"In the Shadows of the Mountains" Campaign AP/Journal

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/
Otaku-sempai
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Re: "In the Shadows of the Mountains" Campaign AP/Journal

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun May 13, 2018 12:01 am

What is a 'hoot' (besides the sound that an owl makes)? Is it like a rucksack?
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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Red Haired Thor
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Re: "In the Shadows of the Mountains" Campaign AP/Journal

Post by Red Haired Thor » Sun May 13, 2018 12:50 am

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 12:01 am
What is a 'hoot' (besides the sound that an owl makes)? Is it like a rucksack?
Whoops! I meant hood. :oops: Since it was raining, he didn't want to get his beard and hair wet. I must have missed that in my review, hehe.

Otaku-sempai
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Re: "In the Shadows of the Mountains" Campaign AP/Journal

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun May 13, 2018 12:57 am

Ah. So I presume the mushrooms were stored somewhere else. :lol:
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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Majestic
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Re: "In the Shadows of the Mountains" Campaign AP/Journal

Post by Majestic » Mon May 14, 2018 8:43 pm

More great stuff (I've really enjoyed reading all of the summaries).
Red Haired Thor wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 7:46 pm
LM Notes: Varinn has 3 dice, wasn't weary, and an AL +3 to heal. He rolled an Eye. The next day...he rolled another Eye, but I allowed a specialty to apply to treat Gror's wound. Like I said many times, these players roll so many eyes.
Red Haired Thor wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 7:46 pm
Captain Folkmarr was actually a lot harder in my numbers with I believe 3 dice in sword, but when the opening volley did a lot of damage to the party (since they were ambushed) I just lowered it down to 2 since it was favored anyway, and he had an AL of 4.
So what does "AL+" or "AL" mean?
Adventure Summaries for my long-running group (currently playing through The Darkening of Mirkwood/Mirkwood Campaign), and the Tale of Years for a second, lower-level group (in the same campaign).

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Agnot
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Re: "In the Shadows of the Mountains" Campaign AP/Journal

Post by Agnot » Mon May 14, 2018 9:36 pm

Majestic wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 8:43 pm

So what does "AL+" or "AL" mean?
I'm guessing 'Attribute Level' since he refers to NPC's.

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Agnot
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Re: "In the Shadows of the Mountains" Campaign AP/Journal

Post by Agnot » Mon May 14, 2018 9:56 pm

What I'm digging about these write-ups is that, though the lands are familiar, your story is 100% unique. Unlike some write-ups from other pre-made adventures where I know what to expect, but like to see how other parties handled the dilemmas, this is wholly different. Every bit is you using NPC's and locations and crafting a tale from it.

Kudos for taking the time to put this all together. It's been a fun read so far. Keep it up.

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Red Haired Thor
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Re: "In the Shadows of the Mountains" Campaign AP/Journal

Post by Red Haired Thor » Tue May 15, 2018 3:53 am

Agnot wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 9:36 pm
Majestic wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 8:43 pm

So what does "AL+" or "AL" mean?
I'm guessing 'Attribute Level' since he refers to NPC's.
Yep!
Otaku-sempai wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 12:57 am
Ah. So I presume the mushrooms were stored somewhere else. :lol:
I think they were carrying around a sack of sort and stuffing them in, but that small detail eludes me :D
Agnot wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 9:56 pm
What I'm digging about these write-ups is that, though the lands are familiar, your story is 100% unique. Unlike some write-ups from other pre-made adventures where I know what to expect, but like to see how other parties handled the dilemmas, this is wholly different. Every bit is you using NPC's and locations and crafting a tale from it.

Kudos for taking the time to put this all together. It's been a fun read so far. Keep it up.
I'm glad people are enjoying it! Though after this update, I'll have to slow down because with this next chapter I am officially caught up to where we are in the campaign. But that was actually part of the reason I chose this campaign to be my first write-up, rather than my Darkening of Mirkwood campaign. One of the things I saw a lot on sites like rpg.net and other places discussing TOR when I was first looking into it were people who said they didn't know what to do in TOR outside of the published adventures.

The other reason is that I've been running that game since 2016 and while I have most of it archived on roll20 (they type out a lot more of their dialogue)...that would be a lot of writing!

I also realized I never put up a picture for Lady Sara (who may yet be an important NPC, if the players continue to connect with her) so I thought I would add it here.

Image

Anyway...Onto the story!

The Grey Mountain Narrows Trail: Chapter Three
The Tomb of the Blackbraids
Spring 2946

The guards that Lady Sara assigned to the Fellowship led them outside the city walls to where they had begun to bury their dead, before they had begun to rise. It was less than a day's travel from Edric's Town. There were many graves dug, though few that were deep, and the cemetery itself was built in the shadow of a mountain. Two stone doors sealed shut stood at the end of the road, Dwarven runes engraved into the rock.

Domarr and Sargon, naturally, had no knowledge of the Khuzdul, the secret tongue of the Dwarves. Grór grudgingly translated the runes, which served as an identification of the mountain hold as a tomb for the Dwarven House of the Blackbraids. All Grór knew of them was that they were kin to Durin's Folk, more of a family of dwarves than a true proper "House," but they had not been prominent for many years prior to the retaking of Erebor.

Grór and Domarr bickered a bit over whose people were at fault for the dead, with Domarr telling Grór that his folk had a knack for digging too deep and finding trouble, while Grór pointed out that the dead had not been noted to be Dwarven dead. None were eager to descend into the tomb, but they steeled themselves and Sargon and Domarr worked together to get the stone doors open.

LM Notes: And here I accidentally forgot the rules for cooperative tasks, though Grór's player whispered me in private when he realized we had done it wrong. I think I treated it basically as an encounter, but didn't lower the TN. It was rather minor though, and in the end helped the players progress rather than struggle.

As the cold air spills out of the crypt, it is followed by a sense of stillness, broken only by the echoing moans and wailing beneath.

The guards shivered and refused to come any closer, saying how the dead rose and attacked their walls, to the point where the folk of Edric's Town had taken to burning their dead. Their elders spoke of spirits drawn into the bodies, and how the men working at the quarry would tell stories of the Frost-Touched Dead coming for you, grabbing you and chilling your blood to ice, to make you one of them.

LM Notes: As I think I mentioned, I reskinned the Bog Soldiers to be Frost-Touched Dead and this was their version of seize victim, since there is no marsh to drag the Fellowship into here. I wanted to make sure that all the undead were corporeal so that the Fellowship would stand more of a chance without having to learn the undead mechanics on the fly, since this was still their first adventure.

Unnatural vitality was scary enough for them!


The Fellowship descended the steps into the tomb, Grór carrying the torch in one hand and holding his shield out in the other, with Domarr behind him and Sargon in the rear. The walls were sparsely decorated close to the entrance. People had been down into this tomb more recently than the Blackbraids, though whether they were tomb raiders or just curious humans, or the people of Edric's Town, it was impossible to know.

Sargon, with his quick hearing, was able to hear the sound of movement as they drew close to a dark corner. Moving as stealthily as they could, the Fellowship placed the torch behind Grór's shield so that it would not shine it's light so brightly as they slipped into the shadows, catching sight of the Frozen Dead lurching in the shadows.

With the advantage on their side, Sargon let loose an arrow that immediately struck true on their side, accurate enough to fell any man...but the Frost-Touched Dead staggered back, before shambling forward, propelled by the spirit animating it through hatred alone.

There were two of them in the first chamber, and as Grór placed the torch in a notch on the wall to draw his axe, they could see the other one drag itself into the light, his skin half-eaten away by the frost, one eye missing, scars cut into his chest.

The sight of this creature was enough to shake the spirits of the Mirkwood Elf and the Dwarf, both of whom knew just how unnatural such a creature truly was!

LM Notes: Sargon, as per usual, rolled an eye on the Valour roll to resist the fear check and only had one Valour, while Gror rolled low as well. Neither were able to spend hope for this first chamber. As I said, the unnatural vitality was scary enough for them!

Grór cursed the humans for awakening the wights and disrespecting the tomb, barking out his inspiring words as best he could anyway as they found themselves getting pushed back by the undead. Sargon knew that a show of will and courage could often drive the spirits out of the bodies they inhabited, and Domarr stepped forward brandishing his sword in one hand and shield in the other, letting out a Barding warcry as he stabbed at the Dead.

The dead were rebuked and one of them staggered and hesitated long enough for Sargon to get a killing blow on it, but in his fury, Domarr left himself open. As the Dead moved into take advantage, Grór brought his axe down upon the wight's head, splitting it in two.

"Watch yersen Domarr, can't always be around to look after ye," Grór said as they caught their breath.

As they pushed on, they came towards a chamber with a statue of a strange beast from the mountains, in the shape of a giant bird, with its tail pointing towards one of the walls. Khuzdul runes were laid out in no obvious order, but when Sargon looked more closely, he noticed that there were the markings of a door there, but that it would not reveal itself, sealed by magic. They noticed that the bird-creature's claws were placed so that it seemed as if it were meant to hold something.

Grór translated the runes, again roughly so as to not reveal their secret tongue, not bothering to make the verse rhyme:

"From the Maker's dream we rose,
To work the stone and mine the ore.
To the Halls of the Dead we go,
Beyond the doors sealed closed."

Despite their best efforts, they couldn't pierce together what the words meant!

LM Notes: My verse is not the strongest at the best of times, and I made this one up on the fly. I told Grór that clearly, he wasn't going to spend the effort to make it rhyme, and it was unlikely to rhyme in the common tongue regardless.

Without any idea of how to get through the magical door, they continued north in the dungeon, heading down the corridor until they had three choices before them, one on each side and one in front. They headed directly to the room in front of them, and saw a row of braziers, unlit, leading to a raised dais where a sarcophagus rested.

It had been disturbed.

From the shadows, Grór spotted a sword coming down upon him, as a tall, noble looking human, with skin white and blue from the frost, stepped forward, his face forever frozen in a wicked smile. Domarr noticed that the crest on his cloak was the same crest that Lady Sara wore.

Image

"More bodies for the Koldun. More hosts for my brothers." The wight, the Knight from the Wastes, rasped, with its dark powers, using the body of Lord Edric, wielding a finely forged blade, still sharp.

Behind them, the Fellowship could hear the sound of others of the Frost-Touched Dead shambling towards them. Domarr raised his sword as he prepared to duel the barrow-wight, while Grór moved to block the corridor to prevent them from being swarmed with the dead, and Sargon scrambled to get to a better shot to shoot in the dark.

Steel clashed with steel as the arrows whipped past the Barrow Wight, as Grór and his shield blocked the way, yet in the darkness, the Barrow Wight was stronger than the party could withstand. Remembering the braziers, Grór tossed Sargon the torch from where he had placed it as the elf went about lighting the braziers, shining firelight throughout the chamber. At last, Domarr seemed to be gaining an edge in his duel as he sliced the Knight from the Wastes across the arm, cutting some of the ligaments and making it harder for the Wight to hold his sword.

Yet even so, the Wight was not easily slain. Domarr had been challenging him every turn and it had started to take its toll on the Barding warrior. Knowing he could not continue for much longer, Domarr reached drew out his spear and, as the Wight brought his sword down to finish the Barding off, thrust the Spear of King Bladorthin through the Knight from the Waste's dead heart, as the spirit withdrew in a howling rage, leaving the corpse of Lord Edric to rest more easily.

Domarr claimed the Lord's blade after it fell to the icy floor below.

LM Notes: So there are a few things I should talk about in this battle that I glossed over for the sake of the narrative. Now, stat wise, the Knight from the Wastes was your RAW Barrow-Wight, but I swapped out the Wight's Song spell, as I thought it would be too deadly for a party of three that was just starting out for the Hillmen of Rhudaur's Curse, which is that every time you roll an eye of Sauron, you lose one point of hope.

The first time the Knight used this, Sargon was affected. Because of course he was. Sargon rolls half the party's total Eyes! We all knew that it was only a matter of time before his hope went down. Except he didn't roll a single eye after getting cursed. The Knight used it again, and this time, both Grór and Domarr were affected...and after this point neither of them rolled an Eye either. But you can bet the threat of it made each die roll tense!

We used the combat role system in this fight and it mostly helped out Grór when he was trying to raise their endurance. They didn't have many battle dice to spend but the boost to Rally was certainly appreciated.

The most used combat maneuver was definitely Domarr challenging his adversary, trying to get double the chances for edge to wound the Wight and bring it down. He did most of the damage to it, while Grór was dealing with the Frost-Touched Dead and Sargon was switching between aiding Domarr, Grór, or doing things like lighting the fires to take away the Knight's Denizen of the Darkness bonus, which I didn't outright tell them what it did, but I made it clear that the Knight was stronger in the darkness.

The fight finally ended when Domarr, with one success die to roll, took out his spear and made a called shot on the Wight. And he rolled a 6 on that one success die. The Wight was weary, and he wasn't getting double bonus from Denizen of the Dark anymore...and he rolled a gandalf on the protection test.

And that is why even if it's not optimal, sometimes it's good to carry around a piercing weapon just in case!


As they were looking over the now lit chamber, Grór spot what looked to be an egg made of copper and silver, with a mithril band wrapped around it. Placing it between the statue of the beast's claws in the other chamber, Grór could see the silver outline of the secret door shining with internal moonlight, given off by the avian statue, now able to be opened.

This was the sealed tombs of the Dwarf-Fathers of the Blackbraid House, hidden away in the rock, easily overlooked by those unfamiliar with Dwarven Masonry. For when the humans of Edric's Town had first entered the tomb, they had recognized it as a place good for honouring their dead, but they saw no bodies. The dwarves are in death, as they are in life, very secretive and hid away much of their wealth in their true final resting places.

Among the sarcophagi of the Dwarves, there was much gold and treasure piled between them. Grór knew that much of it would have to stay there, for to steal the burial goods of the dead was an evil act, but there were among the hoard goods that could be identified and returned to the living descendants of the Blackbraids or that could be put to use, tools to take and bear forward and continue their legends and honour the deeds of their wielders.

LM Notes: I know, I know, robbing Burial Graves is definitely worthy of Shadow. I told them how much treasure was there and how much they could take without it being seen as greedy and disrespectful, especially since they had cleared the Tomb of the Blackbraid's of the spirits that haunted it. I wrote up a small list of the different goods they gathered but notably among them were two items:

As they searched through the hoard, Grór reminded the Fellowship that anything they took they better not be thinking of selling it, as they were going to honor the house of Blackbraid by putting it to use in the settlement, not getting quick gold. He came across their ledger, in a leather-bound tome sealed with a satin piece of cloth, that held their histories and records.

Sargon came across what looked to be a map of old velum, made from the leather of the Kine of Araw. As he stared into it, it almost seemed as if the ink was appearing and moving as if by magic, showing the layout of the tomb and Edric's Town.

Upon returning to Edric's Town, Domarr went to return the sword to Lady Sara, as it was her husband's but she said she could not bear to carry it and it would be a distraction not only to her but to the people of the village, who still idolized her husband. She offered the sword to Domarr, charging him with honoring the memory of her late husband by upholding justice with the blade, which the elves called "Black Wolf" in their tongue. In addition, she offered to send a gift of stone and iron to the settlement, once they had sent word it had been built.

The Fellowship returned to their caravan for a much needed rest. It seemed they would be staying in Edric's Town a little longer than planned as rain-water from the mountains had caused the roads to flood, so they would be there long enough to restore their spirits before continuing the rest of the way to the Grey Mountain Narrows.

LM Notes: And that was the end of their first adventure! It was really only half of the adventure I had originally planned, but we had already reached four sessions and they were almost full on many of their skill groups, so I thought it best to break the adventure into two parts.

I debated long and hard on whether I would let them have a chance to roll for magic items this early, and I think I made the right call. Domarr didn't have to roll to get his sword, but if you remember, he took Captain Folkmarr's sword as well and seemed a bit disappointed when it was no different from his own. I'm not saying he wasn't having fun, but I know he wanted a cool piece of gear so that he could be a hero like Aragorn or Turin or one of the many other special fighters of the world.

After he basically single-handedly won a duel with a Barrow-Wight and had such a cool finish, I thought it only fitting he get a good weapon, even if it did bear a curse.

Sargon rolled a Gandalf and one 6 and spent his XP, so I rolled up a blessing to search item for him. Like Domarr, his player is also more 'old school' in motivations, wanting treasure and loot, and so they were both quite happy with their new toys.

I probably won't have a hoard for at least two more adventures, though, to try to keep it reasonable.

Now as I said, after this, we're all caught up until next week when I have my next session!

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