DM Experience Running Bark at the Moon in DND 5e

I recently ran Bark at the Moon for a DND 5th Edition party. It was a lot of fun and the party seemed to enjoy it. Here are some thoughts on running this adventure published in the year 2000, today.

This write up does include spoilers, so if you hope to enjoy this adventure as a player someday stop reading now.

Bark at the Moon is an adventure that appears in Dungeon magazine #185, published in Feb 2010 by Robert J. Schwalb.

Overall Impression, Two Thumbs Up

This adventure will allow you to play with lycanthropy, visit the Feywild, and it has an element of competing factions and intrigue. The battles will include a variety of werebeats, some magic users, and it is easy to customize to include some random encounters in the Feywild. I think you could say this adventure has something for everyone.

This writeup will assume you have access to the adventure and have read it.

As Written, the Timeline is Tight!

Once the main conflict is launched the players have only two days of game time to complete the adventure with the “best possible outcome.” As written, after two days war is inevitable and the lycanthropes of Brokenstone Vale and the Eladrin from Mithrendain will clash and something similar to the War of the Pelt will ignite again. Should the adventurers still be in the area of the conflict when this occurs, good luck to them. Even if they are not many Eladrin and Brokenstone Vale residents will die and the story arc will end tragically. In all seriousness, I don’t know how I would run the adventure if war broke out, and realistically the party would be caught up in it all and would surely perish.

The time pressure is driven by an imminent attack on Shatterstone Village, where the Jagged Fang Clan will attempt to kidnap Mazan, with intent to kill him later. Depending on what the adventurers decide and how the dice fall the players may prevent the kidnapping at best, or at worst fail to rescue Mazan alive. Also, if the characters do not hurry the war between the lycanthropes and Eladrin will eventually break out and all will be lost.

As DMs know, modern DND 5e players love their long rests. When I ran this I found that the players were inclined to rest after the Jagged Fang Clan attack on Silver Lake village, before the party attempted to explore Silver Lake to find the source of the attacks. Makes sense, as they just had a big battle, but spending this extra day really strains the timeline. In this case the DM will need to get creative.

Here is a brief summary of the timeline that I put together to help me stay on track. In my actual game, they players took an extra day because they long rested after the attack on Silver Lake on Day 0 below. When they finally got around to going to Brokenstone Value on Day 1, they found Mazan dead but still inside of the Jagged Fang’s Lair. I had them confront Querelian before the war broke out. As you can see, I had to stretch it out a bit, or, as written, they likely would have showed up in Brokenstone Vale to find the war already raging on.

Timed Events for Bark at the Moon

  • Day 0
    • 03:00 AM*: Regina Tress screams as she is surrounded by werebeasts in a random forest. The adventures are alerted to her predicament and can follow the noise to investigate.
    • 18:00: Fey Crossing at Wolfheart opens. The mists covering the lake explode with color. Then, as quickly as the light appeared, it ends.
    • 19:00: Silver Lake Villagers begin to gather in The Big House (Silver Lake Village’s Town Hall) and board it up, anticipating another attack.
    • 21:00: Renegade werebeasts from the Jagged Fang clan attack Silver Lake.
  • Day 1
    • 00:00: Shatterstone Villiage (Feywild) comes under attack again by any surviving Jagged Tooth clan members. Their goal is to capture Mazan.
    • 02:00: Jagged Fangs return to Jagged Fang Lair encampment to interrogate Mazan.
    • 02:55: If Mazan captured: Shatterstone Village (Feywild) empties out as the villagers prepare to invade eldarian land.
    • 03:00: Jagged Fang kill Mazan and dump his body in a place where other werebeasts are sure to find it.
    • 05:00: Mazan’s body is found and the furious clans muster to cross the river and renew their war against the eladrin.
    • 06:00: War is all but certain if the adventurers do not reach White Thorn Tower by 6 AM with Mazan alive.
      • The eladrin Querelian dispatches his messenger ravens just before dawn, when his spies report the hordes gathering on the Sorrowful River’s bank. The adventurer’s need to reach the tower before 6 a.m. and confront Querelian.

How to work Bark at the Moon into your existing Campaign

You can place Silver Lake Village and Wolfheart Isle in any location where you could place a tiny village with a lake. That’s all you need.

To get the players to travel to Silver Lake Village, spread some rumors of werebeast attacks, or have Regina show up where your characters are, desperate for help and ready to lead them to Silver Lake Village to assist. Once the players get to Silver Lake Village, you can play Wolfheart Isle rumors as written. Once the players go to Wolfheart Isle and they cross over to Brokenstone Vale in the Feywild and you’re off to the races.

Role playing Regina Tress

As DM you should be able to get a lot of mileage out of Regina Tress, assuming she doesn’t die. Here are some ideas.

  • Regina could be determined to convince the adventurers to aid Silver Lake Village. Perhaps most of the able warriors were killed in the most recent attack by the werebeasts. Perhaps the attacks have become so frequent that she is at her wits end and desperately looking for aid. She can promise the adventurers money, silvered weapons, and to be a guide when they take the fight to the werebeasts on Wolfheart Isle.
    • It should be reasonable to assume that Silver Lake, a town that has been beleaguered by sporadic lycanthrope attacks, has a healthy supply of silvered weapons on hand.
  • This is as written, but if Regina crosses over into the Feywild and learns that her husband was killed, you can play it up by having her take a hardline pushing the adventurers to forget negotiating and to do whatever it takes to destroy the werebeasts in Brokenstone Vale. Why prevent the war when they could support the Eladrin and wipe the lycanthropes from Brokenstone Vale, and likely the Feywild, completely?

Challenges and Ideas for Running this Adventure

Werebeasts – Lycanthropy and Silvered Weapons oh My!

The party will face many werebeasts in this campaign, specifically when the Jagged Fang Clan attacks Silver Lake Village, and when the party attacks the clan in the Jagged Fang Clan’s hideout. They may also encounter werebeats in their first encounter with Regina Tess if you set it up so the adventurers find Regina Tess as she is being attacked.

Be sure that the party has access to some means of removing the curse of lycanthropy should they become afflicted. Since all it takes is a bite and a failed saving throw, you can expect that some will get afflicted. They can do this with a Remove Curse spell, though when running this adventure clerics in your party should barely be at the level required to cast that. When I ran this, it was a group of five to six level 4 adventurers.

Ensure the party has means to damage werebeasts. The party will need magic and/or silver. Don’t forget about the monk.

BBEG Stat Block for Querelian

The unmodified stat block for an Eladrin in the Monsters of the Multiverse will likely be too powerful for a 4th or 5th level party, so you may need to tone this down.

Stat Blocks for some special Werebeats

You might want to find some enhcnaced stat blocks for werebeats to keep things interesting. I cooked up a stronger statblock for a boss werewolf I put in the Jagged Fang’s Lair. I was also considering using another custom lycanthrope to accompany Querelian in the final confrontation.

Gnome Illusionists

The gnome illusionists that are in the Jagged Fang’s Lair can be a good plot device to keep the story moving. Come up with some dialog to use if the illusionists are captured. Play up the fact that their true form will be revealed as the illusion drops if they are defeated in battle.

Lycanthrope Clans Unite! (What other clans?)

Beyond the Jagged Fang Clan there seems to be very little established lore on what other lycanthrope clans live in Brokenstone Vale in the Feywild. Occasionally my players would ask questions as they tried to get an understanding of how big the conflict between the lycanthropes and the Eladrin would actually be. Recommend making up some lore to make the scale understandable. You may even want to have some members of other clans run across the party at some point.

Summary

That’s what I’ve got for now. This is a great adventure. Find a copy of the old Dungeon magazine #185, published in Feb 2010 by Robert J. Schwalb and give it a shot for yourself. A party should be able to finish it in about four 2-hour sessions!

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