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Hero of Moonrunner

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Spoiler Warning!!!: Plot and/or ending details of a Fighting Fantasy publication follow. Please DO NOT read this article if you do not want foreknowledge of this publication. Although the article below is based on canon, some of its content is considered extrapolation because it assumes a certain course of events through an adventure that has many possible routes. Finally, the use of "Hero" and other male- gender expressions pertaining to the subject in the article and/or title of the article is not intended to exclude the possibility that the hero was female.

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The Hero of Moonrunner was one of many bounty hunters dispatched shortly after the end of the War of the Four Kingdoms to bring in the war criminals who had escaped justice.[1]

Perhaps the greatest of these already had a reputation worthy of a hero - defying the Vampire Lords of Vannan, exploring the uncharted Lacynthian Caves, rediscovering the Lost Temple of Daemos and more besides - and had already captured six of the most Evil villains ever to trouble the Old World.

For many years, the last of these men, the notorious Karam Gruul of Brice, eluded capture. Finally, however, the Gallantarian native who had eliminated the other great threats managed to track him down to the border town of Blackhaven, and began his search for the Inquisitor General there immediately - for no sooner had he arrived, than his contact, Marshal Bennet was murdered by a Man-Orc assassin in Gruul's pay!

Pursuing the assassin led the bounty hunter to the Rohmer Theatre, where it was silenced by Gruul's lieutenant - a Corpse Master! Ever resourceful, the bounty hunter succeeded in convincing the hellish undead that Gruul was plotting against him, and gained a truly powerful ally as a result. Following this unexpected success, the bounty hunter decided to try another avenue of investigation - the informer Silas Entador, who unfortunately had been killed only minutes earlier by Lishek, an assassin provided by Xen-Vipers.

With this attempt foiled, and knowing only that Gruul was hiding behind the secret society known as the Cabal of the Werewolf - itself being fronted by the Eternal Society of the Rosy Chalice - the bounty hunter decided to try interrogating Matra Ouspenskaya, a former member and currently victim of the Cabal, imprisoned within the infamous Craven Asylum. Here, the bounty hunter encountered far more insanity than he expected - the son of Doktor Kauderwelsch, who was in the service of Gruul, had managed to rescue his mother's brain and implant it within a body composed of numerous parts of dead inmates.

Having triumphed over this adversary, and learning that Ouspenskaya was dead, the bounty hunter moved on to the next possibility - The Last Octopus tavern, known to harbour numerous sordid types, including potential members of the Cabal of the Werewolf. Whilst there however, a Dark Elf servant of Gruul attempted to slay him, and he was forced to kill the Evil creature and flee the tavern. It was then that he encountered Professor Van Heldenghast, a formidable old battleaxe of a woman who shared his cause.

The Professor took the bounty hunter back to her lodgings in Harbour Row and told him all she knew about Gruul - including that he had sustained his life for over three hundred years using the dark art of Notura, which he had devised himself - and pointed him in the direction of six Wards of Notura that would help protect the bounty hunter should he ever face Gruul.

The bounty hunter scoured Blackhaven for these Wards; purchasing the Blood of Baron Milescu from Kiennar's Curiosity Shop and the Angevin Shroud from Gustav Hollman, employing the rogues Hogg and Kilmarney to dig up the Skull of Mora Tao and utilising the dark services of Mawn Pretagorus the necromancer to create a Hand of Glory, defeating the Demothrax Argolis to acquire the Chain of Argolis and mastering the runes of Belthegor to gain the Mask of Belthegor, somehow evading the terrible Obisian Predator sent by Gruul to guard the last of these.

After returning to the Professor, the bounty hunter was instructed to wait by The Last Octopus and attempt to infiltrate that night's meeting of the Eternal Society of the Rosy Chalice by some means - before then however, one of Gruul's escaped Notura creations, the Shocker, which had been preying upon Blackhaven for some time, emerged from its sewer home and killed again, leading the bounty hunter to follow and slay it.

After a considerable test of both skill and luck, the bounty hunter managed to gain access to the Rosichalcian meeting and was initiated into their ranks - for a further challenge, he was then dispatched to the Fogwalker-infested village of Penkhull to become a member of the Inner Order. Whilst in Penkhull, he uncovered further evidence of Gruul's terrible influence, when he came across Gruul and his sorcerer Magus Radu in conversation. As Gruul triggered a device to bring down the building, the bounty hunter watched in shock as his prey was crushed ... only to reveal that "Gruul" had in fact been a Mandrake - the real Karam Gruul had been masquerading under the facade of the non-existent Magus Radu all this time!

With only one place for Gruul to flee to, the bounty hunter continued his pursuit all the way to Hope's End where Gruul once had his dread Tower of Inquisition, and managed to slip past the surprisingly meagre defences and confront Gruul directly. It was here that the Wards of Notura came into their own, defending the Bounty Hunter from every charm and curse brought to bear against him by Gruul; whilst the last of his strength was used up in defeating the Corpse Master, who suddenly appeared out of nowhere to attack him!

The bounty hunter used the Ethereal Projector, a device powered by Notura, to destroy the majority of the Cabal of the Werewolf, which even now was gathering to destroy "him", and made good his escape with Gruul as his prisoner, taking him all the way to Royal Lendle to face justice. Gruul's trial lasted three days and ended with the sentence of life imprisonment, which the bounty hunter found most satisfactory.

It is unknown exactly what happened to the man afterwards, although he did rejoin his family in Narbury, and he refused to lead the Gallantarian army back to Hope's End to destroy the remnants of the Cabal and the Ethereal Projector, claiming he had seen enough bloodshed to last a lifetime. As to the fate of the Wards of Notura, nothing is known whatsoever.

See AlsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Moonrunner - ???

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