Bringing Home the Books
The continuing misadventures of Luorien the mage in Middle Earth.
It is early spring in the valley of Imladris, and a group of traders has just left, heading south to Gondor, when a message comes to the young mage Luorien to attend the library as soon as possible. Something is up!
It appears that the traders who recently left have absconded with some rare books, and the librarian would like them back. Unfortunately, they are neither rare nor valuable enough for Elrond to authorise an elven patrol to go after them, and Luorien’s team have been sitting around since the end of last year. And so they are tasked with retrieval if possible, and if not, to trail the thieves and determine what they have in mind.
The team comprises of
Luorien – a dunadain mage (level 1) played by @GeekyLou,
Nimiarí – a wood-elf ranger (level 1), an NPC mostly controlled by @GeekyLou and
Malien – a noldor animist, their healer support (level 5) another NPC.
With route maps supplied the team sets out heading downriver towards the ford at old Tharbad, where they can join the Greenway and head down to Isengard and on towards Rohan and Gondor. They are relatively well equipped this time, with three horses, a covered wagon and good maps.
The journey starts well. The two elves in the team, Nimiarí and Malien quickly pick up the trail and they initially make good time, closing the distance to they prey. Unfortunately this lasts little more than a day, when the whims of fate (and horses) decide it’s time to play. A series of bad dice results in one of the horses deciding that it no longer wanted to take a turn at the wagon and bolts. Without going into too many details, it took about two days and a fair amount of chasing, enticing and eventually waiting for the horse to decide it was better off with the group than on it’s own where wolves hunt.
Anyway, after three or four days, they sight their quarry approaching an old ruined castle about 100 metres from the road, and in order to stay out of sight themselves, they hang back an hour or so before deciding on a diplomatic approach. As the twilight begins to fall, they approach the castle, pretending themselves to be traders following the same route as the thieves, but due to a particularly bad influence check on the part of Luorien, they crooks refuse to accept them, and the party moves on camping a mile or so further down the road.
Later that evening, the team sneaks back to the castle, leaving the wagon and horses at the campsite. They are mostly successful, but the mage, being less than stealthy allows one of the crooks to hear their approach – or at least to sense something is amiss. When, with weapons drawn, Nimiarí looks round the corner, she spots another woman looking right at her, tapping a foot, and the other crooks starting to get up.
Being both an elf and a ranger, Nimiarí determines there are three opponents, the woman initially mentioned, a large looking man and a scrawny person at the back, a man, probably a mage though it’s hard to tell.
The team gets ready to attack, and as they get into position, a clattering is heard from inside the castle courtyard. As Nimiarí and Malien in turn lean around to fire their bows, they note the small figure at the back has stumbles, dropping his weapons. They make the reasonable observation that he’s probably drunk. However, they fire at the large man running towards them, and then take positions either side of the gate. Nimiarí drops her bow and draws her longsword, while Malien prepares another shot. Luorien meanwhile, prepares here only spell for casting.
As the big man gets into sword range, a fight between him and Nimiarí begins, resulting in both being wounded, though Nimiarí much more so than the crook. Malien fires at the woman, though doing no significant damage. Luorien lets off her spell at the big man, but he shrugs it off, and so, rather than try again, she draws her own sword and gets ready to join the fight.
By this point, Nimiarí is bleeding profusely, and the man less so, and Luorien attacks him, adding to the damage. Malien drops her bow too and draws her dagger, to fight off the woman who’s now on top of her. She is also wounded – a dagger not being the best weapon with which to fight a short sword.
Defending now against two attackers, the man is soon dispatched, but the woman wounds Malien grievously, and she drops to the ground, she’s not out, but she’s not good either. Nimiarí is also by this point, not in a great condition to fight. Luorien however, undamaged and eager puts everything into a swing of her sword and with incredible luck, virtually rips the woman’s chest open. She drops immediately and is bleeding out.
The drunk guy starts to stagger towards them, but seeing what has happened to his friends, he tries to back off, but a bloody sword and a good intimidation check has him surrender fairly quickly. He’s not so drunk as to be belligerent in the face of certain defeat. He’s soon tied up and the party set to healing their wounds. Malien has enough spell power left over to also heal the big warrior, though he’ll take at least a day to recover. They make sure he’s not going to escape if he does come round and they search for the missing books and anything else they can find. The woman is likely beyond help.
The books are retrieved in short order, as well as a spell tome, which Luorien claims for herself, and investigating finds two spell lists, Time Sight and Time Travel. She can’t learn them yet, but soon… They also recover a quantity of trade goods worth about 25 gold.
Questioning is limited to identification of the prisoners for now. The guards at Elrond’s house can do a better job once they get back to Imladris. The thief is called Endur, the unconscious man is Alain, and the corpse was called Karita. The names mean little to the party.
Luorien suggests that the team bury the corpse, but not having brought a shovel, and not wanting to light up a beacon by cremating the body, they bundle Karita into a tarp, and load her onto the thieves cart with the unconscious Alain and Endur.
The party head back to their own camp having now obtained their goal, plus a cart and two more horses (from the thieves), and are spotted on approach by their own horses. This resulted is some humorous back and forth in the game, but nothing that would translate well here. They transferred the prisoners to their own wagon for guarding and make their way back north up the river.
Back at Imladris, the guards take Endur off their hands and they deliver the others to the healers for attention and/or disposal as necessary. The books are returned to the librarian and a reward is dispensed. The extra cart and horses go into the communal stables.
For anyone wondering about the spell lists, they are taken from Time Riders (ICE-1303), the time-travel companion for Rolemaster™ and SpaceMaster™.