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Post NEW-Guidelines to TR - LOTRO advisory added** PLEASE READ THIS!!**
on: August 17, 2005 01:09
In an effort to clarify what is/is not acceptable in a Tolkien Related thread, we, like you, have struggled to come up with a definition. Although saying that it should be immediately obvious, to an outsider looking at a thread, that the thread is Tolkien related is one way, it is still not clearly defined. We admit that this does take a bit of knowledge of the books, and a little bit of work to apply that knowledge. Therefore, we, the moderators (all unpaid volunteers, I might add) have given many hours of thought and input into developing the following guidelines.

CHARACTERS: As this is a Tolkien site, your characters should be generated from Tolkien's world. He offered a broad scope of races to choose from; elves, men, hobbits, maiar, Istari (wizards), orcs, uruk-hai, easterlings, haradrim, beornings and dwarfs are only some of the few who come to mind. Characters such as Harry Potter, Captain Jack Sparrow, vampires, aliens, drow, Star Trek, high priestesses, fairies, hyperactive attention deficit children, mystical beings, werewolves, mages, soul-suckers, mind readers, shape/colour shifters and any characters from other books, films, universes are NOT acceptable in a Tolkien RP, even one that is only Tolkien Related.

This does not mean you are limited to only the "known" characters. Legolas was not the only elf in Mirkwood. He had relatives, friends and neighbors...all of which could be created by you, the player. Moria was inhabited by dwarfs; Gimli was not a lone dwarf in Middle Earth. Create your inhabitants of ME from the lesser known or unnamed residents that surely existed, even if not described by Tolkien. Introduced characters from moden times would also be allowed. Some of our most interesting RPs are about moden people accidentally interacting with Middle-earth.

As to the language your characters use, keep it Tolkien. The author never wrote such dialogue as 'hey, you guys', 'how about a group hug', 'geez', calling women 'bimbettes', 'broads' or other less polite terms, 'don't sweet talk me', 'this guy has issues' or 'that's cool'. Tolkien's world was not created in the XYZ Mall or in a local high school. The speech of the inhabitants of ME was elegant and very old English (aside from the elvish languages, of course).

Just a side note...names and variations abound. If you play a character in one, or even two, threads, it might enhance your enjoyment to come up with a few other characters (and names to go with them) for additional threads. We have seen the same characters used simultaneoulsly in thread after thread after thread. Some imagination regarding the characters used would make it interesting for all, not just the player.

SETTINGS: The world Tolkien developed in over 30 years of writing was vast. The map of the Third Age was only a small part of that world, and even that had areas not developed or expanded upon. But there were also the maps of Beleriand, the Numenoreans and Valinor, as well as his concept of Arda, when the world was bent, to draw upon in creating a setting for your plotline. For those of you who have no idea what we're talking about, may we suggest that you open the pages of not only the LOTR or the Hobbit but the Silmarillion as well. All of these maps had place names. Placing your setting in "a forest", along side "a river", in a "tavern" begs the question...which forest, river or tavern?

As you create your plotline, feel free to wander into any of these various worlds. In the Third Age, for example, the great expanse of the southern, far northern and eastern regions were not thoroughly described by Tolkien and are open to your interpretation. Using Tolkien's names for those areas, expand upon the descriptions in your plotlines. Or expand your own knowledge of the other worlds (such as Beleriand and Numenor) and open more worlds for your story and characters, once again using the names of those places and sites as you travel through them. A "forest", "river" or "tavern" just doesn't cut it. Additionally, elves and dwarfs were not known to spend a great deal of time in taverns and inns. And other than Gondor, there were no "palaces" in Tolkien's world. The elves created beautiful living places but one can hardly call the flets of Lothlorien 'palaces' or 'manor houses'. This is not King Arthur's world but Tolkien's. When you use an area of Middle-earth as your setting, make sure that you are consistent within that setting. For example, Rohan was a land of Horsemen with the people mostly living in individual homes and small villages. It isn't likely that you will find a tavern full of sneak thieves, and pickpockets there as those types would most likely be found only in big cities (of which there were very few) where they could find victims.

MAGIC: Tolkien used very limited magic in his worlds. Some examples are the Palantiri, the Rings of Power, Sting, Gandalf's staff, the phial of Galadriel, and her Mirror. Take Sting for a moment. Sting turned blue when Orcs were around....that's all it did. Sting did NOT throw out flames and take down an entire horde of Orcs in one blow.

Telepathy and foresight was pretty much limited to the elves and the Istari, and only the higher levels, such as Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Celeborn. Everyday elves did not use telepathy as a means of general communication....they spoke.

Gandalf's and Sauruman's staffs did not bring down armies with a flash of flames. Even against the Balrog, Gandalf did not use his staff as a mighty weapon, he used it as defense from the blows of the Balrog...he fought the Balrog with a sword. If introducing a new character in the form of a wizard, for example, his abilities should be inline with Tolkien's - Istari-type wizards, rather than D&D wizards or HP wizards.

One of the most powerful characters in Tolkien's writings was Sauron and even he had severe limits to his magical powers. He didn't godmod at all. Most of what he did involved using cunning and trickery to achieve his goals. For example- he used illusion to trick Gorlim into revealing Barahir's hideout. He deceived the Elves of Eregion and helped them design and forge he Rings of Power, and then used his own sorcery to make the One Ring. He used slanted words and lies, and their own fears to convince the Numenorians to rebel against the orders from the Valar and sail to the Undying Lands. When he needed victories, he had to have armies and soldiers to do his fighting. He could bend the will of many of his foes, but he was never able to just use some kind of magic and defeat them with beams from his hands.

Keep these thoughts in mind when you are creating your storylines. Cities and people were not floating and transporting from one place to another as if on a magic carpet in Tolkien's world. Swords and arrows did not shoot flames that brought down entire armies. And healing among the everyday folks of ME was limited to herbs and salves. Only the rare few could do more, and no one was able, on a regular basis, to raise the dead.

DRESS/WEAPONRY: The clothing in Middle Earth did not consist of jeans, tanktops, sneakers and 'scrunchies'. Even if all you are drawing upon as examples are from the films, the costumers who created the incredibly valid interpretations of Tolkien's descriptions would be horrified by this. If you're going to play in Tolkien's world, then get into the proper attire. The clothing in Middle Earth was detailed and lavish enough that there is no need for anything else (most definitely not tank tops and mini skirts).

For those who wonder what proper attire looks like, this is a handy site for a view of all the major characters' costumes...pictures and written details are included:

As to weapons, there were swords, bows and arrows, stones (remember the Hobbits were great stone throwers) and axes. None had any more power than their wielder could give them. Legolas (and most of the elves) were great archers. The dwarfs used axes and the men of ME used swords and/or bows and arrows. There were no baseball bats, no guns, no UZI's and no magical weapons, other than the staffs of the Istar, and once again, even their power was limited.

ANIMAL SIDEKICKS: Okay, yes, there were many animals in Middle Earth; wolves, hawks, eagles, horses, even probably the occasional cat and fox. However, they were not any more vocal than the animals in your backyard. Nor did they shape shift regularly into humans or into another animal. If you wish to travel with a hawk (who might be able to carry messages from you to another) or a wolf (much like traveling with a dog), go for it, but carrying on conversations with them at dinner time around the campfire is unacceptable. Gandalf could communicate with the eagles, perhaps, but you, as a normal resident of ME cannot. There are no people described in Tolkien's works that ride around in ME on a Pegasus with a snake draped around their neck, a hawk on their shoulder and with a wolf plodding alongside, all of which are conversational with the main character and all of whom can bring down an army or a passing band of orcs. It just didn't happen. So...no animals with magic powers

PLOTLINES: This seems to be the trickiest part for players in Tolkien Related threads to grasp. And we must admit, it was tricky for us to describe. We couldn't put it into a percentage (75%, 90%, etc.), nor could we make it adhere to the canon so much that it would become a TT forum plotline. One of the moderators came up with a line that we think comes closest; i.e. there are further things that can be expanded on, if the "VOIDS" are explored. (emphasis added) It's the VOIDS in Tolkien's works that offer the best opportunity for imagination, creativity, ideas, expansion. Some examples of this might be: Legolas' life after the War, a ship of Corsairs that attacks Lindon, resettling Moria now that the Balrog is gone, a quest into the far eastern regions to find a lost child/father/love/item, a raid by the Easterlings on Osgilliath, a love affair between Gimli and a female dwarf who comes to work in the Glittering Caves, evil growing once again in Mordor by a minion of Sauron's, a truly repentant orc who comes to live with a group of farmers.....or why not something from the Silmarillion or the Hobbit?

One thing that has troubled all the moderators is the overgrown population of assassins, killers, thieves, ruffians, and spies (aside from the other mis-led characters, of course). Tolkien's world certainly had a few but it should be noted that aside from the occasional appearance of a spy or assassin, Tolkien provided enough well described tensions between races, searches, quests, genuine friendships, real enemies, true commaraderie for any number of plots to be created. The Fellowship of the nine need not be the only one. True fellowships (with all the courage, bravery, friendship, sacrifice, integrity and honor that that entails) could be formed, taking Tolkien's beliefs and his world into account. There is so much more to Tolkien's world than elves jumping out of trees and sitting in taverns guzzling ale.

Finally: Find a reason for being in ME. If you're threre just to chase your playmates through the bushes, play jokes like dumping bleach (non-existant in ME) on someone's head or doing somersaults and flip-overs....take it to your local playground or Central Park. If you're in ME, find a purpose...a quest, a search, defense of locale, something Tolkienesque.

Use your imagination. Expand upon the themes, locations and events. Explore the world of Tolkien (either in books or films). There is more than enough provided by the author himself to create any number of storylines that need not be absolute canon but still in Tolkien's world, and thus acceptable in a Tolkien Related thread.

Keep it PG-13. Love and war existed in ME but was never described in 'R rated' ways.

SIDE NOTE: The moderators will soon be reviewing those threads which are blatantly NOT TR and making preparations to move them to Monkey Games. You will be notified in advance before this occurs. As an aid to those wishing to start new threads that are in line with the above guidelines, there will be a companion thread to this one begun shortly...a sort of training camp for TR storylines. When you have an idea, and aren't sure whether it will fit in TR or how to proceed with character/plotline development, come talk to the moderators in this upcoming thread. We'll be happy to answer your questions, guide you along and work with you on any problems you may be having. We look forward to seeing you there.

[Edited on 18/8/2005 by PotbellyHairyfoot]

[Edited on 28/8/2005 by berethedhellen]

[Edited on 5/10/2007 by PotbellyHairyfoot]
Life is good! Live it to the fullest. Love well those near and dear. "You cannot step into the same river twice, for the waters are ever flowing on ....." Heraclitus I Aear cân ven na mar
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Post RE: NEW-Guidelines to TR - LOTRO advisory added** PLEASE READ THIS!!**
on: October 05, 2007 12:26
Although we understand how immersed people can become when playing online games, especially LOTRO, the moderators have discussed the character classes found there and have come to the conclusion that although those characters may be ideal for online gaming, they stray way to far from the types of characters and abilities actually found in the works of JRRT .
We must announce that RP characters based on the LOTRO online game aren't acceptable in the CoE RP forums. If you wish to try out using LOTRO type characters, we recommend our sister site Loki's Palace , an excellent RP site.
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on: November 30, 2013 02:01
A very well written guideline thread BerethEdhellen and PotbellyHairyfoot.
Eighth King of Arthedain - It was in battle that I come into this Kingship, and it will be in Battle when I leave it. There is no peace for the Realm of Arnor. Read the last stand of Arthedain in the Darkest of Days.
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