What should ME adventures be about?

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Tolwen
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Re: What should ME adventures be about?

Post by Tolwen » Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:24 pm

Sturm wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:02 am
Indeed it would be interesting to run a ME game with non-aligned characters. Probably they will be forced to side at some point, because the setting is explicitly divided between good and evil.
This is an interesting point and touches the question of the era the game is set in.
If you place a game in TOR's default timeframe (or the late TA in general), you are absolutely right, as the Shadow is strong and almost omnipresent in its challenge to the Free People. Sooner or later (probably sooner) any group will face a decision here - even if they are not aligned by default.
Things get more differentiated in earlier times, when the Shadow is present but weak (in fact in these times it is more occupied with building strength and hiding its nature and presence). The early 1400s are IMO a good example for that. Angmar is there (but relatively weak), the Necromancer (Sauron in disguise) is present as well but more of a local nuisance and Gondor not a realm on the verge of being overrun by its far more numerous enemies but the pre-eminent superpower in the Northwest in the afterglow of its peak.
Here the Shadow is present of course (probably more as a subverting rather than conquering force) but much less pronounced and the lines of conflict are more drawn among men of different outlook. Here more neutral characters are likely to find more room to act genuinely.

Interestingly, the Appendices of the LotR contain a few hints about more "realistic" and not-so-nice policies shown by the Dúnedain, rather than the almost otherworldly good ones like Aragorn (who of course is the most influential Dúnadan model for most players & readers). But that is natural, as you don't build an empire by being nice, noble and obliging to the people around you ;)

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Re: What should ME adventures be about?

Post by Sturm » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:21 pm

Yes indeed playing in such a time would be interesting, but a Dm still needs to give players a strong feeling of being in Middle Earth and not in another generic fantasy setting, so it requires quite some work.
Fighting Gordon imperialism would also be a nice campaign :-)

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Re: What should ME adventures be about?

Post by Falconer » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:33 pm

Not all of Tolkien’s stories are so black-and-white. Check out “The Wanderings of Húrin” from The War of the Jewels, and “Tal-elmar” from The Peoples of Middle-earth.
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Tolwen
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Re: What should ME adventures be about?

Post by Tolwen » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:53 pm

Sturm wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:21 pm
Yes indeed playing in such a time would be interesting, but a Dm still needs to give players a strong feeling of being in Middle Earth and not in another generic fantasy setting, so it requires quite some work.
Fighting Gordon imperialism would also be a nice campaign :-)
The rich background and the specifics of Middle-earth are still there even in this time. The main difference is that you don't have the usual steamroller tactics of an overwhelming evil bad guy threatening the world with his - also obviously evil - minions.
In these times evil is more subtle, in undertones and pervasive; seeping into minds and hearts manipulative. It sets the bar higher for the GM, as a good level of knowledge about the history of the Northwest in these times is necessary.
For instance, MERP's Kin-strife campaign is a very political game setting. It puts the group into Gondor's civil war and if they are rooted in the region (which they should be) they will have to choose sides amongst friends - and perhaps even their families - and fight them. Here Sauron's influence is best put in the form of shadowy NPC's who subtly manipulate Gondorians into pursuing their civil war - while thinking this is in their best personal interests. IMO evil at its best since it is not obvious and easily discernible.

Overall I agree that it requires more work, but personally I find the rewards more than compensate for this work.

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