Wilderlands 2950

Long Road to Grey Mountains

[original from 2002]

They prepared carefully for the trip. Among the things they bought was a cart, barrels of water, hay, and two weeks of rations for each person. They would have to travel for many days through the desolation of Smaug. After they reached the top edge of Mirkwood they would be able to hunt and graze the animals. They gathered information about the road that led across the top of Mirkwood. They found out it was patrolled by Beornings, the first section would be desolate, there were dangerous sections where the Grey Mountains encroach on the road. They had to reach the river running north and enter the Mountains following the river.

After five days of traveling they reached the end of the Desolation of Smaug. Thal was now able to hunt and gather food for the party. They traveled five more days, during which Tuber went a little road mad. He accused Urki of stealing his pouch of ale. It took awhile to calm him down. At the end of the ninth day the noticed a bear was following them. They stayed clear of it not wanting a confrontation. Thal had heard of the story of Beornings being able to shape change and knowing that they patrolled the road kept them from approaching the bear.

They made camp at the end of the tenth day. As usual they took shifts sleeping and guarding. While was on watch he saw the large bear approaching the camp. He woke everyone up. Thal warned not to attack the bear. “Are you a friend?” He asked, “Are you a Beorning?” The bear came every closer. Reldor was getting nervous, “We should attack.” “No!” said Thal. The bear stood up and changed into a man. The man approached the camp fire. “Who are you and to where do you travel?” Explanations ensued with Urki telling him of Glitterhame. The man was a Beorning. He asked them if they would fight a Troll. They agreed to do this.

On the twelfth day the Beorning led them a short way north to a small hill. On the top of the hill was a ruin of a watch tower. He told them that the troll came from the hill but he knew nothing else. They investigated the ruins but found no way into the hill. They eventually searched around the base of the hill and found footprints, clearly of a troll and maybe orc prints. The prints led to a dark cave. They lit torches and entered. They followed a tunnel to the right and eventually came to a door. Tuber easily smashed it down. Inside the room were four orcs. A battle started and ended with all the orcs dead. A thorough search of the room revealed hidden doors and a door to the north.

They investigated the rooms and hallways until they determined in which area they might find the troll. They found two doors that seemed to lead into the same area. They separated, some at one door and some at the other. The plan was to break into the doors at the same time. But it did not work that way. Tuber smashed open his door but Thal could not break down his door. Urki and Thal had to run back to Tuber’s door and get in that way.

In the mean time Tuber entered a room, heard a growl and a rock was hurtled at him from the corner of the room but missed. They had found the troll. Tuber rushed the troll and started swinging his sword. Reldor shot with his crossbow and Chandu waited in the doorway. Eventually Thal and Urki ran into the room. Urki ran up to the troll and swung his axe. Thal tried to get an angle from which to fire his bow. Urki took some hard hits from the troll. Eventually the troll died. They found some money mostly from the orcs. They left the caves and met the Beorning again to tell him of their success. He was very pleased.

They traveled five more days with the Beorning and reached a camp next to the river. They made arrangements to have their pack animals and some of the equipment kept by at the camp. No one had heard of Glitterhame but Urki knew to go north along the river and find a fang shaped mountain.

Early one morning they headed into the mountains to begin their search. After many hours of looking they eventually did see a fang shaped mountain in the distance. They climbed for a while longer. They found an old road that Urki said could have been made by dwarves. Thal kept ahead of the party scouting.

After traveling along the road for awhile Thal heard voices ahead. It was two orcs. He spied on them for awhile then quietly went back to the group. The made a plan that Thal and Reldor would get within bow shot and try to kill the orcs. The plan was successful and the orcs posed no threat. They traveled more cautiously now up the road. Again they came to a curve and heard voices. Thal went ahead and saw a huge door in the side of the mountain but two orcs were guarding it.

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After the Dragon
wherein Urki gets his very own quest

[original from 2002]

Reldor was sick and tired of the arguments with Oskar and Raziel. They just were just too greedy for words. Reldor stayed at the Dwarf’s Gauntlet for a couple of days and learned that fighting men were meeting in Redvale for a fight with a dragon. He traveled north and was met by a ranger called Horsa. The ranger told him where the rope was to climb into the ravine but that the party had left hours ago. He made it into the citadel without much incident. He followed a trail of footprints until he heard some noise.

“Halt.”

Reldor saw steel glinting in the dim torch light. “Are you here to slay the dragon?” he asked.

“Who are you?” asked the northman.

“Reldor. I have come to join you,” he answered.

“Draw no weapons,” the northman instructed. He turned and called into the door behind him “Master Elf, there is an intruder.”

“Is it an orc?” came a voice from the room.

“No, it is fair folk.”

“Let him enter.”

The party talked with Reldor, showing him the dead dragon. They cut the dragon’s head off as proof to bring to Dale.

They traveled back to Redvale and inquired after an herbalist. Their hope was to create a herbacide to combat the root system. But the herbalist could not produce the quantities needed to kill the roots of the huge Gulthias tree.

They stayed in Redvale for two weeks healing. They found that the bramble monsters were moving west. During this time they did their best to fight any bramble monsters that came along and ripped up roots from the planting areas. A black bird started following Thal around and one day came near. “I am Clee-ack. There are incursions by the easterlings. Do you have news for the king?”

Thal mistrusted the bird, “We will ride forth in fortnight and bring news to him.”

Later the rangers confirmed the news the bird had brought to them and the rangers were being reassigned to fight the new threat from the easterlings. Kerowyn also warned Thal to beware of Geonnyn’s sons, Goar and Grimhild.

They traveled back into the citadel to re-examine the Gulthias tree. While they were there they were attacked by huge wolves and orcs. After the long bloody fight they searched the orcs and found a map. It depicted the Mountains of Mirkwood, a tower, river and paths, and the words Guldrulgor. The orcs had a symbol on their armor depicting a black sun with yellow squiggly lines emanating from it.

When they returned to Redvale Horsa wanted to know what happened. They told him they were attacked by orcs with the black sun symbol and had found a map. He asked if they had tracked the orcs to find out from where they came, but the adventurers had not done this and had no other answers.

The group felt tired and fed up with the bramble monster situation. They could not think of a solution to rid the world of them. And giving up hope they made plans and prepared to travel back the Dale. In five days they arrived at Dale and met with Bard. Bard had sent Clee-ack for news and wondered why Thalimar had given such a cryptic answer. Thal admitted that he was suspicious of the bird. Bard was pleased that the dragon was dead and rewarded them each with a huge gem. Thal also returned the extra silver and the Bow. The map was given to an archivist and Guldrulgor was translated “Sarn Goriwing”, “Stone of Foul Waters”, “Outpost of Necromancer”.

They rested in Dale for several days while Urki visited his home in the Lonely Mountain. Urki came to see them one day and presented a grand adventure to them. He wished to find a dwarven stronghold, Glitterhame, “Glittering Caverns”. A stronghold of old in which they would find weapons and armor made by Durgedon. They would have to travel far west into the Grey Mountains and find the Stone Tooth Mountain.

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At the Gates of Dale

[original from 2002]

At the gates of Dale the party was met by the guard, “What is your business in Dale?”

“We wish an audience with The King,” Thalimar answered.

“What matter is so important that you wish an audience with King Bard?” the guard asked.

“It is of evil news from the south that we wish to speak to him about. We seek his council and will only speak to him,” Thalimar said. The guard bid them to wait. Ten minutes later he returned with the King’s steward. He was a wizened older man with a gray beard. “Who are you and what news from the south do you wish to speak to the King about?” queried the steward. “I am Thalimar Xilomar of Lothlorien, this is Tuber of the Grey Mountains, and -” “Urki son of Balin,” Urki interrupted bowing deeply. “There is a dragon wymling to be destroyed and we seek help and wise council,” Thalimar continued.

The steward led them through the walled city. They walked around a great square. In the center was a massive carving depicting the Battle of the Five Armies. A small swarthy man was working on a portion of the statue. The figure he was working on was of a halfling with large furry feet. They paused before the statue to watch the foreign looking carver work. “What manner of creature do you carve?” asked Thalimar. “This is Bilbo the Hobbit,” said the tiny man. “Let us hurry on and I will present your information to the King,” the steward said.

They entered the palace and were requested to leave their weapons behind. Thalimar immediately placed his bow, quiver, sword of Gondolin, and dagger at the guard’s station. The others followed his lead but Urki grumbled something about his father’s father..

The steward eventually returned and led them into the King’s audience chamber. King Bard looked at them curiously.

“What is an Eldar doing wandering in the lands of men?” Bard demanded.

“The tale is too long to tell,” Thalimar answered.

“What news have you from the south and why should it concern me?” The King addressed Thalimar.

“It is a long story but the short of it is this: travelers near Redvale were being attacked by plants that could move magically. We investigated and found a citadel in a ravine in the woods bordering Redvale. On the second level of the citadel was a sorcerer who tended a tree that fruited two types of apples. The apples could heal or sicken a person. The people of Redvale were given these apples and told to plant the seeds.

Apparently the seedlings grew and became mobile and attacked wantonly. We destroyed the Gulthias tree so that no more seedlings can grow. We also killed the sorcerer so another Gulthias tree can not be spawned by him. On the first level of the citadel were two orc tribes and one tribe was eaten by the dragon after it got loose. The first tribe we no nothing about except that they had the dragon caged but could not control it once loosed. We need help to dispatch with the wyrmling. We know nothing of its powers only that it ate an entire band of orcs.”

“We will speak of that shortly. Urki, your father has been looking for you. He has even said that you are probably dead,” Bard said.

“Nearly so, orcs captured me and I was rescued by this Elf and barbarian. Of course I had to help them battle the sorcerer,” Urki answered.

“About this dragon, I can give you arms but not men and I can give you funds,” Bard offered.

“Can you put out a call for volunteers?” Thalimar asked.

“Yes, the call will ask for fighters to meet a month from now at Redvale,” Bard said. “I will also send rangers down to guard against orcs getting in and out of the area.”

“I can also give you this,” Bard rose from his throne, he took a bow hanging behind him and offered it to Thalimar, “This is the bow that slew Smaug.”

Thalimar took the bow and examined its fineness. He slung it over his shoulder and bowed to Bard. “If anything helps us this surely will, thank you.”

“Go to the Lonely Mountain and see the Dwarves. They may have information about dragons that can help you and I am sure Balin wants to see his son,” Bard bid them good luck and the adventurers left the chamber. They picked up their weapons and went back out into the square.

The little carver was still working on the hobbit. The carving looked so real that if it hadn’t been for the coloring of the stone one would think the figures were moving and breathing creatures.

“Where are you from and how did you get here?” Thal asked.

“I am from woods south of the great plains. I met up with a caravan that was headed this way and when I got here I needed money so got a carving job.”

“If you are from the wood then you may be of some help to us on our mission to slay a dragon. Meet us a week from now and travel with us south,” Thal said.

“It sounds very dangerous but I will go with you,” the carver said.

“What is your name?”

“Chandu Ghan.”

Urki led Tuber and Thal into the Lonely Mountain. Its entrance was newly wrought and the halls were great and fair. There were many lamps made by the dwarves lighting the chambers. Thal felt a bit uneasy under the weight of the mountain. Urki was greeted heartily by many they saw and many inquired why he was with an elf and a great barbarian. Urki did not tell any the tail, knowing that it would be told at a huge dinner to be held for his return. They meant to see Balin and seek his advice about the dragon and the artifacts they had found.

They entered a Balin’s chambers. Balin was over joyed to see his son. Urki told the tail of being captured by orcs, freed by Thal and Tuber, finding the dragon and fighting the sorcerer. They showed Balin the books and scrolls they had found. Balin was especially interested in the Black Dragon Hide Book. He knew that some elders would be able to interpret it but it would take some time and it would have to be left for at least a week. Thal agreed to this.

The rest of the week they spent some time in Dale getting potions and scrolls identified and read. They eventually went back to see Balin. Balin presented Tuber and Thal with chain mail shirts that were very light but would protect them as chain mail. The Dragon Hide Book was a book that described the lost citadel as a place of dragon worshippers that kept dragons as gods and tended to them. The Book also had a map of the citadel. A scroll completely described how to open all the doors and clearly marked all the traps.

They met Chandu Ghan and helped equip him for the trip back to Redvale. Two weeks later they left for Redvale. Just outside of Dale they saw three men hung by some local guardsmen. Thal and Tuber recognized them as being part of the band that had attacked them on their way north to Dale. They met the usual merchants and travelers on their ride south. The river was busy with traffic also. Thal waved to many elves traveling up and down the river.

During the night they rested along side the road, making a fire and sleeping in shifts. One night when Chandu was on guard he heard a rustling of dried leaves. It did not sound right to him so he woke the others. Thal recognized the sound immediately. He dove for the packs to find a torch and grabbed his sword. Tuber ran at the vine monsters with his axe. Chandu backed away trying to get away from the unnatural creatures. Urki groggily picked up his axe and prepared for battle.

Between Tuber and Thal they quickly dispatched the bramble monsters. They talked for some time, trying to figure out what could have gone wrong with the dispatching of the Gulthias tree and the sorcerer. Chandu commented that they could be plants that reproduce through their root system. Thal tried to track the creatures but could not find anything concrete to follow. The next day they met a ranger and discussed the bramble monsters and the orcs with him. Orcs were killed trying to leave the ravine. Bramble monsters have been found all over the place and are being killed but no end seems to be in site as to eradicating them.

They finally entered Redvale and met with Kerowyn and Hucrele. They spoke with them briefly about the bramble monster problem. But could come to no conclusion. The party went to the town great hall and set up a place to meet men at arms to help fight the dragon. Geonynn entered a little later. “So you are trying to get people to go on a foolish mission?” Geonynn proclaimed.

“Destroying a dragon that grows in power is hardly foolish,” Thal replied.

“You have no proof of the dragon’s existence, I do not want any of my townspeople wandering off with you and your fantasies,” Geonynn said.

“Are the bramble monsters not proof enough that there is evil about? You are a coward and anyone that listens to you is the fool,” said Thal getting quite angry.

“Coward?!” yelled Geonynn. He drew a sword hung from his huge waist.

Thal drew his blade of Gondolin. Thal decided to simply defend himself and let the fat man tire himself out. Geonynn lunged at Thal and Thal easily parried his slice. This went on for a while until Geonynn blooded Thal with a lucky slash. Thal, angered, decided he had better fight back. But Thal only fought to bruise and tire the Thane not to kill. He fought Geonynn until he dropped to the floor unconscious. The few men who stood around the hall watching looked at Thal in a new light. They each approached eagerly to sign up for the dragon hunt. The party now consisted of Thal, Tuber, Urki, Chandu, and five brave young fighting men.

Thal loaded up his men with another hundred feet of rope giving the party a total of two hundred feet of rope. The rangers had cut the rope leading down into the ravine so that no creatures could escape they would need eighty feet just to get down into the ravine. When they got all the way down the cliff face, they approached the entrance to the citadel. Urki led them over the loose paving stones and Thal made sure Urki knew about the hole trap in front of the door. They moved quickly to avoid attracting any rats.

A side door to the entrance led to a small ten by ten room which held three skeletons. The skeletons animated and attacked the party. They were soon smashed to smithereens by Tuber, Thal, Chandu and Urki. They found three arrows with runes that said “Smite Foe”.

According to the book to get past most of the doors they needed a key from a carving of a dragon in the great hall. Thal remembered that the throne had a carving of a dragon. Thal instructed the party to wait behind in the dragon cage room while he silently searched about for hints of dragons, goblins, and orcs. He found out that the dragon was in a chamber through the eastern most door of the goblin queen’s hall. He found only dead goblins.

Thal moved down a parallel hallway to get the opposite end of the great hall. Here he heard a silent sobbing coming from the queen’s throne. He silently approached but she did not move or look left or right. She simply stared ahead sobbing and crying. Thal moved to her side and waved his hand in front of her face but she did not move or notice him. He put her out of her misery. He searched the throne and found the key in the dragon carving’s mouth exactly where the book said. Thal also found three scrolls. They searched some rooms to the south but it only led to fear, injury and traps. There was little reward. And they were putting off the inevitable.

The fighting men were growing impatient and did not like this adventuring. They returned to the dragon cage room and put all of their articles and equipment out to see what they could use against the dragon. The arrows they found would be of use especially with the bow Bard had given them. Thal would use these. Also two of the scrolls would be of use “Conjure magical lights to confuse the foe”, Urki was given this to use, and “Skin toughness of armor” was given to Thal to use on Tuber. Tuber would drop the caltrops in front of the doorway and the dwarven fire potion Chandu would throw at the dragon. Everyone lined up at the door on either side. Thal entered the large chamber.

“Who has come to worship Calcryx,” the dragon said. It was lying on a large dragon sized dais.

“It is I, Thalimar Xilomar,” Thal drew the arrow back and let it fly. He could feel the power of Bard’s bow. The arrow hit the dragon and it roared. Thal ran out the door as the dragon followed. Tuber threw the caltrops in front of the doorway. The dragon’s large head poked through the door and its mouth opened. It drew a great big breath and breathed fire on the line of adventurers to the left of the door. The tried to leap back but were all hit by the dragon’s fiery breath. One of the men burst into flame, cried and fell to the ground. The dragon’s head disappeared back into the room.

They stood looking at each other for a moment realizing the dragon was not going to come out after them. They pushed the caltrops aside and Thal led the way into the large chamber. The dragon was back lying on its dais. Thal shot another arrow at it hitting it. Tuber ran forward and swung his great axe at it. Urki moved into the room positioning himself near the door and started singing from the scroll. The men followed and positioned themselves around the dragon. Chandu stood closer to the door he threw the potion of Dwarf’s Fire at the dragon. It exploded in a great ball of fire. Thalimar shot the third arrow at the dragon but it missed and now he switched to sword and dagger. They hacked away at the dragon which fought back mightily with its clawing and biting attacks. It landed some good blows on Tuber but he stood up to the punishment. The magical lights distracted the dragon for a few moments while the party took advantage by a flurry of blows into its hide. Chandu even shot his blow gun into its hide. Urki lunged forward and got into position to swing his axe. The dragon was overcome by all of the wounds and fell to the ground.

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The Road to Dale

[original from 2002]

Tuber, Thal and Urki entered Redvale, tired and injured, they walked toward Hucrele’s home. Women, children and men walked along with them asking questions. Thal remained silent except for saying he wished to have a town meeting with Geonnyn, the Thane. Tuber and Urki answered some of the questions. They spoke of slaying goblins and orcs and defeating a great evil sorcerer. They knocked on Hucrele’s door and Kerowyn answered greeting them anxiously. “Have you news?” she queried as they sat around her table. “Yes, here are the things we found fighting and killing evil creatures,” Thalimar handed her a large sack. She started pulling the items it. She recognized the armor, the rings, and the weapons. “We did not find your kin. The only prisoner we found was this dwarf Urki of the Lonely Mountain.” Kerowyn turned away from them for a moment, overcome by emotion. “I am Urki son of Balin.” Urki introduced himself with a bow. “I helped these adventurers fight the evil creatures and the evil sorcerer.”

“Yes tell us what has happened to you since you left us.” Hucrele asked. Thalimar began the story omitting the dragon and the killing of the treeish northmen. He spared Kerowyn’s feelings by not describing the evil that had been done to her kin. He told them that the bramble monsters would no longer attack travelers on the road. She offered them 150 silver pieces but Thal and Tuber refused, not having the heart to take the mourning woman’s money. But Urki did take 60 silver pieces, he had suffered as a prisoner and also had no money with which to travel home. “Why do you risk your life on other people’s problems Thalimar?” asked Kerowyn. “My people are as old as the ages but I am a child compared to them. I have not lived through the great battles of old and I desire to be as wise and noble as my forefathers. I must go out into the world to gain experience because not everything can be taught except through experience.”

“You are welcome here any time. Here are some rations for your trip back to the Dwarf’s Gauntlet.” The three rose to leave, they had urgent business with the Thane. “Thank you for your hospitality Kerowyn and Hucrele. We will be traveling north again in a few days. We will stop by to see you.

They left the trading post and were immediately approached by a young fighter. “The Thane is ready to see you.” They followed him to the Long house. They entered the building. Inside were many townspeople and the Thane. A hush came over the throng. “What news have you of these attacks.” Thalimar recounted the tale of fighting two goblin bands, finding a dragon, and defeating the sorcerer. When he mentioned the dragon murmurs arose from the crowd that turned to shouts. “What will we do?” they asked. Thalimar said,”This wyrmling has no wings, and may not find its way out of the ravine for some time. I propose that Tuber and I, with Urki’s help, inform the Men of Dale and the Dwarves in the Lonely Mountain. We will come back with some help and defeat the wyrmling while it is still young.” Geonnyn answered,”We should not bother the Kings of Men and Dwarves over this, it is but a baby dragon and we can easily defeat it.” Urki grunted, “I council against this. Dragons have many weapons with which to fight, including breath weapons. This wyrmling did not show its teeth to us and we know not its power,” Thalimar replied. “Bard killed a dragon with an arrow. It should not be hard to kill a baby,” said Geonnyn. “Regardless, we will go to Dale and the Lonely Mountain, for we have other business there,” Thalimar refused to argue further and the three left the Longhouse.

“What do you think of this Geonnyn and his idea?” Thalimar asked Urki. “Men are fools,” answered the Dwarf. “Do you agree we should bring our news to Dale and the Lonely Mountain?” asked Thalimar. “Yes, we need wiser council,” answered Urki,”I fear this wyrmling’s sires. We could kill it and in so doing jump from the pot only to fall into the fire.” “We will travel together, but first we must go to Iach Celduin to pick up our money and belongings,” said Thal.

They traveled back to the Dwarf’s Gauntlet. They rested there for some days and bought a few things for the journey. A healer’s kit, horses, a pony, a donkey, rations, etc. They traveled north stopping again at Redvale to stay over night with Kerowyn and Hucrele. The next day they traveled north and stopped on the road for the night. On the second day they made it to the falls below the Long Lake. They stayed in a small town there and traveled north again for another day. They entered Lake Town (Esgaroth) and spent a day or so trading money in for gems. This would lighten their load.

Leaving Esgaroth they headed toward Dale. They were moving along at a good clip when a man jumped out into the road. He was shabby looking. “Stand and deliver!” shouted the man. “Deliver what? I have no messages for you,” said Thal. “Very funny, give us your money or die,” said the man. Thalimar was shocked and did not move. Tuber slid from his mount and quickly approached the man swinging his battle axe. Seeing Tuber move into action, Urki and Thal jumped off their mounts and Thalimar prepared his bow and arrow while Urki pulled a throwing axe. Arrows flew at them from either side of the road. The arrows struck Thal and Urki injuring them. Four other men had jumped out from behind trees. Tuber swung his axe but missed the quick man. Thalimar shot an arrow and the man fell. Urki threw his axe but it glanced off of the men beside the road. Tuber ran to attack a man beside the road, swung and cleaved the man in half. The remaining three ran into the woods. They found a small amount of silver on the man but nothing else. Thalimar tracked them for a brief time to make sure they had really run away and would not follow to attack again.

They traveled on toward Dale. When they met other travelers they warned them of the bandits. They reached Dale at night. They camped nearby the gates to await dawn to enter the city.

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Of Goblins and Dragons

[orignal from 2002]

At the end of the vine they stepped off into a compost pile of glowing purple fungi and vines. On top of the pile lay the dead chieftain orc, that had fallen from the room above. They had entered a large room with an arch way to the north and doors to the south and east. Two skeletons attacked them but were quickly dispatched by Tuber and Thal. Two bramble monsters crawled out of the compost and attacked them. After trading of blows and damage on both sides Tuber and Thal killed the monsters.

Tuber tried to light the compost on fire but there was too much moisture. A squeaking noise came from the arch way. Two sets of gleaming eyes appeared from the shadows. Two rats entered the room on leashes held by a huge orc. The orc was the most hideous creature Thal had ever seen. It had a horned helmet and wore animal hides. Hanging from its belt were skulls of small creatures. The orc loosed the two rats, they ran forward and attacked. Tuber cut one in half. Urki threw his axe at the orc and Thal attacked the orc dealing some damage. Tuber killed the second rat that was trying to bite Thal. The orc ignored Thal and struck Tuber dealing a mighty blow. Urki was trying to retrieve his thrown axe. Tuber and Thal continued to trade blows with the orc and finally kill him.

The dwarf searched the dead orc and took two javelins and a spear. Thal took a potion.

The three headed north into a large natural chamber. Here they found many weapons, bones on the floor, a tables with ropes and gore on it. Tuber picked out a bastard sword while Thal refilled his quiver with arrows.

After some discussion they decided to go back and investigate the mulch pile room. They returned and went through the eastern door. This led into an eating area with three doors leading north and three doors leading south. The room was long with columns carved with dragons. There was fungus growing and glowing purple all around. An orc peeped out from behind a door. “Who’s there?” “Oh just me,” Thal said in orc. The orc shut the door.

The adventurers went back into the mulch pile room and went through the south door. They entered a long dark corridor and went all the way to the end passing a crack formed by some geological activity, according to the dwarf. At the end of the hallway was a door. The door was locked or stuck shut. It took a while to get through but eventually, successful, they entered a room with a statue of a dragon. In the dragon’s mouth was a plate. They searched and searched the room but found nothing.

They decided to investigate the cracks. One of the cracks led back to the eating room and the other led to a natural cavern. This cavern’s walls were pockmarked with holes. A glow emanated from one hole. It was eerie and orange. “Gem worm,” said the dwarf. The gem worm crawled from its hole and attacked Thal. Thal eventually hit it but the worm attacked Tuber and set him on fire. Tuber yelled,”The potion!” Thal threw him the potion but Tuber didn’t catch it and it fell to the ground and rolled away. Tuber dropped and rolled to extinguish the fire. Thal slew the worm.

Singed, Tuber retrieved the potion and drank a quarter of the bottle. It healed the burns he had suffered “A cure burns potion,” Tuber commented. “Gem worms have gems in them sometimes,” the dwarf said eying the carcass. “Why don’t you take it then,” said Thal. The dwarf bent over the gem worm cut it open and retrieved a gem from its belly. He pocketed it immediately not allowing the others to see it.

They went back to the mulch pile room and quietly discussed their next move. They were all injured to the point of having to leave the dungeon. The way forward seemed too risky and the way back promised fighting a dragon and a tribe of goblins. Thal quietly climbed up the vines to peek into the circular room above. He saw four goblins. They were saying something, “Is it safe yet?” “I’m not going out there.” Tuber, in the mean time, searched the goblin chieftain’s body for items. The dwarf kept watch. Tuber found a ring with a dwarven ‘H’ which he gave to Thal when he returned from his climb.

A voice came from above,”Must tell Belak, dragon is loose. Must tell dragon, Belak is.. no no no must dragon Belak.. no, no..” An orc appeared from the gloom. Tuber, Thal and Urki arranged themselves so as best to capture the goblin. Tuber grabbed the goblin,”Take us to Belak.” “Belak who?” the goblin bluffed. Thal pulled his dagger and laid it across the goblins throat, “You know where Belak is. Take us to him, or else.” Thal said in a low voice. The goblin noticed the dead chieftain and the dead giant orc. “Belak? Oh yes, I thought you said Shmelak. Yes, yes, I can take you to him.” Tuber gagged the goblin.

The goblin led them through the eating room, into a small armory, and eventually, into a large cavern that was an underground garden. Here there was a large orc swinging a scythe. Thal prodded the prisoner goblin to greater speed and they moved through a door at the end of the chamber. But they could hear the orc following them. The great hall they entered was decorated with dragons. They moved quickly following the goblin. They soon entered an octagon shaped room. But an orc turned to face them as they entered. Tuber and the dwarf attacked the orc while Thal locked the door behind them in anticipation of the orc farmer following them. Tuber eventually killed the orc but Urki was injured in the process. Tuber searched the orc and found 10 silver and 21 bronze pieces. Farmer orc bashed his way through the door and was assailed by Tuber and an arrow Thal shot. Tuber with a second mighty blow killed the orc. The orc had not even gotten a chance to swing his scythe. Tuber searched the farmer orc and found 14spcs and 23bpcs.

The little prisoner was shaken by the show of strength from the bedraggled adventurers. He led them on into a bullet shaped room. A large dragon statue with empty glowing red eye sockets was near the point of the bullet. Black speech was carved in the floor around a red round circle in the floor. A shadowy form approached them from behind the statue. Thal backed away from the form. Tuber struck at it with his axe but the ghost kept moving forward. Urki’s spear glowed,”Tuber try this,” he said handing the glowing spear over to Tuber. Tuber sliced with the glowing spear and the ghost was vanquished. A thorough search of the room revealed a loose stone and behind it they found 34spcs and two flasks with dragon head stoppers.

The next room they entered was a library with a desk. Thal thoroughly searched this room and found a large volume bound in dragon hide and written in Black speech, a scroll wrapped around a dowel discussing traps and lock lore, and a book of fire lore. They moved on and came to another similar library. But there was dirt on the floor and plants growing here and there. Thal found a scroll of treat poisons, books about plants, animals, and ranger knowledge, and a book “Treasure of Firelords” which when opened exploded in Thal’s face dealing damage. Thal drank some cure fire potion and felt better. There was now only one dose of the potion left.

The door to the south creaked open, “Who is there,” a voice said in orc. “Just me,” Thal answered in orc. “I will get Belak,” said the voice. “Follow him,” Tuber said. The three ran after what looked like four orcs. They entered a huge natural cavern. They noticed ruins of buildings scattered about. There were many vines and plants and dirt on the floor. Some of the vines reached for them. The vines scratched them and left a burning sap on them. The prisoner was overcome by the vines as they ran.

A large set of ruins came into view ahead and the four orcs ran through. The adventurers followed but were not closing the distance. They suddenly came out into an open area where a monstrous black and twisted tree grew. The orcs ran behind the tree and the adventurers skidded to a halt. In front of the tree stood two stiff treeish looking humans, and a robed figure behind them. There was also a medium sized frog. “Are you the man behind the goblin apples in Redvale?” Thal queried. “Yes.” said the robed man. “So you grow evil vines that attack people?” “From life I create life.” “You create death,” Thal exclaimed and shot an arrow at the robed man.

Some evil vines crept up from behind the adventurers and attacked. Tuber set one on fire. The two stiff humans, who on closer examination looked like a woman and man northmen, moved forward. The dwarf turned to face the vines coming from behind and defended the rear. The vines reached into the open area attacking the dwarf who was nearest to them. Tuber and Thal attacked the northmen. The northman in front of Thal tried to hit Thal’s sword possibly trying to disarm him. But Thal swung again and killed the woman northman. Belak started singing and focused on Tuber.

The vines overcame Urki and he fell unconscious. Tuber screamed a war cry, enraged, and lunged forward. He swatted the frog killing it instantly with his axe and plunged ahead to swing at Belak. The vines reached to attack Thal and scored hits with poisonous sap. Belak shot a magic fire ball at Tuber who side stepped and the fire ball missed. Thal fought the other northman getting weaker as they traded blows and Thal fell. Tuber and Belak entered melee trading blows. (SIDE NOTE: Tuber is down to one hit point while Thal and Urki are below zero hit points.) The northman then turned his stiff limbs to attack Tuber. Tuber killed Belak and the northman and threw a dragon stoppered bottle on the vines which blew up in flames. The four orcs ran away at some point during the battle. After the battle Tuber noticed that the bramble monsters would not enter the clearing around the tree but occasionally tried to reach inside. So he dragged his unconscious friends farther into the clearing.

Tuber spent some time healing his fallen comrades. The heroes ended up resting by the tree for two days healing. A search of Belak revealed a short sword, sickle, 3 sticks of incense, 2 phials of liquid, two more phials of liquid, wooden stick, 4 gems, and 323 spcs. A search of the northmen revealed a glowing sword with elvish runes “Gondolin”, a ring with a dwarven “H”, backpack, mail armor, bow and quiver, lantern with 5 pints of oil, caltrops, 50’ coil silk rope, 42 spcs, and a short bow with 9 arrows. The tree had red apples and yellow sickly looking apples. They each ate a couple of red apples which healed some of their wounds. The tree had imprints of human shape depressed into it as if the northmen had come from the tree itself. They chopped down the huge tree. When they finished they noticed the vines from the ruins stopped lurking in the shadows and became brown and withered.

During the two days they discussed what their next move would be, and decided the best bet was to return the way they had come , go to the upper level and try to get past the dragon. They had to fight two more orcs on the way to the compost pile room. Thal climbed the vine quietly to check for enemies and found four goblins. They all clambered up and fought the four goblins in the large circular room. After the battle they noticed the chest still unopened. Tuber opened it just avoiding getting stung by a poison dart. They plundered the chest and found 2 phials, a different phial, a scroll, 2 black onyx gems, and 231spcs.

They continued on out of the dungeon managing to sneak paste the sated dragon who had eaten all of the goblins in the Redfist great hall. And the adventurers returned to Redvale for much needed rest. The had decided not to visit Queen Isdrail assuming she would probably try to kill them.

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Redvale
wherin a town is saved in spite of itself

[original from 2002]

Tuber and Thal learned that their “friends” from the Dwarven Mine Adventure were going to seek out a tomb of the Northmen where they hoped to find a magic robe. Tombs promised fighting the undead but Tuber and Thal, mostly Thal, decided that a trip to Redvale was preferable to traveling with Gasper’s cohorts. Travelers between Redvale and Iach Celduin were being attacked. What was attacking them was not known but they were horribly scratched or clawed.

Tuber and Thal traveled slowly for a day heading north but found nothing unusual. They camped for the night on the eastern side of the road opposite the woods. They made a fire, ate their rations, and Thal tranced (Elves trance instead of sleep) for four hours while Tuber kept watch. Thal took second watch while Tuber slept for six hours.

Towards dawn, Thal heard a sound like dry leaves rustling. It did not sound right to him so he woke Tuber up. The noise was getting louder and coming closer. They each grabbed a torch and their weapons.

Tuber’s eyes widened and his axe began to fall on the brush and brambles in front of him. The brambles were stretching out their vines and branches, trying to scratch them. Tuber’s axe did not seem to do any damage. The brambles scratched Thal and left some goop on him that burned and itched. Thal swung his sword and torch, managing to break a few branches and set the thing on fire. It stopped moving. Tuber was also scratched and got some goop on him. The brambles in front of Tuber attacked both of them and Tuber finally hit with his torch and the thing stopped moving.

Thal started grabbing the packs and bedrolls, while Tuber stomped on the fire they had started. “Thal help me put this fire out!” Tuber said. Thal reluctantly helped him, wanting to leave this area quickly. These attacking brambles were not a natural thing.

In the evening they reached Redvale. There was a large house with wares hanging and laying outside. So they chose to enquire within about the strange attacks. They knocked on the door. A woman’s face peeked out of the door. “Who are you?” she asked. “I am Thalimar Xilomar and this is Tuber my friend. We are here to investigate the strange attacks that have been occurring on the road.” She looked at him doubtfully but let them enter. Inside was a warm fire burning and a dinner laid out. A man was sitting at the table.

“Please join us. This is my wife Kerowyn and I am Hucrele.” he said. They ate and drank and talked long into the night. The kind people even invited them to stay in their home. Hucrele made a modest living selling wares. They told Tuber and Thal about people that had gone into the woods and disappeared. Four months ago Kerowyn’s nephews had even gone in the woods with some other young men from the town but disappeared. Ten years ago Goblins had started coming to the town with apples that when eaten had healing properties but some of the apples also brought on sickness. The Goblins told the towns people to plant the seeds. When the seedlings were a certain size they would disappear. The attacks had started at about the same time the Goblins had started coming to town.

The next morning they were brought before a large building to meet the mayor (Thane) of the town. He looked at them very disapprovingly. Geonnyn the Round, after much talk, finally took them to the trail where the goblins came from the woods. It looked very easy to follow. Kerowyn said,”My nephews wear signet rings, you should be able to recognize them.”

Tuber and Thal followed the trail for several miles. They came to an open area with few trees. They found many broken pillars with a serpent motif. There was also a deep ravine running north and south. The ravine was so deep they could not see the bottom, only inky blackness.

Thal went north to see if there was a way down. Thal had left his heavy 50’ rope in Iach Celduin. He found a rope hanging over into the ravine. Tuber climbed down first. When he reached the bottom he called up for Thal to follow. They stood on a ledge about 10’ wide. There were no opening in the cliff face. There was a fire pit and a pile of bones. Tuber went over to it while Thal searched the cliff face for secret doors. “Quick, Rats!” Tuber called. Since Thal was far away he used his bow. Two rats were facing Tuber but Thal had a clear shot at the third rat. It died from the arrow fired. Tuber quickly axed the two in front of him before Thal could get another shot off.

They walked further along the ledge and found a stair leading downward. They carefully descended. There were many switch backs along the way. They finally got to the bottom. They needed a torch because no sun light penetrated this deep and narrow ravine. They stood on a crumbly rock paved area. There were crenelated walls on the western side. They walked north until they saw a tall tower and in it a door.

CRUNCH, “Ahhhh” Tuber fell through the paving stones into a deep hole. Thal looked down. It wasn’t too deep and he could climb out. “Squeak, squeak, squeak,” Thal heard from behind. Thal turned to look. More rats. “Tuber hurry up there are more rats up here,” Thal said. Thal turned and shot an arrow at one killing it. Tuber was now by his side. The rats were upon them now. A rat bit Tuber and one bit Thal. Thal switched to his sword and dagger. Tuber swung and killed a rat. Thal manage to kill two more.

They continued toward the door being more careful. But as Tuber approached the door a gaping hole opened up. Barely managing to avoid falling in, Tuber stood on the edge. “More rats in this hole,” he said. Strangely running up the middle of this hole was a narrow bridge a half a foot wide. They managed to cross it and Thal listened for noise behind the door. Just silence. So they opened the unlocked door. Inside were goblin bodies all dead by violence.

There was a door to the left and one to the right. They chose to go through the door on the right. There were no sounds and the door was not locked. They entered a corridor. Half way down the corridor was a wooden door on the right and a stone door on the left. The locked stone door was decorated with a Sea Serpent and obviously needed a key to enter. This did not deter Tuber because he tried to smash it down with his axe. Luckily he did not break his axe on the door. They peeked in the door on the right but there was nothing but garbage. At the far end of the corridor was another door. They walked up to it and opened it. Inside this room was a cot with something sleeping in it. A cage with a huge hole in it. And Orcish writing on the walls that said,”There be dragons here.”

“Tuber, grab that sleeping guy.” Thal whispered. Tuber grabbed the sleeping form and held him. It was a goblin and he was awake now. They tied the goblin’s claws with strips from the blanket. “What was in the cage?” Thal asked.

“A dragon.”

“What happened to it?”

“It was stolen by the Clan of the Red Fist.”

“Who is in charge here?”

“Queen Isdrail, the great goblin.”

“Take us to her.”

The little goblin led them northward up a corridor. It turned east, ahead of them, Thal could see two sets of glowing eyes.

“Meepo what are you doing?”

“I am taking these to the Queen,” he turned to Thal, “Queen be angry if she see Meepo tied.” Thal cut his bonds. Meepo led them into a great pillared hall, stretching to the north and south. He led them north to stand before the Queen on her throne. Adorning the throne was a large carved dragon.

“Queen Isdrail, are you the ones who go to the town every year with apples?” Thal asked bluntly in goblin.

“No we do not, it is the clan of the Redfist, insulant elf!” she replied.

Thal changed his tactics with her, “We have come to defeat the clan of the Redfist. It seems your are their enemy, if they steal from you, especially your prized possession the dragon!” She seemed to look at him in a new light. “This foolish elf can get my dragon or die in the process,” she thought to herself.

“Get my dragon and I will not kill you. Meepo will lead you.” she said.

Thal continued,”We will find the dragon. Can you give us manpower and anything else we may need?” She paused for a time, she did want the dragon back and maybe they could mete out more death upon the Redfist. She pointed at an Uruk Hai, a bowman, and two spearmen. She waved her claw at an attendant, who disappeared behind the thrown and returned with a flask. “This is a cure for diseases. Now go!”

Meepo led them south through the great hall. At the end was door to the west. A hallway leading east was heavily guarded with goblins facing east. “That is the main entrance to the Redfist. They attack often.” Meepo informed us.

Meepo lead them through the west door, the dragon chamber, a door to the south and into a hallway. At the end they finally came to a door leading east. Tuber immediately tried to knock it down. But nothing happened. Meepo grabbed the handle and slowly opened the door without effort. The room they entered was empty, messy, and grimey. Meepo approached the next door and Tuber followed. Tuber tried to smash it down but did not succeed. Meepo again effortlessly opened the door.

The room they entered had a dragon motif. The west wall had a dried up dragon fountain. The east wall had an ornate stone door with a skeletal dragon and Tengwar runes in black speech. This door intrigued Thal. Thal felt a cold evil feeling. Thal tried to open the door, heard a sound and jumped back. A blade had nearly cut him in half.

Meepo pointed to the door south. Tuber went to it and opened it slowly. They followed Tuber into the next passage, which was empty. To the west was a caved in passage. Meepo pointed to the south passage,”Trap set for Redfist.” To the east was another door. Thal asked the Uruk Hai,”How many Redfist are there?” “Thirty,” he replied. They went through the door and entered an empty room. On the floor were tiny rodent bones. There was a door to the south.

Tuber decided caution was in order for once. He listened at the door, heard nothing. He tried to open the door but it was locked. “Meepo, try to open this door,” Thal said. “You look sort.” “Meepo good, honest, but Meepo try.” He pulled some tiny bone like objects from his pocket and started working on the door. He turned to us. “Can not open door.” Tuber smashed it down. There was a sound of metal crashing. They hurriedly followed Tuber through the door. South of them was a half wall with four goblin archers behind it, clothed in red. Caltrops and chunks of metal riddled the floor.

Thal shot an arrow at the enemy but missed. The Redfist shot a flight of arrows into the party’s midst and missed. The Queen’s goblins boldly rushed forward to attack, an arrow shot, pearced the skull and killed a Redfist. The Redfist counter attacked and managed to kill a spearman. Tuber tried to enter the fray but there was not enough room in the hallway. The Queen’s goblins managed to kill three more on the next round.

The party climbed over the half wall into a filthy room with a firepit. There was a door leading north. The door was locked from their side but Tuber kicked the door down anyway.

“Take it easy on the door!” They heard in orcish from down a passageway.

The Uruk Hai picked up a bunch of caltrops and waved to his goblins to change into the Redfist clothes. Thal sneaked up the passageway to see ahead. There was a large room with a goblin playing dice at a table and there were three goblins on the north side of a half wall facing south, away. There was a door with a bar locking it on this side. Thal returned to the party and described the situation. They planned to approach the next set of goblins as if Thal were a prisoner. Thal’s hands are loosely tied and Tuber would have to throw Thal’s sword to him and Thal hid a dagger in his boot. Tuber would have to do all the talking.

The party entered the next room and the goblin at the table looked up,”Who are you what do you want.” The other goblins in front of the half wall turned to look at the group. The Uruk Hai immediately attacked the dice man. Tuber attacked the goblins at the half wall cutting one in half. The Uruk Hai grabbed the dice man by the throat and slammed him against the wall repeatedly. In the mean time, Thal loosened his ties, pulled the dagger and attacked a goblin near Tuber and killing it. Tuber finished off the last goblin. Four more goblins appeared and prepared themselves for battle behind the half wall.

Tuber brandished his throwing axe and let fly. Missed. Thal quickly switched to bow and arrow, let fly and killed a goblin. Tuber and Thal were attacked but the goblins missed. The Uruk Hai finished pulping the dice playing goblin and started directing his goblins to action. The bowman took a shot but missed. Tuber killed a goblin with his great axe and Thal killed another with his dagger. The last goblin ran away through a door leading east yelling “Intruders, Intruders!”

Behind them Meepo had released some of his clan from a holding cell. And abruptly left leading his clansmen back home. The rest of the party investigated the room but found nothing. They heard dwarven cursing from the holding cell. Thal investigated to find an obnoxious dwarf. When he saw the elf he started cursing. “Saved by an Elf?! What more could go wrong!” He was chained to the wall. The Uruk Hai had found keys which Thal used to release the dwarf. He was weak but looked well enough. “Who are you and how did you come to be here?” Thal asked. “I am Urki of Erebor. I was captured by these goblins while I was searching for the Bairnax Dragon Worshipers. I heard they had great treasure.” “You know nothing of the evil magic vines and plants that attack people?” “Yes I have overheard the goblins speaking of a sorcerer Belak that has a Gulthias tree from which apples grow and the seeds can be used to grow evil trees. Belak seems to live on the second level down.”

The party spent some time blocking the eastern door beyond the half wall and left the door to the south unblocked. Tuber gave the dwarf his throwing axe because the dwarf refused to use an orcish blade. The Uruk Hai placed caltrops on the floor in front of the doors. They prepared for battle behind the half wall. After another 15 minutes they heard smashing coming from behind the blocked eastern door. Eventually the door was smashed down.

Goblins poured through the wreckage. Thal shot an arrow killing the second goblin. The Queen’s goblin bowman missed with his shot. The enemy goblins seemed unaffected by the caltrops. Although the fourth one did curse. The party entered melee with the Redfist goblins and Thal managed to kill another using both sword and dagger. The enemy missed them all. Again Thal hit with dagger and killed one. The last one ran away.

The party heard a commotion from behind them. “We will be surrounded if we don’t move now,” Thal commented. They decided to quickly leave the area. Hoping to confuse the enemy. They ran south through a door into a hallway, across the hallway and through another unlocked door. They shut the door and locked it.

“A dead end” Thal said. There were no other doors in this room. Knock Knock Knock. “Hey you guys,” they heard. “Hello,” said Tuber. “Open up you guys.” “Is it Meepo?” Tuber asked. “Yeah.” Tuber opened the door and in rushed Meepo. “Why you guys run away from me,?” “We have to move out of here,” Thal said not answering the question.

They went east down a long corridor and at the end was a door. Thal approached and almost fell into a hole that opened up suddenly on either side. There was a foot wide stone bridge 10 feet long leading up to the door with pits on either side. Thal carefully approached the door. There were scraping noises coming from behind the door. It was locked. “Meepo pick this lock.” “Ok me try,” Meepo opened the door carefully and entered the room. “Dragon,” he whispered. They all entered the room, staring at the chained dragon. “Well, here is your dragon. I guess you will be going now,” Thal said.

The goblins were acting strangely. None of them approached the dragon. The dragon looked at them casually. It lifted the chain and started twirling it around its claw. The end was not attached to the wall. “Run!”

Thal dashed to a door in the north and kept running. The dragon chased them. They entered a huge pillared great hall. Thal ran east for quite a long way. There were goblins and Uruk Hai everywhere. One took a swipe at Thal but missed. They ran to the farthest door in the east wall and barged through. Closing the door behind, they paused. There were worker goblins resting and eating. There were three guards and an Uruk Hai. They were standing in front of a door set into a curved wall. That was the door Thal chose to go through. So the melee began.

Tuber killed the Uruk Hai in one strike. Urki, the dwarf, was hurt. Tuber turned to help Thal kill a goblin. One of the enemy killed a bowman. Tuber and Thal killed one each.

Urki ran into the next room, Thal rushed in after him. It was large and circular. There was huge goblin and a smaller one, a huge chest, and a large circular hole, from which a purple glow emminated. There were vines and fungi around the hole. Urki threw the axe at the huge goblin and missed.

As Tuber entered the room, the giant goblin jumped over the hole. The goblin attacked Thal, injuring him. Urki and Thal took swings at the goblin but missed. Tuber hit the big goblin so hard it staggered backwards and fell into the hole. The small goblin stared dazedly at the heroes. Thal grabbed his bow, shot the little orc, killing it. The Queen’s goblins were not with them. But they could hear orcs screaming from the room of goblin workers.

They quickly took stock of the situation. Tuber glanced into the room of workers and saw carnage. The doors were being watched by the Queen’s goblins and enemy goblins were trying to enter the room. Tuber, Thal and Urki heard noise coming from the door to the southwest of the circular room and guessed more orcs were coming. Urki, retrieved the throwing axe, and investigated the vines, determining them safe to climb down. So they did.

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The Unicorn

[orignal from 2002]

Tuber and Thal traveled many hours from the town through light forest. In the village they had heard that a unicorn had been captured by marauding orcs. The unicorn was known in the area for it’s magical healing powers. They were searching for a cave in the local hills. With help of Thal’s wilderness lore they eventually found faint paths the orcs made entering and exiting their lair.

They found a door in the rocks along a rocky wall in a hillside. Tuber tried opening the door but naturally it was locked. Neither of them was any good at picking locks. But Thal did attempt to listen for any noises coming from behind the door. Rustle, rustle, thunk. Something was behind this door.

“Tuber, something is behind this door, and I assume it is the orcs.” Thal commented.

“I will break it down!” Tuber proclaimed, brandishing his battleaxe.

Thal leapt out of his way and prepared bow and arrow. With his mighty strength Tuber smashed the door down, and disappeared into the room. An orc was under the door. Thal shot an arrow at the orc but the arrow was badly aimed and bounced harmlessly off the door. Thal stepped up onto the door, while Thal switched from bow to sword and dagger. An orc approached Thal from the left. Thal heard some commotion coming from the right but his attention lay with the orc before him. Thal stabbed at the orc with his sword but lost his balance on the tilting door and scored a glancing blow off the orc’s armor. The orc attacked Thal slicing with his scimitar. But again Thal slipped slightly on the door so that the orc missed him. “Ow,” Thal head Tuber say; “I will get you for that, tiny orc!” CRUNCH.

The orc attacked Thal again but did not penetrate his leather armor. Thal sliced again and dealt it a deathblow.

Tuber walked over to Thal while Thal surveyed the damage. Apparently Tuber had killed an orc while Thal was fighting but had received a small leg wound in the process. Thal checked the orc under the door for signs of life, apparently, Tuber’s smashing the door had knocked him unconscious. “This orc is still alive,” Thal said and Tuber suddenly chopped the orc in the head with his axe dispatching it quickly.

They looked around the room and immediately noticed the unicorn in the left corner and a door in the left wall.

Thal listened for noise from behind the door and heard nothing. Also the door was locked. He searched the orcs and found 60 silver pieces and gave Tuber 30. He searched the room for secret doors but found nothing. In the mean time Tuber was healing the unicorn that appeared to be sleeping. Apparently the unicorn had been shot with a dart soaked in some kind of sleeping poison.

Tuber, finished with his activity, arose and, unceremoniously, smashed the door down. They were assailed by a horrible smell of orc. The room was full of straw and looked as if it was used by the orcs for sleeping.

“Chest!” Tuber exclaimed and rushed into the corner.

“Just a moment, Tuber, let me look for-” THWAK “Huh?” Tuber said.

He turned to Thal, sticking out of his armor was a dart with goo dripping down from it. The chest sat open behind him.

“Don’t touch it.” Thal said “It has a poison on it.” Thal proceeded to remove the dart and carefully wipe the poison off of Tuber’s armor. Apparently it did not penetrate all the way through the armor. “Lucky barbarian” Thal muttered.

Thal proceeded to lecture Tuber on traps but Tuber, payed no heed, turned and rifled through the open chest.

He pocketed 55sps and handed Thal 25sps and a scroll. Thal opened the scroll and saw that it was written in high elven known as Quenya. Something Thal could read! The scroll had some sort of healing spell written on it. Thal searched the room for secret doors and found nothing.

They went back into the other room and came to a decision about the sleeping unicorn. Tuber guarded the unicorn while Thal went about building a travois to place the unicorn on to drag him back to the town, to search for someone that could cure the sleep poison. Thal was working on this for quite some time when Tuber called out to him. Thal ran back to see what he needed. The unicorn was waking up! The unicorn stood and tipped his horn to his flank and the dart wound disappeared. He approached Tuber and touched his horn to the leg wound, which disappeared. The unicorn ran off into the night.

They made their way back to town. And decided to purchase more trail rations. They also decided to listen to the local folk at the local tavern. Tuber was craving ham hock and ate it while they listened.

A dwarf was by the fire ranting “We were cutting and chopping at the walls of the mine when suddenly one of us chopped all the way through into a dark hole. He Thal disappeared into the hole and has never been seen since. “We are only miners and -“

Tuber jumped up and in two giant steps was upon the dwarf “We will find your small dwarf friend!” Thal recovered from his shock, approached the dwarf and Tuber.

“A barbarian and an elf! ” sputtered the dwarf.

“Why yes,” Thal said, “I would trust him with my life.”

And so Thal believed Tuber had volunteered them for a whole new adventure!

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Prolog

[from players’ journal, originally written in 2002]

Around the year 2950, Thalimar Xilomar, an elven ranger, and Tuber, a barbarian from the Grey Mountains, met in the wilds near Mirkwood. It was on a fateful day when Tuber was fighting wargs in the edge of Mirkwood. Thal, attracted by the noise of a fight, sprang into action and helped the huge half man defeat the wargs. They became companions of sorts surviving in the wilds. After some time together their adventurous like-mindedness led them to seek excitement. They began by entering a tavern near Iach Celduin located well south of Dale.

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Preface

The Wilderlands 2950 campaign came about in a roundabout way some time in 2002. It began as a set of introductory games using the D&D Adventure Set (the boxed intro to 3.0 edition) to introduce my kids to roleplaying. The Peter Jackson trilogy debuted around this time so we transplanted the setting to Middle Earth, complete with princesses, unicorns and whatever other basic fantasy (albeit non-Tolkienesque) elements we were using at the time. My son’s half-orc barbarian, Tuber, was transformed into a wild Northman, was eventually joined by Thalimar the elf, and we took it from there. The game was shorter-lived than we would have liked due to moves, family, life, etc etc.

Now here we are in 2008, thinking we can make a go of it again.

The first batch of journal entries date from back in 2002-2003 and in some instances reflect the pre-Tolkien nature of the game. I will post a DM recap that hammers and mangles all the events into a Middle Earth theme.

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