Every tabletop roleplaying campaign has its share of amusing stories and anecdotes. Below is one such story, from the MERP game that spawned many of the members of Heren Lokion. It may serve to bring a smile to certain folks' faces when they remember these days of yore.
Gather about the fire, my friends, and let a tale of mirth drive away the night cold on this grand Vule eve. The tale I tell is true, for I was witness to these events. Nimwillyn, you may find this story of particular interest, for it involves your namesake from ages past.
This tale begins on a Yule Eve much like this one, only long ago and in much less civilized places. My band of adventurers was journeying eastward through the Trollshaws, seeking for the dread fortress of Cameth Brin, which is now known as Garth Agarwen. It was many leagues yet til the city, so we made camp and settled for the night.
Among our company was Hugh of Dunland, Avacar, ranger of Arthedain, my friend and companion Morde, and the burglar Nimwillyn of the Shire. Although the Shire had only recently been settled when we came together in fellowship, Yule traditions were ancient even then and Nimwillyn, aware of the date, had determined to feast that night.
None of the rest of us were in any mood to humor him. The Trollshaws were a savage place even then, and none wished to leave the comfort of the fire. Nimwillyn was insistant and when none strove to go with him, he set off alone into the darkness.
I presumed he would grow bored and return after fetching a coney or some other small animal. Comfort loving hobbits are not generally known for their prowess on the hunt, so I doubted he could down a deer or a boar. But as the darkness of the night deepened, Nimwillyn did not return, so I set out myself to fetch him.
Although hobbit feet are light and easily hidden, I was able to track him without much toil. But I grew leery as I saw another set of tracks amidst his, those of a great sabre-tooth. Surely, Nimwillyn was not so foolish to be tracking such a beast.
Well, let it never be said that one can underestimate the folly of a hobbit. I continued further on, now with some haste, fearing that I might find the beast devouring our burglar. After some minutes of rushing through the trees, I came upon Nimwillyn.
"Hush," he warned me. "It's close."
My eyes grew wide at this one's stupidity, but before I could speak a word a great black beast erupted from the nearby brush. Nimwillyn, who a second before was so proud to have tracked this thing, now nearly wet himself with fear. He dropped his blade and staggered back a step, but the beast was on him.
Quick as lightning, I drew and loosed, feathering the beast just forward of its shoulders. But a single arrow was not enough to fell it, even one so expertly aimed. It turned toward me. Sulring flashed into my hand as it pounced, and sank deep into the sabre-tooth's breast.
Now mortally wounded, the great cat staggered off and collapsed in a heap a few yards away. Nimwillyn was still struck dumb with fear. I moved over to ensure it was dead and then turned to scold the idiotic hobbit.
But Nimwillyn had come to his senses, or so I thought. He looked at the beast now with delight. "How wondrous!" he exclaimed. "Imagine our feast tonight."
By this point, I had given up trying to comprehend the mind of Nimwillyn. This night was some months after another expedition into the woods for blueberries, so he could dye himself and his clothing purple in order to infiltrate a bandit lair. I decided to simply go along, becoming a partner in this madness. With an exasperated breath, I quickly cut some branches for a makeshift sled and we dragged the beast back to camp.
Nimwillyn took great delight in preparing the meat, but no amount of Hobbit cookery could make that monster any less tough and mealy. But Nimwillyn got his Yule dinner, and the only cost was his wits and a pair of soiled trousers.
I have not had a Yule since that day over 15 centuries ago when I haven't thought of Nimwillyn and his Yule feast. Let us hope our evening this day is less eventful but equally joyous.
And let us hope the same to you. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Heren Lokion.