The Haunting of the Thunder Massif
By Steven Landers
The First Age was a turbulent time throughout all of Middle Earth. Morgoth unleashed horrors beyond imagination upon the denizens of Middle Earth. The Elves and the Valar fought him until finally he was defeated in the far away Angband in the frozen north-western part of Middle Earth.
In the last years of this great war there was a Noldor elf named Turguin who was fighting the minions of Angband in southern Middle Earth. He was originally from Gondolin, he and his beloved Elonin had left long before its fall. They had made their home in the south with others of their relatives and fought long and hard against the forces of Morgoth. Due to their mostly unnoticed efforts, the south was relatively safe throughout most of the latter portion of the First Age. It was after the defeat of Angband that disaster visited Turguin.
After his defeat, many of Morgoth’s minions fled to other parts of Middle Earth. One of these was a Maia named Blordak. Blordak had a form similar to a troll, and was often mistaken for one, but he was actually quite physically weak. However, what he lacked in physical might, he made up for in power. Blordak had an incredible, but twisted mind. He had the power to mentally attack those who came against him, and break their mind. As he travelled south he gathered a large band of Orcs to guard him, and he pillaged all that was in his path.
When Blordak entered into the southern lands, Turguin soon received word of a large troll leading a band of Orcs and attacking local people. Turguin and Elonin along with four other Elves began to track down the raiders. They finally found them in the highlands near what is now Clyan. They attacked the Orcs with great ferocity killing half of Blordak’s band. The Maia retreated heading north with the Elves in pursuit.
Blordak began to use his power to affect the following Elves. In the first night of the pursuit, one of the Elves attacked another killing him while he rested. The elf then killed himself. The next day the now enraged Elves caught up with Blordak and his band, and the fight was fierce. Another elf fell, but all of Blordak’s Orcs were slain. He slipped away into a cave that lead into the Thunder Massif. The Elves pursued him there.
Blordak continued to exert his influence upon the Elves, and they became more enraged and vicious as the pursued him. At the same time, there was a small farming community of men nearby. Blordak sent his will against them, and they became maddened and started after the Elves.
In the hidden valley of the Thunder Massif, the Elves finally cornered Blordak in a small cave. They were preparing to attack him when the humans came upon them. The humans attacked with an incredible ferocity, and soon a pitched fight ensued. The humans were driven by a lust for blood that made them a potent foe, and soon they had killed the last of the four accompanying Elves. Then Blordak’s influence touched Turguin’s mind and he began to go after the humans in a berserk attack that was devastating to them. It was then that Elonin understood what was happening. She tried to get Turguin’s attention to tell him that they had to stop Blordak, but when she called out to Turguin, he turned on her, and in his berserk rage he saw only another enemy. He attacked her, and slew her before he even knew what he had done. When he saw her fall the last moment of clarity that his mind would ever see came upon him. He fell at her side and cried out in agony. He held her in his hands weeping as the humans backed away trying to flee the scene. Blordak’s influence then once more took over and Turguin rose and saw the humans, and in his mind he saw them as the cause for her death. He charged after them and slew them all. After he had done that he returned to Elonin only to discover that she was not yet dead. He held her begging for forgiveness. As her last words she whispered into his ear a spell that would shield his mind from Blordak’s attacks. Unfortunately his mind was already quite warped. He could no longer be driven into such a blind rage by Blordak, but he would always be tormented by the Maia’s dark thoughts.
After that, Turguin would never again leave the Thunder Massif. He forgot about Blordak in the cave, and Blordak decided to wait until a better time to escape. Before he could escape, a landslide trapped him in the cave. From that time on Turguin has always remained on the Massif, and Blordak has forever sent the dark thoughts into his mind. Turguin’s insanity continued to grow, and though he never went out after anyone, if anyone made their way through the secret cave, they would never return again.
Unfortunately this ended a month ago when a small band of treasure seekers went onto the Massif following rumours of great treasure stored there. They managed to find the tomb where Turguin had buried Elonin, and broke into it. Turguin found them when they were leaving the tomb, and the sight drove him into a new rage. Blordak’s words now once more took root in his mind. Turguin now saw all men as the enemy. He killed the treasure seekers, and now discovered a new, darker art. He discovered how to raise their bodies up to be his servant. He was loath to leave the Massif and Elonin, but these new servants he could have leave. So he sent them out to find new victims to become his servant.
Now, for the past month, there have been local people disappearing every few days. At first it was one or two, but now whole families have disappeared, and some have said that they have seen their friends and family at night, and have claimed that they were the walking dead. Great fear is beginning to grip the region.
This is a challenging adventure, and should be taken on only by a well experienced group of adventurers. There will be some fighting, so skill at arms is needed, but a strong will, and some magical aid is of even greater value as one begins to make their way onto the Massif.
At the base of the Massif is the Shrine of the Thunder. This is a small temple with a group of priests who lead in religious ceremonies to the Massif. The priests here are keenly aware of the problems that have been striking the surrounding lands. They also know of the cave that leads up to the Massif.
In addition, Khastas, one of the original treasure raiders escaped before the group actually looted Elonin’s tomb. He can tell the group about the oppressive hatred that settled upon all of them. He fled in terror when two of his friends turned on him to attack him. He will tell the group that he saw one of them a few nights later, and it was clear that he was dead. He will refuse to go to the Massif, saying that the place is cursed, and that there is nothing holy about that place.
Blordak is still a physically weak foe, but his mental powers are incredible. As soon as the PC’s enter the caves that lead to the Massif, they will begin to be affected by his powers. An anger will build up in them, and whenever they enter into combat, they will be filled with blood lust. Fortunately though, Blordak is so consumed with his attacks against Turguin that only a small portion of Blordak’s influence is sent against the PCs. Furthermore, once Elonin has identified the players as the ones who can destroy Blordak, her presence will also shield them for a time.
Turguin’s mind is broken, and he is filled with hatred, but he does not realize that Blordak is the source of this evil. He will make a potent foe, but it is still possible to reason with him, and if someone mentions that they have seen Elonin, then he will be willing to listen. Once he is aware that Blordak is the source of his fury, then he will be able to assert enough power to shield the PC’s from Blordak’s powers for a couple of days. If Turguin manages to survive the final fight, he will leave be consumed by guilt. He will leave the Massif, and attempt to find a way to depart from Middle Earth.
Ghost of Elonin
Elonin’s spirit has dwelt in the Massif since her death. Even as she died, she knew that Turguin had been trapped by Blordak’s powers, so she was not able to pass peacefully away until she knew that Turguin was freed, so her spirit has remained waiting for the day when someone would come who could finally kill Blordak and give Turguin release from his anguish. Unfortunately, Elonin has faded far away over the many long centuries, so her powers to reach people are limited. She will be able to plant dreams in people’s sleep. She will attempt to show them the story of what happened, as well as Turguin’s location. If people actually enter into her resting place, she will be able to grant them visions while they are still awake.
High Priest Arzaran
Arzaran is somewhat reluctant to give the players any information about the Massif. He is convinced that it is the will of the gods that bring these undead upon the land. He believes that it is some sort of judgement against their weak belief. He considers himself above this judgement, but once the temple is attacked, he will be more quick to offer help to the players. He is an arrogant man, but is faithful in his service to the gods.
Untulik the Priest
Untulik was raised on a farm near here, and as a kid he had ventured into some of the caves that lead to the Massif, but he himself has never been there. There was always something in the caves that scared him and his friends away. Untulik has always longed to see what was on the Massif, and if he is asked, he will follow the players and offer whatever knowledge he has.
There are couple of dozen of the undead farmers guarding the caves. These people’s spirits are trapped within their decaying bodies, and they have no control over themselves. The magic that Turguin used to raised them from the dead has corrupted their minds, and now all they want to do is to kill. They posses whatever skills that they had when they were alive, so most are poor warriors, but they will fight until their bodies are completely destroyed. In addition, Blordak has surrounded himself with several undead orcs that had been killed in the original battle with the elves. When Blordak dies, the dead will be released from their spell, and all of the bodies will simply drop where they are as their spirits depart.
This man is staying at the temple where he is under the care of some of the priests. His mind is warped by some of the things that he saw, and he is now somewhat incoherent, but he clearly remembers what happened to his companions and himself, and he is convinced that they are out to get him. If the players speak with him, he will constantly change subjects, but the story will come out in bits and pieces, but the players will have to find out how to put the parts together.
When the PCs first reach the area, they will begin to hear rumours of attacks by those that were thought to be dead. As they journey towards the temple, they should encounter the ruins of a burnt out farm, but no dead bodies. On the night that they reach the temple, a band of the dead will make an attack. They will attack until all are destroyed.
The journey through the cave to the surface of the Massif will be dangerous. The cave has some very tricky areas to navigate as there are several steep climbs, and a few dangerous drop offs. In addition, there are several undead who are within the cave and will attack whenever they see the characters.
Once onto the Massif, the two biggest challenges will be Turguin and Blordak. Turguin is an extremely skilful fighter and as an elf of the First Age, he has many other powers to aid him, so he will be a powerful foe, but if he can be persuaded to help out, then he can be an extremely powerful ally.
Blordak is the biggest challenge. Once Turguin is either slain or convinced to help, then Blordak will assert his full powers against the players. If Turguin is with them, then his presence will lend the players some strength to resist Blordak’s influence. In addition, Elonin’s spirit will also grant some strength to the players. In any event, the players will have to try to resist Blordak’s mental attacks, and if they fail, their mind will slowly weaken till the point that it will break, and he can then use that player to attack the other players. Turguin will have assert his own powers so much that he will be of little use in the fight to kill Blordak, so it will likely be up to the players to do this.
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