Saturday, 29 April 2017

Barrow of the Unknown Prince

ADVENTURE BACKGROUND

The North Road Inn and the thran of Taryn are the backdrop of a scenario involving the adventurers in the hunt for a killer with the prize being a hidden Jarin tomb.  This scenario is designed to bring a disparate group of adventurers together in the wilderness of Nuthela where many different cultural types interact.  Adventurers best suited for this scenario are from the Jarin, Ivinian, Taelda, Anoan or Harnic cultural groups.

About 600 years ago, a Prince of Jara who fought alongside the Khuzdul at Sirion died on the march back to Azadmere.  As a friend of the Khuzdul they granted his last wish and buried him in the fashion of Jara in a stone-lined earthen mound.  Since they were far from Gedan the Prince was buried in Nuthela not far from the Ovien River.  Knowledge of his tomb by the Jarin was lost within a few generations.  Centuries passed, the barrow went undiscovered, and became completely overgrown with trees and thick brush.

Likely the barrow would never have been discovered, appearing to be just another low foothill of the Rayesha mountains.  However, about 100 years ago a landslide changed the course of a small stream and washed away the side of the barrow revealing  the stone-lined entry to the tomb.  Eventually the entire passage was uncovered and the entry chamber became immersed in three feet of water.  It remained this way, clear to anyone passing by, but located off the beaten track.  In 714 TR a Kaldoric merchant from Olokand lost two pack mules while crossing the Ovien ford.  He unwisely set out with one retainer to locate them, passing up a small stream where he was set upon by a group of gargu-kyani.  His retainer died holding off the gargun while the merchant fled upstream.  Just when he thought he would be discovered he spotted the small entry cave to the barrow and hid inside.  Once inside he was amazed by the runic inscripted door and elaborate frieze as well as the wardog statues.  Unable to open the door he made note of the barrow's location and when the gargun had moved on he quickly left and caught up with the caravan going north.

The map he made became a matter of idle gossip while he was in Orbaal.  This gossip got back to the Jarin resistance, the aenghysa who felt this might be the location of the lost barrow of Barryn Albarra (the hound of Barra), a rallying cry for Jarin and a possible source for his magical spear.  However, before the aenghysa could approach the merchant he sold it to an Ivinian mercenary named Sorevaal.    Sorevaal has now recruited a few mercenary friends, shown them the map, invented tales of huge riches and convinced them to journey with him down the Fur road to investigate the barrow.

To complicate matters, one of the mercenaries, Bedan plans to steal the map from Sorevaal and gain the treasure for himself, and the aenghysa have also sent six men to find Sorevaal so they can get the map.  At this point the adventurers come into the story as they stop at the North Road Inn on the night in which one of the parties acts, kills Sorevaal and steals the map.


THE ADVENTURE EVENTS

The adventurers arrive in Taryn on Peanu 10 (mid-spring 720 TR).  In this hilly region, covered with mixed deciduous and coniferous forest, the snow has melted from all but the hill-tops and swollen the local stream to its largest size.

Eventually, the adventurers end up at the North Road Inn where they will find that a group of four Ivinians have taken up residence in two of the front average rooms and have been in Taryn for 3 days.  Since arriving Sorevaal has stayed often with Idgel and spoken with him at length about the countryside south on the Fur Road.  Sorevaal was directed to Ondag (#13) whose Taelda wife knows about the local area and asked her about streams north of the Ovien ford.

EVENT 1: A Drunken Party
On the night the adventurers arrive at the Inn Sorevaal, Bedan, Ilmgar, Lyvan and Ramald are drinking heavily in the Inn.  Their presence has kept away all locals and there are no others travellers at the Inn (with the possible exception of the adventurers).    Coming in out of the rain are six Jarin travellers wearing heavy slickers to protect from the rain.  They rode in on horseback.  These men are the aenghysa led by Gyffal and include Chamka, Iser, Told, Shem and Aethelad.  They do not wish to confront the Ivinians as of yet and will retire to the common room quickly if possible.

The sight of rain-soaked Jarin will amuse Bedan who is a bit of a joker and he will poke fun at the, "drowned Jarin rats", "wouldn't last at sea", "canna fight worth a dram", etc.  This may provoke a fight if the adventurers do not intercede but before blood is spilled Vallus will stop the fighting with his skill with the staff.  Denia will cast Disruption on any overly active participant.  Gyffal will come down after the disturbance and talk at length heatedly with Vallus, adventurers may here Gyffal say, "you help us, our that Ivinian dog will find out who you are!"

EVENT 2: Pitched Battle
In the early morning hours of the next day while it is still pitch black outside, the parties act to gain the treasure map.  While Vallus and Dania stay safely locked in their room, he has agreed with Gyffal not to get involved, the aenghysa attack the Ivinians in their rooms.  While Aethelad goes out and readies the horses in the yard for flight and opens the Innyard gates - the other five aenghysa will force the door to Sorevaal's room.  The fight will be loud with the surprised Ivinians howling battle cries.  Assuming the adventurers do not get involved the Ivinians will drive off the aenghysa by sheer ferocious fighting.  Chamka, Iser and Aethelad will flee into the night and hide in the surrounding forests of Nuthela.  Gyffal and Shem will be killed and Shem will be lightly injured and unable to escape.  Amongst the Ivinians Sorevaal will be badly injured and near death, Lyvan is killed and Bedan and Ramald are lightly injured. Once Vallus and Dania come out of hiding, Dania will heal Sorevaal but he will remain bedridden for days.

Ivinian Mercenaries
STR 13 CON 14 SIZ 12 INT 9 POW 8 DEX 12 APP 10
Move 3 Hits 13 Ftg 20 MSR 5 DM +1d4
R&LL 2/5 AB 2/5 CH 2/6 R&LA 2/4 HD ⅘ Broadsword (1d8+1) SR 2 A% 47 P% 25
Dagger (1d4+2) SR 3 A% 37 P% 13
Fist Attack 42, Conceal 50.
Note: The AP statistics assume they are wearing their leather armour in all likelihood in this particular event they will only be wearing linen tunics of AP 0.

Aenghysa
STR 12 CON 12 SIZ 12 INT 10 POW 15 DEX 12 APP 11
Move 3 Hits 12 Ftg 20 MSR 5 DM 0
R&LL 2/4 AB 2/4 CH 2/5 R&LA 2/3 HD 2/4
Shortsword (1d6+1) SR 2 A% 37 P% 35
Dagger (1d4+2) SR 3 A% 57 P% 56
Bow (1d8+1) SR 3 A% 41
Fist Attack 42, Sneak 76, Hide 45, Conceal 50.
Note: They are wearing leather armour and carry shortswords and daggers.

EVENT #3: Murder!
The next day Idgel and several of his guardsmen will be at the Inn harassing any Jarin guests.  During the day Idgel will be visiting Sorevaal while his guardsmen stalk about the town spoiling for a fight.   Eventually, four guards, Idgel and Ramald will set out after the Jarin by mid-day.

The next night Bedan kills Sorevaal by stabbing him in the heart and steals the map.  He then disappears with a pack mule south on the Fur road.  When the body is discovered, Vallus will be extremely worried because he died in his charge while Idgel is out tracking the Jarin, and because Bedan is also missing possibly kidnapped for ransom.  Ceno will mention that while he was sleeping in the stable loft he was awakened by a laughing Bedan loading up the pack mule the Ivinians brought and setting out of the Inn.

If the adventurers are not completely dense, they will decide to track Bedan on his trail south to the Jarin Barrow.  If they wait for Idgel's return several days later, (they were unsuccessful), they will see Idgel charge that Vallus killed Sorevaal and was in on the original attack.  Because of the dishonourable mode of the attack Ramald will insist that Vallus be dragged away and beheaded.

EVENT #4: Tracking Bedan
Adventurers tracking Bedan will likely lose his trail somewhere on the Fur road, since a successful roll must be made every 2 turns.  Instead they can try following the Fur road south and hope to spot where Bedan and the pack mule pull off of the trail.  Or if the question Ondag's wife (#13) they will find that Sorevaal had asked about streams flowing into the Ovien just north of the Ovien ford.  Using Search skill at the mouth of the 3 streams near the Ovien Ford they will be able to find the mule tracks in the mud near one of the streams.  The trail can be successfully tracked upstream for 2 leagues before they spot the pack mule tied to a tree beside the stream.  A Search of the nearby area will reveal an opening at the bottom of a forested hill at the waterline of the stream.  Bedan's trail leads inside the Barrow.

Gamemaster Map for the Barrow

EVENT #5: Jarin Barrow
The Khuzdul raised up this barrow over the stone-walled tomb of a Jarin Prince almost 600 years ago.  Since that time it lay undisturbed until Bedan broke down the entry door to the tomb within the last day.  One of the tomb guardians has since attacked and possessed Bedan, and another awaits the adventurers.

(1) The Barrow Entrance
The Barrow entrance is a 25 foot long, 5 foot wide stone passage with a peaked stone roof formed from large flat stones balanced against one another.  The passage is flooded with 2 feet of brackish, smelly water and choked with debris borne in by the water.

The entrance leads to a 15 foot square chamber with a 7 foot high ceiling, stone walls and 1 foot of water covering the stone floor.  Much of the debris washed up the entrance way has come to rest in this chamber.  Aside from the wood and stone flotsam, the chamber has a doorway framed by two, square stone pedestals.  On the pedestals are identical statues of crouching wardogs, teeth bared in challenge.

The bottom of the stone door is still intact and bears strange runic (Khuzdul) inscriptions, while the rest of the door reside in pieces on the floor in the passageway beyond.  Bedan forced entry to the passage by smashing the doorway with a stone hammer.

At the end of the dry passageway beyond the door, is another stone doorway that has been smashed with Bedan's hammer.  This time only a 1 and 1/2 foot hole has been smashed out of one side of the door to allow passage.  The walls of the passageway were carved by the Khuzdul to show a human warrior battling gargun aided by Khuzdul.

(2). Outer Chamber
The chamber beyond the door is dry and dusty.  The walls are made of stone blocks carved in elaborate friezes that depict a Jarin warrior fighting many gargun (left wall) and a representation of Ilvir as a serpent head on human chest, arms and shoulders with the lower torso of a snake.  In one hand Ilvir clutches a large severed claw.  The wall directly ahead is blank except for a warning carved in the stone in Khuzdul runic and Old Jarin lakise.  The message states, "A Curse on any who would disturb the rest of this brave Jarin Prince".  Anyone who speaks Jarin will be able to get a basic understanding of the message.  Those that speak Orbaalese or Harnic will recognize the word for "Jarin Prince" and the word "curse".

Crouched in a comatose state beneath the message is Bedan.  A pack also lies on the floor along with a sword, shield and burnt out candle.  Bedan appears uninjured, and can be shaken into to consciousness.  When he comes around he will begin to giggle and then laugh hysterically at the adventurers before settling back down to the occasional fit of giggles and drool on himself.  Bedan was able to open the door to the Chamber of Khuzdul traps to the left and has been possessed by a Spirit of Madness.  Searching Bedan will reveal a crumpled old map showing the location of the barrow, and a purse containing 47 pennies.

The door to the chamber to the left (area #3) is fairly obvious once light is shone on the wall, the door slides back into the wall if the catch is released.  The catch is released by pressing on the sword in the hand of the Jarin warrior.  Examining the sword reveals that it is raised more than the rest of the frieze and that the cracks around the sword extend into the wall.  Once released the door can be slid with some difficulty out of the way.

The door to the chamber to the right (area #4) is more carefully hidden, and can only be detected on a Search roll.  It is released by depressing the severed claw in Ilvir's hand.  Like the other door it can be slid out of the way with some difficulty.

(3). Guardian Chamber

In this small, stone chamber (7' square) there is a large stone pot and a pile of debris of a second apparently identical stone pot.  Each is carved in runic Khuzdul writing.  The intact pot is incredibly heavy and stands 3 feet tall and 1 foot in diameter.  Each had a stone lid placed atop it.  The lid for the broken pot lies on the chamber floor.  Scattered amongst the debris on the floor are the dried remains of offerings of food and clothing, and a new wooden handled stone mallet.

The intact stone pot can be shattered to open it, as Bedan did with the first or the lid can be removed.  In either event the first person to open the pot will be engaged in spirit combat by a Passion Spirit of Fear.

Fear Spirit
POW 14 Move 14 Magic Pts  14
Note: Matches its Magic points against the victim's INT.  If the victim loses then he suffers the loss of 1d3 magic points.  If reduced to zero points then he is covertly possessed and suffers the effect of being permanently Demoralized, (defend full percentage but all attacks at half percentage), until exorcised.

The Fear spirit looks like a black cloud, with a skeletal face and hands peering out of it to those in the chamber.  The pot contains the rotted remains of clothing or furs that have turned almost to dust and 3 pieces of bronze jewellery (Jarin made).  A brooch of silver worth 800 pennies, a corroded bronze torc worth 50 pennies and a silver necklace with pendant worth 1500 pennies.

(4). Prince's resting place.
The right -hand chamber is a stone room 7 feet square and high.  In this chamber is a stone bier against the far wall.  Unlike usual Jarin custom the prince's remains were not set on the bier, instead the bier is actually a lidded tomb.  The tomb lid is a SIZ 22 stone.  Adventurer's trying to move it combine their STR (*5%) - 110% to get the base %chance to move the stone.  The lid is carved with Khuzdul runes and Old Jarin lakise script proclaiming this to be, "Avereign, Prince of Pentiel.  Gargun-slayer and Khuzdul friend".

Should the adventurers manage to remove the tomb lid they will find the skeleton of a human in decayed finery, clutching a broken, corroded broadsword to his chest.  About the skeleton's neck is a bronze and silver collar of Jarin make worth 2300 pennies.  At his right side is a Khuzdul Throwing Axe of fine workmanship only lightly corroded worth 1000 pennies.  The axe has a spell matrix enchantment upon it which allows it to cast Bladesharp.   The chance of success of this spell is the holders POW*5 and it takes one of the user's Magic Points.  The conditions on the enchantment do not allow the spell to be used on Khuzdul, or used by Gargun or Sindarin.  Finally, on the Princes' finger is a gold ring worth 500 pennies.

EVENT #6: Aenghysa Ambush!
The adventurers were not followed by the aenghysa, but the group that escaped the botched raid at the Inn, (Chamka, Iser and Aethelad), have staked out a position along the Fur road to ambush the adventurers if they return to Taryn.  Wary of engaging in another head on attack, Chamka and Aethelad have taken up positions in some oak trees near the road and will fire on the adventurers with arrows.  Meanwhile, Iser who is on the ground behind some bushes will tell them they are surrounded by many Jarin and must hand over Barra's treasure or die.  If faced with a fierce defence the aenghysa will flee into the forest.

EVENT #6: Return to Taryn
By the time the adventurers return to Taryn, Vallus and Idgel will be at odds over who is responsible for Sorevaal's death with Ramald pushing for Vallus' death.  If the adventurers return with Bedan and the map, Bedan will gleefully admit to killing Sorevaal and the issue will be closed.   If the adventurers admit to entering a Jarin tomb then Idgel will attempt to arrest them and seize the treasure for himself.  Later, releasing the adventurers with nothing but what they had when they originally came to Taryn.

Vallus will be eternally grateful to the adventurers on their return and they will always have a free bed and meal (within reason) at the North Road Inn.  Dania will heal any injured adventurers.  Treasures discovered in the Jarin tomb will not be tradeable in such a small thran as Taryn but could be sold in Lerial or any sizeable settlement in Kaldor.

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