LEAD Volume III Book 7: A Fellowship Endangered

October 23, 2012

LOTRO Epic Story

Welcome to LOTRO Epic A Day, where I guide you on an epic journey through Middle-Earth, one day at a time. Each Book of the Epic quest is separated into its own Day, with Side-Days for leveling up to the next book. Any plot spoilers are contained within the story overview in “Turning the Pages”. Gather up your belongings and hit the road, a new Day awaits!

Our journey takes us towards Rohan, land of the horse-lords as we continue the fight against Saruman’s forces. Will the riders accept us as a companion and let us ride with their War-bands? Will we re-unite with what remains of the Fellowship? Will the Nazgûl continue to threaten us along the way? These questions await us on our journey ahead, but the book starts in a place we visited in the past: Caras Galadhon.

Note: As you enter Middle-Earth again for Riders of Rohan, another quest is given besides the Epic book (granted from a letter in the inventory). This takes us to the Wold (south of the Great River), where we can get our war-steeds, and is covered in Side Day Rohan – the Wold. Due to the effectiveness of the new horses, I strongly suggest doing that right away, then returning to the Epic Quest afterwards.

Chapter 1: The Land of the Elf-queen

ScreenShot00006Speak to Galadriel up at the top of Caras Galadhon (15.4 S, 66.9 W, at the top) to begin the new Book in the Epic Quest. Nona has made a full recovery – well, as much as possible in her condition – and we are asked to show her the city of Caras Galadhon. She is amazed by the heights, though they don’t much suit her way of life. Though we guide her to notable locations in the city it is apparent that she is interested in returning to our journey soon. Speak to an Elf near each location – the White Fountain, atop Telain Melthin, and atop Telain Galadhrim – before visiting Galadriel again, this time in her garden.

Chapter 2: The Point of Decision

ScreenShot00001The Fellowship has come to a crossroads – do they journey directly towards Mordor, or should they pass through the cities of Men on a longer route? We gaze into Galadriel’s mirror to see their fate. Use the mirror to begin a session play as Frodo to witness the Fellowship’s decision on the banks of the Anduin.

Aragorn asks Frodo if the Fellowship’s journey should go onwards to the fire of Mt. Doom to destroy the ring, or with Boromir to Minas Tirith to defend Gondor. Frodo needs some time to contemplate the decision, so take a walk to the north-west to be alone. Along the way, Frodo thinks of what the others he’s met would have to say about his fate. Elrond, Galadriel, Gandalf, and Bilbo all have slightly different thoughts on what the path ahead means for both the world and for Frodo, but the choice is clear – the ring must be destroyed.

ScreenShot00008After thinking about all of the trouble that lies ahead, we notice someone sneaking up behind. Boromir has followed Frodo away from the group, near the top of Amon Hen. In a fit of madness he attacks Frodo, wishing to take the ring and use it for the sake of Gondor. Put on the ring (a new skill of Frodo’s) to escape, though doing so clouds the world in darkness. Our flight takes us to the ruins atop Amon Hen, where Sauron nearly finds us before we take off the ring. Speak with the vision of Gandalf to hear of the dangers threatening Middle-Earth. What can Men hope to do against such evil? In the end, it may well come down to the choices and strength of one little hobbit.

Speak to Galadriel when we return to the garden, and she sends us to travel south along the Anduin to discover the fate of the Fellowship, with Nona to aid us.

Chapter 3: The River-Walker

Corudan, one of the elves of the Golden-Host and brother to Sigileth (a fallen companion we met in Mirkwood), will guide us along the river, so meet him atop a flet near the garden. Travel up two sets of ladders to reach him before arranging supplies and a boat for the journey. Return to Corudan afterwards, then it’s back up to Nona before we’re finally able to leave the annoying, confusing mazelike place – I mean wonderful and awe-inspiring city.

Chapter 4: Along the Shore

Speak to Nona to travel to the Great River immediately, where we speak to Corudan and get to defeat some orcs around Thinglad. Return to Corudan after defeating 6. There’s been a futile search for a bow, so it’s time to move on.

Chapter 5: A Stop in Stangard

Before we can go much further Nona wishes to thank Horn for speaking out for her. Travel to Stangard and talk to Afic at the gate to find out where he is, near the Stangard milestone. Apparently Horn is no longer welcome in Stangard for the aid he offered to Nona and because he has traveled within Elf-woods, and must travel away from the village. Gather his supplies and return to Horn, who asks to travel with us. It’s now time to return to Nona and inform her of our new companion, and speak with Corudan who is amused by the makeup of the current group.

Chapter 6: A Journey by Boat

ScreenShot00016It’s finally time to enter Rohan. Speak with Corudan to take the boat south down the Anduin… and end up in Parth Celebrant, still making the journey south. Gather around the campfire with our companions, sharing stories of adventures long past. In the morning we continue our journey, arriving near the feet of the Argonath, the ancient kings carved out of stone on the banks of the Anduin. We’ve made our way to Rohan!

 

Chapter 7: Shadow of the Argonath

ScreenShot00019Horn knows that the Fellowship passed this way, after we told him on the boat. Framric, a nearby Rohirrim of the Wold, happened to spot another boat traveling down the river, and Horn would like to help him. We must prepare camp though, and gather our bearings in the new land. Nona doesn’t trust Framric (she is nearly ready to slice the Rohirrim up), but is willing to stay her sword out of respect for Horn. Meanwhile, Corudan is willing to help Framric and his people, as long as the main task is focused on as well. In any case, it’s now time to gather sticks for the fire. Gather sticks and remove supplies from the boat to finish the menial tasks before continuing on.

Chapter 8: Reading the Signs

While we can help Framric now, it’s also important to begin our search for the Fellowship, starting at the stretch of open area called Parth Galen, south of the Argonath. Find and use the discarded pack (58.7 S, 47.9 W) to begin a session play and witness the breaking of the Fellowship.

This session play is experienced with an interesting twist on the previous session play in this Book. I’ll leave it to you to see for yourself, but make sure to check the names of the NPCs at the beginning of the session play.

After finishing the short session follow tracks to Dead Orc Glade (56.7 S, 49.8 W) and examine a dead uruk to begin another session play. Make sure to watch the “horn of Gondor” skill closely – it can be used to continue the session play at a specific point after a fight, even though you haven’t been dazed or stunned (its color will show that it’s active, and a message will show up on screen to use it).

Return to Parth Galen and examine the footprints near the beach to begin another session play, from a different perspective.

After witnessing the Fellowship’s parting of ways from a couple of different  viewpoints, return to Corudan at our starting camp near the Argonath. We discuss the fate of the Fellowship – two of the hobbits have left the East Wall headed further east, while three of those remaining chase after the other hobbits, hoping to find them after their battle with the uruks.

Chapter 9: Three Hunters

ScreenShot00033There is a man named Ingild at the nearby Rohirrim encampment who claims to have seen something that will interest us – travel west to Mansig’s encampment to find out what he knows. He tells us of a large group of uruks that was running west into the Norcrofts – go look for them by standing on the ridge west of Mansig’s encampment. Join the other members of our group and look out over the majestic plains of Rohan, but take care not to fall off the cliff. Next, speak to each of our companions; Horn has mixed feelings at the sight as he is no longer welcome in Rohan but desires to help us and will follow us wherever we go, Corudan is concerned over the fate of the captive hobbits and urges us to get war-steeds to pursue them, while Nona promises to ‘keep an eye on Horn’ for us. Return to Mansig, who warns us that his fellow Rohirrim will be very suspicious of our group as we travel through Rohan.

Chapter 10: To the Wold!

Mansig suggest traveling to the Wold with some of his men, in order to help the people at Langhold and Harwick to earn war-steeds. Take him up on his offer – a fast horse that you can fight from is not something to take lightly! Accepting the quest takes us to Langhold immediately.  Speak to Adnoth at the gate to complete the book – it’s time to learn why they call the Rohirrim the “Riders of Rohan”!

Turning the Pages

ScreenShot00017

Book 7 highlights just how much story and character focus can add to a game, as well as how poor gameplay or implementation can detract from the story. We begin the new book of the new expansion by returning to cover old ground, spending the first third going back and forth solely in Caras Galadhon. Sure, our small “Companionship” needs some supplies before venturing forth, but aren’t we at the point where we can assume we have them already or just ignore it altogether to get into the new region? Even if we do want to pay attention to minute detail, why do we have to talk venture across the entire place to do so? It’s a beautiful city to be certain, but it’s neither unexplored nor is it crucial to the story.

Fortunately we soon (and during parts of the beginning of the Book,to be fair) get to take part in some strong character-driven quests. We see the breaking of the Fellowship through multiple viewpoints, getting a glimpse of how difficult the decision is on how to proceed when everything hangs in the balance. Not everyone manages to withstand the pressures, but even those who falter can regain their courage in the end. Additionally, while it’s not the first time we’ve experienced the same sort of event (there was a similar experience in Moria) and while it can’t surprise anyone who is familiar with the story at all, “Reading the Signs” is memorable just the same.

The Fellowship isn’t the only focus in this Book – we also learn a little about each of the members of our little Companionship. Corudan is as dutiful and mindful of the task at hand as an Elf can be, though he’s also very much attached to fond memories, whether it be of his sister, previous companions, or even his old unnamed bow. Horn is a concerned fellow, worried over what returning to Rohan means for both himself and the fate of our endeavors, while also making sure to look out for Nona, the outside he has developed a fondness for. Nona’s still got her fiery spirit and is ready to charge into battle… though if we can find a way to charge while on foot instead of horseback, she’d prefer it (of course, if it means spending time for Horn, she’ll find a way to manage). The path ahead might be fraught with danger from the Uruks, Easterlings, Saruman, and even the forces of Mordor, but if the pattern laid out in this Book holds true, strong characters and a strong character driven narrative will see us through.

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4 Responses to “LEAD Volume III Book 7: A Fellowship Endangered”

  1. Avatar of Hildifast
    Hildifast Says:

    It’s great to see you back Alphaman! :) Great article, ty

    Reply

  2. Twitcheetwitch Says:

    It’s a good strong storyline, though I do have one other complaint besides all the back and forth in Caras Galadhon. Why did they rewrite the Fellowship’s dialogue in the session play? Instead of Tolkien’s text verbatim we get modernized approximations. I was disappointed at that.

    Otherwise, great storyline and I’ve really been enjoying it.

    Reply

  3. Triski Says:

    I think the stop in Caras Galadhon was more for Nona’s development than anything else. It may be that at some point further on her memories of the place are used as part of the story, to help her make a decision or lead to character growth.

    Reply

  4. Rorgg Says:

    Having been away from the game when Mirkwood was released, I’ve spent very little time in CG, so yeah, it’s confusing and tricky to learn to navigate, but that’s the first time I’ve really been forced to do it. No real complaints here.

    Reply

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