The Hunting of the Wolf, Tolkien says, is the most perilous tale of all pursuits of beasts. This story, found in Of Beren and Lúthien in The Silmarillion records the slaying of Carcharoth, the Wolf of Angband, who carried a Silmaril in his belly, still clutched in the bitten-off hand of Beren.
"To that chase went Huan the Hound of Valinor, and Mablung of the Heavy Hand, and Beleg Strongbow, and Beren Erchamion, and Thingol King of Doriath. They rode forth in the morning and passed over the River Esgalduin; but Lúthien remained behind at the gates of Menegroth. A dark shadow fell upon her and it seemed to her that the sun had sickened and turned black."
Of the company of heroes in this adventure, my favorite is Huan. What a badass hound! He was so powerful, he even took on Wolf-Sauron earlier in the story to protect Lúthien:
"Then Sauron sprang upon Lúthien; and she swooned before the menace of the fell spirit in his eyes and the foul vapour of his breath. But even as he came, falling she cast a fold of her dark cloak before his eyes; and he stumbled, for a fleeting drowsiness came upon him. Then Huan sprang. There befell the battle of Huan and Wolf-Sauron, and the howls and baying echoed in the hills, and the watchers on the walls of Ered Wethrin across the valley heard it afar and were dismayed.
But no wizardry nor spell, neither fang nor venom, nor devil's art nor beast-strength, could overthrow Huan of Valinor; and he took his foe by the throat and pinned him down."
He pinned down Sauron! Later, when Huan takes on Carcharoth (a huge wolf grown by the hand of Morgoth and filled with a devouring spirit), the best of Tolkien's sentences is this:
"In that moment Huan leaped from the thicket upon the back of the Wolf, and they fell together fighting bitterly; and no battle of wolf and hound has been like to it, for in the baying of Huan was heard the voice of the horns of Oromë and the wrath of the Valar, but in the howls of Carcharoth was the hate of Morgoth and malice crueller than teeth of steel; and the rocks were rent by their clamour and fell from on high and choked the falls of Esgalduin."
In the end, Huan would kill Carcharoth only to be mortally wounded himself, having been poisoned by the venom of Morgoth.
SPOILER ALERT for players of The Darkening of Mirkwood!!!!!!
From these stories, inspiration can be found to tell the story of the defeat of the Werewolf of Mirkwood, which is placed in the Year 2971 of the Tale of Years in The Darkening of Mirkwood; but it will require raising a Hound of the West in the Year 2965. These special animals are of the same mold as Huan of Valinor, but of lesser power. The only suggestion made in the adventure is to use a Hound of the West to lure the packs of Wargs and wolves away from the Werewolf, never to return to the player-heroes. But, what other suggestions could be made for using a Hound of the West based on The Hunting of the Wolf?
You would need to be creative, but perhaps after 3 Gandalf Runes are rolled during a battle, any Hounds of the West attack the Werewolf in a struggle to the death. From that point on, the companions stand back in Rearward and a single Feat die is rolled per round while a chart is consulted.
Gandalf: The Werewolf is slain!
8-10: The Werewolf loses a Success die of Endurance for each hound in the fight; roll the Feat die again if the Wolf has any Endurance remaining; if the Werewolf loses all Endurance, it is pinned to the ground, allowing the companions to shine the Lamp of Balthi into its eyes
5-7: The battle rages on; roll the Feat die again
1-4: A hound is injured badly and will die after battle; roll the Feat die again unless this is the second time getting this result, in which case a hound dies immediately; roll the Feat die again only if a hound remains in the fight
Eye: A hound is ripped apart and killed; roll the Feat die again only if a hound remains in the fight
A dying Hound of the West could be given the opportunity to use its Speech of Mortals ability if it has any uses remaining. This would be to say farewell, just as Huan spoke for the third time before his death.
Does anyone have any other ideas?
Adventure in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Learn more at our website: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-one-ring/
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