|Item Code: #AEG8307|
Title: The Crypt of St. Bethesda
For: 5-8 characters, levels 2-4
Author: James Macduff
Publisher: Alderac Entertainment Group
Format: 16-page book
Not all threats lurk in the wilderness, and not all dungeons lie far
from the realms of man. The gravest threats appear in the heart of
civilization, hiding beneath harmless veneers and waiting for the moment
You and your friends find yourselves in a large and prosperous city, with coins in your pockets and time to burn. You spend an evening engaging in revelry - drinking, gambling, dancing - then stumble back home in the wee hours of the morning. Your path takes you through a dark area of the city: the cemetery district, where fields of graves jostle against ancient churches and family crypts. Off in the distance somewhere, you hear a scream, but there's no way to tell where it came from, so you ignore it. Rounding a corner soon after, one of you stumbles over something in the dark.
At first, you think it's just a pile of garbage, but a closer inspection reveals something much grislier: a human corpse, its face frozen in a rictus of fear. Several stab marks ooze fresh blood from its belly, and its flesh is marred by what appear to be acid stains. The skin is warm to the touch, and some of the injuries still smoke. He's not been dead for more than a few minutes.
The body shifts slightly as you examine it, and for a moment, you think the victim may still be alive. The the truth reveals itself: Small, sinewy worms, colored a strange lavender, twist and writhe within his clothes. They number less than 20 and seem to cluster near the acid burns. A faint trail of slime leads from the body to an open grate in the street, dotted with more of the strange, lavender worms. The building above it, a towering wreck of a cathedral dedicated to someone named St. Bethesda, has been boarded up for years, but if you listen closely, faint noises can be heard beneath it.
"Halt!" The clink of mail, and the sound of running feet break up you examination. A squad of city guardsmen - several blocks away but closing fast - flash their lanterns in you direction.
"Murderers!" the cry goes up. "Halt in the name of the watch!"
This doesn't look good.
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