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MERP: Dawn of the Fourth Age Session 4

This is part of an ongoing campaign. You can find the other sessions over on the sidebar.

22 Lothron F.A. 15

The fellowship set out for Tharbad, with the plan to stop in Edoras on the way. They were joined by Leowyn, a female Rider of Rohan, played by Zach (Zenopus).  Leowyn, as a native of Rohan, agreed to serve as their guide for the first part of the journey. They set out on a cool, clear mid-Spring morning.

27 Lothron F.A. 15

After several days of clear weather, they felt a cold wind off the White Mountains in the afternoon of the 27th. The temperature starting dropping quickly, and storm clouds began to move in. They decided to seek shelter and Leowyn remembered a nearby cave she had seen on previous journeys. She gleefully pointed out that it seemed ripe for exploration, which some of the fellowship found a little ominous. 

As they approached the cave, they walked up an extremely old path. While it was still sound, the stones marking the side were rounded by age. The cave itself was shallow, 20' x 20', but it was dry and had a level floor. There was a small crack in the back of the cave, so they sent Tulip to investigate it and make sure they were secure for the night.

Tulip slipped into the crack and found that it went 15 feet back into another chamber. In this chamber she found 6 large (7' long) sarcophagi and a seven foot tall statue of a warrior in chain holding a sword. Each of the sarcophagi had a five pointed star on its lid. There were no other exits to the room. 

She reported back to the others, and they decided to see the room for themselves. Sindawe elected to stay behind with the horses. The others had a difficult time making it through the crack, and after poking around in the chamber a bit they decided to take one of the lids off a sarcophagus. Dirdan recognized the star as the symbol of a faction of the King's Men from ancient Numenor.

The lid was heavy, and as soon as it hit the floor, the statue began to move. Millenia of mineral build-up and dust sloughed off to reveal that the statue was actually an old Numenorean general. The fellowship immediately apologized for disturbing the tomb, and he accepted this apology. They learned that he was named Xhun-Ramo, and that he had been a general in a colonizing mission sent from Numenor. He, and the others in his faction, had forsaken the traditional values of Numenor in pursuit of ways to extend their already long lives. This lead them to be tricked by Sauron and fall into shadow. As Numenor sunk, the drowning people cursed him and his allies, dooming him to stand guard in this chamber until he too is covered by the waters of the sea. They talked with him for a while and departed in the morning.

30 Lothron F.A. 15

They stopped for the night at the Inn of the Greys, intending to cross the Mering and pass into Rohan in the morning. They found the innkeeper, Arley, to be suspicious of them, he would not allow them to bring weapons into the inn. Once inside they saw that there was only one table in the tavern area, the remains of the other tables were stacked up for firewood. A bard, Turibor, with his arm in a sling sat at the lone table.

They learned that a band of mercenaries had come through several days before and refused to pay. They destroyed the tavern and broke Turibor's arm when Arley tried to force them to pay. The mercenaries fit the description of Vacros and his men, so Ardaer gave Arley some silver to cover his losses. They decided to pick up their pace to see if they could catch Vacros.

4 Norui F.A. 15

The temperatures continued to rise throughout the journey, and by the time Lothron gave way to Norui, the weather was summer-like. They continued to push hard until they were stopped by a Shield Maiden named Beywyn outside a village. They learned that Vacros and his men had stopped here two days ago and stolen some sheep. They were gaining on him.

9 Norui F.A. 15

After passing through the King's Barrows, they arrive at the gates of Edoras. They presented their letter of introduction from the High Seer at the gates, and were told that they could leave their horses in the Royal Stable and that accommodations would be provided at an inn for them. The guards had not seen any sign of Vacros or his men. 

After they dropped their horses off they found a sage to identify the unknown weapons they took from the vault. The sage was able to identify they, but warned Dirdan that his had been used in the murder of an elf, and Tulip that hers had a strong will.

When they returned to the inn, there was a message for Sindawe that Stablemaster Widred requested his presence. Sindawe went to the stables where Widred asked him to look at a Haradan horse that was suffering from a strange illness. The horse was one of six gifted to King Eomer by the King of Harad. It took a day of observation, but Sindawe was able to tell that it was some kind of infection that might spread, and warned the Stablemaster that the horse should be separated from the others. The Stablemaster thanked him.

They planned the next leg of their journey to Tharbad.

Thoughts on MERP

We barely used MERP in this session, there were only a few skill rolls. I decided to take some cues from the newer, D&D 5th edition based, Adventures in Middle Earth and I constructed a journey system that was a hybrid of MERPs travel rules and the journeys in AiME. I had them designate a guide, Leowyn in this case, and used her Sky Watching skill check for the guide based rolls like finding shelter during the snow storm. 

MERP does include a fairly robust weather generation system, which I pre-rolled for the journey, and an encounter system that is expanded on in each of the regional sourcebooks. They wound up not running into any of the random encounters due to Zach's high rolls as a guide. 

I decided to cheat a little on Middle Earth months. I found several calendars for Middle Earth on line, and they were not consistent. It appears that there are several different calendars used. They all seemed to have months of varying lengths, which is a pain for gaming purposes. I decided to stick with the list of months found in the MERP rulebook and make each one 30 days. 


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