Epic Adventure in Eriador

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/
Tarondor
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Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by Tarondor » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:11 pm

I'm sure this topic has been breached many times, but I just can't find a satisfactory answer. Are there any ideas written down out there for -epic- adventures in Eriador at or around the time of the War of the Ring?

I'm a very long-time GM, but I've never run a game of TOR. I've always avoided it because I love the Tolkien lore so much I've been afraid of running it for my non-Tolkien-loving D&D friends. I know most of them would never really get into the spirit of the story. But now I'm thinking about running a game of TOR online. For what it's worth I'm more of a Tolkien student than Tolkien scholar, but I have read the entire canon multiple times.

Also, in fairness, I've played quite a bit of Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) and want to avoid stealing their ideas, not because I dislike plagiarism, but because I suspect any prospective players will also be familiar with those story lines.

Here's the thing, though. I want to create an adventure that has the epic scale of the Fellowship's journey and is nearly as important. I want it to range all over Eriador and beyond, visiting some of the most famous and mysterious sites, but also pursuing a goal with real meaning and heft.

I've considered all the alternate-age possibilities and know that I want to run a game set in the late Third Age.

From all that I've read, a common idea for this is an "Against Angmar" story. That's a cool story, but as I said above, I want to try something epic that LOTRO -didn't- do. I have a bunch of little vignettes in my head, cool scenes or locations or people to meet, but I'm having trouble envisioning something epic that doesn't run afoul of the Fellowship and is also important to the Free Peoples.

Okay, so as I said, I'm sure I'm not the first... or thousandth. Hopefully someone here can point me to some good ideas to use/steal/file the serial numbers from?

Thanks!

Scott / Tarondor

Tarondor
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Re: Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by Tarondor » Thu Mar 09, 2017 4:18 pm

And a follow-up question:

How important is canon? Sure, nobody wants to see Elrond become a traitor (okay, maybe some of you do), but is the inclusion of plausible-but-never-hinted-at-by-Tolkien material considered a bonus or a flaw by most TOR players? Meeting a hidden maia, for instance? Or discovering a tribe of hobbits far from the Shire? Or learning that Arvedui's ship didn't sink, but was instead shipwrecked? Or visiting islands that survived the fall of Beleriand? Or visiting cities and towns in Gondor not mentioned in canon? Or Sauron's secret love-child (love that idea from the first issue of "Other Hands"). Or an Eol-like dark elf living in the Trollmoors? Or the possibility of finding the Ent-Wives? Or finding Alatar and Pallando?

And whatnot...

DarkTraveller
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Re: Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by DarkTraveller » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:52 pm

Just a little toss in that canon is down to the LM. I had no intentions of making any major breaks to canon with the game I'm running but over the course of running Tales From Wilderland an event occurred which found both the sons of Elrond dead. I've since utilized that event to become the reason why the Elrond you read about in the books is much less grim than the version seen in Jackson's movies (also the reason why the sons of Elrond don't show up in the movies).

Long story short my players have set up things to follow the path of the Lord of the Rings movies as opposed to the books. Now we'll see how it follows through ;)

Stormcrow
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Re: Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by Stormcrow » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:02 pm

A dragon only a little less terrible than Smaug the Golden stirs in the north. But the Rangers are scattered and do not yet know the peril. Gather them together to fight the dragon.

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by Otaku-sempai » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:22 pm

Well, for your own game, adherence to canon is exactly as important as you want it to be--no more, no less. Internal consistency and story logic in your campaign are probably more important.

Here are some ideas. According to The Silmarillion and using TOR's map of the Blue Mountains, the site of the ruined Dwarf-city of Belegost would only be 20 miles or so (closer to 50 miles on foot) south of the Halls of the Dwarves (which we don't yet know much about); the ruins of Nogrod would only be another 21 miles (3 leagues) south of Belegost. Tolkien's Mount Dolmed would be the peak at the northern end of the large forested region of Forlindon, opposite from Nogrod and Belegost. By the way, TOR's scale seems to be a bit off. These distances are greater if we measure them on Christopher Tolkien's maps.

The ruins of the Noldor fortress built by Caranthir at Mount Rerir might still exist in the Blue Mountains in northern Forlindon (just where they start to veer to the north east). The Enemy might have sent a servant to search the ruins for a magical artifact from the First Age. Also, I posited in the House Rules forum that an ancient Cold-drake might have sheltered in the Blue Mountains near Forochel. I named Aguta when I thought that the Lossoth might have spoken an early Inuit tongue, but I am now thinking that they would have probably used an ancient Laplander (or Sami) dialect.
Aguta the Cold-drake
Old Aguta is a survivor of the Great Battle who fled into the Northern Waste and afterwards settled on the western side of the Blue Mountains just north of Forlindon. Her senses led her to an ancient treasure chamber built by the High Elves of the West that she took as her lair. Aguta spends much of her time sleeping; she awakes once in a century or so to leave her hoard and eat her fill of any beasts or Men she can find and search, with little success, for more treasure. Her power is diminished but she is still a formidable foe. Aguta's range does not extend beyond the Northern Pass, fifty miles to the south; the power of the land long inhabited by the High Elves repulses her. The Lossoth believe the Cold-drake to be a vengeful spirit and named her. Aguta in their tongue means 'Gatherer of the Dead'.

Cold-drake
Attribute Level: 11
Endurance: 105
Hate: 12
Parry: 12
Armour: 6d/1d*
Skills: Personality, 6; Survival, 3; Movement, 5; Custom, 5; Perception, 6; Vocation, 4
Weapon Skills: Bite: 5; Rend: 3; Tail-lash: 2; Crush: 2
Special Abilities: Great Size, Fell Speed, Savage Assault, Foul Reek, Horrible Strength, Dreadful Spells**, Thing of Terror, *Weak Spot, Poison Blast
Weapons:
- Bite: Damage 11; Edge 8; Injury 20
- Rend: Damage 8; Edge 9; Injury 22; Called Shot = Piercing
- Tail-lash: Damage 22; Edge Eye; Injury 20; Called Shot = Knockdown
- Crush: Damage 22; Edge Eye; Injury 22

**Dragon-spell (Baleful Gaze): during combat reduce the dragon's Hate point score by one to force one companion who is within her baleful gaze to make a Corruption check against TN 16. If failed, the companion gains one Shadow point and cannot attack the dragon for a number of rounds equal to 10 minus his Wisdom rating. The dragon can spend several Hate points to affect an equal number of companions at the same time. If used during an encounter, companions put under the dragon-spell feel compelled to answer truthfully to questions for the duration of the encounter.
I also have a Fell Wraith searching for ancient knowledge and objects of power in the ruins of Annúminas. Perhaps he could be sent to the Blue Mountains instead.
Aegathir the Fell Wraith
This former Captain of Arnor cannot recall the name he was born with; the only one he answers to now is Aegathir (Fell Spy). It is the name given to him by his dark master after long torment and torture with a Morgul-knife. Aegathir became a Fell Wraith under the control of the Witch-king and served him in Angmar for many years. Now the Wraith has been given a mission: to search the ruins of Annúminas for relics of the fallen North-kingdoms that might have been left behind and lost in the sack of Arthedain. The Enemy believes that one of the palantíri--the Seeing-stones--might still be somewhere in the ruin of Arnor's former capital. If not then there may still be artefacts of value to the Dark Lord of Mordor.

See the entry for Fell Wraiths in Rivendell.
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Finrod Felagund
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Re: Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by Finrod Felagund » Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:11 am

Another idea is to head through Eriador into the far north where the Iron Mountains (territory of Morgoth in the 1st Age) still remain. A map of what this area might have looked like in the 3rd Age is here: http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb2 ... dwaith.JPG

For an epic game you need some heroes on a quest against some really powerful evil enemies to defeat something that could literally end the world. So how about Sauron has sent some of his Dark Spirits with a bunch of Orcs to recover an ancient weapon that can break the Earths crust (or something). Or some of Morgoths original servants have just awakened (a Vampire, a black spirit, a Balrog, a Dragon etc) and are now searching for a Black Jewel that will release Morgoth from beyond the bounds of the world...

Tarondor
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Re: Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by Tarondor » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:54 pm

Some nice ideas there, folks! Keep them coming, please!

Finrod, do you by any chance have a larger version of that map? It looks like a postage stamp! But I'd like to see it.

I was toying around with an idea where the characters would somehow experience key moments of past ages. Not time travel, but visions of the past that somehow move the plot forward in the present. It would give me an excuse to run Second- and First-Age stories while still firmly rooted in the Third Age. I'd have to work to make it feel like something miraculous, not like comic-book science. Not sure about that.

I like the idea of having to stop something comparable to Smaug from ravaging Eriador thus neutralizing any hope of succor from Ered Luin, Imladris or probably Rohan. But I'm not sure I want it to be a dragon. My nerd heart loves the idea of "releasing Morgoth". It's over the top (it's Galactus-sized over the top!) but it could be fun. Something like a key that could open the Walls of Night. Heck, maybe even Vingilot could get involved.

Okay... Sigh. I should probably reign it in somewhere between ice-drake and Morgoth, however. :-)

Otaku-sempai
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Re: Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by Otaku-sempai » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:59 pm

Tarondor wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:54 pm
I was toying around with an idea where the characters would somehow experience key moments of past ages. Not time travel, but visions of the past that somehow move the plot forward in the present. It would give me an excuse to run Second- and First-Age stories while still firmly rooted in the Third Age. I'd have to work to make it feel like something miraculous, not like comic-book science. Not sure about that.
Well, a High Elf at the ruins of Caranthir's fortress might experience visions of the First Age. And the same might occur with a Dwarf either meditating at Mount Dolmed or resting near the sites of Nogrod or Belegost (especially if the Dwarf is descended from the Ered Luin).
I like the idea of having to stop something comparable to Smaug from ravaging Eriador thus neutralizing any hope of succor from Ered Luin, Imladris or probably Rohan. But I'm not sure I want it to be a dragon. My nerd heart loves the idea of "releasing Morgoth". It's over the top (it's Galactus-sized over the top!) but it could be fun. Something like a key that could open the Walls of Night. Heck, maybe even Vingilot could get involved.
I was keeping my Cold-drake's range limited to Forochel and well north of Forlindon or the Halls of the Dwarves. I haven't made Aguta aware of the dwarven community at the head of the Little Lune. And she's still recovering from a long hibernation; she might not yet feel ready to take them on. A Fell Wraith or another servant of the Enemy could use Aguta to stir up trouble. He might also want to lure the dragon far away from the Noldor ruins.

I also have a pack of White Wolves that have claimed the land between the Upper and Lower Lune as their territory. They are led by Carchelek (ice fang), a hybrid who's sire was a Warg and his mother a White Wolf. If Carchelek was slain, the pack would probably wander back north into Forochel. The pack is as large as you need it to be.

EDIT: Here is an additional adventure seed: Perhaps a powerful artifact of the Noldor is rumored to still exist in the ruins of Maedhros’ fortress on the island of Himling, about 40 miles off the coast, north of the large bay in Forlindon. The Isle of Himling probably can't be referenced in official TOR products as it was never referenced in either The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings and it first appears on Christopher Tolkien's map that accompanied the original publication of Unfinished Tales. However, the island seems to be the remains of the hill of Himring where the Noldo Maedhros constructed a fortress in the First Age.
Last edited by Otaku-sempai on Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Finrod Felagund
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Re: Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by Finrod Felagund » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:32 am

Tarondor wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:54 pm
Some nice ideas there, folks! Keep them coming, please!

Finrod, do you by any chance have a larger version of that map? It looks like a postage stamp! But I'd like to see it.

I was toying around with an idea where the characters would somehow experience key moments of past ages. Not time travel, but visions of the past that somehow move the plot forward in the present. It would give me an excuse to run Second- and First-Age stories while still firmly rooted in the Third Age. I'd have to work to make it feel like something miraculous, not like comic-book science. Not sure about that.

I like the idea of having to stop something comparable to Smaug from ravaging Eriador thus neutralizing any hope of succor from Ered Luin, Imladris or probably Rohan. But I'm not sure I want it to be a dragon. My nerd heart loves the idea of "releasing Morgoth". It's over the top (it's Galactus-sized over the top!) but it could be fun. Something like a key that could open the Walls of Night. Heck, maybe even Vingilot could get involved.

Okay... Sigh. I should probably reign it in somewhere between ice-drake and Morgoth, however. :-)
WRT to the map, right click and copy it onto a word file and then you can enlarge it. Any problems send me a PM.

Morgoth/Galactus is definitely epic - real end of the world stuff. When you think about it, most published adventures are actually pretty small so I thought I would give you an idea where there is real danger. Whatever you decide to do, have fun!

Tarondor
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Re: Epic Adventure in Eriador

Post by Tarondor » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:12 pm

Here's a complete change of direction that I'd like a bit of advice on. Based on an idea I read here: https://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?65 ... k-it/page6, I'm thinking of running an "Isildur Rex" game, set around T.A. 20.

The idea is as follows:

The PC's are veterans of the Last Alliance of Men and Elves. Isildur did not die in T.A. 2, nor did he lose the One Ring in Anduin's waters, because the PC's rescued him and brought him safely across the river. Using the power of the One Ring, the hero Isildur now turns to enlarging Arnor's greatness. It becomes Numenor reborn, the greatest, most glittering court in all of Middle-Earth, with the PC's as honored heroes in this greatest of all courts. Surely even the Valar must be jealous of such magnificence!

In fact, the Valar are quite concerned and send the Istari to Middle-Earth a thousand years early. Isildur demands and receives the hand of Celebrian in marriage, setting him against Elrond from the start.

I think of it like King Arthur's court at its height, with a different cancer (the One Ring) eating at its heart. Sooner or later, the PC's are going to have to decide between their oaths to the king and doing the right thing.

I'm not sure if the campaign ends with the PC's as The Fellowship, trying to destroy the Ring, or the PC's trying to somehow alter the course of the past to "correct" the time line. The latter seems satisfying in a narrative sense, but may not feel like a story Tolkien would write.

Finally, I am concerned about the characters. Clearly some would be Dúnedain. Others might be Noldorin elves. But if still others are Middle-Men, dwarves, hobbits, elves of Greenwood, etc., the power curve might be noticeably altered. Is it enough to give the "lesser" races some XP advancement? Would the "feel" of Middle-Earth be preserved? I'm not experienced enough with The One Ring to know how tinkering with the basics will affect the story.

I want an epic tale, but even more I want the story to feel like Professor Tolkien might have written it. Any advice will be gratefully received.

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