Time for another hobbit historical field trip. Where do we go this time? Fornost!
The hobbit historical field trips
The first event I ran in LOTRO was a hobbit historical field trip to Greenfields, back in December 2009. This was an attempt to bring a bit more of Tolkien’s hobbit lore into to LOTRO. We always go to places of particular hobbit interest (Greenfields, the Three-Farthing Stone, Buckland, etc.), where we have a few lectures/stories related to the places we visits, combined with songs, poetry, and food. Rather a lot of the latter – we’re hobbits, after all.
Over the years, The Grand Order has run 11 traditional field trips, about one every six months. Last year, though, we went for a more ambitious undertaking: The Grand Journey Home, from the Shire to the Stoor village in Maur Tulhau in Enedwaith. Held over six evenings, this basically involved a lot of walking and talking, much interaction between hobbit roleplayers, and tons of fun. Being hobbits on the road make for a lot of grand roleplaying options. I think the elves in Rivendell who greeted us in the Trollshaws are still reeling from the fact that we just ran from them to go fishing near the Ford of Bruinen. We were hungry, after all!
The Grand Journey was well received by those who attended, so we have been looking for an opportunity for another grand journey this year. Finally we settled on Fornost in the North Downs.
The fortress of the northern kingdom
Visit Fornost in LOTRO today, and there is little evidence to show that this is a good place for hobbits to visit. It is an old, crumbling fortress ruin, infested with orcs, wargs and assorted other nasty critters. It is no wonder that the Bree-landers call the area Deadmen’s Dike.
Once upon a time, this was the last capital of old north kingdom of Arnor, until it was taken by the forces of Angmar in TA 1974. Who was the leader of the Angmar forces? The Witch-King. No, not Arthas from WoW, but rather Sauron’s second-in-command: The leader of the Nazgûl, the Black Captain, Lord of Minas Morgul, King of Angmar and assorted other ill-sounding titles. Pity the poor servants in Mordor’s corporate services who had to find room for them all on his business card.
The year after the Witch-King had nested himself on the Fornost throne, an army of the free people came running to and chased him away during the Battle of Fornost. And this is where things get interesting for us hobbits. Because according to Shire legends, there was a company of hobbit archers who joined the battle. As typical as ever, there is no mention of them in the annals of men and elves. Still, this makes Fornost a grand venture for lore-seeking hobbits. We just have to go see if we can find any traces of them brave archers, to prove once and for all that it really was hobbits who got rid of that pesky Witch-King-feller. Granted, the battle happened over 1000 years ago, so clues may be hard to find, but let it not be said that we didn’t try!
Let’s go on a field trip!
Event-wise, Fornost is a much shorter trip than last year’s to Maur Tulhau. We can probably get there in two days, by going north through Brockenborings, Oatbarton and Evendim before entering the Fornost fields proper. Still, this has a couple of benefits:
- We can run the journey as a more compact event. With 2 days travel and 1 day of lore/tales, this is doable over two weekends, or even one long weekend.
- There are some options to let the tale develop further from Fornost, to make a later hobbit historical field trip start from there and take us even further into Middle Earth. We’ll see once we are done with this one!
No firm dates have been set for the trip, but we are looking at mid-autumn for this, sometime in October or November. Stay tuned for more information!
The usual event teaser
Oh, and of course, we need a teaser video for this event too. So here is one:The Shire to Fornost
A couple of comments on the video. The music might be familiar to fans of the Alien movies, since it was used for the Prometheus trailer in 2011 (which, many will argue, is far superior to the final movie…). I always thought this track would be very suitable for a somewhat over-the-top LOTRO-based video, but I figured it’d be too expensive to use it. But no, the creators over at Audiomachine have quite reasonably-priced licenses for YouTube use.
Additionally, I have used clips from LOTRO’s intro movie rather liberally, since the Witch-King plays a prominent role there. I probably lean too much on this video, but this is in no small part due to the technical limitations of LOTRO’s game engine for halfway cinematic purposes. Not to mention that the engine is getting rather creaky and choppy these days, as evidenced by some of the clips I use in the video. Then again, I guess you forgot that you have ever seen the LOTRO intro movie anyway? I know I had…
Still, hopefully the teaser will whet your appetites somewhat for a fine journey in the company of fun hobbits. Roll up a hobbit on the Laurelin server and come join us on the road! Low-level hobbits are welcome too!