'll get some info about that enemy type. No rerolls.
Alessa can't talk in beast form and isn't going to change back just to banter, but I would be careful with promising these kids glory, they might get the wrong idea and try something heroically fatal .