Wild Adventure - The Night Wanderers

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Wild Adventure - The Night Wanderers

Post by Wbweather » Wed May 20, 2015 6:18 am


Part One: Encounter - Ingomer Axebreaker; exposition
Part Two: Combat- Delusional Wanderers(Full of Hate); rising action
Part Three: Journey - Sanctuary; rising action
Part Four: Combat - Scuttling Spiders, Cave Troll Runt; rising action
Part Five: Journey - Demon’s Tower; Climax
Part Six: Encounter - Hearing Voices; falling action, resolution

COMPANY CHALLENGE: A new evil from the forest plagues the Woodmen. Ingomer Axebreaker enlists the company to discover the source of this new threat and see what can be done to stop it.

Part One: Fires In the Night (exposition)

While visiting a Woodmen settlement, if the company is known to Ingomer Axebreaker, he requests they pay him a visit as he needs their assistance. If they have not yet encountered Ingomer, they could run into him as he is investigating reports of strange sightings in the forest and reports of arson in smaller settlements under the eave of the forest.

Ingomer greets the company cordially, but in a preoccupied manner. A successful insight test might reveal that there is some personal fear weighing on him. Ingomer explains to the group that two months back rumors began surfacing of strange green fires burning in the forest at night. By daylight when these were investigated, all that could be found were small clearings where the trees had been felled and burned as great pyres. These had been reduced to fine grey ash with with a pile of charred bones in the center. They mostly appeared to be bones of deer or other woodland creatures. Then several weeks ago a small settlement was attacked at night and burned to the ground. The surviving woodmen claimed that green flames rapidly consumed their dwellings. When doused with water, the flames grew larger as if empowered by some strange sorcery. Whatever was causing these fires was slowly moving north along the eaves of the forest. The most recent sighting of the fires was in the Western Eaves just North of Woodmen Town. The people are afraid and the fear itself is beginning to spread like wildfire. He has asked for men to search out the source of this new devilry, but few have stepped forward for fear of leaving their families unattended (or perhaps just cowardice). He has sent a message to Radagast and expects him to arrive within days but would ask the company to take on the task of investigating the strange fires to see if they might discover their cause.

Encounter Evaluation
This encounter should be based on the highest valor in the company. Ingomer is not hopeful that the company will succeed, at least initially. So far any attempt to find the cause has been fruitless.
0-1 Ingomer doubts the company will have any more success than the Woodmen have and dismisses them with no assistance.
2-3 Ingomer is somewhat encouraged. He tells the group the location of the last known fire and sells them that the fires have been found about every 10 miles moving from the south to the north.
4-6 Ingomer is heartily encouraged by the group’s prowess and offer to lend them his personal hunting hounds who know the forest well. (Any Search test sees its TN lowered by 2)
7+ Ingomer does all the above and confesses to the company his true fear, that his son Mogdred may be behind these attacks.

Part Two: The Night Wanderers (rising action)
Finding the most recent fire ring
Once the group leaves Ingomer, they must begin their search for the fires. This is a prolonged action requiring 5 successful tests (search, explore, hunting) to find the most recent fire ring at a TN of 14. If Ingomer gave them the location of the last known fire ring, then the company can skip these tests and proceed to the next step.

Finding the fire
Having located the most recent fire ring, the group now must attempt to observe a fire while it burns. With no assistance from Ingomer, this requires a prolonged action of 5 more successful tests (Search, explore, or hunting). If Ingomer told them to expect to find the next fire 10 miles to the north, reduce this to 3 tests. These tests must be made at night and the TN is increased to 16.

Throughout the search, reward successful rolls with signs of a company passing through the area headed north (many footprints in some soft earth, trees with broken or hewn limbs, remains of a small campfire, etc.}

Eventually one night, the company will notice an eerie green glow some distance through the trees. As they approach they will hear muffled chanting. They have found the fire, but what lies ahead is still unknown…

Should the players approach the source of light they will see a fascinating scene.

In the center of a small clearing a group of men and women dressed in furs encircles a large fire. The fire is built of trees felled and leaning against one another in the shape of a teepee. At the top, hung from a rope by its antlers is a buck kicking and thrashing and making awful, terrified noises as green sinister flames rise higher and higher up the pyre. The strangers are chanting and slowly dancing in circles around the fire while one, apparently their leader calls out in a mesmerizing cadence.

“We are the Night Wanderers, the Ring Seekers, the Keepers of the Cleansing Fire. We serve the Lady of the Tower, the Queen of the South. With fire we cleanse the night. She will keep us and protect us from the terrors of the Dark One. She gives us the fire. To her we give this sacrifice.”

At this point the heroes must decide what to do. Should they make their presence known the group of Wanderers sheiks in outrage and attacks wielding an axe in one hand and a burning brand in the other. Their leader shouts,” Servants of the Dark One. Destroy them!”

If the company chooses to sit and watch, they might somehow be discovered, perhaps a hound growls at the sight of the Wanderers or a companion trips and falls. Unless the Loremaster feels it best not to, they should end up fighting the Wanderers.

Enemy: Night Wanderer
Attribute Level: 3
Endurance: 14
Hate: 2
Parry: 5
Armour: 2
Personality: 1 Survival: 2
Movement: 3 Custom:1
Perception: 3 Vocation: 2
Weapon Skills:
Axe: Damage:5, Edge “Eye”, Injury 18, CS Break Shield
Flaming Brand*: Damage 3, Edge 9, Injury 12
Special Abilities:
Denizen of the Dark
Snake-like Speed
*Flaming Brand
On a “piercing blow” the brand ignites the player’s armor. This fire is created through sorcery, and will continue to burn until the player extinguishes it. To do this requires that an athletic test against a TN of 12 must be taken in lieu of a combat action on the next round. If failed then the player must pass a protection test against an TN of 12 or sustain 3 endurance loss and gain a wound. This continues until the fire is extinguished. Another companion may use a round of combat to assist in putting out the fire with an athletics test as well.

Add one point of hate to each enemy due to their outrage at having their ceremony interrupted.

History of the Night Wanderers
After the Necromancer was cast out of Dol Guldur, a group of human prisoners that made their way from depths of the fortress into the forest. They had no memory before the terrors of the dungeon, their lives as far as they could remember began in pain and darkness. As they wandered the forest being fed on by spiders and worse, they eventually made their way east until they came upon the Demon’s Tower. There they met the Sorceress of Mirkwood, Zimraphel. She presented herself to them as a vision of light who could save them from the terrors of the forest and the dark demons that haunted them. In truth she was using her sorcery on them to make them her thralls. As such, she has begun sending them out to raid ruins and barrows in hopes of finding a ring of power. She armed them with magical fire to chase away wights. She has convinced them that all others (including the Woodmen and the companions) are minions of the Necromancer and seek to take them captive again into Dol Guldur. They believe that only in service to her can they be kept from this fate and that only by finding a ring for her will there safety be made permanent.

The Wanderers will fight fiercely until half their number has been reduced. After that point the leader (or if he has downed, one of the others) shouts, “We will not be slaves of the Shadow again, brothers throw yourself upon the light of the Cleansing Fire.”
At this point, all surviving Wanderers run into the now roaring fire and are consumed by the flame,choosing immolation rather than (as they believe) returning to the dungeons of Dol Guldur.
This should be grounds for a corruption test to avoid gaining shadow. Any defeated Wanderers are not considered killed, but rather wounded or unconscious. Soon after the battle they will wake. They will fear the players, thinking them minions of the Necromancer. It will be impossible to convince them otherwise, that will require the aid of a wizard. However, it might be possible for a companion to find a way to calm them enough to travel without much resistence.

Any surviving Wanderers should probably be escorted back to Woodland Hall. If the player question any of the captives, they will only repeat what their leader said at the fire ring (“We are the Night Wanderers, the Ring Seekers...”) or curse the players as of servants of the Dark One.

Part Three: The Forgotten Garrison (rising action)
At Woodland Hall, player will discover that while they were away, Radagast has joined Ingomer.
Upon seeing the captives, Radagast comments that they are obviously under some form of sorcery and takes them inside the Wuduseld to see if he can break the spell. After some time he emerges looking taxed and fatigued. The Wanderers follow him, now seeming as if they have just woken from a dream. They are confused, but are beginning to remember some things from their past. One might be recognized as a long lost relative of someone in the village.

Radagast speaks, “Take these people to a house of healing. Though the spell has been broken, they are not yet wholly mended but in time their minds will heal.”

Turning to the companions he says, “Many years has it been since I had to work my will so hard against a force as strong as the one controlling these people. I fear there are yet things of great power and danger at work in the forest of Mirkwood. I am wearied by my effort but I did learn some useful information. These people were under the control of a sorceress dwelling in a tower in the south-east of Mirkwood. I fear that the tower they refer to is none other than Minas Raug, or the Demon’s Tower. When we drove the Necromancer from Dol Guldur, we discovered that he had built an eastern outpost. I fear some former servant of his has taken up residence within that tower. I would have you be my eyes and ears. Find this tower and observe it. Take note of what you see, learn what you can of its ruler and return to me in Rhosgobel with that information. Do not attempt to approach the tower. I cannot say what evil dwells within but I doubt you could face it alone. Yet, perhaps there is yet some way to hold it at bay. ”

“One other thing, long ago when the shadow first descended on the forest, I assisted the elves in hiding a sanctuary in the south of Mirkwood. This was located just to the south of the East Bight. It was used as a secret garrison for the elves for several centuries until they ultimately withdrew to the north, leaving it abandoned. While it may have long ago been compromised, I hold some hope that it may yet be secure having been concealed with a spell of secrecy and sealed with a magic spell. To open the door, one must simply lay their hand on it and simply speak the word “Edro”. However, the door will resist entrance by anyone tainted by the shadow. Should you find it secure, you may rest there and recover from your journey. If we could reclaim this garrison, it could prove useful to Woodmen traveling between Sunstead and the western settlements. What you might find inside I do not know, but it was known to have once held weapons used by the elves to fight the shadow. From there is should be a fairly straight forward trip south to reach the Demon’s Tower. I must rest some and then attend to these poor souls who have suffered so much. I will look for you in Rhosgobel. Fare well friends.”

Radagast produces a map and shows the companions the location of the lost sanctuary and the Demon’s Tower. The sanctuary is located just south of the east bight near the bottom of the narrows of the forest.

The group then must travel to the garrison Radagast described. The entrance to the garrison can be found by any elf using a search at a TN of 12. For any other culture, the TN is 20. Radagast however give the group a small cordial of amber liquid. When consumed, the TN for any search roll is reduced by 6. There is enough for three sips.

Arriving at the location, they must search to find the door to the garrison. Long has the entrance lay hidden in the side of a hill. Centuries of detritus and undergrowth have obscured it. Each player can search twice per day. Radagast’s elixir can be used until it is gone.

Once the door is found, they must open it. To do so they place their hand on the door and speak the word “Edro”. The door will only open if they pass a Wisdom test with a TN of 12 plus their current shadow rating. Each player may only attempt to open the door once per day.

If successful in entering the garrison they become the first to do so in over 1500 years. Inside they find a small armory. It might be possible to find an ancient weapon of renown among the various swords and bows. There is also a barracks with enough bunks for a comfortable night’s sleep. There is one room which appears to be the commander’s quarters. There is a small desk covered in various utensils for writing. In the center sits a small but elaborate wooden chest, embossed with golden script. The name Daebeleth (fading of the shadow) can be read by anyone with the ability to read Tengwar. Inside lies a silver ring set with a bright emerald. This is a wondrous artifact with a blessing of both Awe and Insight, both of which are clearly indicated in the script on the chest. In addition to this, it allows the wearer to roll the Feat die twice on any corruption test and take the higher of the two rolls (in a similar fashion to the Wild Hobbit’s Shadow Sight). It has a value worth 80 treasure. It may be taken and used by any companion.

The company may rest here safely as long as they like, recovering endurance and reducing fatigue as if they were in a safe place. However, soon after entering the garrison, they begin to hear strange noises outside. At first, they might catch an occasional scratching against the door. Possibly just a branch in the wind. Before long they hear a heavy thud or two, then silence for a while, then the thudding again. Eventually it becomes obvious that something is trying to get in. Loud pounding begins outside the walls and continues often up to an hour at a time. For a while there will be quiet again, but before long the pounding begins anew. When they finally choose to leave the sanctuary, they will be in for a surprise…

Part Four: Company at the Door
Unbeknownst to them, the adventurers were being followed for the last day or two of their travels through Mirkwood. A cave troll runt had planned to ambush them in their sleep at a convenient time. He was working out how best to do this, when suddenly they just seem to have disappeared. After searching the area and not finding them, he retraced his steps and followed their tracks to this particular clearing, where they seemed to just vanish into the hillside. Confused, he spent some time searching for a hole or cave but finding none, he now is attempting to tear down the hillside in his desire to find his missing prey. Not only that, but his pounding has attracted the attention of quite a few spiders who now are eager to join the hunt for what may turn out to be a tasty dinner.

When the players do exit the sanctuary, they will walk into a nest of trouble. The will need to fight a Cave Troll Runt and at least a dozen spiders, primarily Attercops, but maybe with the occasional Hunter spider thrown in to spice things up if needed. These all must be defeated before the company can make their escape. Of course they can rest again in the garrison if needed to heal any wounds or endurance loss if they choose to. This time they will not be followed.

After defeating the enemies, the company might want to search for the troll’s cave and possible treasure. The LM may allow this if he wishes, however the company must backtrack a day to find the cave.

Part Five: The Demon’s Tower (Climax)
Having defeated the Troll and spiders and rested as much as they desire, the adventurers begin the final Journey to the Demon’s Tower. This is definitely a place tainted with shadow and the Loremaster should roll to see if the area is blighted. The Loremaster should set a dark and foreboding mood for the journey. Failing a test caused by a hazard might result in the player character being temporarily miserable for the rest of the adventure. When the companions arrive at the tower, they should feel the full weight of their arduous journey.

As they finally approach the tower, they see the following as described in the Heart of the Wild:
The Demon’s Tower stands in the heart of a tangled thicket, its topmost battlements hardly taller than the surrounding trees. It is made of dark stone quarried in the Mountains of Mirkwood; every stone bears runes of power engraved by the lords of Dol Guldur. Attached to the tower are a walled bailey and several outbuildings.

The tower rises above the tree tops and commands a view of the surrounding forest. Within the uppermost windows of the tower, especially at night, flashing lights of green and red can easily be seen. The Heroes feel a sense of dread and must pass a corruption test or gain a shadow point.

Part Six: Hearing Voices (falling action / resolution)
As the company watches and discusses what to do, they suddenly find themselves surrounded by small dancing lights like living candle flames. Any apprehension which they previously felt suddenly melts away and a sense of peace begins to overcome them. Each character hears gentle voices telling them that they are safe from the shadow now and have nothing to fear.

Each player must roll a wisdom test. On a failure, they have given in to the voices and begin moving slowly toward the tower. If a player character is wearing Daebeleth, they pass the wisdom test automatically. Any characters failing the wisdom test have succumb to the enchantment of the Sorceress and will not be able to participate in the encounter. A player who is not entranced can attempt to free a player from the enchantment with a test of Inspire. A failure counts as a failure against the Tolerance of the encounter and sees no effect on his companion, while a success awakens the other companion but does not count as a success toward the Encounter (however it does not count as a failure either).

Any player characters who are not under the enchantment suddenly sense a chill in the air and the night seems to grow darker. The previously pleasant voices now sound harsh and full of anger. They demand to know who the heroes are and how they came to seek out the Demon’s Tower. The voices are actually the means by which the Sorceress engages the company. They never encounter her face to face. If she hears of the defeat of her Night Wanderers or their healing by Radagast, She becomes enraged momentarily, but soon begins to question the heroes about their knowledge of the barrows near the Old Forest Road. What is the likelihood of finding magical rings within them? If a player is wearing Daebeleth, the ring is immediately apparent to the Sorceress and her questions are focused on the ring. Where did the hero come by such a ring? Who was the maker of the ring? What form of magic dwells in the ring? etc. For their part, the heroes may only think to plead for their lives or they may attempt to convince the Sorceress to withhold any further attacks against the Woodmen settlements. The company should also attempt to find out as much information about the sorceress as they can to bring to Radagast.

Encounter Evaluation
Base this encounter's tolerance on the highest wisdom rating in the group. Subtract one for any elf in the group. If a hero is wearing the ring, then increase the tolerance by 2 to reflect the Sorceress’ fascination with the ring The more successful the company is, the more information about herself the Sorceress gives up.

0-1 The company learns the Sorceress’ true name, Zimraphel, and she allows the company to barely escape for their lives as orcs stream out of the tower and begin to prepare for battle.
Her intentions toward the Woodmen remain unknown.

2-3 The companions learn her name and that she originally was one of the Black Númenóreans of Umbar and had been taught sorcery by the Necromancer himself. She finds any request to leave the Woodmen alone at least humorous enough to let the companions leave in peace with a warning never to return.

4-6 The companions learn the above information as well as that Zimraphel seeks a ring of power above all else.

7+ After gaining all the above information, Zimraphel makes the companions an offer. If they relinquish Daebeleth to her, she will leave the Woodmen in peace. This should present the players with a quandary. If they give up the ring, they lose a powerful tool in fighting the shadow, however they may buy the Woodmen peace for some time, if they trust Zimraphel to be true to her word. If however they keep the ring to themselves, then perhaps they gain an enemy and put the Woodmen at greater risk. If they agree to give the ring to her, a large gore-crow flies from the tower and grasps it in its talons, flying it back to his mistress.

As soon as the the tolerance for the encounter is reached the spell is broken. Any player still under the Sorceress’ enchantment wakes up and sees a line of orcs gathering along the palisades. Their welcome is now exhausted and they must flee with what news they have gathered and report to Radagast in Rhosgobel.

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Re: Wild Adventure - The Night Wanderers

Post by poosticks7 » Wed May 20, 2015 12:26 pm

Another great addition Wb, nice to see some of my evocative encounter ideas being put to such great use.

I've got another adventure in the pipeline.

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Re: Wild Adventure - The Night Wanderers

Post by jamesrbrown » Wed May 20, 2015 2:24 pm

Wow! Nice story Wbweather. That's amazing. I am imagining a group of player-heroes facing those circumstances. They would certainly not forget it! You've made the Demon's Tower very ominous for sure.

poosticks7, can't wait to see your next one! I haven't had a chance yet to evaluate the encounter ideas you sent me, but hopefully soon.
Please visit my blog, Advancement Points: The One Ring Files, for my TOR Resources

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Re: Wild Adventure - The Night Wanderers

Post by Blubbo Baggins » Wed May 20, 2015 4:44 pm

Wbweather, this is a great adventure! This really highlights how an Encounter can be a really effective climax of a story (not just a usual big battle). Well done. This is definitely something I'd hope to see in a Darkening campaign.

Consider running this adventure at a con, especially if you can get a group of players who have played TOR in the past, or even played an introductory adventure before...

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Re: Wild Adventure - The Night Wanderers

Post by Majestic » Mon May 25, 2015 7:34 pm

This is indeed a great adventure idea, Wbweather. Well done!
Adventure Summaries of our campaign, currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood

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Re: Wild Adventure - The Night Wanderers

Post by jamesrbrown » Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:30 am

Just reading this again tonight and enjoying it. The storytelling potential is so high. I am imagining playing the part of Radagast and delivering the night wanderers from the curse. Then, finding the secret Elven outpost that hasn't been entered in 1,500 years containing anticipated wonders. You certainly deliver the goods and then follow it up with a great siege of Troll and Spiders!
Please visit my blog, Advancement Points: The One Ring Files, for my TOR Resources

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