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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Ossian's Avatar

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    Question Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    So, eventually the time to be a GM in Middle Earth has come again. AND IT WAS A SHOCK! I have only recently, and quite brutally, realized what an immense gap there is between how awesome the Middle Earth is as a novel setting, and how impossible it has become for me to invent anything set in there.

    I'll be more specific. If I had an adventuring party, things would be just a little easier. Adventuring Parties are the ultimate nonsense: guys who endure poor living conditions, riske their lives and reputations, never make it past age 30 and accumulate zillions of gold pieces while living in poverty but wearing shiny stuff. they could rule the world by the time they are half way into their career (and their village, for sure, a lot earlier) but they are in the hands of we gamers, and thus they become all headless geese chasing monsters and living endless adventurea, like the sum of Conan+Indiana Jones+Hokuto no Kenshiro. Ok, whatever. It's vastly agreed that adventurers do that.

    But starting from scratch, at age 30 and above (I mean, the players) with hard core Tolkien fans who would burn all copies of Peter Jackson's trilogy screaming "HERESY!BLASPHEMY!", well....that's a whole different story! If the adventure has to be a one-shot, that is, we play one or two nights and we're done, things become even more impossible!

    Well, I'm using the word impossible a little too easily, but two factors concur.

    1) I have been playing D&D for years and haven't played Middle Earth in just as much time (say almost 3,5 years). I used to do that fairly often, but always with the same wandering group, the same story arc, and a decent plotline set in 1490 Third Age. Now I consider that an almost miraculous achievement.

    2) Some side issues (sort of "health related") totally nuked the creativity district in my brain, which is now howling banshees and smoking ruins....

    Now, I know I am just in the writer's block, but I just feel like the players of the "DM of the Ring" (another great webcomic, by Seamus Young). I look at middle earth, and unless we deal with the political strife of the downfall of Arnor, nothing ever happens that the players can be reasonably involved in.

    The country is sparsely populated (worse than Tatooine). The places are empty. If you go to a ruined lighthouse you find what you'd actually find: LIZARDS! (2 inches long maximum, lizards). No matter how far you roam, what do you run across? Orcs! is there an Evil guy? Sure, it's SO powerful that he's been layin an unchallenged siege to the world for the last 2000 years of Third Age. His henchmen? Super Sayan Dementors.

    I mean, I can't just come up with stuff like "you have to escort this caravan / find out where this caravan disappeared" and I'm honestly finding myself at a loss. The very sobriety of Middle Earth, the credibility of its characters, their deep human characterization, the way the decadence of a once glorious kingdom are presented, are exactly what is preventing me from creating something I could proposed them.

    So, ANY help would be great. I don't know how fantastic Tolkien is, yet if you browse the internet there are NO adventures whatsoever set in Middle Earth, save a fistful which I know by heart (and 50% of all of those adventures should be trashed). That has to mean something! I understand D&D is popular, but if none posts Middle Earth adventures there has to be a good reason. I could benefit from your plot hooks, a general campaign setting, a scenario you have written: ANYTHING!

    Just a few limitations I had decided to give myself:

    • The PC have NOT been hired by Elrond for a mission. They don't know who Elrond is or where Imladris is located. Elrond is the wise half elf of middle earth, not an adventures generator and the landlord of a cool base that they can use to launch their missions or where they can go and have a good time between adventures.
    • The PC will NOT be recovering / destroying any artifact
    • The PC will NOT be asked to escort/find out what happend to thatcaravan of merchants that disappeared last full moon
    • There is NOT a deranged wizard that after the downfall of Sauron is trying to set free Melkor from his imprisonment in the Void and the seals that bind him there are still quite operational.
    • PCs are around a D&D d20 6th or 7th level. They tend to be good guys, genuine lawful legal, but they also tend to build overly elaborated backgrounds, with family trees going all the way up to Hurin and a fully developed social network, which is, the kind of person that DOES NOT go adventuring unless he's lost his mind, which leads me to:
    • None of their home vilages has been raided and torched by orcs, leaving them homeless and bound to a life of grudge and revenge, hunting dowqn the servants of Sauron (they can, if they feel like, but their villages and beloved ones are ok)
    • It will NOt be set in 4th age.Or, well, maybe yes, but not too far away, and even then there has to be a connection with third age. Otherwise it's just a fantasy world with fewer species of monsters hanging around.
    • NO elves are allowed, not even sylvans. I might accept dwarves, possibly. And absolutely NO adventuring hobbitses (they do go adventuring in their nice, English middle class cultivated and kind hearted countrymen style, but they are NOT RPG adventurers, ever)
    • NO magic in the group. No wiz. No Animist. No druid. No shapeshhifters (they are just nonsense to play in Middle Earth). No cleric. NO rangers with spells. Rangers is a title of the remaining numenoreans of the north.


    Thanks for your help folks. You're saving my Reputation!

    Ossian.

    PS
    If anyone felt like sharing their opinions on how/if Middle Earth can be tough as an RPG setting, I'd love to do that too, if nothing else to vent my frustration.
    Last edited by Ossian; 2007-11-20 at 04:47 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    I feel your pain, but I think that you're missing some ways to open up the options for yourself.

    There's nothing that says that something set in the world of Middle Earth needs to be set right at the end of the third age. Fast forward a hundred years, and there's a handful of elves left in the world. The dwarves have either retreated or are busy reopening Moria and open for business. Hobbitses may be retiring and middle class shire-ish, but that doesn't mean there can't be one or two Tookish ones. And the lands of men may have shifted completely. Most importantly: no overwhelming sense of impending doom. Same if you shift backwards forty, fifty, a hundred years. It also takes the setting outside the realm best known to the fanboys.

    Further to this, you're going to be doing a crapload of work to immerse them in this setting. The players need to respect and appreciate that. Establish a firm fiat that the players won't give you crap about whenever you - intentionally or otherwise - run counter to dogma.

    I LOVE DM of the Rings, which is, I swear, a documentary of our gaming group. Like the long-suffering DM of that campaign, learn when enough backstory is too much backstory. A little sense of Destiny goes a long way in most DnD campaigns.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    1490 is a good year. The timeline for that decade is empty, but just before it what have we here..?

    The Witch King invades Arnor - guerilla war against the Witch King's minions in the north? The Rangers in effect carry this on for millenia, as we know. This gives you spying missions, commando raids, etc, etc. Your adventurers might be displaced northerners living as outlaws - we have a precedent for outlaw bands, remember?
    Kin strife in Gondor - a little known attempt to start back on Gondor, perhaps? Then you could have political moves and poisoning attempts, whatever.
    The beginning of the Corsairs in Umbar - coastal raids by super pirates, the corsairs trying to mobilise the Haradhrim...
    You've also got wainriders out east, the whole of Harad, and the troubled Misty Mountains and Mirkwood to play with.

    Yes, Middle Earth is a tough place to run games. It's far grittier than many give it credit for. Most of the land is blighted and empty, the elves are all slightly ashamed of their past, the noblest humans too - it's all so emo.

    Plot movers you can use are the Istari, and the Nazgul (like the Death Eaters, they might have been somewhat split in their loyalties to the downfallen Dark Lord - maybe they followed their own agendas while Sauron was so diminished, or at least his hand in their actions must have been imperceptible). Secret knowledge was sought out by the White Council - Saurman didn't amass that library by himself...

    6th and 7h level characters are at the beginnings of awesomeness: they will be sought out by NPCs to do deeds of valour. Rather than a caravan of traders being missing, why not the bride / groom party from the neighbouring clan coming to the wedding of the Lord's son / daughter (a PC)? Far more emo and Tolkein. She/he of course has been waylaid by Misty Mountain orcs / Ettenmoor trolls / Mirkwood spiders / etc. Behind this outrage is the hand of [insert minion of evil here], who seeks to prevent the houses of his enemies from joining together.

    There are plots, but short ones aren't easy to find, are they? Middle Earth isn't written like that.

    I recall sitting down for a game of MERP, playing a minor Noldor in the First Age of the Sun, and the rest of the players deciding to go "wenching at the Inn". It's just not right to do normal fantasy RPG stuff in Middle Earth...

  4. - Top - End - #4

    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    It's too bad gods can't be brought back by mortals, a return of Melkor would be the kind of thing for a level 7th Tolkien hero, if we consider the Fellowship to be 5th of 6th level as many think.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Have you thought about using the Middle Earth RPG rules? That would help with some of the discrepancy between D&D magic (flashy and omnipresent) and Tolkien magic (just as omnipresent, but subtle and powerful at the same time).

    It's too bad gods can't be brought back by mortals, a return of Melkor would be the kind of thing for a level 7th Tolkien hero, if we consider the Fellowship to be 5th of 6th level as many think.
    You do realize that 5 degrees of variance is not sufficient to cover the range of power expressed in the fellowship, right?
    Last edited by Skjaldbakka; 2007-11-20 at 05:11 PM.
    Aratos Tell
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Ossian's Avatar

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Altair_the_Vexed View Post
    - it's all so emo.
    That was priceless. I cut the quote but there are some hooks which are worth exploring. For one thing, I would have never thought of the Nazguls as being a powerful if a bit unsettling employer, who does not lack gold. That would be awesome to have them hired by this cloaked figure who ust wants "a tiny favor, for which he's more than happy to pay". Blending that with the bride/Groom party and the plot on the thwarted feudal allegiance could be also blended in.

    Another point (feedback urgently needed): what about the establishment of the dark forces in Dol Guldur and Carn Dum? Those were dwarven strongholds, right? It must have been a painful transition. can you help me to guess how tough it must have been to kick the dwarves out of their homes? and how long it might have taken? Especially in Dol Guldur, because it was set up for the retuirn of sauron, as the Necromancer, long before by the Nazguls.....hmmm....any clues?

    @Skjaldbakka
    Have you thought about using the Middle Earth RPG rules? That would help with some of the discrepancy between D&D magic (flashy and omnipresent) and Tolkien magic (just as omnipresent, but subtle and powerful at the same time).
    I suppose you mean M.E.R.P. from Iron Crown. Yes, we did, and for a long time. I'd impose d20, but I guess they'll impose the MERP on me. I just cut all the magic professions ans lists, and that' 50% job done. Still, I don't like it anymore, not for levels above 5th when it really starts breaking. Heroes just don't become heroes, only better whatever they were before.

    @Azerian kelimon
    Correct. I just said that there will be no melkor or any other god return as the players (pretty much like most MERP groups I know) already faced that threat....probably twice. That clearly shows that it is a VERY good plot device, as most DMs went for it without consulting with each other, like it's in our subconscium...


    O.

    O.
    Last edited by Ossian; 2007-11-20 at 05:16 PM.
    Enjoy my creations
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Just a couple of quick, vague suggestions here. Consider focusing on the grey spots in the stories. How did the riders of Rohan learn their skills? I believe they mentioned skirmishes and the like. Dust-ups like that are really fun for melee parties if they like strategy. Want to tie into the larger story? Maybe a bit of cloak-and-dagger stuff would be fun. Maybe an adventure about dealing with the spies of evil without causing collateral damage would be fun for your players. If they bug you about authenticity, just remind 'em that you're not changing anything major and that what you're doing is consistent enough with the history of Middle Earth. Good luck.

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    Matthew's Avatar

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ossian View Post
    I suppose you mean M.E.R.P. from Iron Crown. Yes, we did, and for a long time. I'd impose d20, but I guess they'll impose the MERP on me. I just cut all the magic professions ans lists, and that' 50% job done. Still, I don't like it anymore, not for levels above 5th when it really starts breaking. Heroes just don't become heroes, only better whatever they were before.
    I'm confused. So, what system are you using to run this?

    Anyway, yeah, I know this problem. Running MERP is very like running Star Wars, in that it can be very difficult to come up with stuff that fits the setting, but doesn't disrupt the timeline or feel too cliched. To tell the truth, that's pretty much why I stopped running both. However, you could try running the game in a less well known locale and keep the identities of any major players hidden.

    Of course, if your players have overdeveloped characters then surely that is your best source of adventure hooks?
    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-11-20 at 05:18 PM.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Try runing an expedition to take Moria, either to take it, to re-take it or to burn out the orcs and re-re-take it in the fourth age. Dwarves have got the gymp throughout the entire Middle earth saga.

    Or there's always the werebear retake of the misty mountains, try running Bejourn's kinsmen as first scouts into the goblin infested peaks, with stone giants in the background. They don't even need to be werebears, just tribally beholden to them.
    Give them bread and circusses and the plebs wont rise against you. Give adventurers dungeons and trapped chests and they won't waste time looking to ransack your home and kill your wife.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    If you want to use D&D for middle earth:

    1) Remove all classes that have spellcasting better than ranger or paladin

    Then fully explore the repurcussions of this:

    It now takes epic level characters to make magic weapons higher than +3, and cuts out a large number of magic items entirely. Which means the PCs don't have 'win' spells, and don't have high AC. Which means a large number of orcs remains a viable threat for a long time.
    Aratos Tell
    HP:53/53 AC:19,FlatFooted:16,Touch:13
    Active Effects: Speak w/Animals
    Spells Prepared: Cure Minor Wounds*4, Flare, Calm Animals, Charm Animal, Cure Light Wounds, Animal Messenger, Flaming Sphere, Lesser Restoration, Hold Animal, Cure Mod. Wounds*2, Speak w/Plants

    Megiddo
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    I disagree. Star wars is pretty easy for inventing nice plots (Gain some notoriety, you are chased by a bounty hunter, but in a spacial skirmish, a freak accident turns him into a living black hole. He is still himself, but functions like a black hole and is basically immortal. Now, the plot is actually finding a way to reverse this, not the classic escape from bounty hunting), but Tolkien is SO outlined (And boring. When you lose 3 pages on an explanation of a family tree, sumthin's wrong), complete, and ends in such a terminal way you really can't do much.

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    You could always try, say, spies or guerrillas sent to Harad or Rhun. There's not much detail there, and a good reason to do many of the violent things adventurers are known for-and if you have to live off the land, scavenging your foes becomes more sensible.
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Actually, I created my homebrew LotR D20 to have the default setting being the 4th age for the same reasons. You don't have too much room in the 3rd age, but the 4th age is completely open, you can do almost anything you want! You can have new villains arise, new terrors and creatures. Maybe the elves come back again because Morgoth broke free or something. Your players can't really argue against something if you can back it up because its after everything Tolkien wrote.

    Alternately, try to focus on the stuff that is not completely drawn out for, such as the Haradrim and the Easterlings. Neither have much literature on them so you can make up a lot of it.

    I hope that helps.

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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Here is a MERP plotline that I might run sometime. Feel free to steal it.

    First, you take Tolkien's alternate storyline from the prologue*. In this timeline, Saruman forges a ring of power with his ring lore, and Aragorn, Gandalf, or Galadriel claims the ring of power to use as a weapon against Sauron, and you wind up with a massive war between three rival corrupted powers.

    The PCs are trying to bring back the light of the Valar into the world. The only light left in middle earth is the Silmaril that fell into the bowels of the earth. So the PCs are trying to find it. What happens when they do? Well, the actually power of the Silmarils aren't very specified, which makes for great Macguffins. Maybe it is a power for good on the same scale as the Rings of Power, thus allowing the PCs to rival the three evil powers.

    *This was Tolkien's response to the criticism that his story was an allegory of WWI&II.
    Last edited by Skjaldbakka; 2007-11-20 at 05:28 PM.
    Aratos Tell
    HP:53/53 AC:19,FlatFooted:16,Touch:13
    Active Effects: Speak w/Animals
    Spells Prepared: Cure Minor Wounds*4, Flare, Calm Animals, Charm Animal, Cure Light Wounds, Animal Messenger, Flaming Sphere, Lesser Restoration, Hold Animal, Cure Mod. Wounds*2, Speak w/Plants

    Megiddo
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    Spells Prepared: Light*2, Burning Hands*2, Protection f/Evil, Magic Missile, Shocking Grasp, See Invis., Acid Arrow, Scorching Ray*2

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Well, I second on Tolkien, but just game wise. I loved it completely and still do as a novelist, but hey, gaming in Middle Earth is tough, at least for sophisticated players. beginners mught still buy "you've been contacted by this merchant of pelargir who wants you to go to Edhellond to get this item from an elf there".

    Star Wars has been ok too. the expanded universe helped a lot, especially in exploiting those "gray spots". BEsides, you can just make up a planet, a system or even a cluster and endanger it with whatever you like, and that's still not going to affect the big picture unless you want it to.

    The Moria hook was really good, but unfortunately one of the player's is running exactly that campaign. Ah, they stole my opportunity to be done with that with a "simple" dungeon crawl (and a WINGED balrog too)

    O.
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Sadly, that's out. Every single evilly race was made REALLY evil by Sauron's influence. Without him, they're a demoralized annoyance. That's why Middle Earth sucks, because the evil races are completely and utterly defeated by Sauron's fall.


    I'd REALLY recommend playing with High Earth (An apocalyptic setting, of any kind), or some real D&D in Low Earth, also known as 0erth.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    As someone said before, you could place the game in the early Fourth Age where there are no restriction. Or alternatively you could place it back in time by centuries if not millenia. There are the great battles between the Elves (and after a while their human allies) and Morgoth in the First Age - even though it might be a good idea to ease the "no elves" rule for that. Then there's the Second Age, dominated by the rise, rule and fall of Númenor.
    These eras are detailed enough to give you an idea of what's been happening, where everything is, and what the main historical events are; however, they're still sketchy enough to allow for relatively epic adventuring. As long as it's not overdone, something on the scale of Gandalf's, Bilbo's & 12 dwarves' quest against Smaug could easily fit between the 'cracks' of established history - and make no mistake; even though there wasn't all that much combat there, that quest strongly influenced how the War of the Ring played out in the end.

    Then there's the other option of playing small adventures - yup, defending a village from orcs and wolves in the winter, travelling through dangerous wilderness as messengers, small skirmishes, maybe even explorations to the east and the south. Yes, there are relatively low-level things, but that's Middle Earth for you. Remember the old "Gandalf was a 5th level Magic User" debate? On that note, there's an essay out there (sorry, can't the find link now) about just that. The gist of it is that if you compare the abilities of leveled D&D characters to ordinary human beings, then yes, Aragorn, Gandalf and the whole lot of them all cap out at around 5th level, with most of the main characters being 1st or maybe 2nd. If you're thinking about using Middle Earth for a D&D game, it would be really, really good if you could find and read that essay - I'll post it here if I come across it again.
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ossian View Post
    So, eventually the time to be a GM in Middle Earth has come again. AND IT WAS A SHOCK! I have only recently, and quite brutally, realized what an immense gap there is between how awesome the Middle Earth is as a novel setting, and how impossible it has become for me to invent anything set in there.
    The trick for this type of thing, IME, has been to literally look outside the box. The difficulty is that the eye is continually drawn back to the one or two stories told in a particular setting, which creates a sense that there's nothing else that can be done.

    To take two disparate examples: With THE MATRIX I had difficulty because I was having trouble seeing any stories other than "try to find the One". By contrast, the Expanded Universe of STAR WARS loosened that universe up for me.

    So, for me, I try to imagine an Expanded Universe even when one doesn't exist for a particular media property.

    In the case of Middle Earth, here are a few ideas off the top of my head:

    - The rangers are charged with protecting a "points of light" campaign setting which we know to be filled with fey, undead, trolls, the Old Forest, and dragons.

    - The ent-wives are still missing.

    - Moria still needs to be reclaimed.

    - Speaking of dwarven communities, we know there are at least two of them out there (Thorin's party came from somewhere). Let's say that one of them breaks through into catacombs holding an ancient line of forgotten orcs. War breaks out, but over time it becomes clear that the orcs whisper of an even greater darkness lurking below their caverns...

    - The area around and beyond Erebor, Esgaroth, and the Iron Hills are (literally) a blank map. We know that the lands we know are filled with traditions dating back to the tales told in the Silmarillion; it might be fun to read through the Silmarillion and imagine what other traditions and nations and magical creatures might have descended from those tales.

    - Speaking of Erebor, Esgaroth, and Mirkwood, though, we know that they took part in the War of the Ring. Sauron sent armies that way and great battles were fought. I've always thought it might be fun to set a campaign around that struggle.

    - The PCs are part of an ambassadorial/exploratory party dispatched by the newly-crowned King Elessar of Gondor to "explore the lands of Harad, Khand, and such sundry countries as may lie beyond". (Or, if you want to give yourself a bit more room to breathe, make it Aragorn's son.) Take a look at the journeys of Marco Polo and similar explorers. The influence of Sauron still lies heavily upon these lands, and perhaps there are still dark machinations coming from whatever dark kingdom still lies at Mordor's heart.

    Another option is to look beyond the canon entirely: Page through an esoteric monster manual, pick something appropriately foul, and change it up enough that your players don't think it came from a D&D manual. Then craft a story for it that can be weaved around the Silmarillion, place it somewhere on the edges of the map, and -- presto! -- you've got the equivalent of orcs or a Witch King or a balrog or the Necromancer to work with and a ton of new lore that you can reveal to your players though gameplay.

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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azerian Kelimon View Post
    Sadly, that's out. Every single evilly race was made REALLY evil by Sauron's influence. Without him, they're a demoralized annoyance. That's why Middle Earth sucks, because the evil races are completely and utterly defeated by Sauron's fall.
    I have to disagree with you there. For one, the orcs of Moria and the goblins of the Misty Mountains were, even without serving Sauron, pretty serious local threats - see the Battle of Five Armies, which Sauron didn't have anything to do with personally. It was all just the local goblin leadership.

    On a smaller level, there WERE orcs who worked completely independently of Sauron, performing ordinary banditry of the like - this is revealed in an overheard conversation between two orcs in The Return of the King. Such stuff might be only an annoyance to someone who has an entire army with nothing else to do but hunting highwaymen, but but such fortunate kings are pretty much nonexistent during the Third Age.
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    The gist of it is that if you compare the abilities of leveled D&D characters to ordinary human beings, then yes, Aragorn, Gandalf and the whole lot of them all cap out at around 5th level, with most of the main characters being 1st or maybe 2nd.

    Which is a hotly contested point, right up there with "Balrogs don't have wings!". In the interest of staying on topic, why don't we all agree not to de-rail on this point. You can run a MERP with gandalf level 5, or with gandalf being level 20, they both work, so long as you understand that gandalf is not a wizard, and wizards in fact do not exist in the D&D sense of the word, in ME. Gandalf is probably best represented with outsider HD, and some spell-like abilities.
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Premier, before the destruction of the One Ring, Sauron never really died. His current incarnation might have been destroyed, but he still lived. And if you remember the final battle of the last war, once the ring was POOFed, and Sauron died with it, the orcs were demoralized BIG TIME, which was the reason they were soundly defeated by a much smaller force. Care to explain why a fighting force that was much bigger ran to the hills if that's not the explanation?

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Premier View Post
    Or alternatively you could place it back in time by centuries if not millenia. There are the great battles between the Elves (and after a while their human allies) and Morgoth in the First Age - even though it might be a good idea to ease the "no elves" rule for that.
    A First Age Campaign in Beleriand has so much scope - 500 years of (almost) continual strife: several divided elf kingdoms, hidden cities, thriving Dwarf culture, the appearance of men (lead your tribe to Beleriand?) massive battles, guerilla warfare after the various defeats (go Turin), orcs, balrogs, trolls, dragons (the wingless kind) werewolves, spiders, the original dark elves (Eol and Maeglin), doomed and implacable foes - do not cross the Sons of Feanor...

    Best of all though - no Hobbits.

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Pah, you know something's wrong when there are no annoying little guys in a RP game. It's like a forum which doesn't have a single troll in all of it's existence.

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azerian Kelimon View Post
    Premier, before the destruction of the One Ring, Sauron never really died. His current incarnation might have been destroyed, but he still lived. And if you remember the final battle of the last war, once the ring was POOFed, and Sauron died with it, the orcs were demoralized BIG TIME, which was the reason they were soundly defeated by a much smaller force. Care to explain why a fighting force that was much bigger ran to the hills if that's not the explanation?
    Same reason the Imperial Fleet buggers off after the Death Star explodes instead of punding the Rebels into mush?
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    That was actually the death of the emperor. Not to say as soon as the FIRST DS was destroyed, a whole lotta ton of planets went into uprising.

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azerian Kelimon View Post
    Premier, before the destruction of the One Ring, Sauron never really died. His current incarnation might have been destroyed, but he still lived. And if you remember the final battle of the last war, once the ring was POOFed, and Sauron died with it, the orcs were demoralized BIG TIME, which was the reason they were soundly defeated by a much smaller force. Care to explain why a fighting force that was much bigger ran to the hills if that's not the explanation?
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Nah. I think Tolkien, if he had DM'ed, would have thought like this:

    "I want a whole campaign based around one objective. Think I'll invent a gameworld with the only excuse of housing that objective and fill the void with family trees and descriptions and backstories of 8 pages each, whoopdeedo. See, it looks like I'm saying something, but I'm not! Now, when a PC accomplishes the one objective I had, rocks fall, everyone dies".


    Seriously.


    I mean, if I wanted a look at what would REALLY happen when that kind of master fell, I'd yoink from The Battle Of The Icewind Dale.
    Last edited by Azerian Kelimon; 2007-11-20 at 07:33 PM.

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Azerian Kelimon View Post
    That was actually the death of the emperor. Not to say as soon as the FIRST DS was destroyed, a whole lotta ton of planets went into uprising.
    Nah, that was the later tacked on explanation. The reason the Imperial Fleet buggered of after the Death Star exploded was because it suited the narrative structure.

    The same is true of the Orcs. It wasn't Sauron who initially controlled or created them, but Morgoth. Sauron's control over the Orcs is never explicitly presented in LotR either. The reason the Orcs go bonkers on the death of Sauron is never fully expalined, but chances are it was a fairly traumatic event for them... but more to the point, it suited the narrative structure for that to happen, same as it did earlier at the battle of Helm's Deep.

    To be clear, what I am suggesting is that there is no complete and cohesive reason for the sudden reversal in either case, both were just 'win buttons', predetermined narrative events that signal victory in the face of overwhelming odds [which is to say, they won't necessarily correlate with previous narrative events].

    All the Orcs need, insofar as it can be determined 'absolutely' from the texts is to be led. Whether that leader is Morgoth, Sauron or Saruman doesn't really matter.
    Last edited by Matthew; 2007-11-20 at 07:55 PM.
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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    True dat. It's the exact same reason I pointed to the Icewind Dale battle. It's what Tolkien's final battle should have been. There, no "rocks fall, everyone dies" explanations were given. An actually consistent explanation was present.
    Last edited by Azerian Kelimon; 2007-11-20 at 08:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Rant on Middle Earth setting and a cry for help.

    I think the Hobbit is probably a better basis for how to run a Middle Earth adventure than the Rings trilogy. The Fate of the world isn't at stake, just the homeland of some dwarves, which just happens to be filled with a ridiculous amount of treasure. All that stands between them are trolls, orcs, corrupted cave dwellers with a penchant for resolving conflicts with riddle contests, a seriously haunted forest, some paranoid elves, some paranoid humans, and a frikkin' huge dragon. Saur-face doesn't even enter into it.

    Going from point A to point B in Middle Earth is literally the adventure, not whatever objective the party has set out for. In both The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, most of the conflict comes from encounters while travelling. All an adventuring party needs is a single objective to go for. While they're walking there, throw everything and the kitchen sink monster at them, and do everything to make their journey as unpleasant as possible (in a good way). That should account for most of the campaign.

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