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Completed From the Barren Lands (Tolkien CYOA)

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by MercantileInterest, Oct 20, 2016.

  1. Azira Arcane Patron

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    C1
     
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  2. Gauldur's Bait Learned

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    C) If the hammer can be wielded effectively with the shield, otherwise A.

    Then 2), v , y. The sack of silver coins ( x) )only if it can be carried conveniently (can we use the sack for the other loot?).
     
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  3. Storyfag Arcane

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    A
    2vy
     
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  4. Grimgravy Augur Patron

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    C>A as Gaulder's Bait said.
    1>2v Lets not spend too much time looting.
     
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  5. Usury Arcane

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    A majority vote for (C) Broad-shield and helmet. Otherwise, (2,v,y) for the diamond and golden statuette. Azira alone advised against looting. Guess we'll see whether he really is the only one left with any common sense. Also, you can all find a character sheet at the end of the last posting.​

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    Maedoc ran his hands through the sacks of silver. Old coins, tarnished and dull, little used coins, polished and glinting, ridge edged tharnis, dwarven barter rings, faded coins bearing the signs of kings long forgotten and more besides trickled through his fingers. They overflowed the bags and plinked from his knees to the floor. Hundreds filled each sack. Beregond poured out a third of one and tied it around his belt. His face was pale as silver. His lips formed a smile of pure unreason. At last he had reached the place of which he had dreamed many years. At last the chance to restore the lost riches of his family. They had never been wealthy, as such matters were counted among the seed of Westernesse, but what wealth they did possess lay in fields and orchards. Sixteen years before, when the armies of Mordor marched on Ithilien, his family had been the last to leave. Both brother and Uncle fell to snarling Uruks as the crops burned and rusted axes splintered the olive trees. The dead maidens in their long dresses were strewn among the weeds like wilted flowers. The servants of the dark lord would not merely slay but must also ravage. Mablung had known of the orcs' approach but had not foreseen their speed.

    When Maedoc tried to untie a small bag, the string came apart in rough skeins and a fine cloud of gold dust showered down. He laughed. The powder on his hands was worth more than anything he had ever held. Others crowded about, pawing at the treasures, and his laugh infected them like a sickness. Men shook as their low chuckles built into an uproar. Even Llewyn's chortle, too shrill for a male but too harsh for a woman's grace, echoed on the stones.

    A long warbling howl interrupted.

    Carney had just caught up with the rest of them, with the limping rhysmun on his shoulder. When he heard the howl, he nearly dropped his master. No one moved as the sound slowly receded.

    "Long past time to be gone." Sir Damrod drew his sword and swept out of the room.

    Black-breath looped a golden figure of an archer onto his belt, nabbed the largest diamond he saw and hurried after with his son at his side. A stooped and bent creature darted into the hall. Its naked pallid flesh wrinkled worse than Mablung's. A large hump disfigured its back and it shuffled more than walked. Its long fingers ended in sharp claws. It stank like a fish and its sunken eyes blinked in the torchlight.

    Show Spoiler
    [​IMG]

    "If we leave it be, perhaps it will leave us alone." Said Cingetix.

    Damrod stabbed forward, piercing the ghoul's throat in a single motion. For all his heavy armor, he sprang over the corpse before it hit the ground and continued down the hall. Cingetix sprinted after him.

    "Come on, you fools!" Maedoc shouted. "Forget the plunder."

    In the treasury, Beregond heaved a full sack of silver onto his shoulder and staggered to the door. His uncle tried to lift both a golden bar and a gilded box but kept dropping them. Llewyn threw gold and gems aside to clatter on the stones. The wisdom had sent her to look for something precious to the Burnt Men. The old woman had explained the best way to earn the stone man's trust would be to feign disloyalty to her true duty. Llewyn had not doubted she would become wisdom one day but this was her chance to reclaim her people's birthright. The only thing she had not suspected was to have begun respecting old Mablung after more than half a month together. The wisdom had always held him in such disregard but he was clearly as fair as he was shrewd.

    Soft footsteps padded up behind Carney. Four of the ghouls crept up the hall, panting. He dropped the rhysmun and dashed past Maedoc. Mull's torch rolled on the ground. He limped forward, balanced on the wall with one hand and drew his sword. One of the creatures kicked the torch back down the hall.

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    (A) Go back to help the rhysmun. Loyalty above all else.
    (B) Run forward to catch up with Damrod, Cingetix and Carney. It's every man for himself. Also, specify what you will do to Carney if you catch him.

     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
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  6. Gauldur's Bait Learned

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    B) Save your son, fight with Damrod. If you catch Carney, cut the cowards foot off and leave him to enemy, hoping their feeding on him will slow them down and buy you time.
     
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  7. Grimgravy Augur Patron

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    A, but I really like the above suggestion for Carney.
     
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  8. hello friend Arcane

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    Huh. I'd forgotten all about this thread. Notifications not working as advertised.

    same
     
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  9. oscar Tacticular Staff

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    B) Save your son, fight with Damrod. If you catch Carney, cut the cowards foot off and leave him to enemy, hoping their feeding on him will slow them down and buy you time.
     
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  10. Storyfag Arcane

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    This.
     
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  11. Usury Arcane

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    (A) Go back to help the rhysmun. Loyalty above all else.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    Maedoc rushed at the hunched creatures. They fell back noiselessly. The only light came from Mull's flickering torch on the ground which cast his long shadow over the foe. He halted and they stopped their retreat. Then they howled and an answering howl echoed back up through the chamber. He stepped back and they advanced, keeping a few paces apart. The rhysmun sheated his blade, threw one arm around his old friend's shoulder and lifted his torch with the other.

    Beregond and Mablung left the treasure hoard and stared at the shadows in the gloom. Beregond threw one of his knives, aiming for a ghoul's head but hitting its shoulder. The beast groaned and scampered away. The other three blinked, bobbed their heads and howled again. The reply sounder closer and louder.

    "Don't bother about them." Said Maedoc. "They won't let you close enough to fight."

    Beregond swung forward, swift as a swooping hawk but his enemy leaped aside. He swung again and stumbled on the rough cut floor. His sword clattered out of reach as he collapsed on his side. The ghouls sprang forward. Beregond thrust a poinard into the heart of the first one and knocked the second off its feet with a strong kick to the ankle. The third ghoul had just wrapped its claws around his throat when Black-breath's hammer crashed into the side of its skull.

    "My thanks." The man of Gondor picked up his sword. "Those were much faster than I expected."

    "Most unwise of you." Said Mablung. "Trying your sword dropping trick to lure an unknown foe."

    The rhysmun shouted into the treasury. "Get out of there, woman!"

    Llewyn continued to sift through bracelets, brooches, gems, cups and coins without even turning her head. The men of Gondor set off down the long passageway. Maedoc and the rhysmun struggled after them. Encumbered as they were, they fell farther and farther behind. Other passageways, dark openings like mouths, opened on every side and from each of these holes issued hunting howls. A padding hunchback closed behind and then another.

    They came to a conical chamber like a stone beehive. A teeming pack of ghouls filled the room. More closed in behind them. The rhysmun's torch sputtered. He laughed.

    "Pity no one will see this. Let's make it a death worthy of song."

    "Let's live to sing about it." His old friend replied.

    The ghouls attacked. Maedoc hammered down a snag toothed monster and beat back more with his shield. So long as he stayed in the hall, they could not overwhelm him with their numbers. Behind, Mull lopped off a hand and slashed at shoulders but his injured leg impaired his swordsmanship. The creatures pinned his arms and legs with bony claws. They piled over him and bore him to the ground. Then they attacked Black-breath from both sides. Clawing and scratching, they tore him down. Long nails raked his face and mealy teeth mashed his arms. As his last lifeblood poured out of him, he plunged his fingers through a ghoul's pale eyes and ripped out the bridge of its skull. The torch smoldered out and a heavy rock crushed his throat.

    The crawling creatures dragged the man who had been rhysmun to the center of the chamber. Him they neither bit nor slew but held alive to await their master.

    ***​

    Sir Damrod the Dispossessed, knight of Westernesse, hastened through the dark corridors. He did not know the way, but it seemed reasonable that, if he remained on the main way, he might reach another exit. A flurry of movement rushed all about but no dweller in the dark confronted him. Cingetix hurried behind him and Carney soon caught up. They passed down a broad staircase onto a low area paved with a tarnished bronze grille. The walls radiated heat and the sound of churning liquid. They were chiseled in a relief of forested slopes underneath which many bones lay. In the carvings, a man began among the crops of the valleys. He gathered an army about him, conquered and built up a throne in high places. At the end of the room an iron door stood, emblazoned with a weary bearded face with stars in his hair and set with three discs. Carney began to turn the dials.

    "Not much of a lock. We should be able to guess this."

    Damrod pushed him aside. Courtesy was all very well but he was not going to let it get him killed. To survive, he only needed to deduce the proper combination.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    Same rules as last time. One symbol from each disc then pull the lever. No hatch on the ceiling this time.

    (A) The first disc shows water(x), wind(y) and fire(z).
    (B) The second disc shows acorn(x), furrow(y) and mountain(z).
    (C) The third disc shows wheat(x), oak(y) and flower(z).

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    We'll also need a new character, seeing as the ghouls mauled and dismembered Maedoc. Let's stick to the Burnt Men.

    (1) Cingetix. Managed to loot a fair share of coin from the treasure chamber.
    (2) Carney. Panicked earlier but still has a good deal more experience than Black-breath's boy.
    (3) Llewyn. Very nearly trapped in the rhysbidean's tomb but still holding a few tricks.
     
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  12. Gauldur's Bait Learned

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    I leave the combination to someone else this time.

    For character, 2). Should be interesting.
     
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  13. oscar Tacticular Staff

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    Not sure about the puzzle but a fairly straight forward progression of small seeds growing into something solid and formidable?

    Perhaps C though what could be wheat (farmers/the foundation of society/those who fight), oak (warriors/those who defend society/dependent upon the farmers), flower (the fruits of nobility and civilisation/dependant upon the warriors).

    Only A doesn't make much sense.
     
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  14. Grimgravy Augur Patron

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    1 for the character. Let's kill the whole family!

    I'll think about the combo.
     
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  15. Lithium Flower Magister

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    2) for the character. I wonder what could be in Carney's mind after he got possessed.

    I think we are not presented combinations, rather three options per disk. So we are not choosing between A, B, and C, rather between Ax, Ay, Az, and so on.

    Here are some theories:

    The most obvious symbol for the first disk is fire. However, I am not sure that it is the right one, because
    1. fire seems to be this room's hazard, and the last puzzle did not incorporate water into its solution
    2. fire was already the solution for the drowning room puzzle

    On the other hand, if this a metaphor for development of mankind or something similar, the first symbol is probably water (water of the womb, water that is necessary for crops to grow, etc.)

    Following the growth of man motif, I'd say the others are either Bx (acorn), Cy (Oak), or By(furrow), Cx(wheat). The former has the "high places" that we see in the carvings in the form of the oak, whereas the latter follows more closely to the imagery of the room.

    Regardless, we ought to be careful with this one because I doubt any member of the party is fireproof.

    EDIT: the above puzzle combos are not votes, just theories.
     
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  16. Grimgravy Augur Patron

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    I'll vote yxy (wind, acorn, oak) for the lock. The wind can bring the acorn to the ground. It could also represent the disparate drifting people who become the army. Acorn to oak shows starting from humble beginnings and growing into a mighty king.
     
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  17. Lithium Flower Magister

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    I think I am going to go with XXY (wind acorn oak) instead. Water has stronger connection to growth IMHO. From birth of man (water of the womb) to the water that is necessary for the oak to grow. The former is especially relevant if this is meant to be the story of human growth, whether individual (like the king) or his people.
     
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  18. Storyfag Arcane

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    XXY
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  19. oscar Tacticular Staff

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    XYZ

    1) Cingetix
     
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  20. Usury Arcane

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    Hmmm... looks like we'll be playing as Cingetix. Kill off the whole family indeed.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    The rhysmun struggled but his captors writhed over him like flies on a corpses. Their bony wrists held the strength of a desperate man. Their long nails scratched the ground but they neither spoke nor called out. They even breathed quietly. The torch had gone out and only blackness remained.

    Mull stopped writhing but the claws still pinned his arms and legs. He would wait for them to ease their grip and then try to burst free. He steadied his breathing. A wisp of blue lit the room, so faint he wondered whether he only imagined it. But, he had not imagined it, and the glow soon brightened enough to show the hunched spines of the ghouls and their empty blinking eyes. The light grew greater yet, like a frozen moon, and footsteps approached, not the hesitant padding of a ghoul but a man's steady gait. The creatures turned to face the newcomer. Mull gathered his strength to burst loose.

    What had once been mighty among men entered the room, lit with a deathly aura. Cured ligaments and dried muscle wrapped its old bones. Its eyes were shriveled and red and its tongue stuck to the bottom of its mouth. A robe of royal red and woven gold draped its shoulders and on its head was a kingly crown. Dried drops of lead crusted its face and chest.

    The rhysbidean had stood on the edge of death but he had never passed over. In the waning years of his life, his followers lay him in the ancient catacombs of the mountain tribes and swathed his sleeping form with enchantments, that he might rest a hundred years, until his youth and power returned to him. Then, they slew the rhysbidean's tribe and filled the tomb with traps, that none might interrupt the spell before-time. Those long forgotten rhysmungard had protected their master too well.

    It had been near three hundred years.

    The skeletal figure ponderously knelt by the captive and stretched a withered finger out to his forehead. The ghouls shook as in a wind, shut their eyes and hummed. Mull's lips stretched back into a grimace. His skin lost its color, thinned and flaked away like parchment in fire. The rhysmun's life flowed out of him into the rhysbidean. Only the captive's bones remained.

    The rhysbidean stood more smoothly than it had knelt. Its skin was fuller and smoother. Its muscles stronger. The ghouls flocked all around.

    It strode towards the outside.

    ***​

    Damrod examined the lock. The first dial held the same possibilities as the first dial in the watery cave but the next two differed. The last chamber clearly involved water but the correct combination had required fire, along with man and crown. Perhaps it had been a deliberate deception or perhaps the nature of the trap was irrelevant. The old scholar had mentioned that the barbarian tribes ritually burnt their own kings.

    "Stop standing around and try something," said Carney.

    The knight held up a finger for silence. He did not understand the Burnt Speech (Carney did not know the common tongue) and he thought best when not distracted. There were most likely three doors altogether. If the previous door symbolized the ritual death of a king, this walls of the chamber suggested this one might symbolize his rise. So, wind to spread the acorn which grows into a towering oak. His fingers slowly turned the dials. He glanced down as he rested his hand on the lever. If he had set the wrong combination, some fell poison or hissing flame would doubtless well up through the bronze grate at his feet.

    "Fine. I'll do it." Carney tipped the first disc just as Damrod pushed the lever.

    A mechanical whirring followed a faint click. The hinges shifted and the door sprung open an inch.

    Water. Acorn. Oak.

    Cingetix breathed out. Unlike the other Burnt Man, he had been conscious for the last puzzle. The knight had to master a very strong urge to swap off Carney's head. The thump of footsteps rolled down the stairs. They readied their swords. Beregond and Mablung appeared.

    "Where's my father?" Cingetix asked.

    "Farther behind than I thought." Mablung looked over his shoulder. "I advise you against going back for him." Distant screams echoed over the stones. The old man turned even more pale.

    They passed through a rough tunnel of rock which stopped at a smooth panel of rock. They pushed it down and reentered the amphitheatre, ran through the long hall with pillars of pine, past the corpses slain long ago by poison air, up the thousand steps, through the great doors into the chill mountain air.

    The sun had fallen below the western peaks and much snow swirled about. Among all the tumbled heaps of stonework, neither horse, tent nor rhysmungard remained. Only footprints and cold fire pits remained.

    "Hey, help me!" Hathrasil Falcon-glare sat bound against a leaning pillar, whom the rhysmun had left to rule over the men in his absence. "Those cowards bolted. Tied me down when I tried to stop them. Where's the rhysmun?"

    "I... don't know." Said Cingetix.

    "He's not here?" Carney asked. "Odd. He'll show up in a little bit. He's got Black-breath at his back, after all."

    "We need to get off this mountain." Damrod cut his bonds. "I fear the barrow has woken and will pursue us."

    Even as he spoke, three riders all in black appeared through the snow. Long cloaks and hoods hid their forms but terror went out went before them, such as made the fear of the barrow like a child's fancy.

    Show Spoiler

    "Yield to us the sons of Ithilien," said a voice thin and grasping. "Yield, in the name of Mordor."

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​

    (A) You're standing right behind Beregond. You could pretty easily trip him up. Carney is right by Damrod. (The black riders didn't ask for him but he'll probably object to you selling off his friends.)
    (B) Hold your ground. Among the broken ruins, their horses will be little advantage. Being twice outnumbered they might not dare to attack.
    (C) Run. It's not your problem.
    (D) Attack! What's the point of negotiating anyway?
    (E) Something else______.

    Reminder: Mablung, Beregond, Cingetix and Damrod all have a good amount of treasure. Carney fled at the first sight of a ghoul and thus has nothing. Hathrasil has been tied outside for most of the day. Naturally, he doesn't have anything either. Still, might be good to know whom you should be worrying about.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2016
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  21. hello friend Arcane

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    B
    Probably suicidal, but sometimes you gotta roll the dice.
     
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  22. Grimgravy Augur Patron

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    The rhysbidean may be one of the nine. Fighting them looks like a terrible idea. Lets be a jerk. A
     
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  23. oscar Tacticular Staff

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  24. Lithium Flower Magister

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    :dance:

    I can't believe that actually worked.

    C, and watch out for Carney. These guys seem determined to get what they want. I doubt they are going to split off to chase down some barbarian. On the other hand, Carney is much more likely to catch up to us and stab us in the back for all the loot weighing us down.

    The issue with B) is that there is a good chance there might be a small army of ghouls and/or the rhysbidean behind us, and being sandwiched between them and the Nazgul seems like a pretty bad idea.

    A) and D) seem fun, but there are probably better ways to commit suicide.
     
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  25. Gauldur's Bait Learned

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    Brave, brave Sir Robin...

    C)
     
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