08 · Gamemaster aids


The Court of Ardor as a quest scenario

No doubt, as is clear by the intimations in the text so far, the Court of Ar­dor was designed as a unit, and can be played as an extended quest scenario, the central figure being Moran, who must slay his evil mother to prevent the downfall of the sun and moon. But Moran cannot do it alone, and certainly the other players will desire illustrious backgrounds for their characters. Below are a few suggested histories:

These are just a few of myriad possibilities which exist within the text for creating PC backgrounds, which will in turn enliven the flavor of the game overall.

The Court can also of course be simply used as a backdrop for a series of adventures, eliminating the quest elements.

Notes on the completion of the quest

Firstly, there is one gem of Unlight remaining for the Court to recover. It is in the castle Kirnak, a ruin in northern Taaliraan, in a special case made of kregora, a material which will block all magical emanations and prevent its detection. Naturally the Court is eager to collect the gem, and has mi­nions everywhere seeking it. As of early 1703 they had narrowed the area to the Taaliraan region. A potential early-on adventure for the PCs might be to snatch the gem before the Court gets there (directed to Kirnak by notes/​hints from the Guild).

In the long run however, Ardana believes that the Ritual can take place without one gem — although she would prefer it otherwise.

Ironically, the best time to slay Ardana will be at the time of the Ritual itself. Before then Ardana will be extremely difficult to get to. During the ceremony in the great cave beneath the tower, the lords will all be gathered, and will be in a trance-like state, scattered about the cavern. Ardana herself, deep into the trance, will be particularly vulnerable. But only Moran can kill her (or even wound her) and only then in hand-to-hand combat, and with a weapon of mithril (or perhaps there is a specific Holy’ weapon which must be found).

The details of the final fulfillment of the Quest are up to the GM, such as: (a) will any of the Guild of Elements go to aid them? (b) will Moran, or any of the other group members gain special powers at the ritual, such as great strength, immunity to stuns, etc.? (c) how quickly will the Lords of Ardor become aware of the group, come out of their trances and act to defend Ardana?

With Ardana’s death, after a short delay the entire citadel will fall into a ruin, so tied to her was it; and with its destruction the structure and power of the Court of Ardor will also fail.

Text for the player-characters

Following is a text designed to aid the PCs in the completion of their quest. The text, The Book of Andraax”, was written in fact by (the male) Fëatur, and copies can be found in various Court holds and in out of the way places, large libraries, etc. It is somewhat informative, without giving specifics about citadel layouts or other facts which might make things too easy.

(The following is bound as a book, and can be found in any language or script.)

The Book of Andraax

Herein is held the book of Andraax the Scribe. AH that is recorded is all that is known by those Outside of the Court of Ardor: Council of Darkness. Heed the words, for all are truth, of at least rumor. Many of these places I have seen. How, I shall not tell. Understand, and fear these places, as well you should.

1 — The Citadel, Tower of Darkness

The most imposing of all the places of Ardor, the Citadel itself consists of a single, eight-sided tower constructed of an unusual black stone (probably the same nearly indestructible stone of which the tower of Orthanc in Isengard was later built by the Numenoreans). Three hundred twenty feet in height, the tower is based on a small, rocky isle in the center of a 30 mile wide C” shaped island, amply shielded from the curious and unwary.

It was built under Valmorgûls personal supervision; the huge blocks of stone magically mined, moved, and fused so that the slick faces of the Tower walls are as single unbroken planes, smooth as glass. Out on the ring- island are eight outposts which guard the perimeter from any intruder.

2 — Aurax-Dûr

(S: Deepwater Darkness) Element: Water; Suit of Helms.

A narrow inlet along the rocky southern shore of the Mûmakan leads to a sea-cave entrance in a cliff face. Within is a strange wonder of Middle- earth: Aurax-Dûr, the hold of Gorthaur, the Lord of Helms. Here lies a huge grotto, the floor of which is entirely water many feet in depth except for the very center where there juts a rocky outcrop. Upon this is con­structed the castle proper. The entire cave is illuminated by many varieties of lichens which grow abundantly across the roof of the cave, casting an eerie blue-green light. Access to the castle is via a narrow causeway leading to the far end of the cavern, and through a long tunnel to the surface. There are also docks adjacent the causeway; for small sailing ships may pass through the sea entrance. Gorthaur is master here and guards his privacy with jealousy, only attending monthly Council meetings and performing his required functions.

3 — Taurang

(S: Iron Tree) Element: Water; Suit of Helms.

The citadel of Taurang was built in the period Y.S. 50 – 90, well before the founding of Ardor, under the supervision of Taurclax and his Aide

Khelekar, the Recorder. Smaller in sheer size and grandeur than most of the Holds of Ardor, yet strong behind walls of steel and stone, Taurang is also a meeting place of the Taurang Council: a cult of priests and mages who hold sway over the surrounding forests. Taurclax being a direct lieute­nant of Morgoth, Taurang’s original purpose was two-fold: first to serve as a center from which spies could operate to observe the actions of the Eldar in the South during the early years, and second to act as a focus through which could be channeled Dark forces to thwart any powers of good that might arise. Some of the most terrifying manifestations of the latter are the Winds”. Supposedly a ring of assassins, shrouded in mystery and misin­formation, it has been suggested that the Winds” are actually supernatural in nature. This is purely speculation, but would explain the curious fact that no description of any of the assassins exists. They leave only a strange black iron dagger-like weapon in their victim, and it is said that the first person to touch the weapon feels a chill wind. According to rumor, the Winds” have never failed to eliminate their target.

4 — Naurlindol

(S: Mountain of Fiery Pools) Element: Fire; Suit of Staves

In the distant past when the Valar wrestled with Morgoth in the forming of Arda, the tormented earth erupted in volcanic explosions. It was one of these places still hot with flowing lava that Rilia, The Sorceress”, chose to make her home. Situated in the hills west of Koronande, it is a complex of tunnels and halls of dark grandeur. Mourfuin the Lord Demon comes here as well, but it is the domain of the Mistress of Flame. It is believed that Rilia was among the Noldor who returned to Middle-earth to recover the Silmarils from Morgoth, but was instead seduced to his service. Her train­ing in the early years was under the Lord of Sorcery, Valmorgul; but as she grew in power she sought ways of securing a place for herself. Granted leave by Morgoth to depart Thangorodrim and construct a citadel at a place of her choosing, she went far south knowing that the Master desired far-flung outposts through which to monitor the activities of the Eldar. It was only natural that she be chosen as one of the hierarchy of Ardor Then, in Y.S. 410 Sauron, Morgoth’s chief lieutenant, came to Naurlindol and spoke at length with its mistress. It seemed that the war against the Eldar was going well, but work on the purpose of Ardor was at a standstill. The master was not pleased, and his wrath would descend on Ardana and Morthaur if pro­gress was not made soon. All this Sauron told Rilia, and he urged her to leave and serve him in Beleriand instead. She refused (not, certainly because of any allegiance to Ardana or the Court, but perhaps she was con­fident of an eventual success, and that she had become enamoured of her own powers and position in the Ardan Council), and bade Sauron depart. He did, reluctantly, resisting the temptation to simply force her to come; and destroy Naurlindol, thinking that perhaps it would have future use. At any rate, her actions were to spark the beginning of an intense rivalry be­tween Sauron and the Court.

In T.A. 1120 Eldarion, acting for the Guild of Elements, entered Naurlindol and secured many secrets, but he was detected and caught on the way out by Rilia herself. To her surprise her spells were useless against the magician, as his staff was apparently cancelling all magical attacks. Mour- fuin, however, was able to subdue Eldarion by brute force, and wrest the staff from him. He was tortured but would reveal nothing of his intent or associations and Rilia, in a rage, ordered him slain and his body dumped, decapitated, on a Guild of Elements Pentagram platform. The staff was cursed with a word Etarkas and cast into a vault.

5 — Ithilkir

(S: Silver Mine) Element: Fire; Suit of Staves

One of the three mines of the Court of Ardor, it lies beneath the hills north of Tanturak, and is one of the very few mines of mithril known in the entirety of Middle-earth (Moria, the Dwarven city of Khazad-Dûm, is the greatest and only other commonly known mine of mithril). The mine was first opened in Y.S. 200, and placed under the supervision of Lesh-Y, the demonic master of Alchemy and one of the chief forgers of Morgoth. Not only mithril, but blue and clear laens, aluminum, and many other precious metals have been discovered many of which were utilized by Rilia to enhance the strength and sophistication of Naurlindol. Ithilkir itself was at first relatively crude and simple in design, but as the years saw greater riches uncovered, Lesh-Y sought to make it a place of strength and grandeur. It was well for his sake, for it was soon after Sauron made himself head of the Ardan Council that one of the Nazgûl (the Ringwraiths of Mor- dor) appeared at Ithilkir and demanded that Lesh-Y release lordship of the mines. Lesh-Y refused, and summoned Rilia and a force of demons from Naurlindol and together, utilizing the defenses of the citadel, they forced the wraith to depart. Sauron never spoke of it, and it can be safely assumed that Sauron chose to allow the incident to pass, rather than risk a disruptive rebellion forcing him to destroy most of the Court. Since that time Ithilkir has functioned quietly and efficiently under the Demon’s direction, grow­ing ever more beautiful and secure.

6 — Tirgoroth

(S: Watch of Terror) Element: Air; Suit of Swords

Perhaps the most awesome of the holds in a purely visual attitude is Tirgoroth, the communications center of the Court. It is the domain of Valkrist, the Lord of Arms; and the Messenger makes his home here as well. By design a graceful palace of high walls and slender towers, it is perched upon the summit of a sheer peak jutting out of the waters of the Koros bay to an impossible height. Part of Tirgoroth’s mystique is, no doubt, the large cloud which hovers perpetually about the top of the peak, giving the im­pression that the castle is in fact floating on the cloud.

Only one entrance to the citadel is known for certain: the great drawbridge gate which opens onto thin air. Indeed, it serves only as a run­way for the great grey falcons of Tirgoroth and their silver-and-blue clad riders. Another way is only rumored: the ten thousand steps”, a spiral stair which runs from the bottom chambers, still thousands of feet above sea level, to deep below the sea floor, where a tunnel leads to the mainland. Whether this stair even exists is a matter of eternal speculation.

7 — Mirisgroth

(S: Delving of Jewels) Element: Air; Suit of Swords

Situated upon a rocky island in the center of a large, deep volcanic crater lake, Mirisgroth is a relatively small holding. But this is not all of the com­plex. Mirisgroth is actually an island within an island, in an extinct volcano which itself is an isle. Thus, the castle is surrounded by two concentric rings of sheer, jagged igneous peaks. The rings themselves are honeycombed with tunnels and halls, and the deep shafts which lead to the rich mines below. These mazes are such as to defy most any intruder.

Under the dominion of one known simply as The Monk”, it is a mine of long history. Constructed and originally under the control of Drul Chaurka, one of the Chief servants of Morgoth long before the forming of Ardor, the Monk was the captain of the guard at the time. But, in Y.S. 220, Drul Chaurka left Mirisgroth without fanfare or notice as to when he would return. In fact, no one saw him leave save the Monk, who swiftly con­solidated his position as acting Lord of Mirisgroth, so much so that, after the Court reconsolidated, the Monk was offered the second in command of the Suit of Swords, Mirisgroth being the secondary citadel. Foul play would be suspected of the Monk, but any such rumors were quickly squelched with the disappearance of his critics. It is also rumored that Mirisgroth is not only a rich jewel mine, but a source of green and red laens, as well as eogs and platinum (necessary for the making of mithrarian and kregora) and many other valuable metals.

8 — Angkirya

(Q: Iron Mine) Element: Earth; Suit of Orbs

Angkirya is a design of Dwarven origins, but was apparently long aban­doned when it was discovered by Fëatur in the later years of the Two Trees. From that time on, this mine in the hills of southern Taaliraan was not wor­thy of mention, until Y.S. c. 200 when Fëatur chose it to be the location of the main citadel of the Suit of Orbs, and refined and expanded it to house the lords and ladies of that house. The mine itself yields black laen, veins of gold, amethyst, ruby, and black eog.

For many years Angkirya operated smoothly, until Y.S. 570, just eight days before the time of the Great Eclipse, and the Ritual. All of the Court was at Angkirya feasting in anticipation of their imminent success, when word came of the attack by the Luingon Alliance upon the outlying installa­tions of the Citadel. In the ensuing confusion Morelen, Ardana’s daughter and key to the Ritual, vanished. Fëatur was not suspect, of course, as she was at the defense of the Citadel with the rest. The Eclipse passed, and the sun and moon remained aloft. Morgoth was of course, livid with rage, and made plans to destroy the entire Court. But he did not have the time he thought, for five years later the Valar came East and cast him into the Void again. Morelen reappeared at the Citadel in S.A. 1000 with no memory of the event of her disappearance, or her location in the interim. Since that time, Angkirya has continued to function as it had in the past.

9 — Menelcarca

(Q: Fang of the Heavens) Element: Earth; Suit of Orbs

A single tall spire resting upon the tallest peak in the Mûmakan, the Menelcarca is the ideal location for an observatory. It exists under the of­ficial dominion of Fëatur, but the Lord of the installation is Ardûval the Astrologer. Unlike many of the other holdings of the Court, Menelcarca has seen little in the way of violence, and has always been under Ardûval’s personal control. Also, few of the other members of the Court have ever been there, thus fostering an air of mystery about it even within the hier­archy. Its exact location is virtually unknown, since it is inaccessible by nor­mal means. The very lack of information breeds fear; among the lesser ser­vants of the Court it is a name of terror and Ardûval, despite his fair ap­pearance and considerable charm, is held in fearful awe. It is rumored that the Menelcarca is so close to the Outer Void that Ardûval is able to converse with Morgoth Himself in his exile. These rumors are, of course, completely unfounded…”

Master Military Chart

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Healing Herbs Chart

Name Form Home Prepare/​apply Effect Price
Abaas Green Leaf Coastal Beaches Crush/​Eat Heals (2−12) 1 gp
Fiis Tree Resin High Altitude Lakes Dilute/​Drink Heals (1−5) 5 sp
Grarig Red Shrub Leaf Volcanic Isles Crush/​Boil/​Drink Heals (30) 15 gp
Mirenna Silvery Berry Vales above 10,000 feet -/​Chew Heals (10) 12 gp
Rewk Brown Nodule Lowland Forests Crush/​Brew/​Chew Heals (2−20) 5 gp
Thurl Brown Clove Temperate Forests Brew/​Drink Heals (1−4) 2 sp
Winclamit Green Vine Fruit Spruce Forests Boil/​Eat Heals (3−300) 200 gp
Yavethalion Golden Fruit Westerly Isles -/​Eat Heals (5−50) 60 gp
Carneyar Red Flower Jungle Vine Boil/​Drink Heals (all hits; stops bleeding) 400 gp
Anserke Shrub Root Tropical Coasts Make paste/​Apply Stops bleeding 150 gp
Harfy Shrub Resin Hilly Regions Dry on Wound Stops bleeding 200 gp
Vessin Clam Extract Tropic Coasts Smear on Wound Cures to 2nd degree burns in seconds, 3rd degree in one day 30 gp
Culkas Succulent Leaf Desert Hagrir Tree Smear on Wound Cures burns up to 3rd degree 50 gp
Jojojopo Grey Leaves Base of Glaciers Dry on Wound Cures Frostbite 30 gp
Hoak-Foer Yellow Flower Semi-Arid Hills -/​Eat Hallucinogen which prevents movement but cures mental diseases and mind loss 10 gp
Gort White Leaves Tropical Plants Powder/​Inhale Euphoria (1 hour); psychologically addictive 2 gp
Zulsendura Mushroom Dark Caverns -/​Eat Haste (3 rounds) 20 gp
Fraw Lichen Hot Seashores Boil/​Drink Restores bloodflow 80 gp
Ucason Yellow Grass Temperate Seashores Burn/​Inhale Cures blindness 50 gp
Ul-Ucason Golden Grass Temperate Island Shores Burn/​Inhale Restores eyes 250 gp
Degiik Leaf Tropical Forests -/​Chew Lifekeeping (24 hours) 800 gp
Olvar White Flower Ice Bays (rare) -/​Chew Lifekeeping (2−12 days) 2,000 gp
Oiolosse Gold Clove Cool Freshwater Lakes -/​Chew Lifegiving for Elves 33,000 gp
Laurelin Gold Leaf Western Isles -/​Chew Lifegiving 46,000 gp
Lestagii White Crystal Unknown -/​Chew Restores one stat (only lost amount) 28,000 gp
Valanar Blue-green Leaf Warm Seashores -/​Chew Antidote for Karfar* 1,000 gp
Menelar Pine Cone Northern Fir Forests Crush/​Boil/​Drink Antidote for Sharduvaak* 1,500 gp
Mook Bronze Berry Hilly Forests -/​Eat Antidote for Jegga* 100 gp
Shen Pink Leaf Temperate Lakes Dry/​Eat Antidote for Acanna* 2,000 gp
Arduvaar Blue Powder (Imported from East) Dissolve/​Drink Universal antidote 5,000 gp
Naza Red Leaf Ice Plains -/​Chew Neutralizes poisons 6,800 gp
Klandun Fern Leaf Tropical River Bottoms -/​Eat Cures Thrayniis** and other forms of paralysis 300 gp
Klynyk White Cream Oyster Derivative -/​Smear on Skin Removes hair for several days 5 gp/​20 dosest
Tharm Clear Oil Kelp Extract, etc. -/​Smear on Skin Protection from sunburn; aids in 5 bp/​10 dosest

Poisons of the Mûmakan

Name Color Effect Minimal Effect Source Form (attack) Level
Ul-Acaana Black Kills Instantly Coma (1 day) Flower Paste 60
Acaana Black Kills Instantly Kills Slowly Flower Paste 15
Galenaana Green Kills Elves Coma (1−3 Days) Leaves Powder 12
Cathaana White Destroys Mind Euphoria Nuts Flakes
Vurnaana Pink 2 – 200 hits 1 – 100 hits Flower Paste 20
Klytun Gold Coma (3 Days) Root Paste 30
Karfar Red Kills (2−12 rnds) - Leaves Powder
Jegga Brown 1 – 100 hits - Bat Venom Liquid 50
Jeggarukh Black 10 – 100 hits 5 – 50 hits Bat Venom Paste 30
Jitsu Yellow 1 – 100 hits 5 – 50 hits Clams Liquid 20
Zaganzar Blue Blinds 2 – 20 hits Root Liquid 5
Carnegurth Red Blood Clots (death) 6 – 60 hits Flower Liquid 10
Sharduvaak Brown Kills Slowly - Berries Liquid 50
Kly Brown 3 – 300 hits 1 – 100 hits Berries Paste 5
Thurviik Pink Sleep (3 hours) - Volcanic Caves Gas 20
Umakilis Red Kills Instantly Coma (1−10 Days) Tree Frog Liquid Touch 10 — Bloodstream 60
Murtan Yellow Paralysis Fever/​Delerium (4 days) Trees Sap 10
Sarnumen Blue Nerve Disorder - Numen Eel Liquid 30
Pentanoth Clear Coma (1−4 days) Loss of will (6−12 hours) Blue Kelp Liquid –40

Miscellaneous Indigenous Beasts

Animal Type Avg. Lvl Avg. Hits At Attack Patterns And Adds Misc.
Ape 4 120 3(-15) Large Grapple +50; Med. Bash +75 Arboreal Herbivores; 1 – 4 norm.
Grey Bear 5 170 4(-20) Large Grapple +60; Large Claws +80; Med. Bash +40 Omnivores; 1 – 4 norm.
Great Cats 5 150 4(-25) Large Claw +70; Large Bite +75 Carnivores; 1 – 20 norm.
Uvag-Aak (Apc) 6 140 3(-30) Med. Bash +90; Large Grapple +65; Large Bite +50 Blood-drinking carnivores; 1 – 3 norm. Very rare.
Wargs 4 130 3(-20) Large Bite +70 Carnivores; 1 – 50 norm. Rare.

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