Shamus Plays LOTRO #19: I Don’t Have Any Friends

By Shamus
on Jul 3, 2016
Filed under:
Shamus Plays

I’m in the town of Scary. Things could be going better.

I’ve been working on the problem of a goblin invasion. Generally people fall into two camps with regards to goblins:

1) AH! I saw a goblin! We are dooooooomed!
2) Bah. The goblins are a myth.

Somewhere between these two viewpoints, it would be nice to find someone who thought that walking out to the goblin camp and killing them all would be a good plan. I have brought back news of the goblin camp to one Wilcome Tunnelly, in hopes that he would mobilize his people to do exactly that. Instead, he’s sending me into the mines because they have a… spider problem? And in order to fix the spider problem, he wants me to recover a skull they uncovered at the bottom of the mine?

You and the skull have one thing in common, which is what you`ve got inside your noggin.

You and the skull have one thing in common, which is what you`ve got inside your noggin.

Wilcome is warning me that I’ll need help on this job. Sadly, there’s no help to be had. I don’t really have any friends that go in for this adventuring type of business. And It’s been days since I saw another adventurer running around.

No, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to do it alone. In we go.

I know Hobbits are supposed to like tunnels but... pass.

I know Hobbits are supposed to like tunnels but... pass.

This is a small-group quest, designed for 2-4 people. I’m sure there are hardcore players out there who solo this at the prescribed level, but if you’re one of those people then you don’t need my help.

While it’s a group quest, there’s really only one spot where you need a group. A little ways in is a Spider Queen. Once she sees you, a good half dozen more spiders will rush in and you’ll end up in a huge battle. Without numbers on your side, you’re probably screwed. Even a character several levels higher can be killed by those odds. The strategy that worked for me is this:

1) Buff yourself to the eyeballs.
2) Rush in and unload everything you have on the Queen. If you’ve got some special once-every-three-minutes kind of powers, this is the time to use them.
3) As soon as you squash her, run for the exit. The other spiders can’t follow you up the ladder.
4) Sit outside and suck your thumb until you stop crying and bleeding.
5) Go back in and do the dungeon normally. The spiders will have forgotten about you. Without the Queen, you should be able to fight the rest of them one or two at a time.

I hate killing spiders almost as much as I hate spiders being alive in the first place.

I hate killing spiders almost as much as I hate spiders being alive in the first place.

Here we are again, killing waves of spiders at the behest of a crazy man. I must say, things haven’t changed much since my adventure first began.

I reach the final chamber, where I find a skull resting on a nearby rock.

A chipped skull? Did I fire up Diablo II by mistake?

A chipped skull? Did I fire up Diablo II by mistake?

I swipe it and make for the exit.

As before, most of the dialog is verbatim from the game. I’ve changed a bit here and there to edit for length and such, but I’m not adding insanity to these characters.

“It certainly is a hideous thing, isn’t it?”, Wilcome says worriedly when I show him the skull.

And yet I bet the skull is still handsomer than YOU. Probably just a shade smarter, too.

And yet I bet the skull is still handsomer than YOU. Probably just a shade smarter, too.

“It’s a skull.”, I point out, “Have you ever heard of a friendly-looking skull? Even kittens have creepy looking skulls.”

He looks closer, “I can’t tell if it’s a goblin skull or not, but it does seem to be missing a tooth. Missing a tooth! Oh dear! Pansy told me you found a goblin tooth inside a rabbit hole on the Greenfields!”

“No, actually, it was just a r-“

“This must be Golfimbul’s head, rolled all the way down to this quarry from the rabbit hole it landed in during the battle of Greenfields hundreds of years ago!”

“Waaaait a minute.”, I say, rubbing my temples in anticipation of the coming mental stir-fry. “Did you say it ‘Rolled down into the mines?’ You just found this thing when digging a tunnel!”

Wilcome nods vigorously, thinking we’re on the same page.

I look back towards the hill between this town and the Greenfields, “So.. the skull popped up out of the rabbit hole where it had fallen, traveled across the rolling grasslands of the Greenfields, went uphill and over the wall into Scary, rolled through town, fell down into the quarry, and was then transported through a hundred feet of solid rock where it landed upright on a naturally occurring table of stone? And then a swarm of spiders came and hung around the skull and waited for someone to dig them out?”

He pushes the skull into my hands, “You’ve got to take this to Brombard Foxtail at the Mathom-house in Michel Delving. Bullroarer’s club in on display there, and I’d wager old Golfimbul hasn’t forgotten Bullroarer’s mighty club.”

“Are you seriously suggesting we scare a skull by taking it a museum so we can frighten it with a golf club?”

“He won’t try anything while that’s at hand!”

“No, he won’t try anything because his head is off and he’s been dead for 200 years!”

So, I make the trip to Michel Delving, which is…

Note: The arrow shows where I`m going, but not the route I have to take. The route is... much longer.

Note: The arrow shows where I`m going, but not the route I have to take. The route is... much longer.

…the town furthest from where we are now.

Once I reach the museum, Brombard is quite excited to get the skull, “Oh? Golfimbul’s head? That’s quite a find!”

Why are there three Hobbits standing around in the sunshine in front of the museum, but I was the only one willing to crawl down into a spider hole to get a skull and nevermind I just answered my own question.

Why are there three Hobbits standing around in the sunshine in front of the museum, but I was the only one willing to crawl down into a spider hole to get a skull and nevermind I just answered my own question.

“Yes. Enjoy. Now if you’ll excuse me…”

“But if you wanted to put it on display with the club, I’m afraid you’re too late. Bounder Primstone came by and borrowed it. Now, I don’t normally lend things out, but-“

Great. They guy who sent me on this quest is also the reason I can’t finish it. I don’t care if the skull and club are together, but I do want to know what’s going on.

Moreover, I want paid.

Later, tater!

Later, tater!

“Hey, you forgot your skull!”

Once again I travel from one corner of the map to the other, and arrive back in Brockenborings.

At the watch office, bounder Primstone is just getting ready to leave.

I like the touch that the jail is used so little that it`s got cobwebs. Unless this is just foreshadowing for yet another spider-slaying job.

I like the touch that the jail is used so little that it`s got cobwebs. Unless this is just foreshadowing for yet another spider-slaying job.

“Lulzy, you’ve caught me at a bad time, I’m afraid. I was just about to step out…”

“Thinking of going golfing, then?”, I ask, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh all right. Yes, I borrowed Bullroarer’s club. But if Golfimbul really has come back to life-“

“He hasn’t!”, I shout. “His skull is sitting in the museum!”

“Well, I’m going to that goblin camp and I’m going to get to the bottom of this, once and for all!”

On one hand, I can tell this is a fabulously terrible idea that will end in tears. On the other hand, I’ve been complaining for weeks about how these people never get off their butts and defend themselves. It would be pretty hypocritical for me to try and stop him now.

“No, I don’t want you coming along”, he says.

“Yeah. I didn’t really ask-“

“You can tell that hunter, Halros, that I’ll have taken care of the goblins soon. He deserves some thanks for finding those camps.”

Hello? I found those camps!

So, Primstone is off the the goblin camp and I’m off to see Halros again. I follow the familiar stench of long-dead goblins all the way back to Halros and his three friends.

Imagine the smell.

Imagine the smell.

“Wow! Three more goblins! You’re quite the goblin slayer.”, I greet him as I enter the camp.

“Oh. It’s you again.”, he says glumly.

“What’s your total goblin count up to by now?”

“What can I do for you?”, he asks testily.

I explain about Primstone and his plan to assault the goblin camp all alone using an antique golf club.

“Primstone is journeying to the goblin camp? That brave, little fool! Does he think old Bullroarer Took won the battle of Greenfields by himself?”

“I’m pretty sure ‘thinking’ wasn’t one of the ingredients of his plan.”

Halros makes an impressive offer: He’s going to round up a bunch of his kin – some other rangers – and meet me in the cave the goblins are using as their base. I’d question why he didn’t do this sooner, but really I’m just amazed at how everyone suddenly seems so willing to fight instead of just throwing me at the problem all by myself.

Here is the entire spider-control brigade of the Shire.

Here is the entire spider-control brigade of the Shire.

Halros runs off to get help, and I hike across the Greenfields to arrive at the goblin camp. I hack my way to the cave entrance and manage to add another ten goblins to the dead list.

This is the nicest Goblin door I`ve ever seen. It`s also the ONLY Goblin door I`ve ever seen.

This is the nicest Goblin door I`ve ever seen. It`s also the ONLY Goblin door I`ve ever seen.

I head inside and wade through more goblins. Thankfully they are sprinkled around the cave in groups of one or two instead of all being stationed at the front door or around the fire in the main chamber. This makes it a lot easier to kill a whole bunch of them without getting too much goblin blood on my shoes.

Sure, Goblins are evil twisted creatures of hate and menace that serve the Dark Lord, but they really know how to carve a good totem.

Sure, Goblins are evil twisted creatures of hate and menace that serve the Dark Lord, but they really know how to carve a good totem.

Eventually I reach Primstone. He’s on his back in a corner, having been waylayed by Lubach, the goblin running this particular show. Primstone admits that Lubach took the club.

I thought so too. Ah well. Maybe next time.

I thought so too. Ah well. Maybe next time.

“That’s about par for the course.”, I tell him. Instead of appreciating my skillful golf pun, he begins to stand up.

“My wounds look worse than they are. I’ll come with you.”

“What would you do that fore?” I ask innocently. Again, he doesn’t take the bait. “Aren’t you afraid you’ll run into the bogey-man? A little birdie told me he might be in here. Don’t think I’m trying to drive you to go deeper. It’s going to be pretty rough. You might die of stroke.”

I trail off. I’m out of golf puns and he’s almost out of blood.

He begins marching towards the nearest cluster of Goblins, club in hand.

“Ummm… ball washer?”

Not a bad escort sequence. Primstone manages to hold his own in a fight and doesn’t require you to fling yourself into the jaws of the enemy to protect him from harm. He still has the escort problem that he won’t stop walking when you want a rest, and he won’t speed up if you’re in a hurry, but sometimes we have to take joy in the little things.

We reach the final chamber and find Lubach on an upper platform, taunting us. He snarls and throws some henchgoblins at us, which are every bit as fearsome and dangerous as the twenty goblins laying face-down in the tunnel behind us.

“You cannot hope to stand against me!”, he bellows.

So... we should SIT against you? How would that even work?

So... we should SIT against you? How would that even work?

Eventually we do, in fact, stand against him. Lubach runs out of guys and is obliged to jump down and face us himself.

I don’t want to ruin the suspense for you or anything, but he doesn’t win.

As Lubach goes down, Halros strides in.

Hey Primstone, maybe next time you assault a Goblin lair you should bring a weapon instead of stolen antique sports equipment. Just a suggestion.

Hey Primstone, maybe next time you assault a Goblin lair you should bring a weapon instead of stolen antique sports equipment. Just a suggestion.

“You are one boss fight late.”, I tell him.

“My apologies for being late. I’d hoped to reach you before the battle was joined.”

“Well, no harm done.”, I tell him. “Still, nice job getting in here and taking care of all the guards.”

He gives me an angry look, “They were already dead, actually.”

“Oooooh right, right. I guess killed those guys on my way in. Forgot about that. Well, you found the place, so that’s something to be proud of!”

Halros mutters something under his breath.

“What was that?”, I ask.

“I said”, he screws up his face, “I didn’t find it. You scouted it for me yesterday.”

“So I did!”, I smile innocently.

Halros offers to help Primstone out and suggests we meet up back at his camp.

It’s good to get out of the cave and into the open air again. Well, it would be a lot nicer if Halros didn’t decorate his camp with Dead Goblin® brand air fresheners.

Look, the fire is RIGHT HERE. Let`s throw these guys on and maybe once they`re burned we can think about breathing again.

Look, the fire is RIGHT HERE. Let`s throw these guys on and maybe once they`re burned we can think about breathing again.

As the sun sets, we gather around the fire and discuss the battle.

Halros reveals that Lubach was invading the Shire under the direction of one Eogan, who has eluded Halros thus far. I consider telling him that I met Eogan a couple of weeks ago and kicked his ass, but he would probably just assume I was messing with him.

“Alas”, he says, “This has been a joyless victory.”

“Maybe for you.”, I say as I pocket the silver and five coppers he’s handed me. “And while we’re settling up, weren’t you supposed to bring some help to that fight?”

“It is unsettling, but I was unable to find my kinsman. I would ask that you go to Bree and seek out the head of my order.”

Halros goes on to explain that he wants me to look into the missing ranger problem by talking to some ranger boss who is staying at the Prancing Pony Inn.

Great. A ranger hanging out in a tavern. I’m sure he’s a do-nothing dunderhead like the rest, but a job is a job. More to the point, I’m fresh out of towns where I can show my face. At this point it’s either leave the Shire or quit, because I’ve left a trail of outrage and shame in my wake.

Well, seeing Halros again has encouraged me to find out what inglorious, absurd, and (hopefully) hilarious manner of death Amdir finally met.

So much love to Turbine for the time they spent filling out this world.

So much love to Turbine for the time they spent filling out this world.

So I’m heading east to find Amdir and talk to this Aragoof fellow.

Next time: Way out east!

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20A natural twenty.

From the Archives:

  1. Nidokoenig says:

    “I’m sure there are hardcore players out there who solo this at the proscribed level”

    Prescribed level, I think. Though the idea of someone being low enough level to be forbidden from doing it and glitching in anyway sounds hardcore.

    “You and the skull have one thing in common, which what you`ve got inside your noggin.”

    Which is what.

    Great stuff as always, Shamus. Sorry I only have nitpicks.

  2. MichaelGC says:

    They’re very holistic, these hobbits, aren’t they? In a Dirk Gently sense, I mean: “we have a spider problem, so go and grab a skull.” “We’re being haunted by a ghost, so go beat up some bears.” It’s like if Josh tried to fix his sink by mowing the lawn.

  3. mwchase says:

    I don’t know if this happened before, but the intra-series link goes to the version on The Escapist.

  4. Nimrandir says:

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the escort quests in LotRO thus far. Well . . . there was one featuring a guy obsessed with finding his father’s sword. I kept looking at the open path to freedom while he insisted on rifling through another pile of barrels surrounded by goblins.

  5. RTBones says:

    Most escort quests I’ve done in LoTRO have been decent (for escort quests). One that I remember as being a pain in the backside was one I got in the Barrow Downs. For *reasons* the escortee girl seemed to aggro EVERYTHING. I dont believe the original series of this ever got that far.

    • Nimrandir says:

      I had forgotten about that one, but I would argue that the reason in that case was better than the ‘reason’ from the quest I mentioned earlier. If I recall correctly, that girl was bewitched.

  6. Dragmire says:

    I actively feel bad for Halros now…

  7. Steve C says:

    “You have gained a new title!” — Lulzy the Passive-Aggressive!

  8. bigben1985 says:

    The link about Eogan links back to the escapist. Probably not intended :)

  9. tremor3258 says:

    Only in the Shire could the invention of golf be tied to both an upcoming goblin invasion, and, oh, the end of the Third Age.

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