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

Post by Varon » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:53 am

This is an awesome campaign, I especially like how you modify and adapt the existing campaign to do it better. Mansbane especially.

I'm getting ready to start an AIME campaign in the next few weeks and your ideas are great. Is it alright if I use some of your ideas and the like to mine?
Company of the Seven Stars: viewtopic.php?f=60&t=10326

And even so it came to pass; but it is not said that Húrin asked ever of Morgoth either mercy or death, for himself or for any of his kin. Children of Hurin

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

Post by Rich H » Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:35 am

Hi Varon, thanks for the awesome feedback and of course you can use it as much as you like. If you need any advice then just PM me; I can potentially provide more information about things.

I do need to do some updates too, so thanks for bumping this thread! :)
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

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

Post by Vuriche » Mon Dec 04, 2017 8:57 pm

Rich H wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:35 am
I do need to do some updates too, so thanks for bumping this thread! :)
Yes, we are waiting. :mrgreen: Patiently so, of course. This is such a great read and source of inspiration.

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

Post by Varon » Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:09 pm

Awesome, thank you! Once I get into the nitty-gritty part of starting the campaign, I will probably end up needing your advice. This is a very different kind of game compared to usual.

And yes, I'm with Vuriche. We're waiting excitedly.

Honestly, it's better than following a television show.
Company of the Seven Stars: viewtopic.php?f=60&t=10326

And even so it came to pass; but it is not said that Húrin asked ever of Morgoth either mercy or death, for himself or for any of his kin. Children of Hurin

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

Post by Scarytincan » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:09 pm

(twiddles thumbs in eagerly - awaiting - next - update - ese...)

:mrgreen:

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

Post by Rich H » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:17 pm

Apologies! I am working on some updates over the next few days to bring me up-to-date for when my game starts up on Friday.
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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Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by Rich H » Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:36 pm

Adventuring Phase: Between the Grey and the Green
Spring 2951
The companions deliberate whether to introduce themselves, and visit, the tower of the elf; eventually deciding not to do so at this point in time. They find out her name, Rodwen, from those Woodmen she was seen trading with and plan to procure a gift of some kind for her at Dale for to introduce themselves more favourably in the future.

They decide a return to Dale is overdue and prepare to leave in order to arrive for the next Festival of the Five Armies in November. Travelling north adjacent to the western eaves of Mirkwood the company’s path leads them through dark places and violent storms make it seem like the very land has turned against. However, despite these tests, the fellowship arrives in determined spirits and replenish their provisions at the Easterly Inn, spending some time with the hobbits there and sharing news with the patrons they encounter, before continuing into the land of the Viglundings, toiling across the many leagues but avoiding encounters with these enemies of Beorn and his folk.

Approaching the huge standing stone that marks the entrance to the narrows between Mirkwood and the Grey Mountains they spot a raven alighting upon its height. Introducing itself as Aecric, faithful messenger of the Stonehammer’s; he informs Thogrim that his grandfather, Thorsturn, has taken to his bed and that if he wishes to pay his respects and visit the ancient dwarf then he should visit him before the end of summer. Hastening the pace of the companions, Thorgirm leads them through the narrows the Grey Mountains towering over them to the north with the green trees of Mirkwood to their south. It is not long into their journey before they spot a number of spiders shadowing their path eastwards but never straying from the cover of the great forest; trailing the company for a number of days the fellowship eventually decides to move further north to avoid any encounter and accept that the weather may worsen due to this.

The weather worsens with the air noticeably turning colder and about halfway across the narrows the company encounter Tholin the Trader; the seasoned dwarf shares news with the companions that he has spotted signs of snow trolls within the narrows, likely venturing south due to the uncommonly cold weather. Forewarned, they continue their journey… It is not long before they are beset by snow blizzards and on a particularly cold night, one week from their meeting with Tholin, their camp is attacked by a snow troll. The ferocious creature does nothing to hide his approach but the heroes’ arrows and spears bounce off its tough hide as it violently assaults the companions. The battle is short but brutal and even though the creature is defeated both Brand and Iwgar lay unconscious but otherwise unharmed. Not wishing to tarry and risk inviting further attacks, the company push eastwards, keen to leave behind the narrows.

Beset by numerous challenges during their journey, but gratefully alive, the companions camp on the borders of the Dalelands at the East Gap, sheltered by a large standing stone. It is in the dark of the night that their watch spies a rider approaching their fire. Roused, and although suspicious, the company introduce themselves to Farmann, who dismounts and quietly sits beside the fire, rubbing his hands close to the flame; a hoary old warrior, haggard-looking and wearing a weather-beaten cloak he mentions that he cannot stay for long, for he has a duty to perform, however he does mention a rainstorm approaches and the company should find shelter before mid-afternoon tomorrow. Invited to warm himself for the night, Farmann thanks them and drifts into sleep; by morning there is no sign of the strange traveller and no-one on watch recalls his departure.

Breaking camp, and wisely heeding Farmann’s warning about the weather, they scout upon an old farmhouse where they find shelter against the early summer deluge; later heading into the prosperous Dalelands where they arrive at the village of Galford spending time at the Lantern inn where they hear a tale of the Wandering Ghost, an old man searching for his lost family.

The rest of the journey is uneventful, and at the foot of the Lonely Mountain, Thogrim bids farewell to Iwgar, Brand and Grimbold though promising to return to Dale before summer’s end.

LM Notes
As well as using my new house rules for Journeys, which worked really well, I deliberately put a battle with a snow troll in this journey to test how the PCs coped. These can be encountered in the last adventure found in Tales from Wilderland before reaching the final scene and I wanted to check just how dangerous that could be. I think encountering one here will mean the players do everything they can to avoid such creatures in the future! Lots of great material from C7's supplements was used to make this a pretty memorable journey for all, especially Farmann; I love those kind of encounteres.


Fellowship Phase: Goodbye Grandfather
Summer 2951
Thogrim returns to his ancestral homes within the Iron Hills, where he finds his grandfather feverish and not long for this world. Mistaking him for his father, his grandfather requests to hold his ancient axe one final time, which Thorgrim grants, and soon after the old dwarf finds his final peace surrounded by his two grandsons and other family members, axe clutched to his breast.

Brand, Iwgar and Grimbold return to Dale, recuperating from their travels. Here, Brand shares news with his father, Bern, and the Bard; telling the king of the many concerns in the lands beyond. During this time, the companions reacquaint themselves with Belgo, the once young boy is now quickly growing into a young man within Bern’s household and has dreams of fighting for Bard and joining his Royal Guard.

It is late summer when Thogrim returns and shortly afterwards the fellowship is summoned by Kind Bard to his palace court.

LM Notes
Thorgrim's player played out the encounter with his family and grandfather, narrating the general tone and events therein with just a few embellishments from myself and suggestions from others. I think it went pretty well and means that Thogrim and his older brother Thogrund are the only surviving males of their line.

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

Post by Rich H » Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:41 pm

Adventuring Phase: The Black Arrow
Late Summer 2951
The fellowship is called to the court in Dale at the request of Bard in order to seek out his most-prized family heirloom, the Black Arrow, that sent Smaug to his ruin and was subsequently lost in the destruction of old Lake-town. Bard has long desired the return of the Black Arrow and with the approach of the second Festival of the Five Armies, word reached him that the arrow had been reclaimed.

The companions are sent to question Holgeir, a pickpocket who was apprehended in the Market Square, and who claims to know the resting place of Lake-town’s old Master and suggests that the Master possessed the Black Arrow. He shares with the fellowship the tale of his time in the company of the old Master, as well as the rough path the old Master took into the Waste. There is also mention of a dwarf who the Master visited on a number of occasions before departing.

The companions visit Trugdel, an old Dwarven smith that met the old Master shortly before he departed into the Waste. Having managed to negotiate their way past his able and protective assistant, Nogo, they discover that the Master had requested information about the whereabouts of an old dwarven outpost named Zirakinbar; Trugdel told him that he believed it lay to the north in the Grey Mountains upon the edge of the Withered Heath but he had never heard of it being reclaimed since the vanquish of Smaug.

Travel through the Upper Marches is relatively easy. Since Dale’s re-founding, many farmers have settled here and the landscape is dotted with their fields and homesteads. This area was never desolated by Smaug and so has remained a rough, but fertile and verdant country. Following the rough map drawn by Holgeir, the companions turn north. Slowly the green grasses and shrubs of the Marches give way to parched, stony soil and dead vegetation. Abruptly, the Waste is upon them and the fellowship endures a punishing journey deep into this desolate wasteland, comprised of ash and sand and whose horizon is dotted with piles of sharp, misshapen stones; a broken land which saps the strength from their hearts as well as the limbs.

Fighting off a pack of craven and desperate Wargs, the companions eventually reach a circle of standing stones; the resting place of the old Master. As they approach, a fierce wind blows out of the Grey Mountains, as if trying to push them away but quickly dies as they step into the ring of stones that marks the Master’s grave; left with just an eerie, deathly silence.

As they approach the Master’s corpse, shrivelled and half-eaten his eyes taken by crows, they spot what can only be the Black Arrow clutched to the Master’s breast. Assailed by the taint which rests on the item, the companions give pause, except for one of their number. Overcome with a greed surpassing all that he has ever felt, Thogrim grasps the arrow from the dead grip of the Master and backs away from his friends, a dark and desperate look in his eyes as he glances about the stone circle. Brand attempts to reason with the dwarf but Thogrim sees such requests as but an attempt of the Daleman to claim the arrow for himself and turns his back on his companions fleeing into the night. Giving chase the rest of the fellowship fail to catch up to the dwarf, who spurred on outdistances them all, and quickly they lose sight of him.

Camping away from the circle of stones Brand, Iwgar and Grimbold pick up Thogrim’s trail in the morning – easier to follow his tracks than at night for the dwarf made no attempt to hide his trail, consumed by madness as he was. Grimbold recognises that perhaps the dwarf had been overcome by something powerful and dark. They travel west and northwards into rockier and craggier terrain, coming across a number of dead orcs before finding Thogrim, asleep but hidden behind an outcrop of stone, his axe discarded at his side but the arrow clutched to his chest; a grim impersonation of the Master.

The companions are successful in bringing the dwarf to his senses, embarrassed but stating the madness had passed, and taking the Black Arrow, Brand wraps it into cloth intent on returning it to his king but fearing its power. Turning south and west to return to the Dalelands to the north of the city the Fellowship discover a camp of orcs. To large to deal with now, and not wishing to risk their prize, they circumvent the area but note it’s rough position and proximity to the lands of Dale.

The fellowship’s spirits steadily rise as they leave the Waste behind and enter the lush, pastoral hills of the Northern Dalelands. The cool, fresh breeze that blows off the Grey Mountains fill their lungs with vigour and the cheery songs of birds lighten their mood. The companions make their way to the nearest settlement, arriving at Standburg in due course. Here Brand presents them to the lordling, Bryni, who graciously welcomes them; however, the thoughts of rest and an end to their troubles are short-lived.

On the evening of the second day since their arrival in Standburg, a baron of Dale presents himself to Bryni. Known to the lordling, Hakon requests that the companions hand over the Black Arrow to him for safe delivery to their king. Brand queries why this should be the case and it is plain that Hakon’s motives are not what they seem. Demanding the Arrow, he orders his six men to take it by force. A brief but bloody battle ensues, the battle-hardened companions quickly making short work of Hakon’s men; however, the miscreant baron escapes, fleeing the town on his horse. Distraught at this outrage of a supposed friend Bryni provides horses to the companions and accompanies them on the rest of their journey to Dale.

The fellowship returns, exhausted from their travels, where they are met to ringing bells – their arrival noticed. Escorted to the king’s court, they report the treachery of Hakon and present the Black Arrow, along with words of caution, to King Bard in front of a full court. Triumphantly he lifts the arrow, welcoming its return and rewarding the companions with gold; something Bard in particular finds uncomfortable and not in keeping with the King and his own station as an emissary within his service.

The companions spend time recuperating at Brand’s family home within the city and decide to stay for the coming festivities, concerned about Bard’s reaction to the Black Arrow they hope to consult with Gandalf should he again attend the celebrations.

LM Notes
I used a fan adventure from someone who posted it here; albeit altered somewhat to fit my timelines with certain bits removed, mostly to fit with the fact that I had yet to run the last two adventures in Tales from Wilderland and some of the events within it didn't appear to feel quite right with how I want to approach those.

During this adventure we had our first Bout of Madness; Thogrim being overcome by the corruption/taint of the Black Arrow and this was quite desparate as he fled and outran the other PCs, making a stellar roll on his Athletics test - those dwarves really can sprint over short distances. ;) It resulted in some great roleplaying between the players though as they managed to convince the dwarf and his player acting out his embarassment over his behaviour.

When presenting the Black Arrow to Bard I decided to roll for him as per the adventure's suggestion. Setting his Wisdom at 4 he succeeded at the TN but rolled an Eye of Sauron. I decided that he resisted the taint but would keep the arrow, not recognising its corruption; paying off the PCs was a way of highlighting to them that 'something was wrong' which they picked up on. Another group used to being paid for their endeavours would perhaps need some other action to highlight this!

I ran just a quick Fellowship Phase; no real undertakings but an opportunity to increase Weapon or Common Skills as I wanted to keep the momentum going into the final two adventures out of TfW; the end to this first arc of the campaign in sight.

Next: The Crossings of Celduin
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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Majestic
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Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by Majestic » Wed Jan 10, 2018 10:34 pm

Awesome summary! As I was reading it two thoughts occurred to me:

1) Thogrim must have had a Bout of Madness, and
2) The bit from the movie about Dwarves running over short distances (I was picturing Thogrim's shorter, stubby legs as he outdistanced his mates)

Nice to see that you then hit both points in your wrap-up! :)
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 » Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:31 am

Cheers M! :)

The campaign's really reaching a climax to this first arc so I'm really looking forward to firing it up again on Friday after a couple of months not doing it.
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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