Shamus Plays LOTRO 16: Unbearable

By Shamus
on Jun 12, 2016
Filed under:
Shamus Plays

It’s very late in the day. I’m in the town of Budgeford, where Odovacar Bolger is trying to entice me into dealing with a Black Rider problem he’s having. Apparently his farmhands spotted a rider prowling around his lands last night.

I`m glad this dialog is in text so I don`t have to pronounce this guy`s name.

I`m glad this dialog is in text so I don`t have to pronounce this guy`s name.

Odovacar explains, “Yes. See, I’ve been thinking of selling this property to Lotho Sackville-Baggins. And now that Black Riders are showing up I’m even more keen to move. But I’d like you to check it out for me.”

I look uneasily over to where he said the rider appeared, “I’ll bet you would. Look, you’ve got the wrong girl. If you have a musical problem, I can help. Need a poem? I’m here for you. Robbers? Bears? Spiders? I can solve those too, although I’ll complain about it. But Black Riders are way out of my league. If you want help, you should ask…”, I trail off for a second, “You know, I don’t even know who you’d ask about this. Elves I guess? But then you’d have an Elf problem, and they’re almost as bad.”

“Look”, Odo says in a slightly panicked voice, “Just keep a look-out during the night and see what shows up, okay?”

“Fine. But if it’s really a Black Rider I’ll probably just run away and not come back.”

“What good does that do me?”, Odo says, exasperated.

I fold my arms, “What’s the job pay?”

“90 coppers.”

“Would you like to shop around and see if you can find someone else willing to face Black Riders for 90 coppers? I’m willing to wait.”

“Fine!”, he says in a huff.

So, now I just have to wait for night to fall and see if our Rider shows up.

The sun goes down. Once night has settled, I walk around town and see if I can spot any dangerous immortal wraiths prowling about. Eventually I reach Odo’s pig sty.

Thanks to whoever carefully labeled all these pigs. I`m not sure I would have figured this out on my own.

Thanks to whoever carefully labeled all these pigs. I`m not sure I would have figured this out on my own.

You have got to be kidding me.

He’s no rider, unless he rode in on a pig. He’s a Hobbit is stomping around in the pigsty, draped in a black cloak and saying things which would sound ominous if they were coming from someone who wasn’t four feet tall and covered in pig shit.

So are you trying to scare the pigs, or... ?

So are you trying to scare the pigs, or... ?

I can’t, in good conscience, put a stop to this. I have witnessed many stupid and absurd things since I returned to the Shire, but this scene is by far the most heartwarming. A young Hobbit terrorizing a town in the name of a good prank.

If you actually do this quest, you learn that our “Black Rider” is one Fogo Fallohide, who was actually paid to do this. You confront him in the pig pen and he runs away, dropping his black cloak. (A black cloak would actually be worth a fortune to players. A single bottle of black dye can run you upwards of 300 silver, which is over 300 times the value of the 90 coppers you get paid for this job.) But sadly, you can’t keep the cloak. It doesn’t even show up in your inventory. The game just says that you have it.

Anyway, you take the cloak back to Odo and after a bit of running around you get Fogo’s name and you go and question him. You learn that he was paid to haunt the land by someone called “The Chief”. In the end, it’s all a plot to scare Odo into selling his land.

Which means that this entire quest has basically the same plot as every episode of Scooby-Doo.

Well, I can’t bring myself to ruin a good jape like this one. But if I’m still here in the morning Odo will expect me to give some sort of report, and I can’t very well lie to him. Which means I need to leave town. Again.

Let’s check the map…

The game actually only has the upper half of the shire. I guess they left out the southern areas because they don`t appear in the books.

The game actually only has the upper half of the shire. I guess they left out the southern areas because they don`t appear in the books.

Oh my. I’m quickly running out of towns where I can show my face.

We’re down to the last two towns, actually. Okay, it might look like there are four, but Brockenborings and Scary are basically one town. And the town of Stock is a nice place but it doesn’t have much to offer our play-through here. So I guess next Lulzy should go to…

So I skulk out of town, grab some sleep, and then head into the town of Overhill.

Why did we build the well so tall? It must be a pain in the ass to use.

Why did we build the well so tall? It must be a pain in the ass to use.

This is an odd town. It’s right on the edge of the woods and dedicated almost entirely to logging, but that’s not what makes it odd. No, the odd thing is that they have no tavern. It’s actually kind of creepy. How do these people find the will to get out of bed and stand in front of their houses all day without a nice tavern nearby?

No tavern? This must be some kind of sick cult.

No tavern? This must be some kind of sick cult.

Oh sure, that might look like a tavern, but it’s actually a warehouse and a tanners. No ale. A tanner, I might add, is the one odor that can make me nostalgic for the springtime fresh scent of Frogmorten.

Well, let’s walk around town and see who needs my help…

Hi, I have a problem with bears and...

Hi, I have a problem with bears and...

“Hi, I have a problem with bears and…”

“No thanks. Next!”

I was delivering my cart when suddenly spiders...

I was delivering my cart when suddenly spiders...

“I was delivering my cart when suddenly spiders-“

“NO!”

She might be an expert woodworker, but the stuff she builds is WAY oversized.

She might be an expert woodworker, but the stuff she builds is WAY oversized.

“Hi. I need you to deliver this list to the Shire homesteads.”

“The Shire post is working again”, I tell her, “You can just mail it.”

“I’d really rather you delivered it. I’ll pay 2 silver, and 88 coppers.”, she tells me.

A little-girl squeal escapes my lips. I slam my hand over my mouth, but the damage is done. Nobody has ever offered me this much cash for a single job. I’ve fought savage animals, killed bandits, buried dead bodies, and humiliated myself in public, and not once has anyone offered my more than 90 coppers. Now this lady is putting up more than thrice that just to carry a letter? I realize she’s probably screwing me. I’ll probably get there and find out the letterbox is guarded by cave troll riding a warg who is riding a dragon. But for this sort of dosh I can afford to take on something stupid.

She hands me the letter and sends me on my way. It’s a long hike, but it’s peanuts compared to some of the mail runs. I have to go to the homesteads just south of Mike Delving.

The homesteads are where you go to buy your in-game house. As soon as you’re high enough level, the game will toss a few quests your way to try and encourage you to check them out. It’s basically baiting you. You’re eligible to buy one at level 15, but at that level you probably won’t have the income to pay the upkeep on the place, much less the steep up-front cost. For comparison, Lulzy here is saving up a “few hundred” silver. 1,000 silver is 1 gold. The cheapest houses start at a single gold, and the prices go up quickly from there. So the game is letting you know the houses are available so you can begin planning the long-term saving if you’re interested.

It turns out that the surprise twist is that… there is no surprise twist. I take the letter. I come back. She pays me.

Maybe I’ve stumbled on some special non-crazy town. Maybe the town of Overhill is a sane place with reasonable jobs for decent pay. This is worth checking out.

Okay, let’s check back with the bear guy and see what his story is.

Snark aside, the environments in this game really do show an amazing attention to detail.

Snark aside, the environments in this game really do show an amazing attention to detail.

Everard begins his tale, “I’d just killed a deer with my lucky sling-stone when a bear grabbed it and dragged it off.”

“Okay. So… you want me to go and kill you another deer?”

“No! I don’t care about the deer! I want my lucky stone back.”

“Wouldn’t the stone be on the ground near where the deer fell?”

“No. Like I said, the bear made off with it.”

“So – and I’m just trying to get a picture of what I’m up against – the bear grabbed your deer. Maybe it put the deer under one arm or something? And then grabbed your stone off the ground using its opposable thumbs, put the stone in the pocket of its trousers, and went home?”

“Don’t make up ridiculous stories!”, he snaps at me.

“You started it.”

“Look, I need my lucky sling-stone to hunt.”

I reach down and pick up a pebble near his foot, “There you are. That will be 90 coppers.”

“No!”, he says in a whiny voice, “I need my lucky sling stone. I can’t hunt without it.”

“So you’re asking me to believe that you can kill a full grown deer by throwing a rock at it. But only one particular rock? Have you at least tried other rocks? I mean, just for laughs?”

BELIEVE

BELIEVE

Well, 90 coppers for killing a bear isn’t bad. This is a far cry from getting almost 3 silver for just running a letter, but it’s still better than the last couple of towns. Everard gestures to the north indicating where I can find the bear and I head up the hill into the Bindbole wood.

	♫Look for the bare necessities ♫ the simple bare necessities ♫ forget about your worries and your- OH GOD I`M BEING MAULED HELP ME

♫Look for the bare necessities ♫ the simple bare necessities ♫ forget about your worries and your- OH GOD I`M BEING MAULED HELP ME

Okay. Progress is slow. I’m only halfway up the hill and I’ve had to kill a few bears just in self defense.

(Land of the Lost Theme Plays)

(Land of the Lost Theme Plays)

Ah. A waterfall. I must say that of all the places I’ve traveled to poach bears in the Shire, this is by far the most scenic. Although, I’m not entirely clear on where the water is coming from? Shouldn’t there be a river up there?

Anyway, hopefully it will be more easygoing from here.

What`s under the tarp? I`l bet it`s guns. Clearly these guys have the right to bear arms.

What`s under the tarp? I`l bet it`s guns. Clearly these guys have the right to bear arms.

Oh come on. A squad of bears is camping the entrance to the valley. If I just charge in I’ll have to fight them all, which is a great way to end up a bear snack.

Eventually I make it over the hill, but the bear I’m supposed to assassinate is still a ways off. But now I have to push through a bear den? With cubs?

Wipe them out. All of them.

Wipe them out. All of them.

One dead family of bears later, I find myself looking up another hill. I’m going to single-handedly ruin the stereotype of hobbits as peaceful people in tune with nature.

According to the map, I must be getting close now. This job stopped being worth it about ten dead bears ago, but if I backed out now I’d get nothing. I need to finish the job so that I can get my promised next to nothing.

Oh deer.

Oh deer.

I push up the last hill and through a tight choke point to reach a broad cave that contains the dear carcass.

Once again I have to wonder: Which end is this coming out of?

Once again I have to wonder: Which end is this coming out of?

I have to search a rotting, half-eaten deer carcass to get Everard’s lucky stone. If I’m very lucky, I won’t puke my guts out.

Also ew.

Also ew.

I don’t think this stone is as lucky as Everard says it is.

I stagger back out of the cave and find that the valley is once again filled with a great herd of evenly distributed bears. I cut a path in, but I guess they… called for reinforcements? Or something?

Down the hill. Through the den. Up the hill. Past the waterfall. Down the hill into town.

Total bear casualties: 20.

Seriously. What do the developers have against bears?

I hand the sling-stone over to Everard. He smiles, “Thank you friend, I don’t know what I would-“

It turns out that twenty is a lot of bears.

It turns out that twenty is a lot of bears.

“TWENTY BEARS!”, I scream in his face, “I killed twenty bears so you could have this stupid rock. You’re lucky I don’t run you through!”

“I knew it! My sling-stone is lucky!”, he cheers. He hands me my coppers.

I suppose we’d best get this out of the way…

I think all of these songs were written to an existing tune, but I didn`t think to record which ones. Fool!

I think all of these songs were written to an existing tune, but I didn`t think to record which ones. Fool!

People want to see bears dead.
But I’d rather sing a song instead.

I don’t take pride in bears destroyed,
But it’s what I do. (When employed.)

I’d rather sing to show my skills,
But killing bears? It pays the bills.

Now I’m a hunter of distinction:
I’ll drive these bastards to extinction.

Well, it looks like Overhill is not a magical place where people hand out huge sums of money to perform simple tasks. Worse, there’s only one job left in town…

Next time: Along came a spider…

Enjoyed this post? Please share!


1624 comments. (That's 10 in Hexadecimal.)

From the Archives:

  1. Bespectacled Gentleman says:

    Are we absolutely certain Rutskarn didn’t ghostwrite this one?

  2. krellen says:

    You know, when you started reposting this, I reinstalled LotRO with the intention of seeing how it had changed since this was first made. However, I launched the game and logged in with one of my old characters first, and my screen was so full of action bars and skills that I just logged back out and never bothered trying again.

    I miss City of Heroes.

  3. Tuck says:

    But LOTRO does include the southern parts of the Shire…

  4. Aerik says:

    I’m having a rough day, and taking a break to read this cheered me up. Thanks, Shamus.

  5. Nimrandir says:

    I continue to be curious about how much the game’s economy has shifted since these write-ups. I think I was able to purchase a house at level 16 or so, and I did it primarily to avoid bumping against the currency cap.

    As I’ve noted before, though, I’ve made money through prospecting and the auction house. I’ve also been handed a fair amount of cash through the free-to-play ‘daily gifts’, so maybe that has skewed things?

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>