11 · The Dark-Ice Fortress
Setting: Kala Dulakurth, in the northern foothills of the Ered Mithrin, any time between T.A. 1640 and T.A. 1975.
Requirements: A group of mid-to-high level adventurers of neutral disposition or oriented to the cause of Sauron. Elves will be a distinct disadvantage, but half-orcs or half-trolls will be better received.
Aids: Supplies, a guide, and documents guaranteeing safe-passage.
Turmoil in the Forodwaith
Legends tell of a breed of Orcs that roam the Forodwaith, lingering in the lands of their ancient master. The Ice-orcs, as they have become known, are rumored to live in a large fortress north of the Grey Mountains.
Many thought the rumors dubious at best, but now the elite of Angmar know it to be true. The Witch-king has learnt of them, and they are now his allies. He uses them to patrol his northern flank, and has been impressed with their skills in the icy terrain.
Of late, however, he has become concerned with the instability of their leadership. Sauron, who communes with the priest, Urdrak, has informed the Witch-king of the potential for political unrest. The Lord of Angmar cannot afford any disruption of his plans, and cannot take the time to deal with the problem himself, nor can he spare any of his most trusted underlings.
He has given the problem to his second in command, Dancu, to deal with. Dancu has decided to call in outside help : enter the PCs. The players, perhaps journeying through Angmar, will be appraised and contacted by Dancu’s agents, and brought to Carn-dum. Unless they have previously proven themselves to Sauronic forces before, the PCs will probably have to undergo some kind of test prior to their departure.
If they prove satisfactory to the Angmarim Lords they will be outfitted with supplies, a guide, and shields with special badges guaranteeing their safe conduct through Angmar’s territory.
The players must first journey to Kala Dalakurth. The route they take will be east from Carn-dum, across the Forodwaith. While the PCs are given safe conduct, this will not protect them from the elements, or other physical dangers. Upon reaching the Dark-ice fortress they will be admitted without incident. No Ice-orc will question the validity of their documents.
The PCs must assess the situation, keeping in mind that who-ever rules the Ice-orcs in the future should be someone who will defer to Angmar, and endeavor to maneuver the situation to their advantage.
The arrival of the players at the castle will have a profound effect on the three principle protagonists there (see section 7.2). Urdrak will view the characters as a sign that he has tacit support from Angmar for his take-over plans. Dakalmog will react suspiciously, and is not about to give up his power. His influence over some of the neophytes and the younger acolyte priests could prove decisive. Nadash is something of an unknown quantity, but he does know that if Urdrak wins power his life will most likely end abruptly.
Once the fighting starts, within three days after the PCs arrive, the players will be in a very dangerous position, especially if Urdrak fails to gain control. The do not know the intricacies of the fortress, and in the heat of the battle the Ice-orcs may overlook their diplomatic status.
Success for the PCs will bring riches, both from Angmar and the Ice-orc King. A reward from Angmar, though, is something of a double-edged sword, and the PCs may not find it all to their liking (e.g., an audience with the Witch-king, perhaps!). If the players decide to double-cross Angmar, then they would most likely be hunted down by assassins of Sauron for the rest of their lives. Failure, in any case, means that the last thing on the players” minds will be rewards.
For more information on Angmar and the Witch-king, see ICE’s Empire of the Witch-king.
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