Panic by Moonlight
The village of Dark Stone has been through a lot lately. Awhile back, a terrible monster killed several villagers who were preparing for the fall festival. Then a coordinated attack by, of all things, a huge pack of intelligent rats nearly burned the whole village down. These trials along with the everyday stress that life brings have of late put a huge strain on the villagers.
This strain has resulted in several nightmares and mental stresses of all types. The volume and realism of the nightmares have resulted in a great fihyr coming to Dark Stone.
Great Fihyr: hp 88; see Monster Manual II page 100.
The great fihyr is looking forward to spreading fear in Dark Stone. Although the village is small and barely able to interest it in terms of size, the unusual nature of the situation is a delight. Dark Stone has had two disasters close to each other, and it's exactly enough for the villagers to live in constant fear of the next disaster. Is the village cursed? Is there yet another monster lurking near the village waiting to strike? Who can protect Dark Stone? All sorts of fear-driven questions like these are being asked by every villager -- questions the great fihyr is going to keep the villagers asking.
This great fihyr abhors the sun. As such, it won't leave the confines of its new and temporary home in a cave near the village unless it has to. (If the other random encounters of this month have been used, the great fihyr might well have chosen the same cave the dune stalker chose [see part 2].) However, the great fihyr won't pass up an especially good opportunity.
Usually, it comes out at night and revels in the moonlight. The pale white light illuminates its horrible form when it is visible, and this great fihyr won't hesitate to use its natural appearance to inspire its frightful presence ability.
Given the recent events, the villagers have decided to hold a town meeting in the small outdoor amphitheater just outside the village (see part 1). Their goal is to create a plan of action for how to rebuild after the fire and how to care for everyone's needs. Aside from the amphitheater holding nearly all the villagers, the fact that it's just outside the village is a welcome change of venue. From there, the villagers can think about the horrors of late without the smoking ruins staring them in the face or souring the air around them too much.
Though the villagers think their meeting can serve as a respite from their fearsome thoughts, the great fihyr has the opposite idea. The collection of villagers in a meeting intended to stabilize their emotions is an opportunity it cannot pass up. Further, if the town meeting is successful, it can only starve the village of the nightmares it so wonderfully enjoys.
During the meeting, the great fihyr listens carefully to the speeches made by the villagers (and PCs, if they volunteer anything) and, during the right moment, particularly when anyone refers to the future or especially to another disaster, the great fihyr uses its emotion control ability. It won't target anyone speaking at the time since it prefers to target those close to the front row. That way all the villagers can see their fellows go into a panic or despair. It then targets another section of the amphitheater, inspiring condescending hate instead.
The overall goal of the great fihyr is to pit the villagers against each other to the point that the villagers begin to fear each other instead of another external disaster. The ideal situation for the great fihyr is for some of the villagers to flee the outdoor amphitheater and, since their houses are burned down, flee panicked into the wilderness to sleep overnight. There the great fihyr can float next to each such villager and make sure the night is anything but restful.
If the moon rises over Dark Stone, a night of real horror begins as the great fihyr floats gently from person to person. . . .
The PCs, as outsiders in the village, are more likely to spot something unusual happening at the meeting. The flare-ups of emotion seem a little too random or come from villagers who wouldn't seem the type to lose their wits in such a way.
Recognizing the effects of the great fihyr is one thing, finding the great fihyr is another. It can remain invisible while using its abilities, and it can fly to wherever it needs as appropriate. The great fihyr uses its emotion control ability always at extreme range (260 feet) so it can avoid detection by anyone nearby. It attacks the PCs using its abilities only if they threaten it or if the PCs seem to be working against the great fihyr's efforts.
Bringing the Parts Together
The past three random encounters are tied together by recent events. If necessary, the three parts can happen in the same three consecutive nights, especially if the world's full moon is large enough to last three or four nights.
Coming in Part 4 of Monsters of the Moon
The last incident happened during the day. The moon has one more contribution to bring to Dark Stone.
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