Tag Archives: Book 1

Three Dwarves in Othrongroth

It was Saturday night and Earl was back with us in Middle-earth, so we must have straightened out a few things in the previous week’s sales session.

Earl was still behind the group in levels however, so we had a catch up night ahead of us.

Gaff passed for the night, preferring sleep while Enaldie concentrated on harvesting and crafting.  That left Earl along with an alt each from Potshot and myself:

  • Earlthecat – level 14 dwarf Guardian
  • Nomu – level 15 dwarf Guardian
  • Fergorin – level 18 dwarf Rune Keeper

We left off in Bree at the Prancing Pony last time, so we picked up right there, heading to Strider’s room and the start of Volume I, Book 1.

Let me just "ring" this up

Strider, staring into the middle distance

Strider sent us off after Amdir, so I was able to add yet another screen shot to my collection of such shots of this scene.

Amdir's change...

Dreading the Nazgul... again...

My goal for this particular instance now is to see how close I can get to Amdir before the dread kicks in and immobilizes me.  Look how far I got as Nomu this time.

Amdir was, of course, defeated and we went back to Strider for the next task, which was out in Combe.  However, Fergorin got left behind.  He had already done some of Book 1, so while he could get pulled into instances with Earl and I, he couldn’t pick up the quest that whisked him off to Constable Underhill.  So he sat out that round.

But that was fine.  The subsequent instance is easy enough solo, so two of were clear overkill already.

Finishing that up got us back to Strider (and Fergorin) and also got Earl to level 15.

That sent us off to the Guardian class quest, which both Earl and Nomu needed.

Back in the early days, this quest was a real chore solo and was something of an example as to the wide variety of difficulty levels the class quests presented.  Since then, they appear to have nerfed the whole thing.  Rather than the harsh event that got my original Guardian, also named Nomu, slain, we stomped over a couple of bad guys and a boss and went on our merry way without breaking a sweat.

The rewards, which include a class trait and a helm were well worth the diversion.  Earl also got the ability to wear heavy armor, something Guardians get at level 15.  Nomu, the kinship backup armor crafter, had a level 15 set ready to hand.

Enaldie looks bored

Earl and Nomu Armored Up!

Earl is wearing the Threk-halm, the class quest reward, while Nomu (who also dyed his armor olive) has his hidden under his hooded Harbinger’s cloak.  That is Enaldie behind us on the horse, looking bored with the dwarves.

From there we pretty much followed the same path we did on our previous run through Book 1, which involves a bit of running up and down the Bree-Buckland road.

We're off on the road to the Barrow Downs

Nomu, Earl, and Fergorin

Back and forth, then off to Tom Bombadil, and then into the Barrow Downs.  As before, we stopped and picked up the big pile of quests from the pack of quest givers on the path from Tom’s house.  We even went along with Lalia for a walk again.

The lost leading the... short?

Yes, yes it does Lalia

This time around though, escorting Lalia proved to be quite a boon.  One of the rewards for the quest is the Guardian of Lalia, a heavy shield that was quite an upgrade for both Earl and Nomu as well as being a better reward than the quest used to give back in the day.

The detour to do the Barrow Downs quests is worth more than a level of experience, so well worth it given that, as a group, you can tackle them all in about half an hour.

We got ourselves back to Tom’s house and then embarked on the final big event in Book 1, Othrogroth.

This is, as I mentioned before, a light version of the Great Barrow, the big instance in the Barrow Downs, which we will assault later, once we have a few more levels.

I always liked that fog

In the Barrow

This version of the instance does not require a full fellowship.  In fact, it is manageable solo if you are well equipped and careful.  For the three of us, it was a good work-up exercise as a group.  Earl did primary tanking, Nomu assisted him trying to play the DPS guardian, and Fergorin shifted between DPS and healing.

We kept the surprise ending to ourselves, so hopefully it was a surprise to Earl.  He had never done Othrogroth before.  We got through okay and Tom lead us out and back to his home in the Old Forest.

I'm still not sure why Tom couldn't just handle this himself

Leaving the Barrow

That ended the evening’s fun and we headed back to Bree.

Earl ended up just shy of 18, which puts him in the pack with the rest of our characters.

Potshot also got some time in with his Rune Keeper.  The experience was favorable enough that he might opt for him over his Minstrel for the healing role.

We’re still not high enough level to start in on Book 2, which runs up to level 30.   So we’ll probably divert to the Barrow Downs for another round before we take up the call of the ranger’s and head towards Weathertop.

Adventures with An Unwanted Guest

If you have not played Lord of the Rings Online, you might not know that there are a variety of different quest types in the game.

There are, of course, the standard help the locals quests, what they call the regional quests.  You show up in town or at somebody’s camp site and somebody wants you to help them out by killing ten rats.  Or boars.

I think I have only been asked to kill rats once, in the Barrow Downs.  But boars, every zone seems to have its boar infestation issue.  In fact, after Terentia hit the Trollshaws and got the inevitable “kill boars” quest almost immediately, I started rewriting in my head the old song Smoke Two Joints to reflect the apparent situation in Middle-earth.

Here is what I have so far:

I kill 10 boars in the morning.
I kill 10 boars at night.
I kill 10 boars in the afternoon, for the meat that’s white
I kill 10 boars in time of peace, and 10 in time war
I kill 10 boars before I kill 10 boars,
and then I kill 10 more

But I digress.

In addition to the standard quests, you also get class quests every 10 levels that give you a new trait and generally a nice piece of equipment.  And there are crafting quest, some of which help you advance your abilities to the next tier, and others which reward you with faction or crafting supplies.

And, amongst there there are fellowship (group) quests and even raid quests.

Then, finally, there is the epic quest line.

This is the line of quests that follows the plot of Tolkien’s tale and gives you a part in the war against Sauron and the quest to destroy the one ring.  The quests in that line are divided into Volumes, which contain a given number of  books, each of which is divided into a number of chapters.  Book 1, for example, has a forward and 13 chapters, each of which represents a quest.

This is the differentiator for LOTRO.  This is, along with the three basic game play pillars common to MMOs, combat, exploration and character progression, is the fourth pillar in the equation.  This is the story element.

Wait.  Where have I read that before?

Anyway, this is the thread that winds through the game.  You do not get to be in the fellowship of the ring, but you can play a supporting role and take on the many side tasks that went unmentioned in the books.

What’s that?  You want to be the hero?  The star?  The warrior king tanking the Lich Witch King?  Sorry, that game is down in Irvine.  This game knows there is no “I” in “Fellowship.”

And the plan for the instance group in Middle-earth is to follow the eipc quest line.  We will certainly do other things, but that is going to be our guiding thread as well.

So on Saturday night, we were all ready to begin Volume 1, Book 1.

We had all done the epic prologue quests, which are specific to different racial starting areas, but which all, in the end, lead you to the Prancing Pony in Bree to speak with Barliman Butterbur.

Our fellowship for the night, standing there in the common room of the Prancing Pony, was:

  • Roderigo – level 14 Burglar
  • Enaldie – level 15 Elf Rune Keeper
  • Garfinkel – level 15 Elf Minstrel
  • Rarik – level 16 Dwarf Champion

While Earl couldn’t make it this week, we did pick up Rarik (also known as Meclin or Gaff) who got our of his pod in New Eden and joined us in Middle-earth.

The book starts at the Prancing Pony and our first task was to go and speak to the Unwanted Guest at the Prancing Pony, Strider.  He was there in his room waiting for Frodo to show up.  But there was more brewing between around Bree.  We first had to help Strider with find Amdir, a ranger who had come under the power of the Nazgul.

That actually takes place in an instance and wraps up the prologue quest line around Bree, which focuses on Amdir.

In the instance we faced several of the Nazgul.

Paralyzed with dread

They left us for Amdir to deal with while they went to continue their search for the ring.

Without his new Nazgul friends though, Amdir did not stand a chance.

Sorry Amdir

After that, we followed the quests in the lands between Bree and Buckland, meeting up with other rangers and even Fredegar Bolger in Crickhollow.  Eventually we ended up at the home of Tom Bombadil.

Tom Bombadil - Jacket Blue, Boots Yellow

Tom, in his Bombadillian fashion, sent us after a few odd items, water lilies and such, before getting around to the task at hand.

The Willow in the Old Forrest

Tom finally came to the real task, at which point we ran into a problem.

While the experience over these quests had been very good, Roderigo had just hit 14 before we started the evening and was already half way into 15, we all needed to be 16 to get this next quest.  So we took a side trip to the Barrow Downs.

There is a lump of quest givers on the path between Tom’s house and the Barrow Downs.  We picked up all of their quests and headed in.  We’d all been through the Barrow Downs before, so there was a common feeling in the group.

It certainly does Lalia...

This approach turned out to be serious over-kill.  Roderigo hit 16 while we were still working on the quests and was half way to 17 once we turned them all in.

Like I said, the experience was good.  And in LOTRO, when you are in a group… erm, fellowship… they don’t divide the experience from each kill by the number of group members.  You get the full experience you would if you were solo.

Thus leveled up, Tom was happy to send us along to… the Great Barrow!

Well, the version of the Great Barrow used for this particular quest.  It is something of a starter version of the Great Barrow, and while this quest is flagged as a small fellowship quest (3 players) I have done it solo a few times with well equipped characters.

It is a story telling event, though at the end you face Sambrog the Wight Lord who is seemingly undefeatable.  And then Tom shows up again, banishes Sambrog and leads you all out of the instance.

Uh, why did you need us then?

Done with Tom’s tasks, we were directed back to the Prancing Pony to speak with Strider.  However, when we got there, we found that Strider had left along with four hobbits from the Shire.  Gandalf had just shown up though, and was glad to speak with us.

Sit a while and listen...

And that ended Book 1.

Gandalf gave us the lead-in to Book 2, but seeing that that quest thread starts off with a level 22 quest, we might spend this upcoming Saturday night getting a few levels and perhaps looking into doing the Great Barrow for real.

In the mean time, Earl will have a bit of catching up to do.