Lord of the Rings Online #4: Dressed to Kill

By Shamus
on Mar 20, 2016
Filed under:
Shamus Plays
If you remember from earlier we’re following the story of the Hobbit Lulzy. She’s my dual class Minstrel / Clotheshorse and she’s stuck in the Human town of Archet. Brigands surround the place, threatening to attack. She was led to Archet by Amdir the Ranger. Amdir is to the Rangers what Aquaman is to the Justice League: Slightly better than the average guy, but so much worse than the rest of the team that he only drags them down.

Amdir got himself stabbed by a Nazgul, and since then he’s been laying in the middle of town, being useless. (So, no change so far.) Now it’s up to Lulzy to take his place and aid in the defense of the town.

Well, I dealt a decisive blow against the brigands by killing a small handful of them. This should make sure the rest of them are good and pissed off when they show up and destroy the city later tonight. Now I’m thinking I should take a walk around town and see who else needs help. More importantly, I should see if they have any fun clothes to offer.

You`re no Hermione, that`s for sure.

You`re no Hermione, that`s for sure.

First up I meet Ann Granger. A female soldier, who is guarding the lodge where the bulk of the town guard is hanging out and stuffing their faces. I’m glad to see the humans have such a progressive attitude towards women in warfare. It’s heartening to see women demonstrating our strength and independence by standing beside the men and having adventures of our own!

“Hail sister! What do you need?”, I greet her.

“Oh. Hi. I could use a little help.”

I smile, “Let me guess: You’re pulling your weight around here but you can’t get the men to give you the recognition you deserve?”

“Oh, heavens no. Nothing like that!”

“Don’t tell me you’re suffering from sexual harassment?”, I ask angrily.

“Not at all.”

“You’re not getting the promotions you deserve due to the glass ceiling?”

“No. It’s just that earlier today I was running from some brigands…”

I frown, “Okay. Not the proudest moment for women in combat.”

“Right. Well, I dropped my purse.”

“You’re kidding me.”

“And I need someone else to go and get it for me.”

I grab her by the pant-leg and shout in the direction of her face, “THIS IS WHY THE MEN NEVER TAKE US SERIOUSLY!”

Stupid cow.

I kind of want to get back at her in verse, but I don’t think she’s worth a whole song. So I shall taunt her in limerick:

Miss Granger was looking most dour,
’cause the brigands were making her cower.
So she let out a yelp,
and asked ME for help.
This is NOT what they mean by “girl power”.

Right around the corner from the stupid hag Ann is Fenton Marshley, who is probably the creepiest and most badass human I’ve met so far. Check out his campsite…

These bones around my feet. What are these? They look a little small to have come from big game.

These bones around my feet. What are these? They look a little small to have come from big game.

A gigantic bear. A boar. A pile of bones. A wooden barrel full of… what? Is that bloody meat?

He’s not even armed.

I am not pissing this guy off.

Fenton has been drooling over this bit of barely-cooked meat he’s put on the fire. He’s got these wild, twitchy eyes. It looks like he’s doing all the cooking with his bare hands.

I clear my throat and his eyes snap in my direction. He stares for a minute and I realize he’s waiting for me to speak. “Um. Hello, sir”, I greet him, making a point to not shake hands. “Need any help? If you don’t mind me asking, that is.”

“Yes!”, he says with sudden and worrisome glee. I can’t help noticing how bad this entire campsite smells. “Yes!”, he says again, “You’re exactly what I’ve been looking for.”

I glance sideways at the barrel of meat and take a few steps back.

“MARSHFLIES!”, he shouts.

“Marsh-flies?”, I answer weakly.

“Yes. Look at them”, he nods out towards the lake. Indeed, there are some marsh flies buzzing around:

Beware the flies of marsh! Wait, that`s not right.

Beware the flies of marsh! Wait, that`s not right.

The marsh-flies are kind of big. They’re about the size of my head. They’re nothing compared to the spiders, though.

“I hate marsh-flies”, he says through clenched teeth. “Haaate them.”

“Yeah, I know. Me too.”

“Kill some for me?”, he asks meekly.

Now I’m cheesed off, “Are you going to stand beside a dead bear and ask for my help swatting flies?”

“Yes! Ten of them!”

“You know, you might not have a fly problem if you didn’t decorate your camp with rotting meat.”, I point out.

After a few moments of silence he adds, “Pretty please?”

“Fine. Weirdo.”, I say as I storm off.

Fenton liked his meat bloody.
So his campsite looked kind of cruddy.
The smell and the flies,
drove away all the guys,
Now a bear corpse is his only buddy.

Next up on the tour is Cal Sprigley.

(Hillbilly banjo music plays.)

(Hillbilly banjo music plays.)

Cal lives on a farm south of town. Far south. He’s actually closer to the brigand outpost than to Archet. The raiders will pass directly by his place on their way to town. Someone mentioned that Cal was insisting on staying on his farm and wouldn’t be joining everyone else inside of the quasi-protective walls of the city.

“I hope you’re not here to ask us to run and hide in town with everyone else!”, he shouts at me as I approach. Beside him is someone who is either his very ugly wife or his very, very ugly farmhand.

“Me? No.”, I shrug.

“Good! My family is staying right here and we aim to defend our farm if those brigands attack.”

I’m kind of encouraged to see a Human with a good spine. “You know there are a lot of them, right? And they’re out for blood since I … Er. Since someone killed a few of their guys.”

Cal is defiant, “Well let them come! We’re staying right here!”

“Fine. Whatever. You you think you’re hardass enough to face them all down that’s your business.”

Cal nods. “Good! Because we’re staying. And not going to town. We’re not afraid of-“

“Right, right.”, I say, cutting him off before he gets himself even more worked up. “Someone in town said you needed help?”

Cal points down the hill from his farm, “Old Bloodtusk has been giving us a lot of trouble. We need you to take care of him.”

I peer down the hill where he’s pointing, looking for the savage beast that has Cal so spooked. I don’t see anything. Finally I ask, “I don’t see Bloodtusk. Is he near that pig?”

“That IS Bloodtusk!”, he says impatiently.

“You need my help killing a piglet?”

“He’s a wild boar!”

“He’s shorter than I am!”, I protest.

“He’s the devil in swine form!”

“He’s a sandwich waiting to happen.”

Cal starts to argue but I turn on my heel, march down the hill, and stomp on the agitated boar until it stops squealing.”

Actually, Bloodtusk is a badass and has racked up his share of newbie kills. But I`m way over-leveled thanks to my obsessive side-questing.

Actually, Bloodtusk is a badass and has racked up his share of newbie kills. But I`m way over-leveled thanks to my obsessive side-questing.

I stomp back to Cal. “Done”, I say, folding my arms.

Cal nods, “Well, thanks for that.”

“You do realize that there is more than one brigand out there.”

“Of course!”

“And unlike pigs, these guys will have opposable thumbs.”

“Yes.”, Cal says, slowly nodding his head.

“Which they will most likely use to hold pointy things like swords and spears.”

“Just what are you driving at, friend?”

“I’m saying if you’re not up for a fight with against an aging pig then maybe you’re not ready to fight a hundred armed and armored men.”

Cal suddenly becomes angry again, “Are you telling me to leave my land?”

Maybe you put too many points into courage and not quite enough into wisdom.

Maybe you put too many points into courage and not quite enough into wisdom.

I shake my head, “Absolutely not. I think you should stay right here. In fact, you should stand right here in the open and fight them off.” I glance over towards his wife / farmhand, “I guess you’ll need to take turns with the pitchfork, though.”

And with that I leave Cal to his fate. Dumbass.

Cal was farmer most brave.
Or perhaps I should call him a knave?
He’ll die in the fight
with bandits tonight
Because he’s clearly too dumb to enslave.

So... Dirk. Is that short for anything or just... no? It`s just Dirk. Okay then. That`s... fine.

So... Dirk. Is that short for anything or just... no? It`s just Dirk. Okay then. That`s... fine.

Hey there, Dirk Mudbrick. (Heh.) I see you’re still guarding the sheep. And you’re still named Dirk Mudbrick.

Poor bastard.

There was a sheep guard named MUDBRICK,
Who was…

Uh.

Wow. It’s really not easy to find a rhyme for Mudbrick.

You won this round, Dirk.

Shouldn`t you be pruning some pegs?

Shouldn`t you be pruning some pegs?

In town I meet a woman who is trying to get enough food together. She wants me to kill five wild boars and bring her a shank of meat from each. Very nice. I guess I’ll leave the rest of the carcass out in the field to rot. I mean, why drag a single boar back into town and use it to feed everyone for days when you can just… be incredibly wasteful?

Hey… while we’re making the rounds, we should stop in the town jail.

Trust me buddy, you don`t want to go in the jail. They`re totally out of pie!

Trust me buddy, you don`t want to go in the jail. They`re totally out of pie!

Remember Calder Cob? I managed to get him arrested earlier for conspiring with the brigands. Let’s see how he’s doing.

This guy`s been in jail for four hours and he`s already got a stack of plates outside his cell?! Are we fattening him up to eat him, or what?

This guy`s been in jail for four hours and he`s already got a stack of plates outside his cell?! Are we fattening him up to eat him, or what?

THIS is Calder Cob?

You know how in movies somebody will reach into a cell, grab a prisoner, and pull them face-first into the bars? I wish this game had an emote for that.

You know how in movies somebody will reach into a cell, grab a prisoner, and pull them face-first into the bars? I wish this game had an emote for that.

You guys couldn’t tell he was a bad guy? I mean, look at him! You should have put him in jail just for having that obnoxiously smug look on his face.

The jailer wants to have a word with me.

Let me guess. Someone stole your sweetroll?

Let me guess. Someone stole your sweetroll?

Now, normally I don’t ask you to read quest text, but it’s important to realize that all the stuff I’m doing here is actually the stuff you do in the game. I’m posting this screenshot because I know you’re cynical and will call me a liar if I don’t.

This is ignoring the fact that we already know their plans, which is a direct frontal assault on the town. We`re going to bake him a pie so he`ll tell us what we already know.

This is ignoring the fact that we already know their plans, which is a direct frontal assault on the town. We`re going to bake him a pie so he`ll tell us what we already know.

Calder Cob has been aiding the brigands in their attack, acting as their spy. They could very well come in here and kill every single person in the village. You need Cob to talk. And your plan is to bake him a cake because he asked you? Put me in that cell with him for five minutes and I’ll make him sing like an Elven bard in springtime.

Tossers.

Calder Cob proved to be quite a snake,
serving brigands from over the lake.
All of his spying
could lead to us dying.
SO WHY ARE WE FEEDING HIM CAKE!?!?

I must say I think I’ve really grown as a Hobbit through this adventure. I began with a very mild distrust for humans, but over the course of the day that antipathy has blossomed and grown into a deeply rooted racial prejudice.

I spend the next four or five ages of the world running around town swatting flies, killing boars, and gathering up stuff to bake a cake for a treasonous murderer.

I’m rewarded with a bounty of clothing.

Sure, I killed to get this outfit. But I only killed animals like boars, spiders, and Humans, so it probably doesn`t even really count as murder.

Sure, I killed to get this outfit. But I only killed animals like boars, spiders, and Humans, so it probably doesn`t even really count as murder.

I’ll most likely die in the raid tonight, but damn if I’m not going to go out looking fabulous.

I don’t know where all these humans are getting these Hobbit clothes, or why the entire economy of this town seems to be some sort of garment-based barter system, but if I had known that traveling to foreign parts and stabbing people was the key to high fashion I would have begun doing both ages ago.

Things are now well and truly settled around town. Nobody else is asking for help. They’re either ready for tonight’s raid, or they’re out of spare clothes. I head back and talk to Jon Brackenbrook.

No, I`m not going to do a bunch of bear puns. I`m a minstrel, not a savage.

No, I`m not going to do a bunch of bear puns. I`m a minstrel, not a savage.

Now all we have to do is wait for nightfall and our swift deaths.

Next Time: If God didn’t want you to burn down cities, why did he make them out of wood?

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20222 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.

From the Archives:

  1. Matt Downie says:

    There was a sheep guard named Mudbrick
    Whose stupidity made my blood sick
    He gave me the blues
    But he gave me some shoes
    So I refrained from punching his dud dick

  2. Hector says:

    You may need to explain the Aquaman joke these days. Consider just where you got the idea that Aquaman was useless, and consider that more people these days probably know him as the badass Lord of Atlantis. Now I’m not saying, “Don’t use the joke.” I’m just sayin’ the joke’s era may have slipped past already.

    Cal: “Let them come! There is still one farmer in Archet fields who still draws breath!”

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      So he’s the Lord of a land that was built so badly is sunk into the ocean?

      Oh, and apparently this was because he married into it, after losing his title due to some scuffle or other.

    • Ninety-Three says:

      Consider just where you got the idea that Aquaman was useless, and consider that more people these days probably know him as the badass Lord of Atlantis.

      You vastly overestimate how many people read comics. “Aquaman has a lame power” is a meme, I’d wager more people hear about Aquaman throuh the jokes than through comics. I’d heard it a dozen times before I ever saw Aquaman in a piece of media, just like I heard a hundred “Nickelback sucks” jokes before an actual Nickelback song (they do suck though).

      • Supah Ewok says:

        He’s been somewhat redeemed in the past decade and a half of DC animated media, actually. Enough to where people both know the joke while knowing the joke doesn’t exactly apply in the modern day.

        Let’s be real though. He’s got the standard super hero strength/durability thing, plus… he can talk to fish. Sure, that includes leviathans and what not, but… he’s a standard super hero guy that talks to fish. Compared to the rest of the Justice League, it’s definitely laughable.

        • Viktor says:

          The thing is, it’s not that Aquaman sucks, it’s that DC is terrible with him. They made him a flyingswimming brick because they’ve got no clue what to do with the dude. So now you’ve got a guy whose whole deal is being powerful in the ocean who spends his time fighting Lobo in space with the rest of the JL and then DC wonders why no one cares about their really cool ultra-badass superman clone.
          Basic, Superfriends-era Aquaman powerset: Ultra-fast swimming, commands and talks with fish, can survive any aquatic environment. That’s actually a really useful powerset for a water-based hero. Keep him in the water, have him fight anything that comes up from the Marinas Trench, take out pirates and whalers, and in general deal with all the problems that happen on 70% of the planet. Don’t put him on the JL, he’s too busy, but if they have a villain hiding underwater, they call Aquaman and ask him to deal with it.
          No, you can’t use him as a traditional hero if you do that, but that’s fine, there’s enough of those already. You don’t make a hero popular by making them tough, you make them popular by making them unique and interesting. But DC are hacks right now, so unique and interesting is probably not going to happen.

    • Dreadjaws says:

      This is what happens when people simply repeat stuff they hear without ever bothering to check if they’re true. Sadly, Aquaman has been unfairly treated for years, and it’s all Super Friends’ fault. Yes, every single character was completely useless in that show, but since most of the other ones have had several new adaptations that redeemed them in the eyes of the public, everyone fixates on him.

      Seeing that the guy is super strong and resistant, and can control marine life (it’s really nothing as simple as “talking to fish”), he certainly doesn’t lack in the power department. But what irks me is that people keep focusing on powers as if they’re a hero’s most important trait. The man is a king, and a warrior. He’s Conan but stronger, faster, can take more punishment and control sharks.

      Seriously, stop making Aquaman jokes.

      Edit: I’ve made the comparison to Conan before, so I found it amusing when they actually cast an actor who played that role as Aquaman.

      • Shamus says:

        “Seriously, stop making Aquaman jokes.”

        Uh, no?

        He’s an inherently funny guy and the idea of a useless superhero is a gold mine for all kinds of humor. Batman fans have to put up with the “Batman is a fascist thug” angle, Superman fans have to put up with super dickery (I’m sure you’ve seen it and I don’t need to dig up the link) and Aqua-fans have to put up with “LOL FISH POWER”.

        Maybe it’s not fair to Aquaman, but he’s not a real guy so it doesn’t matter.

        • Volvagia says:

          I go even further than that. The idea of Aquaman is that anything that lives in the sea, and only anything that lives in the sea, can be controlled by Aquaman. The highest level of that? Chthulu says hi. Yeah, I do NOT make fun of Aquaman.

          • Nessus says:

            Except Cthulhu doesn’t live in the sea, in any sense of the word. He’s an outer space god who’s current jail cell happens to be sort of maybe in the sea. Depending on who you ask, he’s either “sleeping” in a state that’s actually more like death, or stuffed in a timeless pocket dimension that merely opens into the sea, or both.

            Point is, he’s not native to the sea, nor is the sea his home, nor is he “alive” in the sea. Aquaman has, at best, about as much jurisdiction over Cthulhu as he does over a cruise ship passenger.

        • Dreadjaws says:

          Wait, so your excuse for being unfair is “other people are doing it”?

          Maybe you don’t realize what the problem is here. This is an entirely different situation from Batman and Superman. Those characters are already popular, so all the jokes make no dent. The problem with Aquaman is that all this mockery turns the people off the character, and they will purposely miss all the great stories about him because of a misconception. He’ll never achieve popularity because people are denying it for the lulz.

          Granted, there are misconceptions everywhere, but when people who perpetuate them know about it and refuse to stop just for the hell of it, that’s not right. It’s not just unfair to Aquaman, it’s unfair to his fans.

          How would you feel if someone did the same to characters from, say, Lord of the Rings? Imagine if there had been a persistent joke about how Gandalf is a useless wizard. Then the movies might have never been made, and even if they did, they might not have turned out so popular because people wouldn’t wanna go see the film “with that useless wizard whose power is talking to birds”.

          Sure, there’s inherent humor in a useless superhero, but why don’t you just, you know, find an actually useless one? The Legion of Superheroes, for instance, has an entire line-up of bench-sitters that perfectly lends itself to this use. There’s a character whose entire power is to rip off his arm, for God’s sake.

          • Shamus says:

            My reason for being unfair is that it makes for a good joke. I realize you like the character, but the entire concept of “He’s really powerful in the ocean” is hilarious to me. “Oh man, this guy is UNSTOPPABLE if someone attacks him on a golf course”.

            “Imagine if there had been a persistent joke about how Gandalf is a useless wizard.”

            Uh. I’ve seen that joke a million times. “Galdalf is actually just a shitty bard” was a meme for a while. I laughed. Sometimes jokes bug me. Someone made the case that Aragorn was an illegitimate king a few weeks ago. I don’t think the joke worked because it sort of ignores how this universe works, but I wouldn’t demand that someone NOT make the joke. I’m not going to go through life worrying that some joke or meme might somehow, someday, cause a movie to not get made. That’s the path of paranoia, madness, and endless fan-rage.

            “but why don’t you just, you know, find an actually useless one?”

            Because that would be a different joke.

            • Hector says:

              Ten-Eyed Man comes to the rescue! A character so useless, his superpower is technically, figuratively, and literally a disadvantage!

              Sorry to start a mini-flame-war there. I didn’t intend any such thing.

            • Dreadjaws says:

              “Uh. I’ve seen that joke a million times.”

              I haven’t. Again, it’s a completely diffent situation because the joke might upset you as a fan, but it doesn’t scare away potential fans. You can’t compare the situations because, like your previous example with Superman or Batman, Gandalf is already a popular character.

              Please understand what the problem is here. The problem is that you and many people are deciding to not check out an interesting character because it’s easier to make and believe jokes about how he’s useless. You can’t tell me that’s not unfair.

              Remember for instance the problem with PC gaming years ago. The platform is fine now, but look at your old articles and remember you being scared for it to be dead. Why did that happen? Because the idea proliferated between users and developers/publishers that the PC was a haven for pirates and it lacked the convenience of consoles. You knew very well that wasn’t true, and you were annoyed and dissapointed that your platform of choice was being unfairly treated.

              And why was it being unfairly treated? Because people were spreading and believing the wrong idea about it rather than simply trying the platform.

              This is not a case of “stop saying a joke because it particularly offends me”. It’s a case of “stop saying a joke because it’s causing you and many more to lose on something you might like if you gave it a chance”.

              As a last note, that “he’s all-powerful in the ocean” is also a misconception. He’s powerful anywhere, it just so happens he’s more powerful in the ocean.

              • Bubble181 says:

                The joke is the only reason he’s still relevant and known. Aquaman is still part of groups and considered one of the “bigger” names because of recognition. Which he only has, outside of the small comic crowd, because of such memes and jokes.
                So what if he isn’t known as the biggest bestest strongest? He’s maybe not in the top 10, but definitely in the top 20 of most known superheroes. Which leaves the way open for a return in style and strength a few years down the line.
                There’s literally hundreds of other heroes who were of a similar power level who are completely forgotten.
                Look at Squirrel Girl: nobody takes her serious, but she’s known and beloved. Aquaman is in a similar position; the butt of your jokes is liked and loved – perhaps not hugely respected. Batman wasn’t in a much better place some years before the remakes.

                • Dreadjaws says:

                  “The joke is the only reason he’s still relevant and known.”

                  That’s kind of a double-edged sword. Sure, you can claim that’s true, but perhaps if it wasn’t for the joke, then the real version of the character would be even more relevant and known. True, we have no way to know that until we perfect parallel-universe travel, but the fact is that people are just not giving the character a chance because they prefer to joke.

                  I don’t mean this as an insult to anyone, but the idea of spreading ignorance for your personal amusement repels me. It’s fine if you have given the character an opportunity and you honestly didn’t like him. But people aren’t even trying.

              • djw says:

                So the problem is too many micro-aggression against Aquaman?

                Fortunately, he has a really big “safe space” in the ocean.

          • JAB says:

            To those of us who grew up watching The Superfriends, it’s not so much that Aquaman was useless, it was that every show had to have some water-based catastrophe shoehorned into the plot to make him useful. Just like every show, that in the campy 60s Batman TV series, the BatBelt would contain some plot-useful device [Bat Shark Repellant?]

            All the expansions of the character and his powers since then don’t really change that basic image. He can withstand enormous pressure, so he’s super tough! He can control plankton, and use it to disable a bomb! He’s king of an enormous underwater kingdom! He lost his hand and got a badass replacement! He can control Cthullu!

            To me, attempts to make him less of a joke have only made him more absurd. I don’t buy/read comics these days, so maybe there’s some version of Aquaman I would really get into. But I doubt it.

  3. Happy says:

    I like how Calder gets to keep his town guard uniform. That’s just adorable!

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