The One Ring: The Darkening of Mirkwood

#5 - The Haunting of East Bight
TA 2947

After a year-end fellowship phase in Woodmen Town, we ran across a spider-bit man during a hunting trip. He was being pursued by Dagmar and her band of men, servants of Tyrant’s Hill. They claimed that he stole something from them and wanted us to turn him over to their justice.

We claimed that he was under our jurisdiction and we should all go to Rhosgobel so the strange woodmen could present their claim before a court in the Hall of Woodland Justice. They agreed and began to follow us, but soon tried a surprise attack. We killed three of their number including Dagmar, and the rest got away.

We found Radagast in Rhosgobel and turned the man over to his healing ministrations. He requested that we escort a messenger back to the East Bight to the settlement of Sunstead. Her name was Bronwyn the Quick.

We escorted her around the south end of Mirkwood, and for once our journey was without serious incident. In Sunstead, we kept hearing rumors and stories of a terrifying ghost haunting the settlers and stealing livestock. Denethor mapped out the locations of the rumored hauntings and found that they were all in a ring around a clump of low hills. We decided to investigate and took Bronwyn with us as a guide.

Our hike led us to hill with a tomb in it. We went in and found all kinds of shadow there – a sacrificial altar, strange markings on the walls, sarcophagi and scattered bones. In one of the rooms was a great statue of the wainrider hero entombed there. His ghost appeared to us and demanded tribute to settle his uneasy rest. He was terrifying, but as we spoke with him, there were certain clues that all was not quite kosher.

We finally decided to attack, and discovered that it was two goblins performing a complex masquerade. We found a decent treasure horde in the tomb and the goblin bodies and the hero’s armor were dragged back to Sunstead.

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#4 - The Well In The Wood
TA 2946

Escorting a trader and his son through Mirkwood to Woodland Hall, we encountered a strange creature that lulled the party into sleep and caused them to have dreams motivating them to go below ground. We woke up to find Belgo, the trader’s son, racing off into the woods shouting “Mother! I’m coming, mother!” We went chasing off after him to find that he had been taken by this being – a combination of a Dark Young and a Sarlacc Pit, sort of. Though we were all weary and hurting, we fought this giant creature and managed to rescue Belgo.

The rest of the trip to Woodland Hall happened without much incident, and we spent the vast bulk of the middle of the game in the Fellowship phase – essentially spending XP through role-play. I like how this works.

In the Spring, during a hunting foray, we run across a Woodman who is sickened by spider venom. He passes us a mysterious note and collapses. His pursuers appear as we are trying to heal him, but we decide to save the unloading of the plot wagon for the beginning of next session.

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#3 - Don't Leave The Path
TA 2946

We met up with Baldor and Belgo, our father and son merchants, on the shores of Long Lake to escort them with their pony-string of trade goods to Woodmen Town (?). The plan is to take the northern road west through Mirkwood, then turn south crossing through Beorning territory.

We stop and rest for a few days at the halls of the wood elves without incident, then continue along the road. After a few days of travel, we have our first incident. Baldor gets up in the night to pee and get a drink of water. He drinks from the stream and seems to forget who he is, who we are, and what he is doing there. He runs off into the woods. We spend the night searching for him, and the next day find sign that he ran into some giant spiders. We eventually find him tied up in a web at a ruined keep. Carl Huffingtoe and Denethor Lightbow climb up to try to free him when the spiders attack. The numbers in each wave keep increasing and this long bad battle took most of the evening. Carl, our hobbit, had to be freed from webbing three different times and the fight turned into a running battle away from the ever-increasing number of spiders. There was a lot of stabbing and hacking and shooting arrows during this battle, but the highlight may have been the second time Carl was snared in a web. The spider was dragging Carl closer and closer, and Carl was trying to cut his way out of the webbing with his short sword. The Boar-Slayer grabs Carl and tries to pull him away from the spider and notices that the webbing is strong and highly elastic, so he pulls Carl until the string between him and the spider is twanging taut and releases Carl like a hobbit missile straight at the spider. Carl gains a bonus to his sword attack and badly wounds the spider, which Denethor finishes off with an arrow. Brand, Son of Gorm, kills 7 or 8 spiders single-handed and we finally make it to safety with Baldor.

Several days later, a storm forces us to seek shelter. We find a home inside a hollowed-out tree. The occupant, a crazy old hermit, joins us and we have a social encounter to try to get him not to jab us with his pointy stick. He gives the Boar-Slayer a shard of Wolf-Biter, a legendary Woodman axe that was believed to be lost.

The journey keeps wearing us down. At least half of the party is weary, and several of us have 1-3 shadow points. About a week later, we come across a peaceful glade. People feel a strong urge to rest, and all have dreams about something they strongly desire below them in the rocks. Belgo goes running off, shouting “Mother! Here I come!” and we end on that cliff-hanger.

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#2 - The Gathering of the Five Armies
TA 2946

We escort the prisoners of the goblins back to The Dragon Head Inn and agree to escort a tradesman and his son to Rosghobel once the festivities in Dale have completed.

Upon our arrival in Dale, we are questioned by the captain of the guard about the “goblin activity” and make a bit of a name for ourselves because of our deeds.

We each spend some time in Dale doing various things – shopping at the great market, getting our fortunes told, gambling, and so forth. That evening, Bard, Gandalf, and Bombur kick of the big fireworks display and we attend the masquerade ball, where we have various social encounters and mishaps.

The next day is a series of competitions – each of our characters participates in a few, based on their strengths. Carl Huffingtoe drinks himself sick in the drinking competition, but with true Hobbit grit, manages to win the pie-eating competition. Denethor takes second place (again) in the archery competition, but sparks a bit of a love interest with the winner. The Boarslayer and Mord acquit themselves well in the Grand Melee, but also end up in a bruised and battered second place.

After the day of games, we attend the great feast. Again, more social encounters that seem to lead nowhere.

After a few days of rest, we are ready to set off for Rosgobel.

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#1 - Blood in the Waters
TA 2946

All of us travelled to Esgaroth with plans to continue to Dale for the five-year celebration of Black Arrow Day and a remembrance of the Battle of Five Armies. After participating in a short archery competition to get the feel for how to roll the dice, we took the ferry across Long Lake, planning to walk up the River Running to Dale itself.

The ferry arrived at the Dragon Inn, but we found it strangely deserted. A little investigation revealed that some sort of attack had occurred. We discovered the innkeeper floating in the water below the dock, stabbed in half a dozen places. He was still alive, though just barely. He told us that goblin raiders on wargs had attacked the Inn and captured its tenants.

We found the trail and set off in pursuit, but did abysmally on our travel checks. We stumbled into an ambush and had to fight a rearguard of goblin archers and wargs. Afterward, we scouted around and found the rest of the group avoiding daylight under a low rock overhang. Our archers took out the sentry and the rest of us attacked, wiping out the remainder of the raiding party.

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