Expedition to the Haunted Vale
Minas Brethil - The Armory Tower
Copyright ©2000 Phillip Gladney
Edited for The Guild Companion by Joe Mandala, October 2000
Lower level The only means of access to this tower are two doorways. One, on the third level, has a door of iron-reinforced wood and was for the sentries who patrolled the walls. The other, on ground level, is secured by heavy, iron double-doors. It is the normal entrance into the Armory tower and the halls delved out underneath. These doors can be barred from the inside by an oaken beam, which usually stands to either side of the entrance awaiting use.
The lower level of the tower is now the storage area for all of the riding equipment of the horses. Harnesses and tack hang on the walls and several saddles rest on beams scattered around the room. There is straw on the floor and a supply of horseshoes and nails in a newly crafted wooden box opposite the main entrance. During the day there is a small chance (5%) that one of the blacksmiths is here shoeing a horse. There are also two steep stairwells, one leading to the upper levels and one disappearing into the darkness below. Otherwise this entire level is empty and dark, having no windows of any kind to illuminate it.
Second level This was the main armory in days of old and serves in that capacity still. Weapons, new and old, hang on pegs or stand in racks all along the wall. Interspersed between each weapon rack is a thin cross-shaped arrow loop. This window-like opening is only a few inches wide and allows archers inside the tower a clear field-of-fire directly outside the walls. In turn, it provides the defenders excellent cover from which to fire their missile weapons.
The number of weapons stored in this second floor room is quite sizable. Included are 30 crossbows, 20 spears and pole-arms, 20 shields of differing design, a small assortment of helms and leather armor and well over 40 hand-held melee weapons, such as swords, maces, handaxes, etc. Four large barrels in the center of the room hold over 1000 crossbow bolts and arrows, each sheaved in a group of about 20 for easy distribution. The quality of these armaments is average at best, but all are serviceable and will get the job done.
This room is locked (Medium, +0) and is usually unoccupied. Due to a lack of light sources and the extremely thin embrasures, this room can get quite dark.
Third level At the top of the stairs is the third level. The stairs themselves end in a landing, which features two wooden doors and an iron ladder leading up to a trap door in the ceiling. The ladder is old and rusted and is the only means of access to the roof. The door to the immediate left leads out to the catwalk along the wall. It can be locked from the inside by a simple latch. The door directly opposite the stairs once led to the quarters of the Captain of the Guard. It is now home to Alcaur the Animist.
The first thing one notices upon entering this room is the horrific smell. The odor of excrement wafts from a corner to the left, where a small rookery has been built. A bed of thatch, a small table and a chest fill out the room. There are heavy woolen curtains covering all of the embrasures, to keep light from shining out during the night, and an unused fireplace in the corner beside the rookery. Due to the line of bird waste leading to it, it is obvious that this is how the birds, actually Crebain, enter and exit the tower. There are always between 20 and 30 of the oily creatures present and a chorus of loud squawking will meet any stranger.
Alcaur, himself, is almost always in this room. He stands a mere 5'6", has brown hair, and is a little on the portly side. Born in northwest Arthedain as a commoner, his face was horribly scarred by fire as a youth. Because of the fear and scorn visited upon him by his fellow man, he became a recluse and was easily seduced to the path of evil. In Angmar, Alcaur came to study the ways of Animism and became proficient in working with animals, specifically avian creatures. He has two pet wolves that stay with him constantly. They are very large wolves and will protect the Animist with their lives.
Alcaur's duties on this mission are twofold. He is responsible for communication with their superiors in Angmar. He does this with the use of messages in Black Speech flown northward by his Crebain. He also sends his Crebain out for reconnaissance flights fairly frequently. His first responsibility, however, is healing. To this end he has a quantity of healing herbs locked (Hard, -10) in the chest. These include:
In addition, quantities of poisons are stored here. These include:
- 10 doses Armanumas (powdered form in small box)
- 20 doses Arunya (liquid kept in small potion bottle)
- 5 doses Attanar (a moss stored in moist leaves)
- 10 doses Reglen (also a moss)
- 30 doses Rumareth (paste; very common among Angmarim)
- 10 doses Teldalion (this bark lines the bottom of the chest)
- 15 doses Arkasu (a salve brought over from the plains of Rhun)
- 65 doses Suranie (a green glass jar full of dried berries)
There are no labels on any of these containers; Alcaur knows every one by heart. He also keeps his monetary wealth in a cloth sack in this chest. He has accumulated 60 gp, 120 sp and a few gems worth a total of 175 gp. His items of power he keeps with him. The strongest of which is his rod. Topped off with a bird skull and decorated with feathers, this magical item allows its user to communicate freely with birds through telepathy. It's also an x3pp Chan adder that can cast "Glide" 3x/day (Alcaur will use this power to flee out one of the windows if threatened). His mace is magical (+5) and he has an amulet showing his allegiance to the Witch-king (x2pp adder).
- 10 doses Camardach Acid (kept in 10 glass vials ready to throw)
- 10 doses Sereghala (a paste made of fish blood)
- 50 doses White-Berried Yew (more dried berries in a glass jar; similar to Suranie)
- 5 doses Worlclivur (this paste is saved for emergencies)
Roof level The roof of the Armory Tower is now the highest point among the ruins. It is also one of the four guard posts along the ancient walls. A stool sits up here for whichever soldier has guard duty, so he can remain practically unseen as he peers westward out over the battlements.