Tolkien References in FFC

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Raymond
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Tolkien References in FFC

Post by Raymond » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 pm

Has anyone explained how there are four groups of orcs in the FFC named as follows?

Red (Eye) Orcs
Orcs of the White Hand
lsengarders
Orcs of the Mountains

Did they find a portal at the bottom of Moria that took them to Ghenrek IV/Gaia? Or more specifically, did they come out in the Blackmoor area in case I've placed Blackmoor on Oerth?

Real answer may be that the author didn't care about such details at the time and it's not explained...I know. But if you have answers, I'm curious.

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Re: Tolkien References in FFC

Post by Havard » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:31 pm

Raymond wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 pm
Has anyone explained how there are four groups of orcs in the FFC named as follows?

Red (Eye) Orcs
Orcs of the White Hand
lsengarders
Orcs of the Mountains

Did they find a portal at the bottom of Moria that took them to Ghenrek IV/Gaia? Or more specifically, did they come out in the Blackmoor area in case I've placed Blackmoor on Oerth?

Real answer may be that the author didn't care about such details at the time and it's not explained...I know. But if you have answers, I'm curious.
I believe those four tribes were taken from the Chainmail Rules by Gygax/Perren. I don't think they were ever intended to actually be from Middle-earth, but just a categorization of orc types, but I suppose you could take that route if you wanted to.

My backstory for the Orcs of Blackmoor can be found in this old Blog article.

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Big Mac
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Re: Tolkien References in FFC

Post by Big Mac » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:22 am

Raymond wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 pm
Has anyone explained how there are four groups of orcs in the FFC named as follows?

Red (Eye) Orcs
Orcs of the White Hand
lsengarders
Orcs of the Mountains
Very interesting.

I've seen talk of early D&D games using Hobbits and then changing to Halflings to avoid such an obvious association with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. And tons of other D&D monsters are lifted from other sources (and then reworked).

I wonder if this reuse was shorthand, in Dave Arneson's early Blackmoor games.

Red Orcs, Orc of the Mountains and maybe Orcs of the White Hand could just be a coincidence, but Isengarders is a bit too specific to Isengard.
Raymond wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 pm
Did they find a portal at the bottom of Moria that took them to Ghenrek IV/Gaia? Or more specifically, did they come out in the Blackmoor area in case I've placed Blackmoor on Oerth?
You may want to retcon this, if it is easier than adding links between Oerth and Middle-earth, that your players might want to one day exploit. :)
Raymond wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 pm
Real answer may be that the author didn't care about such details at the time and it's not explained...I know. But if you have answers, I'm curious.
It looks like Havard has the out of character answer. :)
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Re: Tolkien References in FFC

Post by Big Mac » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:24 am

Havard wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:31 pm
Raymond wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:03 pm
Has anyone explained how there are four groups of orcs in the FFC named as follows?

Red (Eye) Orcs
Orcs of the White Hand
lsengarders
Orcs of the Mountains

Did they find a portal at the bottom of Moria that took them to Ghenrek IV/Gaia? Or more specifically, did they come out in the Blackmoor area in case I've placed Blackmoor on Oerth?

Real answer may be that the author didn't care about such details at the time and it's not explained...I know. But if you have answers, I'm curious.
I believe those four tribes were taken from the Chainmail Rules by Gygax/Perren. I don't think they were ever intended to actually be from Middle-earth, but just a categorization of orc types, but I suppose you could take that route if you wanted to.

My backstory for the Orcs of Blackmoor can be found in this old Blog article.
Interesting article.

I didn't see the names that Raymond mentioned (from FFC).

Have they been retconned in later Blackmoor sources? If so, which group of Tolkienesk Orcs maps over to which retconned group of Orcs in Blackmoor canon?
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Havard
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Re: Tolkien References in FFC

Post by Havard » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:59 am

Big Mac wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:24 am
I believe those four tribes were taken from the Chainmail Rules by Gygax/Perren. I don't think they were ever intended to actually be from Middle-earth, but just a categorization of orc types, but I suppose you could take that route if you wanted to.

My backstory for the Orcs of Blackmoor can be found in this old Blog article.
Interesting article.

I didn't see the names that Raymond mentioned (from FFC).

Have they been retconned in later Blackmoor sources? If so, which group of Tolkienesk Orcs maps over to which retconned group of Orcs in Blackmoor canon?
Later material only refers to the Orcs of the Black Hand, which are the main Orcs following King Frederick III.

IMC I changed their names to the following:
  • Red Eye Orcs= the Crimson Orcs, settled near Ohmfet, which would later become part of the Realm of the Egg. These Orcs worship Thanatos, Patron of Death.
  • Isengarders= The second tribe, the Steel Orcs, settled in the Dismal Swamp. They worship Volketh, Patron of Murder.
  • Orcs of the White Hand= the Orcs of the Black Hand follow Hella, Queen of the Underworld. These settled in caves deep beneath the lands of Blackmoor.
  • Mountain Orcs= the Stormkiller Orcs, settling in the mountains which gave them their name.
The FFC, Chainmail and early edition OD&D also reference other Tolkien races like Ents, Hobbits and Balrogs.

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Aldarron
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Re: Tolkien References in FFC

Post by Aldarron » Fri Nov 01, 2019 3:08 pm

Of course, originally Arneson & co. weren't concerned with deep explanations for mixing and matching all their various tropes, but now-a-days things can and have been recast with mostly cosemetic changes. Isengarders are pretty much Baleborne.
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Zenopus
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Re: Tolkien References in FFC

Post by Zenopus » Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:24 pm

I have an article on Gygax's use of Orc Tribes that may be of interest on this topic:

http://zenopusarchives.blogspot.com/201 ... ribes.html

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Re: Tolkien References in FFC

Post by Raymond » Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:50 pm

I copied that list down at some point but I didn't realize until now that these are the same names--though the Gygax list has Orcs of Mordor in addition.

From the https://www.enworld.org/threads/evidenc ... on.668205/ page, it looks like there were a sharing of information.

I think the implication here is that Tolkien material may have appeared before Chainmail. I'd never heard of "Magic Swords" before. I bet the Tolkien references came from the "Rules for Middle Earth" from 1970.

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