In the Trollshaws. Ep09

Day 20, Hithui, 1st Watch

The weather (20) is freezing, cloudy skies, and the wind is NW windy
Encounter check: 10: No encounter

Day 20, Hithui, 2nd Watch

The weather (1) is cold, clear skies, and the wind is N calm
Encounter check: 16: No encounter

Day 20, Hithui, 3rd Watch

The weather (1) is cool, clear skies, and the wind is N windy
Encounter check: 7: No encounter

Day 20, Hithui, 4th Watch

The weather (2) is warm, cloudy skies, and the wind is N breeze
Encounter check: 10: No encounter

Day 20, Hithui, 5th Watch

The weather (2) is cool, cloudy skies, and the wind is N windy
Encounter check: 2: No encounter

Day 20, Hithui, 6th Watch

The weather (3) is cool, clear skies, foggy, and the wind is NE calm
Encounter check: 4: No encounter

Day 21, Hithui, 1st Watch

The weather (4) is warm, clear skies, and the wind is SE breeze
Encounter check: 11: No encounter

Day 21, Hithui, 2nd Watch

The weather (4) is warm, clear skies, foggy and the wind is SE calm
Encounter check: 18: No encounter

Day 21, Hithui, 3rd Watch

The weather (4) is hot, clear skies, and the wind is SE windy
Encounter check: 20: Encounter: Lawful/Day: 82: Brigands/Highwayman: 32: Seeking/offering Directions
Attitude: 44: Neutral

Initially I laughed at the Brigands seeking/offering directions to the caravan, but it gifted me an excellent opportunity for placing an ambush. Seems that’s the brigands play. Let’s see if the caravan can see through it.

Two nights and a day pass without anything of importance. The weather becomes gentler. No longer does the cold chill of the North freeze their bones, but it becomes warmer and warmer.
Less than an hour after they have begun their trip for the 3rd day, they see travellers on the road.

Q: How many travellers are visible? (1d6 twice, pick lowest)
A: 2
Q: Are there any carts?
A: Yes

Now I’ll roll Perception for each of the guards and Leowyn.
Perception Hreodhelm: 74: Failure
Perception Enryn: 98+81= 179: Absolute Success
Perception Leowyn: 17+5=22: Failure

So Enryn sees everything. Let’s ask the Oracle.
Q: Are there more travellers? (Likely)
A: Yes, and it’s a lot of them. Intervention: Regress Plot.

It’s quite self evident, there is an ambush and it’s a plot regression.
Q: How many more bandits? (1d6 twice, pick highest)
A: 5
Q: Are they far away?
A: No, and, they’re hiding right by the road in the ditch. Intervention: Entity Positive.
Q: Leowyn/Guards/Bandits
A: Leowyn
Leowyn is in an advantageous tactical position. Her horse far away from melee, but she can charge easily the enemy.

The caravan moves forward before a right turn. Two men are pushing a cart along the road. One of them lifts his hand to ask a question. As he starts to speak, with the raising of his hand, his cloak is lifted and a gleaming sword blade is uncovered.
Enryn notices it and quickly looks around trouble. By the ditch in the left side of the road, a handful of men lie in wait, stuck against the ground.
He knows time is of the essence. He draws his sword. “Ambush! To arms!” He yells.
The caravan halts and the crew gathers together, while Hreodhelm and Leowyn draws their blades as well.
Their ambush foiled, the brigands don’t waiver at all. They charge the caravan from the sides and front.
Blood will be spilled.

I will be running the battle in theater of the mind. Unfortunately despite a vast amount of minis, I’m lagging behind on painting my carts and riders.
So, the caravan consisting of two horse drawn carts, one behind the other, with 3 crew each, has stopped after a right curve on the road. The left side of the curvature has a ditch where 5 bandits lie in wait and leaped out to charge. Since Enryn saw them, the caravan stopped before being surrounded. The caravan is a bit behind. The 5 bandits are on the left side of the mounted caravan guards, about 15′ away.
The bandit cart with the two bandits on the road on the other hand is a bit further ahead, around 60′ away.
Leowyn has an advantage. She happened to be guarding the rear, and is about 100′ away back on the road from the front cart.
The caravan crew won’t fight unless attacked directly. Then, since they’re not warriors, I’ll be rolling 1d3 for Fight, Freeze or Flee for each attacked crewman.
The caravan guards will be using level 1d3 warrior stats. They wear Rigid Leather, metal helmets, greaves and bracers. They carry broadswords and shields.
The bandits are thugs. They carry short swords (the ones by the cart), handaxes and clubs (I’ll roll randomly) and wear soft leather armor. They will be using level 1 scout stats.

Initiative hack: I'll be rolling 1d10 and adding that to each character's M&M bonus to see initiative order.

Leowyn: 3-15= -12
Hreodhelm: (Level: 1): Initiative: 6
Enryn: (Level: 3): Initiative: 7+5=12
Enemies: Initiative: 10+5= 15

Round 1

Bandit 1 (Handaxe): Attacks Hreodhelm: MM: 39+5=44: 30: Moves and Attacks: 31+21+30-100-15=-33:-
Bandit 2 (Club): Attacks Hreodhelm: MM: 90+5=95: 70: Moves and Attacks: 72+21+70-100-10-15=38:-
Bandit 3(Handaxe): Attacks Enryn: MM: 90+5=95: 70: Moves and Attacks: 84+21+70-100-15=60:-
Bandit 4(Club): Attacks Enryn: MM: 30+5=35: 20: Moves and Attacks: 46+21+20-100-10-15=-38:-
Bandit 5(Club): Attacks Hreodhelm: MM: 16+5=21: 20: Moves and Attacks: 87+21+20-100-10-40=-22:-
Bandit 6(Short Sword): Closes in on Hreodhelm
Bandit 7(Short Sword): Closes in on Enryn
Enryn: Attacks Bandit 3: 56+69-20=105: 14C: 43: Minor Chest Wound. +3 hits. 1 hit per round. -5 to activity.
Hreodhelm: Attacks Bandit 1: 39+43-20=62:-
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 5 from the Rear: MM: 60+46=106:90:Rides and Attacks: 27+38+15-20-100+90+35=85:9A: 82-20=62: Minor forearm wound. +4 hits. 2 hits per round. Stunned 1 round.

Round 2

Bandit 1 (Handaxe): Attacks Hreodhelm: 92+41-40=93: 9A: 68-20=48: Minor Chest Wound. +3 hits. 1 hit per round. -5 to activity.
Bandit 2 (Club): Attacks Hreodhelm: 96+71+41-40-10=158: 20E(D): 80+10=90: Blow to back of head paralyzes from the shoulders down. +25 hits. Foe quite stunned. Hreodhelm is down.
Bandit 3(Handaxe): Attacks Enryn: 44+41-40-5=40:-
Bandit 4(Club): Attacks Enryn: 99+19+41-10-40=109: 11B: 43-10=33: Blow to side. +4 hits. -40 to activity for 1 round.
Bandit 5(Club): Stunned
Bandit 6(Short Sword): Closes in on the front cart.
Bandit 7(Short Sword): Attacks Enryn: MM: 09+5=14: 50: Moves and Attacks: 88+21+50-100-40: 19:-
Enryn Attacks Bandit 3: 48+69-20-40=57:-
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 5: 0538+38+15+35=20:-

Round 3

Bandit 1 (Handaxe): Attacks Leowyn: MM: 72+5=77: 100: Moves and Attacks: 28+21-40=9:-
Bandit 2 (Club): Attacks Leowyn: MM: 66+5=71: 90: Moves and Attacks: 52+21+90-100-10-40=13:-
Bandit 3(Handaxe): Attacks Enryn: 92+41-40-5=88: 7A: 27-20=7: Minor calf wound. 1 hit per round.
Bandit 4(Club): Attacks Enryn: 03: Fumble: You lose your wind and you realize you should try to relax. -40 to activity for 2 rounds.
Bandit 5(Club): Attacks Leowyn: 46+41-40-10=37:-
Bandit 6(Short Sword): Attacks: (Ambald/Berter/Eram): Ambald: MM: 13+5=18: 10: Climbs the cart and attacks: 71+21-100+10-(Fight/Freeze/Flee): Fight: -20=-18:-
Bandit 7(Short Sword): Attacks Enryn: 54+41-40=55:-
Enryn Attacks Bandit 3: 100+81+69-20=230: 25E: 82+20=102: Major abdominal wound. +10 hits. 8 hits per round. -10 to activity. Stunned 4 rounds. Bandit 3 is down.
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 5: 40+38+15-20=73: 5
Ambald attacks Bandit 6: 27+41-20=48:-

Right here I was completely frustrated. I know the game is crunchy and dangerous and I know that some bad rolls can kill you without warning but I find the system lacking in terms of mounted combat and tactical options among others. Tactical options are limited to a distribution of Offensive and Defensive Bonus.
So I decided that if Leowyn survived, I'd convert her to Mythras or Hârnmaster. Realizing that my previous failures to convert her had to do mostly with me not converting the Rohirim Culture and Warrior profession to the respective systems beforehand.
I set to read the MERP book first to plan the conversion and I read the following text in the Special Abilities of the Rohirim
+20 bonus to melee Offensive Bonus when fighting from horseback
That text was nowhere in my character sheet. Doh. I went back and corrected my Attacks retrospectively. I'm keeping everything as is, rerolling where necessary to show how a single rule can change everything.

Round 1

Bandit 1 (Handaxe): Attacks Hreodhelm: MM: 39+5=44: 30: Moves and Attacks: 31+21+30-100-15=-33:-
Bandit 2 (Club): Attacks Hreodhelm: MM: 90+5=95: 70: Moves and Attacks: 72+21+70-100-10-15=38:-
Bandit 3(Handaxe): Attacks Enryn: MM: 90+5=95: 70: Moves and Attacks: 84+21+70-100-15=60:-
Bandit 4(Club): Attacks Enryn: MM: 30+5=35: 20: Moves and Attacks: 46+21+20-100-10-15=-38:-
Bandit 5(Club): Attacks Hreodhelm: MM: 16+5=21: 20: Moves and Attacks: 87+21+20-100-10-40=-22:-
Bandit 6(Short Sword): Closes in on Hreodhelm
Bandit 7(Short Sword): Closes in on Enryn
Enryn: Attacks Bandit 3: 56+69-20=105: 14C: 43: Minor Chest Wound. +3 hits. 1 hit per round. -5 to activity.
Hreodhelm: Attacks Bandit 1: 39+43-20=62:-
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 5 from the Rear: MM: 60+46=106:90:Rides and Attacks: 27+38+15-20-100+90+35+20=105:14C: 82=82: Slash weapon arm. +10 hits. 1 hit per round. If no arm armor: muscle and tendon damage, arm useless.

The bandits quickly charge at the caravan guards, trying to flank them, but the sheer size of the steeds doesn’t allow them. They have lost their footing trying to get out of the ditch and fail to wound either guard, while the bandits from the roadside close in. Enryn wounds a bandit to the chest, causing him to bleed, but Hreodhelm can’t get a clear attack, trying to get his horse under control. Leowyn rides from the rear, slashing the arm of an unsuspecting bandit, who screams in pain, his weapon arm dangling around motionless.

Round 2

Bandit 1 (Handaxe): Attacks Hreodhelm: 92+41-40=93: 9A: 68-20=48: Minor Chest Wound. +3 hits. 1 hit per round. -5 to activity.
Bandit 2 (Club): Attacks Hreodhelm: 96+71+41-40-10=158: 20E(D): 80+10=90: Blow to back of head paralyzes from the shoulders down. +25 hits. Foe quite stunned. Hreodhelm is down.
Bandit 3(Handaxe): Attacks Enryn: 44+41-40-5=40:-
Bandit 4(Club): Attacks Enryn: 99+19+41-10-40=109: 11B: 43-10=33: Blow to side. +4 hits. -40 to activity for 1 round.
Bandit 5(Club): Flees.
Bandit 6(Short Sword): Closes in on the front cart.
Bandit 7(Short Sword): Attacks Enryn: MM: 09+5=14: 50: Moves and Attacks: 88+21+50-100-40: 19:-
Enryn Attacks Bandit 3: 48+69-20-40=57:-
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 4 from the rear: MM: 90+46=136: 120: Attacks Bandit 4: 0538+38+15+35+20+120-100=60:-

Hreodhelm is surrounded. He receives a handaxe to the chest, and as the blow reels him back, piercing his leather armor, another bandit clubs him to the back of the head. He falls down from the horse, paralyzed.
Three other bandits attack Enryn, who fights them off, using his horse and shield to keep them at bay. He receives a club to the side, unbalancing him, and causing his attacks to miss.
As the bandit that Leowyn disabled flees, she turns her attention to the one that wounded Enryn, and attacks him from the rear, but she finds clean air.
One of the remaining six bandits in the fight has the cart on his sights.

Round 3

Bandit 1 (Handaxe): Attacks Leowyn: MM: 72+5=77: 100: Moves and Attacks: 28+21-40+5=14:-
Bandit 2 (Club): Attacks Leowyn: MM: 66+5=71: 90: Moves and Attacks: 52+21+90-100-10-40=13:-
Bandit 3(Handaxe): Attacks Enryn: 92+41-40-5=88: 7A: 27-20=7: Minor calf wound. 1 hit per round.
Bandit 4(Club): Attacks Enryn: 03: Fumble: You lose your wind and you realize you should try to relax. -40 to activity for 2 rounds.
Bandit 5(Club): Flees.
Bandit 6(Short Sword): Attacks: (Ambald/Berter/Eram): Ambald: MM: 13+5=18: 10: Climbs the cart and attacks: 71+21-100+10+10-(Fight/Freeze/Flee): Fight: -20=-8:-
Bandit 7(Short Sword): Attacks Enryn: 54+41-40+10=65:-
Enryn Attacks Bandit 3: 100+81+69-20=230: 25E: 82+20=102: Major abdominal wound. +10 hits. 8 hits per round. -10 to activity. Stunned 4 rounds. Bandit 3 is down.
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 4 from the flank: 40+38+15-20+20+15=108: 15C: 96=96: Knocked out for 6 hours with a strike to the side of head. +15 hits. If no helm: dies instantly. Bandit 4 is down.
Ambald attacks Bandit 6: 27+41-20+10=58:-

2 more enemies down. Suddenly things don't look as bleak

The bandits that brought Hreodhelm down turn their attention to Leowyn, who parries their blows. Enryn’s calf is wounded by a bandit’s handaxe, and he returns the favor. His sword digs deep into his enemy’s abdomen, and he pulls out a bloody blade as the bandit falls. The two other bandits fighting him fail to wound him, one of them fumbling his attack severely, losing his wind. Leowyn attacks him from the side, hitting him to the head with her sword, killing him at once.
A bandit finds his way to the carts, attacking the Ambald the teamster, who manages to find the courage to fight and fend off his attacker.

Round 4

Bandit 1 (Handaxe): Attacks Leowyn: 55+41-40+5=61: 2
Bandit 2 (Club): Attacks Leowyn: 82+41-10-40=73: 7
Bandit 5(Club): Down due to blood loss.
Bandit 6(Short Sword): Attacks Ambald: 43+41-20+10=74:-
Bandit 7(Short Sword): Attacks Enryn: 55+41-40+10=66:2
Enryn Attacks Bandit 7: 27+69-20=76: 7A: 91-20=71: Medium thigh wound. +6 hits. 1 hit per round. -10 to activity. Stunned 2 rounds.
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 1: 69+38+15-20+20=122: 19D: 43+10=53: Minor forearm wound. +4 hits. 2 hits per round. Stunned 1 round.
Ambald attacks Bandit 6: 19+41-20+10=50:-

The fleeing bandit dozes off due to blood loss while running away.
The couple of bandits fighting Leowyn hit her, but the chain hauberk absorbs most of the impact. She counterattacks, wounding a bandits forearm, causing bleeding, and stunning him.
Enryn’s armor saves him as well on his duel, and he slashes the bandit’s thigh, causing hemorrhage to his enemy who tries to recover.
On the cart the fight goes on, without any winner.

Round 5

Bandit 1 (Handaxe): Stunned
Bandit 2 (Club): Attacks Leowyn: 78+41-10-40=69: 6
Bandit 6(Short Sword): Attacks Ambald: 56+41-20+10=87: 10A: 25-20=5: Weak strike yields no extra damage. +0 hits.
Bandit 7(Short Sword): Stunned.
Enryn Attacks Bandit 7: 46+69-20=95: 12B: 45-10=35: Blow to upper leg. +5 hits. If no leg armor: +3 hits & 2 hits/rnd. Bandit 7 is down.
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 2: 31+38+15-20+20=84: 9A: 53-20=33: Blow to upper leg. +5 hits. If no leg armor: +3 hits & 2 hits/rnd.
Ambald attacks Bandit 6: 57+41-20+10=88:10B: 23-10=13: Minor calf wound. 1 hit per round.

With her enemy stunned, Leowyn keeps fighting the other bandit, she receives another wound deflected by the armor, but her sword finds her enemy’s upper leg, causing severe bleeding.
Enryn’s sword also finds his stunned enemy’s upper leg, causing severe bleeding, and bringing him down.
On the cart the fight goes on, with the teamster and the bandit causing minor flesh wounds to each other.

Round 6

Bandit 1 (Handaxe): Down.
Q: Does Bandit 2 Flee?
A: Yes
Bandit 2 (Club): Turns and flees. Conflicting action (Medium MM) vs Leowyn (Riding, Light MM): 25+5=30: 20 vs 64-15=49: 70. Leowyn wins and attacks.
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 2: 79+38+15-20+20=132: 22D: 63+10=73: Medium thigh wound. +6 hits. 1 hit per round. -10 to activity. Stunned 2 rounds. Bandit 2 is down.
Q: Does Bandit 6 Flee?
A: Yes, and he drops his sword as he does so. Armbald doesn’t follow.
Bandit 6: Turns and flees.
Enryn Attacks Bandit 6 from the rear: MM: 29+6: 60: Rides and Attacks: 28+69-20+35+60-100=72: 5.

Leowyn’s opponent with the bleeding arm, drops from blood loss. His friend loses his nerve and flees. Not before Leowyn has the final word. Her sword carves his thigh, finishing him.
The bandit on the cart is panicking. He drops his sword, jumps down from the cart and runs on the road. Armbald lets him go, he’s happy to be alive.
Enryn on the other hand is filled with rage. Despite his bleeding chest, he follows down the road with his horse, reaching him and hitting him with his sword.

Round 7

Q: Does Bandit 6 keep running?
A: Yes.
Bandit 6: Flees. Conflicting action (Medium MM) vs Enryn (Riding, Light MM): 30+5=35: 20 vs 42=42: 70. Enryn wins and attacks.
Enryn Attacks Bandit 6:48+69-20=97: 13B: 31-10=21: Blow to upper leg. +5 hits. If no leg armor: +3 hits & 2 hits/rnd. Bandit 6 is down.

Sometimes the brain freezes. Sometimes you don’t see any solution and keep doing what you were hoping for a different outcome. So did the unarmed bandit try to escape on foot from a rider instead of begging for his life. Enryn slashed him, hitting his leg, and letting him bleed out.

So things to do now:

  • Bandage Enryn
  • Bandage Hreodhelm and put him on the cart
  • Search bandit cart
  • Search bandit possessions

For the bandit cart I’ll use MERP random table generator at Very Poor.
For the bandit possessions I’ll use Harnmaster loot table.

Bandit cart: 40: 2 Composition rolls: 70: 80 bp, 7: 50 tp. Magic Items: 63: 0.
Bandit 1: 1 sp
Bandit 2: –
Bandit 3: 2 sp
Bandit 4: 2 sp
Bandit 5: 5 sp, Earrings (5 dr, Gold, adorned with 14 carat quartz), Broach (3 dr, Jade, adorned with 2 agate 13 carat), Pendant(14dr, Gold), Written work (Carved Wood, Local Region, Middle Age, Perfect Condition, Journal)
Bandit 6: –
Bandit 7: 4 sp

Q: Does Leowyn search the bandits first?
A: No
Q: Is it Enryn?
A: Yes, and he gets hold of the jewelry.
Q: Does Leowyn search the cart first?
A: Yes, but, it doesn’t leave her time to search anything else.
Q: Does Enryn split the spoils?
A: No, and, he tries to hide the jewelry, and never mentions it.

Soon after the wounded are taken care of any bleeding, the caravan crew jumps on a frenzy to gather the loot. Leowyn searches the cart, looking for any clues, but soon she catches wind of Enryn searching the pockets and pouches of the bandits that fled, while the crew does likewise in the dead bandits by the caravan. Realizing there’s no sharing the spoils, she keeps a hefty amount of bronze and tin pieces she found for herself, and gets back to the group.

That was some gold the bandit was carrying around in jewels. Seems they must have recently hit a rich mark. Too bad Leowyn won’t get a grip of it.

Q: Does Wyny want to return to Bree?
A: Yes
Q: Can Suse heal Hreodhelm?
A: False Presupposition. Hreodhelm’s horse scared from the fight, fled off, knocking him down, killing him. Hreodhelm is dead.

Wyny is scared. He calls for a meeting. “We can’t get to Tharbad with just one guard. The roads are teeming with bandits. We’re doomed. It may cost us a bit, but we’re going to be safer.

Leowyn will counter propose her protection until Tharbad.
Q: Does Wyny agree? (Likely, she proved her skill)
A: Yes.

“I’ll take his place. We go to the Last Bridge as promised. Then I’ll escort your caravan to Tharbad. You’ll pay me of course. Starting today. I’ll take Hreodhelm’s place.”
Wyny thinks about it for a moment, and shakes her hand. “We have a deal.”
He turns to his crew. “Alright, let’s do a proper burial for Hreodhelm, and these scum.”
The crew gets to work.

Q: Is Hreodhelm’s horse nearby?
A: Yes

They pick Hreodhelm’s horse, and get it back to the caravan, as they complete their tasks to continue on the road.

Bookkeeping

NameDays Rations
Leowyn5

Arrows: Leowyn is at 35 arrows.

Critical DeliveredBandit 1Bandit 2Bandit 4Bandit 5
Leowyn20251515
Kill PointsEP
Leowyn725
Criticals ReceivedEP
Leowyn0
Hits ReceivedEP
Leowyn15
Maneuver PointsEP
Leowyn10
Travel PointsEP
Leowyn35
Non-Idea EP TotalEP
Leowyn860

I’ll award Leowyn half the amount as Idea EP for standing her ground and convincing Wyny to keep on for 430 more EP. Total 1290EP.

Summing up, from previous session.

NameExperience Points
Leowyn4691 EP

Hit Points: Leowyn is at 14 hit points, Enryn is at 33 hit points.

Money: The party pool is 5sp, 82bp, 6cp and 59tp.

Session Summary

As I pointed out one (hidden) modifier changed the entire combat. My approach is to fix mistakes so long as the session is still malleable. Once posted it’s a done deal.
I’m aware that I’m not always applying all modifiers possible, but TOTM makes running tactical combats very hard. I just try to adjudicate evenly so that my choices apply to both sides of the fight.
A nice combat is where MERP shines, and this was a splatter. I still want a more modern system, but nevertheless I had fun visualizing all those criticals.
At one point I was afraid of being too much murder hobo, but it was pretty straightforward. Swords were drawn before threats were made. The bloodbath was faster than tactical decisions and within moments it was over.
The action economy (7 vs 3) was very dangerous, but the better equipment paid off.
I’m really curious if the caravan will manage to reach their destination in these treacherous times.