Been a bit quiet here, so thought I might change that. Nothing earthshaking this time around though.
Supposedly the weekend is a time to relax and unwind from the hustle and bustle of the work week. Well, my Saturday was anything but a chance to relax and unwind, but at least it was due to fun activities (mostly).
It started off the way most of my Saturdays for the past year have, with me waking up to go to work. Honestly, the paycheck is nice from all the mandatory OT they've got us doing, but doing so week after week after week burns a person out. Thankfully, things went pretty smoothly, and I was out of there by 2pm.
After that was some errands that needed running (including grabbing lunch) and the quick check on a few different forums, amidst which the FFG Edge of the Empire Beta forum and D20 Radio, as well as get up to date on my Twitter feed. And then it was off to game night. Thankfully, it wasn't a repeat of last Saturday, with me only finding out things had been cancelled at the very last minute due to sudden appearance of in-laws at the GM's house.
Once again, I'd brought the starter set for FFG's X-Wing game, hoping to get that on the table and see how the final game turned out in comparison to how it played when I got a chance to play a few rounds at GenCon 2011. Turns out, it was still fun, and I managed to squeak out a victory as a Red Squadron Pilot in a lone X-Wing with a trusty astromech vs. a pair of Obsidian Squadron TIE pilots thanks in no small part to a very lucky critical hit. I'm actually glad I pre-ordered all the boosters when I made my purchase of X-Wing, as I guess the X-Wing and Y-Wing boosters are vanishing fast. Sadly we didn't have time for a full-fledged game, but maybe that will change for next weekend.
After that was a burger run to Five Guys (gods do I love their burgers, and their cajun fries are pretty darn tasty as well) for dinner (GM's wife really didn't feel up to cooking anything, which is fine), and then once the rest of the gaming group arrived, it was time to venture back to the realm of Middle-Earth for another session of Cubicle 7's The One Ring.
Once again our GM pulled from the Tales of the Wilderland adventure path, this time running us through "Of Leaves & Stewed Hobbit." As many an adventure has done, this one started out in an inn, specifically a Hobbit-run establishment called the Easterly Inn that's fairly new to the region, and provided a taste of Hobbitish comfort for the two Hobbits (Mirabella and Rorimac) in our group. The dwarf (Bruni) found the mead to be "acceptable" in quality, the elf (Caranlas) was rather aloof, and my psuedo-Ranger (Brander) was simply content to be sleeping next to a warm fire after a warm meal, the group having been "on the road" for some time, with most of the weather having been damp and dismal during the trek. As the night wears on, many of the patrons get ready to turn in; sadly there wasn't enough open rooms for any of our company to get a bed, so we got stuck sleeping in the common room. During the wee hours of the pre-dawn morning, there's a thunderous pounding on the inn's door, waking most of the sleeping patrons and putting the Ranger and elf on high alert (the dwarf was too busy sleeping off his mead and the Hobbits not really sure what to do). The owner of the inn, a cheerful Hobbit named Dodinas (Dody) Brandybuck was quite glad to have some backup when he went to go check the door; any would-be brigands would have an archer and a swordsman to deal with rather than a halfling.
But the unannounced guest turned out to be a rather harried looking youth that claimed to be a survivor of a trade caravan that was coming across the Misty Mountains, with the innkeeper's brother Dinodas (aka Dindy) being amongst the caravan, but whose fate was unknown to the youth, who answered Dody's frantic inquiries with news that the caravan had been attacked by goblins just after they'd settled in for the night. But before he could go into any more detail, the band of goblins that had been chasing him came up, weapons drawn and cruel intent plain to see on their faces. At this point, the dwarf and the Hobbit PCs had been awoken, and the dwarf quite eager to spill goblin blood. After the goblins had all been dispatched (with the elf archer ably dropping the two torch-carriers so as to prevent them from setting the inn on fire), Dody offered our company a job, seeing that we were capable folk; in short, a small amount of coin for finding news of his younger brother, and an offer of free room and board for a week should we bring the young Hobbit traveler back to the inn alive. From what the youth told the company, the caravan had been attacked just as it was nearing the end of the High Pass, just on the edge of the Misty Mountains. It would be a few days' journey, and the youth was in no shape to accompany us, so once the sun was up, off we set.
The journey was thankfully without peril or hardship beyond being dreary and gloomy, perhaps fitting for early summer, though being able to make use of a small boat to take us down the Carrock rather than making the trek on foot probably helped. We reached the foot of the High Pass as the sun was setting, having followed the trail instructions that Dody provided to the ruins of a Mannish town. The sharp eyes of the elf spotted the presence of a shadowy fiend, one that sought to snatch away wee Mirabella. The dwarf and elf found their axe and arrows did little more than annoy the creature, but Brander recalled a story his grandfather had told him of night-haunts, and replaced his sword with a torch, forcing the monster to recoil in fear until it eventually fled back into the night to trouble us no more.
However, the night sky cleared, and again the sharp eyes of our elven archer proved their merit as he spotted signs of a bonfire further up the pass. Given we were already awake and knowing that the night did indeed hold dangers, we made best possible speed towards the alleged bonfire.
What greeted our sight as we approached was not a happy vision, as we found the remains of the caravan holed up in an old ring-fort, with a substantial number of goblins making ready to attack, and signs that the caravan survivors had been under siege for several days. We play the role of Big Damn Heroes and force the goblins into fighting a battle on two fronts. It was at this point that teamwork proved a huge boon, as Rory and Bruni had made each other their Fellowship Focus, enabling the Hobbit to remain on the defense and spend his Hope to protect Bruni, freeing the Dwarf up to go for an all-out offensive that left dead goblins in his wake. Mirabella proved to be a true shot with her sling, with Caranlas and Brander working in tandem to take down as many goblins as they could, all while caravan archers from the ringfort peppered the goblin force with arrows. Brander ended up drawing the attention of a rather brutish looking Orc, who sought to challenge the manling in a one-on-one fight, going so far as to telling the other goblins to leave the Human warrior to him. Dumb move, as a critical hit and a couple tengwar runes lead to the Orc's swift end on the third exchange.
It was a tough fight, but in the end we proved victorious, with only a few minor cuts and scrapes suffered. The caravan leader, a stern fellow named Iwgar (a Beorning) was quite glad for the help, but unfortunately related that Dindy had been taken prisoner during an earlier attack on the ring-fort, due mostly to the "fool of a halfling" running off in a panic rather than staying with the wagons as Iwgar had instructed him. From what the Beorning knew, the goblins likely had a lair in a cave nearby, as it was a short distance from where the caravan had been initially attacked, costing them half of the six men he'd hired in Bree, leaving only three defenders for the rest of the trek. Feeling obligated to at least try and mount a rescue of young Dindy, the heroes agreed to get what rest they could before trying to track the goblin raiding party to its lair and hope the Hobbit traveler was still alive when we got there. And so ended the first part of "Of Leaves & Stewed Hobbits," with us slated to hopefully finish the adventure either next Saturday or the Saturday after.
Myself and a couple others hung around a bit later to get another couple rounds of X-Wing in, and I really wish I had brought the boosters along in order to let more people play rather than having to settle for one-on-one battles. But like I said before, it's a fun game, and I managed to score an Imperial victory, putting the final tally at Rebels 3, Imperials 1.
So like I said, a busy Saturday, but ultimately a fun one.