Jul. 5th, 2015 @ 08:26 pm Finished series: Gundam Build Fighters Try
Current Mood: okayokay
We've finished watching Gundam Build Fighters Try. It's the second Gundam Build Fighters series, set seven years after the first series.
Everything that made the first series great, is also present in this one. Though the goal is a bit more modest: it's the Under-19 championship, and not the world championship. But since it's been seven years, building and fighting techniques have advanced as well -- there is even a dedicated "Gunpla Academy", which has dominated the nationals for six years straight...

It's a bit more "shouty" though. And while there are plenty of female characters with lots of agency, I wasn't that sure about some of their wardrobe choices. And the final episode was a bit of a letdown, really.
But it's still way above the average shounen series -- when was the last time that a shounen series showed morning sickness as an aside?

If you liked the first series, you will like this one. I'm not sure we'd choose to watch a third series, if that would ever materialise, but we've certainly had fun with this one.
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UN Spacy
Jun. 28th, 2015 @ 09:54 pm I am the Shadow of Mordor
Current Mood: calmcalm
Tags: ,
A few weeks ago, I bought Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. It's a fun game wherein you play a ranger from Gondor that has been posted at the Black Gates to guard Mordor against the return of Sauron and his horde of Orcs. And then precisely that happens, your wife and kid get killed and you return as some sort of undying entity, coupled with the spirit of Celebrimbor. Indeed, such a thing never happened according to the Middle-Earth canon. According to the game, the Rings of Power were all forged in Mordor too, and more of that nonsense.

But what's more important, is that the game is a lot of fun. I really enjoy sneaking around the ruins and Orc strongholds of Mordor, hiding in the shadows and killing Orcs left and right. There are also some parallel story-lines, which develop the land and the various (non-hostile) characters you meet. But the true draw of the game is the ability to kill vast numbers of Orcs in the most spectacular way. As you gain more power, you get more impressive combat moves and more 'wraith' powers.
There's also the "Nemesis System", which is a really cool way to generate content. When you kill Orcs, others take their place in the hierarchy of Sauron's army. They're randomly generated, with random strengths and weaknesses. They gain power by fighting against the other captains (or killing you!), lose weaknesses and gain more power. That means that even if you don't want to (or can't) advance the story, there is always the possibility to go in and wreck some Orc party!
(It's a bit like the Radiant Quest system that was built into Skyrim to keep generating content, but after a while there was no reason to keep doing those missions: all you got was a lousy 100 gold. With this game, as captains gain more power, the missions become more difficult and the runes you gain (runes go on sword, bow and dagger to gain abilities) become more powerful as well. Better system, in my opinion.)

And then I thought: wouldn't it be cool to do this in a tabletop RPG? Have a group of PCs be the infiltrators, tracking the ranks in the enemy army, and interfering to change things to your advantage?
Something to think about.
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the one ring
Jun. 25th, 2015 @ 10:13 pm Finished series: Nanatsu no Taizai
Current Mood: amusedamused
We've finished watching Nanatsu no Taizai.

It's a high-powered fantasy romp: princess Elizabeth flees from the castle when the Holy Knights (basically knights with magical super-powers) take her family prisoner. She searches for the Seven Deadly Sins: a group of seven Holy Knights who are even more powerful than the other Holy Knights, but who have gone in hiding because they are wanted men and women. And wouldn't you know it: she stumbles across the inn of Meliodas, the captain of the Seven Deadly Sins squad!
From there, they assemble most of the original crew, and they take the fight to the corrupt Holy Knights!

"High-powered" does not even begin to describe it: in the first episode, an apprentice Holy Knight cuts the top off a hill! Then every episode, there seems to be an even more powerful attack, that the Seven Deadly Sins can parry or counter... By the end of the series (which lasted two seasons), the power level has escalated to ridiculous levels. The possibility of a second season is left open, but I think that will escalate to even more ludicrous levels...
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Jun. 20th, 2015 @ 08:53 am (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, noramu!
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Jun. 15th, 2015 @ 08:35 pm Birthday girls
Current Mood: happyfestive
Today, this young lady officially turned 3 years old...

...as did her sister!

(And it is surprisingly hard to make good photos of our dark and lively cats. How do all those high-quality cat videos get made? It baffles me.)
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kitty tongue
Jun. 13th, 2015 @ 10:25 pm Lamp
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Above our table, we had one of those 12 volt halogen cable systems. We converted it to LED lights, but then the transformer didn't have enough load, and over time it got to be a bit of a mess with the lights constantly flickering. Of course, that won't do -- and I also noted that there were no systems like that on the market anymore. Everything is 230V these days, with LED spots -- much more energy efficient.
So we wanted something new for our table. Not one of those rails (they're efficient and versatile, but not nice to look at), so we thought we'd go to Ikea and see what they had there -- purely as inspiration, mind you. We were thinking of a lamp that hangs over the table. We saw some things that perhaps would fit, but in the bathroom department, we saw a LED lamp that we both were instantly attracted to.

We came up with the idea to use some rough planks for the pallet that held the stones for our pond border and put three of those lights on the bottom. We thought we could use the system from the 12V cable system to suspend it from the ceiling. And that's what we did!

Close-up of one of the lights

The plank with the three lights turned on

We managed to put the lights right in the middle of the usual spot for the table too! And it gives a lot of light, which is good if you're working on a crafting project on the table!
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Glowing LED
Jun. 13th, 2015 @ 05:03 pm Finished series: Mekakucity Actors
Current Mood: blankblank
We've finished watching Mekakucity Actors.

The first part of the series was kinda okay: we get to see the same things from different viewpoints, which I always enjoy because it requires some good storytelling and gives more insight in what has happened. The rest is classic Shaft: lots of odd poses, very busy backgrounds and a plot that is both convoluted and complex but that is rushed to its conclusion. The animation is kinda cheap as well...
It all did make sense in the end, but I don't think it's just that good of a series.
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Ships passing in the night
Jun. 4th, 2015 @ 07:25 pm Finished series: Mushishi Zoku Shou
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
We've finished watching Mushishi Zoku Shou. It is the second series of Mushishi, again featuring Ginko the wandering mushi expert.
In most of the episodes, he doesn't have that large of a role: he comes by, mentions something about the mushi that somehow affect the people he encounters, and then things take their course. As such, the series is much more a commentary on the human condition, with all of the emotions that humans can have, than it is about the mushi. This was also apparent in the first series, but since all the exposition has already been done, the second series can focus on the humans instead of the mushi.
Again, the character art is simple but effective. But the backgrounds are really beautiful. Dramatic things are shown, not told, in poetic visuals. Together with the low key music, the series paints very intimate portraits of the people featured in the show.

The first series is a must-see. The second series perhaps even more so.
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May. 28th, 2015 @ 07:35 pm Tanith Lee died
Current Mood: sadsad
I just read that Tanith Lee died. I don't know if I could call myself a big fan, but my hometown library had a lot of her books in the fantasy genre. On little 14-year old me, her Birthgrave books and the books in the Tales form the Flat Earth series made quite an impression. I also have the four children's books that she wrote -- two are extremely hilarious, two have decidedly darker themes....

I am sad that we won't get to read anything new from her.
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May. 27th, 2015 @ 09:34 pm Finished series: Yurikuma Arashi
Current Mood: pensivepensive
We've finished watching Yurikuma Arashi. And it is weird.

The thing with anime that have a premise that is completely out there (meteor fragments fall to Earth, every bear starts attacking and eating humans, humans build a big wall to keep the bears out, but then the bears disguise themselves as humans to enter their world, because a court allowed them to) is that after a few episodes, you start accepting the weirdness as the way things simply are in that world. You stop questioning why something is the way it is -- you start finding it quite normal that girls turn out to be bears ("Kuma shock!") and move on with your life.
The series is deeply symbolic, and it reminded me of Revolutionary Girl Utena. Utena has only yuri undertones, but this series lays it on quite thickly -- but that distracts from the real message. I haven't really worked out what that message is, exactly, but to me it seems like it has something to do with being your own person and not going mindlessly with the flow (which is what the Invisible Storm seems to be about).

The art is gorgeous (especially the backgrounds!) and I really like the fact that through flashbacks, you get to see the same scene from multiple viewpoints. That's a storytelling technique that works really well with anime because you can revisit certain scenes or occurrences and see them in the light of your increased understanding of the plot.

All in all, if you like weird psychological/deeply symbolic stories, or you like to see girls falling in love with girls (seriously, there are no males in the series, except for the three bear judges) then you should watch this.
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Kashira? Kashira? Gozonji Kashira?
May. 27th, 2015 @ 07:43 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, kishenehn!
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May. 18th, 2015 @ 09:58 pm Japan vacation
Current Mood: excitedexcited
We've decided to take another vacation in Japan! The last time we went there, in 2013, we ended our trip on Kyushu, the western-most island. While we were there, we visited Yufuin, a nice hot spring village, and Mt. Aso, basically a village within the crater of an active volcano. But we were dependent on the public transport (we had a JR Rail Pass), which was pretty much non-existent to get anywhere interesting. Mt. Aso had a various buses, but those busses went only twice per day. We spent a lot of time just waiting about instead of sight-seeing. Nicely relaxing, but not what we came to Japan for!

So this time around, we'll focus exclusively on Kyushu, and rent a car to get around. The program has been finalised, and now we're working out the details of what we're going to visit specifically. Really excited about it!
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May. 18th, 2015 @ 08:19 pm Denki-Gai no Honya-san
Current Mood: calmcalm
We've finished watching Denki-Gai no Honya-san, which shows a book-store (actually a manga store) in an 'electric town' (the most well-known of which is in Akihabara). The main characters are employees, and are nerdy otaku types as you would expect (except for Hio, the token 'normal girl'). And with four girls and three guys, there's a lot of potential for odd romances...
Sometimes, it falls in the trap of having to create more and more outrageous situations to keep the comedy flowing, but most of the time the characters and their relationships carry the show. It's like a otaku version of Working!, with one big difference: Working! had a normal main character, but such characters are nowhere in sight for this one!

We liked it. It's funny enough to be interesting, but watching this is far from life-changing -- if you're in the mood for light viewing and know enough about otaku culture to appreciate the puns, it's worth adding it somewhere in the middle of the to-watch list.
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Counting (Shuffle)
May. 16th, 2015 @ 03:19 pm The Rolling Girls
Current Mood: okayokay
Yesterday, we've finished The Rolling Girls. The setting is quite whimsical: there has been a civil war in Japan, and all the prefectures have turned into their own country. The peace is kept by vigilante squads, and the Twin Towers Declaration (referring to the two towers of the Tokyo Big Sight event space) regulates how the squads can interact. Squads have a 'best' -- a super-powered individual, and the rest are... 'rest', who assist with cleanup duty and mundane stuff like that.
The story follows Nozomi, who finds out that her older sister is actually Macha Green, the best of the squad she admires. But then her sister gets wounded, and Nozomi sets out to mediate in various conflicts, instead of her sister.

It reminded us strongly of Kyousogiga: the battles are really over-the-top, and the backgrounds are fantastic and colourful. And, like with Kyousogiga: there is an actual plot which is revealed gradually over the course of the series, with a satisfying finale.

I really liked it -- I kept being curious what whacky situations the girls would end up in next. Fast-paced and fun!
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May. 13th, 2015 @ 07:25 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, isabelgou!
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May. 10th, 2015 @ 04:19 pm Shirobako
Current Mood: okayokay
Today, we've finished Shirobako. It's basically the anime side of Bakuman: five girls vow to work together in the anime industry to create their own anime.
After finishing high school, all five of them choose a different but anime-related path. The series focusses on Aoi Miyamori, who starts working as a Production Assistant at a middle-tier anime studio that has managed to land a big project. Through her work, we get to see all the steps of the production of anime. from scenario to storyboards, keyframes, color etcetera.
(And most of the works seems to be juggling schedules and begging the animators to work a bit harder to make up for a slipping schedule earlier in the chain. It felt a bit familiar...)

The real stars of the series are the characters. There's a big cast (making anime takes a lot of people!), but all of them have their own mannerisms and personality -- which keeps things really interesting. I liked two secondary characters the best: Honda-san, the Project Manager of the first series, who goes on to follow his dream. And Yuka Okitsu, the administrative lady who has several unsuspected tricks up her sleeve.

If you liked Bakuman, then you will love Shirobako. It's a refreshing look at a (dramatised) anime studio trying to deliver a great series.
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Counting (Shuffle)
May. 4th, 2015 @ 05:36 pm Lootcrate
Current Mood: okayokay
Over at Facebook, I saw ads for Lootcrate, a subscription box with 'cool stuff'. A single box runs #30, and I found the concept intriguing. I mean, I try to simplify my life by not accumulating all sorts of 'stuff'. But this... Well, the theme was 'fantasy', and that's in my 'strike zone', so to say.
So as an experiment, I subscribed for the April box, and then cancelled my subscription so that I would only receive the one box.

So when the box finally came in, it was pretty exciting. The contents were kinda neat: I really like the D&D T-shirt, but the rest was kinda... meh. Sure, if you're a fan of all the things, then it's quite good. Though who would wear an inflatable crown that's too tight for even my small head? And the D&D bow tie? And even if you do an exclusive USB drive, which is of course quite cool, then why only 4GB? What is only 4GB these days?

So yeah, that was fun, but that's it for me. The excitement and pleasure of the 'unboxing' is fun and all, but it's just more 'stuff'.
(And now I get ads for Nerdblock, another subscription box aimed at... nerds. I'll skip that one too. And when I looked through that blog that I linked to, I found lots and lots and lots of other subscription boxes. I'm skipping those too. :) )
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Maid dance
May. 3rd, 2015 @ 03:40 pm Koufuku Graffiti
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Today, we've finished Koufuku Graffiti. As a fan of Japanese home-style cooking, this was right up my alley.

It's basically Hidamari Sketch for middle schoolers -- made by the same studio, so there are some stylistic things that carried over from one to the other. But in this series, the focus is on cooking -- every one of the 12 episodes focusses on one month in the year and the delicacies that are traditional for that month.
It's a good lot of fun, but by the end we were ready to be done with it -- talk about good gets you only so far, and there was not much else going on in the series.
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curry ga dekita!
May. 2nd, 2015 @ 03:13 pm New keyboard
Current Mood: nerdynerdy
The cool thing about having a long(er) running blog is that you can search back and can date all sorts of events up to the day. So when I was wondering just how long I had had my current Reclusa keyboard, all I needed to do was to search through all my entries, and I found this entry from 2007. So now I know that I had my keyboard for little under eight years.
(I use ljdump to get a dump of all my entries and the comments on those entries, and then simply use grep to search through it all. I've long considered cooking up something using Xapian and making use of the nifty IR features that library has, but so far grep has served me good enough, so there was no real incentive to really get it going.)

After those eight years, lots of crumbs, cat hair, toe nails and nose pickings had accumulated under the keys, making it more of a biohazard than a functional keyboard. It was time for something new -- something clean, and something that I could reasonably keep clean. For this reason, I was considering a chiclet keyboard.
So when I was at a computer shop to get new microSD cards for use in the tablets and camera, I took a little look at their selection of keyboards. They had the Razer Deathstalker Essential, and I liked the feel of the keys. They also had the 'normal' Deathstalker, which has illuminated keys. I liked having an illuminated keyboard (makes it easier to type in the dark), but it was not wrth the extra 40 euros to me.

So, one week in, I must say that I am really pleased with the keyboard. Obviously I am not much of a user of the so-called 'game features', but that's not why I bought the keyboard. I like the 'stiffness' of the keys and the spacing. The font used for the letters on the keys take some getting used to, and I need a bit of light earlier in the evening. Other than that, I really like it. We might get one for klik too later on.
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Apr. 25th, 2015 @ 08:50 pm The One Ring: Tales from Wilderland: Of Leaves and Stewed Hobbit
Current Mood: sicksick
After playing through "Don't Leave the Path", we moved on to "Of Leaves and Stewed Hobbit", the second scenario from "Tales of Wilderland". We play through Google Hangouts.
Warning: This report will spoil the adventure. I will also include my thoughts as the GM. (The aim of this report is to make it useful to other GMs who want to run this scenario for their group.)

[Spoilers for "Of Leaves and Stewed Hobbit"]The characters are:
- Gain, the Dwarf scholar;
- Merian, the Hobbit wanderer;
- Asgard, the Beorning scholar; and
- Grigori, the Hobbit treasure-hunter.

After being paid by Baldor, the party packed up and went south, and after a day of travel they found The Easterly Inn. Lots of good roleplaying here while meeting Dody the Hobbit innkeeper, and it was fun to see the players unwind after the long trip. Agatha, Dody's wife, prepared rooms for them -- and there was some hilarity when she assumed that the two Hobbits in the party, Grigory and Merian, were a couple and put them in the Hobbit hole with the queen sized bed... They decided not to correct her and make do with it. Gain and Asgard would share a normal room.
The Hobbits were also offered a bath, which they gladly took. (Agatha didn't bother asking the Dwarf and Beorning, because they're rough folk who won't know how to appreciate a bath...)
Then, after the copious dinner ("...and this is your second main dish..."), there was some time to chat up the other patrons. Talk of Goblins on the High Pass over the Misty Mountains seemed to make Dody the innkeeper, quite nervous!
As the other patrons left or went to sleep, Dody befriended the heroes with just the right beverage, and then asked their assistance in finding his brother Dinodas ('Dindy') who had gone to Bree to buy provisions and additional finger bowls. With talk about Goblins at the High Pass, Dody was worried and wanted capable fellows like the heroes to see if they could find him. Gain the Dwarf needed some convincing to help, but with the promise that the group could set up a small trading post within the inn's compound, he saw the light and they decided to set off the next morning -- somewhere between elevenses and lunch.

Their route to the Old Ford took them along Beorn's house, and the group decided to pay their respects to him (and to get his permission to come back with their trade goods). Merian the Hobbit managed an Extraordinary Success on her Courtesy roll, and Asgard the Beorning's Awe roll also helped to make the local population take to the group. They spoke Beorn only briefly, and were allowed to sleep in one of the barns.
(Oddly enough, meeting Beorn and staying there for the night is a plot point only in the next scenario, so I had not prepared for this. But looking at the map, it's really obvious that player heroes would go there at this moment -- even if only to enquire as to Goblin activity or Hobbit trade caravans. It would have been better if the scenario provided some guidance for this. Sure, I can improvise (and I did), but still.)

The next day, they traveled on towards the Old Ford. the party paid the toll to cross the Ford and asked the guards about the trade caravan led by a Hobbit, but they had not seen Dody's caravan come back from the west. After one day of travel westwards from the Old Ford, the group found a grassy knoll -- much drier than the swampy surroundings, and judging from the traces of camp fires, a popular spot to spend the night. And so the group camped out.
During the first watch, Shanker approached the fire. Asgard the Beorning, who was on watch, saw him coming (thanks in part to the perception bonus from his newly acquired 'Brother to Bears') and hailed him. Asgard was satisfied that Shanker did not intend to harm the group. Shanker joined them at the fire and started smoking his pipe, which woke up Grigory the Hobbit. Shanker told them he had used the diversion the caravan created to slip by the goblin watchers unnoticed, and he was pretty proud of that cunning trick. They did not much like the way Shanker spoke of the caravan nor the fact that he did not warn them, but they left it at that. During her watch, Merian the Hobbit used her knowledge of herbology to created a scented powder from her herb stores to sprinkle over Shanker's feet and in his boots, to counter the smell...
The next morning, Grigory made breakfast (but not for Shanker), and when he told them again about the caravan, Merian told him she was not impressed with the way he handled that. He just shrugged, got up and with a theatrical bow was on his way to the east.

During the second day, Gain the Dwarf let his raven scout ahead in search for the caravan. Towards the end of the day, the raven returned to him to tell about the ruins of an old town that seemed like a likely camping spot, and that's where the group ended up. The town square was a popular camping spot: open and with enough space, and close to a small river for water. Everybody (except Asgard -- even Gain made his Awareness roll by getting a Gandalf rune!) felt uneasy in the town square, so Grigory scouted a different spot, and he found the remains of the inn -- the flagstones under the hearth would make a good spot for their campfire.
(And they'll return here in the fourth scenario when escorting the Elf, so that'll be cool!)

Wanting to know more about what was so 'wrong' about that place, the group scouted the river-side. Grigory got an extraordinary success, and he spotted something glinting in the mud. But after his unlucky episode with the Thing in the Well in Mirkwood, he was unwilling to go near anything that was glittering in mud. The raven was sent to check it out from above, and he reported seeing gems or silver.
Merian and Gain went to check it out, with Grigory and Asgard providing ranged cover. After poking around in the mud, Merian found the remains of the warrior that was killed by the Wight, as well as a silver torc set with three glittering jewels -- worth 3 Treasure Points. (And big enough for her to wear as a crown...) When she took it to the rest of the group, Grigory felt a pang of jealousy...
That night, they felt a menacing presence somewhere by the river (again with some great Awareness rolls), but as the night progressed, it faded.
(With the last of its victims being dug up, there was nothing to keep the Wight bound to this place. And the party needs to camp here again during the fourth scenario too, which they would be unwilling to do if there were still ghosts around.)

The next morning, they set off early: only one more day to get to the High Pass! Early in the afternoon they spot a wounded pony, with a goblin arrow sticking out of it's behind! They catch the pony, remove the arrow and leave it to roam the area. Perhaps they'll find it when they return, perhaps not.
Then, towards dusk, they find Dinodas' trade caravan! It's holed up at a ringfort on top of a hill, with a big fire in the middle for light. Dindy is frantic and useless, and his guards are either inexperienced or wounded from a poisoned Goblin arrow... They are alarmed when the heroes appear seemingly out of nowhere, but is relieved when they turn out to be friendlies, and especially when they are friendlies sent out to assist them! The caravan guards post themselves at the north entrance to the fort, and the party will take care of the southern end. Grigory sits in the middle, ready to offer supporting fire with his bow to either side, when necessary. After the Orc leader's challenge and the group's defiant roar in return, combat begins!

At first, the group cuts through the 8 Goblin Archers without too much problem. Gain the Dwarf thought of a new combat task: taunt, a sort of inverse intimidate. When in an Open stance, he rolled for Inspire to get the opposition to target him -- his chainmail and shield make him hard to hit.
Asgard the Beorning also made good use of the intimidate task, and even managed to score an extraordinary success when confronting the second wave, sending all four Goblin Archers fleeing in terror, leaving only the Orc Soldier. But after he got Wounded from a lucky Goblin knife, his effectiveness decreased markedly... He did manage to Wound two Goblins, the only character to do so in this fight.
Merian the Hobbit, who is the most courteous and popular character in the group, turned into a blood-craving maniac... again. I don't know what it is with her and fights, but she kept tearing into the Goblins in forward stance, with great effect. She also assisted Grigory the Hobbit when a Goblin sneaked past the allies and attacked him. Together, they offed the gob before it could do damage.
Meanwhile, the allies kept the north entrance relatively secure, and even managed to kill an Orc in the second round!

As the fourth wave was already marching up the path, Grigory the Hobbit kept close to the fire and provided covering fire with his bow. He kept an eye out on how things were going with the caravan guards who stood their ground at the north end -- luckily, no-one died and they did a good job in keeping the ringfort secure! Asgard the Beorning even managed to wound an Orc (his second this fight), but it was Merian the Hobbit who turned out to be the MVP of the battle -- like so many battles before. She went all-out on the Goblins, but then she got wounded by a lucky Goblin... This put Gain the Dwarf in a murderous rage (Merian is his Fellowship Focus), so he went beserk on that Goblin. This left him open to attacks (and that opportunity was seized!), so he cooled off really quickly!

Meanwhile, Grigory heard some scratching noises coming from a pile of stones in the middle of the fort. ("Quick of Hearing" and a Great Success on an Awareness roll will do that to you!) He flicked a burning branch from the pyre into the hole under the stones, and the scratching stopped -- but when the wood went out, the scratchings returned. This time, Grigory enlisted the help of the terrified Dindy to throw burning material down the hole and to keep it burning. Dindy, happy to have something to do to keep his mind off the terrible things that could happen -- even something that would help! -- then threw handsfull of tinder and wood from smashed-up crates in the hole. That fire kept the Goblins who would otherwise abduct him, at bay!
Again, a good roll and quick thinking ensured that my players did not get to experience a part of the scenario!

Then, just as there was still a single Orc of the fourth wave standing, Ubhurz climbed the low wall of the ringfort and announced his presence by bellowing a challenge! Gain sprinted to him and kept him occupied, while Asgard and Merian finished off the remaining Orc. (They both went for Forward stances to maximise their chances, and their gamble paid off.) Then they assisted Gain in his fight against Ubhurz. He proved no match to the combined might of the party: in the second round, he went down and the fight was won!

(The fight doesn't seem that hard to me. With careful management of who takes which stance, the group was able to whittle away the opposition without getting into a pile of Goblins. Having both Merian and Asgard wounded was just the result of a few lucky rolls, not because the attack was overwhelming.)

After the battle, Iwgar wanted to move towards the valley as soon as possible, but the party insisted on treating Asgard and Merian first, and making some relaxing tea! Iwgar soon found out that he was no match for three very insistent Hobbits... Then, as dawn was breaking, they set off to the valley, and managed to reach the Inn unmolested!
(Again, officially you'd have to do Travel rolls here as well. But there's no dramatic reason to do so, so I skipped those.
I'm kind-of sad that we missed pursuing the abducted Dindy through the caves -- that would have been fun. But Grigory did excellent work to keep the goblins out of the ringfort. So again, a chunk of the scenario prevented by roleplaying and good rolls, which is not so bad after all. I might use the cave expedition in a later scenario.)

We're having a Fellowship Phase at the Easterly Inn. All the heroes will use that time for the "Open New Sanctuary" phase. I'll have them spend some Treasure to buy materials to build their own trading post on the grounds of the Inn. And of course there will be time to advance the characters. Asgard's player will be rebuilding him into a Slayer -- because that's what his role in the party is. And Grigory's player will be absent for two months due to work obligations, so Grigory will man the store while the rest goes out adventuring!
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the one ring