Middle Earth FA63 D&D Game, the Game itself

"I am ready for battle. My ponies are still packed, and I am eager to start.

Ranger, I will follow your lead in the approach, I never was much one for strategy. But if you can get me close enough to reach the Orcs with my axe, the battle should be over before it starts.

I will go saddle my ponies, shall we all gather outside the inn?"

I’m no Dúnadan, like King Aragorn, and I’m no Ranger of Ithilien or of the North. Still, I’ll do what I can to track down these orcs.

OOC: Why is Ornan wearing chain mail? Does he wear it to bed too? Unless you know you’re going to be in a fight, it is fairly inappropriate and uncomfortable for travel. Even Gimli, in Rivendell and King Théoden’s halls, took off his armor. Not a big issue, just that this is a constant AD&D pet peeve of mine.

ETA: I hesitate to call myself Ranger only because in ME, it means either Ranger of the North or Ranger of Ithilien, and is almost exclusively Dúnedain. I consider myself a scout.

"A good idea Master Gwaelur, I shall lend you a hand", says Mal, who heads outside to get various hobbit ponies ready.

The poor guy just road in hard and came straight to the Inn. He was waiting in the tavern while his room was made ready. So strangely enough in this case, he has not had a chance to remove it. I will assume you ask him about that on the way out.

As I said, it is just a AD&D player pet peeve of mine. Everyone would go out for a night of drinking and debauchery, yet if anything happened, they were dressed in their plate armor carrying around an arsenal that would make any Southeast Asian country jealous. It’s one thing to dress like Eddie Murphy in Raw, another like you are leaving on a quest to seek the Holy Grail.

It looks like a group of 11 is ready to race off to the rescue. We only await Gil-Gandel’s response to bringing up the extra supplies. In the meantime, it looks like the group can head out as nearly all have mounts. There are even spare ponies for Ghan to ride temporarily.

Gimli makes one last suggestion, “let’s keep the traveling smith kit safe here in the Inn Gwaelur. It will speed you up a bit to go lightly.”

As the Group heads out of Minas Tirith, Ghan puts his hands together and makes a loud, odd sound like nothing almost anyone in the party has ever heard. Shortly after this, a huge creature races up with an answering bellow. Ghan stops long enough to dismount and awkwardly climb up on Moose.

This brings us to the age old confusion known as setting up a marching order and deciding you will more or less lead the party and whatever else you feel is needed and can be discussed in about 15 minutes while riding.

Sidenote: Where possible, let try and keep asides like the Chain Mail quetion in the Setup thread. I think it will make this thread read better.

Theogrim: I’d prefer to ride at the front, except of course for whomever is scouting ahead or depending on silence. I’m most effective in a fight if I can charge, which is tricky with a dwarf standing right in front of me.

Brin: With 11 sets of horse hooves, or more accurately, 10 sets of horse hooves and one set of moose hooves, there will be no chance at silence. Lord Brandybuck suggested the point is 8 kilometers out. I suggest we dismount after 5 and make the rest of the way on foot. The slower and more armored of us should approach directly while we others flank.

Gwaelur: If we are on foot as Brin suggests, I should be in front. Would it be possible for Theogrim to flank on horseback?

Merry says, “Depends on the situation. Large War Horses are not good at flanking through the woods, but the light Elven Horse with the light rider might be able to. It is even an outside possibility for the Hobbit on the Riding Pony.”

Brin: Starharp may be able to keep his Elf steed from stepping on branches or making other needless noise, but I don’t know if I can trust the other steeds to silence.

“As the lord Gimli correctly divines, my good Cúran can give a long start to ponies. Your trail will not be hard to strike - I shall rejoin you in a short while.”

Gil-Gandel makes a note of the Master of Buckland’s observation concerning flanking. Even on the high side of a hundred, it seems that he has yet a Knight of the Mark’s eye for ground.

Ghân (who doesn’t look at ease on the back of the Moose) asks Brin if perhaps the party should make all possible speed. After all, Anthar has told us his family is at risk.
Although we may warn the orcs of our coming, surely we here can defeat a band of these evil raiders?

Ghân suggests that the spellcasters (Deor and Ghân) keep to the centre of the group.

Brin: We don’t know their parties full strength, plus they’ll have the advantage of a dug-in position. We must reconcile haste with prudence. I’ve never seen battle versus a Nazgul, let alone the Witch King, nor fought in anything the scale of Helm’s Deep. I’m a simple man, and my fortitude does have its limits. I’ll not shirk my duty, but I would prefer not to run headlong into an entrenched foe with greater numbers.

After thanking Ghan for his explanation of his berries, Deor steps outside to prepare his departure. Trusting the majority of the debate over marching order to his brother, Deor mounts his horse in a practiced but still awkward motion, looks upward, and whistles. A heartbeat later, his hawk flutters down from the rooftop and alights on his gloved left fist, her head pivoting as she takes in the assembling party. Deor catches her gaze and the pair stare at one another for a few moments, then Folca flutters upwards again, lost in the darkness of the night.

I’m too low-level to be able to directly talk to my familiar, but I’m supposed to have an “empathic link” at this level, so as best I could, I told Folca to keep an eye out for me from above but to avoid being seen unless I’m in grave danger.

So we’ve got ourselves, which is nine characters, plus plus the NPCs Merry, Anthar, and Ornan, for a grand total of twelve. Brin and Gil-Gandel should probably scout out ahead and to the right and left, so they might not matter in the marching order. We’ve got Theogrim, Ornan, and Thoroncir on warhorses, and Anthar and Gwaelur whose horses will not handle well in combat and must dismount to fight. Finally, there’s Deor and Ghan, who will both avoid combat. Merry is probably too old and frail for combat directly, and will stick with the spellcasters, as will Mal Took.

I’m going to figure that in a fight, the least mobile (Gwaelur and Anthar) should be nearest the fight to begin with, and so should march in the front. The fastest melee fighters should be in the back, which would be Thoroncir and Ornan on light warhorses. Theogrim could stick in the center with myself, Ghan, Mal, and Merry. That way, if we meet enemies to our fore (which we’re most likely to do) our muscle is already up front (Anthar and Gwaelur). Besides, Anthar knows the way. If we get struck from the rear, Thoroncir and Ornan can hold on long enough to allow everyone else to circle the metaphorical wagons. Theogrim is quick enough to get wherever he’s needed. While he won’t be able to charge from the center of the group, we also don’t want him to get surrounded and out of reach of help by charging early. That leaves the spellcasters and hobbits in the center where they can be easily supported. I suspect that Mal will be able to disappear easily amongst the chaos of our rearranging if necessary.


A few things: when nearby you communicate very well with Folca. It is much stronger than an “empathic link” has she is learning to communicate ideas likes 12 orcs or 3 horseman. Her counting is still imprecise.

8 Characters BTW, so 11 total.

Merry is far more nimble than you would expect for a 100 year old. He will admit to staying back for bow work mainly. He mounted his Pony with far more ease than Ghan and more grace than yourself. :wink:

Overall he thinks your plan has merit.

Ornan mentions, “Give us a chance to do lance charge and we’ll drive the buggers shrieking back to whatever pit they crawled out of.”

Moose: “Charge Orc, sounds good, Lance & Antlers!” (Ghan feel free to feel nervous and think over how to land without injuring yourself when he charges.)

Anthar when not thanking everyone, “I am not great in melee or with my bow, but I will do whatever is needed to save my family.”

Ghân: You show wisdom. We must ask Anthar exactly what happened.
From his need for trackers and his family being endangered, I assumed the orcs were fleeing with captives, and haste was required.

@ appleciders: Pretty much right. I’m thinking of Theogrim like a fighter plane on the cab-rank system - he stays out of range most of the time, when he spots a juicy target he charges, runs it through as he passes, and carries right on past, reversing when he’s safely out of dogfighting range. The enemy would need horse to chase him, or maybe set spears to hold him off.

A brawl in the dark should be a happy hunting ground for Mulligan; me too, especially if we have just a little light. But do beware of orcish night-vision - it’s rumoured to be good.

Ghân notices the hawk and tells Deor Folca is a beautiful bird.
Ghân asks if he can speak to Folca at a convenient moment.

Deor’s plan sounds fine to Ghân.

Ghân asks Deor if he would like a description of the Druid spells.

What Exit?, Ghân asks Moose if he would mind letting Ghân off before charging into attack, as Ghân doesn’t have a lance.

Deor, who had been nercously hoping Ghan would ask about Folca, whistles for her again. As she circles in to land again, Deor explains: “Saved her as a fledgling from a flock of ravens. Nursed her back to health and about a month later she struck a snake about a foot ahead of me in the grass. We’ve stuck together since then.”

Deor asks Anthar to describe exactly what happened.