In the Trollshaws. Ep11

Switching back to 10 days ago, to Camthalion.
Setting up some key points in my GM hat:

  • Lord Ar Gular, whose keep the party raided, is a regular in disguise in the Last Inn.
  • Crebain spies to Ar Gular have seen the party and most likely have notified their master
  • Either Crebain or Orcs may have tracked the party to the Last Inn.
  • Considering the raid on the keep, Ar Gular (Turlin) is unlikely to be at the Last Inn before the party
  • Ar Gular (Turlin) may arrive to the Last Inn to gather information, after examining the condition of the keep
  • Even if the party wasn’t tracked, there is the unlikely event that loose lips while staying at the inn may spread the story of their whereabouts to the keep

Some minor points:

  • The cost of food & lodging for 10 days for the two of them is 1sp
  • Considering the extra care Dwalin needs, Camthalion will need to either pay extra, offer some services, or take care of him, himself

Tools:

  • I won’t be using any random encounters, rather ask the Oracle every passing day
  • I won’t be generating weather unless required, since the party is in a safe place

Day 15, Hithui

Camthalion will try to come to an arrangement with the Grumms so that they take care of Dwalin in exchange for his services.
Rubb, being the innkeep, is where Camthalion goes first.

The elf finds Rubb behind the bar and puts a silver coin on the board. “Innkeep, we will pay the next 10 days. Separate room, three meals a day for me and Dwalin.” Rubb takes the silver. “Breakfast is served.”
Camthalion hasn’t moved.
“Anything else I can do to help?” The innkeep asks.
“Can you look after Dwalin? I’m here to offer my skills in return.” Camthalion offers.

Influence: 20+20+30=70: Failure

Q: Does Rubb agree? (Unlikely)
A: No

“We have our hands full with customers. I’m sorry you’ll have to take care of your friend on your own.” Rubb replies.
Camthalion puts another 5bp on the table. “Will this make it up for your services then?”

Influence: 39+20+30=89: Partial Success

Q: Does Rubb agree? (Slightly Likely)
A: Yes, and he will offer to buy anything Camthalion forages from the woods if worth it.

The innkeep takes the amount. “I think that is fine. Also if you brave the woods and find anything useful, I’ll consider buying. Now go eat some breakfast and speak with Bura about your friend.”
Camthalion thanks the innkeep and does as asked.

Camthalion will search for General Purpose Herbs in the 10-mile hex where the Last Inn resides.
I choose that he will search for Attanar, which cures fever, is located in Freshwater banks/coasts and should be useful to the Grumms.

Encounter Check: 8: No encounter

Search: 36+20+35+2= 93: Near Success
Search: 10+20+35+2+20= 97: Near Success
Search: 10+20+35+2+20= 97: Near Success
Search: 09+20+35+2+20= 96: Near Success
Search: 45+20+35+2+20= 122: Success. One dose found.

The elf searches along the river coast, where Attanar, a fever curing moss grows. He finds traces of it, so he keep searching along the river, under the bridge, until he finally finds a good amount. He puts it carefully in his pouch and returns to the inn.

Q: Are the Grumms interested in Attanar?
A: False Presupposition. Camthalion never brings it to them, considering that the importance of the herb is too much to give away.

Q: Does anything happen during the day?
A: No

Night 15-16, Hithui

Q: Does anything happen during the night?
A: No, but it’s going to be likely in the morning

Day 16, Hithui

Q: Does anything happen during the day? (Likely)
A: Yes
Q: Is it loose lips? (Likely)
A: Yes

Dwalin eats and is cared for in his living vegetable condition. As Camthalion goes for breakfast, he can’t but overhear two customers talking about him and the dwarf, and how they returned from the haunted castle.

Camthalion will search for Healing Herbs in the 10-mile hex where the Last Inn resides.
I choose that he will search for Rewk, which grows in the forest.

Encounter Check: 10: No encounter

Search: 70+20+35+2+10=137. Success. One dose found.
Since there is more time available, he will also search for Thurl in the same region.
Search: 29+20+35+2+30=.116. Success. One dose found.

Since there is nothing else that grows in the “Desiduous Forest” locale, Camthalion will return to the inn, eat his lunch and head out again.

I choose that he will search for Suranie, which is Stun Relief, is located in Freshwater banks/coasts.

Encounter Check: 11: No encounter

Search: 11+20+35+2+10=78: Partial Success.
Search: 45+20+35+2+10=112: Success. One dose found.

Camthalion heads out for herbs again, and gathers several that will help them in their travels. Rewk, Thurl and Suranie among others.

Night 16-17, Hithui

Q: Does anything happen during the night?
A: No, but it’s going to be likely in the morning

Day 17, Hithui

Q: Does anything happen during the day? (Likely)
A: Yes, and it’s potential danger.
When: (3 Watches, 1d12 hours, 1d60 minutes into day): 2.26pm.
So, it’s highly likely whatever happens, plays out while Camthalion is outside foraging.
I choose that he will search for Aloe to the scrubs by the road, which helps against burns.

Search: 22+20+35+2= 79: Partial Success.
Search: 0159+20+35+2= -1: Absolute Failure. No more doses will be found for the rest of the day, and Camthalion keeps searching.

Q: Does the event happen at the inn?
A: Yes, and Turlin or Orcs or Crebain (asked in this order) have arrived. Intervention: 5: Regress Plot. Camthalion doesn’t see the inn from where he is, so he is completely unaware and will return after the event.
Q: Did Turlin arrive at the inn?
A: No, but words have reached him that the adventurers headed to the inn.
Q: Are Orcs attacking the inn?
A: False Presupposition. There are no orcs left. The garisson was eradicated, and Thuk is with Ar Gular (Turlin).
So if it’s something dangerous it must be Crebain.
Q: Is it Crebain? (Likely)
A: Yes
Q: Do the Crebain attack?
A: No, and, they don’t harass anyone, they are just spotted.

Camthalion returns to the inn after a whole day of searching herbs, empty handed. There is a lot of ruckus, so he asks what’s going on, and learns about a group of large black crows swarming on the sky and circling above the inn many times before heading back North.
Even if the customers don’t know it, he does. It’s Crebain. Like the ones they met at the keep. This can’t be a coincidence. He won’t be far from the inn to search for herbs again. Instead he will be patrolling nearby. He alarms his hosts, but without being too specific.
“Crows like these often are friends with orcs and goblins. If they dared show themselves here, we should be alarmed. I’ll keep an eye.” He tells Rubb.

Q: Does Rubb find him overreacting?
A: No, and he believes him right away. Intervention: 4: Advance Plot. He connects the dots.

Rubb nods. “Trolls held my boy and fed him like a turkey. These are dangerous times. I don’t know what trouble you stirred, but it’s coming this way, and it won’t go away even if you do. You’re to stay these 10 days you paid for, and please don’t come bringing trouble again to our doorstep.”

Night 17-18, Hithui

Q: Does anything happen during the night?
A: No.

Day 18, Hithui

Q: Does anything happen during the day?
A: Yes.
Q: Is it dangerous?
A: Yes.
Q: Is it Turlin?
A: Yes, and he knows the adventurers are here.
Q: Does he appear as Turlin?
A: Yes
Q: Does he find out who the adventurer’s are? (Likely)
A: Yes, but, he risks being exposed.
Q: Does he try to ambush Camthalion who’s on patrol? (Likely)
A: Yes
Q: Is Thuk, nearby?
A: No, and he’s no longer with him.
Q: Does he go by the inn first? (or does he happen to come across Camthalion?)
A: No.

So I can place the scene. Camthalion is patrolling out on the woods. Ar Gular, furious that a trio of adventurers raided his base, is informed by his trusted Crebain that they are staying in the Last Inn, where he is a regular. He travels alone, as he has no minions left. Thuk his captain, he either eliminated or he’s nowhere to be seen, to avoid facing his wrath.
So he goes to the Last Inn, posing like the wandering minstrel, Turlin, looking for an elf, a dwarf and a shield maiden. Just before reaching the Last Inn, he comes face to face with Camthalion. Although he’s quite certain the elf might be part of the adventurers he’s looking for, he want to be certain, considering the Last Inn’s clientele, and this just might warn Camthalion, as they face off.
Catching Camthalion all alone, brings a unique opportunity to Turlin, and is certain to attack the elf.
Camthalion on the other hand is on guard, but Ar Gular posing as Turlin doesn’t seem as a threat at first glance.
There is a HUGE level difference between them (Level 9 vs Level 1), and Camthalion’s only chance is the fact that Ar Gular, being a Mage doesn’t have any significant defenses. If he starts casting spells though, that’s another story.

So, first of all let’s see if Ar Gular notices Camthalion (who is hiding).
Ar Gular (Perception): 15-15-40: Failure
Now let’s see if Camthalion notices Ar Gular (who isn’t hiding).
Camthalion (Perception): 69+35=104: Near Success: 91+35+20=146: Success.

Camthalion is out patrolling, bow at hand, when he hears footsteps. He draws an arrow, and moves to investigate.
He sees a man, round face, with uneven gray hair and amber eyes. He wears fine clothing and several pouches hang from his belt.

Q: Does he remember him from several nights ago in the inn?
A: No
So he doesn’t remember him, which keeps him a tad bit on guard.

He lowers his bow. “Greetings stranger.” He says. “Dangerous times to walk alone.”
Startled, the man, returns the greeting.
“Greetings stranger. You’re not in danger from me. I’m but Turlin, a wandering minstrel.” He says.
Camthalion responds in kind. “You’re not in danger from me either. Seen any orcs? they have ventured too south for my liking.”

Q: Does Turlin say he has seen orcs?
A: No, but, he tries to switch the subject.

“Orcs never come near the inn.” The man replies. “Not even near Cameth Bryn, or the old castle. If you’ve been near the place.”

So this is my interpretation of finding out who the adventurers are, but risk being exposed. I’ll have Camthalion roll Perception to see if he understands the question was off.
I’ll give him a +20 bonus for Easy difficulty, (switching the subject, stranger to Camthalion).
Perception: 89+35+20= 144: Success.

Camthalion senses something is off about this stranger. He may be a master of disguise, but elves are not easily fooled. His arrow slips back on the bow.

Q: Does Ar Gular try to diplomatically evade conflict (Unlikely)
A: No

“Lat kramp nar srinkhsha amirz lat nurzum” the stranger shouts as he poises himself for combat.

Distance: 10d10′: 66

encounter

Round 1:
Camthalion moves 10′ closer and shoots at Ar Gular: 57+48+10= 115: 15C: 78: Strike to lower leg. Tendons torn. +3 hits. -25 to activity. Stunned 1 round.
Ar Gular: Stunned

Camthalion releases his arrow, which hits the stranger on his lower leg. He drops down, interrupting his spell, and he starts stumbling to walk to some sort of cover.

Round 2:
Camthalion reloads, moves 10′ closer and shoots at Ar Gular: 77+48+10+5-35=105: 11C: 2: Glancing blow. No extra damage.
Q: Does Ar Gular try an offensive spell? (Instead of defensive)
A: Yes
Ar Gular: List: Fire Law: Fire Bolt: 68+90-30-25-25=78: 12B: 34-10=24: Minor burns. +8 hits. 1 hit per round.

Camthalion shoots another arrow into the stranger utters some unknown words and a small flaming ball appears between his fingers. He throws a curveball towards Camthalion and a bolt of fire strikes the elf. He gets burned, and the burning continues.

Round 3:
Camthalion reloads, moves 10′ closer and shoots at Ar Gular: 27+48+10-35-20=30:-
Q: Does Ar Gular try an offensive spell? (Instead of defensive)
A: False Presupposition. Ar Gular won’t cast a spell but draw his dagger and attack. Perhaps he’s afraid his spells may draw unwanted attention.
Ar Gular: Moves 40′ Closer.

Unwaivering to darkness, the elf warrior closes in and fires another arrow, but misses this time.
The stranger draws a dagger and with a hurt leg almost covers the distance between them.

Round 4:
Camthalion reloads and shoots: 92+48+10-35-20=95: 8A: 91-20=71: Strike to lower leg. Tendons torn. +3 hits. -25 to activity. Stunned 1 round.
Ar Gular: Stunned
Q: Is Ar Gular prone (both legs tendons torn) (Likely)
A: No

His face a few feet away, Camthalion aims for his opponent’s other leg, and hits. The minstrel screams and stumbles once more. Stunned he stays on the spot.

Round 5:
Camthalion draws his sword and attacks in melee: 62+23+5-20-5-30=35:-
Ar Gular attacks with his dagger: 52+45-15-50-25=7:-

Round 6:
Camthalion attacks in melee: 73+23+5-20-5=76: 7 hits
Ar Gular attacks with his dagger: 19+45-15-50-25=-26:-

Round 6:
Camthalion attacks in melee: 24+23+5-20-5=27: –
Ar Gular attacks with his dagger: 93+45-15-50-25=48:-

Round 7:
Camthalion attacks in melee: 54+23+5-20-5=57: –
Ar Gular attacks with his dagger: 92+45-15-50-25=47:-

For almost a minute, the two opponents are locked into melee. Their wounds prevent them from scoring a successful hit.

Round 8:
Camthalion surface way: Heal: 64-30=34: Success: Heals: 9 hit points
Ar Gular attacks with his dagger: 85+45-15-50-25=40:-

Feeling close to losing his consciousness, Camthalion focuses inwards and casts a healing spell. He recovers as his enemy lashes with his dagger, and manages to evade the hit.

Round 9:
Camthalion attacks in melee: 32+23+5-20-5=35: –
Ar Gular attacks with his dagger: 17+45-15-50-25=-28:-

Another series of unsuccessful melee. The two opponents realize they must change tactics.

Round 10:
Camthalion attacks in melee: 03: Fumble: 45: Drop your weapon. It will take 1 round to draw a new one or 2 rounds to recover old one.
Q: Does Ar Gular try an offensive spell? (Instead of melee)
A: Yes
Ar Gular: List: Water Law: Water Bolt: 8: Fumble: 88: Internalization overloads senses. +20 hits. Blind and deaf for 10 minutes. +1 CP.

Keeping on the same tactic, hoping for a miracle, as his strength saps away from the burning spell, Camthalion fumbles and drops his sword.
His opponent’s eyes gleam with the advantage he’s found. He screams in an unknown language and as he gestures ready to cast a spell, his eyes turn black, and blood oozes from his ears. He must have done something wrong in his incantations, and he walks around aimlessly unable to see or hear.
Camthalion lifts up his sword, and carves his enemy in one swift movement.
Then he pauses, and bandages his burns.

Camthalion recovers (1d4-1 normal arrows and 1d2-1 magic arrows): 2 normal and 1 magical arrow.
Camthalion searches his opponent’s belongings. An evil mage could have valuable information.
23sp, 1gp, 2gems(9 carat amber, 5 carat quartz), 3written works(1: carved wood, local region, rigged condition, philosophical treatise, 2: parchment and ink, local region, good condition, map, spell descriptions, journal, mystic tome of valor, historical text, letter, 3: vellum and ink, local region, fair condition, law/decree/charter/pardon),1artifact(ring, shock bolt I twice a day)

I've used both Harnmaster and MERP to generate the most appropriate items.

Camthalion goes through the minstrel’s belongings. Nothing in there points to a wandering minstrel. Instead, he finds silver, gold, gems and written works of several types. The most important of which, a book with a map of the region, spell descriptions, and other interesting things that will take a while to uncover. He also finds a ring that has some engravings on it, and takes it too.

Now Camthalion needs to decide what to do with his enemy’s corpse. He’s altruistic, good, calm and content. I decide he’ll bring him back to the inn, along with the findings.

Camthalion, wounded and battered, returns to the Last Inn, dragging Turlin’s lifeless body with him. As he arrives, the Grumms surround him.

Q: Do the Grumm’s recognize Turlin?
A: Yes

“That’s Turlin, the trobadour! What happened to him?” Rubb asks, scared. “Did orcs get to him? what evil has befallen us?”
“He, he is the evil. He posed as a bard, but he’s an agent of darkness. He cast fire, by chanting spells in the Black Speech. I barely survived.”

Influence: 45+20=65: Failure.
Q: Do they believe Camthalion?
A: Yes, but they’re shocked.

“It… it can’t be.” He looks at Camthalion’s burn wounds. “He was spying at us all this time. You saved us from great evil. I sincerely hope your friend arrives soon with help. I doubt this place is as safe any more. We’ll start locking the doors at nights. We’ll do our best.” He turns to his wife. “Come, help me bury him at the back, before we scare our customers.”

Regarding Thuk, the orc captain, the only possible threat remaining, the following scenarios are considered plausible:

  • He disappeared fearing his masters wrath
  • He is on a mission elsewhere
  • He is dead
  • He is recruiting more orcs to go after the adventurers

Considering the story and Oracle sofar I believe the last scenario to be the least plausible. Therefore, with the safe haven of the Last Inn in mind, I will switch to a single Oracle roll for the remaining time period until Leowyn returns, and only reconsider if deemed so.

Q: Does anything unexpected happen until Leowyn’s return?
A: Yes, and. Intervention. Regress Plot.
Q: Is it Thuk? (Unlikely)
A: Yes
Q: Is it a night attack? (Likely)
A: False Presupposition. It’s not an attack.
Q: Is it a sighting/tracks?
A: Yes, and the orcs have a warband.
When: Day 23, 1st Watch, 1.15am.
Q: Does Camthalion see them? (Instead of news being delivered)
A: Yes.
Q: Is it tracks?
A: No, it’s sighting.

Seems Camthalion is worried by the enemy movements, and he patrols at nights.

Orc Perception: 53+20-40=33: Failure. Camthalion isn’t detected.

After recovery, Camthalion soon took patrol duties day and night near the inn. The first days pass uneventful, but one night, five days later, he makes out the crouched figures of several orcs under the starlit sky. He hides, and motionless, they pass by him.
The Trollshaws are far from safe. Orcs coming closer and closer to the civilized lands.
At morning, he tries to follow their tracks, see where they come from and where they went.

Perception: 28+35=63: Failure.

He follows the tracks for a while, but can’t make sense of them, unless he strays too far, and can’t risk abandoning the patrol of the inn, so he returns.

Q: Does anything unexpected happen until Leowyn’s return?
A: Yes, but, nothing dangerous.
When: Day 24, noon.
Q: Is it a rare book trader?
A: No, but it’s a trader.
I don’t think we’re interested right now in any purchases so I’ll let this event slide.
I wanted to see if I could make the event interesting by having a possible buyer for the rare tomes found in Herubar Gular.

The rest of the days pass without any further sign of orcs. Traders come and go. As the tenth day arrives, a caravan enters the inn yard. Leowyn dismounts from her horse and removes her helmet. She has arrived finally.
The caravan seems battered. Leowyn and Camthalion greet each other.
“I’ve brought a healer. How’s Dwalin?” She asks.

Q: Does Dwalin show signs of improvement?
A: No, but, only very slight.

“He’s about at the same condition as you left him. How was your trip?” He asks.
“First things first. Let’s get him to shape, then we can exchange news.” She responds. “Suse!” She calls to the healer. “Let’s get you to my friend”
They go upstairs to Dwalin’s room.

Q: Can Suse heal Dwalin with a spell?
A: Yes

Suse: Major Nerve Repair: 80+18+20+30= 148: -55 to RR: 46-55: -9The healer lays her hands by Dwalin’s side, and grabs his forehead. She spreads a paste over him and meditates. Dwalin starts shaking all over, Camthalion and Leowyn hold him down. Then after a while, he stops shaking and Suse removes her hands.
Exhausted, she sits down. “I’ll need a moment.”
When finally she stands up, Dwalin slowly gets on his feet.
“Vrt prend?” He mumbles. “What happened?” He repeats.
Leowyn smiles. “The healing lady here saved your skin. I believe you owe her a heft sum of gold.”
“Two dozen of them coins it will be, and I’ve cut you one whole gold because the shield maiden here saved us on the road.” The healer adds.
Dwalin’s eyes widen out. The dwarf might have just recovered from his condition, but the cost was enough to shake him.
“As promised, we can trade with you for the tomes.” Let me get them to you.

Tomes value: 42gp in a major city.
Q: Do they agree on getting all the tomes in exchange for the services?
A: No, but, they agree with 3 more gp, which the party provides.
Q: Does Wyny make an offer against the bandits? (Likely)
A: Yes.

Suse pockets the tomes, which she gets at half market value, and an extra 3 gold pieces. Dwalin wants to grumble, but he’s grateful to be back in fighting condition.
“Now tell me, what happened while you were gone?” Camthalion asks as they go downstairs.
“I’ll tell you what happened!” The caravan master snaps. “Highwaymen jumped us on the bridge! They got away with one cart worth of goods.”
The party looks at each other.
“You all look like you can take care of yourselves. How does 1 gold to each of you sound…to take back what is mine?” He proposes.
Before they could even discuss it, Dwalin moves forward. “Yes. Make it 4 gold for all of us.”
“Are you sure you’re up to it master dwarf?” Camthalion asks.
“But yes! I’ve been healed and taken care of like a baby!” Dwalin responds.

Q: Does Wyny agree? (Likely)
A: No

“3 gold is all I can offer. Take it or leave it.” The caravan master counters.
“Let’s do it! I want to get these feet moving.” Dwalin agrees.
“Then do it fast. I don’t know how long it will take for these lowlifes to escape with my goods. The rain is gonna cover their tracks.” Wyny adds. “We’ll spend the night here and set off to Tharbad in the morning.”
“We did not agree to that!” Camthalion points out to the party. “There is danger that we must deal with. We haven’t caught up yet.”
“I’m already one foot in. I’m to escort them to Tharbad. Had to give them something so that they would come here.” Leowyn replies. “It’s very close. You can fill us in on the way.”

Q: Does Enryn join them?
A: False Presupposition. This was never on the table.

So the party gathers their adventuring gear, and head out towards the bridge.

Bookkeeping

Arrows: Camthalion is at 35+3 arrows,
Leowyn is at 35 arrows

Criticals Received EP
Camthalion 200
Kill Points EP
Camthalion 600

Since Camthalion scored the criticals AND kill there's no reason to calculate them as criticals EP deduct from kill EP, for a same sum total.

Hits Received EP
Camthalion 29
Spell Points EP
Camthalion 100
Non-Idea EP Total EP
Camthalion 929

I’ll give Camthalion half the total as idea points. 464 EP total.

Summing up, from previous session.

Name Experience Points
Camthalion 5106 EP
Dwalin 5666 EP
Leowyn 4891 EP

Money: The party pool is 6sp, 87bp, 6cp and 59tp.

Hit Points: Dwalin is at full hit points, Leowyn is at full hit points, Camthalion is at full hit points.

Additional Gear Weapons Valuables Herbs
Camthalion Broadsword +5, Javelin +5 2 gems, 3 written works, 1 magic ring Rewk, Tharl, Attanar, Suranie
Dwalin Battle Axe +10, Light
Leowyn Morningstar +5

Session Summary

It’s always exciting to see how the Oracle and random rolls create their own story, and I’m always happier when that story somehow makes sense. I love how Ar Gular, bereft of minions, tried to deal with the adventurers on his own, and failed.
It was a very risky combat. I knew about the swinginess of MERP, but I didn’t know about the dark magic part. I thought that Corruption Points was all it was about, but the Spellcasting Fumbles are up to par with WHFRP, with an Unmodified Fumble roll of 01-10, that’s 10% of all directed spells! And, that’s what saved Camthalion from certain death.
Again, it’s becoming harder and harder to run MERP, as I discover a lot of spots where I have to houserule or ask the Oracle. This is an issue, especially considering it’s a d100 crunchy system, where expectations are a bit higher.
Now the orc warband could have been Thuk (as the Oracle said) but maybe he’s going his own way, who knows.
I believe right now I have enough of a backstory to introduce a Background Events Secret Oracle.
Since the Trollshaws main thread is coming to an end (even though I don’t use threads directly), I will keep an open eye to conversions.
Overall I really enjoy how the campaign evolves. I have three unfullfilled character backstories, a thread about the bridge bandits, and an escort mission to Tharbad.