The Travels of Duinhir Tailwind: Session 11

Once More to Isengard

The Travels of Duinhir Tailwind: Session 11 is a game session report for The One Ring. We played in my living room on .

Duinhir needs to cross the river: Should he take the bridge through Tharbad? Or sneak around and ford the river?

In plotting out the Journey Phase, I didn’t consider a delay in Tharbad. So I think Duinhir would likely slink around and ford the river.

From Duinhir’s hilltop campsite, he begins exploring and searching for a suitable location to ford the river.

As Loremaster, I call for a Explore test. The stakes are standard. Duinhir succeeds with 1 Շ rune. I choose to give +1d6 to his next test.

After an a short bit he finds some flotsam downstream of Tharbad and hazards a crossing there.

As Loremaster, I call for an Athletics check to cross without incident. Duinhir again succeeds with 1 Շ rune. I choose that Duinhir does not draw attention.

Under the cover of late vernal foliage, Duinhir darts, dashes, and dives from the north bank to the south bank; keeping his travel gear above the water line.

On the other side, he hurries up into the underbrush and resumes his journey to Isengard.

Maps and an Ancient Yew

Duinhir makes their Travel test: Success with 1 Շ rune. The encounter is 1d3+2 (4) hexes from Tharbad. The encounter is a “Joyful Sight: Inspiring vista”, Explore to reach a vantage point. If successful, regain 1 Hope. Duinhir succeeds on the Explore

A few days past Tharbad, Duinhir notes the beginning of the Dunland hills; the gentle rolling hills that ramble east towards and into the Misty Mountains. Duinhir sets his eye on a tall hill a few hundred strides east of the road. Atop the hill a gnarled ancient yew’s crown of branches stretch to touch all corners of the sky.

Humming an old Númenórean song that his mom of sang, Duinhir pauses on along the road, contemplating. He reaches to his map case, and uncaps the wax sealed canvas case. Inside his traveling maps. In particular he wants the old vellum scroll; over 400 hundreds years old, or so he was told.

Gently unfurling the scroll, he looks to the flat lands between Tharbad and Isengard. Without touching the map his fingers trace the North-South road, a few finger’s breadth south of Tharbad the mark of tree, hill, and rune stone.

Duinhir gently rolls up the scroll and returns his maps to his map case; tying off and sealing the maps again to their protective darkness. Duinhir sets out to the hill and yew, hoping to find the rune stone.

Those markers on the map, the ones he’s scanned and study at the drawing table, are ones he always looking to visit. To honor the cartographers before, to say, I have seen what you saw and why this place warranted a mark on the map.

Approaching from the west, he climbed the gentle hill in awe of the massive yew which would require 5 grown adults or more to hold hands and fully embrace. What all have you seen? wondered Duinhir as he continued his climb.

Cresting the top of the hill, Duinhir walked the base. Along the south side, Duinhir stopped and looked at the ancient yew, whom a century or so ago began it’s now long embrace of a chest-high runic etched stone. Duinhir was familiar with the runic shapes, but the language eluded him.

Yet here he stood, an ancient gnarled yew now steward of the memory of a lost kingdom.

Haunting Visions in Dunland

Wishing to spend as little time in Dunland, settles into a Forced march. With Duinhir’s Endurance of the Ranger he does not accumulate Travel Fatigue. For this leg of the journey, he succeeds with 2 Շ runes; his next encounter is 1d3+3 (4) hexes away.

The encounter is “Ill Choices: Haunting visions.” He must make an Awareness test to overcome darkness; failure results in gaining 1 Shadow point from Dread. Duinhir succeeds on his test.

For the last two days, Duinhir had pressed hard along the North-South road. He could feel the lands disdain for his Númenórean blood; his ancestors had persecuted the Dunlendings chasing them to the foot of the Misty Mountains.

On that second night, Duinhir found himself sleeping in a hollow nestled into a hill along the road. Perhaps it was the stone in his back that haunted his sleep or the shades of ancient Dunlending victims haunting his rest, but Duinhir took little rest that night.

Avoiding a Small Encampment

Duinhir continues his Forced march. Now 8 hexes south of Tharbad, I roll for where he’ll have his next encounter. He again succeeds with 2 Շ runes; his next encounter is 1d3+3 (4) hexes away.

I roll “Mishap: Lost direction.” Duinhir needs to Explore or add 1 day to the length of the journey, and gain 1 additional Fatigue. With his maps handy, Duinhir succeeds.

Four days out from the yew tree, Duinhir catches the scent of wood smoke and hears a distant din of metal on stone. Duinhir leaves the road and looks to cut around the unknown travelers or even summer camp setup for trade or leveraging tolls.

He heads into the hills to the east of the road, tapping his trusty map case as he sets out into the heather, brush, and hills.

Grizzled Reminders of Everlasting Tensions

Duinhir continues his force march, and gets a success with 1 Շ rune. He advances 1d3+2 (3) hexes to his next encounter in the Gap of Rohan, where the North-South road bleeds into the steppe.

Here at the gap, Duinhir encounters “Despair: Grisly scene or foreboding portent.” He must make an Awareness test or gain 2 Shadow points from Dread. Success.

As Loremaster I ask the Lore Table: “What is the nature of this grisly scene?” The response is Seize, Cheerless, Life.

Mid-afternoon on the 6th day from Tharbad, Duinhir comes upon the remnants of a skirmish: shattered spears, carrion pecking and tearing at the rotting remains of a horse. Just off the trail he sees a spear driven into the ground. A blonde tasseled helm rests on the butt of the spear.

The crows take notice, caw and take flight.

Arriving at Isengard

With a little bit of luck, Duinhir might be able to arrive at Isengard. He makes a Travel test and succeeds with 2 Շ runes; 1d3+3 (6) hexes. This is enough to get to Isengard, but he must face two encounters:

  • “Ill Choices: Wayward path.” Explore to retrace your steps; failure gains 1 Shadow point of Dread. Success!
  • “Ill Choices: Overlooked hazard.” Awareness to escape safely; failure gains 1 Shadow point of Dread. Success!

The lands surrounding Isengard are the forested foothills of the roots of the Misty Mountains. Still haunted by the dreams of Dunlending screaming and howling in torment, Duinhir chooses to stay on game trails; avoiding the small steadings of the Dunlendings that live near Isengard.

The looming tower of Orthanc and the fortress Isengard casts it’s shadow on the Dunlending’s lands. How they must abhor the White Wizard, thinks Dunhir as he trods through a recently cleared bit of woods to the outer walls of Isengard.