Virtues for Men of Shadow

The place for discussion of Cubicle 7 and Sophisticated Games' "Adventures in Middle-earth" OGL setting.
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Morgoth
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Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Morgoth » Sat Mar 18, 2017 8:37 am

I'm trying to homebrew some of the typical "evil" men races: Easterlings, Haradrim, Corsairs, Variags, etc.

Would anyone have any interest in helping me brainstorm virtues and/or cultural rewards for them?
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Soninlawofelfland
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Re: Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Soninlawofelfland » Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:05 pm

The Haradrim probably should have some sort of virtue that lessens the exhaustion of a harsh journey. Also they might have some virtue related to the scimitar, to trade (perhaps as a traditions proficiency), and perhaps riding. Because it was a favorite stomping ground when I played MERP, and also Faramir's comment, I tend to view the Haradrim as the less evil of the evil men.
Cosairs should have some maritime virtues as well as something that points to their dunedain heritage, but I've never really mastered sea based RPGs so I'm no help there. Also, don't forget the Black Numenoreans.

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Morgoth
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Re: Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Morgoth » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:02 pm

Soninlawofelfland wrote:
Sat Mar 18, 2017 12:05 pm
The Haradrim probably should have some sort of virtue that lessens the exhaustion of a harsh journey. Also they might have some virtue related to the scimitar, to trade (perhaps as a traditions proficiency), and perhaps riding. Because it was a favorite stomping ground when I played MERP, and also Faramir's comment, I tend to view the Haradrim as the less evil of the evil men.
Cosairs should have some maritime virtues as well as something that points to their dunedain heritage, but I've never really mastered sea based RPGs so I'm no help there. Also, don't forget the Black Numenoreans.
I was going to separate the Haradrim into Near and Far. Near Haradrim would be just as you say. Scimitars, cavalry, trading, nomadic, etc. I was thinking the Far Haradrim would maybe be a little more primitive and tribal.

As far as the Black Numenoreans go, it seems like for the most part by the end of the Third Age their race has dwindled and mixed into what is now the Corsairs of Umbar. But at the very least we know a few of them survived (Mouth of Sauron and some of the Nazgul), but these ones have extended their lives with magic, so it's unclear if there are other more "natural" Black Numenoreans running around at this time or just these few examples.
I smashed down the light and dared Valinor
I smashed down the light, revenge will be mine

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Soninlawofelfland
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Re: Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Soninlawofelfland » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:54 am

I think the idea that the BN and Cosairs have merged (at least culturally) is probably true and also the simplest mechanically. Personally, I wouldn't have Far Harad more primitive but more distinctly Haradrim (as opposed to the decidedly mixed culture of Umbar). This is my MERP background showing through, I'm sure, but I think it stands to reason. Now Greater Harad, if it even exists, seems a bit too far.
I'm interested in your ideas about the Variags.

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Southron
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Re: Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Southron » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:44 pm

I had always envisioned the Near Haradrim more Middle-Eastern in appearance. The LOTR does mention primitives like Half-Trolls from the Far Harad, but for the civilized people I imagined the sites such as Meroe, Great Zimbabwe, and Kerma not the trite jungle savages.
Last edited by Southron on Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:46 pm

Southron Loremaster wrote:
Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:44 pm
I had always envisioned the Near Haradrim more Middle-Eastern in appearance. The LOTR does mention primitive Half-Trolls from the Far Harad, but for the civilized people I imagined the sites such as Meroe, Great Zimbabwe, and Kerma not the trite jungle savages.
Actually, Tolkien did not write that the black men from Far Harad who appeared at the Battle of the Pelennor Fields were definitely half-trolls. Their described appearance might be due to some drug derived from the flora or fauna of Far Harad that had the side-effects of contracting their pupils and dyeing their tongues red.
...and out of Far Harad black men like half-trolls with white eyes and red tongues.
and later:
East rode the knights of Dol Amroth driving the enemy before them: troll-men and Variags and orcs that hated the sunlight.
MERP ran with the description (altering the eyes to glowing red), branding the 'Half-trolls' the product of breeding trolls with Variag-men (who btw are from Khand, adjacent to Mordor, and not Far Harad).
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Tolwen
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Re: Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Tolwen » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:07 pm

Otaku-sempai is right about the Haradrim. I'd like to add that by the time of the WotR, the Corsairs were no longer of Dúnadan origin. The original Corsairs, led by the sons of Castamir, quickly intermingled with local wives and lost their Númenórean heritage between the 15th and 18th century TA. Castamir's line was the among last to remain "pure" and his last descendants were killed when Umbar was taken by Gondor in TA 1810. Afterwards, there may be some cultural legacies left over from these Dúnadan Corsairs that were taken up by their successors, but ethnically the Corsairs in the LotR had no longer any significant Dúnadan blood.
One of the many things that MERP got wrong BTW ;)

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Southron
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Re: Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Southron » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:36 pm

That was a typo on my part it is edited now to read LIKE.. Should have know that any error would be hounded out like Nazgul searching for the Ring. :)

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Re: Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:52 pm

Morgoth wrote:
Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:02 pm
As far as the Black Numenoreans go, it seems like for the most part by the end of the Third Age their race has dwindled and mixed into what is now the Corsairs of Umbar. But at the very least we know a few of them survived (Mouth of Sauron and some of the Nazgul), but these ones have extended their lives with magic, so it's unclear if there are other more "natural" Black Numenoreans running around at this time or just these few examples.
As far as I know, all of the Nazgûl had their origins in the Second Age; I doubt that the Mouth of Sauron is anywhere near as old, extended life or not. Tolkien wrote that "he entered the service of the Dark Tower when it first rose again." The rebuilding of Barad-dûr began in the year 2951, so the Lieutenant of Barad-dûr might have been less than seventy years old when the Dark Tower fell or he might have been a century old or more.

By the time of the War of the Ring, Umbar might well again be ruled by an elite who call themselves Black Númenóreans, regardless of how diminished their bloodline has become. They had been previously defeated and scattered by Hyarmendacil I in TA 1050, but not necessarily destroyed (as demonstrated by the existence of the Mouth of Sauron).

Virtue for Black Númenóreans: Pupil of Sauron. The character has been tutored in sorcery and has gained the Special Ability: Words of Power and Terror. Alternately, the character gains a Dreadful Spell.

Reward for Black Númenóreans: Lesser Ring. A Wondrous Artefact possessing one Blessing to one of the following Skills: Animal Handling, Deception, Intimidation, Lore, Perception, Persuasion, Shadow-lore. These rings are also cursed with Shadow-taint, raising the bearer's Shadow score by 2 points.
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:09 pm, edited 4 times in total.
"Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he."

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Soninlawofelfland
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Re: Virtues for Men of Shadow

Post by Soninlawofelfland » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:55 pm

The Cosair's intermingling with the people of Umber wouldn't necessarily diminish their Numenorean heritage much as the Umbrans themselves contained the most significant reservoir of the Black Numenoreans. Sure, there were also Haradrim, but to say it disappeared by the War of the Ring sounds a bit much.

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