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#1 Thu, Aug11 2011 8:35am

Gavin
Skilled Artisan
From: Canada
Registered: Wed, Jan30 2008
Posts: 916

A One Ring RPG campaign outline

Posted Here:
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?587 … gn-Outline

The One Ring RPG Notes for a campaign
(Where) The Setting: Wilderland, Mirkwood, Laketown, the old Angmar Vale
(When) Time: Summer 2946 to winter 2951 (assumes lots of downtime and “haven time” in Laketown, Erebor and Rhosgobel)
(What) A young mercenary warrior dreams of claiming his birthright – the kingdom of Old Dale. To do so he is establishing a stronghold in the Carnen Forest, east of Dale, and seeking treasures all across the North to give him prestige – and the silver to hire warriors to his cause. His first act is to recruit The Masterless Men, a loose band of warriors and their families who have fought for silver in the petty wars of the Northmen kings of Rhovanion.
All this happens against the backdrop of the end of a feud between a Dwarven clan, the sons of Rįšsvišr and the Havardings, a Northman tribe. The feud concluded with the burning of the Redhall, the Havarding “capital” with many within. The Dwarves are unapologetic, and Easterlings have come and claimed the Redhall lands. Whether the Dwarves did the burning or the Easterlings is a matter of much speculation and rumour in Laketown and Dale.
The campaign is designed to be played out sometime after the events of the Marsh Bell. What follows is the barest bones of the background, setting and plot. The plot is dealt with in an extremely general fashion, with suggestions of how events play out. How they work in one’s own game may be entirely different.
Adversaries
There are three key sources of opposition:
The Umlir
The Umlir are a tribe of Easterlings from far to the North and East. They have occupied the Havarding lands, a Northron community in what is now the “Northern Dalelands.” Witnesses describe them “strong and stocky men, with thick beards and great axes.” They can speak the language of the Northmen, and some say they are distantly akin to the Men of Rhovanion, who in ancient times claimed the rivers and the plains to the east.  Amongst the Easterlings around the sea of Rhūn, they are called Varangians. They are famed for their love of silver; indeed, they controlled many of the silver mines in the east for long centuries. They have not been heard from for long years, until the feud between the Havardings and the Dwarves.
Agenda: The Umlir have many alliances with tribes of the East, and they will march against the Free Peoples during the War of the Ring. For now, though, they are motivated solely by wealth: their silver mines are failing, and they need to replace that wealth somehow. The untamed borders of the new kingdom of Dale represent a perfect opportunity.
Forces: the Varangian Umlir have about a hundred men living in conquered homes around the burned Redhall, as well as the mercenary barracks built by the Northmen. They can potentially call on several thousand kinsmen from their homeland in the East, but such a muster could take months to accomplish.
The Masterless Men
The Masterless Men are said to be descended from the groups of Northmen Mercenaries who marched with the Dwarves in ancient wars. Whatever the truth, they represent a group of potentially dangerous mercenaries and bandits in the north. Recently, they have been hired by Hartwig, the would-be king of Dale. The Masterless Men may live by a rough code of honour, but it is nonetheless a code they live by. They will be loyal to Hartwig’s orders, no matter what. The Masterless Men maintain three fortified communities throughout Wilderland – along the Greylin River, along the Carnen and along the trail north of Mirkwood. Before Hartwig, they took silver from the Master of Laketown to protect trading routs. Now that the Kingdom of Dale grows once again, they have less need of mercenaries and more need of sworn men. Many of the Masterless Men have left the company, seeking employment in Dale. As a result, the remaining Masterless Men see Dale as a threat, and its leaders enemies. Supporting a would-be king of that realm in rivalry to Bard is an easy decision for them.
Agenda: To support their current leader (Hartwig) and earn a lot of money doing so. Some wish to maintain their independence, but the majority of the warrior band is tempted by the possibility of becoming a king’s followers. As befits this agenda, the Masterless Men wish to claim as much territory as possible, all the better to threaten rivals and demand tolls.
Forces: The entire warband numbers three hundred fighting men, as well as an equal number of thralls, workmen and skilled labourers. The warriors also protect their families within their compounds spread through Wilderland.
The Coldhand Orcs
Since the defeat of Bolg, the Goblins of the North have been scattered, leaderless and hiding. Even the chieftains of Gundabad and Gram preside over reduced realms. However, one Goblin tribe did not march against Erebor. For reasons yet unclear, their king Coldhand refused to send his warbands to assail the Dwarves of Erebor. With his rival chieftains gone, Coldhand has expanded his dominion over his neighbouring Orc tribes and claimed many of the Orc holds of the Grey Mountains for himself.  As grand as this sounds, he rules over an impoverished kingdom, without the warriors or the silver to seriously threaten the King under the Mountain or the Lord of Dale. The Coldhand Orcs have taken to low level raiding against unprotected settlements, as well as conquering other smaller Orc tribes.  However, Coldhands dreams of building a treasure horde himself, enough to pay for an army to reclaim the north. As the saga continues, Coldhands’ raids grow more numerous and bolder.
Agenda: Coldhands’ Orcs seek to conquer their war-reduced neighbours and create a bigger army from those thus enslaved. Coldhands wants to remain independent of more powerful Orc leaders such as the King of Gundabad, and keep away from the intrigues of the Nazgūl and the lieutenants of the former Necromancer.  His ambitions may be a fool’s hope as the shadows in the world gather again, but no less dangerous to the Free Peoples for all that.
Forces: Coldhands commands the loyalty of about a thousand Orc warriors, spread through the Grey Mountains and their foothills. He can also call upon several mighty Warg packs in western Wilderland and the wastes east of the Grey Mountains. Because of the widely spaced nature of his “empire”, he can rarely manage to summon more than a hundred warriors to any given place at any given time.
Of Bandits and the Bandit King
In the dark years between Dale’s destruction and the fall of Smaug, a constant threat to the peoples of the north was banditry. Alas, while there were strong laws against “wolfheads” – in truth, they were seen as part of the reality of the world. While the Northman lords in their tiny communities along the Carnen River and the River Running officially disapproved of bandits, in reality they had their own reasons for supporting such men. Bandits were in silver not to trouble one’s own community, but instead make trouble for rivals. Most lords could not afford to maintain a large warband, but each summer might bring raids from other Northmen or from the Easterlings. By tolerating bandits, each lord had access to a force of trained men to arm and send against his enemies. Furthermore, the former Master of Laketown was not above sending silver to several wolfheads in the east to ensure the right trade caravans passed unmolested – or the wrong ones stopped.
Many of these bandits were descended from the Northman warrior aristocracy. Some were the grandsons of men whose lands fell into ruin after the coming of the Dragon. Some were second sons of those lords sent out to make their fortunes. While others drifted south to Gondor, or to the Easterling communities around the Sea of Rhūn, others remained in the wilds, like the Masterless Men. No surprise then that some may have harboured ambitions towards reclaiming their lordship.
Hartwig the Bandit Lord
Hartwig is the bastard son of one of those wolfheads. His mother claimed that she was descended from the line of Girion. He grew up dreaming of reclaiming the throne of Dale. When Bard slew the Dragon and became king of the re-founded kingdom, Hartwig swore he would destroy the Bowman.
Hartwig is a tall, handsome man, though heavily scarred by a life fighting in a hundred petty wars. His fair features have faded and hardened. His hair has thinned. However, his eyes are bright and sharp and his shoulder broad. He is a man warriors will follow.  He has his own blue-cloaked followers, but he now commands the Masterless Men of the wilds of the west and east. He leads his closest companions on treasure hunts and raids against dwarf and Easterling caravans alike.
He is not the only wolfhead chieftain in Rhovanion, but Hartwig is the most powerful and dangerous.
The Dwarves
- The Dwarves of the western Iron Hills under Rįšsvišr stand accused of bloody murder, at the Redhall Massacre. The stubborn and prideful dwarves make no move to clear their name and instead whisper that the Northmen "got what's coming to them." The Dwarf lord has little intention of apologising or attempting to calm the situation. The Redhall feud may be over, but Rįšsvišr seems bent on igniting yet another one. Northman and Dorwinadan traders are frequently insulted.
- The Dwarven Lord Rįšsvišr is descended from the ancient kings of the Iron Hills and dreams of becoming king again. His scops tell him that his ancestors owned that Dwarven Manse in the lower reaches of the Grey Mountains. The Northmen claimed it as their blood-price for driving the dragon away. The Northmen used dragon-silver to hire Easterling mercenaries. The mercenaries turned on their employers. Now Easterlings rule at the Redhall. Rįšsvišr wants to be acclaimed lord of the Iron Hills. Several of the thanes and chieftains support him (in the hope that he will be open handed if he can reclaim his hoard). Many of the older lords however favour Thorin Stonehelm, Dain’s son. Rįšsvišr's ambitions could lead to treachery - or open war.
- Vindalfr is an older dwarf lord who found himself caught up in Rįšsvišr’s intrigues. He has set out to recover an ancient Dwarven manse in the northern Misty Mountains. For some months now, he has been demanding tolls and tributes from caravans passing west across the Misty Mountains. Now word of his doings comes to Dale irregularly. Vindalfr has had hostile dealings with the Coldhand Orcs and the Masterless Men before. Now word comes that his people are besieged between Goblins and Masterless Men far from aid. The King Under the Mountain belatedly sends a caravan of supplies to his kinsman, but it may not be enough
- Nori, one of Thorin's companions is one of King Dain's closest advisors at Erebor has become increasingly distracted. He talks of launching war against the Goblins and reclaiming Gundabad. No one takes him seriously, but some younger Dwarves talk of following him to battle. Dain respects his advisor, but knows such a thing is impossible. Is this mere Dwarven bloodlust, or evidence of some darker plot?
- Bofur, one of Thorin's companions has come to the Iron Hills to reclaim an old family property. A close ally of Dain Ironfoot, the Dwarven thanes all look to him for leadership. Others plot ways to remove him.
- Balin: The senior survivor of Thorin's Company has made a home at Erebor, and has become even wealthier in the intervening years. However, he is already somewhat restless. He dreams of travelling and adventure.
Loremaster Characters and Patrons
Eldamir
Eldamir is a young scholar from the shores of the distant Sea, of High Elven blood. He has crossed into Wilderland to learn more of the world of the Northern Men and of the newly re-founded Kingdom Under the Mountain. There is sufficient hostility amongst the Dwarves to the Elves and sufficient mistrust of his king amongst the Northmen that Eldamir must work through proxies to assemble his knowledge. He can offer payment, information or even some equipment to fellowships of Player Heroes setting out on adventures - so long as they return with news of their travels and doings.
Gallind
Gallind is a bard from Mirkwood, setting out into the world. He dresses as a mortal, and sings songs in hostelries and taverns in Laketown and Dale and places further afield. He has stolen the heart of many a local girl, but his heart belongs to an Elf maiden. However, his gentle charm is such that most remember him fondly and many come to him to tell of their troubles. As a result, he has taken to solving the small problems of the Northman youth – finding thieves, humiliating bullies and even setting quarrels before they turn deadly. In this role as a problem solver, he might approach the player-heroes for help, especially if the problem becomes more violent or dangerous. He cannot offer much in the way of compensation or support, but he has made so many friends that the heroes can always be guaranteed of a safe bed in any Northman community in Wilderland, and a hearty meal.
The Storyline
Part 1: The storyline begins with a death. A young man is found murdered under the pilings of a Laketown Pier. There had been a storm the night before. Perhaps the assailant hoped that the body would wash far away. The body is that of a little known mercenary warrior who some know from guarding caravans some years before. The man is young, scarce 18 winters old.  His name is Jocelyn, and he was in love with the singer and wine merchant Gisila. Gisila is a beautiful young woman who has caught the hearts of many young men in the town. She will confirm that the dead man was one of her suitors, and eventually reveal that the town guard, Karl, was another. While suspicion falls on Karl, there is little inclination to take things further: he is a respected member of the town guard, and the whole affair was clearly a drunken brawl involving some young man of little account, with few relatives or friends to demand further action.
Days later, a rider comes in out of the East, with a message: the Masterless Men have captured a caravan coming from the Sea of Rhūn and will not release them until the body is returned to him.  Furthermore, as the days pass, the Masterless Men burn the farms and homes of people known to be kin to Karl the warrior. Finally, if the body is not returned, they take Imma, Karl’s sister.
The Master of Laketown summons the player-heroes and sends them to find and negotiate with the Masterless Men. After a long and dangerous journey to the Redwater Forest, they discover the Masterless Men are masterless no longer: a new leader has arisen, the bastard son of a famed wolfhead bandit of recent years.  They find that he has rebuilt an ancient Northman fortress in the eastern woodlands, overlooking the Carnen. The fortress is close to impregnable, though undermanned. The heroes learn another thing: this leader, Hartwig, claims to be the true king of Dale.  The dead man was his sister’s son, and he demands a weregild. Furthermore, on their travels, they come across evidence of Orc activity all across the Eastern Dalelands.
While the heroes negotiate the safety of those kidnapped, a shout goes up. Orcs are assailing the bandit fortress. To save their charges, the heroes must fight alongside the Masterless Men and defeat the Orcs. After the battle, Hartwig offers them their freedom as a boon, and sends them home. However, he promises that they will be hearing more from him soon.
Later the heroes are summoned to a private audience of King Bard of Dale. The treasury is bare, he tells them, even with Dwarven support, the task of rebuilding Dale has cost so much. They can survive peacetime, but with a new Goblin tribe arising in the North, and threats in the East, they need more money. Furthermore, he has received a missive from this bandit king, Hartwig. Hartwig claims that he knows where the crown of the ancient King in the North may be found, the place where the ancient Ship King of the Elder Age was laid to rest.
He needs the player-heroes to go find this crown first, and any other treasures. In return, he will make them very, very rich with renown, title and nobility.
It turns out, unfortunately, that this ancient king’s crown is itself a Dwarven artefact, taken by giants in the distant past, but remembered, nonetheless.   As the story continues, various Dwarven interests will start to pay close attention to what the heroes are doing – and the heroes will have to use song and diplomacy to make their mission a success.
The second adventure finds the heroes delving into Mirkwood and beyond. A Dwarf named Hallin comes to them to say that his kinsman Frarin has stolen some of the treasure at Redhall and fled west, into the lands between Mirkwood and the Grey Mountains. He does not know whom to turn to, so he has approached the player-heroes who have gained some renown as fair and doughty characters. The Umlir, ruthless Easterling mercenaries, have occupied the Redhall, ending a yearlong feud between Dwarf and Northmen, violently. The Easterlings are said to have paid a weregild to Vindalfr, but it is clear they have kept much of the remaining treasure for themselves.  Now the heroes must use stealth and secrecy to cross Mirkwood and hopefully intercept the fleeing Dwarves before the Easterlings find them. They receive aid from the ravens of Erebor and Gallind can arrange for them to pass through the Elf realm unmolested. Beyond the Elf realm, however, they find themselves hunted by spiders and other dark creatures.  Out in the plains, they have just enough time to find the Dwarves and save them from their pursuers. If they delay, they may have to open negotiations with the hostile and deadly Easterlings who are very angry that someone would dare steal what they believe to be theirs. Frarin, wounded and dying after his misadventure tells the heroes that he works for Vindalfr and that he knows where the King of the North’s Barrow might be found. He also tells them how they might destroy the guardian of the barrow.
In the third part of the story, the heroes are crossing the Anduin in the company of a Dwarven caravan sent by Dain Ironfoot to his kinsman Vindalfr. Though he does not trust his prideful kinsman, he owes the dwarf many boons, and this is his way of discharging the debt. He has hired the player-heroes to help bring the goods safely to Vindalfr.  On crossing the river, however, the heroes are set upon by wolf riding Orcs from Coldhands army. The raid is random – Coldhands does not, yet, know of the intrigues building in Dale – but it is enough to cause problems. When the battered caravan reaches the Dwarven village, they are told that Vindalfr and his kinsmen have departed seven days before, in search of an ancient treasure, treasure that belonged to his ancestors.
However, the barrow is guarded by an evil spirit, a Draugr, who has stopped the Dwarves from entering. The creature is immune to weapons, but if he is told his true name (the creature has forgotten it) he will rest. However, while the Dwarves have tried to get by the spirit, mountain giants have come down out of the Misty Mountains and assailed Vindalfr’s sworn warriors. The player heroes arrive just as the giants close in one last time.
Once the Draugr is laid to rest, the heroes are trapped, besieged in the tomb. Worse, the tomb itself is built over a natural system of caves.  There are things in the caves, and only one way out.
When they escape, they emerge into daylight…surrounded by Hartwig’s men. They are prisoners again, and Hartwig claims the old Dwarven crown, and proclaims himself the king of the north.
The fourth part of the story sees the heroes returning in defeat to Laketown. However, while they have failed, tales of their gallantry and warcraft have spread before them – spread by Gallind the bard, and, it transpires by Hartwig’s spies. Hartwig may deem them dangerous enemies, but he respects them greatly.
Within days, however, rumours come of a large force of goblins racing south through the Wastes and down into the land of the Dalemen. The heroes find themselves called upon to defend their (adopted) town and lead the under strength Guard in fighting off the attackers and finding the saboteurs (goblins who have hidden themselves in the pilings beneath the town itself).
In the middle of battle, when things look most grim, a messenger comes to the Master of Laketown from Hartwig, offering to bring his host of Easterlings and Masterless Men to the assistance of the town, in return for the Master and his men swearing allegiance to the would be king. The Master, with advice and persuasion from the player-heroes refuses.
The battle grinds on during the night until, in the morning, the army of Dale and Erebor come to relieve the siege.
Part Five begins with a council of war. The Master of Laketown, King Bard and King Dain (with Gallind, revealed as an Elf, representing the Elves), discuss how to deal with the threat of the Masterless Men and their new Easterling allies.  They know they do not have the men to challenge the would-be usurper directly. The thanes of the Iron Hills, represented by Rįšsvišr, refuse to send their forces to “fight the battles of Men.” The Elf King, for his part, is inclined to agree with them.  Rįšsvišr sees himself as a rightful lord of the Iron Hills, and his thanes are inclined to support him. Some call for asking Beorn and the Woodmen for support, but it is deemed that even with those doughty warriors, they would still be outnumbered. Instead, the council decided to march against the Redwater Forest, and draw the bandit king’s forces out – while the player heroes and some allies slip into the fortress and capture the Bandit King and force surrender.
However, the bandit king expects such a thing to happen, and has arranged a trap for the heroes. While the heroes must fight or talk their way out of the fortress, the two forces clash in the woodlands.
Inside, the Easterlings desert – forewarned by mysterious means. They will try to cut their way out of the fortress and kill the player-heroes.
Outside, Orc horns ring out. Coldhands has come. The Easterlings fight a retreat, and the Northmen, who were enemies mere moments before, form a shield wall with the Dwarves or Erebor and retreat back to the fortress.
In the ensuing chaos, Hartwig is hit by an Orc arrow and falls into the Redwater. His crown falls with him, and his body is never found. The crown is never recovered, though Bard finds the ancient sword of the northern kings amidst the aftermath of battle.
Coldhands has been temporarily defeated, and the Easterlings driven away. The Masterless Men swear allegiance to the King of Dale and the player-heroes are acclaimed as heroes of the realm. They will have to undergo many more trials before their tale is ended; indeed their journey is just beginning.  There will be more challenges to the new Kingdom of Dale, more threats from the East and North. Coldhands might be dead, but another will take his place. Rumours soon come of Cold Drakes moving in the Grey Mountains and strange tales of intelligent Mountain Giants in the West. More Draugr are reported in the old Angmar vales and Rįšsvišr continues his ambitions to claim the Iron Hills as his own. The heroes are richer and more experienced and known to the lords of Wilderland. What they do next will make them worthy of song and story.

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