Rangers of the North
Other Names: S. “Region of Holly”, Westron: Hollin
This holly-covered region of Eriador is the site of a former Elvish kingdom. Once the home of the great Jewel-smiths of Ost-in-Edhil (the Gwaith-i-Mírdain), the Enemy sacked the realm in S.A. 1697. Eregion is a lonely and deserted place in the late Third Age, for fear of old magic keeps the local Dunlending tribes well away.
One must be wary, as even Angmar has reached this low and deserted lands. Ranging from fierce Worms, to prowling and thieving Dunlendings, and finally the evil and corrupted Huorns and Wood Trolls who are under the influence of Angmar’s Shadow, Eregion, without a doubt, is a dangerous place.
In the early Second Age, the portion of the western foothills of the Misty Mountains between the Sirannon and the Bruinen was part of Enedhwaith, the borderland between Gil-galad’s kingdom of Lindon and the Elvish realms of the Anduin valley. Silvan Elves dwelt here then, and Dwarvish and Elvish trade passed over the Cirith Caradhras, the Redhorn Pass of the Misty Mountains. The opening of the West Gate of the Dwarrowdelf attracted Noldorin smiths and alchemists from Lindon, led by Celebrimbor (grandson of Fëanor, forger of the Silmarils) and Galadriel (daughter of the Noldorin high kings of old). They built a small city — Ost-in-Edhil — where the Sirannon joined the Glanduin, and the realm of Hollin, named after the local holly trees, was born.
The forging of the Great Ring by Sauron in S.A. 1600 undid all that the Hollinic Noldor had built. In S.A. 1697 the kingdom was invaded from the south. Galadriel had departed long before, primarily as a result of Sauron’s political intrigues in the guise of Annatar, but Celebrimbor died defending his forges in Ost-in-Edhil. When the Sauronic armies were driven out several years later, not enough Elves remained to resettle Eregion. The traps, spirits, and other enchanted remnants of the war still troubled the land.
For the rest of the Second Age and into the Third, Eregion was essentially controlled by the Dwarves of Khazad-dûm. It was used by them as a buffer zone, a barrier of unpopulated land that kept the Mannish lords of Eriador or Arnor from driving their borders too close. The Dwarves repaired the three roads they needed for trade, and allowed Mannish villages to be built at certain key junctures where caravans might need food and supplies.
In the late Third Age Eregion is considered completely abandoned, with only a few, very brave clans of Dunlendings venturing into the vast wilderness that compasses most of it. But there are rumours of small, secluded communities of Elves so old or so reclusive that they have chosen to remain in virtual hermitage. Most scoff at this – even the Elves at Rivendell seem to disbelieve it, but still the tales persist. Are any of the great Elven smiths still living in the ancient Noldo kingdom?
The Hollinic Elves displayed a deftness with magical traps comparable to their skill at the forge. Such traps were placed in their lands and dwellings before the Enemy’s invasion, and more were created later by embittered survivors seeking to make the area uninhabitable by their enemies. The Silvan Elves, who reclaimed most of Eregion after Sauron’s forces were driven out, were rarely affected by the Noldorin “haunts” (manifestations of the traps) and saw no reason to warn anyone about them. The haunts, as much as the barrenness of the land and its tragic reputation, kept it virtually uninhabited through most of two ages.
The “Elvish haunts” do not trouble Elves and Peredhil friendly to the Noldor, nor will they be triggered by Men who have gained the friendship of a Noldo. The traps possess as their material focus an inscribed stone, usually buried among the roots of trees, or under several feet of earth and rock; they are placed around water sources, river and ridge crossings, and the sites of old buildings, crossroads, orchards, and gardens. It was intended that they should strike at moments of unawareness, and most (80%) of them will not be activated if there is a witness nearby. Consequently, most people who travel through Eregion learn to perform camp chores in pairs or groups. If a nearby trap is not triggered (RR vs 10th level attack), the victim will still get a feeling of intense uneasiness. A given trap may only be set off once per night.
The following list summarizes the haunts that may be encountered in Eregion. Roll a D1O when a trap is triggered by a character. The result will correspond to one of the numbers placed in parentheses following the name of each haunt, indicating the symptoms experienced by the victim.
Tirularauco (Q. “Lurking Terror”) — (I) The illusion of a hideous creature seems to stalk the afflicted character, peering at him through windows, over rocks, around horses, and so forth. This happens 1-5 times a day for 1-100 rounds, one day for every percentage point by which the character missed his RR. The tirularauco appears to flee or hide and disappear, if it is faced bravely. Every day that passes in which the character does not understand what he is facing causes him to lose one point from his Presence stat due to physical and emotional deterioration. He continues to loose points for ten more days after he realizes the terror is illusionary; the lost Presence will be restored naturally at the rate of one point per week after the tirularauco fades away.
Eldarínë (Q. “Elvish Memories”) — (2) The victim is transfixed by tragic memories of the fall of Eregion, weeping uncontrollably for I-100 hours or until he collapses from dehydration and exhaustion. The character is effectively stunned and will loose 1-10% of his hit points per hour due to shock and depression.
Yelwolor (Q. “Nightmare;” lit. “Loathsome Dream”) — (3) A hideous, formless monster appears out of the air. It has stats equal to or half those of the character, depending on whether he faces the threat bravely. The gibbering apparition attacks until slain; use the Tooth and Claw Attack Table, but chose the actual critical table randomly. Its attack rolls are not open-ended; that is, the die roll itself cannot go over 100.
Hwarincen (Q. “Crooked-vision”) — (4) The victim thinks himself an Elvish lord and departs to hunt Orcs and Trolls. He will suffer a 1-10 point Constitution drain for 1-10 days as he tries to match the endurance of a Noldorin warrior. If he has no night vision, there is a 10% chance per hour at night that he will suffer a bad fall in the dark (+50 attack). If traveling with Orcs, he tries to stalk and kill them. If traveling with Men, there is a 20% chance he will mistake them for Half-orcs and try to capture them for execution 1-3 days later.
Fairanco (Q. “Wraith-limb”) — (5) The unfortunate soul perceives himself to grow an extra digit or limb. The new appendage eventually develops facial features and an Orc-like mind that argues with the character. The victim’s companions cannot perceive the strange appendage, and merely hear the character arguing with himself.
Cellívë (Q. “Running-sickness”) — (6, 7) The subject flees for the nearest attainable point on the Eregion border. Tough luck if he can’t swim or climb mountains. He gains another RR check every time he collapses from exhaustion.
Rúkimafairi (Q. “Dread-spirits”) — (8) 2-20 spirit-forms of Orcs or Men from Sauron’s Second Age army form in 1-3 rounds and try to kill every non-Elvish living creature in a 1 mile radius. The trap absorbs the spirits of those so slain and uses them in its next triggering, up to a maximum of 20 spirits. All rúkimafairi have the stats of 2nd level Rogues.
Isilúvanimo (Q. “Moon-monster”) — (9) The product of one of the less savory Noldorin alchemists, this form of lycanthropy unsettles the mind and causes the victim, when angry, to transform into an ape-like creature that needs to kill one Man to calm down. When transformed, the character’s Intuition and Presence are halved and his Strength is raised to 103. Any Elvish Animist can absolve the victim and free him from the curse.
Náreliltar (Q. “Fire-dancer”) — (10) A 2’ tall fire-elemental appears. Shrieking madly, it ricochets around the area (300’ movement) every other round like a mis-aimed sling bullet. On rounds it isn’t moving, the náreliltar sets something on fire (attacks target as a +60 Firebolt). There is a 20% chance per round after it has successfully started something burning that it will stop for a round to laugh, showing Elvish facial features. All of its stats are at 50, including its MovM; slash and puncture crits against it are reduced by two levels, but it takes double damage from ice and triple damage from water.