Continuing the September of Short Adventures OSR challenge...
Horror Adventure 4 - The Candy Lady
The poorer sections of the big city.
SETTING THE SCENE
Children go missing in the city all the time; amongst the youthful street urchins of the city, there's a persistent legend about a beautiful lady that walks on the air, doling out sweet treats to the urban poor; and sometimes, after a nighttime visit from the Candy Lady, the children are gone.
There are a number of ways to introduce this short adventure when the party is in the city; perhaps the child of a patron, friend or relative claims to have been visited by the legendary Candy Lady, and the patron asks the group to look into the truth of such childish matters, just to set the child straight. Alternatively, when the group arrives at their favorite inn, a homeless woman with a young waif is outside, begging for help getting a room. "My little one saw the Candy Lady two times, and if she sees her again, she'll be lost forever. Please sirs, we just need help staying in the inn common room for the night, a few silvers, just to get off the street for one night. Please."
WHAT'S GOING ON
The Candy Lady is a dark fairy, the urban equivalent of a river fairy or wood-dwelling enchantress; once benevolent, her home was destroyed by the growth of the city and she's transformed over time into something... different. Three times per month, on the darkest nights, she glides through the city streets, invisible to normal eyes, appearing before a lone child as a beautiful madam offering a tasty treat. Children that taste the fairy's candy thrice are doomed to leave with her, forever, becoming her thrall in her otherworldly grotto. Over the years, she's collected many, many children.
The group might consider guarding the child at night, performing a vigil. The Candy Lady can be driven off with magic, the sound of church bells, or turned by a cleric. But first, those keeping vigil must resist the magical sleep her presence induces in adults. Sleeping on holy ground is an excellent defense. It's quite possible modern gamers won't remember fairy aversions to churches; don't remind them.
Research and investigation could involve speaking to old timers in the poorest neighborhood, and learning the courtyards and street where the Candy Lady is rumored to be seen most frequently, along with details of hauntings, bad luck, and a malign presence. A historian or sage might relate the history of the city, and be able to share that the nearby stream, diverted to expand the city's poorer areas, was rumored to be haunted by a benevolent river spirit back in "olden times".
The dried well in the poor neighborhood gives access the fairy's grotto; in a lightless cave she sits like a bloated spider (literally - in the fairy realm, sans glamour, the Candy Lady appears like a bloated spider with a woman's emaciated torso), surrounded by a dozen of her most recent victims. Treat these pale, eyeless, transformed children as Larvae or Manes, or perhaps Dark Creepers. When the lady tires of them, she eats them, and the grotto is littered with small bones. The grotto is in the fairy otherworld, and it's possible there are additional exits into the realm of Fairy from the grotto.
THE CANDY LADY
In the mortal realm, the Candy Lady appears as a beautiful, black clad lady; she is invisible at will, can pass insubstantial as a ghost over the ground, and causes Sleep in a radius around her (allows a Save vs Spells). She'll suffer from the standard fairy vulnerabilities - magic, cold iron, holy ground.
In her grotto, she's corporeal and can be slain; I might stat her like a Drider. (Actually, when all these short adventures are done, I may take more time and actually stat up all the monsters and NPCs and turn the adventures into a little booklet - thinking about it, at least).
Transformed children can't be saved, barring a Wish.
Locales: The city, the fairy grotto
NPCs: A patron and child (or) a beggar and waif
Monsters: The Candy Lady