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While walking the streets of a dwarven city you notice a elderly man have a coughing fit before falling down on the ground. Everyone moves away from him, none coming to his aid. If you approach him to try and help him, some of the bystanders warn you away, claiming that there’s a sickness spreading in the city and to steer clear of the elderly man.
Regardless of if you help or not a couple minutes later several dwarves show up with a stretcher wearing apothecary masks. Two of them put the old man on the stretcher as the third man reassures the crowd that the city’s best alchemists are working on a treatment for this new sickness, and not to worry.
If you question the apothecaries, they’ll say they don’t have time to go into details but if you want more information or are looking to help, you should go visit the barracks of the Silver Fist who are in charge of dealing with the sickness. They’ve even set up a quarantine camp adjacent to the barracks to keep the infected from roaming the tunnels while a cure is sought.
When you get to the barracks and explain why you’re there, a dwarven man escorts you into a large chamber where three other dwarves are standing around a table having a conversation. They’re all wearing some form of chain mail armor with tabards of the Silver Fist. They motion you over, with the high paladin called Gudrun explaining that the sickness started spreading a few weeks ago. As best they can attain, the sickness may have come from the old catacombs as the first infected was a gravekeeper. He was one of a small group of individuals that are trained from youth to maintain the catacombs and care for the dead.
This is of course where the first problem began, the catacombs are a sacred place and only those dwarves trained to be gravekeepers may enter. It is foretold that any dwarf born of the city who enters the catacombs without this training and before his time may have his soul put to rest just like the dead that already reside there.
Unfortunately this first infected gravekeeper is now dead, while all the others have gone mysteriously missing and the sickness continues to spread. The apocotheries of the city are hard at work looking for a cure, but the sickness is mutating too fast for them to quickly find a solution without a sample of the original non-mutated disease.
Gudrun continues that without any of the gravekeepers available he was about to risk sending some of the Silver Fist acolytes into the catacombs as he could wait no longer, however with your arrival you have given him a second option. Gudrun looks you in the eyes sternly and asks if you’d be willing to enter the catacombs and look for what may have caused this sickness, as well as retrieve a sample with a small hand-held device he can provide. The city would be ever in your gratitude and the Silver Fist itself would be willing to have a special weapon crafted just for you.
You find the entrance to the catacombs at the end of an abandoned district of the city, a set of stairs carved into the stone that leads you deeper into the mountain and under the main portion of the city. Deeper in, corridors split off creating a maze-like structure. After traveling the corridors for several minutes you find your way to a large bronze door engraved with the silhouettes of dwarven ancestors, and on the other side you can hear muffled arguing.
When you open the door you find five dwarven individuals who are covered in rags, with vile weeping sores, and deformed bones jutting from their bodies. Somehow however, they seem to be doing just fine. They look confused seeing you, before immediately attacking while incoherently yelling about some type of justice.
Past the deformed dwarves is another bronze door that bars your way. When opened, it reveals a large chamber covered in ichor and fleshy tendrils. The air is full of buzzing as swarms of small insects fly around, and another deformed dwarf wearing a damaged suit of full plate and wielding a scythe is standing upon a raised platform.
When you enter, the dwarf turns to face you claiming nothing will stop justice from being done to those who have, for so long, avoided it. If you question him about who he is and what he means, he’ll explain that his name is Daroc and he was once a gravekeeper but was kidnapped by a wealthy doctor called Rogar who experimented on him with horrible diseases.
Daroc continues that when it was clear Dr. Rogar was not getting the results he wanted, he tossed him into the catacombs to die. Only he did not die, rather he became something new.
Because of this, Dr. Rogar must pay for his crimes and will suffer as he did with the disease he was infected with.
If you explain that the diseases he’s released are killing many dwarves in the city. He calmly explains that they’re collateral damage and when Dr. Rogar has been made to pay, he will personally bury each one of the fallen dwarves in the catacombs so that they may rest in peace.
If you ask about the other gravekeepers, Daroc explains that his brothers and sisters were easily swayed to join him, all but the one–who escaped, releasing the sickness too soon into the city. However, the sickness is ready in full now and the time of justice is close at hand.
He’s solemn at the fact you killed his deformed gravekeeper brothers and sisters, but also suggests that you may be swayed to join him, caressing a bony protrusion on his wrist that is slowly dripping some type of contagion. He, after all, will need a lot of help burying the bodies of the fallen after he is done.
If you attack Daroc, he fights back with his scythe as well as commands several different swarms of lifesucking flying insects to attack you.
After he’s dead, the chamber shakes as the fleshy strands within retract and start to wither and die before turning into black ash which quickly dissipates. When you return to the Silver Fist, Gudrun explains that it’s a miracle and that the sick just suddenly recovered. He’s keeping them in isolation for the next week to be certain but they aren’t showing any symptoms of the sickness.
If you explain what happened in the catacombs he’ll be shocked, explaining that he’ll look into Dr. Rogar and his dealings. He also holds to his agreement about having special weapon crafted for you.
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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.