Shamus Plays LOTRO #18: Tall Tales from Short People!

By Shamus
on Jun 26, 2016
Filed under:
Shamus Plays

I’m in the town of Scary and I’m talking to Wilcome Tunnelly, who is doing a shockingly bad job at enticing me to work for him.

It`s a BEAUTIFUL day to suffer fools.

It`s a BEAUTIFUL day to suffer fools.

“My sister Pansy is a good sort, but she can be rather excitable.”, he explains. “When she gets an idea in her head, it stays there, no matter how silly it might be, and before you know it, she’s convinced half the Shire that it’s true.”

“So… your problem is that half the Shire is idiots?”

“No!”, he objects, pauses, and then furrows his brow. “Well, maybe. Probably, I guess. But the point is that she thinks…”

“Yes?”

Wilcome looks slightly embarrassed, “Well, maybe you’d better just ask her about it yourself.”

So now I have to track down his sister. But let me give you the tour of Scary first.

I love that the designers thought to throw in the occasional tree stump. That`s one of those details that often gets overlooked.

I love that the designers thought to throw in the occasional tree stump. That`s one of those details that often gets overlooked.

Scary is, as I mentioned before, a tiny little burgh just a stone’s throw from the real town of Brockenborings. The only thing the town has going is the quarry. Nearly everyone in town is connected in some way to the mining operation.

On the right, someone was careful to switch up the rock textures to avoid ugly tiling. On the left, not so much. That repeating pattern really jumps out at me.

On the right, someone was careful to switch up the rock textures to avoid ugly tiling. On the left, not so much. That repeating pattern really jumps out at me.

Well, I guess that was the only thing the town did have going for it. A little while ago the quarry was overrun and the workers all fled. See if you can guess what menace came from out of the tunnels:

A. Union representatives
B. Traveling pie salesmen
C. Really bad smell
D. Giant spiders

I’m not going to give away the answer, but I will say if you picked anything other than option D then you’d probably fit right in around here.

The tour complete, I head over to talk to Pansy.

Honest question for the SCA types out there: On the left, why is there a barrel tied to the end of a wooden beam? It seems odd enough and specific enough that it must be based on a real thing, but I can`t imagine what it might be.

Honest question for the SCA types out there: On the left, why is there a barrel tied to the end of a wooden beam? It seems odd enough and specific enough that it must be based on a real thing, but I can`t imagine what it might be.

“Hello there! There’s something terrible happening in the Shire and you need to do something before it’s too late!”

“Leave?”, I ask hopefully.

Dear reader,

In the following exchange, Lulzy’s dialog is obviously made up, but Pansy’s dialog is verbatim from the game. Just so you know.

Love,

Shamus

Pansy explains, “I was walking in the Greenfields, looking for flowers, when I saw a squat little man off in the distance. He was carrying a spear, and believe me when I tell you he was a goblin! All of a sudden he dropped to the ground, and it looked to me like he was reaching into a hole of some kind… a rabbit hole most likely.”

So, Pansy was out looking for flowers in the Greenfields, which is infested with bloodthirsty killer bears. Then somewhere amongst the bears who were trying to kill her she saw one goblin, who was trying to kill a rabbit. This frightened her so much she had to come back here and tell her brother.

“Okay”, I say, taking a deep breath. “So you want me to go and kill the gob-“

“Maybe you ought to go look in those rabbit holes yourself.”

“Do what now?”

She becomes even more agitated, “I don’t know what the goblin was looking for…”

RABBITS, maybe?

“…but it can’t be good for the Shire!”

My father was not a minstrel, but he was usually full of crap, which is very nearly the same thing. When I was young he bestowed on me the following nugget of advice: Don’t argue with crazy people. I have had many unimportant people send me to do frivolous jobs for insulting amounts of money, but I don’t think I’ve ever sunk quite this low before. But as bad as this is, it’s less painful than trying to talk sense into the goofy bint.

I slaughter my way into the Greenfields, culling the local bear population along the way.

Remember, this is the main quest!

Remember, this is the main quest!

Eventually I find a rabbit hole. Inside is…

Pointy rock you say? Oh man, let me just run off to the auction house with this treasure and make myself rich!

Pointy rock you say? Oh man, let me just run off to the auction house with this treasure and make myself rich!

A WHAT?

Yes, clearly this is an object of doom that could threaten the whole Shire. I shuffle back to Pansy. Hopefully if I show her the rock she’ll calm down.

I hold out my hand and show Pansy my prize. Her eyes go wide and she exclaims, “This is a goblin tooth!”

Hoo boy.

She continues, “This proves that it was a goblin I saw the other day. And not just any old goblin, but old Golfimbul himself!”

Golfimbul the goblin had his head knocked off by a Hobbit some generations ago, thus leading to the invention of golf. They even have a statue of his demise in Brockenborings. I showed it to you last week:

Dude, are you golfing, or fighting? Because either way, you are holding that club SO wrong.

Dude, are you golfing, or fighting? Because either way, you are holding that club SO wrong.

Remember? And yes, the text below really reflects her line of thinking from the game.

I am dumbfounded, “So you think the goblin you saw was a dead headless goblin?”

“He must be searching all the rabbit holes in the Greenfields for his lost head!”

“Wow. And I thought my quests were a tedious grind. Still, I’m not seeing the problem. Once he gathers enough gravel to build himself a new head we can just knock it off again.”

Undeterred, she instructs me to bring the rock to the watch office in Brockenboring and show it to the local bounders. For reasons I may never understand, I do. This means making the trip between the two towns for the fourth time today. I know I said the towns are close, but they’re starting to feel a little far apart.

Well, all threats except spiders, bears, goblins, wolves, and Holly Hornblower`s Pie Shop of Torment.

Well, all threats except spiders, bears, goblins, wolves, and Holly Hornblower`s Pie Shop of Torment.

Back at the watch office, Bounder Primstone looks at the rock, “Why are you giving me a pointy stone? What? A goblin tooth? Is this a joke?”

Verbatim. Yes, the game designers give you a very stupid job and then an NPC makes fun of you for doing stupid jobs. And this is part of the main quest line for Hobbits. I’m telling you, the quest writers at Turbine are unrepentant griefers at heart.

“Well, I’m sure this goblin was just a figment of her imagination. Still, I’m a bounder and I can’t very well shirk my duties. I’ll need to investigate this just to make sure.”

“Great!”, I drop the stone off on his desk before I turn to leave.

“…so therefore I’m sending you out to meet with a fellow named Halros. He’s one of the big people, but he’s a nice enough sort all the same.”

“So when you say you’re going to investigate, you really mean you’re sending me to investigate?”

“Don’t forget your rock!”, he says as I storm out, “You’ll need to show it to Halros!”

And so I go out to talk to the Halros guy.

Halros, eh? More like. Hal... uh. Hm. I got nothin.

Halros, eh? More like. Hal... uh. Hm. I got nothin.

Wait a second. Human. Green cloak. Hooded. Funny accent. He sort of reminds me of…

Hey buddy, my eyes are still down here.

Hey buddy, my eyes are still down here.

Yeah. Like Amdir. Like a Ranger. The guy I met way back at the beginning of my adventure. This guy must be a Ranger as well.

Hm. I wonder whatever happened to Amdir, anyway? Maybe I should look into that.

As I arrive in his camp, Halros greets me, “Welcome fair Hobbit. As you can see, I’ve already encountered Goblins in the Shire.”

“Yeah”, I say as I nod towards the three Goblin corpses arranged neatly around his campfire, “That’s pretty obvious.”

“I have killed them myself.”, he adds for no particular reason.

“You’re a Ranger.”, I point out. “Aren’t you supposed to kill Goblins? This is like, your job, right?”

“Yes. And as you can see. I have killed three of them. At once. By myself.”

I know you`re proud of your dead goblins and all, but maybe you should settle for a sign announcing you killed three goblins?

I know you`re proud of your dead goblins and all, but maybe you should settle for a sign announcing you killed three goblins?

“Not recently, apparently.” I cover my mouth with my sleeve as I draw near. And why are these guys laying around the fire like this? Did you… did you pose them afterward? And how long have they been dead, anyway?”

“I have been sent to guard the borders of the Shire.”

Oh. Here it comes. He’s going to ask me to kill Goblins for him.

He continues, “My kinsmen and I have long done this duty. Although, I do not know what has brought these beasts here in such numbers.”

Any second now.

“I would ask that you seek out their camp to the north and…”

Yeah. There it is.

“…slay ten of them.”

He wants me to kill ten Goblins. It’s not at all clear what he’ll be doing in the meantime, other than basking in the glory of his earlier kills. With any luck, he’ll bury or burn these corpses while I’m gone.

I head north and after the world’s briefest scouting effort I manage to find the secret, hidden, super-clandestine goblin base.

WELCOME TO GOBLIN CON.

WELCOME TO GOBLIN CON.

This camp was so well hidden that people refused to even believe that goblins existed in the Shire. It’s about the size of Brockenborings, but there are a few differences between this place and the nearby Hobbit town. Specifically, this town is more populous and the locals aren’t as bloodthirsty towards the nearby bears. The goblin town has an immense red gate to make sure that it can be seen from miles around. For example, from the other side of the Greenfields.

I assault their camp. They are feisty, but not particularly strong. Still, ten is a lot of Goblins and the better part of the afternoon slips by while I pick them off from the edges of their camp.

Dude. Before you throw the spear, look down at your shadow. It`s so hilarious right now.

Dude. Before you throw the spear, look down at your shadow. It`s so hilarious right now.

Are we done? I believe we are. Let’s head back to Halros.

I return, and things have not changed.

At least POSE these guys or something. Show some creativity!

At least POSE these guys or something. Show some creativity!

When I was young there was a guy in my hometown (let’s call him “Ray”) who was a spectacularly bad hunter. Every year he went out during deer season, and every year he came home with no deer and no bullets. Now, understand that not being able to get a deer in this part of the world is like not being able to find pornography on the internet. This is something most people manage to encounter by accident. Lots of people manage to kill a deer without ever going hunting. The dang things are leaping in front of station wagons on the highway and gnawing through vegetable gardens all year. The rest of the world thinks of deer as these mysterious or majestic creatures, but to us they’re just huge rats.

So Ray was an awful hunter to come home empty-handed year after year. It was a source of shame for him and an endless amusement for everyone else.

Then came the year when he managed to bag a deer. Maybe he got lucky, or maybe he finally found a deer as stupid as he was. He brought the deer home according to the great traditions of all hunters who don’t own trucks: He strapped it to the roof of his car. Then he drove around town, showing everyone he knew or who would hold still and look at the dead beast lashed to his vehicle.

Apparently he didn’t want to stop showing off his trophy, because he left it on his car the next day when he drove to work. And the day after. Eventually someone called the police on him because his prize was decomposing and the stench was offensive.

I think of Ray whenever I see this ranger living with three dead Goblins.

“So, I killed ten goblins for you.”

“Well done”, Halros says.

“And hey, you killed three more! Nice work!”, I tell him. I’m such a naughty Hobbit.

“No.”, he says somewhat nervously, “These are actually the same three goblins.”

“Oh?”, I say with feigned surprise. “Well, nice work anyway. I guess.”

I enjoy a long moment of uncomfortable (for him) silence. Eventually Halros speaks up, “You should probably get back to the watch office and tell them about the goblins.”

“I thought you said you didn’t kill any?”

“I mean the ones you killed.”, he says, becoming more embarrassed by the minute.

“Oh right! Silly me.” I turn to leave and then stop myself, “I forget. How many did I kill again?”

“Ten.”, he says through clenched teeth.

“Right, right. Well, bye now. The four of you guys have fun!”

As I return to town the sun has begun to set.

My one nitpick about the town designs is that the roads are generally far too broad. Heck, this would be too broad for Big People, and it`s crazy overkill for Hobbits. It doesn`t help that this cobblestone road texture doesn`t look great when used over large areas like this. Making the road narrower, with a shoulder of dirt on either side, would help a lot.

My one nitpick about the town designs is that the roads are generally far too broad. Heck, this would be too broad for Big People, and it`s crazy overkill for Hobbits. It doesn`t help that this cobblestone road texture doesn`t look great when used over large areas like this. Making the road narrower, with a shoulder of dirt on either side, would help a lot.

This game is quite pretty at night. Towns in particular. I’ve been avoiding questing at night because the screenshots don’t really do it justice. It’s bright enough to see what you’re doing even in the middle of the night, but that’s when you’re playing full screen. Once you’re looking at reduced screenshots on a white background, it’s sometimes hard to see what I’m trying to show you. Still, I like to sneak in a an evening shot like this one now and again.

I head back to town and report the goblin encampment to the bounders.

Bounder Primstone isn’t particularly worked up about the news of a goblin town just beyond his borders. He wants me to go back to Wilcome Tunnelly in Scary and to check and see how things are going at the quarry.

It’s getting late. I should probably do today’s song, but it’s kind of peaceful here and I don’t want to break the mood with my lute. How about a Haiku for Halros instead?

This bench is perfect for a quiet evening of feeding yourself to the mosquitoes.

This bench is perfect for a quiet evening of feeding yourself to the mosquitoes.

Spring’s goblin hunter
Idle as his own green prey
I do love new shoes

The next morning I check in with Wilcome Tunnelly.

Based on what I`ve seen, I don`t think the Shire is all that great for Goblins, either.

Based on what I`ve seen, I don`t think the Shire is all that great for Goblins, either.

He explains that they were digging in the quarry when they were overrun with spiders. On the way out, one of his men spied an “evil skull.” He wants me to go in and recover it.

Spiders? Skull? Hello? I thought we were working on the goblin problem? Invasion, remember? Focus, people. Focus!

Wilcome warns me, “They quarry is quite overrun. I encourage you to gather some friends before you go in. You’ll need their help!”

But… I don’t have any friends.

Next Time: I don’t have any friends.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!



20323 comments. Highly cototient!

From the Archives:

  1. Lupis42 says:

    The barrel is to catch rain runoff from the roof. That water can then be used, typically for drinking.

  2. silver Harloe says:

    Oh, good, Shamus is back. Entire article on front page :)

  3. Nataline says:

    Not much visual information to use there, but I’d guess the barrels are counterweights in cranes used to manipulate large chunks of stone, to load/unload wagons or whatevers for example.

  4. Felblood says:

    Just FYI regarding displaying a deer in the fashion that Ray did:

    That is now illegal in just about every US state that has deer. If you see someone wasting a perfectly good deer like this, contact your local Fish and Game authorities.

  5. Joshua says:

    “Yes, the game designers give you a very stupid job and then an NPC makes fun of you for doing stupid jobs. And this is part of the main quest line for Hobbits. I’m telling you, the quest writers at Turbine are unrepentant griefers at heart.”

    Oh, this is not the last time, not the last time by far the designers like to pull this trick.

    One example:

    Celeborn: You did a very foolish thing allowing (this orc leader) to live. He is too dangerous.

    *Player is later shown in a flashback where an NPC gives you the choice about capturing the orc or killing him.*

    Brogur (Dwarf in Moria): Well, what should we do with him?

    Player: (makes choice) He is too dangerous, and needs to be killed.

    Brogur: Nah, I think we should take him as a prisoner. Sorry.

    *Later plot developments reveal that only suffering came from not killing the orc when you first had the chance.

    • Joshua says:

      Oh, and I’d say that one of the NPC plans in that plotline that lead to many deaths rivals any of the questlines you covered in this Let’s Play for sheer stupidity of planning. Especially when it is the end goal after many other plans and events have occurred.

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>