Realism in Middle-earth

Adventure in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Learn more at our website: http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-one-ring/
Glorelendil
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Glorelendil » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:17 pm

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:11 pm
Unlike brothels or drug dens, the inclusion of dice and gambling with dice is not an element that should fundamentally change the feel of a Middle-earth game. That is not to say that we need to have Citadel Guards in Minas Tirith taking part in a high-stakes craps game. It's just another background element that could be present.
I totally get that you feel that way, but I feel differently. And both views are valid. It's purely a matter of aesthetic.
In other words--dice. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. The earliest dice were actual knuckle bones and I could easily imagine Orcs using those.
There was no need to reinvent a pony express as signal fires on mountain tops, either.
I do find the argument that 'because Tolkien never mentioned it, it cannot be so' a bit tiresome, especially in the context of a role-playing game.
Gosh, I would, too. If anybody were making it.
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Glorelendil
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Glorelendil » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:20 pm

Otaku-sempai wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:11 pm
Unlike brothels or drug dens, the inclusion of dice and gambling with dice is not an element that should fundamentally change the feel of a Middle-earth game. That is not to say that we need to have Citadel Guards in Minas Tirith taking part in a high-stakes craps game. It's just another background element that could be present.
I totally get that you feel that way, but I feel differently. And both views are valid. It's purely a matter of aesthetic.
In other words--dice. There is no need to re-invent the wheel. The earliest dice were actual knuckle bones and I could easily imagine Orcs using those.
There was no need to reinvent a pony express as signal fires on mountain tops, either.
I do find the argument that 'because Tolkien never mentioned it, it cannot be so' a bit tiresome, especially in the context of a role-playing game.
Gosh, I would, too. If anybody were making it. Surely there is something from the real world that wouldn't be anachronistic, but that would still feel out of place in Middle-earth for you. Novels (as I mentioned above)? Religious iconography? Whale bone corsets? Crossbows? Kilts?

Think of something like that, and then please accept that others might have a longer list, without it meaning that "anything Tolkien didn't mention is bad".
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Otaku-sempai
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:34 pm

Glorelendil wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:17 pm
I totally get that you feel that way, but I feel differently. And both views are valid. It's purely a matter of aesthetic.
Fair enough. ;)
There was no need to reinvent a pony express as signal fires on mountain tops, either.
Okay, but no one is doing that. You are the one who suggested substituting some other, dice-like thing for dice. I just don't understand why you feel that dice seem any more out-of-place in Middle-earth than darts, quoits, nine-pins or any of the other games that Tolkien does mention. Dice have been around since before recorded history, they are common all over the world, and there is nothing especially unsavory about them.
I do find the argument that 'because Tolkien never mentioned it, it cannot be so' a bit tiresome, especially in the context of a role-playing game.
Gosh, I would, too. If anybody were making it.
I agree that this was not really the point you were making. It is perhaps the most extreme expression of that general chain of reasoning and I have seen others use that argument. Nonetheless, please pardon me for over-generalizing. We seem to be at the point where it is just more productive to agree to disagree.
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Halbarad
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Halbarad » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:24 pm

Regarding dice in Middle Earth. I did point out that the references were subtle and/or oblique. Here are three quotes that, to me, prove the existence of dice and dice games. I have underscored thecappropriate parts of the quotations.

Nay, Éomer, you do not fully understand the mind of Master Wormtongue,’ said
Gandalf, turning his piercing glance upon him. ‘He is bold and cunning. Even now he
plays a game with peril and wins a throw.
Hours of my precious time he has wasted
already….

‘As Aragorn has begun, so we must go on. We must push Sauron to his last throw. We must call out his hidden strength, so that he shall empty his land. We must march out to meet him at once. We must make ourselves the bait, though his jaws should close on us. He will take that bait, in hope and in greed, for he will think that in such rashness he sees the pride of the new Ringlord: and he will say: “So! he pushes out his neck too soon and too far. Let him come on, and behold I will have him in a trap from which he cannot escape. There I will crush him, and what he has taken in his insolence shall be mine again for ever.”

Two days later the army of the West was all assembled on the Pelennor. The host of Orcs and Easterlings had turned back out of Anórien, but harried and scattered by the Rohirrim they had broken and fled with little fighting towards Cair Andros; and with that threat destroyed and new strength arriving out of the South the City was as well manned as might be. Scouts reported that no enemies remained upon the roads east as far as the Cross-roads of the Fallen King. All now was ready for the last throw.


So, in each of these cases, what do we think Prof T was referring to if not the throw of a die?

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Otaku-sempai » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:28 pm

Halbarad for the win! :lol:
"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."

Glorelendil
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Glorelendil » Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:56 pm

Oh those are really good finds. Funny, I found the first one while searching for 'game' but my search results cropped the next phrase. Bravo!

Even with those, however, I'd like to imagine that denizens of Middle-earth came up with...or evolved..."dice" that are different from ours, and are played with different rules. It just strikes me as the kind of thing that would demonstrate butterfly effect: very slight changes in culture/tradition would result in dramatically different implementations of the same concept.

And, just to clarify, it's not that dice (and dice games) that are exactly like ours would "spoil my immersion", but they wouldn't contribute to it, either, in the way that something similar-but-different would. Like round doors with doorknobs in the middle do. It would be a lost opportunity to make M-e something more magical than just a fictional re-skinning of Middle Ages Europe. Does that make sense?
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ThrorII
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by ThrorII » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:07 am

Glorelendil wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:56 pm
Even with those, however, I'd like to imagine that denizens of Middle-earth came up with...or evolved..."dice" that are different from ours, and are played with different rules.
Yes, Middle-earth dice are 12-sided, and have an Eye for '1' and a G-rune for 12......
:D

Sorry, I've been thoroughly enjoying this thread, and couldn't help myself. I'll go back in the corner and be quiet.....

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cuthalion
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by cuthalion » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:53 am

Glorelendil wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 6:56 pm
And, just to clarify, it's not that dice (and dice games) that are exactly like ours would "spoil my immersion", but they wouldn't contribute to it, either, in the way that something similar-but-different would. Like round doors with doorknobs in the middle do. It would be a lost opportunity to make M-e something more magical than just a fictional re-skinning of Middle Ages Europe. Does that make sense?
I hate to be the voice that's just continually egging you on, without ever offering any firm resolution/help--but yes, I for one totally get what you mean.

Case in point--the compass rose exists in ME, but the cardinal point isn't N it's W. Or, a completely different example: on Hobbit birthdays you give presents. It's that feeling of the uncanny that Tolkien had a real knack for.

HOW you emulate it I don't know. I'm not a great writer or anything. But I think your ambition is great--stick in there Glorelendil!

The knucklebone comment was a goodun I think. But def better for orcs than the free peoples. You should probably look at the Appendices of LOTR for insights into the numerical systems. I think the number of months in the year is different? And I don't seem to remember anything indicating a decimal-leaning system. Somehow or other you have to get at the numbers on the dice/values--they need to be different.

You could also think about how they are crafted--most likely carved from wood, or perhaps antler/tusk/things like that. But even very early dice seem to have used pips--so I'm not sure how you get away from that in a ME-y way. I can't remember what Robert Jordan's dice have on them, but I think the are numbers connected to certain personalities in the lore of the game. Seems a bit cliched.

Like I said, hope you weren't expecting any real help--just waffling.

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cuthalion
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by cuthalion » Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:54 am

ThrorII wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:07 am
Yes, Middle-earth dice are 12-sided, and have an Eye for '1' and a G-rune for 12......
:D

Sorry, I've been thoroughly enjoying this thread, and couldn't help myself. I'll go back in the corner and be quiet.....
Go and think about what you've done :)

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Realism in Middle-earth

Post by Otaku-sempai » Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:25 am

cuthalion wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:53 am
Case in point--the compass rose exists in ME, but the cardinal point isn't N it's W.
Well, if I recall correctly, that only applies to dwarven maps.
"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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