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Infested Underwater Temple Ruins | Free TTRPG Battlemap & Adventure

Borrowed Bodies

While staying at a small underwater village, you’re approached by a sea elf dressed in white cloth who introduces himself as an acolyte of the local church. He explains that he focuses on the documentation of tales, and that while much of his village is very closed off to outsiders he’s always been very curious about them and so couldn’t resist coming to speak with you–especially since you appear to be mercenaries! He’d love to hear about some of your wondrous adventures.

After he’s heard a tale or two of your feats, he reciprocates by telling you a tale from an ancient tablet he’s recently recovered and began translating. The tablet seems to talk about the deep dwellers, and how a small faction of them have the powers to take on the form of any other living being. Creepy, huh! He continues that he’s still finishing the last bit of the tablet translation, but he believes it explains how to spot these dopplegangers.

He finishes by adding that he’d love to show you some of his other discoveries, if you’re interested you can find him at the church grounds the next day. He explains his quarters are just off the gardens, in a small seashell cabin.

If you go to the church grounds and find the acolyte’s cabin, the next day the sea elf speaks in a monotone voice compared to his excited pitch from the night before. He seems surprised when you say you’re here to see his other works, before apologizing. He claims that something has come up within the church that he must see too and he can no longer oblige you, before turning to leave towards the main church. During this time his eyes seem twitchy.

If you decide not to go to the church, you instead meet the twitchy-eyed acolyte on the village streets the next day where he doesn’t seem to remember you and excuses himself suspiciously as fast as possible. After that, he leaves to return to the main church.

If you break into his now-empty cabin, you find a large stone tablet on one of his workbenches, along with a hastily written note containing the final deciphering of the tablet which details how to spot a deep dweller doppelganger. The note details the twitching, as well as how the use of magical light seems to shine through their fake skin, and show the creature for what it truly is. Dopplegangers may also act in small but noticeable ways such as seeming to be physically agitated, as their fake skin irritates them.

When you investigate the main church it is completely empty. However, it looks like the people living here left in a hurry and you hear sounds coming from deep within the depths of the church, towards the basement. In the basement is a small tunnel which looks recently excavated and leads to the ruins of an ancient temple which appears to have been buried here long ago. In front of the temple’s doors swim two acolytes who, when talked to, try and dissuade you from going any further. They explain in a monotone voice that this is a holy site, and only those permitted can be here–all the while showing symptoms of being dopplegangers.

Making your way into the temple you encounter more doppelgangers, before finally entering the grand hall which is covered in fleshy egg sacks. The high priestess yells that you surface dwellers know not what affairs you meddle in, then sends in more doppelgangers to attack you.

When defeated the priestess drops an eldritch rod of tentacles, which is the device the deep dwellers use to copy the skin of those it’s used on. When used, the tentacles open and wrap around its victim’s face, stealing their identity and imparting it onto the one who holds it. While used, the victim is placed in a coma, and cannot be woken until the doppelganger is killed or the effect otherwise dispelled.

Once there are no more doppelgangers left, you notice muffled voices from the egg sacks, and movement inside them. The original sea elves who had their forms stolen by the deep dwellers break free, horrified and saying that the last thing they remember was the rod wrapping around their face, suffocating them.

DM’s Notes:

The village church was slowly being taken over by the deep dwellers over the previous weeks after a new excavation was started in the church basement. That is what leads to the old temple, which was sealed long ago as the caverns below linked up to tunnels the deep dwellers used.

The acolyte found the tablet down in the excavation, but was taken just after he finished the translation and is why he seemed so different when you meet him the following day.

When a doppelganger is killed, their original captive wakes up within the egg sack they’ve been trapped in by the deep dwellers.

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