Sunday, August 11, 2013

045- The longest day on Middle-Earth

This session picked up at the height of a cliffhanger from last session. Arnadil, the company's moody but fearless leader had fallen off the mast and seriously injured his pelvis. Kasper, the squire with spells, has managed to climb up to another mast with only one hand working. The rest of the company is running around trying to hit a winter drake hatchling which is having fun ripping off the ship's rigging. It was dark, in the middle of an unnatural snowstorm, and the company were caught in this while binge drinking, following the death of their friend: Araliniel the seer.

Act 45, Scene 1 - Slipping right through the fingers

One thing that got clear for both parties was that this combat wasn't going anywhere fast. Thannolf began negotiations. The drake asked all to lower their weapons, and in turn the snowstorm immediately subsided. The drake pointed out that their ship was getting in a terrible shape, and that they would need it to escape the angry Lossoths from Mulkan. He pointed out that his army would also be there in a few hours to collect his treasure. He proposed to stop thrashing the Raven against both Southron stones and the gondolin sword. 

Arnadil was helped on his feet, and with support from Thannolf's quick wits and Irina's calming demeanor, he proposed a counter offer where the small Palantir and the sword would change hands. That the drake hesitated so much was a sign that the company's bargaining position wasn't too bad. However, the drake couldn't let got of the biggest and shiniest component of his treasure and turned down the offer (Negotiation contest, with support, was failed by only 1 and would have succeeded had the big stone be offered instead of the small one). Some more negotiations took place, but the drake upped the ante by going on a brief tangling and tearing spree. The drake noticed Halin and had to double take on him: he asked him if he was a Firebeard. Halin replied the negative, but certainly wondered why Farathu would think anyone would belong to a long lost lineage of dwarves from the First Age.

The number of sailors unwilling to stand up for
other people's stones made things difficult for the company.
An angry Vacros bursted out of the captain's quarter and granted to Farathu everything that he wanted. Many of the sailors also got on the deck to see what was going on. The ship was then flooded with overly accommodating folks thinking like Vacros. While Thannolf tried another deal for the big stone and the sword while Vacros was yelling in Arnadil's face to give the drake whatever he claimed was his

Defeated, Halin and Arnadil entered the deck quarters and fetched the Palantir of Arnor. Arnadil handed the stone and his sword to Halin and sat down. Halin walked up to the mast where Farathu was perched, tossed the artifacts and let out a few venominous statements before his temper got the best of him. He then retreated in the company's quarter and smashed a few crates. It didn't help him to fell better.

The drake ordered Thannolf to show him the way to the large stone. The Northling refused rudely and questioned the drake's real power. A miffed Farathu whispered a few words. His breath congealed into a green mist which forced its way through Thannolf's nostrils. The northling turned pale and got frozen to the bones. Thannolf teethered and struggled to remain on his feet, but was finally cowed. Farathu ordered Irina to show him the masterstone. She got off the Raven through the gangway and show him the way. It was still hiding nearby under a blanket of snow.

The company had to stand the laughters and howls of the drake for over an hour as the storm resumed. Irina returned to the ship and the tethers were untied. The company retreated to their quarters to resume drinking while the crew was busy fixing the damage to the ship. By early morning, the ship was back to a workable state and had drifted a few kilometers from the shore.

In the last day, the company had entered the realm of the dead, slayed a powerful demon, acquired two palantirs, lost a friend on their way back to the world of the living, and got forced to turn over everything to save their lives. (The character awards for this session has better be good!)

Act 45, Scene 2 - Parting with elder Taaso

The following morning, the industrious spirit of the company had returned. Thannolf whipped everyone into shape and convinced Arnadil, Halin and Irina to go on shore to talk with elder Taaso. Vacros agreed to wait for no longer than an hour before sailing away from this terrible place. 

Before hitting the shore, a group of Lossoth hunters made sure that they weren't bringing the stones back to land. They then led the company to Taaso, while letting them know that Chieftain Taavinnen had declared the theft of the Southron stones an ct of war from Gondor. 

Elder Taaso was quite appreciative of the slaying of Shapithui. He told the company that things should settle down at some point. Tiani. Arnadil handed back the pile of amulets that he had taken from Tiani during the scuffle in Mulkan. Taaso offered Thannolf a set of Lossoth weapons: a hooked sword and a main gauche of fine quality. 

The company wanted to know as much as possible about Farathu's as they intended to retrieve the palantirs in the near future. Taaso told them that Farathu hailed from the Blue Mountains, that men of Arthon, a small village on the banks of the Lhun river, were paying tribute to him to keep the peace. He also revealed that there was a pretty solid rumor that dwarves were doing the drake's bidding. This revelation disgusted Halin and disturbed the others. If Farathu was already wielding this kind of power as a hatchling, the damage that he could do when he matures would be terrible for Gondor.

Thannolf asked Taaso to make sure that the North remembered the company as "the Southrons that defeated Shapithui". They parted as friends, and were rushed back to the Raven. Apparently, wargs had been spotted in the fjords, which heralded a battle with Farathu's army within the day or so. 

The Raven left Forochel on a modest crosswind and gained high seas on the following day. 

And thus ends the second of three chapters of the Palantir Commission campaign!

Act 45, Scene 3 - Ithilien hens stuffed with birds coming full circle

It took 50 days for the Raven to sail back to Minas Tirith. By then it was early July. The company had much time to brood over the events of the recent past, and learn about seafaring. In the glorious light of summer, they docked at the newly renovated facilities at Osgiliath. Arnadil returned home while the others found accommodations in the lower levels of the city. 

Arnadil requested an audience for the Lord Chancellor and the High Seer. His written report was brief and non informative. The company was soon invited for a supper on the 7th level of the citadel. Present was the Chancellor and the High seer, as well as his assistant and a number of servants. Arnadil reported on the events, the death of Araliniel, the gain and the loss of the palatirs. Upon hearing about Farathu, the chancellor ushered a page to urgently fetch something. The heads of the commission were impressed by the company's achievements: they listened and asked thoughtful questions throughout. The key to the library of Annuminas was also requested.

About 20 minutes later, heavy footsteps started to echo from the other end of the hall. A number of members of the King's guard entered the room and arrayed along its walls. The door access was shut. King Elessar entered the room, followed by a few pages and advisors. He dismissed them all and took place at the table where the chancellor was sitting. The King took the time to have everyone introduce themselves. He struck the company for his patience and politeness. Surprisingly, he already knew about Halin, Arnadil, Finbert and Galdor. 

After listening to the company for a few minutes, he declared that the knowlege of a dragon walking Middle-Earth was the most disturbing news he had received since the dark days of the war of the ring. "I could send to Arthon a thousand men and a dozen ships.", he said, "but I do not think that this would be the best way to do so". The King told the company that what Gondor needed was a band of fearless and clever heroes to locate the lair, assess the situation and find a way to kill the drake while he was still a hatchling. He also stated that the Palantirs were of very high importance in Gondor's future plans. 

Since the company had fared so well so far in finding the unfindable and slaying a demon from the wicked North, King Elessar asked the company to take on this most important quest. Thannolf broke the silence by asking about rewards. King Elessar told them that the drake must be slayed, the Palantir returned, and when this is done, he would turn over any other parts of the drake's hoard to the company members. Land could be granted if this is more appropriate. If the company ever needs to bring in troops, their request would get his personal attention.

The company accepted the quest and agreed to set sail in a month's time. Much of which would be needed to prepare for this new impossible task, and get ready to embark on yet another long sailing trip. The King will dispatch rangers to the Lhun Valley and they should expect to make contact with them in Gray Haven. 

W00T! Third chapter will be a world-saving dungeon crawl!  Of course, I'll do my best to give it my personal twist and keep it Tolkien enough!


  1. What a fantastic tale you and your players have created here.
    Thank you so much for sharing it with us all.

    I will look forward to read the next chapters.

    With greetings from Switzerland

    1. Thanks, the palantirs players are such a happy bunch. Stay tuned for the last chapter!

  2. Cool Ending. Sorry Fin was AWOL for the last session.

    Two members of the Palantir commission lived in Geneva for 6 years.