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. »
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.
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 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. »
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 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 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. »
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.
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.
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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