Ready-To-Run Adventures

The Scourge of Smallforge

Phillip Gladney ©1999

Background
Go to the Reedhaven map and village description

For close to three decades the Dwarven community of Smallforge has lived in close proximity and harmony with the nearby hobbit settlement Reedhaven. Each village has between 75-100 inhabitants and a strong friendship has arisen between the two. Smallforge is led by Beleg, sometimes called the Twilight Hammer, and consists of an iron mine and large smithy. Reedhaven is led by Dallo Point and is one of the last remaining hobbit settlements in the Angle. Beleg and Dallo are old friends, and have even adventured together in the past, acquiring renown in addition to a sizable quantity of gold and items of worth during their many years of wandering. Dallo can still be seen occasionally in his complete set of Dwarven arms and armor, while Beleg's greatest pride is his war hammer inlaid with ithildin. It is called the Twilight Hammer and hence Beleg's nickname.

Years ago, Beleg came to pay a visit to his friend in Reedhaven. Dallo had already settled down and bought an inn in the village where he was spending his retirement. One day, while exploring a nearby cave, Beleg saw the unmistakable signs of iron ore. Deciding to create a colony to mine the ore, he went back to his home in Khazad-dûm, convinced many of his friends and family to join him and spent his fortune hiring guards and miners to work the vein and enlarge the cave that led under the hill. It took many years of construction, but the colony was eventually ready for use. It now produces a steady supply of exemplary weaponry for the forces of the Free Peoples in the Angle. Reedhaven has profited itself from the presence of the Dwarven colony and is glad to have the dwarves living nearby.

The ties that bind these two colonies are economical as well as political. Both groups are far from any other settlements of their own kind and consequently are dependent upon one another for various commodities. The dwarves need fish, game, grain, and other foodstuffs and the hobbits need finished metal products such as arrows, spearheads and farm implements as well as hard currency. In addition, both settlements band together for the common good when threatened with outside intervention. In the past, the two groups held off a minor incursion of Dunlendings during the Stonearm Wars. Nothing much else of significance has happened since then, but that is all about to change.

The Tale
Go to the Smallforge map and village description
Part of the Witch-king's plot to subdue the Angle and use it as a jumping off point for an invasion of Cardolan hinges on keeping the dwarves and hobbits from being able to send any help to their neighbors. The assistance a small army of Dwarves and Hobbit scouts could render might tip the scales in favor of the Feotari. Also, if it were known that a major invasion was in the future, and that Cardolan and Tharbad were in danger, then most assuredly the dwarves of Khazad-dûm would move to help their business partners. Tharbad is essential to the Dwarven economic machine and the Dwarves would not like to see it fall. They could even send an army there to help in its defense and this is something that the Witch-king does not want to happen. Therefore, the two villages located on the Bruinin River must be isolated and forced to concentrate on their own well being instead of that of the people of Fennas Drunin.

Since the whole plan revolves around keeping the Angmarim out of the action till the very end, the Witch-king has decided to use some of his wolves. A large pack has been dispatched to the eastern part of the Angle with orders to disrupt life there as much as possible. These thirty-odd wolves are under the leadership of a true Warg. This "wolf" is Undead and has the intelligence to make sustained strategic decisions. He can coordinate the wolves to split into two or more groups for extra effectiveness and to create more confusion.

Already the wolves have been responsible for three deaths and the killings of five sheep, two cows and a mule. The three deaths have all come recently and the leaders of Smallforge and Reedhaven are at a loss as how to deal with the intruders. With the first death, that of a small hobbit child whose body was found a mile away, the inhabitants were unsure as to what happened and it seemed that it was merely a random and unfortunate incident. However, two days later the bodies of an adult dwarf and hobbit, two friends who had gone fishing, were found. Their bodies had been rent apart just like the child's had been, but the dwarf's axe had blood and course dark fur matted onto it. This was obviously not the result of an unfortunate incident as the dwarf was a warrior of some skill and there were no bodies of any animals that had been hit. The village leaders believe that wolves are to blame and have sent out hunting parties to no avail. Once a small group of wolves was spotted, but they escaped and the pursuers were unable to keep up with them.

Now the dwarves and hobbits have sent a representative down river to Fennas Drunin asking for assistance. The town guard cannot help due to the fact that recent raids by Hillmen have created chaos in the region and they have no troops to spare. The leaders of the two settlements have posted a bounty of 5 pieces of silver on wolves for any individual who will come to their village and help. They specifically need men who can ride horses since they are the only ones who will be able to capture or kill the marauding wolves. To this end Dallo's friend, Feagwin, has offered to supply up to seven horses for this expedition should reliable parties accept the assignment and not have their own mounts.

The Task
After hearing rumors of trouble in the region of Rhudaur known as the Angle, the party decides to travel there to see if they can be of help. After only one day in Fennas Drunin they hear talk of a Rhudaurim army seen in the north and frequent raids by marauding Hillmen all over the region. Isolated farmsteads have been found burned out and people are missing. The people of Fennas Drunin are getting ready for war and making preparations all over town. A caravan is being prepared to send supplies to the border forts in anticipation of a prolonged siege. One of the many rumors floating around the town is that a band of roving wolves has beset two settlements on the river Bruinen to the east. Upon asking someone about this they are directed to a wooden post in the main square. It holds a variety of notices, however one well written notice holds the information they are looking for. It says:
REWARD
Adventurous spirits needed for removal of wolf menace.
Must be mounted and have own weapons. 5 pieces of silver for each fresh wolf pelt delivered. Interested parties may contact Folgrin at the Oak Grove Tavern every day at noon.

If the party goes to the Oak Grove at noon they will see a Dwarf sitting alone at one of the tables. This is none other than Folgrin, the Dwarven envoy. He is an older dwarf and has streaks of gray in his otherwise black beard. If the party approaches and inquires about the reward, Folgrin will look them over thoroughly as if appraising whether or not to even respond. After a moment or two of awkward silence he will invite the party members to sit and orders a round of drinks for the group. Over the mugs of ale he will ask the party members several questions about their background, any references they might have and what skills they may have that will help in the completion of the task set before them. He is attempting to assess whether these strangers are trustworthy and not agents of Angmar or common scoundrels. During this questioning session he barely attempts to hide his obvious skepticism. Folgrin will also ignore any questions directed by the party members until he is satisfied they are worthy of the responsibility. After deciding to offer the party the job, he will tell them that since they do not have the necessary skills to ensure success in the mission they will have to accept less than the 5 pieces of silver per pelt. He will offer them 4 silver instead. This is merely a ploy to see if the party will accept less than the official reward. If the party refuses this, he will think for a moment and then smile, saying that he respects a person who has the guts to stand up for his own worth. If the party accepts, he won't say anything, however he will lose respect for them for not having the strength or wherewithal to barter with him.

After the reward has been discussed and the party has accepted the mission, Folgrin will relate the story about the hobbit child and the two adults who were killed. He tells them that they are sure that it was the work of a roving band of wolves since a pack has been seen in the area. They do not have the ability to chase the wolves and this is what they need the party members for. If they don't have horses, Folgrin tells them that he will have some on loan for them by tomorrow morning and they should meet here at the Oak Grove then.

The next morning the party members greet Folgrin at the inn. He is accompanied by two younger Dwarves in chain mail armor and has a wagon pulled by two mules for transportation. If the party needed to be supplied with horses, then an elderly Northman is also present. He tells the party to treat the horses well and there will be no problems. He also says that if they run off with his horses, he will track them down and then reminds the party that the penalty for horse rustling is death. The group then leaves Fennas Drunin and travels northeast following a path consisting of two ruts in the ground. Folgrin calls it the River Way and tells the party that it shadows the Bruinen river all the way to the twin settlements. Nothing of interest occurs during the trip, which takes most of the day, and the three dwarves escorting the group make for boring travel companions. Once in Reedhaven they will be directed to the Frothy Tankard, Dallo's establishment. There they will be introduced to the community and meet their employers. They are given rooms to stay in and asked to join a meeting later that night. During this meeting they will be given greater detail as to the whereabouts of the wolves and requested by Dallo and Beleg to give their input on how to eliminate the wolf menace.

GM Notes
An intelligent Warg leads the wolves that have assailed the two communities. Their plan is to harass the villagers as much as possible without allowing a direct confrontation to result. In a true melee the wolves would not stand much of a chance against the well-armored Dwarves. Thus, they have adopted a hit-and-run strategy, using their mobility as an advantage. Isolated villagers and small parties will be attacked by the pack, however any group of over five persons will be left alone. Their sense of smell is incredible and it will warn them of most any ambush so the party is confronted with a challenging objective. If during the course of the adventure the wolves somehow are confronted and a good number of them killed, then the leaders will determine that an all-out assault on the village at night is their only recourse. The Warg is unconcerned about his own well being and will sacrifice as many of the normal wolves as necessary to complete the assignment. He knows that their effectiveness as a marauding force is lost without the strength of the entire pack and will do what damage they can to the Hobbit village instead.

The party's first obstacle is to come up with a plan. If they cannot come up with anything, the leaders of the two settlements will interject with some of their own; it is better, however, if the party thinks for itself. Allow the party time to confer and if nothing is accomplished or the idea is not a good one, have Beleg or Dallo reject it and insist they use one of their own ideas. One idea is to send out many small groups on foot with horns and hope to encounter the wolves. The group facing the wolves would blow the horns and hold off the wolves until the mobile force, consisting of the hired party, can come and give aid. This is a dangerous plan of action, since the group on foot, mostly dwarves with a few hobbits, would be in dire jeopardy for an unknown amount of time. The dwarves favor a hammer and anvil type attack. One group, probably the horsed party, would charge through the woods loudly trying to roust the wolves from their hiding place. They would then try to herd the wolves into an ambush by the Hobbit archers and Dwarven crossbowmen at some ideal location. Another idea is to use the Hobbits' outdoors skills to find and attack the wolves in large numbers. To do this, the party, in addition to a group of dwarves and hobbits, would need to search for the wolves from a point that is going into the wind. Otherwise, the wolves would smell the attackers and move away. The wolves normally sleep during the day and hunt at night, however this group has been sleeping at night so that it can operate during normal active hours.

This scenario gives the GM a great deal of leeway as to dealing with the wolves and their actions. The number of wolves involved and the ability of the wolves to split into lesser groups allows the GM to tailor the difficulty of the adventure to the groups' strength. Higher level groups might encounter larger packs and vice versa. In the end, the party will have to eliminate the leader or the entire pack. If the leader is killed then there will be no leadership or unifying force to hold the pack together and the group will dissolve into smaller packs. They would then have no inclination to attack the settlements and would leave the area. This would be a victory for the party; GMs should be hesitant to have the Warg slain early on, however, as this will make the adventure too short.

The Rewards
After the party dispatches the wolf menace, they will be invited to a feast in the Great Hall of Smallforge. They will be treated as honored guests and will sit to either side of Beleg and Dallo. Songs, succulent racks of lamb and venison, games of strength and kegs of ale will be in abundance. The majority of both settlements will be in attendance and desire to speak with the party members. Hobbit children will ask questions about the "outside world", while Dwarven warriors will inquire as to their opinions on the recent developments in the region. Other than the satisfaction of helping out someone in need, the feast, and the bounty, however, the rewards in this scenario are hidden. The party will have to use their trust in goodness and diplomacy to find them. The most significant thing the party can leave with is the goodwill of the Dwarves. To do this the party must refuse the reward from the two settlements when it is offered them during the high point of the feast. If they do this with the reasoning of goodwill towards the Dwarves and Hobbits, then Beleg will consider their request for a moment, proclaim something loud in the Dwarven language to his companions and come shake the hands of the party. Meanwhile the Dwarves in the hall will nod their heads in general agreement with the decision Beleg has just made and begin moving towards where the party is seated. Beleg then tells the party he has named them Dwarf-friends and the Dwarves in the hall all come to congratulate them. This is no small honor and since Beleg is a minor Durinic lord he has the right and ability to name the party so. He also tells them that tomorrow he will give each of them an amulet that will let other Dwarves know of their new stature and insists that each of them choose a weapon or piece of armor of their choice from the armory. They have an assortment of weapons and armor to choose from and everything in the armory is +10 due to its excellent make.

The next day, while recuperating from the hangover, a Hobbit messenger from Harnalda arrives in Reedhaven. He tells the two leaders of the settlements that a Rhudaurim army composed of Dunlendings, Easterling horsemen and various mercenaries is only two weeks away from the border fort. The leaders call a council to confer on this news. This bit of information leads into the second adventure of the serial. Now the party must get back to Fennas Drunin soon so that they can offer their services to the town council!

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The Scourge of Smallforge character stats
Name # Level Hits AT DB Sh Gr 1st OB 2nd OB3rd OB MM Notes
Beleg 1 11 143 19 70 Y A/L 137wh 110ha (thr) 100hcb 10 Dwarven Warrior
  +25 warhammer, "Twilight Hammer", Of Slaying Orcs & Undead, wielded one-handed, +50 RR vrs. Fear, continuous Prayer; +15 shield, Stun Relief x3/day; +15 half-plate armor; +5 helm, Sudden Light x2/day; +15 throwing axes (2); +15 heavy crossbow w/ +10 bolts (25).
Dallo 1 8 70 5 70 Y10 N 70ss 108lcb --- 30 Stoor Scout/Rogue
  Public Speaking and Diplomacy bonuses of +40. Uses fine Dwarven weaponry, earned "the hard way." His crossbow has an intricate cable arrangement that allows it to be fired each round and at normal double range.
Nildin 1 8 114 16 60 Y A/L 109ha 97ha (thr) 94hcb 5 Dwarven Warrior
  +15 hand axe; +15 full chain armor; +15 shield; +15 throwing axes (2); +15 heavy crossbow w/ +10 bolts (25).
Khauzag 1 9 126 19 30 N A/L 124ba 112ha (thr) 106hcb 10 Dwarven Warrior
  +15 battle axe; +10 half-plate armor; +10 full helm; +15 throwing axes (2); +15 heavy crossbow w/ +10 bolts (25).
Folgrin 1 7 106 16 50 Y A/L 119bs 95ha (thr) 98hcb 5 Dwarven Warrior
  +10 broadsword; +10 full chain armor; +10 shield; amulet Detect Evil 3x/day.
Exp Guard 20 4 95 16 45 Y A/L 85ha 75ha (thr) 65hcb 10 Dwarven Warriors
  + 5 equip; uses an assortment of one-handed weapons.
Young Guard 20 3 85 15 40 Y A/L 75ha 65ha (thr) 60hcb 5 Dwarven Warriors
  +5 equip; uses an assortment of one-handed weapons.
Miners 25 3 80 13 35 Y A 70ha 60lcb --- 0 Dwarven Rogues
  +5 equip; uses an assortment of one-handed weapons.
Hobbits 40 3 60 7 45 Y --- 55sp 50sb --- 15 Scout/Rangers
  +5 equip.


Master Military Table Forces of Angmar
Name # Level Hits AT DB Sh Gr 1st OB 2nd OB 3rd OB MM Notes
Warg 1 8 180 4 60 N N 75LBi 60LCl 50Both 40 Undead Wolf
Wolf 27 3 110 3 30 N N 55LBi 30MCl - 35 Normal Wolf