Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cirith Ungol

I have just about decided that if/when I run my Middle Earth D&D game, it will be set on the borders of Mordor. The Gondorian watch-tower of Cirith Ungol has been abandoned (~1640 TA) after a plague has desolated the region.  Now a daring trader named Murlann has setup a temporary camp in the abandoned tower and his small retinue of men provide shelter and goods & services to those adventurous souls that wish to plunder the evil lands beyond the pass.

I plan to use the keep from AD&D module UK3 The Gauntlet as my stand in for the Tower of Cirith Ungol (I love that map). Not that the floor plan will be needed much, as it is my home base for the game.

Of course there is also Shelob to worry about as you explore the pass and the tunnels found nearby...

"But still she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness."
—The Two Towers

One of my initial stumbling blocks to trying to run D&D in Middle Earth was the absence of enough monsters to make it interesting. But after talking to a couple of folks in my G+ circles, I came to realize the answer was in "The Hobbit". Gollum was a hobbit that was exposed to an evil ring for years, and it twisted him into a "monster". Well surely the land of Mordor is just bubbling with "evil" power - so naturally it would twist any natural creatures that lived there. So there, instant "monster" generation - I can now run dungeons full of strange "one-off" monster types. It is my Middle Earth anyway, so canon be damned, it is full D&D ahead.


  1. Yeah the Hobbit is your friend :) (that, and the Silmarillion for 1st age monstrosities bred in the pits of Morgoth.) My preferred region for D&D Middle-earth fun is Mirkwood. I have the 1e module which merges the two previous modules, and it's absolutely brilliant. You have got dwarves, elves, men of different breeds, plenty of monsters, a creepy wood, dragons from the north etc. And wandering hobbits :)

  2. Mirkwood would be my 2nd choice, plus you have the "Necromancer's" dungeon. :)

  3. The Misty Mountains are pretty good too - there are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world. Or anywhere that has had some Black Numenorean sorcerers to wreak merry hell upon the native wildlife. And of course, you could justify tons of minor spirits and weird creatures everywhere in Middle-Earth as long as they are fairly reclusive.

    As far as the Silmarillion goes, anywhere near Thangorodrim is choice, but Nan Dungortheb especially so.

  4. There are plenty of werewolves and vampires in the first and second age of Middle - Earth, I don't see why there couldn't be some in the third age either.

    Games Workshop came up with this creature called Gulavhar, the Terror of Arnor. I think he fits right into a rpg campaign as well.