Could the Eagles fly the Ring-bearer to Mount Doom? YES, but they’d have to be very sneaky…
The biggest plot hole in The Lord of the Rings is arguably “why not use the Eagles to get to Mordor?”
But imagine an alternate universe where Tolkien wrote LotR, with the same internal consistency, except the Fellowship of the Ring ride the Eagles to Mount Doom…
Could they get there? You bet! But it’s not as simple as it sounds. How do the Fellowship get in touch with the Eagles? Which way would they go? Who would go? How long would it take? What precautions would they take? How would they get over the mountains and past the winged Nazgûl?
One does not simply walk into Mordor – One looks at a map first!
What-the-Uruk was Gandalf planning on doing if he survived Moria and guided the Fellowship beyond Lorien? Specifically, how was he going to get into Mordor?!!
Tolkien may not have written Mithrandir’s plan down, but he seems to have left some subtle cartographic clues. Check out the analysis ( Gandalf’s Plan to Enter Mordor ) of the contour map of Gondor & Mordor in the front of The Return of the King.
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 hobbits?”
“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?! Most importantly, if I was Elrond, who would I include in the Fellowship?
Awakening of the Wyrms: an alternate history of early Fourth Age Middle Earth.
Extrapolating the Queen of Shadows Campaign
To misquote Peter Jackson and the infamous Boromir meme…
“One does not simply awaken the Dragons of the Withered Heath.”
Some people just crave a resolution: so please find herein the epic conclusion to the Awakening of the Wyrms, an alt history of the 4th Age of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
Thrills, spills, and canon busting bitter pills are guaranteed, not to mention some brain melting coordination of armies, wizards and assorted entities into a coherent timeline of 4th age possibilities.
The ideas of J.R.R Tolkien, Iron Crown Enterprises’ Middle Earth Role Playing game, and Anders Blixt (https://gondica.wordpress.com/) have been smashed together to re-invent the early history of the Fourth Age. Aligning famous names versus each other, whilst riffing-off Greek mythology and recent world events, and developing (or destroying) various corners of Middle Earth proved challenging and a little inhuman. Hence the incorporation of a Spy Game sub-plot, using the ubiquitous fantasy trope of the ‘adventuring party’, enabling a more on-the -ground view and a role-players perspective on the action.
Feedback welcome – this story is not set in stone. I am happy to adjust to correct major errors herein.
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. The book detailed all sorts of locations, 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, the 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 written an adventure that closely matched the Wind Thrones illustration from Middle Earth: The Card Game. However I could find nothing else online other than a cool French website (http://crepusculesuranduin.over-blog.com/) ‘Twilight on the Anduin’ with another illustration and some more ideas about what the valley could contain.
At that point I decided to 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…
The Awakening of the Wyrms is a role playing campaign set in Tolkien’s Middle Earth in the early years of the 4th Age. Using locations and creatures from Middle Earth Role Playing (MERP) this alternative history involves the awakening of the Dragons of the Withered Heath and the subsequent havoc they wreak on the north.
Obviously I have broken the Tolkien canon a wee bit in that the description of the early 4th age by Tolkien does not go happily for the free folk. This work specifically combines the expansions of I.C.E.’s MERP and Anders Blixt’s awesome idea for the Queen of Shadows campaign (https://gondica.wordpress.com/).
I read Blixt’s idea quite a few years ago and only came back to it recently in an urge to get some 4th age action happening. His vision of Sauron’s Daughter pulling the strings in the background (a la the Mule from the Foundation series) was quite inspired but I felt that the overall nature of the campaign was a bit too human- o-centric. The 4th age might be the Age of Men however there are still many classic elements left in Middle Earth that could give this campaign an epic fantasy feel.
Awakening of the Wyrms can be used as an expansion of the Queen of Shadows or as a stand alone campaign. Regardless, I have had fun cobbling together a semi-plausible alt history of Middle Earth’s 4th age.
The campaign narrative along with FAQs and RPG resources is contained in the Middle Earth Menu – see Menu bar at top of page…
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!