Halmir wiped his sword on the grass removing much of the foul Orc blood. He rolled over the dead body of the Orc before him with his boot.
“I know their leader, he was at the ruins of Fornost. He must have been out for revenge, I will have to report this once our task is done.”
The others looked a little worse for wear, Fonli had a nasty gash across his forehead. They rested for a while and tended to their wounds before setting out once more. They walked in silence and after a slow stumbling journey they reached the downs. Halmir turned to Otto “Your turn to lead, take us to the barrow that you desecrated.”
Fog had begun to descend upon the downs as the group made their way across the rolling landscape. The night air was still and silent, almost oppressive. Otto walked next to Fonli, who was still suffering from his wounds. They began to fall behind the others.
“Are you okay?”
“Of course I am okay, it takes more than a nick like that to slow a Dwarf young Hobbit.”
Otto smiled, he knew Fonli was worse off for wear than we was letting on and this bluff was just part of the Dwarves stubborn nature. Otto thought that conversation may take Fonli's mind off his ills. “You know, I still don’t tell me a lot about your past, tell me about yourself.”
“What's to tell?”
“Lots!” Otto was inquisitive by nature and Fonli’s past intrigued him. “Back in Bree you mentioned you came from Erebor, were you there when the Dragon took it.”
Fonli's faced scowled and then broke into a wide smile. “How old do you think I am lad? No, I lived in the Iron Hills and returned there when Dain Ironfoot became King. There is not much to tell.”
Otto was determined to find out more if only to keep the silence of the Barrow Downs broken.
“But you have seen lots of battles right?”
The scowl returned to Fonli's face, sadder and deeper this time. To Otto it looked as though he was thinking back to a difficult memory.
“Yes.” They walked on for a few moments in silence before Fonli continued. “I was with Balin's party when he retook Khazad Dum. I was part of the advance scouts that first made contact with the enemy at the East Gate. We slew many an Orc that day I can tell you! I hewed twelve Orcs myself with this very axe.” He patted his weapon.
“Isn't that the Mines of Moria? I thought that was a place of shadow. I have heard tales of it told in the Prancing Pony.”
“Indeed it is, once it was a great city of the Dwarves, perhaps the greatest. We have fought over it with the Orcs for such a long time, and it was with Balin that we reclaimed it.”
“So what happened?” Otto asked glumly, he knew that the outcome was not a happy one.
“You should study your history more, if you were half as good a scholar as you are a pick pocket you would rival the great Flori himself. I will tell you more one day, I will not go into such a dark a tale as that here.”
During their talking they had not noticed the fog thickening.
“Otto, are we still heading the right direction?” Halmir's voice sounded distant and muffled as if he was speaking to them from a padded room even though he could not have been more than ten paces in front.
“Yes this is the direction.” Otto stopped and looked about. “I think.”
“You think? You need to be sure.”
“What's the hurry?”
“Have you not noticed the Fog?” Halmir's voice betrayed the fear that he felt inside himself.
“I have, but it is always foggy of the downs.”
“This fog brings something evil I fear, it is coming for us. Can you need hear the whispers in the dark?”
Otto turned his head to listen. At first he heard nothing but then he thought he heard something. He squinted his eyes as if that would help his hearing. That time though he definitely heard something.
“Yes, yes I do. What is it?”
“It is the whispers of the dead. They are coming. We must be quick.”
Otto turned about trying to get his barrings. “Yes yes it is definitely this way.”
They all increased their pace. The fog grew steadily grew thicker. Fonli lagged behind, his head started to throb. He stopped momentarily but it was enough time for him to lose sight of the others.
“Hey wait for me.” There was no reply.
“Yes this is it we are going the right way, Fonli you must remember that standing stone?” There was no reply to Otto's question. “Fonli?” Otto turned to look back at his friend but he wasn't there, just a white wall of fog rolling in the gloom. A noise, like a twig snapping, sounded to his left and he spun that way, expecting to see some eldritch horror but there was nothing. Another sound came from behind him, almost like that of a groan. Again Otto spun around to see nothing.
The fog was so thick now that Halmir had lost sight of the Rangers.
“Wait. Do not go too far ahead.” They was no reply. He looked back and saw that Fonli and Otto were also out of sight. He pulled the sack from his back containing the sceptre.
“I have come to return that what was stolen from you. Let us pass so that we may place back in its rightful place.” The whispers grew more intense. He thought he heard a cry, Otto's by the sound of it and returning the sceptre to the sack on his back, drew his sword. He ran in the direction he thought it had come from. In front of him a shadow loomed out of the Fog stopping over a figure laying on the ground.
Halmir and his companions are attempting to return the Sceptre of Malbeth back to the barrow where it was taken from when they are separated by the fog and waylaid by the dead.GOODHalmirOtto BrandyleafFonli
4' by 4' board with a hill in the centre with a barrow
on top. Three other barrows
should be placed around the board as well as standing stones and a cairn
. The rest of the board should be covered in rocky outcrops and smaller hills.
Halmir starts on top of the hill 6” from the barrow entrance. Otto starts 8” from Halmir, lay the figure prone as he starts the game paralysed. Fonli can be place 12” from any other barrow.
Place one Barrow-wight in base contact with Otto and starts the game carrying him, the others can be placed in any other barrow entrance except the centre one. The spectres are placed anywhere on the board but no nearer than 12” to any good model.
The Good side wins if they return the sceptre to the central barrow and escape of the Bree side of the board. All three models need to survive. Any other condition is a win for Evil.
Note: For this scenario no broken force courage rolls are made for either side.The Barrow
. The powers of the Barrow-wights are deeply rooted within the Barrows and while they remain within a Barrow both their power and their resolve increase.
In addition, as long as a Barrow-wight remains within 3” of a Barrow, it can expend 1 point of Will each turn without reducing its own Will store. Note that these rules only have effect whilst it remains within a Barrow. Should the Wight be forced to leave, these abilities are lost until it is within a Barrow once more.
Fog on the Barrow-downs. The chill mist on the Barrow-downs is magical in nature, woven by the Barrow-wights to help them ensnare their pretty. In addition to causing the travellers to become separated at the start of the scenario, the following rules apply:
The mist reduces visibility to 6”. As such the models are not fully aware of the Barrow-wights until they are within 6” of them. No missile attacks, magical powers, or charges can be directed at targets more than 6” away. This does not affect the Barrow-wights who do not see the same way as mortal creatures.
Just before moving each Good model, the Good player rolls a D6. On a roll of 2-6, the Good player moves the character as normal; if a 1 is rolled the Evil player may move the character. The Evil player may not move the model into or out of combat in this way and the model cannot be forced to perform any actions that would cause direct harm to it. Might may not be used to influence this roll.
Sacrifice. The Barrow-wights are not trying to kill the travellers in combat. Instead they intend to drag them back to a Barrow and ritually sacrifice them to dark powers. To represent this, rather than losing their last wound in combat, the travellers are instead paralysed, as per the Paralyse magic power (see the main rulebook).
A Barrow-wight may drag a single paralysed model by moving into base contact with it. Once a Barrow-wight is in base contact with a paralysed model, it can complete its move normally, dragging the model alongside. A barrow-wight dragging a model will automatically release the model if engaged in combat. If the model rolls a 6 and recovers from the effects of the Wight’s power while he is being dragged, placed the model 1” from the Wight.
For each unengaged Wight that starts its move in a Barrow and in base contact with a paralysed model the Evil player can roll a die. If the result is 4 or more, the model is sacrificed and removed as a casualty. The Wight can then move as normal.
Never-ending Dead. The Barrows are swarming with the dead. To represent this any Evil model that is removed as a casualty is returned to play on any board edge except the Bree side, at the start of the Evil players move phase. The models may act normally but may not charge.
Sceptre of Malbeth. Halmir starts the game carrying the sceptre and most return it to the central barrow. If he is charged by a Barrow-wight, he will release the sceptre. Barrow-wights may carry the sceptre away but likewise will release it if they are charged.
Once in the central Barrow, Halmir needs to perform the correct ritual to replace the sceptre. To represent this, if Halmir is not engaged in combat and within the central Barrow, during his move phase, he rolls a D6, on a score of 5+ the ritual is performed successfully. If the ritual is performed successfully the Never-ending Dead rule ends.
Halmir and Otto sat at a table in the Prancing Pony by the fire. It crackled giving off a warm glow. Both man and Hobbit sat drinking a fine ale. It was only a few hours ago their lives were in danger. Otto remembered being along in the fog and then a shadow growing infront of him and the sound of an inhuman hiss. He collapsed to the ground in fear, his legs unable to hold him upright. The ghastly visage bent over him, and a decayed hand reached out for him. It was then that Halmir came running out of the dense blanket of fog. The rest of it remained a blur to him, there was a battle with horrors that he would never forgot but in the end the valour of the Rangers came through. After that Halmir placed the sceptre on top of the barrow that Otto had taken it from and spoken many strange words that the Hobbit did not understand. The task was then complete and they returned back to Bree and made their way to the inn.
“So, have you learnt your lesson?” Halmir spoke sternly.
“I sure have. As tempted as the reward is, the dangers are far too great. I will have to find my fortune elsewhere. I have heard there is treasure to be found amongst the ruins of Fornost.”
“Otto.” Halmir did not sound amused. A large grin formed on Otto's face.
“I am kidding of course.”
Halmir was not too sure, he know the Hobbit had a lust for gold. He would have to keep an eye on him to make sure he wouldn't get himself in trouble. For now he sat back and enjoyed his beer. Tomorrow he would return to his captain to see what his next mission would be.
“So you were the son of a chieftain?” The great white Orc spoke in Black Speech. “Not any more. Your life is mine, you will swear servitude to me.”
With that he turned and walked away. Narzug's head was lowered. Hatred for Men burned in his heart. In time he would have his revenge. He must bide his time.