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Old 06-11-2006, 01:07 AM   #1
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
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Leaf The Fellowship of the Fourth Age: A New Beginning Planning Thread

This thread is being opened for the purpose of planning an RPG proposal for Rohan.

For now, only these writers may post to the thread:
  • Child of the 7the Age
  • Durelin
  • Pio

All other posts will be deleted by the moderators.
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Old 06-11-2006, 01:15 AM   #2
Desultory Dwimmerlaik
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Join Date: Mar 2002
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Posts: 7,816
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Here is the proposal form to be completed before a Discussion Thread is opened to take on writers for character roles still available after the Dedicated Character list is complete:


Title: The Fellowship of the Fourth Age: A New Beginning

Historical Background -- Mordor

The destruction of the One Ring and the subsequent coronation of Elessar ushered in an era of relative peace for the Free Peoples of Middle-earth. Yet, as Tolkien reiterated many times in his Letters, any victory against evil that happened in Arda before the end of time could only be fleeting and partial because of Man's "quick satiety with good".

While Gondor, Rohan, the Shire, and other lands lying towards the West enjoyed an immediate interlude of justice and prosperity, the same could not be said for Mordor. These lands had been under Sauron's governance for thousands of years, and the resulting devastation, from both a human and ecological perspective, would have been considerable. Tolkien did not leave us a detailed account of what happened in Mordor during the time of Sauron's rule, but the reader does have an inkling how bad conditions were by the difficulties that Sam and Frodo faced in their journey to Mount Doom.

Mordor faced enormous problems at the end of the War of the Ring: massive slave plantations bordering the Sea of Núrnen, marauding Orcs that could no longer be restrained by Sauron's hand, a shortage of food and water brought on by pollution problems and a general breakdown in order, and the curtain of soot and lava that had descended after the eruption of Mount Doom. None of these problems magically disappeared with the crowning of Aragorn. Most likely, with the vacuum created by Sauron's departure, rival gangs of Orcs and Men would have fiercely contended for power,land, and scarce resources, much like feudal lords in the early middle ages. Moreover, Elessar's initial attention undoubtedly had to be on restoring peace within the main lands of the Reunited Kingdom. Yet, in the long run, the problems of Mordor posed a threat to Gondor and could not be ignored.


Historical Background -- Nature and Origin of Orcs

Few topics in Middle-earth (or for that matter on the Barrowdowns) have engendered as much controversy as the nature and origin of Orcs. For one of the most recent discussions on this topic, see this thread on Orcs from just a few weeks ago. If we are going to do a story involving Orcs, we probably need to agree on a few main points.

Tolkien's early writings state that Orcs were originally Elves who had been corrupted and defiled by Morgoth in his fortress at Angband. Some later writings reject this idea and instead state that Orcs were descendents of Men who had been corrupted. It's possible to find other places in Tolkien's writings that suggest some Orcs were akin to robots without souls and were literally created out of nothing by Sauron, that the earliest Orcs were descendents of earth and stone, or that some Maia took the form of Orcs.

For the purposes of this story, we will assume that the first Orcs were Elves corrupted by Morgoth but that later Men were also corrupted and turned into Orcs. It seems likely that both Morgoth and Sauron would have taken any edge they could get. We will also assume that Orcs of Mannish descent were definitely mortal, but that the original Elvish Orcs (of which presumably only a few remain) were bound to Arda until the world ends in the same manner as Elves. Elvish Orcs could have been killed in battle and would then have gone to Mandos. Their eventual fate is unknown.

A second controversy centers on how Orcs breed. Are there female Orcs? This story assumes that female Orcs exist. We would guess that, under Sauron and Saruman, female Orcs were confined to breeding colonies. Now, however, with the demise of the former, female Orcs are free to live in the same communities with male Orcs. However, it is likely that the family, as Man or Elf would definite it, simply does not exist among Orcs, at least at the beginning of this story.

A final problem centers on the nature of Orcs. Are Orcs irredeemably bad? Even Tolkien indicated he was unsure about this. This is one of the questions this story raises. No one can say what the answer is for sure, but it would be nice to think that this possibility exists in at least a few individuals. Interestingly, in his Letters, Tolkien frequently spoke about individuals in our own modern society who were "Orcs" or who exhibited orc behavior. Perhaps, then, the line between Orcs and Men is not quite as unbending or rigid as one might initially think.


Basic Storyline:

Despite Elessar's edict abolishing slavery after the War of the Ring, many plantation overseers in Mordor refused to comply with the law and set themselves up as independent lords. Word has recently come to the King that slaves on the very largest plantation in Nurn have revolted. While the larger attack has been quelled, a number of slave families managed to escape the plantation and join a small band of ex-slaves already hiding out in the southern mountains. Together, these families plan to leave Nurn and establish a new village in the southern reaches of the Plateau of Gorgoroth, an area with less warfare and feuding, but one that is virtual wilderness.

The message arriving at Minas Tirith requests that the Free Peoples of Middle-earth send representatives who can assist the slaves in making this wilderness journey and establishing a new village. Good fighters are needed to take charge of the march and organize the group to ward off dangers on the trail as well as those with other skills that they are lacking: a healer to care for the sick and wounded, a stonemason, a smith adept in the art of metalcraft, and a farmer to teach them how to grow crops and care for animals. Faced with this urgent request, the King decides to send out a small fellowship representative of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth who will help the slaves of Nurn achieve the new beginning they desire.

There is, however, one unexpected complication. The Easterling strongman in charge of the plantation has not only managed to provoke his own slaves into revolting, but has launched repeated and deadly attacks on a large encampment of Orcs, whom he views as a threat to his power. While the conflict between landholders and Orcs is common knowledge, one important detail has escaped the attention of the former slaves and was thus not mentioned to Aragorn. Though most of the Orcs gladly prepare for a massive counterstrike against the Easterling landowners, a small group has quietly rebelled and decided to leave Nurn to establish an encampment of their own. In the course of this migration, the Orc families initially find themselves following along the same trail as the slaves until the two groups are actually thown together and face a series of crucial decisions for which neither they nor the men have any precedent.


The purpose of the story is to: have the the Mannish and Orcish refugees, along with the representative from the west, journey to a wilderness region where they will attempt to found two new communities.

This means we will know the story is over when: two new communities are established in the southern Plateau of Gorgoroth, or the refugees decide they have no choice but to wage war on each other, despite the attempts of the other Free Peoples to mediate their differences.

Starting Location: a large slave plantation in Nurn

Likely destination: the wilderness region of the Plateau of Gorgoroth



This game takes place in the Fourth Age at around year 19.

The storyline itself or plot covers 50 days. (20 days for the journey and 30 days to begin planting, building shelters, dealing with water retention, etc.)


The journey from the northwestern shores of the Sea of Núrnen across the Lithlad, or Ash Plain, and onto the Plateau of Gorgoroth is 150 miles. Since many would have been on foot, the group could only travel about 16 miles per day (8 hours at 2 m.p.h.). Throwing in several days for getting started plus extra days for the numerous problems encountered along the way, the journey would have taken about 20 days. The other 30 days will be trying to set up the new communities.

This game requires a time commitment of 12 weeks from us, the game owners, and from the major players.



Major Characters

Each poster should select one major character from list A or B below.

A. Group Sent Out by Aragorn – NO MORE PLAYERS NEEDED
  • Child of the 7th Age – Lindir, Noldor Elf (metal crafter, scout)
    Child of the 7th Age – Radagast (Aiwendil), istar (teacher)
  • Durelin – Dwarf (stone mason) - BIO/POST NEEDED
  • piosenniel – Rog, East & Harad - BIO/POST NEEDED
  • Tevildo – Dorran, Rohan (soldier) - BIO/POST NEEDED
  • Folwren – Athwen, Rohan, Dorran’s wife (healer) – BIO/POST NEEDED
  • Hilde Bracegirdle – Carl Cotton, Hobbit (farmer) – BIO/POST NEEDED
  • Novnarwen – Man of Gondor, healer – BIO/POST NEEDED

**Each of the above characters should possess one or more skills that would be needed by the refugees to help establish the new settlements: scouting, working with stone and/or metal, soldiering/hunting, teaching, healing, farming. If anyone has thought of additional skills you'd like your character to have, please run these by the game founders.

***The healer and teacher skills may be female; others should be male

B. Inhabitants of Mordor


Slave escapee
- one of the group of 50 people who just escaped from the plantation and have run down to the river to hide in the caves.

Ex-slave - one of a group of about 15 people who escaped from a plantation some time ago. They have already been hiding in the caves for a while, but their numbers have been severely decimated by frequent Orc attacks. They are the ones who advise the slave escapees that it is not wise to stay in the area, and they must all find someplace to go.

The two slave groups will be posting together from the beginning of the RPG

  • Durelin – Khamir,Ex-slave
  • Nogrod - Slave escapee (male) – BIO/POST NEEDED
  • Regin Hardhammer -"Rebel" Orc (male) – BIO/POST NEEDED
  • Undómë - 2 "Rebel" Orc sisters – BIO/POST NEEDED

  • 1 Ex-slave (male) – PLAYER NEEDED
  • 1 Slave escapee (male or female) – PLAYER NEEDED


Minor characters

These posters are encouraged to carry one minor character, generally one of the inhabitants of Mordor. You are free to pick and choose. However, if the list become too lopsided and everyone requests one character type (Orcs, for example), we may ask some writers to consider a different choice.
  • Tevildo – slave, 12 y/o female - SHORT BIO ONLY NEEDED
  • Nogrod - Orc - SHORT BIO ONLY NEEDED
  • Regin Hardhammer - ? - SHORT BIO ONLY NEEDED
  • Undómë – ex-slave (female) - SHORT BIO ONLY NEEDED
  • Novnarwen - ? - SHORT BIO ONLY NEEDED

  • & etc for any other players . . .


Child of the 7th Age's post

Elessar set down the letter on his desk, walked over to the window, and stared off into the distance. Here at the summit, he could look down and see the gleaming white towers and six lower tiers that characterized Minas Tirith, the chief city of Gondor. The streets were far more crowded than they had been even a few years before, since the city's population continued to grow. This was only one of many accomplishments since the ending of the War of the Ring. The ancient lands of Gondor and Arnor had been reclaimed and reunited. The Hobbits of the Shire, the Elves of Greenwood, and the Ents of Isengard could be counted among the many Free Peoples of Middle-earth who enjoyed complete self government with freedom to maintain their local customs. Representatives from the king had even managed to reach a rough understanding with their long-time enemies, the Easterlings and Haradrim.

Despite the return of peace and prosperity, one troubling problem remained. Early in Elessar's reign, the king had declared that the lands of Nurn be gifted to the slaves of Mordor. This edict had proven difficult to enforce. In the region south of the Sea of Núrnen, most of the slaves had revolted and thrown off the rule of the landholders, setting up fortified villages where they could defend themselves against Orc attack and till their fields in relative peace. In the region north of the Sea, the situation was different. With Sauron's restraining hand removed, local strongmen with armed retinues continued to repress the slaves and deny them freedom. Eager to extend their authority and gain more land, these tyrants engaged in constant warfare both among themselves and against the Orcs who roamed throughout the region. Gondor had sent soldiers to try and topple these petty rulers, and the troops had scored an easy victory. But the moment the armies were dispatched back home, another strongman emerged and reasserted control over the slaves.

Elessar had once hoped that the slaves could flee the plantations and find refuge in the fortified villages to the south. Given the chaos that dominated the area, it was very possible for slaves to slip off into the night and simply disappear. But the neighboring communities were too young and fragile, and lacked sufficient stores of food to offer a home to more than a handful of deserters. What was needed was a safe haven for the refugees to go, someplace where they could begin a new life. They could not remain in the area near the Sea of Núrnen or even on the Ash Plain to the north because of the presence of numerous gangs of Orcs. More than one group of escapees had managed to elude the dogs and posses of the slaveholders only to perish at the hands of Orcs. The slaves of Mordor were now a forgotten problem that no one had the knowledge or heart to resolve.

For the first time, however, after reading the missive, Elessar felt a tiny glimmer of hope. The letter, for all its rough and ragged appearance, had been written by a slave leader who understood the problems of his people and had some notion how to solve them. Though the message had been penned by one who could barely read or write, its meaning was unmistakable. A group of fifty slaves had raised an armed rebellion, managing to escape and take refuge in caves along the river to the west. There, they had been greeted by fifteen other men, the beleaguered remnants of an earlier band of run-away slaves.

Both groups agreed they could not stay in their temporary shelter. The ex-slaves were insistent that the situation was too dangerous, since brutal Orc attacks had recently become a frequent occurrence. Yet where could the refugees go? It was one of the new escapees who came up with an audacious plan to head north across the Ash Plain towards the southern reaches of the Plateau of Gorgoroth and attempt to establish a village there. The petitioner had written this letter, humbly requesting that Gondor send representatives from the Free Peoples of Middle-earth to help protect the refugees on the journey, individuals who could also teach them the skills needed to forge a new community.

Aragorn shook his head in amazement. It was at once a bold and utterly perilous suggestion. As far as the King knew, no party had made it across the Ash Plain in recent years. Roving bands of Orcs and other outlaws made the passage dangerous as well as unnamed shadows that had been unknowingly left behind when Sauron departed the earth. At the very least, the journey would be a challenge. Even if they made the crossing, there was no certainty of success at the end. The Plateau of Gorgoroth was uninhabited, a veritable wilderness. Farming would be difficult at best, since there were no substantial bodies of water nearby.

Still, if the feat could be done, if a new community could be established, the possibilities were enormous. Freed slaves from other plantations would finally have a place to go. Aragorn conjectured that, once the village was well established, it could even send couriers back to encourage other slaves to revolt, guiding them across the Ash Plain to the safe refuge that lay beyond. Half-way camps could be established. One village could multiply and eventually become a whole network of thriving outposts. So much suffering could be avoided! The image was simply too appealing for Elessar to resist.

The King felt a strange yearning to join the group himself. What an exciting and worthwhile endeavor it would be. But that was no longer possible, since his own responsibilities as well as the presence of his beloved wife and children required him to stay in Minas Tirith. This adventure would have to go to others.

Aragorn quietly began humming the tune of an old ballad as he wrote out the orders for each individual whom he would ask to join the group. Dwarves, Elves, Men, and Hobbits--they must all be included. This might be the last time that all the Free Peoples were called together in a common goal of such great importance. The soul of Mordor was at stake. It would take a fellowship--the Fellowship of the Fourth Age--to rise to such a challenge and guarantee a new beginning for the people of Mordor.

--- Child of the 7th Age


Child of the 7th Age's character - Noldorin Elf originally of Lindon and now of Rivendell

NAME: Lindir

AGE: Born 1258, Age of Trees.

RACE: Noldorin Elf


WEAPON: Lindir bears a well crafted blade with a cunning design of flowers and leaves engraved in silver and surrounded by an inlay of fine jewels. It is a weapon that he himself designed and forged with his own hands under the direction of his father, who was also a talented craftsman. He has had little use for this weapon since the end of the Second Age. By preference, he now uses a hunting knife and a long bow of simple, practical design in making his way from Rivendell to Minas Tirith, Edoras, or the court of Faramir in Ithilien, where he is frequently sent on various missions.

APPEARANCE: He has the face of an artist rather than a warrior, with grey eyes that hold a great depth of sorrow. His features are fine, and he is unusually short for one of the Noldor, standing just under six feet tall. His hair is black and straight, held back from his face in a single braided plait and secured with a simple leather band. His clothes are so plain and lack any elegance that some mistake him from a distance for a Man of common birth. Only an ornate silver brooch of unsurpassed workmanship that graces his shirt hints at his family and artistic heritage. This jewel at his throat is evidently a gift that Lindir holds dear, yet he does not say who gave it to him.


Lindir is a quiet elf who, in the past, was driven by his love to create beautiful things: weapons, jeweled necklaces, and rings. Over the years, he has become increasing closed mouth and secretive. Lindir's fierce desire to craft objects of beauty was both his great strength and his weakness. Because of his singleminded devotion, he chose not to take a bride. After his return from Eregion (see below), however, he laid aside his skills as an Elven-smith and learned a totally different trade: that of a scout who wandered alone beside the seacoast and into the mountains, hiring out his services to other Elves and Men. He now uses these same skills in the employ of Celeborn, the master of Rivendell since the War of the Ring.


Lindir’s father was an Elven-smith of Fëanor’s house: Lindir followed in his footsteps. As such, he inevitably became involved in the wars of the First Age, seeing his blades employed in fierce and bloody battles in Beleriand, as well as in the Kinslaying. After the drowning of Beleriand, Lindir had turned from the crafting of weapons to the making of rings and jewels, thinking that it might be preferable to forge objects of beauty rather than destruction. He was perhaps moved by some impulse to make amends for the sorry events of the First Age.

In the Second Age, a time when many of his earlier companions had left the seacoast to journey eastward, Lindir remained in Lindon and joined the remaining Noldor Elves who were ruled by Gil-galad Ereinion. Lindir had been among those smiths who, led by Celebrimbor, grandson of Fëanor, moved across the Blue Mountains in 750 and founded the city of Eregion under the walls of Moria. These Elves had sought to make amends for earlier evils by helping to forge Rings of Power intended to heal the ills of Middle-earth. At some point, before the fall of Eregion, Lindir had fled back to the coast of Lindon. He generally keeps the events of this period in his life to himself, discussing it with very few. However, it was at this point that he decided not to continue his work as a smith and chose to work as a scout.

More recently, in the year 3021 T.A., Lindir journeyed with his former companions to Himling in order to explore the ruins of Himring, He thought that his time on Middle-earth was drawing to a close and that he should sail back afterwards to the Grey Havens to embark into the West. At the conclusion of his visit to Himling, however, his plans abruptly changed. Maintaining that he had "wasted" too many years, Lindir left the shores of Lindon to serve Celeborn and Elrond's two sons at Rivendell, frequently acting as an emissary to the court at Gondor and Rohan and also to Ithilien. At the start of this story, he is staying in Minas Tirith on personal business to search out information in the archives pertaining to the history of the Elves in Beleriand.


Child of the 7th Age's character description - Radagast, istar

NAME: Aiwendil/Radagast the Brown

AGE: Unknown

RACE: Istar



Like his brethren, Aiwendil carries a wooden staff to serve as a tool for channeling power. This staff is crafted of gnarled wood and has many strange and wondrous carvings. In reality, he rarely employs it for any purpose other than helping him manage difficult terrain. On rare occasions he has used the staff to administer someone a hard crack on the head. However, his most powerful “weapon” is his ability to change shapes. Whether or not that skill will figure in this game, I cannot say.


During his stay in Middle-earth, Aiwendil took on the form of an elderly Man, tall and slender but entirely unassuming. The Istar has ice blue eyes and a mop of gray hair streaked with earthen brown that tends to fly off in all directions. In inclement weather, he pulls up his hood for protection but otherwise prefers not to wear a hat. A great bird of prey, generally a hawk or horned owl, can be found perched on his shoulder or wrist, or even atop his head. Sometimes he is followed by flocks of small birds.


From the beginning, Aliwendil was acutely aware that his powers and intellect did not match up to those of his amazing Istari brethren. Moreover, he lacked Saruman's honeyed words or the natural warmth and grace that Gandalf used to reach out and make friends. By nature shy and earnest, the Istar was not surprised when the inhabitants of Arda overlooked his presence or smiled wryly and scoffed at his seemingly simple nature.

Aiwendil is not good with practical matters. He often gives the appearance of being distracted and confused. For many years, he preferred to turn inward, lost within his own musings. Rivetting his great round eyes on some fascinating animal or tiny plant, the Istar would pour over the mysteries of the natural world, yet be totally oblivious to any Man or Elf who might wander within his presence seeking assistance. His general custom was to wander alone in the woods, far from the troubling concerns of others.

In the past year, for reasons that will be discussed below, the needs and trials of the inhabitants of Arda have become painfully clear to him. He now acknowledges that he was sent here for a reason and that he has an obligation to figure out what that reason is. Aiwendil has always been devoutly loyal to those few he admits to his heart. While his warmth and good intentions are never in question, his spirit is easily buffeted by the toughness of the world. The Istar is determined to do better in his respnsibilities to others, but the path will not be clear or easy.


STRICTLY CANON: From the earliest days, Aiwendil served in the household of Yavanna helping to safeguard the kelvar and olvar of Arda and, later, caring for the living things in the Gardens of Valinor. Although he did not possess the highest degree of wisdom or knowledge, Yavanna regarded him with affection both for the tenderness of his heart and the steadfastness of his stewardship. Aiwendil was diligent in his duties and found joy in caring for all manner of living things, especially the birds with whom he claimed special kinship.

During the early Third Age, when the Shadow fell over Greenwood, Manwe summoned the Valar to counsel to consider if anything could be done. At Manwe's urging, the Valar agreed to dispatch a number of emissaries chosen from among the Maiar, a group that came to be known as the Heren Istarion or Order of Wizards. Their mission was to cross the sundered seas to the North of Middle-earth and help awaken the Free Peoples to resist Sauron's domination.

After “Curunir” (Saruman) and “Olorin” (Gandalf) were named emissaries to Men and Elves , Yavanna begged Manwe to include Aiwendil so that the kelvar and olvar would be shielded from Sauron's evil ways. When Aiwendil heard these words, he felt that doom had settled upon his head. Long years had passed since he had last walked in Arda. Its ways and people were strange to him. He loved the peaceful setting of Yavanna's gardens where death never reared its head and desired to remain there. Only out of loyalty to the Queen of the Earth did he accede to her request to depart with the other Istari in the year 1000 of the Third Age.

Before the great ship sailed, Manwe touched the mind of each Istar and said what was expected of them and spoke the names by which each would be known. Each was allotted a different task. Garbed in a hooded robe of earthen brown, Aiwendil was given the name "Radagast" which some say refers to the ruddy color of the earth. No one knows the exact words of this conversation or whether Aiwendil still remembers the path that was marked out for him.

The Istaris' task was fraught with hardship. By assuming physical bodies, the Istari set aside their natural protection. For the first time, they felt pangs of hunger and thirst and could even be slain. Confusion, fears and cares pressed down upon their heads; these could dim the wisdom they had brought from the West. Tolkien describes this dimming of knowlege as a "descending curtain". If any Istar departed from his appointed mission, the thicker and darker the curtain became.

Few in Arda recognized the true nature of these messengers, since the wizards were counseled to conceal their identity. Neither were the Istari permitted to utilize their powers to control or dominate others, but were told to walk quietly and speak softly, sowing seeds of resistance within the hearts of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth.


After arriving at the Havens, Aiwendil lived in isolation in Mirkwood, preferring not to witness the carnage that afflicted so many in such difficult times. He occupied his days studying birds and beasts, dreaming of the time when he could return to the Gardens of Valinor and again find peace. Yet, strange to say, the more he dreamed, the more distant the shores of the West became, as if slipping away under some hazy shadow. It was only when he visited his one true friend, Beorn the Skin-changer, who lived nearby, that he actually heard the voice of Queen Yavanna and dreamed of the white shores and far green country.

Although Aiwendil never embraced evil, he forgot why he had been sent to Middle-earth. He still bore the great staff in his right hand, but it hung lifeless, a hollow shell of broken wood. Aiwendil’s's mastery of shifting shapes and hues had been held in high regard by the Ainur, yet now he found himself trapped within his body, unable to change to another form. He could still make out meaning within the voices of birds and animals, and sometimes, on a misty night, the winds blew out of the West to clear the clouds away. Glancing up, he would glimpse a great bird of fire shooting through the stars. Part of him would remember some distant secret that he suspected was important, but the image would quickly fade.

The Istar’s activities during the War of the Ring are not reported. When Gandalf requested assistance, he helped in whatever small ways he could. Saruman came to despise Aiwendil and boasted of using him to further his own aims. At the end of the troubles, Aiwendil met one last time with his old friend Gandalf at the home of Tom Bombadil. No one knows what was discussed that day, but when the ship left the Havens on 29 September, 3021, Aiwendil was not on it.

For eighteen years, Aiwendil continued to live in Mirkwood carrying on as he had before. As his work cleansing the forest drew to a close, he made two important changes. First, he took a servant into his employ called Rôg, a pleasant fellow about whom he knew very little. The two were to become close friends. Secondly, the Istar travelled to Harad, ostensibly to track down a rare bird species. While there, a great change occurred. Aiwendil became friends with a young woman named Ráma, who came to him for advice. For the first time, he used his wits and power to help someone in need: assisting a native tribe throw off the yoke of an oppressive chieftain. In so doing he regained at least some confidence in himself as well as his ability to shift shapes.


Child of the 7th Age's post – Lindir and Aiwendil

The old man sat huddled at his writing desk, spluttering and fuming under his breath as he fixed his attention on the paper in front of him. The message had been written on the finest parchment. At the top of the sheet he could see the seal of the King. In his intense concentration, Aiwendil had bent his upper body so close to the letter that his nose almost grazed the tabletop. The Istar had piercing blue eyes and a mop of dishevelled hair with grey locks falling forward into his face. An owl perched on his left shoulder and occasionally leaned over to nibble affectionately at his ear.

Rereading the message for the twenty-third time, Aiwendil sat upright, waggled his finger in the air, and glared across the room, trumpeting for the attention of his friend. He directed his words at an Elf who stood by the window gazing down on the buildings of Minas Tirith. The latter was called Lindir. He wore a travel stained cloak and plain brown breeches. Anyone observing this unassuming figure from a distance could easily have mistaken him for a Mannish farmer or even a tradesman. The only telltale hint of his origin was an intricate silver brooch clasped near his throat, a piece of amazing craftsmanship passed down from countless ages before.

The Elf had initially paid no attention to Aiwendil's obvious consternation. He was clearly used to his companion's whims. Now the Istar's voice rose sharp and insistent, "It says there is to be a Fellowship to rescue the soul of Mordor." Aiwendil fixed his eyes on Lindir and grimly shook his head, "Tell me. What have I got to do with Mordor? Does this assignment make sense? I know nothing about the slaves in Mordor. Plus, this is a mission for an army of young men, not for an old birdwatcher like myself."

Lindir's response was affectionate, almost as if he was humoring a child, "But you have just spent the past hour telling me how you found meaning in Harad and had decided to stay in Middle-earth to see if you could help. Frankly, I can think of no one in Arda who needs help more than these slaves of Mordor. The conditions there are appalling. They are in desperate need of someone to guide and protect them."

"Yes, that is the problem," the Istar countered. "There is this little matter about protection. Even in Harad I did not have to face a crowd of angry Orcs."

"It is dangerous. I cannot deny that. But if it makes you feel any better, I also received an invitation from the King, not an hour before, and I intend to say 'yes'."

"You too? What are we to have.... a First Age reunion? A pack of greybeards turned loose on the worst problems in the Reunited Kingdom? At least you look to be younger and in better shape than I am, though you lack the looks of Legalos."

At this point Lindir grinned broadly at his companion. But before the Elf could respond, Aiwendil had continued, "Couldn't the King have come up with some young blood? Or perhaps Aragorn has decided that we two are expendable." There was a wisp of a smile on the Istar's face.

"Aiwendil, I am ashamed of you! Look at this list. There is no lack of young healthy folk in our party. I expect that Aragorn felt a little seasoning was needed to keep these enthusiastic adventurers from running off a cliff. And surely the slaves we go to help could also benefit from a cool, sage head. I, for one, am looking forward to this. You are going, aren't you?"

"Yes, I am going," spluttered the old man, almost sounding offended. "How can there be a Fellowship without an Istar? And you didn't think I'd let you go off on your own with something as important as this?"

"But what about your manservant, that young fellow you speak so highly of? Is he also coming?"

"That is the interesting part," mused Aiwendil. "The last time I was at court, Rôg had the chance to speak with Elessar. The King talked with him some time and was so impressed that he has added his name to the list of adventurers quite apart from my own. I cannot say why for sure. Rôg has some unusual gifts. But I would suspect it is his knowledge of Harad and the East that impressed the King. The largest group of slaves in Mordor hail from those parts, and most men of Gondor know little of their ways. In any case, whatever Elessar's reason, it is a wise choice. Perhaps Rôg will come by before we leave and let us know his decision."

Lindir raised his eyebrows sharply. "And you were the one who said you knew nothing about the slaves of Mordor?"

"Perhaps I exaggerated a bit," the Istar responded drolly. "In any case, I will surely know more a month from now than I know today. We must leave in the morning. One other would be best if there was no mention of my background or homeland. For all practical purposes, I am an old Mannish teacher who will be teaching slaves how to do their sums and learn their letters."

"But what if you have to show your hand one day?"

"I'll deal with that then." With that terse answer, Aiwendil went over to the shelf, pulled down a book of maps, and began tracing out the route with his finger.


Durelin's character - Vrór

Name: Vrór Redfist

Race: Dwarf

Age: 91

Weapons: A large double bladed and an even larger single-bladed axe, hung one on top of the other on his back.

Appearance: 4’ 4” tall, Vrór has long, thick hair that can only be called orange hanging down only about an inch or two below his shoulders. Wavy and full, it is beautiful hair that many would say was wasted on the Dwarf. His beard is equally as thick, and has almost as much wave to it. It falls down to his thighs, just a few inches about his knees, making it longer than he keeps the hair on his head. Stocky, with broad shoulders even for a Dwarf, he is in every way a rock, his tough leathery skin, slightly tanned and clearly weathered, attesting to his strength and respectable age. Wrinkles crease his forehead and around his mouth from innumerable smiles. His eyes are small and beady, grey, a little too close together, and framed by considerably bushy eyebrows. His nose is rather large and wide, his lips moderately thick and as weathered as the rest of his skin, and his chin small and round. He normally wears a long dark grey tunic, black pants, black boots, and a black belt, and has a baldric to hold his axes on his back and a long chainmail hauberk for those dangerous times.

Personality: A fierce warrior as most of his people are, he is also fiercely loyal and loving. He is not one to ever give up on anything. He is a surprisingly cheery person, and though he is quick to temper and his rage can be shocking, it is quick to depart. He loves having a plan, and dislikes spontaneity, and is likely to explode into one of his quick bursts of anger if ‘the plan’ is interrupted or ruined for any reason. But he tends to be a bit of a problem solver, though he always refuses to take the easy route. Many of his tendencies come from his work as a craftsman: he knows that quality is the most important thing, and feels that if the job is not done correctly, with the greatest care, and does not yield the best product it can, then it might as well have not been done at all, and surely should have been done properly by himself. Vrór is always very proud of his work, though he waits for the right opportunity to show such pride (at least, the right opportunity in his opinion).

History: Born in Erebor a little less than a decade after the rebuilding of Dale, Vrór was accustomed to ‘other folk,’ particularly Men, from the time he was born. He grew up in a very large family, with seven brothers and sisters. As the fourth child, and the third son, he was inexplicably a middle child. And with ten people in the family, it was hard to him to feel really special. He and his brothers were apprenticed as stonemasons one after another, of course following in their father’s footsteps. His sisters were apprenticed as silversmiths, as their father would not have them be but simple housewives. Their mother never learned a tradeskill until she met her husband, who was exuberant about teaching her how to work with stone. Vrór, though, began to dabble in metalworking along with stonemasonry, finding it a good way to branch off from the family. He certainly loved his nine close relatives, but he found their whole way of things rather smothering sometimes. There were practically endless possibilities for him in Erebon and in Dale. He worked side-by-side with Men craftsmen, and once an Elf. His father held a more traditional view of Elves, but his mother often told her children stories of the Children of Ilúvatar behind his back, and, really, Vrór is more curious about them than anything else. A few years after the destruction of the Ring and the defeat of Sauron, even more possibilities opened up for the Dwarves. Elessar, the King of Gondor returned to his throne, called upon all the Free Peoples to help rebuild. And so Vrór ended up in Minas Tirith, leaping on the opportunity of such abundant and challenging work, as well as the opportunity to work in such a grand city, and to do his own small part in the reconstruction and renewal.


Durelin's post – Vrór

“Oi, watch that end of it!”

Two men were hoisting up a block of stone to find its place among the hundreds of other blocks that were almost seamlessly sealed together to form a great wall. Above them, the Tower of Ecthelion gleamed in the sunlight. Sweat glistened on their brow, and their skin was a soft brown from all the time they had spent in the sun the past few weeks. Working under the command of Vrór, they had received very little time out of it. But they did not grudge the Dwarf for it. He was just as hard working as any of them, if not more.

And in testament to this, Vrór was of course hard at work with hammer and chisel, shaping a chunk of marble that had begun as a block and was now far from cubic. Turned away from the two men pulling up the stone, he had caught out of the corner of his eye the block slipping to one side in its harness.

“So he has eyes somewhere behind that mass of hair,” the one muttered.

“And ears, too!” came a quick response from the Dwarf. It came as a gruff bark, grating with what many might call anger, but the two workers knew better. The one only rolled his eyes, while the other tried and failed to stifle laughter.

Vrór smiled as he heard the stone block clack safely into position, but did not pause for a moment in his work. He seemed to know exactly where to make the next chisel, and truly, he did. He had drawn out models and blueprints and charts, and even carved out a smaller version of this creation. Perhaps he wasn’t the speediest of workers, but it was obvious to anyone that he got the job done, and the finished product was perhaps even better than one had expected. “It always does look better up to scale,” he would say, obvious in his modesty, and perhaps even more obvious in his pride.

So engrossed in his work, he did not notice when he was approached from behind. “Excuse me, sir?” came a voice obviously nervous about disturbing a Dwarf in his work. “I have a message for you, sir.”

Putting down his tools, Vrór turned to look at the man. He seemed fairly young, still rather rosy cheeked, and probably had just recently lost his baby fat. Looked to be shaping up to be a fine looking young man, though. He was dressed in the fancy attire of one of the King’s servants. The White Tree emblazoned on his tunic, shining practically brighter than the sun with the light reflection off it. The Dwarf grunted.

“They’ve even got the messengers all dressed up these days? Well, I’ll be. I suppose this,” he gestured with his hand only slightly, but in a way that obviously pointed to the man’s entire outfit, “is a sign of prosperity.”

He paused for a moment, and was met only by silence from the messenger, though the workers found his words rather amusing. The one that could not resist laughter before didn’t even try to this time. The other spoke up, “Gondor will only get richer, but I’ll always be stuck with these linens.”

Vrór grunted again. The young man in front of him coloured slightly, and seemed to feel more awkward by the second. The Dwarf smiled at him, shaking his head. “We’re only teasing, lad. I’m surprised to see such a young man already in such a fine position,” he said with kindness and sincerity. “Now, what have you got for me?”

The young man smiled back, and with a short bow, he handed a piece of paper with the King’s seal to Vrór. “Well, now, don’t I feel special,” the Dwarf remarked, seeing the seal.

He opened the letter, and, as he read it, his eyes widened. It was indeed from the King himself, and… A Fellowship? Vrór let out a snort. And he supposed he was the token Dwarf for this venture. It noted his skill as a stonemason, and now he grunted at the paper before him. He scanned the page. No, nothing about his metalwork. Reaching the end of the message, he let out a sigh, shaking his head.

“Well, lads,” he called out to the two Men who had paused in their work, both still surprised that they had not been yelled at to get back to work, “do you think you’ll be alright without me?”


Durelin's character – Ex-slave

Name: Khamir

Age: 37

Gender: Male

Race: Human

Weapons: Throwing daggers and a long hunting knife, fairly crudely manufactured.

Appearance: Very tall for a human, he stands at about six feet, four inches tall. He is very thin, mostly built of lean muscle, not having had much to eat in years. His skin, a beautiful creamy brown, is barely seen through all the grime. His eyes are hazel, with specks of yellow often clearly visible among the soft brown. His hair is thick and curly black, and is usually tied back, or sometimes let loose, with only a band around his head to keep it out of his eyes a bit. He wears a worn shirt and pants, and scraps of rough leather armour strapped over that: a pair of pauldrons, a vambrace on his left arm, a gauntlet on his left hand, and a pair of cuisses, as well as boots. He wears a vambrace and gauntlet only on his left arm and hand because he lost his right arm from just above the elbow down. So that it stays out of his way, he ties the arm of his shirt around the stub.

Personality: Khamir is a man who trusts no one but himself. He has endured so many things that have made him loathe so many, and it has only really been his hatred that has kept him alive for so long. Ideas of revenge are very attractive to him, and he believes strongly in concepts such as ‘an eye for an eye.’ Overall, he has also has a deep sense of justice, though it has been obscured slightly after spending so many years in the darkest place in the Middle-earth. He is looked upon as the leader of a gang of ex-slaves who scavenge the Ash-plains of Mordor. He is not much of a leader, nor is he very eloquent, but he is followed. He learned the Common Tongue as a boy, having been brought up in a fairly well to do household, and is not at all unintelligent. He simply chooses not to speak most of the time.

History: A Southron, born just a few miles north of Umbar, Khamir did not desire to join Mordor, refusing to ever fight alongside anyone but his fellow men. He had no love for Gondor or any of the other peoples of Middle-earth, but he was fiercely loyal to his own people, and believed that becoming Sauron’s minions was the end to the Haradrim’s power and independence. Because he would not willingly join the ranks under the Dark Lord’s command, he was made a slave when he was sixteen years old. His own father was the one who handed him over as a supposed traitor. He was made a slave and worked on the plantations for several years before the defeat of Sauron. After this defeat, he was able to escape from the plantations, along with many others; but, unlike many others, he was never recaptured. He joined up with a few other ex-slaves, and working as a team (though not always in the best of terms), they were able to scrounge up enough food and water for them to survive, if very hungrily. Mostly they are forced to and choose to steal. After he was praised for his bravery when he went even to the Mountain to look for water, the group of ex-slaves grew until he became the undeclared leader of a full out gang that set up base in the southern range of the Ephel Dûath. They make regular missions to different plantations that remain under the charge of both Orcs and Men. Their last mission met with disaster, leaving their numbers lower than they had been in almost a year: fifteen.


Durelin’s post – Ex-slave

The slaves snuck glances as the boy was brought back out to the fields. He had been gone for only minutes, but the rest of the slaves had been at the mercy of the whip if they even thought of pausing in their work while they were forced to listen to his screams. What they had done to the child the overseer would have liked to have done to all the slaves, but the survival rate was not good enough to risk losing so many of the laborers. The plantation owner would have his heartstrings for a necklace if he ever put his power and wealth at such risk. Neither was very abundant in Mordor since the defeat of Sauron, particularly wealth. Those who had any wealth or power were those who lived without the constant worry of what to fill their stomachs with. And who had control of the few sources of water.

The boy’s mother put herself at great risk, leaping forward to get to her son, dropping her work. The Orc who dragged the boy out to the fields kicked her down onto her hands and knees. There she groveled and begged just to hear that her son was alright, even though she knew he wasn’t and never would be. She had no hope for his future. She felt terrible guilt for even having given birth to him. He had not deserved it. Her son was completely silent. He had been since even before they brought him out.

“Tell the sow you’re alright and get her to shut up.” The overseer and the Orc holding the boy howled with grating laughter. The boy turned his head to look at his mother. There was a moment when the two’s eyes met and the boy opened his mouth. Nothing came out. His lips moved, but no words were formed. No words, no sound was heard. His mother collapsed to the ground, wailing, not rising even for the stomping and kicking of the other guards, so consumed by her grief. Her son’s tongue had been ripped out, and his vocal cords removed or made unusable through a procedure involving a hot iron. The mother cried and screamed as two guards, one a Man and one an Orc, forcibly pulled her up and dragged her toward the rough shed. She would be taken care of in much the same way, but she did not cry for herself.

The two had been among those who had tried to escape during the short-lived rebellion of the desperate slaves against their master. Mother and son had probably tasted some kind of freedom for a few hours, but they had been recaptured and were being punished and used as tyrannical symbols of fear because of the forbidden fruit that had bitten from. They had not been alone as escapees, though. There were of course others who had shared and would share similar fates, but there were also those who had made it to the mountains. The looming natural barricade of the mountain range seemed to mock them, and yet they saw the peaks as soaring freedom. Some actually planned to scale the mountains and escape to the world beyond; others simply wanted to get as far from the plantation as they could, and toward the southern range of the Ephel Dûath was as good a direction as any that were not back.

Four days after the rebellion, fifty-six of the escapees had collected themselves into a group, looking for others who had escaped and anyone who they could call an ally. Few, as they approached the mountains, actually considered climbing them, no matter how nice they knew or had heard the world beyond them was. For several days, the mountains acted as a hiding place for the fifty slaves that still lived, and become more of a cage than ever. But on the seventh night after their escape, they woke up to find themselves surrounded. Luckily, their stalkers were allies, and useful ones: a gang of ex-slaves, free for varying numbers of years, and staying alive mostly through theft from their former masters. Fierce fighters and superb survivalists, they brought more useful skills to the group. Some of them were truly thieves and killers, but they all had or remembered having family in various forms. They welcomed more hands, even if it meant more mouths to feed. And the two groups discovered quickly, if they had not known it from the start, that there was really very little separating them: both were more than ready for change.

Most had heard, though at least a year later than they should have, that Nurn actually belonged to them. Several years after Elessar’s declaration, word had spread to practically every being in Mordor that, according to the King of Gondor, the slaves were free. And yet they were still being whipped, chained, and treated as animals in the very land they were supposed to own. It was that knowledge that had given the slaves enough hope to risk rebellion, and it was what pushed them now to journey across Mordor to the southern reaches of the Plateau of Gorgoroth. A new wilderness meant a new beginning.

Khamir sat outside the caves in which the rest of the camp slept, the pitch black of night not intimidating in the least, and the crisp rushing of the river not loud to his ears. It was his watch. Every night, he had the last watch. It was just his way, and very few liked to stand in his way. He knew that the night around him could betray him at any moment, but he sat calmly, resting his mind in dreams without sleep. So many nights he had sat up in the same way amongst the sharp rocks at the base of the mountains. What made this night any different? For one thing, the company was different. There were now sixty-four men, women, and children sleeping nearby. It was no longer just the gang, and they no longer only had to worry about themselves. More was not necessarily better, but this group…they brought hope, something that Khamir had long given up on. It felt good to have it back.

He knew he was happier than he had been in years, though he did not smile. He knew the journey ahead would be the roughest he had ever taken, and he feared the numbers they might lose. He knew he had never had to figure out how to feed sixty-five mouths before, and hoped someone else had leadership in mind. He knew all of this, and yet he found peace lingering somewhere in the night air. Very soon he would be able to see the sun inching its way up the horizon. Perhaps it was hope of such a sight that kept him still. He knew hope was a powerful force.

But what he did not know was that, miles away, that same force drove a group shockingly similar to his own. The Orcs, the cruel masters, the savage monsters, the mindless followers of Sauron…they had families that they cared for. And they knew that it was time Nurn was abandoned, along with the old ways. They sought a new way, a new home, and a new beginning. Fifteen Orcs, male and female, young and old, would find a fresh wilderness just as attractive as sixty-five men, women, and children would. Neither knew they had dreamed the same dream, and neither would believe it if they were told so.

But if hope could be shared, why not a journey, a land? Why not a new beginning?

That morning, Khamir found what he could to write a letter that would show just how hopeful recent events had made him. He planned to write to the King of Gondor himself. It was he, Aragorn, Elessar, who had not forgotten the slaves. Perhaps this would be just another reminder? Was it a cry for help, a beseeching of aid, a simple report of the situation? Khamir found himself unable to write a single word for almost an hour, but when he finally started to write, the letter became all three of those things. He told of the slaves’ escape, of he and his fourteen men’s troubles, and of their plan to start anew together. He also told of the difficulties they faced daily, and how they would only double if they ventured to leave the safety of the caves and to a complete wilderness. The word ‘help’ was not there, but it was in every way implied. The letter was given to a trader heading back to Minas Tirith, and Khamir found himself praying for the first time.

Now all they had to do was wait in hope for some kind of answer: preferably one that did not come only in writing.

--- Durelin


Last edited by piosenniel; 06-20-2006 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 06-13-2006, 08:28 AM   #3
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Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Since I find it easier to post (maybe because all I have to do is scroll down to look at the proposal, and I'm lazy), I'll go ahead and do so...

Wonderful job, Child! Really, that's an excellent idea. By pulling the story away from the center of things, we can possibly avoid the need for too many characters and thus too many players... It narrows the vision of the plot, but really this is a plot that better incorporates all the things we wanted the game to, and I think will make for a interesting story. Journeys always do.

I find this:

they manage to establish two new communities in the general region of _________, or decide that they have no choice but to go to war with each other.
Very interesting. I'm not one for happy endings, so I of course immediately started thinking about how moving it would be to have them end up going to war with each other after all that they endured 'together'...and go right back to what they were trying to escape from in the first place. Perhaps that will stop them from getting violent, though.

I like the idea of keeping the ex-slaves in there, as I think it would be hard to ignore their presence, even though the story's scope is smaller. Would it be possible that the small group of ex-slaves that the escapees meet up with incited and/or aided in the rebellion? Their small group would be even smaller from those they lost in the fighting, and they would have no reason to continue any fights themselves.

Also, the way things are shaping up, I'm thinking that the idea of Orc families might possibly fit. I'm not sure, though. Would it be families that would be escaping, or is it more of an 'every man for himself' kind of deal? Perhaps bits and pieces of families is what we'd end up with (you're probably already way ahead of me here), and I think that's certainly do-able. For the Orcs, this would mean we'd ease everyone into the idea that Orcs have families, without tossing on them ma and pa and babies...

Hmm... I was just wondering something: would cooled lava from Mt. Doom have the same kind of fertility that it does in the 'real world'?

That's just my bit for now...I'll look over things more and be back!
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:33 AM   #4
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I am not sure about the ending. I don't think I'd want to make it a cycle with absolutely no real change in any of the characters from beginning till end. Surely there would be some evidence of change in individuals, but I also agree that there would not be an automatic happy ending where everything falls neatly into place. Perhaps there is a split within the Orcs with a few characters potentially able to make that shift in attitude, and others not at all? Possibly there would be fighting between the Orcs themselves at some point near the end after they reach their destination?

Have you ever read Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter? (I know this seems off topic but bear with me.) It's a story about a young white settler who was captured and raised by Indians. He has strong Indian ties and identity, an Indian family he loves. At the beginning of the story, the U.S. army forces all the captives in his area to return to their orginal white families, whom they've not seen for many years. After unwillingly living with the white family for some time, the boy finds that he can not look at all whites with equal disdain: he hates some who are bigoted and ugly, but has mixed feelings about others. Moreover, although basically Indian in values and perspective, he develops some real feeling for his own white brother.

He does not recognize what has happened to him at first, but he is increasingly straddled between two worlds. He prefers Indian culture and lifestyle and hates the way some whites have victimized his people. Yet when he manages to return to his Indian father, the young man can not accept the fact that the Indians plan an ambush of a family where a boy who looks very much like his own white brother would have been killed. He warns the white family as the ambush is about to occur and lets them escape, an act of betrayal his Indian father can not accept. The Indians let him live but he is forced to leave his Indian family and community forever. At the same time, he cannot return to the white settlers because he has attacked and possibly killed someone in that community who was a real bigot. At the end of the story, he is forced to wander off on his own without family or community.

Yet there is not total bleakness even in this sad scenario. At least one young man has managed to see beyond the sterile, deadly fighting of whites and Indians and recognize that change in attitudes is possible. We have no idea what happens to this boy as he sets off on his own on the last page of the book.

I guess that I see that potential for personal tragedy and an unresolved ending in this story. If one or two Orcs or Orc families would have changed their attitudes even slightly, what would have happened to them? They would no longer fit into one culture or the other. Might one Orc or Orc family have made the decision to stick with or near the slaves? Would another simply disappear in the night, unable to fit into either culture? Perhaps that is more realistic. Likely most Orcs could not have made the shift even that far and would have tried something like that ambush.

All this talk makes me interested in playing an Orc.

Even apart from Orcs, there's the attitudes of the slaves and ex-slaves and of members of the Fellowship itself. I think even there you would have a range of opinions and feelings about Orcs set in place even before the story begins. Even for them, change would have been difficult.

Anyways...... on to other things. I agree. Let's keep the ex-slaves then as well as the slaves.

I have to run and do some things now. I'll come back later and respond to you further and work on the proposal.
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Last edited by Child of the 7th Age; 06-13-2006 at 11:59 AM.
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:45 AM   #5
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Interesting question: is the Fellowship of the Fourth Age limited to the original characters who are sent out by Aragorn from Minas Tirith, or is it rather the larger group who are searching for a new beginning: the representatives from the west, the Mannish slaves, and even those rebel Orcs who at least strike out on their own to look for something different?

We already have precedent from Tolkien for conflict wthin the member of the Fellowship threatening/attacking another as in Boromir/Frodo.
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Old 06-13-2006, 12:05 PM   #6
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Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.Durelin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Good points, and excellent example. The 'straddling of two worlds' is something that should definitely be kept in mind. And no, a circular path does not really accomplish what we want this game to.

The Orcs' story would certainly be an interesting one. They would be trying to 'fit in' to a culture, a culture more like each of the Free Peoples', and that culture would be trying to fit them in and would have loads of trouble trying to accept them as even allies at all. The desire to move on and escape from the violence and terrible conditions is the one thing that brings the two cultures together. Their goal is the same, but what will happen once that goal is reached? I guess that's a question we'll have to end the game with. (Look at me, already jumping to the end of things...)

Interesting question: is the Fellowship of the Fourth Age limited to the original characters who are sent out by Aragorn from Minas Tirith, or is it rather the larger group who are searching for a new beginning: the representatives from the west, the Mannish slaves, and even those rebel Orcs who at least strike out on their own to look for something different?
Very interesting indeed! I'd say the answer would be one that develops with the plot. The 'Fellowship of the Fourth Age' goes from being simply a small group sent by Aragorn, to broaden to including not only the slaves but also the rebel Orcs.

We already have precedent from Tolkien for conflict wthin the member of the Fellowship threatening/attacking another as in Boromir/Frodo.
There would be endless possibilities. Tension among the group will be scary high, I'd think. That an eruption of violence would be going back to what they were trying to escape might keep that at bay fairly well, but its likely it would still occur. Deserters would be even more likely. I can imagine at least one of the ex-slaves deciding to give up on the group after Orcs become a part of the 'Fellowship.' And, of course, an Orc giving up on both cultures.
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