Lord of the Rings Online #12: The Pie Runner

By Shamus
on May 15, 2016
Filed under:
Shamus Plays

If you remember from last time, Holly Hornblower just got done having me deliver rotten pies to her customers. Now she wants me to get them back.

Now, if you’ve been reading this series you know what’s coming. You know poor Lulzy is going to have to do something ridiculous. Before I get started deconstructing this acid-trip of a quest chain, I want to point out that while this is probably a lot more loony than it needs to be, I’m actually really glad Turbine included a lot of non-combat questing in the Shire. You can quest in the Human or Dwarf areas if you want to murder robbers or kill ten boars or any of the other half-dozen quest templates we see again and again in MMO games. But the Shire is supposed to be a little silly and Hobbits are supposed to be a little wrapped up in their own little vanities while the War of the Ring rages on outside their borders.

Having said that…

What do you mean FIND them? Are they HIDDEN?

What do you mean FIND them? Are they HIDDEN?

“Wait a second, pastry-pusher”, I say waving my arms, “Why would I want to do that? Why would you want me to do that?”

“Because the pies are bad!”, she scolds me.

“Yeah, I got that. But why do you want them? How about I just tell people to throw them away? “

“You’ll need to find all of the pies I made yesterday!”, she says in a frantic tone. “You have to recover them all!”

“What are you going to do with rotten pies? I mean-“, I stop, mid sentence, realizing that the second crazy thing she said to me was more important than the first crazy thing. “What do you mean ‘all the pies’? I only delivered two.”

“Oh I made more than that!”

“So, laying aside the question of how they got anywhere when you’re obviously glued to this table… Just how many pies are we talking about here?” I am unable to hide the fear in my voice as I ask this question.

“And when you recover the pies, make sure no hungry Hobbits get a whiff of them! I don’t have time to-“

“Right. Fine. Recover the pies. I’m going. This is my own fault for expecting you to make sense. I’m sorry.”

She really asks you to recover all the pies without giving you any hint as to where they are or even how many there are.

But fine, I’ll just look it up on the wiki. Stupid Hobbit. Let’s see, according to the wiki there are OH MY GOSH.

Twelve pies. Pretty much one from every town in the Shire.

If you look closely, you can see that you can only rent horse in Hobbiton and Stock. Horses are basically taxis. You can`t steer them.

If you look closely, you can see that you can only rent horse in Hobbiton and Stock. Horses are basically taxis. You can`t steer them.

The mail delivery was a single trip through all of these towns, but since I can only carry one pie / tray of of compost at a time, this actually calls for a radial path. I need to stop back in Hobbiton between each and every town on the route. I could rent a horse to speed the journey from Hobbiton to the outlying towns, but that costs a silver each time and a pie delivery only pays 90 coppers. So I’d lose 10 coppers a trip if I did that.

Well, my self-respect isn’t going to just destroy itself. Let’s get this show on the road.

This is the party tree, but these decorations aren`t left over from Bilbo`s party. In the books,  Bilbo`s going-away party was, like, over a decade ago. These decorations are presumably from some other party.

This is the party tree, but these decorations aren`t left over from Bilbo`s party. In the books, Bilbo`s going-away party was, like, over a decade ago. These decorations are presumably from some other party.

As a way of passing the time while I do this, let me sum up what we’re doing here. I’m running to the far corners of the Shire, walking up to people sitting next to un-eaten pies, and explaining that the pie is bad. Rotten. Unfit to eat. Then I take the pie. I have to say, the now-pie-less Hobbits are usually pretty good sports about this.

If the bear is chasing me down to kill me, I think it`s safe to say that it`s no longer foraging.

If the bear is chasing me down to kill me, I think it`s safe to say that it`s no longer foraging.

I cannot put the pie in my backpack with the other things I own. Other things like – for example – the pies I own and keep for my own consumption. Instead I must carry the pie in front of me, parading it through the woods and swamps and spider-nests of the Shire. I must take care not to have the pie knocked out of my hands by wild beasts or get it wet going through the river. I must bring it back to Holly in pristine condition and before it gets cold, so that she can take the perfectly inedible, unbroken, piping-hot pie, and toss it in the rubbish.

If you get hit at all, you drop the pie and must return to where you got it to re-start the delivery.

If you get hit at all, you drop the pie and must return to where you got it to re-start the delivery.

Oh! And on my little adventure through ruin and madness, I can’t get close to any hungry Hobbits. If I do, they will smell the rancid pie and be overcome with a desire for a rotten pie of their very own. They will then walk away from their house, (which has food in it) walk past the tavern, (which serves all manner of food including pies) trudge all the way across the Shire past several other food-serving taverns, and arrive in Hobbiton to demand that Holly Hornblower make them a pie. And I can’t let this happen because Holly is ‘too busy’ to… what? Tell them to take a number? Say no?

Am I really doing this because Holly can’t say no to people? Because she doesn’t seem to have that problem with me.

Just think about the money. The money. This will all be worth it in the end. Think about the money.

Rotten pie on one side, rotten music on the other. This guy is having such a bad day, he`s probably almost as miserable as I am.

Rotten pie on one side, rotten music on the other. This guy is having such a bad day, he`s probably almost as miserable as I am.

Excuse me fine sir, but that pie you have gotten?
I’m afraid you can’t have it, because it’s gone rotten.

I’m here to reclaim this pie you have bought.
I must take it away now, and leave you with naught.

Then I’ll drag it through bear dens and swamps full of midges.
Then slip by the Hobbits who are camping the bridges.

Then take it through camps that are brimming with robbers.
(I’ll run through there quick so as not to get clobbered.)

Then take it through woodlands without going astray.
And then give it to Holly. Who will throw it away.

About a thousand years later I come wobbling into town, carrying the very last of the very bad pies. I am not sure how it is that I managed to arrive in each town exactly five minutes before the pie got cold. I guess I’m just “lucky”.

I hate this campaign. Wait. Wrong series.

I hate this campaign. Wait. Wrong series.

Holly is grateful. I am also grateful. She’s happy that her business is no longer ruined, and I’m happy that I will never, ever see another one of her pies. So everyone is happy.

“Oh thank you Lulzy! You are a true friend.”

“I’m not really feeling the love right now. Let’s keep this professional.”

“Let me give you something extra for your hard work.”

“Something extra? I think I’m starting to feel the love now.”

“Here, have some of my pies.”

Suddenly I draw my sword, run her through, and run screaming into the hills while the pie-gobbling dunces of the town look on in horror. Her house is knocked down and burned to the ground. The spot where the house stood remains barren forever after. No crop will grow there and none will dare build on that cursed spot, which is known to later generations as “Hornblower’s Folly”.

Sorry. That didn’t happen. I just wanted to pretend this story had a happy ending.

“You’re giving me pies?”, I ask her.

“Yes! Five of them! Enjoy.”, she grins at me.

“Five pies. Like, the pies you didn’t have time to make and so I had to dodge hungry Hobbits from here to Mordor? And then you had to bake more because the first batch was bad? And now that I’m all done you suddenly have five pies to give away?”

She presses them into my hand. I put them into my pocket without further protest.

“Oh! I nearly forgot. I wanted you to have this.”, she hands me a slip of paper. At the top it claims to be her super-secret recipe for her super-famous pies. It is a recipe so simple that writing it down is an insult to the reader.

You think I’m joking? I have another character who is a cook, and here is Holly’s super-secret pie recipe:

The whole cooking system is pretty silly, although I guess that`s normal for MMO crafting systems.

The whole cooking system is pretty silly, although I guess that`s normal for MMO crafting systems.

Yes, her entire recipe is “put pie filling in pie crust”. Any old filling and crust will do. The important part is that you put one in the other.

Well, actually, I guess the recipe is:

1. Put pie filling in pie crust.
2. Cook it.
3. Hire someone to carry the pie all over creation while being mauled by wild animals. Suffering is the secret ingredient!

Wow. Really generous parking out front.

Wow. Really generous parking out front.

It’s getting to be late in the day. I have stopped by the Green Dragon, a tavern of some reputation in the Shire. I have decided to spend a little of my hard-won earnings on a sip of ale. Just like the last tavern I visited, this one is having some sort of brewing problems that can only be rectified by a stranger.

Normally I don`t like drinking from wine glasses, but I`m willing to make an exception when they`re THIS ENORMOUS.

Normally I don`t like drinking from wine glasses, but I`m willing to make an exception when they`re THIS ENORMOUS.

The barkeep tries warming up to the topic. He drops some hints about the Four-Farthing Brewing Moot. Then he mentions his special blend, which he thinks can win. Then he mentions how he doesn’t have any on hand. Then a supply cart creeps into the conversation and he starts talking about dwarves.

I’ve been nodding my head this whole time but he’s just not getting to the point. Finally I interject, “What is it you need, where do I find it, and how much will you pay?”

Slightly put out, he mumbles something about a barrel that needs to be recovered and points me in the direction of the town of Overhill. A bargain is struck, and I take a hike.

It’s a straightforward job: Get the barrel. Bring it back. It’s a delivery that does not involve pies in any way. It’s a wonder why the barkeep didn’t just do the job himself.

Why is it labeled DWARF-BARREL when it`s made by Hobbits and owned by spiders?

Why is it labeled DWARF-BARREL when it`s made by Hobbits and owned by spiders?

Oh. That’s why.

Thinkaboutthemoney. Thinkaboutthemoney. Thinkaboutthemoney.

The barrel seems to have been misplaced in the middle of spider central. This spider nest is larger than the town of Hobbiton. And as I get near the barrel they gather round and start a little tiff.

What am I doing wrong here? Does my hat have a sign on top that says, “Ask me to solve all your spider-related problems!”

After several minutes of stabbing and yelling and cursing and stomping, I finally give the spiders the shove.

Hang on. There aren`t any Dwarves in here! This is bullshit!

Hang on. There aren`t any Dwarves in here! This is bullshit!

Making sure not to crush my five blueberry pies or spill my 100 buckets of water, I slip the recovered barrel into my pocket and return to the Green Dragon.

Sure, I want to punch him into a coma now. But Once I get these beer goggles on I`ll only want to punch him unconscious.

Sure, I want to punch him into a coma now. But Once I get these beer goggles on I`ll only want to punch him unconscious.

The sun is setting by the time I get back. The barkeep thanks me for my efforts and pays me my coin. He also gives me a mug on the house. Which I drink. And then just for good measure, I have a couple more. I find this really takes the edge off, so I round the party off with two more mugs and stumble back outside.

MOSEOBER TEXST!

MOSEOBER TEXST!

I’m feebling prety goood now. I might shoud probly find place to slepe thish off but i’m dont wanna. Hm. Im gong to go find moar quest. IM GOING TOO BE THE RISHEST HOBIT EVER!

LOL FROG ITS FUNY BECASE ITS SO BIGG

LOL FROG ITS FUNY BECASE ITS SO BIGG

Whee. Nice frogggy.

Next time: Who ya gonna call?

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1818 comments. (18 is the only non-zero number that equals twice the sum of its decimal digits.)

From the Archives:

  1. Corpital says:

    While this is sheer and utter madness, I’m still somewhat in awe. Maybe I just want a pie that only cooling if someone is touching it.

  2. djw says:

    Maybe all those years Bilbo lived there with the Ring screwed up the second law of thermodynamics.

  3. MichaelGC says:

    Best mouseover texst ever! :D

  4. Ofermod says:

    I believe the justification for the decorations at the Party Tree is that Lobelia is throwing a party, and trying to make it even grander than any of the ones Bilbo or Frodo ever threw. I think. It’s been a while since I played this.

    • Sarachim says:

      I think this makes the Party Tree the first character to:

      A. Appear in one of Tolkein’s books
      B. Appear in Shamus’ LP, and
      C. Fail to survive the former

      or, in sum, the first to make me go, “aww, that tree is doomed.” :(

      ETA: Oops, I forgot that Lotho was in #9. Also, the Ringwraiths all probably died when the Ring was destroyed, although I’m not sure if that’s explicitly spelled out. But the Party Tree’s the first one I feel bad about.

  5. 4th Dimension says:

    Wait doesn’t this happen sort of concurrently with the War of the Ring? How can the Bilbo’s going away party have happened ten years ago.
    And if it did how are the Ring wraiths still a thing?!?

    • djw says:

      Frodo and Bilbo share a birthday. Frodo turned 33 at the going away party, and then lived in the shire for another 17 years before the war of the ring began.

      • 4th Dimension says:

        Huh. I read the books. In fact I read them before watching the movies, but it was a LOOOONG time ago, and I don’t remember ever noticing that time skip. My bad then.

        • Philadelphus says:

          Don’t feel bad, I read the books multiple times as a kid and again after seeing the movies, and I still had to stop and think about the time interval before remembering it.

    • Nimrandir says:

      Keep in mind that the game follows the path of the books, rather than the films. After Bilbo’s party, Frodo lived in Bag End for quite a few years (seventeen, I want to say) before the events of the War of the Ring kick into gear.

      EDIT: Ninja’d — arrgh!

    • Hector says:

      This is based on the books rather than the movies. In the films, at most a few months might have passed between Bilbo’s party and Frodo setting out for Bree. In the books, Frodo indeed owned Bag End for years, both before and after his adventure.

      Edit: Double Ninja!

  6. Nimrandir says:

    Reading this is making me regret playing through LotRO as a human. The inanity quotient outside the Shire just can’t match this stuff.

    • djw says:

      You can play through Shire as a human, although you might feel silly playing hide and seek with the little people.

      • Nimrandir says:

        That is true, but it seems kind of wasteful to plow through another starting area with my now-level-23 character. I’ll probably live vicariously through the series for now and make a hobbit character of some sort once my memory’s had a chance to fade.

  7. Joshua says:

    Typo: The town is named Stock, not “Stack”.

  8. tremor3258 says:

    Ah, pie-madness, remember that back in the day. You pretty much have to forget the whole actual metaplot in Bree by the time you’re done here, right?

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