Sunday, 13 June 2021

Into The Woods...

A Hobbity Adventure..

I don't do a lot of Fantasy these days, but used to have lot of fun with Solo RPG campaigns. Anyhoo... After the impulsive 1/72 Halfling "conversions" mentioned the other week I thought they ought to have an outing, so.....

Fetching Marigold (or a L
ittle, Mini Fantasy Game for the Wee Folk).

Tobo Winterbourne of Bree is desperately seeking Marigold (Mari) Tumbledown, a renowned Halfing Lore-mistress and Midwife, to advise on his brother's wife's troubled pregnancy.

The difficulty is that, some six years back, Mari fell foul of the bureaucrats of the Breeland "Department of Little'un Affairs" over a "herbal licensing issue" (themselves seemingly having come under pressure from the town's Midwives' Guild, due to Mari's growing popularity with  child-bearing women of all sizes). As a result, Mari and her sisters left town in a huff, and have not been seen since.

Rumour has it that Mari and her sisters have been living in a "converted" ancient burial mound surrounded by an arm of  The Old Forest. 

Here, protected from casual or bureaucratic interference from the outside world,  it is said they carry out their eldritch experiments undisturbed. Nobody really knows - or cares to investigate; due to 
tales of the horrors of the dark woodlands, the beasts therein and stories of the sisters' unnatural trafficking with all manner of strange creatures, from wraiths to talking trees.....

More prosaically, it is said that the sisters now make a living from commissions and unofficial, material support from Buckland; even from the family of the Master of Buckland himself. However, not only is THAT thought to be too far fetched, but a long festering feud between Tobo's family and Buckland folk prevents his party following up any leads in that direction....

The group must make their way through the countryside, brave the potential perils of the woods and find the sisters. They must then persuade Mari to come back with them to Bree in secret.

The plan is to go west along the Great Road until the Old Forest comes into view (hopefully on the third day).

[Technical Notes: To get to/from the woods I ran a basic RPG style expedition test but these journeys were uneventful.

On arrival at the edge of the Forest the party must search for a path. There is a possible path every 6 inches of Forest (or path edge if they reach a dead end). Tests are made on a 1x6D. On a result of 5 or 6 a hidden path/track is found by Greyhood. Anyone else finds a path on a 6. Each 6 inches of edge can only be tested once.

The length of path visible is 3x6Dx inches long. Movement (unencumbered) is 6 inches plus 1x6D along the visible path.

Each move an Encounter test must be made on a Dx12. On a result of 12 consult the Encounter Table. Note that the further into the Forest the party goes the more the encounter result is affected.

On reaching the end of that visible path the Path Dice is thrown. Possible results are "Path Continues Straight", "Path Curves" (test for right or left), "Path Bends (90% bend ditto), "Dead End" and "Special".

A result of "Special" means make an Encounter Test, then test  on the Path Dice again. A further "Special" result means the path diverts towards the target.

On reaching the target Tobo must persuade Mari to come to Bree  - and her sisters to allow her to. This will be settled by Dice Tests. Each such test takes one whole move.

Each move represents 15 minutes. It will be dark in 10 hours from the first move. Resting in the Forest in the dark will increase the chance of encounters by adding 4 to the test throw (in addition to any other modifiers). It is assumed that trap/stationary encounters, if it is decided to rest in the Forest overnight, are due to someone discretely going into the Bush for personal reasons during the hours of darkness. In the event of an effective Encounter result test by dice throw for whoever is affected.]

The Story:

The group arrived at the Forest edge and started searching for paths. At first they were unsuccessful, but a couple of moves in Greyhood found a track leading into the woods.

The party followed this, but it came to a dead end on their second move along it. Not only this, but a Spike Trap was seen [Encounter and Observation Test]. Greyhood had spotted it, but  then triggered it while trying to disarm it. However, he managed to avoid taking any damage.

The group then searched both sides of the path for any side tracks, at last discovering one. They started to move along this (Greyhood leading) only to have another Spike Trap trigger, wounding Greyhood (the perils of leading from the front, I guess). 

The party followed the trail as it curved until....!!

They emerged once more into the open country...  So THAT was all a waste of time.

Going back along the track and searching for other paths led nowhere, so they had to leave the trees and beat along the Forest edge again hoping to locate a way in.

At last another track was found. 

They followed this as it meandered along, and they made good progress for about four moves. Things seemed to be progressing well. 

 Pressing forwards along the track on they reach.. another dead end.

But all is not lost... A little bashing along the foliage at the track sides they find anither rough trail, roughly) headed in the right direction... Excellent. They make good progress.. 

Until.... Ooops... Greyhood failed to spot - and fell into - a Pit Trap.

This time he was seriously hurt. The Hobbits pulled him out, but he was too badly injured to move without aid. This was not looking good.

By-passing the pit Tobo followed the path, then, luckily, on the next path test they broke into a clearing just yards from the Pit. Carrying Greyhood to the (relative) safety of the open space they rested.

After some discussion it was decided to split the group. Tobo, Sam, Tam and Bob would press on along the clearing (a low, open ridge) to try to find Mari. Perri and Timmo will wait in the clearing to tend to and guard Greyhood.

Tobos' party moved onwards, keeping to the clearing as long as possible, then, luckily, finding a track in the right direction. Soon they reached a large clearing and... The old barrow. They had got to their target...

Then came the approach to the door of the Hobbit Home, and Tobo's negotiations  with Marigold and her sisters.. 

The Hobbit ladies are not too keen on the idea of marigold venturing back into Bree - and there is a long, and lively, discussion... 

Luckily the persasive powers of the Bree-landers, plus the handing over of ALL of Tobos's gifts, Mari eventually agreed to accompany the party back to Bree.

Another hour was lost as Mari packed, then the party set off. But by the time they reached Greyhood it was getting late. Mari patched the man up, but night was approaching, and Mari refused to sleep outside unnecessarily.

The group therefore returned to Marigold's home for the night, bringing Greyhood. Luckily all this coming and going - and the night itself -  proved uneventful...

The next morning the whole party set off. Following the path on which they had come they had no issues or encounters... 

and, on reaching the edge of the forest set off Bree-wards without incident... 


Well, that was a fun little game. Nothing revolutionary, but I wanted to test out my "Lost In A Forest" ideas and the "Path Dice" and that worked well - if the path issue was a tad frustrating at times - as it should be; as anyone else who has got lost in a forest (inc. m'self; several times here in UK - including on one occasion alone in full Tudor kit - and once in Nigeria) will no doubt testify...

It also gave the the opportunity to get out and tidy up ALL my Temperate trees....

Do I hear the tread of legions calling while they're on the table....? Hmmm.....

As always, any comments or queries. 


  1. I'm not a wargamer but I like what you did with those 15 mm figures as Hobbits. And they are real fine painted!

    1. Many thanks.

      I was very pleased with them, not least because they fitted my "mind's eye" image of "little People".

      This was also my first experiment with Green Stuff (am SERIOUSLY late to the party re. that) - up to now I've been a built-up Copydex or varnished Blu-Tac man, but this has led to some more experimenting....

  2. I'm absolutely in love with your forest! And I'll be stealing your halflings idea with 15mm minis.
    Can I ask you where you got that fantastic map?

  3. Thanks.. :)

    Sure, the map is an extract from one of Peter Fenlon's from ICE's MERP series ("Bree and the Barrow Downs"). Most of the ICE MERP modules are online at


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