[Plot Ideas] Aran Endor and the Two Trees: The Fourth Age

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Lara Redleaf
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Re: [Plot Ideas] Aran Endor and the Two Trees: The Fourth Ag

Post by Lara Redleaf » Sat Aug 19, 2017 9:36 pm

Like the Ring, this topic finds its way to resurface again!

I'm looking into Fourth Age plot ideas, and this is definitely something I want to run with. I figured I could rebuild the idea from the ground up, but it has some things I like: A sympathetic villain (who is an Elf, at that). A profound implication for the future of Middle-earth. Complexity in motivations, shades of gray in the struggle itself. And it embraces and calls upon the most fantastical elements of the setting, figuring they will go out with a bang if anything.

The main thing is how Toglim (who will later become Aran Endor) will try to accomplish this goal and where he will set up. Initially, I wanted him to set up lesser versions of the Two Trees, using their light and power to ward off the fading. That's how I came to the idea of him recovering a Silmaril, though that might be a bit too much for this. At the very least, if he does recover a Silmaril, it will be lost and gone forever after the conflict, and not permanently restored to Middle-earth. Now, using the west of Middle-earth and the idea of a Silmaril lost at sea, perhaps he sails and manages to find one, or enough of its light, to sort of empower these seeds, with which he grows the lesser Trees, and plants them in Mirkwood or somewhere else to create a sort of ward against the spreading dominion of Men.

I would very much welcome some input on these and any ideas found in the thread!
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Lara Redleaf
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Re: [Plot Ideas] Aran Endor and the Two Trees: The Fourth Age

Post by Lara Redleaf » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:05 am

Further developing this campaign idea:

Timeline: Fourth Age. Normally I'd do most of my gaming in the Third Age, but I'd like to have a good Fourth Age campaign seed.
• Far enough into the Fourth Age that Elrond and his sons have departed. Galadriel and Celeborn are gone. Imladris is mostly deserted, Mirkwood is largely empty of Elves, and Lothlórien is also quickly emptying.

Toglim: An Elf who never went to Aman but saw the Light from afar. His profound love for Middle-earth has bred resentment. To him, the Firstborn have the oldest and truest claim to this land. Why should they give it up for the fleeting lives of Men? Once he begins his true crusade, he begins to call himself Aran Endor, self-styled Lord of Middle-earth. Unlike the dark lords, Endor has no desire to rule Men and Hobbits and Dwarves. He will leave them to their sparse realms once he has taken what he feels is his.
Elves: Many Elves have flocked to Toglim's cause. Resentful of the fading of Elves, they wish to push back and reclaim what is theirs. This desire is fueled to an inferno by Toglim's charismatic pleas.
Dwarves: There are some Dwarves who also resent the shrinking of their realms and the growing dominion of Men. Toglim has bid them to come to him, and together they might create works that rival the mighty crafts of old.
Hobbits: Some Hobbits exist who also fear the changing of the land. More and more are the green hills and wooded lands of their youth being felled, settled, and flattened, marred by ugly houses of brick and smoke-belching mills. Those Hobbits who do not want to give up their rustic lives find common cause with Toglim's people.
Ents: Of all the creatures of Middle-earth, only the Ents can profess to love the land as deeply as Elves. Most are gone now, but more than a few Toglim has convinced to join his cause, to help shepherd the growing forest realms that all refuse to relinquish.

Realm: What is missing now is Toglim's base of operations and the means by which he would accomplish this goal. He doesn't necessarily want to make endless war (at least, not yet he doesn't), and it's not a war he would necessarily win. Rather, he wants power to transform Middle-earth back to the way it was in its youth.

I like the idea that he could be trying to find/restore Cuiviénen, since it'd be so symbolic to his mission. Maybe he's in some Rhûnic forest, drives out or kills the Men that live there, and unites the lost tribes of Elves living there under his banner.

The main question is what artefact might Toglim find and use? Could he fish up the Silmaril long enough to capture a fraction of its light? Maybe he could find something else to use as a beacon for establishing some kind of realm?

Yes, ultimately, his mission is doomed (if we stick with canon), but that only lends this more pathos. It's a morally complex struggle because it's not Elves vs. Orcs, and it's not a dark lord trying to subjugate the Free Peoples with fear and machines of war. I want Toglim's motivations to be sympathetic, at least a little understandable. This is mostly coming together, though. I'll keep working on it.
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Robin Smallburrow
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Re: [Plot Ideas] Aran Endor and the Two Trees: The Fourth Age

Post by Robin Smallburrow » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:30 am

Hello Lara!

Sorry I have only just seen your topic, must have missed it earlier!

I think your basic plot has a lot of merit, have you seen previous discussions on the Fourth Age on these forums? Also a prior issue of Other Minds (#8??) which focused on the Fourth Age. I have a lot of stuff on the Fourth Age I can PM you if you are interested.

There have been ideas previously mentioned similar to yours, I recall one idea (see my Fan Supplement) which talked about "The Faded One" - being a high elf who had set up a minitiuare version of Valinor somewhere in Rhovanion - common to all these ideas is that of an isolationist Elven King (Thranduil) who sets up a 'guarded realm protected by magic', as a way of trying to prevent the passage of time & the Fading of the Elves - which is the big question here - how does your protagonist deal with this issue?

And what about the Wayward Elves (who are already posing a problem for Thranduil). I don't see dwarves allying with the elves, either - both races will instead try to retreat from humans (elves into deep forests & Mountaintops, dwarves Underground.

Please also check out my Eldernori idea in my Fourth Age timeline (the Valar don't sit idly by, they actually do send help), not to mention whether Maglor comes into your story (there is a published adventure involving Maglor in the Fourth Age, can't recall where).

Hope this helps,

Robin S
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Re: [Plot Ideas] Aran Endor and the Two Trees: The Fourth Age

Post by Otaku-sempai » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:51 pm

There is precedent in the legendarium for a world-altering event taking place that does not result in the end of an Age. The Change of the World that brought about the destruction of Númenor occurred in SA 3319, though the Second Age did not end until the defeat of Sauron in 3441.

Such an event could happen several centuries into the Fourth Age and might make possible the recovery of at least one of the Silmarilli. The catastrophe would also account for the present-day configuration of the continents and oceans, so this might be too much for your campaign and might work better to close out the Fourth Age. Still, if nothing else, the recovery of a Silmaril might ultimately bring about such an event.

My best guess is that the Fourth Age endures for approximately two thousand years, ending about the time of the Biblical Flood according to the Hebrew calendar (some 4000 years ago).
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Re: [Plot Ideas] Aran Endor and the Two Trees: The Fourth Age

Post by Kazibar » Sun Sep 10, 2017 2:48 pm

Odd thought, but you could make Toglin one of Ellrohir or Elladan. Even if the other leaves, you have the interest of conflict with expansionist Gondar and Arwen's descendants. Maybe men killed his twin.

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