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I saw the last epi­sode of LOTR last night again, and won­de­red, what would the Fourth Age be like for rpg pur­poses ?

I know there’s lots of dis­cus­sion of this elsew­here, but i would love to hear YOUR views crea­tive rpgnet gang ! 

I’m assu­ming the fol­lo­wing, but i’m not a hard­core LOTR buff, so I would be inter­es­ted in any comments/​ideas/​corrections (but no geek-spite, please). They are extra­po­la­tions from what we know from LOTR at the end of the 3rd Age…

As i’ve said, I’ve seen some online dis­cus­sion of this elsew­here, so not really loo­king for links- I want rpgnet folks” fresh thoughts more…


I’m pretty sure MERP had some mate­rial concer­ning the Fourth Age, but that stuff’s not the easiest to find.

Just because Sauron is gone doesn’t mean every orc and troll simul­ta­neously died. I remem­ber Tol­kien wri­ting about how the Misty Moun­tains were still dan­ge­rous for some time after the War, and there’s bound to be things down there in the depths under the moun­tains that are rather unplea­sant. And don’t forget, the Wat­cher in the Water pro­ba­bly isn’t dead either.

The Blue Wizards were thought to either have been killed or « gone native » in the East and South. You could easily esta­blish one or both as minor Dark Lords in their own right — not a threat on the level of Sauron, but still for­mi­dable.

And the fall of Sauron pro­ba­bly has caused plenty of evil men to see this as their chance to seize power, and to look at a war-weary Gondor as an easy target. The Cor­sairs could rebuild and become a threat again, the Hara­drim may be loo­king for revenge, there are plenty of options.

Plus, you have Ent­wives to look for, Barrow Downs to cleanse, lost dwarf trea­sure to hunt for, great spi­ders still in Mirk­wood, Mordor to be sear­ched — maybe not the epic scope of the War of the Ring, but plenty to keep a playing group inter­es­ted.



Beyond that, pure speculation/​RPG ser­vice :

Jason D

Quote :
Ori­gi­nally Posted by brook­mill
how do you know all this ? is it at the end of TLOTR ? Intri­gued!!!

The appen­dix to The Return of the King has an advan­ced time­line well beyond the end of the War of the Ring and the pas­sing of the Ring­bea­rers.

Addi­tio­nally, Tolkien’s notes inclu­ded an unfi­ni­shed begin­ning to the story « The New Shadow », a sequel to The Lord of the Rings (wisely aban­do­ned).

And there were, to my recol­lec­tion, a few dra­gons left unac­coun­ted for at the end of the novels.

Son of Kirk

I’ve played around with this recently after plan­ning to run Deci­pher LOTR, though I ended up run­ning Ear­th­dawn ins­tead.

The early 4th Age is an awe­some time for adven­tu­rous types. Sauron has been defea­ted but there is still a great deal of work to be done.

The trick is rea­li­sing that you don’t need to have as epic a tale as the War of the Ring to actually enjoy role­playing in Middle Earth. There are still wars to be fought and adven­tures to be had, but in the early 4th Age these conflicts are more about rebuil­ding and for­ging a new future rather than a des­pe­rate struggle against almost cer­tain defeat against Sauron.

The cam­paign I star­ted plan­ning was based on Ara­gorn, now King Eles­sar, see­king heroes of all races to help rebuild Gondor and Arnor and pro­mote the causes of the Free Peoples throu­ghout Middle Earth.


Quote :
« The wizard has to fight until the very end, his dis­po­si­tion does not allow him to do otherwise…He could do some mischief still in a small mean way. » — J. R. R. Tol­kien

Now once the One Ring was unmade and thus the down­fall of Sauron the mis­sion of the Istari (whe­ther failed or not) was com­ple­ted. Gan­dalf was allo­wed to sail into the West (Vali­nor) since he remai­ned true. 

Quote :
Wilt thou learn the lore
that was long secret
of the Five that came
from a far coun­try ?

One only retur­ned.
Others never again
under Men’s domi­nion
Middle-earth shall seek
until Dagor Dago­rath
and the Doom cometh. 

Unfi­ni­shed Tales

The other four Wizards not per­mit­ted to return would have no real power remai­ning. So even had they exis­ted in the Fourth Age their power/​influence would have been very limi­ted at best.

Here on some thoughts on pos­sible Fourth Age adven­ture seeds :

An idea I’ve long contem­pla­ted is the use of Unlight and the Arkens­tone from the Hobbit.

Coming out of the dis­tant south, where Ungo­liant is said to have fled and pos­si­bly devou­red her­self (or that Earen­dil slayed her). Yet what if her taint was so consi­de­rable that some if her « Unlight » could not be com­ple­tely extin­gui­shed ? This is the dar­kest of dark­ness and a power so great that she devou­red the Light of the Trees.

Quote :
… « like a globe with a thou­sand facets ; it shone like silver in the fire­light, like water in the sun, like snow under the stars, like rain upon the Moon ! » — The Hobbit

It was said to have been a great white stone that Thrain had found at the roots of the Lonely Moun­tain. From this the Dwarves cut and fashio­ned a most desi­rable gem. One that in fact glowed with its own inner light and also reflec­ted light in nume­rous, spark­ling colors. After the Battle of the Five Armies it was laid to rest with Thorin beneath the Lonely Moun­tain.

The Arkens­tone may in fact be a lesser stone of simi­lar nature to that of the Sil­ma­rils. Taking that idea and run­ning with it, you have the contact of Light and Unlight. When they inter­act the release is more Unlight. A Black Sil­ma­ril” if you catch my mea­ning. It would be a very power­ful arti­fact, some­thing that could be used by the rein­car­na­tion of evil in the Fourth Age.

Ano­ther inter­es­ting pos­si­bi­lity would be the return of the sole sur­vi­ving son of Feanor, Maglor (who spent milen­nia wan­de­ring through Middle-earth after thro­wing the last Sil­ma­ril into the sea at the end of the First Age).

The Mouth of Sauron cer­tainly could be a worthy vil­lain in the Fourth Age. Cer­tainly it is pos­sible to link him to the cha­rac­ter of Heru­mor in the New Shadow had he actully sur­vi­ved. It is also impor­tant to not that the evil power which would come in the Fourth Age would be mortal (The Age of Men) and not a Maiar such as Sauron.

Its pretty clear from Tolkien’s wri­tings that Shelob did indeed sur­vive.

Quote :
« Shelob was gone ; and whe­ther she lay long in her lair, nur­sing her malice and her misery, and in slow years of dark­ness healed her­self from within, rebuil­ding her clus­te­red eyes, until with hunger like death she spun once more her dread­ful snares in the glens of the Moun­tains of Shadow, this tale does not tell. » — The Two Towers

It is pos­sible (though unli­kely) that Goth­mog, the Lieu­te­nant of Morgul sur­vi­ved the Battle of Pelen­nor Fields and could be a factor in later times.

Here are some more leads for you :

« Other evils there are that may come ; for Sauron is him­self but a ser­vant or emis­sary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the suc­cour of those years whe­rein we are set, uproo­ting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What wea­ther they shall have is not ours to rule. » — The Return of the King, The Last Debate

The New Shadow was meant to be the sequel to The Lord of the Rings, but Tol­kien deci­ded to aban­don it after a few pages. Tol­kien expres­sed that he surely could have writ­ten a thril­ler about it, but since we are dea­ling with Men — whose nature of quick satiety with the good had already much to tell in the down­fall of Núme­nor, his­tory was bound to repeat. And Tol­kien thought it was not worth doing. 

The story begins one hun­dred and five years after the fall of the Dark Tower and is set in Gondor. Tol­kien wrote about the story : 

Quote :

« I did begin a story placed about 100 years after the down­fall of Sauron, but it proved both sinis­ter and depres­sing. Since we are dea­ling with Men it is inevi­table that we should be concer­ned with the most regret­table fea­ture of their nature : their quick satiety with good. So that the people of Gondor in times of peace and jus­tice and pros­pe­rity would become dis­con­ten­ted and res­t­less — while the dynasts des­cen­ded from Ara­gorn would become just kings and gover­nors — like Dene­thor or worse. I found that even so there was an out­crop of revo­lu­tio­nary plots, about a centre of secret Sata­nis­tic reli­gion ; while Gon­do­rian boys were playing at being Orcs and going around doing damage. I could have writ­ten a thril­ler” about the plot and its dis­co­very and over­throw — but it would be just that. Not worth doing. »

« One day Sauron’s death will be just a myth. But will people forget the evil ? 

Why!” said Saelon. We have hardly begun. It was not of your orchard, nor your apples, nor of me, that you were thin­king when you spoke of the re-ari­sing of the dark tree. What you were thin­king of, Master Borlas, I can guess none­the­less. I have eyes and ears, and other senses, Master.” His voice sank low and could scar­cely be heard above the murmur of a sudden chill wind in the leaves, as the sun sank behind Min­dol­luin. You have heard then the name?” With hardly more than breath he formed it. Of Heru­mor?”
Borlas looked at him with ama­ze­ment and fear. His mouth made tre­mu­lous motions of speech, but no sound came from it.
I see that you have,” said Saelon. And you seem asto­ni­shed to learn that I have heard it also. But you are not more asto­ni­shed than I was to see that this name has rea­ched you. For, as I say, I have keen eyes and ears, but yours are now dim even for daily use, and the matter has been kept as secret as cun­ning could contrive. »

The New Shadow

A couple more for you :

Hope this helps !


Ano­ther idea for the fouth age : Per­haps the remai­ning elves quest to find legen­dary Cui­vie­nen in the east — the place where elves were born. Or per­haps it is Eles­sar (or even evil men) that seek the place and the power and know­ledge such a place would contain.


I dunno how cano­ni­cal you want to be, but I would go along a ren­nais­sance /​steampunk route. With the magic gone or, at the very least, waning, the people of Middle-Earth turn towards tech­no­logy. The Fourth Age is an age of Enligh­ten­ment, with the memo­ries of magi­cal crea­tures beco­ming not much more than legends.

Orcs, Trolls and the like, without their master, even­tually try to become « civi­li­zed » and become some­thing much akin to the Jäger­mons­ters in Phil Foglio’s Girl Genius. Actually, I would see Girl Genius as set in the Fifth Age, or some­thing. :)


I ran a Fourth Age cam­paign around a decade ago. We set the game in late 8th cen­tury F.A. The basic idea was that there was no resur­gence of any power rela­ted to Mor­goth or Sauron. The Reu­ni­ted King­dom of Arnor & Gondor was the undis­pu­ted power, and had sub­ju­ga­ted Near Harad and pushed its bor­ders all the way to the Sea of Rhun during the golden ages of Eles­sar and his imme­diate suc­ces­sors. By the time of the cam­paign, things were get­ting a wee bit decadent with a Nume­no­rian renais­sance and some very nasty infigh­ting in poli­ti­cal circles after the recent War against the North­men, which culmi­na­ted in some serious atro­ci­ties.

The cam­paign revol­ved around the unco­ve­ring of a plot by the White Guard of Ithi­lien (by now the King’s secret police), which caused the Rohir­rim to take up arms against their North­men bre­thren. The cam­paign also saw the slaugh­ter of the last Noldor in the Middle Earth and the des­truc­tion of the dwar­ven duke­dom of Agla­rond. All in all, it was a deci­dedly cyni­cal and ico­no­clast take on Tolkien’s ideas of society and race, but we had a great time.


Quote :
Ori­gi­nally Posted by Trodax
BTW, Gan­dalf left for the east and Saru­man got toas­ted, but what hap­pe­ned to Rada­gast ?

In my 4th age cam­paign, I’m having Rada­gast rea­lize his mis­take in figh­ting the Enemy but knows that he can’t do any­thing him­self. So he is trying a new couin­cil of Wizards. Being the Age of Men, it will consist of Men. This gave my player who plays a Lore­mas­ter a small story in our cam­paign.

Gavin Ben­nett

Consi­der -

Middle Earth is our world before the last Ice Age. The story of Middle Earth is one of decline, a long defeat. It goes from the great golden age of the trees to the rule of Ara­gorn. Aragorn’s reign is a time of peace and pros­pe­rity, but really its merely a speed bump in the long decline.

The Edain were the ances­tors of the North­men (and the Dunmen) exal­ted beyond other men. But by the Fourth Age, the Edain are little dif­ferent from their North­men kin. Thus the Fourth Age is the end of the saga of the Edain. If any­thing they return to their North­man roots, or fade back into the wood­work. I would submit that « The Chil­dren of Hurin » des­cribes the early Edain very well, and also offers an idea of what the Fourth Age Edain would be like.

Without a overw­hel­ming threat to the East, Gondor would likely no longer have a large stan­ding army. (Though from rea­ding The Lord of the Rings, it would appear that Gondor’s great stan­ding army was well past its prime anyway). Indi­vi­dual lords would have their own war­bands, and more power­ful lords would com­mand larger for­ma­tions. Gondor and Arnor would pro­ba­bly have some sort of power­ful, but not huge Royal Army. Rai­sing a proper army to fight a large threat would the­re­fore take time. Thus, a lot of the defence of the realm would fall to border lords, their war­bands, mer­ce­nary companies…and small groups of adven­tu­rers.

Put that all toge­ther and you have some­thing a little akin to the later reign of Char­le­magne and the wars amongst his heirs.

Tolkien’s sta­te­ment that the des­cen­dants of Ara­gorn ruled wisely and well for a thou­sand gene­ra­tions is pro­ba­bly a pla­ti­tude right up there with « and they all lived hap­pily ever after. » Because Tol­kien also wrote that even­tually the great Dune­dain kings would end up being glo­ri­fied admi­nis­tra­tors. So Ara­gorn, maybe Elda­rion and maybe maybe Eldarion’s heir would be the great kings of old…but after that ? Bog-stan­dard kings of large realms of men.

Moreo­ver, its likely that the West was pretty under­po­pu­la­ted by the dawn of the Fourth Age, and the casual­ties from the War of the Ring taking a big enough chunk out of the sur­vi­vors. Reset­tle­ment of Arnor and the North in gene­ral would be a long, long drawn out pro­cess. I sus­pect set­tle­ment would start along the ancient Roads and branch out from there.

So without a uni­ver­sally wor­ship­ped king, without a « proper » stan­ding army and without an ever present cosmic threat, what will happen ? Poli­tics will happen, and vio­lence will happen. Border lords see­king more power, young princes deman­ding influence. Old feuds. New feuds.

In other words, lots of work for young heroes on the make.

Want an epic saga ? Throw in a crisis like a plague or a rebel­lion or a rivalry for the throne of the Renu­ni­ted King­dom. Now the west is vul­ne­rable to any­thing the GM feels like thro­wing at it. Eas­ter­ling inva­sion ? Go for it. Orc resur­gence ? Per­fect.

One ele­ment I wrote up was the idea that the orcs of the west — of Mordor, of the White Moun­tains, of the Misty Moun­tains and so forth — made a long migra­tion North to their old home­land in the Nor­thern Waste. The Migra­tion itself was a bit like the Cimbri’s migra­tion south from Den­mark in our his­tory, only back­wards. But it meant that to the North of Arnor and its allied king­doms in Rho­va­nion, there was always a signi­fi­cant orcish threat. But ins­tead of a Wall like A Song of Ice and Fire or the Mid­night cam­paign set­ting, I just assu­med that there were a number of march-land king­doms in the north kee­ping the Orcs at bay.

I sus­pect by the end of Eldarion’s rule, the Reu­ni­ted King­dom may have been a single king­dom in name only, with real power concen­tra­ted in the hands of regio­nal princes and chief­tains. The Winged Crown would sit on the head of a High King or High Queen, but the actual power inherent in the title would be highly variable (just like the ancient Irish High Kings).

That lot, com­bi­ned with some of the other ideas in this thread is enough to fill a Fourth Age cam­paign to burs­ting point. The heroes of your cam­paign will get to be their generation’s Fel­low­ship of the Ring, or the great war­riors who saved the king­dom or brought it one step closer to des­truc­tion.



Quote :
Ori­gi­nally Posted by Son of Kirk
I’ve played around with this recently after plan­ning to run Deci­pher LOTR, though I ended up run­ning Ear­th­dawn ins­tead…

That sounds great. Actually IMO the scale of the adven­ture sounds per­fect. I kinna hate the ol” fate of the worl” is in your hands” epic cliche. And the fourth age might be a grit­tier, less hammy place…

Thanks for remin­ding me, ear­lier poster, that wood elves are still aboot…

But two ques­tions, O Del­phic Wise Ones of the Boards of Purple 

1) is it just me or are the tech levels of Rohan and Gondor totally mis-mat­ched ? the riders seem to live in a big Anglo-Saxon Hall, wea­ring furs n stuff, whe­reas Minas Tirith looks/​feels like a late Renais­sance mega-city. 

2) How come all the bad guys die at the end of LOTR ? Is it cos they were bred by Sauron and when his spe­cial magic pegs it so do his minions ? Who dies/​who sur­vives of the nasty folk and why ?

Son of Kirk

Rohan is sort of Tolkien’s idea of an Anglo-Saxon society and repre­sen­ta­tive of how the common” Men of Middle Earth live, while Gondor is the heir of Nume­nor, and the­re­fore stee­ped in much lore of sto­ne­craft and the craf­ting of teh awe­some swords.

By the end of the Third Age though, the dis­pa­rity in how advan­ced” the two nations is pretty mea­nin­gless as Gondor has been in decline for so long and Rohan is still advan­ced enough to field scads of hea­vily armed cavalry to kick the poo out of anyone that gets in their way. 

Again, it’s worth remem­be­ring how much in decline Gondor is. It’s bor­ders have shrunk, Osgi­liath is ruins, Minas Ithil is inha­bi­ted by the Witch King, large swathes of Minas Tirith is empty and the foreign hol­dings of the land are gone. Not to men­tion that the lines of Ana­rion and Isil­dur are (alle­gedly) dust.

Which makes an early 4th Age game quite cool, as you can make sure there is empha­sis on how pants Gondor was by the War of the Ring and how the vic­tory over Sauron and the return of the King has given it the oppor­tu­nity to be truly great again.

The Nazgul are des­troyed at the end with Sauron because of the link bet­ween their rings and the One Ring. Mordor effec­ti­vely had some pretty cata­clys­mic stuff happen to it when Sauron went boom, so scads of his minions would have been killed by that. 

Per­so­nally I would say that lots of Orcs and Trolls would have sur­vi­ved, aswell as vil­lians such as the Mouth of Sauron, but that without Sauron’s will they no longer pre­sen­ted a united threat, but still would need to even­tually be dealt with.

Jason D

Quote :
Ori­gi­nally Posted by brook­mill
2) How come all the bad guys die at the end of LOTR ? Is it cos they were bred by Sauron and when his spe­cial magic pegs it so do his minions ? Who dies/​who sur­vives of the nasty folk and why ?

I think you’re confu­sing the film with the book here — in the books, the only bad guys who die with Sauron’s undoing are those undead who are unna­tu­rally tied to the rings and Sauron’s magic — the Nine Nazgul. They’re ghosts or wights, and have little natu­ral exis­tence.

All of Sauron and Saruman’s Orcs, Trolls, half-Orcs, half-Trolls, etc. sur­vive the war if they weren’t killed during it… they’ve just lost the battle, and spend the remain­der of their days being hunted to extinc­tion. The book didn’t end with a big explo­sion of evil energy from Sauron that mira­cu­lously clea­red out all of the bad guys — it was more a « Hurrah, we won ! » and a rout of the enemy. 

As has been noted in seve­ral posts upthread, the main order of busi­ness for Gondor and Rohan after the battle is clea­ning up the pockets of resis­tance left — Mordor is still a scary place to go to for cen­tu­ries after.

Gavin Ben­nett

Quote :
Ori­gi­nally Posted by brook­mill View Post
That sounds great. Actually IMO the scale of the adven­ture sounds per­fect. I kinna hate the ol” fate of the worl” is in your hands” epic cliche. And the fourth age might be a grit­tier, less hammy place…
Thanks for remin­ding me, ear­lier poster, that wood elves are still aboot…
But two ques­tions, O Del­phic Wise Ones of the Boards of Purple
1) is it just me or are the tech levels of Rohan and Gondor totally mis-mat­ched ? the riders seem to live in a big Anglo-Saxon Hall, wea­ring furs n stuff, whe­reas Minas Tirith looks/​feels like a late Renais­sance mega-city.
2) How come all the bad guys die at the end of LOTR ? Is it cos they were bred by Sauron and when his spe­cial magic pegs it so do his minions ? Who dies/​who sur­vives of the nasty folk and why ?

1) Actually this is a flaw in the movies. The book has the men of Gondor living in Minas Tirith — and that’s it. There’s no fancy plate armour all pro­du­ced in indus­trial quan­ti­ties. There’s a few herbs­wo­men who are prac­ti­cing a half remem­be­red craft. It’s actually pro­ba­bly Rohan that’s heal­thier and more advan­ced. Minas Tirith was built in an ancient Golden Age of Men — and that was a long time ago.

There’s a quick men­tion in Unfi­ni­shed Tales (I think) to the effect that Rohan pur­chases a lot of its metal worked stuff from Gondor. I assume Rohan repays the favour in mili­tary ser­vice or some­thing. Howe­ver, I stron­gly sus­pect that this was based on the old historian’s pre­ju­dice that the Ger­ma­nic and Celtic tribes took all their mail and swords from the Romans either in the form of war booty from dead Romans, or were given to them by the Romans in return for ser­vice. It was more like the other way around — the « Celtic » and Ger­ma­nic tribes seem to have been excellent metal wor­kers. The Romans looted their stuff and star­ted chur­ning it out for their legions. Still, swords, mail and nice spea­rheads weren’t cheap, so if you stab­bed your­self a Roman sol­dier, you’d take his stuff.

2) Appa­rently the dead include : The Nazgul, the Olog Hai (big war trolls), and anyone who got them­selves stab­bed in the head with a Rohir spear at the last battle. Also anyone stan­ding too close to the Moun­tain and pro­ba­bly anyone in Barad-Dur. Beyond that, there would still be orcs, half orcs, some Uruk Hai, moun­tain trolls, cave trolls, fell beasts and wha­te­ver else occurs. I also assume you’d still find Barrow-Wights, Balrog like crea­tures and Dra­gons.



Quote :
Ori­gi­nally Posted by Ara­quael
1) Actually this is a flaw in the movies. The book has the men of Gondor living in Minas Tirith — and that’s it.

That’s not quite true, although it’s close. There are towns and even a few cities in the rest of Gondor (mainly along the sea coast west of Minas Tirith); the sec­tion of TTT (I forget which chap­ter it is off hand) where the muster of Gondor marches into the city is a good guide to other impor­tant loca­tions. But Minas Tirith is by far the lar­gest city and, if memory serves, home to half of Gondor’s total popu­la­tion when you factor in the out­lying farms and ham­lets.

Which makes you wonder how long it takes Gondor to repo­pu­late the old North King­dom. There’s pro­ba­bly gonna be a nice little Baby Boom in Gondor after the War, but it’d still take a while before the North has any real human popu­la­tion (out­side of Bree, etc.). A cam­paign focu­sed on dri­ving out any Orcs and Trolls still lur­king in the wil­der­ness could be cool. Espe­cially suc­cess­ful war­riors might even get titles and land for their efforts.

Gavin Ben­nett

Sorry, that was badly phra­sed.

What I meant was — the people of Minas Tirith dwell there. They didn’t build it. They don’t main­tain it. They haven’t expan­ded it. They pro­ba­bly can’t do any­thing serious with it. The fact that the city is there is more a tes­ta­ment to the ancient Nume­no­rean buil­ders than being in any way a reflec­tion of Gondor’s « advan­ced » state at the end of the Third Age.

Rea­ding from what Fara­mir said in the Two Towers, the thing that saved Gondor this long is the fact they allied them­selves with the Moun­tain tribes and the iother Middle men. 

Or to put it like SoK did, Gondor in 3018 is pants. It’s a paper tiger, a hollow force that was capable of one final fight and little more.


Gavin Ben­nett

The Mouth of Sauron is Sauron’s PR dude, who comes out of Mordor to annoy Ara­gorn. In the movie Ara­gorn cuts his head off. In the book, he assu­ma­bly pisses off back into Mordor.

He was a sor­ce­ror. He had unna­tu­rally long life. He served Sauron. That much covers it. So either his power was some­how linked to Sauron and he died when Barad Dur fell, or he sur­vi­ved. Now he could have just ended up wan­de­ring around nuts, but he could have kept it toge­ther enough to dream of repla­cing his old boss. Hence the idea he could be a campaign’s big bad.



If memory serves, the big reason that Mithril was so scarce in the Third Age was that Sauron deeply cove­ted it, and so col­lec­ted all he could find … and basi­cally put it in his tower Dol-Bara­dur.

The big­gest trea­sure in the his­tory of Middle-Earth, or pretty much any lite­ra­ture, and it’s right there. All you gotta do is go get it. ;)

Yes, Bada­dur fell down go boom. So you gots to dig some. Get some dwarves — they’re good at dig­ging.

And what was Sauron’s other tower in Mirk­wood ? Bet there’s a lot of stuff there. There’s pro­ba­bly stuff left up in Orthanc, too. And the Bar­rows.

All you gotta do is go get it.


Quote :
Ori­gi­nally Posted by BoJo View Post
IIRC, Harn is sup­po­sed to be in the same cosmic conti­nuity as Middle Earth. Aren’t the Harnic Elves and Dwarves sup­po­sedly the pro­duct of all those who Went West ?

Yup. The Sin­da­rin and Khuz­dul of Hârn are from Middle Earth. This was pretty expli­cit in the ori­gi­nal mate­rial, but it has been dis­gui­sed a bit later on, pro­ba­bly to avoid nasty copy­right issues. 

Of course, there are dif­fe­rences, since the trans­di­men­sio­nal method used in the Hârn uni­verse phy­si­cally trans­forms tra­ve­lers so that they are adap­ted to each world. For example, Hârnic elves are not immor­tal because of their status of Eru’s First­born, but because their cells rege­ne­rate without error. This leads to stuff like elves gra­dually for­get­ting about their past, since old infor­ma­tion gets « writ­ten over ».


Quote :
Ori­gi­nally Posted by Ara­quael
He was a sor­ce­ror. He had unna­tu­rally long life. He served Sauron. That much covers it. So either his power was some­how linked to Sauron and he died when Barad Dur fell, or he sur­vi­ved. Now he could have just ended up wan­de­ring around nuts, but he could have kept it toge­ther enough to dream of repla­cing his old boss. Hence the idea he could be a campaign’s big bad.

Here is some­thing. What if it took Sauron to fall for the Mouth to remem­ber his name ? Say in the manner in which the film ver­sion had Gollum remem­ber the name of Smea­gol.

How long would one have to not speak/​write/​hear their own name to forget it ? It would have to be a great length of time — more than the span of a mortal man. Per­haps the Necro­man­cer” of Dol Guldur had used this art to make the Mouth’s phy­si­cal form unli­ving. Thus pre­ven­ting him from beco­ming wraith-like in form. Was this done for a par­ti­cu­lar design ?

Some have spe­cu­la­ted that per­haps the Mouth of Sauron is indeed Heru­mor. From what Tol­kien had writ­ten we know is he was a Black Númenó­rean, a great sor­ce­rer, and one of Sauron’s grea­test ser­vants whom he has long served. Could they be one and the same ?

So what do we know of Heru­mor ? That he was a mighty Black Númenó­rean who was in Sauron’s ser­vice before and during the time of the Last Alliance in 3430 of the Second Age.

 »…and among them were not a few of the high race of Nume­nor… Yet two there were, Heru­mor and Fuinor, who rose to power among the Hara­drim… » — The Sil­ma­ril­lion

The second sen­tence in the quote of course brings into play ano­ther name. Fuinor…

« The name Heru­mor is found in Of the Rings Power and the Third Age (SIL) as that of a rene­gade Númenó­rean who became power­ful among the Hara­drim in the time before the War of the Last Alliance » — HoME XII : The Peoples of Middle-earth

Again it is pure spe­cu­la­tion and indeed unli­kely the two are one and the same. If Heru­mor was alive during the Last Alliance (S.A. 3430) with the Second Age ended in 3441, the Third Age las­ting for 3,021 years, and Heru­mor being men­tio­ned in 120 of the Fourth Age then Heru­mor, would be more than 3000 years old. 

« He (Borlas) halted in the narrow pas­sage that ran through the house, and it seemed that he was wrap­ped in a bla­ck­ness : not a glim­mer of twi­light of the world out­side remai­ned there… There seemed none of the accus­to­med sounds of eve­ning, only a soft silence, a dead silence… He called but there was no answer… Sud­denly he smelt it, or so it seemed, though it came as it were from within out­wards to the sense : he smelt the old Evil and knew it for what it was… With hardly more than breath he formed it… Heru­mor… » — The New Shadow

Could this be The Mouth of Sauron devi­sing new evil during the Great Peace of Gondor ? The New Shadow tells of a secret orc-like society of Men who began wor­ship­ping the Dark. Maybe he wanted to take up the mantle of Dark Lord, lea­ving the fate of Middle-earth not in the hands of a fallen Maiar-but a Mortal Man.

It is unli­kely we will ever know, as the story ended here, what Borlas found, or if it was indeed The Mouth of Sauron rea­wa­ke­ned to evil. Not unless Chris­to­pher finds some more of his father’s notes hidden somew­here.

Gavin Ben­nett

Vgunn, that’s actually genius.

It’s totally in-theme and it works very well.

We know, for ins­tance, that the Nine were kings of men (three of whom were Nume­no­rean). But « gif­ting » the rings to these kings, Sauron a : made them his slaves but also b : remo­ved them and their king­doms as poten­tial rivals. 

So it would be per­fectly in-cha­rac­ter and in-theme for the Dark Lord to seduce a Sou­thron sor­ce­ror king into his ser­vice — only for the sor­ce­rer king to rea­lise too late that the price was too high.

It’s also pos­sible that Herumor’s decen­dants — The House of Heru­mor — has been a major power amongst the Sou­thron king­doms since ancient times. So the name of Heru­mor is well known by some in Gondor. 

So in a time of Gon­do­rian hege­mony, the idea that the ancient pro­ge­ni­tor of a Sou­thron king­dom is alive and well is going to be a major issue. And if that pro­ge­ni­tor is an immor­tal sor­ce­ror who knew many of the secrets of Sauron…

Here is a cha­rac­ter which could drive a long 4th age cam­paign epic, I think. One who could mani­pu­late exter­nal threats to Gondor — and work to undo the Reu­ni­ted King­dom from within.

A pos­sible Hither Lands « offi­cial » cam­paign, per­haps ?



ICE did put out an excellent module called PALAN­TIR QUEST. Departs from canon at times, but ove­rall it is defi­na­tely worth picking up. Its OoP, but you can find it second-hand.

Here is a blurb from the Cover/​Jacket Text : 

« They were per­fect spheres, appea­ring when at rest to be made of solid glass or crys­tal deep black in hue. At smal­lest they were about a foot in dia­me­ter, but some, cer­tainly the Stones of Osgi­liath and Amon Sûl, were much larger and could not be lifted by one man. Ori­gi­nally they were placed in sites sui­table to their sizes and inten­ded uses, stan­ding on low round tables of black marble in a cen­tral cup or depres­sion, in which they could at need be revol­ved by hand. They were very heavy but per­fectly smooth, and would suffer no damage if by acci­dent or malice they were unsea­ted and rolled off their tables. They were indeed unbrea­kable by any vio­lence then control­led by men… » — Unfi­ni­shed Tales 

Strange por­tents in the great Seeing-stone of Minas Tirith give pro­mise that one of the lost palantíri of the North has retur­ned to the lands of Men. Can the adven­tu­rers find the legen­dary trea­sure and bring it to King Eles­sar ? Rogues of the wilds, bliz­zards out of Forod­waith, and the greed in Men’s hearts all conspire against them. 

Palantír Quest contains an exten­ded series of adven­tures — a cam­paign — that culmi­nate in a per­ilous confron­ta­tion with a subtle and deadly foe of the Reu­ni­ted King­doms. It’s per­fect for players moving up from LOR to MERP. The quest is also sui­table for the expe­rien­ced GM who wants exci­ting, detai­led, linked sce­na­rios that require no extra set-up work from him or her. All the NPCs and sites invol­ved are fully des­cri­bed, and the course of the adven­ture is com­ple­tely char­ted.

Palantír Quest includes : 

THE HEROIC SEARCH for a palantír of the North, a quest which takes our bold adven­tu­rers from the splen­dor of Fourth Age Minas Tirith to the frozen expanses of Forod­waith to the tan­gled glades of Green­wood the Great.
HIS­TORY OF THE SEEING-STONES from their crea­tion in the West to their final fate in the Middle Lands.
TRAVEL NAR­RA­TIVE — for the GM to read aloud to the players — des­cri­bing in brilliant detail the sights seen by adven­tu­rers on their jour­neys across Endor.
FOES who march to the tune of a subtle adver­sary : their stats, moti­va­tions, and tac­ti­cal methods.
ALLIES — bound to succor the PCs out of loyalty to King Eles­sar.
ADVEN­TURE SITES where trea­sure, secrets, and dan­gers abide — inclu­ding the ruins of Annú­mi­nas, a sacred refuge of the Los­soth, the burial cham­ber of a for­got­ten King, and a smuggler’s Lake-town hide away.


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