Elydain’s Caravan can be used either as a friendly faction that sends the PCs out on a mission, or as a foe that the PCs must overcome. This small caravan of about two dozen tightly-knit, mostly elven merchants, guards, and family members, led by an old elven lady named Elydain Cirelthion, trades mostly in metal merchandise from pans to daggers. Their ten-wagon caravan has plied the trade routes in this area for over two centuries.
As a friendly faction, Elydain contacts the PCs with a delicate problem. They were asked by a client to transport a dragon’s egg to a wizard’s tower. The client is part of an adventuring party that defeated a dragon and found the egg in its lair. Dragon’s eggs are dangerous enough that most city guards wouldn’t look kindly if they found anyone possessing one, but the client paid handsomely, so Elydain agreed. Unfortunately, the caravan arrived at the wizard’s tower to find it destroyed. She now has a dragon’s egg to fence, and asks the PCs to find a buyer. Any number of spellcasters would jump at the chance to study a dragon’s egg; Elydain just wants to ensure that the buyer doesn’t connect the egg to the caravan.
As a foe faction, the PCs are hired by a wizard, Carvorax the Splendid (so he calls himself), who has heard that the caravan recently acquired a dragon’s egg in secret. He wants the PCs to waylay the caravan and take the egg, which they shouldn’t be transporting anyway. They’re unwilling to sell the egg (they already have a buyer in the form of a sorcerer, Tristram the Invincible, who happens to be Carvorax’s rival).
If the PCs attack the caravan, its wagons will be pulled into a circle, and guards will approach the PCs outside the circle. If engaged, the PCs will have to defeat the guards, some of whom will remain with the wagons and fire crossbows at range. Once the guards are dealt with, half the merchants will muster and attack with short bows and swords. If at least two of the attacking merchants die, Elydain will approach the PCs, asking them what they want (if they haven’t made it clear), and give them the dragon’s egg. She doesn’t want to see the caravan slaughtered.
As such, make sure that the guards and the merchants are a very tough fight, since the PCs won’t have to kill most of the merchants.