Ready-To-Run Adventures

The Rhudaurian Camp

Phillip Gladney ©1999

The army of Ermegil Stonearm does not have sufficient troops to fully encircle the border fort and still keep a safe distance away. This leaves the army somewhat vulnerable to sallies from the troops within Harnalda and surprise attacks from reinforcing troops. To help alleviate this problem, Ermegil has ordered his army to camp in five separate positions around the fort and has set up a form of blockade. This makes any foray by forces of the Angle into or out of the fortress very dangerous and also helps with keeping his troops out of trouble since the various ethnic groups comprising his army frequently fight with one another. To protect these camps, sentries keep vigil along the perimeter of each camp and mounted bands patrol the nearby vicinity. At night, torches are lit on top of stakes placed in regular intervals in and around the camps. This provides a modicum of light for the area and allows the sentries on duty to see the surrounding countryside to a limited degree.

  1. The main camp: Ermegil's headquarters is located to the northwest of Harnalda. It consists of the Trererath, the northron cavalry and medium infantry mercenary units as well as the officers, supplies, support personnel (such as engineers and quartermasters) and the camp followers. King Stonearm has a massive tent in the middle of this camp and is always surrounded by 10-20 heavily armed guards. He holds council in this tent and messengers are sent out regularly to the other encampments with orders from the king. Ermegil's standard, that of a black crown above two black battleaxes, flies from the highest pole in the camp and the camp is protected by a smattering of wooden stakes implanted in the ground. The northron cavalry have created a rope corral on the northern side of the camp and keep their horses here.
  2. The Dunlending camp: To the southwest lies the camp of the dunlending tribes. This is the largest camp by far, consisting of roughly 2,000 men, and is situated in between Harnalda and the direction any reinforcements would come from. The dunlendings in this camp have been working on a logging project, which is providing the lumber for the siege engines and the defensive stakes planted around their encampment and that of Ermegils'. The dunlendings are also busy digging a trench around their entire compound and have placed the sharpened stakes on the top of the unearthed soil to create a semi-palisade should forces of the Angle come to the aid of the besieged soldiers in Harnalda. This will keep any mounted forces from entering their compound and give them time to form up in a defensive arrangement. The dunlendings are living in cramped tents made from cowhide and stitched together with sheepgut. There are five main tribes participating in this campaign and they have each set up their tents in related clusters.
  3. The northern Easterling camp: The Easterlings accompanying Ermegil on this campaign have been separated into three different camps primarily according to their tribal affiliation. They patrol the perimeter on horseback and attempt to keep enemy messengers or scouts from penetrating the Rhudaurim siege. During the day this is an easy assignment, however after the sun sets it becomes significantly more difficult. Approximately 150 Easterlings are located in this encampment. Their horses are tied up near each of their tents as opposed to the corral incorporated by the northrons in the main camp. This allows them a much faster reaction time to any incursion or attack. Like the dunlendings, the easterlings use cowhide tents to shield them from the elements.
  4. The eastern Easterling camp: Similar to the northern encampment of easterlings except larger. The leader of the entire easterling contingent, Trojic Havel, stays here with a small retinue of bodyguards and maidservants as well as 200 of his best horsemen. Trojic chose this spot to set up his personal quarters because, even though he has sworn allegiance to Ermegil Stonearm, he dislikes the man with a vengeance and wishes to stay as far away from him as possible. His major concern is making sure his warriors get their rightful share of the spoils from Harnalda. Failing to do this might cause Trojic to become a "casualty" himself. Since his men will not be attacking the walls with the dunlendings and regular mercenaries, he must figure out a way to get his men into Harnalda, immediately after the walls have been breached. Currently, he is sending dismounted horsemen to the area just outside the castle to serve as missile troops. This is a job relegated to the youngest and weakest members of his contingent since it is a major dishonor among the fiercely prideful horsemen to fight on foot.
  5. The southern Easterling camp: This camp is set up exactly like the other two easterling camps and provides horsemen for the various patrols around the area in addition to protecting their sector of the blockade. It contains 150 easterling horse warriors.
  6. Harnalda: This fortress is detailed completely in the Harnalda section.
  7. Construction area: Two siege towers and a battering ram are being crafted at a rapid pace here by Angmarean engineers on loan from the Witch-king. Wood from the logging operation is brought here by dunlendings on wagons. None are complete as of the scouting mission, but all will be almost fully functional by the time reinforcements from Fennas Drunin arrive in Thuin Boid. This will be a major factor in Aldurin's decision to attack or wait. If completed, the siege towers will spell doom to the inhabitants of Harnalda for they will rise high above the wooden parapet surrounding Harnalda and provide an excellent platform from which to rain missiles down upon the defenders. In addition, attackers can use a ramp on the top of the tower to cross over the parapet and into the bailey of Harnalda. Additional forces may also hide behind the tower as it moves toward the wall giving them protection against enemy missiles. Without the siege towers Ermegil's forces would suffer extreme casualties as they tried to scale the walls with ladders and rope. The battering ram is also a major danger to the occupants of Harnalda because it can batter down the main gate and allow Rhudaurim invaders into the bailey. This is a secondary concern however, for the defenses around the main gate are stronger than the wall. Both the siege towers and the battering ram are covered in rawhide to give them some protection against fire. Before any attack these hides will be doused with water.
  8. Siege area: The engineers from Angmar are also busy constructing a trebuchet here as well as several wheeled mantelets. The mantelets are simply moveable wooden walls that provide protection for the archers as they fire missiles over the wall into Harnalda. After these siege engines are constructed there will usually be at least 20-30 archers making life difficult for the inhabitants of the border fort. The trebuchet is large and clumsy but can cast immense rocks at the walls of the fort. Its rate of fire is very slow, approximately one shot per hour. This is not because of any slowness on the part of the crew, made up of dunlendings and overseen by an engineer, but because ammunition is so hard to find. A crew of dunlendings has the responsibility to go out and find rocks large enough to do damage to the walls. This is a difficult task since the area contains mostly limestone. They do, however, come up with ammunition on a regular, if slow, basis and it is brought to the trebuchet to be fired at the fort. When the trebuchet is finished, the Rhudaurim will attempt to damage the wall directly in front of the tower. A stone wall could stand up to the devastating force of the trebuchet for quite awhile, but the wooden palisade will fare far worse. The damage inflicted in a short amount of time will force the defenders to shore up that section of the wall leaving them vulnerable to the concentrated fire of the bowmen outside the wall. These bowmen are relatively inexperienced as archers, however the quantity of arrows fired can make up for their lack of skill.
    On occasion, Ermegil will order a few hundred men to muster in this area at night. Their purpose is to simulate an upcoming attack and force the defenders of the border fort to rouse them-selves and man the walls. They quietly gather at this point and then at the sound of a horn yell as loudly as possible and charge towards the wall. This understandably elicits a serious response from the defenders and they are obliged to prepare for an attack. This has the overall effect of worsening morale within the fort as well as disrupting the sleep patterns of the defenders. These Rhudaurim troops never actually attempt to scale the castle walls and after about 20-30 minutes of whooping and hollering, just enough time for the defenders to get out of bed and to the wall, they disappear back into the night from whence they came.