Quest for Durin’s Legacy
La Quête de l’Héritage de Durin (3A 3020)
It is after the War of the Ring, and the tale of Gandalf s triumph over the Balrog has spread far and wide. This means, of course, that adventurers’ minds are turning to the vast amount of wealth still stored within the halls of Khazad-dûm, now unprotected by the Demon’s might. Of course, just because the mighty Balrog has fallen does not mean that Mona lies wide open, its riches free for the taking. The place is still full of hundreds of the creature’s minions. However, the Dwarf-halls are far more approachable than they have been in over a thousand years. Even the Balrog’s Lair might be sacked !
Requirements: An ambitious party of experienced plunderers capable of carrying a heavy load of magic items and weapons a great distance in the dark.
Aids: Maps of Moria, sacks for booty, and enormous quantities of luck.
Rewards: Fortune and glory.
« For Durin’s Line is hearty and long,
His descendants are bold, fierce and strong
Warriors whose might gives them the right
To sing a robust victory song !
Durin’s Crown of Seven Stars will shine
Long as the Khazad can fight and mine !
Treasure and terror loom in Khazad-dûm
Where one day Dwarves will prosper in kind.
Seven Kindred, Seven Stars,
Dwarves will take what once was ours !
Glories past and wealth to last
Us through the Age of nearing wars ! »
Much of the wealth of Durin the Deathless (e.g., his Great-axe) remains hidden within the Deeps of the Black Chasm. Enchanted weapons, magical armor, and rare jewelry of all kinds still rest in the hushed shadows of Moria’s lower halls. Only last year, the Fellowship of the Ring entered Moria, where Gandalf battled an awesome Balrog.
The adventurers have no sponsors on this expedition, no Dwarves to hold their hands. They have paid a fair sum to get copies of maps of Khazad-dûm, and they mean to get their investment back many times over. Still, most will have little idea what awaits them under the mighty Silvertine.
After Durin’s Bane perished, the society of Orcs and Trolls that currently populates Mona was plunged into total chaos. Now, many months after Sauron’s defeat, they have recovered somewhat. The semblance of order is due to a new lord who has grasped the reins of control, a powerful minion of the awful Balrog.
This new master, the Troll-king Umagaur the Pale, has learned from the mistakes of his fallen liege. Ever careful, he has not abandoned his lair, which lies deep in the bowels of the mountain. Umagaur prefers to reside in the Under-deeps, a place he has called home since the Elder Days. The terrible Torog emerges only to check on his servants from time to time, but he never ascends above the Sixth Deep.
Umagaur relies on another Troll, Ufgamog. It is Ufgamog who manages Moria on a daily basis. He is assisted in his efforts by the weaker but much more wily Torog, Muranog. Thus, three Troll-lords now rule in the Black Chasm.
The Orcs and Trolls respect Umagaur, just as they feared Durin’s Bane. The Troll-king refuses to fight at their side, but he is much more active and omnipresent than his predecessor. He still punishes failure of any sort with death, and, like the fallen Balrog, he is not interested in anything other than results.
The deployment means that adventurers have little chance of meeting the Troll-king. An encounter should occur only if the Balrog result is rolled on the Master Encounter Chart. Otherwise, the new master of Moria remains hidden in his secret lair, secured deeper in the earth than even the Dwarves ever dared to go.
There are no other characters the adventurers might meet in this adventurer, but there are plenty of monsters. Most notable amongst these are two Trolls : Ufgamog and Muranog.
Soon after the death of the Balrog, Umagaur the Pale slew Buthrakur the Green, his sole rival in the Under-deeps. Buthrakur held the title « Warlord of the Under-deeps, » but Umagaur sought a greater role. Proclaiming himself « Troll-king of the Hithaeglir, » he rose from the Bowels of Endor and took Mona as his own fief. His savage Torog war-bands issued forth from the great sub-pits and conquered the whole of the Black Chasm.
Umagaur is known as the « Werewolf-slayer, » and indeed he wears a black, full-length, Warg-hide coat and a black steel helm shaped like the head of a Demon-wolf. The helm is fitted with bright-red, steel tongue, a casing for the Troll-king’s own forked organ. He loves to use the sharp-edged device in close combat. Poisoned, it is a lethal weapon. Umagaur’s other weaponry includes a Great warhammer called « Bone-taker » and a solid iron and lead staff known as the « Wargherd. »
Pale of skin, Umagaur is a rare albino Olog. He traces his origin to Utumno. Concealing his noble bloodline from the Balrog, he remained in the shadow of Buthrakur until his lord’s demise. The Troll-king realized that the Valarauko would kill him if his true strengths were unveiled.
Ufgamog is a brute at heart and likes nothing better than feasting on the roasted flesh of creatures he has killed with his bare hands. Those that serve beneath him are certain to supply him with victims to slaughter, in the past, left without anything else to murder ; Ufgamog has turned his monstrous appetite upon his servants.
Despite his cruel demeanor, Ufgamog is a coward at heart. When faced with an opponent that has him overmatched, he will turn tail and run like a scared rabbit. Of course, because of his tremendous strength, size and ferocity, this rarely happens. The only creatures that have struck fear into Ufgamog have been the two overlords he has been privileged to serve.
After the Balrog fell, there was a short war of succession to see who would again control of Moria. During this chaotic time, Ufgamog’s greatest foe was Muranog. Ufgamog now counts Muranog as his most valued advisor, but he remains horribly jealous of his rival’s intelligence. He has been known to cuff Muranog whenever the counselor offers him unsolicited advice. The last incident requiring such a reprimand was some time ago, and Ufgamog believes that he has shown the creature its proper place.
Ufgamog dreams of someday killing the Umagaur and assuming his rightful place as lord of all Moria Of course, if such were to transpire, Ufgamog would find that he does not have the mental resources to control so many subjects at once. He is entirety lacking in subtlety, and his usual response to any problem that may present itself is violence. While such a strategy has worked for him thus far, it is certain that, were he on his own, he would quickly find that such a single-minded approach would not be sufficient to command as large a force as is needed to hold Mona.
Muranog is probably one of the cleverest Trolls ever to shun the sun. Over the yews, he has taught himself to read, a rare deed among the Tereg. Of course, his reasons for educating himself are entirely self-serving.
Muranog was the Balrog’s most trusted servant, and when the Valarauko was destroyed by Gandalf, the Troll was temporarily at a loss. He considered seizing Moria for himself. When he saw the vast, chaotic forces arrayed against him, he decided instead to team up with someone he thought a likely candidate for the lordship of Khazad-dûm. As it turned out, that creature was Ufgamog.
Although Muranog has endured much abuse at Ufgamog’s hands, the sly Troll-lord successfully placed his dimwitted master on the old Balrog’s throne. When the Umagaur the Troll-king arrived, Muranog was plotting to slay Ufgamog and take the reins of power himself. With the arrival of his new master, though, he prudently decided to bide his time until he could fully explore the ramifications of the Umagaur’s claim.
Still, Muranog has no doubt that he will someday control all of Moria. It is just a matter of time before Ufgamog errs badly enough to draw the full filly of the Troll-king’s wrath down on his head. When he does so, Muranog will be present, ready to step into his place.
If the PCs are seeking the Royal Items of Durin’s Line, the GM will need to be familiar with the King’s Chambers and Armory (cf. #54) and the Balrog’s Lair (cf. #50). The maps that the adventurers have in their possession do not indicate the current location of the Royal Items. They are still in the Balrog’s Lair, but the PCs do not know this and may go directly to the King’s chambers in the Seventh Deep.
If the PCs go looking for other sorts of treasure, there are major caches to be found in the Chamber of Axes (cf. #27) and the Crypt of Alvis (cf. #31). (For more information concerning each of these places, be sure to read the previous adventures in Chapitre 17 – Liste des aventures.
The PCs are essentially on a treasure hunt. They know that the most valuable items still left in Moria are the Royal Items of Durin’s Line, but there are other pieces to be found as well. Their objective is to recover as much of Durin’s legacy as possible. Hands and backpacks full, they should flee via the East-gate.
If they avoid meeting Umagaur (which they have a good chance of doing), their odds of survival increase. Unfortunately, he is only one (albeit the strongest) foe among many. Mona boasts other beasts within its shadows, and nearly all stand arrayed against the PCs.
If the adventurers are outmatched in an encounter, try the following scenario.
Believing that death would follow their defeat, the PCs are surprised to wake again in the Place of Valarauko (cf. #50d). The sound of Orc drums still beats in their ears, and, as their heads clear, they realize their hands are bound behind them. Moments later, Muranog enters the room and dismisses the three Troll guards so that he can have a word with the prisoners alone. The guards balk, afraid that the prisoners will escape, until Muranog points out that if one of them stands outside each of the room’s doors, there will be no place for the adventurers to run.
Once the guards have left, Muranog informs the PCs that they are bound with frayed ropes which they should be able to snap easily. Before they do so, though, he asks that they hear his proposition. If they appear unwilling, he mentions that without any of their weapons (they are still in their armor), they have little chance of departing Moria alive. He intends to give them an opportunity to improve their odds significantly.
He indicates the last of the three alcoves (cf. #50d-3) and informs the PCs that their weapons are stacked there amongst the Mithril-coated skulls and that Ufgamog will soon enter the chamber to interrogate the prisoners. Muranog wants the PCs to grab their weapons and kill the Troll-lord. If they do, he guarantees them their freedom. They have no means of assuring themselves that he is telling the truth, but their options are severely limited.
Muranog wishes them good hunting, calls the guards back, and leaves. Soon afterward, Ufgamog enters the room and prepares to question the intruders. Now is the time for the PCs to make their move. They must break their bonds, get their weapons, and kill Ufgamog and the three Troll guards.
If they succeed, Muranog returns with congratulations. He will delay the sounding of the alarm that warns Ufgamog’s minions of escaping captives. If the PCs try to kill the Troll, they waste valuable time ; avoiding his pursuers he simply runs into the labyrinthine passageways.
If the PCs take Muranog’s advice and flee, they obtain a fifteen minute start on their hunters. Filling their sacks with Mithril-coated skulls cuts their lead to 10 minutes. With any luck (especially in encounter rolls), they reach the East-gate, beyond which the Ores and Trolls do not go.
Assuming the adventurers leave Moria alive, they should be quite wealthy. Then, should they want to thither their fortunes, they might ponder the idea of re-entering Hadhodrond. Their experience in the halls of Khazad-dûm will prove invaluable. Of course, they cannot expect any gratitude or mercy from Umagaur’s new lieutenant, Muranog, should they return.
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