[Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

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/
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Majestic
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Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by Majestic » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:46 pm

Fantastic summary, and the previous comments are spot-on: intense was exactly the word I would use to describe it! Well done!

Having images/drawings of the characters really helps when visualizing these PCs that we as readers don't know very well. So when Grimbold fell I was like "NOOOO!!!" That was a great idea to use a former PC as the body the Gibbet King possessed; I'm sure that made it all the more personal for the PCs!

Now I'm going to go read over my own summary for the Crossing!
Adventure Summaries of our campaign, currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood

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Rich H
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Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by Rich H » Fri Jan 19, 2018 9:55 am

Majestic wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:46 pm
Fantastic summary, and the previous comments are spot-on: intense was exactly the word I would use to describe it! Well done!

Having images/drawings of the characters really helps when visualizing these PCs that we as readers don't know very well. So when Grimbold fell I was like "NOOOO!!!" That was a great idea to use a former PC as the body the Gibbet King possessed; I'm sure that made it all the more personal for the PCs!
Cheers M, it did add some tension to the encounter; the players and their characters fear turned to anger because of it so I suspect that was quite different to how it usually goes in other peoples' games. I'm a little annoyed that I couldn't remember the exact conversation from the game to post here - all the more reason to do updates when the game is fresh in the memory! :evil:
TOR resources thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=62
TOR miniatures thread: viewtopic.php?t=885

Fellowship of the Free Tale of Years: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8318

Scarytincan
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Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by Scarytincan » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:37 pm

Any new updates? :p I pester because my group is right at about the same part and it's nice to have a read through of how some parts run going in :) and of course goes without saying at this point because ur alterations and additions are freaking awesome and I enjoy reading...

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Rich H
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Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by Rich H » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:10 pm

Scarytincan wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:37 pm
Any new updates? :p I pester because my group is right at about the same part and it's nice to have a read through of how some parts run going in :) and of course goes without saying at this point because ur alterations and additions are freaking awesome and I enjoy reading...
Just waiting for my players to finish the final adventure. Will give you a sneak peek of Thogrim's introduction to Raenar though:

Some say my home is lonely, but I don’t find it so,
I am wayfinder, cliff diver, head carver, arrow runner, the champion with a prize of serpents,
I am the second gate, rider in the air, watcher of the tower,
I travelled from Grey to Brown to White and back,
I have served bear and been served by dogs,
I came away unscathed from the darkest bight in Wilderland and abided in shadows even before my father was born.

:)
TOR resources thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=62
TOR miniatures thread: viewtopic.php?t=885

Fellowship of the Free Tale of Years: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8318

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Rich H
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Location: Sheffield, UK

Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by Rich H » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:11 am

Adventuring Phase: The Watch on the Heath (Part One), Grim Tidings and the Journey North
Early Winter 2951
Leaving a force of men and dwarves at the Celduin Crossing to aid in rebuilding the village, the companions return to Dale with the victorious King Bard and the rest of his army. On the day of their return they are met by Ori, one of the companions of Thorin Oakenshield, who has been sent with a message; their presence is required by King Dain at the Lonely Mountain.

Travelling the short distance north, they are escorted to the hall of the King. Where Dain introduces the three companions to one of his Lorekeepers; an old dwarf named Munin, who relates to them news of how the merchant, Lockmand, requested access to the hall of records in order to search for information about the dwarven outpost of Zirakinbar. Refusing his request, they thought no more of it until the events in Dale during the Festival of Five Armies and when Munin discovered a book had been misplaced and, upon further investigation, realised a page had been ripped from it – a map relating to the watchtower.

With the news that Lockmand had been captured but found dead in his cell, with no cause identified, King Dain is concerned that the plans of the enemy still have some purpose and relate to Zirakinbar in some way, and tasks the companions to investigate and travel north. He allows them to take the book from which the map was taken in order to learn any secrets of the place which may aid in their investigations.

Provisioned for their journey, the company leave by the northern postern gate and head out into the Grey Waste; already their mood darkens as their thoughts turn to the last time they were here and the madness of Thogrim. For days they navigate a path through the grey and broken land, Thogrim and Brand each night uncovering a further secret from the Book of Zirakinbar. Avoiding the sharp and misshapen stones littered throughout the Waste, they eventually reach the circle of stones where last they had reclaimed Bard’s arrow. Wishing to avoid this place and its memories they circumvent it and come across of scar in the land which leads into a gully.

Within this gully, Iwgar spies a fallen orc who look to have broken his neck from the way he is laid. A trail of footprints to and from the corpse reveals many iron shod boots have passed through this gully with some deeper than others; showing a great burden was being carried by some.

As Iwgar investigates, Brand notices the eyes of the fallen orc glowing slightly, its head moving as Iwgar returns to his companions, climbing the slope; the eyes going dim when Brand shoots an arrow into the orc’s breast. As Iwgar shares his thoughts on what he found, he notices a figure, stood at the edge of the stone circle behind them but beckoning towards the three to approach. Approaching the figure, they realise it must be the shade of the old Master of Lake Town; his weather torn cloak blowing in an unseen wind; he only speaks to them after they have introduced themselves, although he wails, his voice is almost a whisper on the wind:

“Come closer so I may see thee! My eyes dim in this darkness and storm! They took my treasure, my share of gold thrice-cursed. They brought it all here, my coins, my cups, my strings of rings. “Thrice-cursed, I call it. First, it made the Dwarves greedy and drew their doom upon their heads. Then, it consumed Smaug the Dreadful and made him weak. Finally, it made me blind to the joys of life, and turned me into an oath-breaker.”

When asked who took it and when, the Master’s reply is confused; seeming to mix up events and people into one memory:

“I do not know, for night has become day where I lie in unrest. They betrayed me and took my treasure; the betrayer betrayed! Since then I have slept the restless sleep. And then I saw Orcs, such Orcs as I have not seen before. Travelling north towards the mountains and carrying a heavy chain with dark magic upon it and a thing that walks in Shadow!”

The companions ask what can be done for the Master:

“There is nought to aid me! Forever am I doomed here, trapped until my curse can be lifted! Let my actions be a warning to others! Heed what I have done! Do not make those same mistakes!”

The shade grows silent then and the fellowship continue, reaching the foothills of the Grey Mountains at the beginning of the second week of their journey; looking back and seeing the Master watching them, trapped within his circle of stones…

As the companions climb the foothills, storm clouds gathering, they discuss further the words of the master concluding that the Gibbet King, his chain, and the master’s gold have all headed north. Thorgrim remembers the words from the Book of Zirakinbar regarding the ability of dragons to smell gold… Agreeing that the Gibbet King is planning to bring a dragon south, Iwgar recalls the words spoken when, many moons ago, he spied the Gibbet King and his servants within the ancient temple atop the Dwimmerhorn:

“The Chain is useless to us, unless we master its secrets. We must bide our time, until we can strike with the greatest weapon in all of Middle-earth.”

The company now realise that their initial assumptions were incorrect; they believed the chain to be some kind of weapon but it is clear now it is but a tool; a tool whose secrets can allow them to strike with the greatest weapon in all of Middle-earth: a dragon. The Gibbet King means to capture a dragon!

As this revelation takes root in the hearts of the companions it is as if the sky and land turn against them; the darkness brewing in the sky takes on a foreboding aspect and makes travelling perilous as they slip and slide on loose shale and stone. Eventually reaching the heights of the mountains they hear rumbling within them. Quickly this turn to the sound of crashing rock as the company find themselves in the path of an avalanche. Thogrim and Iwgar evade this terrifying assault but Brand is caught, a rock crushing his ribs. Finding a dell within the mountain side, and treating Brand’s wound, the companions shelter for what is left of the day and sleep through the night. Beset by dark dreams, Brand awakes in the early hours of the morning and tells his friends what he has foreseen. Dreaming, he heard the Master speak to him again:

“Now the graven silver and carven gold will be offered to the plunderer, the slithering death. A precious lure to call him, an iron trap to chain him, and then unleash him upon the North. Already, his cold breath blows from the North. He is coming! He is coming!”

Deeply disturbed by the visions, Iwgar suggests that they should in fact turn back, for they are in no condition to face these trials. As he speaks, Brand quietly packs his possessions and sets out up the mountain’s side, continuing the journey. Iwgar has his answer as Thogrim, grumbles something incoherent and follows the Barding.

Passing through a gorge of high rock walls, the company emerges in sight of the watchtower. There it stands, carved by the Dwarves out of the living rock, atop the peak of Zirakinbar. A narrow mountain road leads up to the main gate of the watchtower. As the fellowship approaches, they see the many empty windows of the tower. Smoke issues from the upper levels. The watchtower is occupied once more.

Taking cover behind a rocky outcropping, the words of the Master are recalled again:

“Now the graven silver and carven gold will be offered to the plunderer, the slithering death. A precious lure to call him, an iron trap to chain him, and then unleash him upon the North. Already, his cold breath blows from the North. He is here! He is here!

And approaching from the North, the companions catch sight of a plume of dust moving southwards towards the watchtower and the iron trap which would chain a dragon...

LM Notes
Thought best to divide this into two parts due to the size of the post/write-up!

The journey rules I use again worked really well for this as the opening Journey Disposition (result: Fell and Foreboding Start) and closing resolution of the Journey's End (result: Inspired and Filled With Hope) really added to the overall experience:
A Fell and Foreboding Start
The company sets out under a pall of doom. A sense of foreboding and oppressive menace seems to loom at every turn and misfortune appears to dog their steps. Tasks seem harder, and will remain so until the feeling of doom can be shaken off.

As a result, each character must make a Corruption test as they set out upon this journey; failing gains one point of temporary Shadow.

Inspired and Filled With Hope
The Journey has served to reaffirm the company's dedication to their struggles and to their bonds with each other. Together they have weathered hardships, faced dangers and persevered and their faith in themselves and each other seems unshakeable.

As a result, each member of the company may remove up to 2 points of temporary Shadow.
I decided to leave out Witherfinger and have more of an encounter with the Master's Shade, using information within the Witherfinger encounter for use in this one. I felt including the Master rather than a strange encounter was more in keeping with what the adventure related to - ie, the past mistakes of men and the threat to the northern lands of the dwarves, Bardings and Lakemen. I think it was fairly easy to justify the Master's Shade being able to sense the evil of the chain and the spirit of the Gibbet King. I liked it as well in the way I weaved his thoughts into Brand's dream later on which was a basic Corruption Hazard - I just decided to add some specific information to.

The house rules I use for Wounds, to make them a little more mechanically significant/important, worked really well here too; and will prove so in part two. Iwgar's player really played up on his temporary Shadow as well; he was very close to being Miserable (just a point or two of Hope usage or Shadow gain away) and so decided to express doubts about continuing. I really liked how Brand's player dealt with it - ie, rather than discussing, he simply and quietly packed up his gear and continued northwards! :)

I also left out the encounter with the Snow Trolls. I'm not keen on how the Stealth rolls/results were handled in that encounter and didn't feel the adventure needed a (potential) fight at this point in the proceedings. Anyway, the players described how cautious they were being as they made their way through the gorge so I just described how dark and ominous the caves there looked; and what potential horrors could lay in wait. This worked fine!

The real highlight of this first part was the players' revelation about the Chain of Thangorodrim; the fact, with a little prodding, they pieced together information from previous adventures was really cool. Love it when stuff like that happens. This and the stuff to do with Mansbane are the real highlights of the campaign for me; as a GM and player I love this kind of foreshadowing.

Anyway, that's it for part one. We're very nearly at the end!

Next: The Watch on the Heath (Part Two), Raenar and the Gibbet King
TOR resources thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=62
TOR miniatures thread: viewtopic.php?t=885

Fellowship of the Free Tale of Years: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8318

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