5th Day of the Fourth Month – 10th Day of the Fourth Month
Valdimir, Barrloff and Dashna travel north for about a day, following the general tracks of the bandits that had sacked the village of Yellow Toad Well to a ruined outpost. A dry moat surrounds a partially collapsed wall which itself contains crumbling buildings.
Wanting to get inside, the trio claim to be wealthy travelers interested in purchasing goods from the encampment. The bandit guarding the wall lets them in, and then he and two others attempt to mug the PCs at sword-point. They decline the invitation by killing the three men within sight of several other bandits, who then summon still more bandits, who all come out and chase the PCs into the jungle. Injured and unprepared, the PCs return to Machida to rest and reequip.
(Here, I introduce the players to the encumbrance system that we’ll be using. It proves flexible enough, while still making inventory management count, which is what I was going for.)
Another day’s walk (no horses because cardio) returns the PCs to Moonhaunt at night. It soon becomes evident that dwarves and elves can see in the dark, but humans cannot. Taking advantage of this, the PCs spend the next three days murdering bandits from the cover of darkness and at one point setting fire to the bridge into the structure to both draw the bandits out into range as well as limit their mobility. In all, their reign of nightly terror kills eight bandits.
On the fourth day, there’s no longer any activity in the structure. The PCs investigate, finding a makeshift bridge out of the back. Carefully exploring inside finds ruined buildings, a collapsed tower, an old statue, remnants of moon-themed decor and evidence of recent habitation, but no bandits or slaves. They do find a blocked-off doorway covered in impromptu holy symbols and crude folk-wards and surrounded by an unnatural chill. Assuming undead, they set fire to the barricade and wait another day, hoping that whatever is down there will fight with anything that comes back.
When the PCs check on the situation, they find that not much is changed, so they carefully open the door with the strange moon-symbol carved on it and enter the subterranean structure. Inside is more moon-themed tile-work, seemingly defaced. A chilly wading-pool offers a few hundred old silver coins which the PCs scoop up with numb fingers.
Investigating a long, dark hallway, they open a door to reveal a room-sized cage, a sort of jail cell, filled with shuffling skeletons. The skeletons lunge for the party, but cannot clear the bars, and are summarily hacked to pieces by the PCs from the safety of the other side.
Feeling smart, the PCs continue to explore the hallway and see, at the edge of their darkvision, a pale, bald, gaunt, black-eyed creature. Before it can say, “I mean you no—”, Dashna the elf blasts it in the face with her Magic-Acorn-Missile. It flees, but the party gives chase, offering consoling words and apologies. They catch up to it, and it timidly explains that its name is Ragnbjorn and it was one of the death-cultists within a moon-cult that betrayed its fellows and in the struggle was trapped here, cursed with undeath, and unable to dig its way out. Now, it regrets its behavior, and seeks only the destruction of its insane companion, Nauma, another like himself but that seeks to escape and continue her necromantic ways.
The PCs agree to take care of the situation if Ragnbjorn stays out of their way. Ragnbjorn is quite pleased, because apparently the girl with the infant that came down here won’t help, and insists on just hiding from him. The PCs are surprised and speculate. Is that Luta or Fei-Lan or somebody else? Is that Luta’s baby?
NEXT: Moonhuant Part 2