ranhold

LOTRO: My freakin’ brain is bleeding!

I have just found a whole stack of draft posts I never published – this one made me laugh! Just look at the bloody UI!

“It was while I was fighting the Red Maid that I first thought my eyes might pop…”
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#LOTRO: The Rise of the Rune Keeper

In between trying to get work up-to-date before I leave for the arrival of orcling number two and battling through a family-wide cold of Biblical Proportions to get the house ready for said orcling number two, I’ve not had much time to game. Yet ‘not much time’ is not ‘no time’ (that comes next week with the arrival of orcling two) and I *have* managed a few exciting sessions 😀


Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Supreme Weaponsmith & Supreme Scholar. Level 51
Still enjoying an extended study break in Rivendell, the old battler has put aside thoughts of war and is deep into matters of lore instead. He still finds time to craft potions, dyes and items for the rest of the team but in truth his thoughts are more turned to learning and knowledge than fighting and conflict, for now at least…


Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 46
With the help of a lottery win, all of his marks and medallions and the incredibly kind assistance of my kinmate Saelolyn, Keltorn finally got all his class items together and gained all of his masteries. And this is where the fun wagon of playing this guy solidly from level 40 in early December until now lost all its wheels and came to a crashing halt.


By this point, after the weeks of constant combat with much higher level mobs in Forocel & Erigion, I had got his combat gamit patterns down pat. Ambush, critical strike, 1231, 2121, 1231, 1212, 2323, 2121, 1313, 3123, 1231, etc, etc, etc. Sure sometimes I’d lob a few random javelins in there, or have to change up my heals to attack patterns and ratio if things were looking hairy. Hell sometimes I’d explore the other gambits just for fun, putting evade buffs with tiered heals to see how long I could take a walloping before I had to start the attack rotations again. I wouldn’t say I was an expert, but when I was on my game I was pretty damn good and won many fights I really shouldn’t have taken on.


And then I got the masteries. Masteries are skills that combine two of the three gamits of Spear (1), Shield (2) and Fist (3) into single moves of, for example, Spear & Shield (1-2) or Fist and Spear (3-1). Using one of these instead of the two individual key presses speeds up the building of a combat move and allows more than one use of that combat move when cooldowns might rule such an act out. All of this is fine in theory, but in practice your easy to use 1-2-3 keyboard layout and months of ‘finger memory’ all fight against these like a tiger in a sack and I found my wonderful warden overnight stopped being a playful killing machine and became a bumbling country bumpkin barely able to twunt a neekerbreeker, let alone envicerate an orc or skewer a charging warg.


I fretted and stressed. I railed and cursed. I slapped my PC and walked away from the game. In the end I calmed down and googled. As with many things LOTRO, A Casual Stroll to Mordor came to my rescue. Not only did I find out I was not alone & that Merrick was having similar issues, but they have an excellent series of posts about being a warden. The post about masteries really helped me understand how these things worked (and why!) as well as suggesting a keyboard layout to better manage them, and so I dived in and changed all of my keymapping in order to help me master the masteries. Except it didn’t. It was at this stage I lost it. My fingers simply could not navigate all these new keys accurately enough or fast enough to be of any use and I gave up again.


I sank in to the slough of dispond. My beloved Warden had become unplayable. Woe was me.


In various stages of depression, I tried various different keyboard and skill layouts but nothing seemed to work, they all failed to register in my memory and my fingers crashed across them like a drunken spider. And then one night as I lay in bed it came to me. The answer was there in front of me, my fingers involuntarily dancing across an invisible keyboard as I mapped it out in my mind. It was simple. It was beautiful. What’s more, it would work! Stretch the three gambits and all the masteries across the 1 to 0 keys and my fingers would find the way! They would  dance across the keys, admittedly not in the precise tango they had been used to performing with the simple 1-2-3 patterens of before, but at least it wouldn’t be a desperate stomp across a strange block of keys I couldn’t remember no matter how much I tried. As soon as I tried it, It felt right, it felt like a first kiss, tentative but good. I was back on track!


Unfortunately, by this point, I had grown bored of warden combat and needed something new to avoid burn out. I’m a fickle bugger. Poor Keltorn!


Arranborn – Elf, Rune Keeper, Explorer, Level 32
And this is where Arranborn came in. Over this weekend I decided I wanted to dust off my new RK and get him back out and about and I bloody well loved it! I got him from 28 to 32 in a few short (but intense) skirmishes and have kitted him out in critted armour and bling ready for many more trips through the skirmish finder. Yet out osf all this my greatest fun with him has been finding out how much I enjoy healing a group! I didn’t think I would and the first time I was asked to I did a terrible job of managing my agg by constantly joining in the fight with DpS. I was, of course, killed but was lucky enough to be running with a paitent soul who nicely told me I needed to “watch your agg”. I popped into another skirmish and did just that, hanging back, not spamming heals for the sake of clicking something, just watching the ebb & flow of the fight and scanning the green bars for dips I could correct… in the end I found I enjoyed this different kind of play as much as the chaos and carnage of straight up melee 😀


Since then I’ve been desperate to try more and more healing roles and I’m really keen to try and heal a major raid as it sounds like a real challenge.


Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Artisan Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 27
The itch to play Gorfrik has gone away again as Arranborn is giving me all I need. He’s been making armour for Saelolyn’s characters as a show of thanks for her help in getting Keltorn his last class item.


Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Artisan Woodworker. Level 22
All that was once beautiful fades and alls to corruption. I weep. I weep. Frig me, save us from the elves!


Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20
Hocko is keeping a low profile as the affair with the bar-keep’s wife came to light recently and he has yet another price on his head.


Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 32
Cooking and auctioning. What a guy!


Elsewhere…
Salazar is now in the game and exploring Bree-Land and the Shire – our paths have yet to cross, but we have exchanged letters and maybe one day we’ll find ourselves holding the line side-by-side. Outside of Middle-Earth work is insane, the house is a tumble of new furniture and I’m about to welcome orcling number two into the family. I picked a hell of a week to stop drinking draino…

#LOTRO: It’s all about the Warden

I have been locked on a path with my warden since mid December that is nearing its end, but I’m enjoying the class so much I’m in no hurry to swap to anything else right now. Great news this week is that my old SL mate, Salazar Jack, has joined not only LOTRO by my server (Sonwbourn). I look forward to meeting up in the Prancing Pony for a pint of Butterbur’s finest soon 🙂

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Supreme Weaponsmith & Supreme Scholar. Level 51

After gaining his legendary weapons and traits it’s bee a quiet time for the old battler. In the near future I want to get him back on the epic story line and into Moria, but not before I’ve completed his class quests and completed the whole Shadows of Angmar tale.

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 46

Keltorn’s journey through Forocel & Erigion for his legendary traits were fun indeed, as was his gaining of his legendary spear and javelin fighting the Watcher of the Water outside Moria, but since then he’s not stopped! With the help of my great kin mate Elrexob I have gained all but three of his class quests too and once I have those he’ll gain use of his masteries, something I’m both looking forward to (more powaaaaar!) and dread (head storage status is critical). Still, no point bellowing insults at the tide, best just to strip off, run in and have a damn good swim.

My long term plans are to do more skirmishes, move through more Epic Storyline content and write up some more of his adventures – the stuff I’ve written so far can still be read here  (honestly I really do have plans to carry them on at some point! Honest!).

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Artisan Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 27

Sewing like a trooper and going through flax like it grew on trees (!) Gorfrik is startingto be a small itch under my skin that says ‘plaaaay me… plaaaaaaaay me again…’

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Artisan Woodworker. Level 22

The boats are sailing… the world goes grey… the leaves, the fallen leaves make me weep so. Jesus, bloody elf.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Hocko is grinding like a demon.If the bar maid’s husband finds out he’s a dead hobbit!

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 32

Cooking and very little else. I know I should do something with this guy, but god alone knows what and when – Ranhold and Keltorn have all the action sewn up at the moment.

Arranborn – Elf, Rune Keeper, Explorer, Level 28

After a huge start, Arranborn has been twiddling his thumbs in Michel Delving and awaiting care packages of ore and wood from Keltorn so he could process it for Hocko, Gorfrik and Nimlarn. Maybe after Keltorn goes as far as I want him I’ll come back to him.

Elsewhere…

Work is as busy as hell in high season, I’ve had a total bastard of a cold and my home life is about to get one more person busy. I picked a hell of a week to chewing qat…

#LOTRO: Grinding hard!

The Xmas break was just what I needed. I de-stressed from work, ate great food, had fun with the family and spent tons of time on LOTRO moving (some of) my guys up various ladders 😀

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Supreme Weaponsmith & Supreme Scholar. Level 51

The last few weeks have seen me concentrating on Arranborn and Keltorn so lucky old Ranhold had a holiday too. No fighting orcs and worms for him, no instead I managed at last, and with only several days of material gathering and the spending of several gold pieces in the AH, to get his weaponsmith skills up to supreme. This has been the one skill in all my guy’s skills I have found the hardest to level simply because it needed so much bloody metal ores to make the mountains of various ingots the weapon crafting required! God what a ballache! Still, I can now make weapons that go up to 60ish so it’s been worth it 🙂

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 44

Keltorn, bored of hanging around Bree punching boars to death, decided to gather his legendary pages before he hit 45 at which point he would go and get his own legendary weapon from Moria (Ranhold’s been winding up about having an inferior weapon – boys!). He rode out to Forocel and spent an enjoyable time marmalising Guradan wolf-men warriors from whom he got half the needed pages and a couple of lovely levels. After that he rode out to Erigion and set about riding the world of half-orcs and Dunlendings by the cart load. As it stands he has four more pages to collect which should just about get him to 45 at which point he too goes Legendary, baby!

I’m *really* enjoying playing this guy – his self-heals make long fights quite enjoyable as you have to mix the gambits up to keep your morale up enough whilst still doing damage and cycling through evade & block buff moves. All in all it’s way more complex & interesting than fighting with a Champ and almost as much fun. Almost.

Speaking of Champs, Ranhold crafted a big old sword for Keltorn and although I know Wardens use swords and I really like the sword Ran made, something just feels so very wrong about him not having a spear. I wonder what I’ll go for at 45?

My long term plans are to do more skirmishes, move through more Epic Storyline content and write up some more of his adventures – the stuff I’ve written so far can still be read here  (honestly I really do have plans to carry them on at some point! Honest!).

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Artisan Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 27

No fighting still for our brave dwarven hunter, but plenty of crafting for Keltorn has seen him rise up a lot. His crit chance is still waaaay lower than any of my other guys which means he wastes a lot of leather and flax. Fair breaks my heart 😦

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Artisan Woodworker. Level 22

Nimlarn stopped wafting about Esteldin for just long enough to move his woodworking up and and craft some lovely spears, javelins, bows and crossbows for the rest of the team. Still a bloody elf though.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Hocko is still grinding out rep items but has also managed to make new bling for Arranborn and Keltorn – what a guy!

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 32

Rolcko has been cooking up lots of regen food for Ranhold and Keltorn – the latter seems to burn through it like it’s going out of fashion! The x25 guild recipes are great though – first guild recipe I actually use I think, except for Ranhold’s dyes & health potions.

Arranborn – Elf, Rune Keeper, Explorer, Level 28

Arranborn went from 20 to 28 in a blistering few days of mad skirmishing! He’s already capable of gathering and preping the same level of materials as Keltorn so I just need to get him through his 30s and I can start getting his legendary skills and weapons too. I may leave that a while or I’ll burn out, but I’m looking forward to getting back on with him as RKs are great fun!

Elsewhere…

Back at work now so play will slow down I expect. I picked a hell of a week to stop sniffing petrol.

#LOTRO: I’m Legendary, Baby!

A crappy week outside of LOTRO but I managed to get some respite from it all in Middle Earth…

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Supreme Scholar. Level 51

I wanted a goat. Moria was/is looming and I knew I would need a goat. All the podcasts tell me it is a nightmare in there without one. Trouble is not one of my main guys has ever come near gaining Kindred with Thorin’s Hall, not even Gorfrik and he’s a frigging dwarf! I googled a little and soon found out that raiding in Sarnur is the best, fastest way of gaining Rep items so off I trotted. Nowhere in my googling did it mention how frigging rock-hard some of the bad guys in there are – and these were just the ones at the bloody entrance! A quick chat with my kin and I found out my weapons needed to do ancient dwarf damage and the only way to get that was to either buy a weapon with it on or bite the bullet and finally get my arse into gear about getting a legendary weapon.

I won’t go into much detail on legendary weapons here, suffice to say the game has a complex system whereby you gain special weapons that can be ‘built up’ with special skills and the like – hell, they even level along with you getting better and better all the time. I only knew about this is passing, never actually getting around to starting it. Until now. My very kind and patient kinmate Saelolyn came to my aid in Sarnur and then rode me all the way out to Erigion where I journeyed alone to the Gates of Moria and aided the dwarven mining team fight the dreadful Watcher in the Water. This quest chain granted me a legendary sword (which I have named Cresting Wave in honour of its Arnorian heritage). This sword was put to good use in Sarnur where I ground down the first level of Dourhands until I reached Kindred with Thorin and was at last granted access to the secret area of his Hall so I could buy the goat.

After that I moved back to Misty Mountains in order to move the along the Epic quest line and what had started out a dull run-a-about for Gloin turned into a bloody great battle with giants, Skorgrim, a zombie dragon and even a Nazgul! I all but ODed on fanboy squeeing this weekend!

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 40

Poor Keltorn was ill this week – nasty head cold so his mum wouldn’t let him out to play.

My long term plans are to do more skirmishes, move through more Epic Storyline content and write up some more of his adventures – the stuff I’ve written so far can still be read here  (honestly I really do have plans to carry them on at some point! Honest!).

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Master Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 27

Gorfrik seems to have taken to sitting in a corner of Esteldin and counting his precious flax fibres over and over again. Strange boy.

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Master Expert Woodworker. Level 22

Nimlarn read a poem that lasted three days and nights. Two people died of boredom and three just gave up breathing. Bloody elves.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Hocko is grinding out rep items & seems to have a lot more platinum than I remember mining for him. Questions will be asked.

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 32

Rolcko has been cooking up a storm and is a gnat’s nudger away from the top of the cook’s guild. After that I’m looking forward to cooking lots and selling it in the AH instead of having his entire inventory full of bloody half made ingredients!

Arranborn – Elf, Rune Keeper, Explorer, Level 19

I gave in to temptation of created a Rune Keeper. Erid Luin was a bloody chore and I managed to get him killed just before he hit 20 and got the undying title. What a maroon!

Elsewhere…

My head is spinning with work, home and Xmas. I picked a hell of a week to stop drinking boot polish.

#LOTRO: Double whatnow?

The family have gone. Peace once more rules in the Antfarm household. Unfortunately work is a right old bastard and I have barely enough time to go for a wee most days, let alone blog. Still, I’ve got some playing in, mainly guild rep crafting, AH playing and some (accidental) power levelling of a certain Warden I know…

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Supreme Scholar. Level 49

Stubbornly hanging on to the dying end of level 49, Ranhold has been ignored of late after my marathons Orc-slay-a-thons in Angmar failed to net me the last to pages of my legendary books resulted in a near case of burnout-induced rage. Still, after a few days of rollicking good fun with Keltorn and then several more days of happily crafting guild rep items across all my guys I was ready to return to Ranhold and his search – and was immediately rewarded with one of the two final missing pages meaning he now has two (count ’em!) legendary combat skills that are both freakin’ OOOSSSOOOMMMM! *sching sching*

I’m hoping to start him back on the path of the Epic Books again soon – after all, Gloin is still waiting for him in the *shudder* Misty Mountains 🙂

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 40

Frustrated beyond belief with Ranhold’s inability to find the last two pages of his legendary books (no matter how many frigging orcs I had to kill!) I decided to roll out Keltorn and run him through a few skirmishes. My plan was to use some of the skirmish reward boosts and XP boosts I’d won in the lotteries to move him up from level 34 to 35 or 36.Little did I know I’d chosen a weekend that Turbine gave out double XP across the board! My we warden shot up through the ranks like a pig with poker up its arse and after what felt like no time at all I hit 40 with him! Since then he’s been on a bit of a go-slow as I’ve been crafting guild rep with the rest of my guys and trying to get Ranhold to the next level but I can honestly say I’ve freaking’ loved playing the warden class! 😀

My long term plans are to do more skirmishes, move through more Epic Storyline content and write up some more of his adventures – the stuff I’ve written so far can still be read here  (honestly I really do have plans to carry them on at some point! Honest!).

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Master Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 27

Gorfrik hammered his own hand flat whilst making a new shield. People are beginning to suspect he’s not the full shilling.

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Master Expert Woodworker. Level 22

Nimlarn was last seen wafting about a meadow somewhere droning on and on about how the world was so sad and grey now. Bloody elves.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Hocko is back in Esteldin’s good books and quietly crafting rep items for the bling guild.

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 32

Rolcko has been rescued from the well and has been spending his convalescence in Michel Delving cooking for the troops, working his way up the cook”s guild ladder and doing very nicely indeed in the auction house (one sale netted me more GP in one go than I had made from my whole previous 8 months in game – blimey).

Elsewhere…

I’m fighting off the temptation to roll up a Rune Keeper and start it all again. This would be a Silly Thing as I simply don’t have time but man do I want some lightning action! Also? Christsavemeformwork. I picked a hell of a week to injecting CIA-grade acid.

#LOTRO: Snow, snow and more ruddy snow…

My wee gazelleling looked at me yesterday and said “It’s flipping chaos in this house!” and he is right. Family have descended upon us and me and the The Boy are besieged by noisy women. I’ve taken to my computer room and he’s being killed by a thousand aunty kisses and hugs. Still, better him than me and his sacrifice means I am getting some serious game time in 😀

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 48

After the fun and excitement of raiding in Annuminas and watching the Fellowship leave Rivendell, I decided it was high time Ranhold got back on the Epic Story line and met up with Gimli. That was all well and good except I had figured on how much I would hate the misty mountains.

Seriously! there is fuck all there but monsters! I decided it was actually high time I cleared out some quests in other areas instead and I headed back west with all speed. The quests I handed in eventually led me to Forocel and although I had long wanted to go there my brush with the snowy wastes of the Misty Mountains had left a sour taste in my mouth. Still, I had a quest to hand in so I pressed on through and boy am I glad I did!

Forocel is NOTHING like the misty mountains. For one thing it is full of people (and monsters). People who want you do things for them. People who have a complex (by the game’s standards, maybe not quite at the level of the Middle East peace process) net work of political and social links that you have to navigate. For a cold, snowy waste the dam place feels alive and exciting and is a delight to play in! On top of all that it afforded me my first missing pages from the books that would, when complete, grant me a legendary skill with which to smite my enemies and pull chicks!

The three books all had nine missing pages and I had found all those I could in 3 or 4 days (five pages from each book can be found in Forocel) leaving me the tough decision of staying with my new Lossoth friends or travelling back to Angmar to find the remaining pages.

I chose Angmar.

Two days I played there, confined to one very small orc camp as I mercilessly slaughtered every stinking orc I could find to see which of them had a missing page. hundreds have died and at last I have completed one of the three books (and have the excellent skill attached and working – sching sching!) but the remaining teo books are stuck at an annoying one page missing from each. There are only so many orcs I can hack up before I start to run the risk of flashbacks. Or RSI.

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Master Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 27

Gorfrik managed to sawn his hand to some armour and is currently the laughing stock of Esteldin’s Tailor’s Guild.

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Master Expert Woodworker. Level 22

Nimlarn was spotted in Bree poncing about like a great waste of time, musing about the beauty of a cloud and singing to a flower. Bloody elves.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Hocko escaped from Estedin’s goal and is currently at large (well, as large as a hobbit can be) and on the Ranger’s “Most Wanted…” list.

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 32

Rolcko was investigating some odd sounds from old Pipleaf’s well when he fell in – a rescue operation is slated to start sometime soon.

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 34

Keltorrn’s discovered the joys of polishing his javelin. Dirty boy.

You can still read Keltorn’s adventures here and I actually do have plans to carry them on at some point.

Elsewhere…

Workworkworkworkwork and mad in-laws. I picked a hell of a week to stop licking toads.

#LOTRO: Waving the Fellowship off…

Another great moment Turbine have worked into the game is the departure of the Fellowship and by gum it’s a booby dazzler! It comes at the end of a loooong chain of quests you do for Elrond, Ranhold & Boromir (not to mention Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Legolas & Gimili) after which Elrond invites you to join him and a select few at the parting of ways as the Fellowship heads off into the Mountains.

My squeeee gland nearly exploded.

Here is the event from start to finish with most of the dialogue captured…

#LOTRO: Reforging Narsil – a fanboy squee :)

Last night saw my 15 minutes online devoted almost entirely to finally completing the reforging of Narsil quest line and I was rewarded with the chance to be at the great event as Elrond re-made what was broken and bestowed its honour upon the future King Aragorn, all watched by Gandalf, Bilbo, Frodo and Aragorn’s one love Arwen.

It was a very special moment for me, a chance to have a deeper experience of something I have loved since I was 12 and I’d like to shake everyone at Tirbine by the hand for their brilliant work on making moments like these possible 🙂

Here is the encounter from start to finish with most of the dialogue captured…

#LOTRO: As Arkwright would have said, it’s been a funny old week…

So on top of work grabbing me by the doodahs, poor Mrs Antfarm has ended up in hospital with suspected Swine Flu and a near-miss with pnuemonia, all of which meant many tips to and from hospital and looking after my wee Gazelleling so not much gaming has been done with only Ranhold doing anything of note

Ranhold – Man, Champion, Historian, Master Expert Weaponsmith & Master Scholar. Level 45

I finally, finally, FINALLY got to the city of Annumias in Evendim and boy I was not disappointed! The who place is magnificent… and bloody dangerous! I died more there in one day than I have in the past 3 months! Bands of Angmarian invaders roam the streets, pockets of Rangers hold key areas and sudden burst of violence erupt as street battles unfold around you. I freaking love it! It feels more ‘alive’ than many other places I’ve been too and I get the impression this pales in comparison to the latest work in Isengard (which in itself is but a shadow of what is to come by the time we get to Gondor!). I’ve been questing a little – the roving quest giving Ranger is a really neat idea! but my main drive has been to get the Epic Storyline involving the re-forging of Narsil completed so instead of fighting around the city, I spent some time completing the Blue Lady quests in order that she would un-flood Elendil’s tomb and allow me to regain the jewel I needed to take back to Aragorn.

Christ on a tandem that was hard! Seriously hard! In the end I had to beg the help of my kin mates and was delighted when 6 of them answered and agreed to help me out there. We retrieved the stone and then went on to do the remaining three instances in Annuminas which were brilliant fun! And despite my fears that I’d be a weak link or hold back these players of 65 & 75, I managed to hold my own and even tanked one of the bosses successfully and was the last man alive at the death of the Cargul! Sure it was largely down to the heroic efforts of the other team members, not to mention a fair bit of luck, but it was also some damn fine playing on my part – I was, as they say, in the zone! Hoohah!

My next steps will be to return the jewel to Strider and help re-forge the famous sword, but in the meantime (and as is the way when playing such a complex tale, i.e. occasionally out of order) I managed to be present at the departure of the Fellowship from Rivendell. It was, without doubt, the coolest moment of my 6 months playing the game – I was there as Gandalf & Elrond spoke to the hobbits, men, dwarf and elves about the their perilous journey ahead, as Boromir again argued for more action, as Aragorn counselled caution and as Bilbo tearfully bade farewell top his nephew. Hell, I even watched as Sam led Bill the pony over the bridge and toward the Misty Mountains! This was a seriously squee, fanboy, 14 year old playing MERP moment for me and no mistake 😀

As this week settles down in to a new routine, albeit temporary until the good lady of the house come back, I shall be moving Ranhold into the mountains as well – I have a certain dwarf named Gloin to meet and several legendary items that won’t collect themselves…

Gorfrik – Dwarf, Hunter, Armourer, Master Metalsmith & Artisan Tailor. Level 27

Gorfrik dropped an anvil on his foot and is still laid up in Esteldin driving the Rangers there mad with his rude comments on their health care system.

Nimlarn – Elf, Minstrel, Woodsman & Master Expert Woodworker. Level 22

Nimlarn has become so fey as be almost transulcent and has spent the last few weeks drifting around Bree like a pointless cloud.

Hocko – Hobbit, Burglar, Tinkerer & Master Jeweller. Level 20

Poor Hocko is currently under lock & key in Esteldin when his sticky little fingers were found to be somewhere they, and the rest of him, shouldn’t have been. Bail has been set at 10gp.

Rolcko – Hobbit, Guardian, Yeoman, Supreme Farmer & Master Cook. Level 32

Rolcko was returning from his visit to his great Aunt Rose in the South Farthing when a squirrel spooked his horse and he too a tumble. He’s currently recuperating in the house of a very nice widow hobbit named Fleur who is feeding him fit to burst. Could love be in the air?

Keltorn – Man of Bree, Warden, Explorer. Level 32

Keltorn received a letter from his mother asking him to return to Bree as his uncle was very sick and someone needed to run the farm. He is not best pleased about this as he also received a letter from an Elf in the North downs who needed a good Warden and had been passed his name. He hopes to ride out there soon.

You can still read Keltorn’s adventures here and I actually do have plans to carry them on at some point.

Elsewhere…

Workworkworkworkwork and more work, visiting a poorly wife and looking after a small child. I picked a hell of a week to stop sniffing glue.