Mars Miniatures presents... Tales from the Beer Cart!
This is a mini-campaign adventure that involves a Dwarven caravan travelling through the hostile lands of Middle Earth. I have decided not to take the standard AAR style of reporting, but instead focus on a narrative approach to the events. Because starting and stopping for pics during games are a pain. Im content to jot down notes during the game about key events, and then afterwards put some figures on the table for a photoshoot recreation. Im hoping it reads better, and looks better to boot.
So lets get this tale going...
Gimli and his expedition have returned to Easthold fortress to unite the Dwarves with Balins forces. But the war is still a deadly stalemate. But now their stocks of beer and food, but most importantly beer, are running low.
High King Thorgrim has commanded Bugman and his Beer Cart to head to the Blue Mountains for supplies and request more reinforcements from the Dwarves there. Bugman and his Rangers accept the mission, to the respect of all the Dwarves witnessing. It will be a dangerous trek, Bugman!
At the confluence of the Sirannon and Glanduin rivers, is an old ruin with a bridge.
As they pass the bridge and the creepy old ruins, the Dwarves feel unfriendly eyes staring at them.
Bugman: Elves! Be on your guard then, boys.
Pickles: Not to worry there boss, the Elves of this city died long ago in the 2nd Age when Sauron led his armies through this area.
Wallace: Everyman dies... not every man truly lives... (gulps) and uh... there is something ahead that does not live...
It is an ethereal manifestation of some sort.
Bugman and Baron Hawk summon up the courage to approach it
Baron Hawk: Let us pass please? Miss....
Kyra the Banshee: I am Kyra, sister of the great Elf Celebrimbor, one of the Gwaith-i-Mírdain, who crafted the Rings of Power. While everyone knows of the Rings of Power, not everyone knows about the multitude of minor Rings that were made in Ost-In-Edhil. One of those Rings has been stolen from my grave and you Dwarves will help me recover it from the thieves.
Bugman: (squinting his eyes at the banshee) And what if we say no?
Kyra: You will... because we are allies, are we not? The great Dwarf Narvi was a friend to my brother and together they made the Doors of Durin in Moria. Also, because the way ahead is blocked by those villains who took my Ring. You will need my help to defeat them.
Baron Hawk: No offense, Miss Lady Kyra, but we now live in the 3rd Age. Elves and Dwarves in our age are... not allies, to put it mildly. Let me discuss this with the rest of the commanders first.
Baron Hawk: So what do you Dwarves think about allying with this.. ghost... elf.
Bugman: Never trust an Elf!
Pickles: There is no quicker way. We must pass through here to get supplies to Moria as fast as possible. Besides she is an Elf from the old alliance, not the untrusty ones of our era.
The other commanders agree to ally with Kyra. Even Bugman sighs and agrees.
The Dwarves look at each other. They are pretty sure, Sleepy was sleeping and never uttered a word to the ghost. Perhaps in his drunken dreams, Sleepy is actually in the spirit world!
So many, you might even call them a host, assemblage, legion, or even a plenitude!
Dare I say... a Planet of the Apes!
Some say that isnt his name, but where he comes from.
He is intelligent and has Kyra's ring.
Why he has it, no one knows. It also gives him level 2 Amber Wizard powers in battle.
But he is chanting something near that Crystal Stonehenge.
Barsoom: Hear me army of Warhoon! Hear me army of Tharks! Fight for apes. Crush the stunties.
Kyra: He must be stopped before he opens a gate to another world!
Barsoom: No more Caesar, no more Koba. only Barsoom now and Barsoom is coming!
But even with her high pitched screams, she is only able to wound Barsoom.
Barsoom, empowered with magic power by the stolen Ring is able to defeat Kyra.
Bugman: I have it here. But now Im thinking... this Ring could come in handy for retaking Moria. I know its only one of the Minor Rings, but who knows what powers it has. Im guessing it has the power to make dimension doors. Imagine that! We would be able to travel anywhere in Middle Earth pretty quickly...
Pickles: Josef... Bugman... even if that Ring could save the Dwarves, you made a deal. We Dwarves believe in fair deals. Its our code of honor. I know you are angry about the Greenskins that slaughtered your hometown, but remember... you are still a Dwarf. Honor the deal...
Bugman: (sighs) Thank you Pickles. I dont know what I was thinking.
So the Ring was given back to Kyra, who names each of the Dwarves as "Ghost-Elf-Friends".
Finlay the Bagpiper compliments Kyra on her lovely banshee wail as it reminds him of the stormy seas of his far flung craggy island home.
As she begins to disappear, she smiles at Sleepy. The Dwarves can only speculate what conversations are happening between the Banshee and the narcoleptic Dwarf.
Finally, she hands something to Pickles and whispers something.
Pickles: She said... its full of stars!
So there is part 1 of Tales from the Beer Cart.
What did Kyra hand to Pickles at the end?
Being "Elf friends" could come in handy later for the Dwarves.
We know that Moria needs as many allies as they can, especially since Ost-In-Edhil is only a day or two away from Moria. Are the Dwarves going to learn the benefits of having good neighbors?
But that Ring could have been put to good use by the Dwarves. (Speaking
of Rings, the One Ring and its bearer is just about ready to be
revealed on this blog!)
Perhaps we need a proper expedition into the ruins of the Elf city
itself, at some point. It could serve as a Mordheim style area, for
factions trying to find artifacts in the ruins. In which case, I need
to start making some Elvish Ruins terrain. I have recently made "human"
ruins for the next posts battle. And along with those ruins, some
humies to go along with them! I wont spoil it further. But gosh darn,
some iconic names are going to be popping in.
Stay tuned for parts 2 to 4, all coming this week!
Next post: Tales From The Beer Cart, Part 2 - Breaking Tharbad