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  1. #1
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    RP-ing a Monk-type character

    I was considering making a Monk-type figure in Middle-earth without stretching the lore too much. I do not mean in the World of Warcraft Panda sense, but rather a contemplative sort of figure that is gentle, open, kind, and generally interacting with other characters on a very basic level. Perhaps this character just stands in front of the Prancing Pony and talks to people or walks around Bree and engages them. This character would probably not get too caught up in the historical events and goings-on which Tolkien's mythological writings are largely made up of. This wouldn't be to dismiss or negate his works, but rather to make them more approachable. If this character did entertain in conversation about adventuring at all, it would probably somehow touch upon the reality of existence itself. As I see it, The Silmarillion is in part a creationist story and the Lord of the Rings was influenced by the events of Tolkien's day.. When I say contemplative, I do not mean to imply religious or doctrinal trappings. As indicated, this might mean keeping role-play very simple and concerned rather with everyday affairs, but it would also be entirely dependent on who this character is interacting with and that person's style or role-play. The closest race to this sort of figure would seem to be an Elf, though they are likely apt to meander off into a long-winded discourse and I'm not so sure it would make sense for them to be hanging around Bree in the first place. The closest class would seem to be a healing Rune-Keeper. It could be that I have a character bio/background in mind which I keep to myself, and that the manner in which I envision this character becomes unimportant in the course of actual role-play itself. This figure needn't even have a name for that matter, but one will ultimately have to be decided on in addition to race and class. Names can be very important I think, and I'm wondering what would be a suitable one in addition to how that choice might help define this character.
    Last edited by Breeon; Jan 26 2014 at 04:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    This is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure how it would work in Tolkien's world. Monks typically become monks from a desire to reject certain things about society, but they are striving for something, as well, whether it's enlightenment or heaven. Since Tolkien's world has no organized religion, no organized worship of Eru or the Valar, then what would the monk be be trying to teach people? You'd have to come up with a set of beliefs for him, and some practices, too. Although Tolkien was a Catholic, his mythology doesn't include anything about punishment or rewards in the afterlife, except of course for Morgoth, who was thrown into the Void. Although that wasn't the afterlife, I think, since Valar are spirits to begin with and don't die.

    The differences between Elves and the mortal races would also matter, I think. Since Elves live forever in Arda, they wouldn't have the fear of death that the mortal races have. It's this fear of death and the desire to prepare for it that inspire most monks to renounce the transitory pleasures of this world and go in for asceticism.

    These are just random thoughts, but good luck with this, though!
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  3. #3
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    RP-ing a Monk-type character, further thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by ferdinanda View Post
    This is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure how it would work in Tolkien's world. Monks typically become monks from a desire to reject certain things about society, but they are striving for something, as well, whether it's enlightenment or heaven. Since Tolkien's world has no organized religion, no organized worship of Eru or the Valar, then what would the monk be be trying to teach people? You'd have to come up with a set of beliefs for him, and some practices, too. Although Tolkien was a Catholic, his mythology doesn't include anything about punishment or rewards in the afterlife, except of course for Morgoth, who was thrown into the Void. Although that wasn't the afterlife, I think, since Valar are spirits to begin with and don't die.
    The differences between Elves and the mortal races would also matter, I think. Since Elves live forever in Arda, they wouldn't have the fear of death that the mortal races have. It's this fear of death and the desire to prepare for it that inspire most monks to renounce the transitory pleasures of this world and go in for asceticism.
    These are just random thoughts, but good luck with this, though!
    Thank you for your input. I’m not sure how it might work either. As for this world, as I understand it, monks ultimately embrace monasticism not to reject the world but rather to embrace it by giving a hard look at it in all of its shortcomings. I think this is a common misconception. As for desire, they are not driven by it, but rather desire is something which they purpose to come to terms with in choosing a contemplative path.

    As for differences between elves and mortal races, and what this character would be attempting to teach people, perhaps the two could be closely related. I remember reading that elves actually envy the mortal races for their mortality. An elf can also die of a broken heart and from unbearable sadness I believe. Who better than an elf to speak of the gift that is life?

    Perhaps a monastic life would be a result of this character attempting to understand her or his jealousy, and the deep-seated sadness which coincides with it. Given the unforeseen fate of Middle-earth, and an overwhelming sense of doom which threatens to set in toward the close of the 3rd age, perhaps this character chooses to reject conflict. What he teaches others (namely those of the mortal races) is perhaps, not that they too must reject conflict (because conflict and war are inevitable), but rather that they must first fully embrace and appreciate the gift of life before so readily casting it to the wayside. Furthermore, perhaps in choosing a monastic life this character has not so much rejected the world but rather himself in it somehow. Let’s say he feels conflicted because, while he recognizes his jealousy, he also somehow associates it with Morgoth’s path, insomuch that it was envy which lead to the current condition of the world.

  4. #4
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    I think this is really interesting. From a real-world philosophy it seems that this would be more in the tradition of a Buddhist monk than a medieval Christian monk. To me this sounds a lot like an elven lore-master, likely one of great age, looking to pass along knowledge before he sails to the West.

    The deep truths you mention about the status, the nature, and the condition of Arda; its makeup and how living things fit into it, would be really only known by Elves. Specifically, this information would likely lie in the hands of Noldorin exiles or those who have been taught by them, or those who were around during the First Age. Imladris is the only place I can think of that would be a center of this kind of knowledge at this particular time. Galadriel and Celeborn would have this level of awareness also, of course; as would the Istari - perhaps this individual spent time living in proximity to Lorien or Imladris or one of the Istari?. This is deep stuff that your average run of the mill Elf or Man wouldn't really be aware of, except those who are deep in the lore of the Wise.

    I guess it's possible that a lifelong scholar of Men steeped in the lore of Minas Tirith would know some of this - but late in the third age those types of individuals would be quite rare.

    Just my opinion of course
    Galadhloth, Hunter 100, Glirithil, Mini 100, Calanor, LM 100, plus lots and lots of alts
    Watchers of Elendil ~ Landroval ~ Crickhollow ~ Tarciryan Knights
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galadhloth View Post
    I think this is really interesting. From a real-world philosophy it seems that this would be more in the tradition of a Buddhist monk than a medieval Christian monk. To me this sounds a lot like an elven lore-master, likely one of great age, looking to pass along knowledge before he sails to the West.
    The deep truths you mention about the status, the nature, and the condition of Arda; its makeup and how living things fit into it, would be really only known by Elves. Specifically, this information would likely lie in the hands of Noldorin exiles or those who have been taught by them, or those who were around during the First Age. Imladris is the only place I can think of that would be a center of this kind of knowledge at this particular time. Galadriel and Celeborn would have this level of awareness also, of course; as would the Istari - perhaps this individual spent time living in proximity to Lorien or Imladris or one of the Istari?. This is deep stuff that your average run of the mill Elf or Man wouldn't really be aware of, except those who are deep in the lore of the Wise.
    I guess it's possible that a lifelong scholar of Men steeped in the lore of Minas Tirith would know some of this - but late in the third age those types of individuals would be quite rare.
    Just my opinion of course
    Thank you for your feedback. I suppose it’s only fair to draw back the curtain a bit. I believe that different monastic practices share certain core tenets. And while I was considering the creation of a new character, I have come to realize that perhaps I am now working out the details of an existing character.

    My main character was a Champion Elf from Lindon. For the majority of his time as a character in Lotro, he was also a part of an all-elven heavy role-playing kinship. The name of that kinship is translated from the Sindarin to mean “Stand and Fight.” The basic principle which unites members is that these elves have chosen not to set sail into the West, but to instead stay behind and valiantly defend Middle Earth. In an attempt to reinvent Lotro for myself and instill new life in the game, I changed my character’s name. This was a risky decision on my part, I felt, but I had also always wanted to play a Rune-Keeper. And so I did create a Rune-Keeper, and by using screen shots for reference, made an identical looking character to my Champion, and gave him the former name even (both Father and Chosen names, or name and surname). In effect, he feels like the same character, looks the same, and albeit it is a new class, I think of him as being the same character.

    And while I have since excused this character from this all-elven heavy rp kinship with which he was formerly aligned, it makes sense in that I imagine this character, having been a Champion (Warrior, Watcher, whatever) has since lost all taste for bloodshed and war. I do not envision him as being lost or wandering around aimlessly, however, but transformed rather into a more matured and hardier figure. He was always a Scholar, so I don’t suppose this change is anything too exceptional or difficult to imagine. He does not run around and show off his rune-stones to anyone incidentally, much less talk about such things.

    I see his identity as being wrapped up in my own feeling as a player about the game at this point in time. The game is not new to me anymore, and neither is this character. As the game has changed a great deal since I’ve been playing, so too has this character’s view of the world. Conversely and true to life, the more I think I know about the game, the more I realize I do not know. Somehow I think this is symbolically represented by this character’s loss for all appetite of bloodshed, and also his renewed openness. And while he has since stepped away from the party of elves which helped define his purpose, in a way he is actually fulfilling the oath which he once swore in being initiated by them. And whereas that kinship had very little to no dealings with others who are not elves, this character chooses not to shy away from them and may have instead learned to embrace them. This would especially be true if he considers that his path and very identity are wrapped up in the future and in the age of Man, for example.

    As a side note, instead of having this new Rune-Keeper character coming from Lindon, as was the case with my Champion, I chose to recreate his background as part of Mirkwood. In part, this was because of an ongoing rp campaign with my former kinship which was taking part in Mirkwood. More than anything I wanted the cosmetic ability to change his hair to white or grey, imagining that he happened upon some ill undoing while there, and never met up with the rest of the party. Hence, his absence and removal from the kinship. A lot of this is speculation and I haven’t worked out the details yet. The comments made so far, are helpful though, so thank you.

    By 'Noldorin Exiles' you mean as a result of the 'kinslaying'? The only danger (challenge really) I see with using some of the things you’ve mentioned.. about the nature of existence belonging in the minds and hearts of “Noldorin exiles or those who have been taught by them, or those who were around during the First Age,” is that I feel it makes me responsible for knowing about or being able to reference an overwhelming amount of mythological historical data about Tolkien’s universe. And while I own copies of the Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion, Lost Tales, The Shaping of Middle-earth, Lays of Beleriand, Lost Road, etc., I tend to read them out of order and piecemealed together. Some of Tolkien's works read fluently like stories, others are more like reference materials. It is the style of Tolkien's writings and the rich emotional content which I have always enjoyed most. Names, times, places, and dates are difficult for me.
    Last edited by Breeon; Jan 26 2014 at 04:41 PM.

  6. #6
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    All I can say is wow - I am always amazed when I see a character thought out in so much depth. It's a fascinating story and I love the idea of transitioning from one class and one focus to another. Might I ask which server you are on?
    Galadhloth, Hunter 100, Glirithil, Mini 100, Calanor, LM 100, plus lots and lots of alts
    Watchers of Elendil ~ Landroval ~ Crickhollow ~ Tarciryan Knights
    ~~~~ Imladris in the Forgotten West ~~~~

  7. #7
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    One of my characters would love to interact with yours in discussion of Elven beliefs. Specifically that of free will. You will never find him in Bree however except perhaps on the outskirts awaiting someone. Great idea and it sounds like it would be fun to play.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galadhloth View Post
    All I can say is wow - I am always amazed when I see a character thought out in so much depth. It's a fascinating story and I love the idea of transitioning from one class and one focus to another. Might I ask which server you are on?
    Thank you for your kind words. This particular character is on Crickhollow. He was my first Lotro character and so is special to me. Not uncommon I'm sure. My only concern really is that role-playing on that server has almost completely dried up. Many good people have set sail for the shores of Landroval and Laurelin. I have several characters on each of those servers also, and have toyed with the idea of settling on one or the other more permanently for some time now. At this moment I playing a new rune-keeper on Landroval.

    Quote Originally Posted by Laurefinde View Post
    One of my characters would love to interact with yours in discussion of Elven beliefs. Specifically that of free will. You will never find him in Bree however except perhaps on the outskirts awaiting someone. Great idea and it sounds like it would be fun to play.
    I've always viewed my position in the heavy all-elven rp kin I was a part of as a student more than anything. As I might have said, its the rich emotional content and character development which makes Tolkien's works so endearing to me, and it is in that spirit I approach role-playing. His poetic way of investigating the nature of the human condition, is also very interesting to me. This is especially true given his service in the British Army during World War I. As for holding any kind of lengthy discourse, in-character, I'm afraid I might get distracted by a flock of birds suddenly passing overhead or something. The lotro environment is wonderful inspiration for that sort of thing. I would probably somehow relate the passing birds to part of an earlier conversation our characters might have been having, but in a subtle manner that chances making me appear either inattentive or elusive. I understand your not wanting to be in Bree, as an elf. On Crickhollow, when role-playing was still pretty steady, one had to take what they could get, which usually meant frequenting the Prancing Pony and putting up with a lot of posturing and metagaming. In any event (sorry), an in-character discussion about free-will and how that relates to immortality and elven beliefs would be a worthwhile one, not at the expense of negating or dismissing each others views or experiences though.
    Last edited by Breeon; Jan 26 2014 at 04:45 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Breeon View Post
    Thank you for your kind words. This particular character is on Crickhollow. He was my first Lotro character and so is special to me. Not uncommon I'm sure. His name is Barabin Rainmaeron. My only concern really is that role-playing on that server has almost completely dried up. Many good people have set sail for the shores of Landroval and Laurelin. I have several characters on each of those servers also, and have toyed with the idea of settling on one or the other more permanently for some time now. At this moment I playing a new rune-keeper on Landroval named Diorn. Sadly, the name Barabin was already taken so this can not be the same character I'm afraid. What to do, what to do? Lol :P
    Ah ok - and yes, I understand characters being special. I spend most of my time on Imladris, though have alts on Landroval and Laurelin. Feel free to say hi if you run across Parmandis, Ehtendo, or Floribunda on Landroval.
    Galadhloth, Hunter 100, Glirithil, Mini 100, Calanor, LM 100, plus lots and lots of alts
    Watchers of Elendil ~ Landroval ~ Crickhollow ~ Tarciryan Knights
    ~~~~ Imladris in the Forgotten West ~~~~

 

 

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