01 · Guidelines

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).


Abbr. Signi­fi­ca­tion
A Adu­naic
A Adu­naic
Ag Agi­lity*
AT Armor Type
bp bronze piece(s)
B.S. Black Speech
Ch Cha­risma*
Cir Cirth
Co Consti­tu­tion*
cp copper piece(s)
CRIT Cri­ti­cal Strike
Du Dun­len­ding tongues
E Edain
El Elda­rin
Em Empa­thy*
EP Exhaus­tion Point(s)
I .A. First Age
F.A. Fourth Age
GM Game­mas­ter
gp gold piece
H Hob­bi­tish (Wes­tron variant)
Har Hara­drim
Hob The Hobbit
In Intui­tion*
Int Intel­li­gence*
ip iron piece(s)
Kd Kuduk (Ancient « Hob­bi­tish »)
Kh Khuz­dul (Dwar­vish)
LotR Lord of the Rings (I = Book I, etc.)
Me Memory*
ME Middle-earth
mp mithril
MP Move­ment Point(s)
Or Orkish dia­lects
Pr Pre­sence*
Q Quenya
Qu Qui­ck­ness*
R Rohir­ric
Re Rea­so­ning*
Rh Rho­va­nion tongues
RR Resis­tance Roll
S Sin­da­rin
S.A. Second Age
SD Self Dis­ci­pline*
sp silver piece(s)
S.T. Silvan tongues
St Strength*
T.A. Third Age
Teng Teng­war
tp tin piece(s)
v Variag
w Wes­tron (Common)
Wis Wisdom*
Wo Wose (Drue­dain)

* 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.


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

Open-ended rolls

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.

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 :

  1. Read the entire module to get a fla­vor­ful idea of the region ;
  2. Reread the sec­tions devo­ted to notes for the game­mas­ter, and convert­ing sta­tis­tics for your game system ;
  3. 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 ;
  4. Assemble any source mate­rials (note sug­ges­ted rea­ding) you find neces­sary ;
  5. Research the period you have chosen and com­pose any out­lines you need in addi­tion to the mate­rial pro­vi­ded here ;
  6. 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 ;
  7. 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).

Converting/​Determining Stats.

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
102+ +35 +7 20+ 17+
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
2 –20 –4 4 2
1 –25 –4 4 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)
2 Robes
3 Light Hide (as part of body, not armor)
4 Heavy Hide (as part of body, not armor)
5 Lea­ther Jerkin (pliable lea­ther)
6 Lea­ther Coat
7 Rein­for­ced Lea­ther Coat
8 Rein­for­ced Full-Length Lea­ther Coat
9 Lea­ther Breast­plate
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)
13 Chain Shirt
14 Chain Shirt and Greaves
15 Full Chain
16 Chain Hau­berk
17 Metal Breast­plate
18 Metal Breast­plate and Greaves
19 Half Plate
20 Full Plate

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 :

  1. 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);
  2. 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).
  3. 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


Magician Base
Illusionist Base
Alchemist Base
Monk Base
Evil Magician
Sorcerer Base


Mentalist Base
Seer Base
Lay Healer Base
Bard Base
Evil Mentalist Base
Mystic Base


Cleric Base
Healer Base (most powerful healing lists)
Animist Base
Ranger Base
Evil Cleric Base
Astrologer Base

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.

Key for floorplans (e.g. overhead layouts)

Key for color map

Note: 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.


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