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When visiting a small city in a remote area, you see a poster looking for mercenaries to investigate a string of murder-kidnappings in the surrounding villages. It advises you to contact the city guard to learn more.
Should you speak with them, the guards inform you that remote villages near the Forbidden Forest have been under attack by undead. The monsters have been killing and kidnapping innocent men, women, and children, before dragging their bodies back to their dark abode in the forest. The guards will pay you handsomely to go investigate and put a stop to it.
The journey to the attacked villages takes about a week from the city, and should you talk to any of the locals within them (though many have left to relocate, and others are packing their things to leave) they tell you that the nearby Forbidden Forest is an evil place, haunted by vengeful ghosts. Should you ask why they’re vengeful, the locals explain that it has always been so, ever since the village within the forest was burned down and its inhabitants massacred a couple of generations ago. They believe someone or something must have angered the spirits recently to invoke their wrath so, for until now they lived at an uneasy peace by not trespassing in the forest and the spirits wouldn’t bother them.
Should you follow any tracks left by the latest undead kidnapping, they lead out from the village and deep into the Forbidden Forest. The forest itself is dark and cold, with dying trees dripping sap from twisted limbs, and muddy ground that sucks your feet in as you walk. Your footprints fill with unnerving red water behind you. As you follow the tracks deeper into the forest, a mist begins to shroud everything, and it seems to move on its own accord.
Eventually the mist completely surrounds you, muffling sound and obscuring your surroundings. When it finally fades, you find yourself at the entrance of a small village with quaint two-story buildings, flower baskets on windows, and dark cobblestone streets. There is a large arch above the main road, with a fancifully painted “Welcome to Nevermore”. As you enter however, you see that everyone within it–the elderly, children, and even pets–are undead.
When the first man sees you, he yells to an undead boy “They’ve come for us, run, Timmy!”, sending the child running away to hide inside a house while the rest of the town begins screaming and fleeing in a panic.
Should you manage to calm any of the fleeing inhabitants down, they introduce you to their mayor, Wilbert. He is a thin old man with a stoop and a missing eye which now is home to a worm who inhabits the empty socket. When he meets you, he tips his hat at you, exposing a cracked skull beneath.
Wilbert invites you inside one of the buildings to his office, explaining that he alongside the other villagers were massacred in an invasion long ago, which is when their humble town was struck off the map. He cheerfully says that their “professy” is the one who found a way to bring them all back to life, and points through a window to a cliff above the village; explaining that he lives in the building at the top of it.
Wilbert’s cheerful manner sobers, and he says that unfortunately the first few the professy brought back weren’t… quite right. He’s been trying to fix the bad batch ever since, and recently brought them up to his manor for more experiments towards that end, but they took him captive instead! Now the bad batch have been going out beyond the mists that protect the town, and bringing back more dead then reanimating them as evil using the professy’s technology!
Wilbert begs you to stop them before other living folks such as yourself come here and kill the inhabitants of Nevermore in retribution, for good this time. He says he doesn’t know what they can offer you as thanks, but is sure the villagers could pool together their goods as some form of payment if you help them put an end to these misdeeds.
When you travel up to the professor’s lab, the undead within it are mostly mindless, and victims from the recent raids of nearby villages. Those amidst the bad batch lead the smaller groups of mindless undead, and are as cognizant as the friendly undead down in Nevermore. They are surprised to see you–a living stranger–and sneer contemptuously that they’ll fix you once you’re reanimated.
Once you’ve fought your way through the laboratories, you find the professor bound and gagged in a circular room with cogs ticking beneath a clear floor. He is a man in his forties who is very much alive, wearing frosted white spectacles and a worn dark suit. Guarding him is the leader of the bad batch; a towering brute of an undead half-orc, who has been performing extra experiments on himself to perfect his form. He has increased his size, and grafted on extra limbs from other bodies so he looks more monster than man.
The hulk of a beast observes coldly that you’ve done well to make it this far, and offers you a deal. He says that if you join him, he will make you perfect; remove all the weakness of the living, so that you feel no more pain, no more hunger or thirst, and never age. In return, you can help him bring this gift to everyone else, as he and his friends have been doing. Imagine never having to watch a loved one die again, and knowing that if they do, you could bring them back as easily as fixing a broken vase. Of course, to be perfected, you would need to die first. He can make it fast.
Should you refuse, he growls at you to “suit yourself” before flicking on the lightening machine in the corner of the room; sending out blue bolts of electricity shooting across the ground. He then grabs the professor and climbs up the wall onto the ceiling using his extra limbs, waiting for the lightning to kill you.
Once the lightning machine is disabled he growls angrily and jumps down, attempting to tear you apart with his many, bare hands.
After you’ve defeated the last of the bad batch and freed the professor, the man stands up and dusts off his clothes. He thanks you sincerely for rescuing him, saying that he didn’t expect any others among the living to have compassion and understanding to his work here, and the plight of Nevermore.
His face grows sad as he looks down at the body of his captor, and he sighs, saying that it is tragic he couldn’t figure out how to fix them. They were good people, before the massacre. But he supposes it couldn’t be helped, and he is glad that their misdeeds will stop drawing attention to their humble village which is better off left forgotten.
As a reward for your help, he invites you to return to their village whenever you wish. If ever you are in need, they will treat your wounds or give you a place to hide. In addition, he takes off his frosted white spectacles and hands them to you, explaining that they grant their wearer the ability to see into the ethereal realm, as well as see and speak to ghosts. When used, they appear crystal clear to the wearer and don’t obscure their vision.
If you go back down to the village, the professor will accompany you. Once there, mayor Wilbert is incredibly grateful that you helped Nevermore, and sheepishly presents a reward of hobbled-together heirlooms or shiny trinkets, apologizing that they haven’t had much outside trade for… well, quite a few years now.
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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.