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Author Topic: The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Before you Begin  (Read 466 times)

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Offline damilano

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The Tale of the Fifth Overseer: Before you Begin
« on: October 07, 2014, 06:13:16 PM »
This thread is for players' edification.  It covers a wide variety of topics governing how the game will be played.  Please do not post to this thread.


The GM will be online for a few hours most weekdays; he will rarely, if ever, be available on weekends.  Wrap-up deadlines cannot be set in stone, unfortunately, as players do have RL to deal with as well as occasional technical issues.  The GM will try to give warnings that we are about to wrap up a scene, so frequent participation and review is encouraged.

Deleting posts:

Deleting posts is strictly forbidden.  You may edit non-die roll posts, of course, shortly after posting them and if no one has yet responded, in order to correct a misspelling or word something differently.  But on this board players are NOT permitted to delete posts.  The reasons for this should be obvious.  This is a carefully crafted and balanced game, and disregard of this requirement may result in exclusion from the game.


Experience will be awarded by the GM not as experience points, but as levels.  In each chapter, a certain number of levels will be available for characters to earn.  They will be awarded on the following bases:

    Compelling characterization
    Intelligent conclusions and planning
    Quality posts
    Frequency and timeliness of posts
    Effectiveness in using the character's capabilities
    Familiarity with and exploration of the character's backstory through gameplay
    Uncovering critical story points
    Teamwork and leadership
    Stunning victories (or defeats)
    Engineering satisfying plot twists
    Refraining from quoting "Monty Python's The Holy Grail"
    Other factors

In addition to the levels awarded in each chapter by the GM, one additional level will be awarded to one character at the end of each chapter.  Players will vote to award that level to the player they think most deserves it.  The GM will not cast a vote.   A player may vote for himself or for someone else, for any reason whatsoever; there is no requirement to explain one's vote.

It is possible to level more than once at the once at the end of the chapter, or not to level at all.


To keep things simple, the GM will level the characters.  What they've done since leveling last will influence the GM's decisions about what skills to learn or improve.  Thus, if a player has a certain group of skills he wants to learn at next level, he should attempt them in gameplay, or employ some other such strategy in gameplay, to substantiate development along those lines.  Generally, new spells can be learned only in a civilized area where the character has access to books, teachers, etc. and is prepared to pay a hefty fee for access to such advantages.  However, with the use of certain aids (discussed below) it can be possible to learn spell lists in the wild.

Encounter Development Points:

Since levels are few and far between in this campaign, the GM has decided to borrow an effective idea from Jaeru: the occasional granting of Development Points as the result of encounter or roleplay.  These may take the form of specific skill advances, or simply as a number of development points to be 'spent' as the player wishes or as the GM determines.  Note that the spending of these points does not affect level; rather, they are intended to signify increased skill as the result of direct experience.  They do not make a character more intrinsically powerful, except to the extent which they improve specific skills.  This added bonus will not be awarded for every encounter or roleplay scenario, rather they will be rare rewards for effective or outstanding play.

Rules lawyers:

Rules lawyers are welcome.  But it the interest of smooth and amicable game play, all players must accept the GM's ultimate ruling as final.  There is a separate thread for Rules Lawyering in which players will be welcome to suggest corrections, different interpretations, or to suggest the adoption of optional rules.  Once the GM posts his Ruling, however, all discussion is closed.  This ruling will then appear in the thread for Rules and Rulings, so that players may refer to it subsequently.


Death is final.  Some characters in this game will likely die.  However, each character starts with one (1) "Fate Point", which can be used at the time of a mortal event to ignore all or part of that event, thus staving off death and expending the point.  No more "Fate Points" will be awarded until level 3 when another one will be awarded to any characters still living.  A third and final fate point will be awarded at level 6.  However, a character who has earned a level may opt to forgo the level in exchange for an additional Fate Point.

If your character does indeed die, then you may opt to take over any character that is presently unplayed and alive.  No new characters will be permitted into the game, however, so that player will have to choose from what's available.

Player Knowledge

Most players will be familiar with Middle-Earth (some are likely to be Tolkien scholars!)  Some of these will be very familiar with ICE's adventure and campaign modules upon which a number of details of this game are partly based.  Needless to say, having your player execute an action or share information based on knowledge the CHARACTER does not possess but which the PLAYER may possess, is inimical to interesting play and strictly forbidden.  It shouldn't even be necessary to say it, but it's said here nonetheless:  NO MISUSE OF PLAYER KNOWLEDGE.

Remaining In Character

When you are posting on the Game Thread, where actual play happens, please remain in character at all times.  Write your posts like your character talks.  Use POV when writing your posts.

For example, if your character is  accosted by a city guard who says,

"State your name, your business, and whom you call Lord!  Speak quickly, else turn thee from this gate!"

Then your character's response might be something like, "Funkmaggot am I, of the Ragsmokes family, goodman Guard, honest Hobbit of the Angle.  The High King of Fornost, Argeleb, is my noble liege.  I am a weary scout, seeking refuge in the Inn before continuing my travels westward to Bree!"

and not,

"I tell him and enter the gate."

Likewise, if your character is stalking through a dark wood, he might express his action this way:

"Funkmaggot continues creeping as quietly as possible through the underbrush, trying to use his short stature to advantage.  Every twenty feet or so, he stops and listens intently for a few seconds."

and not,

"I keep stalking and listening."

Prose in Player Posts

Players are encouraged to write high-quality posts with compelling and descriptive language.  Sometimes posts may be lengthy; at most times rather short.  In any case, good, pithy, descriptive, clear prose is always welcome.  Remember, if you didn't specify it, you left it up to the GM.

Alternative Means of Learning Spell Lists

In the field, an Essence spell user may employ a well-known ritual involving the destruction of a gem to enable him to learn a new spell list, which he can finalize the next time he advances a level.  The spending of development points and a spell gain roll is still required.  This ritual requires eight hours of intense concentration in absolute solitude and consumes the gem, which cannot have a value of less then 30 gold coins.  In addition, the essence-user must meditate at least an hour daily  for the entire time between earning the last level and the next one if he expects this ritual to succeed.  The player must incorporate such meditation into his game-play daily; the GM will not simply assume that it is occurring, even if the player specifies that this is his intention.

Likewise, a Channeling spell-user may substitute chanting, prayer, offerings, and living in accordance with the dictates of his deity for instruction by a teacher or spiritual guide.  Again, the spell is only finalized the next time a character advances a level, and the spending of development points and a spell gain roll is still required.  These devotional sessions MUST be daily between levels; the Channelist MUST have a specific deity who is the object of his devotions, and the devotional period must be not less than one hour each day.  The quality of offerings, meditation, prayers, etc.  must be high and worthy of the deity.  The GM will never merely assume that the character is performing this devotion,  even if the Player has specified this earlier; rather, the Player must incorporate such devotions creatively and intelligently into game play.  In addition, living in defiance of the deity's personality and desires -- for example, followers of Yavanna not respecting nature, followers of Nessa not learning how to dance, or followers of Tulkas showing cowardice and so on -- will require real atonement for subsequent devotions to be effective.

Some information about Middle-Earth's principal deities is available here:



Actions have consequences.  This is a medieval world.  Humanism, egalitarianism, and the sovereign rights of the individual simply do not exist.  There is a strict class system, and obeisance to one's betters is as much a part of the natural order of things as corporal punishment, imprisonment without trial, torture, and summary execution.  If your character says the wrong thing to the wrong person, or engages in inappropriate social interactions, don't expect an angry mob of peasants to come to his defense.  These people have lived and died by the harsh rule of feudal law for countless generations: in their view, whatever the consequences to you for your insolence or disregard of law or custom, you've got it coming.  See Death, above.

Similarly, outlaws and adventuring types, people without the protection of strong lords and their brutal justice, have learned to defend themselves, and do not brook insult lightly.  Since they live on a razor's edge anyway, they have little regard for human life, or the consequences of misdeeds -- unless it seems likely to them that such misdeeds can be traced back to them.

The GM will choose the reactions of NPCs through this lens.

Arthedain is a relatively civilized place -- there are laws, magistrates, and guards, and punishments tend to fit the crime:  fines, floggings, pillories, imprisonment, dismemberment, branding, steep weregilds, and even banishment are all considered just and merciful punishments.  But beyond the borders of the Kingdom, such decisions are in the hands of individual aggrieved parties, mobs of angry peasants, savage clans, and ruthless warlords.  Such folk are not known to hesitate in meting out punishments.

It's your character, and you can do with it as you please.  But be aware that there are consequences to your actions.

Keeping the Game Moving

Games die when people move too slowly, whether it be at the gaming table or in a PBP.  Post regularly and respond quickly.  And keep focused on party objectives.  If you want to split up into separate parties, remember that you're treading on dangerous ground, not to mention diluting your group's effectiveness.

« Last Edit: March 30, 2015, 05:06:49 PM by damilano »
No, the RED is tens.