Shamus Plays LOTRO #25: One Time, At Bandit Camp…

By Shamus
on Aug 21, 2016
Filed under:
Shamus Plays
And now we come down to the end of Lulzy’s tale. I’ve completed the epic quest lines for both the Hobbit and the Human stories. Both quest chains point to Strider at the end. We’re done with the Foreword and we’ve moved on to Book I. The Hobbit Foreword ended when Halros sent me to find Strider way back in part 19. The Human Foreword ended last episode, when ranger Reniolind sent me to find Strider. And then died. Because of course he did.

I’m in Bree. I’ve just met Strider, and while I think both of us felt a strong mutual attraction I didn’t think it would be fair to expect him to court me while I was still covered in swamp scum. I’ve been to the auction house and picked up some new clothing (at the expense of just about everything I’ve earned thus far) and now I’m on my way back to him.

I stop and wash up a bit in the city fountain and then return to the Prancing Pony, where I treat myself to a quick belt.

Is that a graphical glitch on the bar? That surface makes no sense to me.

Is that a graphical glitch on the bar? That surface makes no sense to me.

That calms my nerves a bit. Taking a deep breath, I head for Strider’s room.

“You’ve returned.”, he observes as I step back into the room. “And you’ve… changed your clothes?”

Admit it, I am ROCKING this dress.

Admit it, I am ROCKING this dress.

“Oh, this old thing?”, I giggle. I thought I’d freshen up a bit.” I raise my eyebrows a bit and grin.

The man must have an iron will, because he doesn’t even take the bait, “Yes. Earlier you said you’d been to the marshes. Do you bring tidings of my kinsmen? I have heard little news and even less of comfort.”

“Oh that. Yes. The poor fool Amdir got himself stabbed by a Nazgul blade and is a wraith or something now. You know how he is.”

“That news reached me just a few days ago. Alas for Amdir!”, he laments.

“Oh! Also, Toradan, Mundol, and Renblarg are dead.”, I add. Strider seems shaken by this news. After a few seconds I bite my lip a bit and give him a little shrug, “Sorry. Did what I could, you know?”

“Your news is grim.”, Strider says. “We must move quickly to-“

Wow. This thing is barely big enough for a Hobbit.

Wow. This thing is barely big enough for a Hobbit.

“Sorry, you don’t mind, do you? I’m ever so tired.”

“I… guess not.”

“My, the beds here are soft, aren’t they?”, I say, bouncing up and down a little.

“I’ve spent little time on them since arriving here. The task before me is great and there is much to be done.”

If that isn’t the most blatant confession of sexual frustration, I don’t know what is. He’s quiet for a few moments. I’m sure he’s contemplating running over and jumping in here with me. Actually, is that even possible? The bed looks to be considerably shorter than he is. Hm. This may require some planning.

He furrows his brow, “Amdir’s fall, the attacks in Bree, and the gathering of goblins on the borders of your homeland. These events are bound together, and I see the hand of the Captain of the Nine in all of them.”

“The Nine?”, I ask, my voice squeaking a little. “Isn’t that the wraith guys who work for you-know-who?” This is not exactly where I was hoping the conversation would go.

“Indeed, though I am surprised to meet one of your kind that knows of such things.”

I’m anxious to prove to him that I’m more than just a pretty face and jaw-dropping fashion. “Yes! The Nine. I know all about those fellas. I even faced one a few weeks ago on my way to Archet. That’s where I met up with Amdir.” I leave out the details about how I was just cowering in front of it waiting to be killed until the Elves showed up.

“Few mortals in this age have faced such an encounter, and fewer still live to tell the tale. You must be a great deal stronger than you look.”

And now he’s going on about my looks again. My plan is working!

He fixes me with a stern gaze. At first I think he’s going to profess his love right then and there, but apparently he’s not ready to give in just yet, “I know that you have done much already, but I would ask one final boon from you.”

“I’ll do anything.”, I say.

“You need not agree so quickly! There is no shame in caution when facing these, the most deadly in all the servants of Sauron. Still, I would ask that you accompany me to a camp some distance from here.”

“YES!”

“I believe that is where we will find Amdir.”

“Oh.”, I say, trying to mask my disappointment. This is not what I’d imagined for our first date.

“There we must go, and there we must end Amdir’s life, if indeed he can still be called living.”

I brighten up a bit, “Oh, that actually sounds kind of nice.”

“Nice?”

“Uh, I mean… important.”

Strider nods, “The path ahead is hard, but I believe we must do this if we hope to unravel the thread of their plans.”

Reluctantly, I hop down off of his bed. “Great so… what now?”

“We may leave as soon as you’ve recovered your gear.”

I shrug, “I’m good.”

Actually I`m not just good, I`m AMAZING.

Actually I`m not just good, I`m AMAZING.

“You wish to go into battle clad thus?”, he asks, motioning towards my new dress.

I think back to my old outfit, which I flung off in the middle of the auction house. Not a proud moment for me, and it would be even less proud if I were to go back and try to recover my things. Finally I stammer, “Of course! This is my combat… gown. Yes. It will be just fine.”

“Very well then. Let us depart immediately.”

This could actually work out well for me. We’re going off to a remote camp in the woods at night to face Amdir. Once Amdir is dead, Strider will most likely be full of sorrow. (But not in a gross blubbering crybaby way. He might do that “shed one tear” thing that brave men do.) He’ll be in need of comfort, and we’ll be all alone.

Perfect!

A bit later in the evening we arrive at the bandit camp.

Are you kidding me? You bought a third AND a forth wheel?

Are you kidding me? You bought a third AND a forth wheel?

Curses. A couple of other rangers have met up with us here. I’ll need to get rid of these guys if my plan is going to work.

Strider speaks gravely to us, “Can you feel the chill in the air? This is not the natural cold of the night air, but the powers of evil. I have no doubt that Amdir is here, but we may find greater evil still ere we see the dawn. Be on your guard.”

“We should split up!”, I blurt out.

They all turn and look at me, waiting for an explanation.

“Because… Amdir might escape.”, I stammer. “He’s a slippery one. He’s always running off instead of fighting.”

“You speak wisely, young Hobbit.”, Strider says with a nod. “You and Torthann should explore beyond the nearby gate, while Lenglinn and I shall look for another way-“

“No!”, I yelp. “I mean, shouldn’t you and I…?”

“Fear not”, Strider says in a gentle voice, Torthann is as capable as any of the other rangers. He will protect you.”

“That’s not what I…”

WORST. FIRST DATE. EVER.

WORST. FIRST DATE. EVER.

Shit!

So now I’m stuck with another ranger. He’s already got his sword out. For no reason.

What a waste of looking completely fabulous.

What a waste of looking completely fabulous.

“Come on you.”, I snap. “And try not to hurt yourself with that thing.”

“We must find Amdir! If he escapes, it could spell doom for Middle-earth.”

“Settle down, squire”, I say. “He’s a handful, but he’s a far cry from menacing the entire continent.”

Torthann holds up his sword, “He’s slain many people, and many more might-“

“No. He’s killed many rangers. He’s probably not ready to start taking on regular people.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Exactly.”

So with Torthann in tow, I stomp down to the iron gates of the brigand hideout. I am not happy. Here I am, all dressed up and dragging myself through another filthy brigand lair with another befuddled ranger.

Suddenly the gate rumbles open and a couple of filthy brigands stroll out.

It`s a good thing these idiots opened their front door, or else we`d have been stuck outside. It`s not like we brought siege equipment.

It`s a good thing these idiots opened their front door, or else we`d have been stuck outside. It`s not like we brought siege equipment.

“Right.”, I say, scanning the woods for reinforcements. “I’ve fought these types before. You wait here and I’ll…” I glance over and he’s gone. Then I look down the hill and see that he’s run over to our foes and begun waving his sword at them. He’s saved them the trouble of surrounding him by simply throwing himself between them. After a few seconds it’s apparent that they are going to be able to kick his ass without even trying.

As amusing is it would be to watch yet another ranger bumble into an early grave, if this idiot gets himself killed it could make me look bad to Strider. I’m going to have to save him.

I sprint down the hill (now I’m really glad I didn’t wear heels with this) and fling myself into the fight. It’s tricky, but I manage to yank Torthann out of the sword sandwich and get him behind me. Then I go to work on the brigands.

Once the violence is over I take a deep breath. “Look, you can’t just run off like that.”, I say as I wipe my dagger off on one of the fellows who just sullied it. “If you could refrain from-“

Torthann is no longer behind me. Suddenly I hear a scuffle within the gates. He’s already inside.

Torthann keeps this up from one end of the bandit camp to the other, throwing himself into a hedge of swords so that I have to jump in after him. I’m doing all the fighting, and he’s just running around pissing people off and perhaps gently fanning them with his sword.

Finally I get the area cleaned out and there aren’t any people left holding swords for Torthann to jump onto. Scuffed, bruised, and tired, I stagger over to the next gate.

Kinda wishing I`d just joined the brigands when I had the chance.

Kinda wishing I`d just joined the brigands when I had the chance.

Torthann looks me over. “Need a rest? Were those lot a bit much for you?”

“Do not test me, nature-boy.”

“Right. Well, let’s go through this next gate and see if we can find Amdir.”

You`re going to search a BANDIT camp for EVIL? That`s like searching the OCEAN for dampness.

You`re going to search a BANDIT camp for EVIL? That`s like searching the OCEAN for dampness.

We push deeper in. I stab a few more reprobates and Torthann engages in an activity that looks as much like interpretive dance as it does swordfighting.

You`re talking to the RANGER? This is like Batman showing up and the bad guys all cower in fear because they`re afraid of ROBIN.

You`re talking to the RANGER? This is like Batman showing up and the bad guys all cower in fear because they`re afraid of ROBIN.

But then we come to a gruesome platform where many men have been sacrificed. There is a Dwarf performing some sort of evil ritual here, killing his own men in the service of… something. I don’t know. This Black Book stuff gives me the heebie-jeebies.

As I mentioned before, Aragorn (Strider) is the point where all of the quests from the various starting areas come together. Skorgrim here is the main villain of the Dwarf story. Like Eogan, he never appeared in Tolkien’s book, and was added so that players would have Important People that they could oppose and eventually kill. (Because the major villains of Lord of the Rings are all accounted for.)

“My servants will deal with you!”, be bellows. Then there is a flash of light, and out of the ground rises a horrifying Barrow-Wight.

But in the previous image you promised you`d deal with us yourself!

But in the previous image you promised you`d deal with us yourself!

And also two rats? Was he afraid the Wight couldn’t do the job, but the rats would give him the edge he needed?

Well, my heart is gripped in fear and I’m probably about to die, but damned if I’m not going to stab somebody before I go.

“Torthann!”, I cry, finding my voice. “You flank the Wight while I…”

But Torthann has already jumped into action and is now heroically fighting one of the two rats.

“Or, I could fight the Wight by myself.”, I say. “And also the other rat. I guess.”

And then I do.

There is a lot of crazy magic being flung around and to be honest I don’t understand any of it. There’s strange screams and flashes of light and rolling waves of darkness and insanity. I just keep chopping, and eventually the air clears and everything is pretty much dead, aside from Torthann’s rat, which is giving him a little trouble.

One good stomp later and we hurry around the platform to the next gate.

“That was a hell of a thing.”, I admit. “I mean, I never thought I’d even see something crazy like that in my whole life.”

Speaking of having a lot of nerve...

Speaking of having a lot of nerve...

Torthann scratches his nose and stares for a bit. “Don’t lose your nerve now.”, he says.

“Maybe I’d do a bit better in the nerves department if you actually helped with the fighting. What were you doing over there, trying to tame the rat?”

We charge through the gate and find ourselves climbing a massive stair.

Wow. Anyone who works regularly at the evil sanctum at the top of these steps is going to have an INCREDIBLE butt and thighs.

Wow. Anyone who works regularly at the evil sanctum at the top of these steps is going to have an INCREDIBLE butt and thighs.

At the top we find…

Well here we are. Everyone I hate in the same room.

Well here we are. Everyone I hate in the same room.

Five Nazgul, ring-wraith Amdir, and Eogan, who you may remember from way back in the day. They’re all having an Evil ceremony of Evil Evilness in honor of Amdir’s new job as a Slave of Fear and Darkness. They even got him a nice new set of red robes.

You know, Strider may be the most gorgeous hunk of a man I’ve ever seen, but we are very quickly getting to the point where this might not be worth it.

“My Lords! The rangers approach with fire!”, Eogan cries.

Suddenly the Nazgul shuffle out the back door. Are they really all afraid of him? Wow.

Strider bursts in with a torch in one hand and a sword in another, an engine of fury. “In the name of the DĂșnedain!”, he shouts as he chases after the Nazgul. What a man.

“Strider, sweetie!”, I yell after him. “Do you need me? I can come with-“

We`re almost there. The bad guys are running out of creeps to throw between me and Strider.

We`re almost there. The bad guys are running out of creeps to throw between me and Strider.

Suddenly Eogan steps in front of me.

I say six words to him. I punctuate each word with a forward thrusting motion with my sword-arm: “GET. OUT. OF. MY. WAY. ASSHOLE!

Eogan then topples over, dead. For real this time. But I’m too late. The gates slammed shut after my man, and I can’t follow him.

I could just cry.

With a heavy sigh I Turn to Torthann, “Looks like we can’t follow. At least I got to settle up with Eogan. I’ve been meaning to track him down for the last couple of weeks now and give him a proper-“

I trail off. Torthann is looking and gesturing at something over my shoulder. I to see what the fuss is about.

I was just at the auction house so I know that it would cost a FORTUNE to put together an outfit that needed that much red dye.

I was just at the auction house so I know that it would cost a FORTUNE to put together an outfit that needed that much red dye.

Damn it, it’s always something, isn’t it?

Amdir – or whatever he’s calling himself now – is a screaming specter of magical terror. As with the Wight, he gives off waves of fear and darkness and his shrieks seem to shake the earth. I wade in and give him my best.

“You know”, I say once we’ve put him down for good, “I think that’s about as much adventure as I ever want to see in my lifetime.”

Torthann smells his hand and makes odd faces.

I continue, “I mean, that was a lot of seriously screwed up stuff. Skeltons and Wraiths and Wights and a necromancer Dwarf.”

Thanks for taking care of that rat. I know it must have been hard fighting so far above your level.

Thanks for taking care of that rat. I know it must have been hard fighting so far above your level.

“And the rats”, Torthann adds.

“Right. And the rats. The point is, I’ve got the clothes I wanted. I took care of Amdir. I gave Eogan his comeuppance. I think I’m done.”

I make my way back to Strider in Bree. I don’t know how things turned out with the Nazgul and he doesn’t bring it up, but he’s completely unharmed.

Well HELLO again.

Well HELLO again.

“It grieves my heart that the enemy was able to turn Amdir thus. He was my friend and kinsman. My people will remember him as he was, good and noble.”

Sensing that my moment has arrived, I make my move and offer him a shoulder to cry on.

Really? You`re just going to leave me hanging here?

Really? You`re just going to leave me hanging here?

“It troubles me that the Nazgul have crossed the River and moved into Bree-land at just this time.”, he adds after a few moments of silent reflection.

“Oh sweetie, I’m so sorry about your friend.”, I say, hoping he’ll take the hug.

“There are events in motion which could determine the fate of Middle-earth.”, he adds urgently.

I lower my arms. They’re getting tired and he seems to be uninterested. I don’t know what the man’s problem is at this point. Is he thick? Is he just not getting the message here? Is he… does he not like girls or something?

“If you are able and willing, I have another task for you.”

“You know what? I’m good.”, I tell him. “I think I need to get home. To my house. At #3 Wending Way. In Daisyglenn.”

“So be it. You have already done much for these people.”

“My house where, I might add, I have a really big bed. Probably even big enough for a man.”

“Sounds like you will have great comfort once you return. Safe travels, little Hobbit.”

“You’re welcome to stop by when your adventure thing is over. I have tea and… anything else you might need.”

“You are very kind.”

“I hope to be!”

Well, I’ve done what I can. If he’s any sort of a man, he’ll give in and pay me a visit eventually. I just need to bide my time. So… time to head home.

Sadly, I didn`t pay the upkeep on this house, so Lulzy no longer lives here. As a joke I had a chest in the house set to public access, completely filled with random shoes.

Sadly, I didn`t pay the upkeep on this house, so Lulzy no longer lives here. As a joke I had a chest in the house set to public access, completely filled with random shoes.


-The End-

Lulzy’s musical career suffered after her journeys. People complained that her music was too angry, sarcastic, bitter, and profane. Her epic ballad “The 12 Deaths of the Quest-Giver” got her banned from most of the taverns around the Shire. Unable to earn a living as a bard, she turned to the only other thing she knew how to do well: She now works as an exterminator, specializing in giant spiders.

Strider turned out to be a guy named Aragorn, who did in fact like girls and who was also a king and kind of a big deal. He went out east and married some elf.

Frodo Baggins and some of his friends returned to the Shire after having some adventures of their own. Everyone made a big deal about them even though they only killed one lousy spider on the whole trip.

Well, that was a fun. Thanks for reading. Thanks to Turbine for a fun game. Thanks again to Tolkien for making such a phenomenal work on which so many great things can be based.

The road goes ever on and on
so thank God the game has auto-run.
The trip might make you nod and yawn
but getting there is half the “fun”.

To Archet, Staddle and to Combe:
Horse rental is not free.
You’ll get the Carpal Ache Syndrome.
from holding down the movement key.

Find a group and do the quest.
Kill the guy and get the stuff.
The wiki says the goal is west.
Use region chat if it gets rough.

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20A natural twenty.

From the Archives:

  1. Droid says:

    As someone who never saw the Escapist entries, it was very entertaining to read.

    Since you seem to have had more experience with LOTRO since when you wrote these articles, maybe add a last entry about what has changed, since it seems to be a lot?

  2. MichaelGC says:

    “I have other business to deal with … my servant shall deal with you!”

    But in the previous image you promised to deal with us yourself!

    When the various cards life has dealt you become an ordeal, it’s often best to dealegate.

    … I’ll get my cloak.

  3. MichaelG says:

    “He was my fried and kinsman.” should be “friend.” Since these are on the net forever now, might as well fix the typos.

  4. skeeto says:

    I never saw the original run on The Escapist, so over these past 6 months I’ve been excited to have a new LOTRO article to read each Sunday. I’ve really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing it again!

  5. Galad says:

    Hilarious as usual! Thank you, Shamus!


    Got something planned for the next text-and-screenshots series?

  6. King Marth says:

    There’s a bunch of other free-to-play MMO games who haven’t had their tutorial quests laughed at publicly yet…

    I’d recommend Warframe, but as that’s a third-person shooter with a blisteringly fast pace I can acknowledge that it’d be hard to get good screencaps, even if there are plenty of things to laugh at. (Recording a full session and taking your screencaps after-the-fact would let you pick good moments, but you wouldn’t be able to set things up nearly as nicely as in an MMORPG.)

    Their devs are extremely active and engaged in the community though, and you’d have a good shot at getting a shout-out in their weekly roundup of fanworks if not the biweekly development stream. This may be another strike against it, as the average forum-goer there will be far closer to the Internet average than the audience here, but as it’s a co-op game the audience is far less toxic than some. The devs have also expressed interest in smoothing out their new-player experience, so any critique you give may actually be reflected in changes in the game.

    • Corsair says:

      Personally I’d recommend The Old Republic, because I mean, it’s The Old Republic. The Korriban business alone is a comedic gold mine, it’s like High School for Murderers.

      • BespectacledGentleman says:

        He tried that one out already, the LP kinda died in the water. I’d love to see him revisit it if he can stomach it, though.

        • ehlijen says:

          Shamus writing about star wars? Putting an overrated, badly written mess into its place? Awesome!

          On the other hand: TOR is so very dreary. So few of its mistakes are interesting, unique , or even terrible. It’s just one long drawn out, washed out mess of meh. It’s were melancholy goes to calm down a bit if it gets too excited.

          Bullet sponges? Check. Hotbar combat? Check. Static shooter combat? Check. Fetch 10 of X quests? Check. Running back and forth lots? Check.
          You could write a lets play of any other WoW style game and run into much the same opportunities for lambasting. And I don’t recall the stories being amazing enough to rise above any of that.
          I’m worried Shamus’ sense of humour would suffer carbonite freezing if exposed to this game for too long.

          • The Rocketeer says:

            If I remember right, that’s why Shamus aborted his work on TOR; it was stupid, but it was boring. There wasn’t anything interesting or novel to make comedy out of, or at least, not to a greater extent than just pointing out the general foibles of MMO’s.

            • Coming_Second says:

              I’d sooner he did an LP of KOTR2. Surely loads of interesting stuff to say about that, good and bad.

              • swenson says:

                I played KOTOR 2 for the first time last year, and I couldn’t agree more. That game is a fascinating study in contrasts. There’s so much stuff that’s really good, or at least hints at something really good–and so much that’s just terrible or missing. Is it a good game? I’m honestly not sure, but I enjoyed it. (I played with the restored content mod, which seems essential.)

    • Viktor says:

      It doesn’t have to be an mmo. What Shamus needs is a game with ridiculous but generally ignored writing and enough of a blank slate lead for him to create his own personality for the story. Honestly, an FPS should work just as well as WoW Clone #73.

  7. Cuthalion says:

    Well, that was still fun the second time around. :)

  8. Artyom says:

    This chapter feels like weird tease for Incase’s series “Alfie”… if you know, what I’m talkng about.

  9. Michelle says:

    This was SOOOO entertaining!! Thanks so much for this, I was in TEARS, I laughed so hard. It was even more amusing because my character is a female hobbit minstrel, so from behind it was like watching my own game XD

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