Beorn and Viglund

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Corvo
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Beorn and Viglund

Post by Corvo » Sat Apr 14, 2018 7:28 pm

Warning! Darkening of Mirkwood campaign spoilers.
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Hi fellow loremasters.
The feud between Beornings and Viglundings is one of the storylines of DoM. Its conclusion isn’t fully fleshed in the book, yet my players are going to take part in it, so I have to brew an adventure about that last confrontation.

Sure there would be a battle, but my Heroes have already engaged in many battles, so I don’t want to make it the focus of the adventure.
What I’m asking for is something else, some interesting dilemma for the players to tackle with, while Beorn and Viglund slug it out.

By the way of context, in my campaign Beorn and Viglund are kinsmen, and it’s that tie that prevented Beorn from taking direct action against Viglund years ago, and that prevented Viglund to make the same. Both of them had been loath to fight against the other.
Now thing have changed. Two years ago some brash Beornings ambushed Viglund. He survived, they fled. Once recovered from his wounds, failing to find the ambushers, Viglund exacted the most horrible vengeance on the friends of his would-be killer. Beorn decided it’s enough: he's going to stop Viglund.

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Rich H
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Re: Beorn and Viglund

Post by Rich H » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:07 pm

From your post I'm going with the idea that you don't want the PCs involved in the fight or a battle surrounding the fight, either. So, with that in mind...

Accepting that Viglun is a villain, as painted in the TOR supplements, we can look at what spurred him to exact his revenge and provoke Beorn so that they cross the previous line of not wanting to take direct action against each other. Perhaps something happened to Viglund when recovering/healing from his wounds caused by the rash Beornings. Maybe he was tended to by some kind of Shaman or Witch/healer that corrupted him wholly as part of the healing process and this has pushed him to take the more evil/terrible retribution. So, although Viglund is still the villain of the piece, he isn't quite himself and some external force/agent of the Shadow (ie, the witch/shaman/etc) is at work explaining his more recent and egregious actions.

Would this knowledge change Viglund's and Beorn's course? Would finding a cure change Viglund's actions? How would the PCs find such a cure or even find out what had happened? Could at least a truce be found in such circumstances? Perhaps even a form of reconciliation?

Not sure if this is what you're looking for but it's a potential way I'd go to allow the players to have a big say in potential reconciliation with the two estranged kinsmen.
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Farath
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Re: Beorn and Viglund

Post by Farath » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:27 am

Wasn’t one of the Nazgûl (the Messenger, I think) visiting Viglund a few years before the final battle? I would suppose, he corrupted Viglund with promises, fear or both.

Butterfingers
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Re: Beorn and Viglund

Post by Butterfingers » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:12 am

I think there was also a mention in the aftermath of the Beorn/Viglund war that there's a secret chamber underneatch Viglund's house where Beornings found bodies of three strangers who carried the emblems of the lidless eye...

Since Viglund's folk have always been known as slavers, I thought the emnity was based on that mostly? Why they take slaves, when other free folk don't, I am not sure. Maybe the strangers had something to do with that dirty business?

I had this notion of mummified head being found there instead, but I am not sure where that idea is from. Did the TfM suggest such possibility, or did I get my ideas mixed with someone else? Maybe Walter the Bloody, hm...

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Re: Beorn and Viglund

Post by Glorelendil » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:27 am

I like the idea that Viglund is essentially "possessed" by somebody. A Nazgul would work. Or some kind of witch (a corrupted Forest spirit? a Dunlending?). A Gríma like character? A cursed relic? That might make it possible but very very very hard to free him. In which case relations with Beorn might return to "competitive" instead of "hostile".

But, this being Middle-earth, there should be some other trade-off, some unavoidable cost, some sacrifice required, to achieving that goal.
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Corvo
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Re: Beorn and Viglund

Post by Corvo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:06 pm

Rich H wrote:
Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:07 pm
From your post I'm going with the idea that you don't want the PCs involved in the fight or a battle surrounding the fight, either. So, with that in mind...

Accepting that Viglun is a villain, as painted in the TOR supplements, we can look at what spurred him to exact his revenge and provoke Beorn so that they cross the previous line of not wanting to take direct action against each other. Perhaps something happened to Viglund when recovering/healing from his wounds caused by the rash Beornings. Maybe he was tended to by some kind of Shaman or Witch/healer that corrupted him wholly as part of the healing process and this has pushed him to take the more evil/terrible retribution. So, although Viglund is still the villain of the piece, he isn't quite himself and some external force/agent of the Shadow (ie, the witch/shaman/etc) is at work explaining his more recent and egregious actions.

Would this knowledge change Viglund's and Beorn's course? Would finding a cure change Viglund's actions? How would the PCs find such a cure or even find out what had happened? Could at least a truce be found in such circumstances? Perhaps even a form of reconciliation?

Not sure if this is what you're looking for but it's a potential way I'd go to allow the players to have a big say in potential reconciliation with the two estranged kinsmen.
Thank you for your suggestions, Rich.
I get your idea, but I don't want to take away Viglund's agency and make him the victim of someone else's manipulation: in my mind, it's pretty important for Viglund to be responsible of his own actions.

Why? Because in my campaign Viglund is the embodiment of principles like “the end justify the means”, or “a though man making tough choices”… principles that in Tolkien are bound to end in ruin.
This is a theme that I want to maintain (well, ideally the tyrant should be brought low by his own evil actions, but I'm not asking for something so difficult :D )
Another theme of Tolkien that I would like to explore is that in strife and war, something is always lost. Hence my search for a “dilemma”…

That said, there was another point in your post that I found interesting: reconciliation. While I’m inclined to close Viglund’s arc in the campaign (it’s 2966), the story isn’t closed once he’s killed/driven away: a lot of people lived under Viglund and fought for him, and there should be some type of reconciliation between those people and the Beornings. This is particularly important in my campaign since the Cottars sided with Viglund against Beorn, due to the tragic mistakes of another fellowship of Heroes (revenge is a powerful yet dangerous motivation…)

Corvo
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Re: Beorn and Viglund

Post by Corvo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:08 pm

Farath wrote:
Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:27 am
Wasn’t one of the Nazgûl (the Messenger, I think) visiting Viglund a few years before the final battle? I would suppose, he corrupted Viglund with promises, fear or both.
This is something that was downplayed in my campaign, but I have to explore this aspect: the Eye is keen on granting gifts to would-be allies, and Viglund is arrogant enough to think of those gifts as a testament of his power.

Corvo
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Re: Beorn and Viglund

Post by Corvo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:13 pm

Butterfingers wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:12 am
I think there was also a mention in the aftermath of the Beorn/Viglund war that there's a secret chamber underneatch Viglund's house where Beornings found bodies of three strangers who carried the emblems of the lidless eye...

Since Viglund's folk have always been known as slavers, I thought the emnity was based on that mostly? Why they take slaves, when other free folk don't, I am not sure. Maybe the strangers had something to do with that dirty business?
I have to think about those slaves: who are them? Where do they come from? Most of them are Beornings, probably, and this is going to be a huge issue into any reconciliation.
Butterfingers wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:12 am
I had this notion of mummified head being found there instead, but I am not sure where that idea is from. Did the TfM suggest such possibility, or did I get my ideas mixed with someone else? Maybe Walter the Bloody, hm...
Yeah, Walter the Bloody. My Heroes are paranoid about mummified heads. Effectively, they wondered if the emissaries of Dol Guldur gave one to Viglund...

Corvo
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Re: Beorn and Viglund

Post by Corvo » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:21 pm

Glorelendil wrote:
Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:27 am
(...)
But, this being Middle-earth, there should be some other trade-off, some unavoidable cost, some sacrifice required, to achieving that goal.
That is the thing I would like to find.
The Fellowship that is about to embark in this adventure is composed of warriors. Four "knights" of Dale, that already fought many battles, as soldiers and as captains.
I gave them many battles, so I have to give them something different now: I need to have them witness the cost of war, and try and save something

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Falenthal
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Re: Beorn and Viglund

Post by Falenthal » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:04 pm

I don't have a threaded idea, but what about linking it to the pilgrimage Beorn does to the Misty Mountains to meet Oromë. It is one of the Adventure hooks from Darkening.

Maybe Beorn gave to Viglund, at some point in the past, the power to be a shapeshifter into wolf. Viglund was to be Beorn's heir, chosen by Beorn himself.
Like in many stories, Viglund resulted in a bad choice, that once invested with power, didn't resist the corruption that came with it.
He couldn't wait until Beorn declined his own task as leader, giving it to Viglund.
Viglund lacked patience, so he decided to have his own kingdom.

Beorn has to take away the power he gave to Viglund, maybe even give it to someone else. But to do that, he needs Oromë's blessing. That's why the pligrimage. Who should be the receptor of such power, that of shapeshifting? That should come from your campaign: maybe a player who has proven himself and accepts the challenge. Or an NPC that was important (Ennalda the Shieldmaiden, Grimbeorn if he is born in your timeline,...).

Whatever the case, Oromë requires something of Beorn: that he himself loses his power to shapeshift. Beorn will accept to such sacrifice, to ensure that Viglund is diminished in power.

Both Beorn and Viglund will lose the unnatural strenght they had that allowed them to be leaders of wild men. Beorn will be able to pass on his legacy to the new character with the shapeshifting ability.
Viglund will have no such heir, and the Viglunds will disappear in petty internal battles for power, until they become part of the Hillmen of Gundabad, or the best among them travel south to join the Beornings.

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