Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Stone knights of Arthedain


The increasingly esoteric Arthedain kings began to worry about their culture's survival as the threat from Angmar began to loom. The King commissioned the most talented mystiques to enchant stone knights to protect important places such as treasure vaults and barrows. 

Few believed that this kind of magic could be done, but the most brilliant minds of Arnor were brought together to create these undying guardians.  The cost was high: the soul of a tribute of high birth and valor had to be bound to a stone lich-form. Because of this high price in time of war, only a few of these knights were created.

The art and science to create them is long lost. But it is known that only a King of the Arthedains could bind and free the soul within a stone knight. Deactivation would free the wraith and let him pass into the afterlife. The instructions given to a stone knight can be as complex as the tribute can handle, but once the wraith enters the stone knight form, it cannot talk nor hear anymore. Well, it can't communicate in the material world at least. In the shadow world, the wraith is tormented and not very amenable to discussion. The wraith's fastest way to the halls of Mandos is to be released by the King by doing its job as ordered!

Statistics (Physical world form)

ST 13; DX 12; IQ 0; HT 10; HP 24; FP --; Move 2; Speed 2.5; Per 10; Will --; SM +0; 225lb;
Traits:  Unliving, No fine manipulators, DR 5/16 (cr/imp,pi,cut), Injury tolerance (homogeneous)
Skills: Two-Handed Flail-11 (2d+3 cr),

When they reach 0 HP, the knight explodes, releasing a bright flash as the wraith is freed, triggering a new Terror at -4. The explosion also scatters 1d pi+ damage worth of flying stone shards. 

Why they are awesome

Stone knights didn't really achieved the initial objective of creating eternal and hard version of Arthedain knights. Stone knights are instead slow, clumsy, hard to hurt and hard hitting. They wield a special-made flail with a rather limited level of skill. This angers the wraith underneath the lich-form to no end. They cannot effectively dodge, but can parry at Parry-8. Their flail is unbalanced and thus can be unreadied by opponents. The stone is made friable by the enchantment, which makes them vulnerable to crushing attack. This was not really seen as a flaw since Arthedain fought only blade and spear wielding foes at the time. 

The stone knight knows that it cannot get tired: he will drag any fight until his opponent gets winded. The daunting task of hurting them should encourage them to burn away FPs early in the fight. He will not hesitate to take on an all-out defense (increased) when in a numerical disadvantage or surrounded. This trick brings his Parry to an effective 10. It will step to maneuver foes into corners, be very patient. An alternative tactic, against weaker foes and after a parry with the flail is to do declare a beat against the foe's attacking weapon. It will attempt this as another way to wear its opponent down as well as possibly negate the defense bonus of the subsequent telegraphic attack. It usually will be acting last, if his foe fails an attack, the stone knight will make a telegraphic attack. This gives it an edge to strike, and also promote the extension of the fight as the defenders gets a bonus to active defense. Also, keep in mind that parrying a flail is done at -4, and blocks at -2. It can only hold its flail in reach 2, that is a design flaw in the way the flail is secured to the body. 

They are awesome because they know that they can win the long fight when their foe become exhausted. They must be defeated with sound tactics and clever team work: dice aren't going to cut it. Then, they will eventually get a good shot or have their foe retreat beyond their ward. Either way, the task will be done. They are faceless, cold, unsettling. The magic that powers them is unatural to Middle-Earth denizen. Because they are lich-form wraiths, Terror 4 comes into play as well.


  1. tooting my own horn, but they'd bee even cooler using the Action Points rules from The Last Gasp. This kinds of "they never get tired, but you do" is what the rules were built for!!

    1. They were designed to be used with APs. I used a simpler AP system where each turn with at least one attack or active defence cost 1/5th of a FP. We are still learning the ropes and the result was what I wanted. Most FPs were expended in extra efforts, however.

  2. I can personally attest to their unrelenting terror and that it takes co-operation. We should have continued witht he brainstorming that had the hobbit crouching behind for a dwarf push from the front trip trick at the beginning. The fact that Irina had to tend the shrapnel wound in my bottom I don't think I will ever live down!

    1. I think that ganging up on one and throwing him to the ground was the best approach if no one could actually hurt it fair and square. This approach seems to be pretty valid in GURPS, unless the opponents is a good wrestler.