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Category: Middle-earth (Page 3 of 4)

Adventures in Middle-earth News: Rules Clarifications and Other Updates

Campaign News

Lots of updates on our Heroes of Arnor campaign!
  • Read the recap of our last adventure (Chapter Two).
  • I’ve added two new maps of Arnor region and Elnost locale using a cool, scrollable map technology. Click the full-screen icon on the top right on the maps page — how cool! BTW, if anyone wants to use maps like these for your campaigns, it’s a plugin I bought and installed in WordPress called Mapplic (read the docs here), or I can train you in person how to use it if you like.
  • Read the official rules clarifications on our questions about the Journey Rules which I got from Jon Hodgson at Cubicle 7. I also added a resource page, renamed the top menu item to ‘Middle-earth’, and organized all our new content I’m mentioning under that menu.
  • I’ve also reread how Skills Checks work in 5e, and earlier posted on skill checks best practices, including Tracking.

Industry News

I ran a converted adventure of The One Ring adventure ‘The Battle for Ringfort’ a few months ago. Someone recently ran this game and constructed some cool terrain — see his full set of photos on this blog post. I love it! I aspire to build terrain and have better production values in the years ahead. So cool!

Cubicle 7 has unveiled the cover to the forthcoming Adventures in Middle-earth Loremaster’s Guide by renowned fantasy artist Ralph Horsley. See below.

Heroes of Arnor: The Two Troublesome Trolls


Chapter Two

In Oct. (the 13th Day of Urui, T.A. 1640), the heroes are in Elnost and receive a summons to meet with the governer. En route to the audience, the scouts see Morwen arriving from her morning ride. She has the swiftest horse west of the Misty Mountains and rides unattended, despite the ongoing objections from the governor’s guard.

The heroes meet with Lord Elasander, who bids them investigate the prey that is killing sheep among the farm of the East Wood.

The party journeys and meets with Lien, a farmer, and his wife Lillen, who report details about the missing sheep. Lien leads the adventurers into the woods and shows them a clue he has just found. Footprints in the mud. Very large.


The heroes set out to track the beastly predators. Just as the sun sets, they find the trail terminating into a mountainside where no doubt the trolls shelter from the sun in a cave. Taking to the cliffs above, the heroes wait and watch.

As night fully darkens, two trolls come out, arguing and complaining. From their conversation it appears they are named Gwilam and Floid. After they trolls are out of earshot, the heroes investigate the stinking filth of the cave the trolls call home.

Aside from the carcasses of sheep and the remains of some unfortunate wandering men, there is nothing of interest in the cave.

The heroes hatch a plan. A few hours later, an elaborate trap made from the spears and debris of the dead men is put into place. Now, the heroes must but wait.

Around 3 a.m., the trolls return, a sheep under each arm. As they pull back the doors to their cave, Gwilam, the larger troll who went in first, takes a rack of spears in the chest! As the troll screams in pain, the heroes attack. The battle rages, and the trolls throw hapless sheep at the heroes until finally the two sides engage in melee. A couple of blows from the trolls remind the heroes that they are one troll-swipe away from death! In the end, the spear trap gave the heroes the edge they needed, and Gwilam falls dead. Floid flees momentarily in panic, then turns to face his pursuing foes before going down under the flash of swords glinting by the starlight.

The heroes return to Elnost, troll heads in sacks as proof of their victory. In court, Coronthir rolls the heads in front of Lord Elasander, who then kicks them into a sunbeam, where they turn to stone.

In days to come, Lord Elasander mounts each stone troll-head on pedestals which adorn each side of the entryway to his audience chamber, a sober reminder of the courage of his scouts, and of the looming threat outside Elnost’s walls.

[su_button icon=”icon: map” background=”#000000″ color=”#FFFFFF” link=”″] View Adventure Location [/su_button]


[su_spoiler title=”Fellowship Phase” style=”fancy”]

Fellowship Phase Activities

  • Éothain — Éothain is researching lore, asking: 1) What is the Witch King in Angmar doing?, 2) What are the Witch King’s weaknesses?, and 3) What are the domestic politics in Angmar?
  • Carthaen — Carthaen, an heir of the lost kingdom of Carthedian, is researching Lore, searching for Elendilmir,a token of royalty throughout the Kingdom of Arnor crafted and presented to the High King of Gondor and Arnor, Elendil the Tall. He is specifically looking for 1) when Isildur was last seen with the Elendilmir (presumably where he died), 2) the location where Isildur died, and 3) if anyone else had progress in looking for this heirloom.
  • Coronthir — Healed from the effects of Shadow.
  • Guthorn — Changed a trait.


Heroes of Arnor: Gathering at Elnost


Chapter One

On the 1st Day of Urui, in the year 1640 of the Third Age, morning dawns at Dispar. It is a small Arthedain border town east of Rhudaur. As the cock crows at the The Grey Fox Inn, several adventurers gather.

The elvish scholar Coronthir and the wandering dwarf Valin make introductions to their new fellow scouts. Guthorn, Aldin, Beorn, and Adrahil, are all men weary of travel but yet eager to join in service as scouts for Arthedain.

Coronthir relates news he has heard of events in Rhudaur. King Broggha, a Hillmen ruler at the citadel of Cameth Brin, has married a blonde Northman woman. This is causing some controversy among the Hillmen tribes.

Aldin shares something darker: in the night, he had a troubled vision of three smokey symbols. Sigils of a Hand, an Eye, and a Mouth appeared, vomiting forth from Angmar, coming across the mountains towards Arnor. Aldin knows not what this portends, but he fears something evil is afoot.

Krelman, the inn’s bartendar, stares at the travellers from his one good eye and shoes away Zaranda, a local hag who sits near the company and laughs wickedly at their odds of living through the winter.

Boarding a local barge, the company journey up the river Caranduin and make their way to the fortress of Elnost, foremost of the Arthedain allied border settlements east of Rhudaur. Lord Elasander, the local governer, greets the travellers. Although Elasander’s first wife died some time ago, he recently remarried; his new wife, the beautiful, raven-haired Morwen, attends the audience.

Elasander receives the company into his service as scouts, and tasks the heroes with exploring and opening a safe route across the East-wood. The goal is that trade may commence between the towns Dispar and Carandor.

Hirgon, Elasander’s red-haired son from his first wife, departed abruptly the day before to blaze a trail across the East-wood. He was not content to wait for the new scouts. Elasander charges the company with keeping an eye out for his hot-tempered son as they make their way across the wood.

The company prepares to depart. They each have a stipend of 20 silver pennies a month from which some borrow to improve their armor and gear. A squire named Giles is to accompany them with a pony to carry their provisions.

As they set out, Valin the dwarf takes great care to find Hirgon’s trail. After many difficult hours, the company makes camp. At the end of the following day, as the party makes camp, they find signs that Hirgon’s group was ambushed.

Investigating, they find signs of orcs. They follow into the night hours, the nearly-full moon lighting their way. They finally find the bodies of Hirgon’s unfortunate companions, all slain and hanging from a tree near a stream. Dead orc bodies are in a pile nearby. Signs are that Hirgon yet lives, and so the company pushes through their weariness, hoping to find Hirgon before the worst happens.

Finally, the company come upon a group of orcs led by a shaman. They chant “Angmar, all must serve Angmar!” Before them, in front of a bon fire, Hirgon is alive but tied upon an altar, soon to be sacrificed. The orcs continue to chant with frenzied voices:

The witch-king has his allies three:
a hand to make enemies flee,
a mouth for spies whispering lies,
and an eye which hidden things see.

The Hand from shadows tests his might
against the ones who dare to fight
the looming scourge, sent forth to purge
the land from those who thwart the night.

From Gundabad the Mouth decrees
the work of spies who move with ease
in Rhudaur’s lands, where darkest bands
proclaim ‘Angmar all must appease’.

The hidden Eye is seen by all
those low and high under the thrall
of the Eye’s gaze, which on men stays,
turning the pure towards their fall.

From the woods, the company attacks with bowshot. Outnumbered nearly three to one, the fight looks hopeless, but the brave scouts fight without fear. Two of the company go down, terribly injured. Giles, unarmed, but showing courage far beyond his years, takes up a fallen orc’s weapon and jumps into the fray. Finally, when only two orcs remain, the orcs break and run, only to be hunted down and slain. As dark clouds drift across the night moon, the company’s cheer in saving Hirgon is cut short.

Valin the dwarf lies dead.

As the heroes nurse their wounds and make plans to honor the body of their fallen companion, they talk in somber tones of what they’ve learned. Something dark is afoot. All signs point to a new darkness issuing from Angmar.

[su_button icon=”icon: map” background=”#000000″ color=”#FFFFFF” link=”″] View Adventure Location [/su_button]


[su_spoiler title=”Advancement Notes” style=”fancy”]All characters level up to 2nd level. Scouts are receiving 20 silver pennies a month as a stipend (some have borrowed against their pay to acquire gear from the armory). A new character will need to replace poor, deceased Valin! [/su_spoiler]

Middle-earth in TA 1640


Heroes of Arnor

Our new ‘B’ campaign is ‘Heroes of Arnor’. Check out the trailer!:

Was doing some research in preparation for a potential Middle-earth campaign. Here are my notes.

A Brief History of Middle-earth & Arnor

In twelve minutes, you can learn just about all you need to know! Watch these two videos if you have time:

Middle-earth in TA 1640

This adventure is set in Arnor, over a thousand years before the events of The Hobbit. Here is some background on Middle-earth in that region at the time of Third Age 1640:

  • Durin’s Folk still inhabit Moria; Erebor won’t be founded until the year 1999. The colony in the Iron Hills won’t be established until 2590.
  • In Mirkwood, around TA 1,000, a dark sorcerer known as the Necromancer took residence at the stronghold of Dol Guldur, though none will know until nearly a millennium later that this is the spirit of Sauron.
  • Also around TA 1,000, the Valar sent the five Wizards, or Istari, including Gandalf, to oppose Sauron and rally the free peoples of Middle-Earth against him.
  • The Ringwraiths reappeared in the year TA 1300, and began steadily assaulting Arnor (the Numenorian kingdoms in exile). Whether the Witch King (the head Ringwraith, or Nazgul) was acting on his own, or was being guided by Sauron, is not known.
  • The Beorning culture won’t come into existence until after the year 2941.
  • Arthedain is the only remaining North-kingdom; the current ruler is Argeleb II, tenth King of Arthedain (1589-1670).
  • Rhudaur is controlled by Hill-men allied with Angmar.
  • The Shire was ceded to the Hobbits less than forty years ago; the Stoors arrived only ten years ago.
  • The Great Plague swept through Middle-earth in 1636 to 1637. Hobbits wandering back east should be very rare (if at all).
  • Dale would be thriving, but the inhabitants would not be known as Bardings, but simply as ‘men of Dale’ or ‘Dale folk’.
  • The current Esgaroth would be the old town that had fallen into ruin long before the coming of Thorin and Company.
  • The present ruler of Gondor is Tarondor, twenty-seventh King of Gondor (1636-1798).His predecessor Telemnar (who ruled 1634-1636) died in the Great Plague with all his children. The capital is Minas Anor, Osgiliath having burned during the Kin-strife (1432-1448) and then having been abandoned following the Great Plague. Minas Anor will be renamed Minas Tirith after the fall of Minas Ithil in 2002.

Pregen Characters

You can use the pregens in the book (except for the Beorning).

Custom Characters

If you create your own custom character:

Abilities: Use the stat array method from the D&D Player’s Handbook.

Cultures: All cultures are allowed except Beornings (Beornings don’t exist in T.A. 1640). Note the following modifications or additions to cultures.

  • Bardings — Bardings at this time are simply known as Men of Dale or Dale Folk.
  • Dwarves — Use background as-is, but your origin has you be from Moria (or Khazad-dûm), which at this time is still alive and well with Dwarves. Only in T.A. 1980 do they dig too deep and encounter the Balrog. Erebor won’t be founded until the year 1999. The colony in the Iron Hills won’t be established until 2590.
  • Men of Arnor — This is a new culture which is simply a renamed Dúnedain, Man of Minas Tirith, or Riders of Rohan cultures.
  • NPC Races — Hillmen, Elves of Rivendell and Elves of Lindon, and Noldor Elves are not in the Adventures in Middle-earth book nor are they playable races (although you’ll be seeing them as NPCs).

Starting Equipment: Use the standard starting equipment and money appropriate to your class and culture, and standard of living (I’m still deciphering these rules).

Character Names: Names are an amazingly important part of keeping the tone of Middle-earth. Don’t make up a name; rather, select a name from the Adventures in Middle-earth book appropriate to your race and culture. Alternatively, select a name from this page: I would ideally like all characters to have unique first letters to their names to avoid confusion. Lastly, please review all character names past the GM for approval (to make sure you selected the right culture, etc.). 🙂
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