Designed to kick off your campaign, this collection of seven full adventures take the party from Lake-town
across the breadth of Mirkwood, with four set west of the forest, and the final two taking place in Dale and the northern regions beyond the Lonely Mountain. There's a good chance to explore the presumptive 'starting region' of the game, get a true feel for Middle-earth (and the way that the game works) and begin to build up the company's reputation. The adventures are pretty much self-contained, so may be run as stand-alone ones or linked together either as a campaign of their own or part of a wider-ranging one. Several ideas for how you might choose to organise them are provided in the Introduction.
The first adventure, Don't Leave the Path, serves to highlight the dangers of Mirkwood. In it, the company get to meet Elves - particularly exciting for groups without an elven character - encounter a crazy hermit and even some rather cross trees! Next, in Of Leaves and Stewed Hobbit, they are regaled with haute cuisine hobbit-style at the Easterly Inn and hunt for a missing trade caravan. In Kinstrife and Dark Tidings, they play bounty hunter as Beorn sets them on the trail of a fugitive from justice... but is he as much of a malefactor as he is made out to be? Then in Those Who Tarry No Longer they are given the privilege of escorting the elf Irimë of the House of Gil-Galad who is heading West, to leave the shores of Middle-earth. Evil begins to circle around them, and it only gets worse in the succeeding adventures.
The final three adventures - A Darkness in
the Marshes, The Crossings of Celduin and The Watch on
the Heath - are all interlinked (as written, if this doesn't work for you only minor changes are necessary to uncouple them), and present a bit more of a challenge. In A Darkness in the Marshes the company is sent by Radagast the Brown to see the Woodmen of Mountain Hall, where they get news that sends them eventually to the Dwimmerhorn where something decidely dodgy is going on. Then in The Crossings of Celduin festivities held in Dale for the Gathering of Five Armies are disrupted and the company has to help out in the face of an advancing enemy. Finally in The Watch on the Heath it's discovered that the enemies threatening Dale are not the only problems that need to be dealt with, so it's off to the Grey Mountains to deal with the the source of it all.
Heady stuff set to get pulses racing and minstrels tuning their harp-strings ready to sing of the company's exploits. The sense of impending doom is well handled and the whole series of adventures serve to embed the company into the very fabric of Middle-earth.
Return to Tales from Wilderland Revised Edition page.
Reviewed: 11 March 2016