The party is a vermin eradicator taskforce, that is they investigate pest animal outbreaks and exterminate them. In a city as densely populated as Magevein, the threat of disease-carrying animals is great.
Scene: Office of the Pest Control General. Slofadbut, a gnome and the Pest Control General, is sitting at a desk across from the party.
Slofadbut, to the party: All right rat-catchers! You're all being promoted! You'll be working with each other as our newest Rat-Finder Team! Get used to each other, cause you'll be working with each other from now on!
(have players introduce each other now)
Slofardbut: Your first assignment! There have been reports of rats near the potion market. Go interview the shop keepers and figure out where they're coming from.
The Potion Market
Scene: The potions market is busy, but not overly so. Pages from the universities have huge packs, full of ingredients and potions. Dreary-eyed working mages get a little something to help them through their day.
(Have the players decide how they do this. If they have trouble, have them notice a rat running into a shop)
The first shop they enter seems to focus on selling ingredients. A short, slender elf slumps behind the counter.
The shop sells poisons. If they go in the back, they'll find a stock room. Further investigation will reveal a few dead rats.
This cramped, dark shop is staffed by a pale, shaky human, sitting on a stool behind the counter. He greets the party in a creaky voice.
This shop sells ingredients for illusion magic, that is hallucinogenics.
If pressed, the shopkeeper will direct the party toward Brews Brothers'.
As the party enters, a booming voice calls out from behind the counter "'atch oot! 'Ere's uh oonit of uh rrr-at een 'ere!"
There are many pieces of alchemical equipment laying broken on the floor.
A giant rat is in the shop.
Initiate combat vs a giant rat, with enough hp to last a round or two.
When the rat is dead, Two goblins emerge from behind the counter. They express thanks. If you chat, they reveal that the party may want to check out Hairs Johnny, a shop specializing in hair products.
Pastel colors assault the senses. Flowery smells fill the air. A dwarf with ostentatious hair and the fluffiest beard any have ever seen greets the party.
Johnny: Oh I'm so glad you're here! The things I could do with your hair!
If pressed, Johnny will direct the party to the "alley", tunnels used throughout the city for the removal of garbage, and as a sewer.