The Travels of Duinhir Tailwind: Session 7 is a game session report for The One Ring. We played in my living room on .
Duinhir Tailwind sets out from Bree on the morning of June 1st in the 2965th year of the the Third Age of Middle-Earth. He’s traveling to Isengard to deliver a letter from Gandalf to Saruman.
He intends to meet a fellow Ranger in Thardbad and then proceed to Isengard.
Journey To Tharbad
I’m going to leverage a mechanic from the first edition of The One Ring. At the beginning of the Journey Phase, Duinhir may make a Lore test. Each Շ rune will give him a bonus die that he may use throughout the Journey Phase.
Duinhir rolls 2d6 for his skill ranks; he’s also Favoured in Lore. The result is a 16 with no Շ runes. He succeeds but doesn’t garner any bonuses for future tests.
With the success, as Loremaster I point to a spot that’s just beyond the South Downs. Were Duinhir to stay off of the path, he could also spend a bit of time exploring that.
- Take the Greenway and travel 12 hexes on a road.
- Travel through the South Downs to Tharbad, which would be 11 hexes of travel.
The South Downs are Dark Lands which means any events would be more dangerous.
I want to test the system, so I nudge Duinhir to take the pathway through the South Downs.
Duinhir considers the Greenway, one that would be an easier journey. But there’s always news coming along roads, it is in the country side that Rangers must often venture to learn more of the land and the struggle with the Enemy. And to find those who’ve chosen to stead amongst the wilderness.
First Event of the Journey to Tharbad
Duinhir gathers their 3d6 to make their Travel test. He rolls a ᚠ but no additional Շ icons. His first event will be 4 (1d3+1) hexes from his starting point. The last hex before he exits the South Downs.
As Loremaster, I roll an ill-favoured Feat die and the event is “Ill Choices: Lost Quarry”. Duinhir needs to make a Hunting test to avoid gaining 1 Shadow point (dread).
The weather remains agreeable for the first few days of his journey. Duinhir’s provisions hold as he journeys through the bespoiled South Downs. A smile begins working it’s way onto his face. Clouds dance around the mid-day sun.
He purses his lips to whistle a traveling song. Before he finishes drawing in his breath, he halts.
Just ahead he sees a shattered blackened blade and darkened blood splatter on a nearby rock. A bit further on a crow picks at something.
Duinhir crouches low and begins approaching. The blade appears Orcish. The crow busily picks and pulls at something.
Duinhir begins stringing his bow, nocks and arrow, and lets fly hoping to kill the crow before it lets out any warning.
As Loremaster, I call for the Hunting test. Duinhir has 2 ranks and spends 1 Hope to add two more dice. A reminder that in Strider Mode 📖 a character is always considered Inspired while journeying.
Duinhir rolls a ᚠ rune, which is an automatic success. He succeeds on his test and doesn’t gain a point of Shadow.
The arrow flies true, killing the crow outright. Duinhir hurries to the crow. Duinhir quickly recovers his arrow, bags the crow, and looks at the once feast of the crow: a mangled orc.
Duinhir reflexively looks around, scanning both near and far, there’s no ground movement between his spot and the horizon. A blue heron with broad wings lazily flies west. Various other birds go about their business in the skies above.
Duinhir rises, his urging is to run south. Instead he chooses to maintain his pace and focus on covering his tracks.
As Loremaster, I’m thinking about the journey in the abstract. Duinhir is traveling to Tharbad, where he’ll be able to rest. Then he’ll make to Isengard, where he should again be able to rest.
I decide I want to test Duinhir’s ability to avoid detection. I think the risk level is Hazardous; failure would mean Orcs are aware of a traveler through the South Downs and would try to hunt him down.
I call for a Stealth test. Duinhir has 3 ranks and chooses to spend another point of Hope to roll 5 dice.
Duinhir succeeds with 1 Շ rune; In Strider Mode each Շ allows me to pick an option:
- Gain insight
- Go quietly
- Make haste
- Widen influence
- Build advantage
- Cancel a failure
Given that Duinhir succeeded in his Stealth test, I don’t need to pick “Go quietly”. I’m torn between Gain insight, Make haste, or Build advantage.
Duinhir picks his path by moving from hard surface to hard surface; from rock to rock. He remains vigilant as he sneaks across the land.
Orcs in the South Downs? he thinks to himself. That is ill-news. I must bring this to my fellow Rangers. Of all things, I must relay this information.
I choose for Duinhir to “Make haste”; and with his cultural trait of Swift. Yes he could scout this out further, but he’s at a disadvantage in that his line of retreat takes him deeper into the South Downs.
That evening, now just out of the South Downs, Duinhir refrains from building a fire. He hears a few wolf howls coming from the North. The harbinger of ill-news.
Second Event on the Journey to Tharbad
For the second event, Duinhir succeeds on his Travel but doesn’t have any Շ runes. His next encounter is 2 (1d3+1) hexes further along. In the heart of the Cardolan.
I consult roll the Feat die and get ᚠ (the Gandalf rune). Consulting the Solo Journey Events table on page 17 of Strider Mode, that is a “Joyful Sight: Peaceful Sanctuary.” Which is a Noteworthy Encounter; something that should not be resolved with a single skill roll.
As Loremaster I ask the Telling Table: “Is this peaceful sanctuary a group of Rangers?” The answer is “⏿ No with an extreme result or twist.”
Well then, I wonder what it could be? Yes, there will be a peaceful sanctuary, but the twist tells me there is an extreme need at this place. Healing? News? Help evacuating?
I ask the Lore Table: “What is the nature of peaceful sanctuary?” The answers are: Resist, Stout, History. That should be some interesting things to consider.
At this point, I’ve spent my morning writing the above. And need to go about my day. This seems like a logical place to let my subconscious think through a situation…and like that I’m back.
This is a small community of Dwarves. Centuries prior, they chose exile and have lived near the South Downs amongst the hills. They have kept very much to themselves. There have chosen to have no children; so this community has aged together.
I ask the Lore Table, “What ails this community of dwarves?” and I get the word “Death.”
Not only has the community grown old, they’ve begun dying. Except, from this result, I can’t help but find that it is something unnatural. My mind goes to the orcs, but what would one Ranger add to this Noteworthy Encounter?
I ask the Telling Table “Is it the orcs that are bringing death to the dwarves?”, assessing that it is Likely. And the answer is “Yes.”
That settles it, now to fill in some fiction.
Duinhir, ever swift, made haste in leaving the South Downs. And for two days he journey cautiously in the more open land.
Well-used to travel rations, he begins contemplating a fire and fresh stewed coney. His mouth starts watering at this late afternoon thought. He spies a nearby hillock and decides to set up near there; first to use the hillock to improve his vantage point and then to later set a small fire on the south side, so that he might avoid casting any light towards the north and the South Downs.
As Loremaster, I want to know if Duinhir finds the dwarves or if they find him. I think this is an Awareness check. Duinhir gathers his 2d6 and a Feat die and gets a 13 without any Շ runes. This is enough for a success.
As Duinhir approaches the hillock, he notices a partial boot print in some dried mud. He crouches down to get a closer look. From the boot print he looks for others, and finds a print moving in a skew direction to the first one.
Something has been to this hillock on several occasions.
As Loremaster, I ask Duinhir if he’d like attempt to figure out what kind of creature these prints belong to?
That’s a Scan test. Duinhir spends a point of Hope to roll 4d6. He succeeds with 2 Շ runes.
I choose to use those extra success to Build Advantage and Go Quietly.
Duinhir gently runs his index finger through the boot print. The shape is too wide for an orc. The groove from the heel left a slightly raised mark in the mud. Perhaps a runic letter? A dwarf’s boot print.
Duinhir finds some traces of other tracks, all coming from and returning, along different paths away heading south by south east from the hillock.
Duinhir notes a few markers on the horizon and follows the tracks. While scrub and brush remain, the mid waist grasses give way to stone and slate.
He kneels to look for more tracks and hears some noises further into the stone field. He lowers himself to the ground to hide amongst the brush.
He hears a bit of chuffing and churling in that resonate baritone voice that feels like a warm stone on a winter’s day.
Two dwarves I’d say. He hears them mutter what’s clearly a dwarven curse directed at the fell creatures of Melkor. Allies perhaps?
Cautiously, he begins rising from the brush, and in Westron says, “Hello master dwarves. I am Tailwind, a traveler seeking fellowship and sharing a disdain for the agents of the Dark Lord.”
There’s a bit of shuffling and coming to attention of two elderly dwarves; each with coarse white braided beards. The where leather hides and have a hunting bow and an ax on their belt.
“Well now, you seems to have caught us bit surprised. Tailwind you say? Hate the Dark Lord you say?”
“Aye!” replies Duinhir.
As Loremaster I want to see how these two Dwarves respond. I call for a Courtesy test. After all one should not sneak up on a would be friend.
Courtesy is a favoured skill of Duinhir’s. He has 1 rank, plus the advantage from his prior test. He rolls a 12, just enough to meet the Target Number (TN 📖).
The two dwarves relax and set one end of their bow on the ground and lean against it as though they were a walking staff.
“Well, I don’t suppose we should all be out here shouting and pissing on about how much we hate the Dark Lord. Friend, please come and be welcome to Makelekgundu, our home. I am Grór and this here is my wife Gísla.”
Duinhir nods, unstrings his bow, and walks towards them and saying, “I thank you for your hospitality Gísla and Grór.”
I want to wrap up this post, as it’s getting rather long. There’s a lot of dialogue on the horizon and now that I, as the Loremaster, know the nature of the Peaceful Sanctuary, it’s woes, and it’s initial disposition towards Duinhir, I feel like there’s enough to put a book mark in my writing.
I’m feeling compelled to review the tools I’m using to write and play this game. Most important was writing functions to auto-generate the Telling Table, Lore Table, and to roll skill checks. But there’s just a bit more refinement.
I also want to leave time in the evening to continue my read of The Silmarillion 📖.