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Author Topic: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Background Material  (Read 536 times)

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Offline damilano

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The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Background Material
« on: October 07, 2014, 02:52:22 PM »
The below represents common knowledge in Arthedain and the lands about and contains a summary of the party's short history together.  Each player should familiarize himself with this brief summary before beginning play. Please do not post to this thread. 

Terror in the Trollshaws:  The Tale of the Fifth Overseer


The Tale of the Fifth Overseer takes place in the world of Middle-Earth, as created by author J.R.R. Tolkien, and elaborated upon by Iron Crown Enterprises in their MERP and ROLEMASTER Adventure and Campaign Modules.  It is the Third Age, the year 1640 S.R.  The adventure begins near the Last Inn, which stands hard by the ancient bridge across the Greyflood on the Great East Road. The Greyflood marks the borders between the last Dunadan Kingdom of Arthedain and two wild and dangerous lands known as the Trollshaws and the Angle.  The former is reputed to be the haunt of wild and animistic Hillmen clans, ferocious trolls, orcs, and wolves.  The latter is the home of warlike Vulseggi culture, which bears no love for their onetime overlords, the Dunedain.

It is also the stomping grounds of the Vulseggi’s blood enemies, the so-called Dark Rangers, a group which grew out of a corrupted and renegade sepoy army of the Dunedain hundreds of years ago. 

There are several ancient watchtowers in the Angle, in various states of ruin and occupation. The most important of these, the famous Tirthon (Watch-Pine),  guards the Great East Road itself, and is held by the Vulseggi .  Another, called Dol Cultirith, is held by the Dark Rangers.   Westward along the Great East Road, one comes to the prosperous town of Bree, north of which stands the last great city of the Northern Dunedain, their capitol of Fornost Erain.  Further north and east lies the ancient and abandoned land of Angmar, where once the dreaded Witch-King held sway.

Important Events

The Great Plague which devastated the northlands four years ago has at last subsided, leaving some half of the population dead.  But life springs forth anew, and trade and agriculture have begun to recover.

The Great War of 1409 is now only a dim and uncomfortable memory; it was during this war that the Dunedain lost their original capitol of Annuminas on the banks of Lake Evendim to the forces of the Witch-King.  Only scholars now remember the time before 861, when the larger Dunadan Kingdom of Arnor was splintered into the successor states of Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur.  These last two kingdoms were destroyed in the war of 1409, but it is widely thought that the power of the Witch-King of Angmar was also destroyed in that terrible conflagration.

However, rumors have begun to circulate that seem to imply a great power growing in Angmar again, and whispered tales speak of  its agents: a cult of evil magicians and spies calling themselves the Iron Wind.

It was some 40 years ago that King Argeleb II granted the land of the Shire to the Halfling refugees fleeing The Trollshaws and the Angle, and their civilization thrives.  There, on the banks of the Brandywine River and further westward, the hobbit-folk have begun to multiply, their farms burst with produce; they have even set up their own simple government, of which the King has seemingly taken no notice.  The strange and ancient town of Bree, on the edge of the old Barrow-Downs, has grown in importance and prosperity since the arrival of the Halflings, and now men and hobbits live side by side in peace and friendship.

The Party's History Together:

By, chance, it seems, the various members of the adventuring party have arrived, by their separate ways, at nearly the same time, at the camp of Anselm the Riverman.  Anselm is a well-known and well-respected trader of Northron extraction, and his camp this season is at the east bank of the Greyflood, on a gentle ridge some distance north of The Last Bridge.  Anselm and his large group of friends, colleagues, and family have offered the travelers his hospitality, re-equipping them, tending to their wounds, and offering advice.

Throk son of Grok and Craddock Jorg arrived together, having chosen a route through the wild from the Misty Mountains.  Rumors of brigands on the roads impelled this choice, but it was hard going.  They soon became lost in the Trollshaws, wandering until they came to the natural boundary of the River, far north of the Last Bridge.  Worse still, the two companions have had to fight for their lives many times.  Quicksand, wolf packs, savage Macha Mur tribesmen, and even a band of Dark Rangers caused trouble for Throk and Jorg, and now each can say that the other has saved him from certain death more than once on this hard road.

Clotilde Gorghirra arrived at the camp a day earlier, to ask Anselm for information about the disappearance of her father.  Though Anselm could offer no new information, he generously offered to spread the word to the other camps, and promised to share any news with Clotilde -- if he could ever find her again.  With her was Funkmaggot Ragsmokes, who wishing to avoid the hit-men of Hand, had been hiding out in the wilds of Rhudaur for weeks.  Motivated at last by hunger and cold, he decided to join with Clotilde to seek Anselm's camp for aid where, to his great astonishment, it was generously given.  But trouble erupted twice en route: once, when Clotilde had to use her considerable feminine wiles to distract Hand's agents, allowing Funkmaggot to find a suitable hiding-place, and again, when Funkmaggot had to resort to his bow to "dissuade" savage Macha Mur scouts from lopping off Clotilde's ears.

Weiric of Rhun, having been unable to find work in Cameth Brin, has wandered lonely and destitute down the River-Road, at last finding Anselm's camp.  Weiric has been earning his keep there for two weeks, playing his songs and telling his tales, which Anselm and his folk have enjoyed immensely.  Though food and warmth are welcome, Weiric has sorely missed the jangling of coins in his purse, and now he awaits a stroke of good fortune.

Gilaen Gildarion and Isengrim of Fornost have been journeying together since Isengrim's troubles at the Royal College. Having gone first Nothva Rhaglaw, where good supplies were still available cheap, they continued on over the old disused trade-road, hoping to short-cut to the Last Bridge.  They then managed to catch the last Riverman boat of the season, thus crossing the Greyflood and arriving at Anselm's camp.  With Gilaen's help, Isengrim has survived the frightening journey, and even after several difficult weeks, the clumsy scholar still cannot understand why the attractive young lady has stayed with him, unless her obvious love of his scholarly knowledge, particularly about Dunadan history and royalty, has engaged her attention.  After all, what other reason could there be?

Anselm's insistence that the party band together for their difficult journey over the old River-Road to the Last Bridge seemed good advice.  Thus, after a week of hard, cold, travel, they have found themselves a day or so north of the Last Bridge, and each is looking forward to the comforts of the Last Inn, famed for its fine food and drink.

This is where our adventure, "Terror in the Trollshaws:  The Tale of the Fifth Overseer" begins.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2015, 02:00:23 PM by damilano »
No, the RED is tens.