The Hoard of Scatha the Worm

Many lords and warriors, and many fair and valiant women, are named in the songs of Rohan that still remember the North. Frumgar, they say, was the name of the chieftain who led his people to Éothéod. Of his son, Fram, they tell that he slew Scatha, the great dragon of Ered Mithrin, and the land had peace from the long-worms aftegrwards. Thus Fram won great wealth, but was at feud with the Dwarves, who claimed the hoard of Scatha. Fram would not yield them a penny, and sent to them instead the teeth of Scatha made into a necklace, saying: “Jewels such as these you will not match in your treasuries, for they are hard to come by.” Some say that the Dwarves slew Fram for this insult. There was no great love between Éothéod and the Dwarves.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, “The House of Eorl”

***

After the death of Durin VI at the hands of the Balrog, the Dwarves abandoned the kingdom of Khazad-dûm in Moria. Some followed Thrain I to the east, where he established the kingdom of Erebor in the Lonely Mountain. But many fled to the Grey Mountain Narrows, where they hope to found a new kingdom. But the area, however ideal for a new Dwarven kingdom, is also the home Scatha the Worm, who terrorises the exiled Dwarves and steals their treasure to increase his hoard.

Just south of the Grey Mountains, close to the sources of the Anduin, the Éothéod (“Horse People”) equally suffer from Scatha’s thirst for blood and gold. Occasionally Scatha comes down the mountains and destroys their settlements, kills their horses and cattle, and steals their wealth. But Fram Framson, brave son of their leader Frumgar, has set out to kill the Dragon. He will need the help of the Dwarves to navigate the narrows of the Grey Mountains and to find Scatha’s lair, but a small group of Dwarves realise they need Fram’s skill to stand a chance in killing Scatha, and the resources of his people in keeping Scatha’s hoard safe until a new home for it is found. Thus forms an uneasy alliance between the Dwarves and the Éothéod. They need each other, yet do not trust each other. What happens to the hoard once it is safe?

To win the game, you need to kill any one of the three manifestations of Scatha (Scatha, Scatha Ahunt, or Scatha Ahunt). In other words, you have to defeat each strike of the manifestation, and Scatha has to fail a body check for each strike. Once this is accomplished, Scatha’s hoard needs to be transported to Framsburg, where Fram offered to store it. Here is how you do this:

  • Whenever a character plays a hoard item at Gondmaeglon (from the hoard deck, see below) after Scatha has been killed, also place a token (the “hoard token”) on the character card, which represents a part of the hoard that the character will carry back to Framsburg.
  • As long as the character carries that hoard token he has -2 prowess and -1 body, and he does not untap until he stores the hoard token in Framsburg. A character can only carry one hoard token at any time.
  • If a character carrying a hoard token is killed, it may be transferred to another character in the company that is able to carry it. If there is no such character available, the hoard token is lost.
  • During the organisation phase, a character at Framsburg can store the hoard token. No corruption check is required. Non-dwarf characters can opt to also store the hoard item they recovered (no corruption check is required for this either). Dwarves will never store a hoard item they carry, but can store the hoard token.
  • You have only four turns to bring the hoard to Framsburg, before word of Scatha’s demise and unprotected riches spreads and others come to loot it.

At the end of the game, when the three hoard tokens have been stored in Framsburg, all the Dwarves (if any still survive) must perform a corruption check. For every hoard item from Gondmaeglon a Dwarf carries, he suffers -1 on his corruption check. If the Dwarf fails the corruption check, he becomes convinced Fram will not part with the hoard after everything is over, and he will immediately attack Fram Framson as a traitor: he will immediately attack Fram with +10 prowess. Should the strike be successful, then Fram gains +1 on his body check. The Dwarf is immediately discarded after this. If Fram remains alive after every Dwarf has performed a corruption check, you win the game. The same procedure is followed at any other time when a Dwarf fails a corruption check after Scatha is killed; the Dwarf will attack Fram or any other Man in his company, or be immediately discarded if there is no Man in his company.

You automatically lose the game in any of the following situations:

  1. when your resource deck runs out the second time before you have killed Scatha—the tensions in the group have grown too severe, and the company disbands;
  2. when the Dwarf leader dies or is corrupted before Scatha is killed, or when the Dwarves kill Fram when they fail a corruption check after Scatha’s death;
  3. when the hoard deck is depleted and you have less than 3 parts of the hoard stored at Framsburg.

There are a few special rules that apply in this scenario:

  1. Neither The Lonely Mountain nor Framsburg have a hoard, nor do they have an automatic attack. No items can be played at these 2 locations. Both sites are Border-holds. The Lonely Mountain functions as a Haven for the purposes of healing, but only for companies that include one or more Dwarves. Framsburg functions as a Haven for the purposes of healing, but only for companies that include one or more Man.
  2. A company can travel to Gondmaeglon only if it contains at least one Dwarf. A company can store the hoard at Framsburg only if it contains a Man.
  3. Gondmaeglon is never tapped or discarded, but before Scatha is killed only 1 item can be played at the site. Hoard Items at Gondmaeglon can only be played from the Hoard Deck (see below).
  4. A company can travel to the region Grey Mountain Narrows without travelling to a site within that region (use the region card Grey Mountain Narrows for this). When doing so, draw 6 hazard cards, and draw up to 2 resource cards. Dragon Ahunt hazards can be played against a company that remains in the Grey Mountain Narrows region (not a site therein) for a turn, since the company is then considered to be moving through the region.
  5. A Dwarf character will never transfer an item to a Man, and vice versa.
  6. There is no Wizard in this scenario. You have a general influence of 20.
  7. Characters can only be brought into play at their home site (see below).
  8. You cannot include any manifestation of Smaug in your decks, nor any of the following cards: Fellowship, A Friend or Three, Old Friendship, and New Friendship (there is no love between the Dwarves and Fram’s men in this scenario; they cooperate only because they must).

Hoard Deck

As mentioned above, you need to create a deck of up to 8 hoard items playable at Gondmaeglon, i.e. minor and major hoard items, with one greater hoard item added to it. The deck cannot contain duplicates. Every time you recover a hoard item at Gondmaeglon, you draw the top card of this Hoard Deck; the card draw is the item you have gained (the one greater item in this deck will also be playable at this site). Cards like Dragon-Lore or Far-Sight, which allow you to search your (resource) deck for an item can be used to search the hoard deck instead, if desired.

This hoard deck can only be used at Gondmaeglon. At other Dragon lairs you will have to play items from your resource deck, as usual.

Locations

If you play as Fram Framson, the starting location is Framsburg. If you play as the Dwarf leader, the starting location is The Lonely Mountain. Gondmaeglom is the lair of Scatha. All other sites should be in the vicinity of these three.

Since you’ll want to equip your warriors with suitable weapons and armour before sending them into the Grey Mountains to hunt Scatha, you’ll need locations in the vicinity of those 3 locations that allow you to play various items. Buhr Widu and Sarn Goriwing are obvious choices, but so are The Wind Throne, Goblin Gate, and perhaps even Mount Gundabad (to play a greater item). If you want to use gold rings, you might want to include Bandit Lair or Gladden Fields. Information is playable at The Wind Throne, so if you intend to use a card like Far-Sight make sure to include it in your location deck.

You’ll also want to include the region card Grey Mountain Narrows, where a Dwarf faction can be influenced, Dwarves can be brought into play, and where Scatha may be encountered when he is ahunt.

Characters

Your starting company consists of Fram Framson and 1 other Man character. You can have only 1 other Man character and the Dwarf leader in your deck. When you have brought the Dwarf leader into play, you can shuffle the remaining Dwarf characters from your sideboard into your resource deck.

Apart from Fram Framson, all the Man and Dwarf characters you can choose in Middle-Earth had not even been born yet at the time when these events take place (around the year 2000 of the Third Age, more than 9 centuries before Bilbo travelled to Smaug’s lair). So, pretend that any Dwarves or Men you select in this scenario have different names and were contemporaries of Fram!

Apart from Fram Framson, you can include 2 additional Men of your choice. Since Fram’s people, the Éothéod (“Horse People”) are the ancestors of the Rohirrim, you need to select a character whose home site is in Rohan. In this scenario, however, the home site for each Man is Framsburg. No Man may have a mind that is greater than Fram’s (who has a mind of 5; i.e. you may not use Theoden).

You need to select one Dwarf with a mind of 6 or more (i.e. Dain II, Thrain II, Thorin II, or Gimli) as the Dwarf leader. Apart from the Dwarf leader, who is in your resource deck, you can have two additional Dwarves in your sideboard, whose mind may not exceed that of the Dwarf leader. These Dwarves cannot have a mind that is greater than that of the Dwarf leader.

Dwarves whose home site is listed as “Blue Mountain Dwarf-hold” can be brought into play either at the region Grey Mountain Narrows, or any site therein, or at The Lonely Mountain. Dwarves whose home site is listed as “Iron Hill Dwarf-hold” can only be brought into play at The Lonely Mountain. Any other Dwarf (like Thrain II) can be brought into play only at Grey Mountain Narrows and sites therein.

If you plan on using resources requiring a sage, you have little options: Thrain II and Balin are the only Dwarf sages, and there are no sages among the Men you can use in this scenario. It is wise to select characters that are not just warriors, but also rangers or scouts, as these will give you more options in avoiding hazard creatures.

There is no Wizard in this scenario.

Resource Deck

Your companies will be travelling through Dragon country, and will try to kill one of the fiercest Dragons of that region. Ensure they have enough resources to prepare them for that. Luckily, there are plenty. Not at Home reduces the risks of dragon lairs, by eliminating or reducing the strikes of an automatic attack. Sated Beast discards dragon ahunt hazards or reduces its strikes. Flatter a Foe can come in handy when you aren’t ready to face Scatha yet: if you can successfully flatter him, you won’t have to fight him that turn.

 

Even with such resources, killing Scatha will be tough. The weakest manifestation is Scatha Ahunt, but even that has four strikes with 13 prowess and a body of 8! With the right resources, however, this should actually be possible. Use standard combat resources, like Lucky Strike, Block, and Risky Blow to make your warriors stronger, and use resources like The Old Thrush or Fast Asleep to reduce Scatha’s prowess.

To make travel easier, also consider including Fair Travels in Wilderness and Ford (for when you pass through Mirkwood), Fair Travels in Shadow-lands (for when you travel to Grey Mountain Narrows), and Fair Travels in Border-lands (for Anduin Vales and Woodland Realm). Fram is a ranger, as are some Dwarves: use their ability to avoid danger with resources like Many Turns and Doublings, either against various animal attacks or, in combination with Gates of Morning, to decrease the hazard limit. Quiet Lands reduces the strikes of automatic attacks at Ruins & Lairs, like Gondmaeglon and Ovir Hollow, or Shadow-holds, like Sarn Goriwing or Mount Gundabad.

For items, you certainly want to include both armour and weapons that will give you some chance in defeating Scatha. As always, Glamdring is a good choice, but Wormsbane is an even better one: it gives its bearer +4 prowess against Dragons and -2 to the Dragon’s body. In the hands of Fram this is a very powerful weapon! The downside is that it is a greater item, and there are no suitable sites in the immediate area. The easiest is Mount Gundabad; otherwise you’ll have to travel to Withered Heath and try your luck at a dragon lair. (Note that, as mentioned above, no items are playable at The Lonely Mountain.) Durin’s Axe is a good weapon for a Dwarf: it is only a major item, but gives a Dwarf +4 prowess, though only to a maximum of 9. For armour, Hauberk of Bright Mail is good and easy to obtain, as is the common Shield of Iron-bound Ash (which, when tapped, also increases the bearer’s prowess). A good hoard item to consider is Scabbard of Chalcedony; it gives your opponent -1 on a body check, which might make a difference when trying to defeat Scatha. You could also consider including a gold ring, since you can play one at 3 nearby locations (Goblin Gate, Gladden Fields, and Bandit Lair). Magic Ring of Nature and Magic Ring of Stealth allow a ranger and a scout respectively to cancel an attack, and Magic Ring of Courage gives a warrior +2 prowess—all are good choices, but keep in mind that you need a sage to test the ring.

One Dwarf faction of your choice—either the Iron Hill Dwarves or the Blue Mountain Dwarves—is playable at the Grey Mountain Narrows region (not at a site within that region). When you have successfully influenced this faction, you may tap it to cancel one strike of any Dragon who attacks one of your companies in the Grey Mountain Narrows. You can use Muster or a similar resource to make it easy to influence them, though if your Dwarf leader tries to influence them, you probably have little difficulty in succeeding. The faction can only be brought into play by a Dwarf character.

I have limited myself for this scenario to cards from The Wizards and The Dragons sets. If you want to include cards from other sets, you might consider including The Dwarves Are Upon Us and An Unexpected Party (both from Dark Minions), which both benefit Dwarves.

I suggest you keep your resource deck small, to give you quicker access to the Dwarves and any resource you might need to kill Scatha.

Hazard Deck

The hazard deck has two objectives: making it more difficult to defeat Scatha, both directly and indirectly, and tempting the characters in your company by forcing them to make corruption checks.

There are a lot of hazards that affect Dragon attacks. Use these to make Scatha (and other Dragons) even more formidable. Prowess of Might increases Scatha’s prowess and body. Dragon’s Blood is a powerful hazard against characters bearing armour—and to survive Scatha’s attacks you will certainly want your characters to bear armour! Dragon’s Desolation increases the prowess of a Dragon attack, and allows Dragons to be played at Ruins & Lairs in Wilderness regions, while Velocity of Haste adds a strike to a Dragon attack. Exile of Solitude can end the game quickly, if it forces you to discard one of your leaders, who is captured by a Dragon.

Indirectly you can make Scatha more difficult to defeat by forcing your company to face other hazards, which will tap them or even wound them before they face Scatha. Your companies will be travelling through lands where dragons roam, so include a few dragon Ahunt (I recommend at least 2, besides Scatha). Bairanax’s lair is Ovir Hollow, so it makes sense to include him. Other hazard creatures should ideally be playable in Wilderness, Border-lands, and Shadow-lands, which are the type of regions you will move through every turn. Wargs are ideal, since they can be played at all three. Other good choices are Brigands (who will be attracted by all the treasure you’ll likely carry), Wolves, Corpse-candle (which forces corruption checks), Orc-raiders and Orc-patrol. Finally, Cruel Caradras, which can be played in the mountain regions you will travel through, forces each character in the company to face a strike with 8 prowess (which can be deadly, since you can’t use combat resources to face this).

The only corruption cards you can include are those that are related to items or Dragons. You can include Lure of Expedience, which triggers a corruption check each time an item is acquired in the character’s company. Dragon-sickness forces the bearer or a major or greater item to make a corruption check at -1, and Greed similarly forces a corruption check whenever an item is played that turn. Dragon’s Curse is a corruption card you can play in combination with a Dragon attack. Memories Stolen makes a character facing a Dragon lose all his skills (such as Warrior or Ranger).

Variant

In this variant, instead of starting with Fram Framson, you start the game with the Dwarf leader. Your starting company consists of the Dwarf leader and 1 other Dwarf; your deck can contain only Dwarves and Fram. When you have brought Fram Framson into play, you can shuffle the remaining Man characters into your resource deck.

The end of the scenario plays out somewhat differently:

When the three hoard tokens have been stored in Framsburg, Fram Framson must perform a corruption check, with a -3 penalty. If he fails the corruption check, he has decided to cheat the Dwarves out of the treasure, and will attempt to kill the Dwarf leader. He immediately attacks him with +10 prowess. Should the strike be successful, the Dwarf leader gains +1 on his body check. Fram is immediately discarded after this. The same procedure is followed at any other time when a Man fails a corruption check after Scatha is killed; the Man will attack the Dwarf leader or any other Dwarf in his company, or be immediately discarded if there is no Dwarf in his company. The next turn, the Dwarves must flee to The Lonely Mountain. If the Dwarf leader arrives at the Lonely Mountain, you win the game.

You automatically lose the game when Fram is killed or corrupted before the hoard is brought to Framsburg; when any Man kills the Dwarf leader when he fails a corruption check after Scatha is killed; or when the Dwarf leader is killed before he reaches The Lonely Mountain after Fram is corrupted.

 

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