So, after traveling to the town with the merchant and joining the town in an annual celebration dinner, the party was awoken in the middle of the night (they were sleeping outside by the fire pit where dinner was served) by strange sounds in the distance. Turns out the town is on a delapadated castle site and some skeleton minions were trying to dig up some graves.
The party destroyed the minions but instead of trying to find the kobold shaman who was controlling them they decided to dig up a few graves themselves to see what they skeletons might have been after.
Discovering nothing of importance in the first few graves the rangers soon found the kobolds tracks and started after him.
It wasnt long before they discovered a gnoll hideout and fortunately for them the main contingent was out on a caravan raid. After killing all but one of the remaining gnolls they have decided to set an ambush for the gnoll raiding party when it returns.
Some back ground development:
A cyclops has taken over and is uniting the gnoll tribes of the north and at the same time taking kobolds for slaves. The cyclops has been in written contact with the merchant guilds private security force and they have agreed to provide quality weapons and armor in exchange for the attacks on caravans traversing the northern parts of the human kingdoms (this takes the private security force out of harms way and there is less evidence to point back to the merchant guild).
The kobolds have approached a necromancer living in their territory for help and he has told them of a powerful artifact that will give them victory over the gnolls. In truth this artifact will help raise a long dead evil king who the necromancer will set up as a general over his forming undead armies.
This is where I am so far. Any plot line or story help is greatly appreciated.