Four or five sessions into The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild campaign I was running, Colin (who played Oinarin) dropped out, so I took the opportunity to do a reboot with the remaining three characters (Malaric, Grunehild and Grimald). I moved the campaign west of Mirkwood, to their home turf as it were, and to a year or so earlier, so we could find out how two Beornings and a Woodman had come together in the first place.
In this write-up of the first session Malaric, Grunehild and Grimald meet and attempt to rescue a goatherd and his two children, who are being set upon by a pack of Wild Wolves.
The adventure is based on the first part of Studio 9’s Caran Gaur campaign, published in the free French RPG Magazine Le Maraudeur No. 8. We played this back in May.
*** SPOILERS – CARAN GAUR CAMPAIGN FROM LE MARAUDEUR MAGAZINE ***
Tales from Rhovanion – Part I
During the 2944th year of the Third Age, Wild Wolves and Goblins were increasingly seen in the mountain pastures above the West Anduin Vale. That region was largely uninhabited but some remote Northmen settlements there were raided. In response many Beornings went out into the hills to hunt down the creatures responsible.
That summer, two of these Beornings, Malaric and Grunehild, had been tracking a Wild Wolf Pack through the eastern foothills of the Misty Mountains when they heard a clamour of shouting, snarling and barking up ahead. They ran towards the sounds and found themselves in a small meadow where a goatherd, two children and a silver-grey wolfhound were being set upon by a pack of evil Wolves.
Fighting with his back to a tree, the goatherd was holding off three of the Wolves with a spear. He cursed them and screamed towards the far end of the meadow, “Where are you beast, foul servant of Shadow? Why do you hide? Come out and face me!”
Nearby the two children, a young boy and an older girl, were being terrorised by the vicious snarling creatures, while a noble wolfhound dashed back and forth trying to protect them. Wherever the dog went, it chased the Wild Wolves away but, up against the whole Pack, the brave animal couldn’t be everywhere at once. Soon its valiant efforts would be exhausted.
Despite the odds the two Beornings had no hesitation charging into the fray. Freemen were in danger!
As they ran in, a third traveller arrived on the scene. Grimald the Woodman, stepped out from the trees nearby, drew his bow and skewered one of the evil Wolves with a well-placed arrow.
A savage battle ensued. Malaric and Grunehild were quickly surrounded by angry, snarling Wolves. They fought for survival. Grunehild blocked expertly with her shield and eventually felled one of the Wolves with her axe. Malaric fared less well, lunging repeatedly at the beasts with his spear but quickly becoming weary.
Suddenly there was a terrible, blood curdling howl and a monstrous great Warg with rust-coloured fur appeared from the woods at the far end of the meadow. For a moment it gazed malevolently across the field and the shadows in the trees seemed to lengthen. Then its powerful haunches tensed and it sprang forward, racing down upon them, flanked by more Wild Wolves.
Malaric, Grunehild and Grimald faced the fury of the pack while the Red Warg fell upon the noble wolfhound. The fighting was fierce. Grimald was soon wounded and Malaric was near to collapse. Only Grunehild remained defiant, determinedly blocking with her shield. It took great resilience but one by one the Wolves were cut down and gradually the tide began to turn. After much bloodshed, the stalwart defenders finally triumphed and what remained of the Wolf Pack turned and ran.
[COMMENTARY: Grunehild killed four Wolves while suffering barely a scratch, Grimald killed three but was both weary and wounded, and Malaric killed two and was also weary. In fact, without a series of Defend Companion actions from Grimald, the Beorning would probably have fallen. Two more Wolves had been killed earlier, by the noble wolfhound.]
With the rest of the pack routed, the Red Warg gave up its attack on the dog and turned its hate-filled gaze upon the interfering humans. Locking eyes with Malaric it let out another blood-curdling howl and then turned and disappeared into the trees.
[COMMENTARY: At this point MALARIC successfully made a Corruption Test (TN16) to avoid becoming ensorcelled and consumed with a need to kill the Red Warg.]
[COMMENTARY: Fellowship status prior to post combat recovery was: GRUNEHILD 26 of 29 END; MALARIC 7 of 29 END + Weary; GRIMALD 6 of 24 END + Wounded + Weary.]
With the battle won, Grimald sat down heavily and began treating his wounds. Introductions were made and the girl, Ailla, thanked the three travellers for coming to their aid. Without their timely intervention she was certain that she and her family would have perished. Her younger brother was named Geim, their father was Frael and their valiant and faithful hound was Brith.
Malaric and Grunehild questioned Ailla about the attack. Frael seemed troubled, angered and frustrated at the Red Warg’s escape. Ailla told them that the Red Warg and other evil Wolves had been terrorising the mountain pastures for some weeks and that they had driven the other shepherds and goatherds out of the hills. Barely holding her emotions in check she also revealed that in a recent attack her mother had been slain by the beast and that was why Frael was so consumed with hatred for the creature.
The two Beornings and the Woodman offered to escort the family back to the safety of their village, and were soon making their way down out of the hills.
As they travelled, Malaric wondered why the Wild Wolves had seemingly been so intent on killing the wolfhound. Certainly Brith was a big dog and, though his silver-grey coat was clawed and bloodied from the fight, he was still a noble looking animal, with pure blue eyes and three white marks upon his forehead that looked a little like stars.
The Beorning was reminded of legends of the wolfhound Huan, who it was said had killed Sauron’s werewolves and even chased off the Dark Lord himself, before being mortally wounded by the great werewolf, Carcharoth. He did not know if this was significant.
As the small band passed through a rocky area, the Red Warg suddenly returned, appearing on a rock outcropping above the group as three surviving Wild Wolves leapt out and attacked. The goats scattered and in the confusion one of the Wolves grabbed Ailla.
Grunehild swiftly intervened. Her axe biting deep into the Wolf’s shoulder and then, as it reared, Grimald shot it through the head with an arrow.
A second Wolf made to grab the girl but Malaric barred its path, bellowing “Leave her be!” It hesitated for a moment and Grunehild split its skull with her axe.
The last remaining Wolf turned and fled, leaving only the Red Warg watching balefully from above.
Grunehild turned and headed for the narrow track up through the rocks but, as she scrambled up, the Red Warg gave a final dreadful howl and departed. By the time the Beorning woman reached the top, there was no sign of the creature.
Afterward, the small group quickly gathered themselves and resumed their journey.
[END OF SESSION STATUS:
MALARIC – Hope: 12 of 13, Shadow: 0, Endurance: 12 of 29END + Weary, Fatigue: 18 (incl. 0 Journey Fatigue);
GRUNEHILD – Hope: 13 of 13, Shadow: 0, Endurance: 29 of 29END, Fatigue: 18 (incl. 0 Journey Fatigue);
GRIMALD – Hope: 10 of 14, Shadow: 0, Endurance: 6 of 24END + Weary + Wounded, Fatigue: 14 (incl. 0 Journey Fatigue).]