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Janisy
12-12-2008, 11:23 PM
Hello. Reading that other post talking about LoTR, me and my group decided to start up another LoTR campaign. We have played a couple Middle Earth games in the last few years, and now we are back. But we have sort of tired of playing in the past ages. So here are my current thoughts and campaign ideas for our new campaign in the Fourth Age.

In the Fourth Age fantasy is definitely diminishing. Elves are fading away and dwarves are disappearing (or so it seems) so not many people have set adventures in this time (or not any I have seen). Well my campaign is centered around the coming of a being known as Rogmul (found the name online somewhere) who refused to join Sauron and instead started plotting to help bring Melkor back to freedom.

Rogmul has dwelled in Angband for centuries waiting for the time Sauron is destroyed so that he may put his own plans into action. After the destruction of the ring and the end of Sauron, Rogmul began to take in all the evil beings in Middle Earth as they sought a new leader to defend them from the threat of Men and Elves.

Now Rogmul plans to return Darkness to the world, no longer seeing the elves as a threat (as most of them are gone and the rest fading) and knowing the races of Man to be easily corrupted.

The first stage of this return has already been completed. The wizards Alatar and Pallando are both corrupted by Rogmul and are insstructed to return to the Undying Lands with one of the three remaining palantir from which Rogmul plans to corrupt more Maiar into his service to free Melkor.

The first part of the campaign will be about the players tracking down Pallando (who only holds one of the palantiri, Alatar holds the other, though this will not be known until later) and stopping him from reaching the Undying Lands.

After the players stop Pallando they learn Alatar has already succeeded in taking a different palantir to the Undying Lands and Annuminas was attacked by Morgul and the last palantir stolen by Rogmul. This leads the players on a quest to find the lost fortress of Angmar. Radagast the Brown has been attacked by Rogmul and with one of the remaining Morgul blades has been corrupted and released from his physical prison to join Rogmuls forces.

This what I got so far.

Anyways here is the big deciding point. It is doubtless that in a LoTR game that at least one of my players (for sure) will want to play a wizard. So here is my plan to fix this (since the wizards are not humans). The Valar, seeing that Middle Earth is under attack by the forces of darkness once more, have decided that there is no way to stand against Rogmul (as the Maiar sent to Middle Earth are all now gone or corrupt and the elves and their magic are fading) have decided to 'shatter' bits of their power and bestow the gift of magic upon man.

I know there is no reference to this in any of Tolkien's writings, but I have to find a way that the players can be wizards.

How does this all sound to you guys?

Edward
12-14-2008, 04:46 AM
Hello. Reading that other post talking about LoTR, me and my group decided to start up another LoTR campaign. We have played a couple Middle Earth games in the last few years, and now we are back. But we have sort of tired of playing in the past ages. So here are my current thoughts and campaign ideas for our new campaign in the Fourth Age.

Sounds interesting. Here's my take on it. These suggestions are assuming that you want to preserve the Tolkien flavor. Of course, there's nothing wrong with using a hybrid of Middle-earth, if you're not after straight Tolkien. In that case, just make sure your players understand that you're making a lot of changes.


In the Fourth Age fantasy is definitely diminishing. Elves are fading away and dwarves are disappearing (or so it seems)The Rings of Power are undone, as is anything that was done with their aid. Magic itself is not weaker, but there is less knowledge of magic; much will need to be rediscovered. And the most powerful mages and magical beings are gone, never to return.

The Noldor are gone, except for a very few individuals. I would not allow a player to have a Noldo character, because there are no young or inexperienced Noldor left. There are still some Sindar and a good many Silvan Elves.

The Dwarves are actually in the ascendant, at least in the short term. Their numbers are declining, but this is a process that takes thousands of years and can't really be perceived in a human lifetime. (It's not inconceivable that the Dwarven birthrate could stabilize at or above replacement fertility at some point, but they'll never again be the power they were in the First Age.) For now, the Dwarves are reunited under a single king, allied with the Reunited Kingdom, and as strong as ever. Hobbits likewise are prospering as they never have before; in fact, they're undergoing a population boom.

The Ents are also in decline, but theirs is much slower even than the Dwarves. They rule Fangorn openly. Fangorn is expanding to the north, and someday may once again be united with Lorien.

In short, the Free Peoples are prospering, but they are not great powers. The Age of Man is at hand. The Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor is the world superpower (and is in fact a superpower in the true sense of the term, with the ability to project force anywhere in the world -- the first superpower since Numenor).


so not many people have set adventures in this time (or not any I have seen). True, but most ICE campaign books do provide at least a little information on conditions in the area in the Fourth Age.


Well my campaign is centered around the coming of a being known as Rogmul (found the name online somewhere) who refused to join Sauron and instead started plotting to help bring Melkor back to freedom.

Rogmul has dwelled in Angband for centuries waiting for the time Sauron is destroyed so that he may put his own plans into action. After the destruction of the ring and the end of Sauron, Rogmul began to take in all the evil beings in Middle Earth as they sought a new leader to defend them from the threat of Men and Elves.A couple of things to keep in mind. First, Rogmul can't be more powerful than a Balrog, since the Balrogs were the most powerful fallen Maiar after Sauron. This means he can be killed by a high-level party (if they're lucky and very good); he isn't indestructible like Sauron.

Second, you'll need to set this well into the Fourth Age, after the death of Aragorn. If Rogmul had stuck his head up sooner than that, he would have been squashed.

Third, there are probably a few remaining Balrogs (perhaps four or five at the most -- there's a tradition that six Balrogs survived the First Age). Perhaps Rogmul is one of them. Whether he is or not, he won't be able to control any Balrogs he stirs up; they would see him as a rival. At best, he might form an alliance with one. However, any alliance between Balrogs (or similarly powerful fallen Maiar) would probably be short-lived.


Now Rogmul plans to return Darkness to the world, no longer seeing the elves as a threat (as most of them are gone and the rest fading) and knowing the races of Man to be easily corrupted.

The first stage of this return has already been completed. The wizards Alatar and Pallando are both corrupted by RogmulThis is doubtful. Personally, I would leave them out. There's debate about it, but the most common view (in my experience, at least) is that they were corrupted only in the same way that Radagast was corrupted, i.e., they became too involved with Middle-earth and forgot their mission. I would say they probably weren't evil, just distracted.

By the way, there's a good bit of fan fiction on Middle-earth, and much of it is very high quality. I think I remember some on the Blue Wizards. I would definitely recommend taking a look at it; you could probably run a good campaign with fan fiction alone.


and are insstructed to return to the Undying Lands with one of the three remaining palantir from which Rogmul plans to corrupt more Maiar into his service to free Melkor.It wouldn't be possible for them to return to Aman, since travel there is only possible with the aid of the Valar. If they did return, they would be imprisoned in the Houses of Mandos, from which even Morgoth could not escape. I would have Rogmul send his lieutenants recruiting throughout Endor instead; there are a number of places like Angband that could be fertile recruiting grounds.

Also, it isn't possible to free Morgoth. He's been permanently cast out of the universe. However, it's possible that Rogmul thinks it can be done, and perhaps the players do too.


The first part of the campaign will be about the players tracking down Pallando (who only holds one of the palantiri, Alatar holds the other, though this will not be known until later) and stopping him from reaching the Undying Lands.I assume the characters are already very high level.


After the players stop Pallando they learn Alatar has already succeeded in taking a different palantir to the Undying Lands and Annuminas was attacked by MorgulBy Morgul? You're not talking about the Nazgul, are you? They're all dead. But I suppose there's no reason Rogmul couldn't make his own wraiths, though they wouldn't be as powerful.

The Fourth Age is an age of diminished magical power. Neither good nor evil forces are as strong.


and the last palantir stolen by Rogmul. This leads the players on a quest to find the lost fortress of Angmar. Ouch. Either this is set well into future, when the Reunited Kingdom has really declined, or Rogmul has a death wish. Either way, the party should be dispatched by the government, with government assistance. If the party declines to take the mission and goes on their own, the government will send another party. I would have the second party use the players as a diversion; when they've stirred things up and gotten Rogmul focused on them, the second party can sneak in and take the prize (and then assassinate Rogmul if the players fail to do so).


Radagast the Brown has been attacked by Rogmul and with one of the remaining Morgul blades has been corrupted and released from his physical prison to join Rogmuls forces.Honestly, I'm not sure Rogmul is powerful enough to corrupt Radagast. I would have him kill Radagast instead. The Morgul blades are all destroyed, but no doubt there are other evil magic items around that can do the same thing.


This what I got so far.

Anyways here is the big deciding point. It is doubtless that in a LoTR game that at least one of my players (for sure) will want to play a wizard. So here is my plan to fix this (since the wizards are not humans). The Valar, seeing that Middle Earth is under attack by the forces of darkness once more, have decided that there is no way to stand against Rogmul (as the Maiar sent to Middle Earth are all now gone or corrupt and the elves and their magic are fading) have decided to 'shatter' bits of their power and bestow the gift of magic upon man.

I know there is no reference to this in any of Tolkien's writings, but I have to find a way that the players can be wizards.

How does this all sound to you guys?Humans can be wizards; they just can't be Wizards. Literally, the term "Istari" translates as "Wizards", so Wizards is used as a synonym for Istari. However, humans can learn to be spellcasters; they just won't be nearly as powerful as in a high-fantasy world such as the various D&D campaign worlds. They should eventually max out on spell points and be unable to acquire more. Elves will also max out, though their max will be considerably higher. Also, most magic should be indirect: healing, divination, defense, spells that provide bonuses, and the like. Flying and teleportation are not possible. Flashy spells such as fireball and mind control are rare, relatively weak, and can be detected by other users of magic (such as Rogmul). Very low level spellcasters are not that rare; for example, the average village should have a healer who can cast a few minor spells. Spellcasters seem rarer than they are because their powers can usually be mistaken for normal skills (e.g., healing spells could be mistaken for herbalism and first aid-type skills), and because they keep a low profile. (This would mostly be force of habit in the Fourth Age, but in the Third Age it was a matter of survival, since Sauron often targeted them.)

If your players are patient, they'll find that subtle magic can be more effective than the flashy variety. If they aren't happy without being able to toss lightning bolts around, then they probably prefer high fantasy.

It sounds like you have some good ideas. With a bit of work, it could work out pretty well.

MortonStromgal
12-15-2008, 10:54 AM
I don't think I could add much that Edward did not cover.

On magic and men though I would begin to limit spells to things fit with today's technology. No reality bending as we today would think of it, you can still have heal spells and such as today we have better healing abilities than that of the middle ages. This would be on a spell case by case basis.