Below is my write-up of the third session of our ‘rebooted’ The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild campaign in which the Fellowship undertake a rescue before racing back to Hirtherd to warn the villagers of an impending attack.
This continues the first part of Studio 9’s Caran Gaur scenario (published in the free French RPG Magazine Le Maraudeur No. 8). We played this session back in July.
*** SPOILERS – CARAN GAUR CAMPAIGN FROM LE MARAUDEUR MAGAZINE ***
Tales from Rhovanion – Part 3
Grunehild and Mundovald crept through the undergrowth, moving around behind the Goblin sentries. As they did, the two archers in the group, Grimald and Raganhildis, waited ready to shoot their respective targets if either was spotted.
Grunehild successfully despatched her sentry without raising the alarm, but Mundovald was unable to get close enough without being seen. Instead, Grimald and Raganhildis finished the second sentry with two well-placed arrows.
The whole group then moved up to where they could see the Goblin camp. In the shadows, beneath the outcrop, they saw an Orc and six Goblins. The five captives were tied up near the back, next to the rock face.
On a signal, the attackers charged in. Caught unawares, half of the Goblins were dead before they knew what was happening. The Orc put up more of a fight, injuring Rodegar with a hefty sword blow, but then Malaric ran the creature through with his spear. The last Goblin cruelly stabbed one of the captives and then Grimald finished it with an arrow. The skirmish was over.
[COMMENTARY: Fellowship status prior to post combat recovery was: GRUNEHILD 26 of 29 END; MALARIC 18 of 29 END + Weary; GRIMALD 10 of 24 END + Wounded + Weary.]
Two of the captives, an old man and a teenage boy, were badly injured. The old man had just been stabbed and the teenage boy had been wounded during the initial attack on the homestead. Both would probably have died but Grimald ably treated them and ensured they would survive.
The remaining three hostages, a woman and two girls, expressed their gratitude for the rescue and then revealed some disturbing news. Apparently there was a much larger force of Goblins moving down through the hills, headed directly for Hirtherd. It was likely that there was going to be an attack on the village that very night.
The Fellowship had to get back to warn the Northmen in the village, but the injured captives couldn’t be moved very far and certainly not at all quickly. In the end it was decided that shelter would be found for the rescued captives somewhere nearby. They could then remain hidden for the night, and Rodegar, who had been wounded by the Orc during the rescue, would stay to protect them. The stalwart Northman was reluctant to stay behind but recognised that the others would travel faster without him.
It was dusk by the time Malaric, Grunehild, Grimald, Mundovald and Raganhildis set off through the woods for Hirtherd. The five companions travelled as quickly as they could but, with night falling, the forest grew ever darker and their progress through the undergrowth was slowed. The chances of reaching the village in time grew increasingly slim.
The group’s hopes faded entirely when they drew near to their destination and heard many raised voices howling and jeering in the darkness up ahead. Through the trees they could see that Hirtherd had been encircled by a force of perhaps three-hundred Goblins, Orcs and Wild Wolves.
The Goblins worked themselves up into a blood-frenzy, yowling threats and angrily brandishing their weapons, while a group of Goblin archers bombarded the village with a rain of arrows.
Watching from the trees, the five companions debated what to do against so many. With every minute, more and more arrows fell on the village and the fifty to sixty Northmen villagers trapped inside. Something had to be done. In the end the five heroes decided there was only one option. They would surprise the Goblin archers in the rear and inflict as much damage as they could. If they killed enough of them it would hopefully bring an end to the hail of arrows and give the villagers some respite.
And so the five brave warriors readied themselves and then charged into the rearmost ranks of the Goblin archers. Catching them completely unawares, the companions scythed through them, sowing panic and confusion. A few fought back but many were dead before they knew what was happening to them.
With the constant hail of arrows lifted, some of the archers from the village also began firing into the Goblin ranks and, under the combined onslaught, the unit of Goblin archers crumbled and broke. They fled screaming into the trees, leaving some two-thirds of them dead or wounded on the blood-soaked ground.
[COMMENTARY: Malaric killed seven but was weary and close to collapse, Mundovald killed seven and was wounded, Grunehild killed five and was unharmed, Grimald killed five and was still wounded and weary, and Raganhildis killed none but was unharmed.]
[COMMENTARY: Fellowship status at this point was: GRUNEHILD 26 of 29 END; MALARIC 2 of 29 END + Weary; GRIMALD 7 of 24 END + Wounded + Weary; Mundovald wounded; Raganhildis unharmed.]
The attack had been more successful than the small band could possibly have hoped but, in its wake, the surrounding Goblins began to realise what was happening and turned angrily towards them.
“Run!” yelled Malaric.
The five companions turned and sprinted for the village. Either side of them a horde of Goblins, Wild Wolves and Orcs gave chase.
As their pursuers, particularly the Wild Wolves, began to close in, Northmen along the fence frantically urged them on, firing arrows into the throng to try and slow them.
In the nick of time Grunehild and Raganhildis made it to the gates and the villagers pulled them through. Malaric, Grimald and Mundovald weren’t far behind them but the Wolves were right on their heels and it was clear they weren’t going to make it.
In that moment of realisation, before anyone could stop him, Mundovald, who was at the back, turned to face their pursuers. They swarmed over him, dragging him to the ground and then he was gone, but in so doing he had given Malaric and Grimald the extra time they needed.
Hands dragged them through and they collapsed, exhausted. The gates slammed closed behind them.
Somehow they had made it, but the battle was far from over. Within the enclosure, some forty free men and women would still have to survive the night against the onslaught of the Goblin army.
[COMMENTARY: I decided the Fellowship had earned a post combat recovery, so allowed one at this point.]
[END OF SESSION STATUS:
MALARIC – Hope: 9 of 13, Shadow: 0, Endurance: 7 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: 9 of 14, Shadow: 0, Endurance: 7 of 24END + Weary + Wounded, Fatigue: 14 (incl. 0 Journey Fatigue).]