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  1. #1
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    Character development help?

    Hullo all. I've been roleplaying on Imladris for some time and have enjoyed it immensely. I have no intentions of leaving that server, but I have decided to try making a character on an actual RP server as well...Landroval, specifically.

    The difficulty comes with the character itself (or herself, rather). Originally, I thought I might just re-make my Imladris main, Lenira Ashleaf, farmgirl/hunter-turned-Ranger. However, I ran into two problems: the name Lenira was already taken and I can't reconcile playing her with a different name; and I found myself struggling with the idea of playing the same character in a new setting, without all the people who shaped her journey so much on Imladris.

    So, I went with Liandal instead, but with the same background and appearance of my original Bree-land hunter. Yet she poses her own problem: I have based Liandal on a character in a story that I am writing (or trying to write, at any rate), which takes place in a somewhat different setting than Middle Earth. The Liandal of my story is a Rider, part of a specialized messenger service. Riders are an elite force sworn to the service of the king, and they share a magic Bond with their horses.

    Obviously, that won't do for a hunter in Arda.

    As of now, I have at least the basic personality of Liandal (mostly taken from the one in my story, as you might expect). Part of that personality depends on her being well-trained, and that is one of the points of difficulty: finding a reason that a Bree-land woman might have such training. The Liandal of my story comes from a minor noble house, but that's hardly an option for a Bree-lander. I would like to adapt the Rider aspect of her character to fit Middle Earth, but again, how would a Bree-land woman end up in such a position? And would there be someone in particular that she is servicing? The Dunedain, perhaps? Another force of the Free Peoples based in Bree-land or among the Eglain? Probably not the elves, though the dwarves might receive her services.

    Thoughts? Recommendations?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenira View Post
    Hullo all. I've been roleplaying on Imladris for some time and have enjoyed it immensely. I have no intentions of leaving that server, but I have decided to try making a character on an actual RP server as well...Landroval, specifically.
    You might want to re-post this on the Landroval forum so as to reach out to and elicit the assistance of folks with whom you might be role-playing with. Who knows, there may be a kinship there based on a band of Riders, all "part of a specialized messenger service.. an elite force sworn to the service of the king.. who share a magic Bond with their horses." This is in no way a criticism though. I wish you all the best. Landroval is a great bunch of people.

  3. #3
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    Are you set in having her originate from Bree-land? I ask because a lot of what you describe seems like your character could easily fit in with the Rohirrim.

    Though not exactly "magical", many Rohirrim share a strong bond with their horses, going so far as to even have lengthy conversations with them. Sometimes, it is implied that the horses might actually understand what is being said to them, even if they can't effectively communicate back. Unlike Bree-land, Rohan is also ruled by a king, so it would not be impossible for her to have descended from a minor noble house of the Rohirrim, and now serve as some kind of scout or messenger for King Theoden.

    How or what she is now doing in Bree-land might be a little tricky, however, and will certainly take some imagination. But it sounds like you have a good amount of that already. Ultimately, I have always found that as long as you play a character well and don't impose upon others, most people won't mind what kind of backstory you've created, even if it isn't 100% in line with what Tolkien was writing. Work with what you've got so far, meet new people and friends to RP with on the server, and build from there. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
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  4. #4
    Hi! And, welcome to Landroval, should you choose to continue there.

    First, I would mention that your character can't (lore-wise) just decide to become a Ranger. -- mentioning this because of what you said about your other character; "farmgirl/hunter-turned-Ranger". She can choose to /aid/ the Rangers or ally with them. But, the Rangers aren't just a group of people. Their an actual race of people, all descendents of the Numenoreans.

    Now, on to your actual question. If you love the idea of her being a person devoted to her horse and with a special bond (though not a 'magical' one) to it, you might consider her being one of the Rohirrim. But then, you'd need a reason for her to be outside Rohan. If her being a Breelander is preferred, there's still no reason she can't have a special bond with her horse, though. It just wouldn't be some "magical" bond, as such things don't exist in Middle Earth.

    Being a messenger is a very nice idea, imho. All allied groups fighting a war have a need for communication between camps.

    This /could/ actually include the various Elf outposts like Thorenhad, Echad Candelleth, Duillond, Eregion...etc. For Rivendell, she'd have to earn the trust of the Elves to even be shown where that is, as it's kept hidden to avoid the enemy discovering it. -- even though, ingame, our characters are given that information freely.

    I'm sure the Dwarves would want information, too, so that they could keep track of any threats to their realms.

    Seeing that the Rangers are fairly scattered about in the wilds, it might be a bit more difficult to find them to deliver messages - though Turbine has created the two large camps --three, if you count Annuminas -- she might ferry messages between, so long as she swore to keep the locations secret. (despite Turbine making it so everyone and their sister's brother's uncle can easily find it and some even discuss them openly in Bree, ic'ly)

    As for her training; perhaps she ran across a Ranger at some point. Maybe one showed up out of nowhere to stop an attack on her family farm. They could have started talking or something and she realized she wanted to help the cause. If she isn't the type to be a fighter, then being a messenger may have simply appealed to her and she was given positive feedback from the Ranger so that she decided to pursue that. She would, of course, have to gain their trust to be shown Esteldin and Tinnudir but I doubt that would be too much of a stumbling block for someone who was obviously not a spy for Sauron or Saruman..

    Anyway, I hope that helps in some small way. Luck to you and I hope you enjoy your foray into Landroval RP.

    -Goldrush
    *******

  5. #5
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    On the subject of Lenira, that's actually part of her background (long story short, granddad was one of the Dunedain, dad wanted a different life for himself and his family, and daughter is going the Ranger route anyway). I have spent time thinking it through--actually, the problem sometimes is to stop thinking it through.

    For Liandal, I am finding myself liking the messenger idea enough that I definitely want to go with it. I know that the magical bond is out of the question (that's unique to my story and wouldn't be appropriate in Middle Earth), but that still begs the question of how she ended up in her role. Remaking her as one of the Rohirrim is an option, I suppose, but finding a reason for her to be in the North instead of Rohan makes it tricky. (Also, 'Liandal' is hardly a Rohirric name. They're more Anglo-Saxon, and hers is a modification of Irish. And I'm reluctant to give it up.)

    I appreciate everyone's thoughts so far. I may well ask around on the Landroval forum.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenira View Post
    On the subject of Lenira, that's actually part of her background (long story short, granddad was one of the Dunedain, dad wanted a different life for himself and his family, and daughter is going the Ranger route anyway). I have spent time thinking it through--actually, the problem sometimes is to stop thinking it through.
    I wrote about Dunedain outside of RPing and Turbine's Middle-earth, so I am admittedly a bit puzzled by this. Not all Dunedain were rangers. They, too, needed farmers, cooks, blacksmiths, cobblers, farriers, moms to take care of kids, and so on. Unless he did not want to live in hiding and wanted to live completely away from his brethren and his personal history, he could have easily done another task without having to do 'Rangering'. I guess I am just interested in what this character's granddad's personal motivations were ^-^

    For Liandal, I am finding myself liking the messenger idea enough that I definitely want to go with it. I know that the magical bond is out of the question (that's unique to my story and wouldn't be appropriate in Middle Earth), but that still begs the question of how she ended up in her role. Remaking her as one of the Rohirrim is an option, I suppose, but finding a reason for her to be in the North instead of Rohan makes it tricky. (Also, 'Liandal' is hardly a Rohirric name. They're more Anglo-Saxon, and hers is a modification of Irish. And I'm reluctant to give it up.)

    I appreciate everyone's thoughts so far. I may well ask around on the Landroval forum.
    She could be half or quarter Rohirric, if you desire, which would explain a non-A.S. name. It's just about constructing the backstory to explain why her parent or grandparent came north and married a Bree-lander then.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Laire View Post
    I wrote about Dunedain outside of RPing and Turbine's Middle-earth, so I am admittedly a bit puzzled by this. Not all Dunedain were rangers. They, too, needed farmers, cooks, blacksmiths, cobblers, farriers, moms ...
    True, and not true. When the Numenorean exiles founded the two Kingdoms, Arnor and Gondor, the regions were already inhabited by other ("lesser") men, and there already were Numenorean settlements throughout the Westlands (Tharbad, for example, was an ancient logging-town and shipyard founded millennia before the Downfall; Pelargir had already been founded as a refuge for the Faithfull; while most loretrolls assume that Orthanc was built during the realm of Gondor, I do not think this is explicitly stated, and I think it far more likely that its fantastic design and construction are the products of a Numenor at the very peak of both its craft and its superstition*).

    *The Hornburg at Helm's Deep is explicitly stated to have been built by Gondor: while it is a great fortress, it is nothing like Orthanc; I also mean, Orthanc-only, not including the fortifications of the Ring of Isengard, which are also explicitly of Gondorian origin and, also explicitly, were built at a later date than Orthanc.

    Please forgive the aside. Back to the purpose: the indigenous people in the Northwest of Eriador were akin to the Edain, from which the Numenoreans were themselves descended, and were more-or-less friendly; in Enedwaith and Minhiriath lived people, perhaps related to 3rd Age Dunlendings, who were hostile to the Numenoreans; the populations of Calenardhon and the Coastlands were presumably tolerant of Numenorean presence.

    So, the Exiles took over and established themselves as the ruling caste: the farming, cooking, blacksmithing, cobbling, and farriery were largely performed by the dominated peoples (consider, "what does it mean to be English?" in 1066, 1215, 1415, 1776, 1840 ...); then the Two Kingdoms declined, and there was war with Angmar, and the Great Plague, yada yada yada ...

    The Witch-King "ends" the North Kingdom at the Battle of Fornost, but what does this mean? Bree survived (it was a pre-Arnor settlement to begin with), the Shire survived, but the old kings "disappeared" and the Rangers commenced to wander the wilderness.

    The only thing that can be asserted is this: in the North, the Dunedain ceased to assert themselves as rulers, and turned to living a furtive, mostly nomadic, lifestyle; apparently their communities lived widely-dispersed (there is no mention of Dunedain settlements). Think of the coureurs de bois of 17th Century New France: a pelt-laden canoe draws up on the riverbank, and a sunburned leatherstocking leaps ashore, hoping to trade to renew his stocks of musket powder and shot, salt, suet ... perhaps he can even afford to enjoy a tankard of ale in the tavern, before he returns to his life in the trackless wilderness ...

    Aragorn declares that his people have been guarding Bree-land and the Shire (and, by extension, any other regions of settlement that might still exist in the Northwest) against perils from the Trollshaws and the Misty Mountains: this is an absolutely VAST region to police; however few the Dunedain have become in their decline, they must sustain a substantial population nevertheless.

    Otherwise, not all "Wilderlings" will be Dunedain: there are likely to be some errant Dunlendings here and there, also a smattering of independent farmsteaders and hunters, akin to Bree-folk and/or other descendants of the survivors of the North-Kingdom, as well as bandits; I'm trying to explain why "what it is to be Dunedain" is, at the time of tWotR, only remembered by the Dunedain, themselves.

    [/loretroll off]

    A couple of thought for you, regarding your original post in this thread,

    Liandal can believe she has a mystical connection to her mount: fictional people are permitted to be as delusional as non-fictional people; of course, perhaps "crazy-horse-lady" is exactly the type of disguise that a secret courier for the Dunedain might select ...

    Where/how did she acquire her skills? The School of Hard Knocks is always accepting new students ... Seriously, Liandal must be somebody's daughter: no one would raise a child to be a huntress in the wilderness, without teaching the child how to survive, particularly if likely dangers include bandits, goblins and trolls.

    I hope some of this is helpful.

    HoG

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harper_of_Gondolin View Post
    The only thing that can be asserted is this: in the North, the Dunedain ceased to assert themselves as rulers, and turned to living a furtive, mostly nomadic, lifestyle; apparently their communities lived widely-dispersed (there is no mention of Dunedain settlements). Think of the coureurs de bois of 17th Century New France: a pelt-laden canoe draws up on the riverbank, and a sunburned leatherstocking leaps ashore, hoping to trade to renew his stocks of musket powder and shot, salt, suet ... perhaps he can even afford to enjoy a tankard of ale in the tavern, before he returns to his life in the trackless wilderness ...
    While there is no mention of settlements in LOTR, if you consider anything that Tolkien wrote that does not contradict with LOTR (and possibly the Hobbit and the Silmarillion, depending who you talk to) as canon, then he *did* name a settlement/settling area for the Dunedain, in an unpublished note now kept at Marquette University:

    Tolkien actually made a note, now filed among his papers at Marquette University, which stated that Aragorn's people lived in the Angle, between the Bruinen and Mitheithel rivers. The Mitheithel river, as it turns out, does lie about 100 leagues (or 300 miles) east of the Shire. (Michael Martinez in Of Thegns and Kings and Rangers and Things)

    I spoke with David Salo (Tolkien linguist) in 2009 (IIRC) when some of the Marquette papers were on display in NYC, and that was a subject that was also brought up. I have no reason to believe the note does not exist.

    So, while it was unpublished, because it does not go against any established lore in LOTR, or other published books, I consider it canon. The appendix which calls them 'wandering' also cannot be completely trusted as fact since Appendix A is a straight translation from the book of Westmarch rather than Tolkien's discovery, as the essay above goes into. I would consider Tolkien's unpublished note more 'factual' so to speak than a 4th age historian's bias.

    Because these 'noble folk' were in decline and eventually went into hiding, I am quite convinced that they managed to make themselves self-sustaining in a permanent settlement (or settlements) in the Angle and took what jobs they needed to to survive, every now and then getting help from the Elves of Rivendell when it was more sorely needed (and likely depended on how prideful the current chieftain was, if he'd be willing to ask for help or not).

    Aragorn declares that his people have been guarding Bree-land and the Shire (and, by extension, any other regions of settlement that might still exist in the Northwest) against perils from the Trollshaws and the Misty Mountains: this is an absolutely VAST region to police; however few the Dunedain have become in their decline, they must sustain a substantial population nevertheless.

    Otherwise, not all "Wilderlings" will be Dunedain: there are likely to be some errant Dunlendings here and there, also a smattering of independent farmsteaders and hunters, akin to Bree-folk and/or other descendants of the survivors of the North-Kingdom, as well as bandits; I'm trying to explain why "what it is to be Dunedain" is, at the time of tWotR, only remembered by the Dunedain, themselves.
    I do, however, agree with this-- all men who lived in 'the Wilds', wanderers or not, were definitely not Dunedain. I imagine that in guarding Bree-land and the Shire, and other parts of Eriador, they had some sort of permanent outposts for the Rangers to rest at-- likely hidden ones such as caves a la Henneth Annun, but outposts nonetheless.
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  9. #9
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    When it comes to trying to figure out how a character got to Bree, anyone who creates a toon from Dale, Gondor, or Rohan all have that same problem, considering the starting location is Archet for humans......

    And it becomes even worse since strictly speaking, one is led to believe that Gondor apparently had no contact with the lands north of Rohan, so why on earth would a bunch of Gondorians be running around Bree anyway? And while for his birthday party, Bilbo ordered gifts from Dale to be given out to his friends, it doesn't necessarily mean that men were traversing the Misty Mountains; it is probably more likely that it was dwarven merchants traveling from the Blue Mountains to Erebor and back who carried such an order, and at any rate, Bilbo's birthday party was 18 years before the events of LOTR and by that time, the crossing of the Misty Mountains had once again become dangerous.

    Tharbad no longer existed and was nothing but a ruin, and Tolkien leads you to believe that except for the Dunlendings and a secretive folk living in Eryn Vorn and a few fisher folk villages scattered up the cost, the whole of Minhiriath and Enedwaith was totally deserted. The Dunlendings apparently occasionally came north (I don't think the Dunlendings were quite as barbaric and tribal as the game indicates), as Butterbur didn't seemed completely shocked by the men of the south that had been coming to Bree, only commenting on their ill looks lately and the number of them apparently fleeing from trouble in the south (it's been a while since I read the books, so forgive me if that's not completely accurately stated). Boromir's speech at the council of Elrond leads one to believe that Gondor knew nothing of the northlands any longer and considered them a land of magic--at least, they though that halflings were only a people of legend. Rohan seemed to know something of the dwarves, do to the migrations of the longbeards in the previous centuries, and it's not completely out of the realm of possibility, given that the dwarves were merchants and widely traveled, that some made it to Gondor on occasion, but it seems that Gondor knew little of the north, and the north knew little of the south.

    However, if you look at the Medieval societies of our world, you'll see that even during the dark ages, before the great nations arose from the smaller, independent kingdoms, that the merchants still traveled and connected the different peoples despite the dangers, traveling even so far as China and India, from Scandinavia to the shores of Africa, so that those lands were at least known to Europe, even if many myths were spread about them. So for the games sake, its probably okay to assume that while politically, the north and south were isolated, that economically, there might still have been some ties. there could have been a merchant trail in existence between the north and south for those few hearty and daring enough to traverse it, that connected Gondor to Breeland and perhaps Breeland to Dale and Dale to Gondor. It could be that Boromir was traveling that route to begin with but got off of it at Tharbad, or even left it seeking Rivendell, as the Last Homely House would definitely have NOT been on the common route

    If you decide to make your toon from Rohan, it could be that she grew up perhaps on a military outpost in the Westfold or West Enmet, which would explain how she got her training, and being female, was denied outright military service, though she was trained for home defense as a shieldmaiden, and because of her training, was able to enter the ranks of the messengers and the scouts.

    It could be that Rohan has sent men north to Breeland during these days, to keep Rohan informed of what is transpiring in the north, and so she is sent north with a message for these scouts? Or perhaps with the growing evil, Theodred, since Theoden is incapacitated, seeks aid for Rohan and knowing that during his grandfather's time, the legendary Thorongil fought for Rohan as a sellsword, he sends her north to seek the men from which Thorongil came to ask for their aid? Or perhaps there was a valiant soldier or leader amongst the Rohirrim who had been exiled from Rohan by Theoden under Grima's influence, and Theodred sends her north to find that man and ask him to return?

    The only thing with any scenario of your female going north as a messenger, is that it is highly unlikely that she was went alone, especially being female, and was probably sent with at least one other person, and a male at that. What happened to that guy, however, is entirely up to you--maybe he was killed along the way after they were attacked by Dunlendings, and sends her on alone to complete the message while remaining behind to ensure her getaway?

    Those are just suggestions! Good luck to you! (and it's probably much easier to explain a Rohirrim in Breeland than a person from Dale!)

 

 

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