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

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

Post by Indur Dawndeath » Fri May 05, 2017 5:30 pm

Hi Rich,
I already used your idea with the battlemats to great effect.
Our campaign is much later, but the different scenarios can easily be adapted to new situations.
I think it is a great tool to make the game even better.
I'm not making these for every encounter, but when children need to be protected from Wargs or other complications make tactical decisions necesssry, then it is very nice to have.

My players were very happy, so thanks for sharing, eventhough I have seen most of it before!

Cheers
One game to rule them all: TOR

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

Post by Rich H » Sat May 06, 2017 7:49 pm

Indur Dawndeath wrote:
Fri May 05, 2017 5:30 pm
My players were very happy, so thanks for sharing, eventhough I have seen most of it before
No problem, I thought many of you would have had some use out of them already but wanted to post here within this thread to give them a little more context, etc.
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 » Sat May 06, 2017 8:14 pm

Adventuring Phase: To Isengard
Spring 2949
The company head south, exploring lands new to them. On the borders of the vales of Anduin they exchange news with the Leofrings, before visiting the Kingstone and making sure to avoid The Toft; a town about halfway between the eaves of Sourthern Mirkwood and the Anduin and an abode of miscreants and ne’er do wells.

Leaving the southern Wilderlands they enter the Brown Lands, a wide broken barren land of steppes weathered heavily by the harsh winds the blow across them. Their journey takes them past the borders of the Lothlorien, the Golden Wood, where an eerie mist hangs amongst the grey and silver trees and leaves haunted memories in the companions.

Passing by the Fields of Celebrant and into the North Undeep the companions encounter a wine merchant beset by brigands and what they eventually find out are half-orcs. Saving him, and capturing the bandit leader, the company question them both. The charismatic brigand, Ash, hails from The Toft and, against the protests of Grimbold, the rest of the company agree to release him after he has buried his folk and the fallen guards that died defending the caravan.

Accompanying the Dorwinion wine merchant, Orodreth, the company pass into Rohan and arrive at a large homestead within the rolling hills of the Wold. There they meet the Rohirrim woman Beówyrt and the aging minstrel Léothere Five-Fingers. Sharing supper with them, the companions are warned of the old king Fengel and not to expect his hospitality; some present even hope that his days are numbered, such is his misrule.

Their time at Edoras and Fengel’s court is not a happy one. Questioned by the miserly king and his aides they are imprisoned for displeasing him and being merciful to the bandit leader, Ash. Two days and nights pass before the merchant Orodreth releasing them from their shackles; the goal guards convinced to turn a blind eye to their escape.

Bidding farewell to the wine merchant, they continued north into the Westfold of Rohan and the Fords of Isen; arriving one mid-afternoon at the gates of the Orthanc wall. Here, they request an audience with Saruman and spend a number of days within the ringed walls of Orthanc, awaiting the summons from the White Wizard; quartered within guest rooms carved into the great walls themselves. Although the time spent is comfortable and relaxing, the companions cannot help but feel that they are constantly watched by the guards and other people residing there.

LM Notes
Some quite interesting elements can come out of just going with the flow of a game and what was just planned as an attack on brigands in order to introduce a Dorwinion merchant to act as a way of giving the player-heroes some knowledge of Rohan ended up creating a new Loremaster character that all the players loved, but in different ways. The brigand leader, Ash, wasn't really meant to survive the encounter - he wasn't even a named NPC when I kicked off the battle with the merchant and the PCs, but as his men were beaten it quickly became apparent that anyone with a vested interest in surviving would really surrender and take a risk on a the mercy of strangers. This happened and the brigand Ash was born! I played him as pretty charming but in a grim and cynical way. I suppose he'd be more at home in A Song of Ice and Fire but he worked perfectly here too; the player of Thogrim instantly warmed to him (and so did Thogrim) but it added a dynamic to the company as Grimbold thought they should at least take him the face punishment at Edoras. This difference of opinion became more acute when the King of Rohan grew angry at hearing of their mercy and had the companions thrown in gaol. After playing out the scene with Ash, it was obvious that he'd be making a reappearance at another time. :)

Visiting Rohan during the last couple of years of Fengel's rules really played out well; presenting a land usually associated with heroes and their deeds as one that was anything but. This, and then presenting Saruman as a source of support and guidance, was an interesting counterpoint to the knowledge and assumptions of the players in these things. The interaction with the White Wizard during the Fellowship Phase proved to be a real highlight...


Fellowship Phase: The Voice of Saruman
Autumn 2949
Presenting themselves to him, the fellowship is received by the White Wizard and agree to bring the casket and chain to Saruman should they recover it. To aid them in this, he gifts to them what appears to be an old dwarven key, “to fit some secret door in the lands to the North”. The companions are each personally impressed and inspired by the master of wizards, often feeling embarrassed by their uncouth words and aware of how woefully lacking they are in matters of lore and the history of their own lands.

The company spend the rest of the year at Orthanc in the company of Saruman and the people that loyally serve him, learning much and appreciating the quiet and reflective nature that the stronghold of the White Wizard offers them.

As the spring thaws melt the snow of the winter passed, the companions set out from Orthanc with renewed vigour, determined to succeed in the task given to them and to not fail Saruman.

LM Notes
I had lots of fun with this encounter; firstly presenting Saruman as subtly different to each of the player-heroes. Here are the descriptions I passed to each of the players in the game:
Brand
You see before you an old man, swathed in a great white cloak. His hair and beard are white, but strands of black still show about his lips and ears. His face is long, with a high forehead, and he has deep eyes, full of wisdom both deep and broad, besides which your own learning is small and humble. He looks upon you like a benevolent master now, a lordly king who needs no crown, and you feel a great desire to please this, perhaps, wisest of all in Middle-earth.

Thogrim
You see before you an old man, swathed in a great white cloak. His hair and beard are white, but strands of black still show about his lips and ears. His face is long, with a high forehead and noble of bearing, and he has deep eyes, hard to fathom, though the look they now bear is proud and benevolent. And they fill you with strength and courage when his gaze falls upon you, and you would wish to follow this greatest of all the ends of the earth if he should so command; for he would bring many together in the fight against the Shadow.

Iwgar
You see before you an old man, swathed in a great white cloak. His hair and beard are white, but strands of black still show about his lips and ears. His face is long, with a high forehead, and he has darkling eyes, hard to fathom, though the look they now bear is of restful peace and benevolence. Both like, and unlike Radagast; clearly they are of the same people. Yet Radagast’s speech will be forever clumsy and crude now that you have listened to the words of the White Wizard. For here can be found residing the deepest knowledge; one who can soothe the troubled and restless heart. And lay doubts to rest; for even a wanderer eventually seeks respite.

Grimbold
You see before you an old man, swathed in a great white cloak. His hair and beard are white, but strands of black still show about his lips and ears. His face is long, with a high forehead, and he has deep steely eyes, hard to fathom, though the look they now bear is grave and benevolent. The old and ancient, Saruman stands tall and straight; clearly far older than yourself, but still unbroken by years of toil and still working ceaselessly for the good of the Free Peoples; the greatest opponent of the Shadow.
The foreshadowing of the Chain of Thangorodrim (I didn't have Saruman name it as such, although he realised its power and importance) and Saruman's foresight with regard to the involvement of the company had the desired affect of creeping the players out more than a little along with their realisation that they were basically serving Saruman in their promise to seize the chain and return it to him. Saruman becoming their Patron didn't do much to allay their fears either, although the Patron Benefit they receive did (sort of):
Whispers in the Dark: Your character may gain 1d2 points of temporary Shadow to treat any EYE result as a G-RUNE result instead on any Common Skill test or task.
All-in-all, a great few sessions, considering they were just a journey south to unknown lands and a meeting with one of the great loremasters of the age! ;)

Next: The Journey North
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

PencilBoy99
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Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by PencilBoy99 » Sat May 06, 2017 11:46 pm

How do you come up with these fabulous adventure ideas?

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

Post by beckett » Sun May 07, 2017 12:38 pm

Rich H wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 8:14 pm

Whispers in the Dark: Your character may gain 1d2 points of temporary Shadow to treat any EYE result as a G-RUNE result instead on any Common Skill test or task.
Quick question, Rich. How often do you allow your players to use this boon? Do you limit it to once per session or Adventuring Phase? Or not at all because, you know, Shadows Points are fun! ;)
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.


I'm one of the Look-outs in the Fellowship of the Spam Cops.
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Rich H
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Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by Rich H » Sun May 07, 2017 8:18 pm

beckett wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 12:38 pm
Rich H wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 8:14 pm

Whispers in the Dark: Your character may gain 1d2 points of temporary Shadow to treat any EYE result as a G-RUNE result instead on any Common Skill test or task.
Quick question, Rich. How often do you allow your players to use this boon? Do you limit it to once per session or Adventuring Phase? Or not at all because, you know, Shadows Points are fun! ;)
No limits, as you say, Shadow Points are fun. It works really well as the player do get tempted in its use but it certainly doesn't get overused.

Incidentally, here are the other Patron Benefits I use; combined with the expanded Patron rules within the Adventurer's Companion:
Patron Benefits
This is a special ability, blessing, or other mechanical bonus that a fellowship receives as long as they meet their patron’s requirements.

Balin
Dwarven Trail Lore: When rolling Lore to plan a journey your character may roll the Feat Die twice and apply the highest result.

Bard
All the King’s Men: Gain +1 Success Dice of Combat Advantage when in combat and accompanied by all members of the Fellowship.

Beorn
Friends of Beasts: Characters are always considered to have horses / ponies when travelling through the lands of Beorn and his people.

Dain Ironfoot
Stout Travellers of the Mountain: For each leg of a journey, gain +1 Success Die to use on any one test associated with the journey (eg, hazards, journey tasks, etc).

Elrond
The Gift of Miruvor: Elrond’s trusted agents are given the wondrous Elven cordial called Miruvor (see Rivendell, page 17).

Gandalf the Grey
Wisdom of the Grey Pilgrim: The Fellowship may invoke this benefit once during an Encounter and roll the Feat Die twice keeping the highest result.

Radagast the Brown
Friend of Flora and Fauna: When foraging for herbs within the Fellowship Phase, characters may roll the Feat Die twice and take the highest result.
They aren't balanced and have been tailored to my campaign but they may prove useful to others or as sources of inspiration.
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 » Sun May 07, 2017 8:23 pm

PencilBoy99 wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 11:46 pm
How do you come up with these fabulous adventure ideas?
I, erm... Thank you. I feel quite humbled by that question. :oops:

I really don't know...

I guess its a combination of experience (I've been RPing for more than 35 years), knowing my gaming group, having a consistent regular gaming night commited to the campaign, tailoring ideas to the players' and their characters' interests/goals/motivations/etc, using published materials but not being scared to alter them greatly to fit my ideas, using great ideas from other people and their campaigns, etc. There really are lots of reasons that a campaign and adventures come together but it really starts with a group of great players that commit to the game you're playing.

Sorry if that isn't insightful or anything but a lot of it is also instinctive, I guess.
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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beckett
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Re: [Tale of Years] The Fellowship of the Free (Spoilers)

Post by beckett » Tue May 09, 2017 5:23 pm

Rich H wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 8:18 pm
beckett wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 12:38 pm
Rich H wrote:
Sat May 06, 2017 8:14 pm

Whispers in the Dark: Your character may gain 1d2 points of temporary Shadow to treat any EYE result as a G-RUNE result instead on any Common Skill test or task.
Quick question, Rich. How often do you allow your players to use this boon? Do you limit it to once per session or Adventuring Phase? Or not at all because, you know, Shadows Points are fun! ;)
No limits, as you say, Shadow Points are fun. It works really well as the player do get tempted in its use but it certainly doesn't get overused.

Incidentally, here are the other Patron Benefits I use; combined with the expanded Patron rules within the Adventurer's Companion:
Patron Benefits
This is a special ability, blessing, or other mechanical bonus that a fellowship receives as long as they meet their patron’s requirements.

Balin
Dwarven Trail Lore: When rolling Lore to plan a journey your character may roll the Feat Die twice and apply the highest result.

Bard
All the King’s Men: Gain +1 Success Dice of Combat Advantage when in combat and accompanied by all members of the Fellowship.

Beorn
Friends of Beasts: Characters are always considered to have horses / ponies when travelling through the lands of Beorn and his people.

Dain Ironfoot
Stout Travellers of the Mountain: For each leg of a journey, gain +1 Success Die to use on any one test associated with the journey (eg, hazards, journey tasks, etc).

Elrond
The Gift of Miruvor: Elrond’s trusted agents are given the wondrous Elven cordial called Miruvor (see Rivendell, page 17).

Gandalf the Grey
Wisdom of the Grey Pilgrim: The Fellowship may invoke this benefit once during an Encounter and roll the Feat Die twice keeping the highest result.

Radagast the Brown
Friend of Flora and Fauna: When foraging for herbs within the Fellowship Phase, characters may roll the Feat Die twice and take the highest result.
They aren't balanced and have been tailored to my campaign but they may prove useful to others or as sources of inspiration.
These are great. Thanks for sharing!
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.


I'm one of the Look-outs in the Fellowship of the Spam Cops.
Twitter: @marcorafala

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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 May 11, 2017 4:09 pm

Always welcome, Marco!
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 » Fri May 12, 2017 7:33 pm

Thanks so much for taking the time to share these, Rich. You do a remarkable job of foreshadowing and seeding future allies and NPCs, and a LM could learn much by reading through your notes.
Adventure Summaries of our campaign, currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood

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