Damn this game is hard. After the tutorial I thought "Damn! This isn't as hard as everybody is saying." Then I get owned by those green dog things after wondering around a little and trying to get a girl back home. Dose this game seriously just drop in in on your head ha ha?
That quest *is* hard - several groups appear, and
you have to be quick and efficient in each combat, because the barmaid insists on 'helping' and frequently ends up as barghest fodder.
I usually leave it until I've gained a few levels, and then save after every combat.
You can practice group combat along the river or near the crypt - the barmaid (and her card) will still be available later.
Also, have you scrutinized the skills that give extra attacks ? Can help to put the beasties down faster.