Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.3)

… with sample characters and mission. A few minor changes, as well.

Realm Guard v1.3

This just keeps getting better. Thanks for all the work. I’m thinking through the “Secrets of the North” senario and I’ll try to get something down on paper (I never follow my notes exactly, but it’ll help to have them). Do you mind if a crib from you senario as an outline?

Tristan over at Story Games found another cool fan movie:

"The project (named Born of Hope) is an independent one hour film, made for fans by fans. As HfG, the idea is to make a non-profit project everyone will be free to watch, once its on-going production is over (they say it should be ready by fall).

The original story is that of Arathorn, chieftain of the Dunedain and father to the future king. The movie will feature many original (and a few of the already existant) rangers, and it looks very promising (and a very interesting source of inspiration for those willing to play this hack).

The webpage is:

Born of Hope[/QUOTE]
has some neat concept art (people, weapons, etc) and photos throughout the site. Some might be nice for the PDF. Do you think they might let us use some of it (especially if we mentioned their movie)? Its a thought. Rafe you could talk to them or I’d be glad to.

Check out the orcs at the bottom of this page

the weapon drawings (and the elf near the bottom) on this page

the character drawings on this page

and there’s a lot of photos if they could be used (some nice scenery images also).

While I’m thinking about it there also ‘still’s’ over at The Hunt for Gollum The Orcs might be useful. They also have samples of concept art, props etc. If we contacted them they might let us in on more…

holy god! you made this?

Happy to do it. It’s almost there. I just need to see if Storn might not mind whipping 4 rough sketches for the sample characters and I think it’ll be all done. Although… I may insert a map somewhere. Maybe as a last page, spread across two pages?

Do whatever you’d like with the scenario, Scott! You don’t have to ask. :slight_smile:

Saint&Sinner came up with the hack idea (brilliant) and the rough concept, and I wrote up and laid out the PDF, expanding and adding where needed, with input from Saint&Sinner. Lots of community input, also, and the Natures were Luke’s creation.

my complements to the designer guy and other designer guy…

I’m curious about the Dunadan Nature, actually - was just thinking about it this morning, so this provides a good lead in.

It seems that in Mouse Guard and the discussions of other MG hacks floating around, Nature usually represents the nature of the people, rather than the nature of the heroes we’re playing.

For instance, in Mouse Guard, Nature isn’t the nature of the Guard (who protect the weak, right wrongs, and fight weasels) its the nature of a mouse… scared, hungry, and skittish. A bit of the drama of the Mouse Guard is in going against one’s nature to a point - balancing it.

I’m just wondering if the Dunadan nature could be tweaked a bit to draw that contrast a little more sharply. I mention it for two reasons - (1) some of the non-Dunadan natures (hobbit, dwarf, man) contrast a bit more interestingly with being a heroic protector and (2) I’m not sure what kind of conflicts would actually ever use a Dunadan’s Nature.

So maybe i just need some help with #2, so I can visualize how a normal Dunadan’s life is different from a Rangers - how it is that Rangers are going beyond their own Natures.

This was actually a huge discussion, and the big stumbling block for Saint&Sinner and I when we were looking at it. Luke came up with the three Nature descriptors, those were argued, examples were given, and ultimately we all felt pretty comfortable with them.

You’re quite right, however: Natures are meant to be somewhat counter-balanced to the duties of the Mouse Guard/Rangers of the North. We felt that Grief, Family and Tradition do that quite well, as partially illustrated by Aragorn’s constant struggle between his destiny as heir vs. his life as a ranger.

Here’s the original discussion thread.

Luke’s post on Nature is #33.

I was just about to ask where that original thread was: thanks!

You’re points about the examples from Aragorn are apt; it helps me to think in terms of opposites: “In the new Fourth Age of Man, a Ranger is called on to be hopeful, embrace all men, and find new solutions to old problems.”

Which I suppose is true, especially the ‘hope’ thing - not something that comes naturally to the Dunadan of the late third age - their preserverance was more from grim determination than actual hope. :slight_smile:

Again, thanks.

In re-reading that original discussion, I saw some mention of Corruption, and thought I’d share something I enjoyed tremendously in an old LotR CCG called Middle Earth: The Wizards.

In that game, almost all of the stuff that would be considered “Tokens of Power” in Realm Guard had a “Corruption” rating. These ratings were a cumulative penalty to any willpower checks the possessing character had to make – stuff like resisting fear from the Dead and the call of the Ring and so forth. Sometimes they were necessary simply to use the item.

It was a very compelling lens through which to look at Middle Earth – one in which almost every Item of Power was a temptation not only to its bearer but often to those around them.

In RG, it would look something like a negative trait roughly as powerful as the positive trait it carried.
– Level 1: -1d to one Will check per session, GM’s discretion.
– Level 2: -1d to any Will check, GM’s discretion.
– Level 3: Something Horrible? Reroll all successful dice and take the second roll, once per session. (This was roughly the level of the weakest or least-corrupt Palantiri.)

Taking it a bit further…
– Level 4: As Level 1 + Level 2, cumulative.
– Level 5: As Level 1 + Level 3. (The Palantiri at Orthanc or Minas Tirith.)
– Level 6: As Level 2 + Level 3. (The One Ring.)

In all cases, Level 4 to 6 items probably would negatively affect the players WILL checks to recover from Conditions, though other players could perhaps help the main player with the will check.

Conversely, some rare items actually provided counteractive Bonuses to corruption checks – things that gave the bearer hope, such as Aragorn’s gift from Arwen, or the Glass that Galadriel gave Frodo, which he clutched to himself even years after his journey.

A word on Hobbits – Hobbits are strong-willed by nature (really, strong-willed should be in their Nature - that, or some similar phrase more directly borrowed from the books “Indomitable Spirit”, maybe - it’s mentioned repeatedly as one of their greatest assets), and even the weakest of them makes a better Ring-bearer than the strongest willed Wizard. Frodo and Sam were the best of the bunch (and, tellingly, the most Hobbit-like in other ways).

Anyway, just a thought. I don’t mean to offer so much input when the horse is sort of already out of the barn and racing around the track, but I find the whole concept very engaging.

Gah. I’m sorry, doycet. I’m honestly not trying to poo-poo everything, so I apologize in advance if it comes across that way.

I would totally agree with you in terms of Corruption if Tokens of Power in the game were those types of items. They’re more like Theoden’s sword, Boromir’s horn, Aragorn’s sword, Sam’s rope, Legolas’ bow (the Galadhon one), the Ring of Barahir, etc.

Things like the One Ring, a palantir, a silmaril (WOOO!), etc. are uber items of craziness. They definitely come with the baggage of their history and use. Now, items of those sorts could come up in the game, particularly palantirs. That said, palantirs possess no inherent danger. Sauron’s cruel and dark will was the danger, and his will behind one made the use of any extremely dangerous. The stones themselves are basically scrying crystals originally used by the Numenoreans for instant communication and watching the borders of Arnor and Gondor.

As for Hobbits, I totally agree. However, in the context of Nature descriptors, it’s relatively unimportant because they are not playable races, so to speak, and will not ever be asked to bear horrible burdens or endure great quests. In the context of the game, they’re just backwater folk content to be left to their own business and let the Outside do its own thing, thank you very kindly. :slight_smile: I’m trying to picture a Hobbit MG hack and trying to think what they would do. It’d be a hilarious comedy hack, actually.

Now, if someone wanted to play a truly epic version of Realm Guard, or play Realm Guard as set during Anarion’s and Isildur’s reign… Corruption would be awesome and extremely integral. Hmmm… I sense a hack hack… :cool:

edit: Oh, and please don’t ever apologize for giving input! Even if we don’t use it, it’s never wasted and always appreciated! You’ve already identified a few fixes that were needed. (Nature is okay, by the way. v1.3 has the 0/7 scale fixed.)

Not at all, I’m just spouting ideas and thoughts. It’s all IMO, after all.

I was probably unclear - the example I gave included all those types of items. That particular take on Middle Earth saw the threat of corruption and temptation in almost all beautiful things. In many if not most of them it was minor, but I did mean to imply it was there even in relatively small things (the ‘merely’ elven and dwarven items of craft, for example).

With that said, that game reflected the Third Age - deeply influenced if not dominated by Sauron (who, as one of the maiar who served Aule the Smith, had great ‘mythic’ influence on forging, and all manner of craftsmanship) - it stands to reason in this “corruption-centric” concept - that crafted things carry with them a certain inherent temptation.

It appeals to ME, anyway. :slight_smile: It also makes sense that that is NOT the case in the 4th age, as Sauron’s influence has passed.

I’ll confess that I want to tweak the racial natures at least in part to play with the idea of 3rd age stories as well – my experience playing LotRO has led me to believe that a lot of good stuff can happen with players that doesn’t revolve around the story of the Ring. :slight_smile:

Actually, if you’re talking about a nothing-but-Hobbits game, playing Bounders and Sherrifs would be a lot like playing Mouse Guard: guarding the “bounds”, delivering mail, and basically protecting the more sedentary hobbits. - Could be fun, if a bit more similar to the original MG.

I can think of one pretty good reason to add it to the hobbit Nature, even if they aren’t a playable race. :slight_smile:

Emphasis mine. Not to belabor the point too much, the Peoples are one of the challenges that the Rangers are faced with, and the hobbits are (entirely in my opinion) better ‘foes’ with that strong, indomitable spirit as part of their nature.

While ‘small-folk’ and ‘bucolic’ are great, merriment is subsumed well-enough as part of the rural lifestyle already mentioned, and could be replaced with the far more significant story element – their hidden-but-powerful resilience.

Rangers dealing with departing elves and stubborn, greedy dwarves is one thing, but it’s sometime else - something unique to Tolkein, I think - to see a mighty Dunadan brought up short by a stubborn Shire Mayor who has suddenly decided to set his jaw and not be moved by the words of some bossy Big Person.

They feel more like hobbits when that sort of surprising strength comes out, and less like the generic, indolent RPG halflings that so many games present.

[Ugh… what is this mess? I just got poetic wax all over myself – gonna go clean up.]


I’m sold, particularly by your argument of having a similar “conflict” style of descriptor(s) for Elves and Dwarves. Let’s see what others think!

I like! I think that if you’re describing a race you should do it with an eye for what sort of conflicts you see happening with them (not just what the source material suggests). I can’t wait to run and (hopefully sometime) play this hack.

Though this likely belongs in damiller’s Looking for Players post, I think I’ll suggest a RG game. I’d want 3 players to run through the sample mission (and sample characters) and see how it goes. Then get feedback on the mission, the characters’ relevance to it, and general feedback on the hack.

I’ll go post over there once I get another spare moment. Been tempted to do it for a while, but time’s been tight for me lately.

I’m totally in.