As the previous scenario had brought the hobbits to the rest point of Tom Bombadil's house, they would have their full supply of Might, Will and Fate points to help them escape from the Inn. They would begin in the centre of the board and aim to make it off the eastern table edge (left in the picture) whilst being pursued by four mounted Nazgul arriving from the west.
They would be helped by the fact that the Nazgul would be suffering from random movement (which Matt, who'd once again be controlling the baddies, loves as a rule) after they arrived until they spotted the party, they'd also be aided in their escape by Barliman Butterbur the landlord of the Prancing Pony, Harry Goatleaf the gatekeeper and a mysterious stranger known only as 'Strider'.
I also decided to alter the scenario and add Bill the Pony to the good roster. This chase scenario appears in neither the book or the film and would bypass Bill joining the party, therefore I wanted to fix this narrative hole.
He's only a pony. It's not like he's going to be crucial to the hobbits' escape...is it...?
As ever, narrative scenarios begin with the good side having priority. The party piled out the Inn, grabbed Bill and made their way eastwards as fast as the little legs of the hobbits would allow.
Meanwhile, Harry went to investigate the galloping noise approaching the gate...
The Black Riders burst into Bree. One of them rode down Harry, but failed to kill him, whilst the others advanced as far as they could into the village before random movement set in.
At the start of turn two it occurred to us that priority wasn't going to have a massive effect on proceedings as Strider's free point of Might each turn meant that they'd always be acting first when necessary due to Heroic Moves.
We'd also worked out that Frodo was extremely unlikely to failed a courage test and put the ring on as long as he had friends close at hand (he failed only a single test all game and the bonus for winning the last scenario meant he got to reroll that anyway).
The curse of random movement struck as two of the Ringwraiths went off in completely the wrong direction to search for the Ring.
However, one of the Black Riders made it to within range of the party and immediately spotted them.
The chase was on!
Whilst the hobbits made their way to the edge of Bree, Strider loitered nonchalantly behind the Inn in the world's most obvious ambush, however the leading Nazgul had no choice but to ride straight into it to try to transfix the Ringbearer. The attempt failed, but Frodo's precious store of Will was depleted.
The trap was sprung and Strider leapt forward to cut down his first Ringwraith of the evening.
Barliman also ran interference, by forcing another Rider to go around him.
However, the two Nazgul that had gone off in the wrong direction were approaching quickly round the other side of the Inn.
Spells were cast causing Frodo to lose a point of Courage, whilst a Black Dart struck into poor old Merry, bringing him down. If another hobbit fell, victory would be impossible for the good side.
However, priority went the way of the good guys and Strider leapt towards a second Black Rider, proving himself a mighty hero by driving it off in short order.
The other two Ringwraiths closed on the hobbits, but both Frodo and Pippin somehow succeeded in resisting their vile spells.
The hobbits 'dashed' towards safety, whilst Strider ran to the rescue. In a move that surprised everyone, including himself, Barliman overcame his terror and charged one of the Nazgul, whilst Bill proved somewhat annoying by getting in the way of the other.
Barliman lost his fight, but survived, whilst the Ringwraith that had pursued the hobbits once again failed to stop Frodo with a spell.
Despite winning priority, the Mightless Nazgul could do nothing as Sam called a Heroic Move and the hobbits disappeared from view.
Strider aldo called a Heroic Move and he and Barliman now charged the rear Ringwraith. Surprising everyone again, it was actually the innkeeper's strike that brought down the servant of Sauron.
With the hobbits gone, all that was left for the remaining Black Riders to do was attempt to kill Strider. A tough task at the best of times was made tougher when it was prevented from charging by Bill once again getting in the way (maybe a Pony can unbalance a scenario...). Bill was knocked down and wounded.
This allowed Strider, Barliman and Harry, who had been running across the board in pursuit the whole game, to close in for the kill.
Upon finally getting close enough to charge a Ringwraith, Harry thought better of it, but Strider and Barliman were more than enough to deliver the coup de gras.
Although this was a scenario that I enjoyed, I think Matt felt frustrated by the fact that he couldn't really get into the game. He was unlucky with his spells, but random movement at the beginning prevented him from ever using his numbers to his advantage which meant Strider was more than a match for any Nazgul he encountered. On top of this, Strider's free point of Might each turn meant that the Ringwraiths were often denied the charge.
To add insult to injury, Barliman and Harry have a lot of Will points between them for minor characters (especially when you consider that Merry and Pippin have only a single Fate points each) in order to fuel their abilities. However, this is what allowed Barliman to pass terror checks at the right time and slow down the pursuit.
Bill being another body I could throw in the way of the pursuers was perhaps a step to far because had the last Black Rider managed to get a charge into the hobbits, it would have got messy. I still think Frodo would have escaped, but the game might at least have been a draw.
This scenario might have been loaded against the evil side, but we now make our way to Weathertop, where historically things have gone a little better for the bad guys, especially as Frodo and Merry (voted Fool of a Took for getting shot) have had their points depleted. At least Strider (who is apparently really called 'Aragorn') got all his points back thanks to being the 'bravest companion' for dispatching three Ringwraiths. I did make the case for Barliman or Bill, but Matt felt that Strider had done all the heavy lifting.
The Quest of the Ringbearer goes ever on and on...