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Reader Comments (17)

Posted: May 14th 2010 3:22PM (Unverified) said

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Kudos for covering Ales & Tales! A couple of corrections & comments:

Galenswerd created Ales & Tales back in 2009 - and Harperella has been the main hostess since then. The link to Lonely Mountain Band's website is incorrect; it is www.lonelymountainband.com OR www.alesandtales.com.

I was surprised to see that you didn't mention the original music, poetry and stories being performed in game. These are actual musical compositions and tales players have written and now performed in game. The RP occurring at Ales & Tales is more than just RP, it is emergent game-play. Add that to the fact that this is Tolkien's secondary world, and you have a very deep and engrossing setting for events and RP such as Ales & Tales.

The motto of Ales & Tales is that we provide the setting - you provide the story. A travelling pub in Tolkien's world so to speak.


Posted: May 14th 2010 3:22PM Darkdust said

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Not all RP is "cantina RP", as we called it in SWG. Immersing yourself in the world through doing what your character would do can certainly qualify. But I'd point out that, in most of those sorts of place (even IRL), setting off firecrackers would, um, not be viewed with a friendly eye.

On the other hand, going on a hunt with your friends and staying IC can provide some very rewarding arr pee...

Posted: May 14th 2010 3:24PM (Unverified) said

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"Seriously? The room was like 500 feet tall and not that flammable, plus -- as I pointed out -- it was called the "Hall of Fire." I just added "works" on the end of that. Ah well. I sadly tucked away the rest of my goodies and sat down like a good little observer who didn't wish to disturb the natives."

Hahaha - that's awesome. Your article really made me laugh and was a great read all round.

Nice =)

Posted: May 14th 2010 3:24PM Thac0 said

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The road to Mordor is paved with good intentions!

Posted: May 14th 2010 8:16PM (Unverified) said

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Thanks for taking the time to write up our weekly event, Ales and tales. Our event began much as you summarized--an open mike night and stage for performers and roleplayers alike. However, it has grown to something a bit more than that over the past year.

There are whole new kinds of performance art being born in this medium. In this particular ales and tales we had:
*An original poem, recited by Knickinic
*An original duet played on clarinet and lute by two adorable hobbits, Turula and Lumesia
*An original tale by Naerrin, accompanied with live music by Harperella (Yes, that's me playing the music to the tale by typing on the keyboard)
*The Fall of Gil-Galad, an Tolkien poem, recorded as a RL song by Galenswerd Swordsong of the band Fathom, and then retranscribed into a three part ensemble piece. The tune was accompanied with the lyrics (Tolkien's poem) set to match the tune.
*Wonderful ensemble music by the Eriador Music Society, tunes lovingly transcribed to the ingame music system, then performed for a throng of synchronized dancers.

There is so much more going on at Ales and Tales than just a place for Cantina RP. Its a bubbling pot of creativity where something new and exciting is being born each week.


Posted: May 15th 2010 8:27AM (Unverified) said

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Good piece which makes a very good point. RP'ing in LotRO (or indeed any MMO I would imagine) can be percieved as a little bit dry, perhaps even boring and I believe I know why.

As a bit of background I was a DM for games such as AD&D, Vampire, MERPS, GURPS and a few other random tabletop RP systems (Dangerous Journeys) for over 12 years before taking on MMO's. I enjoy RP in LotRO with my 63 Elven warden, Quinthalon.

RP'ing in MMO's appears to be more about banter - stories, love interests, music and very loosely conflict. Conflict between two players seems to be where the system falls flat on its arse. When in the Prancing Pony I constantly see custom emotes such as "Blah hits WhoCares in the face" or "WhoCares nimbly dodges out of the way". Players shout these commands at each other but because there is no random element involved there is rarely a satisfactory outcome for the players or for those spectating.

In AD&D (for example) if Tony the Paladin wishes to come to blows with Andy the Wizard, the DM would ask Tony to roll a dice, and then relay the scene to the players depending upon the outcome of that roll. This also adds a nice random element. Tony the Wizard might usually never stand a chance of beating Tony the Paladin with fisticuffs but a stray 20 roll of a dice could gain him a critical and add spice to the proceedings.

Which leads me to my final observation. LotRO (at least) has a system that generates random numbers much like rolling a dice - raid players use this facility to deal out treasure when they fell a boss. What amazes me is that RP kinships (from what I have seen) do not use this facility to add spice and intrigue to general RP'ing. Of course, such a system would require a basic set of rules and every member of that guild would have to be mature enough to follow them but I believe the benefits would outweigh the initial manhours required to set it up.

The difference would be that, using the current RP method, if two people are brawling by just emoting each other it becomes too personal - it's your word against mine. With a random dice-esque system, the outcome of the conflict is fixed and true - you either win or you don't.

I also believe this could help with Lore-mongers in RP too. I'll admit I don't know as much Tolkein lore as I should but if I play as a Loremaster, it should be taken for granted that my character is well learned, even if I am not. The dice system could be used to determine if a character has the correct knowledge - of course this would require a third-party "DM" (probably an officer in the kinship).

Gosh I have ranted here....

On a lighter note can I get my European charcter transferred to an American server? I love the sound of Landroval :)

Apologies!!! :D

Posted: May 15th 2010 9:36AM (Unverified) said

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What you stumbled upon on Landroval was probably the lightest of the lite RP events--something only called RP for a sake of giving people an excuse to sit around and emote on what is really more of a poetry reading and song singing night. Not that there's anything wrong with it--but it's hardly RP. You're forgiven, however, considering you said you had no idea where to go for RP on Landroval.

The true RPers on Landroval are, in fact, all over the game world. They're in Archet, they're in Esteldin, they're in Bree, they're in Evendim--and they're not standing around reciting poetry. Rather they are instead creating events and following through with them, combat or otherwise. It's more difficult to follow and the crowd is certainly more strict on what's appropriate to do and whatnot. After all, the concept of role playing is not to simply be something you are not. No, that's called Halloween. Role players research the roles they play so they can fit into their characters as well as possible within the confines of the lore.

And I really wouldn't give Turbine a pat on the back for encouraging RP. About the only thing they have done for RPers is give us a tag we can put on our names to readily make noticeable that we are RPers. At least EU LotRo players got their official RP server--Turbine has taken a staunch policy not to designate any of the servers for anything.

Posted: May 15th 2010 9:41AM (Unverified) said

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We do indeed have Laurelin. Though it's a bit dry at the moment. Landroval sounds better imho

Posted: May 15th 2010 10:10AM gamebynight said

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@Agamemnon: Wow, condescending much? You've pretty much said that the people who get together for Ales and Tales aren't real RPers because they're not doing it your way. The sharing of song and story is a HUGE part of Tolkien's lore, they do it all in character, so how is it the "lightest of lite" RP?

I'll also add this from my experience, many times those events where the "real" RPers go out into the world fall flat. There's no DM to control the world, so you're relying on game mechanics never designed for RP to give you an RP experience; that hunting trip becomes much less exciting when there are literally bears over ever stray hill. At Ales and Tales, the players use those experiences and the many fluff elements Turbine has implemented to craft a fun, player driven, experience.

If you're on Landroval, I encourage you to check this out. Great article, Justin.

Posted: May 15th 2010 10:53PM (Unverified) said

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I've always wondered if the guy who sits down for a session of D&D and has his character take a wiz on the town's magistrate scream out in anguish when the DM kills his character off by saying, "Whoah dude, why are you being so condescending? I was just role playing."

Of course I never said lite RPers were "beneath" or "below" heavy role players, so your response of me being "condescending" can only be perceived as you thinking me hostile because *I* don't roll out the red carpet for you. Yes, I do expect people to treat the very literature they are receiving their enjoyment from with respect instead of trampling all over it. Silly me for wanting to help people become better role players. I'm oddly reminded of the 16-year-old who claimed she was one of Denethor's "respected advisers," or the Hobbit that sat on a barrel at the Pony trying to tell everyone she was a "friendly warg."

Do not mistake lite RP from heavy RP as being in the same league. You guys meet together in an unlikely event that would happen with the numerous races in Middle-earth. It's not a big issue for you guys because you have lots of fun doing it. In fact, I'm glad Harperella is able to get the event going each week. But, again, don't strike a tone with me when you know full well there is a huge disparity between showing up for an event once a week as opposed to playing the ENTIRE GAME out as a means to role play--as heavy RPers do (it is the only reason I have a subscription to the game). We don't roll up to your events demanding you meet our standards for role playing, so I suggest you take your own advice and briskly walk away and respect OUR role play as well.

Posted: May 15th 2010 10:31AM (Unverified) said

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"Massively's legal department has asked me to make a standard disclaimer here: I am not a role-player. "

Stopped reading right after this. I simply do not care what the uneducated have to say about a subject that do not understand.

I wouldn't read a raid review from someone that doesn't raid. I wouldn't read a PvP review from someone who doesn't PvP and I simply do not give a damn what a Non RP'er has to say about an RP event.

They always end up being more about how the author doesn't RP or Raid or PvP instead of about the subject that are supposed to be covering.

Posted: May 15th 2010 8:44PM (Unverified) said

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Justin you are definitely a roleplayer. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Just because your actions are not sitting right with some, or because others roleplay back at you as if they dislike your actions, is no reason to assume you are a bad roleplayer.

Your article was entertaining and a fun read. The joy of roleplay for me is spontaneous roleplay, music, poetry and creativity. This is what springs from Ales and Tales. Others might have a different idea of what roleplay is and that is fine too. Don't let attitudes ruin your roleplay, just move on to where you are appreciated and to where you can enjoy yourself.

Agamemnon said: "The true RPers on Landroval are, in fact, all over the game world. They're in Archet, they're in Esteldin, they're in Bree, they're in Evendim--and they're not standing around reciting poetry."

It is true that roleplayers are all over the game but... roleplayers are ALSO reciting poetry, in fact they are creating it for their roleplaying adventures, creating music and stories for their roleplay experience. Meeting other roleplayers and having a fine time NOT questing and in combat. I spend hours creating things for my roleplay in game and I am sure others do the same. There are many ways to make your character bloom as a roleplayer, Ales and Tales is a very enjoyable way to do it.

Posted: May 17th 2010 8:53AM (Unverified) said

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Agammenon and the like, are all a little incorrect.

There is no better or superior level form of Roleplayer. For even the so called elitist and best Heavy Role-Players break the tolkien mold.

Lore-Masters in abundance, basically, mini Istari...in a world where such was rare.

Not to mention the physics behind Minstrels and others....

Makes really any group claiming to be closer to the ehart of Tolkien be a contradiction in itself, and quite simply cancelling tiself out as a redundant comment that cannot apply to anyone.

No matter how elite/heavy/skilled/lored whatever....we've broken it by so many basic things, yes, even the elitists.

At best, LOTRO Landroval is Middle Earth in an alternative Dimension where things are a bit different.

I myself do find myself roleplaying heavily most my time on the server in story lines, then, I also find Ales and Tales as a fitting respite from the general RP.

Is either version superior, more skilled, better or awesomest? Nope, not really.

I'd say fishing by a pond alone with a bag of suspect pipe-weed is the best RP existent on the server. It's at the least, the most real.

Posted: May 17th 2010 5:56PM (Unverified) said

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This is a great article and it is great to see the server get some of the credit it deserves as a home to RP in all of its forms. ((Also a huge hats off to Lonely Mountain Band and, especially Harpella)).

Turbine does give RP'ers a ton to work with in Lord of the Rings Online. From the costume system to the amazing and beautiful locations throughout Middle Earth, the game is a joy to RP in. That said, there is much more that COULD be done with the game to aid RP'ers. Things that would, on paper, be extremely easy to implement and make the game ever more enjoyable for RP'ers (whether lite or heavy).

Just a short list:

1. More interior locations for RP. There are a ton of these locations in Bree and the Shire. The Tinnudir Keep may be the best place for RP in the game. However these places are few and far between. How about some non-pub interior locations like caves, military camps, libraries, etc. in places like Mirkwood, Lorien, Angmar, the Misty Mountains, Forochel, etc. As someone who RP's outside of the main quest hubs I would love to have the ability to RP in more unique places in the game.

2. Instanced locations like private dining rooms in the Pony, private tents in some of the front line battleground locations, rooms in Esteldin, etc. This would allow for RP'ers to be able to play outside of the Prancing Pony without having to face the GROWING number of griefers that have started to fill this server. (And no I'm not talking about 'adult' RP. Griefing is becoming a serious problem of late for any RP'er.)

3. Costumed weapons.

I could go on and on. But right now it seems like RP'ers are NOT on the radar of Turbine. It's a shame, because I feel that with a healthy RP community comes a more respectful community, which in turns is healthier than the L33T communities..

Posted: May 18th 2010 11:10AM (Unverified) said

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Fantastic article, Justin. :)

Ales & Tales is a wonderful event overall. Perhaps in a different venue the fireworks would have been more appreciated... although I definitely think that a hobbit setting off fireworks in the Halls of Fire has a precedent. After all, Gandalf told Frodo & Company to behave themselves and not call attention to themselves while they were en route with the ring. Next thing you know, Frodo is sloshed and dancing on tables at the Prancing Pony. Young hobbits don't always do what they're told... and they do have a fascination with fireworks. ;)

The thing about A&T, as well as the musical events held by Mar Vanwa Tyalieva, the Green Hills Music Society, and others, is that they are social events to encourage creativity and art inspired by Tolkien's universe.There's a LOT of really creative folks on Landroval... musicians, songwriters, poets, etc. It takes hours of work before each event to write the pieces, transcribe them into the format needed in LotRO, arrange the tracks for multi-instrumental songs, match verses with music, set up macros, and so on. It really is a labor of love for these folks, they love doing it and it's a welcome break from the hack-and-slash for the rest of us.

I used to think that I wasn't really a RPer... I tried the heavy RP, high-drama, entwined-in-lore stuff, and it just didn't sit well. I totally respect the folks who can do that, but I'm a goofball in real life and that translates into the game. But I wanted to find a way to enjoy and appreciate the game and Tolkien's world in a deeper way than just questing and exploration. The musical events are a great venue for that. In RL I'm not musical at all, but I enjoy a good tune, good writing, and mixing it up with fellow players, and being in a musical kin has been an amazing experience.

So yeah, don't let anybody tell you that you're not a "real" RPer. People RP in different ways, it's just a matter of finding your niche and what you really enjoy.

Posted: May 20th 2010 12:29PM (Unverified) said

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Hello everyone, I am a Kinship Leader on Arkenstone, I have 9 toons, one of each class all decked out with gear & they are between level 62-65. I also have 6 creeps I play in PvMP that are rank 6 or better. The reason I mention this is to give you an idea how long I have been playing the game & how much I enjoy it. I feel as though I have honestly squeezed everything I can out of this game. However, after reading the forums under landroval I realized there is a whole other community to LotRO I was not exploring.

I wouldn't mind RPing, as I have quite an imagination & love to act as I used to be in Drama & Performing Arts back in high school (many many moons ago, lol). However I have been reluctant to do so because I know how a community of like minds can be, if you dont fit in or blend into their community you will be shunned, black listed or ignored. Now after reading this article & some of the comments from readers it makes me even more paranoid about trying RP-play.

I am no lore expert so I would most likely create a character with a bio that I enjoyed & a personality that I can really get into but may not fit the lore. Like Justin, I don't know the "rules" & I don't want to disturb the balance of things on the server either. I would like to give it a try though as a change of pace or a place I can go to get away from my routine of hacking & slashing for the latest gear or completing the newest raids.

What kinships are more user friendly & by that I mean ... a RP kin that welcomes mature & willing to learn individuals such as myself? Also, is there any huge no nos I should be aware of in creating my character & characters bio?

Nice article ... thanks to all in advance that respond to my questions &/or post. :)

Posted: May 21st 2010 3:04AM (Unverified) said

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I killed a balrog does that mean im good?????????

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