The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

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The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

Postby Dragonhelm » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:07 am

This ties into a Facebook post I made earlier.

Years ago, when I was first playing D&D in the 2e days, I played in a one-shot where I was playing a 9th-level halfling paladin named Baro Leafkindle. The DM told me that Baro was a prince of the Five Shires.

The story was that my character was one of 3 princes. Their father, the king, had passed away and the other two princes had been assassinated. Each of the three princes had a magical orb, but the orbs of the other two princes were missing. We had an orc horde invading. The only way to stop them would be to reunite the three orbs.

Problem is, I had to leave early (they didn't have a working toilet - ew!), so I never knew how it ended. So I wanted to ask the Five Shire experts in hopes that I could finish the story. What could those three orbs do? Might it have something to do with blackflame?

Side note: I was very new to role-playing, and many of the players were playing 6-8 characters each. With over 20 characters there, it was a chaotic mess.
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Re: The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

Postby Morfie » Wed Jul 26, 2017 8:31 am

1) The Five Shires are exactly that.. Shires. Run by Sherriffs not Princes. 5 not 3.
2) The blackflames were held in wooden containers of a pyramid shape and were basically flames in reverse. Nothing to do with magical orbs.
3) D&D Halflings were a class in itself, not a Paladin, and then they only went to 8th level and had alphabetical Attack Ranks after that.. unless they used the Extended XP in the RC.
4) Leafkindle is an actual village name in the Five Shires though.

Based on the above it sounded pretty loose and homebrew. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
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Re: The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

Postby agathokles » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:32 am

Morfie wrote:1) The Five Shires are exactly that.. Shires. Run by Sherriffs not Princes. 5 not 3.
2) The blackflames were held in wooden containers of a pyramid shape and were basically flames in reverse. Nothing to do with magical orbs.
3) D&D Halflings were a class in itself, not a Paladin, and then they only went to 8th level and had alphabetical Attack Ranks after that.. unless they used the Extended XP in the RC.
4) Leafkindle is an actual village name in the Five Shires though.

Based on the above it sounded pretty loose and homebrew. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


The OP says they were playing AD&D 2e. That said, even in standard AD&D 2e Halflings can't be Paladins.
I agree that the adventure was likely based on the DM's homebrew version of the Shires, so it is all but impossible to reconstruct what the story was about, short of contacting the DM and asking him...

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Re: The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

Postby Sturm » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:38 am

Maybe the DM set the adventure in the remote past of the Shires, when the land was called Faerdinel and could well have a King. The orc horde won and enslaved the halfling in 1000 BC, probably because you left early :)
But the halfling rose in rebellion 35 years later and freed themselves.
Orbs do not ring a bell in the Shires, but they could have been inspired by the Eye of Traldar, the Black Opal Eye or the Essence-Orb of Trikla the Black Seer, magical orbs with great divination powers which appears in Karameikos adventures (B7, AC2, DDA3).
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Re: The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

Postby Dragonhelm » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:54 pm

Morfie wrote:1) The Five Shires are exactly that.. Shires. Run by Sherriffs not Princes. 5 not 3.
2) The blackflames were held in wooden containers of a pyramid shape and were basically flames in reverse. Nothing to do with magical orbs.
3) D&D Halflings were a class in itself, not a Paladin, and then they only went to 8th level and had alphabetical Attack Ranks after that.. unless they used the Extended XP in the RC.
4) Leafkindle is an actual village name in the Five Shires though.

Based on the above it sounded pretty loose and homebrew. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


1. Nothing says the five sheriffs can't report to a prince.
2. I know, but nothing says you can't make that association.
3. We played a homebrewed AD&D 2e one-shot.
4. I'm pretty sure that's where the DM got it from.



agathokles wrote:I agree that the adventure was likely based on the DM's homebrew version of the Shires, so it is all but impossible to reconstruct what the story was about, short of contacting the DM and asking him...


I've gamed with the guy once when I first played, about 25 years ago. He was a friend of a friend and I don't remember his name.

The point isn't really to re-create whatever he had in mind. The point was more so to create my own ending to that story.



Sturm wrote:Maybe the DM set the adventure in the remote past of the Shires, when the land was called Faerdinel and could well have a King. The orc horde won and enslaved the halfling in 1000 BC, probably because you left early :)
But the halfling rose in rebellion 35 years later and freed themselves.

Orbs do not ring a bell in the Shires, but they could have been inspired by the Eye of Traldar, the Black Opal Eye or the Essence-Orb of Trikla the Black Seer, magical orbs with great divination powers which appears in Karameikos adventures (B7, AC2, DDA3).


I'll look those up. Thanks!
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Re: The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

Postby Havard » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:12 pm

That's a nice little story Dragonhelm. Sounds like a cool character too, and I love that your DM went out of his way to make the PC feel special. This is something I really appreciate as a player and try to do for my players when I am the DM.

I don't know how much you want to adapt the story to fit with published material, but if you do want that there are several ways you could have the character be a prince and still not have to change the nature of the Five Shires as described in the Gazetteer. One small modification would be that the "princes" are actually descended from the ancient royalty going back to the Kingdom of Faerdinel that Sturm mentioned. That way you the story could still take place in the modern era. It would change the nature of their father slightly, but not much more than that. As a DM I would have liked this variant, because the player could not immediately assume the throne. Although with proper roleplaying, that could still be a campaign goal.

I think having the character be a Halfling Sherrif would be a good BECMI conversion of the Halfling Paladin.

I don't think the orbs were from any official source, but I like the idea that they could be connected to the Blackflame Crucible. Perhaps, if united the orbs could create a new crucible for the character's clan? That could lead young Baro towards becoming a Halfling Master.

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Re: The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

Postby Dragonhelm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 2:14 am

I wanted to get back to this old character of mine. I've been reading over the history of the Five Shires and thinking about taking the story the DM set up (which was by no means canon) and merging it with what is true in The Five Shires. So this is just a rough mental sketch.

Let's say that Baro Leafkindle is descended from a noble line dating back to Faerdinel. As such, Baro's father was nicknamed "king" because of his regal bearing and the respect so many gave him. His three sons were nicknamed the "three princes." The father passes away, and then the two brothers are murdered. Baro is nearly killed, but is rescued by one of the sheriffs (Multhim Greybeard as iconic teacher archetype?).

An orc invasion is coming and making headway, yet this is all a diversion. The real bad guy (from the Black Eagle Barony?) is searching to harness the secret of blackflame. Maybe in the process, one of the sheriffs die and chaos is reigning in the Shires. Someone proposes to elevate Baro to king to unite the Shires, but Baro refuses, instead taking on the roll of sheriff.

The bad guys are defeated and everyone goes home for a pint. Huzzah! ;)

In a broad sense, it's almost a Three Musketeers type of story. Sorta kinda.

Questions...

1. Does this work better, and how can I improve it?

2. Should I find a way to give Baro some blackflame-related powers?

3. If I killed or retired one of the sheriffs, which one should go?

4. If I tied the Five Shires to the Forgotten Realms, how can I tie the story into the Order of the Black Flame (where the Black Flame Zealot PrC comes from)?
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Re: The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

Postby Dread Delgath » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:19 am

Dragonhelm: I like this, and I love that you're doing something with an old campaign for an 'updated & modern' campaign.

First off, although it has nothing at all to do with anything, I'd like to point out that in 0e, there was nothing to prevent a Halfling (Hobbit) character with the existing pre-reqs and Lawful alignment from being a Paladin, according to the Greyhawk supplement. :shock: It was only later in AD&D1e that Paladins were restricted to human characters only. :mrgreen:

The orbs you mentioned, from a 2e campaign could've been the Orbs of Dragonkind from 1e/2e eras, or something that your DM made up. Perhaps the Orbs all have different powers, and one of them grants the use of the Black Flame powers, especially the one that Baro possesses.

"King" could be a nick-name of Baro's father, after a hobbit-wide village in-joke. The in-joke carried on (as they tend to do, or it wouldn't be called an in-joke) over to the next generation, and the father's sons became known as "Princes", and the honorifics stuck. Simple as that. Hobbit humor, it is well known to be good-intentioned (warm & hearty!) at best for the hobbit's closest allies and relatives, and sharp as a knife, sarcastic at best & sardonic at worst, to those they do not approve of (Sackville-Bagginses, an obvious example from classic literature..)

I've no idea about which sheriff should get the axe, or anything about the FR connection, unfortunately.
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Re: The Five Shires - An Unfinished Tale

Postby Havard » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:46 pm

Hi Trampas!

I like this story! Let's see if I can make any suggestions :)

Dragonhelm wrote:I wanted to get back to this old character of mine. I've been reading over the history of the Five Shires and thinking about taking the story the DM set up (which was by no means canon) and merging it with what is true in The Five Shires. So this is just a rough mental sketch.

Let's say that Baro Leafkindle is descended from a noble line dating back to Faerdinel. As such, Baro's father was nicknamed "king" because of his regal bearing and the respect so many gave him. His three sons were nicknamed the "three princes." The father passes away, and then the two brothers are murdered. Baro is nearly killed, but is rescued by one of the sheriffs (Multhim Greybeard as iconic teacher archetype?).


I like this! :)

An orc invasion is coming and making headway, yet this is all a diversion. The real bad guy (from the Black Eagle Barony?) is searching to harness the secret of blackflame. Maybe in the process, one of the sheriffs die and chaos is reigning in the Shires. Someone proposes to elevate Baro to king to unite the Shires, but Baro refuses, instead taking on the roll of sheriff.


the one thing I am not quite sure about is why the death of a single sheriff would turn all the Five Shires into chaos. I would make the Orc invasions and machinations from the real villain be pretty massive so the other Sherrifs would be driven into hiding as well. Perhaps connect the invasions to the events of Wrath of the Immortals? Are you married to the idea of having the villain come from the Black Eagle Barony? If we are making this significantly epic, maybe it is worth detailing a new villain? Possibly an evil wizard from Alphatia?


2. Should I find a way to give Baro some blackflame-related powers?


Short Sword of Blackflame is a classic? :)

3. If I killed or retired one of the sheriffs, which one should go?


Hmmm...no strong opinions there. I never got too attached to any of the Five Shires NPCs..
4. If I tied the Five Shires to the Forgotten Realms, how can I tie the story into the Order of the Black Flame (where the Black Flame Zealot PrC comes from)?


I dont think I know enough about the FR to answer that.

Hope my input helps! :)

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