[Realm Guard] Interpreting the setting

RG is such an awsome hack of an awsome game. It’s incredibly inspiring. I’ve played BW and BE, but never gotten around to trying MG yet, except for a short test at a convention. Now I have a chance to run a game for my current group, and I feel my head is spinning with ideas and opportunities. I’m in full gameplanning mode, and it’s a good mode to be in. :cool:
I’m planning on concentrating the story in Eriador, as the rebuilding of Arnor, or the Northern part of the Reunited Kingdom, slowly gets underway.

And, concerning Eriador, I was wondering what kind of premiss was put for the setting when writing up the recruitment part. Fx: How densly populated do you see Eriador as being in the early 4th. age? And, perhaps more importantly, how many Dúnedain do you see there being in Eriador at this time.
I am off course capable of setting theese parameters for my groups game, but it would be very interesting to hear your thoughts and how you interpret the setting.
I guess theese questions are directed at Rafe and Saint&Sinner, but anyone who are interested feel free to respond!

I’ve noticed in v. 1.6 of the hack, that some/most of the places in Places of Note have a Nature score, and under that it says “Twist and conditions”. Where you planning on writing examples for twist and condition for each of those places? If so, that would be just incredible and highly apreciated!
I might even reward you with a play report :wink: (though it might be a while until we get to play this)

My thoughts re: Eriador, specifically everything north of Weathertop, are that the region is still as empty of civilization as it was at the end of the 3rd Age. I view RG as being set a year after the coronation of King Elessar (Aragorn), more or less after the Ringbearers and Gandalf sail into the West.

Given that the focus of your game will be on settlement and rebuilding that area, I’d definitely keep Eriador fairly wild. In fact, I’d add a shadow of threat there in that any orcs, trolls, etc. from that entire region would likely have fled north away from the regions that became more secure as a direct result of the fall of Mordor.

There’s so much material for you to work with in terms of building a campaign around the rise of Arnor in the 4th Age it ain’t funny. There could be werewolves from the 2nd Age still up there, for instance. Also, what happens if a power-hungry Man (or Elf!) goes north, having heard rumors of Angband and finds it, or even worse… the Pits of Utumno! Badass. Also, aren’t the ruins of Gondolin up there somewhere. . . ? :wink:

As far as I’m concerned, that whole area is a question mark and filled with potential. Make of it what you will!

And I see about half a dozen Dúnedain up there, but it could be more… or less. (Whatever works for ya!) Most would be scattered around the Reunited Kingdoms.

Yeah, those notations are my “Hey, dumbass… finish this section and you’re done!” reminders. I’m so damn lazy. Actually, I’m kinda scared of completing it, as nonsensical as that is. I’m being bugged by a friend up here to shut my gob and finish, though, so I’ll pop v1.7 open again and have a looksie. (Finish it, that is, until I decide to destroy Nature in RG. It really doesn’t work and it’s just a vestigial hanger-on from MG, in which it works wonderfully. The guys I ran RG for at 10-10-10 had some thoughts, so I’ll pick their brains about it.)

Play reports are always appreciated!

That echoes my thoughts as well.

Yes, a very logical starting point.

Yes, again, we think alike.

Exactly, it almost isn’t funny. My head is about to pop with all the ideas and opportunities, and it will probably be months until I get to run this. This is so premature, I will probably regret this, but I am toying with the idea that without the presence of Sauron, the orcs revert to a kind of primitive tribal culture. And while I don’t see this culture as exactly peaceful, or achiving great works of art, maybe one might say that it isn’t evil in itself. Maybe even not a great threat to the Dúnedain? As the characters discover this it can open up some moral aspects to hunting and killing orcs.
And as a flipside, is the Dúnadan culture all good? Are all Dúnedain righteous, good and lawabiding? Off course not. In the span between these two moral ponderings I am hoping there will be fertile ground for BIG’s and plenty of opportunity to challenge the players with some painful choices.
But, as I said, this is getting so ahead of myself I’m staring to feel schizophrenic.

Psst… I think those places kind of got the Atlantis-treatment in the cataclysmic battle that ended the first age. So, they’re on the bottom of the sea, way out to the north-west somewhere.

You mean half a dozen Rangers? That’s a very careful estimate then. But, that’s a good call I think.

I won’t hold my breath then, but looking forward to it… wait, what? WHAT? Destroy Nature in RG??? Wow! Ok, now you threw me a curveball there. Are you gonna say something more on this? New thread?

Ok, my word is my bond.

And thank you very much for answering my questions so thoroughly. I appreciate it! And offcourse your work with RG, I’m a complete fanboy!

You could even have them part and go their separate ways. After all, the heir of Elendil once more sits upon the throne of Gondor and Arnor, and Sauron is overthrown. Morgoth’s got another Age to sit idly outside of the world in his lil’ prison, so the Rangers will likely start to break up… those not bound more tightly to Elessar, anyway. There could even be issues amongst them in terms of claiming lands and whatnot. Whatever works for ya!

You’re probably right, but I’d bring 'em back for some fun. (There’s still one stronghold of the Enemy up in the north, though. Carn Dum is up there.

Could be more, but I wouldn’t swamp the regions where the PCs are. (Always room for Friends and Enemies, though!) Most Rangers, I imagine, would have gone south with their king, and the rest would be out in the wide world in service to the king.

Yeah, it doesn’t work. At all. I’ve yet to encounter anyone who has gotten good use out of it in play, and there’s a good reason for it. Regardless, one of the guys at 10-10-10 had some good ideas, so I need to track him down. As I said, though… I might simply remove it. For now, it doesn’t do any damage, so I’ll keep it in. It just doesn’t add much of anything and, being so circumstantial as opposed to action-oriented, it’s a system that’s open to abuse. “I’m grieving, so I’ll be rolling Nature for this.” or “My sister lives in this town, so I’m feeling the pulls of Family. Nature!”

Glad to help!

Play Report: Rangers of the North - session I

I really hope it’s useful, and having forgotten some keys this weekend I really got the time to read the MG book, so I hung a few rules-questions on (as I tend to). Thank you so much for making this hack, enabling me to play in the realms of J.R.R.Tolkien after being a fanboy for so long, Patrick! (And thanks to Njordi, without him I wouldn’t have dared to walk there!)

Reading now, but will have to respond later. Regular work starting back up + freelance still ongoing = busy and mind occupied. I’ll answer rules questions here and leave your AP thread for responses to the AP itself, if that’s cool, unless Njordi is responding to rules stuff in the AP thread.

On nature: Yes, it’s “abusable”, I acutally think I did so last time*, but I’d much rather have a check for a skill AND a failed roll & a twist (or a condition) than breeze through every adventure. Also, to invoke Nature you’ll need Persona Points - a limited recourse which can help with difficult skill-tests as well. To get a high nature, you’ll need to be married and have ties that will engage the story, I see that as good thinks. “With great reward comes great responsibility”

Reading Mouse Guard I see that the Nature: Mouse is far more limited than the one in RG. Could limiting Nature: Dunedaìn be an idea? (Shame, Lineage, Sorrow)

If Players are abusing Nature, aren’t they cheating themselves? Reflexively I find players trying to manipulate recources to their advantage as a sign their invested, (just like when they manipulate recources to their disadvantage!), I generally find this good.

*) (as I’m considering that I might have fought according to Grief, but rather anger?)

Another suggestion could be to just say that Nature is taxed with 1 regardless! (more if it’s inappropriate) This would tie in with the questioning nature of Grief and Tradition.
“Was I correct in slaying that bandit?” “Was it wrong to risk my friends/brother crossing that river?” “Was I a bit forceful towards that innkeeper when I persuaded him to let us borrow his stable?”

You’re assuming I wouldn’t replace it with something that fulfills a similar reward-earning and mechanics function. :slight_smile: I would, or I wouldn’t remove it for the reasons you’ve listed. Not having a replacement is why I haven’t touched it at this point and very likely won’t. We’ll see. The amount I’m motivated to make a radical change is directly proportionate to how pissed off I am.

Quite possibly! That said, getting those three descriptors was a pain in the ass as it was.

Keep the feedback coming! It’s appreciated.

For what it’s worth, the three aspects of Dun. nature I’ve come up with, if I were to change it is:

Can’t decide which of thees that sounds best.
But I feel this sets a good contrast to the Ranger mandate to protect the people.
I see this as taking the place of Family.

This is a central aspect of the Dúnedain from the books. They were given the island of Numenor because of their faithfullness to the Valar and the elves in the war that ended the first age. And it’s implied countless places that their right to rule Middle-earth is thightly conected to this Faitfullness.
This one could possobly replace Tradition.

And finaly something that says something about destiny. That the Dúnedain are a people thightly bound to their destiny. I find it hard to translate to something that would be useful in game, so for now I feel Grief reflects this as good as anything.

Just to clear up

You can tap your nature, as I belive you’re talking about here. But you can also use your nature in place of a skill, which doesn’t cost Persona.

First of all, I liked those nature-classifications, Njordi!

I’m sorry to assume anything, Patrick, but like Njordi I like Nature for dunedaìn.

What I was considering on the metro this morning, was that Nature dealt with social family/tradition/grief/(faithfulness)/(leadership).

Nature could then be specifically used to flirt, court, arrange marriages, rear children, dance, apologize to family-members, dealing with rulership/law/inheritance, burying elders, burying the young, comforting the grieving… and do related -wise tests.

Thus, to keep up your nature, you’d have to deal with family, tradition and tackle the grief of existance! And players would be “rewarded mechanically” for dealing with “Dunedaìn shit”.

Another thing: Should the questions for Nature be “sharpened”? If the older/higher ranked characters should have a lower Nature, there either should be a different “starting Nature” (as for Recources and Circles), or the questions could be more in line of:

  1. Have you killed a creature of the Enemy… (This one’s good!)

  2. Can you trace your Lineage back to the Second Age? (This one’s good too.)

  3. Have you ever lost someone close to you recently and unexpectedly? (If yes +1 Nature.)

  4. Do you call the wilds home and have you spent much time crossing it? (If yes -1 Nature)

  5. Are you happily married or are you in a tragical marriage? (If yes (to either), +1 Nature. If you’re recently married, you’ll get +1Nature as well.)

  6. Is Fighting the Enemy more important to you than maintaing close ties to your friends and your family or do Fighting the Enemy keep you from mainting as close ties to your friends and family as you’d like? (If yes to either -1 Nature.)

But then I’ll miss advancement and further twists that lead to more advancement…?! And if I do it to much I must retire my character! (Yes, I know we can tap it, it’s still a limited recource. Many would rather spend those on succeeding on skills checks. If the players steal advancement from themselves, I think the GM should pat himself on doing a great job with the opposition.)

Hmm… yeah. The trick then would be for the gm to set it up so that the players have to make hard choices between completing missions and dealing with familiy business.

So if you are in a mediocre marriage, you wouldn’t get +1 nature? :wink:

Exactly. A bland, convenient marriage doesn’t hold you warm when tracking orcs in Rhuador’s wildernes!

(Been thinking about Nature(Dùnedan), an reading the Mouse Guard book I do agree that they’re totally different. Maybe you’re right, maybe something else should be. The Mouse Guard questions are hard and steady, forcing meaningful choice. I like socially invested characters and while it might not be bad to “encourage” (i.e. “reward”) players with family(-entablements) it does seem to not be a ‘hard choice’. Then again, I’m the only one in a group of four who chose a wife…

I know of at least one other game (actually two) that give ‘metarecources’ to players for having/getting a family. (Wife + 1st child, then 5th child - in the original game you got a ‘fate point’ for having mother, father, siblings - thus there were a lot fewer orpaned player characters and playing one was a hard choice. Playing one made that character special too.)

We’ve done a lot of playtesting with Nature in the past year. We’ve reaffirmed that Nature must be three discreet actions. It doesn’t work if it’s conceptual.

Make family, sing euolgies, talk to elfs.

Thank you, Luke, glad to have it affirmed. Now to see my Dùnedan wife!

So the mini-campaign was a success! It’s fair to say, given the accolades awarded to the GM and the burning enthusiasm to continue playing (the next time the relay-pin comes around).

I’m really keen to play myself, but I’d like the rules to run smoother.

So what should be the actions, until Rafe drums up something magical? A burnin’ friend of mine says many clever things, and on this he said that the Dùnedan Nature should be something that was opposed to beeing a Ranger (of the North).

Build/Raise family, Rule (lands/people), Make merriment!

Also, the questions needs refining:

Bear with me here, this is quick’n’easy:

Nature starts at 6.

  1. Are you prone to let the duties of a Ranger keep you away from your family (and other duties) for months and years at a time?
  • if so, -1 nature - if no, you can’t have the ‘indipendent’ trait
  1. Are you a Veteran (or higher rank)?
    -1 nature

  2. Would you rather sit in the corner and contemplate the enemy’s movements, than sing a merry tune and dance?
    -1nature, and you may not take merryment traits

The issue is that there is nothing really in a Ranger’s nature that causes the essential motivational dichotomy like in Mouse Guard; ergo, Nature must go entirely. No revision. I’m considering an different mechanic to fill what would then be an enormous void. Removing Nature looks at first to be like removing a tooth… except that tooth is attached directly to the brain. Gotta replace that whole engine. If I can get it right, RG will be a proper hack and not halfway between port and hack like it stands now.

That said, I do like the idea of “ruling” being a Nature descriptor. That’s pretty grabby. Still, not enough in Nature for RG. Spent a long time thinking about this bugbear. Nature would work for characters that are Hobbits, Dwarves and perhaps even Elves, but not Dùnedain.

I appreciate your enthusiasm, Michael! I hope I eventually sort this out. Even if I do, I’m afraid it’ll wind up being a small reward for RG players’ eternal patience, but at least it’ll be somethin’.