The years is 3013 of the Third Age of Middle Earth. Denethor sits alone in his tower, gazing into the Palantír, when he sees a vision of a lost treasure. The Nauglamír, the necklace of Dwarves, hung on the branch of a dying tree, across an ocean in Far Harad. More than two thousand years ago, the Nauglamír had been one the great treasures of Gondor, until it vanished during the war of the Third Kin-strife. If Gondor could recover this treasure, it would prove a potent talisman in the coming war.
But who to send? A voyage that long had never been attempted by any in Gondor. It would take years and more than likely prove a suicide mission...
Then a name came unbidden to his mind - Breged, his nephew by marriage, the son Ivriniel of Dol Amroth. As a boy, Breged had been sent to Minas Tirith, after the death of his father. He had trained side-by-side with Boromir and Faramir, and Denethor had eventually made him a Knight of the Tower to satisfy politics. But Breged was a grim, unhappy man; the dark shadow of Boromir. The city, nay the country, would be better off without him.
Denethor would give him this mission, to travel to the far corner of Middle-Earth to recover the Nauglamír. He would give him a ship and let him hand-pick a crew. In the unlikely event that Breged succeeded, Gondor would have gained a valuable treasure. If he failed, Gondor would have lost little of value...
A Gathering of Heroes
For awhile now, I’ve been thinking about running a solo Lord of the Rings campaign, but was unsure how to construct it. Then a month or so ago, it occurred to me that I could combine it with one of my other great loves, the story of Jason and the Argonauts. Eventually, the above story was born.
I’ve got my main hero, Breged. I actually based his name on Rheged, the ancient British kingdom. By fortuitous coincidence ‘breged’ is also the word for ‘violence’ in one of Tolkien’s elf languages. At the same time I was working on this story, I bought a figure of Boromir in his full Gondorian armour. I thought I would paint him with dark hair, as this is more appropriate for a son of Gondor. As it turned out, when I had finished the figure, I no longer saw Boromir; instead, I saw another man, a grim hero. I found Breged.
The first hero to join Breged on his quest is the old sage, Mandracoth. Both Breged and Denethor were surprised when Mandracoth volunteered for the expedition. For years, Mandracoth has served the Stewards as an adviser, but recently he has grown distant from Denethor. Is he seeking escape from the confining walls of Minas Tirith, or does he have some other, deeper purpose?
As Breged begins his search for other heroes to join his quest, the great shipwrights of Dol Amroth have laid the keel for his ship. When it is near completion, it will be fitted with a dragon’s head, carved by mystic craftsman hired by Breged’s mother. For this reason, Breged will name the ship Glaurung, after the most terrifying dragon of myth.
While Jason’s crew was made up completely of heroes, I thought this would probably prove too much paperwork for my campaign. Instead, the Glaurung will have a crew of thirty. Ten of these will be heroes, the other twenty will be volunteers from the soldiery of Minas Tirith. I’ve just finished painting the first six of these. The first three are tower guardsmen, which I really enjoyed painting. They are in every way superior to the plastic Gondorian soldiers. First, they are actually in scale with most of the rest of the range and the cloaks just give them that extra bit of coolness! I’ve also painted up three Veterans of Osgiliath. Again these metal figures are far superior to their plastic counterparts.
So, the story begins. I still need eight heroes, fourteen soldiers, and a ship, but I’m on my way.