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Subject: The Lone Hobbit (solo play) rss

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The Backstory

Intertwined through Hobbit lore is a peculiar theme, one that through generations upon generations has sometimes become lost or changed or mingled so that the original story is long forgotten.

All Hobbits know of many tales where a young lad happens upon a magnificent thing and aspires to return it to its owner. This Hobbit faces many trials, and meets many a new folk, but always returns home with tales of fame and fortune. Strangely enough, Hobbit-folk are attached to these tales - most wouldn't be bothered to venture outside their Hobbit-towns for any reason. But there's always an element of adventure, of superstition, of mystic revery to the unknown.

So do not be surprised when an otherwise normal Hobbit youth suddenly departs on a journey. Many are drawn, at least subconsciously, to greater things than 5 meals a day.

The Character

Peregrin Took, to most in his town, was the quintessential young Hobbit with golden locks and an appetite for anything sweet. All knew him to be incredibly resourceful - in fact he was often able to get more done than any of his peers. Nobody thought it possible, in a single evening, to chase a nest of rats out of a Hobbit-house, walk all the way to the outlying specialty goods store, bake a batch of meat pies for all the neighbors, and then surprise everyone with a secret desert too! Pippin, as many called him, was beloved by all. Unfortunately, however, he fell prey to spells of nightmares and periods of despair. These stressful bouts were unpredictable - sometimes every night for a week, sometimes but once a fortnight, and he had even gone years without the faintest nightly discomfort. The local herbalist carved him a green talisman she claimed would help, but one summer evening, not even this trinket would help...

Pippin awoke in a sweat, nearly tumbling from his hammock. Bag End was ablaze, his loved ones killed, his hobbit-hole flooded and crumbling. Or at least he thought. He wiped the sweat off his brow, the grass off his trousers, and tried to shake his confusion off. The last thing he remembered in his dream was a peculiar piece of jewelry he found in the neighboring creek. It looked a bracelet a touch too small for his Hobbit-arms, and even though he never nurtured a fondness for jewelry, he was inexplicably drawn to it. When he tried to force it past his wrist, the thing grew unbearably hot! He panicked and yanked it away from his wrist, but it shrunk to the size of a ring and caught on his knuckle. The heat subsided for a moment, and then he saw the destruction of everything he loved. The image lasted until he threw his dream-self into the creek. And then he woke up, with but a faint whispering in his ear, "Look again, Pippin. Look again."

Pippin walked back to the creek he was working by, and the first thing he saw was the same piece of jewelry. He mussled his trousers by stepping and and picking it from the bank. He didn't know if it was this old ring or just a memory of his dream, but a terrible feeling swept over him. Before he could think too much, he heard a commotion from Bag End. There was a visitor! And from the looks of it, one who had not guested for many, many years. Pippin inhaled sharply, then raced down to meet Gandalf. His excitement covered up any dread he may feel, and his dreams were shortly forgotten.

The Journey Begins - Bag End

After a long night of talking, sharing fears, and planning, Pippin awoke at daybreak. Gandalf told him he had to leave and that terrible things were astir. For some reason, Pippin actually believed Gandalf. Was he just telling scary tales, preying on Pippin's dream? The coincidence with the jewelry did seem like the kind of prank he'd seen before. But the wizard was persuasive! And Pippin set out to leave.

He assessed his situation. He didn't feel like a long day of hiking. In fact he was afraid he wouldn't make it out of Bag End. Despite this, he felt light on his feet and knew he could probably hide from any dangers, presuming he saw them ahead of time...and if worse came to worse, he could probably fight. But he didn't feel comfortable. He decided to postpone his journey ever so slightly. When he finally got on the road, he felt terrible for not heeding Gandalf's advice and a sense of dark foreboding came over him. He walked with this misery over him, and the woods went cold. He panicked and froze in his steps, unable to move or hide or think. He saw a terrible, terrible apparition, and when it locked eyes with him he felt that evil sense of misery latch on to his mind. Before he could think of why or what or who, the thing was gone. But the dark feeling lingered...

Hand: (2 Hide, 2 Fight, 1 Fellowship, 1 Wild)
Preparations: (+1 Hide, +1 Fight, +1 Travel, +1 Wild)
Die, Event: (+2 Corruption, +1 Sauron)
Total: Pippin 2, Sauron 14

Rivendell

The time following his brief encounter was relatively uneventful. Upon reaching Rivendell, he was consumed with the splendor. He was stunned and amazed all at once, and even more so when Elrond summoned a council meeting to decide best how to handle the evil creeping into the land. After giving a short, somewhat-lacking-in-bravado speech, a number of people pledged their cause to Pippin's. Whatever Pippin lacked in combat, he now flourished in. He was gifted Anduril, and both Legolas and Gimli joined up. Being overjoyed with the prospect of help (and company!), Pippin guzzled the Elvish miruvor prepared especially for his trek. He was unable to make up for this snafu, unfortunately, and in his shame felt himself drawn ever closer to the evil he recently touched with.

Council: Legolas (+2 Hide), Gimli (+2 Fight), Anduril (+2 Fight), Miruvor (discarded)
Fellowship fail, die roll: +1 Corruption
Total: Pippin 3, Sauron 14

To The Mines of Moria

Guffaws aside, Pippin and his party departed Rivendell with all haste the next morning. After marching, and marching, and marching, they encountered Moria.

After fighting some skirmishes, and much to the chagrin of his party, Pippin took his time to rest and contemplate the events thus far. He returned to the journey feeling cleaner, fresher, and ever so slightly rid of the darkness once inside him. In his happiness, however, Pippin knocked a rock deep into a well, and the group suffered greatly for it. They were trapped by the oncoming horde, and though they emerged victorious, they lost much time.

The group was far from coordinated, and they spent much of their time catching up, preparing for their ongoing journey, and otherwise feeling at ends. Unfortunately, due to an orc attack, Pippin lost Anduril in a parry that nearly lopped his arm off, and Gimli was carried off with many a bloodthirsty cry from the enemy.

They eventually left, practically flying away from Moria and ashamed from their tomfoolery. Pippin felt nearly as bad as he did when he first entered Moria and very much lamented his losses so far.

Event track completed, no heart token captured.
No cards were played except to discard for events.
Total: Pippin 2, Sauron 10

Lothlorien, a Safe Haven

The fellowship felt as if their journey ought be over, and as such were delighted to take refuge in Lothlorien. Legolas, still remaining, assured Pippin a night of rest and a fresh start on the morrow. They were given great support in their quest - tasty Lembas, an Elvish phial of safety, a magical box of sacred earth, and even a light, sturdy, master-crafted boat! In return, Galadriel asked Pippin if he would offer anything she pleased. Burned from his previous mistakes, and swayed by his more recent gifts, Pippin acquiesced, and the party settled in for the night.

Feature: Lembas, Phial, Boat (+1 Traveling), Box of Earth (+1 Wild)
Test of Galadriel: -1 Wild
Total: Pippin 2, Sauron 10

Helm's Deep

Arriving in the midst of battle, the party sacrified all their good spirit to win the favor of Theoden. Pippin did not take well to the fighting around him, and felt incredibly corrupted by the fighting around him. Pippin eventually swooned, becoming overwhelmed by the growing darkness. With the help of won-over Theoden and Shadowfax, he was transported through a secret exit and allowed to recover. On their exit, they were able to send a frantic prayer to Gandalf, who miraculously brightened the sun's light in such a way that blinded every orc attacker. The Riders of Rohan arrived at just the same time, and the assaulting force fell scores at a time. The siege crumbled shortly thereafter, and they set out again towards Mt. Doom...

Event track completed, Gandalf summoned at the last instant.
Hobbit hand nearly depleted from rushing towards the Riders of Rohan
11 Shield tokens remaining
Total: Pippin 2, Sauron 9


Shelob's Lair

The fellowship got mired in this terrible place - winded, worn down, and all out of sorts. Initially trapped, they felt the power of Sauron creep closer. They were even approached by one of his foul minions, a warped, sinewy beast that desired no fellowship, no food - only Pippin's ring. After dispatching this minor foe, and calling upon Gandalf to help them persist, they felt prepared anew to fight with renewed vigor towards Mt. Doom.

They underestimated their foe, however, and nearly fell prey to mighty Shelob. In fact, they nearly gave up until Pippin slipped on his nightmarish ring. This greatly confused their attacker, and they were able to wound it greatly enough to escape. But with their mis-steps in Helm's Deep, and Pippin's wavering discipline, the party is closer than ever before to darkness.

Fighting track completed
Hobbit hand nearly depleted, though Faramir and Legolas offer support towards Mt. Doom
6 Shield tokens remaining
Total: Pippin 6, Sauron 8

Mt. Doom

The task in front of them was never so close, but never so seemingly far away. They knew they had so far to go, and so little time, and with so much peril in front of them. Pippin struggled harder than ever before with the ring, and the group thought he finally succumbed to its grasp. Gandalf stepped in, and with a few words conjured up strong memories of home for Pippin, who was then brought briefly back to consciousness. Nevertheless, Pippin slipped the ring on and the party was forced to continue carrying him up the slopes. The path grew more treacherous, and more difficult - without Gandalf stepping in again with his wizardly foresight, Pippin would have been forever lost. But the fellowship gained more time, even as they lost ground against Sauron. Through their next few trials, Pippin amazingly escaped narrowly - even the Lord of the Nazgul could not stop him. And finally, Pippin reached the summit - barely breathing and barely with any life left in him. In fact, Pippin was more dead and evil than alive and just. With Gandalf gone, the fellowship gone, and every good thought chased out of his mind, he faced Sauron and gave up to him that precious ring.

Middle-Earth will never be the same, and no one shall learn of Pippin's doomly demise.

Total: Pippin 5, Sauron 7
-2 Hobbit cards
6 Shield tokens remaining
Ring given up to Sauron on the peak of Mt. Doom
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Pedro Silva
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Matosinhos
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Well done. A good read that conveys just how hard and cruel this game can be sometimes.
 
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Richard Eldridge
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Solo play in Lord of the Rings is quite cruel and requires alot of forward planning and priority sorting. I've learnt this through many an experience with solo play in this particular game. Still fun though! cool

Ohhhh so close!!
 
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Adam Long
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I've played about 6 solo games and 1 game with another player. I've lost wvery time. The highest score I got was 60. Like your report, I was in the final space when I became devoured during my highest scoring game (the most recent!) Well, that's how it goes for a sólo gamer like myself. Your tale is beautifully written!
 
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