This morning in the Bree-Land is a soggy one. Too wet and muddy to hunt, I clamber back into my home (Bree-Land is one of many places people can have player homes) and continue to make the most of my previous hunts. The leather sells well in Bree (you can craft items in the game and sell your wares), sometimes Hobbits from the Shire buy some of my stuff. I’m not too sure why, they aren’t large enough to wear it. Oh well, silver and gold is always good (the currency of the game). I tire of being out here though. I need to go out and make a name and fortune for myself before more darkness comes about. Too many strange things have been going on around here. I hear that Gondor has a call to arms now. Maybe I should seek my fame in those lands beyond Rohan. Maybe.
The next morning is as beautiful as a barrel full of Long Bottom Leaf. I decided to finish my last bit of leather tunics and trousers before I head out. Each day that goes by I get better and better at my craft (the game has an offline mode where a person can raise stats slightly) and the people of Bree appreciate my work, but today is the day I quit that labor and venture off on my own. This drudgery is finally going to end. I grab my best sword and bow and head off for Bree but this time with a different purpose.
Bree is a little dreary this day. Usually one sees a Hobbit or two, but none are found. I stroll into The Prancing Pony and ask Barliman the innkeeper what is with all the gloom. “Some strange things been going on. Black Riders and sinister people been coming through the town”, he said.
“I guess that explains the lack of our Hobbit friends”, I say to the stressed inn owner.
“We had some come by two months ago; Mr. Underhill and some friends. Haven’t seen any others since. Don’t much blame them. Lots of unsavory creatures have been roaming the areas between here and the Shire.” Barliman says in his most depressing tone.
I simply nod my head and ask, “Have you heard much about the road heading west towards Amun Sul?”
Barliman seemed even more agitated, “I wouldn’t much recommend that road. Black Riders have ran off that direction.”
“What is the meaning of these Black Riders?” I asked.
“Nasty creatures. Look much like reapers. Not very kind fellows. Dark and dangerous. Make sure to stay away from any you see”, he said with a shiver.
“Thanks for the tip my good friend”, I said (You can meet characters from the books in the Middle-Earth Online, besides the ones in The Fellowship.).
A few days on the road have been weary but exciting. As I travel near some woods in the area of the Weather Hills, I see a soft glow in a clearing up ahead. Cautiously, I decide that it is more than likely goblins and I try to work my way around the area to avoid a run-in that might lead to my demise.
It seems I am not good at being quiet, as I now have a sword at my back. “Who are ya?”, the voice asked.
“I’m just a traveler and mean no harm. I thought you a camp of orcs and just wanted to go around”, I pleaded.
“If that’s the case…”, I felt the sword lower, “Aye, orcs do travel around here. More so these past months. Some say Saruman has them roaming the countryside in search of something. Still, we invite you to join our camp and enjoy some company for the night.”
Breathing a sigh of relief I thanked them for their kindness.
The man has two more people with him. Nice enough adventurers who are Hunters, like me. They however want more dangerous game for the excitement of the hunt. As we decide to get some rest, we take turns on watch for goblins, trolls or wargs. The one who had nearly impaled me earlier that night was sound asleep and I noticed his purse fall down off his hip, heavy with gold coins. I like to think of myself as a moral man but money is hard to come by in these hard times (the game gives players a chance for moral choices that affect them throughout the rest of the game). I snatch the purse and run off into the night to get a head start and change my course before they know what had happened in hopes they won’t be able to catch up to me.
The next day was uneventful. I was lucky that a deer gave me a little game today. As night fell, I decided to make camp and enjoy a little venison for my dinner. As I was about to start eating, I heard a tree branch crack on the ground. “Great”, I thought, “Orcs or bandits.” As soon as I grabbed my sword I was tackled from behind. It seems my friends from last night had been following me.
“Give me gold back! NOW!”, the leader screamed.
“Sure…. let me get it” As I reached into my pockets to grab the purse I grabbed his scabbard and kicked him off and ran into the night again. Surely they were going to run me through anyways, giving the gold back or not.
I was able to lose them by the time I was hitting the land of Eregion. I hadn’t seen them in the past few nights so I must be out of harm’s way. As I was walking through an over grown pathway, I heard voices. I decided to seek them out. They weren’t the voices of my theft victims and not the voices of orcs. I came upon a man and a elf in a clearing discussing something. They were startled but not alarmed at my presence.
“Ah, a cure to our problem!” shouted the elf.
“Me?” I asked in bewilderment.
“We needed another warm body to help us with our quest”, said the man, still not answering the question that was plastered on my face.
“Quest?”, still in the same tone as my previous statement.
“Yes, we come from Rivendell and need to get a message to a group of travelers who are ahead of us”, said the elf.
“Aye. A fellowship has passed through here and we need to follow them and catch up to them”, proclaimed the man.
“We think they went through Moria, which to say the least was a somewhat wise and troublesome choice”, added the elf.
“Yes. They were wise not come close to Isengard and Orthanc, yet Moria is an ill choice.” concluded the man.
“Will you accompany us?”, he asked, “These lands are teaming with wargs and orcs and just the two of us are no match for their large numbers.”
I was silent for a few moments.
“The elves of Rivendell give great rewards.” said the man, knowing exactly what to say (Your moral choices affect how NPCs react to you. Being an immoral man will give you a character class aligned with evil).
The elf jumped down from a large rock stating,”We shall reach Moria tomorrow”, then queried, “What are your writing?”
Looking up from my parchment I stated, “Oh, just keeping track of my adventures through the land” (players can write books and notes and everything is also stored in an online journal).
The man decided to say something odd, “Aye, in case you die, others can know your story.”
“That’s one way of putting it…”, I answered in a puzzling tone (they are also items the player can leave behind).
As we were nearing Moria we encountered a band of orcs and wargs. My hunting experience holds it’s own in the battle, but the elf and man showed tremendous prowess. After a hard earned victory, we checked the corpses of the dead orcs. Back in my days of leather crafting, I would have loved to skin these wargs for their hides, but they are no longer of interest to me. The orcs didn’t have much to offer either. Their arrows were of low quality, but I was out of them (enemies drop realistic loot… wargs won’t have gold rings on them or a sword, but orcs might have one).
We finally reached the walls of Moria, but the way was blocked. “This rubble is fairly new. They must have been through here.” the man said as he looked around. The elf, with uneasiness in his voice as he looked at the nearby lake, said “They did have Gandalf with them, he would have known how to get inside.” “But what would have made this mess? Surely Gandalf didn’t.” I decided to add some of my wisdom to the mystery.
“There was a battle here. Look, see the chopped limbs here…. limbs of something…”, the elf said with growing nervousness in his voice.
The man was poking the limb with the tip of his sword, “They were chased by wargs from the tracks they left, but these doesn’t look like the remains of a warg.”
At that moment, we see something raise of out the water followed by a low rumbling noise… we see who owned the limbs… (You can fight boss monsters with your buddies.)
On my journey for riches, I came across a journal… let me see what it says here: “This morning in the Bree-Land is a soggy one….”