Sunday, 6 May 2018

Hell on the Moon (Part One)

An adventure. Written to be a bridge from earth-bound shenanigans to Spelljammer-esque planar travel, but use as you wish, obvs.

To begin, the players are stranded on the moon.


For ages, the people of the world observed, studied, even worshipped the moon. Little did they know it was a world of its own.

The lunar surface is a desolate wasteland of constant night. Bare white rock, covered in huge craters, stretches endlessly under a permanently black and starry sky.

1000 years ago – Elves inhabit the moon, their empire is at its height

700 years ago – Decline begins, more and more leave for new realms of the cosmos

150 years ago – The moon elf temple-ship Méliès crash lands on the lunar surface

100 years ago – Gramps opens his diner

20 years ago – The last moon elves leave, only Gramps and his diner remain

17 years ago – Nadia comes to live with her grandfather, opens a garage outside the diner

Now – The players arrive on the moon

The Diner
In the middle of a lonely crater, the sole remaining vestige of the moon elf empire is a dusty old drive-through, run by an elderly moon elf known as Gramps, and his granddaughter Nadia. Although the rest of the empire left long ago, passing ships still stop by on occasion to grab a bite to eat. Nadia also runs a garage service, fixing up ships and recharging their engines with the light of the large crystal that juts from the ground out back.

A curmudgeonly old moon elf, he’s been running the diner for a century. When the rest of the empire packed up and left, he stuck around. He runs the diner with a mix of pride and obligation, brewing his famous moonshine and serving up space food for the few space travellers who still stop by. He’ll lend you a room and offer a meagre meal each day, as long as he gets to make a big show of how begrudging he is about the whole thing.

Gramps’ granddaughter lives with him at the diner. While she does dream of someday leaving the lonely rock like the rest of the moon elves, she loves her grandfather and feels a certain duty to help him. She loves working with machines, whether it’s running the garage at the diner and working on passing ships, or tinkering with her own pride and joy, a hoverbike. She’ll offer to give the players lifts to the dungeon on it.

Players might choose to help Gramps and Nadia restore the diner by completing certain quests for them. Reputation is a stat that represents the effects of this ongoing restoration. For each quest completed, increase the diner’s Reputation by 1. The higher the diner’s Reputation, the better known it will become and the more customers will stop by.

Gramps’ Quests

-          The jukebox needs fixing. There is a simple replacement part somewhere in the dungeon’s Nest section.

-          If Gramps is feeling sentimental, he might reminisce about a classic dish he used to have on the menu, but can’t make anymore because he lacks the ingredients. Unbeknownst to him, the fruit he needs for the sauce grows in the dungeon’s Jungle section.

-          If Gramps had a transmitter, he could broadcast an advertisement for the diner over the airwaves to passing ships. There is a working transmitter in the Throne Room at the end of the dungeon.

Nadia’s Quests

-          Nadia asks the players to bring back any power couplings they come across, as she can use them to soup up her hoverbike. There are power couplings in the Nest section of the dungeon. After she gets one, Nadia’s hoverbike can make the journey to the crater in half the time.

-          There is a certain hard-to-find tool that might be hanging around the maintenance corridors in the Nest section of the dungeon. Nadia doesn’t know it’s there, but it would help her work in the garage no end. (The players might not know what it is when they see it, but tell them it looks like the kind of thing Nadia uses.)

Players may think of their own ways of helping the moon elves with their business. Reward any creative and well-executed plans with a Reputation point or two.


Every night, the diner opens. Roll a die on the table below to determine what customers show up. The die rolled depends on the diner’s current Reputation. If the diner’s reputation is 5+, it is assumed there are a few generic customers around in addition to the table result.


It’s a quiet night tonight.
2: Two-tailed moon jackals barking at the crystal out back. Shoo, ya varmints! Go on, get!
3: A lone alien, stopping in for some grub while he refuels his ship. He doesn’t speak.
Delivery! Food for the kitchen, a replacement part for some gadget, something X ordered.
Loudmouth no-good punk kids on a joyride.
1d4+1 tieflings on a stone temple ship, insular but not unfriendly
A space trucker stopping off en route.
A space princess, running away from home. She might stay a while, work at the diner even. If you roll this when she’s already around, it means she’s got nothing to do and wants to hang out.
2d6 gnomes on a ramshackle ship, looks slightly too small to fit all of them. Boisterous, amiable.
1d4 weird aliens that don’t seem to fully understand what’s going on but don’t cause trouble.
An old friend of Gramps’, stopping by for a visit.
Delivery! You guys are a lot busier these days, huh?
An assortment of colourful characters from across the cosmos. Some you recognise, some new faces too. Another busy night at the diner. Gramps is proud.
1d6 moon elves, considering moving back here.
Busy night! A family tips heavily. The person getting tipped offers to share some with you, since you practically rebuilt this place and all. 3d10 crazy space coins.
2d4 moon elf hipsters. This place is cool now, apparently.
A travelling alien chef. Gramps might ask him to work here.
A grizzled bounty hunter. Has a suspicion his quarry may be close by.
A party of adventurers.
Impromptu dance party. Someone’s lined up some classics on the jukebox and everyone just seems to be in the right mood. One of those nights.
A tiefling businessperson who wants to buy the place from Gramps.
A company representative offering a lucrative deal if you (1d4) 1: sell their beer, 2: broadcast their gladiatorial sports channel, 3: expand into a casino, 4: expand into a strip club.
An unknowable and strange astral entity.
A supreme and benevolent celestial being.

The Vending Machine
There’s a battered old device outside the front of the diner that looks like some kind of space-age treasure chest. A slot in the side only takes moon coins, the purple-metal currency of the lost moon elf empire. Gramps might have one or two lying around, but if you want more you’ll have to find them in the dungeon.

To receive an item, the correct price must be inserted into the slot and the item’s code entered, as displayed on the front of the box.

Cost in Moon Coins
TranquiliTea: A type of carbonated beverage, in a sealed can. Works as a health potion.
TranquiliTea Gomberry: A popular variant of the classic canned beverage. Same thing, different flavour.
Sweat Taste (Sports Edition): A different brand of drink. Lurid, almost glowing blue. Restores one 1st level spell slot when consumed. The drinker must then save against the rush of energy or instantly cast a random 1st level spell.
Soul Chocolate: If anything evil smells this on your breath they can’t steal your soul.
Dr Meeble’s One-Pot Meal: Dry food in a little pot, adding water makes a kind of stew. A day’s rations, barely.
Funkthistle: Pipeweed. You can tell the smoke to do things for you.
Fisherman’s Ear: A mushroom that causes mild hallucinations, numbs pain and allows the user to speak to ghosts.

Whenever an item is purchased from the machine, roll 1d100 on the table below.

The item jams in the mechanism and doesn’t come out. It’ll pop out next time you buy the same item.
The item comes out. Nothing special happens.
An extra random item falls out by mistake!


Part Two, the Dungeon, coming tomorrow :)
EDIT: here it is.

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