In a Facebook group, there was a question about ideas for plots in sewers. That kept me interested and ultimately bore fruit. Of course, I don’t want to withhold those from you!
The following entries provide both a plot hook for the PCs to descend into the sewer, and a resolution of what is to be found at its end. A lot of these are classics, but they’re always good for creating an exciting evening.
|What’s down in the sewers
|There have been some high-profile thefts lately: villas have been broken into, rich merchants have been robbed in the open street. The guards have already kicked in some doors of the typical neighborhoods, but found nothing. However, those who are better at observing the streets notice that the trail leads to a place that the perfumed elites do not even think about: the sewers. A group of adventurers who venture there have a chance to raid the bandits in their turn and gut their well-stocked camp. It is clear that they were about to make off with it. Do you take the opportunity to get your own hands on the treasures? Or will you return them to make yourself popular with the upper class? Or maybe you’d like to join forces with the thieves to pull off the biggest job of all!
|The eldest son of a merchant prince was kidnapped! It’s a mystery how the kidnappers got in there, but the signs of battle were clear. You notice, however, that the house’s chef has been splurging quite a bit in the tavern lately. After you’ve pressed him – a bit more forcefully – he admits to not having locked the entrance to the sewer, into which he usually throws the leftovers, in exchange for a bribe. Following this sewer, you find the young man somewhat neglected in a barred shack. He is nervous, because the kidnappers could return at any moment. But who is behind it? Particularly brutal creditors to whom he has gambling debts? His aunt who wants his inheritance? A rival family that wants to marry their own son to his fiancée?
|Some cities are old and so are their sewage systems. Every now and then, something nests there that shouldn’t be. There are repeatedly sewer cleaners and ratters disappear down there. Few care about these poor devils, but increasingly people report that in the darkness they have seen something inhuman disappear into the openings to the underground. Also single drunkards have disappeared from the face of the earth. In secrecy, to prevent panic, the magistrate in charge hires you seasoned group to put an end to what seems to be expanding its hunting grounds from down there. After the search through the branched system full of disgusting remains takes some time, traces in the form of gnawed human bones appear. The beast is near, whatever it may be.
|Thieves are not the only ones who seek shelter in the sewers. Groups with stranger, even more sinister goals also use this ill-favored place. Like this cult, which is spreading like a tumor in the city. Its goals are not only contrary to the rulers and formal religions, but also to general moral concepts. Open violence, vandalism of temples and other reprehensible acts confirm its bad reputation. A high bounty has been placed on the head of the high priestess, of whom only rumors are heard. When you find a particularly smelly cowl after an encounter with a seemingly more important cultist, you know where to look. What is the cult preparing in its lair? A ritual or an invocation that will put the town in danger?
|That cities are built on older settlements is not uncommon. But sometimes these roots go so deep that no one remembers, no one can see it. Now someone has discovered a particular sewer, which ends in a dark crack. Deep down it goes there and the glow of her lantern has revealed the edge of strange ruins. With your help, she now wants to explore them. The descent is difficult – and a bit disgusting – but then you find yourself in a large cavern with the remains of a vanished culture. Who once lived here? Why did the city perish? Even if the spirit of exploration and the desire to find treasures are great, should you really disturb this place? Perhaps the evil that tore it down is still here and threatens to be awakened from its slumber.
|The humans are the masters of this city. Or are they not? The tales of the elders and the gibberish of the madmen speak of something else. A sinister race that calls the sewers home, whether forced or not, remains to be seen. But who takes such things seriously? You don’t, until one of you hears a shuddering, barking conversation coming from the sewer. Could it be…? Investigations turn up nothing. Those who work down there are tight-lipped people, possibly for different reasons than thought. And what about the story about the mysterious mob that burned down a magistrate’s house? A magistrate who wanted to renew the sewers… Something seems to be going on down there and may catch people off guard.