The Unofficial Story so Far

Ash's MERP Campaign

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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby 3Dayrise » Sat Jul 09, 2016 9:10 pm

Session 23. July 9, 2016. Chez Kehler F0. Burc and DanS absent. ~7:45-12:00

We begin as we exit the hidden tunnel from the underhalls of Cameth Brin, late in the afternoon, mere hours since we entered. Mord and Nergui move off to deal with Muradin [both players are absent]. Mordhau to bury his father, Nergui to watch from afar to ensure the dwarf’s safety. Gilly, Eowa and Skagge hide the gold and metals under a nearby tree. The same hiding spot that Gilly and Nergui used to hide from trolls when they were searching for the hidden entrance. Leaving the two mourners, we return our rooms in the Red Hoof Inn in Talugderi with hopes of a good night’s rest before meeting Nadia in the morning.

After a meal and a short deliberation about our upcoming plans we retire for much needed rest. Unfortunately, we are awoken in the wee hours by a pair of Northrons, intent on taking Skagge to the meeting with his mother. Skagge follows them to the basement of the inn, where they easily convince him to be sealed in an empty ale barrel to be smuggled in to Cameth Brin. After a brief but rather injurious rough treatment (-6 hits!) in the barrel, Skagge is released, only to discover he is merely upstairs in the common room of the Red Hoof. He can only smile grimly at his mother’s idea of humour, to the great amusement of all those present. Wiping the blood from his brow, Skagge sees his mother Nadia, seated comfortably at a table, surrounded by a contingent of Northron guards, including his elder sister Kolfina and the young Clan leader Arvid. Also seated, but much less comfortable are Gilly and Eowa, having been roused by the Northrons shortly after Skagge was lead away.

After dismissing all but the most necessary guards, a brief but pointed discussion ensues, primarily between Skagge and Nadia, with occasional interjections from Gilly, Eowa, Arvid and Kolfina. Skagge passes on Governor Elesander’s message, a request to treat and an offer of lands in the Angle. Nadia seems barely interested, and is more concerned to hear about Skagge’s failure to do her bidding to convince Brogha to work with her.

We manage to convince the Warlord that we have been carrying out her request to treat with Brogha. We (truthfully) explain that he refused to talk until we performed a service for him. We are reluctant to tell Nadia what Brogha asked of us, but she forces our hand by threatening Eowa, and tell her we have recovered a spear of cultural significance for the hillman. We neither name the spear or mention its powers, but otherwise she has all the details. Gilly also reveals her brother is a captive of Brogha’s. We tell Nadia (again, truthfully) that we intend to return to Brogha immediately. During the conversation there is at least some indication that not all the Northrons are happy with the present status of living inside Cameth Brin. We learn that the Northron we met on the road, Ingmar, is a clan chieftain sent to do what Skagge had failed to.

Nadia Fairhair accepts our story. She then asks what Skagge wants of her. After some long thought Skagge merely requests that he and his companions be protected from Orc & Easterling interference as we depart the region. This disappoints Kolfina who was agitating for strong drink and whores. The Warlord departs. Skagge has a hurried conversation with Kolfina before she leaves, trying to get her sense of what Nadia will do [unknown]. As he moves to hug his sister goodbye, she knees him in the nads while continuing to mock him, though she does slip a secret note into his hand.

A contingent of guards remains behind to escort us safely (and immediately) away from Talugderi. The guards are lead by a clansman, Svensen, who seems almost amiable towards Skagge (& Gilly & Eowa I think). It turns out the guards are fulfilling the request to protect us, and aside from ensuring we depart, they are unconcerned where we go. As we collect our belongings, we examine the secret note, it is a crude map of the route the pay wagon (we assume it is a wagon) will take to get to Cameth Brin from Angmar. After a brief pause to consider if Kolfina is setting us up on Nadia’s orders, we decide her intentions are honourable, and the map to be true.

As we are still exhausted, and unsure of the next move, we have Svensen and the guards provide us horses (3 northron horses for us, 2 easterling horses for Nergui and Mord) and escort us north, where we make camp in the woods near Nergui and Mordhau. Skagge uses a sleeping herb, Hugar, to get a full night’s rest in a mere 2 hours sleep, so he can be awoken by Svensen when the Northrons depart just before dawn. Eowa and Gilly awaken much later, getting a full night’s rest, and we all go find our companions, who are still asleep in their camp (Nergui stayed up all night watching over the dwarf, who laboured all night building a stone cairn, leaving his tower shield in the cairn, as he now has the Turtle shield).

We discuss various plans, and in the end we move north, following the map along the caravan route. We expect we have about 3 weeks to plan an ambush. We cross an un-attended ferry on the Mitheithel, just below where a large tributary enters. The trib flows down a deep (but not steep) ravine, and we find old evidence of Orcs atop the hill overlooking the ferry crossing. We move north along the road that follows the tributary and ravine until we are well beyond the crossing. It is a gorgeous place, we spend a couple days resting, healing, and foraging.

Gilly crosses the river using her stone-bridge spell, then climbs a large hill. She finds the ruins of an old tower, has fantastic views in almost all directions (no habitation to be seen) and discovers a rare herb, Latha. (+10 vs disease, 1-2 hits, cures the common cold). West of us is a gently sloping plateau as far as the eye can see. East it is hilly / mountainous, and sparsely forested. South is Cameth Brin and surrounds. Gilly and Eowa later find a nasty lichen, Lawrim, which is collected to make a paste (or liquid) which causes rash (-20) and potentially temporary paralysis.

[Eowa and Skagge are still recovering from injuries received in the Underhalls, I think everyone else is fine. We necessarily left Nergui’s sheep behind at Cameth Brin, hopefully someone will enjoy the mutton.]

[We spend the rest of the session discussing how best to ambush the caravan. I’ll start a separate thread for the planning of that. We end having found our desired but yet-to-be determined (within reasonable parameters) ambush site, and have spent a few days preparing – which we will detail in the intervening time before next session. During this time, Eowa takes a day & night for some ‘alone time’ with the moon, but otherwise the week passes uneventfully. As we busy ourselves, we hear hoofbeats, and are surprised (dismayed?) to see 5 riders approach from the south. 2 Outriders, suspicious looking & heavily armed Dunmen, followed by a pair riding abreast: a wizened oldster and a youth in bright armour with a stunning jewel about his neck.. yes, Arfenhil. Followed by a 3rd Dunlending guardsman/mercenary.]
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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby Headless » Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:22 pm

This is really great. Thanks for keeping it updated.
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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby 3Dayrise » Sun Jul 24, 2016 1:26 pm

Session 24. July 22, 2016. ~7:30-12:45. Chez Sparkman. Mord absent. Guest player Arfenhil (Nick). No chocolate in the snacks!

We spend a while discussing the ambush plans, eventually settling on a relatively simple strategy. Our plan relies on Gilly casting her high level pit spell, but as she has lots of time to prepare, she isn’t taking too big a risk. Briefly: We set a washout ~ 6 hours north and post a watch to observe, while the rest of us labour at the real ambush site. The watch will assess the enemy numbers and reaction to the washout, then return to the ambush site with the news so we can better prepare. The ambush site itself will include a water-filled pit across the road and a rockslide to be triggered behind the enemy once they have stopped at the pit. We will assault them from the ridge above the road while they are trapped.

[Mordhau is conveniently offscreen during the entire session, spending his time helping to prepare the ambush site, manning the watchpost and later protecting the horses… effectively he is not here]

Once our plan is mostly settled, we begin the session with the arrival of Arfenhil and his retainers, advisor Horgoth and the three surly looking Dunmen, Kale, Firmin and Sindar.
A surprised greeting occurs. Arfenhil is a bit circumspect about his reasons for travelling here. He and Nergüi seem to find common purpose in that both wish to see Rhudaur released from the rule of foreign kings and have it ruled by those deserving the crown, though it is unlikely that the two are talking about the same rulers.

Arfenhil’s primary purpose appears to be searching for the other half of the Herufea, which he claims is his rightful heirloom. Nergüi asks to see it, which Arfenhil assents to. Kale moves to interpose himself between the Arfenhil and Nergüi, so Nerg just ducks past, and Kale stabs him in the back before anyone can react. Arfenhil orders him to back down and Gilly rushes to Nergüi’s aid. Things are tense for a bit, but we manage to clear up the misunderstanding without further bloodshed, though Nergüi never does get to look at the Herufea. At least some of us suspect Arfenhil can sense the half of the Herufea that he seeks, how else could he happen upon us in the northern wilds?

Soon our watchers return, having spotted the enemy. They are a force of 8 Easterling riders accompanying a cart pulled by a huge troll, ‘driven’ by two men, their features obscured by the cloaks they wear against the rain. We plan, and plan. And plan. And plan, until eventually we are prepared for the advancing wagon. Nergüi has gone into a daze of concentration, huddled behind a bush and mumbling to himself about foul air and demons, everyone tries to stay away from him. Eowa stands ready at the rockfall, her signal will tell Skagge to fire his bow, the beginning of the ambush. Gilly positions herself on the slope above the water trap.

The first enemies are alert and sense something is amiss, but have not sighted us. One dismounts to inspect the pool, and shouts a warning back to his fellows. The second pair of riders is past the rockfall but the cart comes to a stop too soon, directly below the rockfall. Eowa signals, and the battle begins.

Skagge targets the figure beside the driver, fearing he is the most likely mage and presumptive leader. His shot is poor, though he does strike the figure in the leg while Eowa releases the rockfall. Stones and boulders tumble down upon the cart, damaging it and knocking it atilt, but it does not get pushed into the river. Arfenhil attempts to mind-control the troll, but to no effect.
Before the enemy can orient themselves, we attack. Gilly summons stones to pummel the lead riders (the cart stopped too soon, she is out of position for attacks upon the them). Nergüi continues to chant and twitch and 2 of the riders and their mounts collapse as his invisible death cloud rolls over them. Arfenhil’s retainers fire upon the troll, with Kale landing an unerring shot.

The two drivers scramble for cover on the far side of the stricken cart while some of the Easterlings fire ineffectually at us. Two of the enemy archers also take cover behind the wagon. Nergüi’s cloud of devastation continues to move towards the wagon, knocking out any who breathe its air, while Skagge, Sindar and Kale concentrate their archery upon the troll. Just as it appears we might be winning this fight, the canvass sides of the wagon roll up to reveal 6 Uruk-hai armed with crossbows.

The orcs quickly take aim and fire. The first aims at Eowa, who had exposed herself by throwing stones at the orcs. The bolt strikes her in the face and she drops, motionless and bleeding. The second Uruk fires upon Kale, who falls and rolls down the hill, dead. The remaining 4 miss (whew!). Four of the Uruk drop their bows and draw falchions, then charge up the hill behind the troll, while the other 2 remain in the cart to reload.

Gilly quickly begins to make her way to Eowa, while throwing shock bolts in the direction of the troll. Our archers continue to target the troll, which has climbed the hill to stand before Arfenhil, Firmin and Nergüi. We can do nothing as one of the drivers sprints away, escaping northward. Arfenhil moves to melee the troll, and Skagge targets the Uruk nearest Nergüi, wounding it in the leg before it can attack the Sorcerer. Nergui moves his demon-air over the cart, the Easterlings taking cover there are knocked out, though one manages to flee northward on foot. By now Gilly has arrived at Eowa’s side. Eowa has a nasty head wound, there is nothing Gilly can do to help so she returns to the battle with renewed fury. The two crossbow-orcs have left the cart to charge up the hill with their falchions, so manage to avoid the Sorcerer’s bad air.

Faced with 4 Uruk and a troll, Nergüi offers Arfenhil the use of his spear, the Creag Ulf Te, while Nerg continues to concentrate on his spellcasting. Our archers have effectively kept the troll out of the battle, and it finally succumbs to a shot from Sindar. Firmin and Arfenhil both retreat before the advancing Uruk, allowing our ranged assaults to take them out. As an Uruk chases Arfenhil, Gilly (still furious over Eowa) blasts its face off. Arfenhil spins and skewers it, sending it tumbling lifeless down the hill, while Nergüi descends the slope to calmly dispatch those his spell has knocked out.

The battle comes to a close, two of the remaining orcs try to flee but are quickly cut down. Aside from Eowa and Kale, we have taken no insult. We congregate about Eowa. None of us have the skill to help her, but Nergüi stabilises her for now. Meanwhile, Skagge races after the two escaped Easterlings, encountering them just a few minutes up the road where they are tending to their wounds. He negotiates with them; their lives and freedom if they save Eowa. The leader, Karfe, a mixed-man claiming to be a Ranger of the North accepts the offer. Skagge remains with the Easterling while Kolfe returns to the ambush site, bearing Skagge’s bow as proof of the deal they have struck.

Under the intense and wary gaze of Gilly, Kolfe brews a potion and administers to Eowa. Gilly asks what he has done, but Kolfe merely answers that he will not reveal his master Harlouinar’s secrets. Claiming to have done all he can, he departs, saying Eowa should wake in a few hours. Kolfe returns to Skagge & the Easterling. All are wary and watchful, but both sides keep to the bargain and they go their separate ways, unmolested. Upon return to camp Skagge is please to hear Eowa may live, though is chagrinned that Kolfe has taken his fine composite bow, its return was not explicit in the bargain.

While waiting for Eowa to recover, Nergüi reaches for his spear, only to have Arfenhil refuse to release it. Arfenhil becomes agitated, vehemently claims we have his heirloom, and demands it be returned while motioning threateningly with the spear. Nergüi begins to take offence, but Arfenhil magically compels him to OBEY. [Likeable-Arfenhil had to leave, so petulant-Arfenhil took over. Skagge regrets taking out the troll so quickly.] Nergüi loses interest in the spear and returns to examining the strong-box on the wagon.

The strong box is a massive metal box, bolted to the wagon. After some labour Nergüi removes the clamps holding down the lid, but it is too heavy for him to lift. Skagge is busy praying in the river, and Gilly is tending to Eowa so Nergüi enlists Firmin. The two manage to lift the metal lid, it pivots on its hinges to strike the side of the strongbox with a loud clang. Nergüi glimpses a quick movement inside then hears the sound of coins clinking as a snake-like hiss begins from within.

End session.

[Eowa was only mostly-dead, and we all know there is a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mord, the horses, and Arfenhil’s retainer Horgath are still ~ 3 hours walk south of us, they have not been fetched yet. Arfenhil wants to go, but we refuse to let him leave with the spear. Arfenhil was watching Nergüi and Firmin open the strongbox, but declined to help lift the lid. Skagge is nearby in the river, praying. I think Gilly was with Eowa, though Gilly may have moved on to other matters since Eowa was seemingly resting peacefully, we were discussing making a travois for her. We have some (8?) Easterling horses for our use. I cannot remember where Sindar is. I don’t think anyone bothered to check that Kale was all-dead.]
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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby 3Dayrise » Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:48 pm

Session 25. Chez Kehler-in-law. All in attendance. Sept 25, 2016. ~7:30-11:00

The chest clangs open, and a snake-like creature with clawed forelimbs and crested with spines springs forth. Thin, but with a 12’ wingspan, it sets us aback with an ungodly shriek, then rapidly flies off southward before anyone can react. Examining the treasure box, we see the whole ambush was just a trap, there is nothing of value to be found.
Gilly glances at Skagge, “I fear for your sister. Either she was setting us up, or... I fear for Kolfina.” The northman nods in agreement.

We pass the next two weeks warily hiding in the nearby hills, waiting for Eowa to recover and hoping the Angmarim do not come searching for us. Arfenhil and his retainers decide to stay with us. He returns the Hillman spear to Nergui, seemingly contrite for his previous actions. His behaviour vacillates between insecure youth and regal monarch, but overall he seems more genuine than in our previous encounters. Perhaps he has some substance after all.

During this down-time, Gilly replenishes a few of her herbs from the local area. Skagge contacts his sister Kolfina using the dream-herb, Brokwilb, that Gilly provides. Through images, Kolfina suggests she was not aware of the trap, and seems unconcerned for her own safety, perhaps believing she cannot be implicated in our attempt to hijack the payroll. She also warns of an impending battle between two armies, but is not clear about who the belligerents are.

We discuss the fate of the Herufea, whether to return it to Arfenhil or not. Gilly prefers to keep it from him, worrying he is unready and likely to act recklessly with it, perhaps allowing the Witch King’s forces to gain control of it. Nergui is concerned giving it to Arfenhil will lead to even more war in the north. Skagge thinks we should give it to him and be done with it, but defers to Gilly as she is connected with the boy. Mord suggests either discarding it or giving it to the boy, so long as he doesn’t have to carry it anymore. In the end, we decide nothing and continue on as before.

Eventually Eowa awakens. Still recovering mentally from her greivous wound, but seemingly recovered physically. We decide to travel south, to seek out Brogha and exchange the spear for Gilly’s enslaved brother, and to ask Brogha to fulfill his promise to treat with Nadia once the spear is in his hands. Returning to the ferry, we cross cautiously and uneventfully, Nergui fussing over his herd of Easterling mounts he collected following the raid on the wagon.

Passing well north of Cameth Brin, we see many campfires at the base of the tower, and many crows over the surrounding countryside. We must investigate. Nergui, Eowa and Skagge approach, discovering a large force of Hillmen mustered on the slope. They return to the others, and we decide to go to Talugderi to discover what is happening. Skagge lags behind, stopping to don a disguise while the rest of the party moves towards the town.

Three Easterlings on patrol approach us, we are a large group (8 riders plus ~8 more horses besides), so there is no hope of hiding. The patrol assumes Nergui is bringing horses to Captain Maidar, so adopt the party and ride with us, sharing vital intel on the way to Chinua’s encampment: The Easterling hero Batour has captured a Hillman chieftain named Uvan, and has refused to release him. The hillmen are here to demand his release. Also, the Easterling are content, having been paid recently. We suspect that Enkuheate’s wagon was indeed the pay-wagon, and that we missed an opportunity.

As the group make their way to Chinua’s camp, Arfenhil sidles up to Mord and asks when to attack; Mord suggests immediately. The three Easterlings haven’t a chance, two die and the leader is captured. We learn little upon interrogation, just that Uvan is not being held in Cameth Brin. The Easterling requests to die on his horse. We allow him to mount and Nergui pokes him with Creag Ulf Te. The spear rejoices in killing of men and Nergui kills him with unsettling ease. After, when Nergui tests the edge of the spear on his finger, it jumps at his touch, nearly severing an artery. While Nergui binds his wound, we all have second thoughts about turning the manslayer over to Brogha.

Leaving the Easterling rider on his horse, we release it to find its way home. We loose the horses of the other two soldiers, while hiding their bodies in the underbrush. As night approaches, we determine to go to Talugderi. Nergui and Skagge head towards town, leading Nergui’s herd through the hills. Mord, Gilly, Eowa, along with Arfenhil and his retinue, take a different route towards town.

As Nergui and Skagge approach a narrows along the trail, the horses startle and the familiar scent of troll assaults them.

End Session 25.
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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby 3Dayrise » Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:02 pm

Session 26. Sometime late September or Early October, 2016 Chez Kayahan, Sparkman absent.

Nergui and Skagge ride towards a narrows in the pass, leading the 8 extra horses Nergui has collected from dead Easterlings, only to stumble upon a poorly executed Troll ambush.
Sk: “Hey troll!”
WHAT?
Sk:”Let us pass!”
YOU IDIOT! NOW TRAP NOT WORK!
Sk: “You know Midar will hunt you down if you touch his horses.”
BROCK, TRAP NOT WORKING.
I DON'T LIKE HORSE. TOO SPICY
I THOUGHT YOU LIKED HORSE
THEY GIMME THE RUNS
Sk: “Midar will punish you”
WHO MIDAR?

The horses are panicking. Nergui and Skagge try to calm them. Skagge lets the ones he's leading go to control his own, and slaps them towards the trolls, Brock, Krog and Crek. The horses tangle with the ones Nergui is struggling with. A horse screams in pain and there's a wet thump in the darkness ahead. Unable to master his horse, Skagge jumps off while Nergui is slowly nearing the trolls as he struggles to control the herd.

THIS IS A REALLY BAD TRAP.
I TOLD HIM THE SAME. BROCK!

Sk:”Light-spell you idiot!”. Nergui complies and three trolls can be seen making their way through the horses towards the humans. Nergui dismounts and runs after Skagge, who is slowly backing away from the trolls. One troll breaks past and follows, a small one with a club.
CREK, I'M HAVING MANFLESH TONIGHT!

Skagge falls in beside the sorcerer, keeping pace with the slower runner to protect him from the advancing troll.
Sk: “Nergui cast your speed spell you dummy! Hey troll, what’s your name”
KRAWG
Sk: “You won't be eating manflesh tonight! I'm smarter than you, I'm faster...” Skagge's foot slips but he recovers. The troll connects with his club, shattering Skagge’s arm and sending his sword tumbling to the ground.
Skagge grunts in pain, but gathers his wits enough to sprint away.

Sk: “Another light spell you moron!”

A burst of light appears behind Skagge, but it is Krawg’s turn to mock as he lumbers forward, un-phased, “I KNOW THAT TRICK!”

Skagge and Nergui sprint away, but Nergui stumbles, cursing as Krawg catches him. Skagge hears the easterling cry out in pain, then nothing. Sk “Manflesh is better fresh” he yells, then moves off to hide and take stock. He can do nothing about his useless arm, so eats some herbs to kill the pain and sharpen his senses, then stalks back towards the trolls, hoping to see what happens to Nergui. The trolls are quarreling over Nergui.
I WANT IT.
BACK OFF, I CAUGHT THIS ONE
BUT I CAN'T EAT HORSE!
THAT'S YOUR ROUGH LUCK
SHUT UP, NEPHEW. BRING IT OVER HERE.
MAYBE I'LL TAKE A BITE.

Skagge settles to watch and wait for the others to catch up. As the trolls move off with their prey, a light appears on the path below so he moves to warn the others before they are spotted by the trolls.

Skagge stays behind, his useless arm is expertly tended by Horgoth. Arfenhil and his henchmen also stay behind, but Gilly, Eowa and Mord follow the trail of blood, intent on recovering Nergui if he is still alive. The trail leads up the hill to a cave, home to a family of 7 trolls, the same trolls which Gilly and Nergui previously encountered outside the secret entrance to the under-passage of Cameth Brin. They carefully hatch a plan to lure the trolls out, Eowa will lure as many away as she can, then Mord will reveal himself and distract any remaining while Gilly sneaks into the cave. Inexplicably, after all agreeing to the plan, they instead stand in front of the cave and holler until the trolls come out. The gods are fickle.

A battle of sub-epic proportions ensues, with Eowa and Mord becoming increasingly injured as 3, then 6, trolls come after them. Meanwhile, Gilly, cloaked in magic, sneaks into the cave and “befriends” the last remaining troll, picks up Nergui’s limp body in an expert fireman’s lift and marches out with him. By the time Gilly emerges, things are looking grim for Eowa and Mord. They have little hope of surviving. Gilly can do nothing to help without endangering Nergui again, so quietly sneaks up the hillside to safety.

Mord yells at Eowa to flee while he sets himself for a final stand, knowing he is too slow to outrun pursuit. Eowa eventually agrees to Mord’s demands and flees, with 2 trolls close on her heels. Before the remaining trolls can attack, Mord grabs a wounded young troll and threatens its life unless he is released unharmed. Amazingly, the parent trolls agree, and even more amazingly, the entire troll family holds to the word given, so Mord is allowed to saunter off. Later, Eowa would question the dwarf as to why she was not included in this bargain, but she was still fleeing for her life at the time.

Eventually Mord, Gilly and Eowa reconvene where the others are waiting, and we move off a short distance to make a camp and assess Nergui’s injuries [I have no notes on Nergui’s injuries… not sure what his status is]. Skagge’s broken arm, tended by Horgoth with skill and magical herbs (boneset) should be in working order within 3 days. We pass a tense night, and in the morning we return to the ambush site, eventually recovering Skagge’s sword and the Creag Ulf Te. After which, we return to Talugderi as was our original plan before the trolls interrupted us.

We pass through Magtu, the depressingly dismal refugee camp on our way, some dropping a few tins or coppers as their consciences allow. In Talugderi, we see there are a great many more Easterners, and the entire town has a bustling high intensity about it, preparation of war (or something) is afoot. The Red Hooves Inn is changed, the patrons entirely Easterling, the food and drink suited to their tastes. We have barely arrived when the barkeep, in hushed tones, warns us off. Surprisingly, we take his warning to heart and depart with alacrity, but not before someone takes notice of us. We see them making their way to the stable, then quickly departing in the direction of Cameth Brin.

We decide to go back to Magtu, to search out Kolen Bruff (Dunlending that Nergui and Gilly saved) to see what he can tell us of the present situation. In Magtu we are beset by urchins, partly brought on by our generosity last time through. Skagge offers a meatpie to the gamin who can take us to Kolen, but none seem to know him (so none get the pie). As we leave Magtu, Kolen reveals himself (and gets the pie). He takes us to a safe place and tells us what he knows. Of note:
Brogha is with the Hillmen outside Cameth Brin.
The Dunlendings have a leader, Methrid, who is trying to rally them against their oppressors.

We quickly make our way to the Hillmen encampment, talking our way past the guards (Clans Blue Pine, Raven in Mist and Three Stones are represented). Upon meeting Brogha, we are introduced to Talork, Blue Pine chief, also meet Simoid, Targ of Three Stone clan. Wilda, the northwoman we met on the road as she searched for Brogha, was also with him, serving as a liaison of some type between Brogha and Nadia. Brogha clearly holds her in high esteem and if there isn’t a personal relationship already, it seems Brogha is interested in such. After we turn over the spear, a Raven Claw youth (didn’t catch his name either), son of the captured Chief Uvan stormed in, wanting to attack the Easterlings and retrieve his father. Brogha put him off and he left as quickly as he arrived, unimpressed with Brogha’s inaction.

We end the session as Brogha begins an evening of celebration in light of the recovery of their treasured Creag Ulf Te. We are the special guests. He has promised Gilly to speak with Mira concerning her brother Galwyn, though he reiterates that he cannot command the waegech to release him. Eowa has snuck off on a pretext, the moon is full tonight and she wishes to be far from the camps.
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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby 3Dayrise » Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:40 pm

Session 27. Chez Kayahan. Sarah Absent. Friday, Nov 11, 2016. ~7:30-12:00?

The evening of celebration among the hillfolk is uneventful, though Wilda, a little drunk, arrives at our campfire late in the night to offer to carry a message to Nadia for us. Mord makes moon-eyes at her, but is too shy to walk her to her tent. In the morning, the Raven in Mist tribe is gone, as is Aloo, the son of Targ Uvan who is captive in the Easterling camp. Aloo has stolen the Creag Ulf Te. We are summoned by Brogha and tasked with determining what happened to Aloo and the spear. The Hillfolk are upset at the loss of the spear, grumbling about the displeasure of the ancestors at losing the relic. We agree to find out what we can.

Nergui, the half-Easterling Sorceror, goes to Tanoth Brin on the pretext of recovering his ram from the kennels. A friendly encounter with the guardsmen at the gate results in his brief reunification with Enroki, only to sell him to the guard, Chingas, for 12sp. Nergui learns of the failed raid by the Ravens in Mist, evidenced by 6 hillman heads mounted on spikes, and which resulted in the capture of Aloo. Nergui’s scouting reveals there are approximately 300 Easterlings that arrived with Bator, doubling the number of easterlings in Cameth Brin. The 600 easterlings outnumber the hillmen by ~3:1. The easterlings are anticipating leaving Cameth Brin very soon to go on their summer raiding.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party goes to Magtu to see if Kolen Bruff can be of any assistance. Kolen has a young blackhaired woman, Aelith, with him. We speak a little of the Dunlending leadership, three people that Kolen hopes will step forward and lead the refugees out of their plight, Meadrid, Fergus and Connall. It turns out all three serve the Dunlending King Mashbran in Cameth Brin, and the refugees have not been in contact with any of them. Skagge determines to try and help the refugees, so offers them gold to find him a skilled thrall to purchase and take to Maes Foul. Aelith agrees, and takes a down payment, but Kolen warns Skagge that he may not approve of Aelith's methods. Kolen steps out to see if he can learn anything for us, returning at about the same time as Nergui. Kolen’s information is nearly identical to Nergui’s.

We return to the Hillman camp and meet up with Talork, Targ of the Blue Pine Clan. Each time we meet with Talork, he seems a reasonable and friendly person, and this time is no exception. We tell him what we have learned, and he tells us of the state of affairs between the hillmen, Easterlings and Mashbran. The hillmen are upset that Mashbran has not met with them to hear their grievances for the past 2 weeks.

After meeting with Brogha, we return to our fire within the Hillmen encampment. Wilda comes by to see about our message to Nadia, and Mordhau convinces her to pass a message to Maedrid, one of the Dunlendings that Kolen spoke of. Mord tells Wilda he knows Maedrid (false) and wishes to meet with her in Magtu. Mord’s plan is that when Maedrid looks for him in Magtu, Kolen will seize the opportunity to speak with her. Mord and Nergui accompany Wilda to Cameth Brin, then continue on to retrieve our cache of gold and loot from the Cameth Brin undercroft. They spend an uneventful night in a copse nearby, then dig up the cache. As they prepare to leave, they are attacked by 2 uruk who shoot crossbows from a ledge above the secret entrance. The skirmish is brief, Neregui stuns them with a flash of light and Mord manages to kill one uruk before the other flees into the mine where numerous snaga are gathered. Mord and Nerg leave with their loot, with only a minor injury to one of the horses as a momento, then return to Brogha’s camp where the others wait.

Wilda returns to our fire, to tell us that Nadia will meet with Brogha soon, and that Skagge is invited to the midnight gathering. She also suggests Kolfina will be there. Nergui is insistent to depart immediately, ignoring the meeting, but Mord and Gilly convince him it is worthwhile to stay. Before the meeting, Skagge sleeps, getting a final good rest, happy that his broken arm seems to be finally healed. Meanwhile Gilly and Nergui go to Magtu with bags of food, and Gilly gifts a gold ingot (200gp!) to Kolen Bruff, who is flabbergasted, but accepts.

Skagge accompanies Brogha’s group to the meeting place, while Nergui and Gilly accompany the trailing guard. Mord and Eowa stay back to watch our horses and ensure the Dwarven Smithing tools are safe. Brogha requests Skagge to be his lone guard at the meet, but Skagge declines, not wanting to appear to choose sides between his mother and the hillmen. Brogha seems to respect the decision and departs for the shepherd’s hut where Nadia awaits. After the meeting, Brogha returns to tell Skagge his mother would see him.

When Skagge arrives at the hut, chief Ingmar is guarding the door. Nadia is in a somewhat better mood than the last time. She is less insulting and nearly complementary, her meeting with Brogha must have gone well. She tasks Skagge with providing safe conduct for her envoy who carries a message for Elesander. It seems she may accept the Dunedain Governor’s offer. At her command, the heroes are to depart first thing in the morning, stopping only at the Red Hoof Inn in Talugderi to pick up her man. “You will know him when you see him” is all she says. Skagge agrees with everything she requests; having retrieved their cache, the heroes were planning to leave anyway.

End Session 27.
[Bookkeeping. We learn nothing of what passed between Brogha and Nadia. After recovering the cache, we determine it to be extremely valuable. The 20 gold ingots are worth 200gp each. The Alloys are to be determined – Mord will assess them before the next session, as well as the gems that Eowa and Skagge carry.]
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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby 3Dayrise » Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:14 pm

Session 28. Chez Kehlow-F0 Woodside. All in attendance 8:00-2:00am!

We head to Talugderi in the morning, prepared for our long journey home, needing only to collect Nadia’s envoy at the RedHoof Inn on the way. It is just after dawn when we arrive, the town is quiet and the inn is locked, but we find Kolfina in the stable-yard. She is injured, has clearly been in a fight, but refuses any healing from Gilly. She has serious news, Nadia is betrayed, and is trapped inside Cameth Brin with a small contingent of warriors. The majority of the Northron force, lead by Ingmar, moved out in the night with the Easterlings to raid into Arthedain. Shortly after, Nadia and her remaining force were attacked by the Fuentari. Presently Nadia is not captured, but is trapped inside, defending her quarters from the castle guards. Nadia’s message to the heroes is twofold, 1) she agrees to all Elesander’s terms, provided he ensures her folks are fully provisioned for the winter and 2) – or maybe this is Kolfina’s request – we are to find Ingmar and convince him to return with the Northron army to Cameth Brin to convince King Mashbran to release Nadia and her remaining warriors. [editors note: Kolfina has no explanation of how she escaped Cameth Brin, or how she plans to get back inside. Nor does she allow any of us to heal/inspect her wounds, so we only have her word on these events.]

Unsure of what to do, we split up to try and learn what we can before choosing a course.

Mord, Gilly and Skagge (& Arfenhil et al.) return to the Hillfolk encampment, to find they are in preparations to depart. Targ Talork sees us, and asks we join them. We decline as we must wait for Nergui and Eowa to return. Talork tells us the route the hillfolk will take through the mountain passes so that we may rejoin them when we are ready (Two Pine pass, on the south side of the valley). Apparently Targ Uvan, Aloo and the Creag Ulf Te were returned in the night. The grievances between the Hillfolk and Easterlings were settled and they move to join the raid. Brogha must have known this was coming as he had mentioned previously that they would be raiding again soon, which leaves us wondering if he was instrumental in the plan to capture Nadia, perhaps to remove a rival for power. Unfortunately, we have no chance to question the Targ Arm before the Hillfolk depart.

Meanwhile Eowa and Nergui go to Tanoth Brin, to see what they can learn. As former Kennel Master, Eowa talks her way in, but Nergui is made to stay at the gate. Eowa’s escort moves to arrest her, and she changes form to flee, leaving her armour and magical sword behind. The guards recover quickly from their shock and manage to wound her with an arrow before she flees back through the gate. Nergui, unaware of Eowa’s lycanthropy, does not recognise Eowa, though joins the guards in their pursuit of the wolf. Eowa, still bleeding from the arrow in her thigh, manages to lose them eventually, with only Nergui and one guard (mounted on Eowa’s horse) nearby. The guard tries to arrest Nergui, who declines. Nergui stuns the guard, then, with a wave of his hand he sends the guard tumbling from his horse, writhing in agony from massive wounds (burns?). As the guard lies helpless on the ground, Nergui dispatches him easily with his dagger. Eowolf returns to beseech Nergui for aid but his shepherd’s fear of wolves prevents him from understanding the truth. Eventually Eowa reverts back to her human form. Once Nergui gets over the shock, they manage to remove the arrow, stop her bleeding and return to the Hillfolk camp.

By the time Eowa and Nergui arrive, the Hillfolk are gone. We leave immediately, and spend a few hours trying to determine which way the Northron army went, eventually deciding they went north to the ferry crossing of the Mitheithel, where we once crossed to set up our ambush of the pay-wagon. It is just coming dusk when we reach the abandoned ferryman’s hut at the confluence of the Mitheithel and the northern tributary. As we settle in for the evening, Eowa notices the ferry returning from the other side, and a curious bird overhead. She alerts the others, and we move to prepare a greeting. Nergui and Skagge head to the bank to help bring in the ferry and greet those crossing, Eowa, Gilly and Mord stay back, wary of approaching enemies. Arfenhil and his entourage remain in the hut.

It quickly becomes apparent that caution was the appropriate response. In the dim light, we see 2 mannish figures cloaked against the rain. One man pulls the boat across, the other restrains 4 huge war-mastiffs. Suddenly, the ‘bird’ dives at Nergui. It is the size of a person with a huge wingspan, and freakishly fast. Perhaps a cousin to the beast we released from the ‘payroll’ wagon. Snake-like with a short mane of hair and long scaly body supported by two large wings. It has no forelegs, but it hind legs are armed with vicious talons, and its prehensile tail terminates in a stinging-barb. It rakes Nergui across the chest with its claws as it sweeps past, causing fearful wounds and dropping him bleeding to the ground. As it speeds away, Skagge looses an arrow at the men on the barge, sure they are part of a coordinated attack. The arrow strikes the packmaster in the arm, and he releases the war-dogs as he falls back. The dogs leap into the water, eager to engage their enemy as the other man hunkers low while steadily drawing the boat ever nearer to shore.

Mord races to the ferry-line to sever it, but realises the boat will be ashore before he has time to complete the task, so comes forward to face the enemy. Likewise, Eowa runs forward to meet the dogs where they will come ashore, easily morphing into her wolven form.

Skagge concentrates on the aerial threat, yelling “watch out for the chicken!” each time the thing dives. It is so fast, there is not much we can do, and on its next pass it severely rakes poor Nergui again, leaving him tattered on the ground and struggling to stop the bleeding. The northman ignores all other threats, concentrating on the ‘chicken’, which mostly involves keeping its attention and leaping out of its way when it attacks. If it goes for one of the others, Skagge shoots at it with his bow to bring its attention back to him.

Two dogs make it ashore, and before Eowolf can attack, Gilly calms them. She warns us to leave them be as they are under her spell, so Eowolf prepares to meet the third mastiff. Nergui casts a protective spell over the Eowolf, she seems to shimmer with a glowing aura in the deepening night. The fourth war dog is carried off downstream in the strong current. The mastiffs are huge, larger than Eowolf, but not quite as fast, it will be a difficult fight.

Meanwhile, the ferry grinds ashore and Mord leaps (!) aboard to confront the two Rangers of the North, more of Harlouinar’s men we suspect. The boatman threatens Mordhau, point blank with a nocked arrow “I would surrender if I were you”, and the packmaster concurs “You should listen to him”. The Rangers learn to regret ignoring a sorcerer. Even though he is still on the ground from the chicken’s assault, Nergui casts a spell, stunning the archer. Mord leaps to attack, first with a concussive blow from his shield, followed by a monstrous strike with the warhammer, ripping the poor man’s arm away at the shoulder and sending him to his maker. The packmaster draws a dagger in his off-hand, unable to use the arm that took the arrow. Mord shatters the dagger and arm together and follows up with strike so powerful that to find the poor ranger’s forehead you’d have to dissect his chest cavity.

Eowolf and the mastiff continue to battle, both are showing signs of bites or claws that their opponent has scored. Mord jumps down from the ferry to help Eowa. The mastiff is in trouble now, faced with two opponents. Eowa grabs it by the neck and snaps it just as the 4th mastiff returns, having found its way ashore somewhere downstream. Having learned from her battle with the first dog, Eowolf has little trouble with this one. She distracts it by tearing off an ear, then disembowels it with her claws raked down its unprotected belly.

Nergui has to heal himself occasionally as he is leaking blood rather quickly, but otherwise, both he and Gilly are casting spells against the flying horror, though to little seeming effect. Skagge’s arrows also seem to have little effect, its scaly hide deflecting most of his shots. On the next pass it switches targets, keening loudly it grabs Mordhau about the waist and continues on as if he weighs nothing, heading for the river. Mord, hanging upside down in the creature’s talons and obviously enjoying the battle, is nonplussed by his predicament. He takes the opportunity to strike at his abductor. We hear a loud ‘crack’ as his warhammer strikes somewhere near the ribs, but the creature does not falter as it sweeps over the river and drops its Dwarven cargo. Gilly attempts to cushion the fall with a wall of air, but Mord is out of range, he hits the surface and sinks like a plate-wearing Dwarf.

Miraculously, Mord’s head re-emerges briefly as he makes a Herculean swimming effort, overcoming his heavy armour momentarily before sinking once again. Skagge mumbles a prayer to the river spirits, but ignores Mordhau’s plight to keep his attention on the flying-horror. Eowolf chases after Mord, diving so gracefully into the river that her courage inspires us all. She searches frantically for the dwarf as the strong current moves them downstream. Both she and Mord are in peril as the fast current and boulder-strewn riverbed pose a significant danger. Gilly projects light from her hand and chases downstream, trying to spot Mordhau in the gloom, hoping to use a wall of water to push him to shore. The flying horror pursues Gilly, forcing Skagge to sprint after it, leaving the injured (immobile?) Nergui alone in the dark, with just two confused but docile war-mastiffs for company. Nergui casts a final spell of protection on Skagge before he moves out of range, then sets about stopping his bleeding as his friends move out of sight. Later, he will make his way to the abandoned hut and berate Arfenhil and his followers for their cowardice, but he is unable to shame them into helping in the battle.

Mord is being bashed to death against the riverbed as he tumbles along in the current. Luck is on his side though. His turtle-helm saves his skull from being crushed. He manages to shake off the ringing in his ears, with a subtle nudge from Skagge’s river spirits [that +1% from the prayer is the difference in making a successful stunned manoeuver!]. The turtle-helm again proves its worth, allowing him to spot Eowolf diving towards him. Between Eowolf’s fantastic swimming skills and Mords efforts to help her, she is able to grab his beard in her jaws and drag him closer to shore and to the surface. The two struggle toward the bank, then Eowolf races away to help battle the flying horror while Mord gathers his wits and tries to clamber up the bank.

While the miraculous rescue was occurring, Gilly and Skagge were faced with the flying-horror. Gilly was scanning the riverbanks with her projected light searching for Mord and Eowa unaware of the approaching beast. Skagge was chasing the terror-chicken but was too late to help as it dove at Gilly, slicing across her face and leaving a deep gash across her face. The horror wheels quickly and dives at Gilly again, slicing through her armour with ease and ripping into her torso with its razor sharp talons. Gilly drops to the ground, arterial blood arcing out of her terrible wound.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Gilly grabs at her side, trying to make sense of the pulsing flow of bright red pouring from her side. She presses hard against the wound, watching as her hand darkens with her life’s blood.

It… doesn’t hurt. Well that’s a blessing. Gilly had always wondered what it would be like at the end. Would she meet it as a welcome friend in old age, would she scream it down in battle, would it take her by surprise with a gasp?

It seems the Valar have granted her a boon, here at the end of all things. For there is no pain, instead a calmness washes over her like a spill of a waterfall on a warm summer day, and with the calm comes clarity. She feels like she can see every part of the battle. The dwarf has finally been wrest from the churning river’s clutches…

An idle thought: The dwarf really ought to stop bathing in his armour. Twice lucky, but thrice?

She turns her gaze to the vicious wyrm that spits and dives, gaining the upper hand against her friends. The dwarf is now prone on the shore, but his body moves with breath, so no worries there. Nergui is not in sight, “Stay low, strange wanderer. Live to warn others of this foe.” Arfenhil, cowering in the little shack with his men, “oh child you will be no king if you never stand up for anything”. Eowa, warrior companion and wolf, fur sodden from her daring rescue, snaps and snarls at the creature, unbowed, and Skagge, hands steady, continues to fire, but the moving target proves again and again to be an elusive one.
Gilly sees her chance, reaches deep into untapped magics and pins the creature with her gaze.


“Fod Yn Llonydd!”

She can feel the beast’s surprise and outrage as it settles to the ground and finds itself forced to face the attacks of its foes. Its will tugs at hers but she knows she has won this fight. The Valar stand with her to give her friends a chance, she feels the taint of the medallion fade. She made her choice.

Time slows to heart beats. Heart beats spill her life out in a silent flood of warmth. A mist gathers at the edge of Gilly’s vision, and the calm becomes peace. She holds the spell for a beat longer and feels the thread of magic slip from her grasp. “I’m sorry Galwyn, you will have to be your own hero. My tale is told, my song sung.”

One last breath of sweet night air and...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Gilly managed to impede the snake-terror, just as she had done against the Orc chief Shardak at the Temple of Hengrist so long ago. Skagge and Eowolf battled it with sword and claw, but were unable to score a telling blow. Mordhau recovered somewhat from his bath, charged the beast but slipped and knocked himself senseless. Suddenly, the horror keened loudly, reared back and took to the air, flying unsteadily northward across the river, disappearing into the night.]

Eowolf goes to Gilly’s side and whimpers, nuzzling her gently while Skagge looks on sadly. The ground surrounding the Druid is soaked in her blood. She fought the beast until her last breath, only at her death was the evil creature able to flee. So does the hero Gildryth Farsaing pass into legend.
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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby 3Dayrise » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:31 pm

Session 29 Dec 26, 2016. Chez Kayahan. All in Attendance, ~7:30-12:00

As we gather about Gilly, trying to decide what to do, what rites to perform, a sudden cold descends. A blackness begins to envelope her, starting at the palm branded with the Lidless-eye and quickly engulfing her body. The air shimmers as if a gate were opening, similar to the gate the demon Algalon stepped through in the temple of Hengrist. Before we collect our wits and determine a response, the cold and dark recede as the gate shuts, leaving behind a heap of Gilly’s belongings but her corpse is gone. As you might expect, we are all quite disturbed by this event.

Eowa collects Gilly’s things, and begins the sad process of sorting through our friend’s belongings. Nergüi and Mord retire to the ferryman’s hut to recuperate while Skagge collects the bodies of the two dead rangers. He lays them outside the hut and searches them for enemy correspondence, finding nothing of interest save a few silvers. Skagge takes a cloak and boots from the dead men, while Eowa replaces her missing armour with ill-fitting leathers from the smaller of the two rangers.

Nergüi spends the night on the riverbank, meditating over Gilly’s staff while the remainder of us spend the night in uneasy dreams. No one speaks to our craven companions except for the most perfunctory curtesy.

In the morning, after a brief effort to convince Arfenhil to return home and pass word to Gilly’s family (he agrees to go “later”), we depart. Arfenhil and his entourage stay behind to ‘guard the horses’ while we cross the ferry. Once out of sight of the landing, we climb the hill to find a hiding spot for the Dwarven tools, which are too heavy to carry and too valuable to risk falling into enemy hands. We bury some of the looted gold and metal ingots along with them, while Nergüi buries Gilly’s staff somewhere apart. We lose half a day by the time we are ready to continue, so hasten our pace in an attempt to catch the Northron force as soon as possible.

We race across the uneven grassy steppe of Northwestern Rhudaur, moving faster on foot than would be safe if mounted. Tall grass (2-4’) covers the land which is sparsely dotted with the occasional shrub or small tree. The path is easy to follow, 300 warriors leave a wide trail, but we are distracted by the howls of wolves. Looking about, we spy a lone figure, racing across the hills about a half mile distant. She slows to fire an arrow into the grass behind, then makes for the only cover for miles, a rather small tree. She scrambles into the branches, only narrowly escaping the jaws of a wolf that leaps for her dangling legs, then disappears in the foliage.

Mord cannot resist a damsel in distress and charges towards the tree. Everyone soon follows, with Eowa and Skagge easily outpacing Nergüi and Mord. Skagge silently disappears into the tall grass as he approaches the tree, bow readied. Eowa howls a challenge to the wolves while Mord bellows for us to save some wolves for him as he clangs his way slowly onward. Nergüi keeps to the safety behind Mord as they approach. There are six wolves circling the tree and they soon break off to face Eowa and Mordhau. A voice from the tree calls out “Beware the lead wolf, the White one, it is not here yet!”

Eowa quickly dispatches the first wolf to come at her, neatly severing its spine with a quick thrust of her sword. Mord hollers to attract the attention of the other wolves and is soon surrounded by 3 of the beasts. Nergüi stays back, letting the dwarf and Eowa keep the wolves’ focus while he casts magiks on them. Skagge moves to position himself for a sneak attack but remains hidden, confident his companions can deal with the wolves.

The battle quickly turns poorly for us, with both Mord and Eowa taking nasty bites. Soon Mord is gravely injured with a severe blow to the spine. Fortunately, Nergüi does well to cripple one wolf, then stun two more with a thunderous blast. This brings unwanted attention and he is attacked by one of the remaining wolves and forced back. There are still 4 wolves, 2 on Mord, one each attacking Nergüi and Eowa. Mord shouts for aid, wondering where Skagge has gone, but the sneak is still hiding, intent on the White Wolf.

The White wolf appears, a massive beast the size of a horse. Two arrows fly from the tree in quick succession, striking the thing but to little effect. Skagge is more fortunate, his shot flies true and the white-wolf dies mid-leap, tumbling in a heap at the base of the tree. With the lead wolf dead, the others quickly flee, released from the unnatural control the white wolf seemed to exert over them.

Nergüi tends the wounded, his healing touch quickly restoring Eowa and Mord to health, though their worst injuries remain. The figure in the tree descends, a somewhat bewildered looking young woman, “Who are you people?”

Skagge introduces himself and his companions. The young human responds, “I am Elsie”. She is tall, nearly 6’ with sooty black hair and grey eyes in a face that is lovely if a little androgynous (not to be confused with nondescript!!! But you suspect she could easily pass for a delicate young man), slender to the point of wiry. She is dressed in worn but decent walking boots, a good stout tunic and leggings. However, after weeks spent wandering the Rhudaur wilderness, culminating in an extended game of wolf and mouse, she is matted, torn and bloodied from fang and bramble. She outwardly carries no weapon besides her long bow and her empty quiver, but carries a backpack and muddied bedroll, with several smaller pouches hanging at her belt. As she recovers, she proves to be fleet of foot and quite graceful.

She is somewhat evasive about her reasons for being here, claiming to be lost and searching for Cameth Brin. We are equally evasive about our objectives, though Mord does provide enough conflicting information for her to seriously doubt the value of joining us. In the end, Elsie joins us and we return to tracking the Northrons.

All the delays ensure that darkness forces us to camp before we reach the first Northron bivouac. The morning brings a hasty breakfast and we continue, soon encountering the Northron encampment, they are still almost 2 days ahead of us. With Nergüi providing magical speed to Mordhau and himself, we set out and soon come to a gorge running north to south across our path. The Northrons deviated northward, leaving a marker cairn and we are forced to do the same, seeing no easy way across.

Near the end of the day we finally reach the crossing point, the gorge has diminished to a manageable embankment with a small 10’ wide river to cross at the bottom. The Northrons moved past, but we will be force to camp here, the day is ending. Before we settle on a camping spot, we examine a curious rockslide near the Northron tracks. We discover the footprints of Giants! Massive (bigger than troll-prints) and booted, at least two different sets. We hope they have followed the Northrons and settle in for an uneasy, watchful night. The trail follows the gorge south until opposite the marker cairn, then turn westward once again.

We continue following the trail, vigilant for the Giants. Given the open, rolling nature of the landscape, we hope there is little chance the giants could surprise us. Soon we come to a disturbed area, clearly a fight between the giants and Northrons. There is blood, but no bodies. Near the end of the day we finally overtake the Northron force, bivouacked around a stone shieling. We approach cautiously, they are on high alert but recognise us and permit us entry to the camp.

We are taken to the hut where Ingmar lies, attended by the healer Ansen. Ingmar is dying of a wound he took while heroically defending his forces from the giants. Ingmar dismisses Ansen and summons his second, Wilda, and the leaders of the other two Northron clans: Tolbjorn, experienced and pragmatic and Arvid, youthful and insecure. Skagge truthfully relates the tale, including our misgivings regarding the veracity of Kolfina’s request. Ingmar believes us, but sadly dies while we are discussing what to do with the others.

The Northrons prepare for Ingmar’s funeral, which Skagge participates in. Afterwards, we all discuss what to do, and how to achieve our goal of getting the Northron army to return to Cameth Brin to rescue Nadia. Nergüi, Elsie and Eowa speak with various warriors throughout the camp to try and determine the mood of the various factions, meanwhile Mord guards the gear and swoons whenever Wilda comes by.

Things are complicated but briefly:
None of the Northrons seem particularly enamoured with the Angmar alliance.
Tolbjorn, who leads ~120 warriors, rejects the Nadia-Elesander alliance. He does not want to move to the Angle. He wants to raid.
Arvid, who leads ~50 warriors, is afraid for the hostages held at Cameth Brin and the clansfolk remaining in the north. He wants to go back to his home in the north to protect his people.
Wilda, nominally leading Ingmar’s ~70 warriors, doesn’t seem keen on taking leadership following Ingmar’s death, and instead encourages Skagge to take leadership. Her argument is that as Nadia’s son he can convince the entire Northron army to follow him.
The remaining ~60 warriors (total force is ~300) are Nadia’s warriors who were under Ingmar’s leadership. Wilda suggests they may follow Skagge if he steps up, though that is not a certainty.

The session ends with everyone agreeing to sleep on it. Discussions to resume in the morning.
[Editors note: From a “cause disruption among the enemy” perspective, most outcomes will achieve some level of success. Only if a united Northron force continues raiding will we be unsuccessful.]
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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby 3Dayrise » Fri Apr 14, 2017 10:22 am

Session 30. Feb 4, 2017. Chez Kehler-F0, All in attendance. ~7:30-11:45

In the morning the Northron leaders come to our campsite. Tolbjorn and Arvid will go their own way, to raid in Cardolan. Wilda suggests Skagge speak to Ingmar’s folk, they might be convinced to return. Skagge and Tolbjorn part on respectful terms, neither willing to duel another Northron over this difference of opinion. Nergui is annoyed as this is against his counsel, he favours removal of the Northron leaders so that Skagge can become “Khan” over all the warriors.

Skagge reluctantly speaks to the assembled troops (Nadia’s and Ingmar’s warriors). Eowa and Mord are careful to guard him, suspecting foul play from Wilda, though nothing untoward happens. Skagge gives a very uninspiring address. His efforts probably do more to drive Ingmar’s men away than inspire them to follow. In the end, a force of ~75 warriors follow the Brave Companions to return to Cameth Brin, the remaining force continues west to raid into Cardolan

As mid-day approaches, the scouts report we are being followed by the two giantesses. Realising they will not be outrun, Elsie wisely points out it is better to deal with them on our terms than on theirs. The army halts while the Brave Companions go in search of the trailing giants, with hopes of a Parley.

The scout leads us to where they were last seen, and we shout a greeting. The giants reveal themselves. First, a massive 20’ tall brute stands up. She has scraggy dark hair, rough sewn clothes, and is wielding a tree trunk for a weapon. Calling over her shoulder, she shouts “Five are mine!”, flashes us a gap-toothed grimace (smile?) and comes bounding towards us at alarming speed. The second giant reveals herself, a mere 16’ tall, slighter of build and fairer of hair, she seems less eager to attack, but none the less comes bounding forward. Mordhau sighs adoringly, he clearly has a thing for tall fair-haired women, and this one exceeds all others he has encountered.

We quickly realise that when choosing to parley with giants, one should do so with an army at one’s back. We send the scout racing to summon the encamped Northrons while we (unsuccessfuly) try to convince the giants to talk. The large gap-toothed giant is intent only on eating us, the smaller seems willing to talk, introducing herself as Holly. Elsie and Skagge shoot arrows at Gap-tooth while Mord and Eowa move to engage, and Nergui prepares a spell. Elsie lands a solid hit to Gap-tooth’s cheek, drawing unwanted attention. The giantess quickly alters course directly for Elsie. Neither Mord (with Warhammer) nor Nergui (with Sudden Light) nor Skagge (with arrow) can distract the giant, and she sends Elsie flying with one swing of her massive club. Elsie cartwheels through the air, crashing in a heap about 30 feet away, but is miraculously still moving, though somewhat battered and stunned. Gap-tooth then turns her attention to the other archer, but Skagge sprints away each time she tries to close the distance. Nergui and Mord are having trouble keeping up with Gap-tooth, though Mordhau does get booted accidentally when he gets within striking range.

Eowa confronts Holly, and engages her in conversation. Holly is reluctant to be outdone by her larger companion, being behind in their bet of “who can eat the most men before mid-summer”, but is reluctant to eat a fellow female. She is also distracted with the desire to find a ‘green eyed thrush’. Surprisingly Eowa has seen one recently at the Battle of the Apple Tree, where we met Elsie. Unfortunately, Eowa tells Holly truthfully how far away this is, and Holly decides her best course of action is to have Eowa show her. Holly proceeds to try to capture Eowa, which Eowa isn’t too keen on. After a few near misses, Eowa decides to fight back and swings with earnest as Holly tries yet again to grab her.

Nergui hatches a stunningly brilliant and suicidally insane plan to get himself close to Holly so he can cast a spell on her. He wants the giantess to capture him. His plan comes off with barely a hitch, until Holly decides to use Nergui as a club to beat Eowa, which both heroes regret. Then Holly stuffs Nergui into her sack. Nergui later manages to recover his wits and cast a spell on her from inside the sack, severely injuring Holly, and proving his plan a success! Holly, feeling the brunt of a few wounds from Eowa, the effects of Nergui’s spell, and seeing Mord making his way towards her, decides to retreat and so tries to flee with Nergui still in her pouch. Eowa, Elsie and Mord prevent her from leaving, and Holly is made to release Nergui in exchange for her life.

Meanwhile, gap-toothed Frigda has been fruitlessly chasing Skagge, who has been leading her steadily away from his companions. Unable to catch the northman, and tired from the chase, Frigda gives up, grudgingly departing the way she came.

Eventually the Northron army arrives. The giantesses are long gone but the heroes have earned some respect from the Northron warriors, having successfully fought off the two giants. We proceed on the journey back to Cameth Brin. A few hours from Cameth Brin, we stop to assess our options. Skagge and Elsie don disguises and go into Talugderi to see what may be learned of the Cameth Brin situation while the others wait.

While waiting for Skagge and Elsie to return, Eowa looks over at Nergui and studies his wolf skull uneasily. He is aware of her gaze, and absently strokes the white brow bone. He thinks on the pack of wolves they had fended off, and Eowa’s other spirit.
“So you want to know why I wolf?”
He slides a sidelong glance at her, but doesn’t meet her eyes.
“No, I want to know how.”
“The wolf, the – shapeshifting - is something I received from my father, Malthiss. It is passed down through my family, though not every generation has it.“
“So it is taught?”
“No, we are born with it in our bloodline. We are taught only how to control it.”
“How did you come by it?”
“My father says the Tor family was cursed long ago – by a sorcerer.” She eyes Nergui, mindful of his talents. “The wolf in us meant a chosen exile in the hills north of the ruins of Amon Sul. My father is a mercenary. He was rarely home when I was a girl, but at the least he did teach me.”
“It is a powerful gift,” Nergui tells her .
Eowa frowns. “It doesn’t seem that way. Just something I cannot help but do – something terrible. Do you know I almost ate Skagge, once? But he is swift – and lucky.”
“Power is not terrible. Power is a tool, to be gathered and used.”
“Do you seek it?”
“It is better to have it than to not.”
A silence falls.
“I think sometimes I would go back to my mother,” Eowa says. “I have my share of treasure. I could bring her to a better home, where she wouldn’t be so lonely.”
“We are rich,” Nergui murmurs. “Why join this army? I could go south.”
“Is that where your family is?”
“Yes. My parents have an orchard, a small farm. My brother is a trapper. He is strong.”
“So you want to go home?” Eowa asks.
Nergui says nothing.
“I think you don’t. I think you want power, of a sort. But I wouldn’t wish the wolf on you, or on anyone.”
She kicks a stone and walks off. Nergui studies the skull silently, his lips pursed.


Nothing of value comes from the visit to the Red Hoof Inn, except the revelation that Elsie is the daughter of our missing Ranger friend Borandil! The session ends with the return of Elsie & Skagge, and the heroes planning the upcoming assault on the underhalls.
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Re: The Unofficial Story so Far

Postby 3Dayrise » Sat Apr 22, 2017 1:13 pm

Session 31. April 14, 2017. Chez Kayahan ~5:00-12:30 (with potluck break, Hooray for shared food!). Sam absent.

We begin at the ferry, north of Cameth Brin, where the ferry crosses the Mitheithal at the confluence of a major tributary. It is the last day of June, a typically rainy Rhudauran day. As dusk approaches, we slowly lead our Northron ‘army’ of 75 warriors toward the entrance of the Underhalls, while Nergui and Eowa scout ahead. They are able to approach the hidden entrance unseen, and settle down to observe. As night darkens, the door opens and two snaga emerge to sit watch. Nergui casts his un-air spell, but before it is fully effective he is spotted by one of the snaga as it relieves itself within splashing distance of Nergui’s hiding spot. Eowa leaps to attack, and battle ensues. Fortunately, Nergui’s spell takes hold of one goblin and Eowa dispatches the other without the alarm being raised. The only minor scare coming when Eowa was briefly affected by Nergui’s spell.

Eowa scouts the entrance and sees a dim light further down the corridor. The army arrives, and are made to wait while the Brave Companions enter to ensure safe passage. Skagge & Eowa creep forward, followed by Nergui and Mord, hoping to ambush the remaining guards. The orcs have prepared well, and Skagge sets off a trap that knocks him aside as a massive spiked bar hits him in the chest. Eowa moves forward and sees the Orcs have a mantlet set across the entire passage, barring the way. As we move to assault the shield, the Orcs load and fire their arbalest, striking Skagge in the shoulder with a massive bolt, dropping him to the ground.

Eowa, realising she has no way past the shield wall, quickly transforms to her wolven form and leaps through the narrow gap between the ceiling and the mantlet. Alone on the enemy’s side of the wall, she faces 3 goblins and an Uruk as a fourth goblin races away to raise the alarm. She evades the startled orcs to chase the fleeing one, bowling it over from behind and easily dispatching it with teeth and claw. She turns to face the Uruk, Morglag, who has followed the pursuit.

Meanwhile, Nergui has moved up to help Skagge who lies stunned and bleeding on the floor. Mord tries to push past, but the two humans and narrow corridor impede him, he ends up ‘swimming’ across Nergui’s back, inflicting further injury on Skagge as he forces his way past, only to be stymied by the mantlet. One of the goblins takes a pot shot at Mordhau with his short bow and gets the luckiest shot of his short life. Mord grunts in pain as the arrow penetrates his vambrace to break his shield arm. One-armed, he struggles ineffectually to get over the mantlet. Nergui, realising Eowa needs assistance, stuns the orcs with his Sudden Light spell and uses Mordhau as a stepladder to vault over the mantlet. Mord gives up on climbing the shield and tries to use his massive strength to one-handedly twist the mantlet out if his way.

Things look grim, with two of the Brave Companions injured, and Eowolf & Nergui facing 3 goblins and an Uruk, but they handle the foes fairly easily. Nergui is able to arm himself with a goblin-spear, and keep the snaga at bay while he removes the supports from the mantlet, allowing Mordhau through. Eowolf battles Morglag and proves his better, finishing him off with a savage bite to the face that removes his lower jaw. Even one-handed, Mord has no trouble and the snaga quickly fall. The last goblin curses us, saying he will be revenged when we die to Ughash Headsplitter.

There is no turning back, despite two severely injured companions. Nergui does what he can, restoring hit points, but there is nothing immediate to be done about Mord’s broken arm and Skagge’s injured shoulder. Eowolf remains in the tunnel as we return to give the ‘all clear’ to the waiting army. The brave companions lead the army into the cramped tunnels, leaving behind a force of 10 Northrons under Elsie’s command to guard the entrance (no-one trusts Wilda enough to leave her in charge).

We pass the ~2hr trek in the dark, sweltering tunnel, eventually arriving at the underground lake where we hope to defeat the Orcs and find a passage from the Underhalls into Cameth Brin proper. As before [USSF 20], the cavern is hot and humid, with visibility reduced by the pervasive steam.

Eowa scouts forward again, seeing the orcs have added some defences against possible incursion since we last were here. There is a small protective wall along the lake-edge, behind which a few snaga stand guard. And there is an elevated watchtower on the lakeshore near where the Orc camp is located. We call forth two of the more agile Northrons, Taavi and Sinda, to cross the treacherous patch of the ledge and attach a rope to aid the crossing. Unfortunately, Taavi loses his footing and falls into the lake, alerting the orcs. As his compatriots help the slightly-broiled Taavi out of the lake, we race forward, desperate to clear the ledge and get to the lakeshore before the Orcs can mount a defence. Skagge charges, leaping the shallow wall to cut down one of the three surprised snaga archers behind. Nergui, suspecting a trick of some kind, pauses to push a suspiciously placed barrel into the lake. Eowa is delayed somewhat by the treacherous footing on the ledge. Mordhau hangs back scanning the lake. His helm, Cu Saggha Brath, will allow him to command the giant turtle, Girge-Tarel, but only if he can spot the turtle before it attacks. This proves wise and Mord soon spies Girge-Tarel, so commands him to leave the Northrons unmolested. Mord also takes this opportunity to ‘dispose’ of the Herufea, feeding it to Girge-Tarel.

The three lookout Orcs are quickly overwhelmed and we race on to the Orc encampment where they have hastily drawn up a battle formation, about 50 snaga lead by the Uruk, Ughash Headsplitter on the far side of a small steaming stream. Skagge calls for the Northrons to follow, and charges Ughash. The battle is short and intense, but as more Northrons cross the ledge and press the enemy, the orcs are outnumbered and pushed back. Quickly they break and flee further into the cavern, barring doors behind as they flee.

[while writing this, I was wondering… did Mord even make it to this battle? Mord was busy looking for, and later, interacting with, Girge-Tarel. Mord might have missed the biggest orc battle we’ve had! I picture him arriving just as the door slams shut on the retreating Orcs, crestfallen that we didn’t save any for him, not even a spot of blood on his Warhammer.]

The cavern is littered with dead orcs (~35), though Ughash manages to escape. We assess our losses (12 injured, 9 dead) and secure the area while warriors dismantle the intervening door with quick work from their axes. A second sturdier door bars our way, but that is removed in similar fashion, revealing the orcs, barricaded behind a portcullis, and willing to parley.

Ughash bargains for his folk. “We know why you are here. You want the prisoners. Stop or they die”. Of course, we stop, and tell Ughash he may yet survive, on condition that he release the prisoners, and show us the passage from the Underhalls into the castle. We make him bring the prisoners where we can see them. Three undernourished, maltreated humans. Skagge cries out “Borandil” and one of the walking skeletons almost looks up. We tell Ughash to send a snaga to show us the way. Leaving behind 15 warriors to guard the orcs, we follow Grotty up the stairwell to the hall where we defeated the petty dwarf King Muffli’s ghost. Grotty only vaguely knows where the door is, and we are at a loss until Nergui uses the Laen Perception Discs to find the door and the mechanism.

A narrow spiral stair leads up and up. At the top of the stair is a small landing with two massive stone doors. The doors open towards us, and are barred on the other side. As we prod at them to discover a way of opening, as voice from the other side yells out “Who goes there!?”

After a brief pause and some surprised glances among the heroes, Skagge pipes up in his best Orkish voice. “It’s Ughash, let me in!”
“You know you are not allowed through this door. What do you want?”
“Then bring me Longtooth, we need to speak urgently”
“Wait there” After a long delay we hear Mashbran’s voice “You are not allowed here, what do you want?”
“We were attacked! Easterlings!”
“That’s not possible! Open the doors”

As the doors swing outwards, Mord and Magnus are positioned on either side to grab them and prevent them from being pulled shut when the Fuentari realise the deception. Eowa and Nergui are ready on the landing, while Skagge waits just behind Nergui.

The stairs continue upwards, though no longer spiral. Arrayed in front of us in 4 ranks of 3 are 10 Fuentari lead by Captain Shemu, plus Spymaster Longtooth and Mashbran himself in the furthest rank. Nergui casts a Sudden Light, stunning the first ranks while Eowa and Skagge charge, hoping to get to Mashbran to threaten him and bring the battle to an early end. Eowa and Shemu exchange blows, then Skagge steps forward, catching the Captain off-guard and giving him a nasty wound. Eowa and Skagge are blocking the way, and Mord is itching to get in the fight so Eowa drops her sword and starts tossing him foes. She grabs Shemu and throws him behind her, then moves up the stair to the next guard and shoves him behind her as well. Mord and the Northrons make short work of the fodder they are fed. Nergui is keeping the enemy disoriented with his spells and Skagge is trying to push past the guards to get to Mashbran. The King is in full retreat, calling furiously for both reinforcements and a cessation of fighting. Eowa grabs Longtooth, threatening him with her dagger and the King orders his men to cease fighting. The Fuentari stop, as do we, though Mord takes one last swing to dispatch the Fuentari in front of him.

An uneasy armistice takes hold, but we are not feeling secure, knowing any delay just means time for overwhelming force to be brought against us. Mashbran asks who we are and we tell him. He recognises us and sardonically asks after the Dark Lady, to which we truthfully reply she is dead (poor Gilly). We request release of Nadia and her kin, and a tense negotiation begins. Of course Mashbran is dis-inclined to just let her go. He offers to allow Skagge passage to go visit her, but we don’t trust anything Mashbran is saying. Mord is convinced if Skagge were to accept the offer, he would be captured as well, and that all Mashbran’s talk is merely stalling us as his forces gather.

In very short order, more Fuentari arrive, including the commander, Valladin, who whispers into Mashbran’s ear. Valladin, looking displeased, calls for his bow. He draws an arrow, aims at Nergui and tells him to cease his spellcasting. Nergui, who was surreptitiously casting his unlife-demon begins to accede when Valladin looses his arrow. The bolt disappears into Nergui’s eye, exploding out the back of his head and Nergui is dead. As Nergui falls, Eowa releases Longtooth and leaps for Valladin with a howl of rage. Morphing into Eowolf in mid-air, she strikes at Valladin’s neck and arterial blood sprays as Valladin collapses, his life’s blood spreading across the stairs. As Valladin collapses, Skagge rushes forward, skewering Longtooth.

Mashbran screams hysterically for the fighting to cease, and again his followers obey. One moment we were speaking, then in a blink, Nergui, Valadin and Longtooth all lie dead. Mashbran seems emotionally distraught with the violence and agrees to our demand to release Nadia and her followers. Mashbran sends a runner, and we send Magnus with him. While we wait, Skagge orders the Northrons to take Nergui’s body below, and he collects Eowolf’s clothes. Shortly, Nadia, with her typical proud bearing, descends the stairs, followed by her folk. None are armed. With a nod of acknowledgement to the Brave Companions, they file past and disappear down the stairs. As we back away slowly, the great stone doors are slammed shut behind us and we are left in the dark, wondering what awaits us when we emerge from the tunnel in a few hours.
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