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Old 01-02-2013, 06:18 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Map Mines of Moria!

Because the good Baron's recent choose-your-own-adventure thing was so much fun, and because I happen to have this old book lying around, I've decided to host a read-through of the Middle-Earth Quest (TM) gamebook for the Mines of Moria. The story revolves around a mercenary-for-hire being sent into the ruins of Khazad-Dum in the wake of the War of the Ring.

Won't that be fun?

A few preliminary rules: the book is written to be enjoyed by a single player, so there will be some modification from the decreed regulations. For example, there is a complicated and confusing system by which combat encounters are to be decided as well as numerous other stats which affect how certain situations play out, but in the interest of accessibility and getting the hell on with it I will be forgoing all that nonsense and simply rolling a few dice and weighting the odds as I deem appropriate. I shall transcribe, then, long sections of text followed by what choices are meant to be actively determined.

All set? Good. Let's get started.



Under the glimmer of brilliant starlight, campfires along the banks of the Silverlode promise warmth and companionship. A dark grove of pale-leafed mallorns stands like a wall to the north, on the far side of the river, forming one edge of the Golden Wood of Lorien. After traveling alone for weeks, you are drawn to the flames of one fire in particular. An acquaintance and fellow journeyman, Elmarel, told you some days ago of the gainful employ which may be acquired here.

You creep forward to the camp-fire, staying low. Peering out from behind a leafy shrub, you find a strange sight. Two distinct parties of Dwarves, each composed of seven members, sit around a roaring fire. From the furtive glances they cast at one another, you gather that the two groups have reached an uneasy peace. What can they be doing? Elmarel gave you no idea that so many would be waiting here, nor did he mention that they would be Dwarves.

You begin to circle the camp, trying to get closer. Snippets of conversation reach you, but they are spoken in Khuzdul; the words mean nothing to you. Yet their tone has become excited and combative; you sense conflict between the Dwarves. Is this a ritual, or an onrushing brawl? Puzzled, you withdraw to a comfortable hiding place before you can be discovered.

Or have you? Your reverie is suddenly broken by a sharp exhalation behind you. There stands one of Durin's Folk, quietly glaring at you. Glancing back at the campfire, you note that one of the two groups numbers only six, obviously missing the fellow who faces you now, one hand on his knife.

"Have you been sent by someone?" asks the Dwarf in a suspicious tone.

"A friend, Elmarel. He said you might have need of a sword, and a good hand to wield it."

You watch as he sits on the trunk of a fallen tree beside you. "I am Bror, son of Bram, son of Bror," he asserts, introducing himself. The Dwarf glances about nervously, as if spies might be lurking close by. "Would you like to make a fortune as well as right a terrible wrong?"

Bror, son of Bram, son of Bror, is a typical Dwarf: short, stocky and fierce-looking. He has dark brown hair and, when standing, is little over four feet tall. His beard is plaited and tucked into his belt. Bror wears a heavy cloak with a colorful red-and-brown hood, indicating clan and family.

"That sounds promising," you think to yourself, recalling your empty purse and growling stomach. "Possibly. Go on," you say as the Dwarf's dark eyes glitter.

He continues. "For some time, my line of Old Bror's family has been deprived of our rightful inheritance by my dishonest cousins, who want not only their share of the family wealth, but ours too! They accompany even now and watch me like Wights guarding a barrow. I have only a few minutes before they come looking for me. If you would help me, you must bring to light a Will which rests deep within Moria. A will which can set aright the matter of our inheritance."

"Moria!" You restrain a desperate cry. "Moria is in ruins! And it must be thirty leagues or more from here."

Bror grabs your arm with impressive strength, then leans near to quiet you. "Take the path along the river west to the Mirrormere," he urges. "You must be quick! In fourteen days, the traders acting on our behalf will return from Lorien, and then we will be forced to leave this camp. You must return before then or you will never find us, and we will lose this slim chance of regaining what is rightfully ours.

"We have long known of this Will," he goes on, growing more serious, "but we - my kin and I - are unable to recover it. Our greedy cousins watch us too closely. It is our good fortune that Elmarel sent you to us."

"I am confused," you say, "about the origin of the Will."

Bror sighs, glancing toward the fire. "So little time! There were actually two Wills. It came about thus. Bram, my father and Old Bror's son, was a member of Balin's ill-fated expedition to Moria some years ago. They were trying to begin a new Dwarvish colony there, you see. In any case, Bram took with him one copy of Old Bror's Will. He hid that copy in our family's Great Hall in Moria." Bror points west, off towards the Misty Mountains. "If my father had become prosperous in Moria, I would have joined him there - but he did not. Instead, Bram was slain by Orcs. When this news reached us at Erebor, the original Will of my grandfather was destroyed by our grasping cousins.

"Substituting their own version of the original Will, they have now taken away all that is rightfully ours! My brothers and sisters want their share of the family's lands and wealth. We must have the copy of the true Will hidden in Moria!"

"Indeed!" You comment. "And with your cousins watching, I suspect they would resort to violence if you or one of your brothers made ready to enter the Black Pit."

"Precisely. If I were to enter Moria for the true Will, my cousins would follow and stop at nothing to prevent its contents from coming to light." Bror hurriedly continues: "I have decided to send two agents, unlikely but capable, to find the Will in our Great Hall and bring it back. I would wish you then to escort my nephew, young Bain, into Moria. He knows how to find the Will. To you, I could not describe the intricate mechanism which I suspect guards it. I would send him alone, but he is very young and headstrong; the pair of you stand a better chance."

You begin to protest, but Bror raises his hand. "He is a Dwarf. One of us - powerful, fierce and proud. You could find no better companion to see you through Moria. I insist!"

You wonder what commission you might ask. "Such a task might prove to be very dangerous," you tell him, taking a first step toward a favorable bargain.

"Very dangerous, yes! For the Great Hall of my family is hidden deep within Khazad-Dum."

Khazad-Dum, Moria, the Black Pit - by any name, it is the greatest of all underground cities in Middle-Earth, and rightfully a place of legend.

"It would be...interesting to see the halls of Moria," you admit. "But I have other interests which might suffer from any lack of attention." Although you have every intention of undertaking the task, you are determined to make the best possible exchange for your services.

Eventually, you reach an agreement and seal it with family oaths. You will search for and return with the Will; any treasure you find in the tunnels is yours to keep. However, you swear solemnly not to deface further the dwarf-mines of Moria.

"I have an old map of the secret tunnel my ancestors built to join our Great Hall with the heart of the dwarf-city. The entrance to this tunnel stands near Balin's more recent dwellings, but still far below the Chamber of Mazarbul. Of course, it has been many years since a member of our family of jewellers walked these passages, for the Balrog, Durin's Bane, long reigned in our ancient house. It is possible that passages have been delved since this map was drawn, but at least it shows the Great Hall - and that is where you must go! This key I give you now will open secret passages and chambers throughout our family's holdings."

The key which he hands you is a flat-faced iron plate with a small knob on the back; you immediately recognize it as a rune-key which can reveal the hidden tunnels Bror, son of Bram, speaks of.

"There are two or three other things which may be of aid to you," Bror continues, looking around nervously. "They are in this pouch which I will leave with you before I go. Remember: beware the many traps! Dwarvish as will as those Orc-made. And Orcs there still are within Moria!"

Bror quickens his final instructions as you hear the sounds of crackling branches and approaching footsteps. "Your complete lack of connection with my family is as important to the success of our plans as is your honesty," he tells you. "I do not wish to risk being seen with you. I will await your return at the appointed place and time: here, in fourteen days. To speed your journey, avoid Lorien and the elves, who will not allow you entry into the Naith of the Golden Wood. Stay south of the river. The path will lead you to the Dimrill Dale, and on to the Dimrill Gate of Moria. I shall send along young Bain now; he knows the way. May good fortune go with you!" Bror disappears silently, a shadow in the mist.

The night is cool but pleasant. While you await the appearance of the young dwarf who is to be your companion for the next fortnight, you open the large leather pouch which Bror has left with you.

It contains miscellaneous adventuring gear which you don't have to worry about.

Moments later, you look up to see a small, stocky dwarf standing before you. His beard is shorter and not so thick as Bror's. In the starlight his face, while set in a fierce demeanor, has an air of wonder and youthful curiosity about it. You introduce yourself.

The young dwarf nods. He carries an axe in his belt and a bow over one shoulder. Both weapons are ornately decorated, and obviously of fine dwarf-make.

"I am Bain," says the dwarf, "and am pleased to meet you, if we can indeed recover Old Bror's Will."

"That we can do, but first we must get away from this camp and your uncle's cousins. We have but fourteen days."

After sleeping near the banks of the Celebrant, you set out together the next morning for the East Gate of Moria. It is mid-autumn, and the weather is cool but sunny.

A day of travel along the grassy, serpentine elven path south of the swift-running Celebrant brings you and the dwarf to an elegant, flower-draped rope bridge. On the far bank of the river, the grass is lush and verdant and brightly colored flowering vines and grape tendrils wrap themselves around trees like decorations. A bird hidden somewhere in the branches of a mallorn sings a sprightly melody.

"The work of elves," you comment, admiring the craftsmanship of the bridge. Bain says nothing. Adjusting your haversack, you march on. When you notice that the dwarf is no longer nearby, you turn. There stands Bain, poised in thoughtful silence at the first rung of the rope bridge.

"Bain, hold! Our path does not lie that way. Beyond is the land of Lorien, whose people do not suffer trespassers lightly. Please, let us continue this way." You motion for the dwarf to follow.

Bain folds his arms, glaring at the bridge as though it offered some great challenge. "I believe we can travel to Dimrill Dale faster if we pass unnoticed by way of the girding of Lorien," he says flatly. "If my uncle's cousins or their agents know of our mission, they will try to get to Khazad-Dum before us. We may prevent that by taking a path on the other side of the Celebrant."

"Dwarf, have you been taken by some madness? We would both be full of elf-arrows before a day's travel was out. We cannot go that way. Bror would be most upset." You continue reasoning with the dwarf, but he has already taken the first tentative steps to cross the bridge.

He will not be stopped! Thinking that your sponsor might withhold the promised reward if you return alone, you are forced to follow Bain. Once on the far bank of the Celebrant, you argue vehemently with him.

Eventually, through persuasive speech, you manage to lure Bain back across the bridge to the other side of the river. You continue on your way with your now silent companion.

Walking the thirty-five leagues to the Dimrill Dale proves an uneventful journey of many days. You come to think of the songs of birds and the chatter of squirrels as welcome companionship, for Bain says nothing but "Bah!" and "Faster!"

By your reckoning you will have two days inside Moria to discover the whereabouts of the Will - if it still exists. That, in addition to the twelve days journeying there and back, will constitute the fourteen days allowed by Bror.

This morning, the massive peak of the Silvertine juts heavenward, now seemingly just ahead of you. The dwarf increases his pace, as if under an enchantment. Then the climb turns steep as you leave behind the birches and fir-trees of the forest and enter the rugged, rocky foothills of the eastern Misty Mountains. The ancient stone dwarf-road beside the narrowing river leads into the highland.

Nearing the source of the Silverlode and the Falls, you pause with Bain to survey the impressive scene before you. The young dwarf appears dazed, overcome with emotion so near to Durin's Stone and Mirrormere, sacred sites of his race. Without a word, Bain dashes ahead, and you follow. You find him standing in a reverent pose beside the lake, whose dark, still waters reflect the mountains and the clouds like living jewels. You recognize the broken column of rock just off the road as Durin's Stone. Split by wind and weather, the runes carved upon it now too faded and weak to read, the stone retains a power that gives you as well as your companion pause. To your surprise, the dwarf begins to chant in a deep and sad voice.

"It is as I have heard in tales and song," says Bain excitedly after he has finished. "One cannot see one's reflection in Kheled-Zaram, though the seven stars appear overhead. I must see Moria!"

"The Great Gates are but a short distance from here," you say. The broad but decrepit main road leads up to a niche in the mountainside above the dale pierced by the Gates. You climb the wide stairway which leads to the oldest entrance into the mines of Moria. "I had heard these doors had been cast down some time ago, but here they seem remade, and of late." Bain does not comment but makes to enter the Black Pit while its doors stand ajar.

Following Bror's instructions and your own insatiable curiosity, you walk with a pounding heart past the Great Gates and enter the Mines of Moria.

Looking into Khazad-Dum for the first time, both you and the dwarf are struck speechless. It is difficult to fathom the complexity of the stronghold, yet just peering inside gives credence to what you have heard of Durin's concern for its defense.

A short walk leads to the Eastern Halls, the oldest chambers in all of Moria. The first you meet is the Entry Hall, a large, square room with a high-peaked ceiling. You count fourteen narrow window shafts cut into the near and eastern wall, illuminating the room with an eerie and pale light.

Continuing down the wide passage for a quarter of a mile, you come to a broad stair leading down and then, to what was once Durin's Bridge, a slender arch of stone more than six man-heights across spanning what legend says is a bottomless abyss. All that remains of the once splendid bridge are its shattered ends; tattered and broken outcroppings thrust into emptiness. In the gathering gloom, you can see that a crude rope bridge now extends across the chasm. "Probably the work of orcs," you whisper to Bain as you lead the way.

"Let us hope they have had little use for it recently." The dwarf follows.

Once over the bridge, you stop to examine the chamber you have entered: the Hall of Trees, named for the tree-shaped pillars supporting the high, curved ceiling. "We need a light!" you say. "I will be able to go no farther without one, even though you may be at home here." At this, Bain draws forth an amulet which he has until now kept concealed on a heavy chain under his tunic.

"A relic of older and better times," explains Bain. As he holds the crystal forth, it begins to emit a soft glimmer, then an ever-stronger light, until you can see the intricate tracings of stone overhead. But the light subsides, and soon a mere pool of it is cast upon the floor at your feet. "Neither of us needs fear the darkness of Moria," your companion says. "The dwarf-craft of my Fathers will see us through. Now for the Chamber of Records, or Mazarbul as we dwarves would call it." Bain seems changed, now within the halls of the Black Pit. He is stronger and more confident; not the same fellow who would have had you steal your way through Lorien.

To your right is a passage. "That is the way," says Bain.

Choose!
-Enter the passage to the Chamber of Records
-Explore the Deeps of Moria first
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You are pretty cool for being one of the bad guys.
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I was probably just upset about the Horde fleet in the Second War.
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2013, 07:16 PM
Lord Eliphas Lord Eliphas is offline

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Cahmbre Of Recurds.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:18 PM
Aneurysm Aneurysm is offline

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I read the title as "Mines of Moira" and thought Slowpoke would love that shit.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:36 AM
Erthad Erthad is offline

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Record chambers.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:45 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Explore the Deeps of Moria! We need to find Brandan's Broken Beer BottleTM in this first room, or we'll be instantly killed against the final boss!

Quote:
It contains miscellaneous adventuring gear which you don't have to worry about.
Heh.

Quote:
He will not be stopped! Thinking that your sponsor might withhold the promised reward if you return alone, you are forced to follow Bain. Once on the far bank of the Celebrant, you argue vehemently with him.

Eventually, through persuasive speech, you manage to lure Bain back across the bridge to the other side of the river. You continue on your way with your now silent companion.
Was there some sort of dice-rolling event determined here?
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:06 AM
Omacron Omacron is offline


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I'm going to start using "Mines of Moria" as an exclamation. People have told me I'm saying "Magnus Caesaris spiritum!" a bit much.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:32 AM
Arbourean Arbourean is offline

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Hah. I remember this book. Chamber of Records.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:40 AM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Map

Quote:
Originally Posted by BaronGrackle View Post
Was there some sort of dice-rolling event determined here?
Yeah. If you fail the check, you get sent on a pointless detour where you can waste up to the entirety of your adventure being captured by the elves without getting anywhere interesting. Lorien's a false start.

>Record Chamber

Passing under a high arch, Bain trails you down this wide corridor. Shortly, you approach a low door to the left standing partly open. The dwarf motions for you to enter. Within the narrow corridor you turn right to the bottom of a flight of stairs and begin to ascend.

"Bain?"

"Yes, what is it?" comes his voice, whispering.

"With the Balrog of Moria slain, and Mordor's Dark Lord cast down, his hosts scattered - why has Durin's line not come to reclaim these halls?"

"We have suffered grievous losses in wars now past," explains your companion. "Dain Ironfoot was lost with many warriors while defending Erebor against an Easterling assault. Before him, Thorin Oakenshield and the better part of our tribe perished at the Battle of Five Armies. Our new King, Thorin Stonehelm, deems that the time is not yet ripe for our return. But we will have our due, when our numbers are stronger. Once restored, the dwarf-mansion will never again be abandoned. Durin the Lastking will sit on Moria's throne!"

You and Bain have now climbed a flight of fifty or more stairs. From Bror's instructions you discern that the passage to his family halls should be nearby. Bain passes you with his light-crystal before him. "Here it is," he says stiffly "but this indeed bodes ill for us."

"What is the matter?" you ask, though as you approach in the darkness you can see for yourself. The door which leads into the tunnels and chambers of Bror's family, a door that was to have been concealed and secret, stands ajar. "Others came before us," you say.

"Aye, that is the truth of it," says Bain. "And whether they be orcs or dwarves of our rival band I cannot guess."

Choose!
-Proceed up the secret passage to the Chamber of Records
-Pass through the door to Bain's family halls
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And the HRE was a meme that went too far.
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I was probably just upset about the Horde fleet in the Second War.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:21 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Chamber of Records is our primary objective. The path there must be trap!

Bain's family halls!
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:23 AM
Jungleluke Jungleluke is offline

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Quote:
Durin the Lastking will sit on Moria's throne!
Tolkien didn't like his appendix that said the Dwarves would die out, he scrapped it in one of his works if I recall correctly.
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Old 01-03-2013, 11:29 AM
Erthad Erthad is offline

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Chamber of Records is our primary objective. The path there must be trap!

Bain's family halls!
This
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:15 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Map

>Family Halls

Bain speaks in a wary whisper: "So as not to alert any who would be waiting beyond, I must put away the light. Stay close." You and Bain step through and shut the door behind you.

You and Bain stand in a narrow passage leading into a large, natural cave which lies to the south-east; it is wide with a ceiling that looms far above. There is also a faint but constant glow that your eyes slowly adjust to. It is not the light of the sun filtering down through deep cloven shafts, so you wonder at it, particularly the yellow color. A feeling of great, heavy space overtakes you as you move to the center of the cave. Looking over your shoulder, expecting to find some huge cave-creature poised to attack, you meet only the intense gaze of the dwarf. He is a dim figure in the unearthly radiance, but ready to meet any challenge, and that is good!

The floor of the cave is smooth and dust has been disturbed before you. Looking about, you realize that the light emanates from strange mosses growing on the cavern's walls. There is an odour in the air now, something unwholesome, but you do not recognize it.

Then you notice a rift of blackness to the south-east. From your map, you would guess that this would be the entrance to the passageway you seek. You motion, and Bain stays close behind.

You hear a sharp, sudden noise; the dwarf did not make it. Stopping still as stone, you listen, but no other sound follows.

Bain begins to edge towards the dark crack ahead, and you too move to gain the wall. You and the dwarf stand motionless against the side of the cave, feeling the dampness of the stone and peering into the blackness. A darker shape moves slightly, and you realize that an orc is standing in the passageway. He moves to the side, and you can see him more clearly.

[Trickery check: Failed]

The wily orc is aware of your approach. As you step forward, he draws his sword with a practiced movement and leaps toward you with a snarl. As he attacks, you can see his face clearly. Large fangs, more like tusks than human teeth, curve out from under his upper lip, and his eyes are set in deep folds of blackened skin. He cries something in a harsh tongue as his sword cuts through the air.

Choose!
-Fight
-Flight
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And the HRE was a meme that went too far.
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You are pretty cool for being one of the bad guys.
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I was probably just upset about the Horde fleet in the Second War.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:20 PM
Erthad Erthad is offline

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Fight.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:55 PM
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I choose the third "F".



Fuck.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:57 PM
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Flight
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:27 AM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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Do YOU have what it takes to break the tie?
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And the HRE was a meme that went too far.
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You are pretty cool for being one of the bad guys.
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I was probably just upset about the Horde fleet in the Second War.
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Old 01-04-2013, 09:29 AM
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Do YOU have what it takes to break the tie?
I could try to blackmail you, but I think Erthad might also be able to do so.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:05 AM
Erthad Erthad is offline

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It's just an orc, killing him shoul be easy.
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:55 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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FIGHT! FACTION WAR HIS ASS TO THE GROUND!

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Old 01-04-2013, 01:43 PM
Anansi Anansi is offline

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>Fight

You have defeated the goblin! Despite the horrible odor, you decide to search the fallen orc. Bain keeps an eye out for other goblins while you go through the small pack at the creature's side. Therein, you find some dirty twine, a piece of dry bone, a knife, and a leather bag holding what must be orc-food. You drop the pack, disappointed.

Just as you complete the search, you hear the sound of footfalls approaching from behind. "More follow," whispers Bain.

"There is no profit in killing orcs, only in finding the Will," you say, hurrying down the steps with Bain close behind.

You hear the orcs howling and cursing but they do not follow you down the stair. You motion Bain to follow, but he lingers, eyeing the orcs as if to challenge them. "Why do they not pursue?" he asks. "They have the advantage."

"I am grateful they do not. But you can be certain they are frightened of something down here; we have ignorance on our side. Let us be off and hope we fare well." At that you turn and walk forward.

A little way down the passage, Bain solemnly pulls out the amulet. Almost immediately, small hidden stones set deeply in the walls glow in reply. You can see the corridor clearly now and wonder: what magic is this! The walls are smooth, and the heavy dust upon the floor rises in small clouds in the wake of your steps. Yet the air is fresh. The ages-old ventilation system of Durin's Folk still works. The foul orc-smell disappears for the moment, replaced by a faintly musty odor that is not entirely unpleasant. You feel more confident, moving softly so that your footsteps - like the silent dwarf's - do not echo away before you.

The corridor opens into an intersection which is clearly not on the map Bror gave you. For a moment, you stare at the junction in disgust.

"I knew there would be a problem with this map," you mutter, having no idea which branch to take. Bain too is confused. The corridor to the left has a battered Watcher-in-Stone at its entrance. The Watcher was once a huge granite statue of a cave bear. Bain tells you that long ago the Watcher would have warned Moria's garrison of your presence.

The tunnel to the right passes under and archway decorated with bashed and sullied tiles displaying cracked yellow wild flowers against a deep blue background.

"Perhaps I should mark this on the map," you say to yourself before continuing. Bain nods in agreement though he continues to stare down the two separated tunnels.

Choose!
-Take the path guarded by the Watcher
-Pass through the flowered arch
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  #21  
Old 01-04-2013, 02:18 PM
Arbourean Arbourean is offline

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Flowered arch
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"Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs."
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:38 PM
Ma Caque Attaque Ma Caque Attaque is offline

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Flowered arch....

because there might be dwarven wenches there.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:42 PM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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Flowered arch....

because there might be dwarven wenches there.
With beards like proper manly wenches should look.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:48 PM
Ma Caque Attaque Ma Caque Attaque is offline

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With beards like proper manly wenches should look.
Underneath that beard they are all woman... all woman.
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Old 01-04-2013, 02:59 PM
Nazja Nazja is offline

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Underneath that beard they are all woman... all woman.
Even more so than other women. Call it equivalent exchange.
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