Ready-To-Run Adventures

The Siege of Harnalda

Phillip Gladney ©1999

Go to the Thuin Boid map and description

As the player characters are riding with and protecting the supply caravan they finally crest a hill and see the lights of their destination, Thuin Boid, about three miles away. This border fort is situated on an upraised hill and consists of a tall, stone tower and a stone wall encircling a nearby town. As the group gets close to the town one of the Red Lances raises a kineís horn to his mouth and blows loudly. After a few moments the party hears a warning bell sounding from somewhere within the fortress. A few minutes later they are able to make out a group of riders coming out of the main gate and heading their way. As they approach the group on the road the red-cloaked riders hail and welcome their brethren escorting the caravan. A sergeant orders one of the horsemen back to Thuin Boid to send news of the safe arrival of the caravan, while the remainder fall in with the caravan for the last mile of the journey.
As the caravan makes its way into the fort, the townsfolk come out to view the company. Toryl officially gives control of the caravan and its goods to the quartermaster of the garrison, tells the drivers, guards and PCís to enjoy themselves in town, but not get into to too much trouble, and goes up into the tower complex to communicate with the garrison leader. The drivers and guards all head for the nearest inn to slake their thirst and find sleeping arrangements. The PCís are free to do as they wish.
The next day, a guard from the garrison comes for the PCís. He tells them that Aldurin, the leader of the Red Lances and warden of Thuin Boid, wishes to meet with them. The guard, arrayed in plain rigid leather and bearing a shield with the device of the regular Angle auxiliary mercenary and levy units, a blue V over a green background, leads them to the tower. At the top of the stairs he greets two Red Lance mercenaries, wearing red tunics and capes and having a different device, two red lances crossed over a black shield with a gray background, on their shields. They then escort the party into the tower and up to Aldurinís council room. In the room, on the top floor of the tower, await both Aldurin and Toryl. Aldurin is a full-blooded Dunadan noble of the line of Elendil through the kings of Rhudaur. He stands around 6í7", is middle-aged and has a commanding presence. Toryl looks like a child beside him. He smiles and welcomes the PCís to Thuin Boid, thanking them for their assistance with the caravan. He pulls out the parchment Toryl brought with him detailing the partyís involvement and assistance and invites the group to sit down in the various chairs spread throughout the room. After going over the contract with both Toryl and the group he proceeds to pay the group as Paetric promised. Aldurin then offers the group some spiced wine and begins to make small talk, mostly about the partyís history, news and events from other lands and the current predicament in the Angle. After an hour or so of friendly conversation, Aldurin stands up and politely dismisses Toryl. He then turns to the party and says:

Now, on to more pressing matters. As you know, a Rhudauran army has been spotted on its way south. Our latest reports indicate that the army has reached our sister-fort, Harnalda. It seems that they have force-marched the past fortnight and are now entrenching themselves outside the walls. The host consists of a sizable Dunlending tribal infantry contingent as well as both Easterling and rogue Northmen cavalry. Also, we know that there are several heavy infantry mercenary bands within the army. Unfortunately, I need to know more about the enemyís camp and donít have the manpower to conduct a probe or reconnaissance in force. All of my men are tied up patrolling the nearby area. We are expecting substantial reinforcements from Fennas Drunin within a week or so and I will have the freedom to conduct offensive operations then. In the meantime, I am powerless to find out what Stonearm has in store for Harnalda. Since it is imperative that I know what we are up against, I would like to acquire your services for the time being to provide intelligence and perhaps perform some covert missions for me should an opportunity present itself. I propose a base fee for every mission accepted and completed as well as a bounty for every Rhudaurim you kill or capture. Your group has a healthy balance of skills and abilities that would greatly enhance your chances of success. I think you would be perfect for what I have in mind. Are you willing to help the people of the Angle in their time of need?

After accepting the assignment, Aldurin begins discussing the fees to be paid to the party. He initially offers a fee of 50 pieces of silver for every mission accomplished, as well as a supplementary bounty of 3 pieces of gold for every enemy soldier killed or captured, but this is very negotiable. Aldurin is well aware of the dire circumstances of the current situation and is willing to pay handsomely for the services of the PCís. Essentially, he will agree to anything even remotely reasonable, however, if the PCís raise the price to some exorbitant sum they might just earn the enmity of this powerful and influential NPC.
After completing the details of the agreement, Aldurin writes up a contract agreement for the PCís and himself to sign. He says that for the bounty to be paid on any Rhudaurim killed, the party must bring back the head of the enemy soldier. He then goes on to explain what is needed in this first mission. First and foremost, he desperately needs the layout of the enemy encampment and the disposition and number of Ermegilís troops. A rough sketch of the Rhudaurim camp will be sufficient. Secondly, if possible, he needs a prisoner to obtain information or rumors about the enemy. He wants to ascertain any weaknesses the Rhudauran army might have, such as dissension within the ranks, low supplies or anything else that may be of help. Lastly, if the PCís feel they are able, Aldurin would like for them to strike at one of the patrols or foraging parties the Rhudaurim send out. This would be the perfect opportunity to capture one of the enemy and at the same time hopefully create a sense of anxiety within the enemy camp. The Dunadan leader goes on to remind the PCís that the primary mission is that of information gathering. If the two secondary goals seem like they might endanger the group then they are to abandon them. Aldurin states that he needs intelligence about Ermegilís army more than anything else, and the PCís should do nothing that would endanger that goal. He also says that when the PCís do return he will determine the best course of action and decide if he needs anything else from them.
At the end of the briefing, Aldurin orders the party to keep their commission secret. He will notify his own Red Lanceís so that they may provide assistance if necessary. They are trustworthy and can be counted on to keep their mouths shut. The garrison commander also asks the party if they can begin their mission tonight. He wants them to leave town in the middle of the night just in case there are spies in town. Aldurin tells the party to go to the military stable in the paddock tonight. Their horses will be waiting for them. They will be provisioned by the quartermaster, provided with a detailed map of the area and be given enough rations for two weeks. When they return from the reconnaissance they are to report to Aldurin immediately for a debriefing.
The party is now free to spend the rest of the day as they wish. They should remember, though, that they will be traveling at night and should get some rest prior to their departure. Later that night, the party finds their horses packed and waiting for them in the stable and they head out the horse gate heading east.

Mission One-the task
The border fort, Harnalda, is roughly one dayís hard ride to the southeast of Thuin Boid. The terrain is mostly grassy, rolling hills dotted with random stands of trees. These copses consist of both deciduous and coniferous trees and are never very large, although they can get quite thick. After reaching the vicinity of the border fort the party may decide to either ride or walk to the Rhudaurim camp. Each means of travel has its advantages and disadvantages. By choosing to go on foot, the party will be able to hide more easily, but should they come into trouble it would be more difficult to escape.
To complete the mission the party must at the very least sketch a rough copy of the layout of the Rhudaurim camp. This will not be as easy as it sounds. Encounters within the locale surrounding Harnalda will be both numerous and powerful. Some of the encounters will be more than the party can handle and will require clever action or swift retreat on the part of the PCís. Once the PCís have completed their reconnaissance and any other actions they deem worthy, they must make it back to Thuin Boid. The transfer of any captives might cause some problems unless the party has prepared in advance for this eventuality. An extra horse brought from Thuin Boid would be an excellent means of transporting any unwilling enemy soldiers without slowing the entire group too much.

Mission One-the aftermath
Go to the Rhudaurim camp map and description
Back in Thuin Boid the PCís will be directed (along with any captives) to the tower for a debriefing. Aldurin will be visibly pleased if any captured enemy soldiers are brought back. During the meeting with Aldurin the PCís will go over the sketch with the garrison leader, explaining each of the specific points of interest. Aldurin will be very concerned with the partyís report of siege engines nearing completion. He goes on to explain that the siege towers could spell the end for Harnalda and proceeds to go over to a table with a large map of the region lying on it. There are several carved wooden figurines of men and horses on the map denoting the allied and enemy units currently in the Angle. Surrounding Harnalda are several enemy figurines of both men and horse. Aldurin points to a line of allied figurines just south of Thuin Boid and states that the reinforcements coming from Fennas Drunin will be in the border town in a day or two. When they get here, he proclaims, he will be able to send out mounted sorties against the Rhudaurim, however the deciding factor in this entire siege could be the completion or destruction of those siege towers. Aldurin then calmly asks the party if they are interested in any more work. He proposes a riskier two-fold mission that will pay 10 pieces of gold to the party. If the party shows interest, he tells them that the siege towers currently under construction must be burned to the ground for the defenders of Harnalda to survive. In addition, he must get a message into the border fort at all costs. Aldurin declares that he feels the party has the best chance for success in both endeavors and that they will not be alone in this mission. Aldurin explains that when the levy and River Guard units arrive from Fennas Drunin he will be able to free up the Red Lances from patrol duty. They, and whatever mounted forces the levy can provide, will sortie against the Rhudaurim encampment at dusk in three days time to provide a distraction. This distraction should be enough for the group to get close to the siege towers without too much trouble. After destroying the siege towers by any means available, the party is to ride to Harnalda and deliver the message to the garrison commander. Aldurin will provide them with a code word (Black eagle), which should allow access into the bailey. After delivering the message they are to escape from Harnalda using any means at their disposal and report back to Aldurin in Thuin Boid. He reminds the party that this is an important, yet dangerous mission and there is a chance that the party will get stuck in Harnalda. Also, should any PCís get captured they will most assuredly be tortured for any information they have. Aldurin also tells the party that for this reason the allied mounted troops will attack from a direction unknown to the party, so that if captured, the party does have any sensitive information. That way they cannot provide the enemy a means of ambushing the allied forces. Lastly, Aldurin tells the party that he will provide them with flasks of oil and any other supplies they feel they might need to help in the completion of this task.

Mission Two-the task
Go to the Harnalda map and description
Go to the Harnalda locale encounters map
The next day the party must decide what they are going to take with them and when they will leave. Once again, the party must make the ride to the vicinity of Harnalda and deal with the patrols. They know that an attack will commence on the Rhudaurim at dusk on the third day after their meeting with Aldurin. They do not know from where it will come. They must somehow be in position to take advantage of this distraction.
When the Red Lances and allied mounted levy do attack it will come from the north. The cavalry does not intend to destroy the Rhudaurim army since they are outnumbered 10 to 1. However, the enemy cavalry outnumbers them by only 2 to 1. Knowing full well that they are more than a match for the northron mercenaries and easterling tribesmen, the allied cavalry will attempt to make the battle a purely mounted affair. By moving back whenever the infantry moves up to engage, the Red Lances and levy will pull the enemy farther and farther away from their camp. Eventually, the allied cavalry will signal a full retreat and fly back to Thuin Boid, leaving the enemy to gather their dead.
At dusk on the third day, the PCís will hear the sound of several horns to the north. If the PCís have a good view of the encampment they will see riders streaming in from the direction of the horns. This will cause several other horns to sound from the main camp. The enemy soldiers throughout all of the separate camps will rouse themselves from whatever they were doing and begin to move towards the action. The easterlings and the northron cavalry will get on their horses and ride north swiftly. The dunlendings will gather and await orders from the camp of Ermegil. Messengers from the main camp will quickly ride to their camp and send half their number north to the fray. This series of events takes about 20-30 minutes to develop. The PCís, unless they chose to wait for the attack in the north sector, will be unable to view any of the action. They will hear the sound of battle and the cries of dying men, but will be unable to discern anything from the sounds.
After the allied cavalry has been detected and the units of the Rhudaurim army have moved north to engage, the siege towers will be left with a guard of only 5-7 experienced dunlendings or medium infantry (GMís choice). The PCís must now get to these towers by any means at their disposal, including disguises or pure speed. Aldurinís ploy has worked very well and there are not many horsemen left in the encampment. Only foot soldiers remain and the PCís can outrun them easily. In addition, the general chaos from the allied feint coupled with the darkness might cause the enemy to not even notice the PCís until it is too late. After disposing of the sentries, the PCís will have a very small amount of time to douse the towers with the oil supplied by Aldurin and light them. There are several torches on stakes planted around the towers the PCís can use for this purpose. When the towers do get set ablaze, a great shout will come from the defenders of Harnalda, who are watching the events from the palisade walls. If the PCís ride straight to the gates after the towers are destroyed and give the code word "Black eagle", an officer on duty will bark orders to the men in the gatehouse to open the doors. The PCís may then ride into the gates of the besieged fort. If the party does not destroy the towers in plain view, the code word will only keep the defenders from immediately firing their missile weapons. It will take a quick wit and an exceptionally charismatic persona to convince the defenders of the partyís good intentions.

Mission Two-the aftermath
Once inside the bailey, they will be surrounded. Men armed with spears will keep them from going any further into the compound and they will see a goodly number of archers with cocked bows on the parapet behind them. If any of the PCís are injured an older bearded trooper will shout out for somebody to "get the healers". He then tells another soldier to go and tell the commander about the party. The party is then escorted under guard to the tower. They are taken into a meeting room on the second floor where a tall man in chain mail is waiting for them. He obviously has some Dunadan blood in him for he stands over 6í8" tall. He looks to be only 30 years old but has eyes that portray a life that has already seen many more years than that. He asks the party what their purpose and intentions are and how they know about the code word. If given a suitable explanation and the message from Aldurin, he will relax a bit and tell the guards that they can leave. He then introduces himself as Talathain, the garrison commander of Harnalda, and asks the party if they have any other information about what is going on outside the walls. He is most eager to hear any reports detailing the efforts of Aldurin and the people of the Angle to bring his garrison relief. After telling the commander about the events within the Angle and a little about themselves, Talathain invites the PCís to take a room at the Lonely Watch for the night. He says he will send for them the next morning to determine the best way to get them back to Thuin Boid.
That night the PCís are free to mingle with the soldiers of the keep in the tavern. In fact, they will be literally accosted by the garrison asking for information, much like Talathain, and could earn quite a few free drinks in the process.
This ends this installment of the Angle campaign.

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