DMDM's Adventures in Mirkwood

Game Master Douglas Muir 406

Roleplaying in Middle-Earth, using the 5e Middle-Earth rules from Cubicle 7.


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Let's talk a moment about Radagast. The Brown Wizard is the most famous inhabitant of the Woodmen's realm. And he'll surely show up at some point. When he does, what should you expect?

1) Let's get one thing out of the way: he's not the ditzy Sylvester McCoy character from the Hobbit movies. Radagast is a Wizard, and that's serious business. Saruman held him in contempt and called him a fool, but by that point Saruman held *everyone* in contempt. And Radagast was deceived by Saruman, but so was everyone else -- including Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel.

Wizards are serious business. They're Maiar, for starters. But even putting that aside, they're hugely powerful. Saruman is an almost irresistible enchanter who creates a new and improved species of orc and ends up becoming Sauron Lite. Gandalf goes toe-to-toe with a Balrog. Even if Radagast is much weaker than either of them -- and there's no text evidence for that -- he should still be a formidable Power in his own right.

2) Tolkien's characterization of Radagast is sketchy. That should leave a DM lots of room for interpretation -- but also, Tolkien went back and forth on whether Radagast had failed in his mission as a wizard, and if so, just how. Also, some of Tolkien's statements don't seem consistent with the facts that we're given. For instance, he suggests at one point that Radagast had little to do with Men -- but Rhosgobel is clearly in or near the land of the Woodmen. At another point he suggests that Radagast was either too kind, or too absorbed in Middle-Earth, its plants and its beasts. But this doesn't seem consistent with a Wizard living almost in the shadow of Dol Guldur. Radagast was practically nose-to-nose with Sauron for centuries. Much is made of Galadriel's struggle with the Shadow in Mirkwood... but Radagast was even closer! A dotty, distracted herbalist isn't likely to have lasted very long against the Necromancer.

So, here are a couple of things to know about (my vision of) Radagast.

First, Radagast is based at Rhosgobel, but he moves around a lot. In this sense, he's intermediate between Saruman (based in Orthanc) and Gandalf (no fixed abode, wanders). The Brown Wizard disappears for anything from a day or two to several years. Sometimes he lets the neighbors know when he'll be back. More often, he doesn't. (There's actually a tiny bit of textevd for this: in _Fellowship_, while they're resting at Rivendell, Elrond sends out scouts. One group of scouts visits Rhosgobel and finds Radagast gone.) He's in Rhosgobel more often than not, but he can pop up anywhere in Wilderland.

Second, Radagast is the most reluctant of the Wizards to offer advice or direction. In this case, I see a continuum from Saruman (always lordly and quick to direct others) through Gandalf (a wise advisor and counselor, quick to point out folly, but lets others make their choices) to Radagast (may be helpful, but reluctant even to give advice.)

All this won't be relevant for a while, but may be useful if you're thinking about backstory. Also, when the campaign begins, Radagast is Not At Home.


Okay, team -- dot in. This is also the time to ask any last-minute questions.

Play-by-post is all about MOMENTUM MOMENTUM MOMENTUM. I have learned that the hard way. So I'm planning to post at least once per day, and I expect everyone else to at least try to match that. If you're going to miss a couple of days, let us know in advance, yadda yadda. You all know how this works.


Meanwhile, the cold start: I'm splitting you up into two groups, which means there will be two narratives in the gameplay thread -- at least for now.

VEIG THE DWARF has been captured by Spiders and is hanging helpless. FAEM THE HALFLING is watching in horror, undetected, from behind a tree.

RADEGUND has foolishly allowed a valuable hawk to fly off, and is now chasing it into the depths of Mirkwood. FINRAETH THE ELF is strolling nonchalantly along beside her. AMALINA THE HEALER, throwing up her hands, is going along because someone has to keep these two out of trouble.

Got that? We'll start on gameplay tomorrow (Tuesday). Meanwhile, dot in and post any questions, last-minute build changes, or whatever right here.


Female Hobbit of the Anduin Vales | Treasure Hunter (1) | HP: 10 AC: 14 Spd: 25ft| Init: +3 Perc: +7 PP:15 | Short Bow: +5 (1d6+3), Shortsword +5 (1d6+3)

I very much appreciate your analysis of Rhadagast, an enigmatic figure for sure.


Female Hobbit of the Anduin Vales | Treasure Hunter (1) | HP: 10 AC: 14 Spd: 25ft| Init: +3 Perc: +7 PP:15 | Short Bow: +5 (1d6+3), Shortsword +5 (1d6+3)

DM_DM, would you please offer a ruling on this question? The Animal Handling skill proficiency seems a poor fit with my Culture and chosen Background. Instead, may I choose Nature, which better fits my character?


Male Dwarf of the Iron Hills Slayer (future foe-hammer) HP: 3/15 | Temp HP: 0/0 | HD 1/1 (d12+3) | Battle Fury 0/2
Stats:
AC 15 | Str +5* Dex +2 Con +5* Int +0 Wis +0 Cha +0 | Initiative +2 | Perception +2 | Insight +0 | Inspiration? No
Conditions: Poisoned

Cheers for the selection and I look forward to seeing how this goes! I also enjoyed that writeup on Tolkien. I was distinctly unimpressed with his portrayal in the Hobbit films, one of many reasons why I didn't enjoy them much at all.

Veig is quite direct. I'm thinking that he had decided to start hunting for minions of the Shadow to battle. What better place for that than ill-omened Mirkwood?


Faem wrote:
DM_DM, would you please offer a ruling on this question? The Animal Handling skill proficiency seems a poor fit with my Culture and chosen Background. Instead, may I choose Nature, which better fits my character?

Nature is fine.


Male Human Wizard | HP 22/22 |AC 17 (Tch 13, FF 14) | Fort 0, Ref +3, Will +7|Init +1 Perception +1

Veig, if you see this in time, could you remove the post? I did say "We'll start on gameplay tomorrow (Tuesday)."

If you do, you can keep the nat 20 and apply it to your next roll.


Male Dwarf of the Iron Hills Slayer (future foe-hammer) HP: 3/15 | Temp HP: 0/0 | HD 1/1 (d12+3) | Battle Fury 0/2
Stats:
AC 15 | Str +5* Dex +2 Con +5* Int +0 Wis +0 Cha +0 | Initiative +2 | Perception +2 | Insight +0 | Inspiration? No
Conditions: Poisoned

Oh sure! Apologies for jumping the gun.


No problem.

Okay, so a few words on the Realm of the Woodmen.


The land of the Woodmen is very clearly defined: it's a strip along the western edge of Mirkwood, about ninety miles long and fifteen miles deep. The Woodmen sometimes call this the Forewood.

The eastern edge is quite clearly defined: it's the shore of the Dusky River. The River flows from sources deep in the Mountains of Mirkwood, to the north and east. It then runs south, parallel to the forest's edge, until it reaches the Dark Tarn, a long lake surrounded by hills.

(Imagine this long strip of forest as a tall rectangle. The Dark Tarn is at the southeast corner. Rhosgobel sits at the edge of the forest, at the southwest corner. At the northeast corner -- where the Dusky River arrives from deep inside the Forest, turning its course from southwest to south -- is Wuduseld, or Woodmen's Hall. And exactly in the middle Woodmen-Town, which is by far the largest settlement and the only thing actual town.)

The Forewood has many clearings for homesteads and gardens, and it's criss-crossed by trails and paths, and it's not much more dangerous than a normal forest. The Spiders don't cross the Dusky River, and no wicked thing dares approach Rhosgobel too closely. Wolves and forest cats and other dangerous creatures do get in, and there are still dense thickets where it's strangely easy to get confused and then lost. And when the Necromancer dwelt in Dol Guldur, raids by orcs and goblins were all too frequent. But the Forewood is... not terrible.

Once you cross the Dusky River, though, you're in Mirkwood proper. And that's something else again altogether.


AC 16 (14 w/o shield) | Init +2 (+7 nr forest) | Per +5 (+7 in KL; Advantage nr forest); PP 15 (+2 in KL, +5 nr forest) | STR +3, CON +4, DEX +2, WIS +3

DM, thanks for fleshing out both Radegast and the Woodmen. I agree, I'm much happier with Radegast as a powerful wizard who happens to have a great connection to the birds and beasts.

A few Qs that I'd posted in Recruitment yesterday, but I'll move over here now that we have a discussion thread:

1) My impression is that most or all of Rhosgobel live together in one greathouse, yes? When you say 'a respectable holding', are you talking about land, or just reputation in the community?

2) I'd pictured her learning to hunt & track from her parents, but let me know if you want it to have been someone else in the community instead.

Also, I didn't answer Tolkien level in recruitment. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm at the lower end. I've read the Hobbit (twice) and LotR trilogy (once), and have otherwise engaged in a bit of browsing and conversation here and there...but it's been a while since I read any Tolkien so I'm sure I'll make mistakes or have Qs to ask in Discussion.

One metaquestion: Getting lore right matters. Momentum matters. I can picture myself wanting guidance on some matter of lore before replying to a post. I know this is pretty abstract without an example, but do you have any guidance to help us decide when to post (knowing we're making an assumption about the world) and when to ask a Q in discussion first?


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)

I like that characterisation of Radagast. I'm planning something similar if/when my characters encounter him: if he comes across as absent-minded, it's because he wants you to see him that way.

Do not meddle in the affairs etc.

Sounds like an interesting start!


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)

Also, while I'm thinking about it, we should probably use this time wisely, as I don't think I've gamed with you before.

What you need to know about me: I like to plan. Even if I'm playing a character who is rash and impulsive, I like to talk it through with the other players in advance so that they can factor it in to their own tactical decisions (e.g. "OK guys, Bash is gonna rage and then charge at the archers, cursing them for their cowardly ways. That leaves you free to attack the BBEG without getting shot to pieces."). If the rest of you are willing to do something similar, that would be much appreciated.

So, for example and speaking purely hypothetically, if Amalina, Radegund and I were to, I dunno, run into a group of spiders harassing a dwarf, my plan would be to stand off and shoot, keeping moving to draw them away. If all of them take the bait, Amalina could then run in to tend the dwarf/cut him free so he can join the fight.

I'm always open to listening to better plans so don't be shy about speaking up! But Leroy Jenkins wannabes get themselves and their party killed.


Radegund, The Magpie wrote:


1) My impression is that most or all of Rhosgobel live together in one greathouse, yes?

Rhosgobel is something between a small fortress and a village. A few hundred people live in and around it. It's the third biggest settlement of the Woodmen after Woodmen-Town and Wuduseld. In numbers it's no more than a village but it has strategic importance because of its location (it guards the southern border, which looks towards Dol Guldur) and its most famous resident.

Quote:
When you say 'a respectable holding', are you talking about land, or just reputation in the community?

Both. They have a clearing with a longhouse. They also own herds, which graze on the plains outside the woods, to the east. (The Eastern Eaves of Anduin, formally.) It's a large household with a fair number of servants, hired help, and tenants.

Quote:
2) I'd pictured her learning to hunt & track from her parents, but let me know if you want it to have been someone else in the community instead.

Her maternal grandfather, mostly, and some of his friends. (Give the old guy a name.)

Quote:

One metaquestion: Getting lore right matters. Momentum matters. I can picture myself wanting guidance on some matter of lore before replying to a post. I know this is pretty abstract without an example, but do you have any guidance to help us decide when to post (knowing we're making an assumption about the world) and when to ask a Q in discussion first?

There's two things here: lore and tone. Lore is lore and if you get it wrong, NBD -- we can work it out.

Tone is subtler, more of a know-it-when-you-see-it kind of thing. Some breaches of tone (murderhoboing, threatening the innocent) get zapped in-game with Shadow. But some are just... off. If you're not sure whether you're in the zone, post here and we'll talk it out in advance.


An additional note: this goes both ways. I'm learning a new system while running it. I may not remember all your abilities and PC backgrounds. Feel free to correct me on either. "Soon the party hopelessly lost..." "Wait, I specifically have the power to NEVER get lost. See, it's right here on my character sheet." That sort of thing is sure to happen; when it does, we'll work it out.


AC 16 (14 w/o shield) | Init +2 (+7 nr forest) | Per +5 (+7 in KL; Advantage nr forest); PP 15 (+2 in KL, +5 nr forest) | STR +3, CON +4, DEX +2, WIS +3

Thanks for all those answers. Her mother's father is Barald, "the Far Walker".

I've amended my backstory to include the line: "While her parents and her elder brother Arnulf tended to their herds and important business, Radegund's grandfather Barald took her under his wing and taught her to hunt, to track, and to cure hides."

She'll have an older brother (Arnulf) as well, who is expected to take over the family business. As the baby, Radegund had the freedom to run off with her granddad to follow tracks.

A few other Qs:
1) "a large household with a fair number of servants" sounds wealthier than I thought existed among the Woodmen. If that's true of us, are we of an uncommon level of wealth among the Woodmen? I'm going off bits like the following (from the Player's Guide). I'm 100% fine with however you want to play it, but want to make sure I understand correctly.

"The Woodmen carve a living out of meagre hunts,
burning charcoal and breeding animals. Their constant
fight with the Wood and its wild things leaves them
struggling to do more than simply survive.
Their culture
ranks as Frugal"
and
"Traditionally, women fight and hunt alongside
their men, or even alone if unmarried or
widowed, in their struggle to survive in the hostile
environment.
"

1a) Shall I still start with the Frugal Woodmen supplies?

2) Nicknames: The guide says "it is a common practice among adventurers to keep their real name a secret, preferring to let themselves be known only by a nickname (the Bride, the Hound)."

Should I assume that I introduce myself to outsiders as the Magpie? And among my fellow Woodmen, when do we use nicknames and when do we use given names?

EDIT----

DM, thanks for the invitation to raise Qs if we think a rule was missed. In the end, the thing I care most about is the story, but it's nice (and I want a great DM to have the freedom to tweak the rules when they need) but it's great have permission to at least get ourselves on the same page.

I want to explicitly echo the same: I'm still newish to 5e, so I'm sure I'll make mistakes with the system, and with the lore. I encourage any and all of you to help me learn with both.

Finraeth, planning sounds like a VEEERY good idea, given how unforgiving the lack of long rests & healing magic will be in this world!


Radegund, The Magpie wrote:


1) "a large household with a fair number of servants" sounds wealthier than I thought existed among the Woodmen. If that's true of us, are we of an uncommon level of wealth among the Woodmen?

Yes. Your family is unusually prosperous. This is deliberate. Woodmen are human, so they have politics. I wanted one PC who could at least potentially get drawn up into all that. (Potentially. If it comes up.)

Your family would be Woodmen nobility, if the Woodmen went in for that sort of thing, which they firmly don't.

Quote:
1a) Shall I still start with the Frugal Woodmen supplies?

Yes. Your family is prosperous and prominent, but you're a younger child who has spent most of her time wandering around the forest.

Quote:

2) Nicknames: The guide says "it is a common practice among adventurers to keep their real name a secret, preferring to let themselves be known only by a nickname (the Bride, the Hound)."

Should I assume that I introduce myself to outsiders as the Magpie? And among my fellow Woodmen, when do we use nicknames and when do we use given names?

If you're an adventurer? Names are for family, for trusted friends, and for rare formal occasions.


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Finraeth wrote:
I like to plan. Even if I'm playing a character who is rash and impulsive, I like to talk it through with the other players in advance so that they can factor it in to their own tactical decisions

I have no problem with that. The only thing I'll say is that OOC planning should go on the Discussion thread. Otherwise, go nuts.

Quote:

I'm always open to listening to better plans so don't be shy about speaking up! But Leroy Jenkins wannabes get themselves and their party killed.

I see my job, not as killing you, but as giving you interesting opportunities to kill yourselves.


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)
DM_DM wrote:

Meanwhile, the cold start: I'm splitting you up into two groups, which means there will be two narratives in the gameplay thread -- at least for now.

VEIG THE DWARF has been captured by Spiders and is hanging helpless. FAEM THE HALFLING is watching in horror, undetected, from behind a tree.

RADEGUND has foolishly allowed a valuable hawk to fly off, and is now chasing it into the depths of Mirkwood. FINRAETH THE ELF is strolling nonchalantly along beside her. AMALINA THE HEALER, throwing up her hands, is going along because someone has to keep these two out of trouble.

Got that? We'll start on gameplay tomorrow (Tuesday). Meanwhile, dot in and post any questions, last-minute build changes, or whatever right here.

Missed this earlier - and not that it hugely matters - but "nonchalant" doesn't really describe Finraeth. He's pretty earnest* (and truthful almost to a fault) - he's in this part of the world because the Shadow has recently been driven away, so now is the time for the Free Folk of the North to consolidate on that victory and unite to reclaim the Greenwood as once was!

*by the standards of High Elves, of course; so maybe nonchalant from the perspective of the race of Men


AC 16 (14 w/o shield) | Init +2 (+7 nr forest) | Per +5 (+7 in KL; Advantage nr forest); PP 15 (+2 in KL, +5 nr forest) | STR +3, CON +4, DEX +2, WIS +3

DM, thanks for the answers. I love fleshing this world out, and am excited to see where this adventure goes!

I've just updated my profile. I think it's all complete now.

I just realized that much of the time my passive perception may be as high as 22(!): 10 +3 WIS +4 (proficiency doubled in Known Lands) +5 (natural watchfulness virtue).

I'm excited to play this up as not just sharp senses but how she is attuned to what she can learn from the natural world.

EDIT-------

...except I haven't rolled for cash yet, so...Silver: 2d6 ⇒ (6, 4) = 10


Finraeth wrote:


Missed this earlier - and not that it hugely matters - but "nonchalant" doesn't really describe Finraeth.

Okay, noted.

Late bedtime here (Europe). Post any last-minute questions or comments or build changes here tonight, and then we'll jump in on gameplay tomorrow.


AC 16 (14 w/o shield) | Init +2 (+7 nr forest) | Per +5 (+7 in KL; Advantage nr forest); PP 15 (+2 in KL, +5 nr forest) | STR +3, CON +4, DEX +2, WIS +3

I was just looking our characters over.

Faem I *think* you get more proficiencies than the four you listed: 2 from your background + 4 from your class +1 (stealth) from your culture. (Unless I missed something.)

Amalina Can't wait to read your crunch, when it's ready.

All I think this is a really fun collection of characters, and we'll make an interesting party. Can't wait to explore our little corner of Middle Earth together!


Female Woodsman | Scholar (1) | HP: 09 AC: 13 Spd: 30ft| Init: +2 Perc: +3 PP:13 | Hand Ax: +2 (1d6), Sling +4 (1d4+2)

OK, have most of the crunch finished, and removed the parts of my fluff that no longer made sense...will get rest done as we play!! Sorry!


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)

Oh yes, cash. Forgot about that!

5d6 ⇒ (2, 6, 2, 4, 4) = 18


Also, Veig: please don't mind your current helpless condition too much. One way or another, it shouldn't last too long...


Female Hobbit of the Anduin Vales | Treasure Hunter (1) | HP: 10 AC: 14 Spd: 25ft| Init: +3 Perc: +7 PP:15 | Short Bow: +5 (1d6+3), Shortsword +5 (1d6+3)
Magpie wrote:
Faem I *think* you get more proficiencies than the four you listed: 2 from your background + 4 from your class +1 (stealth) from your culture. (Unless I missed something.)

Those were only my class skill proficiencies. All are accounted for. Thanks for checking.

Oh my, the game is afoot! It's still Monday in the western US. I will post in the morning.


Female Hobbit of the Anduin Vales | Treasure Hunter (1) | HP: 10 AC: 14 Spd: 25ft| Init: +3 Perc: +7 PP:15 | Short Bow: +5 (1d6+3), Shortsword +5 (1d6+3)

Finishing touches: Money and Equipment

Silver pennies: 2d6 ⇒ (4, 4) = 8

Leather Jerkin
Short Bow
Quiver, 20 Arrows
Shortsword
Dagger
Mottled cloak
Flint
Fishing tackle
Sack


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)

OK, so with 18 silver I'm going to buy

50 ft rope (1 silver, and Samwise Gamgee nods in approval)
Signet ring (5 silver)
20 more arrows (1 silver)
2 days' rations (10 silver)

That's 17 silver total, 1 remaining.


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)

Incidentally, rations seem horrendously pricy. What happened to the good old days of buying "iron rations" by the week?


Finraeth wrote:
Incidentally, rations seem horrendously pricy. What happened to the good old days of buying "iron rations" by the week?

Dang, that does seem a lot. Could it be a typo, I wonder.

-- BTW, you just got Inspiration. Congratulations! Now: spend it. I'll hand out Inspiration pretty freely, so there's not much point to hoarding it.


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)

Yay for Inspiration! I have a feeling there will be need of spending it, so no issues there.

My guess is that they want rations to be pricy as an in-game rationale to encourage you to actually rely on your Hunter when you travel any distances.

Also, what's the etiquette here? That's over a dozen gameplay posts in around and hour or so. Wait for the others to log in and catch up? I'm conscious we're all on different time zones - I'm on GMT so a lot of the action in future will probably take place while I'm slumbering peacefully.


Finraeth wrote:


My guess is that they want rations to be pricy as an in-game rationale to encourage you to actually rely on your Hunter when you travel any distances.

Hm!

Quote:
Also, what's the etiquette here? That's over a dozen gameplay posts in around and hour or so. Wait for the others to log in and catch up? I'm conscious we're all on different time zones - I'm on GMT so a lot of the action in future will probably take place while I'm slumbering peacefully.

I'm in Eastern Europe, GMT +2, or US East Coast +7.

WRT posting, I'd say pile on; see my earlier point about momentum. If something gets missed we can retcon.


Male Dwarf of the Iron Hills Slayer (future foe-hammer) HP: 3/15 | Temp HP: 0/0 | HD 1/1 (d12+3) | Battle Fury 0/2
Stats:
AC 15 | Str +5* Dex +2 Con +5* Int +0 Wis +0 Cha +0 | Initiative +2 | Perception +2 | Insight +0 | Inspiration? No
Conditions: Poisoned

GMT for me as well, plus it's only now (8pm-ish) that I've gotten a proper chance to look at pbp today.

Will post soon.


Male Dwarf of the Iron Hills Slayer (future foe-hammer) HP: 3/15 | Temp HP: 0/0 | HD 1/1 (d12+3) | Battle Fury 0/2
Stats:
AC 15 | Str +5* Dex +2 Con +5* Int +0 Wis +0 Cha +0 | Initiative +2 | Perception +2 | Insight +0 | Inspiration? No
Conditions: Poisoned

I had overlooked a few things in my equipment:

Silver Pennies: 10d6 ⇒ (5, 4, 1, 6, 1, 6, 1, 5, 6, 5) = 40

Hence:

40 Silver pennies
A musical instrument (fiddle)
A fine beard comb and mirror


AC 16 (14 w/o shield) | Init +2 (+7 nr forest) | Per +5 (+7 in KL; Advantage nr forest); PP 15 (+2 in KL, +5 nr forest) | STR +3, CON +4, DEX +2, WIS +3

Just posted to catch up with the tree. I'll post more in a bit, but several posts came in just as I was writing that so I didn't want to let that scene go too much further.

Likely the gameplay so far!

--------------EDIT------------------

I haven't looked at what I can spend my precious 10 SP on yet. The (Pathfinder) Ranger's kit seems like a reasonable start, if I can afford it:

[a backpack, a bedroll, a belt pouch, a flint and steel, iron pot, mess kit, rope, torches (10), trail rations (5 days), and a waterskin.]

...so owning a torch seems likely. I likely carry much of my ranging supplies most days...but then I wasn't really planning to take the Elf off into the Mirkwood today, was I? ...So, DM's call.


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)

I'm pretty sure (99.99999%) that Pathfinder pricing and gear doesn't translate to 5e and especially not to Middle-Earth, but it's the DM's call.

Loving what I'm reading so far!

And Finraeth doesn't carry a torch (he has night vision).


Radegund, The Magpie wrote:


I haven't looked at what I can spend my precious 10 SP on yet. The (Pathfinder) Ranger's kit seems like a reasonable start, if I can afford it:

...So, DM's call.

Pathfinder pricing does not translate to Middle-Earth.

That said, you could have tinder and flint; that's a reasonable thing to be carrying around.


Male Dwarf of the Iron Hills Slayer (future foe-hammer) HP: 3/15 | Temp HP: 0/0 | HD 1/1 (d12+3) | Battle Fury 0/2
Stats:
AC 15 | Str +5* Dex +2 Con +5* Int +0 Wis +0 Cha +0 | Initiative +2 | Perception +2 | Insight +0 | Inspiration? No
Conditions: Poisoned
DM_DM wrote:

Man, Disadvantage sucks. That said, 16 Str gives you a carrying capacity of 240 lbs. The unconscious Woodman is not that heavy -- say, 160. So unless you have 80 lbs of gear on you already, no Athletics check is needed.

(A more cruel DM would use the optional Encumbrance rule. Mmmmm. But no.)

Aye, disadvantage hurts. Still, Veig is too damn stubborn to let a little thing like venom stop him. ;)


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)

Ok, this is where the whole planning thing is needed. Finraeth is NOT intending to leave the spiders to hunt their prey. Even if it's not a Misdeed, it's not his thing. (Assuming reasonable odds, that is. He's not a fool.)

I suggest we try for the surprise round - I think we all have decent Stealth.

Does the surprise round in 5e give Advantage? Or is it just a free round of actions?


Note for future reference:

I think the concept of a "level appropriate encounter" is, as the man says, more what you'd call a guideline than an actual rule. And Tolkien agrees with me! Remember, he's the guy who pitted four low-level hobbits and one Ranger against *five* Nazgul.

Point being, "Run" is going to be a real option sometimes. Even if it means eating some Shadow. The Fellowship of the Ring totally ate a bunch of Shadow points when the Balrog grabbed Gandalf. (Good thing they were able to take a long rest in Lorien!)

Furthermore: balancing encounters in ME is trickier than in vanilla 5e. That's partly because it can be hard to get long rests, and it's partly because some of the monsters are a bit odd. Mirkwood spiders, for instance, can spray webs like Spider-Man, as a ranged attack that leaves you immobilized if it hits. If you face a lot of spiders, that can overwhelm even powerful characters. So... just sayin'.


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Note for future reference:

I think the concept of a "level appropriate encounter" is, as the man says, more what you'd call a guideline than an actual rule.

Word to the Wise: DMDM threw an Erinyes (CR 8 flying archer) at a level 6 party. While we were climbing up a freaking cliff. So this is not a drill.

(...and yes, I came back for more. Either DMDM is just that good, or I'm a sucker for punishment. Your choice)

Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
The Fellowship of the Ring totally ate a bunch of Shadow points when the Balrog grabbed Gandalf.

Hmm - I'd (respectfully - this is all YMMV) disagree with that. When the Wizard says "Fly, you fools!" and you run, I wouldn't say that's a Misdeed. Save vs Anguish? Sure. Absolutely. But automatic accumulation of Shadow points? Harsh.


AC 16 (14 w/o shield) | Init +2 (+7 nr forest) | Per +5 (+7 in KL; Advantage nr forest); PP 15 (+2 in KL, +5 nr forest) | STR +3, CON +4, DEX +2, WIS +3

Do I know whether spiders are likely to run or attack, when peppered with arrows? (Or, rather, do I know anything that tends to scare them off?)

And can I place the bird on my shoulder or otherwise free up an arm? Otherwise this'll get *extra* tricky? (Maybe the hound can carry it?)

-------------EDIT-----------------

I've added a stat line. Please let me know if you'd like any changes. (My slight pref is to track things that go up & down like HP at the bottom of my posts, since it makes it easier to look back and make sure I didn't screw something up...and it's a bit faster than editing my profile every round of combat...but I'll happily whatever you ask)

Also note, my PER isn't actually +12 out here. My Passive PER *IS* 22 out here...by my active is +7 with Advantage...which will average about the same, but means I max out at 27, not the 31 you rolled for me.

OH, and one more thing: ALWAYS feel free to role for me (Init, Per, Nature, etc) if you know I'm encountering something that I might notice / understand / whatnot. I'm not someone who needs to click the RNG myself. ;-)


Finraeth wrote:


Hmm - I'd (respectfully - this is all YMMV) disagree with that. When the Wizard says "Fly, you fools!" and you run, I wouldn't say that's a Misdeed. Save vs Anguish? Sure. Absolutely. But automatic accumulation of Shadow points? Harsh.

Oh, Anguish, not Misdeed. But a crapton of Anguish, and none of them made their saves except /maybe/ Aragorn.


Radegund, The Magpie wrote:
Do I know whether spiders are likely to run or attack, when peppered with arrows? (Or, rather, do I know anything that tends to scare them off?)

They don't like fire.

Smaller Spiders fear larger ones. There's a rough hierarchy based on size, and bigger Spiders have no compunctions about eating smaller ones. Big Spiders are really bad news, because they get smarter as they get bigger.

Quote:
And can I place the bird on my shoulder or otherwise free up an arm? Otherwise this'll get *extra* tricky? (Maybe the hound can carry it?)

The hound can't carry it. The bird is hooded, so it'll cling on to your shoulder. That's going to be painful if it gripes, and it will probably gripe. But it won't fly off unless struck -- a hooded hawk has a strong aversion to flying blind.

Quote:
I've added a stat line. Please let me know if you'd like any changes.

It's a bit of overkill right now. Can you prune it back to the essentials? AC, Perception, Init, key saves.


Male High Elf Warden | HP: 2/9 | AC: 16 | Perception +4 (Night Vision) | Initiative +2 | Insight +4 | Wis save +2 (+4 v Corruption) | Con save +1 | Portrait Conditions: Exhaustion (2); Inspiration (N)
DM_DM wrote:
Finraeth wrote:


Hmm - I'd (respectfully - this is all YMMV) disagree with that. When the Wizard says "Fly, you fools!" and you run, I wouldn't say that's a Misdeed. Save vs Anguish? Sure. Absolutely. But automatic accumulation of Shadow points? Harsh.
Oh, Anguish, not Misdeed. But a crapton of Anguish, and none of them made their saves except /maybe/ Aragorn.

Ah, my misunderstanding. I'd agree entirely with that assessment. (I'd say Aragorn makes that save, but fails the later one when Boromir dies and the Fellowship breaks apart.)

Radegund, The Magpie wrote:
And can I place the bird on my shoulder or otherwise free up an arm? Otherwise this'll get *extra* tricky? (Maybe the hound can carry it?)

What, the bird that you wouldn't even *have* if the "over his head" High Elf hadn't rescued for you? The one that he crept up on, shinned up a tree to collect and persuaded onto his hand - without having a single relevant Proficiency? That bird?

#notbittermuch


Finraeth wrote:
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Note for future reference:

I think the concept of a "level appropriate encounter" is, as the man says, more what you'd call a guideline than an actual rule.

Word to the Wise: DMDM threw an Erinyes (CR 8 flying archer) at a level 6 party. While we were climbing up a freaking cliff. So this is not a drill.

You survived, so by definition it was a balanced encounter.


Female Hobbit of the Anduin Vales | Treasure Hunter (1) | HP: 10 AC: 14 Spd: 25ft| Init: +3 Perc: +7 PP:15 | Short Bow: +5 (1d6+3), Shortsword +5 (1d6+3)
DM_DM wrote:
Finraeth wrote:
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Note for future reference:

I think the concept of a "level appropriate encounter" is, as the man says, more what you'd call a guideline than an actual rule.

Word to the Wise: DMDM threw an Erinyes (CR 8 flying archer) at a level 6 party. While we were climbing up a freaking cliff. So this is not a drill.
You survived, so by definition it was a balanced encounter.

All the same, I would hope that we don't lose a PC right off the bat in an encounter we could not avoid to a foe we could not outrun. I'm confident that won't happen. It would be good to get a count of the spiders Faem observed at the outset.


AC 16 (14 w/o shield) | Init +2 (+7 nr forest) | Per +5 (+7 in KL; Advantage nr forest); PP 15 (+2 in KL, +5 nr forest) | STR +3, CON +4, DEX +2, WIS +3
Douglas Muir 406 wrote:
Radegund, The Magpie wrote:
Do I know whether spiders are likely to run or attack, when peppered with arrows? (Or, rather, do I know anything that tends to scare them off?)

They don't like fire.

Smaller Spiders fear larger ones. There's a rough hierarchy based on size, and bigger Spiders have no compunctions about eating smaller ones. Big Spiders are really bad news, because they get smarter as they get bigger.

Quote:
And can I place the bird on my shoulder or otherwise free up an arm? Otherwise this'll get *extra* tricky? (Maybe the hound can carry it?)

The hound can't carry it. The bird is hooded, so it'll cling on to your shoulder. That's going to be painful if it gripes, and it will probably gripe. But it won't fly off unless struck -- a hooded hawk has a strong aversion to flying blind.

OK, thanks. Hopefully my jerkin protects me from the worst of it's grip.

Quote:
I've added a stat line. Please let me know if you'd like any changes.
It's a bit of overkill right now. Can you prune it back to the essentials? AC, Perception, Init, key saves.

Done.


AC 16 (14 w/o shield) | Init +2 (+7 nr forest) | Per +5 (+7 in KL; Advantage nr forest); PP 15 (+2 in KL, +5 nr forest) | STR +3, CON +4, DEX +2, WIS +3
Finraeth wrote:

What, the bird that you wouldn't even *have* if the "over his head" High Elf hadn't rescued for you? The one that he crept up on, shinned up a tree to collect and persuaded onto his hand - without having a single relevant Proficiency? That bird?

#notbittermuch

Hehehehehehe. Now Radegund has gone from thinking of you as a "city slicker" who needs to be watched in the woods to a proper Woodman like herself.

Of course, all of those skills are ones she's proficient in (and sometimes gets advantage on, to boot) so feel free to pass the next stealth/athletics/animal-handling challenge her way :-) ...though given my luck, the RNG will just pretend I'm rolling a d6 again.

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