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While staying at a tavern at the edge of a dismal swamp, you hear a loud thud at the front door. When investigated, you find a half unconscious man leaning up the door cradling his left arm which looks to be badly injured. When his wound has been treated and after some time to recover, the man becomes conscious enough to answer some questions.
If you ask what happened, he says his name is Kaleb and that he is part of an expedition group that set out three weeks ago to catalog the ruins of an ancient domed building deep in the swamp, however something horrible has occurred.
He continues that yesterday, part of the dome collapsed; crashing into the floor of the temple and breaking through into an underground water filled cavern. At first, his group believed the waters to be swamp water rushing in from the outside of the temple but soon eel-like creatures began appearing in the waters inside the temple, coming from the cavern below.
Two of the group decided to study them while the rest focused their efforts on the glyphs that covered the domed walls. He was finishing up a translation of one of the fragmented stone tablets they’d found, and it was late at night by the time he figured out that the symbols were a warning about the eel-like creatures.
They had been sealed in an underground vault below the temple. Apparently they were intelligent parasitic beings who took host bodies so they could leave their murky waters and sow terror and destruction.
He shiver’s and gulps, before explaining that when he went to warn the two expedition members studying the eels they were acting weird and knew he was too late. He tried to warn the others that were sleeping, but they were overpowered by the eel-controlled men who threw them into the waters where the other eels were waiting. He barely escaped with his life only because he wasn’t already asleep.
Kaleb pleads with you to go back to the temple with him and make sure the creatures don’t make it out of the temple–even if it means killing the hosts. He believes they should still be there as it takes some time for an eel to take full control of their new bodies.
However, if you try to get Kaleb to stay he refuses, explaining that the other expedition members were like family to him and he needs to go as he may be able to get through to the hosts, before it comes to killing them. He needs to take that chance.
When you arrive at the domed ruin you find the expedition members waiting within. Kaleb puts his hand up and asks you to just give him a moment to try and get through to them, however after approaching the hosts Kaleb instead kneels, claiming that he did his best to bring a more suitable host for The Great One. The man in front of him nods adding that you should do nicely, before motioning for the others to subdue you.
Kaleb was actually among the first to come under the control of one of the eels, and thus the eel had more control over his body. He was tasked with finding more hosts for his remaining kin, as well as the eel’s leader called The Great One.
He was unfortunately attacked by a crocodile while traveling through the swamp, which he killed with the super strength that the eel provides to his host. But he was injured in the exchange, which he used to lend even more credence to his cover story.
This adventure was written for our Trackless Fens Adventurer’s Guide. If you’d like 4 more adventures and maps for this location, plus even more info and world building for the city, lootable items, NPCs, and more, check out the guide this was written for!
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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.