A lot has happened in the three years since the original The One Ring Roadtrip in 2019. It should have been an annual event and we had got as far as booking a cottage for the 2020 event when that bastard Covid hit. It seems strange looking back, but at the time we thought there was still a chance we’d get together for the end of March 2020. Lockdown put an end to that.
It was three year’s worth of anticipation that we carried into the The One Ring Roadtrip 2022. A nice cottage in Herefordshire, not far from a nearby town with pubs, restaurants and shops, and the fine company of @OrlanthR, @Lintillaz, @TonyLayter and @mcookie123 (plus @oilpainting71 joining us remotely for the Thursday evening session).
Thursday 24 March
Arriving at the venue early afternoon @TonyLayter, @OrlanthR, @Lintillaz and I spent a pleasant afternoon catching up, talking games and such nonsense over a beer or two and enjoying a game of The Lord of the Rings Top Trumps (a game I bought 20 years go but had never previously played). We were at that perfect point of having arrived and settled in knowing we had a full weekend of gaming ahead.
We have been playing TOR for a while now, starting with 1e back in 2019. In 2020 @OrlanthR started running Oaths of the Riddermark online, a great campaign that sweeps across the width and breath of The Mark and even into the White Mountains. It worked out that the final session fell on this particular Thursday (I won’t go into detail to avoid spoilers) which meant we could finish the campaign face to face. @oilpainting71 was unable to join us for the weekend and @mcookie123 wasn’t due to arrive until Friday evening, so with laptops, a monitor and an unlimited 4G connection they joined us online. It was a great way to start the weekend’s gaming, and so began an epic battle that would match the greatest conflicts in Middle-Earth…
Friday 25 March
After a hearty breakfast courtesy of our resident hobbit chef @Lintillaz, we kicked off a day of gaming with Under Hill, By Water, a charming game of pastoral hobbit life (at least hobbits and the shire with the numbers filed off). Myself, @OrlanthR and @TonyLayter played as three mischievous hobbits based in Bucklebury with the sole aim of winning the Meaty Meal and Prodigious Produce Competition by fair means or foul. @Lintillaz set the tone perfectly and guided us through the creation of the settlement (in a similar manner to Beyond the Wall and Other Adventures) and the adventure itself. Sabotaging prize winning pumpkins and scavenging wild mushrooms was great fun, with the highlight being meeting Tom Bombadil (uncannily brought to life by @Lintillaz, next time you meet him ask for a Hey Dol! Merry Dol! Ring a Dong Dillo!)
Following a hearty lunch fit for a hobbit we moved on to The Lord of the Rings Journeys in Middle Earth boardgame. A fairly simple system accompanied by an clever little app provided an pleasant afternoon’s entertainment of hunting orc. The miniatures are great and the game is full of LotR flavour, but we were betrayed by the app or ran out of time (I’m blaming the pesky app, we came so close, without it we’d have claimed victory).
Friday evening were were joined by @mcookie123, the final member of our party, and so the fellowship was complete, ready to venture on further into the dangers of Middle-Earth. But first we had to fortify ourselves so spent a pleasant evening in a nearby restaurant enjoying curry and beer. The pub we visited after felt very local, but the beer was decent at least.
Saturday 26 March
Like all good campaigns the conclusion to Oaths of the Riddermark is epic, and couldn’t be resolved in one evening. The plan was to spend the Saturday morning finishing the campaign before moving on to The Laughter of Dragons… and so the Battle of the Snowbourne continued. Each stage of the battle was more brutal than the previous one; our endurance was running low and wounds had been taken, but we reached the final challenge with the big bad. It was desperate stuff, grim and bloody work, and just when it looked like we would all survive fate dealt a cruel blow and saw @mcookie123‘s character Ingold the Ranger of the North and my character of 18 months, Beruthiel of Minas Tirith killed. But the day was victorious and their lives were celebrated in the halls of Edoras, their sacrifice always remembered.
Later on in the day, after @mcookie123 and I had created new characters (Dwarven half-brothers Grar and Groin – yeah that was a mistake) and before we knew it we were on a journey to the Lonely Lands following the path that Thorin and company followed through Mirkwood not so many years before. This was an opportunity to try out the new journery rules in TOR2e and they worked like a charm, we covered the 1000 or so miles with events, chances to rest and a meeting with Radagast the Brown (not the stupid one from The Hobbit movies) in about an hour or so. It became routine and quite easy after a few goes and really captured the feeling of the trials and tribulations of a long journey.
Our mission was to deliver a message to King Bard of Dale from King Thengel, and following a chance encounter with Balin it became apparent delivering a message would not be as easy as we had hoped. Plenty of intrigue, great characters and a brutal scrap with some orcs saw the end of the gaming for our weekend.
Sunday 27 March
Not much on the gaming front here, just a tidy around and packing our bags before heading of some brunch in a very pleasant rural cafe (I’m sure it would have met with Bilbo‘s approval). And that was that, with fond farewells we went our separate ways, thinking about the amazing weekend we had and the seeds planted for the next The One Ring Roadtrip.