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  1. #1
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    Newbie RP question on the Men of Dale

    Hi everyone, I'm going to give the game a try for the first time in the next few days (on Landroval, I've heard it's RP-friendly). I've read The Hobbit and LOTR and seen the movies, but it's been a while and my grasp of the lore is not as great as it could be. I had planned to make a Man from Dale as my first character (Champion probably, I hear they're good for newcomers). Because I'm not as great on the lore I had planned on RPing a human who hasn't traveled beyond Dale before and is fairly ignorant of the world. I had two main questions on that point:

    1) How much do average people in Dale see the non-human races? I know they have regular interaction with the Dwarves of Lonely Mountain, but since the Battle of Five Armies is long past, is it likely that a person in Dale has even seen an Elf before? Would a man from Dale even know Hobbits exist, and is Bilbo's role in the area common knowledge? Right before the War of the Ring is there much conflict with orcs and such?

    2) What do average citizens of Dale know about Bree, Rohan, and Gondor? Would they know much of what is happening in these areas, they seem pretty far away?

    Sorry if that's a bit verbose and thanks in advance for any information.

  2. #2
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    1) I don't think the Men of Dale saw any Elves or Hobbits but Dwarves they did see. After the War of the Ring, Easterlings besieged Dale and the Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain helped the Men.

    2) They might not know much of what Bree, Gondor, and Rohan are doing but I don't exactly know.
    Riddermark Freeps and Creeps: Morgunith, LM/Hadellost, Burglar/Nukzat, Reaver Rank 6
    Meneldor Freeps and Creeps: Cambanod, Cpt

  3. #3
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    18.07.2011
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    Zitat Zitat von Nightgaunt09 Beitrag anzeigen
    2) What do average citizens of Dale know about Bree, Rohan, and Gondor? Would they know much of what is happening in these areas, they seem pretty far away?
    In any case, welcome! It's definitely best to start with a race of man character, at least in my experience. There is much less lore to deal with.
    As for your question above, you'll have to consider where you'll be RPing. Most open RP takes place in Bree, in the Prancing Pony and other places in the town, which is a little limiting for non-Bree-lander characters because they have to have gotten to Bree somehow and for some reason! This can be a really good opportunity for backstory to come in and help shape your character. She or he can't be totally naive, since they must have travelled to Bree in some way and seen some of the lands in between on the way, even if it was with a caravan or from a horse. I recommend pulling out a map of Middle-earth and plotting an approximate path, if you have the time and want to have set in your mind where your character has been.

    Hope that helps and I haven't seemed to just ramble on!

  4. #4
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    02.10.2012
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    1. Since the happy resolution that followed the Battle of Five Armies, the Men of Dale (formerly of Laketown) would still maintain a friendly relationship with Thranduil's kingdom, even though there would not be much active interaction: trade would still be anchored at the Long Lake. Nevertheless, any Dale-man could still expect to encounter a Mirkwood-elf with unsurprising infrequency.

    2. The average Dale-man would know next to nothing of any of these places. However, bear in mind that the fireworks for Bilbo's party had been manufactured (at least in part) in Dale: a lot of the commerce of Dale would be tied to the traffic of the Dwarves at Erebor; also, remember that there are Dwarves that like pipe-weed, and Shire leaf would be acquired (by whomever) in Bree. I am supplying reasons as to why certain Dale-folk might have greater knowledge of the lands between Dale and Bree than most of their brethren. Stick to the road, mind: central Mirkwood and the Forest Road, yes; Carrock, yes; Rhosgobel, yes; Bree, yes; Shire, probably not; Rivendell, probably not (or extremely, severely, limited); North Downs, no; Ered Luin, no; Moria, no; Lothlorien, no; Fangorn, no; Isengard, no; Rohan, no; Gondor, no ...

    I hope I've offered some helpful hints.

    HoG

    EDIT: Acch, ssss, no! Dale-folk made the toys, not the fireworks; Gandalf, of course, made the fireworks ...

    HoG
    Geändert von Harper_of_Gondolin (09.12.2013 um 12:27 Uhr)

  5. #5
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    I would guess trade was more limited, with each trading clan/family working a segment of the road.

    Dale would be more to the south towards Gondor... Trade from the Shire thru to the Last Bridge
    Having them regularly network means finding a way past the wild lands of Eregion, or leaving the caravans trying to tempt Moria etc.

    So one trader might work the Shire to Bree, the next Bree to Ost Guroth... perhaps a tougher clan the Bree to Trestlebridge or Shire to Oakbarton runs.
    The more difficult the run the higher the mark-up...

    The rangers would resupply Tinnudir themselves with guarded caravan runs.

    As for how Gandalf got the Dale toys to Bilbo's party, as a wide wanderer he would have brought them himself...
    Maruaders who would think o nothing to raiding a caravan would fear to interfere with Mithrandir...

    (/ooc) That is pretty much how trade worked in the Dark Ages & Renaissance also... There was a Silk Road from China to Venice, yes, but few were the travelers who journeyed the entire length (Marco Polo anyone?).
    Each worked his section and the cumulative mark-ups could be quite astonishing.

    Jammer

  6. #6
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    By my reckoning, contact between races is by necessity *much* more prevalent in LotRO than it ever is in Tolkien. For example, it seems to me that in the books (and in the movies as well), while many folks in Bree would be aware that Hobbits exist, few men of Bree would have actually ever seen one. (Several internet sources say otherwise. Staddle, for instance, is a whole town of Hobbits living within sight of Bree's city walls. It's clearly time that I re-read the books again.) Even less likely would they encounter first-hand evidence that dwarves and elves ever really existed or still exist.

    [I kinda worked that into the backstory of my Guardian, who grew up on farms in Bree-lands (Eastern Bree Fields and, later, Everclear Lakes). Before coming of age and getting tied up in the War, he always thought that Dwarves and Elves were just fairy-tale constructs -- fictitious beings like dragons, wizards, and kings. He had possibly even *seen* Hobbits during his rare trips to Bree-town, but never paid them enough notice to realize that they were of another race.]

    The Bree-lands border the Shire. The two are connected by the Great East Road -- one of the few ancient highways that still in good repair. And the Brandywine is slow and forgiving; it's not enough of a barrier to prevent hungry hunters and needy foresters from venturing to see what (or who) is on the other side. So, awareness of Hobbits was to be expected in Bree and is attested in the lore.

    However, Men living *beyond* Bree would not have heard of Hobbits at *all* -- not even in histories and tales. (A peculiarity of Hobbits is that, before the Fourth Age, they always managed to escape the notice and memory of Men and other beings.) The regions surrounding Bree-land (such as the ancient kingdoms of Cardolan, Andrath, Rhudaur, and Angmar, etc.) are nearly vacant of Men, and have been since even before the Last King of Arthedain fell. It's not until one journeys far south to the lands of the Dunlendings and Rohirrim that one would again encounter significant populations of Men. Knowledge of a race as insignificant as Hobbits did not travel beyond Bree-land. (Before the War, possibly the only ones in all of Erda outside of Bree who knew of the existence of Hobbits and the Shire were secretive folk like Gandalf, Saruman, the Rangers, and Elrond's clan. Even Bilbo had a tendency to vanish from the memories of most who had encountered him on his adventure decades before the War. . .excepting, of course, Thorin's company, Gollum, Thranduil, and the like.)

    By contrast, Bree in *LotRO* is the major hub of commerce in northern Eriador and not the medium-sized frontier town found in Tolkien. It is much more cosmopolitan. Everybody is aware of all the races of Free Peoples. There are many Hobbits, Elves, and Dwarves living and working in Bree-town. That awareness of other races seems to be pretty standard for all settlements throughout the game.

    Thus, I don't believe it unfitting to expect that Elves and others would be at all unfamiliar to the Men of Dale in LotRO. Our characters are certainly more mobile than heroes of Tolkien, being able to zip across Erda with the press of a finger.

    Even so, I was a little bothered by the idea that Scrolliki, my Champion, could be from way over in Dale but somehow begins his adventuring by fighting alongside Strider near Bree. A while back, I developed a bit of backstory to explain that seemingly unlikely situation. (Only a few paragraphs. . .not the 30+ pages of background I came up with for my Guardian.)

    - - - - - -

    I came to Eriador from Dale with my father about ten years ago. We were in one of the last regular caravans to cross the Misty Mountains via the High Pass before the increasing goblin, orc, and troll activity made that route too dangerous. My guess now is that the Enemy was already well entrenched there at that time, but had not yet become bold enough to cause much trouble so close to Lord Elrond's domain. The caravan followed the trade route into the Trollshaws. As we descended Loudwater Gorge, my father slipped off a cliff and suffered a compound fracture of his femur. He survived, but lost the leg. His wound festered and he became very ill.

    Slowed by my father's injury, we could not keep pace with the caravan and were eventually on our own. Nevertheless, I managed to find our way along the Great East Road, crossing the Hoarwell at the Last Bridge. We then made it all the way to Bree without further incident.

    In Bree, I met a girl who was learning the healing arts from her mother. They then put us up at their family home in Archet, a short ride north of the city. Under the mother's skilled care, my father's condition improved considerably, but by the next spring, he was still not recovered well enough to embark on a long journey, so our return trip to Dale would have to wait another year. In return for our host family's kind hospitality, I spent what little coin I had to apprentice myself to the girl's father, who was a master tailor.

    The following year, though, my father again took ill and passed away. When I later learned that the winter in the High Pass had subsided early, I made preparations to bring the sad news to my mother in Dale. But, while waiting for a caravan to assemble, I received a letter from a childhood friend. A scribe read it and informed me that my mother had also passed on. My desire to ever return home died with her.

    I had grown quite fond of the Bree-land girl. And she had similar feelings toward me. Her parents gave us permission to court. Tailoring jobs, selling our wares, and buying leather and other supplies frequently took me away from her over the next several years, but I had eventually saved up enough that I could buy a home and ask the girl to marry me. She eagerly gave her consent.

    Fate, though, was again unkind. This summer just passed, and only a week before we were to wed, brigands and orcs attacked Archet -- burning much of it to the ground. While we were fighting off the invaders, my girl saw the infirmary catch fire and ran to rescue her mother. But they were never to return. My would-be father-in-law and I found their bodies riddled with orc arrows.

    That day there in Archet is when my crusade against the Enemy began.

    - - - - - -

    The joke of it now is that I can't even *use* that backstory as it is, because I just noticed a couple days ago that the toon is actually from *Gondor*, not Dale. Crud! It was my *Minstrel* (not my Champion) who is the Dalesman. I guess I'll have to modify the story so that he crossed the Misty Mountains via the Redhorn Pass or perhaps through the Gap of Rohan. Then maybe the father's accident or illness occurred in Minhiriath on the Old South Road while crossing the Greyflood, after which, Scrolliki's first test of manhood was guiding them alone up the Greenway to Bree. (I suppose that maybe they could have followed the Anduin north from Gondor to meet the Great East/Old Dwarf Road. That way, I could leave the story mostly unchanged, but such a travel route seems kinda unlikely. Besides, I don't want him to have seen the Argonath until the quests take him there. Similarly, I would rather that he not see Isengard or Rohan or meet Dunlendings in advance of the epic. . .but how the heck can you get *anywhere* from Gondor without running into cool stuff? Maybe I'll just keep pretending he's from Dale, but I doubt that I would be able to come up with an explanation for his Gondorian complexion without it sounding really contrived.)

    Halgoreth (Windfola)
    Scrolliki (Imladris)

  7. #7
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    Zitat Zitat von Halgoreth Beitrag anzeigen
    By my reckoning, contact between races is by necessity *much* more prevalent in LotRO than it ever is in Tolkien. For example, it seems to me that in the books (and in the movies as well), while many folks in Bree would be aware that Hobbits exist, few men of Bree would have actually ever seen one. (Several internet sources say otherwise. Staddle, for instance, is a whole town of Hobbits living within sight of Bree's city walls. It's clearly time that I re-read the books again.) Even less likely would they encounter first-hand evidence that dwarves and elves ever really existed or still exist.
    You do need to read the books again. There is a thriving hobbit-community in Bree-land. There have been hobbits living there since even before they started colonizing the Shire. The villages in Bree-land (Bree, Combe, Staddle, Archet) are just about the only places where Hobbits and Men live side by side. Anybody living in Bree would be quite familiar with the Bree-land hobbits. When Frodo&co visited the Prancing Pony there were several other hobbits there.
    At the time of the books there does seem to be only limited contact between the hobbits in the Shire and the hobbits in Bree - mostly due to the Shire-hobbits having become highly insular.

    Dwarves would probably pass through every now and then. Keep in mind that when the dwarves first visited Bilbo he recognized them immediately as dwarves, and there were dwarves delivering stuff to Bilbo's birthday party, so dwarves were not unknown even in the Shire.
    Elves would probably be much rarer - they would be more likely to just pass by during the night.

    Keep in mind that Bree is located the intersection of not only the major East-West road, but also at the major North-South road (even though there is very little traffic north-wards at the time of the books.) This means that traders and other people would pass through every now and then.

  8. #8
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    Zitat Zitat von ertr Beitrag anzeigen
    You do need to read the books again.
    Quite so. And, really, also just a good idea in general.

    There have been hobbits living there [Bree] since even before they started colonizing the Shire.
    That I did not know. Thanks.

    Anybody living in Bree would be quite familiar with the Bree-land hobbits.
    Well. . .the townies, anyway. I'm still gonna hold onto the idea that it would not be unusual for someone living in rural Bree-land (especially if they were basically clueless and unobservant, like my farm-boy Halgoreth once was) to be completely unaware of Hobbits.

    When Frodo&co visited the Prancing Pony there were several other hobbits there.
    I considered the Pony to be rather a realm unto itself. The composition of its patronage would not be representative of the local demographics.

    Kinda like the Farthest-from-the-bright-center-of-the-galaxy Province on Tatooine: it's all humans, Jawas, and Tusken nomads until you encounter the scum and villainy congregating in Mos Eisley like stingworms on an Ewok carcass.

    Dwarves would probably pass through every now and then.
    Almost certainly. It's the easiest route away from the Blue Mountains. But that doesn't mean that their passing would necessarily be at all noticed by (or even in full view of) the generally uninquisitive Hobbit population -- much less that there would be any interaction.

    Keep in mind that when the dwarves first visited Bilbo he recognized them immediately as dwarves
    Well, of course. . .they're neighbors. It's only *humanity* who tend to forget that they're not the only sentient race in Erda.

    and there were dwarves delivering stuff to Bilbo's birthday party
    I believe the implication was that the dwarf involvement with the party was a rare and unique occurrence, one that some attendees even found rather shocking. It would have come solely as a direct result of Bilbo's travels with Thorin's company. (Was it Ori who arranged it? I don't recall if it was ever said.) Relationships (trade or otherwise) between Hobbitdom and the Folk of Durin were perhaps elsewise nonexistent.

    Even so. . .Bilbo's Eleventy-Oneth birthday was 30 years before the events in LotRO, and the Shire had shown the dwarves a darn good time. It does seem likely that Eriador's most enthusiastic partiers would continue to maintain contact with Eriador's most skilled party-throwers.

    Keep in mind that Bree is located the intersection of not only the major East-West road, but also at the major North-South road (even though there is very little traffic north-wards at the time of the books.)
    The reasonably safe portions of the Greenway do not extend past the borders of Bree-land (neither in the game nor the books). No one in their right mind would travel to Fornost, nor past Andrathvale to southern Cardolan, as that area has not been inhabited by any men of good intentions for thousands of years.

  9. #9
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    Zitat Zitat von Halgoreth Beitrag anzeigen
    Well. . .the townies, anyway. I'm still gonna hold onto the idea that it would not be unusual for someone living in rural Bree-land (especially if they were basically clueless and unobservant, like my farm-boy Halgoreth once was) to be completely unaware of Hobbits.
    Nobody living in the Bree-land would be completely unaware of hobbits. They'd know about the Shire as a place, even if only vaguely; it'd be common knowledge, as it had been there for a long, long time. They'd have folk-tales about hobbits so even a farm-boy would have heard of them, even if he'd somehow contrived to never see any of the Bree-hobbits. I'm not buying that anyway because people from the villages would be bound to visit Bree on market-days and the like. (And so they'd probably get to see a Dwarf or two as well).

    Remember that the Rohirrim had old tales of hobbits, even though it had been a very long time since any hobbits had lived east of the Misty Mountains.

  10. #10
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    Zitat Zitat von Radhruin_EU Beitrag anzeigen
    Nobody living in the Bree-land would be completely unaware of hobbits. They'd know about the Shire as a place, even if only vaguely; it'd be common knowledge, as it had been there for a long, long time. They'd have folk-tales about hobbits so even a farm-boy would have heard of them, even if he'd somehow contrived to never see any of the Bree-hobbits. I'm not buying that anyway because people from the villages would be bound to visit Bree on market-days and the like. (And so they'd probably get to see a Dwarf or two as well).

    Remember that the Rohirrim had old tales of hobbits, even though it had been a very long time since any hobbits had lived east of the Misty Mountains.

    "The Men of Bree were brown-haired, broad and rather short, cheerful and independent: they belonged to nobody but themselves; but they were more friendly and familiar with Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, and other inhabitants of the world about them than was (or is) usual with Big People"
    -- The Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter IX - At the sign of the Prancing Pony

  11. #11
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    Zitat Zitat von ertr Beitrag anzeigen
    "The Men of Bree were brown-haired, broad and rather short, cheerful and independent: they belonged to nobody but themselves; but they were more friendly and familiar with Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, and other inhabitants of the world about them than was (or is) usual with Big People"
    -- The Fellowship of the Ring, Chapter IX - At the sign of the Prancing Pony
    I know that, but the folk from the smaller Bree-land villages might not have been quite so familiar with them as the folk from Bree itself, so I was making some allowance for that rather than just nay-saying what Halgoreth said outright... but really, he's on a hiding to nothing in trying to claim that anyone from the Bree-land wouldn't know about hobbits.

  12. #12
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    I know that, but the folk from the smaller Bree-land villages might not have been quite so familiar with them as the folk from Bree itself, so I was making some allowance for that rather than just nay-saying what Halgoreth said outright... but really, he's on a hiding to nothing in trying to claim that anyone from the Bree-land wouldn't know about hobbits.
    The four villages of Bree-land lie close to each other. People from one village will visit the others from time to time, anything else would just be unbelievable.
    Most of the Bree-land hobbits live in Staddle, but some of them live in Bree itself.

    Anybody from Bree-land will be at least somewhat familiar with hobbits. At the very least they will have seen hobbits occasionally.

    Most of them will also have seen dwarves that were travelling through, which they did from time to time.
    There were actually some dwarves staying at the Prancing Pony at the same time as Frodo and his friends were there.

    As for elves, those might not have been seen in Bree, but they would most likely have heard of them and other strange beings from the Rangers who would stop by from time to time and share news and tales from afar.

 

 

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