BAD MOON RISING: An Adventure & Campaign Starter for Tomb of Black Sand


Jesper Myrfors

Apparently, one thing I really like is strange moons and in particular, those that, like a Cuckoo bird, have displaced the native moon. Here is a quick set-up that I did to run Tomb of Black Sand (Swordfish Islands) for PAXSouth 2020 (RIP). I have also included a short blurb on how to spin it into a potentially longer campaign.


✦DM NOTEThe PCs are part of a mystical order representing a union between human forest communities, druids, and forest spirits. The players have done something wrong. And in their dispiration to correct that mistake (not necessarily all the exact same one) they ended up in the Tomb. The Siblings are powerful but have been petrified maybe by the Order or maybe by some other faction. They are not benevolent, but still only children. To reinforce this mystical order, I only provided pre-gens in the following 5e classes, Thieves, Fighter (Champion), Druids (Circle of Land, Forest), Fighter (Eldritch Knights), Rangers, Wizards

OPENING: All of you stand on a dark grey plain. Flocks of corvids & carrion birds, not yet glimpsed by your eyes, wheel & dive overhead.

In front of you is an endless void swallowing black sand. A step forward would bring release, but that blessed step is halted by a warm presence- one that holds promise. When you turn two figures, siblings, speak in unison:
“You desperately seek oblivion, but purpose we now supply:
Rescue us from this tomb, where we rest not in death, but still eternal lie.

Beyond a lover’s lake measuring adoration in tears,
We embrace under a purple sky, trapped only together with our fears.

And our egress is blocked and your eyes won’t reveal,
This portal home or its lock; the key- a smashed lunar seal.

Now we must be silent as the Raven Queen is always vigil,
So holy knights remember us and the quartered silver sigil.”

✦DM NOTE: This describes the two purple sheet-covered statues of two siblings in room 13C described as being petrified by the nobility to prevent a world-ending prophecy involving them from coming true. The rest is references to how to get out of the tomb.

CURRENTLY: You awake, stiff, heavy, and covered in a gossamer and crystal burial shroud. It is cold like woven ice water and burns the thin skin of your face.

You have a heavy almost life-ending guilt for something you did or didn't do-- a broken oath. But this is only a dull ache, covered over by the scab of new purpose the Siblings have given you.

Around you the sounds of a shovel scraping against stone in deafening silence. The scent in the air is two types of rot: bodily and spiritual. Shroud-muted figures toil lit by flicking candles.
CONNECTIONS OF THE PAST (roll for your relationship to the person to your left):

✦DM NOTEThis just helps explain party cohesion and gives the players a little something to roleplay around. Its amazing how well little things like this work.

1. Entered the Order together
2. Inexplicable doppelganger of
3. Mentor to
4. Squire of
5. Broke an oath with
6. Do not fully trust
7. Owe a life debt to
8. Share a dream of the nemesis moon

OPENING: The PCs are part of an important pact between the scattered human communities of Vast Wold and the creatures therein. The pact was brokered by the druidic communities. These sacred woods sit in the center of the world (at least as far as the PCs are concerned).

Its main opposition is to the arrival of the nemesis moon, Ghorath, which has unseated the silver moon in the sky. It now sits as a black spot against the noon sun and a red baleful eye at night.

In this world the gods have gone silent, their voices drowned by the usurper moon’s song.

EAST the coastal communities of the cities under the Seven Faceless Angels (the only human fortifications left)
WEST the GÜL kingdoms in the unconsecrated empires (the ruminates of the human kingdoms)
NORTH the northern desolations of the Null and Hobgoblin enclaves
SOUTH is a flooded coastline that connects the EAST to the VAST WOLD

1 comment:

  1. A moon replaced by something in the manner of a brood parasite is a terrifying concept, I love it.