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light breezetainted faintly with the odor of mannish


bodies, manure, and fresh fishblows steadily across the
town from the distant northeast shoreline. There, newlygreen oak, ash, and elm trees nestle amidst the rocky shale
cliffs. They loom over their reflections in the rippling
dark blue depths of the Long Lake (S. Annen).

1.2 USING LAKE-TOWN

Before reading Lake-town, take a look at the eight-page


map insert accompanying the module. One side contains
a two-page color map of Lake-town (with a matching key
in 11.0), which may be used by players and gamemaster
alike. Section 12.0 details specific buildings in the settlement. The same side of the insert also contains a two-page
color player map of the region of Wilderland around
Lake-town. A black & white version of this terrain map in
Section 4.2 is tied to a keyed description for the gamemaster.
The other side of the insert is comprised of layouts of
other important settlements nearby Lake-town. These
include the town of Dale (circa T.A. 1640), the neardeserted ruin of Londaroth-by-Lindal, the local village
of Cotstow, and the Lake-folk trading town of Buhr
Chep. Keyed descriptions to these places can be found
in 4.3-4.6.
Lake-town is designed as a useful tool for gamemasters
who wish to run role-playing adventures in and around
Esgaroth-upon-the-Long-Lake. Of course, everybody and
every building in the town cannot be completely detailed,
so we carefully describe those structures that player
characters are most likely to visit (e.g., taverns, inns,
gambling houses, supply stores, etc.) An attempt has been
made to provide a more rounded description of many of
the individuals that PCs might interact with, in sections
14.0 and 19.0, in order to encourage role playing interactions beyond simple combat. Although statistics and
skills are given in terms consistent with ICEs Middleearth Role Playing and Rolemaster fantasy role-playing games,
gamemasters using other FRP systems can still derive a
clear understanding of the talents and liabilities of the
various non-playing characters. Section 18.0 provides
guidelines for adapting the material herein to most other
FRP systems.
In keeping with our emphasis on flexibility, the large
and detailed herb, beast, and encounter tables (19.3-19.5)
also cover a broad variety of scenarios. After all, adventurers might encounter any number of situations in and
around Lake-town. They might meet relatively benign
creatures, stumble upon valuable herbs, or be threatened
by brigands. They might embark on a hunting or trapping
expedition, or simply engage in spirited commerce. The
price table 19.6 lists items available in Lake-town and
other nearby Northron communities, and includes boat
passage costs for adventurers interested in water travel.
Given the detailed descriptions of neighboring communities, we provide everything you need to get started on a
Lake-town campaign.

Of course, Lake-town specifically focuses upon adventures. Sections 2.0, 15.0, 16.0, and 17.0 detail four
primary adventures, while sections 21.0 and 22.0 contain
eleven shorter, ready-to-run scenarios. We also include
general suggestions pertaining to adventuring in, or designing adventures for, exploring Esgaroth and its environs.

1.3 THE TEMPORAL SETTING


This module is designed to be useful to a gamemaster
running a campaign anytime from the founding of Laketown at the beginning of the second millennium of the
Third Age onwards. Like most of ICEs other Middleearth modules, we use T.A. 1640 when a dated passage is
required. At that time, Lake-town was just entering its
heyday, yet it still held the flavor and excitement of a
frontier settlement.
This module frequently refers to the Great Plague. This
epidemic was the greatest of many to strike the region, and
contemporaries of many of the plagues perceived their
own plight as great. A gamemaster running a campaign
in another era can comfortably refer to the Plague, even if
he is talking about another, lesser outbreak of disease.
After all, there were many before and after the most
calamitous epidemic of T.A. 1635-37.
GMs running campaigns which take place during T.A.
1851-99 should note that Lake-town and Dale, like much
of Wilderland, were then overrun by the Wainriders
(Sagath). These Easterlings ruled most of Rhovanion as
a subject kingdom. Adventures at this time could involve
much subterfuge and adventurers could even become
involved in the Northron Revolt of T.A. 1899.
Also note that the Dwarves occupy Erebor, the Lonely
Mountain, in T.A. 1999. Afterwards, Dale and Laketown truly enter their Golden Age. This era lasts until the
arrival of Smaug the Terrible in T.A. 2770. Dale is
abandoned between T.A. 2770 and T.A. 2941; but Laketown is rebuilt, albeit on a much smaller scale, and life
continues in the trading community. After being razed a
second time by Smaug in T.A. 2941, the community is
rebuilt farther north on the shore of the Long Lake.

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18

1854-1856 Easterling victories force Gondor to


withdraw its shattered armies from southern
Rhovanion.
1856-99 The othraim are defeated during the
Wainrider Wars by a great confederation of
Easterling tribes. Esgaroth and Dale are overrun and
occupied by these Wainriders. Many Lake-folk, Dalefolk, and Gramuz flee their homelands and are
absorbed into the othraim, who migrate across the
Anduin and settle in the west-central Anduin vales,
between the Old Ford and the Gladden Fields.
1899 The Wainrider kingdom falls, and the overlords
retreat to the east when the successful Northron
Revolt drives them out of Rhovanion.
1899-1977 In their second homeland, the othraim
assimilate their compatriots and become the othod.
1944 Allied with the Variags of Khand, the Wainriders
attack Gondor and Rhovanion. The Haradrim strike
Gondor from the south. The Gondorian King is slain,
but the invaders are vanquished from the north of
Ithilien in the Battle of the Camp. Devastated by war
and plague, the Northrons of Wilderland remain free
but few.
ca. 1950 More Dragons begin appearing in the Grey
Mountains.
1975 The North-kingdom of the Dnedain ends; the
Witch-kings army is defeated, and Angmar falls.
1975-1980 With the collapse of Angmar, Gundabad
loses its hold over the far-flung Goblin tribes of the
Grey Mountains. The Asharag and the Larzoguhoth
stop sending tribute to Gundabad.
1977 The othod are led north by Frumgar. This has a
disastrous effect on Gundabad.
1980 Delving deep beneath Caradhras, Durins Folk in
Moria unleash a Balrog. Durin IV is slain. The Balrog
forces them from the lower levels.
1981 Nin I is slain in a vain sortie against the Balrog;
the Dwarves abandon Moria. Many flee north
through the Anduin vales, while others, under Thrin
I (the new King), go east through Mirkwood.
ca. 1990 Most of Durins Folk gather at the Grey
Mountains. They begin to establish themselves in the
region.
1994 Durins Folk found a silver mine in the Grey
Mountains (later known as Thundercleft).
1999 Thrin I and the rest of Durins Folk settle at
Erebor.
1995-2000 Scatha begins his raids into othod lands.
2000 The Dwarves discover the Arkenstone beneath
Erebor. Saidalbuirh, the homestead of the Dale-folk
Dalethod clan at the western foot of Erebor, is
ceded to the Dwarves.
ca. 2001 Fram of the othod slays Scatha. Esgaroth
reaches the apex of its prosperity.

2014 Stahnoholt, the homestead of the Dale-folk


Stahnothod clan, is abandoned. Dales population
grows and becomes increasingly cosmopolitan, and
clan structures begins to break down.
2001-2500 Following the death of Scatha, the
Dragons are not seen for many years.
ca. 2001-2005 Using the Dragon hoard, Fram
rebuilds the old Estarav fort, Buhr Wraec, overlooking the Langwell. He creates a new capital for
the othod, naming it Buhr Fram, and the settlement soon surpasses Buhr Maethel as the center of
commerce in the upper Anduin vales.
2003 The two sundered branches of Durins Folk, at
Erebor and Thundercleft, reestablish contact.
Thrin I learns of the fate of Silverplunge.
2005 Learning of Frams wealth, Thrin I of Erebor
demands he yield the treasure. No friend of
Dwarves, Fram sends an insulting note of refusal
accompanied by a gift of a necklace made from
Scathas teeth. Soon after, Fram is murdered. The
othod blame the Dwarves for his death, and an
abiding enmity between the two peoples is spawned.
2050-2150 The Dwarves in the North expand their
mining activities. Silverpit, Long Peak, and Nordm are established. Many Dwarves from Erebor
remove to the Grey Mountains.
2086 Narvi V chooses to go into exile in the Grey
Mountains, taking with him two hundred of his
followers from Erebor. They are never seen again.
2210 Thorin I, the new King under the Mountain,
leaves Erebor and goes north to the Grey Mountains.
2360 The Asharag tribe is wiped out by the Dwarves.
2510-2512 A new Easterling threat arises. The
Balchoth confederacy sweeps through southern
Rhovanion and across the Anduin. Eorl the Young
and the othod ride south and defeat an army of
Goblins and Balchoth on the Field of Celebrant.
Cirion, the Steward of Gondor, in return for the
Oath of Eorl, grants the othod the territory of
Calenardhon. The othod remove south to settle
in Calenardhon. Deserted, Buhr Fram soon falls into
ruin and is looted by the Goblins of Gundabad, who
have re-inherited control of the upper Anduin vales.
ca. 2550 The Dragons begin to stir again in the
Withered Heath.
2570 Smaug the Golden flies south from the Barl
Synac. He makes his lair at Anvilmount in the Grey
Mountains, a vast delving that was an Adan holy site
in the First Age.
2589 The Cold-drake Ando-anca slays the Dwarf-king
Din I. The worm sacks Nor-dm, the last of the
northern Dwarf holds to fall to the Dragons. The
Dwarves abandon the Grey Mountains. Many return
to Erebor with Thrr, the new King. Others go with
Grr to the Iron Hills.

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The entire Dale community numbers less than two


hundred. It is presided over by the Krythod Thyn, oder
andsome spiteful rumors sayhis shrewish wife,
Sulwyn. Part of the town serves as the fyrga (No. Hold)
of the noble Krythod clan. Their Adan ancestors inhabited a settlement on the same site for millennia before the
Northmen arrived, long prior to the formal establishment
of the Third Age town.
After the arrival of the Dwarves of Durin (T.A. 1999),
the urbanization of Dale accelerates. Fyrgas for the other
four Dale-folk clans and many lesser family farms are
depopulated or deserted as more people take up artisan
trades and relocate to Dale. The towns population swells
steadily. The monthly market, held a week after Laketowns, possesses significant regional importance.
After Smaug the Golden arrives and takes up residence
in the Lonely Mountain, Dale and Erebor are abandoned.
The Dale-folk flee south to Esgaroth. Their exile lasts for
171 years (T.A. 2770-2941). Then, the leveled town is
rebuilt and reinhabited by Bard and his followers after the
warrior slays Smaug. His people later come to be known
as Bardings.
1. Norlidh. A stout double gate provides access to Dale
through an interruption in the towns fortifications, a five
foot high mound topped by a heavy 12' palisade wall with
a narrow defensive platform 7' up on its inside perimeter.
The lesser used of the two town gates, the Norlidh is
usually manned by a single town-guard member during
the day. It is closed shortly after dusk.
2. Glaes-wyrhtan Gard (No. Glassmakers Yard). Gelmir
and Marach of the Aldurlingas clan live and ply their craft
here, along with Marachs Lake-woman wife, his son (an
apprentice), Gelmirs daughter, and two clansfolk assistants. The place is ringed by a high palisade fence of tree
trunks 10' high. When Jirfelian or other important
Aldurlingas clan members are in town, they stay here.
3. Ortgeardhud (No. Orchard Hall). Home to an
Aldurlingas farmer and his son, who manage the apple,
crabapple, and cherry orchards alongside Wicstraetan
(No. Market Street).
4. Kraethingashud. The meeting hall and cultural center
for the Dale-folk. Feasts are held in the main hall on
halidegas (No. Holidays), and Minuial records important matters in the Daleboc (see 20.1), which is kept in a
special room. oder hears torts here, and closed sessions
of the Kraething are conducted in the main hall at the dark
of the moon. A single town-guard (whose duty is rotated
with the others) sleeps in the southwestern porch and
keeps watch over the building at night.
5. Wic (No. Market Green). Booths are set up here
during the warm months at the third quarter of the moon,
for the monthly markets. The Faird frequently uses the
place for training; their sparring matches invariably attract
crowds of young spectators. By formal law, this area has
been declared the center of the neutral (clan-wise) town of
Dale outside of the Krythod fyrga enclosure.

6. Slapor oten Tafen (No. Sleeping Giant Inn). The


sole inn and public house in the town, run by a Fotlingas
woman, her Gramuz husband, and their two children.
Most business comes from outsiders, for Dale-folk typically stay with clan kinsfolk when visiting the settlement.
Forwen and other important Fotlingas members stay
here free of charge when in town. Cheap lodgings in a
common area over the stable adjoining the main building
are available for poorer folk.
7. Wain-wyrhtanhud (No. Wainwrights Shop). Because of the nature of the business, this Krythod
craftswoman, her daughter, her brothers Estarav son-inlaw (an assistant), his wife, and that couples infant son all
live and work here. The proprietors husband is a townguard member who usually stays at the main clan hall (#29).
8. Weardhud (No. Guardhall; two of them). The
western building houses two drihten members responsible for maintaining the watch upon the nearby gate and
for collecting tolls from merchants. The northern structure houses the Norlidh (#1) guard and the guard
stationed at the Fyrgalidh (#39).
9. Wainlidh (No. Wagon Gate; aka Main Gate).
Monitored by two town-guard members, this is the more
travelled of the two roads entering Dale.
10. Stainhud (No. Stonemasons Hall). Also known as
Pepinsael, or Pepins Place, this workshop is run by the
well-known personality, Pepin. He maintains close contact with the Stahnothod quarry east of town. A large
number of clan members make their home here, including
Pepins Stahnothod wife, his mother, two surviving sons
(both assistants), a daughter-in-law, an infant granddaughter, and eight other assistants and apprentices (including one Lake-man and one Gramuz), as well as two
friendly ravens. Valcrigge and other important
Stahnothod members stay here when in town.
11. Stainhud. Another masons yard, run by Pepins brother,
who married into the Fotlingas clan. The couples only
surviving daughter and two apprentices also reside here.
12. Grocer/Feed Shop. Run by two widowed Aldurlingas
sisters, their aged mother, and four adolescent children.
13. Vebbahudan (No. Weaver Halls). Thirteen people,
members of all five Dale-man clans, live in four halls here
and concern themselves with all aspects of clothmaking:
from harvesting flax for linen, to raising sheep, to spinning, dying and weaving cloth, and tailoring garments. A
large number of sheep can invariably be found grazing in
the yard, and any unrecognizable visitor will launch them
into a chorus of baahs. Their number includes one
especially belligerent ram named Dwerrowhmer (No.
Dwarfthumper) with a peculiar dislike for Dwarves.
14. Plegd (No. Amphitheater). A link to the Adan
past of the Dale-folk, this wooden structure serves as
theater, outdoor court, and Kraething meeting place
during fair weather. Because of its semi-official status, the
drihten would not take kindly to wandering scops appropriating the place for impromptu performances.

25

Dale

26

15. Airenskpargeard (No. Farriers Yard). A widower


born into the Fotlingas clan, but married into the
Krythod, lives here with his sister and apprentice. After
the death of his spouse from the Plague, he felt uncomfortable remaining in the Krythod fyrga, and removed
himself to Dales neutral area. He still maintains close ties
with many Krythod folk, including his only living son,
who serves in the town-guard.
16. Beawynsael (No. Beawyns Hall). Beawyn, the
aged, widowed Fotlingas seer, resides here with her two
children. A couple of friendly thrushes nest beneath the
eaves of her stable. She is also close friends with her
neighbor (at #15).
17. Wudu-wyrhtan un Skparasgeard (No. Carpenters
and Smiths Yard). A Fotlingas carpenter, his sister, her
Dalethod weaponsmith husband, and their two children
(one apprenticed to each profession) reside here. The
weaponsmith is quite skilled, having worked as a journeyman for an Estarav master in his youth before settling
down in Dale. He is also capable of working jewelry
(especially gold).
18. Gristahud (No. Bakery). Brocking the Stahnothod
baker and Stanchela, his Fotlingas wife, live here with their
coddled infant son. (Three older children died soon after
the outbreak of the Plague.) Each morning, twiddel-bannocks
may be purchased here (see Sections 19.5.2 and 20.3).
19. Sealterhud (No. Salt Merchants Hall). A woman
of the Stahnothod clan runs this business with her sister,
her Dalethod husband, her daughter, and her brothers
son. An extremely wealthy woman, she acts more as a clan
envoy than an independent trader, and consequently
funnels much of her profits back to the Stahnothod clan
hold near the salt mines. Her supplies usually arrive by
ship from upriver.
20. Dalethod Maedwe (No. Dale-folk Farm). Home
to ten members of the Dalethod clan, the wealthy folk of
this homestead concern themselves with shipping materials to and from Esgaroth on behalf of the clan. (They own
two cnearra.) The Dalethod remain, generally, the most
exclusive and xenophobic of the Dale-folks clans (although there are many exceptions), and the 9' timber
palisade that surrounds this yard reflects this attitude.
Because of the close proximity of Saidalbuirh, the
Dalethod fyrga, few clan members reside elsewhere in
Dale. Rognachar, when he is not the guest of his son-inlaw the Thyn, stays here while in Dale. The clan often uses
green-wing crows residing in a special aviary to relay
written messages to Saidalbuirh.
21. Boederasgeard (No. Shipwrights Yard). Run jointly
by a Stahnothod man, his Krythod wife, and her brother.
One assistant and one apprentice also live here.
22. Bylt-byltageard (No. Caskmakers Yard). Operated
by the Lake-man cooper Guntram with the help of two
apprentices, a Lake-man and an Aldurlingas clanswoman.
23. Waerhuilan (No. Warehouses)/Granaries (four
of them). Used by merchants from all the clans and

monitored by two drihten members who maintain an


office in one of the buildings and collect tolls on incoming
merchandise. The pair also sleep hererotating duties on
a regular basis with their comrades at the main Krythod
clan hall (#29). A marsh mastiff helps them patrol the
area. The southernmost warehouse is primarily used to
store grains (its neighbor, Guntram, is a regular cornplainer about the vermin it attracts), while the northernmost warehouse is used almost exclusively by the
Stahnothod for storing stone and salt.
24. Haithastraetan. A long, broad wooden dock with
multiple mooring rings and several flights of steps leading
down to the water serves as the riverfront for merchant
ships.
25. Hdh-wyrhtan (No. Cobbler/Leatherworker). Run
by a widowed Aldurlingas man and his Dalethod son. An
elderly Lake-man cousin from Buhr Thurasig also operates
a tannery here. He will purchase pelts from trappers.
26. Skparasgeard. A highly-skilled Fotlingas
weaponsmith. She signs her well-known work with a runic
abbreviation of Fruiamanskpar (No. Woman-smith),
for weapon making is an unusual occupation for a woman.
Skparasgeard runs this shop with her husband, a Dalethod
armorer, and his skilled assistant and brother-in-law,
Baric. The couples son is apprenticed to his mother.
27. owealdhud (No. Horse Trainers Hall). The home
of the main Krythod Horse trainer, his othraim wife, and
their three children (including one Easterling foundling).
28. Steall (No. Stable). The main horse stable for the
Krythod fyrga.
29. Krythodhud (No. Krythod Clan-hall). Presided
over by the Thyn omer and his Dalethod wife Sulwyn.
This tall two-story hall is also home to the five townguard members not stationed elsewhere in Dale. It also
houses two clan lawgivers/scops, some twenty-one other
relatives and servants, and omers two ferocious but
well-trained marsh mastiffs. Glassless windows above the
lintels of the doors allow free passage in and out for a
noble family of thrushes, which lives in the rafters of the
main chamber. Several swallows have also taken up residence. All important clan events take place here.
30. Dovecot. A large number of well-fed blue pigeons
(for relaying written messages) are kept here.
31. Cuirlhud (No. Knights Hall), omers brother
and sister-sonboth accomplished warriors and farmerslive here with their immediate families and servants.
The hall houses a total of fifteen people, although the two
Hdcuirlas (No. House-guards) often sleep at the
Krythodhud (#29), where they would be better able to
aid their Thyn in an emergency. When any of the three
other Krythod cuirlas leaves their outlying homesteads to
attend to their lord in Dale for an extended period, their
families sometimes accompany them and stay here.
32. Ortgeard. The private orchard of the Krythod clan,
this grove of apple, cherry, and wild persimmon trees is a
popular place for clan children to play.

33. Granary. Food stores for the clan, which hosts many
feasts during a typical (and not too severe) winter.
34. Laiskparhud. Home to the local potter, her Lakefolk husband, and young daughter.
35. Wyrtwimmanshud (No. Healers Hall). Home to
an herbalist/midwife, her Gramuz husband (a carpenter),
and two children.
36. Stanhud. Home and workshop to a Krythod mason
who trained with Pepin. After the loss of his first
Stahnothod wife in the Plague, he remarried a fellow clan
member. They have three young children (one by the
previous marriage).
37. Wyrdwimmanshud (No. Seers Hall). Home to
omers auntan aging Storrakyn adeptand her two
apprentices. The mage chose to remove herself here from
the more quotidian activities at the main hall (#29).
38. Maelashud (No. Coiners Hall). Home and workplace for the famous Krythod master jewelsmith, Hilderinc
Puttablanc. He resides here with his Estarav wife, his son
(an apprentice), his brother Lovric the town Maela, Lovrics
wife, Lovrics apprentice, and his toddler daughter.
39. Fyrgalidh (No. Clan-hold Gate). The first of two
entryways into the Krythod fyrga. This wooden gate,
pierces the 5' mound and 12' palisade wall that surrounds
the clan manor. It is normally manned by a single drihten
member, but that warrior is in full view of the lone guard
stationed at the Norlidh (#1) (both sleep at the northern
Weardhud at #8.). In contrast to the lesser fyrga gate, this
one is normally open during the day, but is closed shortly
after dark.

4.4 LONDAROTH-BY-LINDAL
Londaroth-by-Lindal (S. Shadowed Mist Haven by
Meres End) was once the the most important regional
trading town in the Nan Celduin. It was the seat of Lakeman power in Rhovanion. Lying just across the pool
formed at the foot of the spectacular 80' Lindal Falls (No.
Sahlinn)along a portage route around the waterfallthe town eventually slipped into decline because of
its poor defensibility. The population numbered some
two hundred souls in the years before the Great Plague.
Particularly hard hit by the pestilence, scarcely a quarter
of that number still reside in the town.
At one time, Londaroths architecture reflected a mixture of Adan-style limestone buildings and (more typical)
wooden Northman structures. The fusion bore witness to
the towns important trade role. The Citadel of the
Maestas remains the most impressive example of this
Dnadan-influenced building style, despite its somewhat
ruinous state. But no mason has resided in Londaroth for
almost half a century, and the quarry several miles
downriver, where stone was once mined, lay unused for
decades before that. Harsh weather and age exacted quite
a toll from the stout masonry structures. Their decay
accelerated during the panic and strife accompanying the
outbreak of the Great Plague, when the interiors and roofs

of many homes were burned. Virtually the entire community was abandoned for a time, and brigands looted and
occupied the settlement for short periods during this
desertion. Much of what these bandits could not steal,
they razed or pulled down.
The majority of the fifty-five or so Lake-man residents
of Londaroth dwell in make-shift versions of stone
buildings reconstructed with spoliamasonry scavenged from other existing structures, or in sunken-floor,
wattle-and-daub huts built atop and within the ruins of
previous edifices (see Section 12.7.2 for a more detailed
description and layout). Few structures rise above a single
story, and glass windows are virtually unheard of. Stout,
drop-latch doors with drawbars and heavy window shutters are present everywhere, for a feeling of depressive
suspicion has infiltrated the place. Most folk keep small
vegetable gardens within the dilapidated enclosure. Many
own several animals.
The settlement is perpetually bathed in the Lindals
spray. This magnificent waterfall is especially breathtaking
to behold just before dusk. Then, the suns rays create
multiple rainbows amidst the cascades spray. Most evenings, a fog creeps across the river and shrouds low-lying
areas by the Mylenrill (No. Mill Brook) until the middle
of the next morning. Viloric, the self-styled head of the
community (see Section 14.0 and 19.1), runs the place with
his team of thugs. They employ intimidation and extortion.
The millers younger sister, the hateful Woedwyn, is
the lone remaining novice from the awful Cult of the Long
Night. This secret societywhich embraces evil sorceryonce operated openly in the town. They recruited
initiates like Woedwyn, as well as more prominent members like Froedhir of Dol Guldur. (Froedhirlike Broehir,
a Maeghirrim of the Cult of the Long Nighthas moved
on to work more malignant treachery against the Free
Peoples of Middle-earth.)
1. Portage Trail. This well-worn wain trail is used by
shippers who dock at Londaroth to portage their goods
around the Lindal Falls to the shores of the Long Lake
(and eventually to Esgaroth). Several miles outside of
town, a branch of the track forks to the northeast through
Gramuz territory. A similar portage trail circumvents the
falls on the opposing western side of the River Running.
2. Dorwinion Road. Follows the eastern edge of the River
Running south and east.
3. Mylenasmah (No. Mill Pond). A man-made body of
water. The southern bank is lined with horizontally stacked
timbers. Green-head ducks, crakes, coots, and geese abound.
4. Mylen (No. Mill). A traditional timber Northron
two-story mill with a horizontal waterwheel within a
shallow trough of wood. Water enters the trough through
either of two chutes: one operates the mill; the other
bypasses the waterwheel. A granary nearby is used to store
grain which has been ground but not yet returned to its
owner.

27



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present). They own nine wains and have not yet succumbed to the threats of Vilorics thugs (although one
woman has a broken arm as a consequence).
27. Weallihuil. A dockworker lives here with two hounds
and one young daughter.
28. Tun-bytlas Geard (No. Coopers Yard). A single
widowed cooper resides here. His two nephews work as
River Rats and are rarely home during the shipping season.
29. Waerhuilan (3). Only the easternmost remains intact. Shippers using it to store goods generally hire a
trustworthy local as a guard.
30. Riverfront. Still in relatively good repair, this long
wooden wharf has numerous inlets for ships to dock and
several ladders and flights of stairs down to the surface of
the river. Parbuckle contraptions are built into the floor
to allow the easy loading and unloading of boats.
31. Boderas Geard (No. Shipwrights Yard). Two ship
builders live and work here. Two other River Rat family
members are generally away during the warmer months.
32. Viscerashuil. One Fisherwoman, her dockworker
spouse, his River Rat brother, and another River Rat son
reside here. Both of the latter two are generally away
manning craft upon the River Running.
33. Ferendhuwaerfan (No. Ferry Wharf). The landing
for the ferry which carries folk back and forth across the
river for 1 copper piece per person. Because the ferend
(No. Ferryman; who lives in the small cottage alongside
the dock with an itinerant River Rat son) could not afford
to repair his two boats after the Plague, the place is now
owned by the Diaian Tafen.

Cotstow sees few visitors aside from peddlers and


travellers upon the Forest River. Raft-elves en route to
Esgaroth stop here only to barter lumber (to fuel the
potters' kilns) and stream-tin. The Elves purchase the
latter from the Estarav and Nenedain of the Nan Anduin,
who gather minerals from the beds of waterways in the
upper Anduin valley. Villagers exchange pots and baskets
for the tin, which they use to make ceramic glaze).
The buildings of the village are typical Lake-man
structures: languzan or lainghudan (No. Longhouses)
built either of grooved vertical planks fitted together and
set in long wall-trenches or cruder wattle and daub
plastered over a branch frame. One- or two-storied structures with roomy lofts are the norm, and the main floor
of most buildings is sunk about three feet into the ground.
Roofs are steep, usually hipped at their gabled ends, and
made of thatched grasses. They are pierced at the summit
with a louvered hole to allow smoke from interior firepits
to escape. Windows are few, generally shuttered, and
often without glass. Doors typically have both a droplatch mechanism and a night-time drawbar. Many people
keep several animals and maintain small vegetable gardens
within the enclosure.
Every family in Cotstow owns at least one small boat.
Because of the limited space at the dock, most are moored
to stout timber piles sunk into the marshlands nearby.

1. Riverfront. A single large wooden dock (No. cah)


on the Forest River provides a landing for Raft-elven and
Northron traders. Several flights of stairs descend the 7'
or so down to the water. During particularly severe spring
floods, the dock may become entirely submerged under
several
feet of water.
4.5 COTSTOW
2. Flgardh (No. Dike). A broad earthen causeway,
Cotstow is a small village of some seventy Lake-folk
raised about 12' over the surrounding marshes, provides
built on the side of a hill overlooking the southernmost
convenient access to the Forest River. A corduroy log road,
reaches of the Long Marshes (No. Lang Marish; S.
Marish Cls (No. Marsh Lane), has been set in the top
Aelinnan). It stands near the Forest River (No.
of the dike to prevent wains from becoming mired.
Viduwell; S. Taurduin), just six leagues from Esgaroth.
The journey to Lake-town is a three-hour trip down the 3. Laiskpargeard (No. Pottery Yard). A large area
Forest River. The trip back takes six to seven hours. surrounded by a 6' plank fence serves as the workshop area
Because of its proximity to Esgaroth, most people obtain for the potter edfreahar, which employs nineteen of
fine wares there. Thus, the community lacks many of the Cotstows inhabitants. Headed by Fennric (see Sections
14.0 and 19.1), this atelier produces more ceramic than any
luxuries of the platform-town.
other
workshop in northern Wilderland. Its products, both
While most folk here are self-sufficient, part-time
the
cruder
earthenware crockery thrown on a slow wheel,
farmers, life in Cotstow revolves around two craft indusand
the
finer
fast wheel-thrown, reduction-fired wares
tries: pottery manufacturing and basketmaking. The nearby
coated
with
iridescent
green tin or lead glazes, can be found
wetlands provide the clay and reeds necessary for these
as
far
afield
as
the
Sea
of Rhn and the Anduin vales.
trades; and, unlike the wooden platform of Lake-town,
4.
Fields.
Several
small
plots are farmed here. Because of
the site is a safe place for the ground kilns needed to fire
their
hillside
location,
they
are laboriously ploughed by
ceramics. Cotstow accounts for virtually all of the local
hand with a step-plough (like the vegetable gardens inside
pottery flowing through Esgaroth.
Aside from trade, contact between the neighboring the village enclosure). Larger fields on flatter land, turned
towns is strong. The men of Cotstow are permitted to by an auroch-pulled coulter-plough, can be found several
vote as part of Esgaroths Atanathrain, but must also serve miles to the east, along Sah Straetan (#5).
in the larger settlements Faird. Of course, many Cotstow
dwellers move to Lake-town anyway, for their home town
offers few opportunities for adventure or pecuniary advancement.

31

Cotstow

32

Buhr Chep

5. Road. Sometimes called Sah Straetan (No. Lake


Street), this is nothing more than a dirt track composed
of two wainwheel ruts. On the eastern side of the hill, the
way forks into a northeast branch heading towards Dale
and a southeast branch heading to Esgaroth.
6. Lidhas (2). Two wooden gates, closed each day shortly
after sunset, are the only entrances through the 8' high log
palisade surrounding the settlement. A low earthen ramp
around the interior of the wall allows defenders to look
out over the top of the palisade.
7. Taynel-wirtashuil (No. Basketmakers Hall). Flana,
one of the village leaders and the Kryn of the Taynel-wirtas
edfreahar, lives here with her husband, two daughters,
mother, aunt, two orphaned adolescent boys (whose parents died in the Plague), an assistant, and two apprentices.
She operates a workshop here which makes not only
baskets, but waterproof floor mats and wicker seats. Six of
Flanas cohabitants perform tasks related to the business,
and a number of other community inhabitants make baskets in their own homes which the Kryn then sells for them.
8. Hdh-wirtahuil (No. Cobblers Hall). The village
cobbler, a Dale-man of the Fotlingas clan, operates a
workshop here. His wife (a Taynel-wirtas member) also
resides here, as does her brother and his wife, her sister,
and that womans spouse (both Laiskpar members),
three children, and an apprentice.
9. General Store. Run by a widow and her youngest son.
Her other two children are members of the Laiskpar
edfreahar.
10. Trappers Hall. Inhabited by a Woodman trapper
(who is often away), his spouse, mother (a Taynel-wirtas
member), and an infant child.
11. Well. For the use of the entire community, this 50'
deep pit is lined with wood staves. Often community
members gather here to gossip, particularly in the early
evening, when a beer keg and several benches stored at the
General Store (#9) are brought out.
12. Fennrics Huil. Home to the Kryn of the Laiskpar
edfreahar and his large extended family of fifteen people
(including one Taynel-wirtas member and seven others
who work at the Laiskparhuil).
13. Airn-skparashuil (No. Farrier/Blacksmiths Hall).
A man and his apprentice son operate the business when
they are not farming. The master smiths mother (a
Taynel-wirtas member), wife, and two Laiskpar member
brothers also reside here.
14. Folcsteall (No. Town Stable). An old-style
Northron building and an animal paddock shared by the
community.
15. Shepherds Halls. Thus dubbed because of the flock
of sheep and goats herded by one member of this family.
Also here: four hounds, the shepherds two older siblings
(both Laiskpar members), and their spouses. All seven
young children of the two couples perished in the Plague,
and the door of the main cottage remains painted white (a
symbol of Northron mourning).

16. Hues Cottage. A thatched wattle-and-daub structure


housing only the orphan Huc (see Section 14.0 and 19.1),
his marsh mastiff, three ducks, one piglet, two chickens,
and a tame heronwhich is flightless due to an injury
(Huc found it in the marsh and nursed it back to health).

4.6 BUHR CHEP


The small Lake-man town of Buhr Chep (No. Market
Stronghold) serves as home to some one hundred and
twenty people. It stands atop a glacial ridge overlooking
the valley of the River Running (No. Rinnelflth; S.
Celduin), along a broad stretch of that waterway. The
settlement is about seventy-five miles downriver of
Londaroth-by-Lindal (No. Shadowed Mist Haven by
Meres End), but just fourteen miles southeast of the Old
Forest Road Ford (No. Viduwaed; S. Iach Celduin)
and its nearby deserted post-Plague settlement ruins.
Another lesser-used ford, the Garwaed (No. Spear[height] Ford), is situated just five miles downriver from
Buhr Chep. It provides a crossing at an even wider part of
the estuary. Only good swimmers attempt the crossing
there, however, for the height of the ford averages five to
six feet in depth.
Because of its location along the well-travelled River
Running, a large proportion of Buhr Cheps inhabitants
ply crafts other than farming and fishing. Nevertheless,
the crops and animals of regional Frithas (No. Protectors) and the daily catch of the towns Visceras (No.
Fisherfolk) still provide the main attractions at the
settlements monthly markets. Other items available at
market timesuch as cloth, candles, metalwork, salt,
baskets, pottery, fruit, and Elven winearrive on ships
from Esgaroth. Olive oil, wine, dyes, shellfish, and assorted luxury goods flow upriver from Dorwinion. The
othraim of the Anthars (No. Kinsfolk) tribe, who
frequent pastures southwest of the river, also swim the
Garwaed. They come with their horse herds each month
to trade in Buhr Chep.
The buildings of the town are typical Lake-folk structures: languzan or lainghudan like those described above
(Section 4.5). Craftsfolk live in the back rooms or on the
second floor of their workshops. Most people keep both
a small vegetable/herb garden in their yard and several
animals in a steall (No. Stable) behind their dwelling.
Some have bounded their family enclosures with either a
withy fence or a hedge. Overall, the townsfolk are a
tightly-knit group, for most are (at least distantly) related.
Buhr Chep is located upon the southernmost ridge
among a series of shale, sandstone, and limestone fells.
These ridges overlie the predominantly limestone steppes
south of the Running River and form the northern edge
of the river valley. The landscape is consequently fairly
rugged north and east of the settlement. Here, the meadowlands alive with grasses, shrubs, and small copses of
trees are interspersed with more dense forests of predominant hardwoods (oak, elm, hickory, and ash).

34

1. Riverfront. Six docks (No. Cahas) fronting onto


the River Running provide a landing for merchant cnearra
(No. River Boats) and Visceras thirrucan (No. Small
Ships).
2. Tun-bytlas Geard (No. Coopers/Wainwrights
Yard). Run by two sibling craftsfolk, Oswidu (No.
Forest Hero) and Aesla (No. Foreigner). Oswidu
slumbers here, along with an assistant, an apprentice, and
a guard hound; while his sister Aesla shares a home with
her husband and another brother (#12).
3. Waerhuilan (No. Warehouses; 3). Space here is
rented by a cuirl (No. Elite Guard) and his drihten (No.
Standing Town Guard) assistant in return for a small fee.
During the day, the pair operate from a corner office in the
largest warehouse, and are also responsible for assessing and
collecting tolls from traders docking at the riverfront
(usually paid in kind). At dusk, the two return to town,
but two guard hounds patrol the warehouses, and a night
watch is dispatched to check the security of the place twice
during the course of the evening.
4. Boederas Geard (No. Shipwrights Yard). A hub of
activity during the day, this place is deserted at night
except for a single guard hound. The craftsfolk here,
directed by Andar (No. Relative), are responsible mostly
for making boats that are thurruc-sized or smaller and for
repairing visiting vessels.
5. Ford. The Dorwinion Road (No. Rinnelweg; S.
Men Dorwinion) crosses the swift Chepstrem here at a
shallow stone ford averaging no more than 1' deep. A
number of stout and hale willows provide shade along the
tributary and the nearby River Running.
6. Pasture. The livestock of the townsfolk are often
pastured on the hillside in this area, tended by several of
the local children.
7. Lidh (No. Gate). A dirt track approaches the sole
entrance into the town here, a broad wooden gate manned
by two drihten. The gate is closed and barred shortly after
dusk. Elsewhere, an earthen enceinte nearly 20' high
surrounds most of the settlement. A 7' wooden palisade,
pierced with narrow arrow loops, surmounts that mound.
8. Weardhuil (No. Guardhall). A plank-built building
which forms part of the palisade encircling the town, the
weardhuil serves as barracks for one cuirl and three townguard members (who rotate with those stationed at the
Maestahuil#22). A shuttered window allows the occupants to monitor the approach to the settlement.
9. Laiskparhuil (No. Potters Shop). The local potter,
Becca (No. Pickaxe), makes wheel-thrown crockery
which she coats with an iridescent green tin glaze and fires
in a ground kiln fueled with peat. She lives in the back
room of this one-story structure with one assistant and a
wealli (No. Bondservant) who helps her care for her
three young children. Her husband is a River Rat sailor
who plys the trade routes up and down the Celduin. He
is rarely home during the trading season.
10. Wargshafod Tafen (No. Wolfshead Inn). The

only inn and tavern in town is run by Awenahar (No.


Firm Husband), Fredegild (No. Golden[-haired] Tranquility), their adolescent daughter, Moll (No. Wench;
Serving Girl), and two hired helpers. An admirable cook,
Fredegild also brews a potent ale with the grains of local
Gramuz. Besides Moll, the couple have two sons in the
town drihten who reside elsewhere.
11. Paddock. Used as a communal pen for livestock
belonging to the townsfolk. On market days, this area is
used as a corral for the steeds of visitors, merchants and
othraim horse traders.
12. Arewersael (No. Arrowmakers). The residence of
Anlaf (No. Only Survivor), his wife (who works as a
weaver at the Vebba, #17), his sister Aesla (who works at
the cobblery, #2 above), and his mother-in-law. Anlaf
was captured and blinded in his youth by Sagath raiders
and forced to give up his woodworking trade. Now he
makes and sells bows and arrows to occupy his time. He
is a crack shot with a composite bow despite his sight
impairment. Anlafs only surviving son (three others
perished in the Plague) and his brother-in-law also live
here, but they are River Rat sailors who are seldom home
except during the winter.
13. Hdh-wirtashuil (No. Leatherworkers, Cobblers
Shop). Two leatherworkers operate this shop. Siward
(No. Journey Guide) is unmarried and does most of the
tanning and saddlery. His Estarav brother-in-law
Thurcytel (No. Tulkas Spawn) is a stellar cobbler and
can make quality leather armor as well. Ellenlic (No.
Daring) and Thurcytel have a son in the town drihten,
who stays elsewhere. Two young apprentices and Siwards
and Ellenlics aged father also live here.
14. Visknakynashuil (No. Cult of the Fish Priests
Hall). Lofwin (No. Friend for Life) administers to
the spiritual needs of the community, and lives here with
two wealli.
15. Wyrdwimmansael (No. Seers Dwelling). Ricole
(No. Soothing Leader) lives here with her only surviving daughter (who is a weaver and works at the Vebba,
#17). She is a midwife skilled in divining the future and
healing. She will also gather and sell herbs to those who
request it and, as a devout Alanakyn (No. Cult of the
Growing) adherent, can provide spiritual guidance to
those in need. Her husband and the spouse of her daughter
are both River Rats who spend most of the year travelling
up and down the River Running.
16. Granary. Used to store grain for the community
during the winter. Home to a number of healthy, well-fed
vermin.
17. Vebba. (No. Weaver). The home of the most
prominent merchant in Buhr Chep (aside from the Maesta),
Bealdwin (No. Bold Friend), and his wife Aethelflaed
(No. Noble Sewer). Bealdwin spends most of his time
captaining a cnearra on the River Running. His busy wife
tends to her son and two aging parents with the help of
two wealli. She also weaves cloth with the help of her

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8.0 COMMERCE AND


INDUSTRY

48

Typically, shops in Esgaroth open shortly after dawn


and remain open until just before dusk, but many vendors
operate on a rather whimsical schedule and can be convinced by a tactful monetary incentive to open their
business during odd hours. In the summer, some busi8.1 TRADE
nesses close for a short break during the early afternoon.
Trade is the very essence of Esgaroths existence.
The Esgaroth market runs year round, although it attracts
Although barter remains the norm in northern Rhovanion,
far fewer folk during the winter. By contrast, the smaller
towns in the Nan Annen and Nan Celduin do accept
Dale market, held a week after Esgaroths, ceases with the
certain widespread and high quality coins. Esgaroth occafirst snowfall after harvest and does not begin again until
sionally mints its own silver piece, the mietan (No.
the following spring thaw.
Measure), considered to be the standard throughout
The monthly market days held each full moon are
Rhovanion. Weighing roughly of an ounce, the mietan
characterized
by an influx of rural folk and peddlers
is equivalent to the ounce silver pieces minted in
bringing
cheap
goods to sell or trade. Hoards of entertainArthedain, Gondor, and Dorwinion.
ers
(scops,
musicians,
puppeteers, magicians, playactors,
The town Maela (No. Coiner), Linlocc the silverand
so
forth)
perform
on the Huwaerkyn, and a bevy of
smith (see Sections 2.0 and 14.0), also occasionally mints
petty
thieves,
con-artists,
and pickpockets join in the fray.
a smaller ounce copper piece, the mael (No. Mark,
Barter
remains
quite
common,
particularly in Esgaroth.
Token). His is a coveted position to many Lake-folk, yet
A
lively
and
competitive
atmosphere
permeates all transhe exercises little true authority, minting coins only at the
actions
there,
especially
on
market
days,
and haggling over
specific request of the Maesta and then always in strictly
prices
is
an
accepted,
even
expected,
part
of commerce.
limited quantities. In neighboring Dale, Leovric (No.
Prices
in
the
platform-town
are
modest
for food and
Most Beloved) the jewelsmith performs a similar funclodging,
high
for
certain
raw
materials,
and
low for most
tion, minting restricted numbers of the ounce silver
manufactured
goods.
On
market
days,
a
canny
bargainer
feladoel (No. Many-portioned), the ounce moel
can
save
a
great
deal
on
most
anything
but
prepared
food
(No. Mark, Token), and the ounce airen (No.
and drink (which tend to increase in price), but a customer
Iron).
unwilling or unable to negotiate is likely to be swindled
The larger mietan of Esgaroth and the moel of Dale are
merchants will initiate a potential sale with an absurdly
often cut in half to provide smaller denominations, and
expensive pitch.
both the haelfamietan (No. Half Mietan) and the
Esgaroths edfreahir, loose voluntary associations of
haelfamoel are accepted wherever the full-sized coins are.
merchants
and craftsmen, often influence the prices of
This presents some danger because it is easier for unscruvarious
commodities,
but their guidelines are hardly strict
pulous types to clip these halved Northron currencies
regulations.
Often,
there
are several edfreahir that serve
(usually the higher valued silver coins). Hence it is a
the
same
segment
of
society;
the associations exist primacommon practice for Lake-folk involved in a transaction
rily
to
give
folk
plying
similar
crafts some bargaining
to rub their fingers along the edge of a coin in order to feel
leverage,
access
to
apprenticeships,
and a chance to socialfor telltale burrs that might indicate a recent trimming and
then to gently bite the coin to test its solidity (and ize with like-minded people. Membership is not obligatherefore its purity). These are normal precautions exer- tory, and some Lake-folk refrain from joining any edfreahir
cised almost without exception among the wily merchants in order to keep trade secrets and avoid paying dues. Other
operating upon the Huwaerkyn (No. Great Wharf), wealthier townsfolk become members of several edfreahir,
where many of the shops and stalls peddling wares are but this is less common and not generally deemed approlocated. Even on market days during the coldest months priate.
Goods arrive from various origins by a number of
most merchants wear fingerless gloves or mittens while at
their stalls to allow them to check the currency they routes. Wines, olive oil, dyes, olives, grapes, and shellfish
receive (see the tables in Section 19.6 for more informa- from Dorwinion, the Redwater valley, and the lower
tion on coinage values and prices in Esgaroth and Dale). River Running valley find their way up the Celduin to the
warehouses and stalls of Esgaroth. Wood-elf lumber,
woodcrafts, longbows, salted foods, fruit, herbs, and
luxury items like fine wines, jewelry, and cloth (especially
spidersilk) arrive by raft down the Forest River. Dwarves
of the Iron Hills send metals, metalwork, stonework,
gems, and weaponry overland to the market.

Sundry commodities from the Woodmen (wood-crafts,


hides, furs, salted meats, beeswax, and herbs) and from the
Beijabar (beeswax, hides, furs, oak-craft, grapeleaf magnolia honey, and mead) travel to Lake-town from the Nan
Anduin via the Old Forest Road (No. Viduweg)
through Mirkwood. Rarer items from Gondor, Moria,
and Arthedain also travel this route, although the track
through Mirkwood has become particularly dangerous
since the Plague; the other option for traveling to Laketown from the West skirting the northern edge of the
Dark Forest along the perilous, Orc-ravaged Men Rhnen
(No. Aesdweg) and Men Mithrin (No. Graigweg)
has its own hazards.
Closer neighbors also provide goods to be sold at Laketown. Dale exports wool, cut stone, salt, metalwork,
weaponry, jewelry, glass, beer, and dairy goods to Esgaroth;
the nearby village of Cotstow exports pottery, baskets,
and waterproof reed mats; Londaroth grinds most of the
grain for the town; and the regional Gramuz farms
provide grains, horses, salted meats, linen, beer, and
earthenware pottery. In addition to its importance as a
mercantile center, Lake-town is known for its barrels, fish,
cloth, grains, candles, and a vast assortment of finished
goods.
Merchandice arriving at Esgaroth is subject to a steep
ten percent toll known as a hlasting (No. Cargo Toll)
upon each vessel or cart unloading at the town-upon-thewater. This tariff may lessen according to the nature and
origin of the commodities, for Esgaroth has many trade
agreements with different governments, or depending
upon the particular merchant concerned, since regular
traders may obtain licenses for certain cargoes. Payloads
arriving at Lake-town have the value of their goods
assessed by the gate drihten before they cross the timber
bridge to the town proper (if they are being transported
by land) or by drihten-manned ships patrolling the Long
Lake near Esgaroth (if by water).
If a merchant disagrees with the assessment, he or she
must wait until either the Maesta or an arbitrator approved by Odagavia from a relevant edfreahar can come
and settle the dispute. Any arbitrator besides the Maesta
invariably charges the merchant a fee (usually too much to
make disputing the drihtens assessment worthwhile), and
if no one is immediately available to arbitrate, the drihten
typically confiscate and impound the goods and vessel
until someone is.
At one time, traders shipping merchandise up the River
Running were forced to pay additional tolls in order to
unload at Londaroth and portage around the eighty foot
falls at Lindal (S. Meres End). Including portage
tariffs, the total charge to river mangung (No. Trade,
Traffic) was decidedly steep and made large shipments
a necessity in order to insure the seller garnered a profit.

However, since the Plague and the subsequent depopulation of Londaroth, portage tolls are no longer collected
there, and merchants operating up and down the Celduin
are now reaping rich profits.
More lucrative, however, are the successful smuggling
operations that manage to avoid Lake-towns high tariffs
altogether. Much of this illicit trading is controlled by
Kynoden, Kryn of the towns shipbuilding edfreahar, the
Boed-bylgas. Kynoden has contacts all along the River
Running, including a connection to the wealthy miller
Viloric at Londaroth that is essential to his smuggling
operation. The Boed-bylgas is responsible for the construction of a number of specially designed boats plying
the waters of the Long Lake and the River Running. They
receive twenty-five to fifty percent of the take in Esgaroth,
and their illegal operations work out of a small one-story
inn, the Erannun (S. Lone Sunset), located by the small
boatbuilding inlet on the west side of town. Goods like
furs, gems, dyes, and rare Elven wines arrive as part of the
inns regular food shipments and are inserted into bags of
ground grain at the Londaroth mills to the south. These
shipments are exempt from regular inspection by the
drihten patrol boats and are unloaded with the use of a
parbuckle directly into the Erannuns kitchen. Similarly,
outgoing merchandise is slid down the cleaner of the
kitchens two movable refuse ramps directly onto boats in
the protected bay.
Tariffs along other parts of the waterway vary. Because
of Dales location beyond Esgaroth at the head of the
River Running, and its proximity to the platform-town,
the town charges only a minimal hlasting of three to five
percent on incoming goods, as do most of the smaller
trade towns along the River Running. The Wood-elves
exact a variable river toll on mangung travelling up the
Forest River, but share the upkeep duties of that tributary
(dredging and maintaining the steep banks to prevent
collapse) with the folk of Lake-town; historically this has
been a point of friction between the two peoples.

8.2 CRAFTS
The four largest and most prominent of the craft
edfreahir are the Cladh-wyrkendas (No. Cloth workers),
the Wodu-craftas (No. Woodworkers), the Vebberas
(No. Weavers), and the Visceras (No. Fisherfolk).
The Cladh-wyrkendas is the main clothworkers association; the Vebberas is merely a more specific association
related to it. The two enjoy a close working relationshipfew major association decisions are made by either
one without consulting the other first. Both edfreahir are
unusual in that many of their members do not run
workshops of their own. Instead, they ply their craft either
out of their own homes or in one of the two large
association halls. Other merchant members then sell the
goods on their behalf.

49

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58

63. Scopstalp (No. Bards Stage). Used by street


performers, especially on market days.
64. Eormenlics Weaponsmithy. See Section 12.4.2 for
a more detailed description.
65. Sigebeortas Coopery.
66. Gnorns Instrument Shop.
67. Guthlfs Coopery.
68. Saewulfs Maritime Supplies.
69. Hemmings Cobblery. See Section 12.4.1 for a more
detailed description.
70. Vulf-plaech (No. Vulfs Place). A popular gambling hall. See Section 12.2.4 for a more detailed description.
71. Vaetstorc Tafen (No. Fat Stork Inn). A flophouse
with numerous chimneys, low prices, terrible food, rampant pilfery, and very healthy vermin.
72. Gmas (No. Warriors; Heros). A tavern associated with the Witehuil. Affectionately called the Stig
(No. Sty). See Section 12.2.3 for a more detailed
description.
73. The Witehuil(No. Amphitheatre; Torture Hall).
An outdoor gambling arena also owned by Gma where
bare-knuckle fights are held most evenings during fair
weather. See Section 12.2.3 for a more detailed description.
74. Gowynas (No. Daisys). A popular brothel run by
Gowyna, aka Westmilce.
75. Rinels Sailmaking Workshop.
76. Flotas Ropemaking Workshop.
77. Westborghuis (No. West Pawnshop or
Loanhouse). A pawnshop whose proprietor also provides bail-bonds, primarily for sailors and mercenaries
who have gambled and drunk away their savings and
wound up on the wrong side of the law. A sidelight and
consequence of the loansharking is a brisk trade in wealli
(No. Debt-slaves).
78. The Groghuis (No. Grog House). A tavern which
caters especially to the River Rats who work the
Celduin shipping route. See Section 12.2.6 for a more
detailed description.
79. The Niunpinnas (No. Ninepins). A small but
popular gambling hall. See Section 12.2.5 for a more
detailed description.
80. The Solforn Calc (No. Silver Horse-shoe). A
rough mercenary watering hole famed for its homebrewed ale, which is called Nog.
81. Odalindas Wainwright Shop/Yard.

12.0 BUILDINGS OF
NOTE
Without exception, buildings in Esgaroth are constructed of wood, since even the stout tree piles of the
platform-town can only support a certain amount of
weight. Two types predominate: the more common halftimbered structures with wooden beam frameworks and
wattle-and-daub filling; and the less decorative plankbuilt structures where vertical boards are joined at their
edges with mortice and tenon joints. Because of the greater
security they provide, plank-built structures are more
commonly used for warehouses and buildings along the
lake shore.
Streets in Lake-town tend to be narrow, and it is normal
for buildings to have small, often fenced, yards containing
a shed, a privy, and several small animal pens behind them.
Barrels are positioned at the corners of buildings to catch
rainwater for drinking and cooking.
Most structures are just one or two stories, but have
steeply pitched thatch (or, less frequently, slate-shingle)
roofs with roomy lofts. Often, roofs are hipped at their
gabled ends and convexly curved. These are called byrelhrov (No. Barrel Roofs) and provide even more spacious lofts. Eaves are always alive with nesting birdsfor
example, the semi-intelligent storcs building their large
twig homes atop the chimneys of the town which are
unique to Esgaroth. A double floor on each buildings first
story provides insulation against the chilly winter winds
which whip across the waters surface beneath the platform, but also creates a haven for vermin. Small fishing
cats, mostly imported from Dorwinion, have become a
common means of eradicating pests in the wake of the
Plague.
Virtually all the inhabitants of Lake-town are either
fisherfolk, craft artisans, or merchants, and many live in
buildings that incorporate first floor shops with spartan
upper floor living flats. It is not unusual for successful
craftspeople to rent out one- or two-room flats above
their shop with access by an external staircase, but it is just
as common for landlords to let individual rooms in their
own living quarters (Bedsits), as would normally be
done with an apprentice. In these instances, the lessor
shares common space and meals with the tenants.
Fire remains an imminent danger in Esgaroth;
Atanathrain regulations require masonry chimneys, generally built with limestone shipped from Dale, for almost
all buildings. A few edifices are like more traditional
Northron halls in that they have a firepit of thick, stonelined clay and a louvre at the peak of the roof instead.

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The Niunpinnas (No. Ninepins) is a much smaller


hall where patrons play and bet on various bowling games.
No alcohol is served, but the river rats from the Groghuis
(No. Grog House) next door and mercenaries from the
Seolforn Calc (No. Silver Horse-shoe) just to the south
carry their drinks over from the nearby taverns.
As to other entertainment, Gowynas (No. Daisys)
is the best-known brothel on the Westorf; its proprietor,
who is often referred to as Westmilce (No. Madame of
the West[orf]; West May), is a vocal and respected
member of the Westside community.

12.2.1 THE VODAGARAZUN


The most prominent of Esgaroths six inns, the
Vodagarazun (No. House of Vodaga) is located just to
the right of the bridge entry, in the southwestern corner of
the platform town. Built by Vodaga, Maesta of Laketown from T.A. 1591-98, and Kryn of the Wodu-craftas
edfreahar, the Vodagarazun is one of the largest structures
in Esgaroth. A half-timbered edifice, the inn has an
assortment of different wood varieties, intricately carved
and stained several different shades. Three stories high,
with a central fourth floor tower, the Vodagarazun is also
equipped with a broad southern porch overhanging the
waters of the Long Lake. Windows are all provided with
glass, shuttered on the inside, and can be opened during
the warmer months. Interior doors have simple droplatch locks (Medium, +0, to pick). The inn accommodates a rather affluent clientele, but the famed tavern,
known for its immense circular, forty-foot diameter cedar
and hickory bar and for the impromptu musical sessions
that occur nearly every evening, attracts folk of much
more varied backgrounds.
The innkeepers Odavacer and Brunehaut are popular
town figures; they run the tavern and inn with the
assistance of five barmaids, including their daughter,
Shagelda. They charge 2cp a night for a room and 3cp
including meals, which may be taken privately in the
sleeping chamber if the customer desires.
The Northrons harbor no social qualms about sharing
a sleeping closet with another of the same sex, since it
helps keep both warm, and single travellers staying at the
Vodagarazun can expect to share space with a stranger
around market time when the inns rooms fill up. At other
times, Brunehaut will inquire before booking strangers in
the same room. This could provide an excellent opportunity for the gamemaster to introduce NPCs to the players.
Three of the barmaids, Marluh, Anni, and Gisela, live
in a first floor room at the inn, while the older Gudelinda
resides with her husband above the stable he manages just
east of the inn. Odavacer brews a potent beer, and
Brunehaut and her youngest, Aud, are responsible for
providing victuals (their specialties are fish, fowl, and
spiced lentil porridge).

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17.0 THE LEGENDARY


SAHMATHA
The ethnic folktales of the Lake-folk are peppered with
references to the Sahmatha (No. Lake Serpent), a huge
legendary monster which is said to inhabit the depths of
the Long Lake. Plot outlines of two of the most popular
stories run roughly as follows:
In ages past, the Visknakyn priest Baeda (No. Impeller) is said to have overcome the Serpent after it had
attacked a swimmer by brandishing a torch, commanding
the beast to release the unfortunate and banishing it to the
bottom of the lake. In memory of this, a carnivalesque
dance, in which a colorful cloth, hide, and withy
Sahmatha is paraded through the streets of Esgaroth
before being doused with oil and set alight in the center
of the northern Woesal, still highlights the lesser feast day
held each year on the last Sahsdeg in the math of
Wintring (see Section 4.7 for a description of the Northron
calendar).
Before his untimely drowning, the great fifteenth century warrior Ossah (No. Lake Hero) reputedly vanquished the Worm during an assault by the latter upon
Esgaroth by dealing the creature a single mighty blow with
the flat of his magical sword, Naegling (No. Silver
Nail). Nowadays, the victor in the
bareknuckle fighting

competition held at the Witehuil during Esgaroths Lithe


fair each summer is traditionally granted the title of
Osling (No. Descendant of Ossah) in recognition
of his achievement and in remembrance of that ancient
hero.

17.1 AID TO THE VISCERAS


Recently, one of the thurruc vessels of the Fisherfolk of
Esgaroth capsized, and all five of its occupants drowned.
People on other boats in the vicinity claimed to have seen
the head of a huge Worm, the Sahmatha, rise out of the
surface of the lake and attack the craft. Other nonwitnesses were nervous about the fact that the boat was
completely smashed, but still skeptical; after all, wasnt it
true that the fabled Ossah had defeated the beast nearly
two centuries ago? Why would the monster return now?
But their worst fears were realized several days later,
when the enormous Serpent rose out of the water and
attacked another boat in full view of nearly twenty people.
One man disappeared during that assault, and, during an
even more recent third attack, another fisherman was
dragged screaming to his watery doom, clamped in the
huge maw of the vicious monster. Besides its already
devastating toll in the Visceras community, the aggressive
presence of the Sahmatha poses a continuing danger to
the fish trade of Lake-town. Further, as word gets out, the
Sahmathas potential to disrupt trade to Esgaroth during
the critical post-Plague period of rebuilding could
be crippling to the settlement.
Now Hygegrim, the patriarch and Kryn of the
Visceras, aided by Beadarof, Esgaroths Wendriht,
seeks heroes willing to combat and slay the
Sahmatha before it takes any more lives.
In truth, what has happened, is that after a long
nap and gestation period of several hundred years,
the Sahmatha Water-drake inhabiting the cliffs
along the northeastern edge of the Long Lake has
spawned two young, which it now feels obliged to
gather food for (in a manner normally quite alien
to such a malevolent beast). Having discovered
that fishing boats provide more meat than a
school of char for a comparable amount of effort
(and that Northrons are much less skilled at
swimming than fish are), the Sahmatha has
taken to its new food source like a fish to
water. The two Sahmatha spawn are unable to venture out of their lair at present, but
will probably do so within a week or two.
They grow quickly and require an ever-increasing amount of food. Lake-town would
not be able to coexist with three active Waterdrakes without great calamity, so the need to
dispense with the beasts while two of them are
still relatively weak is of vital importance.

121

The Water-drake

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burst of speed (HBa) and wraps its long body around the
victim (HGr). It can also employ its terrible jaws (HBi)
and expel a powerful blast of water (treat as a water bolt).
The Drake deals four times the normal concussion hit
damage because of its great size. Due to the Worms
fearsome appearance, it also causes all opponents to make
a Resistance Roll against a level 5 Fear spell. Unlike most
land Dragons, the Sahmatha possesses only animal intelligence, and although extremely belligerent and a voracious feeder, it is unable to reason or cast spells.
The Sahmatha of the Long Lake awoke and gave birth
to two offspring only very recently, after a hibernation/
gestation period of nearly two centuries. Some time before
that, the beast had attacked and devoured its mate. Its two
spawn are more lightly colored, smaller thirty-foot versions of itself; they will attack any potential food source
on site (generally initiating such encounters with a Bite or
Bash attack). At first, the spawn, being rather undeveloped, will remain in the cavern lair, but within a week or
two of the first attack of the Sahmatha upon the Visceras
of Esgaroth, they will be old enough to venture out into
the open waters of the Long Lake. This bodes very badly
for the Lake-folk of Esgaroth, since the spawn are incessantly hungry and much less cautious than their mother.
They are liable to launch several aggressive and short
attacks at a large number of Visceras ships rather than a
single, prolonged, and concentrated attack upon one ship
like their parent.
Both the Sahmatha and her spawn share a dislike of the
disorienting effect of a stunning blow, which is liable to
cause them to flee. Further, all three fear fire, and the
presence of open flame (possibly even a single torch in the
case of a spawn who has been burned once and therefore
recognizes the danger) may also cause them to retreat.

Wurm from the Sah will thee see this day. This is
designed to insure that PCs will return to fatten her purse
every day until they encounter the Serpent.

17.3.2 LAIR OF THE SAHMATHA

A series of damp caverns, caused by millennia of


seepage and Long Lake tides, meander through the limestone strata underlying portions of the shale cliffs that
form the lake valleys eastern scarp. Innumerable passageways and exits empty into the Long Lake underwater, but,
aside from several inaccessible sinkholes, infrequent narrow crevices, and tiny hidden vents, the only access above
the waterline to the complex of caves where the Sahmatha
makes its home is some 85' up the cliff. This series of cave
entrances is not readily visible from boats upon the lakes
surface (see 17.5.1 for a description of the blue pigeon
flurry that will reveal the presence of the caverns).
The shale bluffs are the eroded edge of a glacial
synclinethe Long Lake valley, and the cliff face which
now overhangs the lakes surface is angled sharply downwards as a consequence. This makes scaling the scarp a
series of Extremely Hard (-30) Climbing maneuvers
because a climber must actually clamber out, around, and
over several projections. A fall will result in the unfortunate suffering of 1-5 +20MBa attacks (bouncing off the
cliff face on the way down) unless a successful maneuver
is made by the character to push himself or herself away
from the rock face (bonuses from Acrobatics, Adrenal
Moves (landing), Climbing, or Diving skills would be
applicable here). Fortunately the water below softens the
final impact (a +1-43MCr, depending upon how far up
a clumsy PC is at the time of the fall).
Much easier is rappelling 45' down the bluff from the
130' summit above the cave entrance, requiring several
Hard (+10) Climbing maneuvers, (using rope, of course).
Once PCs arrive within about 20' above or below the
17.3 THE SETTING
cavern entrances, the openings become clearly visible,
detectable with a Routine (+30) Perception maneuver.
17.3.1 ON THE LONG LAKE
Inside and beyond the low-ceilinged, fairly dry, shale
Layouts for the large, high-prowed drihten mernac and
the smaller thurrucan, the typical vessels of the Visceras, entry areas, the limestone chambers and passageways are
cool and damp, but relatively roomy and lofty-roofed.
are provided elsewhere, in Sections 12.6.2 and 12.6.3.
If the PCs make daily trips on the Long Lake, they will Dripping stalactites and lumpy floors riddled with colnot encounter anything for 3-7 days, enough time for umns, stalagmites, small sinks, and rises make footing
them to begin to doubt the authenticity of the Sahmathas perilous: for every 10 minutes (60 rounds) of exploration
existence, to become very tired of getting up before dawn have the PCs make a Medium, +0 (or harder in certain
(rare for adventurer types?), and to begin to smell like fish noted areas), maneuver roll to avoid losing their footing
innards. The lake is quite deep in the area near the shale and suffering a +20 Martial Arts Sweeps & Throws rank
bluffs, which are extremely steep along this stretch of the 1 attack.
shore and rise 120-150' above the waters surface. They
The long, sloped, windy passages which meander for
provide small shelves and crevices for hundreds of nesting 100-500' each and which connect the caverns depicted on
blue pigeons.
the map are particularly slick; in them the maneuver rolls
If it doesnt occur to the PCs, one of their companions for footing that must be made rise in difficulty to Very
might suggest they pay a visit to old Bogatung the Hard (-20). There is an additional chance that a fall will
wyrdwoman to determine how or when to encounter the send a PC careening pell-mell another 50' or so down the
Sahmatha. Bogatung will be able to determine the length steep tube until he is able to stop a fall (treat as a +25SCr).
of time before the adventurers will encounter the Water- These tubes were eroded ages ago by water draining from
drake, but she refuses to reveal anything beyond No the oak savanna east of the Long Lake (a fact which is

123

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Dragons: Monstrous, scaly, serpentine beasts created by


Morgoth during the First Age to combat the great Eagles.
The mightiest Fire-drakes are winged, and armed with
fiery breath that strikes like a flaming tempest. Their
flames can set a river steaming like hot tea and reduce a
thriving settlement to cinders and ashes. While hardly
wise, Dragons are cunning and cruel creatures who can
reason, dream, and even prophecy. Nothing pleases a
Drake more than sacking a town, gathering its booty into
a golden heap, and nesting upon it for a century or two.
Dragons do, however, have genuine weaknesses: they tend
to grow vain and complacent if unchallenged, giving
themselves away in riddling talk, and each bears a soft
birth-spot, where its armor can be pierced and mortal
damage done.
Giants: (No. Stan-oten). Huge grotesque humanoids
of Northron legend, Giants guard mountain passes and
are reputed to be both simple-minded and extremely nearsighted. Tales claim their primary loves to be thunderstorms, drums, rock-throwing, and riddles. They are said
to be perpetually hungry and hold an aversion to bright
sunlight, which hurts their weak eyes.
Goblins: (S. Orcs) Originally bred by Morgoth in the
First Age, these creatures quickly became servants of
Darkness; it is likely they were not inherently evil, but
were culturally and mentally predisposed toward the
foul life. Legend has it that their ancestors were Elves
who were twisted in mind and body by the Black Enemy.
Only the strongest and most vile breeds, such as the Urukhai, can withstand the light of day without cringing. The
Goblins of Wilderthand grow increasingly bold, and have
taken to raiding isolated Northron homesteads and communities from astride the backs of huge War-wolves on
the darkest nights.
Gondor: See Stoningthand.
Great Plague: A horrible epidemic that first struck
Wilderthand in T.A. 1635 and swept through Gondor in
T.A. 1636-37.
Northrons: Also called Northmen, they comprise a varied
group of tall, strong, and hairy folk descended from the
Middle Men. As such, they stand culturally and physically between the High Men, or Edain, and Common
Men. Branches of the Northrons residing in Wilderthand
(circa T.A. 1640) include: the Beijabar (No. Warriorbears of Yore), the Dale-folk or Dalethod (No. Valley-folk), the othraim (No. Horse-folk), the Estaravi
(No. Enduring Sufferers), the Plains-folk or Gramuz
(No. Grasslanders; Fierce Race), the Lake-folk or
Sahthod (No. Lake Folk; including the East Bight
inhabitants), the Nenedin (S. Water People), and the
Woodfolk or Widulingas (No. Wood People).
Northrons are reknowned for their boisterous forwardness, both in warcraft and in revelry.
Orcs: See Goblins.
Raft-elves: A kenning for the Silvan and few Nando and
Sinda Elves who reside in the Wood-elven village of
Celebannon upon the Forest River. The Raft-elves serve
as the main players of Forest River trade. Employing

sturdy rafts and nimble, birchbark canoes called Sirithorn


(S.Flowing River-wood), they conduct trade between
the reclusive Wood-elves of Mirkwood and the outside
world (especially the folk of Lake-town).
Rhovanion: See Wilderland.
Sagath: A large group of short, war-like, nomadic Easterling
tribes who occupy the lands between Mirkwood and the
Sea of Rhn. Extraordinarily xenophobic, the Sagaths
main form of diplomacy is a sharp spear. Like their distant
kinsfolk, the Asdriags, the Sagath are reknowned for their
horsemanship. They migrate in the great wagons that
serve as their homes and store-houses. Thus, the Northmen
call them Wain-riders or Wain-easterlings.
Stoningthand: (No. Stone-land; S. Gondor) The
vast Dnadan realm that lies west of Mordor and north of
the Bay of Belfalas. Osgiliath on the Anduin serves as the
Gondorian capital until T.A. 1640, when the throne is
moved to Minas Arnor (Minas Tirith). Pelargir on the
lower Anduin is the realms chief port.
Trolls: Morgoth bred the first Trolls (S. Tereg; sing.
Torog) during the Great Darkness of the Elder Days.
Fashioned in mockery of Ents, his repulsive creations (like
the Naugrim) embody the character of stone, with comparable strength, hardness, and intellect. The original
Stone-trolls have, over the years, diversified into several
other species, including Cave-, Snow-, Hill-, and Foresttrolls. Trolls face two principal handicaps: direct sunlight,
which transforms them back to lifeless stone, and phenomenal stupidity. Saurons Olog-hai, however, serve as a
frightful exception to these norms.
Wilderthand: (S. Rhovanion). Traditionally, a vast
region encompassing all the land south of the Grey
Mountains, north of Mordor, east of the Misty Mountains, and west of the River Redwater. This area includes
Mirkwood, and the northern Anduin (S. Great River;
No. Langflood) valley. Some scribes count the whole of
the area between Mirkwood and the Sea of Rhn, save
Dorwinion, as part of Wilderthand.
Winethand: (S. Dorwinion). An eastern realm of rolling hills, vineyards, and olive groves situated due east of
Rhovanion. It is bounded by the River Running to the
north and the Sea of Rhn to the east. Gaerandil Cirya (S.
Sea-wanderlust Ship), the Realm Master of the
Dorwinadan people, resides at their chief town, ShrelKain.
Wood-elves: The carefree and magical Silvan, Nando,
and Sinda Elves who inhabit the northern glades of
Mirkwood the Great. The immortality of the Woodelves, coupled with their extreme xenophobia, causes most
of their neighbors to disdain their frequent feasting and
merry-making as frivolous. Both Hildor and Naugrim
regard them with extreme suspicion. The Elven-king
Thranduil (S. Halls of Star-shadow) holds court in his
limestone palace-under-the-hill, Aradhrynd (S. Halls of
the Elvenking).
Undead: Beings whose bodies have died but whose spirits
have not yet departed from Arda, or Shadow-creatures
who remain tied to the mortal world as a result of some
heinous enchantment.



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