Beneath the Neon
While completing an odd job, Vincent passes by a roped-off crime scene. There’s some graffiti spray-painted on the ground that seems to be made up of several different occult symbols. This is apparently the scene of a recent murder, and that the graffi itself actually appeared AFTER the discovery of the murder itself. The symbols are from a handful of different occult traditions, and seem to be geniune rather than gang-related.
The victim, David Walsh, was former casino floor manager who was let go from his job. His home was foreclosed a few weeks before the murder, and none of his neighbours know where he went in the interim. The party eventually discovers that he was working at a restaurant part-time and living in the storm drain tunnels below the city. They enter the tunnels and learn that there have been two other deaths, presumably by some sort of large animal – a description that also matches the state of Walsh’s body. They also hear rumours of a creature with “a face full of teeth.”
Over their research, they find what seems like a match: a creature called an Acantha, which can take many forms but is usually animalistic and hungry, and is summoned/created by magic ritual in order to carry out a specific set of instructions, usually violent.
The players arm themselves and return to the tunnels. The Acantha is dangerous in close combat, but not immune to bullets, and once it’s dead it dissolves into sludge. The players capture some of the sludge in a water bottle and return to the surface.
- The Acantha: A toothy, predatory, humanoid beast that wandered the tunnels looking for targets of opportunity—though according to the party’s research, it has also claimed victims above-ground. Acantha can apparently be summoned and controlled by those with magical powers.
A young man who appears to be in his late teens or early twenties and currently lives in the tunnels below the city. He is solitary and stand-offish, and occasionally flirts with substance abuse of various kinds. The prominent feature of his campsite is a queen-sized mattress which he keeps as clean as possible, while the few other things in his campsite are messy and disorganized.
A mortician’s assistant whom Nick approached while the party was looking for information about the murder. She was reluctant to divulge private information, but starstruck by Nick and caught off-guard by his attention, and let a couple things slip about the state of one of the bodies she’d been working on.
A one-handed veteran who lives in the tunnels. Annette is somewhat baffled by the party and their mission, but has apparently decided they’re on the side of right and has gone out of her way to help them, providing them direction through the tunnels, information about David Walsh, and helped them keep other tunnel residents safe while the party hunted the “psychopath” (the Acantha) in the tunnels. She has so far responded noncommittally to any offers of help from the PCs.
The first victim of the Acantha that the party encountered. He was a former mid-level casino manager who lost his job, not long after a bitter divorce, and whose house was eventually foreclosed. He went from living on the streets to establishing a temporary home in the tunnels, and things finally seemed to be looking up when the Acantha caught up to him.