Ready-To-Run Adventures

The Marauders

Phillip Gladney ©1999

Background
Go to the Fennas Drunin map and town description
Go to the Fennas Drunin NPC Descriptions and stats
Go to the Fennas Drunin Encounter Tables
Upon hearing about the oncoming army from Rhudaur, the party must begin to travel back to Fennas Drunin. Folgrin asks the party when they plan to leave and says that if they wish, they may accompany him tomorrow morning, stating something about strength in numbers. This trip, as opposed to the first one, is very lighthearted and friendly. Folgrin relates many of the old dwarven tales and legends to the group and tells of the beauty and wonder of his home, Khazad-dum. If the party became dwarf-friends during the previous adventure he even goes on to suggest they visit the underground city at least once "before their beards get too long".
The trip takes two days and at the end of it the group looks down on an energetic and bustling town. People of all sorts are seen walking or riding into town from the outlying settlements. As the party rides into town they can see that many refugees have set up camp along the inside of the walls of the town. The population of Fennas Drunin has doubled in the past few days and a large caravan can be seen being organized right outside the main gate. The only inn with any rooms for let is The Oak Grove, the most expensive establishment in town. Folgrin bids them farewell at this point and proceeds to the Iron Anvil, the dwarven-owned smithy. If the party required the loan of horses from Feagwin, Folgrin tells the party where his stables are located and advises them to take the horses back as soon as possible. The party should take the horses back so that no animosity develops with the farrier. When the party returns the horses, Feagwin gives them a close inspection. If the party did not do anything untoward to the horses, and fed them as they should have been fed, then Feagwin will be grateful. In parting, he tells the party not to go anywhere soon for they will have all the excitement they can handle in a few days, if they're up to it. If questioned about this, Feagwin is very vague and mumbles something about "dark times ahead".
Wondering what Feagwin's words meant, the group leaves the stables. The party should now acquire rooms to stay in and explore the town. They can get information from any number of sources; the best ones, however, will be one of the many taverns throughout the town. Each is filled to capacity this night. Through subtle inquiries and after many complimentary mugs of ale, the party learns that:

  1. The army from Rhudaur is larger than usual for a border raid and appears to be heading towards Harnalda, although this could be a ruse to mislead the leaders of the Angle.
  2. The caravan being mustered outside the town walls will be leaving very soon and will consist of almost everything the border fort, Thuin Boid, needs for a protracted siege, such as grains, smoked meats, arrows, tools, oil, etc. In addition, a much smaller caravan of three wagons left some days ago with emergency supplies destined for the other fort, Harnalda. The council hopes this convoy can get there before the Rhudaurim army. One particularly inebriated member of the River Guard says that if the supplies don't get through to Harnalda there is no way the border fort can withstand a siege of any strength. This statement draws unwanted stares from many of his fellow mercenaries.
  3. The levy has been called up and riders have been sent seeking supplementary mercenaries from Cardolan proper. That process will take weeks to develop; however, if the opposing army has battled its way to the walls of Fennas Drunin, the mercenary companies from Cardolan will be a welcome addition. The Angle levy will soon begin assembling outside the walls in preparation for the defense of Fennas Drunin or for any trek northwards to counter the Rhudaurim threat. Within two weeks the levy will be ready for action.
  4. Hillmen marauders have already been seen and some of the outlying settlements have been raided and burned out. No survivors or bodies have been found at any of these locations. This is strange because the Hillmen usually kill most prisoners. They occasionally take some of the prettier maidens as slaves, but they have no use for the men, the children or the elderly.
After a long night of drinking and carousing the characters retire to their beds at the Oak Grove. The next day the party wakens to the sound of a loud bell being rung which can be heard throughout the town. At first, the group members believe that it is a figment of their imagination, resulting from their evening of merriment and the many pitchers of ale and hard cider drunk the night before. However, after a few seconds of confused judgment, they realize that it is actually the warning-bell located in the bell tower of the town hall. Hurriedly getting out of bed and going to the window they see two mounted warriors riding away from the town hall at full gallop. Accoutered in chain mail and wearing long red capes, the two riders fly through the Gate-keep and head off northwards. Putting their clothes on, the group members go downstairs to the common area of the inn just in time to hear a young lad of about 14 winters relating the recent events to the awestruck patrons. He claims to have overheard that the caravan that left a few days ago was found destroyed. The two riders were members of the Red Lances (a famous mercenary company). Their patrol unit was ordered to meet the caravan and escort it to Harnalda. As they rode south they discovered the remains of the caravan. Everybody in the caravan was either missing or killed in the attack and most of the provisions were missing. The leader of the patrol thinks that it was done by Hillmen, for one of their spears was found at the scene, and he sent the two warriors south to inform Fennas Drunin. Now the town council has called an emergency meeting for tonight to decide what can be done.
As the news spreads around town, the attitude of the townsfolk sours. Many are despondent and pessimistic about Harnalda's chances in the upcoming siege. The party hears rumors that if Harnalda falls and Thuin Boid is subsequently besieged, Fennas Drunin becomes very vulnerable. The members learn from one of the various residents that it was only a few years ago that King Stonearm of Rhudaur conquered this very town and the memory is all too recent in many of the townspeople's minds. It was only after a long and bloody campaign, under a general named Bemakinda, that the Angle regained its freedom from the mercenary armies of Rhudaur. The citizens of Fennas Drunin do not look forward to a similar engagement since many sons, brothers and fathers died in the struggle.
During this day the party is free to explore the town and provision itself for any future adventures. They may entertain thoughts of joining the levy or scouting for the enemy, however the day ends with no absolutes or contracts. After the party beds down for the night, they hear a soft knock on the door. If the party decides to open it, they are surprised to see none other than Folgrin, the dwarven emissary to Fennas Drunin. He holds his finger over his mouth in the universal signal for quiet and enters the room. After closing the door Folgrin speaks in hushed tones and asks the party if they are interested in more work. He states that this mission will be significantly more dangerous than their wolf-hunting excursion, but the rewards will be significantly larger. If the party accepts his initial offer he tells them to get dressed and meet him in the alley behind the inn. He also tells the party not to let anyone see them if possible. If questioned about the need for secrecy, Folgrin will tell them that all will be explained soon enough.
Upon meeting Folgrin in the alley, he leads the party a few blocks to a large residence in the north part of town. The largest and most expensive houses are located in this quarter as most of the wealthy and influential town citizens live here. Folgrin brings the party around to the back of one of the larger houses. If the party did a fair amount of exploring they would know that this is the house of the leader of the town council, Paetric. After Folgrin makes a peculiar knock on the door it is opened slowly allowing an unidentified man inside to peer out. It is then opened by a gruff, bearded Northman who ushers the party in. As soon as the last member enters the house the man checks the area behind the house as if searching for anyone following the group and then shuts the door and locks it. He tells Folgrin that "they" are upstairs waiting. As Folgrin leads the party up the steps to the second floor they hear part of an ongoing conversation. A grizzled and familiar voice says, "I still think a few of my men can handle it." Another elderly, yet hale voice responds, "Yes, I am sure they could, however their absence will most assuredly be noticed by the wrong individuals." As those words are spoken the party is ushered into what is obviously a well-furnished sitting room. Three older gentlemen are seated around the room. You notice that one is Feagwin, the stables' owner. The other two are Paetric the town council leader and Andalyn, a local herbmaster. As the party enters the room they rise and introduce themselves. Paetric invites the group members to sit in various chairs around the room. After sitting, Paetric tells the party that they have earned the trust of the town council by their recent actions at Smallforge and Reedhaven. Unfortunately, the events of today have forced Fennas Drunin and the whole of the Angle into a predicament, and the town needs their help. Paetric goes on to say:

Sadly, there is a spy in our midst. The loss of the caravan heading to Harnalda was a critical blow to our efforts to defend this region. Its destruction is a direct result of this unknown traitor's work. Normally, the caravans traveling to Thuin Boid and Harnalda camp at a favored and well-used spot beside the road. Due to security concerns, however, the town council decided that a different campground should be used this time. The Hillmen raiders knew exactly where to look and this is, aside from having inside information, positively uncanny. Therefore we have reasoned that the agent is a member of the council itself. Only they and the merchant Amrill, whose goods it was that were stolen, knew of the destination of the caravan. Amrill is particularly angry about the incident and our inability to protect his merchandise, and rightly so. He suffered a grievous loss and we can only hope that he continues to provide help in the future. Needless to say we cannot afford another disaster of this magnitude and have concluded that an outside influence is needed. Since you are so new to the area no one would suspect your involvement. This is a critical aspect of this task. What this mission entails is the protection of the caravan against any potential threat. This may seem like any easy enough assignment, but due to the unknown agent acting in Fennas Drunin this may not be the case. Since we do not know what is in store, we want you to shadow the caravan. No one in the caravan will even know of your existence except for the caravan leader, Toryl, one of my most trusted men. Tomorrow you will accompany Folgrin out of town going towards Smallforge. If asked, you have been contracted to protect Folgrin on his way back to Smallforge where he is bringing news of the caravan to his leaders. However, after a few miles outside the town walls you will diverge from Folgrin's company and head west toward the main road leading north. There you will wait for the main caravan leaving the day after. Tail it and keep it from harm. It is imperative that this caravan makes it to Thuin Boid. I have prepared documents for you to show Aldurin, the leader of the Red Lances and commander of the border post, verifying your credentials and enlightening him as to your involvement in this mission. Now, you are probably asking yourself, "so what's in this for me". Rest assured, your efforts will not go unnoticed and to this end I propose a fee of 50 pieces of gold for the successful completion of your task - 25 now and 25 when you reach Thuin Boid. I will inform Aldurin of our arrangement in the document that I will provide you, so that he may compensate you as agreed. Is this contract satisfactory?

If the party accepts the commission they will be told to meet Folgrin at the Iron Anvil the next morning. If the party still does not have horses, Feagwin will offer them quality horses at a rock bottom price. If need be they can deduct the price of the horses from the initial 25 pieces of gold. The party will need to have horses for this mission once again.
The next morning the party meets Folgrin in front of the Iron Anvil. He is riding in a wagon with two dwarven guards. In addition, his wagon contains a fair amount of provisions. The party rides out of town with Folgrin and they proceed northeast up the River Way trail. After a few miles, as planned, Folgrin tells the party that this is where they need to split up. He gives them each a saddlebag filled with extra provisions and the letter of introduction for Aldurin. Now the party is on its own.

The Caravan
The caravan consists of nine wagons filled to capacity; nine wagon drivers, eight guards and Toryl, the caravan master. Toryl rides in the lead wagon, while the guards are arrayed in defensive positions around the caravan. The trip will last approximately three days and two nights. On the third day riders from Thuin Boid are expected to meet and escort the caravan through the more dangerous area on the border. Until that third day the convoy is on its' own. During the emergency meeting after the news of the first caravan was received, it was agreed that the caravan would camp at the original spot. This campground already has a good fire pit and fine defensive capabilities, however Toryl has orders to ignore this directive and camp wherever he sees fit. Undoubtedly, the site of the campground has reached the ears of the undercover agent of Angmar and Paetric does not deem it safe for the caravan to camp at any predisposed site. This element of unpredictability will hopefully help the caravan avoid any and all unforeseen hazards.
When traveling, the guards will spread out around the caravan. Three riders will take the point position with one moving well ahead of the two others. The foremost rider is the main scout while the other two back him up. The other five guards will array themselves around the caravan proper. Two will go to either side of the caravan and one will ride at the rear of the caravan. All of the guards have been supplied with a horn with which to alert the caravan of any threat.
When camping, the caravan will position the wagons in a circular defensive position. The eight guards will take turns guarding the camp with two on sentry duty at any time. The watches are three hours long and when completed the guards will awaken their replacements. During guard duty neither watchman speaks and both will take their responsibility seriously, especially after what happened to the first caravan. Armed with bows the guards will intently seek to hear any foreign sounds that might indicate intruders. After the nightly meal the campfire will be doused with water, so that no light will give away the camp's location to would-be attackers. All guards and drivers sleep in their armor and close to their weapons. If the caravan is attacked at night, Toryl will sound his horn as loudly as possible. This might have an effect on the attack itself, as the Hillmen will be wondering who might respond to the call for help.

The Raiders
The Hillmen that attacked the first convoy are among the best rangers in all of Rhudaur. Bloodthirsty and possessed of an absolute hatred for "lowlanders", they fit well into the Witch-kings' plans. Standing, on average, around 5' tall the uncouth members of this group sport long mustaches and long black hair braided with beads. The men don only animal hides as protection, but each member of the band wears an ornately decorated pot helm. They are led by a grim and xenophobic hunter named Moiric and are able to move through the countryside with amazing speed and silence. Utilizing the herb Sha to give them night vision they can descend upon enemies at night with devastating results. Their ability to hide their trails from any possible trackers allows them to slip back into the darkness after completing their task without fear of immediate retaliation. Although their entire contingent consists of close to thirty men only 15-20 will come on the nighttime raid against the caravan. The rest must remain at their secret base to protect it.
When attacking, the savages prefer to sneak up as close as possible to an encampment at night using their stealth and night-vision capabilities. When ready, the leader will make a sound very similar to the call of a bird found only in the highlands. The assembled warriors will then throw their javelins at any and all guards and advance into the camp. Using their spears and shields in the melee they attempt to slaughter everyone. Killing everyone in the camp is normal practice and has been used for centuries. It has the dual effect of eliminating enemies and creating an aura of fear. During the previous attack, however, the Hillmen captured a few of the caravansaries instead. This was by order of their Angmarean liaison, whom they are temporarily taking orders from for reasons they do not know. If possible, during the second assault they will attempt to take as many captives as possible also. Unfortunately, just because they have to keep their prisoners alive does not mean the experience has to be a pleasant one.
When playing the Hillmen there are a few things to remember. As before, in the adventure involving the wolf pack, the GM may tailor the number of Hillmen to his specifications. Any Hillmen killed will consequently be eliminated from use later on in the campaign. The number of Hillmen eliminated here will make the later adventures easier, since they won't be around to harass the party or patrol the Minas Brethil area. Also, the Hillmen, due to the importance of the mission, won't allow themselves to be captured. Each will fight to the death, something they are trained for. Their fervor is such that their own life is inconsequential. If, somehow, one is captured he will resist interrogation for weeks. Taking him to Thuin Boid will be the only recourse since he does not speak anything but "Blarm", the Hillman tongue. If magic is used to force him to answer questions, he will be unable to tell much (unless he is the leader). He knows the general vicinity of the secret base, the number of other Hillmen he was operating with and the fact that, in a nearby abandoned castle, a number of Angmareans have set up a base. He does not know what is going on in the castle and says that a main part of their mission is to protect it, the other being to harass the outlying settlements and any supplies traveling to the border forts.

The Trip
As stated before, the trip will last approximately 3 days and 2 nights if things go as planned. The first day will be uneventful for the caravan, as they will encounter only a few groups of fleeing provincials. The party will have to avoid those groups, but this won't be difficult as long as the player characters stay off the main road. This translates into 2-3 very easy (+20) Stalking/Hiding maneuvers. If the party members are seen, the commoner's reactions could range from fear to friendliness to indifference. As the first day progresses these encounters will cease. At the end of the day Toryl will find a suitable camping spot and order the caravan to bed down for the night. He does not use the common camping spot, but instead camps a few miles further down the road. Toryl does, however, direct two of the guards to start a fire in the fire pit at the preferred camping site. Hopefully, this will attract any would-be attackers. The party is aware of the orders Paetric gave Toryl concerning the camping spot so this action should not surprise them. In fact, they may even use this to their advantage and wait here for the Hillmen. The actions of the Hillmen during the first day and night are entirely up to the GM. They could scout out the diversionary camp, probe the main camp or merely watch and wait. An attack in force should come later (the next night) after the Hillmen have judged the caravan's strength.
As the second day begins, clouds start to roll up from the west. By noon a heavy rain is falling. This slows the caravan somewhat, but Toryl keeps the wagons moving at a relatively good pace. By the end of the day the track is sufficiently flooded and traveling has slowed to a snail's pace. The convoy has barely reached the intersection of the roads leading to Thuin Boid and Harnalda. A small sign signifies which trail leads to each fort. Forced to camp in this somewhat indefensible location, the caravan is now close to two days away from their destination. If the Hillmen did not find the caravan on the first night, they most assuredly will this night. The rain has slowed a bit, but the reduced visibility and soggy ground will make the Hillmen's job of sneaking up to the caravan that much easier. The ensuing melee will by chaotic at best with the climate adding to the general confusion. Also, the effects of the slippery ground, the soaked and heavy clothing, the reduced hearing as well as the darkness, lighted only by a few well-placed lanterns, should be calculated into any fight.
If the party succeeds in helping defend the caravan, then Toryl (if still alive) will thank them profusely. If Toryl was killed the remainder of the guards and drivers will question the party as to why they were in the vicinity. They are not suspicious, though, since the party's actions showed their allegiance to the people of the Angle. If they are questioned too intensely, the party can produce the letter of introduction to Aldurin as proof of their mission. Either way, the rest of the night is uneventful. By next morning the rain has stopped and the caravan heads out again. This time the PC's are invited to ride with the caravan. They may decide to do this or continue to shadow the caravan. At midday the caravan is met by a group of 10 riders wearing red capes. These are the mercenaries of the Red Lances unit sent to escort the caravan. After a short discussion, where the patrol leader gets briefed on the events of the night before, the entire gathering begins moving north again. Traveling well into the night to avoid having to camp again, the caravan finally reaches the safety of Thuin Boid.

The rewards
This adventure will end as the PC's enter the border fort. During the next adventure the PC's will have the opportunity to meet the major NPC's of Thuin Boid and receive payment for this mission. Any items gathered from Hillmen killed by the PC's is rightfully theirs; if any Hillmen are killed by the guards or caravan drivers, however, their particular items will go to the victor.

The Marauders NPC Character And Master Military Stats
Name # Level Hits AT DB Sh Gr 1st OB 2nd OB 3rd OB MM Notes
Toryl 1 7 96 14 40 Y A 101bs 89ml 78cp 5 Mixed man Rogue
  +5 equip.
Guards 8 3 70 10 35 Y A/L 70bs 60ml 50cp 5 Mixed Warriors
Drivers 9 3 60 6 25 Y N 60ha 55cb - 5 Mixed Rogues
Red Lances 120 4 80 16 35 Y A/L 85bs 75ml 65sb 10 Northman Warriors, mounted
Moiric 1 7 101 9 20 N N 90sp 75ja - 15 Hillman Ranger
  +15sp; Totem, +3 pp adder; +5 RL; Spell Lists: Path Mastery, Nature's Guises, Nature's Way; PP:14, BS:+7, DS: -10
Hillmen 5-6 4 80 6 15 N N 75sp 55ja - 10 Hillmen Rangers
Hillmen 10-15 3 56 6 10 N N 55sp 45ja - 10 Hillmen Rangers