01 · Features, use & maps
Notes on the features and use of the Middle-earth Series.
This series is intended as a tool for gamemasters who wish to have a strong working foundation for fantasy role playing campaigns based in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth. The modules detail specific regions of the continent of Endor, and attempt to give the reader a view of the physical, intellectual, and spiritual structures of the given area; politics, culture, geography, climate, and magic are all included. Since these territories cannot be fully described in any modest tome, emphasis is given to the dominant and/or primary features. Where it is possible, “typical” layouts are provided, giving the reader an approximate idea of what would be found in a given place or a similar setting. All of the data provided is aimed at giving a picture of part of Middle-earth, and the gamemaster is encouraged to use these resources to build upon; certain vague areas and details that could not reasonably be included in the modules can be defined by using the foundation provided in conjunction with one’s creativity. The invaluable source material found in Tolkien’s works and the continental map of Endor are ideal aids, and act to stimulate this process.
Each module covers certain citadels and settlements with great care to detail. Nonetheless, these works are not intended as “ready-to-run” campaigns. The gamemaster is given the basic information necessary to understand and visualize a part of Middle-earth. This data, combined with examples and whatever source material the gamemaster wishes to employ, will enable he/she to add whatever color and detail is deemed necessary to a given campaign. Any fantasy role playing rules system may be used, and any form of campaign can occur, so long as the gamemaster and players are satisfied that it fits their requirements. ICE provides a descriptive view of the continent, with a general overview and certain key structures and concepts; beyond the given foundation, it is up to the individual user to set up the campaign. Creative guidelines, not absolutes, are emphasized.
The series also provides interesting source material for those desiring to understand the nature of a particular region of Middle-earth. Each module is based on extensive research and attempts to meet the high standards associated with the Tolkien legacy. Where the material is interpretive and/or speculative great care has been taken to insure that the conclusions fit into the patterns and schemes that have been defined. In these areas, the modules aim at providing the reader with the flavor of the region, no more. Stimulation of the creative processes is the goal, and ICE does not intend such material to be the sole or “proper” interpretation. In addition, always remember that Tolkien’s works are the ultimate sources. What is provided in this series, however, is a consistent view of all of the continent. We hope that this will help the reader to delve deeply into the wondrous world that is Middle-earth.
Definitions and terms
The following subsections provide handy reference and informational data. For a more in depth analysis of certain terms, consult the various sources (see selected reading section of module).
|I .A.||First Age|
|H||Hobbitish (Westron variant)|
|Kd||Kuduk (Ancient “Hobbitish”)|
|LotR||Lord of the Rings (I = Book I, etc.)|
* references to stats
The majority of unique terms and translations from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are not described below; rather they are to be found elsewhere in the text, in the sections concerning places, inhabitants, etc.
- Armor Type (AT)
Armor is the basic protective capability assigned to the material covering the body. Armor type refers to the specific kind of covering found on a given character/creature (e.g. AT 15 refers to “full chain,” chain mail covering most of the body in the form of a shirt and leggings — or any equivalent). Armor type is synonymous with “armor class.”
Channeling represents the power from those on high (e.g. the Valar) as channeled through their followers, other spell users, or the source being. It is the power of the deities as manifested in the “everyday” world. Professions using channeling: cleric, healer, animist, ranger, astrologer and sorcerer.
See “player character.”
- Combat Roll
A roll representing a combat swing or missile attack.
- Concussion Hits
Accumulated damage to the body, possibly leading to shock and unconsciousness.
Note The term “hits” will sometimes be used instead of “concussion hits. ”
- Critical Strike (CRIT)
An especially effective swing, missile attack, or spell which penetrates the target’s basic defenses and results in some special or additional damage, something more than the typical concussion hit effect.
Criticals are graded from “A” (mildest) through “E” (severest).
- Defensive Bonus (DB)
The total subtraction from the combat roll due to the defender’s advantages, including bonuses for defender dexterity, shield, superiority of armor, position, and magic items.
Also called “keep.” The main defensive focus of a fortress or castle, it is the usual place of “last retreat” and often the home of the resident lord or master.
These high men were those Edain (“fathers of men”) who settled on the island continent of Nùmenor, far to the west of Middle-earth. The Dùnedain conquered and/or colonized many areas along the western, southern, and eastern coasts of Endor during the Second Age, and were great lords among men. Unfortunately their great desire for power (at least among some) led to the destruction of their home island in the middle of the Second Age. This “Downfall” occurred as a result of their invasion of the Undying Lands and challenge to the Valar. Those called the “Faithful” opposed the policies and hatred of elves which led to the Downfall, and were saved when the isle sank. They later founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor (in the North and South of northwestern Middle-earth). Many “unfaithful” groups survived in the various colonies of the Dùnedain established in happier times (e.g. the “Black Nùmenoreans” of Umbar). The term Dùnedain refers to the Nùmenoreans and their descendants in Middle-earth, groups which possessed considerable physical and mental strength, longevity, and a rich culture based in great part on elven ways. They are but one group of the Edain, a collective grouping of men with relatively advanced culture and traces of Elvish blood who had aided in the wars against Morgoth in the First Age. (S. “Edain of the West.” Sing. “Dùnadan”).
The essence is that which is common to all things, living and dead, organic and inorganic. It represents a force and order which defines, or helps define, the ways of the world, and acts as a source for some forms of spell power — for example, magic. Professions using essence: magician, illusionist, alchemist, monk, sorcerer, and mystic.
- First Age (1.A.)
The first recorded Age of Middle-earth. Its beginnings date back to a period relatively soon after the dawn of time as we know it and its ending point was marked by the overthrow of Morgoth (the “Black Enemy”), Sauron’s overlord and mentor. The tales of the First Age are, for the most part, found in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion. These works are not used or described within this module, since we are focusing on the Third and Fourth Ages. ICE uses l.A. to denote the First Age and F.A. to indicate Fourth Age dates.
- Fourth Age (F.A.)
The fourth recorded age of Middle-earth, the “Age of Men.” It began with the passing of the Three Rings over the sea. During the Fourth Age most of the elves departed Middle-earth for the Undying Lands; other non-mannish races such as dwarves and hobbits began to seek solitude, for their ways were no longer understood by the overlords of the continent — men.
An especially ineffective swing or mishandling of the weapon which may put the attacker in a disadvantageous position and/or damage him.
- Gamemaster (GM)
Also known as DM or dungeonmaster, the referee, judge, etc. The ultimate authority in a given fantasy role playing game. This person is responsible for giving life to the game by monitoring world events and providing the necessary imaginative aids. He/she interprets rules, controls creatures and non-player characters, and maintains play.
Not the gamemaster, but Eru — the creator of the world, including Middle-earth.
Lit. “Southmen” in Sindarin. This is a collective grouping of men who made their homes in the great arid and semi-arid expanses of Harad. Residents of northwestern Endor might also call a man from further south by the same label, but those hailing from lands beyond the Mountains of the South (e.g. the folk of the Mûmakan) made a natural distinction. The latter group called the slender, dark, generally rugged peoples residing to their north “Nherlachem,” host of the fire plains. This term was a perversion of the elvish Narladrim. For purposes of avoiding confusion, the term “Haradrim” is used here to describe the peoples residing south of the Harnen and north of the Mountains of the South; Southrons, Haradwaith (also a northern term for their homeland), Narladrim, and Nherlachem are synonymous terms. Recent settlers crossing Mountains of the South into the Mûmakan are still called Haradrim, however. The races living further south are referred to by more specific labels. Remember that these “Haradrim” are actually comprised of various sub-groups, often culturally or racially unrelated. Most Haradrim, however, are nomadic or semi-nomadic, ride well, are lightly armed, and use principles of mounted warfare. They are also adept at trade and herding, and act as middle-men and caravan conduits for the brisk trade between Umbar and Pelargir in the North and regions like Ûsakan, Dûshera, and Mûmakan in the very Far South. Nùmenorean colonization (e.g. Umbar and Ciryatandor) along the edges of their territory has created some fusion of culture and varying amounts of interbreeding. Thus, some Haradrim, particularly in the northern areas of their territories where Gondor has held political sway, seem much more akin to their part–Dùnedain neighbors.
- Hits (Concussion Hits)
The amount of damage an individual can sustain before he loses consciousness due to shock and pain. Death resulting from massive system shock occurs if the accumulated damage points reach the total of hits + constitution.
The sum of all factors affecting the speed of a swing.
An action performed by a character that requires unusual concentration under pressure, or risk (i.e., climbing a rope, balancing on a ledge, leaping a chasm). The action must be of a physically active nature, not “static.”
- Maneuver Roll
A roll representing an attempted maneuver.
- Martial Arts
Forms of attack and self-defense which involve specialized mental and physical training and coordination. Much of unarmed combat and combat using weapon kata falls into this category.
Hand-to-hand combat (i.e. combat not using projectiles, spells, or missile weapons).
That realm/source of power which is connected with the internal patterns of the spell user. It is the manipulation of one’s own essence to produce spells. Professions using mentalism: mentalist, seer, lay healer, bard, mystic, and astrologer.
Endore; Endor; the Middle Land; the Middle Continent. One continental land mass found in the world. It was not itself the entirety of the world, although the action and events found in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings is focused on the Third Age of Middle-earth and the very beginning of the Fourth Age of Middle-earth.
The renegade Vala (see Valar below) who coveted lordship over the world, and possibly all existence. Morgoth (lit. “Black Enemy” S.) was the embodiment and focus of darkness — evil incarnate — and established lordship over northern Middle-earth during the First Age. From his hold at Thangorodrim in the Iron Mountains (Ered Engrin) he began to dominate the whole of the continent; only the elves of Beleriand, the Edain, certain dwarvish groups, etc. opposed him. Morgoth created many foul races of beings by perverting the living (for he could not create life itself): orcs in mockery of elves, trolls as dark counterparts for ents, etc. No power aside from Eru himself, or the other Valar, could withstand the might of this demigod; he could alter mountain ranges, cast flames across hundreds of miles, and send legions of warriors — including dragons and balrogs — on campaigns of conquest. His terror was unparalleled. Nonetheless, Morgoth’s strength waned with each creation. His Iron Crown was his greatest prize, for it embraced the light of the sun and the moon in the form of the three Great Jewels (the Silmarilli) and contained much of the Black Enemy’s own power. Morgoth was finally overthrown by the host of the Valar in a cataclysmic battle which sank much of northwestern Middle-earth and altered the world. Sauron, one of the Enemy’s lieutenants, survived the apocalypse.
A region of the very Far South of Endor (south of the great Mountains of the South) named for its greatest living resource, the Mûmak (plural: Mûmakil), the giant elephant. “The Mûmakan” actually encompasses a large area of varying terrain inhabited by various groups of “common men.” Their loose cultural links, occasional unifications under warlords, and their use of the Mûmakil for purposes of labor and war bind them and allow for the use of a general name for their home. Note that the Mûmakil are most prevalent in the dense, well- watered forests of the eastern Mûmakan (east of the edge of the color area map). There, their herbivorous diet is best served, and their mystical breeding sites are well guarded.
Also called the “Ringwraiths” or simply “The Nine,” these were nine great lords of men who were enslaved by Sauron in the Second Age. Each had apparently coveted great power and accepted one of the Nine Rings of Men wrought by Sauron. Since the rings were ruled by the One Ring and keyed to the Dark Lord, the Nazgûl became slaves. As time passed they became immortal in a sense, undead, and no longer possessed bodies associated with the living. Essentially, they became “shadows” of great power, and acted as Sauron’s most trusted lieutenants. The Witch King of Angmar, also called the lord of Morgul, was their chief; he was the Lord of the Nazgûl and possessed the greatest power of independent action. The Nazgûl were afraid of water, some fires, and the name “Elbereth.” They were virtually blind by usual standards, but possessed amazing senses of smell etc. which helped offset this weakness and gave them tremendous advantages in darkness. Their power was lessened during the day, and Khamûl, the second to the Chief, had considerable fear of the light. Some of the others may have shared all or part of this flaw. Nonetheless, these wraiths generally overcame their weaknesses, and were rarely stayed for more than brief intervals. Also called “Black Riders.” (B.S. “Ring Servants” or “Ring Wraiths?”)
- Non-player character (NPC)
A being or creature interacting in a fantasy role playing game controlled (“run”) by the gamemaster, player, or another, not as a character synonymous with a player, but as an entity who has no identity with a human participant. Since the NPC is not identified with anyone, its death or departure will not result in anyone leaving the game or having to generate a new character.
- Offensive Bonus (OB)
The total addition to the combat roll due to the attacker’s advantages — including the attacker’s physical prowess, superiority of weapon, expertise, magic items, etc.
Originally bred by Morgoth in the First Age, these creatures quickly became servants of Darkness; it is likely that they were not inherently evil, but were culturally and mentally predisposed toward the “foul life.” Legend has it that their ancestors were Elves who were twisted in mind and body by the Black Enemy.
Orcs are of two types: the lesser or common orcs which average about four to five feet in height and sport grotesque, fanged faces; and the greater orcs or Uruk-hai, who reach heights of six feet and have more “human” features. All are heavy of build and have long, thin arms and thick hides.
Bred as laborers and warriors, orcs respect little but brute force, and are most potent when serving under a “focused will.” They are without exception cannibalistic, bloodthirsty and cruel, and care little for social organization. Generally, smaller tribal/clanal units are the norm, based on a strong leader; each employs its own dialect. Most are stellar smiths. Their ability to work with metal is hardly paralleled. Although the appearance of their items is often poor, the performance is excellent. They rarely make items unassociated with fighting, however.
Lesser orcs are born, live, fight, and die in darkness; they abhor light and are blinded by the unshielded sun. Greater orcs are most carefully bred and can operate in daylight. Their abilities to speak, organize, reason, and fight are higher than their brethren. Some claim the Uruk-hai are products of Saruman’s White Hand, and were first spawned from orcs and men. It appears, however, that they first arose in Mordor, and that their lineage has nothing to do with the Secondborn. While the lesser orcs favor curved scimitars and wicked axes, the Uruks bear straight swords and a wider variety of superior arms.
- Orientation Roll
A roll representing a combatant’s degree of control following unusual action or surprise.
The use of some or all of a combatant’s offensive bonus to increase his defensive points.
- Player character (PC)
A character or being controlled by and identified with one of the players. In the game context, the player character (PC) IS the player and vice versa.
Plural — “portculli.” A grating at the gateway of a castle, fortress, etc. that can be let down to bar entry.
- Power Points
The number used to show how much spell casting power a spell user has access to in a given period (usually one day or the period between two stretches of fully restful sleep or meditation). Power points are expended when a spell is cast. They are exhausted (until the next period begins) when the points expended (as a result of the spells cast during the period) reaches the number equivalent to the user’s total power points. Power points are synonymous with “spell points.”
Also called “character class.” A profession is actually a grouping of individuals who had a common set of interests in their early/formative years. Example: Magicians have a professsion based on their emphasis on the study of spells, particularly during their childhood and formative years.
- Resistance Roll (RR)
A dice roll which determines whether or not a character/creature or object successively resists being affected by a spell. The result of unsuccessful rolls will be based on the spell’s effect; successful rolls may mean the spell has no effect or reduced effectiveness. Resistance roll is synonymous with “saving throw” or “saving roll.”
Normally a percentile roll giving random results from 01 to 00 (100).
Note In certain circumstances, this roll must be adjusted through the use of an open-ended system, yielding results above 100 or below 01.
The Dark Lord, the Shadow, the Lord of the Rings. A ‘lesser Vala’ who served Morgoth in the First Age, Sauron survived and went south from the elder lands of darkness. During the Second Age he convinced the Noldor of Eregion to create rings for the Free Peoples; later, in secret, he forged the One Ring. This ring embodied much of his power and Was capable of uniting and controlling the other Rings of Power — the Three Rings of the elves, the Seven of the dwarven lords, and the Nine Rings of mankind. Both the dwarves and elves resisted his trap; the former took off their rings, while the latter race entrusted theirs to three of the Wise. Men, however, were not so quick to realize the danger, and the Nine rings remained in the hands of nine proud lords who sought power and found undying darkness — they became the Nazgûl. Sauron removed himself to the fortress land of Mordor in the Second Age and there built Barad-dûr. Mount Doom (Orodruin) was already used as his personal forge, and within the new realm he began to cast a new Shadow upon the continent. Sauron was overthrown twice in the Second Age, first by the Numenoreans under Ar-Pharazôn, and later by the Last Alliance of Men and Elves. Each time, however, he returned to power. His “body,” however, was destroyed in the Downfall of Numenor (from which he escaped), and he was never again able to assume fair form. The lidless eye (normally red upon black) was his symbol. He was responsible for creating two superior variants of creatures spawned by Morgoth — (1) the Uruk-hai, or great orcs, and (2) the Olog-hai, or black trolls. Both were formidable fighting forces.
- Second Age (S.A.)
The second recorded Age of Middle-earth. It began after the fall of Morgoth, with the founding of the Grey Havens and Lindon. The age ended in S.A. 3441, when Elendil and Gil-gilad overthrew Sauron, Isildur took the One Ring, and the Dark Lord and Nazgûl passed into the shadows. S.A. is used denoting dates.
An aspect of a character which enables him/her to perform an action more effectively. The term is used here to refer to abilities which are particularly applicable to FRP campaigns and adventuring.
- Stat (Characteristic)
One of the physical and mental attributes which are considered most important to an adventurer in a FRP game. Stats dictate how well a character develops, moves, fights, takes damage, absorbs information etc. They are used to compute bonuses and subtract tions to die rolls.
- The One Ring
Also called the Ruling Ring or simply the Ring. Forged by Sauron in the depths of the Orodruin (Mt. Doom), the One Ring was the greatest of the “Rings of Power.” Sauron intended it to be a means of controlling the holders of all the other great rings forged before it, thereby enabling the Dark Lord to hold sway over the elves, dwarves, and men. Much of Sauron’s own “strength” went into its making, and he could never be truly whole without it. When the Ring was taken from him by Isildur at the end of the Second Age he was never able to reclaim it. Upon reforming around T.A. 1050, Sauron concluded that the Ring was lost, probably after flowing into the Belegaer (Sea) when Isildur “dropped” it in the waters of the An- duin at the Gladden Fields. The Ring had a sense of its own and sought power, particularly that of its maker. Sauron believed it would inevitably surface somewhere in western Endor. He went about the business of conquering the continent, but always kept his eye out for the return of the Ring. His agents and troops always informed him of occurences which might lead him to it. The search become more active when he was aware that it was no longer truly lost. Although it appeared as a plain old band (its inscription could only be read when the ring was heated), the One Ring was actually the most powerful item forged in Endor since the construction of the Iron Crown. It was purely evil and acted to magnify the holder’s desires and obsessions to such a degree that, regardless of intent, a perverse evil result would eventually occur. The Ring embodied much of the substance of Sauron’s greatest works (e.g. Barad-dûr). With the Ring’s destruction in T.A. 3019, Sauron was forever crippled; his spirit could no longer assume physical form as we know it and he was “banished” from Middle-earth.
- Third Age (T.A.)
The third recorded Age of Middle-earth. It began following the defeat of Sauron as a result of the Last Alliance of Men and Elves and ended in T.A. 3021, when the Keepers of the Ring passed over the sea (from the Grey Havens). T.A. is the abbreviation.
Refers to primary Valar..fifteen (including Morgoth), and later fourteen servants of Eru. Lesser “gods,” demi-gods, entities consisting of pure spirit but often taking physical shape. Many of the peoples/beings in Middle-earth worship them or hold them sacred. Guardians of the world, it is they who sent the Wizards (Istari) to Middle-earth.
- The West
Northwestern Middle-earth, specifically the area within which the events described in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings took place. Loosely, the area from Umbar northward and west of the eastern shores of the Sea of Rhûn.
Dice Rolling Conventions
- D10: Roll a 20-sided die to generate a number between 1 and 10 (“0” is read as 10).
- D100: Roll 2 twenty-sided dice simultaneously, they should be of different colors with one determining the 10’s digit, the other the 1’s. Since “00” is read as 100, results thus generated are from 01 – 100.
Most rolls of D100 in the Rolemaster System are “open-ended.” If a roll is open-ended:
A roll of over 95 calls for a second roll of D100 to be made and added to the first to determine the total die roll. If over 95 is rolled on the second roll as well, the first two results are added to yet a third roll of 100. Theoretically this process could go on forever.
A roll of under 06 requires that a second roll be made and subtracted from the first (likely yielding a negative result). If this second roll is over 95 it is subtracted from the first and a third die roll is made and subtracted from this total (likely yielding a result of less than –100). This process could also theoretically go on forever.
Rolls that are not open-ended specifically include: Stat generation rolls, Stat potential generation rolls, Stat gain rolls, Spell gain rolls.
Middle-Earth campaigns: creative foundations
Since each module in this series strives for flexibility, the GM is given settings which allow for a variety of campaigns. Naturally, no one game, game system, or GM’s approach is exactly alike. Some portions of this module will be better suited to certain campaigns, while others may not come into play until the adventurers have considerably progressed in skill. It is, therefore, important that the GM focus upon the sections of the module which are geared to his/her campaign.
The maps, cultural notes, sections and general descriptive text relate to the area as a whole, and have bearing on the political and economic structures — regardless of the time chosen for the game. These aids are intended for use with any campaign; they provide the “common denominators” of the region, and act as the ultimate creative foundations. A GM who wishes to create all or most of his layouts and adventures from scratch will still find these sections extremely useful. Regardless of the details and day-to-day activities associated with the area, these fundamental factors have a bearing. After all, land forms and cultural norms change relatively slowly.
The individual layouts and descriptions of personalities are provided to give the GM an idea of the power structure at a specific point in Middle- earth’s history. Interaction based on these sections will depend on one’s campaign. Dominant political figures and their holds will provide adventurers with certain death in many cases. Only the very accomplished and/or strong group of player characters will be geared for such an experience. Most adventuring parties should best be run in the context of lesser power; therefore, more modest personalities and layouts have been provided — enabling the GM to get a creative start should he/she wish to employ already-detailed structures. Of course, all of the layouts and figures found in this module can be considered as flavorful examples associated with, or common to, the area. As noted above, these modules describe whole regions, and we encourage the GM to create his own detailed version of the given section of Endor.
Adapting this module to your fantasy role playing campaign
This module is designed for use with most major fantasy role playing systems. Since the various FRP rules have their own particular approaches to combat, spells, and character generation and development, certain common descriptive terms have been selected for the individual outlines of places, people, creatures, and things. Unfortunately, statistical data such as bonuses and character “stats” differ widely between systems; after all, they are keyed to specific game mechanics. ICE has chosen to use percentile (D100) terms as a base, since conversion to D20, D18, and D10 can be achieved with relative ease (note Sec. 1.321 below for a handy conversion chart). Player character and NPC characteristics/stats are also detailed in one particular manner; again, simplicity and consistency have been emphasized, and conversion to your game system should be relatively painless. This section deals with (1) tips for using this module with respect to starting a campaign and (2) guidelines for fitting the given data into terms appropriate for the game system you are using. Keep in mind that fantasy role playing is by nature a creative experience, and the individual GM or player should feel free to incorporate his/her own ideas into their game.
Approach for integrating this module into your campaign
The Court of Ardor is a unique part of this series. Its emphasis is largely on a political rather than geographic and cultural setting. There is a “quest” outlined which may provide the basis of a strong campaign; Nonetheless, the area itself has been detailed and remains the central focus. The land, peoples, and relatively “permanent” architecture generally outlast political plots and conspiracy, even those involving the immortal First-born, and the reader should pay particular attention to Section 8, where suggestions for alternative campaign approaches are found. In addition, Section 9 gives the reader a view of the region during various periods, before and after the temporal setting found in most of the text. The following steps may be helpful when beginning to employ the region here described.
The following steps may be helpful when beginning to employ the region here described:
- Read the entire module to get a flavorful idea of the region;
- Reread the sections devoted to notes for the gamemaster, and converting statistics for your game system;
- Choose the time setting for your campaign. Should you choose to run a game at the beginning or end of the Third Age, or early in the Fourth Age, pay particular attention to the section devoted to this region “at other times. ” In fact, this section will give the GM an idea of the considerations involved with setting a campaign at any date other than that chosen here. ICE chose the mid Third Age as a particularly exciting era, but vou may enjoy another time even more;
- Assemble any source materials (note suggested reading) you find necessary;
- Research the period you have chosen and compose any outlines you need in addition to the material provided here;
- Convert the NPC, trap, weapon, spell, and item statistics to terms suitable to your game. Note changes in the system you are using which must be made in order to keep your campaign in line with the flow of life in Middle-earth;
- Create a total setting, using lots of maps to detail patterns and provide a creative framework. In this way you will have a rich and consistent world, and the foundation data will give you the flexibility to detail ran dom areas and events.
Guidelines for using your FRP rules system with this module: conversion notes
When using this module with your FRP campaign, be careful to note all the non-player character statistics before beginning play. Should any adjustments need to be made, you may wish to consider the following guidelines. The material provided is in terms of percentages and is intended to give the reader a relatively clear picture of the strengths and weaknesses of the individuals and creatures discussed. Most FRP systems will relate to the data, and conversion should be simple; remember, however, that there are dozens of role playing rules and the change-over from the statistics given here may be troublesome; you may wish to design your own NPCs using this module as no more than a framework.
Note As a general rule, all bonuses include advantages or disadvantages which normally operate in activities involving the given character. Offensive bonuses include stats, enhanced primary weapons, constantly or near-constantly operating spells, skill levels or expertise, etc. Similarly, defensive bonuses incorporate the effects of shields, stats, special items, skill, normally activated spells, etc. Spells of limited duration or access, secondary weapons, and other factors involved in a given situation may act to modify these bonuses. The character’s description will act to give the reader a breakdown of the specific components making up the bonuses. Bonuses preceding weapons or shields are modifications to the inherent strengths of the given item (e.g. a + 10 Shield would subtract 30 from an opponent’s attack, for the shield would normally add + 20 to the holder’s DB, and the bonus adds another + 10).
Ten stats are used to describe each character detailed in the module. Should you use a character development system with different characteristics and/or alternative number of stats, simply follow these steps:
- Assign the appropriate stat from your FRP system to the value given beside the analogous characteristic listed in the module. If your rules use fewer stats, you may wish to average the values for those combinations of factors which contribute to a characteristic found in your system (e.g. dexterity = an average of quickness + agility). Should your guidelines utilize more stats to describe part of a character, you may wish to use the value provided for more than one “corresponding” characteristic (e.g. you might use the value assigned to constitution for both endurance and durability). The following is a chart listing some examples of equivalent stat terms:
Strength: power, might, force, stamina, endurance, conditioning, physique, etc. Note that the vast majority of systems include strength as an attribute.
Agility: dexterity, deftness, manual skill, adroitness, maneuverability, stealth, dodging ability, litheness, etc.
Quickness: dexterity, speed, reaction ability, readiness, etc.
Constitution: health, stamina, endurance, physical resistance, physique, damage resistance, etc.
Self Discipline: will, alignment, faith, mental strength or power, concentration, self control, determination, zeal, etc.
Empathy: emotional capacity, judgment, alignment, wisdom, mana, magical prowess, bardic voice, etc.
Reasoning: intelligence, learning ability, study ability, analysis rating, mental quickness, logic, deductive capacity, wit, judgment, I.Q., etc.
Memory: intelligence, wisdom, information capacity, mental capacity, recall, retention, recognition, etc.
Intuition: wisdom, luck, talent, reactive ability (mental), guessing ability, psychic ability, insight, clairvoyance, inspiration, perception, presentiment, etc.
Presence: appearance, level-headedness, panic resistance, morale, psychic ability, self control, vanity, perceived power, mental discipline, bardic voice, charisma, etc.
- Convert the statistical value of the assigned characteristics to numbers appropriate for your game. If your FRP system uses percentage values, no change should be necessary. If not, use the conversion table below.
Table 1.321 Stat Bonuses and Conversion
Unusual Personal characteristics such as a high Agility or Strength seriously affect the capabilities of a character. The following table gives a series of “stat.” ranges on the 1 – 100 scale and the bonus (or penalty) accruing to actions heavily influenced by that statistic.
Columns are provided for 3 – 18 and 2 – 12 statistics for comparison and/or conversion if other portions of the game system mandate use of nonpercentile “stats.”
|1 – 100 Stat||Bonus on D100||Bonus on D20||3 – 18 Stat||2 – 12 Stat|
|101||+30||+6||19||15 – 16|
|100||+25||+5||18||13 – 14|
|98 – 99||+20||+4||17||12|
|95 – 97||+15||+3||16||11|
|90 – 94||+10||+2||15||11|
|85 – 89||+5||+1||14||10|
|75 – 84||+5||+1||13||9|
|60 – 74||0||0||12||8|
|40 – 59||0||0||10 – 11||7|
|25 – 39||0||0||9||6|
|15 – 24||–5||–1||8||5|
|10 – 14||–5||–1||7||4|
|5 – 9||–10||–2||6||3|
|3 – 4||–15||–3||5||2|
* This bonus will vary with race if appropriate.
Converting/Determining Combat Ability With Arms.
All combat values are based on Arms Law/Claw Law. The following guidelines will also aid conversion.
- 1) Strength and quickness bonuses
have been determined according to Table 1.321 above. Note the stats you are using and compute these bonuses using the rules under your system;
- 2) Combat adds based on level
included here are: + 3/level for fighters and rogues, + 2/level for thieves and warrior monks, and + 1/level for bards, monks and rangers. Simply take the level of the NPC, note his character class (or equivalent under your system), and compute any offensive bonus (due to level) appropriate for your game. Note that the bonuses other than those mentioned under armor type are “offensive ” adds.
- 3) If your system is based on Skill Levels
(or other skill increments), use the offensive bonus as given. You may have to convert the add to a non-percentile value. Alternatively, you may wish to note Section 1.325 below.
- 4) Armor Types
given are based on the following breakdown:
|Armor Type||Covering Description|
|1||Skin (or light / normal clothing)|
|3||Light Hide (as part of body, not armor)|
|4||Heavy Hide (as part of body, not armor)|
|5||Leather Jerkin (pliable leather)|
|7||Reinforced Leather Coat|
|8||Reinforced Full-Length Leather Coat|
|10||Leather Breastplate and Greaves|
|11||Half-Hide Plate (as part of body, not armor)|
|12||Full-Hide Plate (as part of body, not armor)|
|14||Chain Shirt and Greaves|
|18||Metal Breastplate and Greaves|
Simply look at the armor description and substitute the appropriate armor type / class from your FRP system;
- 5) Defensive bonuses
are based on the NPC’s quickness bonus as computed on Table 1.321 above. Where the defensive bonus is in parentheses, the value also includes the added capability of a shield (an extra 20 for nonmagic normal shields, plus any value for magical enhancement). In such a case, simply note that there is or is not a shield, and if there is, what type.
Converting/Determining Spells and Spell Lists
Spell References provided here are in the form of “lists,” groupings of related spells drawn from Spell Law. FRP systems using rules which provide for the learning and development of spells through “colleges” or along specialized lines employ concepts similar to those used in this module. Many systems, however, dictate that player characters or NPCs undertake to learn but one spell at a time, often with no requirement that its subject matter/effect relate to a particular background or pattern. Converting the NPC spell lists to individual spell counterparts will be more difficult, but can be achieved with relative ease using the following guidelines:
- Look at the NPC’s spell lists and note the various names for the groupings. Each name will indicate what type of spell specialization the NPC has followed (e.g. the “Fire Law ” list indicates a preference for fire- oriented spells);
- Note the NPC’s level and determine the number of spells or spell groupings he/she would have under your game system. Also consider the level of power of accessible spells the NPC would have (e.g. a 5th level magi cian under your rules might have a maximum of 8 spells — two 3rd level spells, three 2nd level spells, and three 1st level spells).
- Select spells from your system appropriate for a spell user of the NPC’s level and profession, keeping in mind that the preferences indicated in the module should be followed where possible.
Spell Lists used in the Court of Ardor
- Spell Wall: RR enhancement
- Essence Perceptions: listen; watch
- Rune Mastery
- Essence Hand: telekinesis
- Unbaring Ways: magic lock; undoor
- Physical Enhancement: balance; resistance
- Lesser Illusions
- Detecting Ways
- Elemental Shields: light/heat/cold protection
- Delving Ways: text/elemental analysis
- Invisible Ways
- Living Change: shrink; enlarge; change
- Spirit Mastery: charm; sleep; words of command
- Spell Reins: storing; bending; delaying
- Lofty Bridge: leaping; leaving; long Door; teleport
- Spell Enhancement: range; duration
- Dispelling Ways
- Shield Mastery: shield; bladeturn; deflect
- Rapid Ways: run; haste; speed
- Gate Mastery: animal and demon summoning
- Fire Law
- Ice Law
- Earth Law
- Light Law
- Wind Law
- Water Law
- Illusion Mastery
- Mind Sense Molding
- Sound Molding
- Light Molding
- Enchanting Ways: bonuses to weapons and armor
- Essence Embedding: spells in items
- Ment-/Chan. Embedding: same for other realms
- Organic Skills
- Liquid/Gas Skills
- Inorganic Skills
- Monk’s Bridge: flip; wall and ceiling running
- Evasions: swing; dodge; haste
- Body Reins: strength; unpain; concentration
- Monk’s Sense: vision; detection
- Body Renewal: minor repairs
- Physical Erosion: pains
- Matter Disruption: earth to dust; shatter
- Dark Contacts: with demons
- Dark Summons: demons
- Darkness: dark of all kinds
- Soul Destruction: possession; absolution
- Mind Destruction: Jolts; pain; Mind Break
- Flesh Destruction: limbs; organs; body
- Soul Destruction:
- Gas Destruction
- Delving: detect; past vision
- Cloaking: blur; invisibility; displacement
- Damage Resistance: vs. heat; cold; stun; hits
- Anticipations: intuitions; dreams
- Attack Avoidance: shield; deflections; bladeturn
- Brilliance: light; aura; shockbolt; sunfires
- Self Healing: (minor repairs)
- Illusions (minor)
- Spell Resistance: enhanced RRs
- Sense Mastery: water/fog/dark vision; ment. eye and ea
- Gas Manipulation: fogs.-.to cloudmastery
- Shifting: balance; changing; form master
- Liquid Manipulation: boil water…to calm seas
- Speed: run; speed; haste
- Mind Mastery: presence; mental defenses
- Solid Manipulation: warm stone-.-to transmutation
- Mind’s Door: leaving; long door; mind’s door
- Movement: leaping; fly; passing
- Presence: mind store; mind typing; finding
- Mind Merge: mind scan; probes; thought stealing
- Mind Control: question; hold; coma; mind master
- Sense Control: numbing; nerve stun; controls
- Mind Attack: jolts; pain; mindshouts
- Mind Speech: to groups and far away
- Past Visions
- Mind Visions: questions; truth; scans
- True Perception
- Future Visions
- Sense Through Others
- True Sight: through wood/stone/distance
Lay Healer Base
- Muscle Mastery
- Concussion Mastery
- Bone Mastery
- Blood Mastery
- Nerve and Organ Mastery
- Controlling Songs
- Sound Control
- Sound Projection
- Item Lore
Evil Mentalist Base
- Mind Erosion: destroy stats
- Mind Subversion: psychoses
- Mind Death: forget; lost experience
- Mind Disease: mental disorders; phobias
- Mind Domination: possession; subjugation
- Confusing Ways
- Mystical Change
- Liquid Alteration
- Solid Alteration
- Gas Alteration
- Spell Defense: RR enhancement
- Barrier Law: air/water/wood/stone walls
- Detection Mastery
- Lofty Movements: limb/stone walking; merging
- Weather Ways: prediction; weather control
- Sound’s Way: silence; quiet; soundwall
- Light’s Way: light; aura; shock/lightning bolts
- Purifications: disease and poison cures
- Concussion’s Way: hit point healing
- Nature’s Law: herb lore; animal mastery
- Blood Law
- Bone Law
- Organ Law
- Muscle Law
- Nerve Law
- Locating Ways: finding; directions
- Calm Spirits
- Creations: food/water creation; plant growth
- Symbolic Ways: imbedding of symbols
- Lore: light/dark/curse/poison lore
- Channels: raw power; absolution
- Summons: of animals and demons
- Communal Ways: dreams; intuitions; communing
- Life Mastery: lifekeeping; lifegiving (raise dead)
- Protections: RR; AT and elemental protections
- Repulsions: of undead; channels; curses
Healer Base (most powerful healing lists)
- Surface Ways: concussion healing
- Bone Ways
- Muscle Ways
- Organ Ways
- Blood Ways
- Transferring Ways: wounds from target to healer who can only heal wounds from his own body
- Nature’s Movement: limb/stone/air walking
- Plant Mastery
- Animal Mastery
- Herb Mastery
- Nature’s Lore
- Nature’s Protection: facades; organic deflections
- Path Mastery
- Moving Ways
- Nature’s Guises
- Inner Walls: heat/cold protections; RR mod
- Nature’s Way: weather prediction; locations
Evil Cleric Base
- Dark Channels: evil fatal channelings
- Dark Lore
- Time’s Bridge: seeing into the past/future
- Way of the Voice: mind speech; controlling others
- Holy Vision: dreams; communing
- Far Voice: mental speech far away
- Starlights: light; aura; starfires
- Starsense: presence; finding
A Note on Levels
When using certain “level-systems,” a GM may find that the levels provided make characters too powerful for his world. system. If this is the case, multiple the levels given by .75 or .6 depending upon your situation. This would reduce a 20th level character to a 15th level or 12th level character respectively. Remember to reduce appropriate bonuses accordingly.
General Skill Bonuses
General skill bonuses can be obtained by taking the level of the character and calculating the appropriate bonus under the system being used. An NPC’s add, as noted above, will be based on a compilation of level, his weapon and/or other items, the relevant stats, and skill levels. The normal bonus derived from skill development has been computed as follows: (a) where the skill level is zero the bonus is –25, a reflection of basic unfamiliarity; (b) a bonus of +5 is awarded for skill level one (a +30 jump); (c) for each skill level between one and ten an additional +5* bonus is applied (e.g. skill level seven yields +35); (d) for skill levels eleven through twenty the additional bonus is +2 (e.g. skill level nineteen yields +68); (3) for skill levels twenty-one through thirty an additional bonus of +1 per level is awarded (e.g. skill level twenty-eight yields + 78); and (f) a bonus of+V2 is given for each skill level above thirtieth level.
Locks and Traps
The locks and traps found in this module are described in terms of difficulty to unlock or disarm. Subtractions are from the rolls representing a person’s attempt to find or overcome these devices. The difficulty factor may represent a specific column on an action/maneuver chart (e.g. Rolemaster or an additional subtraction or modification to the attempt roll. In any case, the terms are descriptive and will help the GM determine whether the trap is of above average difficulty, and how much. The descriptive term is a relative constant based on the following order of modification: Routine (+30), Easy (+20), Light (+10), Medium (0), Hard (-10), Very Hard (-20), Extremely Hard (-30), Sheer Folly (-50), Absurd (-70). Poor lighting, one’s physical condition, nearby activity, etc. may affect the lock/trap modification number, but not the difficulty category. Thus, a trap might read “very hard (-50),” indicating it is normally a “-20” construct, but other factors (e.g. dark) make it harder to disarm. These additional problems are easier to overcome than the intrinsic complexity of the mechanism; this explains why it differs from a well-lit pit which reads “sheer folly (-50)” to disarm. The “-50” associated with the “very hard” trap can, with thought, easily be reduced to “-20,” but no more advantage is normally attainable, short of disassembling the mechanism. We suggest that a modified (D100) roll exceeding 100 results in success; skills, stats, etc. should be applied versus the difficulty subtraction and the roll to yield a result.
Example: Wonir the thief encounters a supposed trap in the passage wall. The GM tells him that the mechanism appears to be “hard” to disarm, and that the darkness in the passage will make it even more difficult; the module states “hard (-40).” As stated above, the normal modification for a “hard” category mechanism is –10, so the GM knows that the additional –30 is due to factors other than the trap itself. Often the descriptive passage will show what the other problems are (e.g. lighting), but in any case the GM will be able to note some external factor(s) and will allow the acting character to reduce the difficulty modification to the usual addition/subtraction by acting correctly to overcome the outside obstacle. In this case, a lit torch will eliminate the –30 modifier for lighting, reducing the trap to a –10, the norm for a “hard” trap. Should the trap read “extremely hard (-30),” the GM would note that the –30 is the intrinsic modifier for a trap of that category, and that lighting etc. play no part in the figure; the trap would have to be disarmed accordingly. The terms used here, in order of difficulty: Routine, Easy, Light, Medium, Hard, Very Hard, Extreme ly Hard, Sheer Folly, and Absurd.
Special notes concerning maps and interpretation
A variety of maps and layouts have been provided in order to give the GM a creative framework within which to work. Remember that the accuracy of a graphic representation will depend somewhat on the scale used: the smaller the area covered, the closer the area is to its real-life size, the more accurate the illustration. If the scale is 1 inch = 20 miles (as it is on the color area map) the accuracy factor is greater than a map with a scale of say 1 inch = 200 miles. The following notes are helpful for approaching the maps and graphic layouts found in this module.
Concerning areas covered in this module versus the color area map
The color area map shows an area approximately 340 x 440 miles. The territory shown is detailed in the text to varying degrees, and some locales or regions may receive relatively little attention. The authors have sought to focus on important and/or sweeping constructs, and the GM is asked to fill in “grey” areas which would be impractical to deal with in the limited space provided here. In addition, other modules which cover adjacent territory and overlap somewhat may discuss these areas, particularly where the subject matter best relates to material largely centered elsewhere (e.g. a small tribe or clan territory may fall on this map, but the heart of the culture might be located some miles off the edge of the border shown here). In the case of the Court of Ardor, Mûmakani proper is a good example. The center of that region actually lies to the east of the area on the map, and the setting for the peoples of this realm will be the subject of a future work. They are only briefly discussed here.
Key for overhead layouts (e.g. floorplans)
Basic color area map key
Note that the symbols described above are applicable to all the view maps contained within this module, whether color or black and white. The scale of miles, however, may not be applicable. The top of a map is the northern edge, unless otherwise specified.
Gamemaster’s reference map
The color are map is a relatively detailed work and is intended for use by the GM and those characters who have virtually complete knowledge of the region. The major sites and settlements are accurate for nearly all of the Third Age, although they will vary in character with the flow of time. By T.A. 3021, for instance, most of the finer cities have become mere shadows of their ancestors; wood or very crude stone construction supplants refined stonework as cultural strength wanes. Some places will be in ruin (see 9.0 for more details).
The black and white GM’s reference map following shows still more detail. Political boundaries, population, distribution, and some animal placements are given. Note that the political boundaries for the area as of T.A. 3000 – 3021 are not given; after all, Sauron’s Shadow had covered all of expanded Tantûrak and Mûmakan, as well as all of the “wilds” and much of the “civilized” kingdoms.
We suggest the GM allow access to the map on page 10, but only to the ex¬tent that the PCs have actual or inferred knowledge. ICE permits copying of portions of this map for non-commercial purposes. The GM should cover or obscure labels which would be unknown to the recipient PC.
Gamemaster’s reference map key
- Laurre’s Manor
- Dirsûlinor (off map isles)
Map of Endor
Map of the Mûmakan
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