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Beneath Black Boughs

Started by Eclecticon, Apr 19, 2022, 01:55 AM

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Eclecticon

Though the sun has not yet risen and the mist sits heavy upon the Dusky River, even at an early hour the world is warm with the last days of summer as Hathcyn pushes a borrowed boat away from the old dock at Woodmen-Town.  Esgalwen and Grimbeorn take up the oars and row swiftly and quietly across the sluggish waters.  The scents of domestic life - wood-smoke and swine, thatch and damp hemp - fade as the world of Men vanishes slowly behind them.  For a minute, all is still, and the companions abide in a place of water and mist outside of Middle-Earth, Arbogast sitting mutely in the stern of the boat, Radagast perched in the prow, whistling in the speech of the bats that can still be heard abroad in the pre-dawn twilight. 

Then, from out of the fog loom the thickly-packed, moss-laden trees of the wilder Mirkwood.  Ancient and sullen they stand, heavy with growths of unwholesome fungus, resentful of all who would trespass upon the soil in which their roots are sunk.  Radagast, satisfied perhaps that no messengers of darkness are on the wing to observe their passage, leaps into the water when the river is still knee-high, and helps drag the boat ashore.  "Its owner will find it here when the sun rises," he says, "but we shall be long past, and our passage obscured, if we do not tarry." 

Nodding in satisfaction, the Fire-watcher goes forth, the Woodman's eyes already finding paths suitable for Mannish feet. 


:ooc: Far kinnel this took a long time, but at least it's started now!  I promise, there'll be more story tomorrow.
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Telcontar

Hathcyn grumbled, "i've a growing undeserved reputation concerning borrowing boats..."
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

Hathcyn
Great Spear
2h.  4d :00: 9 :dmg: Edge 8 Injury 18

tomcat

:ooc: If this is going to be a Journey series, Esgalwen has 3 skill ranks in Travel, Explore and Awareness - so she might be a strong candidate for any of those roles. Place her as you need, Paul.
Narrator: Darkening of Mirkwood | Chronicle of the North | Tempest Rising | To Boldly Go | Welcome to the 501st!
Esgalwen [♦♦♦♦○○] Dmg 9/11  |  Edge 8  |  Injury 16/18
Nimronyn [Sindarin Pale gleam] superior keen, superior grievous longsword - orc bane
Foe-slaying - when attacking a bane creature, reduce Edge of weapon by value of bearer's Valour

Shadow bane [when in Forward stance, add 1 success die to each attack]
Skirmisher [if carried encumbrance is 12 or less, increase Parry by +3 when in close combat stance]

Eclecticon

Though the Brown Wizard's magics bathe the boughs and trunks of deep and ancient Mirkwood in a sourceless light like the light of dawn or sunset, it is clear that the grasp of the darkness about the forest has grown only stronger away from the Road.  Each stone and tree, each long-fallen branch and the mushrooms that grow in great number upon them seems possessed of a resentful watchfulness, as if the whole forest waits for a chance to visit its malice upon the two-legged interlopers.  Not a hundred paces from the Dusky River, the light of the sun vanishes like a childhood memory, and before and beside the companions the trees stretch on as if to the ends of the world. 

Radagast seeming to be content to follow the Fellowship's lead, muttering near-constantly under his breath, Esgalwen sets as steady a pace as can be made through the twisting maze between the trunks and roots.  Though their going is hardly silent, their speech is spare and seldom, as though words must be rationed like water for the long journey.  Into the empty space between their councils seeps the chittering of unidentifiable beasts, the susurrus of far-above leaves in winds unfelt by those that must go upon the ground, and the creaking of ancient wood as if the trees were turning upon their roots to watch them pass.  Invisible and silent though it may be, the dread and despair for which the greatest of all forests is justly feared is all-pervasive, and even the subtle influence of a wizard's presence cannot drive it fully away. 


:ooc: For those who haven't read through the 2nd edition rules, some locations generate a number of automatic journey events that have to be resolved before you start rolling to make progress through them.  The number of these in the regions covered by the 2E core book range from one to three.  I'm going to assume that the depths of Mirkwood qualifies for at least three, and that the first is a Corruption roll against the malign spiritual influence of the forest itself.  This would normally be TN 18, but I'm reducing it to 16 because Radagast is with you, and the Istari are handy like that. 

Arbogast
:00: 1d12 : 1, total 1
Rolled 4d6 : 4, 5, 3, 2, total 14


Esgalwen
:00: 1d12 : 4, total 4
Rolled 5d6 : 2, 1, 1, 5, 1, total 10


Grimbeorn
:00: 1d12 : 11, total 11
Rolled 5d6 : 4, 5, 2, 2, 2, total 15


Hathcyn
:00: 1d12 : 6, total 6
Rolled 4d6 : 4, 3, 5, 6, total 18
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Eclecticon

:ooc: Looks like everyone picks up a temporary Shadow point except Hathcyn (:csu: pending anyone wanting to spend Hope on this for some reason).  Everyone also gains a point of Fatigue (these accumulate automatically with each event, but you can get rid of at least some of them with a Travel roll at the end). 
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Eclecticon

:ooc: Tom, I still have Hathcyn down as only having five Hope.  Surely he picked up some replacement points during the Fellowship phase? 
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Telcontar

 :ooc: yes, and my undertaking. I believe he is at 12 or 13. I failed to update that and to add the permanent shadow point. 
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

Hathcyn
Great Spear
2h.  4d :00: 9 :dmg: Edge 8 Injury 18

GandalfOfBorg

 :ooc: Well that's the saddest result for Grimbeorn, but no I won't use a Hope for this.

tomcat

:ooc: Same with Esgalwen - three 1's dropped! The dice tell crazy stories.

No - I am not going to expend a :vv: either.  :csu:
Narrator: Darkening of Mirkwood | Chronicle of the North | Tempest Rising | To Boldly Go | Welcome to the 501st!
Esgalwen [♦♦♦♦○○] Dmg 9/11  |  Edge 8  |  Injury 16/18
Nimronyn [Sindarin Pale gleam] superior keen, superior grievous longsword - orc bane
Foe-slaying - when attacking a bane creature, reduce Edge of weapon by value of bearer's Valour

Shadow bane [when in Forward stance, add 1 success die to each attack]
Skirmisher [if carried encumbrance is 12 or less, increase Parry by +3 when in close combat stance]

tomcat

With the loss of the sunlight and the now oppressive gloom, Esgalwen felt her mood begin to sour and patience shorten. The sooner this task was done, the better.
Narrator: Darkening of Mirkwood | Chronicle of the North | Tempest Rising | To Boldly Go | Welcome to the 501st!
Esgalwen [♦♦♦♦○○] Dmg 9/11  |  Edge 8  |  Injury 16/18
Nimronyn [Sindarin Pale gleam] superior keen, superior grievous longsword - orc bane
Foe-slaying - when attacking a bane creature, reduce Edge of weapon by value of bearer's Valour

Shadow bane [when in Forward stance, add 1 success die to each attack]
Skirmisher [if carried encumbrance is 12 or less, increase Parry by +3 when in close combat stance]

Telcontar

Hathcyn observed the woods, and in the shadows he saw the dark hue of his wife's braided hair. He marched in silence, but in the fortress of his mind he remained as yet unaffected by the wood.
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

Hathcyn
Great Spear
2h.  4d :00: 9 :dmg: Edge 8 Injury 18

Eclecticon

:ooc: I've fixed up Hathcyn's Hope and Shadow scores - the sheet up on Dropbox now reflects him having 12 Hope and 6 Shadow, including a permanent point.
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Eclecticon

The miles pass slowly beneath the tired feet of the Fellowship, and it seems that the russet light of Radagast grows slowly dimmer, the radius of its glow slighter, as each new day dawns.  Or does the dawn come?  Here, in this place where no light has shone perhaps in centuries, the turning of the lights of Arda comes to seem as a thing fancied in a dream, its memory doomed to fade upon waking.  The companions sleep when weariness demands it of them, and wakes some hours later to a darkness unchanged and unchanging.  To this monotony, no end is apparent.  In their slumber, they dream of marching.  Waking, they march as if in a dream. 

Hathcyn sees the darkness of Aestid's hair in each shadow, and in the half-waking delerium of his passage he fancies that the scratching of shadowed branches against one another is the pull of the shuttle and pick through the warp.  In the slow shifting of Radagast's light, he fancies that he sees her shadow pass behind nearby trunks. 

Then, abruptly, he is shaken from his fancying as he trips over an upraised root.  Landing heavily, he finds himself in a darkness more complete than he has ever known before.  No sound of his companions reaches his ears.  His heart hammering, he rises once more to his feet.  He could call out for his friends, but who knows what else may lurk in the gloom awaiting an opportunity to make its own answer?


:ooc: This is a Hathcyn-specific challenge (though everyone gets to mark off an additional two Fatigue points).  At a minimum, he'll have to make an Awareness check against TN 16 to find the rest of the Fellowship again. 
Reason is a tool.  Try to remember where you left it.  - John Clarke

The Warden's Axe: :dmg: 5/7, Edge 9, Injury 18/20
Woodcrafty - In wooded areas, Parry is based on favoured Wits score.
Character sheet

Telcontar

 :ooc: lol. oh boy.... I see you have the left the roll to me, how kind... (-D

Rolled 1d12 : 12, total 12

Rolled 3d6 : 4, 1, 1, total 6
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

Hathcyn
Great Spear
2h.  4d :00: 9 :dmg: Edge 8 Injury 18

Telcontar

Hathcyn stopped where he was and settled his beating heart. All was darkness about him, a fox had more than eyes to guide him and so Hathcyn stilled his breathing along with his heart and listened.

He listened without listening. Closing off all of his other perceptions and focused only on listening to what was around him. Not in the active pursuit of finding his friends, that would direct his ears to search for certain sounds and miss others. Instead he just listened and let the sounds filter through is thinking.

He heard the sound of the branches and the air currents he had not felt moving higher in the trees. He heard the fall of water as drops of moisture fell from on high to moisten the earth below in the slow but steady way that wasnt rain but maintained the dampness. Seldom did he hear any animals at all, then he heard it. A cured leather boot scrapping across the knurled bark of an upraised root. The trees which sought to betray them all had in fact saved him. He smiled knowing now which way to walk to find his friends and decided his mind needed to be more focused on the tasks at hand. He gripped the silken scarf with the silver embroidered mice and foxes and moved on.

AS he rose and the focus of his hearing had not quite passed he heard something else. Something that he wished he hadn't, murmurs as if the trees themselves were marking the passing of the party. How would their coming evade such ever present sentinels?
THE GAME MUST GO ON!

Hathcyn
Great Spear
2h.  4d :00: 9 :dmg: Edge 8 Injury 18