Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.4)

Think I’ve gotten all the changes, and I’ve also put more copyright type info in.

Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.4)

damiller, can you post here with the URL to the character sheet? I’d like to download it again, as I seem to have misplaced it. Also, do you mind if I upload it to my mediafire account to link in my sig?

Thanks man. :smiley:

No worries. I went for a full title change, too. I like Realm Guard: Rangers of the North a lot better than Realm Guard, which is kinda ambiguous.

Damiller, if you read this, can you check your PMs? :smiley:

You know what we need is a similar Chart for Realm Guard as the one they have in Mouse Guard for “Stuff that’s simply too big for one person to kill.”

Moose = Balrogs. Wolves = Nazgul. Trolls would be… whatever you need like 10 guys for. Like that. Granted, there aren’t any nazgul and probably only a few Balrogs around, but there are other evils out there independent of Sauron.

Magic (only available to (departing) NPCs in the 4th age), Militarist, and Alchemy let you take them out with smaller groups.

I like that idea, though I haven’t read your other thread on Magic. I’m off to do that now. However, currently, without having read your Magic idea, I don’t see that as being available. The Istari are gone and the Elves don’t possess wizardly magic. I can definitely see Militarist or something like that applying, but I’m not sure I want to add a size dimension, even though I’m not aware of any Man having killed a Balrog. Elves certainly have.

It might come down to a simple issue of setting the proper goal. A group of Rangers may not be able to physically kill one with the “We kill it” goal, but perhaps they say “We’ll force it under that overhang and Belchor will drop a massive stone atop it.” Or “We force it into the lake to quench its flames” etc.

Anyhoo… I’ll go read the Magic thread, which might supersede what I’ve just written. :slight_smile:

I agree 100%! I can’t believe I didn’t think of this before. It’s a glaring omission.

From smallest to largest:
Bats and other vermin
Wolves, Goblins, Spiders, Hobbits
Men, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Wargs
Cave and Hill Trolls, Uruk Hai, Great Bats, Horses
Olag Hai, Great Eagles
Oliphant, Nazgul’s Beasts, Shelob

We can use magic that modifies a creature’s place. Or even magic that simply exempts a creature from certain conflicts. The magic skill in the game could be used to modify (or create) these conditions.

How does that look?

I love you man…

Ahm, I mean, yeah that looks cool.

Hmmm… sounds good to me. I’d also like to bring Tokens of Power into this. Sam persevered against Shelob thanks to the Elven starlight-in-a-bottle and using Sting, despite the size difference.

I’m thinking that a Token of Power’s rating = effective reduction in size for the purposes of dealing with that creature. So, in Mouse Guard, mice as a patrol can fight creatures that are two size categories larger, correct? Let’s keep that rule. Therefore, Men can normally fight Olog Hai, but one in the group would need an appropriate Token of Power (ie, one with a combat skill designation) at Rating 2 to fight a balrog, and one at Rating 3 to fight a dragon (Bard’s Black Arrow). Or they’d need an appropriate skill exponent in Lore Master.

So how would Lore Master work? Roll prior to the fight to see if enough successes allow for the skill user to know that the ranger band can go toe to toe, and how? Add that to any single Token of Power’s rating, since ToPs factor in, or just take the highest value in the group – either ToP rating or Lore Master exponent? Or Lore Master + the highest ToP’s rating?

I’m just throwing stuff out there.

I think somewhere around page 233, the rules point out that while you can’t KILL a creature 2 more more sizes bigger than you, you can still engage in conflicts with them, so Sam’s not a problem, as he only drives Shelob off.

Re: Balrogs. I believe only two people have every taken a Balrog out 1 on 1. Glorfindel (who is pretty much the greatest of elven warriors, ever - I think we can hand-wave him), and Gandalf - who is a lesser Maiar and therefore only one ‘size’ smaller than the Balrog (albeit in human form and thus denied his divine (larger) Nature) . Everyone else takes them out with groups.

(Heck, even Gandalf wasn’t initially trying to kill the damn thing: the first Conflict was just “You shall not Pass.” vs. “Destroy the Fellowship.” Gandalf won with one Disposition and got a major compromise “drug into the depths; presumed dead.” It was only in the follow-up Conflict that he went to “Oh, it’s ON.”)

Re: Dragons. Bard was fighting as part of a larger group, all of whom were shooting at the dragon, so there were enough people involved to take it down. handwave

He just tapped Nature, pulled out the one-shot Black Arrow, and had his never-used, GM-mandated, “Thrush-wise” in for help (and, via the Thrush, helping dice from the hobbit who learned of the Dragon’s weak spot).

(I’m also not sure if Dragons are really the most horrible things out there, chart-wise, but that’s really a sort of season-to-taste thing.)

So how would Lore Master work?

First answer: it’s mundane application would be exactly like Lore Mouse; a use has many examples available in the books. Gandalf and the eagles, Dwarf-kind and Ravens. Men of Dale and thrushes. The Beornlings.

Note: This mundane version/application of Lore Master should, in my opinion, go back into the skill lists for Realm Guard. Anyone who spent serious time with the Wise (Faramir), or in Nature might believably have it. In the less-magical 4th age, it’s the perfect level of ‘magic’.

Second answer: using it for full-and-proper magic… I dunno. Luke pointed out a problem with my initial hack of it, so I’m back at a drawing board on how it looks and behaves.

On the face of it, the MAIN thing it does is work like Science (alchemy) by letting you take on stuff too big for you. I might ‘gate’ this level of application behind a Rank of 4, maybe, but that’s just so you can have Bard understanding the language of birds without also being able to set pinecones on fire; there are other ways to accomplish the same thing.

The main thing to remember when doing narration of magic is that, with Tolkien, there is a strong tendency for possibly-supernatural events to be described in equivocal terms, usually with the words “as if” or “seemed”.

(Hearing Tom’s song,) Frodo and Sam stood as if enchanted…

Except for magical artifact, and a few times when Gandalf really pulls out the big guns, the magic is very very subtle.

I’m just throwing stuff out there.

Me too. :slight_smile:

It looks excellent, though I’m feeling a little nerd-tweaky about small parts of it.

Bats and other vermin
Wolves, Goblins, Spiders, Hobbits, Horses*
Men, Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Wargs, Wights, Mearas
Cave and Hill Trolls, Uruk Hai, Great Bats, Nazgul’s Beasts**
Olag Hai, Great Eagles
Oliphant, Shelob
Balrogs****, Dragons

    • Yes, they’re big, but no, they’re not particularly hard to kill. Putting them on the same tier as Cave and Hill trolls means that a wolf can’t kill a horse.

** - Theoden kills one single-handed, ergo…

*** - They can be destroyed. Even the witch-king can be - provided you meet the requirements - and the others were not so protected by prophecy.

**** - Just my personal opinion, but Balrogs and Dragons were kicking ass and taking names when Sauron was the sweet-talking Lieutenant of the Big Bad. Especially in the 4th age, these (and the Nameless Things in the Deeps) are just about the Biggest Bad around.

Good point, both for this and the Balrog! I can’t seem to find my MG book anywhere, so I don’t doubt the part about not being able to kill something two or more sizes bigger. Not being able to kill such a creature actually makes for a far more interesting conflict, in my opinion.

Actually, he stood alone by the time the thrush arrived: “But there was still a company of archers that held their ground among the burning houses. […] The flames were near [Bard]. His companions were leaving him. He bent his bow for the last time.” Enter the old thrush. However…

… that’s a perfect breakdown of how I see it working with RG. Add in his Black Arrow being a Token of Power, rating 3 (he never missed with it, and he always retrieved it as it “came from the forges of the true king under the Mountain”) and you’ve got a pretty sweet fucking scene.

This is a good point and that ought to be (or is) covered by Animal Trainer which is the RG equivalent to Lore Mouse.

Wait. Are we talking about a -wise or a skill? I favour it being a skill: Lore Master.

Sorry for the anal-retentive break-out of quote blocks. :slight_smile:

Balrog’s drove Dragons with whips back in the First Age (like dogs or horses?). I think a case may be made to put them in the same level.

No need for Nazgul in there. They’re toast. It could be argued their mounts are also, but their mounts were not tied to Sauron or the Ring, which means they could be an awesome critter for a “boss fight” scenario or end to a season. Also, Mearas aren’t bigger than horses any more than Elves are bigger than Humans.

I could point out that wolves hunt in packs… but I agree that horses should be moved down a step.

Other than that, I think you’re trying to make too much sense out of this list. This list should be problematic. This list should not fit every example of conflict in the stories.

Why? Because, as I said in my foot note above, magic should be the x-factor that changes the rules: starlight, Sting, black arrows, andúril, wizardry, etc.

Also, Nazghul don’t belong on this list as a separate entity. They’re men. They have magics which protect them under certain circumstances. Nuff said.

Mmmmmm. Animal Trainer is the RG equivalent of Apiarist, I thought? I believe you just dropped Lore Mouse entirely. What I’m saying is that Lore Mouse should go back into the lists, renamed Lore Master, with these additional potential uses.

As for whether it’s a wise or a skill, see my answer in the Magic thread - the short answer is ‘both’. The longer answer is "both, because (a) it should be a skill, but (b) since Luke rightly points out that it shouldn’t be universally applicable as a primary skill - the way Nature is - I think being able to use it like a wise to ‘bring magic into’ other tests gives it that kind of ‘magic works in everything’ vibe without breaking everything.

True, but so do goblins. It won’t change anything, though, since we’re dealing with Men as the characters, so smaller or the same size doesn’t really matter.

I think I see what you mean: It’s not all about literal size; it’s about force of personality/magic of the creature (and literal size of more mundane creatures). The more connected to the “old world” or magical they are, the farther down the list the creature should be and hence the more magic or knowledge of ancient mysteries one would need to confront them.

Am I totally screwing up what you’re saying, Luke, or is that about right?

Oh yeah… We’ll need to pop that back in, then, with a chunk of descriptive text for it.

Excellent point. :slight_smile:

Also, Mearas aren’t bigger than horses any more than Elves are bigger than Humans.

No, but they’re better. :slight_smile: Your order works also, and thank you for adding some other stuff I’d forgot.

Are you saying: “Let the list represent the natural order. Let magic and special skills fuck up that natural order in play.”

Ah… that’s how I ought to be seeing it: The natural order. I had my head stuck on size for some damned reason.

If you’re asking me what I’ve quoted above, I’m thinking the list should represent size, as the chart in MG does, but also separation from the natural order. For instance, we have Wights on the same line as Men. They should probably be way the hell down the list. In other words, the fewer means that Men (who are of and bound to the laws of nature) have to affect creatures whose natures are “beyond” the mundane, the farther down the list the creature ought to be.

We could end up with a confused list, though, as we struggle to merge a creature of both size and power vs one of size vs one of power.

If only there were BW style traits in MG! This would all be much easier.