Recently a gang of bandits raided two small villages, stealing livestock and goods, even taking some of the womenfolk as hostages before fleeing into the local swamp.
The county officials have little time to deal with a comparatively minor matter, and so the PCs are deputised by the legal authority in the nearest city to hunt down the outlaws, rescue the hostages, and enact immediate justice on the criminals.
Travel in the Swamp is quite difficult, but finding the outlaws camp is not.
The problem is, they are all dead, and there is no sign of the hostages!
What happened to them, and does it have anything to do with the ruin the PCs see further ahead in the swamp?
Travelling to the ruin, the PCs discover an old crypt, broken open and a plain stone coffin, only recently opened!