Modred's Men's Motivation

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Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by poosticks7 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:03 pm

My Pc's caught some of Modred's men and were asking them why they followed him. (He is a bad lad in my campaign).

I fumbled around for answers, as the Npcs.

I got through the encounter okay but wasn't too pleased with what I came up with.

Was wondering what motivations my fellow Loremasters would come up with.

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Re: Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by Indur Dawndeath » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:16 pm

poosticks7 wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:03 pm
My Pc's caught some of Modred's men and were asking them why they followed him. (He is a bad lad in my campaign).

I fumbled around for answers, as the Npcs.

I got through the encounter okay but wasn't too pleased with what I came up with.

Was wondering what motivations my fellow Loremasters would come up with.
I think I would set it up like a criminal organisation with Mogdred as the kingpin.
As long as he has power they’ll follow him.
If they betray him, he’ll take revenge in a grusome way, to set an example.
He’ll bestow riches upon his trusted captains. We know that his mission is to get gold and women for his soldiers...
If his power is gone (Injury or humiliation) they will all turn away from him.
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Re: Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by tomcat » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:10 am

The key reason might be resentment.

The folk of Tyrant’s Hill were once thralls of the Necromancer. Once freed due to the Shadow being driven off, the people might have held the other folk of the Anduin vale accountable for not providing aid to the enslaved.

Or they are just corrupted due to being within such close proximity to Dol Guldur.
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Re: Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by Vladimir » Fri Oct 13, 2017 5:37 am

In my campaign, he's not a really bad guy, but simply very pragmatic and cynical. Some of his men follow him because he acted as leader of the prisoners of Dol Guldur when the Necromancer was driven out, and he was the one that led them to succesfully capturing Tyrant's Hill. He also helped to save some Woodmen that fell upon orcs or spiders in the forest, and in exchange he has made them swear an oath of allegiance, since they owe him their lives.

I developed quite a bit of a backstory, but PM me if you are interested, since I don't know if my players occasionally frequent these forums.

edit: not to mention that he is ingomer;s son, so he probably still has some legitimacy and support behind him.
Last edited by Vladimir on Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by bluejay » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:06 am

The world around Southern Mirkwood is an exceptionally tough environment. Even those under the protection of Radagast face the threat of death on a daily basis.

The people of this area are banding together for sheer survival. Look at the the men of the Toft for example.

In situations like this I believe that Mogdred's followers would take his strength and initiative as reasons to follow him. After all, whatever his motivations, he is a driven and powerful leader. Certainly he claimed a difficult territory and managed to survive and even thrive there.

When people are scared they'll follow anyone they perceive as powerful and they'll rationalise his terrible actions as necessary evils in tough times.
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Re: Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by farinal » Fri Oct 13, 2017 8:43 am

It should be similar to the reasons why people vote for "dictators"

Something along these lines should do:

- It was much worse before him.
- He provided us security.
- Yes he might be a bit strict/harsh but these are hard times and he keeps the "peace"
- He provided us food/wealth.
- He made other tribes respect us once more.
- We need a strongman such as him to keep the outer dangers at bay.
- He promised us, we will have peace/security/wealth after we are done with these hard times so he is necessary.
- What is our alternative? We don't have any other leader to follow with his qualities. (Nobody else with charisma/strength to challenge his rule)
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Re: Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by Kurt » Fri Oct 13, 2017 9:04 am

Hi Poosticks,

To answer your question I am going to start with Mogdred (formerly known as Ingold) himself. He was captured and spirited away to Dol’Guldur at a young age, about seven years old. At the time, his younger brother Iglund was possibly two or three. Normally there would not be such an age gap between the brothers but in my game I am placing the gap there for a few reasons. Firstly, if they were close in age it is more likely that both would have been captured. Being younger, Iglund was at home with his mother. Secondly it gives the suggestion that Ingomer and his wife struggled to have children and they are unlikely to have any more sons. I feel the reason for the banter about Iglund’s stupidity is less about his intellectual capacity, rather after the loss of Ingold, Ignomer and his wife sheltered and overprotected their last son. Iglund is immature and has not grown up like other heirs, learning hard lessons and being prepared for a hard life. Lastly, Iglund would not have known his brother and this may come into play later on when they meet. Particularly because he is no longer the only living (or first born) son of Ignomer and his inheritance is at stake.

Ok, back to Mogdred. For the Necromancer to take him in at such a young age he would have to have seen something special - intelligence, athletic skill and a determination to survive. A few words from a young boy that are beyond his years would have saved his life. He did grow up with his father, a natural leader after all. Recognising his nascent leadership ability, the Necromancer would have twisted him into a formidable warrior. Quickly accelerating to a position of power, he lead orcs and men against the woodmen in the south at his masters command.

So what happens when his master disappears? It’s not like he (or his men) can go home, he has raided woodmen villages for years, led both orcs and men against his own people. If he is to survive (and he is very resilient and skilled at surviving) and return home, he needs to do this from a position of strength as an independent leader, not at the mercy of those he terrorised. There is a power vacuum in the southern forests now. Mogdred and his well armed and battle-hardened men turned on the orcs and took control of Tyrants Hill, it is now their domain. They still raid for survival, although less so now that the Necromancer is gone. They need women to have children as his reign is going to be very short if his people, who are mostly male soldiers, only last one generation.

Mogdred is a leader, a skilled warrior, a survivor - and his men know it. Most of the men under him would be young and living in a brutal unforgiving part of the forest. Like Mogdred, they would have done horrible things to survive and probably have emotional scars because of this. If anyone is going to keep them alive it’s Mogdred and for that he has their loyalty and respect. This is not to say that Mogdred isn’t a harsh leader, he is, he’d have to be after all he has seen and done. But I don’t think that he is unnecessarily cruel or evil, rather pragmatic and does what needs to be done. He would be a complicated NPC to play, emotionally scared, wanting forgiveness whilst still being proud, having to always show strength yet struggling inside. Not to mention leadership is rather lonely - and can be very dangerous too.

Now that he has claimed his own territory, he can return to the Woodmen with confidence and security. If through negotiations he manages to become accepted by his former people, and his father, then he has strengthened his position and the safety of his people. If not, at least he has a secure place to live with his people and is not an outcast, leading a rabble of men struggling to survive in the wilderness.


Note: I have not read the later part of The Darkening of Mirkwood. This is just my take on Mogdred and his men from what I have read.

Edit: Doh, I typed all this and then read what Farinal typed in a much more concise way ... that pretty much sums it up. :)
Last edited by Kurt on Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:20 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by Butterfingers » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:53 am

Even if he's proud and arrogant (apparently, based on the events at folk-moot), he also seems to be a very charismatic leader type, just like his father. Later in the tale of years when the Woodmen need a war-leader, Mogred seems a popular choice, especially among the younger braves of the houses. Assuming of course he's made it that far on the same side as the Woodmen.

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Re: Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by poosticks7 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:59 am

Thanks guys, all good stuff. (If anyone else has anything to add, please do.)

It was the raiding of caravans between Sunstead and Black Tarn that set off this line of questioning. I had a new player join the group and he was playing a young woodsmen. The player knows very little about Tolkien but really did some great role-playing with the captured men of Tyrants Hill.

I came up with a couple of motivations on the fly, including a few mentioned here. I must admit that I had not considered the idea that some of these men may have been in Dol Guldur with Modred. I had them as bandits and rogues drawn to him from various places.

The weak (of character) drawn to the strong.

It's an interesting topic and I'm sure as the campaign progresses this thread will be a good resource to refer back to. So like I said, please add to it if you have any more thoughts).

Pity we done have a loremaster only section on the forums, though I have no idea how that could be made to work other than honour.

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Re: Modred's Men's Motivation

Post by Robin Smallburrow » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:53 am

Kurt, I loved your backstory for Mogdred (consider it purloined!) . Would also be interested in seeing Vladimir's take on Mogdred's background as well.

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