Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Ballad of Bingo Boffin - Part 2

Bingo's journey continues from the Forsaken Inn of the Lone-lands. See The Ballad of Bingo Boffin - Part 1 for his earlier adventures.

Chapter 11: The Last Treasure (level 26)

The Forsaken Inn seems a dreary place but Bingo has spotted two colourful characters he'd like to know more about. Theodore Gorse is a "well-known" master treasure seeker with great tales of searching the wilds. Haley Meadowsweet is a herb collector who seems to be stuck listening to Theodore's tales and doesn't believe he is all that great.

Bingo, on the other hand, is quite excited and wants to become a treasure seeker too so that he can go visit the wilds. Theodore doesn't want to teach Bingo, he wants to retire, but he offers a riddle that leads to a treasure in the Lone-lands that he never found and claims that if Bingo can find that, maybe Theodore will consider training him after all.

The first secret strongbox

The strongbox contains only a cryptic message on a piece of parchment but the treasure is gone. You return to Theodore at the Forsaken Inn with your news and he gets rather excited. Someone got to the treasure before he did, so the retirement is off - he has treasure to find! Bingo commends you on giving Theodore a reason to continue having new adventures instead of sitting in a tavern reliving old ones.

Chapter 12: Goose and Gander (level 28)

The cryptic message seems to hint at another treasure to be found. Bingo, Theodore and Haley are quite perplexed by it.

The second secret strongbox

You find the second strongbox also contains a message, "The End Now", but no treasure. Theodore assumes that means you've reached the end of the treasure hunt and is happy while Bingo is disappointed and thinks there must be more to it than that.

Chapter 13: The End Now? (level 32)

Bingo continues to puzzle over the cryptic message and suggests you ask Anlaf the Tavern Keep if there is anything you can do to help in the meantime. He asks if you could help move some supplies down to the basement storage room as his back isn't as strong as it used to be.

You return to Bingo and he has an idea from his childhood; hold the parchment up to the fire. You do so and some invisible letters appear. Now the message reads "ToHsEtEgNuDrNuOtWh". Bingo knows where to go and will meet you there.

At Ost Guruth, you find Bingo and Theodore waiting outside the tent of the real master treasure seeker. They are eager to meet the person who left them the clues. And who is it? Haley Meadowsweet emerges from the tent. Theodore is at first crestfallen to know that she was a better treasure hunter than him, but then he determines to learn from her and improve his skills.

The end of the treasure hunt

Chapter 14: A Restful Night (level 34)

Bingo is ready to move on to the Trollshaws and will meet you on the Last Bridge.When you get there you find Bingo tired from the walk and ready to camp for the night. Bingo finds a camping spot near the road and you set up a campfire. Bingo falls asleep pretty quickly and you stand guard. Your campsite is attacked by rats, crawlers, trolls and wights but Bingo sleeps through it all while you protect him. Finally the sun rises and Bingo wakes feeling refreshed and tells you about his pleasant dream of being a young lad at home and hearing pots and pans banging in the kitchen as breakfast was prepared. He's surprised by how tired you look though.

Chapter 15: A New Friend (level 35)

Bingo looks at his map and decides he wants to find the Glade of Three Smiling Figures.

Also known as the Stone-trolls' Glade

At the glade, you found a lynx in a trap and Bingo asked you to free it. The lynx starts following Bingo and he wants you to shoo it away (it has no effect). Bingo thinks maybe Willem Whisker (he named the lynx) is hungry and asks you to find it some venison. The lynx enjoys it and Bingo decides to let him join in on the journey to Rivendell.

Chapter 16: A Hospitable Home (level 39)

Bingo asks you to inform Elrond of your visit while he goes to find a good meal. Elrond is happy for you to stay as long as you're well-behaved. He also suggests introducing Bilbo Baggins to Bingo. You find Bingo has already found his way to the Hall of Fire and is deep in conversation with Bilbo, swapping news about the Shire and Rivendell. Bilbo offers to draw a map of Rivendell to show Bingo all the notable landmarks.

Bingo notices a similarity between this map of Rivendell and the map of Eriador he found in the cookbook. Bilbo admits that before he left the Shire he left the map in the cookbook in hopes that one day a hobbit would find it and seek to explore the world as he has. He is delighted the Bingo found it and hopes that he has a wonderful adventure - but hopefully without any dragons involved!

Chapter 17: Notes By the Author (level 40)

Bingo has many questions for Bilbo and would like to know what Bilbo thinks of his manuscript, but he's too shy to ask himself. You show the manuscript to Bilbo and he takes some time to read it. Afterwards, he gives some feedback and Bingo is disappointed. He feels like his journey hasn't been exciting or dangerous enough to impress Bilbo.

Getting advice about adventuring from Bilbo Baggins

Bingo asks you to go kill some dangerous creatures in the Trollshaws and make more notes on the Ford of Bruinen so he can spice up his manuscript. Bilbo reads the changes and advises that Bingo should focus on communicating to his audience how his adventures made him feel, not try to make it sound more dangerous or use lots of describing words for the sake of it. Be sincere. Bingo respects Bilbo's opinion but still hopes his journey will be more exciting in future.

Chapter 18: A Snowy Climb (level 42)

Bingo has heard from the elves of Rivendell about the dangers of the Misty Mountains and thinks hunting snow-beasts and snow-lurkers would be perfect for adding more excitement to his manuscript. After hunting the creatures, Bingo decides to head north and finds an injured dwarf who was ambushed by the Corcur. Bingo says that heroes must help him so sends you off with his pet lynx Willem Whisker to find some healing herbs. You give the dwarf the herbs and will have to wait and see whether they help or not.

Chapter 19: A Dangerous Detour (level 43)

As the dwarf, Spalvi, recovers his strength, he tells Bingo that he and his brothers were bringing an artifact - a necklace called the Rothstone - through the mountains when they were ambushed and robbed by the Corcur. The dwarf thinks they took the artifact to Helegrod, so Bingo suggests we go get on an adventure to get it back.

Outside Helegrod

Spalvi tells Bingo about the history of Helegrod, an ancient dwarven fortress, once home to a dragon, and more recently, orcs, giants and now Corcur. The dwarves still want it back too.

You fight your way in and pause at the top of the front stairs. Spalvi says that these Corcur were not the ones that attacked him and suggests we enter the courtyard to hunt for them. The door to Helegrod opens and inside the courtyard are Dourhands celebrating their victory over the Corcur and their retrieval of the artifact. Bingo sees them and exclaims about how they are villains and "unsavoury dwarves" - turns out Spalvi is one of them too! He suggests taking Bingo hostage instead of killing him since we saved Spalvi's life. Bingo thinks it's all a misunderstanding and he'll sort it out and meet us back at Glóin's Camp.

Back at Glóin's Camp, there is no sign of Bingo. Glóin is furious at the Dourhands and suggests that we'll need a daring plan to rescue Bingo.

Chapter 20: A Daring Plan (level 45)

Glóin thinks you might be able to find out where Bingo is by defeating the Dourhands at their fortress called Gabilizan until they talk. There you find an empty prisoner's cage and as you wonder where Bingo is, a guard attacks you and claims you released the halfling prisoner.

You search the slopes beyond Gabilizan and find Spalvi standing near a hole in the ground. He apologises for deceiving you and says that he was the one who freed Bingo, but as they were making their escape, the ground gave way under Bingo and he fell into the hole.

Poor Bingo!

He wants to make things right and suggests getting food and water from Gabilizan to drop down the hole, in case Bingo survived. When you return, he tells you that a group of Dourhand surveyors went into Goblin-town to map the tunnels for Skorgrím but never came back - maybe Bingo fell into one of those caverns?

Bingo's journey just got more "exciting" .... (more to come in Part 3)

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