Ready-to-Run Adventures

Expedition to the Haunted Vale

Minas Brethil - The Lower Halls

Copyright ©2000 Phillip Gladney
Edited for The Guild Companion by Joe Mandala, October 2000

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  1. This landing in the stairs serves as a guard post. There is always at least one guard here, sitting on a stool with a primed crossbow easily accessible. From this vantage point, any entrance into the lower levels will be heard. The guard will then yell an alarm. This method is crude but effective; any alarm will be responded to quickly and efficiently. A welcoming party will be ready to ambush intruders in the large common area (#2) within 10 rounds. The guard himself will fire his crossbow, drop it (or reload if he thinks he has time) and reach into the nearby alcove for his close fighting weapons. He will retreat if he thinks he is overmatched. If it is obvious that intruders are coming (such as fighting in the halls above) he will not yell an alarm and instead go alert everyone downstairs silently so any ambush will have the element of surprise.
    Situated in the alcove are a simple three-footed stool, a sconce for torches (one of which will always be burning here), and various rubbish thrown here by previous shifts. There is nothing else of value here.
  2. This large chamber once served as a commons for the kitchen laborers and their families. Tiled and vaulted, it rises twenty feet to three large iron chandeliers. It is obvious to anyone with masonry skill that more time was spent in the construction of this room than in the others for there are images of mountains and trees carved in bas-relief on the stone walls. There are also many shelves cut into the rock that hold an odd assortment of candles.
    Currently, there are two large, freshly cut tables dominating the center of the chamber. If intruders are detected these tables will be turned over and used as cover for archers. There are also two half-barrels filled with oil hanging directly above the main entrance. They are connected by a board which in turn has a rope tied to it. This rope travels along the north wall and is meant to pull the barrel halves over when yanked. This will douse anyone underneath with a significant amount of flammable liquid. The individual so doused will then be the target of several flaming arrows. These said arrows are covered with oil-soaked rags and kept on a shelf close to the doorway to the dungeon and a nearby torch holder. The burning oil will cause 5-10 "C" Heat criticals to the unfortunate person caught underneath (in addition to any arrows which hit home) and could make the entrance uncrossable for a short time as the excess oil burns itself off.
    Normally off-duty troops sit at the tables and eat or dice. During daylight hours there are always at least five Angmarim soldiers lounging in and around this room. Leading out of the common chamber are four hallways and one set of large double doors. The doors are old, but look as if they have been repaired recently and always stand open.
  3. A door once stood at the bottom of the small flight of stairs that lead to this room. It is now missing and one can enter unhindered into the old wine and ale room. A collection of new barrels (compliments of the set-up raid) now stands in one corner waiting to be imbibed. Other foodstuffs of lesser value (mostly grain) are also kept here since it is dry and cool, as well as three barrels of oil for the torches that light the lower halls. There are cobwebs in the corners and the remnants of broken barrels lying on the floor. The Angmarim did not clean up this room much and there is no light source.
  4. This chamber houses five warriors much like it did centuries ago. They sleep on five, rough-hewn, handcrafted cots and keep their meager possessions in sacks lying underneath or hanging from their cot. They do not eat or dice here; actually they do little except sleep here. This room is very similar to rooms #5,6 & 7 with each room housing troops who have the same guard-shift rotation and can get along. Due to the rotating shifts there is always a group of warriors sleeping in one of these four rooms. Discipline among the human troops is not a problem since they all know the punishment for endangering the mission: immediate death.
  5. Similar to room #4.
  6. Similar to room #4.
  7. Similar to room #4.
  8. This small room once quartered two sergeants. It is now the abode of this mission's third in command, Carathin. A recluse due to his inherent disdain of his fellow soldiers and his uncontrollable alcoholism, the Dunadan spends most of his free time here. The other Angmarim appreciate this seclusion as Carathin's mood swings can often get violent and the only man who can take Carathin in a fight is Kas Horva. Carathin's tremendous size (even for a pure-blooded Dunadan) is a deterrent to even the bravest of men (a rare quality in Angmarim).
    He resides amongst broken cups and plates, a table with one chair and his filthy makeshift bed. His weapons are kept on pegs driven into the stone. These are the only things that Carathin cares about. Even though the rest of the room is dirty his weapons are always clean, well oiled, and ready for use. His mace has a bonus of +10 due to its superior forging and the plate armor he stole from the body of a dead Arthadan noble knight is also +10.
    One curious distinction to the renegade Arthadan's quarters is the wooden board leaning up against one of the walls. Carathin practices throwing daggers and handaxes at this during his sober periods and is quite good. Unfortunately, Carathin is drunken 30% of his waking hours. Kas Horva is debating whether or not Carathin is worth his silver.
  9. Various tools and raw materials fill this room. Most of the booty pilfered in the false raid now lies here. Wooden planks, nails, a few bars of iron and excess mining equipment all litter the room in a haphazard fashion. Materials stored in this room are removed from here to be worked upon in the main workroom down the hall.
  10. The old chambers of the master smith are now home to Othir the Dorwinadan. The leader of the craftsmen sent on the mission, it is his job to create whatever the Angmarim or Orcs need. He also supervises the repairs to the structure of Minas Brethil and the mining down below. Due to these responsibilities, he is rarely present in these suites except when sleeping. The back room contains a handmade bed and a very small chest. The chest holds all of Othir's wealth from his days in Carn Dum as a master engineer. If Othir can make a clean escape with this chest he will. Otherwise he will stay and complete his tasks. The chest is locked (VH -20) and holds 112 gp in jewelry, gems and gold coin. Othir keeps his weapons here also, unless he has need of them and has advance warning. In one corner is his armor. It is a finely crafted set of rigid leather with accompanying arm greaves. It is +10 due to the quality and gives its bearer a +20 bonus to Siege Weapon Skills. His crossbow, hanging on the wall, is +15 (non-magical) and his falchion is +10 (also non-magical).
    The front room has a large table, two chairs and various maps on the wall. It is here that the craftsmen gather to confer on their projects and make plans and designs. A complete diagram of the caverns below almost completely covers the table. This would be of invaluable assistance to adventurers contemplating further exploration in the caverns below. Kas Horva frequently discusses the construction details of the project here with Othir, as they are on a time schedule. The leader of the mission has more respect for the engineer than most, since they are both from the same lands and Othir, unlike most of Kas Horva's subordinates, shows no sign of fear when in his presence. Othir cares only about his work and has no ambition toward leadership.
  11. Four craftsmen are quartered in this room just like the one next door. They work up in the ruins, in the workroom down the hall and supervise in the caverns. Each worker specializes in a certain trade, such as stone masonry, armoring, carpentry, tanning or weaponsmithing, but is also cross-trained to provide a measure of support to the other workers. Just like their leader, Othir, they are rarely present in their rooms; they work too much. However, due to their diligence a large amount of work has already been completed in the few weeks since their arrival. They each sleep on a cot and keep their valuables on their person. They are worth roughly 5 pieces of gold each.
  12. Similar to room #11.
  13. This large chamber serves as the war-bands' craft hall. An anvil brought from Carn Dum and several worktables allow the craftsmen to ply their trade. Tools hang on the wall ready for use and a few unfinished projects lie on the table waiting for completion. During daylight hours 2-3 men will be sweating over their work. The sweat is a result of the heat created by the ancient forge and bellows, which have been repaired and are now in almost continuous use. There is nothing of value in these double rooms except for the tools.
  14. The old kitchen still serves in its original purpose. It is also home to three elderly women picked up in homestead raids near Thuin Boid just before the army from Rhudaur marched south. They do all the cooking and cleaning while living in constant fear. They also have another task; caring for the children staying in room #14B. This is probably the only thing that keeps them sane. The kitchen itself is well stocked and is dominated by a large hearth that gets frequent use.
    1. These suites are home to 4 fairly attractive, young women who were enslaved in the same manner as the elderly women and children in the adjoining rooms. They serve the food and alcohol to the Angmarim as well as providing them a means to sate certain necessary desires. The women are treated relatively well, which in the minds of the barbaric soldiers of the Witch-king means that they are not being beaten or tortured. The front room is the sleeping chamber, while the back room serves as a trysting chamber. Kas understands the needs of his men and the limits of the women and has initiated a scheduled rotation for the troops so all get satisfaction without overburdening the young women and keeping them from their other duties.
    2. Nine children of differing ages (the oldest being twelve) lodge in the old servants quarters. Their parents either serve in the caverns below, in the kitchens or were killed by the raiders. These children now serve an important purpose for the Angmarim. They are insurance so the adults working in the caverns will not try to revolt or escape. It has worked so far, as no slaves have caused any major problems. Of course, minor infractions do occur and are usually treated with a flogging. The children staying here will do whatever an adult tells them to do. They are frightened, but not terribly so thanks to the attention they receive from the older women in the kitchen.
  15. This room now serves as a guard post as it did in the past. The difference, however, is that it guards against slaves escaping from below as opposed to barring entry from above. One Angmarim warrior lounges on a crude stool here at all times, ready to react to any alarm. In one corner is a wooden box containing approximately 50 caltrops. These were a part of the goods on the caravan that was raided at the request of Kas. These are to be thrown on the floor in front of advancing enemies to halt their movement as well as cause extensive damage. If alerted to an intrusion from the ruins above and given a suitable amount of time to react, the guard here will bring this box into the common area and spread the caltrops in front of the entrance.
  16. What was once the dungeon of Minas Brethil is now home to Turamac, an avid follower of the Witch-king. It is filled with relics of Dark worship, such as candle holders made of human skulls (recently collected), a bronze basin, grossly decorated sacrificial knives and iron-bound books. Two black tapestries cover the wall opposite the entrance. They are covered with brutal depictions of sacrifices and torture and go all the way down to the floor. Behind these tapestries is a small staircase that leads down to the cells.
    Turamac's personal items are stored in a niche in the wall, hidden behind one of the tapestries. His wealth includes varied coinage worth 64 pieces of gold. He also owns a well-crafted Orcish shortsword (+10 non-magical), a studded leather glove (+3pp Channeling adder) which doubles the range or duration of Evil spells and an amulet which is actually a symbol of one of the closed societies in Litash. It proves he is a member of the Gurth-Maragnar (Black Death-Takers) and has magical properties (x2pp Channeling adder). His particular sect in Angmar is one of the most reviled in Arthedain, and interestingly enough the bounty on his head is the largest of all of the members of this expedition. Also in his possession is a small leather-bound grimoire with leaves of human skin. Naturally, it is written in Black Speech, and if one can transcribe its contents, they will find notes, hints and rules on the art of Necromancy. It also contains a complete set of runes of the Necromancy List up to 20th level. Some of the runes have been burned up, but at least half are still in place. The runes contained in the book and Turamac's own abilities have been used to control the existing Undead the Angmarim encountered and create a small number of newer, weaker Undead.
  17. The dungeon cells of Minas Brethil were one of the few areas of the lower halls that the craftsmen did not repair. The ancient iron-reinforced wooden doors lie broken on their hinges and the grime of two centuries adorns the ceiling and walls. Now, however, the cells' residents haven't a care about their situation. The dead aren't concerned with such things.
    Located in each of the smaller side cells is one Ghoul. Turamac raised the Ghouls from the bodies of the caravan guards killed in the raid. They still wear their old armor and carry the weapons they did in life. If someone from Fennas Drunin is accompanying the adventurers, they might be able to identify most of the Ghouls as the ill-fated caravansaries. They fight with heavy arms and little skill, but the occupants' of the last cell are a different matter. The four Skeletons residing there hold the captive spirits of Celebindel Melosse and his three sons. Doomed to an existence in the Netherworld by the long-dead priests of the Witch-king, Celebindel's actions are now controlled by the magician, Turamac. He and his sons still have some of their original skill in arms and if commanded to fight will prove implacable foes. However, if Turamac is eliminated and control over the Skeleton Lords is lost, they will attack the Angmarim, principally any spell-users, with a vengeance. The other Ghouls will continue following their last commands. Celebindel and his sons have been given one-handed melee weapons and simple shields, but otherwise have no possessions. On a tactical note, a primary use of these dead warriors would be to overrun barricaded enemies.
  18. Down a set of stairs and to the left is the treasury of Minas Brethil. Its great iron door is one of the many repaired by the smiths, but its strength is a mere fraction of what it once was. Kas Horva has chosen these quarters for himself due to the secret chamber Othir uncovered when the group first moved in. It was never discovered in the original sacking and still holds the greater percentage of the Melosse family's wealth. The Logath aristocrat has appropriated this wealth and added the expeditions strongbox to it. There is now a significant amount of money in the secret storeroom.
    Kas's bedroom contains a primitive canopied bed, a trunk full of expensive clothes and a table and chair. Various weapons hang from iron pegs and an extravagant carpet covers most of the floor. The weapons on the wall are not Kas's, but instead the weapons of his more successful conquests. None of these has any bonus. Kas's personal arms and armor are always with him. His chain mail, shield, short bow and spear (which barely fits in the room) are all +10. His primary weapon, a jewel-studded scimitar, he brought with him from Rhovanion. It is +15 (magical) and causes an additional Puncture Crit. of equal severity. On his neck hangs a beautiful pendant, looted from an Arthadan nobleman. It protects against Essence magic (+25 to RR vs. Essence) and is an heirloom from the House of Myrranor, one of the 56 Lesser Houses of Arthedain. Kas is unaware of this benefit even though it has saved his life once.
    The leader of the mission covets his privacy and usually leaves his bedroom only for official duties. He eats and enjoys the company of the slave women in his room. There is no money in this room, since he put it all in the secret room. This might have been a mistake, as adventurers searching the room may be curious as to why the leader has no money and search the room when they might not have.
  19. This room contains most of the Melosse family's wealth. It is Extremely Hard (-30) to discover and the door is activated by pulling down and then to the right on the sconce located on the same wall. The door will then retreat a small distance back into the wall, allowing persons to push the door all the way back on its hinges. Behind the secret door is a low-ceilinged, narrow hallway that leads to a small rectangular room. Inside this room resides three large, ancient chests, one smaller new one and various cloth-covered items leaning against the wall. The large chests all have new locks on them (VH -20) as does the small one. Under the cloth pieces of art have been stored. Paintings, small sculptures, carpets and ornamental vases all lie under years of dust. They have been disturbed only recently; the perceptive will notice boot tracks on the stone-carved floor. The contents of the chests are as follows:
    • large chest #1- 200 gp in three rotting leather sacks.
    • 1000 cp and 300 sp along the bottom.
    • large chest #2- 600 gp worth of jewelry (including a scepter, tiara, necklaces, rings, etc.)
    • 800 sp in two large sacks.
    • large chest #3- 600 gp lining the bottom of the chest.
    • 40 mp in a small, embroidered cloth bag.
    • small chest#1- 350 sp, 50gp (this is the companies pay-box)
    The artwork is worth another 800 gp if sold in Tharbad or Fornost Erain.
  20. The secret door at the top of the stairs leading down into this cavern is now kept open for ease of movement. The orcs rarely travel through this chamber, but the Angmarim who supervise the mining do so frequently. If alerted to intruders, one of the guards' duties in room #15 is to come and close this secret door. It will then be Hard (-10) to discover.
    The cavern itself is quite large, with the ceiling rising at least forty feet. It is also quite empty. In the beginning of the expedition, this room served as a sleeping area for the Orcish contingent. They have since moved on to bigger and better holes farther into the cavern tunnel. Yet there are still traces of their occupation, one being the foul stench. There are also the remains of two fire-pits and a few bones (mostly sheep).
  21. The Angmarim metalsmiths have repaired a gateway in the narrow defile here. It serves no purpose to the expedition and is not even guarded. It is operated by a simple latch. There is a horn of kine hanging from an iron peg in the wall. This is to be blown if a large force is moving towards the castle and the orcs are needed to help defend the walls. It is also the responsibility of the guard from room 15.
  22. This is the cavern that the expedition is working to enlarge. It runs east to west, and its width varies between 40 to 60 feet. There is an abundance of stalactites and stalagmites covering the floor and ceiling. Echoing out of the distance is the forbidding sound of water slowly dripping into a hidden pool. The walls of the cavern shine from the water exuding out the very stone. If one travels eastward down the cavern they will notice a faint trail marked in the floor. If adventurers continue on this path the cavern will end after one mile in an ancient stone door. If they open this door they will emerge in a clearing. This was the old secret escape and rocks and vines hide its exit.

Unfortunately, two centuries ago when the castle fell in the Great Northern War, the last assault was so sudden that Celebindel and his sons did not have time to get to the Armory and its secret exit. The Orcs came through the main gate with such force and speed that they, along with most of the remnants of their army, were trapped in the main tower. Thus they met their end and the secret exit never served its original purpose.
If one travels westward, towards the Mitheithel, one will begin to notice the handiwork of Man (or Orcs in this case). Narrower sections show signs of enlargement and rough floors show cuts where the miners evened the ground as much as possible. As one moves closer to the river the sounds of hammer and pick becomes unmistakable. The Orcish encampment is approximately 1 mile from the Lower Halls entrance.

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