The Travels of Duinhir Tailwind: Session 2 is a game session report for The One Ring. We played in my living room on .
Gandalf, finishing his pipe looks up at Duinhir Tailwind and says, “Well my lad, it is time that I retire for the evening. Safe travels and best wishes in finding the Kettlebars.”
With that Gandalf gathers his hat and staff, bows to Duinhir and exits the common room of the Prancing Pony.
Duinhir, ever drawn to his maps, glances down but loses himself in thought wondering if he might be able to find someone who knows more of the Kettlebars. While Barnabas Buttlebur keeps a room available for him, he remains a ranger of the North. Settling into solitude, he begins working through his mental checklist of pre-journey activities; mending, cleaning, sharpening, and stocking. The evening slips by as Duinhir works through his preparations.
The morning of May 2nd arrives and Duinhir sets out, maps carefully packed in a waxed scroll-case.
With spear in hand he stretches a bit to ensure his leather courslet is ready for the journey and won’t chafe. He has mended and patched this courslet of cunning make for the last 8 winters. He caresses a seam remembering his mother whom made this fine traveling armour. A smile warms his heart.
He whistles and embarks, shuffling his pack that has his unstrung great bow, bedroll, and other traveling miscellany.
The Journey to Sarn Ford
Mechanics of the First Event
For the first leg of the journey Duinhuir makes a Traveling test. This is a favoured skill of Duinhir’s so he rolls: 3d6 plus two Feat die. His Target Number (TN 📖) is 12.
He rolls: 3, 3, 2 and two Gandalf runes. He succeeds, but without additional successes. His first event is 3 hexes out, on the Greenway between the Barrow Downs and the South Downs.
Consulting the map, he is on a road through Dark Land terrain. For this event he makes an ill-favoured Feat die roll. He rolls a 4 and a Gandalf rune, but keeps the less favorable 4.
Consulting page 17 of Strider Mode the event is a Mishap: Lost Direction. Duinhir gains 2 exhaustion and needs to make an Explore test or gain an additional point of exhaustion.
The TN is 14. And Duinhir has an Explore of 2d and gains 1d for being on the road and his detailed maps, a useful item add another 1d. Duinhuir rolls and gets a 14.
For the first few days, Duinhuir makes great time along the Greenway; a once well traveled trail now mostly a deep rut overrun with grass. The morning sun burning off the dew from the long grasses. Migrating warblers dart from tree to tree, singing and looking for mates.
On the third day, heavy fog blankets the roadway and the downs. The sun fails to burn off the fog. Thinking he’s still on the trail, he continues. It isn’t long before Duinhir realizes that he’s lost the Greenway.
Consulting his maps, and marking his pathway, he walks an ever expanding outward spiral until he stumbles once again onto the Greenway.
He sets his pack down, rests a moment as he eats his dried trail rations and drinks from his water skin. While a far cry from lost, he knows that there are few folks who tell tails of having been lost and finding their way out of the Downs.
Mechanics of the Second Event
Duinhir chooses to spend one Hope to roll an additional two dice for his Travel test. He succeeds with an additional elven rune. His next event happens at hex 7 of his journey. This is in the wild lands just south of the crossroads of the Greenway and the North South Road.
Again, consulting page 17 of Strider Mode the event is a Joyful Sight of a Benevolent Being; if Duinhir succeeds on an Awareness test he will regain 1 Hope. The TN is 12 and Duinhir rolls a Gandalf rune and a 4 and 6. Success! Duinhir’s hope is replenished.
As Duinhir continues through the downs he focuses on the Greenway, not letting bird song nor blossoming flowers lead him from the causeway.
Early on the afternoon of May 8th Duinhir arrives at crossroads; his plan is to setup a small camp just off the road. There he’ll wait the evening and early morning hoping to find travelers who might have news. Alas, no travelers so he sets out on the 9th into the wild lands looking for signs of homesteads.
As the day fades to dusk, Duinhir catches the subtle downwind scent of a fire and fresh cut herbs. Cautiously he surveys the landscape, and doesn’t see evidence of any travelers. He crouches in the brush and makes the soft hooting noise of a snowy owl. A moment passes, and a nightingale answers his call. He hoots twice more in a manner not quite that of an owl. A not quite nightingale answers.
Duinhir smiles and rises, softly stepping and following the smell, he quietly says, “Tailwind seeks solace and to share a meal.”
“Strider would much appreciate sharing a pipe with a fellow ranger,” answers a man rising from his encampment near a thicket.
They exchange greetings and settle down amongst the concealed encampment. There they share a warm meal and soft conversation in the privacy of a thicket.
“Strider, perhaps you could help me. Gandalf has asked that I find the Kettlebars homestead and deliver them news of restitution and a debt forgiven,” says Duinhir.
Scratching his stubbly beard Strider responds, “I have passed along Baranduin and found the Kettlebars homesteaded south of Sarn Ford on the eastern side of the river. Though my path now leads to Weathertop by way of Bree.” I rolled a d8 to pick the direction of Strider’s next journey. And it pointed to Weathertop.
Duinhir unfurls his maps and they spend the waning evening sharing stories and committing to memory as much of these maps as possible.
Mechanics of the Third Event
Given the new information, I revise the journey path of Duinhir.
Duinhir rolls his Travel test and succeeds with one elven rune; his next and last encounter is in the area where the Kettlebars have homesteaded.
The event is a Mishap: Obstructed Path. He gains 2 Fatigue and needs to make an Awareness test with a TN of 12; failure adds another fatigue and adds a day to his travels. Duinhir succeeds with a 13.
On the morning of May 11th Duinhir decamps and begins looking for signs of humans or homesteading activities. It isn’t too long until he realizes that the heavy storms of early spring hit the area particularly hard; uprooted trees and creeks clogged with debris.
As Duinhir ducks and moves through the land, he notes that some of these fallen trees show sign of tool work on their now reachable limbs. And as the afternoon sun pierces through the sparse canopy, he first sees then smells the woodsmoke from what must be the Kettlebar homestead.
First some book keeping. After playing out 3 travel events, Duinhir’s accumulated 4 points of travel fatigue. Duinhir had spent 1 Hope but regained that during his meeting with Aragorn.
I find it interesting to use my text editor to facilitate my game play. I wrote a few Emacs 📖 functions to consult the Telling Table and Lore Table provided in the Strider Mode supplement. I also find myself moving between the mechanics and the fiction.
I’m using the various game prompts as the framing for writing the fiction and dialogue. It’s semantically difficult in to differentiate in my Org-Mode 📖 setup the three different narrative angles:
- The Rules
- The Fiction
- The Questions
However, as I explore this form, I’m sure I’ll refine my approach. After all, the first step is naming things. Then to look for patterns.
Consulting both Lore Table is always interesting. It provides one to three single words from which I, as Loremaster, build my response.
The written and enumerated procedures help guide me as I navigate the Rules.