07 · Places of note
The Grey Mountains region has many places of interest, both natural and constructed sites. Ancient ruins of the Elder Days, along with more recent constructions are scattered throughout the region. The following layouts are a broad cross-section of the types encountered.
While it is neither the oldest or the largest of the Grey Mountain colonies, Norr-dum is the capital of Durin’s folk. Chosen because of its central location in relation to the other settlements, Norr-dum is the center of Dwarvish industry. The larger mining colonies, such as Thundercleft and Silver-pit, transport their ore overland to Norr-dum for smelting. Almost all of the forging of products is carried out here.
Norr-dum sprawls over three levels, the lowest of which consists almost entirely of mining tunnels. The second level is the main working area, although there are some Dwarf-lodgings, and the Halls of Smithing are located here. The upper level consists mostly of residential and administration areas.
7.11 General features
The passageways of Norr-dum (and this also ap- plies to the other Dwarven colonies) fall into four categories : roads, accessways, avenues, and mining tunnels.
These passageways are predominant in the upper level, and in some sections of the second level. They are seven to ten feet wide and six to eight feet wide. Their walls and floors are smooth and the roads generally run straight, only in the outer reaches of Norr-dum (where they are few) do they twist or slope. Many of the roads of the second level have tracks running along one side for the ore-carts. The ceiling of the roads are either level or arched.
The accessways arc found on all levels and serve to link areas spread over large distances that fall outside the network of the roads. On the lower level, however, accessways arc found only in the older mine sections. Previously they were mining tunnels later widened into accessways. They are three to five feet wide and five to seven feet high. The walls arc rough, but the floors are smooth and frequently have the ore-cart tracks cut into their surfaces. It is not uncommon for the accessways to twist, turn and slope considerably.
Found mostly on the lower level, these tunnels are roughly hewn from the surrounding rock. Their dimensions vary considerably ; between two and five feet wide and four to seven feet tall. The older tunnels have the ore-cart tracks cut into their floors. Mining tunnels are seldom straight for any length of time. Instead they twist, turn and slope, in some places to near vertical shafts or pits. The mining tunnels of the two upper levels are found only in the outer reaches.
There are only two avenues in Norr-dum, one on the second level and one on the upper level. They arc the center of each level, and the road networks emanate from them. The avenues are twenty-one feet wide and fourteen feet high. They both run straight for their entire lengths. The walls and floors are smooth and feature a diamond stonework pattern. The ceilings are arched, being three feet higher in the center than at the edges. The avenue of the upper level lies directly above the one on the second level.
Lighting within Norr-dum falls within the standard Dwarven categories ; torches, lamps, fire-places and lanterns. However, the windows cut deep in the mountain-side (a common feature in Khazad-dum) arc not utilized here. The lighting is maintained by an efficient group of Dwarves who check and/or replace the torches, lamps and lanterns as necessary.
Torches light up the accessways, and the mining tunnels when in use. They are spaced every ten feet on either side of the corridor and staggered (i.e., there is a torch every five feet on one side or the other). The torches light an area in roughly an eight foot radius. They are slow-burning and last several hours.
Lamps are used in special chambers and hall-ways or during special occasions when softer lighting is desired. Their “intensity” can also be adjusted as required. The lamps burn oil and are often decorated in some shape or form.
The Dwarves hang lanterns from the ceilings of their roads, avenues. large chambers, and living areas. The lanterns are quite powerful and illuminate large areas quite well. Lanterns used by the Dwarves in their living quarters often have shutters on them to enable the Dwarves to control the amount of light they want.
Found in kitchen areas, mess-halls or Dwarven lodgings these fire-places or fire-pits provide more warmth than light. They usually have moveable screens in front of them to contain the sparks and prevent accidental burning.
While they are not as common in Norr-dum as they are in Khazad-dum, traps still play an important part in the defense of the Dwarven settlement. They protect vital or sensitive areas. Some are constructed purely to detain victims while others kill outright. There are three main types.
These are the most common form of trap found in Norr-dum. They are employed in low-key defensive areas or in the more remote regions. Pit traps have several variations.
Although the effect of the standard pit trap is “simple”, they operate by relatively sophisticated means. Two steel doors, up to seven by ten feet each, are held level with and disguised (Hard (-10) to detect) to look like the floor. They are held in place by two counterbalance blocks each weighing thirty-five pounds (the larger doors will have heavier weights). When more than seventy pounds is placed upon the trapped area the doors pivot inwards almost instantaneously, and dump their victim(s) into the pit below (an Extremely Hard (-30) maneuver to avoid). The pits can be anything from fourteen to one hundred feet deep. Some have several feet of water at the bottom. As the weight is relieved from the doors the counter-blocks slide back into place, shutting the doors as though nothing had happened. These traps are Very Hard (-20) to disarm, and something like the normal locking rod must be employed to do this.
Chasm traps arc very similar to the standard design except that the results are more permanent — and the remains harder to find. Instead of a normal pit, the victim(s) fall into a chasm. These chasms arc at least fifty (plus 5 D100) feet deep. There are few of this design, of course, because of their very nature. Chasm traps are Hard (-10) to detect, Very Hard (-20) to disarm and Extremely Hard (-40) to avoid.
Spiked pit traps are a common variation, and the pits are of normal depth, but additionally there are ten to twenty spikes (three-foot long and razor sharp) awaiting the victim(s) at the bottom. Depending upon the depth, the unfortunate fool receives one to five “B” to Puncture criticals. Spiked pit traps are Hard (-10) to detect, Very Hard (-20) to disarm and Sheer Folly (-50) to avoid.
The second most common form of trap, dead-fall traps arc effective but rather messy devices. A pressure plate, up to seven feet square, is triggered when more than fifty pounds of weight is placed upon it. A block of stone, with an area of ten feet, falls from the height of the ceiling onto the trapped section. Anyone caught below is pulped when they receive one to five “D” Crush criticals. The dead-fall traps are Very Hard (-20) to detect. Extremely Hard (-30) to disarm and Very Hard (-20) to avoid.
There is only one of these ingenious devices in Norr-dum. Fittingly it guards the treasury. Exceedingly deadly, wheel traps are among the most complex traps the Dwarves have ever constructed. They involve fourteen stone wheels, weighing three tons each, aligned in two staggered sets of seven. The wheels are seven feet in diameter and two feet thick. The stones are hidden (Very Hard (-20) to detect) on either side of a specially constructed corridor, behind a stone facade. On the opposite side of the corridor of each stone wheel there is an empty alcove. These alcoves have a slightly lower elevation to enable the wheels to roll.
In the middle of the corridor at the center of this trapped area there is a pressure plate. If this is triggered (it is Extremely Hard (-30) to detect) it sets a series of counter-weights in motion. They raise the stone facades releasing the wheels. The wheels roll out from their alcoves and sweep across the corridor into the vacant alcoves opposite, bounce back and finally come to rest in the corridor, blocking it. Anyone caught in the midst of this suffers 5 D10 “E” Crush criticals as they are pulped into bloody pancakes ! It is a Very Hard (-20) maneuver to avoid the moving wheels.
The two access corridors that flank the trap enable the Dwarves to winch the wheels back into position. Steel pins drilled through the center of each wheel and attached to cables make this possible. The entrances to these two corridors are Extremely Hard (-30) to detect. The wheel trap itself should be treated as Extremely Hard (-30) to disarm.
7.12 Upper level overview
The second level
- 1 · The Gates of Gloin
- The only entrance to Non-dûm, these gates lead onto the main avenue of the second level. They are well protected by several strong towers built into the mountains. The doors stand open, prior to T.A. 2580, in the hours of daylight. (see section 7.13)
- 2 · Dain’s Hall
- This in earlier times was the site of a large Gathering Hall. But from T.A. 2588 this hall becomes the new throne room for the Dwarven monarch (then Dain). After T.A. 2589 it becomes the lair of the Cold-drake Ando-anca. (see 7.13)
- 3 · Gathering Halls (2)
- Both of these halls are essentially the same in design, but the atmosphere of each is quite different. The halls are one hundred and forty feet square, and forty feet high. The northern-most hall is much frequented by miners, smiths and warriors. It is brightly lit, and the Dwarves can be quite boisterous upon occasion.
The southern hall, however, is poles apart. It was the scene of an ugly incident during the early years of the colony. A pompous and insulting Dwarf-lord named Talin (the then Warder of Norr-dum) slew his family of four in a fit of rage, and several others who tried to restrain him, before taking his own life. Although their spirits do not haunt the hall, the Dwarves feel decidedly uneasy about the place, and it is little used. The hall is dimly lit, at the entrances only, and the fittings and trappings are covered with dust.
NoteAfter TA. 2586 the door-locks to these rooms are replaced with more difficult devices, Extremely Hard (-40). The doors are no longer guarded, instead, they are periodically checked by patrols.
- 4 · Armories (3)
- There are three arms repositories on this level. They are large seven-sided rooms with doors in each side. The doors are normally kept locked, Very Hard (-20) to attempt to open. They are guarded from without by a Dwarf at each door.
Within these rooms the Dwarves store most of their weapons ; hand-axes, mattocks, battle-axes, war-hammers, heavy crossbows, etc. They are all of superior quality (+5 to +10).
- 5 · Mess Halls/Kitchens (3)
- These large halls, ninety feet square and thirty feet high, are where the Dwarves gather to eat their meals. They are warm, inviting places, and they have the smell of wholesome food about them.
- 6 · Stairs
- The stairs of Norr-dum fall into two main categories ; stairways and stairwells. Throughout all of Norr-dum they pass between the levels.
- 7 · Halls of Smithing
- This group of halls is the heart of Norr-dum. The work done here is the life-blood of the colony. (see 7.13)
- 8 · Craft Halls
- Here the rough products formed in the Halls of Smithing are worked into Dwarven masterpieces.
- 9 · Dungeons (2)
- Two of Norr-dum’s three prisons are located on this level, the other is found on the lower level. They are shunned by any Dwarves not on any official business. (see 7.13)
- 10 · Nali’s Fault
- Named after its discoverer, Nali’s Fault is a large rift, running south-east away from the main grid. A series of disjointed caverns, partially filled with water, the fault is over two miles long. It is the site of a large vein of silver, which the Dwarves have mined for centuries.
The upper level
- 11 · Gathering Hall
- This hall is some-what smaller than the “standard” design, it also differs in its decor. Instead of the normal stone-work patterns, the hall has large mural-paintings on the walls and ceiling. (see 7.13)
- 12 · The Treasury
- Much of the wealth of Norr-dum is kept hidden away in this room. Beyond its many defenses, the treasury is a remote room away from the main grid of the third level, making it even harder for would-be thieves. Behind the unassuming door to this room are true riches. (see 7.13)
- 13 · Council Chambers
- The meeting room for many committees and groups, the council chambers are richly decorated. The walls have been witness to many fiery debates and arguments. The room also doubles as a special banquet hall upon occasion. (see 7.13)
- 14 · Stairs
- These stairwells and stairways provide access to the other lower levels. (see 6, above)
- 15 · Mess Halls/Kitchens (6)
- Identical to those found on level two (sec 5, above).
- 16 · Gathering Halls (4)
- Four large halls, these are the main sites of Dwarven social interaction on this level. Each chamber is brightly lit, and more often than not music, laughter, and talk resound from these halls.
- 17 · Old Throne-hall
- The seat of the Dwarven Kings until T.A. 2588, the Old Throne-hall is a central building on this level. It lies directly off the main avenue. (see 7.1.3)
- 18 · Library
- Also located off the main avenue is the library of Norr-dum. Within its large vaults, this hall contains many writings on the history of the Dwarves. The library is a large hall, three hundred feet by eighty feet and twenty-five feet high. It has deep alcoves, areas where interested parties can read or write without being disturbed. Other writings speak of more practical matters ; smithing, mining, alchemistry, engineering, etc. There is a staff of thirty scribes and librarians on hand to help. Any Dwarf of Durin’s tribe has access to this room, but some sections are restricted (magical, etc.).
- 19 · King’s Quarters
- Located west of the (Old) Throne-hall these rooms are living areas for the reigning Dwarf-king and his immediate family. The Royal lodgings consist of fourteen rooms grouped together in a large circle, with a central open space. This “courtyard” is decorated with fountains and pools. The doors leading off the courtyard lead to these rooms : the King’s armory, the King’s private chapel, the King’s private audience chamber, a small kitchen, the King’s library, four small bedrooms, a larger main bedroom, a latrine, two storage rooms and a sitting room. They are all elegantly appointed with the finest of Dwarven trappings and fittings.
- 20 · Warder’s Quarters
- The lodgings of the Warder of Norr-dum, a nominal posting that goes to the second son of the King (or the King’s brother), are spacious and comfortable. The furnishings are not as luxurious as those of the King’s quarters, but they are still far in excess of the norm. The Warder’s quarters are a group of seven rooms, located east of the (Old) Throne-hall. The largest room, a sitting room, is central and the others lead off it. The rooms are : a library, three bedrooms, a store room, and a latrine.
- 21 · The Chapel of Aulë
- Located off the main grid of upper level in the south-western reaches, the chapel is a holy site for the Dwarves. In troubled times, or during a personal crisis, Dwarves will come to this hall to be at peace and seek guidance from Aulë. (see 7.13)
- 22 · Nali’s Fault
- The effect of the large rift, (see 10), of the second level continues through to this level. Some of the caverns are connected to those of the lower level, others are merely extensions of the same fault. In those of the former the Dwarves have built ladders and elevators linking the two levels. The fault runs (on this level) for nearly two miles.
- 23 · Light Room
- Akin to a crude Gathering Hall, this room, only partially completed, is the first of Norr-dum’s “window-rooms”. A large .hole cut deep into the mountain-side brings light to this hall. By constructing the Light Room the Dwarves hope to recall some of the splendor of their lost Khazad-dum.
- 24 · Crypts of the Kings
- Located at the remote southeastern edge of the third level, not far from the treasury, these Crypts are the resting places of the past Kings of Durin’s tribe (from Thorin Ito Nain II). Each crypt is typically a small, roughly-hewn chamber, identified only by a short runic inscription. One tunnel, located behind a secret door, Extremely Hard (-30) to detect, leads to all the crypts. Each chamber is reached by a small (three feet by four feet) doorway. The crypts are empty save for sarcophagi. The Dwarf-lords within are fully dressed and still bear the items they used in life (use Dain or Borin in 6.21 for examples, or use LOME III).
7.13 Specific sites of interest
One of several in Norr-dum, this hall is based upon those of Khazad-dum. A natural cavern, it was shaped and enlarged by the Dwarves until it reached its present size : one hundred and forty feet by ninety feet, with a vaulted ceiling that rises to a height of forty feet. Seven graceful columns support the roof and are decorated with a myriad of patterns. In the south-eastern corner of the hall there is a small amphitheater. At the bottom of this lies a small stage. Groups of Dwarves gather here at times to listen to music. No battle-anthems or chanting songs are sung here, rather, the harpers play more reflective pieces ; many are of Elvish origin or influence.
Instead of the usual patterns of Dwarvish stonework the walls and roof of this Gathering Hall are decorated with one gigantic, continuous mural depicting scenes of Dwarvish history. The paintings are not entirely finished. Most of the northern wall is still bare, and ongoing work is being carried out by a sole artist, a Dwarf called Loni. He continues the work of his father who began the paintings nearly eleven years ago, there are subtle differences in style between the older and younger paintings. The lighting of the hall is bright —many lamps and lanterns hang from the walls and ceiling, and several fire-pits provide a warm glow. The lighting can be subdued, however, for the music performances.
In a deep section of the lower level, one of the many streams widens into an underground lake. When the Dwarves came upon it, tunneling for ore, they soon realized that it was too large and too deep a body of water to traverse. So instead of attempting to bridge the lake they simply went around it. The passageway that leads to the lake also branches off to another part of the mines.
At the entrance to the lake the Dwarves have built a small dock, and three small boats are moored here. Should they feel inclined, some Dwarves fish these waters, in the hope of catching something edible. A sub-species of trout, which is blind, is considered a delicacy among the Dwarves, but they are not easy to catch. Other more unsavory creatures are rumored to live in this lake, but they are yet to prove life threatening (i.e., no Krakens or Sligns).
Several torches burn at the docks to ensure that no-one falls into the lake, as few Dwarves can swim.
Norr-dum has three dungeons, two on the second level, and one on the lower level. The dungeons are lightless holes ; the Dwarves see no reason why prisoners should be comfortable. Each dungeon room has a locked door of solid iron three inches thick. These doors are Sheer Folly (-50) in difficulty to pick Furthermore, they are guarded from without by two Dwarves. (From T.A. 2588 onwards there are no guards at the doorways to the dungeons. Instead, infrequent patrols check that any prisoners held are secure.)
Inside the chamber there is open space where the Dwarves question their prisoners. The Dwarves do not favor torture implements, but utilize more direct methods, such as : « Tell us what we want to know, or we will kill you ! » While this doesn’t always provide good results, the Dwarves have little patience when it comes to crimes against their people. The rest of the chamber consists of a U-shaped walkway that passes seven pits. Each pit is thirty to fifty feet deep. Dark, dank and smelly, the pits are cleaned only once or twice a month. They are closed at the top by a steel-barred door. This door is locked, Very Hard (-20) to pick ; from inside the pits the doors are Sheer Folly (-50) to attempt to open.
Should the Dwarves require a prisoner for any reason, they will cast down a rope ladder. On no account will the Dwarves enter the pits if there are prisoners (alive) below. Food and fresh water are lowered into the pits twice a day.
Located on the upper level, this hall was the Throne-hall of all the Dwarven Kings from Thorin I to Nain II. Dain I abandoned the hall in favor of a more opulent and ostentatious one. The hall is a seven-sided chamber supported by seven graceful columns. Each column depicts the image of one of the Fathers of the Seven tribes, but, unsurprisingly, greatest in prominence, stature and detail is the column depicting Durin the Deathless.
The throne is a simple chair of ornately carved wood raised upon a low dais. The two doors at the opposite end of the hall open inwards, and are usually standing open. In the entry hall outside, four guards and the court appointer receive ambassadors or petitions to the King. But after Dain moves his court to the new Throne-hall, this entry is no longer guarded and the hall stands empty.
Running from the doors of the entry hall to the dais of the King is a length of plush, red carpet. The two sides of the main hall have benches and tables or the benefit of the King’s court. There are two exits to the Throne-hall : the main doors and a smaller side passage near the throne.
The Hall of Wonder
This large limestone cavern, located on the lower level, is called the Hall of Wonder by the Dwarves. Anyone who has seen this marvelous natural phenomenon would hasten to agree.
A slow, meandering stream winds its way through the center of the cavern. Large pillars of the soft limestone, reaching from the floor to the ceiling, flank the stream on both sides. The pillars are irregular in width and are pale green in color. A beautiful arched bridge crosses the stream, and a winding path links the cavern, from end to end, with other tunnels on this level.
The most spectacular features of this cavern, however, are the walls, the floor and the ceiling. They are brightly lit with a multitude of lanterns and lamps. The light shines on these surfaces, catching and reflecting the many hues and colorful tones of the cavern. Wondrous crystalline structures cover the cave’s surfaces. The Dwarves have enhanced this natural phenomena, uncovering structures previously trapped behind layers of rock. The Dwarves make a point of showing any guests or ambassadors this cavern.
In this room the King’s council meets to discuss matters related to the running of Norr-dum and the other settlements. Located on the upper level, not far from the (old) Throne-hall, this chamber is richly appointed with the finest Dwarven trappings. Luxurious thick fur pelts cover the floor, and marvelous tapestries, skillfully woven, depicting Dwarvish legends, hang from the walls.
Much of the room is taken up by the large, finely decorated oak table. Twenty-one chairs with leather upholstery and mahogany frames surround the table. The largest is reserved for the King only.
A full session of the council is held only once every two months — and all twenty-one members attend. But other committees also use this room to meet — groups such as the smiths, the masons, and the army. The King also uses the room as a banquet hall for special occasions (such as Durin’s Day) or for important matters of state.
Council records (taken by attending scribes) and minutes are kept locked, Extremely Hard (-30), in cupboards that line the western wall. There are three entrances/exits to the room. They are all kept locked, Very Hard (-20) to pick, when the chamber is not in use. If a meeting is in progress, and the King is attending, seven Dwarves will guard each door.
The halls of smithing
- 1 · Smithing Hall
- This vast cavern is the heart of Norr-dum. The center of activity in the Dwarven colony, hundreds of Dwarves labor here creating myriad works from raw materials. The cavern is a huge chamber, one of the largest in Norr-dum. Possibly formed from a gigantic air bubble in the midst of an ancient lava flow, or more likely as the result of small scale faulting. this cavern is roughly three hundred and fifty feet by four hundred and twenty feet. The ceiling is partially vaulted, and rises to the astonishing height of three hundred feet. At the northern end of the chamber the ceiling is lower, but it is still over one hundred feet. Regardless of the time, large numbers of Dwarves can be found in this room, for the workers toil through a standard eight hour day, and there are three shifts.
The Smithing cavern has a number of tracks for the ore-carts winding about the floors. These are matched by the multitude of pipes that carry liquid metal from the smelting hall to the Shaping-halls. Vents in the cavern roof carry some of the smoke away, but the Hall of Smithing remains a hot and smoky environment to work in. The Dwarves, however, seem to thrive in the conditions.
- 1A · Smelting Hall
- Standing roughly at the center of the Smithing Cavern, the Smelting hall dominates the Halls of Smithing. A huge structure in its own right, the seven-sided hall is almost tower-like in proportion, as the walls rise fifty feet above the floor. Within this hall the ores extracted from the mines below are smelted in large furnaces. Once the slag has been removed, the raw liquid materials are piped to the appropriate chambers outside the hall. There are no facilities here for the smelting (or shaping) of either laen or mithril, although there is a small-scale operation at Silver-pit.
Each of the seven walls have large entryways, through which carts travel upon tracks. The hall is a hive of activity, as can be evidenced from the walkways that stretch around the edge of the walls. These walkways are twenty to thirty feet above the floor and can be reached by iron ladders and stairways. Aside from the view they give, they are also valuable service corridors for the gigantic furnaces.
Several of the furnaces are larger than die others, and the Dwarves can heat them to surprisingly accurate temperatures as required for the various ores. The slag is placed in large vats. These are periodically emptied into abandoned mine-shafts, which arc then sealed off.
A complicated network of pipes snake throughout the hall, leading off to other chambers. They transfer hot liquid metals to where they are needed. Obviously, the advantage of this is that the liquid metal, upon reaching the appropriate Shaping-hall, does not have to be re-heated prior to forging. Thus, valuable time and energy are saved.
- 1B & 1E · Mould-works
- These two deep alcoves, tunneled further back into the chamber, are where the majority of the mould-working is undertaken. Pipes from the smelting hall (A) channel liquid into stone moulds. These are then transferred to a series of furnaces, each one slightly cooler than the last. There are a total of fourteen. Thus, the metals are strengthened, being tempered. This process also relieves stress on the metal, and any flaws arc soon noted. The metals may then be quenched into oil or water baths at the end of the furnace section. Many different types of moulds are used in this process for a variety of objects —usually large and/or bulky items. The roughly moulded metal is then sent off to more specialized craft-halls co be cleaned and finished. Any moulds not required are kept in the store rooms or store halls.
- 1C · Wire-works
- Although this alcove is relatively small when compared to the other Shaping-halls, the tasks performed here are vitally important. It is the only Shaping-hall where products are finished “on-site.” Not only is the raw material shaped here, but it is also crafted into the final product. Here, fabulous intricate metal-work is done ; chain mail and other similar objects are made from iron and steel.
The Wire-forges are similar in design to other Shaping-hall furnaces, except that the standard racks they have are long, narrow channels (or tubes) of varying width cut into metal trays. The liquid metal from the smelting hall is placed in these trays and a similar process to that of the mould-works begins. At certain points (if wire-like products are desired) the trays, which are “telescopic”, and can be extended, are pulled apart creating long strands.
The walls of this alcove are lined with small two-room workshops where skilled wire-smiths and their assistants ply their craft.
- 1D · Sheet-works
- In this Shaping-hall the liquid metal from the smelting hall is transferred onto large, broad moulds with a low lip. These can be stacked on top of each other to form varying thicknesses. The furnaces into which they are placed are special, and there are two types. In the first furnace, the metal is allowed to reheat for only moments (to maintain consistency), then the racks are removed and allowed to solidify to a certain “point.” Once this point has been reached the Dwarves run thin metal bars (with a sharp leading edge) across the cooling metal, and literally slice sheets off like butter. The sheets are then moved across to a second process where they are compressed, to gain strength, by a heavy, metal roller. The pressure applied depends upon the thickness of the sheet desired. The sheets are then briefly re-heated once more in the second set of furnaces and then removed. The hot sheets slide easily off the racks and are taken away to specialized craft-halls and workshops, or placed in storage if they are not needed. Sometimes the sheets formed are imperfect ; if this is the case they are remelted in the smelting hall.
- 1F · Bar-works
- A smaller Shaping-hall, but of the utmost importance, the bar-works are where much of the weaponry of Norr-dum originates. Overhead pipes from the smelting hall bring liquid metal to the area. This is then poured directly into various sized ingot moulds. They are allowed to cool, and then re-heated and tempered. Following this they are quenched in oil, then water, creating a spectacular and dangerous sight. Bars may sometimes crack during the quenching ; if this occurs the bar of metal is re-melted, but the Dwarves ensure that it is not used again in the bar-works. Superstitious, the Dwarves believe that if a bar has cracked once it will do so again, and that the weapon could fail the wielder in battle. The bars, still warm inside, arc then transferred onto carts and taken to special craft-halls where they eventually emerge as a finished weapon.
- 1G · Repair Hall
- This hall is not one of the Shaping-halls, instead repairs to various items, especially those used in the Halls of Sm thing. are carried out. There are several two-room workshops. each with their own compact forge, in which the smiths and their assistants attend to the tasks required. If any items prove to be unrepairable. but have some worth, they are melted down and their materials reused.
- 1H · Mint-works
- The most specialized of the Shaping-halls, the mint-works arc where the coinage of Durin’s Folk is produced. The coins are of a high standard, being pure in content and superior in craftsmanship to most other coins. Norr-dum mints mostly silver as well as small amounts of copper and gold.
The mint-works only operate on a sporadic basis ; if the Dwarves were to mint as many coins as they were able they would ruin their own economy, as well as that of most of Northern Rhovanion. The value of silver would fall significantly.
To maintain purity, the silver, copper and gold is not channeled through overhead pipes. Instead it is transported as solid metal from the smelting hall. The coins are then cut and shaped by precision machines into the standard one-third ounce and one-seventh ounce coins of Durin. They are then checked and weighed accurately. One coin in a hundred is tested for purity. It should be noted that forgery, to Dwarves, is a heinous crime. It is rated as bad as murder, and the penalties are severe.
- 2 · Mine Passageway
- This broad passageway has a track for ore carts. It branches frequently, and leads to the mines on the level below.
- 3 · Storage Passageways
- These passageways lead to store rooms and the larger roughly hewn store halls. The Dwarves store ores and smelted metals, as well as partially finished products. The doors arc kept locked, Medium (+0) to pick, and the passageways are patrolled periodically by guards.
- 4 · Passageway
- This passageway leads to a “T” junction. The east fork slopes downwards and leads to the mines of the first level. The west fork is level, and leads to other areas on the second level.
- 5 · Craft-hall passageways
- These three passageways lead to the more specialized craft-halls of the second level. Typically each smith has a three-room chamber with its own self-contained forge and store room. Small carts laden with half-finished materials travel on tracks to these rooms where work is finished. They are then sent to other store rooms or armories. The most talented of the smiths do not work to any schedule, but create marvelous works as they see fit, or handle special orders.
- 6 · Stairway
- This short passageway terminates in a long flight of steps that lead to the upper level.
The majority of the Dwarven wealth of Norr-dum is stored within this vault. The treasury is located on the third level, away from the living areas in the far western reaches. It is protected by a formidable trap, which is called a wheel trap (see section 7.11).
- 1 · The passageway
- Leading to the treasury is fourteen feet high and seven feet wide. There are tracks cut into the floor facilitating the travel of carts. (a) At this location is the pressure plate which triggers the trap (see section 7.1 1 ).
- 2 · These two access passageways
- are used to service the wheel trap.
- 3 · The door to the treasury
- is seven feet high and five feet wide and is locked at all times. It is Absurd (-70) to pick, but not trapped.
- 4 · The treasure vault
- is a large rectangular room seventy feet by thirty feet. Immediately inside the door, see (a), is a dead-fall trap — for more information refer to General Features, traps.
At the western end of the vault there are three chambers, see (b), open-ended at the eastern side. In these compartments ingots of silver and copper are stacked in gleaming piles ten feet high. Each compartment has over fifteen hundred ingots. The eastern chamber compartments, see (c), are the same dimensions as those at the other end of the room. Two of these hold silver (in similar amounts to (b)). The third holds approximately one thousand ingots of gold.
Further riches are hidden below the floor surface, see (d), in a small pit (seven feet square and three feet deep) well-hidden, Extremely Hard (-30) to find. The door is the same size of the pit — it is not trapped, but it is Absurd (-70) to pick. In the pit the richest of the Dwarves wealth is displayed — such as mithril, rare (and large) gems, other precious stones, and jewelry.
The gates of Gloin
At the end of a long ravine, in the south-east of the Grey Mountains, lies the entrance to Norr-dum, the Gates of Gloin. Named after the second King of Durin’s Folk in the Grey Mountains, who ruled from T.A. 2289–2385, they were completed in the year 2356. They remain as the doors of Norr-dum, until T.A. 2589, nearly three hundred years later, when they are destroyed by Ando-anca during his sacking of the city-hold.
- 1 · The Silver Road
- The “silver” road (S. « Men Celeb »), which runs from the Men-Mithrin, gradually rises on a causeway/rampart from this point. By the time it reaches the arch of Thorin I (see below) the road is some fifty feet above the ground below. The road is smooth and level, and is fifty feet wide. As it rises above ground level, the road’s edges have iron rails that protect travelers from falling. This section was constructed a few years before the gates.
- 2 · The Arch of Thorin I
- Erected in T.A. 2212, the arch of Thorin I is a monument to the Dwarves that died in the flight from Khazad-dum. Together with the symbols of Durin’s Folk (Durin’s Crown, the Seven Stars, and the Hammer and the Anvil) are the names of those lost. They are inscribed in Sindarin. The pillars on which the arch rests are fifteen feet in diameter and are made from gabbro. The arch itself is made from polished white marble and weighs several hundred pounds.
- 3 · Rock Shelf
- This broad shelf of rock lies along the edge of the ravine that forms the entrance to Norr-dum. It is a flat expanse that rises as a sheer face fifty feet above the the narrow valley floor.
- 4 · The Great Gates
- Two massive pillars of stone, strengthened with iron and steel, guard the entrance to Norr-dum. Each door, weighing over a ton, is fourteen feet high, seven feet across and ten feet thick. They open outwards, traveling upon grooves cut into the rock. The gates also can be quickly secured by placing three evenly spaced locking-bars of steel behind the doors. The gate’s surfaces are smooth and unadorned.
Note During the rule of Dain, there are usually only one or two Dwarves in these towers, or, often, none at all.
- 5 · The Gate Towers
- These two triangular-shaped towers are built into the mountain-side and flank the great gates. Each tower has three stories. Numerous firing slits on each level protrude from the concave-shaped outer walls. The controls for operating the gates are located on the second floor of the northern tower. The inner (western) walls have a ladder that runs from the first level to the third, passing through crescent-shaped holes, four feet in diameter, cut to provide access. Passageways from the first level lead to other locations on the second level of Norr-dum. These doors are generally open, but can be locked, in which case they are Very Hard (-20) to open. Each tower is guarded at all times by a unit of seven to twenty Dwarves.
Note During Dain’s rule these towers are empty, and the doors are kept locked.
- 6 · Flanking Towers
- Both of these long narrow rooms have two levels. Each has its outer wall riddled with firing slits, from which the Dwarves can outflank any attempts that might be made against the gates. The rooms have “ladder-stairs” similar to the gate towers above, and likewise passageways lead to other locations. The doors to each of these flanking towers are the same as those of the gate towers.
One other feature of note within these towers are their sally-port passageways. From each tower, doors (in the eastern walls) which are normally kept locked, Extremely Hard (-30) to open, reveal a narrow, low (five feet) passageways that lead to secret doors (Extremely Hard (-30) to detect, and impossible to open from the outside). From here the Dwarves may sally forth to repel attackers.
In each flanking tower five to fourteen Dwarves maintain a vigilance.
The chapel of Aulë
The chapel of Aulë is a rather unique room. It is located on the upper level in the south-western reaches.
The walls and roof have a veneer of polished marble gilded with silver, intricately sculptured with stone-work patterns wing-stone pattern in this case). The floor, however, is rough and descends in a broken tier fashion, almost like some kind of arena. The lighting is subdued, and only a few lamps intermittently spaced provide a soft light. The tiers are suitable for rough seats, and small numbers of Dwarves (normally less than ten) may be found here, meditating in silence.
Any who enter the room through the small door (five feet high, with no lock) will feel a sense of calmness and peace come over them. Dwarves will experience this to a greater degree. No words are allowed to be spoken in this hall, and anyone caught doing so will be banished from Norr-dum. This site is sacred to all Dwarves, not just those of Durin’s tribe.
Mainly found on the upper level, although several groups are located on the second level (mostly housing for smiths and miners), the lodging described here is typical for most Dwarves. While there is no standard pattern, most are simple variants of this basic design. Some are more elegant and have more rooms, while others are more Spartan.
The example illustrated has a central fireplace and chimney which has facings on all the rooms. The ceilings are between six and seven feet high. The first room is an entry hall, for receiving visitors. The floor is covered with dyed woolen rugs and the walls, with patterned stone-work or tapestries, are tastefully, though sparingly, decorated. Several low, comfortable chairs are positioned about the fire-place.
The second room is the main bedroom. Woolen rugs, or sometimes fur pelts, again cover the floor. A locker or wardrobe of some sort stands against one wall. A wooden chest sits in one corner. Any items of value that the Dwarf (or Dwarves) possess are stored in here. The chest is locked, Hard (10) to open ; rarely are they trapped. The bed is a simple slab of stone — granite or basalt — and it is covered with several furs.
The third room may be used as a storeroom, or as a bedroom for any Dwarf-children. The fourth room is the latrine.
Of recent construction, this hall was previously used as a gathering hall. Following Dain’s accession to the rule of Durin’s Folk in T.A. 2585, work began on reshaping the hall. It was completed in three years. The hall is situated off the main avenue of the second level, only five hundred feet from the Gates of Gloin.
- 1 · Entry Hall
- The initial receiving hall is guarded by six Dwarves (see the “x’s on the map). A further Dwarf, the court captain, is on duty here to welcome guests. He has a desk to one side of the main doors, and here he works out the court schedule. The outer doors arc made of steel, with silver and gold embellishment. Each door is nine feet by seven feet ; they arc not lockable, but normally kept closed. They open outwards.
- 2 · Inner Doors
- Two further guards stand here before the inner doors, which arc of similar construction to the outer ones, except that their outer faces depict the Crown of Durin. These doors also arc normally kept closed. They can be locked, Very Hard (-20) to pick. and can be barricaded from within the Throne-hall by a heavy steel bar. The doors open inwards. into the hall.
- 3 · Throne-hall
- The throne room itself is a grand structure, designed to be the envy of other Dwarven tribes. The walls are decorated with an interesting and beautiful pattern : the stone-work is diamond-shaped, and gems of many hues arc at the center of each diamond. Any would-be thieves will discover that these gems cannot be pried loose. This is because the gems were found in the rock that surrounds them —the Dwarves merely shaped the outer surface into a diamond tile and polished the outer edge. So a thief would, in actual fact. have to steal the whole tile — a difficult and time-consuming process. The gems arc worth approximately five gold pieces each, and there are several thousand diamond tiles.
- 3A · This central section
- is a wide passage-way that leads from the inner doors to the steps leading to Dain’s throne. The roof of this passage-way is higher than the rest of the hall, and the ceiling has detailed decorative stone-work. Four large columns support the roof, which is thirty-five feet high. The columns are be-decked with tapestries. Guards stand on each side of each of the columns (eight in total).
- 3B · These two side sections
- arc where the court gathers to hear the King’s pronouncements. Several long. low tables with comfortable chairs provide seating and a place to cat. A single column supports the roofs ; which have plain. flat ceilings. The columns also arc devoid of ornamentation. Passageways, with a lone guard at their entrance lead to other areas of the second level.
- 3C · At the far end of the hall Dain’s throne
- rests upon a platform of basalt. Seven broad, shallow steps are the means by which the front of the platform can be reached. Each step runs the length of the dais. Two guards stand on the edges of the fourth step. The four corners of the platform have small decorative columns which reach to the roof. They are adorned with tapestries and the banners of Durin’s Folk.
The throne itself is large, with a high back, carved and polished from a single block of gabbro. The upholstery is of the finest quality ; the arm rests are plated with a silver alloy, and the emblem of the Hammer and Anvil is carved above the head rest. Two guards flank the throne. A series of small, steep steps behind the throne lead to a door at the rear of the hall. Beyond the door is a passageway that leads to other parts of the second level.
Note: During the last months of TA. 2589 there are likely to be few Dwarves present within the hall. The court meets only for special occasions and they are infrequent (e.g., Durin’s Day, or the King’s birthday). Even if Damn is present in the hall only three to five guards (at the most) are likely to be attending him.
Note: After late TA. 2589, Ando-anca, having driven the Dwarves from Norr-dum, makes this hall his lair. He demolishes both the inner and outer doors, levels the throne and dais, and blocks all three of the side passageways with the rubble. He piles the wealth of Norr-dum into a large mound in the center of the hall.
7.2 Kala Dulakurth
Standing atop a sandstone butte in the northern foothills of the Ered Mithrin is the imposing fortress of the Ice-orcs. They call it Kala Dulakurth (aOr. Dark-ice fortress). The butte rises some three hundred feet from the surrounding terrain. The sides are incredibly sheer, but the summit itself is its most striking feature. A large outcrop of basalt, one of many in the region, virtually covers the summit surface. It is tall, over two hundred feet, and hollow inside. The Ice-orcs have used these natural features and added their own tunnels over a period of four thousand years to make it their home.
The fortress is well protected. The northern and western sides are surrounded by a small, but deep, glacial lake, and the southern and eastern sides are protected by thick walls and tall towers. The fortress is sprawled over three levels, mostly in the southern sections of the basalt outcrop. The outcrop has three “mini-peaks,” each of which are surmounted by towers. The Ice-ores have no mining operations here ; exploratory digging proved fruitless.
General features of Kala Dulakurth
The passageways within the fortress vary greatly in dimensions, but the general accessways are eight to ten feet wide and seven to fifteen feet high. Lighting is provided by torches, at twenty-foot intervals. Caves have specific dimensions and lighting. The halls are smoke-filled as a result of poor ventilation, and visual sighting for those not used to such climes are at –20.
7.21 Level one
- 1 · The Great Gates
- These two huge (8’x5”), steel doors are the principle defense of the castle. Each nearly a foot thick, the doors are topped by large iron spikes and are impossible to move by force. The doors pivot on their outer edges and are opened by a winch mechanism which is operated from the second level, see (I 5). A thick steel bar is held by a pulley just above the doors. In times of emergency the bar can quickly be dropped, securing the gates. At the same time an alarm is set off, warning the castle of danger. The opening or closing of the gates (which open outward) is quite a noisy affair ; the gates groan and protest as they scrape on their mechanism. This takes some time, usually two to twenty rounds. They boom shut with a loud clang, a sound that is ominously final. The operating of the gates can be heard throughout the whole keep.
- 2 · The Hall of Kalmog
- An extremely large passageway, the Hall of Kalmog is named after the first King of the Ice-orcs who led his followers to this site. The walls are decorated with garish murals of battle and death. Trophies, a testimony to the prowess of the Ice-orcs, line the lower walls. Notable among these is the head of an Ice-drake, and next to this, mounted on a pole, is a mutilated and partially decomposed (it was not treated properly) head of a normal Orc. It is reputedly that of a foolish Ashdurbuk of Gundabad from early in the Third Age.
The Hall is used as a mustering place by the Ice-orcs when they embark on raids or skirmishes.
- 3 · Smithing Hall
- Within this fairly large cave lies a well-ordered and relatively efficient smithy. No smelting or preliminary forging is carried out here — these tasks are carried out beforehand at one of the Ice-orc mines in the northern Ered Mithrin, and the raw materials arc only transferred here afterwards. This is the elite smithy. Less than half of all the smithing requirements of Ice-orcs is done here, the rest being done at the mining outposts. Small scale works such as armor and weapon manufacture, or weapon repair, are the normal tasks of the twenty-five smiths and their assistants, one to five lesser Ice-orcs per smith. Most of the work done by these smiths, many of whom are greater Ice-orcs, is of above-average quality, and, occasionally, one will make a +15 or +20 weapon in return for some favor from one of the Ice-orc Lords.
There are several vents cut into the outer wall which take some, but not all, of the smoke away. The smithy is manned in two nine-hour shifts. During this eighteen-hour period, forty co sixty Ice-orcs will be found in this room, laboring away.
- 4 · Armory
- Behind this stout iron-bound pine door, locked Very Hard (-20) to open, is the storeroom for spare weapons, or weapons captured on raids but which the Ice-ores cannot (or will not) use. The weapons are piled knee high into a large mound, although some effort has been made to separate the melee and missile weapons — they are at opposite ends of the pile. Aside from the weapons, armor and shields lay strewn in a cluttered heap just inside the door. The normal practice is to throw the weapons in through the doorway, without even entering the room. Melee weapons are thrown furthest, then the missile weapons (including arrows or bolts), and Armor and Shields are simply dropped at their feet. Since most Ice-orcs carry their weapons and equipment with them at all times, the room is rarely used. There is a ( I 0%) chance that one to ten Ice-orcs may be found in this room arming themselves or dumping surplus gear gained on a raid.
- 5 · Ascending Passageway
- This spiraling corridor connects with the descending passageway (18) on the second level. It is steep in places, and broad steps have been cut into the rock to aid the climber.
- 6 · Temple
- A huge chamber, the second largest of the fortress, this is the scene of many grisly rituals. A large altar stands at the northern end of the chamber, its surface caked with dried blood. Large flaming pits surround the altar and burn continuously. At regular intervals (usually two or three times a month), or when special captives are to be sacrificed, about four to five hundred Ice-orcs gather in the vast cavern to urge the Priests in their gruesome tasks. The Priests offer sacrifices to Morgoth, in the hope that he will one day return and lead them to victory over the free peoples. Often, one of the lesser Ice-orcs is chosen at random by the Priests to sacrifice a victim. It is every Ice-orcs” dream to be allowed to sacrifice a victim, and they celebrate with gusto. During times of war or after a successful raid these rituals can last several days.
The King and his retinue arc accorded special seats alongside the Priests, behind the altar, but unless he is taking part in the sacrificing the King will generally prefer to watch from his private balcony above, see (26).
The Temple is also used as an Arena on certain occasions, and this is just as popular with the Ice-ores. The cavern has two entrances, the larger one leading directly to the Throne Room, see (7). So large is the entrance, that the two rooms almost form a single chamber.
Note Sometime after T.A. 2600, Throkmaw the Black (a winged Fire-drake) gained control over the Ice-orcs. In terror for their lives, they bowed down and worshipped him as a god. Throkmaw set aside the King, and took the Throne Room for his own. He leveled the cavern completely, destroying the ancient throne and the upper section of the chamber. Throkmaw ordered that the Ice-orcs hand over most of their wealth to him. He now rests upon his new-found wealth, seeking further power. He delights in the fact that he can use his minions to work for him.
- 7 · Throne Room
- The Throne Room is a vast hall. The height of the ceiling is such that it extends through to the second level (as does (6) above). The floor of the room is level, but split into two sections. The upper section is about twenty feet above the lower and is the northernmost section. It is reached by a set of stairs that traverse the rising ground. On the upper section the King sits on his throne.
The throne looks out of place in this grim, lofty chamber. It was ornately carved from a ten-foot section of a tree trunk. The upholstery and the delicate Elvish artwork, while being ravaged by time and wear, and the abuse of the Ice-orcs, still shows its beauty and craftsmanship. The throne sits on top of a large block of basalt, further raising the height of the King above his subjects. A series of short steps behind the throne provide easy access.
There is a 40% chance that the King will be here at any given time, whether he is presiding over banquets (more like pigs at the trough!). hearing the reports of his officers, or being “entertained” by prisoners. When the King is in the Throne Room, none, save his royal body-guards and the King’s guests (including Ice-Orcish NPCs), may stand in the upper section. Small fire-pits line the edge of the upper section, further enforcing the distinction between the rulers and the ruled.
Aside from this, the court of the Ice-ore King is rather informal—even by Orcish standards. Whether or not the King is in attendance, the lower section is invariably full of Ice-ores (5D 100). The lower section serves as a general meeting hall, to drink, talk, gamble. argue and fight. Fighting is quite a common occurrence ; a scuffle will break out almost hourly. Usually they do not prove fatal ; one Ice-ore will back down, but if things turn violent the whole cavern cheers the combatants, wagering heavily on the outcome.
There are three exits from the Throne Room. The main one leads to the Hall of Kalmog, see (2), and-is the most frequently used. The other large exit, as noted above, see (6), leads to the Temple. (During the rituals, crowds often spill over into the Throne Room while trying to get a view.) The third exit is a secret door, located at the rear of the upper section. It is only Hard (-10) to detect and is not locked. Most of the elite (i.e., NPCs and royal body-guard) arc aware of the door’s existence. It leads to a steep winding corridor which goes up to the second level. The passageway is virtually a stairwell, as the path is very steep. The secret passageway is not a defensive device as such, for the King relies on the strength of his royal body-guard. He sees it as more of a convenience. Any prisoners, political or otherwise, held by the King are kept chained to the walls of the upper section. The King enjoys taunting them when he is in the Throne Room.
- 8 · Portcullis
- A secondary defense, should the main gates fail, see ( I ), this portcullis can be dropped almost immediately by releasing the appropriate pulley, see (15). This enables the Ice-orcs to organize a sizeable response to any perceived threat. The portcullis consists of solid iron bars interlocked with bars of steel. It weighs over eight hundred pounds, so any thoughts of lifting it manually are out of the question.
- 9 · Wolf Dens (2)
- The courtyards beyond these doors are the homes of the White-wolves that the Ice-orcs use as mounts. Along the inner curtain walls and the sides of the fortress the Ice-orcs have constructed shelters in which the wolves can rest and sleep, protected from the elements. The Ice-orcs have crossed the White-wolves with Wargs, and this accounts for their ferocity in battle, and their willingness to cooperate as mounts.
In the eastern den, the smaller of the two, some one hundred and fifty wolves live (including their pups). At any given time fifty to a hundred of these wolves may be away from the den on raids or patrols. The western den houses over two hundred and fifty wolves and their pups, and often as many as one hundred and fifty may be absent.
The wolves are free to roam the fortress, but most prefer not to do so and generally remain in their dens — unless the weather is particularly bad (i.e. worse than a normal blizzard). A large “wolf-flap” is part of each of the doors for this purpose.
- 10 · Kitchen/Storeroom
- This rather chaotic room is where the majority of food preparation (a generous phrase) is carried out for this level (excepting the King’s “feasts”). This amounts essentially to nothing more than the concoction of a horrible stew made from anything available. A large fire-pit at the center of the room is topped by a cauldron in which all and sundry are thrown for the making of the stew. The rations are then doled out to the Ice-orcs as required. Several ovens along one wall are utilized to make loaves of an altogether unappetizing bread. Twenty-five female Ice-orcs work here. One section of the room is devoted to the storage of goods not yet carved up for the pot.
- 11 · Guards” Quarters
- The barracks for the Ice-orc guards, this cavern is furnished in typical fashion. Loose straw beds line the walls, with a large central fire-pit providing warmth. Sixty guards are quartered here, though only fifteen to twenty-five will be found here at a time. The others are either on duty, or present in the Throne Room or Temple. An Ice-orc guard has a relatively easy life ; they have access to the female Ice-orcs, the duties are light, and it is the highest position that a lesser Ice-orc can attain. To reach this position though, they must first prove themselves as capable warriors, and all promotions are granted only by the Warlord. Each guard will generally have between two to twenty silver pieces in treasure (in silver, copper and bronze) as well as some +5 to +10 equipment.
- 12 · Wolf-riders” Caves (2)
- The Ice-orcs who live within these caves are not the only wolf-riding troops, but they are the elite. These command their lesser brethren in battle and enjoy privileges almost equal to that of the guards. Forty lesser Ice-orcs reside in each cave, in similar conditions to that of the guards, see (I I), except that instead of one large central fire-pit there are several smaller ones. Generally, only ten to twenty Ice-orcs are present in the caves, the others being away on patrols, raids or in the Throne Room or Temple. It is also not uncommon to find ten to fifteen wolves in each of the caves. In addition to their other duties these Ice-orcs also look after and feed the Wolves, for whom they actually seem to care.
- 13 · Battlement Tunnel
- This is the only of the castle’s walls that is hollow — in the others the core is filled with packed earth and rock. This wall section has a tunnel that runs parallel to the inner and outer curtain walls. The primary function of the tunnel is to provide access to the top of the battlement via the stairs. The stairs are as wide as the tunnel, and can be climbed from either side, so that anyone wishing to travel the length of the tunnel would first have to climb up and then climb down again.
- 13A. Courtyard
- Within this courtyard, the Ice-orcs propagate a variety of herbs and poisons. Chief among these is the poison known as Kalmog’s spoor (see section 4.1.4). Members of the Cult of Morgoth, along with some of the Elite Wolf-riders tend the plants..
- 14 · Ascending Passageway
- This corridor climbs upwards to the second level. It is not as steep as the spiral corridor, (see 5). It connects with (23) on the second level.
7.22 Level two
- 15 · Murder Shaft
- Taking advantage of the natural features of their fortress, the Ice-orcs have created a formidable defense for their great gates. The entrance hall below, just beyond the great gates, has an extremely high ceiling which extends past the height of the second level. There is a low iron rail around the edge of the hole.
Both the controls for opening the gates and lowering the portcullis are located in nearby alcoves. The portcullis can be lowered by simply releasing the chain, fastened around a stout iron bar, which holds it, (A). The portcullis can also be easily raised by two Ice-orcs, by winding it around the iron bar, which doubles as a winch. The gates are also operated by winches, (B), and pulleys, although they require four Ice-orcs to operate them.
The Ice-orcs maintain a watch, at (C), monitoring the land below for the approach of friend or foe. The balcony has a door, which has no lock. A small brazier burns for the comfort of the guards. The balcony is not open, it is walled and has three arrow slits from which the Ice-orcs can peer (and fire).
Should the portcullis be dropped in the event of an attack of some kind, barrels of oil, stored in an alcove (D), can be dropped onto intruders below and lit by torches.
- 16 · Battlement Doors (6)
- Each of these iron-bound pine doors are four inches thick. They are all usually kept locked, and are Very Hard (-20) to pick. All of the nearby on-duty guards have the keys, which they receive from the previous guard as he goes off-duty. Each door has a bar of steel fastened to the inside. In an emergency they can quickly be put into place, barricading the door.
- 17 · Ascending Passageway
- This spiraling staircase, similar to the one on the first level, see (5), ascends to the third level.
- 18 · Descending Passageway
- This spiraling staircase/passageway descends to the first level where it meets (5), the ascending passageway.
- 19 · Officers” Cave
- This cave is much the same as the guards” quarters on the first level, see (11). The cave is less cramped, and it is home to the twenty-five Lurg leaders who remain apart from their underlings. The officers are all greater lce-orcs. Fur and pelts of various mammals are scattered about the floor, and there is a large central fire-pit. Between ten to fifteen of the officers will be in this room at any given time. It is also common for five to ten female Ice-orcs to be present. The cave is also furnished with a long stone table and chairs. Each officer has a personal wealth of ten to fifty silver pieces (in silver and copper) which they carry with them at all times.
- 20 Barracks (3)
- In contrast to their officers” caves the rooms of the lesser Ice-orc troops are dirtier, smellier and more crowded. Each cave houses one hundred warriors ; thirty are young warriors, forty are adult warriors, and thirty are experienced veterans. Trash, offal, and the remnants of past meals litter the floor. The older Ice-orcs dominate the younger ones, who are treated little better than slaves. Each Ice-orc has a personal treasure of one to twenty silver pieces (in copper and bronze). The older Ice-orcs naturally have more than the younger ones.
- 21 · Harem
- Behind a locked, Extremely Hard (-30) to pick, door are housed one hundred and twenty lesser female Ice-orcs. Access to them is limited to only the strongest of the male Ice-orcs. Sometimes other lesser Ice-orcs may be granted special privileges as a result of great deeds in battle, or other favors. The life of a female Ice-orc is dull and brutal ; when not locked in this room by their guards they must toil away at a variety of domestic chores, raising Imps, slaving over stoves and fire-pits in the kitchens, or cleaning the caves of the masters. About half the females will be present in the room at a time. There is also a (40%) chance that one to ten male Ice-orcs will be in the room.
- 22 · Throne Room
- Like the entry hall of the first level, see (15), the cavernous throne room stretches beyond the first level. A corridor runs around the perimeter of the northern edge.
- 23 · Descending Passageway
- A gradually sloping corridor, this passageway connects with the one traveling upwards from level one, (14).
- 24 · The Palace Caves
- The residence of the Ice-orc King, this series of caves reflects the ultimate in Ice-orc taste — good or bad, depending on your point of view. At all times five Ice-orcs from the royal guard patrol the passages nearest the caves.
The Palace Caves adjoin the corridor that runs along the edge of the throne room (22), and the King often likes to view the room below from his unique vantage point. However, he is rather paranoid about the balcony — when he is in the throne room himself. he instructs his guards not to allow anyone onto the balcony.
- 24A. Main Hall/Bedroom
- Behind a door of solid steel. three inches thick, locked, Extremely Hard (-30) to open, lies the main bedroom and hall of the King. Grossly over-decorated, this cave gives a true insight into the mind of the King. Thick pelts of North Bears. and the rare Snow Lion cover the floor space, their beauty marred by stains of vomit, offal and spoiled food. The walls are covered with quaint tapestries depicting Ice-orcs torturing and maiming Noldor Elves. In the north wall there is a fire-place, which casts an eerie glow over the tapestries, enhancing an already distasteful effect. A large table of solid granite and several wooden chairs stand just inside the door, and there are also several barrels of strong drink. The King’s favorite past-time is getting drunk with his favored officers. He likes to appear wealthy, and an open chest, filled with cheap jewelry. sits on top of the table. He enjoys reaching and grabbing a large handful of jewels and throwing them against bewildered Ice-orcs. Worthless baubles arc scattered over the pelts. The whole chest-full might be worth twenty to thirty gold pieces.
Beyond the main hall is the inner chamber and the King’s bed. The bed is a large canopied affair, and yet more pelts are piled atop a large slab of polished basalt. The four bedposts are all decorated with leering faces. To one side of the bed there is a large chest embedded in the floor. It is locked, Sheer Folly (-50) to open, and trapped. If the chest is opened without first speaking the words (in archaic Orcish) “I am the true Lord of the North”, in three rounds a Wraith will appear. Seven feet tall, the wraith will attack immediately. (Its stats : Lvl 15 ; Hits 200 ; Attacks : +150 bs, +75LCI, drains 6 pts of Co/rnd ; AT(DB) Pl/17 (-30); it cannot he hit by non-magical weapons.)
At any time the Wraith can be dispelled by uttering the correct phrase. The chest contains the King s principle items which he stores in here, unless he is absent from the Palace Caves. Also in the chest are five hundred gold pieces and a further five hundred gold pieces worth of gems and jewelry.
- 24B. Treasure Vault
- Locked, Sheer Folly (-50) to pick, behind a secret door, Extremely Hard (-30) to detect, is the King’s private treasure chamber. The door is also trapped, and should anyone be unfortunate enough to fail to pick the lock, they will be subjected to a Rune of Blinding, which is revealed as a door panel slides down. The rune is situated at a level slightly higher than the key-hole. The trap cannot be disarmed, and is Very Hard (-20) to detect.
Behind the door is a dark chamber which contains several chests. The floor is littered with coins of small denominations, two thousand copper pieces, one thousand bronze pieces. The chests contain :
1) Three thousand gold pieces.
2) Six thousand gold pieces in diamonds, emeralds, and other precious stones. each one worth ten to five hundred gold pieces.
3) This chest is trapped, but not locked. If opened a cloud of poisonous gas is released and will spread to a ten foot radius. The trap cannot, of course, be disarmed. It should be considered Extremely Hard (-30) to detect. The attack level of the gas is 9th level. Those failing their RR by more than twenty die coughing after five rounds as the gas enters their system. Those who fail by less than twenty take 2–20 hits and operate at –25 for twenty hours. They arc also driven from the room, as are those who make their RRs. The gas will disperse in five hours. The chest is empty.
4) A +40 unholy two-handed sword that will fight by itself for its normal wielder for ten rounds. It also delivers an automatic “E” Heat critical every time it hits. The sword is very evil. and has a will of 150. It will seek to force its wielder along the dark path.
- 24C. Royal Harem
- The door to the Royal Harem is locked, Very Hard (-20) to pick, and guarded at all times by one of the royal guard. Within the room are twenty of the most desirable (by their standards!) Ice-orc females. At least ten are present at any given time, the others being away on domestic duties. The King does not allow any other Ice-orcs to have access to this cavern, to the disgruntlement of many. The room is furnished with layers of exotic furs and silks. There is a (10%) chance that the Ice-orc King will be found in this room “enjoying himself. A fire-place at the center of the room provides light and warmth.
- 24D. Secret Passageway
- The passageway that emanates from the Throne Room below, see (7), terminates here. It too is protected by a secret door. The door is Hard (-10) to detect, and is common knowledge among the elite Ice-ores. It is not locked and opens with a stout shove.
- 25 · Kitchen/Storeroom
- Similar to the kitchen found on the first level. see (10), this kitchen is larger, to accommodate the increased need for food. The standard of food is little higher — although more care is taken into what goes into the pot. The King’s meals arc prepared in this room, in addition to those for the barrack troops. The meat used is fresher, mostly Elk or Losrandir, and this is due to the cold storage room, see (25A). The room is open (barred) at one end of the room to the outside weather, and so cooled naturally. This process is somewhat less effective during the short summer period. The door to this room is not locked, but can only be opened from the outside.
- 25A. Cold Storage Room
- Many Ice-orcs have frozen to death among the carcasses — a favorite way for some to dispose of hated foes. The frozen corpses can then be served as part of the next meal, or chopped into bits and fed to the wolves below. Thirty to fifty female Ice-ores labour in the kitchen under a brutal overlord, a lesser Ice-orc who can’t believe his luck.
- 25B. Brewery
- In this adjoining chamber to the kitchen the fermenting of powerful liquor takes place. Five “Master-brewers” oversee ten to twenty lesser Ice-ores as they make large quantities of a fiery black liquid, called Ambor, for the rank-and-file, and a more refined variety for the elite. The lesser Ice-orcs who work here are rotated on a regular shift. This duty is particularly sought after ; the “Master-brewers” are much-envied members of the fortress. Scores of barrels line the walls, some ready to be distributed and others yet to be filled.
- 26 · Temple
- The temple ceiling extends beyond the first level, like the nearby Throne Room. The corridor from (22) continues to the edge of the temple opening. There are several tiered stone seats here, where the King and his guests like to observe the rituals. If the temple is empty, this balcony will be also, although guards from (24) periodically check to ensure that all is well.
- 27 · Royal Guards” Barracks
- These barracks are home to thirty-five greater Ice-orcs and their Captain, who has his own special room, see (27A). Their quarters are the best and most spacious of the all the regular troops. Instead of straw pallets they have furs to lie on, and these are scattered about the edges of the cavern. The center of the cavern has a large fire-pit and several tables and benches, many of which are broken. Several barrels (mostly empty) of Ambor are stored in an alcove — unlike most of the other Ice-orcs they do not have to go to the throne room to get drunk. Much of the floor is covered with rubbish : bones, drinking cups, and offal. Ten to twenty of the royal guard will be found here, unless the King is in the throne room, in which case the room will be empty of royal guards. Twenty-five female Ice-orcs also dwell here.
- 27A. Captain’s Chamber
- Behind a locked, Very Hard (-20) to open. door is the Captain’s room. Surprisingly, the chamber is quite Spartan — the Captain is too stupid to appreciate the finer points of Ice-Orcish interior decoration. The room is empty save for the bed, a basalt slab covered with furs and pelts, and straw pallets where the Captain’s five female Ice-ores sleep. Dim lighting is provided by two torches above the bed. The Captain’s treasure hoard lies in a large wooden chest next to the bed. The chest is locked, Hard (40) to open, but not trapped. It contains five hundred gold pieces worth of coins (in gold, silver, copper and bronze) and two hundred gold pieces worth of gems and trinkets. Half of the treasure, though, is made up of cheap baubles and jewelry given to the Captain by the King. To sort the real treasure from the junk will take several painstaking hours.
The Captain is likely to be present in this room (45%) of the time. When he is absent the female Ice-orcs are usually at other areas of the fortress performing normal domestic duties.
7.23 Level three
- 28 · Descending Passageway
- This spiraling staircase/passageway descends to the second level where it connects with (17).
- 29 · Ascending Spiral Stairwells
- Both of these passageways terminate in spiral stairwells which lead to the first level of the Tower of Darkness. An acolyte priest stands guard at the foot of each one.
- 30 · Passageway
- This passageway ends in a short flight of steps that leads to the King’s Tower.
- 31 · Barracks
- Along the same design as the barracks of the second level, this large cavern houses one hundred and fifty Ice-orcs. The cavern is a violent, chaotic place, and fatalities are common as the Ice-orcs attempt to establish a pecking order among themselves. The cave floor is filthy, covered with dirt, rubbish, offal and mouldy straw. Each lce-orc carries two to thirty copper pieces (in copper and bronze), the older Ice-orcs having more than the younger. Usually half (or more) of the Ice-orcs will be absent from the cavern on patrols. These troops are the Patrol Band, under the command of the Elite Tracker and his wolf-riders.
- 32 · Smiths” Quarters
- A cave along the lines of the guards” quarters, see (I I), of the first level, although smaller, the smiths” quarters are somewhat more “luxurious” than the normal barracks. Eighty Ice-orcs live here : the smiths, craftsmen and the engineers, along with their assistants.
- 33 · Treasury
- Guarded from without by two alert Ice. orcs, the treasury holds the wealth of the Dark-ice fortress. The door to the treasury is of solid steel, and is six inches thick. The door is kept locked at all times, and is Absurd (-70) to pick. The door is not trapped, nor is the passage-way in the immediate vicinity.
Just inside the door, however, is a dead-fall trap. A pressure plate ten feet square triggers the trap when more than thirty pounds of weight is applied. When this occurs a block of stone, fifteen feet square drops over the trapped area. The block weighs nine hundred pounds. Anyone caught beneath the trap receive one to five “E” Crush criticals, it should be considered an Extremely Hard (-30) maneuver to attempt to avoid the block. The block of stone also seals the entrance to the treasury. The trap is Sheer Folly (-50) to detect, and impossible to disarm from this location. A secret passageway from the smiths” cave, see (32), which is Very Hard (-20) to detect leads to the outer wall of the treasury. From here the trap can be disarmed relatively easily, Hard (40). The winch mechanism for raising the stone block is also located here.
The interior of the treasury is well worth the effort required to gain entrance. Coins of all denominations litter the floor in their thousands — at least fifteen thousand gold pieces total. Bars of silver, gold and copper are piled high in the center of the room, the total number being several hundred. Large iron chests sit loosely in the rubble. They are locked, Very Hard (-20) to open, and the inner lids are all trapped with Symbols of Blinding. Within each chest are five thousand gold pieces worth of gems and other precious stones. There are no magic items within this treasury.
- 34 · Imp Nursery
- The Imp nursery is a three-chambered room in which live hundreds of bratish lce-orc Imps. The eldest Imps, of four to eight years. live in cave (A), while Ice-orcs of one to three years live within cave (B). The youngest Imps (less than a year) live in cave (C). While the lesser and greater Ice-orcs arc not kept separate, the distinctions are made clear from the outset. Greater lce-orc Imps are better treated. better fed and less disciplined. The caves are a chaotic place. full of brutish Imps who bully the younger ones. Fatalities are common, and only six in ten Imps survive to maturity. Between thirty and fifty female Ice-orcs, with whips, attempt to keep the fatalities to a minimum.
- 35 · Stairs
- At the end of a broad passageway a set of broad steps lead up to the Warlord’s Tower. At all times two Ice-orcs from the Warlord’s body-guard arc on duty, guarding the sole entrance to the Warlord’s Tower.
- 36 · Harem
- Much the same as the harem on level two. see (21), this cavern houses one hundred female Ice-orcs. Half of these are greater Ice-orcs. Only half of the females will be here at any given time. the others away on work duties. There is a (15%) chance chat one to ten male Ice-orcs will be found in this room. The door to the chamber is usually kept locked, Hard (-10), and guarded by two of the Warlord’s body-guards.
- 37 · Hole
- The ceiling of the entry hall extends past this third level. It continues on. until it reaches the Tower of Darkness. No passageways connect to it on this level.
7.24 The King’s Tower
The King’s Tower was built late in the Second Age by a Ice-orc King who was unhappy that the Priests were “above” him. Despite building the tower, the King did not get his way : the Tower of Darkness is still higher. Most of the subsequent Ice-orc Kings have not used it, preferring the Palace Caves. They complain that it is too drafty, and too far to walk from the throne room. Recently (c. 1639) the Tower, long unused, was converted into a special lodging place for the Witch-king (who has only visited the fortress twice), or any of his emissaries from Angmar.
The Tower is a three-story block, with the two lower levels being twenty feet square. The third level is ten feet square. The walls of the Tower are all five feet thick.
Reached by a small series of steps, see (30), the first level was once a receiving hall for past Ice-orc Kings. It still serves in this capacity today, as an audience chamber for the Witch-king. The floor has polished tiles of red marble, and a thick woolen tapestry covers the rear (north) wall. It depicts a large lidless eye in red, on a black background. A high-backed chair, with large arm-rests, stands on a small dais beneath the center of the eye. In the north-eastern corner of the room a set of steep stairs leads to the next level.
The stairs of level one (see above) continue onwards to the upper level, but a landing allows access to the second level. Thick furs (lice free) of North Bears cover the floor. The room in past years had been the bedroom of the Ice-orc King, now it serves as a resting place for the Witch-king. A large canopied bed rests against the eastern wall, but otherwise the chamber is unadorned.
This level was never properly completed, and the roof has since been demolished. It now serves as a place for the Witch-king to mount his Fell-beast. A hatch covers the opening to this level, to shield the lower levels from the elements.
7.25 The Warlord’s Tower
This five-story tower block was built during the early years of the Third Age. It is made of granite, quarried from the nearby hills. The outer walls arc five feet thick, and there are no windows (only small vents to allow some smoke to escape). The tower is the residence of the Warlord of Kala Dulakurth and the Elite Tracker. Apart from the wolf-riders (of the first level) all of the best common troops are stationed in this tower, along with the Warlord’s body-guard. Although it depends upon the individual Warlord (or Elite Tracker), these troops will have some loyalty to their leader.
A broad flight of steps lead from the third level, see (35), to the first level of the Warlord’s Tower. Fifty lesser lce-orcs live in conditions little different from those of the barrack troops on the other levels of the castle (see 31. etc.). A stairwell starts in the southeastern corner and continues on up to the height of the tower. Normally, at least half of the warriors will be present in this room. Each Ice-orc has between two and twenty silver pieces (in silver, bronze and copper) of wealth that he carries on him.
Virtually identical to the level below, this room is the residence of a further fifty Ice-orc warriors. These troops are better equipped than those below (+5 weaponry), are better warriors and have greater access to Ambor and the Harems. Each Ice-orc has a personal treasure of two to twenty silver pieces (in silver, bronze and copper). On most occasions, two-thirds of these Ice-orcs can be found on this level drinking, gambling and fighting.
The Warlord’s body-guard, a disciplined unit of thirty greater Ice-orcs, live in luxury comparable to the royal body-guard, see (27). Twenty female Ice-orcs also live here with the males. These Ice-orcs guard the Warlord closely and follow him about everywhere ; if the Warlord is not in his Tower this room will be empty except for the females. The body-guard do not have a Captain, instead they take their orders directly from the Warlord. They have a personal treasure of two to twenty gold pieces (in gold, silver, bronze and copper).
This room is divided into two sections. The western room serves as the Elite Tracker’s residence, though he is rarely here. The furniture is minimal, a bed at the far end of the room, and some straw pallets for his five greater lce-orc females. The walls are bare, but the floor is covered with rugs and pelts. A chest, bolted to the floor near the bed, is kept locked, Extremely Hard (-50) to pick. The lock is trapped with a needle trap, Very Hard (-20) to detect and disarm. The needle coated with a double-strength dose of Kalmog’s spoor. Inside this chest, the Elite Tracker keeps his principle items (see Durba 6.22), and his treasure hoard. The treasure hoard is a mixture of two thousand gold pieces worth of gems, gold, silver and bronze coins.
The other room is a trophy hall and war council room for the Warlord. The walls are covered with gruesome decorations attesting to the ferocity of past Warlords. Several large barrels of Ambor are stored along one wall, and the meetings that are sometimes convened to plan raids and other matters mote often than not end up as drunken celebrations.
This entire level is devoted to the Warlord’s room, an audience chamber/bedroom/feast-hall/harem all rolled into one. At the western end of the hall, raised on a low dais, and surrounded by shallow fire-pits, is the Warlord’s throne, chiseled from a block of dark basalt with furs heaped upon it. The Warlord’s bed, a low granite slab, is located co one side of the throne, and has more furs heaped upon it. At the center of the hall is a large fire-pit. The hall is very smoky, as only minute holes in the roof allow any smoke to escape. Ten greater female Ice-orcs live here with the Warlord, attending to his needs.
The Warlord’s treasure is hidden in a secret chest at the back of his throne. The chest is Sheer Folly (-50) to detect, but neither locked nor trapped. Inside, the Warlord stores his principle items (see Nadash, 6.22, for an example) and six thousand gold pieces worth of gems and gold, silver, bronze and copper coins.
The Warlord is likely to be in his hall most of the time, unless required by the King at “court”.
7.26 The Tower of Darkness
This tower was constructed during the middle years of the Second Age. It is made of basalt and the outer walls are five feet thick.
The Ice-orcs have a surprisingly sophisticated Priest-hood who call themselves the “Cult of Morgoth.” They follow the doctrines set down by the original Orc-priests of Angband and wield considerable power. Few of the castle Ice-orcs are unafraid of the tower and its inhabitants.
There are five acolytes who serve under the High-priest. In turn, they instruct the twenty younger neophytes. The training is intense, and failure usually results in death. As the older acolytes pass on, the more promising neophytes are chosen by the High-priest to take their place. The death of a High-priest creates a dangerously unstable time, as all five acolytes vie for the position.
The High-priest’s rule is absolute over his underlings, and he (usually) exerts considerable influence over the King. The cult, while being much-feared, is also much admired—especially during “ritual-time.”
The first level of the Tower of Darkness is a split level. The lower section serves as an entry hall, and the two spiral stairwells from below, see (29), open out onto landings here. The stairwells continue on up, to further levels. The floor of this section is of brightly polished basalt, but the room is otherwise unadorned. Two of the more senior neophytes stand guard in this hall.
The upper section of this level may be reached by the means of a stairway. It is as wide as the hall itself, and the broad steps are as polished as the floor of the lower section. Tall pillars, decorated with grotesque figures, support the hall at each end of the stairway.
The upper hall is the location of the cult’s own private altar. Here the High-priest and his followers conduct regular ceremonies, animal sacrifices and initiation rituals. On occasions like these, the priests gather around the altar and chant their worship of Morgoth. Special “holy” days involve more elaborate ceremonies, involving humanoid sacrifices (Elves are preferred). During these rituals no-one other than the Priests are allowed in this hall. The altar is stained with dried blood and a large sacrificial knife (the High-priest’s) lies on the table. It is « Of Slaying » humanoids, though this only works in conjunction with the altar.
During the various initiation ceremonies, each priest being tested must stand on a spot immediately in front of the altar. Should he fail his test. or for any other reason, a lever located at the opposite end of the altar can be moved. This sets into motion a pit trap. Two panels, those at the foot of the altar pivot down, hurling the victim through the hole. The victim lands over one hundred feet below, in the entry hall just inside the great gates.
A large tapestry covers the rear (north) wall. It depicts a large, black crown, into which three bright jewels are set, on a red background. To the right of the tapestry there is an open doorway which leads to a further chamber.
This room is smaller than the outside hall and its function is primarily to provide access to the second level via a spiral stairwell. A line of hooks along one wall hold the ceremonial cloaks of the Priests.
The second level of this tower is partitioned by a wall two feet thick. This is done similarly on each of the following levels ; in effect they are two separate towers.
The northern room is the High-priest’s audience chamber. The floor is covered by a large red-dyed woolen rug. In one corner there is a desk and chair. Here the High-priest receives his guests. A neophyte (the High-Priest’s favorite) stands guard in this room, by the stairwell landing.
The southern room is much larger. It is the library and training area for the neophyte priests. The “books” in the library arc actually stone tablets, and many of them are very ancient. These books arc filed haphazardly on shelves that line one wall. Benches and chairs are arranged in the center of the room.
Southern Room. This level is the living area of the neophyte priests. A wide corridor runs the length of the room, and “cells” open off each side. The neophyte cells are ten feet long and three feet wide. In each cell there is a straw pallet in one corner, and working space in another. The cells are regularly cleaned (mainly for discipline purposes, rather than any real desire for hygiene). Neophytes begin training at the age of eight. They are selected by the High-priest from a group of promising Imps. Most never progress beyond this level.
The younger neophytes have no personal effects or treasure, but the older ones have 3–30 silver pieces (in silver and copper), and 140 gold pieces worth of gems. The older neophytes” cells are not quite so Spartan. (The northern room) This room is the High-priest’s laboratory. Here he carries out all manner of experiments ; some hideous, some dangerous, and others just plain disgusting. Three heavy wooden tables, littered with vials, bottles, herbs, and poisons, dominate the room. Pots of foul-smelling liquids bubble over small fires. In this laboratory a refined version of Kalmog’s spoor is produced. There are only limited quantities of this version, which is doubly effective.
Southern Room. This room is the living area of the five acolyte priests. These five have quarters the equal of any in the castle. There are five rooms on this level, three on one side of the central corridor and two on the other. Each room is fifteen feet by ten feet (as is the landing).
The rooms of the acolytes are all barred by ironbound pine doors, one foot thick. The doors are Very Hard (-20) to pick, and they are all trapped with poison needles. An unsuccessful attempt at picking one of the locks will result in a dose of Kalmog’s spoor (normal strength).
Beyond the door the rooms are well furnished, each one having furs and pelts covering the floors. The walls are bare, but are smoke-stained from the burning torches. The beds, which lie in a corner opposite the doors, arc simple stone slabs heaped with more furs. Desks and chairs are positioned just inside the doors. They arc cluttered with all sorts of junk, similar to the High-priest’s laboratory, but on a smaller scale. Sanitation is the lce-orc norm : poor. Apparently, acolytes are not under the same discipline as their pupils.
At the foot of the beds stand wooden chests bolted to the floor. The contents vary from acolyte to acolyte, but typically they contain similar amounts. The chests are locked, Extremely Hard (-30) to pick, and are trapped with symbols of Tongue Rot (10th level) in their lids. In the chests lie approximately five hundred gold pieces of gems, gold and silver coins. “Common” magic items such as +1 or +2 spell adders or a x2 P.P. multiplier may also be found. The priests also keep their sacrificial knives in the chests, and these are +10, achieving at least an automatic “C” Slash critical on a hit. Other more obscure items like pentagrams, preserved animal intestines, shrunken heads or even lucky rabbit’s feet may also be scattered among the contents of the chest. (The northern room) A bare, empty room, this is the Warg-den of the High-priest’s pet Warg. A monstrous creature, this giant White Warg is an effective guardian. Gnawed bones and dirty straw litter the floor. The Warg is not chained up and may wander the castle at will. However, if the High-priest is present in the levels above the Warg will always be here. (Warg stats. Lvl : 10, Hits : 225, AT(DB):S1/4 (-60), +90LBi, +75LC1)
The Warg will attack any being that comes up to this level, unless they are in the company of the High-priest.
The living quarters of the High-priest are the most richly appointed of the entire fortress — in the grandest lce-orc fashion. Cruel and disgusting tapestries hang from all four walls, pelts of North Bears and Snow Lions cover the floor and bed. The bed is a large canopied structure, and the base is the normal basalt slab. The High-priest has a personal collection of shrunken heads and preserved anatomy structures that surpasses any of his acolytes” collections.
The High-priest’s treasure is hidden in a stone chest, cut into the center of the bed. The chest is Sheer Folly (-50) to detect. It is locked, Extremely Hard (-30) to pick, and it is trapped. The trap, Extremely Hard (-30) to detect, and Extremely Hard (-30) to disarm, is a poison needle, coated with Kalmog’s spoor (double strength).
The chest contains several thousand gold pieces worth of Noldor jewelry, precious gemstones, and gold and silver coins. Magic items, like spell adders and multipliers and rune papers of first through to fifth level channeling spells, lie among the wealth.
The High-priest’s personal items (see Urdrak, 6.22, for an example) are hidden in a small alcove, Absurd (-70) to detect, on the northern wall.
This level contains the personal shrine of the High-priest co Morgoth. Anyone who enters will feel a chill and an overwhelming sense of evil. The room is virtually empty, save for the shrine. An Iron Crown tapestry hangs on the southern wall.
Should anyone of “good intentions” enter this room, they must make an RR versus Channeling (-10, fifth level).
- If they fail by 01–25 they will run from the room, fleeing for 1–10 rounds.
- If they fail by 26–75 they will suffer shock ; stunned for 10 rounds, 2–20 hits, and the loss of 2–20 Power points (if any).
- If they fail by 76–00 they will fall unconscious, and they can then only be revived by magical means (spell or herb).
- If the victim fails by more than 100 they will receive the effects of an Absolution Pure spell (no RR).
In this room, the High-priest attempts to commune with the “Spirit of Morgoth”.
The stairwell terminates here, at this, the highest point of the fortress. The room’s only furnishings are arm and leg shackles embedded into the walls. The stairwell has a lockable door, Very Hard (-20) to pick, to prevent access to or from this level. It is used as a prison by the Ice-orcs for victims awaiting sacrifice.
A narrow firing slit/window offers a bleak view to the north. This room is bitterly cold in the hours of darkness. Mouldy straw covers the floor. One to five unfortunate prisoners are chained in the shackles against the walls. They are fed and watered once a day (if the Ice-orcs remember), but they do not usually stay in this room for very long.
Located high up in the north-eastern spur of the Grey Mountains, beyond the Withered Heath, is the fabled Celeb-ost — a city out of Dwarvish legend. Stories of this lost city and its founder, the enigmatic Narvi V, abound throughout Dwarven communities. Few have sought the truth, and those that have have not returned to tell of what they have found — if they found anything at all.
General features of Celeb-Ost
Before T.A. 2110, the lighting within Celeb-ost’s halls is provided by torches, lanterns, and lamps. Torches are the dimmest, the lamps the brightest. Lamps are hung in the larger halls and chambers, torches in the corridors, passageways and mines, and the lanterns hung in the lodgings and storerooms. The torches (lamps or lanterns) are positioned at ten feet intervals to maximize efficiency. Illumination is adequate for the Dwarves and should be sufficient for most other races. After T.A. 2110, there is no lighting to speak of ; the halls, chambers, and passageways are dark and silent.
The mine areas are mostly below the city itself, but the tunnels dug when the Dwarves first came to Celeb-ost (see (14) below) do not connect up with the diggings of the later years (see (15) below). Mine passageways are rough and incorporate many twists and turns, as well as changes of gradient. They are approximately four feet wide and eight feet high. Many tunnels within the mines have shafts that plunge tens of feet downwards. There are four levels of mines. To generate mine shafts, tunnels and passageways, use the guide given in section 19.6, but remember that these mines are not infinite.
On the main floor plans there are several symbols denoting pit traps. The trapped areas are five feet square, and when more than one hundred pounds of pressure is placed upon these areas the floor gives way. The pits are twenty-five feet with the walls sloped inwards, at the top, so that the bottom floor area is ten foot square. The walls are smooth, offering scant purchase. In addition to this the top five feet on each of the walls is smeared with a thick grease (Beyond Absurd, –100 climbing difficulty), but following the death of Celeb-ost’s inhabitants the grease will have dried out (Sheer Folly –50 climbing difficulty). The traps are Very Hard (-20) to detect prior to T.A. 2110 ; after T.A. 2110 they are Extremely Hard (-30) to detect. This is due to the lack of dirt, floor marks, etc. skirting the sides of the trap.
- 1 · The Doors of Celeb-ost
- Standing twenty-one feet tall, the two silvery gates of Celeb-ost make an impressive sight. Each seven feet wide, they swing outward on noiseless hinges. The door can be barricaded from within by a large, heavy iron bar.
The doors are flanked upon either side by two towers built into the mountain. Three stories high, each tower affords the gate a superb defense.
- 1A · The Towers
- Level One — Reachable only by secret doors from the Firing Rooms (see (2) below), these ten foot square rooms are bare save for the firing slits oriented towards the main passageway and the spiral staircase which leads to the next level. The walls in these rooms are four feet thick.
Level Two — Similar to level one, these rooms have firing slits pointing to the outside. There are a caches of crossbow bolts in a corner of each room, as well as 3–5 + I 0 heavy crossbows which are propped up against the walls. The outer walls on this level are three feet thick. The staircase continues up to the next level.
Level Three — On this level the two rooms are joined together. forming one large ten foot by thirty-six foot room. The staircases terminate here in the rear corners of the room. A large ballista stands mounted on a track which runs the entire width of the room. One large firing slit cuts through the two foot thick outer wall, enabling the ballista to fire unhindered. The ballista requires two people to use it, and the fittings and controls are Dwarf-sized. It is well armored to protect the users.
- 2 · Firing Rooms
- Each of these two long, narrow rooms has the wall facing the main passageway lined with firing slits. The walls are two feet thick. Crossbows ready to be used are stacked neatly to one side, and there are large quantities of crossbow bolts piled in one corner.
Two secret doors in each room are the only en-trances/exits to the rooms, and neither arc concealed from this side. One leads to the towers, the other to passageway’s adjacent to the smiths”/miners” quarters.
- 3 · Main Corridor
- This section of the main corridor, parallel to the Firing Rooms (see (2) above), is essentially a killing ground. In the unlikely event that the doors should be breached, portcullis can be dropped at either end of the corridor (the controls for this are located in the firing rooms). The portcullis are made from strong iron bars and can only be raised by using the proper mechanism. When they fall, they lock in place.
Note All weaponry has been moved to the Armory (see 5) and all coins, gems, etc. have been taken by Narvi to his Treasure room (see 11D).
- 4 · Smiths” & Miners” Quarters
- These are the lodgings of the Dwarves of Celeb-ost. Each room is fifteen foot by eight foot and houses three to five Dwarves. They are comfortable, if somewhat Spartan quarters in which the Dwarves rest from their day’s labors. The stone floors are covered by furs, and some rooms have colorful wall-hangings. Each Dwarf generally has a locker or chest (locked, medium +0) holding their clothes, weapons, personal effects, and coinage, etc.
After T.A. 2110, the unquiet spirits of Narvi’s henchmen (skeletons) will be encountered by any who enter the rooms (of 4a only). Between 1- I 0 will be seen at any one time, and they will attack all intruders, singling out Dwarves especially. Any skeletons who are destroyed will reform again within 24 hours unless Narvi’s ghost has also been destroyed.
- 5 · Armory
- The stockpile of Celeb-ost’s weaponry is stored within this large fifteen foot by twenty foot room. The door to the room is kept locked, it is Extremely Hard (-30) to open. The perceptive might note that there are small holes in the wall behind, Hard(-10), but there is no trap. Within the Armory are neatly ordered stacks of weapons. The weapons are typical Dwarven fare : hand-axes, battle-axes, warhammers, daggers and heavy crossbows (including spare bolts and strings). Many are of superior make, +5 to +15, but only (10%) are magical.
By T.A. 2110 all the weapons of the entire colony are located here, numbering 500+! The armory is no longer an ordered weapons cache but a jumbled pile heaped in the center of the room. Mingled with the original weapons are more powerful ones. The highlights include :
• a +20 Battle-axe of Troll and Orc Slaying.
• a +30 Warhammer
• a +20 Hand axe that has no range penalties (up to 777”)
• a +30 Eog Dagger that does x3 damage and treats ATs 02–10 as AT01 (MERP SI & RI treated as No). It will take some hours to search through the entire pile of weapons.
Note Approximately fifty feet downstream from the pool the Dwarves have placed a fine, but strong, mesh barricade to pen up the trout, and to keep out intruders.
- 6 · Underground Pool
- The underground stream that flows through part of Celeb-ost’s halls is fairly slow moving, and at one point widens to form a small underground pool. The Dwarves have turned the stream, and the pool, to their advantage, such as using it for their water requirements, and having stocked the pool with trout for their table. At two points their passageways cross the stream ; here they have constructed two beautifully arched bridges over the quiet waters. It is a favorite place for many Dwarves.
- 7 · Gathering Hall
- One of the larger structures of Celeb-ost, this impressive hall is fifty-five feet long and thirty feet across. The roof is vaulted, rising to almost twenty feet in the center. The Dwarves come here to relax, to talk in small groups or to listen to music.
In later years, as Narvi became increasingly unstable, the hall was shunned, especially after the “rebellion” (see section 2.2). The grand chamber returned to the timeless dark that had been in the years before the Dwarves came.
- 8 · The Dungeon
- Located off the main passageway, the dungeon is reached via a long, dark corridor (no illumination at all). The door of the corridor is kept locked at all times and is Very Hard (-20) to pick. At the end of the corridor is Celeb-ost’s one and only dungeon.
Simply constructed, the prison consists of a roughhewn square room with stout iron bars upon its open face. The prison door has three locks, each different from each other (all are Extremely Hard (-30) to pick).
There is also a trap to catch the unwary in the corridor itself. Just past the half-way point is a cunningly constructed pressure point, two feet by five feet. It is Extremely Hard (-30) to detect. When more than one hundred pounds of pressure is placed upon it the trap is sprung. A portcullis crashes down just behind the door of the corridor. It is impossible to lift without first disarming the locking mechanism. This is located in a hidden panel, Extremely Hard (-30), to detect, next to the door of the corridor in the main passageway. The controls for raise the portcullis are also found here.
After T.A. 2110 the dungeon is haunted by five skeletons who only animate themselves (and attack) if the trap has been sprung. The prison door is no longer locked, and hangs wide open. The undead are tied to this site and will not pursue beyond the corridor. If destroyed they will reform again within 24 hours unless Narvi’s ghost has also been destroyed.
- 9 · General Storeroom
- This twenty foot square room holds general stores necessary for day-to-day use in Celeb-ost. There is a large amount of wood stockpiled, as well as torches, oil, lanterns, etc.
Another feature of note within this room is the secret passage leading to a peep hole in (8). The entrance to this passage is Sheer Folly (-50) to detect, and so is the peep-hole when looking for it from the corridor in (8). The two doors to the store room are not locked.
After T.A. 2110 the room is a mess, reflecting the general nature of the underground fortress. As a result of the disorder of the room, the secret door is now Sheer Folly (-60) to detect.
- 10 · Halls of Smithing and Forging
- At the center of Dwarven activity in Celeb-ost are the twin smelting. forging and smithing chambers. The two halls are connected by a large passageway, which, like the halls themselves, are still rough-hewn, not being quite finished.
The northern chamber has an entrance to the mines, through which ore is brought in on carts (see 15).
The Dwarves work mostly with silver, for the ore is almost exclusively composed of this material. Some iron work is also carried out. The work done here is relatively primitive by normal Dwarven standards as they lack the facilities of Moria, or even Erebor. But, considering that they have only been here for a score of years, the work is excellent, surpassing the abilities of most mannish forges.
The processes carried out here are also done on a small scale, although surprisingly some coins are minted. On one face, they bear the emblem of Celeb-ost : a picture of the king overlaid with a warhammer.
- 11 · Narvi’s Room
- Located at the end of the main passageway, near the entrance to the smithing halls, are the rooms of Narvi V, the ruler of Celeb-ost. His lodgings comprise three rooms linked together, in addition to a secret chamber, the existence of which is known only to Narvi.
- 11A · Office
- This small eight foot by five foot room is Narvi’s office. Furniture is minimal : a desk, chair and a “couch. The outer door is locked whenever Narvi is absent. The lock is Extremely Hard (-30) to pick, but is not trapped. Papers of all descriptions relating to the daily running of Celeb-ost can be found here. After T.A. 2110 the room is markedly different. The desk, chair and couch are burnt and slashed and the room is empty of anything except rubble.
- 11B · Sitting Room
- The second room may be reached via an open doorway from the office. In contrast to the first it is elegantly appointed. One wall is devoted to an elaborate tapestry depicting Durin’s discovery of the Mirrormere. There is a small bookcase holding a valuable collection (GM’s discretion) of alchemical texts. Several were written by Narvi I, the maker of the West-gate of Moria, and one by Saruman. Narvi V’s research, which has also been recorded is stored here.
Thick furs of the rare (now rarer!) Snow Lion cover the floor, and four comfortable chairs are in evidence. The door that leads to Narvi’s bedroom is always kept locked, being Sheer Folly (-50) to pick.
After T.A. 2110 this room is no longer as elegant. The tapestry is partly destroyed by fire, the bookcase is in ashes, and the Snow Lion pelts are blackened and charred. The door to the bedroom also bears the mark of fire but is otherwise sound.
- 11C · Bedroom
- A vicious trap just inside the west door is triggered when more than fifty pounds of pressure is placed upon a four foot by three foot section immediately inside the doorway. A similar sized stone deadweight (six foot in height) will come crashing down on that spot should the trap be activated, pulping any unfortunates. The disarming mechanism is a small circular hole in the wall immediately to the right of the doorway. By placing a rod five inches long in the hole the trap is disarmed. The hole is Hard (-10) to find and the trap should be considered Extremely Hard (-30) to disarm. The mechanism to raise the deadweight is located behind a panel in the doorway arch. By turning the wheel found therein, the deadweight can be moved back into place.
The northern section of the room is Narvi’s bedroom proper. A low bed lies flush with the wall. There is a ceiling-high (7”) locker (which has no lock), holding Narvi’s clothes, weapons, personal effects, etc. The locker is three feet wide and has a false back, Very Hard (-20) to perceive, which can be simply shoved aside. Behind is a passageway which leads to a peephole in the southern smithing hall.
The southern part of the room has a small laboratory workbench (four foot square). The cabinets beneath the bench house a variety of chemicals, herbs, and alchemical equipment. Narvi is attempting to turn silver into Mithril !
In the southern wall is a brilliantly made secret door. Virtually impossible (-90) to detect, it is magically hidden. The trap that accompanies the door is flawed, and it defeats the purpose of having a secret door in the first place ! (The serves to further highlight Narvi’s instability.) Should anyone come into contact with the door they will receive a point blank +100 lightning bolt attack. The door has three such charges and cannot be disarmed, the trap will be activated when anything organic touches the door surface. The only way to open it is by using the correct key, which is insulated. The door will become visible when the word “mithril” is said aloud. The lock is Absurd (-70) to pick if the door is visible ; if the door is invisible it is Beyond Absurd (-90). Behind the door is a rough and narrow passage-way to the Silver Room.
After T.A. 2110 Narvi’s bedroom changes little ; the room did not suffer the effects of the fire in (A) and (B).
- 11D · Silver Room
- Within this ten foot by five foot room is Narvi’s secret treasure chamber. Prior to T.A. 2110 the treasure chamber should hold only (30%) of the following. After T.A. 2110 every single item of treasure is to be found here. Ingots of silver lay stacked five feet high around the edge of the walls. There are over four-hundred five pound ingots of (90%) pure silver. Coins of silver, gold, gems, jewels, and trinkets lie heaped about the center of the room (about 6000 gold pieces worth). There are no magic items, no weapons, and NO mithril.
After T.A. 2110 there is a (50%) chance that Narvi’s ghost will be found here staring at his treasure — what he thinks is mithril.
- 12 · The Gift of Mahal (Aulë)
- When the Dwarves originally began the excavation of this room they came upon a huge silver lode, so they abandoned any ideas of finishing the room, turning to mine the new silver vein. The yield gained when the ore is smelted is incredible — nearly (95%) pure silver. The Dwarves have joined up passageways beneath this level in the mines below and believe that the lode is a giant vertical column of silver many hundreds of feet deep. It is not surprising, then, that they call this vein the Gift of Mahal (Aulë). Actually, the lode is just about exhausted by T.A. 2110, although the Dwarves never learnt of this. Mining equipment (picks, hammers, etc.) lies scattered about the floor.
- 13 · The Mess Hall
- The Dwarves gather here three times a day for meals, but at other times the hall is rarely empty. A favorite meeting place, many Dwarves come here to drink and talk. The large room is dominated by graceful supporting columns, between which are clustered long benches, tables and chairs.
The northern end of the hall is the kitchen area where all food preparation is carried out. There is a door through to the adjoining storerooms (see (17)) where supplies are kept. Water is obtained from the underground stream.
After T.A. 2110 the mess hall is not quite so graceful. Tables, chairs and benches have been overturned or broken. It is a similar story in the kitchen area. Disquieting laughter and talk can be heard at times, abruptly ending with shouts and screams of terror (RR vs 3rd level Fear), though the source of the sounds cannot be seen.
- 14 · Mine Entrance
- This passageway slopes downwards to the older mine shafts of Celeb-ost. Many of these have been abandoned, being mined out. Even before T.A. 2110 this corridor was little used. Footing is uneven and in the dark can be quite dangerous.
- 15 · Mine Entrance
- Another entrance to the lower mines, this passageway is one of the busiest in Celeb-ost. Miners bring ore-carts to the surface laden with precious ore to the smelting hall. The shafts and tunnels leading off this corridor link up with the vertical vein of silver called the Gift of Mahal.
- 16 · The Treasury
- In the years prior to T.A. 2110 this room held the bulk of Celeb-ost’s silver. The ingots were stacked from the back wall in five foot piles. After T.A. 2110 the room is empty. The door is made of iron, with a wood veneer, and is locked at all times. It is Extremely Hard (-30) to pick and is protected by two traps. The first is a needle trap in the door handle which is activated when the handle is turned. The needle is coated with a poison, Gorang. It is a third level nerve poison ; victims failing their RR’s by 01–50 lose feeling in, and the use of, 1–4 extremities (hands/feet) — those who fail by 51+ die when their nerves simply turn into a hot pink liquid.
The second trap is somewhat more brutal. It works exactly as the one described in (1 IC) — the deadweight trap.
The first trap is Very Hard (-20) to detect and Extremely Hard (-30) to disarm, the second is Sheer Folly (-50) to detect and Extremely Hard (-30) to disarm — proving the hole has been detected — a Hard (40) maneuver.
- 17 · Storage Room
- Food and drink supplies gathered in trade with the Dowinrim are housed in this room. The outer door is usually locked (Medium +0), but the inner door is often wide open. Barrels of wine and ale line one wall, while grains, bread and fruit are stacked in shelves on the other.
After T.A. 2110, the food has gone bad (quite a fragrance!), and the kegs of ale and wine have gone sour.
Should anyone drink any sour ale or wine they might contract (failing an RR);
• 01–20 Mild stomach virus. –30 for 1–4 days.
• 21–50 Severe stomach virus. –50 for 6–10 days, mild fever.
• 51–75 Acute stomach virus. –50 for 20–30 days, high fever, loss of 1–3 Constitution points.
• 76–90 Severe disorder of the digestive system, incubation period of 1–2 days vomiting. Blood in the motions and diarrhea leading to a slow and painful death (nasty).
• 91–00 Death within 48 hrs due to a severe outbreak of Botulism. Symptoms include : double-vision, difficulty in swallowing, nausea and extreme weakness.
- 18 · The Stars of Middle-earth
- In their early excavations the Dwarves unearthed a vein of clear crystal quartz. As the surrounding cavern was opened up it became clear to the Dwarves that they had stumbled upon a wondrous phenomenon. Roughly one hundred and ten feet long and ten feet wide, the quartz outcrop is a spectacular sight. What makes it even more so arc the small pockets of silver scattered throughout — the “stars.” The Dwarves are not sure how high the formation is. The cavern itself is over twenty feet high.
After T.A. 2110 there is a (10%) chance that Narvi’s ghost may be found staring at the stars.
- 19 · The Library
- A modest-sized fifteen foot by ten foot room, Celeb-ost’s library has many tomes on smithing, forging. smelting and mining techniques. Several desks for reading and copying arc positioned in a central row. The plans of Celeb-ost (including traps location) are locked in one of the desks (Hard — I 0 to open). The door to the room is also locked and Hard (-10) to open.
Sometime between T.A. 2106–2110 the room was gutted by fire, and most (85%) of the works were lost, including the map of Celeb-ost. Rubble and charred wood litter the floor.
- 20 · Mining Equipment Storage
- This storage room also doubles as a workshop for the carpenters of Celeb-ost. One section of the room is devoted to their tools, benches and uncompleted projects. Ropes. wood, torches, oil, picks, hammers and other sundry mining gear is piled throughout the rest of the room. None of the doors are locked.
7.4 Steel Fall
Steel Fall is situated at the top of Cirith Himninond, in the west-central Ered Mithrin. The lair of the dragon Uruial is located behind the waterfall, and to the north. The entrance is at the top of the cliff, eighty feet above the torrent created by the Falls. The stream that flows past Uruial’s lair and over the Falls later becomes a tributary of the River Taurduin (S. Forest river).
Steel Fall is so named because the rock face of the cliff is a steely grey color. This pigment also stains the water, further creating the impression of “flowing steel.” This effect is diluted the further one gets away from the falls, as untainted water is mingled with the stream.
Uruial’s lair is hard to get to (and find) if approached from the south, up the Cirith Himninond, for the cliff is a sheer face. From the north, however, the way is much easier.
- 1 · The Entrance
- Partially hidden by weathered rocks and loose scree, the entrance to Uruial’s lair is a simple cave mouth. It is twenty feet across and nearly the same in height. The walls of the passageway beyond are smooth, indicating the presence of flowing water at one time. The passage is over one hundred feet long and slopes downwards as it broadens out. The floor, in contrast to the walls, is rough and has many deep grooves and scratches in its surface.
- 2 · The Pit
- At this point the floor slopes away dramatically — a fall of thirty feet in the space of twenty. The floor surface is very uneven ; rough and broken, it could easily pitch the incautious into the stream below (see 4). The sound of the stream flowing over the Falls can clearly be heard from here.
- 3 · Bat Cave
- Since the passing of Uruial, a colony of nocturnal Cave Bats have taken up residence in this chamber. They roost here during the daylight hours, emerging after dark to seek out food. They shun the main cavern, instinct perhaps warning them away. Evidence of the years of their dwelling here can be seen on the floor of this cave — there is a large mound of bat guano which has precipitated a fascinating subterranean ecosystem.
The bats are harmless, but will fly (in large numbers) at people holding torches, seeking to put out the lights. Like (2) above the floor slopes steeply at the southern end of the cave.
- 4 · The Stream
- Through this deep cave a fast underground stream flows, emptying out over Steel Fall one hundred and fifty feet further downstream. The stream is fifteen feet wide and about ten feet deep. The part of the cave on the far (south) side of the stream is empty. Should anyone fall into the stream from (2) or (3) above it would be an extremely difficult maneuver to keep from dropping over the falls.
- 5 · Hoard Chamber
- Here the passage-way from ( I) levels out as it runs into a large cavern. Essentially level the chamber was created by the partial collapse of the ceiling above. The walls in this cave differ from the rest, having a rough, jagged exterior. At its widest point the chamber is ninety feet by one hundred and thirty feet.
In the southern half of the cave lies an area which stands slightly above the level of its surroundings. On this smaller shelf rests the (relatively) small, but extremely valuable hoard of Uruial.
Marvelous gems, jewelry, coins and precious stones of Valinor lay mingled with less noble finery from Beleriand. Weapons too are present ; several swords of Doriath, Gondolin and Nargothrond, as well as dread Orcish weapons and Balrog Whips lay scattered among the wealth.
Highlights of the hoard include:
- The Whip (“Fire-speaker”) of Gothmog: A +40 giant, flaming whip ; range 42 feet ; weighs 30 pounds. The whip is only aflame when wielded by Gothmog (or another Fire-spirit). When it strikes a victim it delivers an “E” Heat critical in addition to any other criticals obtained. (Note : the normal attack does not have to be a critical for this effect to work).
- Varda’s Tears: An incredibly beautiful necklace of twenty superb diamonds that glitter like the stars. The necklace is weightless, when worn, and will raise the presence and appearance of the wearer by : 7(Maia), 6(EIf), 4(Dunadan), 3(Common Man), 2(Hobbit, Dwarf. Wose or Ent), I (Orc, Troll, etc.). The necklace will also allow the wearer to cast any spell from the Starlights spell list ( I per round no PP penalty). Judging by the craftsmanship it could only have been made by Feanor. Any who see the wearer with the necklace must make an RR versus 10th level ; failure by 01–25 will result in the person being very jealous and envious, by 265I the person will try to take the necklace, and failure by 51–00 will result in the person attempting to kill the wearer. (Note : Noldor Elves and Dwarves receive a further –10 modification).
- Alchemical Book of Eol: This large is tome elegantly bound in black leather with golden inlay. The book is divided into two parts. The first contains notes made by Eol on his smithing and forging techniques as well as observations made during his trips to the Dwarven cities of Nogrod and Belegost. Many of the recipes and methods described herein have long been lost or forgotten, and the tome would be worth a fortune to either Dwarves or Elves. The second section of the book is enruned with all Alchemical base lists to 20th level. Every third page is, however, trapped with runes of Blinding True (RR failure indicates permanent blindness).
- Orcruin: (« Goblin-fire ») The sword of Hurin — The mate of Orcring, his brother Huor’s sword, Orcruin was lost by Hurin when he was taken captive by Morgoth. It has the following powers : +90 Black Eog sword. The edge to the sword shines with a red glow. It will grow intensely hot when near Orcs (300”). When it strikes an Orc the sword delivers a Heat critical of equal severity to any normal critical achieved. Upon command the sword will fire a flaming stream up to 3x/day (treat as a Firebolt, range 300”). If bloodied or wetted the sword will smoke and sizzle.
- Scimitar of the Goblin-King: This powerful weapon was the blade of a Goblin-king of Morgoth’s armies. It is a +45 (un)holy scimitar, that is « Of Slaying » Elves. The sword is intelligent and thirsts for Elvish blood ; it will attempt to force the wielder into combat with any Elf it sees. Should an Elf touch the weapon, they must make an RR versus Channeling of suffer the effects of an Absolution spell.
- Lute of the Golden Hand: (Maglor’s Harp) The lute of the great Bard Maglor (son of Fëanor), a gift from his father, » is an intricate piece of master craftsmanship. Constructed from cypress wood and inlaid with a tiny herringbone pattern of cypress wood and mahogany, the lute is coated with a sheen of iridescent varnish. The strings are made of golden mithril and copper and are always in tune. It was with this instrument that Maglor composed the Noldolantë, the basis for the Quenta Silmarillion. The Lute will triple the range of all Bardic Controlling Songs and Sound Control spells and allows silent casting of Bardic spells.
- Emerald of Unlight: Originally this was one of the many beautiful gems stolen by Morgoth from Finwë’s hall in Formenos. Morgoth later, reluctantly, gave it to Ungoliant. Consumed by her, the stone was changed. Whereas previously it had been a bright radiant green emerald, it is now an object of evil. The stone emanates an unearthly green glow. It is chill to the touch, and anyone who touches it must first make an RR versus 9th level or they will become insane. The stone acts as a x4 PP multiplier for evil spell users and will double the range of all evil spells (where applicable).
- Ondomacil: (Turgon’s Sword) — One of two swords used by Turgon (the other, Glamdring, was later used by Gandalf) it was lost when Turgon was killed during the sack of Gondolin. It is a +60 sword of pale-blue marble with an edge of clear laen. It will haste the wielder at will and allows the holder to Merge True with any stone.
- Nazguaga (BS. “Ring of the Eye”) — A golden-mithril band, this ancient ring is shaped like an Orc-skull with ruby eyes and diamond tusks. It was once worn by Storlaga the Orc-demon. A x6 PP multiplier, it gives the wearer the ability to watch anyone in their domain enabling the holder to keep a firm grip on their underlings. The ring has something of its own will and intelligence, and will drive the wearer along Morgoth’s path (use rule in RMC I). The ring unnaturally prolongs life, eventually transforming the owner into a Wraith. In addition to this the wearer can cast evil spells at 1/6th the normal power point cost. The ring can store up to six spells (to 13th level) at any one time. Furthermore the wielder can cast spells from the Fire Law and Wind Law lists up to their own level.
Besides these powerful magic items there are between 50–100 gems, jewels and baubles worth 2002000 gold pieces each. Over 2000 coins of gold, silver, copper and mithril lay scattered about the floor. There are also many lesser magic items mingled with coins (GM’s discretion).
- 5A · The Death Drake
- Lying atop all this wealth and splendor is the inert carcass of the Dragon Uruial. Red scales lie amid the treasures and around the ancient skeleton. In all, the body is over fifty feet long, from the skull to the tip of the tail.
To anyone entering the cave, Uruial will seem immobile — dead, basically. But if anyone should touch any of the treasure a perceptive character might notice a slight glimmer of red in the eye sockets of the dragon skull. This is Very Hard (-20) to detect. If one of the more powerful items is touched then Uruial will spring to life. His eyes will blaze a fiery red, and the Drake will attempt, during the course of combat, to maneuver the players away from the exit. (For more on Uruial see section 4.41 and 19.1.)
Bar-en-Bairanax (S. « The dwelling of Bairanax »), or Ovir Hollow, is the lair of Bairanax, a winged Cold-drake. Situated in the center of a highland valley in the southern Ered Mithrin, the hollow is surrounded by an incomplete ring of outcropping rock. Within these Bairanax has delved a series of caves.
Bairanax enlisted the aid of Orcs to build his lair : the tunnels, the chambers and the traps. The Orcs worked quickly for their impatient master, hoping to be rewarded for their efforts. Instead, Bairanax celebrated the completion of his home by eating them all. Any challengers to his hoard will find him a cunning and elusive foe. Depending on his mood he will meet his victims in a variety of ways. He may try to trap them, he may toy with them, or alternatively he might simply dive on them from above, making a quick kill.
- 1 · Entrances
- There are two entrances, at ground level, to Bairanax’s caves. The northern one is larger, and more sheltered, while the southern entrance slopes downwards quite sharply and appears to be used more frequently.
- 2 · Eating Chamber
- Bairanax is a fastidious Drake, preferring not to ear in his hoard chamber ; instead, he dines in this cave. A large cavern, one hundred and twenty feet by ninety feet, it forms an intersection of three passageways. The floor of the cave is littered with the bones and skulls of Bears, Orcs, and Men. Along one edge of the cavern there is a stack of human skulls arranged like a gruesome trophy display. There are dried blood stains on the walls and over the floor.
- 3 · Lower Tunnels
- These two tunnels slope steeply, well below the surface outside. They meet up underground, connecting the two forks of Bairanax’s caves.
- 4 · Ovir Hollow
- At the center of the Hollow there is a point that lies directly above the passageway outlined in (3) above. This point is the center of a large pit trap. Encompassing an area forty-five feet by thirty feet. the trap consists of two large steel doors buried beneath five feet of packed earth. This makes the trap Absurd (-70) to detect. Bairanax can trigger the trap at will, so long as he is within fifteen hundred feet of it. Anyone standing on the indicated area will fall sixty feet and land in the passageway below. At the same time two large steel portcullis will crash down, sealing of the tunnel. The portcullis are not locked in place when down, so they can be lifted — but they arc extremely heavy, each weighing over seven hundred pounds. Bairanax, of course, can easily lift them.
- 5 · Secret Door
- Seemingly a dead end to the passageway, there is actually a secret door here which leads back outside. The door is Hard (-10) to detect from the inside and Medium to detect (+0) from the outside. The door can only be opened from the inside and is activated by pushing firmly against it. The door will fall outwards like a drawbridge. Bairanax uses it to trap victims within the Hollow.
- 6 · Hoard Chamber
- Situated at the end of a long winding tunnel is the hoard chamber of Bairanax. A cave of considerable size, two hundred and ten feet by eighty feet with a ceiling thirty-five feet high in the center, Bairanax’s treasure is located on the far side of the cavern.
The hoard itself is quite modest when compared to others found in the Grey Mountains, but still rich enough to attract fools to make attempts on it. Over the years he has accumulated many weapons, the spoils of vanquished foes. Many coins of gold, silver, and copper form a large mound on which the Dragon sleeps. Bairanax spends 40% of his time in this cave, when not in hibernation.
Specifically, the hoard contains :
• 1000 gold pieces worth of gems, jewelry, etc.
• 500 – 2000 gold pieces.
• 1000–2000 silver pieces.
• 1500–2500 copper pieces.
• 100–500 coins of other various denominations.
The magic items include :
• Several +5 to +20 Axes and Battle-axes.
• Various +5 to +15 1-handed edged weapons.
• An assortment of +5 to +10 exotic weapons, such as Flails. Kynacs, Maces, Ges, etc.
• Boots of Waterwalking.
• A Ring of Invisibility. The ring can be used 3x/day and the wearer will only remain invisible if he does not attempt any violent action.
• A Chain shirt (AT13) of Dwarven make (and size) that does not encumber and adds +20 to DB.
• Gauntlet of Death : When worn this glove allows the wearer to cast any one of the Black Channels 1.
- 7 · Rock Outcrop
- During the periods when Bairanax is active he spends a lot of his time “perched” atop this large boulder “sunning” himself. From his vantage point he can survey the entire valley.
- 8 · Upper Entrance
- This passage leads up to the third (upper) entrance of Bairanax’s caves. Bairanax prefers to enter his caves through this site. as he generally returns to his lair with prey taken on his hunting. He will then proceed to (2) and devour it.
7.6 Buhr Thurasig
During the mid-1600’s of the Third Age. Buhr Thurasig is a small town in the far northern section of Rhovanion. It is nestled in the lower hills of a south-reaching spur of the Grey Mountains, near the foot of Daredvic’s Gap. The fortified settlement is surrounded by a number of single and multi-family farmsteads. The inhabitants are primarily Northmen. though representing two distinct types : the “urban Northmen” comprise the bulk of the townspeople. while the farmers and herdsman surrounding it are “Gramm”. a more tightly knit, clannish folk.
Economically, the town provides a center of trade for a portion of the far northern Rhovanion. Miners, both Dwarvish and Mannish, bring minerals, trappers carry in animal hides, and gatherers collect precious herbs from the higher reaches of the mountains to barter for food, weapons, horses, cloth, and other finished goods, while peddlers from further south come with wine, fruits, and such goods as can only be obtained from warmer dimes to exchange for the highland resources.
A trade fair, held annually, brings in merchants, craftsmen, and traders from up to fifty miles away to display and sell their wares to the people who also gather from a considerable distance, seeking to replenish their supplies or obtain items not readily available in their own towns.
A number of Gramuz clans have homesteads in the area surrounding Buhr Thurasig, both on the lower part, around the South guard house, where rich land provides a fertile area for farming and in the uplands, particularly on the gentler slopes to the west of the town. Nestled in the hillsides are shelves level enough for cultivation and offering rich grazing for livestock.
The residents of a homestead usually consist of two to three extended family groups occupying a large building called a languz (long-house, corrupted). Primarily agricultural, the homesteaders generally maintain extensive gardens, small herds of sheep and occasionally a few cows. To supplement their diets, they gather nuts, fruits, and herbs from the forests of the mountainside. During the long, cold winter, when they are confined close to the hearth, they weave splendid fabrics, do fine leather-work and carve tools and toys from bits of wood.
Each Gramuz family has a chieftain, or head-man, but the Bearwyn clan claims the most members in the region, and therefore its headman generally wields influence and power second only to the head of the Council of Five in the town (on which he traditionally sits also). The agricultural folk of the area elect an additional representative to the Council of Five, but having only two delegates, they are constantly in the minority, and the Gramuz feel that their interests tend to be slighted in favor of the townspeople’s needs.
This aggravation, however, is more than counterbalanced by the necessity of unity among the inhabitants of the region to provide a defense against the many dangers present. The townsfolk of Buhr Thurasig recognize well enough their need for the support of the warrior-trained Gramuz, and tend to be careful not to do anything that would cause a serious rift. In times of threat or peril the peoples of the area come together in defense of each other.
By the end of the 1600’s, Buhr Thurasig ceases to exist. Plagued by Dragons and Orcs, its surviving residents move south, leaving the town’s buildings to rot away.
Buhr Thurasig is the focal point of this product’s mini-campaign found in sections 14.0 to 17.0. Various layouts of this town can be found in those sections.
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