18 · Episodes

« The wolf snar­led and sprang towards them with a great hap. At that moment there was a sharp twang Lego­las had loosed his bow. There was a hideous yell, and the lea­ping shape thud­ded to the ground ; the elvish arrow had pier­ced its throat. The wat­ching eyes were sud­denly extin­gui­shed. »

— LotR I p. 389

We pro­vide the fol­lo­wing trio of epi­sodes for those savvy few loo­king for an evening’s enter­tain­ment in Moria. Each is a short vignette desi­gned to for use as an exci­ting « aside, » or as part of a longer adven­ture or cam­paign.

Note: Note that all the data per­tai­ning to NPCS and arti­facts can be found in Cha­pitre 19 – Tables.

Tales of the Great Dwarf-Road

Set­ting: Durin’s Way, the main avenue in Moria and the sub­ter­ra­nean por­tion of the Great Dwarf-road. The epi­sode begins in the Inn Cham­bers (cf. #4) situa­ted near the avenue’s half­way point and later focuses on the caves known as Rom’s Scar (cf. #15).

Period: Any time prior to T.A. 1980 or after F.A. 7. Requi­re­ments : A party of no less than three adven­tu­rers. At least two party mem­bers should be non-Dwarves armed with wea­pons other than axes.

Aids: The host, Oin Great­cup, qui­ckly befriends the group and serves as a sort of guide to local culture.

Rewards: For each adven­tu­rer, 50 gp and one « Great­cup. »

The tale

Prêter ser­ment chez les Nains

One eve­ning, while lod­ging at the Inn Cham­bers in the core of Khazad-dûm, the adven­tu­rers sit down for a hearty meal of mush­rooms and barley cakes. Their host is a stout, strong Dwarf named Oin Great­cup. Twis­ting his copper-ent­wi­ned beard, he tells them the fol­lo­wing tale.

Roin served as Lord Warder of Moria during the reign of Durin I. A proud, fiery explo­rer, he fought as a mer­ce­nary beside Aza­ghal of Bele­gost during the Elder Days of Arda. He bore the marks of many wounds, one of which clai­med his right eye.

Five hun­dred years after his appoint­ment as the master of Moria’s Man­sion Watch in S.A. 93, Roin became embroi­led in a feud with a Noldo cap­tain named Mal­vin­del. The Elf accu­sed him of being part of the Dwarf-host that sacked Nar­go­thrond. Mal­vin­del clai­med that the Lord Warder stole a magic shield in the fray. The shield, which was known as the « Ango­turma » (Q. « Snake-shield ») was forged by a Dwarf-smith in Nogrod and given to the Noldor in order to seal a great trade treaty. Malvindel’s father, Malwe, car­ried it until his death at the hands of the Naugrim—the very same Dwarves that crea­ted the arti­fact.

Roin arran­ged for Malvindel’s imme­diate arrest and impri­son­ment. Later that eve­ning, Roin visi­ted the Elf s cell and mur­de­red the unre­pen­tant accu­ser. The Lord Warder’s loyal guard strip­ped the body and car­ried it to a remote pit in the caverns situa­ted to the sou­th­west of the Inn Cham­bers. There, amidst a forest of Lem­sang, they cast Mal­vin­del of Vinya­thrad down a shaft. Roin’s son, Rin, wit­nes­sed the sordid burial.

A year later, Rin found the Ango­turma, which lay hidden near the pit that housed Malvindel’s body. Sho­cked and embit­te­red, Rin deman­ded that Roin sur­ren­der him­self and submit his case to Durin. The youn­ger Dwarf noted that murder threa­te­ned the honor of their ances­tors and the fate of their bloo­dline. Roin refu­sed and accos­ted his son. A struggle ensued and Rin fell into the same shaft that clai­med the fallen Elf. Thus, Roin slew his eldest child ; and so the tain­ted caverns became known as « Roin’s Scar. »

Iro­ni­cally, it was this slaying that cost Roin his own life. Arres­ted and exe­cu­ted, the Lord Warder paid for Rin’s tragic death. He was entom­bed, without honor, beside the spot where he had com­mit­ted so many climes. Legend says that his Ghost now haunts the place. Some say that a curse keeps his res­t­less spirit in thrall, and that the spell cannot be broken until the Ango­turma is retur­ned to the Noldor of For­lin­don.

Oin notes that the same curse dic­tates that no Dwarf can now bear the shield. He has Elda friends who would love to reco­ver the arti­fact and send it back to Vinya­thrad, but none are allo­wed free travel in the Dwarf-man­sions. One such Elf, Cam­ga­len of Lórien, is actually in Khazad-dûm, and the inn­kee­per would like to bequeath the shield to him.

The challenge

Oin asks the PCs to consi­der his chal­lenge to find the lost shield. After all, Roin’s Scar lies nearby and, given Cam­ga­len s visit, it is an ideal oppor­tu­nity for the Nau­grim to right a serious wrong against the Noldor. Cam­ga­len even gave Oin a map of the caves, so that the inn­kee­per could make arran­ge­ments for such an exp edi­tion.

As an incen­tive, Cam­ga­len offers 50gp per adven­tu­rer. Oin is willing to confer and addi­tio­nal reward : a set of his pint-sized « Great­cups, » which fill with water upon com­mand.

The task

The PCs must make their way to Roin’s Scar, van­quish Roin’s Ghost, and secure the Ango­turma.

Nei­ther traps nor Dwarf-guards threa­ten the adven­tu­rers ; so, the first stage of the mis­sion is simple. Rom’s Scar is shun­ned by most Dwarves and is typi­cally vacant. The Nau­grim only use it as a route to other caves, as a food reserve in times of trouble.

Roin’s Ghost, on the other hand, pre­sents a for­mi­dable pro­blem. A fine war­rior, the cursed Warder remains a dan­ge­rous foe—assuming he really exists. The PCs must also remem­ber two aspects of the legend : that no Dwarf can slay the spec­ter, and that no axe can harm him. (Normal wea­pons of other varie­ties work well.)

Last, the Ango­turma is said to rest in an unlo­cked stone case hidden in the Lem­sang forest Cha­pitre 04 – Les plantes et les ani­maux de la Moria near « Rin’s Pit. » The wax-sealed cache rests in a broad, shal­low pool popu­la­ted by 2–20 Cerech Ceren (S. « Red Jaws »). Nest­led three feet below the water’s sur­face, it should be fairly acces­sible.

One fine promise

Set­ting: Aza­nul­bi­zar and the upper reaches of the adjoi­ning city of Khazad-dûm. The epi­sode begins at the Dim­rill Stair (See Cha­pitre 11 – Orga­ni­sa­tion de la Moria. It ends in the Eyes of the East-gate (cf. #60).

Period: Any­time after T.A. 1980.

Requi­re­ments: A party of no less than four, and no more than eight, adven­tu­rers. At least one party member should speak Sin­da­rin, and at least one should pos­sess some skill in dis­cer­ning magi­cal arti­facts.

Aids: An Sinda map of the Dim­rill Dale.

Rewards: For each adven­tu­rer, a pre­cious silver brooch deno­ting his/​her status as an « Elf-friend. »

The tale

Car­si­lien is a Sinda maiden and an able poet, his­to­rian, and car­to­gra­pher. The daugh­ter of Araval, the only (and « lost ») son of Annael (Turgon’s foster father), she is a soli­tary soul. Her fond­ness for the wilds of the Hithae­glir are in kee­ping with her family’s pecu­liar tra­di­tions. Like her father and grand­fa­ther, she pre­fers the cool quiet of caves to the com­pany of her fellow Quendi. Car­si­lien resides in a high flet-home along the nor­th­wes­tern edge Lórien, but she spends most of her time explo­ring the heights around the Cirith Caradh­ras. She often win­ters in Nan­du­hi­rion. During sum­mers, she usually camps along the Elf-road

Young, wily, impe­tuous, and beau­ti­ful, Car­si­lien broke a number of Elven hearts by the time she fell in love. She with­held her pas­sion until she set­tled on a Duna­dan cap­tain named Orod­hil. Their spe­cial bond led her to leave the Golden Wood and wander the heights to the west, for Orod­hil suf­fe­red from a tragic malady and confi­ned him­self to the moun­tains. He vowed to remain soli­tary until his appoin­ted doom, and resol­ved to spend his last days in ser­vice to his kind. Map­ping and chro­ni­cling the upper reaches Hithae­glir, he began com­pi­ling a work appro­pria­tely entit­led « Of Olvar and Kelvar, Rock and Ice, Among the Spires of Mist. »

Car­si­lien broke Orodhil’s soli­tude and cap­tu­red his spirit. She shared his pas­sion, wal­king, wri­ting, and slee­ping by his side until he could no longer stand. She cared for him as he lay in their camp near the Dim­rill Stair, loo­king over the sil­very spires and rea­ching out to touch the gentle face of Illu­va­tar. She kissed him as she closed his tear-filled eyes and relea­sed his heart to the hea­vens. She buried him.

Car­si­lien pro­mi­sed Orod­hil that she would finish his work and bequeath it to the Dune­dain as a gift from a man who bore an unsur­pas­sed love for Endor’s moun­tains. The roman­tic Sinda ranger car­ried on and com­ple­ted the task after many years of tire­less study and wide-ran­ging wan­de­rings. In doing so, she nearly ful­filled her oath.

An Elf named Aralas bound the book, enca­sing it in a mithril cover ador­ned with a single star sap­phire. The gem repre­sen­ted the spirit of her Duna­dan lover. Plea­sed with Aralas” mar­ve­lous work, Car­si­lien embar­ked on a jour­ney to Orodhil’s home­land.

Unfor­tu­na­tely, the comely Sinda never fini­shed her jour­ney, nor did she discharge her self-appoin­ted duty. Ins­tead, she met a group of Dwarves led by Blain Bla­ckaxe as she ascen­ded the Elf-road by the Dim­rill Stair. Blain’s party confron­ted Car­si­lien and, upon lear­ning she car­ried a great mithril prize„ slew her. She fell into the cold waters of the Nara­gul, the upper Cele­brant, only a few score yards below the moss-cove­red shelf that sup­ports Orodhil’s barrow. Enca­sed in finely-carved mal­lorn, her diary came to rest among the ferns by the river’s side.

The mur­de­rers car­ried the pri­ce­less tome back home to Khazad-dûm. Strip­ped of its mithril cove­ring, it later found its way into a small archive in the upper­most spire of the (nor­thern) Eyes of the East-gate. There, the Dwarf-war­ders used the book as a refe­rence. It proved to be an inva­luable tool to those attemp­ting to deci­pher wea­ther pat­terns and dis­cern land­marks out­side Moria.

The challenge

The PCs encoun­ter Carsilien’s diary either by acci­dent (i.e., while tra­vel­ling along the Elf-road) or by pres­crip­tion (e.g., while sear­ching for the book at the behest of Elven spon­sors). In either case, they find the mal­lorn box wedged bet­ween some well-worn rocks near the place now known as Orodhil’s Stair. The diary inside recalls the tale up to the point of Carsilien’s murder. Her last entry (which is cited Mile Nelde Re”) reads :

« I met a group of seven Nau­grim this mor­ning Their black-bear­ded leader called him­self Blain. He clai­med they were war­ders from the East-gate towers, and that I was tres­pas­sing” on sacred Dwarf grounds. He is no friend of the Eldar, and I fear there may be trouble. »

Reco­ve­ring the diary, the PC’s may wish to consum­mate « Carsilien’s One Fine Pro­mise. » To do so, they must reco­ver her book and either return it to Lórien or deli­ver it to the Dune­dain of the North.

The task

The PCs must make their way to into Maria and deter­mine to loca­tion of the lost book. The clues are few : (1) Blain served as a warder at the East-gate ; (2) Elda lore holds Blain res­pon­sible for the brief clo­sing of the Elf-road ; and (3) records in the Cham­ber of Mazar­bul show that Blain’s line ended with his death ; and (4) Blain willed his for­tune to his warder unit.

Belching paths and burning sleet

Set­ting: The lower reaches of Moria and the upper part of the adjoi­ning Under-deeps. The epi­sode opens with party des­cen­ding through Durin’s Chim­ney (cf. #5). Its climax occurs in the remote cham­ber known as the Rising Tombs (see Cha­pitre 13 – Les Sous-Pro­fon­deurs)).

Period: Any­time after T.A. 1980 (espe­cially after T.A. 3020).

Requi­re­ments: A high-level party of righ­teous adven­tu­rers.

Aids: A Dwarf-guide named Khun, who pos­sesses a detai­led map of the inter­ior of Moria. Expe­rien­ced cavers and clim­bers would be a big help.

Rewards: Each adven­tu­rer receives his/​her choice of 75 gp or a share of Felyashono’s hoard, a trea­sure renow­ned as the « Han­ging Claim. »

The tale

Felya­shono, a fero­cious Balrog, fled from Ang­band at the end of the First Age. Tra­vel­ling through the Under-deeps, the Fire-demon made his way east and then south via a sub­ter­ra­nean avenue crea­ted by his mentor (Mor­goth), a route known as the « Oldest Road. » His jour­ney ended in a great lava-cham­ber called « Tombs Rising. » Here, beneath Caradh­ras and near Khazad-dûm, Felya­shono gathe­red his retai­ners and plot­ted his retum to the sur­face of Endor. His wait lasted over five mil­len­nia.

When the Nau­grim unwit­tin­gly unlea­shed the Balrog in T.A. 1980, they opened a link bet­ween Moria and the Under-deeps. Their del­ving exten­ded into a steamy cavern they called the Under-gates. This cham­ber adjoins the Oldest Road and lies around thirty-six miles south of Tombs Rising.

Legends speak of the great trea­sures in Tombs Rising. The Balrog, it is said, assem­bled a pri­ce­less hoard of jewels, gems, coins, and wea­pons, most of it booty borne from Hadh­drond by the Demon’s Troll-ser­vants. The sto­ries say that it is all zea­lously guar­ded, and that the cache is seclu­ded in sixty-six huge, six-ton iron chests sus­pen­ded from the chamber’s seven hun­dred and twenty foot high cei­ling.

These tales are true. In fact, the chests hang as des­cri­bed, ready to drop should any intru­der climb down the giant, seventy-two foot long iron chains that carry their immense weight. Sput­te­ring, super-hot lava-pools lie below, ready to swal­low the better part of Durin’s For­tune.

The way to Tombs Rising is no more invi­ting than the cham­ber itself. Bub­bling wells of molten rock block the way. Erup­tions of « Bur­ning Sleet » occa­sio­nally rain down through ope­nings in the cei­ling along the Oldest Road. Smoke and steam pour through vents and fis­sures, scal­ding and cho­king the ablest of explo­rers. It is, in every res­pect, remi­nis­cent of Utumno, and the­re­fore beyond the com­pre­hen­sion of nearly anyone.

The challenge

A Dwarf named Khun wants to test the vera­city of the wild tales about the Han­ging Claim. He hopes to jour­ney into the Under-deeps and find the trea­sure. By map­ping the way, he believes he can return home with suf­fi­cient evi­dence to convince his Lord to launch an expe­di­tion to reco­ver some or all of the lost for­tune.

Khim contacts the PCs and, assu­ming they are agreeable, sets up a ren­dez­vous in Moria. He gives them a map and tells them to meet him m two weeks, at the point where Durin’s Stair des­cends through the First Deep.

The task

Note Note that Umagaur the Troll-king resides near the Under-gates. (See Chapitre 17–5 – Quest for Durin’s Legacy). It is he — not the Balrog — that serves as caretaker of the entry to the bowels of the earth. Together with his guard, he presents the greatest « active » challenge to the success of the mission.

The adven­tu­rers must des­cend through Hwain’s Well into the Under-deeps. Once at the Under-gates, they must find their way down the Oldest Road to Tombs Rising. There, they must ascer­tain the loca­tion of the Han­ging Claim. Assu­ming they sur­vive the sojourn in, they must exit with maps and/​or trea­sure in hand.


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