Sunday, February 16, 2014

Entering the Black Lands

After talking with a couple of people about my Tolkien / Holmes game the other day, I started brainstorming
on where and when in Middle Earth, I could set a game such as this. Initially I had thought to start at Bree as the “point of light” game –and use Weathertop as my dungeon. Well looking at the map, that idea is not such a good idea. Weathertop is some 5 days march away so not exactly “close” to Bree.

Then I started combing through my MERP books, and started with Dagorlad, which is on the borders of the Dead Marsh (near the Black Gates of Mord0r). I like this module, but if I am that close to Mordor, why not take the final leap?

While looking through a timeline in the campaign book for “GORGOROTH”, I found what I was looking for:  
1640: The Watch on Mordor fails. The capital of Gondor is moved from Osgiliath to Minas Anor (Minas Tirith). Eight of the Ulairi slip back into the Black Land to prepare for the return of Sauron. Three Nazgul, Adunaphel, Uvatha, and Akhorahil go to Nurn. Hoarmurath takes Durthang as his home. Dwar and Khamul become commanders of Ostigurth. Ren the Unclean and Indur begin anwe the construction of B arad-wath. Gothmog travels from Dol Guldur and joins the Ulairi and assists in the plan to consolidate Mordor. He stays at Ostigurth.

As can be seen, the watch by Gondor over the lands of Mordor has failed, mostly due to the terrible plague that swept through in the last year. The last remnants of the watch towers are abandoned, leaving the passes open to dark and fell creatures.

But what about bold adventurers, hoping to find some trinket or token of the former tenants of Mordor? Suppose a daring trader set up shop with a band of like-minded followers in an old tower on the borders of Mordor, in the guise of the “Gondorian Watch”? He could rent out shacks in the courtyard, or rooms in the tower itself for those with the means to pay, and from this base of operations, stealthy adventuring parties could cross into the land of the Dark Lord and seek out their fortunes. Of course they would also have to contend with orcs, trolls, spiders, and maybe even Nazgul, as these foul beasts are slowly making their way back now that the paths are open to them again.

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