Bree Scenarios - SPOILERS

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MartyJ
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Bree Scenarios - SPOILERS

Post by MartyJ » Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:25 pm

Hi folks

I just started my group on the mini campaign outlined in the Bree book and I wanted to report back but also pick the collective brains of those that have read the Bree adventures. So far we have run through Old Bones & Skin and had a great time with it. Previously the party of characters had run through Wilderland and then a bunch of Ruins of the North. We decided to retire them as they had become omni-competent. The change of pace, the focus on investigative elements and the challenge of less experienced characters were all appreciated. An excellent scenario - possibly the best opening scenario to date.

So - great start but now I hit an issue. The next episode (Strange Men, Strange Roads) looks like it will be in the same vein right up until the epilogue and the assault on Gorlanc's Fort. The adventure as written has the elves of Rivendell deal with Gorlanc and the players get no look in. Which completely removes player agency and my players HAAAAATE that. I am also not completely happy with the idea that Gorlanc is such a powerful threat that the elves need to come out in force. Especially as we then meet him in the third adventure and he is a bit pathetic really. I know his power has been broken but even so, again it removes player agency. The elves have done all the hard work and the players just need to mop up a bit.

What to do? My inclination is to take the elves out of the picture and let the rangers deal with it - with the players' help. I can then tone down the threat a bit for low experience PCs. But what do I get them to do? They could be set on an infiltration mission, but they are not exactly a crew of stealth ninja (well the Dunlending is, but that's another story). Nor are they a very combat focussed group (e.g. Blue Mountain dwarf scholar with no weapons or armour). It needs to be something significant that tips the assault on Gorlanc in the favour of the rangers. But what? Recovering a plan of the fort from somewhere? Finding a counter-magic to Gorlanc's sorcery? Recovering an artefact / MacGuffin? Tracking down a person with insider knowledge?

As they say: go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes. Which is why I posted here...

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farinal
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Re: Bree Scenarios - SPOILERS

Post by farinal » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:32 am

How did you find these adventures compared to Ruins of the North?
Of Finarfin's children I am the last. But my heart is still proud. What wrong did the golden house of Finarfin do that I should ask the pardon of the Valar, or be content with an isle in the sea whose native land was Aman the Blessed? Here I am mightier.

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Mytholder
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Re: Bree Scenarios - SPOILERS

Post by Mytholder » Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:47 pm

Well, it is the epilogue. :)

I kept the siege of Gorlanc's fortress "off-screen" for several reasons - Bree-tales work best, in my estimation, if Bree is this island of mundanity on a sea of darkness, and having Bree-folk actually journeying into the wild to overthrow a sorcerer would clash with that. Also, I like the idea that the players can't be everywhere at once, and that the world doesn't exist entirely for their entertainment. (Also, and equally pertinent, I didn't have space for an assault on the fortress!)

None of that, of course, answers your objections. One possible middle solution might be
* The players fall in with the Rangers, find and scout Gorlanc's fort.
* The Rangers say "this is a foe beyond us, we need aid - we must seek the hidden valley of Rivendell, where the High Elves yet dwell."
* Elves ride forth, battle scene at the fortress.

If you want to avoid the Elves entirely, then maybe look at whatever magic Gorlanc uses to conjure the Cold-Shade (forbidden rites out of Forochel?). Maybe the characters could sabotage that, or travel north to the Ice-Bay to find the key to countering it.

A longer-term solution: the characters must infiltrate Gorlanc's company and destroy him from within. Assuming they've stopped him getting the Ring of Seven Jewels, then he might need a company of adventurers to go off questing in Eriador for long-lost magic.
Gareth Hanrahan
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zedturtle
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Re: Bree Scenarios - SPOILERS

Post by zedturtle » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:29 pm

Mytholder wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:47 pm
A longer-term solution: the characters must infiltrate Gorlanc's company and destroy him from within. Assuming they've stopped him getting the Ring of Seven Jewels, then he might need a company of adventurers to go off questing in Eriador for long-lost magic.
That's fun... a quest that the heroes will want to fail (or at least subvert). Gorlanc can recruit them:

"You have been ill-used by Gandalf and Elrond, and even the simple folk of Bree scorn you and treat you as mongrel curs to be worked or chased out of town as their mood strikes them. Join with me and we shall bring peace to the North! The methods must necessarily be harsh, for simple folk will not understand anything else. And the Dúnedain and High Elves, jealous of our power and success, might contest with us. But I know secrets from before the world's making, and we shall throw down the tyranny of those who think they can call themselves our betters."
Jacob Rodgers, occasional nitwit.

This space intentionally blank.

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Mim
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Re: Bree Scenarios - SPOILERS

Post by Mim » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:26 pm

Mytholder wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 2:47 pm
* The players fall in with the Rangers, find and scout Gorlanc's fort.
* The Rangers say "this is a foe beyond us, we need aid - we must seek the hidden valley of Rivendell, where the High Elves yet dwell."

If you want to avoid the Elves entirely, then maybe look at whatever magic Gorlanc uses to conjure the Cold-Shade (forbidden rites out of Forochel?). Maybe the characters could sabotage that, or travel north to the Ice-Bay to find the key to countering it.

A longer-term solution: the characters must infiltrate Gorlanc's company and destroy him from within.
I only just finishing reading Bree, because I prefer the hard-bound volumes to the pdfs for reading, and have been wondering the very same thing MartyJ.

Gareth raises some great alternatives and for myself, I'm considering that if I ever run some heroes through the adventure, then Elrond will only send one or two Elves as scouts and I'll otherwise delete the Elves as a company and rely upon the Rangers. The Dúnedain will thus ask the companions to attempt to slip into the fortress and either tangle with Gorlanc, or seize the Ring of Seven Jewels or another such treasure, his tome for example, to undermine him before his men, or possibly to defeat him outright. I'll tone down his band of course, and make it challenging but not unbearable.

The venture northward to Forochel is a superb idea, though those versed in the Lore of Arnor, for example, may wonder about some stones... ;)

At any rate, it looks like a fun adventure and I'm looking forward to running it.

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Falenthal
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Re: Bree Scenarios - SPOILERS

Post by Falenthal » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:48 pm

zedturtle wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:29 pm
and even the simple folk of Bree scorn you and treat you as mongrel curs to be worked or chased out of town as their mood strikes them. ...
This could, in fact, begin to be true for the PCs: after the people of Bree have seen them in the company of Rangers more than once, and mixing in friendly term with them, the PCs too begin to arouse suspicions among the Bree-landers. Much in the way that Bilbo was "queer and strange" because of his friendship with dwarves and elves and wizards.

So, the mini-campaign could really include the fact that, the more the PCs fight the Shadow (in whatever form it takes), the wider the distance is between them and the normal folk they try to protect. The more they fight for Bree, the less they belong there.

Regarding the fortress storm, I'd go with some kind of side-quest while a main force assaults it. Maybe a part of some other adventure could be used to represent that, like the parts two and three of Shadow over Tyrn Gorthad from Ruins of the North, where the heroes have to discover the source of the black magic that summoned the Barrow-wights. A very similar scene could be played that discovers the origins of Gorlac's magic, and allows the elves to negate or counter it, thus being able to defeat the evil sorcerer.

If the whole assault on the fortress is what you want to run with your players, than maybe the Carn Dûm part of Nightmares of Angmar could be adapted for it.

And I wonder if What Lies Beneath could be used at some point, with any of the Rangers from the Bree adventures as the possessed character. But I can't see how it would fit the whole Gorlac's plot so as to add to it, not to derail the arching story.

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