The Terror of Half Moon Bay



The King's Constables have not returned from the remote headland at Half Moon Bay. A rumoured reward of gold coin and magical items is offered for anyone brave enough to find evidence of their fate. An Adventure for PCs of 4th to 5th level who possess silver and/or magical weapons.

The Set Up

The player characters are passing through the outlying territory of a large kingdom when they come across two peasants (Madjack and Raddick), in either a tavern or working to fix a wooden fence. They call out to the PCs saying that the King's Constables, visiting the Hamlet on the headland at Half Moon Bay, have gone missing and a reward has been offered. They further state that the beast terrorising the headland has taken them. The peasants relate this tale to the characters, expecting the warriors would be willing to take up such a challenge.

The peasants' story is a mistaken account of the real situation and originated from a talkative cheese merchant arriving back from visiting the Hamlet (known for its cheese production). The merchant just recently witnessed the King's agents travel out into the headland in pursuit of a fugitive outlaw. This merchant believed they'd be taken by the Beast that randomly terrorises Half Moon Bay, a creature that kills the occasional dairy cow and is thought responsible for past human disappearances - where visiting adventuring types have failed to return from their journeys out onto the headland. The merchant speculated that a King's Ransom would be needed to find anyone willing to recover the Constables' remains.

The peasants know little except that the merchant said the number of 'the missing' was two, and that one was a Knight, a man, and the other was a warrior woman.

The Hamlet on the headland at Half Moon Bay is only 2 days travel away, the PCs having already ventured so far into this outlying territory. The  journey, on a seldom used roadway, is uneventful.

The Hamlet of Half Moon Bay

After two days travel, through a landscape dotted with groves of windswept trees and rolling green hills, the characters come to an elevated coastal area bounded by 40 foot cliffs. The party can see chimney smoke rising from a small stockade-walled Hamlet. It is situated on the border of the headland of Half Moon Bay. There are a number of cows scattered in outlying fields (that are brought in at night). The wooden gates stand open.

No guards can be seen as the characters make their way inside.

The first building to the left of the gates is a two storey tavern - behind this building are various town houses. To the right are stables and then a row of cow sheds. Behind these are vegetable gardens where the characters can see a number of townsfolk at work. Just as the characters are passing through the gateway the door to the tavern flies open and a dark haired lady, dressed in crimson padded armour runs out and, with a look of surprise upon seeing the party, heads directly to the leading character. She says:

"Please help me. Two shapeshifting monsters are after me. They killed my companion, Jon Steel. They took our weapons, and I only just escaped." She turns her head as the tavern door flies open and an armoured Knight, welding a Longsword minus his helm, plus an exact copy of the lady standing before the party, but carrying a Quarter Staff, come rushing out.

The two characters from the tavern immediately spot the party. They look somewhat surprised, then slowly approach. The Knight yells out: "You had better step away from the Lady, she's not what she seems." As this occurs the characters see a number of townsfolk at various locations standing and watching, a fat balding man emerges from the tavern (the Tavern keeper).

[For the DM] The character before the PCs is the escaped fugitive sought by the King's Constables. The creature is a Doppelganger, and has taken the form of the Lady Monk, 'Emma Zest'.

Doppelganger (mod)
AC: 5 HD: 4 hp: 14 (26) THACO: 17 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d6+1 (fist) or weapon Alignment: N Size 5'8 (M) Mv: 9 xp: 420
*ESP with 90% accuracy of victim
*Immune to Sleep and Charm
*Saves as 10th level fighter which is also applied to alignment detection spells.

Emma Zestari 11th level Monk
AC: -1 HD: 8d8+6 hp: 74 THACO: 11 or 13 Attacks: 3/2 or 5/2 Damage: 1d6+6 (Quarterstaff+2) or 1d6+4 (Tonfa) Mv: 15 Alignment: LG
*Deflect 2 melee or missile attacks, or 4 missile-only attacks on roll of 9 (Save vs Breath+Dex)
*Unarmed THACO: 6 Attacks: 5/2 or 1 Damage: 1d6+6 (M.Arts) or 1+6 (Wrestling). Penalties apply for fighting vs weapons bigger than a dagger.
*Monk Thieving Skills: Unlisted.
*Martial Arts Skills: Meditation, All Round Sight, Mental Resistance (+4), Chi Power, Blind Fighting, Iron Skin.
*Monk Powers: Speak with Animals, Mind over body, Immune to Disease, Hold, Slow; Heal 1d4+6hp to self only, can Save vs Spells that do not allow saves; Feign Death; immune to poisons/environment, takes half damage from magical attacks, quarter damage if save is made; can become Invisible for 11 rounds.
 *Proficient in Cleaving/Crushing wpns (3), Dagger (1), Shortbow (2), Spear (1), Two Wpn Style (1)
Equipment: Quarterstaff +2, Tonfa (2), Padded Armour, Ring of Protection +4, Keoghtom's Ointment (heals 1d4+8 hp, plus any poison or disease), Cure Serious Wounds potion (2d8+1), 10pp/10gp/18sp/12cp.
Str 15 Int 16 Wis 16 Dex 17 Con 17 Cha 17

Jon Steel 10th level Knight
AC: -4 HD: 11 hp: 109 THACO: 4 (Longsword+4, Specialised, Str) Attacks: 2/1 Damage: 1d8+7 Mv: 12 Alignment: LG
*Unarmed THACO: 7 Attacks: 5/2 Damage +3 (Punching). Penalties apply for fighting against any armed opponents.
Equipment: Longsword +4, Platemail +2, Dagger +1, Ring of Protection +2, Ring of Mind Shielding, Cure Serious Wounds potion (2d8+1), Murlund's Spoon, 20pp/12gp/10sp.
*Proficiencies: Longsword Specialisation (1), Quarterstaff (1), Longbow (2), Short bow (1), All Blades (3), Single weapon style (2).
Str 17 Int 16 Wis 15 Dex 16 Con 19 Cha 15

Tactics: The Doppelganger 'Emma Zest' will warn the party that shapeshifters are powerful beings, and encourage the PCs not to let their guard down. On the other hand, the two special constables of the King will approach slowly with Jon Steel stating that "we can sort this out without fighting."
The Doppelganger Emma will reply that these creatures operate in groups, if you drop your guard, they will have the advantage. It says, "You better be good with those weapons of yours." The Doppelganger knows it cannot outrun the real Emma who has a much higher natural movement rate than itself. The monster tells the party that if they will not fight, then "at least give me time to take a horse from the stables and warn the King." The constables speak out and say that this is not a good idea because they are letting the real criminal escape. Steel says to the characters "What do you suggest? We're not in a hurry to go anywhere for the time being."

If questions are asked the Doppelganger has a 90% chance to accurately recall the right information. And will claim that any 'mistakes' are not mistakes because Jon is lying (acting as any Doppelganger might do to protect its fellow kin.)

The real Emma eventually suggests tests that show off her unique Monk abilities - to show that, at the very least, she is not an impostor - while asking the same feats be mimicked by the monster (which it cannot do). She says any real Monk can commune with animals, and will do so with a PC horse if they have any. Emma will also try a recently developed skill, to become invisible to others. Through extreme concentration Emma somehow fades out of view (after 1d4 rounds of effort).

The Doppelganger will reply that these are the tricks of a magical creature, that "there is no way I can do something like that." In other tests any Martial Arts combat skill can be copied, with the creature's physical prowess doing similar amounts of unarmed damage. However, Emma is also immune to poisons where she eventually offers a test where the imposer will likely fall dead. She assures the PCs that this is not a trick of a magical creature. If steps are taken in this direction the impostor will make the same accusations as before, but will try to escape given the first opportunity.

Whatever happens, the constables will try to avoid combat. If the PCs are willing to fight, to allow the duplicate Emma time to escape, then they will back off. If their prisoner escapes Jon and Emma continue to plead their case, offering the characters a chance to meet the King if necessary. The court has access to magic that will reveal the nature of any shapeshifter. They guarantee that the escaped Emma will never head to the King.

The Constables' full explanation: After renting a room in the Tavern they headed across the headland towards a hideout a day's journey from the Hamlet, (seen thanks to scrying, not of their own). They were to apprehend an escaped Bandit Leader, Thadius Rotterdan. After observing his camp for a full day they acted. They've only just returned from the headland with this prisoner. Little did they know this individual was a Doppelganger impostor. Upon arriving back at the Tavern their prisoner promptly escaped.

Whatever happens, the constables leave the Hamlet immediately, collecting their equipment and horses. If they have their prisoner the Doppelganger's hands are tied together, even if that is a relatively futile gesture, and it is forced to walk in front of their mounts.


Heroes are Still Needed

The large balding man from the Tavern, who watched the recent exchange, approaches the PCs. He introduces himself as Adi Amma, the Tavern Keeper. He says that the Hamlet still faces a threat and that the constables told him they would return to deal with it after apprehending the escaped Bandit Leader. Originally it was thought that the constables arrived to deal with the beast that occasionally menaces their livestock. Adi Amma now does not expect the constables to return for many weeks and asks if the PCs could put an immediate end to the menace they call the Terror of Half Moon Bay.

Adi tells the PCs that whatever lives on the headland killed a number of cows over the course of the last year, ripping huge chunks out of the beasts. Recently the monster came very close to the town in order to do this.

The Tavern Keeper says that in searching for the beast the PCs might need to cover the entire headland. Few dare venture there, and those that have almost never return. It is known that it takes two to three days to cross from one end of the headland to the other, and halfway across there is a wide marsh that slows progress. The headland is bounded by 40' cliffs on all sides (like the rest of the coastline), with Half Moon Bay beach at the bottom on the eastern side. The Hamlet is poor and cannot offer a suitable reward, except for free meals and lodgings.

If the characters agree, Adi Amma shakes their hands. He says "When you find the beast just slay it and come back. Please don't stay out on the headland. It's not a place for trying one's luck."


Journey Across Half Moon Bay Headland

The characters travel across the bleak headland. It is a flat desolate place punctuated by windswept groves of trees, much like the countryside the PCs have already traversed.

A short distance from the Hamlet the PCs see the signs of a ruined building amongst one of the groves of trees. The ruined cottage (10x20) has a missing roof.  [For the DM:] High up among the leaves of the closest tree, directly over the ruins, hidden in shadow, is a Giant Spider that leaps upon anyone investigating the inside of the ruin.

Giant Spider (mod)
AC: 3 HD: 4+4 hp: 30 THACO: 15 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d8 + Poison (0/8d4) Size: L (10') Mv: 9 Alignment: CE xp: 650

From this point onwards the characters can choose to; walk in a straight line until they encounter the marsh (after one day of walking), then cross the marsh (another day of wading), and continue onward to reach the end of the headland (another day's walk); OR they can spend two days walking west or east around the marsh. All movement on marshy ground is half normal.

PCs that head west find that the marsh extends to the cliffs and slowly drains over the side on a broad front. Characters will still have to cross the marsh encountering Killer Frogs (see details below). PCs that head east find the marsh stops two hundred of yards short of the cliffs. As they approach the characters cannot fail to see a black Stone Obelisk, tens of feet in height, situated midway along the dry ground (see details below).

Heading Straight through the Swamp (1 day journey)

If the PCs choose this route they see before them water-saturated ground with numerous pools of scummy water with many reeds, and no obvious pathway across it. The depth of the pools and marsh ranges from ankle deep to 4 feet in the bigger pools. Directly in front, perhaps a quarter mile ahead, the characters can make out the forms of two dead trees, the only sign of larger vegetation in the immediate area. If the characters aim for the trees after one half hour they eventually arrive to a nasty surprise:

Animated Dead Trees (2)
AC: 0 HD: 12 hp: 91 THACO: 9 Attacks: 2 Damage: 4d6 (Heavy Branches) Size: H (18') Mv: 3 Alignment: Nil xp: 8000
*No movement rate penalty in the swamp.

Tactics: The animated trees wait until the PCs pass by and then swing to attack when the last party member has his or her back turned to them. If the PCs decide to attack the trees before this happens (target practice) the trees animate and attack.

Continuing in a straight line across the swamp, at the end of the day, the PCs pass by a small lake that conceals a large Hydra - it dug this for ambush purposes. The Hydra hides in the watery depression and then leaps up to attack party members from the flank. Soon after this encounter the PCs make dry land as the sun sets.

Hydra, Seven Headed
AC: 5 HD: 7HD hp: 56 (8 per head) THACO: 13 Attacks: 7 Damage: 1d8 (Bite) Size: G (25') Mv: 9 Alignment: N xp: 2000
*No movement rate penalty in the swamp.

Heading East Around the Swamp (1 day's journey to the Obelisk)

After a day's travel skirting the marsh, at twilight, the characters see that the swampy ground dries up a few hundred yards short of the cliff edge where they observe a black Stone Obelisk in the near distance. As they approach, the PCs notice numerous bones and bits of clothing scattered about. A search reveals 14sp/3cp, five iron arrow heads, bits of rotted wood, a rusted short sword and a belt buckle. Nearing the Stone Obelisk PCs see that it is 2' wide and 10' tall.

The PCs should arrive here at the end of the day where the DM can point out they will need to camp. Characters that approach to within 30 feet of the Obelisk at night carrying a light source, or in moonlight, find that their shadows become animated and attack. This occurs after 10 rounds in moonlight or after 3 rounds in torch light. The shadows remain active within 200 yards of this monument and disappear during daylight hours. They automatically reappear each night for a week unless slain.

Shadows (1 per character)
AC: 7 HD: 3+3 hp: 20 THACO: 17 Attacks: 1 Damage 1d4+1 (Chill Touch + Strength Drain) Size: Same as targeted PC Mv: 12 Alignment: CE xp: 450
*Immune less than +1 weapons
*Touch drains 1 point of Str that returns after 2d4 turns

The Obelisk is extremely hard, is magically welded into the ground, has 200 hp, and only receives 1 point of damage if stuck by edged metal weapons and 1d2 from blunt metal weapons. Magical weapons add their plus bonuses to the damage. PCs can automatically hit the monument as many times as they can attack per round. However, for each blow the Obelisk rolls a saving throw and if successful (on a roll of 10 or better) will remain undamaged. Metal weapons that strike the Obelisk must save vs crushing blow (7 or above) or shatter for each time they hit. Magical weapons less than +2 need roll only above 4 to avoid shattering. Weapons of +2 or better enchantment will not shatter.

Apart from conjuring Shadow monsters during the night, an evil priest or wizard can use the monument to create level-draining undead from living victims that are sacrificed against this pillar.

Heading West Around the Swamp (1 day's journey to the cliff edge)

The marsh extends the entire way across the west side of the headland such that it will have to be crossed in any event. Crossing the marsh closer to the cliff side lessens the crossing time to half a day. PCs that cross the marsh at any point on the west side are attacked by 1d4+1 groups of Killer Frogs that spring out from ambush positions in the watery pools. They come from every direction.

Killer Frogs (1d8+4 per group)
AC: 8 HD: 1+4 hp: 10 THACO: 18 Attacks: 3 Damage: 1d2/1d2/1d4+1 (Claws/Bite) Size: S (3') Mv: 6 Sw: 12 Alignment: Nil xp: 35


The Terror of Half Moon Bay

After crossing the marsh, or going fully around it (travelling a day out and then back), the characters will find that the sun is setting. After making camp the PCs soon notice firelight from (a few miles) further ahead. They should be reminded that the headland is supposed to be uninhabited, except by the beast. Before they can investigate they are attacked by muscular and very mangy black-haired Wolfen creature. Characters will notice that the claws of this beast are long and monstrous, unlike a normal wolf.

Werewolf  (Mod) Rodeck
AC: 5 HD 4+3 hp: 32 THACO: 15 Attacks: 1 Damage: 2d4 or 1d6+3 (Alternating Bite/Claw) Size: M (6') Mv: 15 Alignment: CE xp: 420
*On a successful hit with a roll of 18 or greater the monster may make a second attack roll at +4 to hit.
*Immune to normal weapons, magical weapons do half damage (2.6 rules)
*Silver weapons do double damage
*Immune to Ghoul paralysis

Tactics: The Werewolf here is reckless and attacks the party with wild abandon, expecting it cannot be seriously injured and that the PCs have little chance of escape back through the marshlands. If injured the creature becomes enraged and continues to attack, until it has half its hit points (16) and then flees back to the lair. If the Werewolf is killed it reverts to human form - a twisted middle aged man with rough black hair.

Lair of the Beast(s)

PCs that investigate the light find, after a few miles, the landscape rises slightly, where a low ridge line obstructs a cave entrance that is cut into a low hill. A lantern at the end of a rope hangs high at the midpoint of the cave, the rope running through an iron ring fastened into stone.

The low ridge is deceptively steep, walking up the embankment causes PCs to use their hands to scale it. The stink of rotting flesh is in the air. Characters that walk the long way around, to avoid the steepest part of the ridge, find a gully running up against the hillside with the cave entrance further along.

If the PCs attempt to directly scale the ridge they are attacked by a pack of Ghouls that leap from a raised position on the other side of the bank. PCs moving around the sides are confronted by the same pack. The only way these Ghouls will not be alert to the PCs presence is if the Werewolf was killed in the first encounter and if the PCs approach stealthily. If the characters take precautions they will find these Ghouls in the shadow of the cave entrance (except late into the night when they wander). If no precautions are taken the Ghouls will hear them approach.

Ghouls (5)
AC: 6 HD: 2 hp: 12 THACO: 19 Attacks: 3 Damage: 1d3/1d3/1d6 (Claws/Bite) Mv: 9 S 6' tall Alignment: CE xp: 175
*Save vs Paralysis for each claw hit, lasts 2+1d6 rounds
*Immune to Sleep and Charm
*Holy Water does 2d6 damage (ver 2.6 rules)

Outside the cave entrance is a carpet of bone chips (mostly made up of unidentifiable Killer Frog bones). Bits of faded cloth can also be seen in the dirt. Just inside the cave is the remains of a large open fire pit, seen in the lantern light. The cave itself has a smooth earthen floor 30x30' with rough hewn walls cut into the rock. Old furniture consisting of 5 stools, 2 benches, and a cupboard pushed against the far wall (to the left), with a raised bedding area (consisting of many old blankets situated to the right), fills the cave. Pinned to the west wall by chains are two pale human figures, a man and a woman, dressed in rags, with hessian bags over their heads.

Making their way out of the shadows, from the back of the cave, come a dishevelled man and woman. They are unarmed. The sandy haired man is dressed in ragged clothing, an old blue shirt and brown trousers, the woman, with short dark hair, wears a faded red dress made from heavy cloth. Both are barefoot. They timidly look around. The man speaks softly "We're being held here by a wolf man and his undead minions. Are you here to rescue us?"

Werewolves (2 to 3) Moksar & Grilla (plus Rodeck if he survived)
AC: 5 HD 4+3 hp: 30/33 THACO: 15 Attacks: 1 Damage: 2d4 or 1d6+3 (Alternating Bite/Claw) Size: M (6') Mv: 15 Alignment: CE xp: 420
*On a successful hit with a roll of 18 or greater the monster may make a second attack roll at +4 to hit.
*Immune to normal weapons, magical weapons do half damage (2.6 rules)
*Silver weapons do double damage
*Immune to Ghoul paralysis

Tactics: If Rodeck survived the first battle with the PCs he waits out of sight on the hillside and listens for the sounds of conversation before rushing to attack the PCs from behind. The DM should allow for a very short conversation between Moskar, Grilla and the PCs. If asked about the shackled figures on the west wall the woman simply says "There are iron pins in the floor that you can pull to release the chains". She says she does not know who they are and that they do not speak.

The DM can explain that the shackled individuals are kept pinned to the wall by chains that run through iron rings and that this is anchored to the floor via iron pins. At this point Rodeck should attack the PCs. When this happens the other two jump back into the shadows of the cave saying "oh no, save us!" as they transform into Wolf form - taking one round to do so. The Werewolves will attack ferociously to the death.

If Rodeck did not survive, the two Werewolves encourage the PCs to release the Wights that immediately attack the party. At this point the lycanthropes drop back saying "oh no, save us!", and transform into their Wolf forms, attacking the PCs from behind. If the PCs are suspicious and remove the hessian bags from the Wights, the Werewolves will feign ignorance. PCs can then make a passive perception check (roll less that the average between wis/int) with a -2 penalty, to become actively suspicious of the two former 'prisoners' - if players have not already come to this determination.

Wights (2) shackled to the cave wall.
AC: 5 HD: 4+3 hp: 25 THACO: 15 Attacks: 1 Damage: 1d4 (Claw + Energy Drain) Size: M (5') Mv: 12 Alignment: LE xp: 1400 (only 50xp if killed while still chained to the wall)
*Only hit by silver or magical weapons
*Immune to Sleep, Charm or Cold based spells
*Energy drained levels return at the rate of one per month (2.6 rules)
*Holy Water does 2d6 damage (ver 2.6 rules)

A search of the cave reveals the following items stashed in the cupboard. Numerous (6) Iron spikes -two with iron rings added to the ends, an iron headed mallet, 3 flasks of lamp oil, 10 empty flasks, wooden cups (4), small knives (4), an iron ladle, large hessian sacks (4), a wooden box packed with dried grass with a flint and steel placed on top, a wooden 6 sided dice, leather thongs (thin strips) 2 foot long (8), clay pots with pepper, salt, honey (4), a large iron cooking pot on the bottom shelf.

Under the bedding is a stash of coins, 244cp/39gp/18pp and 8 gems; one azurite worth 10gp, three turquoise worth 10gp each, a citrine worth 50gp, two onyx worth 50gp each, an amethyst worth 100gp.

Resolution

The return journey across the headland is uneventful - unless the party crosses the marshland on the western side, which results in further encounters with 1d4 groups of Killer Frogs. This time there are only six (1d6) monsters per group.

On returning to the Hamlet the characters can inform Adi Amma and other folk of their deeds. Naturally celebrations, centred on the Tavern, commence.

A week later Jon Steel and Emma Zest return with a group of 1st level Knights (2HD each). If the PC party did not destroy the Stone Obelisk, upon hearing the tales told by the towns folk, they head there with borrowed sledge hammers (2) in order to shatter the monument. If (when) the hammers break some of the group return to collect every other hammer (another 4), wooden poles and spare iron hammer heads (8) from the blacksmith, plus garden hoes (5) and other heavy farming implements - picks, iron bars (8). Once the Obelisk is destroyed the Constables' Party will continue to the Werewolves lair where they remove all the contents and then burn them. They will stay out of the marsh and return via the Eastern route to the Hamlet and then back to the King's castle.

All characters that complete the adventure receive a bonus 800 experience points.

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