The Nature of Things
Downdale was once a small village much like Farwatch. It is located within a natural “bowl” of hills, and was once home to a farming population of presumably mostly/entirely humans, one of which was a young Bannek. One night, however, a mysterious attacker struck the village, killing almost all the inhabitants (see also Bannek’s article). After that night, no-one else living was seen in or around the village, and the buildings were mostly torn down and simply left to fall into states of decay and disrepair. Villagers from outside of Downdale would occasionally venture fairly close to the ruins, close enough to see figures moving among the rubble and to bring back tales of “dark creatures” lurking there, though the villagers, being mostly peaceful farmers and traders, were also not stupid enough to get too close and risk their own lives in doing so, not being any kind of warriors themselves.
For ten years the village stood silent, untouched by those outside and merely watched, occasionally, from a distance. Eventually, though, news came of the village to the ears of Gregg and Mortaar, and to their recent ally Shiraka. The three journeyed to the village and entered the “bowl”, discovering shortly after doing so that the village was filled with undead when they encountered the half-elf Mirrip fighting some of them a few miles from the ruins, having been chased there when he accidentally ventured too close.
After spending the night with Mirrip and a community of Murafu nearby, the group (accompanied by Mirrip) went down into the village to try to finally find out exactly what had happened to it. They discovered a human necromancer in a hand-dug cave accessed through one wall of the cellar in the village’s derelict tavern. The necromancer was slain, causing all remaining undead to simply collapse, their animating magic gone. The necromancer’s lair was filled with heaped piles of bodies – the former villagers, judging by the clothing. Shiraka theorised that this one necromancer could indeed have wiped out the whole village, since he would have only needed to kill a few people in secret in order to make his attack progressively more effective as he raised his victims up to serve him and kill others.
Downdale now lies peaceful, still in ruins, but free of undead. The bodies in the cave were laid out respectfully (except for that of the necromancer, which was beheaded by Mortaar and unceremoniously disposed of near the village) and the cellar trapdoor sealed up. With the undead now gone, as news spreads people may return to the village and rebuild it, or at least visit it to see what happened.