Uthrael Beoac and the Wind Thrones
Wilderness RPG adventure in the Grey Mountains of Tolkien’s Middle Earth
Page 2: Valley Locations, About the Wind Thrones
5.0 Valley Locations:
1. Ruined Tower 12. The Slide
2. Path 13. Eastern Dell
3. West Hollow 14. Beorning Graveyard
4. Geyser 15. Rapid Rill
5. Hermit’s Cave 16. Ominous Sinkhole
6. Lordsholme 17. Cliff Tombs (X, Y, Z)
7. Stone Avenue 18. Eastern Warg Lair
8. Central Steppe 19. Barrows (A, B, C, D)
9. Mist Maze 20. Star Circle
10. Mist Fortress 21. Sun Circle
11. Western Warg Warren 22. Wind Thrones (N, S, E, W)
1. The Ruined Tower – A mile from the crest of the western pass into the valley, lie the ruins of a tower. Crudely shaped stones make up the surviving bottom layer of this small keep. The top levels have tumbled down over the millennia. It is built on a small pinnacle overlooking a steep zig zap track leading down a ravine, cutting the huge cliffs, into the vale. The tower’s ground floor is still intact. Unless one climbs, the only way in is through the broken front gate. Little remains inside other than an enclosed spot to keep out of the weather.
There are traces of a fire in one corner under the broken stairwell. The ash and burnt remains looks to be several years old. A rock on the wall above the fire has been charcoal marked with a Sindarin ‘C’ rune. Older Orcish graffiti is fading on other walls, and faint Westron scratches proclaim that “Hermuval was here”.
2. The Path – A steep ravine cuts the easterly cliffs from the ruined tower down into the valley. A worn stone stair and faint track zig zags down within the ravine. Lichen and small shrubs grow in this sheltered cut. The descent to the valley floor takes an hour and requires a caution at a point where the trickle of water has eroded the track. A quick but dangerous jump over the 2 yard gap or a careful climb will avoid falling down a collapsed 10 yard plunge. The wind gradually drops and the temperature rises slightly as the travellers descend into the valley. At the valley floor the climate is found to be pleasant in summer and tolerable in winter (for a mountain valley).
The trail ends in shaped and worn steps. It exits the ravine where it opens out into the valley floor. The small stream drops in little waterfalls over several rocky shelves and burbles into a misty lake surrounded by North Pines. This western end of the valley is known as the West Hollow.
3. West Hollow: This is one of the lowest points in the valley. Mist shrouded pine forests, mossy limestone rockeries and several small lakes dominate the hollow. The trail from Cirith Himninond leads down into the forest. The atmosphere changes as you descend from windy highlands to a still and moisture laden dell. The trail passes through dripping mossy rock formations scattered amongst the stunted trees. There are small glades with lush grasses and wildflowers.
After two miles the faint path reaches the edge of the largest lake and the remains of a village. The wooden and turf houses have mostly rotted away and the few unmortared stone houses are crumbling ruins dating from the First Age. Exploration will reveal little save a few amber beads in the dirt along with rabbit, Losrandir and wolf tracks. Hot springs warm this lake (and the rest of the West Hollow). Mist rises eerily from the waters.
Animal tracks lead in several directions from here. The main trail leads alongside a stream to another lake a mile to the east where more ruins lie. Several mossy stone walls dating from the Second Age are here. A stone walled longhouse still stands further back in the trees. Its turf roof has collapsed but the dwelling is habitable and seems to have been maintained sometime in the last decade or so. The Beornings use this as a temporary shelter when visiting the valley. “Hermuval” is etched in tiny letters on a rock near the fireplace. Hot springs bubble near this ruin, making for warm baths, and contribute to the fogs and mist. A stone lined trail meanders eastward. Half a mile later it splits into three tracks. The central trail directly east leads to Lordsholme & the Stone Avenue; the north east trail leads to the Mist Maze; and the south-east trail leads to a geyser pool that erupts several times a day.
Snails and slugs are found throughout the West Hollow making for easy emergency rations. The lakes are well stocked with trout. Animal trails and old Edain paths worm all over the Hollow. Some lead to smaller lakes, old rubbish holes and quarries (laen, basalt, and limestone) whilst others go into the mountains leading to interesting waterfalls, caves and pretty shelves with views across the misty vale.
4. Geyser: Beneath the tall cliffs of the south wall the ground is bare of life and the air sulphurous. Bubbling pools with mineral encrusted edges litter this corner of the valley. Ground water is superheated by geothermal activity in this area. In spring and summer the melt water levels are high enough such that it boils over every four or five hours and erupts in a dangerous spout up to ten yards high. Anyone in the pool at this time will take critical heat damage. At other times the water varies from scalding hot to barely tolerable. The edges of the pool have mineral encrustations that are dangerous to walk on. The noise of the geyser erupting can be heard a mile away and can be mistaken for a Dragon’s roar or a ghostly howl depending on the conditions and listener’s mindset.
5. Hermit’s Cave: Obscured behind rubble near the geyser is a narrow cave opening into the steep valley wall. Inside dwells a crazed man who will stab uninvited guests. The man is tall and lean. Scraggly furs cover his filthy body and his tangled hair and large matted beard are streaked with grey. He holds a rusted knife and his eyes are wide and feral. Aldebrand is a slightly unhinged Beorning who was abandoned up here by a pilgrimage nearly 30 years ago. He had no equipment so he stayed in the valley and somehow survived. The Werewolves bemusedly tolerate him and even talk with him on occasion. He knows much about the valley, and can tell the players that “the Thrones glow when the stone circles are lit.” He hasn’t seen any Beorning pilgrims for 9 summers. He hides when they come. Aldebrand has forsaken the Beorning vegetarian diet and now hunts goat, fishes with a small line +bone hook, and eats moss and snails. He dresses in thick furs (goat+wolf skin) and is confused about how he will “become” or change like his masters.
In his cave are many drawings about his life here. They include a pictures of man-wolf and man-bear hybrids; the sun above a stone circle; threatening bat like creatures; paw-print, fish and snail symbols. Hidden under the dried grass bed is a valuable (100 gp) gold bracelet he found in a lake. The cave itself widens out after the narrow opening and runs several hundred yards beneath the mountain.
6. Lordsholme: a large stone house sits brooding on a small treeless ridge of glacial moraine. The house was built in the First Age and then expanded upon over the millennia, it is this structure that gave Uthrael Beoac (Valley of the Lords) its name. In this manor house Edain lords ruled for many generations, high in this isolated valley in the Ered Mithrin. Whilst no homely manse like Rivendell or lordly capital like Annuminas, this structure presided over many a drama during its long tenure.
The wooden roof is long gone and the rooms stand empty save moss, weed and fallen stone. Light breezes coming off the central steppe, sweep the mists off the ridge giving Lordsholme marvellous views west across the Hollow to the Mountains. The large feasting hall, storage room, lords bedchamber, meditation apse, and a room for wintering stock are all evident as most of the stonework still holds true. Several rooms could quickly be made defensible from wargs but werewolves will easily force entry or just scramble in via the open roof. The Stone Avenue begins from a paved area next to the house.
A Dragon’s curse helped to end the Lords of the Thryn Suel with kinslaying and internecine feuding. Magically sensitive players will detect disturbing portents of ‘vengeance’ and ‘injustice’ echoing in this structure. Minor hauntings will disturb anyone sleeping here. Westron graffiti in the main hall proclaims that “Hermuval was here”.
The floor of the bedchamber has a slab that has been ripped up to reveal a small manhole opening onto a narrow stairway. Beneath is the Lord’s treasure room. Brittle human bones from at least two people are scattered about this small stone lined chamber. The bones have claw marks and many are cracked open. An empty chest (one small silver piece is still within) is in the corner. If anyone lifts the chest they will find a knife in a notch in the floor beneath it. The knife has a rust stain on the end of the blade (yes it is ancient blood). It is a simple but well-made throwing knife (magical Edain manufacture: +25% to hit and will fly double the usual range). The rust stain is the knife smith’s blood and will not come off…the knife is cursed to do double damage to anyone who has used it before. The blade was responsible for more than a few deaths of feuding Edain.
An undiscovered (very difficult to find) secret door is in the eastern wall of the treasure room. It leads to an escape tunnel that ends in an easily removed pile of rocks near a boulder 50 yards to the north east. Half way along, the tunnel is partially blocked by a skeleton dressed in rusted chain mail. A large rock has fallen out of the ceiling and crushed the man’s head. A skeletal hand holds a laen crystal (see Section 6.0 regarding the Wind Thrones) and a +20 sword of Warg slaying is within a rotten scabbard at his side.
7. The Stone Avenue: A grassy path that runs the length of the valley. It starts at the eastern end of the West Hollow, on the ridge beside Lordsholme. This old trail runs in a straight east-west line some 20 miles along the valley. It goes up and down hills and even through a small lake at one point. It is lined with standing stones every 30 paces or so. The stones vary in size from knee-high up to 3 metres tall. Many have fallen over but enough still stand tall giving the way a marked effect of being a special road. This was a processional avenue from the village(s) and Lordsholme to the holy end of the vale. A mile from the western end, one of the stones is actually a troll caught in the open millennia ago. At midsummer’s dawn a shaft of light slices through the Eastern Gorge and illuminates this road and the entire valley as part of a line from the Ruined Tower to the Sun Circle. The GM might like to have the this holy processional way provide some deterrent or protection from werewolves and thus prove true the adage “stay on the road, beware of the moon”.
8. Central Steppe: The central part of Uthrael Beoac is a 10 x 15 mile rise of bare moors. Frequented by migrating Losrandir, and prowling Wargs at night, the steppe is covered in lush grass and pockmarked with tiny lakes and pools of meltwater. The Stone Avenue runs like an arrow right across this moorland. A few stands of stunted pines huddle in sheltered hollows closer to the northern valley walls. The southern edge of the steppe is separated from the valley wall by a fast flowing stream. Fell Beasts are wont to swoop upon travellers crossing the moor. The taller standing stones along the Stone Avenue provide good cover for the wary!
9. Mist Maze: The north western edge of the Central Steppe has been cut into a confusing swathe of canyons. Exposed limestone has been eroded by the sulphurous waters of the West Hollow and by melt-water draining off the Central Steppe. This has created a weaving maze of ravines with occasional natural arches. Several hot springs bubble amongst the maze creating an almost perpetual mist that fills the broken topography. Deep in the series of cuts lie the Edain’s final refuge… a two story stone fortress. Built in the final years of their occupation of the valley this was the last line of defence. It is now the lair of three Werewolves…
10. Mist Fortress: Beneath a natural arch stands a two story stone and brick fortress, dating from the mid Second age. It is built of carved blocks wedged against a wall of the canyon. It has narrow windows giving good arcs of fire. This was the Edain’s final retreat when the Orcs and later the Werewolves began to enter the valley. They held off the Orcs successfully, as the Orcs were also suffering from predation by feral Wargs. The Wargs and the Werewolves entered the valley via the North Cleft and took up where the Orcs left off. The Edain retreated back to the Mist Fortress but within a few short years the Wargs whittled them down and finally broke in and slaughtered the remainder. This is where the Werewolves now dwell.
The fortress is a dark, bleak retreat but is surprisingly warm. Built above geologically heated strata, some earth movements have ruined part of the blockhouse. It all smells of wolf now. Tufts of hair and gnawed bones litter the place. The concealed and defensible structure has narrow windows, a deep cistern and Edain relics from the second age. The Weres have claimed the upper level feasting hall as their lair. Heaps of ragged furs are piled over leaves as a beds. Favoured Wargs sleep in rooms / dens on the lower levels. Several times a year all the packs will gather here to howl at the moon and show obeisance to their unholy trinity of wolf gods.
A small room behind the feasting hall contains useful items collected by the Werewolves. Apart from a pile of coins and gold jewellery the treasure includes:
- Parchments on the operation of the Wind Thrones and details of the original casting of the Dragon repulsion spell.
- A Rune etched wooden tablet with notes about the shard beneath the Sun Circle.
- A coat of leather armour that protects the wearer from falling damage.
- A polished laen crystal that allows use of the Sun Circle/Thrones.
- A horn made from Dragon bone that can be charged up (leave for an hour within the Sun Circle) – when blown, Dragons within 5 miles will flee.
- The Dragon Bow – a recurve bow made of wood and horn. Arrows fired from this are +20 and do triple damage to Dragons/Drakes/Fell Beasts.
- The Wind Blade (Sûlcrist): a +40 sword that can also project a concussive blast 3 times a day (treat as area effect impact/stunning hit up to 20metres). It is too small for the Werewolves to easily use (if they were so inclined).
11. Western Warg Warren: A gaping dark hole in the northern mountain side sits atop a scree slope. This was once an Edain gold mine and the scree is mine tailings. The played out mine shaft has become a den for the White Warg pack. In Spring and Summer there will be only 2 or 3 nasty old Wargs living in this small digging. In winter 20-25 of the feral beasts lair up in the three chambers off the main shaft. There are a few minor coins and rings scattered around the lair, all have been through Warg digestive tracts. Previous explorers have cherry picked this location. The Wargs avoid the very end of the main passage as it slopes downwards and become slippery at the edge of a deep pit. There is a faint light to be seen at the bottom of the 20 yard drop.
At the bottom water drips down onto old bones and slick rubble. A pouch of 23 gold dwarf coins can be found under some ribs. In a corner a skeleton with broken legs sits upright wearing rotten Lossoth garb. A broken spear, some amber beards and a backpack with sealskin rope are the only notable possessions of this poor soul. The corpse candle ignites in the eyes of the skull and will slowly drain Lifeforce/Sanity/etc from anyone else at the bottom of the pit. Smash the skull to free the spirit.
12. The Slide: Early in the Third Age a huge rockfall on the northern wall collapsed onto the Central Steppe. Massive jagged boulders have spilled half a mile out onto the plateau. Shelter can be found in narrow caves under these jumbled rocks. A good spot to escape from Werewolves / Wargs who are too large to fit under these slabs of rock. Mountain goats come down into the valley in this area.
Exploring this area will reveal a body far under a partially elevated rock slab. The corpse is that of a Beorning woman cornered by Wargs. She hid under here and died of thirst 9 years ago. She is mostly skin and skeleton but her rusty gear is functional. Backpack, belt, warm clothes, an empty waterskin, hatchet, & knife. There is also a diary that laments the Werewolves and Wargs eating her friends and trapping her. It also mentions “2 swooping beasts” and that they caught a glimpse of “a man near the hot fountain”. Otherwise it contains no other information of use to the players. Returning it to the Beijabar will put them in the players debt.
Elsewhere in the Slide area there is another skeleton – that of an Angmarean soldier. Most of his gear has rotted away, but there are coins from Angmar, a rusty dagger and sword blade, and another telling empty water gourd clutched in the skeletal hands.
13. Eastern Dell: the ground drops down from the moorland and meltwater has created a lake in a depression here. 2nd age ruins nearby are mostly just lichen encrusted fallen rocks where buildings once stood. If one spends the night here, a ghost of a woman floats across the lake and stares at them, then sinks down into the water. Her bones have long since dissolved but a necklace of wind-walking lies here in the mud, 5 yards out from the shore. Whilst wearing the necklace the user’s leadership or similar ability drops by 10% due to depression.
14. Beorning Graveyard: Half a mile from East Lake, 3rd age Beornings have been adding to a small graveyard in the boggy ground with simple marker stones. The valley is a dangerous place – a score of the kin of Beorn have been buried up here over the years, though many more than that have perished on the pilgrimage. Excavating the graves will reveal little of worth but will guarantee a death sentence from any Beornings who find out. A stone has been etched in Westron to proclaim that “Hermuval lies here”. Dig him up out of the wet ground and the well preserved corpse will suddenly animate and choke the first person it can get its hands into whilst laughing hideously. Jump scares, sanity loss, throat damage and a minor magic torc of Bardic enhancement can be gained here.
15. Rapid Rill: A fast flowing stream that drains part of the Eastern Dell. The waterfall out of the eastern gorge feeds a small lake which itself spills over and exits the Dell via the Rapid Rill. Despite only being 5 or 6 yards wide the stream is deep and fast. It cuts a steep canyon between the central steppe and the south wall for 9 miles before reaching a small lake which drains underground in a slow whirlpool (don’t loiter in the centre!). Players floating or canoeing will be swept along at running speed for most of the way. Make swimming /boating rolls once a mile to avoid mishaps over rapids. Those in the frigid water for any length of time will develop hypothermia. Several old but intact dugout canoes are hidden behind some glacial erratics (huge boulders) not far from where the rill exits the upper lake. Wargs and wolves can jump across this stream at many locations. Several waterfalls also tumble out of the southern ranges adding to the Rill.
16. Ominous Sinkhole: When excess melt and rain water from the eastern Uthrael Beoac overflows the lakes, it finds its way in here: A 20 yard wide gaping hole in the ground. The edges most of the way around are either slippery limestone or deceptive grassy overhangs. A fall from the surface is a straight drop of 80 yards to where the sinkhole inclines slightly. Dropping a rock results in an impact and then a splash after a short interval. There is a way to scramble and then climb down on the western flank. Make two very difficult Climb rolls. Rope will be invaluable here. Dripping water echoes in this cold pit. The wet hole inclines to the east and shortly after there is a deep dark lake 100 yards underground. This in turn spills over into an ominous looking funnel and yet more precipitous descents. It leads deep into the bowels of the Ered Mithrin, through caverns infested with Vault Shrikes and Slign and ultimately (beyond the scope of this campaign) to the Underdeeps. Few will venture that far…
A Kraken, or Watcher in the Water, has wriggled its way up from the Underdeeps into the slimy lake, drawn by the emanations of the Shard. Manipulation of the Wind Thrones may draw the Watcher up to ground level and/or shift its abode to one of the surface lakes. Even the Werewolves do not know about the Watcher, but rightly suspect something may be down there- they are wary around the Sinkhole. The Elf Delucardh stays well away from the hole as he saw the Watcher emerge and take a Warg one moonlit night.
17. Cliff Tombs: The walls at this end of the valley, both north and south, are dotted with dozens of small holes or notches with sealed doors. These are cliff tombs, made from existing caves or cut out of the mountain. Some burrow deep into the rock but most go only a few yards. Those that haven’t been looted contain the mummified bodies of the Edain, some of which will either animate with lethal intent and/or are haunted by Wights. Tombs for richer folk were made higher up the cliff face. Without a scaffold or ladders, several climbing rolls will be needed. A few of these cliff tombs contain parchments describing the operation of the Wind Thrones as well as crystals used by the deceased to channel the power of the Sun Circle.
X: Simple graves: a skeleton with basic items, all corroded and falling apart within a small hole (30-60’) up the cliff. Many of the easiest to access holes have been emptied by wargs et al over the millennia.
Y: Wealthy burials: higher up the cliff (50-100’) these are mostly undisturbed tombs of Lords, Ladies or lesser nobility. Typically a short 6’ high passage with a mummified body on a plinth. Some minor gold jewellery and magic armaments will still be intact. 25% chance of a lesser Wight. One of these tombs has 3 mummified children and piteous bereavement art and inscriptions (sanity/ presence/ ld roll). 3 fiendish tiny Wights will attack momentarily!
Z: Rich Burials: High up the mountainside (100-200’) are multiple chamber passage tombs of powerful Edain Lord or Ladies. Inside a typical burial there will be a bejewelled torc or bracelet, a mid-strength magic weapon and armour and/or items relating to the Throne (parchment on how they modified the dweomers/personal laen crystal). These tombs have Wight blight: 80% chance of 1-3 lesser Wights. There are 14 of these high burials. 3 have broken doors, all of which have a spherical boulder on the valley floor underneath them (20% to notice the evidence of rolling ball traps). Unopened tombs have a 80% chance of a functional trap (eg. pressure triggered: blade; deadfall; boulder roll; slippery slide out and off the cliff face).
18. Eastern Warg Lair: A landslide has created a ramp of scree joining several minor, interconnected cliff tombs. Wargs have destroyed everything in this small cave system and even eaten the ancient bones for good measure. In spring and summer there will be 1-4 Wargs in here. The rest of the year there will be an entire pack of 15-30 Wargs dwelling here. A spectacular waterfall tumbles down the mountainside to the west of the lair.
19. Barrows: Numerous small barrows and several major tombs lay upon the valley floor of Uthrael Beoac. The minor tombs have long since collapsed. Of the major barrows one has been torn open but two remain intact. All are inhabited by Greater Wights. If lingering near the Mage’s Mound or the Excavated Barrow in the afternoon, players will be subjected to subtle sleep/charm spells. In the evening the lure of the Wights in the tombs will be magnified. The Wights sometimes leave their Barrows but are bound to within 50 feet of their home.
A) Mage’s Mound: The Mage who initially enchanted the Thrones and Sun Circle in the First Age is buried here. The ironwood front door has Old Rhovanion runes naming the occupant as ‘Odavacil the Learned’. A difficult to spot pit trap is within the entry hall. Human and Dwarf bones and their mouldering gear lie in the pit and the corridor. At the end of the corridor is a (fake) body on a plinth. It wears full chain armour and holds a huge axe. Removing more than 50% of the weight on the plinth (hard to spot trap) will cause 4 lethally heavy stone blocks to fall out of the ceiling around the plinth. A secret door on the back wall leads to the small actual tomb. The mage’s smiling corpse holds a staff (+30 to cast) and a laen crystal. A circlet of wind walking is on his brow. Several parchments in here describe the principles of the Thrones and Circles. A greater Wight with high level sleep and disorientation spells lurks in here.
B) Excavated Barrow: Vidulavnir, the Mage who re-enchanted the Thrones to repel Dragons, was buried here. Centuries ago the Barrow was dug open by the Werewolves but the Greater Wight killed one of the Weres and severely wounded Morfuia. Kreyelgar managed to snatch a few valuables before fleeing. The Wight still lurks hungrily in the shadows of the dilapidated half cave with just one decent item amongst its crumbling mossy bones. A mages Rod (+30 to cast, +50 to manipulate the Circle +Thrones). The Wight is skilled with charms and other mind affecting spells.
C) Mound of Heroes: A wooden door flanked by tree like arches marks the entrance to this elaborate tomb. A short passage leads to a central room with three sub chambers. Three great warriors of the Edain are buried in this tomb. Each night Bainor slays the other two Wights and seeks to protect the valley in some way. Many Wargs and even a Fell Beast have met their end at his hand, though few draw near in recent centuries. Free folk Intruders near his tomb are safe but any entering had best be glib – Bainor will demand “explain yourselves” (in old Rhovanion) and give them a few seconds to talk before attacking. Bainor wields his magic (+40) sword (of Dragon Slaying). His corpse has +30 protective holy torc and a +30 chainmail coat. The other tombs have +20 suits of chainmail, a +30 great axe and a +25 axe of Orc slaying. There is also a small fortune in jewel encrusted gold arm rings and torcs in here. Beware the pit trap just inside the central chamber.
D) Lesser Barrows: Collapsed and looted tombs. No treasure or Wights, just sad outlines of stone around a grassy depression. Some are collapsed 1st Age passage graves and still have large rocks emplaced for star viewing purposes.
20. Star Circle: A ring of standing stones raised by the Edain to mark time via several sacred constellations. Visitors skilled in astronomy will soon deduce the purpose of this circle. Spending more than an hour watching the stars or meditating from within this circle gives a +10% morale/leadership bonus, and reduces the effect of curses/sanity loss etc
21. Sun Circle: An impressive henge of standing stones on a small hillock. This stone ring marks the seasons of the year by the rising of the sun. Midsummer’s dawn illuminates the length of the valley from the far west to this circle. A shard of the fallen lamp Illuin lies beneath this circle. The central sarsen stone is touching the shard underground and transforms / channels its energy. The Edain used enchanted Laen crystals placed atop the sarsen to redirect the magical power out to the 4 thrones. Buried in the ground within the circle lie the bones of the Dragon Malathrax – ritually slain to create the repulsion ward.
The central sarsen is an ironstone monolith nearly 4 yards high. If any care to look upon it’s top, an indented star shape will be found. It actually has four sets of indentations for crystals for the different solstices/ equinoxes. The correct one is noted in several sources (Kreyelgar’s book stash, the Cliff tombs), however someone skilled in astronomy could work out the correct placement. Laen crystals placed up here on the solstice allow use of the Shard energy by people upon the Thrones (double power, range and duration to almost all spell ability for a week). Free folk within the circle on a solstice dawn gain a +20% bonus to morale/Leadership as well as recover mana/power at double the usual rate for a week.
Players who somehow find out about the Shard and insist on digging it up had best be of purest heart. As they begin to get close to uncovering it, give them one warning (eg. “the power field is intense and very unsettling, do you proceed?) Evil characters will begin to burn, lose sanity/morale and levels and must flee. Pure of heart characters will gain morale and several levels (or equivalent) but then either transcend (die in bliss, go to the Halls of Mandos), or become NPCs (join/found a monastery of contemplation). All others will grow hot, uncomfortable, lose Presence/ Sanity/ Leadership and a level, feel guilt and realise the Shard is not for mortals (or Elves either!). Keep repeating these penalties if they don’t cease and desist.
22. Wind Thrones: Three Thrones carved out of rock are perched high up the (North, East and South) cliff walls at this end of the valley. A little known 4th Throne is at the far western end of the valley on the mountain side high above the western pass entry to the valley. The access stairways have been worn slick or crumbled off the cliff face making access to the Thrones tricky (Difficult climb rolls). All 4 Thrones are carved out of the natural rock walls and are covered in runes (old Rhovanion) and swirling knot-work art. Players who sit upon a Throne may notice something special (see section 6.3 Using the Thrones).
Every solstice the Shard re-charges the spell of Dragon repulsion. This spell was cast with the sacrifice of a Dragon at the dawn of the summer solstice. The Wyrm’s blood drenched the stone and a Laen crystal directed the enchanted light to the 4 Thrones. Telepathically linked mages sat on each seat and the prime mage tethered the aura to each Throne. Untouched the aura will function for many an age until the earth moves and reorients the Thrones
W) West Throne: Hidden at the extreme western end of the valley, high up a massive ridge of the mountainside near the mountain top (x3 hard climb rolls) under an overhang. Located more than 30 miles from the others this lonely High Chair truly is a Throne of the Wind. Scattered on the rock face beneath the Throne are bones and rusted weapons. Slumped upon this seat is a mummified corpse. It wears a (+20) chain hauberk, a winged helm (of perfect balance and missile attacks are -20) on its head, and holds a (+25) spear (of Orc Slaying) across its knees. This is the body of Beor – a distant ancestor of Bainor. The Revenant is the last of the bloodline of the Dragon curse – doomed to defend the Edain’s creation forever. This is a Wight trapped in a sluggish corporeal body. It’s slowness is offset by the helmet. It will attack any who approach the Throne. This Throne was known as the Sky-Eye: it gives +25 to scrying in the valley and for 300 miles across Rhovanion and Forodwaith.
S) South Throne: The ascent to this Throne is the easiest. 1 moderate climb roll. Partially vandalised by Trolls, its runes are incomplete but the Throne still functions. This Throne gives +20 to Wind/Air/Flying spells. Some wag has precariously balanced a 50lb boulder above the chair. Make a difficult spot hidden roll to notice it, otherwise there is a 30% chance every minute in the chair it will be nudged off and fall on a player’s head.
N) North Throne: A tricky ascent (2 very hard climb rolls), as this Throne is on a slick ridge with views of the barrows and circles. It seat and arms are worn but otherwise intact. The runes are still readable. This is the master Throne. +20 to scrying, weather and mind control spells. There are rusted iron spikes driven into the cliff wall nearby – someone has climbed up here in years gone by and used the spikes as tethers for rope etc.
E) East Throne: This Throne rests midway up a cliff face (4 v hard climb rolls) but if the players discover a hidden goat track it is only an hours walk approaching from the north (hard to spot, 2 moderate climb rolls). Fabulous views all the way down the valley to the west. This Throne gives +20 to weather control. The chair is covered in bloodstains, some fresh. The goat track continues a dozen yards past the Throne to a 1 yard high cave. In this 3 yard deep nook a large snow leopard has pushed aside the bones and grave goods and made a cosy lair. Her cubs make her very protective!
6.0 About the Wind Thrones:
6.1 The History of the Wind Thrones
The Edain discovered the Shard of Illuin and placed an upright sarsen stone upon it. The stone functions as a conductor and step-down transformer of the raw energy the Shard generates. Even so, using the Shard in close proximity was dangerous so the Thrones were cut to act as places to safely manipulate the power. The ancient men of Uthrael Beoac were Elf friends and worshipped Manwe and Varda. They became adept astronomers, seers and enchanters. The Thrones were initially enchanted to view the stars as well functioning as tethers for a bubble of protective power they placed over the valley moderating the climate. The ability to control the Wind from a Throne was an unintended side effect but gave them their name. Each thone has power over the wind from that direction (ie the north throne can utilise the north wind).
The coming of the Dragons forced these Edain to adapt the Thrones. The hero Bainor maimed the Dragon Malathrax and imprisoned it. The seers of the vale used the Drake’s knowledge and finally its life-force to covert the Illuin Shard output to that of Dragon repulsion.
The aura makes Dragons test against their leadership/presence at progressively worsening odds every minute whilst in the valley – failure means they will flee due to a dreadful fear of impending doom and not return for anywhere between months to decades.
In the process of enchanting the valley the twisted words of the Malthrax incited murder and feuds in the mountain society, fatally weakening the community. The Dragons were successfully repelled but the Edain could barely withstand the Orcs blockading Cirith Himninond. They were finished off when the Wargs and Werewolves stalked into the vale from the north.
6.2 Interpreting the Thrones
The valley holds several clues that when used together will allow researchers to understand and possibly use the Thryn Suel:
Translating runes on the Thrones: each Throne is inscribed with Old Rhovanion runes and they all have different information so translating all 4 chairs is best. Most players will not discover the 4th Throne (miles away on the westernmost mountain slope) so other sources of lore will be needed.
- 1st age lore on the initial creation of the Henges and Thrones is recorded on parchments and wooden tablets that can be found in various tombs and the Were-lair.
- 2nd Age lore on the modification of the enchantment was recorded on parchment and in lore books. In the barrows can be found a history of the last centuries of the Edain in the vale, the Warding of the Dragons (The Ward Creation Enchantment and the Spell of Tethering), the coming of the Orcs and finally the Wights and Wargs. Exact treatises on how to use the Thrones exist within the Mist Maze fortress, the cliff tombs of the Seers and the works of Delucardh in Aradhrynd.
- The Wight of Bainor is sentient and may be coaxed into talking with players who are actual descendants of the Edain. He can reveal much of the valley’s history, but talking to him will cost the players Sanity/Morale and possibly some life force.
- The Mage’s Mound contains the work of Odavacil the Learned who built the Thrones in the First Age. His writings only have information about the initial enchantment of the Circle and Thrones, but understanding this will give users a +25% bonus when using the Thrones.
6.3 Using the Wind Thrones
Sitting upon a Throne and concentrating will alert a magically sensitive person to the special nature of the construction (Make a Magic Use or equivalent roll). The Thrones confer a measure of power according to the person seated, as well as the time of year and possession of certain artefacts. Wind and Temperature control within 500 yards being the primary ability along with a limited scrying ability of the valley and its surrounds (other than minor effects. Properly using these abilities requires study of Edain documentation- see section 6.2).
Powerful users will be able to create wind blasts up to 150kph and temperatures drops down to -20C. Spells involving flight and air are cast at triple effect. At night the Thrones allow enhanced viewing of the stars, and even more so if one knows the command words (powerful users will view as if they had a large telescope). Deciphering the Edain runes on the Thrones will give players a measure of control as well as clues as to how the secondary function of the Thrones is worked. (The Dragon Repulsion Ward)
If someone was to correctly orient a Laen crystal upon the central sarsen on a solstice, and incant the Spell of Tethering, then the aura could be dispelled or moved within sight of the Throne and its 35 mile scrying ability. This will repel any Dragons within range. This of little use save perhaps to clear out the Eastern Gorge. However if one was to use the Thrones in conjunction with a Palantir the results could be dramatic.
If the Spell of Tethering is cancelled and/or the Wind Thrones used for major magicks the valley will experience seismic disturbances due to feedback upon the Shard. Earth tremors will cause landslides, avalanches and dam-bursts high up in the hanging valleys. The geyser area will become a field of rapidly spouting hot lakes and possibly temporarily become a small pyroclastic volcano!
Continued on Page 3 Uthrael Beoac: Inhabitants, Adventures, Timeline, & GM’s Notes