Re-taking the Greydelve

Adventure in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Learn more at our website: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-one-ring/
Wyrmling
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Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:06 pm

Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Wyrmling » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:49 pm

Thanks for that Majestic and Agnot! I'll definitely be borrowing some of that for my Fellowship and my games!


Update from Friday (4/13)

After a bit more travel, the Fellowship ended up at The Old Ford, where they made the acquaintance of several of the more prominent inhabitants, including Gelvira Potstirrer. Taking some time to fulfill their own "mission" as well as Beorn's they asked about any Dwarves that had passed through the area recently, as well as pursuing the rumors of the murder in Stonyford further. As far as the rumors go, they learned little more than the riverfolk had told them. They learned that the Dwarves they were looking for had passed over the Old Ford and had been going to Mountain Hall, the source of much of the Woodmen's mining and metal-working. The Dwarves had also returned back over the Ford and said their intention was to travel to Woodland Hall to meet with the leaders of the Woodmen. Eager to see how Men order their diggings, the Dwarves vowed to pay Mountain Hall a visit after they were done with Beorn's task. Amelia was able to use her Cooking Trait in combination with some great dice rolls to endear herself with Gelvira and several of the local Beornings by making a masterful stew and the reputation for Hobbit kitchen prowess grew many times that day.

The next day, the Fellowship set out for Stonyford again, continuing to take their time and look for signs of their quarry's passage. An encounter with a passing tinker traveling to Old Ford revealed that he had encountered a young man armed with a sword who had paid him a couple of silver pennies for one of his horses. Concerned that their quarry was now mounted, the Fellowship decided to make better time, allowing me to use the Forced March rules from the adventure a bit earlier than the designers likely intended. Everyone save Nur the Younger and Amelia passed their Fatigue checks, resulting in several jibes and jests at the "softness" of youth and the fairer sex.

Arriving at Stonyford, the party made a reasonably decent impression on the village leadership, especially after showing the badges that Beorn had given them and invoking "official business". The escaped prisoner was a young Man named Oderic who, after the death of Oderic's family, had been taken in by the most prominent warrior in the village Helmgut and raised as a foster son. The boy had apparently been considered somewhat "fell" by many in the village due to the unlucky nature of his life and his sullen attitude and dark moods. His only friend in the village was Helmgut's daughter Brunhild (also his foster sister). Things had gotten more tense when she had recently married a young warrior who had come from Mountain Hall named Rathfic. Rathfic was a doughty warrior and quickly became a favorite in the village and had taken the leadership of the village's fighting men, a position which Oderic himself felt was his due.

There were also rumors that Oderic was upset because he romantically loved his foster-sister and that Rathfic abused her. Oderic had either approached Brunhild and urged her to run away with him or tried to kidnap her against her will (the rumors were fuzzy about the specifics) and Rathfic was killed while confronting Oderic. During the conflict between the two men, Oderic's foster-father arrived at the tail-end and found his foster-son standing over the dead body of his son-in-law. A fine warrior in his own right, Helmgut subdued Oderic and turned him over to the village elders, who then turned him over to Beorn's men Merovech and Odo to be taken to the Carrock for trial.

Realizing that they might be able to get a clearer picture of what had transpired, the Fellowship decided to question Helmgut and Brunhild. They got nowhere with Helmgut, who was deep in his cups in sorrow and grief, and even threatened them with an axe! So, they instead chose to approach Brunhild, who they found planting flowers on her dead husband's grave.

Amelia handled the bulk of the questioning and was able to learn the truth of what had transpired that night. Oderic, who had always felt like an outsider in the village, had come to try and convince her to run away with him. His plans were vague beyond finding work as a mercenary or soldier and she tried to talk him out of it and they argued. Rathfic returned from a hunting trip early and confronted Oderic for trying to "steal his wife away". The two men argued and when she tried to intervene to stop them, an angered Rathfic struck her, which caused Oderic to attack him in anger. After a brief struggle, Oderic killed Rathfic. Moments later, Helmgut entered and seeing his foster-son standing over his son-in-law holding a bloody knife, he knocked the young man out.

Everything else was much the same as rumor, although Brunhild denied that Rathfic abused her and that when he struck her that night, it had been the only time he had ever done so. She said that he wasn't an especially good husband, but neither was he a bad one. After some additional questioning, she confirmed that she had indeed seen Oderic recently. Just two days ago in fact! He'd come to her and told her about Merovech and Odo being ambushed by Orcs and he had been left alive when the boat drifted further downstream. He'd argued that Fate had given him a second chance and he wasn't going to "waste" it by turning himself in to be executed by Beorn for a "mistake". She told them that his plan was to cross the Anduin and head south, looking for work as a sellsword or soldier. He'd tried to get her to leave with him again and become angry when she'd refused and ridden off.

Learning all of this, the Fellowship debated their next course of action and whether Beorn's "mandate" compelled them to continue further south looking for Oderic or whether they should simply return to Beorn with the information that they had, since they were not his servants and had obligations of their own. After learning of the Wolfwood, a forest on the west bank of the Anduin that had a reputation as an outlaw haven. Thinking that that might have been his destination, they decide to cross the river and at least head south to the forest looking for signs of his passage.

The trip to the Wolfswood was fairly miserable, with unseasonably warm weather bringing a swarm of midges up from the marshes to the south and there was much grumbling by everyone. Only Dwarven determination to keep their promises kept them from throwing their hands up and turning back empty-handed. On the third day, the Fellowship's scouts (Otar and Amelia) saw a band of seedy-looking Men approaching and crept closer to investigate. They listened in on the Men's conversation, where they learned they were part of a much larger outlaw band living in the Wolfswood. The pair crept back to the Fellowship to inform them of this new development.

Thinking that Oderic may have been captured (or even joined) this band, they decided to set an ambush for the Men and take them for questioning. The ambush worked perfectly, with the outlaws surrendering almost immediately after taking a flurry of arrows and spears from the Fellowship. The outlaws confirmed that there was indeed a large band of Men (approximately 100, including camp followers and hangers-on) living in the forest and that they were led by a Man named Valter. Valter claimed kinship with the old Lord of Dale and had been gathering outlaws to his banner for some time, apparently intending to make a go at carving out a kingdom for himself in the Anduin Vales.

They also learned from one of the Men that a young Man matching Oderic's description had been captured two days ago. He hadn't been killed, instead Valter had apparently taken to the young man and was trying to convince the boy to join his cause. They also learned some disturbing rumors about Valter. One of the outlaws said that he had heard from a friend who served as a guard on Valter's tent that a strange green light would sometimes emanate from Valter's tent. The guard had also heard a strange, chilling voice at times when Valter was supposedly alone in his tent and that it was obvious from the way that Valter groveled to the voice that he was not his own man, but simply the subject of some darker power. The outlaw also added that his guard friend had disappeared a few days after speaking with him about this and that he had been planning to run away soon as well.

With this new information, the Fellowship became deeply concerned that they had stumbled onto something greater than a fleeing prisoner and debated their next course of action for a few moments. They decided that the search for Oderic was less important than gathering more info about this outlaw army and its leader. The plan was to have Nur the Younger and Vidar guard the prisoners while the stealthier members of the Fellowship (Amelia, Otar and, surprisingly, Nur the Elder) to sneak as close as possible to the outlaw camp to gather more information about the size and capabilities of the Men. In fact Nur, as a soldier, insisted on going to check the camp's defenses, readiness, etc. If they had a good approach, Otar and Amelia would slip into Valter's tent to see what they could learn about the lights and voices and to see if he had any battle plans or information which could help.

Rue
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Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Rue » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:11 am

Sounds exciting, I hope you keep us posted on what happens next... especially since plans rarely survive contact with the enemy.

Wyrmling
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Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Wyrmling » Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:20 pm

Update from Friday (4/20)

As per the previous session, the plan was for the three stealthy members of the Fellowship (Amelia, Otar and Nur the Elder) to sneak as close to the camp as possible for recon and perhaps to try to sneak into the tent of Valter, the leader of the bandit army. The initial search for the bandit camp (with extra dice from questioning the captured outlaws) and sneaking to the edge of the camp goes well, with the Fellowship's efforts taking place as the sun fell for maximum stealth.

The bandit camp does indeed look to hold about 100 Men, although only 50-60 of them appear to be fighting Men, with the remainder being wives, children and slaves. The bulk appear to be Northmen, but some have the look of Dunlendings and other folk from lands South of the Vales. Valter's tent is easily identifiable at the center of the camp, being the largest and most comfortable looking one. Nur the Elder is somewhat distressed to learn that it looks as if the outlaws are in the process of preparing to move the camp (his estimate is that they'll be ready to march in a day or two) and that a number of the Men are armed with swords, spears and other implements of war in addition to a larger number of makeshift weapons.

With a longer look, the trio are able to identify a Man that they believe is Oderic. He is at the side of another Man they identify as Valter and is apparently being treated as an guest rather than a prisoner, at least by Valter himself. It appears that the other outlaws may not be so quick to trust him and that his steps are shadowed by others of the outlaw band. They also learn that he apparently has free passage of the camp and beyond and that sometimes he goes walking in the woods nearby, yet always followed by an outlaw watcher.

Believing that this may be a sign of some dissent within the bandit army, the trio quietly discuss what to do next. With the realization that Oderic's knowledge of the Beornings and their settlements may be significant enough to do the people of the Vales harm, there is some talk of assassinating him. Although Otar and Nur the Elder are willing to do so (with varying degrees of reluctance), Amelia is unwilling to contemplate murder. And once the consequences of such Misdeeds are explained, none are willing to undertake that course. Of course, there is also the possibility of sneaking into Valter's tent and seeing what plans he may be hatching.

After a bit of discussion, the Fellowship decides to split their efforts. Otar and Amelia will try to sneak into Valter's tent to see what they can learn. Nur the Elder will return to where the rest of the Fellowship is and bring Vidar (and perhaps Nur the Younger) towards the encampment and try to ambush Oderic and take him prisoner.

After waiting a bit to give Nur a headstart, Amelia and Otar begin their attempt to sneak into the camp. Hobbit stealth renders Amelia nigh invisible in the smoky firelight and Otar (with some expenditure of Hope) follows suit, allowing them to slip into the tent unnoticed. From the dimmed lantern atop a small table and the chicken roasting on the firepit, they realize they may not have long to search.

A quick search reveals that the "table" is in fact a locked chest. With Atheliah keeping watch, Otar proceeds to put his Burglary abilities to use and dispatches the crude iron padlock. Inside, the finds clothing, a few papers (which they take) and a pair of sacks (one leather with crude stitching and one cloth). The clink of coins within the cloth one makes Otar's choice an easy one and he opens it to discover a small hoard of tarnished silver coins! Given the origin of the coins (taken from the vaults of The Necromancer), a Corruption check is in order for both of our heroes.

Amelia passes, but still gains 1 Shadow point. Otar rolls and Eye, accumulating 4 Shadow points and triggering our first Bout of Madness! Amelia watches with growing dread as Otar begins crowing over the silver coins, clearly setting down to count and polish the tarnished silver. When she hisses that there is no time for this foolishness, Otar snaps back at her in a raised voice, which prompts Amelia to stop her efforts to dissuade him for fear that his shouts will call the camp down upon them.

The other members of the Fellowship securely tie their prisoners and all three creep into the forest, intending to lay an ambush for Oderic. While the less stealthy Vidar and Nur the Younger lie in wait across what they hope will be Oderic's path, Nur the Elder shadows the Man and his outlaw escort. When it appears that Oderic has strayed as close to the lurking pair as he is likely to, Nur the Elder springs out and attacks Oderic, hoping to subdue him before he has a chance to get away!

After the initial ambush and a round of single combat, the battle is joined between the trio and Oderic. Oderic is a skilled combatant, but no match for three Dwarves waiting in ambush and is quickly subdued. The trailing outlaw, hearing the sounds of battle, tries to flee back towards the camp, shouting that Oderic is escaping as he does so! The trio quickly bind and gag Oderic and begin hustling back towards the rally point near the river that they'd chosen.

Back in Valter's tent Otar, thinking there may be more silver (or even gold!) in the other back, quickly cuts it open and to the shock and disgust of both of them, a mummified Man's head falls out! Otar quickly recovers from his shock and goes back to counting, leaving an increasingly worried and distressed Amelia to hatch a desperate plan!

She searches through Valter's things and finds a small cask of lamp oil, which she spreads liberally around the tent. That includes soaking the mummified head (which she is careful to touch only with her feet or with Valter's clothing covering her hands) and the interior of the chest. She sets the head alight and kicks it into the chest and a blaze erupts and a foul, thick black smoke boils from the head, which threatens to incapacitate both of them.

Pointing out the flames to Otar, Amelia manages to convince him that they need to "save" the treasure and he agrees, scooping up what he can as shouts begin to come from outside the tent. Otar seems determined to grab every silver penny, but Amelia is able to convince him that she'll grab the rest and pushes him from the burning tent and out the hole they'd cut into it. Unable to resist herself, Amelia grabs two fistfuls of coins and stuffs them in her own pockets before following him.

In the confusion, the pair is able to make it to the edge of the bandit camp (with Otar leaving a trail of silver coins behind him) and rush to the river, knowing that eventually the outlaws will begin a pursuit. After some fumbling about in the dark, the Fellowship eventually manages to regroup and, despite the lateness of the hour, decide to set forth with their captive immediately!

After (hopefully) gaining a few hours on any pursuers, they stop to quickly question Oderic. The young Man is angry and sullen, but eventually reveals that he had not given Valter any information about the defenses of Stonyford or any other Beorning towns. He does tell them that Valter is planning to attack the Old Ford and other Beorning and Woodmen holdings and forge a Kingdom for himself. He also says that he doesn't have any idea why Valter had a severed head in his possessions or any knowledge of the dark rumors surrounding the Man.

He tries to convince the Fellowship to let him free and he will accompany them of his own volition or even to just let him go and he will leave Beorning lands for good, but they decide against it. The Fellowship reaches the Old Ford with a few of them Weary and nearing Exhaustion. Once there, they tell the Beornings their story and it is decided to send word to Beorn himself for additional Men if the outlaws do attack. Being less Weary/Exhaused than the rest, Nur the Younger and Vidar immediately head out to warn Beorn and rally forces while the other members of the Fellowship remain behind to help prepare defenses and recover.

Oderic is imprisoned and (despite her objections), it is decided that Amelia will be tasked with guarding him since a young Hobbit lass has no place on the field of battle. Nur the Elder and Otar do what they can to prepare defenses, although there are only a dozen or so Men available to fight. Otar also has a chance to count his coins and discovers that he managed to escape with 8 Treasure, but laments that he had to leave at least as much behind in the tent or scattered on the forest floor. Amelia managed to secure 2 Treasure for herself. A closer look at the coins reveals that they apparently came from the old Kingdom of Rhovannion from centuries past.

The other two members of the Fellowship reach Beorn's House to deliver their message. They are pleased to learn that Beorn had already assembled a stout force of two dozen fighting Men for the purpose of hunting the Orcs who had killed Merovech and Odo. With this greater threat, Beorn will instead take them south and kill or drive off this bandit army. Nur the Younger and Vidar are allowed to rest the night in Beorn's house. After turning the command of the force to a trusted captain, a relative of Merovech, Beorn disappears into the forest and the Beornings nod sagely to themselves.

After another desperate march, Beorn's forces reach and cross the Ford just as the outliers from Valter's army are approaching. The two forces quickly array themselves for battle, with the Fellowship (minus Amelia) joining them. Back on the other side of the Old Ford Amelia, who has spent some time chatting with Oderic and has come to the decision that he's not a bad Man (even if he isn't a bright one), is softened by his appeals to free him so that he can redeem himself by fighting for his people. Annoyed at the attempts to "protect" her and reasoning that her assigned task was to watch Oderic, she jokes that she can watch him just as effectively from the battlefield as in a jail cell and frees him. In the confusion as the battle begins, the pair slips across the Ford to join the throng.

The Battle of the Old Ford may be a small skirmish compared to the Battle of Five Armies, but it is still a nasty business. The Dwarves try to fight their way through to Valter, but due to their own lingering Weariness are pushed back as are the Beornings. As for Valter, he may be an evil Man, but he is no fool when it comes to battle and handles his army of rabble with skill. When battle is joined again, the Fellowship makes another push, but still makes no gains. Until Oderic casts off the helm he'd been using to disguise himself and charges the line, calling out a challenge to Valter! Amelia trails behind him with her King's Blade drawn and the Fellowship is heartened and breaks the line!

Valter and Oderic square off while the rest of the Fellowship is entangled with Valter's guards. Oderic is able to Wound the older man, but in the end Valter's treachery and skill wins out over Oderic's valor and he fakes a surrender to mortally wound the young Man! Outraged, the Fellowship prepares to rush Valter, only to quail in terror as, with a deafening roar, a massive bear charges into the rear of the bandit force from a copse of trees. Tossing outlaws aside like a dog shakes off fleas, the bear charged into the terrified Valter and tramples him into the dust before turning to the rest of the outlaw army and putting them to flight.

Rushing to where Oderic fell, the Fellowship discovers that the young Man is dead, but has a peaceful smile upon his face. Being in various states of Wounded, the Fellowship drag themselves back to the Old Ford and collapse in exhaustion. For her part, Amelia is upset that Oderic died while he was her responsibility, only to have his foster-sister Brunhild overhear and comfort the Hobbit lass by saying that Oderic would rather have died in this fashion than face execution or exile as a common criminal.

A bit later, the Fellowship is joined by Beorn who solemnly thanks them for their service and pledges them a favor for their aid in bringing to an end this threat to his people. Although the others decide to hold their favor for a later time, Amelia asks for Beorn to allow Oderic to be remembered as a hero to his people as the rest of the fallen Beornings will. Beorn is reluctant to fully agree, but says that he will allow it, but only after he is "tried" for the crime of Kinslaying, adding that since Oderic is not here to speak for himself, Amelia will be allowed to do it for him. If, during the "trial", Beorn is convinced that Oderic's heroism outweighed the Kinslaying that he would allow him to be remembered as a hero.

Given their ragged state, the Fellowship unanimously decided to take a Fellowship Phase to recover. Beorn invited them to stay as his guests and, after some debate (as opening The Old Ford as a sanctuary had some appeal), they decide to accept the offer.

--------------------------------------------

Apologies if this one ran a little long, but so did the session. The Fellowship had just made it back to The Old Ford and done some preparations (and reached Beorn's House) when our usual playtime was done, but I offered the option to continue on a bit longer and fight out the battle, which they accepted eagerly. I'll admit to taking some liberties with the flow of The Battle of the Old Ford for dramatic purposes, but the players didn't mind and loved the story. Vidar's player even commented that this level of excitement was more what he was accustomed to at the end of a campaign rather than the beginning and was wondering on how I plan to top this session!

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Agnot
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Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Agnot » Mon Apr 23, 2018 9:36 pm

Another excellent write-up! Don't worry about being long-winded. I love the read.
Wyrmling wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:20 pm
Believing that this may be a sign of some dissent within the bandit army, the trio quietly discuss what to do next. With the realization that Oderic's knowledge of the Beornings and their settlements may be significant enough to do the people of the Vales harm, there is some talk of assassinating him. Although Otar and Nur the Elder are willing to do so (with varying degrees of reluctance), Amelia is unwilling to contemplate murder. And once the consequences of such Misdeeds are explained, none are willing to undertake that course.
This sounds like you had some D&D-style players who were used to doing things the dastardly way. Good job letting them know there would be consequences for their actions.

I also take narrative liberties in big battles to keep them moving swiftly.

I'm loving the changes you've made in the story and look forward to reading more.

Wyrmling
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Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Wyrmling » Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:03 am

Thanks! Yeah, they try not to fall into the "murder hobo" stereotype, and usually succeed, but sometimes they stumble a bit. I'm also a big believer that no canned adventure survives contact with a group of PCs intact, so you have to be ready to roll with it. I'm just glad that they mentioned the possibility of sneaking into Valter's tent last time, so I had a chance to plan for it!

The Bout of Madness was unplanned too and Otar's player handled it great. My initial thought was to have him just try to carry it all out and increase their chances of getting caught, he was the one who suggested that he'd sit and try to count and polish it all first. I was also happy that Amelia's player thought of burning the tent down to force Otar to leave. She was also the one who went out of her way to try and talk some good Hobbit sense into Oderic once they were back at The Old Ford and genuinely felt bad when he died on her watch.

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Majestic
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Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Majestic » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:35 pm

Another outstanding summary!

Yes, no plan survives contact with the PCs, and yours gave you some excellent material to work with! Congrats on handling well your first Bout of Madness! :)
Adventure Summaries for my long-running group (currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood/Mirkwood Campaign), and the Tale of Years for a second, lower-level group (in the same campaign).

Wyrmling
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Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Wyrmling » Sat Apr 28, 2018 1:44 pm

Update from Friday (4/27)

Having decided to take their Fellowship Phase as guests of Beorn, the Fellowship then set about deciding what to do. There is some thought of trying to open Beorn’s House as a Sanctuary but, since I don’t think they’ve all impressed Beorn quite enough for that, I rule that I will allow it only if all of the other members of the Fellowship (excepting Amelia, who had already impressed Beorn sufficiently) call in their favors with Beorn. Deciding that having a giant bear-man owe favors might be a better choice, the rest of the Fellowship declines the offer. The Fellowship spends about a month as Beorn’s guests, bringing them to late June-early July.

Both Nur the Elder and Vidar opt for further “Heal Corruption” actions and exercise their Craft skills to make some upgrades to the surrounding farms and homesteads after Beorn declines their offer, saying that “My House is fine the way that it is!” Having his Shadow reset by his Bout of Madness, Otar opts to swap out his Smoking specialty for Old-lore as he spends more time listening to the old stories and legends told by Beorn and the occasional Beorning visitor. Amelia, seeing the value in having a good relationship with the landlord, opts for “Meet Patron” and visitors are treated to the oddly comical sight of the massive Beorn sitting on the porch in the evening, whittling while chatting with the much smaller Hobbit lass wreathed in pipe smoke. Nur the Younger chooses to expand his knowledge of Broken Spells to gain the maximum benefit.

For AP and XP expenditures, various Common Skills are raised (with Battle being a popular choice) and all but Amelia and Nur the Younger opt for increasing their weapon skills and the fields of clover surrounding Beorn’s House are the sight of frequent (mostly) good-natured sparring matches. Amelia (now with Valour 3) does participate, and Nur the Younger’s smith-craft puts a Keen edge on her King’s Blade. Nur the Younger opts to raise his Wisdom to 3 and forms a closer relationship to the Ravens of the Mountain.

The Fellowship also examines the papers that were taken from Valter’s chest and find that they are part of a self-aggrandizing journal kept by the outlaw chieftain. However, there are some disturbing mentions by Valter of making contact with a “dark spirit” who provided him with both treasure and arms to recruit and equip his band of outlaws. There is also reference to a disturbing ritual involving the mummified head that Otar and Amelia found, which allowed Valter to contact this spirit. Nur the Younger’s knowledge of smith-craft also allows him to identify the weapons used by some of the outlaws to be of good quality Mannish forging.

The issue of the Treasure that Otar seized from Valter’s chest becomes a bit of a sore point for both of the Nurs and Vidar, who feel the Treasure should be shared equally among everyone, but the matter is dropped for now. Amelia wisely chooses to keep silent about the share of Treasure that she’d stuffed into her pockets. I’m certain that the Shadowy nature of the Treasure has nothing to do with any of their decisions…

Not being a master of lore, Beorn isn’t able to provide them with much more insight about this “dark spirit”, but he does suggest that they may be able to glean more if they inquire of the Wizard Radagast. He has only occasional dealings with the Wizard himself, but he has always been a friend of all who oppose the Shadow and dwells not far to the south of their eventual destination of Woodland Hall.

The Fellowship also makes the acquaintance of one of Beorn’s most loyal retainers, Ennalda the Spear-Maiden. The relationship is fairly strained, as Ennalda has a strong dislike for “adventurous types” and treats the majority of the group with ill-concealed scorn and distrust. Amelia is able to win the woman’s grudging respect at least, thanks to her good nature and her later actions at The Carrock.

At the end of the Fellowship Phase, the Fellowship is called to The Carrock where Beorn fulfills his promise to hear arguments in the “trial” of the now-deceased Oderic. In addition to the Fellowship, several of Rathfic’s (the Man that Oderic slew) kin show up, in addition to Oderic’s foster-father (Helmgut) and foster-sister (Brunhild) and a representative from the village of Stonyford.

The “trial” starts with the village representative giving testimony as to how Oderic was always a difficult child who grew into a difficult young man. Although a skilled warrior, he was a poor war leader due to his focus on his own personal glory above that of others. That was the reason that Rathfic was chosen as the leader of the fighting men of Stonyford and given the hand of Brunhild. It was obvious to all in the village that either or both of these things weighed heavily on Oderic, making him even more sullen and withdrawn.
Helmgut and Brunhild said much the same thing, although Brunhild (being closest to Oderic), also elaborated further by saying that few in the village made an attempt to get to know Oderic better. She argued that by treating him as an outsider, they merely reinforced his attitudes. Helmgut was more apt to blame himself for failing his foster-son by not trying harder to get to know him. Everyone, even the village representative (if only grudgingly) acknowledged that Oderic was a skilled warrior and hunter and that he was a brave Man.

When the chance arrived for Amelia to defend Oderic, she spoke of his heroism in battle and the fact that, when the Fellowship was bringing him back to face justice, he asked to be let free so that he could try to go back to lead Valter and his outlaws into a trap. The Fellowship didn’t think this was wise, so they kept him captive. She didn’t try to downplay Oderic’s faults, even mentioning that, failing his request to be let free to deceive the outlaws, that the Fellowship free him and he would leave the Vales and never return. She emphasized his valor and skill in battle and his role in breaking the outlaw army’s line to get to Valter. Her final argument was that while Valter had indeed done a crime by killing Rathfic, he had tried to atone by fighting for his people and that should weigh against his crimes.

After the arguments, Beorn dismissed everyone so that he could deliberate and Amelia chatted with Brunhild and Helmgut, both of whom were grateful for the words of the Hobbit lass and said that Amelia was welcome in their home at any time. Then they were all called back to hear Beorn’s decision. His ruling was that Oderic’s heroism and sacrifice did not entirely weigh out against the crime of Kinslaying. Since he was dead, there was no further punishment or weregild that could be levied against him, so that matter was moot. However, Beorn did show that his decision was influenced by the testimony of Amelia and Brunhild and, because of this, he would allow any of Oderic’s friends and kin to hold a funeral for the boy, but that he would not be memorialized among those who had fallen at The Battle of the Old Ford. Oderic had already been buried of course, but without ceremony. Now, his kin and friends could have a more formal feast and wake for him.

Although she didn’t get the full result she wanted, Amelia was content with the outcome and she, Helmgut and Brunhild arranged a small feast and ceremony to commemorate Oderic. Out of respect, the other members of the Fellowship attended the solemn affair as well. I will also note that Beorn’s regard and respect for Amelia grew a not inconsiderable amount due to her actions and that several of his people followed suit. Hobbits (adventurous or not), will likely find Beorn a somewhat more hospitable host in the future.

It’s in early June that the Fellowship sets forth and has an easy trip through Beorning lands and stopping at The Old Ford for a few days at one leg of the journey before continuing on, skirting the eaves of Mirkwood before plunging in to make for Woodland Hall. Once there, they quickly make contact with Bofri, son of Bofur. Catching up on events and gossip, they learn that Bofri has been traveling throughout the Vales to get “the lay of the land” and broach the subject of restoring the Old Forest Road with the various cultures in the Anduin Vales, while seeing what resources the Vales have to offer. He has visited the Old Ford, Mountain Hall and Woodmen Town thus far and he and one of his companions are guests of Ingomer Axebreaker, the very unofficial ruler of Woodland Hall, for some weeks now.

He has two other companions, both of whom he sent on a trip to the south (Nether) Vales to gather more info while he works to curry favor with Ingomer, as the man’s word carries great weight with the Woodmen. All the members of the Fellowship, including Amelia, see some value in Bofri’s plans and agree to help him with any tasks he may have in re-opening the Road.

The Fellowship spends a few days in Woodland Hall as well, with Nur the Elder and Otar fascinated by the wooden carvings within the Hall itself and vowing to come back at a later time to study them in more detail. Nur the Younger helps Bofri compile a report, which he sends back to Erebor via the wings of his new raven friend. Once the messenger returns, they decide to continue south to Rhosgobel to meet with Radagast, as per Beorn’s suggestion.

Intending to stop and see Woodmen Town along the way, they opt to travel through the Western Eaves and retain the services of a guide. The trip is relatively uneventful, although the Fellowship gets caught in a vicious and unexpected summer downpour and chooses to stay a day at Woodmen Town to dry out. They also reconnect with Baldor and Belgo, the merchant and son that they escorted through the Grey Mountain Narrows, and both are doing well. Baldor is planning to make a return trip before the end of Fall and the Fellowship shows some interest in possibly escorting him back to Dale, making tentative plans to meet back up with the pair at The Easterly Inn.

Continuing on to Rhosgobel, they are allowed entry when they say they have come to speak with Radagast. The Woodmen are mostly hospitable, but evasive as to when they will be allowed to see the Wizard, saying that “he does things in his own time.” Nur the Younger tries to force the issue a bit by getting directions to the Wizard’s home (“follow the white stone path into the grove”, only to have it lead him in circles and he gives up in exasperation. After a few more days of waiting, they are awakened by the knocking of a woodpecker who clearly wants them to follow.

Leading them along the same path that Nur the Younger had tried just days before, they arrive at Radagast’s rambling home in a secluded grove of trees. Entering the house, they see a disorganized and jumbled pile of old books and scrolls, piles of clothing that mice and crows are nesting in and garden tools and herbs hanging from the rafters. The Brown Wizard himself appears to be an old man with an auburn-white beard, tattered and patched robe and battered hat stuffed with twigs and feathers.

Radagast offers them water, bread and fruit and asks their business. As they explain about the rumors they’d heard and papers that they found and the references to a “dark spirit”, Radagast listens ever more intently, asking a few questions for clarification at several points. Once they’re done, Radagast takes a few moments to ponder before saying that the matter is something that he’ll have to look into and thanks the Fellowship for bringing it to his attention before turning to feeding some of his animals and tending some of his plants.

With the distinct impression that they’ve been absent-mindedly dismissed, the Fellowship leaves Radagast’s home and the grove. Once out of earshot of the Brown Wizard, they discuss their impressions and it is generally decided that Radagast the Brown is definitely no Gandalf the Grey. Not by a long shot!

Leaving the next day, the Fellowship’s intentions is to make for Woodland Hall again to see if Bofri has any tasks that they can help with. Failing that, the plan is to head for Mountain Hall to see the Woodmen’s excavations firsthand and then perhaps back up to the Grey Mountain Narrows to scout the area with a future eye towards tasks that need to be done to reclaim the Greydelve.

The return trip is uneventful and another visit with Bofri solidifies their intention to visit Mountain Hall once he begins to describe the likely need for further stone and materials for road repairs. Shouldering their packs once again, the Fellowship heads back to the Old Ford, arriving in early August.

To their surprise, Gelvira Pot-stirrer has a letter waiting for Amelia! She explains that it was delivered some days ago by a Beorning who was passing through the area from the north. The letter is from Amelia’s brother-in-law and the owner/proprietor of The Easterly Inn, Dody Brandybuck. It seems that Dody had heard from a small party of passing Dwarves that the High Pass through the Misty Mountains may have become more perilous due to increased goblin activity.

Dody’s concern is that his brother Dindy, one of the other investor/owners in The Easterly Inn, was coming back from The Shire with a small caravan of vital supplies for The Easterly Inn (round doors, candlesticks and (most importantly) several kegs of Shire beer) and is several weeks overdue. Naturally, Dody is concerned about his brother-in-law’s safety and would Amelia, “Seeing as to how she has taken up with a band of traveling adventurers who wander throughout the Wilderlands, be ever so kind as to inquire about or investigate the conditions in the High Pass as well as keep an eye out for the aforementioned Dody? And, in the event that he is experiencing some degree of difficulty, could she convince her traveling companions to come to the aid of the younger Brandybuck? Should monetary recompense be requested, Dody and Agatha have the utmost confidence in your understanding of our financial situation and negotiate favourable terms for said aid.”

Queries to the inhabitants and the travelers at the Old Ford did indeed turn up some disturbing news and rumors that Orc and Goblin activity had been on the rise within the Misty Mountains of late and that several of the travelers had the distinct impression that they had been watched or followed while passing through the High Pass.


So, it appears that the Fellowship’s plans to visit Mountain Hall may be delayed for a bit…

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Mim
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Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Mim » Tue May 01, 2018 9:38 am

I really enjoy reading your summaries, you sound as if you're having a great time!

Wyrmling
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:06 pm

Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Wyrmling » Wed May 02, 2018 1:36 pm

Thanks and yeah, we're having a great time so far!

It helps that three of us are really big fans of LOTR who have been reading the books since we were kids. The only one who hasn't read the books at all is Amelia's player (Anna), but she is planning to rectify that and she has seen the movies.

Wyrmling
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:06 pm

Re: Re-taking the Greydelve

Post by Wyrmling » Sat May 05, 2018 7:02 pm

Update from (5/4)

Crossing at The Old Ford, the Fellowship began their trek along the road. Their hope was that they would encounter either Dindy's caravan or travelers through the High Pass who could confirm whether the Pass was dangerous or not. If they talked to someone who could calm their fears, they would turn south and head for Mountain Hall. Otherwise, they would continue to the Pass and see what conditions were like for themselves.

They encounter no travelers the first day out and the summer heat makes the travel uncomfortable for Amelia and Nur the Younger. As they set up camp for the night, a lone Man walked up to the camp and, without so much as a "by your leave", sat down by their fire, pulled off his battered boots and held his reeking feet up close to the fire. The Fellowship's astonishment didn't last too long before they began to confront the stranger, who introduced himself with the dubious moniker of "Shanker". They began to question him about his travels and he revealed that he had indeed just come from the Pass where he'd met "one of those little fellers" and to emphasize what he meant, he pointed with the stem of a pipe towards Amelia.

Shanker explained that he'd met a Hobbit leading a caravan throught the Pass and that he'd bought the pipe and some pipe-weed from him. When pressed, he admitted that he'd seen signs that Orcs and Goblins were active within the Pass. He also admitted, with a shrug, that he hadn't mentioned this to the Hobbit. Or to the Man who was the head of the guards because he had been suspicious and contemptuous of him from the star. He also figured that he himself would have an easier time making it through the Pass if the focus was on the caravan, so he had picked up the pace and left the caravan a few days behind him.

Although Nur the Elder and Vidar wanted to punish Shanker for his callousness, the others argued that he'd done no actual crime. Instead, they drove him from their camp and threatened that they'd best never see him again. With growing concern, the Fellowship bedded down for a restless night's sleep, intending to get an early start.

The second day's travel was uneventful and, seeing some ruined walls and signs of previous campsites, the Fellowship decides to bed down in these ruins for the night despite Amelia's eerie feelings about the site. Finding a better campsite would likely take hours and delay them from setting off early in the morn. After the comforting ritual of setting up camp, including setting watches, Amelia's fears appear unjustified and they settle in for sleep.

On Vidar's watch, he feels an overwhelming urge to sleep, barely managing to avoid falling asleep on watch! Sensing that something is up, he groggily wakes the rest of the Fellowship, each of whom feels equally disoriented. Nur the Elder's eyes may be old, but the veteran is able to pick out a shadowy figure lurking at the edge of the camp. When they move to confront it, they see that it is the terrifying apparition composed of darkness and shadows save for two dimly glowing orbs where eyes would be, wearing ancient armor and carrying a wicked barbed spear.

The Fellowship, still fighting the effects of sleep, launch an attack against the apparition, but find that the wight is a formidable opponent, with their weapons seeming to pass with minimal effect through the creature. After several inconclusive rounds, Nur the Younger plays a hunch brought on by Rhymes of Lore and picks up a smoldering brand from the campfire and attacks, causing the creature to recoil. Taking the hint, Vidar summons every scrap of fire-making ability that he has to cause the small fire to flare up again while the others hold the wight at bay with brands of their own. Once the fire is burning more brightly and daunted by the prospect of more actively flaming brands, the wight flees the campsite. Although there is a brief discussion of chasing after it, the Fellowship decides not to push their good fortune by following the apparition into the darkness beyond the camp. Instead, the party decides to keep the fire blazing brightly throughout the night despite the warmth of the summer night as they settle down to try and grab a few more hours of sleep before dawn.

After a (much too small according to Amelia) small breakfast, the Fellowship makes their best time into the Pass. Around mid-day, the hunting skills of Otar find Goblin-tracks and a terrified pony with a Goblin-arrow sticking from his hind-quarters. With ever growing concern, the Fellowship pushes on and as the sun sets to twilight, they see a massive bonfire on a nearby hilltop. Initially approaching with caution, that is thrown to the wind once they realize that they've found Dindy's caravan!

Although Dindy himself is near paralyzed with fright, he has a few words of greeting Amelia. It is from his Beorning guide, Iwgar Longleg, that they learn the most. Having got a late start from Bree, the caravan headed into the High Pass. They had not heard of any trouble in the Pass, so they were not making haste as the waggons were heavily laden with stores and supplies for The Easterly Inn. They confirmed that they had met up with Shanker, who Iwgar had taken a disliking to almost immediately, and that he had taken off early the following morning with some haste. It was only two nights ago that Iwgar had begun to see signs that the caravan was being shadowed and spied upon and he'd tried to make haste, but their time had run out.

Just last night, a band of Orcs and Goblins had attacked their camp, but had been driven off. Their had been no loss of life, but they had lost several ponies and waggons in addition to supplies. Realizing that another attack would come at nightfall and that they would not be able to make it out of the Pass in time, Iwgar had opted for "circling the waggons" at a defensible spot and trying to weather another attack. Fate had been with them and they'd found this spot, apparently an old fortification of some sort with eroded, but still serviceable, earthen embankments and they'd stopped her to prepare for the attack. A quick check of the defenses by the veteran eye of Nur the Elder revealed that this was "a better spot than most" for a stand.

True to expectations, as the sun set and shadows lengthened, bands of Orcs and Goblins began to scurry out of various nooks and crannies and muster for an attack. A hasty battle plan was set, with the Fellowship taking one part of the defenses and Iwgar and the Men that he'd hired at Bree as caravan guards took another. Dindy, not the adventurous type of Hobbit like Amelia, was given the job of making sure the fire was kept as bright and big as possible.

Before the battle began, a large Orc (obviously the leader), stepped out from the throng of his fellows and shouted an offer for the defenders to throw down their weapons and surrender. He promised that if they did, he would let some of them go. One of the guards immediately threw down his weapons and tried to surrender, causing uproarious laughter from the Orcs and Goblins, but Vidar kept him from climbing over the fortifications and surrendering, giving what he hoped was an Inspiring speech to stand and fight.

When it became obvious to the throng of Orc-kind that there would be no further attempts to surrender, they launched their attack! The fighting was intense, with several of the smaller Goblins abandoning their bows for knives and being driven into the fray by their larger Orc kin. Despite being outnumbered, the Fellowship was able to withstand the first wave or two of attacks with only a few bruises and scratches. Indeed, Nur the Elder in particular seemed to relish the chance to swing his mattock against the hated foes as he and Vidar took their place within the thick of battle. Nur the Younger,in the rearguard firing arrows, was himself struck by a Goblin arrow that was launched as harassing fire as the waves withdrew.

The Men seemed not to fare as well in the first waves of attacks. Indeed, when the first Goblins had reached them, the young Man who had thrown down his weapons before did so again and pleaded for his life with the Goblins. A pair of snickering Goblins dragged him from the embankment and slit his throat in full view, disheartening several of the Men. Another died in the second wave, but Iwgar was able to rally them with a blow that beheaded one of the attacking Orcs for the third wave!

For the Fellowship, the third wave saw Amelia and Otar splitting away from the defense to deal with a few Goblins that had managed to sneak over the walls of the embankment and into the camp to attack the defenders from behind. With that distraction dealt with, the rest of the Fellowship made short work of the main force of the attackers.

For the final wave Ubhurz, the Orc leader himself charged into the fray, pushing his way forward to meet Nur the Elder in combat. As combat whirled around them, the old Dwarf and the Orc launched blows at one another and Nur the Elder staggered as Ubhurz was able to wound him. The wound came at a cost though, as it left an opening for Nur the Elder to deal a killing blow to Ubhurz, who fell with a crushed chest.

With their leader killed, the rest of the attackers fled, leaving the defenders victorious! Although the rest of the Fellowship was concerned about his wound, Nur the Elder shrugged it off as little more than a scratch compared to wounds received in the past. As they began to recover from the fight, Nur the Elder waxed nostalgic about his younger days fighting in the War of Vengeance and about how fortunate that they'd only been fighting "mountain maggots" instead of the "really nasty buggers" that had all been wiped out in "the old days".

A quick count after the battle revealed that two of the Men had died and that one other was Wounded. Iwgar had come through the battle without harm and had fought well. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Dindy! A hurried check of the camp revealed that he'd apparently been carried off by some of the Goblins who had sneaked into the rear of the encampment and that they had hustled him off through a here-to-fore undiscovered underground passage leading into the ringfort. It had been too small for all but a Hobbit or the smallest of Goblins, which was why they had apparently not used it in force during their attacks.

Following the Goblin trail leads to a small crevasse which seems to lead to a series of tunnels into the Mountains. Nur the Elder and Vidar's knowledge of Orcs and Goblins assures them that they'll likely keep the poor Hobbit alive for at least a while as a captive slave. The Fellowship decides to press on into the tunnels to follow the Goblins and rescue the Hobbit from their clutches.

Iwgar offers to accompany them, but the Dwarves explain that, despite his obvious valor and prowess, he would be a liability in the tunnels. They'll travel faster and fight better, as this was the type of warfare the Dwarves were made for after all! Instead, Iwgar is to gather what waggons and supplies he can and head out of the Mountains and for the Old Ford. Although there is some talk of having Amelia accompany him, she adamantly refuses, threatening to follow them if they try to leave her behind!

So, the Fellowship readied themselves to plunge into the depths...

-------------------------------------

We finished up a bit early this time, which balanced out running over last time, since two of the players had plans to go out of town the following day for a vacation and wanted to get an early start. Breaking right before they headed into the depths seemed like a good stopping point.

The players enjoyed this session immensely and all seemed especially delighted with heading underground next time. That's where Dwarves excel, right?! Our game next week is pushed back to Saturday, as I will be out of town myself next Friday and our vacationing players will have only just got back from vacation earlier that day.

Also, on an amusing note, if anyone is planning to run "Of Leaves And Stewed Hobbit" in the future, I suggest that they may want to rename the Orc leader. Apparently, "Ubhurz" sounded really close to "Uber" which led to lots and lots of wisecracks about Nur being an "Uber Slayer" and stuff like, "Hey Nur! Your Uber is here!" :)

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