Fifty years ago, there lived a man in Freeport named Alexander Cresh. A freakish man, Cresh was short of stature and had twisted features, with a humped back and unseemly gait. Despite his terrible appearance, he was a successful and bloodthirsty merchant, using his ugly visage to intimidate his customers and turn a handsome profit in all his dealings. However, his appearance belied his inner corruption; Cresh was no saint. He trafficked in the occult, the forbidden and evil subjects such as necromancy and demonology. Combined with his monstrous looks and equally terrible reputation, his peers hated him. They
mocked him at every occasion, bullying him for sport and to quell their own fears about what actually went on in Cresh’s imposing manor.
The little merchant grew to despise the people of Freeport. He severed his business dealings with dealers from the mainland. He spent his fortunes to acquire rare manuscripts and dark volumes of maddening wickedness to further his own dark agenda. All of this effort went to opening wide the mouth of Hell and bring forth swarms of demons and their ilk to lay waste to the city. To complete his dark ritual, he sent his minions into the streets to collect the children of Cresh’s rivals. One by one, the squalling brats were brought to the mansion where they were used for some purpose, foul and terrible.
The locals were terrified. Parents searched the streets. Freeport turned upside down in the hopes of locating the lost children. Every lead ended in a dead end. There was no sign of the lost children… at least until a group of searchers caught one of Cresh’s demonic cronies in the act, trapped in the bedroom of a merchant prince’s child, whom Cresh hated terribly. With the aid of Freeport’s clerics and their devices of inquisition, they learned from the tortured fiend that Cresh was behind the abductions and he used the captured children to spin some sinister plot which threatened the entire city.
The wealthy denizens of Freeport rose up and marched against the evil house. The people, buttressed by heroes and others who sought plunder, broke through the barriers, swept through the place, lighting curtains and furniture on fire in their efforts to root out the despicable man. Finally they found him in the basement, where they butchered him
with swords. But even with the master dead, the good people of Freeport would never return, for the master’s minions overpowered them. In the end, though all who sought Cresh’s death died on that fateful night, the abductions stopped and nothing stirred since.
After decades, new people came to the city. They purchased the homes and businesses of the vanished townsfolk. Starting new lives, they knew nothing of the manor and its foreboding history. The locals boarded up the windows, locked the gates, and pretended the old house just
didn’t exist. People avoid this place, crossing the street to the other side to avoid walking in its shadow. Only the bravest children dared a thrown rock or entered through the rusted gate to knock on the rotting door. It is a haunted place, a place with weird nocturnal lights, the occasional odd shriek, but nothing more. It is a place best forgotten,
best avoided, and never, ever, looked upon… at least until now.
A half century later, people are vanishing once again. The lights in the Cresh place are more common, pulsing out from between the shattered and hanging boards covering all the windows. The grounds of the place reek of corruption, and locals living on the same block swear the walls
bleed at night, that crockery flies, and cold spots appear in their homes. A few older citizens, those who dimly remember the horrors of Cresh’s reign of terror, combined their resources to hire a group of heroes to put the dead to rest, to put an end to Cresh’s evil, and above all, to save the children.
Those who remembered the old days fear Cresh has risen from death and they are right. What they don’t know is why. Six months ago, a cultist broke into the house looking for information on notable families of Freeport (Cresh was a notorious busybody). Armed with this information, the cultist hoped to have enough dirt on the members of the current Captains’ Council and other notable citizens to insulate his activities in establishing a new temple. What he did not expect was the raw malevolence and mind-shattering horror the house contained. Through his meddling, he awoke Cresh and his minions, putting into motion the dark ritual the madman sought to complete in life. Now, not only do the characters have to find the captured children, but they also have to stop the undead monster’s efforts to open the gate to Hell.