New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

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steerpike65
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New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by steerpike65 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:45 pm

Reposted from a different thread. Hoping for some constructive feedback.

EYES OF THRANDUIL

“He sent out his spies about the shores of the lake and as far northward towards the Mountain as they would go, and waited.”

You have been suborned by the elven-king Thranduil to spy for him in Wilderland, whether through favours owed, a misdeed to be paid for in service, or by good work and the building of trust in service to the king. Wherever you wander across Eriador, you seek out information that could be of interest to the elven-king and report back to him. Rumours of war, the growth of an orc enclave, the machinations of the Shadow in the halls of a lord, or the legendary location of pale gems – all this information is of interest to Thranduil.

Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Insight

FEATURE: THE BIRDS SING
You have the capacity to communicate with birds loyal to Thranduil, who bring you communications from him and allow you in turn to send messages back to the elven-king. You quickly learn news of happenings in the Woodland Realm and receive orders and information from Thranduil directly.
However, nowhere you go and nothing you do is secret to him – there are spies watching spies and the birds themselves tell him of your whereabouts and actions. Loyalty is paramount and you must watch what you say and what you do at all times.

SUGGESTED CHARACTERISTICS

The Eyes of Thranduil are expert at hiding their true intent, creating a façade to hide behind and allowing them to seem innocent and inconspicuous. They develop the capacity to notice the smallest thing of import and interpret events in terms of how it may affect the Woodland Realm.

D8 DISTINCTIVE QUALITY
1 Patient
2 Suspicious
3 Wary
4 Clever
5 Secretive
6 Keen-eyed
7 Quick of Hearing
8 Fair-spoken

D6 SPECIALITY
1 Beast-Lore
2 Enemy-lore (choose one)
3 Region-lore (choose one)
4 Dark Secrets
5 Trading
6 Smoking

D6 HOPE
1 My work for Thranduil will bring peace to the Woodland Realm.
2 The information I glean could help save those I love from death or worse.
3 The right piece of information could allow Thranduil to regain his lost kingdom and reforge Greenwood the Great.
4 Travelling Wilderland and experiencing different cultures allows me to understand how the Woodland Realm is affected by those around them.
5 My companions support and protection allows me to continue my important work.
6 It is my fate to discover a weakness that will help defeat the Shadow’s plans.

D6 DESPAIR
1 I shall be discovered by the Shadow and slain before I can impart what I have seen and heard.
2 Nothing that I have discovered will have any impact on defeating the Shadow.
3 Thranduil cares nothing for the likes of me, I am merely being used as a pawn in a game.
4 My companions will discover my true work and hate me for betraying them.
5 The elves will all pass into the West and the Shadow will be triumphant.
6 The enemies of the Woodland Realm will discover its secrets and defeat Thranduil.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

Otaku-sempai
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Location: Lackawanna, NY

Re: New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:41 pm

I think this is too specific, being tied directly to Thranduil and the Woodland Realm. This should allow for Heroes who are acting as spies or agents for various cultures (usually their own). An obvious (non-heroic) example would be Gríma Wormtongue acting as an agent for Saruman. Also, Bill Ferny in Bree. A better, heroic example would be Haldir of Lórien.

'But there are some of us still who go abroad for the gathering of news and the watching of our enemies, and they speak the languages of other lands. I am one. Haldir is my name.'

The Rangers of the North and Elrond of Rivendell doubtless have their own such agents and far-ranging scouts.
DR. MANHATTAN: I'm leaving this galaxy for one less complicated.
OZYMANDIAS: But you'd regained interest in human life...
DR. MANHATTAN: Yes, I have. I think perhaps I'll create some. Goodbye, Adrian.

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steerpike65
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Re: New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by steerpike65 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:53 pm

Sorry I should have said this is designed specifically for a Treasure Hunter/Agent Elf of Mirkwood PC in my game about to start for whom none of the backgrounds seemed very appropriate.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

Otaku-sempai
Posts: 2477
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:45 am
Location: Lackawanna, NY

Re: New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:56 pm

steerpike65 wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:53 pm
Sorry I should have said this is designed specifically for a Treasure Hunter/Agent Elf of Mirkwood PC in my game about to start for whom none of the backgrounds seemed very appropriate.
Yes, I understand that. I still feel that this should not be designed to be that specific. The other Backgrounds for AiMe can be applied to multiple Heroic Cultures.
DR. MANHATTAN: I'm leaving this galaxy for one less complicated.
OZYMANDIAS: But you'd regained interest in human life...
DR. MANHATTAN: Yes, I have. I think perhaps I'll create some. Goodbye, Adrian.

MrUkpyr
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 5:40 pm

Re: New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by MrUkpyr » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:16 pm

steerpike65 wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:53 pm
Sorry I should have said this is designed specifically for a Treasure Hunter/Agent Elf of Mirkwood PC in my game about to start for whom none of the backgrounds seemed very appropriate.
I believe that with only the slightest tweaking, this background would work with most any culture. Simply change "Thranduil/Mirkwood/Wood Elf(Elves)" to reflect the correct culture.

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steerpike65
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Re: New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by steerpike65 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:03 pm

Like this?

LORD’S SPY

But there are some of us still who go abroad for the gathering of news and the watching of our enemies, and they speak the languages of other lands. I am one. Haldir is my name.

You have been suborned by a powerful patron to spy across Wilderland for them, whether through favours owed, a misdeed to be paid for in service, or by good work and the building of trust in service. Wherever you wander, you seek out information that could be of interest and report back to the patron. Rumours of war, the growth of an orc enclave, the political machinations in the halls of a lord, or the legendary location of a dragon’s hoard – all this information is of interest to the patron.

Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Insight

FEATURE: THE LITTLE BIRDS SING
You have the capacity to communicate incredibly quickly with your patron - perhaps you can speak with the birds who bring you communications from your patron and allow you in turn to send messages back to them, or perhaps you have a network of contacts that pass news back and forth efficiently across the land. You quickly learn news of happenings in your patron’s realm and receive orders and information from them directly.
However, nowhere you go and nothing you do is secret to your patron – there are spies watching spies and the birds themselves tell your patron of your whereabouts and actions. Loyalty is paramount and you must watch what you say and what you do at all times.

SUGGESTED CHARACTERISTICS

Lord’s Spies are expert at hiding their true intent, creating a façade to hide behind and allowing them to seem innocent and inconspicuous. They develop the capacity to notice the smallest thing of import and interpret events in terms of how it may affect their patron’s realm.

D8 DISTINCTIVE QUALITY
1 Patient
2 Suspicious
3 Wary
4 Clever
5 Secretive
6 Keen-eyed
7 Quick of Hearing
8 Fair-spoken

D6 SPECIALITY
1 Beast-Lore
2 Enemy-lore (choose one)
3 Region-lore (choose one)
4 Dark Secrets
5 Trading
6 Smoking

D6 HOPE
1 My work for my patron will bring peace to their realm.
2 The information I glean could help save those I love from death or worse.
3 The right piece of information could allow my patron to regain lost lands or grow his power.
4 Travelling Wilderland and experiencing different cultures allows me to understand how my patron’s realm is affected by those around them.
5 My companions’ support and protection allows me to continue my important work.
6 It is my fate to discover a weakness that will help defeat the Shadow’s plans.

D6 DESPAIR
1 I shall be discovered by the Shadow and slain before I can impart what I have seen and heard.
2 Nothing that I have discovered will have any impact on defeating the Shadow.
3 My patron cares nothing for the likes of me, I am merely being used as a pawn in a game.
4 My companions will discover my true work and hate me for betraying them.
5 My patron’s power will wane and the Shadow will be triumphant.
6 The enemies of my patron’s realm will discover its secrets and defeat my patron.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

MrUkpyr
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon May 01, 2017 5:40 pm

Re: New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by MrUkpyr » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:35 pm

steerpike65 wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:03 pm
Like this?

LORD’S SPY

But there are some of us still who go abroad for the gathering of news and the watching of our enemies, and they speak the languages of other lands. I am one. Haldir is my name.

You have been suborned by a powerful patron to spy across Wilderland for them, whether through favours owed, a misdeed to be paid for in service, or by good work and the building of trust in service. Wherever you wander, you seek out information that could be of interest and report back to the patron. Rumours of war, the growth of an orc enclave, the political machinations in the halls of a lord, or the legendary location of a dragon’s hoard – all this information is of interest to the patron.
I would make one change.

"You have been suborned by a powerful patron" implies that you are being forced to be a spy.

"Suborned" is a rather negative term. Might I suggest replacing it with "chosen" or "selected".

Otaku-sempai
Posts: 2477
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:45 am
Location: Lackawanna, NY

Re: New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:41 pm

steerpike65 wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:03 pm
Like this?

LORD’S SPY
Something like that. I might rewrite this part a bit:
However, nowhere you go and nothing you do is secret to your patron – there are spies watching spies and the birds themselves tell your patron of your whereabouts and actions. Loyalty is paramount and you must watch what you say and what you do at all times.
The reference to birds might point a bit too much to the Elves (though it might also apply to the Dwarves of Erebor, Saruman and Radagast). Maybe it could read: "...and the birds and beasts themselves might tell your patron of your whereabouts and actions."

And under D6 HOPE:

4 Travelling through other lands and experiencing different cultures allows me to understand how my patron’s realm is affected by those around them.
DR. MANHATTAN: I'm leaving this galaxy for one less complicated.
OZYMANDIAS: But you'd regained interest in human life...
DR. MANHATTAN: Yes, I have. I think perhaps I'll create some. Goodbye, Adrian.

User avatar
steerpike65
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:34 am

Re: New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by steerpike65 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:09 pm

And revised, with suggestions taken on board. Many thanks for your input.

LORD’S SPY
But there are some of us still who go abroad for the gathering of news and the watching of our enemies, and they speak the languages of other lands. I am one. Haldir is my name.

You have been selected by a powerful patron to spy across Wilderland for them, whether through favours owed, a misdeed to be paid for in service, or by good work and the building of trust in service. Wherever you wander, you seek out information that could be of interest and report back to the patron. Rumours of war, the growth of an orc enclave, the political machinations in the halls of a lord, or the legendary location of a dragon’s hoard – all this information is of interest to your patron.

Skill Proficiencies: Investigation, Insight

FEATURE: THE LITTLE BIRDS SING
You have the capacity to communicate incredibly quickly with your patron - perhaps you can speak with the birds or beasts who bring you communications from your patron and allow you in turn to send messages back to them, or perhaps you have a network of contacts that pass news back and forth efficiently across the land. You quickly learn news of happenings in your patron’s realm and receive orders and information from them directly.
However, nowhere you go and nothing you do is secret to your patron – there are spies watching spies and even the birds and the beasts themselves may tell your patron of your whereabouts and actions. Loyalty is paramount and you must watch what you say and what you do at all times.

SUGGESTED CHARACTERISTICS
Lord’s Spies are expert at hiding their true intent, creating a façade to hide behind and allowing them to seem innocent and inconspicuous. They develop the capacity to notice the smallest thing of import and interpret events in terms of how it may affect their patron’s realm.

D8 DISTINCTIVE QUALITY
1 Patient
2 Suspicious
3 Wary
4 Clever
5 Secretive
6 Keen-eyed
7 Quick of Hearing
8 Fair-spoken

D6 SPECIALITY
1 Beast-Lore
2 Enemy-lore (choose one)
3 Region-lore (choose one)
4 Dark Secrets
5 Trading
6 Smoking

D6 HOPE
1 My work for my patron will bring peace to their realm.
2 The information I glean could help save those I love from death or worse.
3 The right piece of information could allow my patron to regain lost lands or grow his power.
4 Travelling through other lands and experiencing different cultures allows me to understand how my patron’s realm is affected by those around them.
5 My companions’ support and protection allows me to continue my important work.
6 It is my fate to discover a weakness that will help defeat the Shadow’s plans.

D6 DESPAIR
1 I shall be discovered by the Shadow and slain before I can impart what I have seen and heard.
2 Nothing that I have discovered will have any impact on defeating the Shadow.
3 My patron cares nothing for the likes of me, I am merely being used as a pawn in a game.
4 My companions will discover my true work and hate me for betraying them.
5 My patron’s power will wane and the Shadow will be triumphant.
6 The enemies of my patron’s realm will discover its secrets and defeat my patron.
“All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain

Otaku-sempai
Posts: 2477
Joined: Sun May 12, 2013 2:45 am
Location: Lackawanna, NY

Re: New Background: Eyes of Thranduil

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:53 pm

I doubt that J.R.R. Tolkien gave much thought about any kind of formal intelligence networks in Middle-earth, with the exceptions of the agents and spies of Sauron and Saruman. Certainly Elrond and Thranduil had their scouts and information gleaned from birds and other sources. The Dwarves of Erebor had their ravens. And the Rangers of the North were always watching and listening for the movements of the Enemy. Gandalf kept his own eyes and ears open; Radagast got much of his news from birds, beasts or local Woodmen. I'm not sure, though, if anyone among the Free Peoples had a highly organized intelligence network unless it belonged to Gondor.

Thoughts?
DR. MANHATTAN: I'm leaving this galaxy for one less complicated.
OZYMANDIAS: But you'd regained interest in human life...
DR. MANHATTAN: Yes, I have. I think perhaps I'll create some. Goodbye, Adrian.

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