Sharidia: Tales of the Golden road
You guys get 500gp to go down that road , kill everything hostile, and find a way to the other side of the mountains.
The Golden road is the trade routes that cross the land of Sharidia from east to west.
During the summer a eastern wind carries ships to the east between the monsoons, but the winter west winds are brief and plagued by storm making trade by sea to the west perilous. Most trade to the west is by caravan on the golden road. Although there is a land trade both ways and all about Sharidia at all times as well.
Most of Sharidia is made up of small kingdoms of a few town at best, with maybe one good sized city due to the geography of the land making places isolated from each other even when close by.
Most of the rulers of Sharidia know that charging toll for merchants and travelers means that they will just find another route on the golden road to by pass the toll collectors and they make more money by letting the caravans pay for food, shelter, repairs, and fresh animals.
For forty years the golden road has ran through a pass controlled by the King of Gomic ever since old King Patel the first abandoned toll collection, Patel the second continued his fathers wish rule.
However King Patel the third has found his kingdom under siege from the Black feather bandits and in desperate need of hard coin has reinstituted the toll. Rumor are his men are even seizing entire wagon trains and pressing them into his military.
Thus the merchants holing up at the White Moon Caravansary have collected a bounty of 500 gold to anyone who can find one of the now nearly forgotten alternative routes of the Golden road.
The routes to the north would lead right into lands also plagued by the Raven feather bandits,
The route to the south, the sea road built by the fallen Kitel Empire is said to have collapsed in places, but the Kitel were said to have a secret under ground passage to allow them to move troops unseen to anywhere along the road to flank invaders.
These passages are also said to be where the last Kitel prince fled with his followers and the royal treasures of the Empire when a coalition invaded their lands to bring down the growing threat of the Kitel.