In the Trollshaws. Ep12

If it was a longer trip to bridge, I’d place some secret clocks to see what happens with, Ambald, the cart, the goods or the bandits. Instead, the Oracle will answer those.
Also since it’s highly likely that this session will be about a fight, I won’t bother with using BOLD for connections, as I did in the past. If there is no fight, I will interject the connections from that point on.

The trio leaves on foot, to ensure that the bandits don’t hear the horses.
They also want to make sure that the bandits don’t kill Ambald, and want the element of surprise. For certain the steady rain will provide some bonuses to their stalk/hide rolls.

Now, when they reach a visible distance from the bridge, I need to start asking questions.
Q: Are the bandits still there?
A: Yes, but, they’re almost ready to leave.
Q: Is Ambald with them? (Likely, since they’re still there)
A: Yes, and he’s bound.
Q: Do the bandits intend to take the cart with them?
A: Yes, and, they fixed the axle and they’re ready to start loading, and harnessing it the horse.

So I’m trying to picture the scene. A bridge, 6 bandits, one hostage. I’ll ask each of the following a Likely Question.
Q: Is the bandit leader in the middle giving orders? (Likely)
A: Yes, and he is focused on the task.
Q: Is one bandit at each side of the bridge standing watch? (Likely)
A: Yes, and they’re focused as well.
Q: Is one bandit with the hostage? (Likely)
A: No, and there’s noone with the hostage. He seems to have moved himself to the edge of the bridge near the river.
Q: Are ~~two~~ three bandits loading the cart? (Likely)
A: Yes

Camthalion raises his arm as the bridge is in sight. They find some shrubs to hide behind, and watch carefully.
It seems that the bandits intend to take the cart with them along with the horse. They must have planned to carry the goods, but it seems that with the rain it won’t be possible, so they spent time unloading the cart, fixing it, and loading it back again. This gave the party the time they needed to reach them.
Ambald the teamster is rope bound, but he has moved himself to the center of the bridge by the edge. There’s no bandit with him, he’s probably thinking of jumping in the river if the bandits intend to kill him.
Their leader is giving three bandits orders on how to load the cart, while two other bandits are watching each side of the bridge for any travelers.
Leowyn lays out the plan: they will move along the river bank carefully to avoid attention, as close as possible. Camthalion will cover them with his bow, while she and Dwalin will ambush them from the east side. If any bandit tries to get to Ambald, Camthalion will shoot them.

So, I’ll ask at 500′ distance, if there is a chance that the bandit watches in their direction. If so, then I’ll roll in the Stalk/Hide vs Perception rule. If not, I’ll assume they move 100′ unhindered and ask again. Q: (500′) Does the bandit have a chance of seeing them?
A: Yes
Camthalion: Stalk: 64+40-5= 99: 80%: Moves 34′
Leowyn: Stalk: 86+5-5= 86: 70%: Moves 12′
Dwalin: Stalk: 68+2-5= 65: 40%: Moves 9′
Q: Does the bandit have a chance of seeing them?
A: False Presupposition. The bandit abandons his post. I’m thinking three options. Ambald tries to escape, someone arrives at the bridge, or he’s called to help load the cart. 1d3: 2: Someone arrives at the bridge.
I’ll roll at the harnmaster encounters table: Lawless/Day: 59: Forester: 55: Offering employment. He offers to help them load the cart.

As the party moves by the river bank under the cover of rain, the bandit that stood watch, looks their way, but can’t see them. His attention is drawn by a man arriving at the bridge. The bandit leader starts posing as an unlucky caravan master whose cart broke and he had to fix it. The man seems to offer his help. The distance is too great for the party to tell if they explain the prisoner situation or if it hasn’t come up to that yet.

So, the party has moved at least 100′ more as the following transpires.
Q: Does Ambald take the opportunity to escape?
A: Yes!
Q: Does he jump in the water? (Haven’t asked if he’s still bound)
A: No

I assume he has found an opening. Either he runs the other way, because the bandits are occupied with the forester, or he runs past the forester, hoping this will startle them, as they might need to face him.
Q: But first I need to ask where does the forester come from? East? (Likely as the event impacted the watch on my side of the bridge)
A: Yes
Q: Does Ambald run past the Forester?
A: No, he runs the other way, West
Q: Are his hands still bound?
A: No, he has untied himself.

Ambald: Running: MM: 43+25=68: 90%: Runs 135′
Q: Does the West watch bandit run after him?
A: False Presupposition. He’s pushed down by Ambald as he runs past him.

The taskmaster snaps his knots, and strides quickly west, pushing a startled bandit aside, who falls down in mud pool.
“The prisoner!” The leader shouts. “He escapes!”

Q: Do the bandits go after him?
A: Yes, but, only one of them.
Q: Is there any animosity with the Forester?
A: No. For some reason, their ruse hasn’t been uncovered.

So I decide that the party has moved another 100′ as the following transpires.
Ambald: Running: MM: 51+25=76: Runs 150′
Bandit: Running: MM: 64=64: Runs 80′

The taskmaster doubles his running distance as one bandit starts to go after him. His armor and weapons seem to weigh him down.

Q: Does the bandit keep up the chase?
A: No

The party moves another 100′ closer. The bandits are all too busy with the escape to notice what’s going on.

The bandit stops to catch his breath, and waves his hand down in a gesture to let it be, and returns slowly to the bridge.

Q: Is the party possible to be seen? (we’re less than 200′ away, but still there’s no reason to look at the river bank)
A: No

So the party moves another 100′.
Now we’re too close. It’s time for the combat encounter. Camthalion is 66′ away, with Leowyn 88′ away, and Dwalin 91′ away. This time I’ll have them roll on the stalk/hide if they want to come closer.

Round 1:
Camthalion nooks a +5 arrow.
Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: 94+2-5=91: 100%: Moves 23′ (68′ away)
Leowyn: Stalk/Hide: 31+5-5=31: 60%: Moves 11′ (77′ away)

Still distracted by the escape and the forester noone pays attention to Dwalin and Leowyn coming closer to the bridge.

Round 2:
Camthalion is waiting for the right moment.
Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: 46+2-5=43: 70%: Moves 16′ (52′ away)
Leowyn: Stalk/Hide: 56+5-5=56: 80%: Moves 14′ (63′ away)

Round 3:
Camthalion is waiting for the right moment.
Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: 26+2-5=23: 60%: Moves 14′ (38′ away)
Leowyn: Stalk/Hide: 75+5-5=75: 90%: Moves 16′ (47′ away)

Round 4:
Camthalion is waiting for the right moment.
Dwalin: Stalk/Hide: 89+2-5=86: 100%: Moves 23′ (15′ away)
Leowyn: Stalk/Hide: 0212+5-5=-10: 30%: Moves 5′ (42′ away)

Round 5:
Camthalion shoots the bandit watch at the east side.: 01: Fumble: You really mishandle your weapon. Stunned 2 rounds.
Bandit: Draws weapon and Moves to attack Dwalin (in range): 59+5=64: 80%: Attacks: 68+80-100+43-30-30=31:-
Dwalin: Attacks: 37+51+15-15=88: 7A: 79-20=59: Blow to shield shoulder breaks shield. If no shield: shoulder broken, arm useless.
Leowyn: Moves in melee distance.

Camthalion was holding his bow strung for so long until his friends arrived that he couldn’t take it anymore. He lets it go, and misses, while the bowstring hits him hard on the face. He loses his concentration completely, stunned.
Leowyn shouts “You rotten bandit scum! you’ll die!”.
As they’re within fight range, the bandit dashes at them, slashing at Dwalin’s chain hauberk, who hits back with his mace, breaking the bandit’s left arm.

Q: Does the Forester flee? (Likely)
A: Yes, and, quickly. He doesn’t want to get involved in a fight. Intervention: Entity Negative (Bandits/PC/Forester): Bandits. d144: Not the sharpest tool in the shed
The bandit’s sword edge gets dull with the hit on the chain hauberk. -5 to attack.
I also need to define some distances.
Q: Is the bridge long?
A: No
Q: Is the bridge wide?
A: Yes
So, it’s a short, 100′ long bridge, 20′ wide, so that two carts can pass at the same time.
The cart with the 3 bandits and the leader is 50′ away from the edge (65′ away total), while the other bandit is 100′ away (115′ away).

The bandits will draw their swords and come running towards Dwalin and Leowyn at the edge of the river bank.

Seeing the fight start, and hits being exchanged, the forester makes a run for it. Noone bothers with him.

Round 6:
Camthalion: Stunned
Bandit 1: Attacks Dwalin: 13+43-30-5=21:-
Bandit Leader: Moves 55′ closer.
Bandit 2-4: Moves 55′ closer.
Bandit 5: Moves 55′ closer.
Dwalin: Attacks Bandit 1: 56+51+15-15=107: 11B: 60-10=50. Blow to forearm. +5 hits. If no arm armor: Stunned 1 round.
Leowyn: Flanks and attacks Bandit 1: 25+38+15-15+15=78: 5

As the rest of the bandits draw their blades and come closer, Dwalin and Leowyn flank their lone adversary. Dwalin blocks his enemy’s blow and brings his mace down on his forearm, stunning him, while Leowyn barely scratches him, flanking him.

Round 7:
Camthalion: Stunned
Bandit 1: Stunned
Bandit Leader: Moves & Attacks (D/L): Dwalin: 52+5=57: 80%: Attacks: 85+80-100+56-30:91: 8
Bandit 2: Moves & Attacks: Dwalin: 58: 80%: Attacks: 100+37+43+80-100-30=130:14C: 47: Minor chest wound. +3 hits. 1 hit per round. -5 to activity.
Bandit 3: Moves & Attacks: Leowyn: 13: 50%: Attacks: 27+43+50-100-40=-20:-
Bandit 4: Moves & Attacks: Leowyn: 33: 60%: Attacks: 20+43+60-100-40=-17:-
Bandit 5: Moves 55′ Closer.
Dwalin attacks Bandit Leader: 96+36-20-5+51+15-15=158: 20E: 100+20=120: Strike to head destroys brain. Life is hard for the unfortunate fool. Expires in a heap, immediately. Bandit Leader is down.
Leowyn attacks Bandit 1: 42+20+15+38+15-15=115: 13C: 18: Minor calf wound. 1 hit per round. Bandit 1 is down.

Camthalion still struggles to recover himself from the hit of his bowstring. The bandit still writes in pain on his forearm, but his companions close in.
The highwaymen leader snaps at Leowyn, recognizing her from before. “You can’t have both the cart and your lives!”
At the same time he tries to get past Dwalin’s defenses, but the dwarf fends off the attacks. Another bandit though finds the opportunity and gets his blade past the dwarf’s armor. A minor bleeding chest wound.
“You’ll lose both the cart and your lives!” Dwalin counters, and hits the leader with his mace so hard on the head, that the skull is shattered and the brain is splattered on the bandits.
The other two bandits fail to wound Leowy , who is focused on her enemy, slashing his calf, bringing him down.

Round 8:

Q: Do the bandits flee? (Likely)
A: Yes

Camthalion: nooks arrow.
Bandit 2: Disengage & Flee: MM: 62: 40 vs: 16-10=6: 10. Bandit 2 Flees.
Bandit 3: Disengage & Flee: MM: 41: 30 vs: 32-15=17: 10: Bandit 3 Flees.
Bandit 4: Disengage & Flee: MM: 60: 40 vs: 92-15=77: 60: Leowyn attacks Bandit 4: 06+38+15-15: 44: -. Bandit 4 Flees.
Bandit 5: Flees.

Camthalion readies an arrow and aims at the bandits, whose morale is broken completely at the skill gore strike to their leader. They flee to the west, before Dwalin or Leowyn can react.

Q: Is the horse tied to the cart?
A: No, but it doesn’t have a saddle.

Leowyn runs to ride the horse. Riding without a saddle will be a Medium MM.
Leowyn: Riding: 16+46=62: 40%. Success.
Dwalin takes out a bandage to mend his wound.

Leowyn jumps on the bareback horse, while Dwalin stops. His blood still pumping, to take care of his chest wound. He knows they won the fight. The steady rain washing away the remains of his enemy’s head.

Round 9:
I consider that Camthalion doesn’t have it in his nature to shoot fleeing enemies, especially men, and especially when they no longer pose a threat. Instead, he will move to Dwalin, see if he can help him with a healing spell.
Dwalin can’t join in a chase and fight in his condition, so he will stay there.
Now Leowyn has a demeanor change. She’s becoming more bloodthirsty. She’ll try to finish off the three bandits and then try to find the teamster.

Q: Do the three bandits run in different directions?
A: Yes, but two of them run in the same direction.

So Leowyn will go after these two.
I deem that the horse she got now is a Heavy Horse since it is a cart drawing horse, which means a speed of 150′. Still, three times faster than the bandits.
So the two bandits have moved 100′ west so far. Since they were not expecting Leowyn this first attack will be a Rear attack.
The other bandit goes (N/S): South

Leowyn: Rides and Attacks Bandit 2: 97+52+46=195: 140%: Attack: 95+38+15+15+20-15+140-100=208: 22E: 27+20=47: Minor Chest Wound. +3 hits. 1 hit per round. -5 to activity.

Round 10:
Q: Does bandit 3 keep fleeing? (Likely, he hopes the other bandit will slow Leowyn down)
A: Yes, but, he changes direction, going (N/S): North
Bandit 2: Turns and attacks Leowyn: 75+43-40-20-5=53:-
Leowyn: Attacks Bandit 2: 61+38+15+20-15=119: 15C: 3: Weak Strike yields no extra damage. +0 hits. Bandit 2 is down.
Camthalion: Surface Ways: 68: Success. Heals: 1 hit point at Dwalin.

The bandit tries a futile attack to fend off the Shield maiden, but he fails and is struck down. Meanwhile his companion has had the smarts to get off the road and run to the fields North.
Camthalion works his healing powers on Dwalin who becomes more and more appreciative of the elf.

Round 11:
Q: Is Bandit 3 visible to Leowyn?
A: No
Q: Is Bandit 4 visible to Leowyn? (Unlikely)
A: False Presupposition. Bandit 4 has escaped, he’s no longer in the field.
Q: Is Ambald visible to Leowyn?
A: Yes, and he’s realized what is going on, and is returning.

The thrill of battle still in her veins, she looks around for the rest of the bandits, but she can’t find them, they both seem to have dispersed in different directions, hiding behind trees and shrubs. But she makes out another figure. It’s Ambald, the teamster, coming to them.
She wipes her blade off the blood, and sheathes it.
“You arrived just in time.” He tells her as he comes within shouting distance. “You have great skill with the blade.” He adds.
Leowyn smiles. “I’ve brought friends.” She adds.
They tie back the horse to the cart, load it and return to the inn.
Wyny is more than happy to have them all back safe, and even Ambald in one piece.

Now the party must decide how to proceed.

Going with BOLD again to roll up some connections.

action gerund subject
scrutinize negating a dislike
assure detailing an annoyance
speculate working a decision

Camthalion, wants to find out more about the evil brewing in the region.
Dwalin, being a stereotypical stubborn greedy dwarf, wants to keep searching the Trollshaws for the relic.
Leowyn has given her word to the caravan master, and also going south to Tharbad takes her closer to her personal task to find her lover’s killer.

The three adventurers go to their room, and have a meeting.
Camthalion points out his worries. “There is great evil in the region. The Crebain followed us back here. Soon after I was confronted by a man who almost killed me. Master of the black arts, who knew we were at the keep. I found several manuscripts which we should try to decipher. Maybe bring them to Rivendell. That’s what should be done, before we head back in the keep, to clean it up of any residual evil.”
Leowyn takes point on the conversation. “I understand your worries. But I have given my word to the caravan master. He’s lost a guard because he changed course to come here, and he’d have turned back, unless I offered my blade until Tharbad. Come with me down to Tharbad, and as soon as we finish our escort duty, we’ll return to the keep or go to Rivendell. There will be enough time.”
Dwalin, diminishes the importance of Leowyn’s promise. “Did you offer your blade for free?” He asks.
Leowyn shakes her head. “No, I’m to be paid the escort’s wage.”
“Then you can null the contract, with no pay, and no harm done!” Dwalin adds. “We should search the region, if there’s so much evil here.”
“I could try to convince Wyny to hire you as guards as well, you’ve proved yourselves and we could use the extra silver.” She tries to convince them otherwise.

With these I deem that Camthalion has used up the speculate, detailing, a dislike, Leowyn has used up the assure, working, a decision and Dwalin has used up scrutinize, negating, an annoyance.

Now let’s see on this break or make moment if the party will stick together.

Camthalion: Influence: 34+20=54: Failure
Leowyn: Influence: 87=87: Partial Success
Dwalin: Influence: 34-5=29: Failure

So Leowyn has another shot at it.

“Is the pay good?” Dwalin asks.
“I’m sure we can work something out. We can also ask for the teamster to put in a good word.” Leowyn replies.

Leowyn: Influence: 62: Failure

“Doesn’t sound reliable to me.” Dwalin says. “I’ll stay in Rhudaur with Camthalion. I think Tharbad is not in our way.”
“I still wish you would join us.” Camthalion says. “Is your mind made up?”
“I’m afraid so. I must honor my word. There’s a chance that in Tharbad I can find clues about what I’m looking for. May we meet again.” Leowyn adds.
There’s an odd pause. They all feel numb, but they must take their own way.

Bookkeeping

Arrows: Camthalion is at 35+2 (I deem that the fumbled shot destroyed the arrow) arrows,
Leowyn is at 35 arrows

Criticals EP
Camthalion
Dwalin 310
Leowyn
Kill Points EP
Camthalion
Dwalin 250
Leowyn 390
Hits Received EP
Camthalion
Dwalin 26
Leowyn
Spell Points EP
Camthalion 100
Dwalin
Leowyn

Maneuver Points|EP
Camthalion|
Dwalin|
Leowyn|10

Non-Idea EP Total EP
Camthalion 100
Dwalin 586
Leowyn 400

I’ll give the party half the total as idea points, 1086 EP total, divided by three, 362 each.

Summing up, from previous session.

Name Experience Points
Camthalion 5568 EP
Dwalin 6614 EP
Leowyn 5653 EP

Money: The party pool is 6sp, 87bp, 6cp and 59tp. Which is 2sp, 29bp, 2cp and 20tp each.

Hit Points: Dwalin is at 17 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

I was almost certain that the battle with the bandits would end in disaster when Dwalin got hit and Camthalion fumbled. But his 100 on his critical on the extra successful strike on the bandit leader changed the course of the battle in one second!
I could have done the Influence roll opposed, with the entire party moving as one, but I worked with MERP success levels for two reasons.
The narrative reason is that the party had serious reasons to follow their own ways. They felt strongly for their opinions.
The mechanical reason is that MERP has exhausted me. The system is ancient and it has tons of gaps or non-streamlined parts, to put it nicely. I want to switch to another system. Either by converting these characters or by starting new ones.
So essentially I’m putting a nice end on the Trollshaws part of the adventure, with options to continue the story sooner or later.