Optimising the Fellowship of the Ring: the Nine Walkers – a strategic revision.
The Fellowship of the Ring is the world’s most renowned, literary adventuring party. This is the archetype which lurks in the collective unconscious of all gaming groups, from paper and pencil D&D, to byte and bitmap WoW.
An Istarii Wizard and a Dunedain Ranger lead a Dwarf Warrior, a Sindar Archer, a Gondorian Fighter and four Halfling burglars on an epic wilderness adventure and the mother of all dungeon crawls.
But anyone with an ounce of cunning and a desire to maximise the chances of success has probably asked themselves…
“Why take four hobbit rogues?”
“What about bringing some more ranged weapons and healing potions?”
“Elves are awesome. Why only bring one?”
These questions and more have bugged me for years. Why abandon Frodo and Sam to chase after Merry and Pippin? What was Gandalf actually planning on doing to get into Mordor?! If I was Elrond, who would I include in the Fellowship?
Wilderness RPG adventure in the Grey Mountains of Tolkien’s Middle Earth
Filling in one of the blanks of Middle Earth Role Playing.
Way back in the nineties Iron Crown Enterprises wrote the awesome ‘Northern Mirkwood’ campaign supplement for Middle Earth Role Playing. It detailed all sorts of places not just in Mirkwood but across northern Rhovanion. There was lots of info on cool locations from the Hobbit, as well as the Grey Mountains/Withered Heath et al. As usual the MERP maps were very detailed…
My eye was caught by a specific locale. High up in the Grey Mountains there was a large hidden valley called Uthrael Beoac. There were a couple of intriguing paragraphs about this valley in the text but nothing more. My interest was piqued.
Years passed and no details, let alone adventure books, about it emerged. Finally ICE released their Grey Mountains campaign book but alas- no further detail on Uthrael Beoac! And then ICE lost the rights to Middle Earth –Arghh!!!
Add a few years and long comes teh interwebz, and the groovy Middle Earth Role Playing wiki / the Notion Club archive (http://merp.wikia.com) with some intriguing little hints about fan modules. The Uthrael Beoac page (http://merp.wikia.com/wiki/Uthrael_Beoac) has a map that seems to indicate that at one point someone had done an adventure that closely matched the Wind Thrones illustration from Middle Earth: The Card Game. However I could find nothing else online (ok, so I failed my Spot Hidden roll) though my quest did turn up a French website with another illustration and some more ideas about what the valley could contain.
At that point I decided I would stop searching for what someone else had created and instead, detail the mysterious mountain valley the way I imagined it. Using the background hints provided by MERP, plus ideas from the Middle Earth Role Playing Wiki et al, I have outlined the history (and prehistory) of the valley, general adventuring locations, and some adventure plot-lines all in a rough imitation of the MERP format.
Check out my version of this wilderness adventure at…
MERP, 4th Age Campaign, Lord of the Rings, Hobbit, Roleplaying, Middle Earth, BotFA, Dragons, Traveller, Civ 2, Fate of the Sky Raiders
Contained herein you will find assorted musings on this and other worlds.
Check out the menu and see what grabs you. The works here are not set in stone. I have posted these few ideas up here as a resource – leave a comment if you see something worth improving / tweaking.
Apologies for any poor grasp of practical military necessities, logistics and ill conceived tactical and strategic howlers. The view from the armchair is as close as the corporal intends to get to serious combat experience!