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Click image to download this free TTRPG battlemap of Fisherman’s Ruined Temple, then keep scrolling for the detailed adventure prompt written for it.
When you enter a seaside town, many of the locals are cold and unwelcoming; generally advising you to continue on your way and not stay here. If you’re charming enough while asking why, they might explain that teenage girls and boys have gone missing from the village. They don’t know what’s responsible, but they don’t need more trouble brought about by outsiders.
If you offer to help, the local will grumble, lighting a pipe and puffing from it slowly while eying you. They’ll then say that you should speak to their leader, old Esk. He tends to hang out by the docks, you’ll know him by his thick beard and two missing fingers he lost while netting King Crabs. The local advises you to tell him that Adrian sent you.
Should you go down to the docks, you’ll be met with the same unfriendly looks from the hardened seaside locals. If you approach Esk and tell him who sent you, he’ll relax visibly, stroking his beard thoughtfully. Then he’ll invite you to sit down on some barrels of salted cod with him and have a drink of hard liquor from his flask. He’ll explain that their problems started about a month ago, when there was a blood moon. Something foul happened that night, and ever since local teens have gone missing—sometimes as many as three a week!
There’re tracks leading from homes up to the shoreline, but there they always disappear, Esk explains. The locals have tales of hideous creatures from beneath the waves, and he suspects those foul monsters are what’s taking their young ones.
He advises you go to a local haunted ruin in an old sea cave. His people have avoided it for generations, and he suspects you might find the monsters there after nightfall. He warns you however that the creatures are crafty, and oft known to drive even good men insane.
If you ask what the reward would be, Esk will stroke his beard some more, and stare off into the ocean in silence for a few moments. Then he will say he can give you a barrel of some prized fermented crab meat to take with you, as well as his ship and skills should you ever need it. He’ll also say that you’ll always be welcome in their town if you succeed, and should ever need safe harbor.
Should you agree, he will nod and give you directions to the ruins, advising you be careful and keep your wits about you. He also says you can only go to the ruins at low tide, for at high tide it is filled with water—but tonight, just before midnight, should be the lowest point.
The sea-cave ruins are about half a day’s walk from the village. If you arrive there around midnight, it will be empty and the tide low. However, as it draws closer to 2 AM, the tides will begin to rise—and a boat will dock by the wooden pier. There is a grey haired, middle-aged man in the boat, who is unloading a bound and gagged teen boy. He will carry the boy towards the sacrificial altar.
If you try to intercept the man, he will grab a rusty fishing knife and hold it to the boy’s throat; threatening in a shaky voice that he will kill him if you don’t let him pass. He will try stall for time by distracting you, asking why you’re here and what you want.
Should you tell him, he will say that he hasn’t been killing the teens, and that he’s only here to get his daughter back. He says the fish people only need one more, and that after that they said they’d bring his daughter back.
If you ask what he means, he’ll explain that he came from a poor family, and—after his wife passed away, leaving him deep in her alcoholic debts—he was desperate to provide for his only daughter, who he would save up and buy books for so she could educate herself and leave their life of poverty. He couldn’t outcompete the other fishermen, though— so one night he came out here and put nets out.
The catch was bountiful, so he began regularly coming to the ruins and harvesting fish from his nets. Eventually, he explains, he became convinced that the rumors about the place were wrong, so he began taking his daughter with him to help with the nightly catch.
Only, one early morning she read from the stone tablet chained up in the ruins. She was trying to practice her reading, the man explains desperately, but he says she must have woken something because the moon turned red, the sea boiled, and horrible fish people came out of their slumber and took her. He says they left him alive, but he came back every night afterwards and waited.
Eventually one of them came out of the water, and spoke with a gargling voice; saying that if he wanted his daughter back he needed to bring them more young humans. The man is sweating profusely while he talks, and claims that he doesn’t know what they do to them, but he’s desperate—after this last teen, they said they’d bring him his daughter back!
At this point, however, monstrous fish men will begin emerging from the water, their voices gurgling and catching in their throats. At the heart of the group is their queen—a significantly taller fish monster, with a olourful crest and sharp, golden spine. Her eyes are cold and black.
When they see you and notice you’re armed, they will become aggressive—sneering with needle-sharp teeth that the human has betrayed them. The man will insist that no, he hasn’t, he brought the last teen, see?!
If you ask after his daughter, the fish people will appraise you coldly, before gesturing to their Queen. They will grin sinisterly again, before saying that they have fulfilled their promise and brought his daughter back—why, doesn’t he recognise her?
The monstrous fish folk have been taking the teens and turning them into more of their own, erasing their memories. His daughter was the first, for they needed a Queen after their last one was killed in The Great War, before they were cursed to slumber for all these centuries.
Should you try capture the daughter / Queen, she will attempt to kill you and you’ll need to kill all but a handful of the fish folk before they flee. If you take her (unwillingly) to a magical specialist, they might be able to revert the curse and turn her back into a human. If they succeed, she will have gaps in her memory, and not remember much of her time as a monster—but she will have nightmares each night which will wake her up. In them, she remembers doing terrible things, and enjoying it.
The daughter will attempt to kill all the humans except for the teen, with her razor-sharp teeth and claws. If you down her, while she is dying the father will collapse on his hands and knees, weeping at the body. He will then try to kill himself with the rusty blade.
If he succeeds, and the blood hits her body, it will break the dark curse; transforming her back into a human girl, just in time for you to potentially save her life. She will be very confused and distressed at seeing her father, but he will die happy and if you explain what happened later she will thank you tearfully. Like this, she will still wake from nightmares—but it will take years of them before she finally starts remembering what they were, and they won’t hold as much sway over her by then.
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LUKE: The founder of Seafoot Games, Luke's been making maps and RPG games since he was a child, and spent over a decade creating his own game systems from scratch to play with his brothers. That was before he discovered other TTRPGs existed. Now, he paints the realistic grimdark fantasy battlemaps we're known for, helps write adventures as needed, and spends his free time printing and painting 3D minis, as well as working on his forever in-development TTRPG system.
BEB: Luke's wife, Beb's been writing, painting, and graphically designing things her whole life. She published her first book when she was 20, alongside a handful of sci-fi short stories, and was responsible for writing almost all of our adventures until mid 2022 when Steve joined the team. Now she mostly creates the outlines for the adventurer's guides with Luke, graphically designs documents, handles the bookkeeping (or as she likes to call it, bureaucrat wrangling), and manages the website—but she is slowly delegating these responsibilities, so she can focus on raising her and Luke's beautiful son.