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Author Topic: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth  (Read 727 times)

Offline Sunjester

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Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« on: October 06, 2018, 11:43:40 PM »
Reading Ethelred the Almost Ready's recent posts on his Silmarillion set SS&SS campaign, has prompted me to crack on with my own ideas for a campaign based in Arnor in the early to mid Third Age.

My idea is set around the adventures of a Knight of Arnor/Arthedain who is among those tasked with patrolling the eastern borders and keeping the Great Road open. Currently I can't decide whether to set it around 1350, shortly after the Witch King has established himself in Angmar but before the destruction of Cardolan, or in the 1640s after the Great Plague and after wights and spirits have occupied the Barrow Downs.

There are a few aspects of the rules which do not gel with a Tolkien setting, particularly the question of magic, so these are the ideas I'm currently considering.

Magic:
I’m a bit concerned that the lack of magic might penalize the characters too much. In most of the “standard” SS&SS games I’ve played, the ability of a magic user to take out multiple low strength monsters, or to weaken a stronger one before they get into contact has been pretty important in the survival of the group.

One thought to try and balance this that I’m going to try, is to give the party a couple of "faithful followers". These will be just standard soldiers, with no traits. They will be assigned to a specific character/s and activate when that character does, with the same number of actions that they have in that turn. If they are killed they automatically get replaced for the next adventure.
 
Potions:
The only potion available is a healing potion, think of it more as a powerful herbal medicine. Potions can be created out of game by anyone with a Healer trait in the same way an Alchemist does in the original rules.

Cleric:
Partly to give the party a chance against undead and spirits, I’m envisaging allowing Clerics as being members of a Priesthood of the Valar. These are more students of ancient mystical knowledge rather than a conventionally religious organization.  PCs with the Cleric trait can also affect evil demonic spirits as they do undead (including barrow wights, ghost wargs, werewolves, balrogs, vampires etc).  Holy water (needs another name) also affects demons/spirits.   


Here are my characters:

Arnor warband

Hallas: Fighter
Sword +1, Shield +1, Leader
A young Dunedain captain tasked with patrolling the Great Road and keeping it open for trade, as well as well as watching for the border for signs of raiders or invasion.

Doltalagan: Priest of the Valar
Cleric, Sword +1, Healer +1
Due to the increased sighting of evil spirits, particularly around the Barrow Downs, the priesthood have started sending younger brethren to aid the border patrols.

Iavasonnen:  Archer
Archery +1, Sword +1, Buckler +1, Fire into Melee
A veteran scout and crack shot.

Hanar: Dwarf
Strong+1, 2-handed  Axe +1, Armour +1
Since the captain saved his parent's lives when orcs attacked their camp, he has sworn to serve Hallas until he feels that the blood debt has been repaid.



Offline Ethelred the Almost Ready

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2018, 12:05:31 AM »
Clearly, we will be watching each others posts closely.
The lack of magic does make things difficult (fireball is very useful).
Possibly a Third Age setting will be even more limited than a First Age one.
The cleric trait I am still working on.  I think it may become "Repel Darkness".  I would still think this would be limited to elves and Dunedain.
Magic tended to be either part of the individual or crafted into an object.  Perhaps you might need more enchanted weapons to make up for the absence of magic.
To avoid putting my ideas in your post I have added a note regarding creature morale in my post.

Offline Sunjester

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2018, 11:41:05 PM »
I'm being lazy for now and using the word Cleric in keeping with the rules, rather coming up with a more appropriate term. However I do agree that PCs with this trait (under whatever name I end up using) will be limited to those of Dunedain or Elven blood.

I think some sort of monster morale will help to balance the lack of offensive magic.

Offline Argonor

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2018, 02:58:06 PM »
*Throws back hood, stretches legs with worn boots towards the fireplace, lights up pipe*

"I say, wench, where's that ale, now?"  :D
Ask at the LAF, and answer shall thy be given!


Cultist #84

Offline ZeroTwentythree

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2018, 03:42:54 AM »
I'm going to keep an eye on both of your threads. I bought S&S a while ago and have been wanting to take the plunge into trying it. I also love Tolkien's First Age, and have wanted to come up with a good excuse to paint some minis and play something in that setting. I really like the idea of using S&S for this!


Offline Sunjester

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2018, 07:36:36 AM »
Just do it! You will not regret it, I'm having loads of fun with these rules. The great thing is, the games are quick so I can fit a game in when I have an hour to spare.

Offline Sunjester

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2018, 05:46:46 PM »
I've finally got started, my revamped ideas and some pictures are now on my blog  https://grahamsgaming.blogspot.com/2018/10/to-middle-earth-with-sellswords-and.html



Online MeridarchGekkota

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2018, 07:15:20 PM »
I'm enjoying this, posting to watch!

Also, if you want something that would work as the "The Lost Realm of Cardolan" cover art orc, there's always these dirt cheap beauties from Tehnolog.

Offline Sunjester

  • mad scientist
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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2018, 12:04:18 PM »
Thanks MeridarchGekkota, I'd just ordered a box the other day!

I played my first game in my Arnor campaign, which I'm currently planning as a 3-game mini adventure (but that could change depending on what happens during the games).

Hallas and a patrol came across a mortally wounded royal messenger close to the Arthedain/Cardolan border. Before he died, the messenger told them that he had been ambushed by orcs and his message pouch had been taken. He did not know the content of the message, just that it was extremely important. Iavasonnen picked up the tracks of 4 Orcs and the group followed them for half a day before locating their camp at the edge of the Barrow Downs.....

Full batrep here https://grahamsgaming.blogspot.com/2018/10/first-middle-earth-game-with-sellswords.html

« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 01:49:46 PM by Sunjester »

Offline Ethelred the Almost Ready

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2018, 07:09:14 PM »
That's a great report.  I am surprised you managed to take out all the brutes without too much trouble. 
For my Middle Earth trolls I don't have them shambling around randomly - they can move straight at an enemy as soon as they are sighted.  This makes them more dangerous.

Offline Sunjester

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2018, 09:30:42 PM »
No one is more surprised than me at my dice rolling in that game. Usually Brutes are much more dangerous.

I'm planning on having two types of trolls (using the same stats, but no regeneration), a slightly stupid "wild" troll, like the three in The Hobbit, and a more focused type under the influence of/trained by Angmar. The wild trolls will wander around as per the rules, the others will act just like a standard monster.

Offline Sunjester

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Re: Sellswords & Spellslingers in Middle Earth
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2018, 05:31:10 PM »
I've now written the scenario for the next game in this mini-adventure, which I hope to play over the weekend.

In the meantime the scenario is now on the blog https://grahamsgaming.blogspot.com/2018/10/second-scenario-for-sellswords-and.html