Other Hands #4 - January 1994
With this our fourth issue, Other Hands has successfully completed its first year of existence. We hope that the new year will see many new (and renewed) subscriptions, as well as continued international interest in our journal. Everyone who has ever subscribed or contributed to Other Hands over the last year should commend themselves for having participated in this virtually unique and unprecedented publication.
Documents of the section
Editorial: Happy Yestarë! ⇨
With this our fourth issue, Other Hands has successfully completed its first year of existence. We hope that the new year will see many new (and renewed) subscriptions, as well as continued international interest in our journal.
Middle-Earth Down Under: An Antipodian Campaign ⇨
The readers of Other Hands may be interested in the enclosed background material to the role-playing game Hunter Variant, developed by myself, my son Nick Talbot and my daughter Ruth Talbot-Stokes.
Winter in Ladros: Report on a First Age Campaign ⇨
In Other Hands 1, I wrote a lengthy article on how to set a Middle-earth campaign in times other than the Third Age. I will here proceed on that matter by describing a First Age campaign which was run in my gaming group during the spring of 1993.
The Orthanc Fellowship: Notes on a Fourth Age Campaign ⇨
Ten years ago, we had been playing AD&D for more than several years and had experimented with some other systems for role-playing. Outside of the game, we maintained a steady diet of fantasy literature and occasionally tried to weave new worlds into the main fabric of our never-ending story of adventure in the world of Greyhawk. Individually, we found ourselves turning again and again to The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and anything about Middle-earth we could find. Finally, one of us (Joe Balderson) volunteered to DM some Middle-earth adventures.
Weaving Magical Realism Through Nature ⇨
It is traditional in fairy tales for the sight of the sun to be fatal to trolls, and so it is in Tolkien’s world. It was nature itself that condemned poor Tom. This illustrates a pattern of magic in Middle-earth. We are more likely to think of Tolkien’s world as full of wonder than of magic. This is because magic is primarily natural or visualized through natural occurrences or elements. As Men and Hobbits (which Tolkien specifically describes as non-magical) we must often ask was it magic or was it nature? We call the symbiotic relationship between magic and nature in Middle-earth “magical realism.”
Exile and Return in Tolkien’s World ⇨
Whether by intentional design or not, a common theme appears throughout the pages of Tolkien’s works dealing with Middle-earth: that of the return of certain characters from self-imposed exile, banishment, or even death. This article examines the exile/return motif as a plot device and opportunity for character development in a role-playing context.
Metallurgy in the Third Age ⇨
One of the many problems to be faced in incorporating science into any literary fantasy is that while the imaginary world seems to have evolved politically and socially over the timescale of the book’s narrative, its technology has remained the same for centuries (which is historically unlikely). In the case of Middle-earth, the level of military technology has even declined from the First Age to the Third.
More On Population: A Response to Jason Beresford ⇨
The response by Jason Beresford to my article on the population of Gondor and Arnor (OH 3: 4 — 7) was interesting and thought provoking. It gave me a reason to explain to myself the basis of my analysis in a way I hadn’t done before. Let me point out that anything that is said on this subject by myself, Jason Beresford, or anyone else is ultimately a matter of personal judgment. There are no right or wrong.
Ennemies to Protect Us ⇨
This adventure is set in Dunland during the War of the Ring, just days before the Wizard Saruman visits open war against the Men of Rohan. The scenario is written from the perspective of player-characters who would be willing to spy on behalf of Rohan and whose presence in Dunlending territory would not arouse undue suspicion. The ultimate goal of the characters will be to warn Théodred of an alliance between Isengard and a powerful coalition of Dunlendish clans soon to be unleashed against the Westfold. If they succeed, Théodred will be able to order the Western Muster in time; if they fail, things may not go so well for Rohan at the Fords of Isen.