Monday 14 November 2022

The Ring Goes South

After a hiatus in Rivendell somewhat longer than both the films and the books, my Quest of the Ringbearer campaign finally gets going again and the newly formed Fellowship of the Ring set off towards Mordor and Mount Doom.

Cue the epic walking music...

Heading south through Eregion it becomes apparent that the Enemy is likely watching the Gap of Rohan and so Gandalf attempts to lead the Fellowship over the Misty Mountains via...

The Pass of Caradras

This scenario is a bit of an odd one as it"s more of a mini board/card game, with the Good player trying to move  Fellowship over a board of playing cards, whilst the Evil player (representing Saruman) tried to predict where they will go to bring the mountain down on them.

The opening moves saw the Fellowship hit by several snowfalls, but fortunately never twice in the same place. 

As the Good player I quickly realised that I couldn't always take advantage of Legolas having extra movement, as it would allow Matt of Many Colours (the Evil player) to easily block off some routes of advance.

The Fellowship advanced slowly, taking more damage as they went.

Legolas inevitable was able to sprint ahead and escape but a rash of 8s and 6s meant that Matt was able to see what was likely to happen and both Samwise and Boromir were trapped in the snow.

However, despite the fact that the Fellowship had taken damage, being spread out protected too many of them from being picked off as the inched forward.

Whilst Gimli fell into a drift, the rest of the part escaped, and Pippin was the only member of the Fellowship able to escape without a scratch.

This was a fun little game with some real strategy to it. The only downside is that it's fairly poorly explained in the book.

Winning the game gained the Fellowship a shooting bonus that I would promptly forget to use in the next scenario.

Despite their efforts, the Pass of Caradras remained closed to the Fellowship. The snow was too deep. As they turned south it became apparent the Fellowship were being tracked and were about to be attacked by...

Wargs In The Night

Howls filled the night air as vicious packs of Wargs advanced from all sides, intent on making a meal of the Fellowship.

Gandalf ordered the others to form a circle facing outwards with their backs to the fire, whilst Bill the Pony brayed in panic.

The circle of slavering Wargs closed in. A sorcerous blast shot out from Gandalf's staff as the bow of Legolas began singing, dropping several Wargs.

The Wargs launched the attack and Aragorn, Boromir and Gimli met them blade to claw.

However, there were too many to stop, with more always coming. The whole party found themselves assailed, with Bill the Pony narrowly avoiding finding himself inside a Warg's belly. 

In an attempt to stem the tide, Aragorn cut himself free of the melee to run to Boromir's side as the son of Gondor confronted the Wild Warg Chieftain.

The blades of these mighty men fell in unison, slaying the great beast and denying the pack further leadership.

The foul beasts kept coming and desperate measure were taken to protect the more vulnerable members of the Fellowship.

Gimli and Boromir hacked down every Warg they could catch, Legolas abandoned his bow in favour of his long knives. Gandalf threw himself in harm’s way too often and almost succumbed to snapping jaws.

The hobbits fought for their lives and Bill lashed out with his hooves desperately.

Aragorn was everywhere, trying to hold the line.

Although more Wargs kept coming, the fight began to thin out. The Fellowship always seemed to be one step ahead (Matt won just a single priority roll all game), continually preventing the Wargs from being able to use their superior numbers to swarm the Fellowship.

A breathing space was won, and the Fellowship saw an opportunity to back off and put some distance between them and the howling packs.

Legolas took aim, but was unable to pick off any Wargs, which now advanced more cautiously.

Seeking to keep the Wargs back, Aragorn rushed forwards alone...

Suddenly the Wargs sprang on him from all sides and the heir to the throne of Gondor found himself fighting for his life.

Gimli rushed to aid Aragorn, but could quite get to him as the Dwarf also found himself surrounded by Wargs.

However, as the sun slowly began to creep over the mountains in the east, the Wargs, even those creeping round the flanks of the Fellowship began to melt away, their bellies empty.

This was a tough scenario for the forces of evil as the Wargs are no match for the heroic might of the heroes. However, this was made even tougher for Matt, as he was cursed with terrible rolls for priority and wounding. Also the rules of the scenario meant that each time I won priority I could position his never ending reinforcements as far as possible from the action.

This all combined to mean that the Wargs just couldn't make inroads into the Fellowship. Aragorn, Sam and Gandalf all took wounds and somehow Bill the Pony managed to survive, despite using his only fate point.

The bravest companion was Aragorn, whose ability to call heroic combats pretty much every turn was crucial in stemming the tide of fur and fangs, whilst the 'Fool of a Took' was, ironically, Gandalf, wo failed repeatedly to cast sorcerous blast and came extremely close to being brought down.

In the next scenario, Gandalf will have just a single wound and only 5 will points, and so he'll need protecting. The rest of the Fellowship were able to regain all their lost points except Boromir, who will be down to 5 might.

The next adventure will take the Fellowship to the Gates of Moria. However, with both terrain and a rather large miniature to sort for that, you are more likely to see a return to the War in Rohan before that.

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