Sunday, July 13, 2014

K33 - An unlikely patch of green

This session is part of a mini-side adventure for the campaign "Reclaiming Khazad-dum". We transport ourselves in the 12th year of the fourth age, some 2-3 years before the start of the campaign itself. The PCs are here a collection of high-powered, A-list Tolkien characters. The outcome of this side quest will determine what Army Group West will run into. 

The Characters

Each players was given complete creative license and 500 cps to create high-profile characters from the Middle-Earth lore. +Paul Stefko decided to play Elphir of Dol Amroth, the heir of Dol Amroth and a damn great Numenorean knight. Paul has posted some design notes on his blog.  +Jason Woollard  create his version of Bregalad (Quickbeam) the hasty Ent. +Arne Jamtgaard traded Bain the Viceroy for Gandalf the White. He modeled Gandalf's magic using effect shaping syntactic magic using the verb and noun variant. Finally, +Alex J. has crafted Beorn. In the next session, +Alex Safatli will be joining the fray with Gwaihir, the Eagle-Lord.

That, friends and fellow gamers, is a 2500 cp worth of protagonists, soon to swell to 3000 cps. 

The setup

A call from deep within Middle-Earth has started to coral Huorns from all corners of Middle-Earth. In their midsts, they have ravaged the remnants of the Beornings, which has prompted Beorn himself to launch into a pursuit of vengeance. The passage of the huorns across the Gap of Rohan was noticed by Elphir, who was acting as a political and military leader at the Fords over the Isen.  Gandalf interrupted a long debates in Isengard amongst the Ents on whether to investigate the exodus of Huorns to the West. He was received only by a sympathetic Bregalad (Quickbeam) who wanted to act now rather than to discuss further. 

The journey

Gandalf and Bregalad left Isengard and passed near the Fords of the Isen. Gandalf recruited the sword of Elphir for the journey ahead.  They crossed into the forbidden territory of the Dunlendings and followed the tracks of Huorns proceeding North along the Misty Mountains. Gandalf interrogated a warband of Dunlendings to find out that the evil trees were indeed sacking communities of their brethren and were believed to "roost" to the North along the banks of the Glanduin

The 300 miles journey was a slow one: while Shadowfax and Elphir's warhorse could have traveled far and swift, Quickbeam couldn't. They had lots of time to share and build a bond of camaraderie. When they reached the Glanduin, nearly a month had passed. 

The wall which closes what was once the head of the Sirannon river.
The trail of the huorns was getting fresher. There was plenty of evidence that huorns were romaing along these banks on a regular basis. The party made it to the wall ahead. Gandalf remembered the place, and how an artificial dam had created a lake upstream. In this lake lurked the Watcher in the Water. Gandalf proposed to camp for the night and climb the stairs in the morning.
Quickbeam declared that he could smell the fresh scent of a forest in the vicinity, although Gandalf assured him that there was no such forest nearby as it was the last time that he came to the area, some 13 years ago while travelling with the fellowship of the ring.

First blood

The area map. Forest on the right, collapsed Gate of Moria in the upper-right corner. 
They climbed up to peek over the wall. Beyond, a large lake was filling the valley. The noise of the waterfall of their right was shrouding other noises. Mount Silvertine was presiding over the landscape like the old bloodthirsty soul that had attempted to snuff the fellowship a few years ago. 

Bregalad spotted a large forest of mature trees on the Eastern side of the valley. There was no way that this forest was there 13 years ago.  Bregalad couldn't hear the murmur of Huorns and assumed that the trees there were natural, or dormant trees. The water beside was dark and calm. If the watcher was there, it was impossible to tell. 

The party proceeded East on the South bank with confidence. Quickbeam couldn't speak to any of the trees, and Gandalf's danger sense was quiet (Both checks were critical or near critical failure). They marched with ease of mind for about 100 yds before a tree swooped to hit Elphir. Elphir was quicker and moved out of the way after causing the Huorn grief with his sword. 

Gandalf invoked the light of the sun to burst from his staff to blind the forest as they began withdrawing along the banks back to the West. 

A number of other trees activated and began assaulting Elphir and Gandalf, leaving Quickbeam alone. A number of giant tentacles shot out of the water and reached for Quickbeam. The ent sliced through one or two of them while parrying potentially deadly blows and grapples. 

Elphir was busy fighting off a Huorn as Gandalf was running West. AS he was about to hit, a gigantic bear appeared from beyond the tree and smashed the huorn with its claws and bite. Elphir took to his feet and followed the blinding light at the end of Gandalf's staff.

Too many tentacles

Quickbeam decided to run towards the water in hope to get near the watcher's main body. At any given moment, there wasn't much to swing his sword at other than to hope to parry tentacles with his sword as they attacked. 

Beorn joined him and tried to catch a tentacle as it flew by. The task was harder than it looked. At the same time, Quickbeam got grappled (15 CPs) at the torso and barely avoided to be grappled at the neck. Such neck grapple would have been devastating for the ent. 

The Kraken - partial design notes

The Kraken shouldn't be seen as a simple monster, but a number of challenges to overcome. At this moment, there is a 20 yds radius danger sphere where a number of tentacles with incredible agility (They have to withstand deceptive attack taken at -8) and strength perform multiple attacks. Getting to heart of the beast is not a trivial matter, and the life of a 500 cp hero can be snuffed quite quickly if a neck snap it to happen.  The inner circle contains a higher density of stronger (but less flexible) tentacles.

The other challenge to overcome is for sure the scene aspect "Lake surrounded by killing trees"...

I see this encounter a bit with the eyes of a FATE adventure, with a number of challenges to overcome, but with the cool GURPS resolution system that we can't get enough of.


  1. I like how the screenshot caught the sword I drew in Quickbeam's hand!