Counter Monkey – Hey Fatty! Let’s go to Mordor!

The Spoony One | Sep 25 2012 | more notation(s) | 

The long and barely-coherent rant about superheroes, alien gods, and a hobbit named Fatty finally concludes.

  • King Xana

    Awesome Counter Monkey man. Also first for the first time ever

  • aaronbourque

    I loved the WoT magic system, and wished it would have bled back into the core D&D rules. It’s so versatile.

  • Josh Cohen

    I actually tried to DM a Serenity game once. It really, really did not work out. By the end I think we just abandoned the system entirely and I just began making up stats. Granted, we were all kind of neophytes to role-playing outside D20, but still.

  • Bryan John Sauriol

    It was a PS2 game, and it was the same combat system as FFX…

  • Michael Herzog

    Side-characters following the Fellowship like in this Third Age game could work. You just have to modify the story so the original Fellowship is killed in the finale and your guys have to take over for the finale.

  • Rachel Marie

    I’ve heard you talk about the Wheel of Time RPG in a previous Counter Monkey, but I didn’t know if it was good or not. I actually really like the books, so I might be interested in looking at that. Glad for the tip!

  • NickCaligo42

    On the Dresden Files RPG: I’ve got it myself, and the fluff is wonderful. The books are worth that alone, because they both almost serve as a guide on how to write like Jim Butcher.

    As to the quality of it, I’d urge you strongly not to just write it off on a two-word sentence from Iron Liz. I don’t mean her any disrespect, but I’ve found that the only good judge of whether you’re going to enjoy any given tabletop game or not is yourself.

    As a kind of an example, I followed her recommendation on the Warhammer Fantasy books, and I found I quite agreed with her and that they were excellent (not 3rd); on the other hand, I took a look at the World of Darkness books on her word as well, and they’re all so poorly printed and badly organized I can’t stand looking at them. *shrug* No biggie or anything, but that’s a good reason to pull that book off the shelf and page through it.

    My own thoughts on it: Ehhhhh really not my cup of tea. It’s this weird, abstract storytelling system that’s based off the fudge dice. Characters “invoke” very loosely defined flaws or character traits in order to obtain bonuses when they seem appropriate or when events appear to be connecting back to them. It’s a nebulous, shifty game that I personally can’t really get into. The details on magic and demons and the like are fantastic, but they’re taken almost verbatim from the game Witchcraft. To that end, you almost might as well just play Witchcraft or Buffy or some other Unisystem game, or adapt GURPS and pull ideas from the Dresden Files RPG where needed.

  • Mark Redding

    It goes to show just how unlikely and contrived LotR was. Oh, wait… let’s say the ring BEFORE gollum gets it. A secret order that wasn’t known outside of a very small circle get the ring and try to destroy it… and fail in the end of course leading up to where gollum gets it… but that might be covered in LotR lore… so you end up with the continuity problem if that’s the case.

  • Justin Lindsay

    One thing I had to give LoTR: The Third Age was after you beat the game, you got to play as the villains and crush the heroes. What’s better than beating the balrog? Being the balrog.

  • Jonathan McGown

    Spoony I love you man, but focus! Game reviews movie
    reviews, do something other that stream of conciseness rant on whatever shifts though your mind for two hours.

    • Gabriel M. Harb

      I believe he’s working on a specific review and wanted to do something in the meanwhile in order to give us something to chew on for a bit.

      • Steven Black

        Noah Antwiler

        Hey c’mon, you want me to dick around all week with
        Borderlands or do FF13? (Don’t answer, it’s what I did last week. *^_^*)

        So According to Twitter, just playing Borderlands. Then again if it were you and you could choose between playing Borderlands a perfect mesh of RPG and FPS and FFIII widely regarded as one of the worst FFs and J-RPGs ever to do a review (Which is saying a lot considering how bad FFXII, FFX-2, FFVII, were), which would you choose? Still give us the Borderlands as a Let’s Play at least.

  • Robert Cousineau

    Its’ funny Spoony starts to go on a rant about Lord of the Rings. MERP (The Middle Earth Roleplaying game) is almost as old as AD&D. And a nightmare to roll a character up with.

  • Gregory Bogosian

    I think that you might want to take more time to explain the games and systems that rely on outside continuity and or lore, because I had no idea what you were talking about when you were discussing the Babylon 5 RPG. But yes, Cyclops is a complete and total jerk-bag. I have no idea why Professor Xavier made him the leader of The X-men.

    • Robert Cousineau

      Google is your friend.

  • Mark Redding

    cyclops should have been killed by a mirror :D

    • MFlorian

      Mutants are largely immune to their own powers.

  • Tristan Pendergrass

    Do a review of Third Age! I played that game awhile ago and remember kinda liking it, would LOVE to see you tear it apart. Doesn’t have to be on the scale of a FF review or something, just whip up a half hour take. Sounds like you would have fun ripping on it on that scale.

    • Andreas Törnqvist

      Third Age: Total War? That’s a great mod…

      • Andreas Törnqvist

        Or never mind lol, I know what game you meant… I have it. It sucks.

  • Robert Cousineau

    Actually, Not only do you fight the Balrog but Gandalf is actually a party member in that fight and is the most useful character in the fight. Later on, you fight the battle of helms deep alongide gimli and the rest of the fellowship.

    Plotholes much?

  • godmars

    Not really a complaint about the ads per say – everyone’s got to eat and all – but I think the “Clamps” one, the one which hijacks the screen, breaks the video player. The regular commercial wont even start.

  • Mike

    LOTR EAGLES 1. The eagles flew at air plane heights. Even Legolas had a hard time seeing these bus sized birds in the air when they were being followed. No arrows could come close to reaching these eagles. 2. The eagles didn’t need to go over the gates. They can fly into Mordor from any direction. 3. The Nazgul weren’t summoned until the Horses were killed. The riders were spread off in all directions in the beginning. 4. The Eagles are a nation, a army. There are hundreds of them. There are only a handful of Nazgul. Eagles and fellbeasts are equal one on one.

    • Platosbeard

      They also deliberately held themselves apart from the affairs of men. They are completely neutral on the fate the race of men. Even if orcs overrun the world, the eagles can still live and feed relatively undisturbed. Whether orcs or men win, they’ll still shoot arrows at the eagles – what does it matter to them who wins? Not to mention that they are literally the most favored race of Manwe, the head of the Valar. They provide assistance for their own reasons, when they see fit. Other than the fact that their leader has a debt of gratitude to Gandalf, they don’t really have a horse in this race.

      • Mike

        Your argument that the eagles are retarded, is not accepted. There is a difference between living away from men and comfortably, and living in pure hell.

  • Jenny Creed

    The eagles were clever to not get anywhere near the one ring I think. They’re explicitly stated to be the most proud of all creatures, and from what we can tell pride is the kryptonite of resistance to the ring. If I was DMing some group who somehow managed to convince the eagles to fly them to Mt. Doom, it would go “The eagles turn on you as one and pick your eyes out. The biggest of them takes the ring in his beak along with three of your fingers. They leave your blind, broken asses on the ground and take off for Mordor faster than anyone or anything can follow. You’ve just doomed the world, idiots.”

    • Sean Williams

      Exactly what i allwaqys say when people raise that damn stupid eagle thing to me. we would have ended up with a flying sauron..

    • Mike

      Bad argument. Someone could just as easily say “The Eagles are SO proud, they would never let Mordor corrupt them.” YOU ALSO chose to hide the fact that they are also the MOST NOBLE HEARTED of creatures. Just accept that this was a major plothole.

      • Erik Kowalsky

        Writing in caps makes your stupid points no less fucking stupid.

      • Darren Christopher Grant-Hall

        Didn’t the Nazgul and the big flying death dragons have something to do with the Eagles not flying to Mordor?
        And once the Nazgul had been defeated they didn’t really know where the ring was.

      • Jenny Creed

        Replace “eagles” with “Superman” and “proud” with “weak against kryptonite” and maybe you’ll see that your argument makes no sense to me. Pride is exactly what the ring uses to twist your will to its own; I really don’t think having more of this weakness would make it act as a defense against itself.

        As for the noble part, I believe Gandlaf explicitly warns how the ring in his hands would turn his desire to do good, bad. Doesn’t matter how much goodness he has in him.

      • Haakon Løtveit

        Except that they’re IIRC Manwë’s dudes, and the gods weren’t to get involved in the war.
        The entire thing was meant to be the the mortals standing up against a great immortal evil.

        There’s also the thing that during the last great war against Morgoth, the continents got shattered, half of them sank, and quite a few new ones showed up.

        And yes, the Silmarillion was never really meant as a proper book. It’s just a collection of backstories that are referred to in LotR.

  • draxo

    Fifth age did suck so much. they totally RUINED that setting. And as an old Dragonlance player and reader I still feel insulted and frustrated at it.

  • Benjamin Nate Zalneraitis

    Awww, man, I really liked the Silmarillion. There’s just so much going on in that book, and I thought it really picked up after the first half.

    • Platosbeard

      The important thing about the Silmarillion, that a lot of people miss, is that all of Tolkien’s books are meta on some level. They are the tomes that exist in the world they describe. The Silmarillion isn’t a “TRUE HISTORY” of Arda. It is the legends of the Elves as told by the Elves, from the point of view of the Elves. When we tell stories about Hercules, or the Trojan Horse, or Noah, or even Socrates (as Plato wrote him), we understand it’s not a historical tale, even if it really happened. It’s embellished and refined to the level of cultural myth. That’s what the Silmarillion is to the Elves.

      • Petr Matafonov

        U know, in Russia there was a LOTR fanfic published called… let me think… «The last ringbearer» And it was told from the mordor point of view. And, yes, it stated that LOTR book is the story, written by the victors, who demoniesed their enemy. And orcs, in fact, were some king of nomads and trolls were highlanders. And it was like spy-thriller, very interesting. Author tried to explain every flaw and strangeness of LOTR book with the rational approach.

        • Chee Moon Yeo

          Highlander Trolls…actually, that could have made for a far more interesting sequel that the actual Highlander 2 movie.

        • nuclearaptor

          I seem to vaguely remember reading something about Middle Earth flash-forwarded centuries into the future. The most curious thing about it was the fact that it was told from the orc viewpoint. At that point in time, the orcs are basically a highly advanced, technological, nearly space-faring civilization who have basically taken over everything, and the elves, who never bother to adapt and evolve, are basically considered to be a bunch of nearly extinct forest-dwelling hippie savages. An orc CEO or some shit had a mythril chainmail sitting around on display in his office, because from his viewpoint, it was just a curious ancient antique. I got a huge kick out of that.

          Was that an excerpt from from “The Last Ringbearer”, or is it some other fanfic entirely?

  • Aaron Hageman

    The way that you could play a game set in middle earth at the time of the lord of the rings would be to have the player take the roles some of Sauron servants who are hunting the fellowship. In that way the players would be able to stick to the epic tale of the ring as well as take a different view point on the storie, and possible ending that may have happened.

    • Varg

      But if you where to do that you would be DMing a evil party and some people find that to be in poor taste. Spoony should do a video about his thoughts on the subject of evil PCs or the dark side of roleplaying!

  • kilken mcquilken

    i hate the x men. such lazy writing. i mean, i can kinda understand a couple of mutant abilities (like that one who had angel wings) but seriously- how can a person be BORN with a natural ability to control weather?! how is that possibly a physical mutation? collossus? he was jsut born with impenetrable metal skin? what the FUCK kind of genes is running around in his family?
    let’s compare origin stories-
    Captain America- a weakling soldier injected with a super serum that turned him into a super soldier
    Hulk- a gamma radiation experiment gone wrong unleashes a near indestructable beast from within bruce banner
    Superman- A sole survivor of a dying planet living among our world, our sun makes him the most powerful being on earth
    Wonder Woman- Hypolita (sp?) prays to the gods to give her a daughter, and the gods all impart their wisdom, strength, and courage into a clay doll, she is literally a gift from the gods

    Cyclops- born that way
    Storm- born that way
    Rogue- born that way
    Jean Grey- born that way

    see the difference?!?

    • Doleth

      Not really. Superman and Wonder Woman can just as well be written off as “born that way”, you could sum up Captain America as “Juiced-up steroid freak” and Hulk as “Got super cancer”.

    • MFlorian

      Which is why the X-Men are written as allegory. They’re stand-ins for minorities, for gays, for anyone who was born differently and then feared and hated as a result.

      You want the best goddamn X-Men story ever written? Go pick up a copy of God Loves, Man Kills.

      It is the John 3:16 of X-Men and if you don’t get it by then, you never will.

    • draxo

      This is a setting where anyone can get superpowers by magic or by science tweaking the genes a bit. The X gene is supposed to be a natural evolution of that, as in you know how in marvel most other species all seem to have superpowers? The X gene is supposed to be mans next step in evolution to also get superpowers like half of all the other races out there. X-Men done right, it is pretty good. It lets a ‘new’ (when first introduced) angle get put into comic books: discrimination.

      At its classic level it was a tale that confronted issues like racism and prejudice in society in a comic book format, and it used to be really good in many stories. Then some dunderhead at marvel decided that racism and prejudice/discrimination weren’t ‘current issues’ anymore (WTF?) and decided that someone could wish to make all black people / minorities go away.. err.. ‘mutants’… see how retarded current marvel is? They forgot what mutants were supposed to be.

  • Mateusz K.

    Oh… man! Now I wish Spoony and Miles go on a rant after watching LOTR trillogy! Do it.

    • septimar

      Miles is Spoony’s younger brother. His older brother, the LOTR nerd, lives in a different state and I don’t think we’ve seen him yet.

      • Lennetambi Shuyin

        spoony has another bro, oh man, love…….. lots O antwhilers……

        • Vismutti

          Wouldn’t it be awesome if they all got together to talk? I’d looove to see that.

  • Lauri Vallin

    The other two wizards (there were 5) were blue and they fell to the influence of Sauron. Of all the wizards that came to middle earth only Gandalf succeeded in the end, because radagast just started to fuck with animals or some shit.

    • Lauri Vallin

      Before someone asks, They were mentioned in the book of unfinished tales, and Tolkien himself wasn’t really sure what happened to them.

      • Platosbeard

        As you say, Tolkien was never sure or clear on what happened with them. As I interpret it I don’t think they fell to the influence of Sauron, they were either looking for the Ring in the wrong places (too far East) or, like Radagast, got distracted from their purpose. If I recall, Tolkien never even gave them names (they were named in later properties) so it’s all conjecture anyway.

        • taranaich

          They were named by Tolkien, Alatar and Pallando. Tolkien seemed to change his mind on whether they failed or succeeded depending the version of the legendarium:

          “I think that they went as emissaries to distant regions, east and south, …. Missionaries to enemy occupied
          lands as it were. What success they had I do not know; but I fear that
          they failed, as Saruman did, though doubtless in different ways; and I
          suspect they were founders or beginners of secret cults and “magic”
          traditions that outlasted the fall of Sauron.”
          – Unfinished Tales

          “Their task was to circumvent Sauron: to bring help to the few tribes of Men that had rebelled from Melkor-worship, to stir up rebellion … and after his first fall to search out his hiding (in which they failed) and to cause [?dissension and disarray] among the dark East … They must have had very great influence on the history of the Second Age and Third Age in weakening and disarraying the forces of East … who would both in the Second Age and Third Age otherwise have … outnumbered the West.”
          – Peoples of Middle-earth, “Last Writings”

    • Kyle Rybski

      I like to think that we at least have Radagast to thank for the eagles not falling to the Enemy.

      • Lauri Vallin

        That’s actually a good point, and actually makes sense. Although I have always thought that they didn’t fall to Sauron due to their pride, which has already been mentioned in this comment section, but I do like your Radagast angle more.

      • lightice

        The Eagles are messangers of Manwë, who is basically the second to God. They aren’t in very great risk of going evil on their own, anyway. But they’re not infallible; they could be corrupted by the Ring. And they can’t carry people that long distances, anyway. They set up very clear limits to Gandalf on just how far they can carry them, because they’re not airplanes or anything.

  • Forte

    I’m assuming your brother isn’t a Resident Evil fan. If he went to see any of those movies, I doubt he would have been able to leave by his own power.

  • MichaelT

    I just noticed that Spoony has the posters for two of the best films of the ’80s behind him!

  • Doleth

    Wait…you mention that the Supernatural rpg is not that bad, but that the Firefly one is shit? How does that even work?

    For those not in the know, both game are made by the same people(who also did Smallville and the latest Marvel RPG) and are more or less identical.

  • Nydcat

    Spoony, have you tried the Alternity for your spacers campaign? It was a pretty solid system back in the days.

  • JenxRodwell

    Dude, the Dresden Files RPG is awesome. Give it a try. Don’t just go from what you heard, actually read trough it. It’s totally worth it.

  • MichaelT

    Finally! Someone else who doesn’t like the X-Men!

  • Platosbeard

    Here’s a thought on running LotR that occurred to me during the video: what if the pcs are hobbits in Hobbiton and the Shire during the time when Saruman is corrupting the Shire. You figure the main character’s journey back tacks a few months, maybe even a year. The villain has a clear and insidious motivation, troops, spies among the hobbits. The pcs get to raid supply lines, ambush posts, learn who to trust or not, convince others to resist, etc. Just a quick thought, not a fully fleshed out plan.

  • magnusk_98

    This idea for a Babylon 5 campaign sounds freaking awesome. I’d love to play in that, I’d love to run that. But, alas, one thing a GM has to learn is that you don’t start new campaigns nilly-willy, you stick with the ones you are running already. Especially if people are having fun. Completed campaigns are more memorable than ones where the GM suddenly scraps it in the middle to chase his brand new idea.

    Oreo once again steals the show, though. :D Although Spoony describing Miles reaction to the LOTRO movies is coming close. I can’t *imagine* Miles going this apeshit, compared to the vlogs he does with Spoony ( btw., more movie review vlogs would be highly appreciated! I love those! )

    For a future Counter Monkey, it’d be great if Spoony could tackle the World of Darkness RPGs… I am sure there would be some hilarious stories. The one from the Vampire LARP already was great, even though it was set in the new setting.

    • Jamie Sheil

      he was talking about his older brother, Miles is his younger brother. His older brother is the guy that got him into the Ultima series and PC gaming

      • magnusk_98

        Ooooh, okay. Shows how little I know about Spoonys family. I “knew” that he had one brother and several sisters ( big family, it seems ). Now I know better. Thanks! :)

  • UmmonTL

    Definetly a good idea to split this episode up although I would prefer it if Spoony would at least prepare a little bit. Like a list of bulletpoints with the points he is trying to make and what he actually wants to talk about. Tangents are entertaining and all but when it even with the cutting some topics are spread over all parts and just go under.
    As for the topic, I mostly played in campaigns with their own made up setting. In my group there is never just one designated GM because everyone wants to play from time to time and with an unestablished world (players know what the characters know) a GM can just invent a new place or threat for the heroes to face. Sometimes we would play in a known universe but playing under the alternate dimension rules is pretty much a given. Even if you play in parallel to the fellowship of the ring, if the GM wants to make you feel like you are important he will have to alter parts of the original story.

  • Jamie Sheil

    surprised you didn’t mention TTA’s combat system was a complete clone of FF X. I actually sort of dug it for that reason since out of all FF X’s flaws I do really like the combat system. But yeah the moment where you fight the balrog is one of the most unintentionally hilarious moments ever. Like most of the time your fighting groups of 3 orcs/urukhai/goblins, 4 at most, and then you’re just suddenly fighting the fucking balrog with gandalf. It made more sense to me when I was like 12 and playing it, although I didn’t get too far back then, since the plot is incredibly boring. Playing it again about a year back, I only got to the balrog, it just bored me way too much to continue after that.

    The game makes no effort to connect you with any of the characters, they’re all 1) clearly imitating pre-established characters (Berethor=Boromir, Elegost=Aragorn, Hadhog=Gimli) So you just feel like you’re carrying around the fellowship rejects, the ones too boring to make it to the final draft. The most exciting moments by far are when you meet up with people like Gandalf, which just speaks volumes about how little they tried in other areas. I like the combat, but then again I liked X’s combat, and I actually prefer the plot in that game since it actually entertains me, although it is quite ham fisted. I prefer that over a snooze fest though.

  • Daemian_Lucifer

    On the plus side,LOTRO spawned this:

    And I think even Tolkien would approve.

  • Revan Ivanovski

    Idk about the third age, but the last game that came out War of the North. WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT SHIT?

  • Arthur O’Connor

    Twenty years after the War of the Ring. The orcs have found a new leader. Say a charismatic and intelligent Urk-Hai. One without a supernatural weakness and isn’t such a lode baring boss.

  • Jeremy Owens

    You talked about the WoT novels like you’d completely stopped reading them. I’d encourage you to pick ‘em back up if you’ve ever got the time. Books…I wanna say 5-7 (maybe 6-8 or 9?) are the really slow ones, but after that the plot starts advancing pretty rapidly. And Brandon Sanderson’s work on completing them is turning out great in my humble opinion. No disrespect to the late, great Mr. Jordan, but he had a tendency to spend 3 pages narrating inane shit like Nynaeve’s clothing which really bogged down the pace. Sanderson works off of Jordan’s detailed notes, so he keeps all the same story nuggets that were already planned, but he’s a lot more concise and his writing doesn’t have that stilted feel to it that older fantasy novels usually have. Also even in the slow books segments with Mat are automatically 100 times better.

    So yeah, WoT is still good. Also, unless it’s something specific to the RPG, Aes Sedai don’t have Circles for which weaves they’re good with, a Circle refers to Aes Sedai linking up to magnify their power (up to a max of 13). The different weave types (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Spirit) may have some other collective name I can’t remember, but it’s definitely not a Circle. And I’m not sure when the RPG takes place so I can’t really comment on whether all Channelers should be called Aes Sedai or not. I’d really love to play it some time though if I ever found a group of people who were WoT fans who also happened to be RPG players.

    This bit of probably useless information brought to you by Dr. Sir Professor Stein Esquire. Can you tell I’m really bored waiting for the next (which should be the final) book to come out?

  • paladin12345678

    Actually, the Third Age is even dumber than you remember. You don’t just distract the Balrog – you teleport onto the bridge right next to Gandalf, and all four of you smack its shit in. You get three more party members after thal – a ranger, a Rohan chick and another Rohan dude. Oh yeah, and you fight the Watcher in the Water too. And kick its shit in too. You beat the fuck out of the Witch King too.

    • Dominik Unhold

      Might I add that Edoras is invaded and you fight Grima Wormtongue in the Golden Hall? It’s like a bunch of fanboys wrote that thing. “Hey, you know what would be cool? Fighting the Balrog alongside Gandalf. Killing the Witchking of Angmar. FIGHTING SAURONS EYE!” (Btw. you directly teleport from the battlefield near Minas Tirith to the top of Barad-Dûr.)

  • MFlorian

    “Hey Oreo. I’m talking about Great Old Ones. And insanity!”

    Oreo looks away like “I don’t know this person. He is not with me.”

    • Lucas Allen

      I wouldn’t be surprised if Spoony makes a seperate video all about Oreo and steal Lloyd’s theme, or choose a uniquely different theme!

      • MechaVelma

        How awesome would a Lloyd/Oreo video be?

        • Lucas Allen

          Yeah! Really awesome!

    • Dane Corle

      “Don’t talk about scary stuff, Daddy! I’m not going to, I’m gonna talk about Babylon 5!”

      Oreo gets all excited like “Oooh! I like Babylon 5!”

  • SebastianPBreit

    The storyline in LOTRO is actually pretty good.

  • smek2

    Correction: …and then Gandalf does his ‘Thou shall not pass’, puts his staff down AND PULLS OUT A FUCKING GRENADE LAUNCHER — ‘Hasta la vista, Balrog’ BOOM!
    That’s how i recall it anyway.

  • Emil Petrunov

    Oh, the problem with The One Ring can easily be fixed.

    You simply set it about, ooooooooooooooh, a 100 years in the future? Some asshole finds like the blueprints for the ring and how to make a new “One ring to rule them all” etc. Someone gets a word on that and you can have a major quest on them trying to find where this guy is, get to him and then decide what to do with the ring. Do they make or break it? And you can have other quests along the way. I mean, they’re traveling around the land anyways!

  • Dryd Aykma

    Wait… You think the mutants should be registered? What about Civil War? I thought you the registration side was wrong?

  • Velvet Fog

    Actually, Miles and my brother would get along great. He was pissed about everything in the movies from the removal on Ton Bombadil on. Though there is one game that did LOTR right, because it has nothing to do with the main story. LOTR: War of the North. Basically it follows another member of the Rangers, an Elven mage from Rivendale, and a Dwarf from the Blue Mountains, all meeting in the Prancing Pony before Frodo and the gang get there. They hear about this evil dude who is raising an army of Orcs in the old castle of Angmar in the north, so these three have to stop this other plot.

  • MFlorian

    It’s not hard to come up with LOTR material after the War of the Ring. There’s a ton of stuff that the books half-mention that aren’t really dealt with.

    My campaign setting, if I were doing post-war LOTR, would be to journey east of Mordor – to “Enemy-held Lands” in search of the two Blue Wizards who went missing.

    Occupied territories would be filled with things you didn’t see in the books and, thus, the players couldn’t prepare for and you’d still have a host of powerful bad guys who weren’t destroyed during the war as they were elsewhere.

    You’d have issues of slavery. You’d have issues of cults. You’d have all kinds of crap and it really would turn into a thematic D&D if done right.

    • Jared Fullyfisted

      The sequel campaign for the tabletop game I saw (Called ‘Fourth Age’) had the scenario of the Blue Wizards having gone evil and leading the Easterlings on a campaign against Gondor. At the very least it gives you clear enemies, potential for new locations and also some familiar old characters – Eomer and Aragorn are both still kings, Faramir is Prince of Ithilien, Elladan and Elrohir are still around as well as Arwen and Eowyn. Merry and Pippin even, conceivably, since they’re both knights and never left for Valinor.

  • Jared Fullyfisted

    Yeah, Third Age would be a good review for you to do. I have to admit, I never actually played it, but the idea was so incredible stupid I was stunned. Incidentally, the insane premise stems from EA (surprise surprise) wanting more money from the video game rights. However, the Tolkein estate gave the rights to the BOOKS to another group (who made some crappy games) so EA only had the rights to the films. So when they wanted to make an RPG, they were limited to a) Characters and scenes from the films, b) Original characters.

    They should have seen nothing good could have come from this. They really should.

    I feel like this series of Counter Monkey was pretty hit-and-miss because you didn’t go in with a clear story like the others so ended up basically rambling. I liked this one though because I’m a big LOTR fan and it was interesting to hear your (and Miles’, albeit secondhand) views on the books, films and games. And THANK YOU for saying that about the Eagles. I have been waiting ages for somebody to clear that up in a video.

    Incidentally Tolkein (I think he even addressed it directly in a letter) had a couple of more reasons why it wouldn’t work…

    a) The Eagle’s limited intelligence means they can be controlled by the Ring and even Sauron himself

    b) The Eagles do not obey without question, and Radagast is the only one who can talk to them. In the book Gwaihir only comes to Isengard because Radagast had pre-arranged it for that exact date.

    • Velvet Fog

      Actually, Gandalf can speak to the Eagles as well, which he does in both the Hobbit and LOTR. But the Eagles are actually very intelligent. In the Hobbit, the Eagles speak common to the Bilbo and the Dwarves, so they are more intelligent than you seem to be making them out to be.

      • Jared Fullyfisted

        I can’t recall any scene with Gandalf and the Eagles that is actually narrated directly in LOTR – so I guess he asked to be dropped off at Edoras when he relayed the story to the Council? I cannot remember them speaking Westron in the Hobbit, but I’ve only read it the once so it wouldn’t surprise me. That and the book has a lot of odd things in it…

        • lightice

          Gandalf directly chats both with the Lord of Eagles in The Hobbit, and another eagle talks straight to Bilbo, so they can speak understandable language to anyone. And in the LotR, Gandalf chats pretty freely with Gwahir the Windlord, too. He narrates those scenes personally.

    • doresh

      Don’t forget that the eagles are slightly more likely to attract attention than a group of dudes wandering around in the wilderness…

      And what puzzles me about EA is that they keep making what are essentially movie tie-in games to a movie trilogy that’s almost 10 years old Oo

  • Robert Rentz

    It is the most successful role-playing game on the German market, outselling D&D. It has the biggest an most detailed game world i’ve ever seen. would recomend it to everyone but besides just a couple a books most of them are avaliabel just in german.

    • Chris Bradshaw

      Yeah I kind of liked the dark eye. While having to roll under 3 different attributes and buy off your failure with skill points is a bit convoluted, some of the other mechanics I thought were pretty awesome. I wouldn’t mind seeing a fan translation of the books we didn’t get.

      • doresh

        If find the skill system pretty neat, but it’s VERY HARD to judge your chance of success.

      • drakonis

        The Dark Eye’s biggest plus is the greatly detailed world. It’s really nice to see how much stuff there is written for it. Generally, the premade adventures for Dark Eye are also really good. Haven’t seen one in a long while that wasn’t at least decent.

        I also really like how the magic works. You won’t be going around throwing fireballs everywhere if you’re a mage, but you can do a lot of crazy shit.

        The three rolls for skill checks might be a little awkward on first glance, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Unless you’re really bad at basic addition and subtraction.

        Though me and my buddies sometimes joke that some of the optional advanced rules require a math bachelor degree to calculate all the stuff your supposed to do ‘on the fly’. Especially true for Mages that want to do some of the more complicated stuff like summoning demons.

        • Chris Bradshaw

          Well I think the awesome magic should be complex. It kind of makes it feel more like you’re a wizard if your character draws out the symbols and does the chanting. Especially if you can fail and it goes all army of darkness on you.

    • doresh

      The world is wonderfully detailled, but I believe this might be a total nightmare for a new GM, especially if you have some Aventuria nerds as players XD

  • MFlorian

    And then it’s over and he’s hating on the X-Men. Oh, I’m going to have to let this one go or I’m going to write another freaking essay.

  • Jannick Hegelund Hverkeltoft

    “Gonna wrap this up pretty soon”… there still half an hour remaning. One does not simply stop a Ranting Spoony

    • Chris Horobin

      One doesn not stop a ranting nerd, this stuff has plagued me to no end when I’m trying to explain stuff outside of sessions, and then we start having a conversation about classes and then it is 11:30 PM and we have passed though every single prestige class in Pathfinder, and ironed out which ones are the most OP.

      A ranting nerd can not be stopped for love nor money

  • amishman

    its possible to make a LOTR dnd game but yeah not easy I’ve never had the privilege but my idea would be to be close to the fellowship yet not actually them, yes they don’t get to be the fellowship but they get to met them and they give a bs reason why they cant join. another would be like you said spoony about battlestar galactica where the players are of the fellowship yet different and you don’t know who to trust maybe gandolf is the evil wizard ect would be a little hard but with some planning i think one could pull it off.

  • Sriseru

    This was such a treat to watch back-to-back. C:

  • Renaissance_nerd

    Exactly Spoony and i’ve said this forever about LOTR. The giant eagles were simply not practical to get them there. it is so much easier to spot something in the air than it is on the ground, and from a much further distance. There are trees, buildings, mountains ect to provide cover and concealment on the ground. in the air there is nothing and you stick out like a sore thumb. Rest assured like you said anything in the air would almost instantly get the gaze of sauron.

  • fatalrob0t

    >.> Babylon 4 got caught in a time warp (forget what it’s referred to) and got sent forward in time and then backward in time.

  • Kim Ylvinger

    I’ve heard you mentioned GURPS a few times now. Would you consider actually devoting an episode to that system and explain what actually makes it so good and versatile as it is said to be? Or failing that, how about an episode dedicated to the popular RPG systems that are around?

    • Gborr

      Even I can answer you that: Because it’s a ridiculously flexible system that can be applied to literally any setting with very little effort (well, “little” compared to making up a completely new system from scratch). It has some problems (the vehicle-rules are the worst offenders in that regard, and maybe the grappling rules too, though I have not seen a system that did that particular aspect right) but its pros still outweigh its cons.

    • CheshireBat

      The great thing about GURPS is indeed that it’s versatile, but also that SJG consistently churn out great products for it, and there are a ton of them.
      Want to play in the Conan setting? It’s there. Discworld? It’s there. How about a historical setting, such as the viking invasions or the civil war? Sure!
      The high overall quality means that you have a lot of options when it comes to your games. Want to go for high historical accuracy? Sure, the writers love that kind of stuff. Want any relevant mythology to be real? Sure, there’s listed a way to get that to work. Want high realism, where wounds will be a major problem? No problem.

      However, GURPS isn’t actually appropriate for every setting. Notice how Spoony didn’t recommend it for superheroes? Yeah, the system doesn’t really invoke that kind of feeling. You could use it, sure, and there’s even a book for it. It’s just that it’s a little like… well, playing Call of Cthulhu with the D20 rules.
      Oh, and like Gborr said. Avoid GURPS Vehicles unless you have a math fetish.

      There are of course other flexible systems. Take Tri-Stat. Best used for “off the cuff” settings, where you don’t care about every little piece of equipment. To reference the Spoony video, one where you WOULDN’T use Tri-Stat would be Babylon 5, because you actually do care about those pieces of SF gear. Star Trek TNG might have worked fine with Tri-Stat, though.
      Not to say you can’t stat them in that system, but you wouldn’t get the high accuracy you’d get from GURPS.
      It nevertheless excels at stuff like superhero games, fantasy, anime settings, pulp, god wars, space opera, etc. You can change power levels of the setting just by switching the die type. D4 for pulp; D6 for fantasy, Watchmen-type superheroes, etc.; D8 for standard superheroes or high fantasy; D10 for a high powered superhero campaign, and so on.

      I don’t really think they should be seen as competitors, since they’re so different.
      However, if you know GURPS, Tri-Stat, and D20, you could probably create just about any setting you’re looking for.

      Don’t get me wrong. Single setting systems can be extremely nice, and the better ones tend to have some nice and unique mechanics that work extremely well for just that purpose. Example: Deadlands. Nevertheless, the three systems above would have you covered pretty well.

      • Kim Ylvinger

        Uh, thanks. But I was hoping we’d get the Spoony experience though.

        • CheshireBat

          Oh, sorry. I thought you were curious about the system.
          Honestly, I’d like to see it done too. However, I’m also realistic enough to realize that it might take months, if not longer.

          As such, I thought I’d offer some input on it. If it’s your thing, you’re better off starting soon, rather than waiting for a video that may or may never come.

      • Scarmiglione Of’Earth

        I was planning on a GURPS superhero game. I thought it would be great for that. I was going to do a golden-age pulpy sort of setting. I was only planning on I think 300 points, 100 flaw. You don’t think this would work?

        • CheshireBat

          Anything can and will work with a proper GM, a good group, and the right mindset.

          That said, each system has its own quirks and overall feel. GURPS often feels a little off when it comes to dealing with superheroes — a vague statement, I know, but the sentiment is fairly universal.
          An alternative could be Tri-Stat (free), or Silver Age Sentinels (not free), a version specifically meant to deal with superheroes.
          That said, you can definitely give it a try. It certainly isn’t impossible, especially since you’re listing a power level that isn’t all that high.

  • fatalrob0t

    Hey. Hey hey. I loved Crusade. Loved it. I was sad that it got canceled.

  • lightice

    The Numenorians were Atlanteans. That’s pretty much the gist of it. They got all the cool stuff, long life and so on, and then they grew proud and pretty evil for the most part, and finally actually got Sauron as their king’s chief advisor. Long story short, some sinking to the sea took place. You could play as morally conflicted Numenorians with the assumptions like that elves are scheming manipulators who are trying to prevent them from becoming too powerful, or that the “lower” humans are inheritly bent towards evil except under threat of violence. It could be pretty interesting, but you’d need a lot of work from the GM.

    It’s funny how Elrond bitches about humans in the movie considering that his dad was a human (before he got turned into an elf — long story), and his brother became human and the first king of Numenor.

  • JariKiv

    Just think of “The third age” is set in an alternate universe, and you’ll be fine.

  • fatalrob0t

    XD Oh God. You’re the captain now and your XO is Ivanova? Good luck. Your security chief is Garibaldi? Good luck. You get to deal with Londo Molari? Good luck. G’Kar is about to pitch a shit fit? Good luck. Good Lord, that game… I don’t think I could play that game without crying from laughter. It’d be a damn playground to me and then role-playing would kill me because I would never want to actually have to deal with these people. XD

  • fatalrob0t

    PFF–You can be a Ranger. Go after it. They’re Everywhere. Oh God, I’d never want to be a Psycop. Those people are so damn corrupt and are so restricted at the same damn time. And you have Bester somewhere in there and you would just want to routinely kick him in the teeth every chance you got, but you can’t because he’s your superior officer and you’re not enhanced by the Vorlons.

  • Chuster M. Merino

    That LOTR “dont mess with the plot” point reminded me of “Dork Tower”, when the gang is playing a D&D adaptation of the trilogy and one of them starts the game with Sam and declare “I kill Gandalf”.

  • Benjamin Borgan

    I really love these counter monkey episodes, but would love to hear more actual RPG stories of games you`ve played or DMd, i do love the sidetracking, and going off trail aswell. but episodes like the one on thieves guild(my god) laughed my ass off, and showed it to all my friends. please do more of those retrospective talks about your games :) love it.

  • Peter Larsson

    On the whole 4th age-what happens-happens-after-Sauron I think I read somewhere that the easterlings (the humans who were allied with Sauron) were still giving Gondor a hard time… That could still work you know, adventure wise. Though you won’t be killing many orks (which is hey, what you want, right?) but it would still work I guess

  • Andreas Törnqvist

    That was an awesome rant Spoony!

  • Edward Graham Peeler Jr.

    Your idea for the Babylon 5 game sounded cool and it’s a good idea for any established universe.

    I took a peak at the Serenity roleplaying game. It looked pretty good. It was a little bare bones. The Star Trek games looked interesting as well. Iron Liz was going to review them but she never got around to it.

    And yeah, GURPS is a good system when in doubt. I did not know Buffy and Angel had their own roleplaying games. I’ll have to check those out. You got me really pumped to play some games from these various franchises like Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Buffy and Angel.

    I have actually played a couple Dragonlance games and I had fun with it. I’m kindof new to the books and so since I didn’t know anything I was able to play my own character and just have fun with it. I’ve started reading some of the books and I’m enjoying them so far. Have not read or played Wheel Of Time but I would love to start.

    Yeah, Lord of the Rings would be hard to run, but you’ve got to do Lord of the Rings. It’s the grand daddy of roleplaying. You’ve got to do at least one Lord of the Rings, whether it turns out a train wreck or not. And fuck you, Lord Of The Rings Online kicks ass. And how and why exactly sir, would Tolkien spin in his grave if he new their was a Lord of the Rings MMO? First of all didn’t he die well before such a game could have even be conceived, so why would he care? Further more, wouldn’t he just be happy that his works have inspired so many to the point that they have been adapted into many different art and entertainment forms? If I were him I would be happy to know that my creation has such a wonderful legacy. What, would Gygax creating DND cause him to spin in his grave as well? Please Noah.

    And as per your concerns about a Lord of the Rings rpg, I think Lord of the Rings Online has done a pretty decent job of doing that while at the same time allowing the players to essentially be side characters. Your characters in those games are original heroes that are on your own adventure while the War of the Ring is taking place, however, you regularly interact with characters from the main plot, crossing their paths multiple times while on your own quest. It makes the story is much larger than just the Fellowship; your character gets to asist the Fellowship on their adventures, helping the main quest while at the same time you go on a bunch of other adventures that show what is going on in the rest of the world. You become your own hero saving the day in your own part of Middle Earth and much like how Yahtzee described you become a small part of something larger. And the entire time, you get to explore all of Middle Earth and do and see amazing things. You want to play Aragorn? Go ahead. Just like City Of Heroes or DC Universe Online, tons of people just play the character and use their imagination. I have run into tons of people playing pre-established fantasy characters in that game. I once partnered up with a dude who was playing Dumbledor from Harry Potter. Seriously, dude, give it a shot.

    And fuck you. X-men is awesome. Cyclops is awesome. Screw the haters. Your gay and you need a haircut. See MFlorian’s comment at part 1 of this 4 part rant on why Cyclops is awesome and why your gay.

    Oh, yeah, and your brothers crazy. The Lord of the Rings movies are great. He takes them to seriously just like you do with everything. But yeah the books do rock and he’s just passionate.

    Anyway, this was like the most awesome 4 part rant ever. Great job man. Good fun. Rock on brother.

    • Drakedragon

      See, I was following you for the most part. Agreed with some things, not others. Then you spouted that “Your gay-” and I instantly lost any interest or potential respect for your opinion.

      • Edward Graham Peeler Jr.

        I take it you didn’t realize that was a joke.

    • Platosbeard

      Please, I beg of you, look into Tolkien’s ideas on language and myth. Look into his relationship with C. S. Lewis. The idea of a world where everyone is a hero would be meaningless to him, it would be abhorrent. The hero is should be special, unique…and these are features precluded by the MMO concept. He would balk at the very concept of monetizing a fictional pre-industrial world.

      • Edward Graham Peeler Jr.

        Fair enough, but if that is the case then I disagree with Tolkien. Everyone has the right to be their own type of hero and should be allowed that opportunity. For that matter, art and business creating an experience that is both fun, profitable, and inspiring to the human spirit is a wonderful endeavor and we have the right to appreciate and enjoy that no matter what Cromwell thinks we should be doing. Tolkien gave the world a wonderful gift when he wrote his stories but that doesn’t mean we need to except his philosophy and worldview as gospel nor does that mean he is flawless. Gene Roddenberry gave us Star Trek and it’s great but do agree with his hippie nonsense philosophy of some perfect future where people don’t act like people and money is the root of all evil? No that’s crazy. He was kindof crazy. And he did not follow that philosophy himself as he got greedy and ripped of some of the people he worked with. The original Star Trek theme was supposed to have lyrics to it but he did not include the lyrics because that would have meant paying the writer of those lyrics which he chose not to do so he could save a buck. And this is the guy who’s going to teach us of the evil’s of capitalism? The creator of the work is always right I here you say? I point you in the direction of George Lucas. The original creator can fuck up and fuck up big time. So in conclusion, why should I strictly heed the words of luddite and his narrow view of the world and allow it to ruin my enjoyment of a good gaming experience and squash my imagination of something that same man created but I want to take in a different direction? If Tolkien is spining in his grave, then let him spin. I would think he living or dead can tolerate a different view of the world even if he finds it abhorrent. I don’t know. Maybe I just don’t get the man or C.S. Lewis. I know I like both of their works but I also like the works of H.P. Lovecraft and I certainly disagree with his racist world view so if I can disagree with that I can certainly disagree with Tolkien and Lewis. I can enjoy all three writers and the games made based off their works that they may or may not be furious about in the afterlife. If I can tolerate that God of War rip off Dante’s Inferno game that is huge slap in the face to Dante Allegri and his wife then I don’t think Lord Of The Rings Online is doing any damage.

        • Platosbeard

          You know what, brother, if there’s anything Tolkien wanted to do other than explore crazy awesome linguistics, it was tell cool and compelling stories, exploring new worlds.

          I apologize. I think I was wrong. I was way off base there. A part of the Silmarillion and LotR is that you fight the losing fight, even though you are doomed for defeat, because it is the heroic fight, it is the righteous fight. Even when surrounded by darkness you can shout “Day shall come again!” and keep on.

          I put too much weight in Tolkien’s hierarchy and didn’t or couldn’t look past that at the time. That was a mistake on my behalf.

  • Evan Walker

    Man, if you though The Third Age was bad, ever play that Fellowship of the Ring steaming pile of shit game that Sierra released before anything movie licensed came out? In the last act Sam gets abducted by a Nazgul on top of Amon Hen.

  • fatalrob0t

    fuck the Ultimates. Pym was a douche in that. The only one who seemed to get some leniency in character was Steve Rogers and that’s because it’s hard to completely fuck up Steve Rogers…. unless you’re doing the old movies. >.> Hello, Reb Brown. You suck as Cap.

  • Erik Olsén

    Oh god yeah, The Third Age! Never finished it, but I still have a soft-spot for that thing. Don’t know why, but it might be because I feel it actually manages to capture the one thing it does try to, which is the enviroments and aesthetics of the movies. That, and I was just a dumb kid. Poor Ian McKellen, having to do those billions of non-canon accurate and lore-raping voice overs to those endless cinematics it kept banging on with. That was undeserved.

  • Laimonas Puisys

    Just my two cents in defense of Dresden Files RPG. It is really good game, but it embraces a narativistic approach (that many indie RPGs are leaning to) to the gaming. Basicaly it is FATE 3 system, that is created on very different premises and with very different goals than classical RPGs. So if you are coming to it with expectations that it will scratch the same itch that DnD does, you inevitably will be disappointed. I personally would choose DF over the DnD, but this is of course is mater of taste not quality.

  • ace42

    I could see a LOTRO campaign working fine with the Spoony Alternate-Reality trick; “Ring didn’t go to Smeagol; There’s no reason to think Saruman was corrupted by its appeal; Maybe tossing it into Mt Doom won’t help unless all of the rings have been disenchanted or destroyed; and you’ve got to find the ring because it’s not in a cave under the Misty Mountains could be anywhere; maybe you need access to the other rings to learn about the nature of the ring of power. Maybe agents of the Enemy already have the ring and are working on bringing it to a Nazgul / Sauron and there is an initial race against time to acquire it. Maybe the characters do need to arm themselves by going to the dwarven halls or acquiring a lost treasure hoard. There’s a lot of traction in the campaign setting.

  • Krory

    The Dresden Files RPG is a really good game. People seem not to like it because character generation and play require fairly detailed backstories and a lot of actual roleplaying, as gaining new powers is done by earning them through roleplaying actions. Same with spells and whatnot. The game also requires flaws and virtues (of a sort) to be played much more strictly, and at creation the characters tend to be a little low powered. Basically Harry in book one level of power, if you’re a wizard. It also uses a dot system, and doesn’t encourage lots of fighting, so hacktastic DnD players hate it

  • peteman

    I like the Dresden Files RPG book, but the “Monster Manual” equivalent was terrible. It didn’t give you much by way of useful material. Half the entries are like “He’s so much more powerful than you, so you can’t fight this guy, and you can barely interact with them.”

    The Wheel of Time D20 RPG magic system was good. The rest of it sucked balls, as it was a direct, barely modified port of the original Star Wars D20 system, which was terrible. I’d recommend hacking the system.

  • Kitsula Tsulakala

    I have to agree Side Character Syndrome has to be one of the the greatest issues when doing an RP in an established world – some are certainly easier to work with than others such as DC, Marvel, or MLP universes (currently involved in several MLP RPs one using RiM ( ) and other a more cobbled together but ended up close of RiM’s system – PC in a mystery involving stolen letters from nobles and GMing the other where the PCs are trying to prevent an imminent invasion from the realm/dimension hopping Empire of Tambelon from G1 and the Book of Horrors (a canon Nercronomicon) being involved) in contrast to something like say LotR where everything revolves around the established main protagonist and there is a major guiding storyline focused almost exclusively on the main characters.

    But even with the more open universes that have loads and loads of characters you still have the problem of dancing around Big Storylines in some eras that focus very much on the main characters. I’m kind of curious how do people dance around them without making the PCs feel utterly unimportant. So how do you solve this problem of having what are basically NPCs having to do what matters and following a plot outside of a Parallel Universe?

    Also I don’t see the problem with playing a character who is like an established character as long as the player is a decent RPer. I mean I have three characters who are essentially the same but act wildly different due to their life experiences and background. The kicker she’s inspired by an established character and few notice it unless they look closely because again life experiences and background have made each character wildly different despite being the same at the core.

  • Kurt King

    does anyone know if there is an rpg based offf of the marvel onslaught story? if so where can i find it?

  • doresh

    The weirdest part about The Third Age is that it’s basically a total conversion mod of Final Fantasy X, with lame expies of the Fellowship and other main characters Oo

    The depiction of Sauron’s tower is a bit weird in the movies. Didn’t novel Gollum mention that Sauron still had a physical body, with one finger missing Oo ?

    The Dark Eye has nothing to do with LotR – besides the game’s namesake being a Palantir-ripoff XD

    Nobody comes to help them in the novel – except Gandalf with the goddamn cavalry, and a whole walking forest of orc-eating trees Oo

    And the ordinary citizens of Marvel will ALWAYS hate mutants. The X-Men wouldn’t work otherwise. Magneto had no real motivation if the whole world would love mutants. It’d be boring.

    • Michael Wells

      True but I do like the parallel to todays movement against Islam. Not all Muslims are terrorists but the terrorist that most people see in their minds when they hear that word are Muslims.

      So to have a group already hated by the world stand up and announce their not part of the one radical. Or even the group of radicals makes sense. And by the way, most of those mutant bad guys get taken down by other Mutants.

      I am surprised Spoony didn’t mention Magneto killing Wolverine by somehow turning his magnetic field into some electrical energy that kills all of his cells.

      • doresh

        Interesting. So if you just keep the status quo for a few decades, it will suddenly be relevant again Oo ?

        And you’re talking about Ultimate Magneto, right? That guy was weird. To paraphrase Linkara: “It’s magnets, I don’t have to explain it.”

  • Platosbeard

    I’m not trying to bait you, but I love Tom Bombadil for the same reason I love CoC – he’s a godlike entity with no fully explained powers, you just know not to eff with him. It is, I think, outright stated that Sauron or Melkor couldn’t go to toe to toe with Tom on his home turf. That being said – if I was making an edit, the scene lifts right out with almost no consequences. He’s an (admittingly slightly annoying) unexplained mystery that can be removed quite easily. I totally get why some folks hate him, but I love him for his mystery.

    • ArtB

      Oh, I totally get that. He just annoys me SO. MUCH. I can’t help it :) I kinda feel bad about disliking him, since he’s such a mysterious, interesting character, who brings a bit more flavour to an already huge universe. His gimmicky nature just pushes all the wrong buttons in me, I guess :)

  • kevbo2040

    Damn, so Spoony now figures that he can take a single Counter Monkey vlog and stretch it out over multiple days? I guess my estimate that we’d get only a single actual review from Spoony a month may have been a bit optimistic; at this rate we’ll be lucky to get six a year.

    • Jeremy K.

      In all fairness, it did separate into multiple different topics, so cutting it up at the points he did does make a lot of sense.

  • Patrick Joannisse

    I did something similar for Star Wars. I set my game in a alternate universe but during the Clone Wars anyway. The players were expecting the Clones to turn against them so they had the minimum clones following them etc. But when I told them that the army the Federation was building was an army of Grevious (but entirely robotic) they freaked out. I also made the clones being secretly under the direct command of Palpatine who was in fact a Jedi. The Sith was Windu. Players freaked out again because Windu was sending them on missions and he was their boss for a while.

  • Anyone00

    Well I know how I would fight the Eye of Sauron:

    As for X-Men: A major part of fight for racial equality was convincing people that just because you were born to a certain race does not mean you posses inherently different physical abilities, mental aptitudes, preferences, or morals based on your race; now here’s a group that is clearly inherently physically and/or mentally superior, they’re just like any other repressed minority.

    • MichaelT

      With the power to decimate an entire metropolitan city. It would be like giving the nuclear codes to an average, random person. Spoony’s right that there has to be some kind of accountability for people with that kind of power.

      • Michael Wells

        I agree with Spoony to a degree about the registry of what mutants can do. Just that ok so you can walk through walls, and you can teleport, thank you for letting us know.

        What a robbery happened where someone stole 10 thousand dollars from the vault but never walked in the front door.. Lets pull out this list of Teleporters and Phasers and build a suspect pool.

        As far as the Sentinels.. yeah no.. giant robots built to hunt down people, yeah that’s stupid.

        In The 4400 they mention they have a law passed that requires all the 4400 to register their abilities with the Government. No one abuses it, they just like to know if someone does something illegal they have someone to look at first and clear them first before moving on.

        And its almost moot because of House of M, by the 198 over half the mutants remaining are registered and known to the government.

  • Dune Blythe

    How about an alternate universe Lord of the Rings rpg where the fellowship fails and Sauron gets the ring. Then after a thousand years, you play the guys trying to take him down.

    • Zachary Rogers

      You should check out the Midnight rpg. That’s basically what it is.

    • Gborr

      I know a better one: Tell the players that the events of the first book hold true right until the point where Frodo and co. get to Elrond’s court, at which point the fellowship is formed, but Elrond decides that he will NOT trust the One Ring upon such a group filled with strong-headed guys who could turn and try to grab the ring at any moment, so he assembles another team of the most elite guys he could find. After this point, things could go two ways:

      a.) The second team is tasked with tailing the fellowship and keep them under surveillance to make sure they don’t try to take the ring for themselves, meaning that they would work as a support-team, and you could even give them moments like, say, making them be the ones to take down Boromir when he turns on Frodo instead of some random Uruk-hai.

      b.) Tell the players that Elrond switched out the One Ring in secret one night to a replica that appears to be the real thing in all details while locking the real one in a overly complex strongbox that only he can open and gives it to the PCs, technically degrading the fellowship to a grandiose feint-operation, drawing Sauron’s attention while the PCs team delivers it into the volcano.

      Just sayin’. :P

  • Lukas Hägg

    Hehe. I was also one of those who went “Arwen? Where the shit is Glorfindel?!”

  • TheXell

    Third Age wasnt that bad.

    • doresh

      Yeah, the battle system was kinda neat. Then again, I liked the game more when it was called FFX XD

  • Dan Hibiki

    So want to see Spoony role play a Cthulhu game.

    And not DM. Him DMing would be nice but I want to see what the world’s greatest swordsman would do when face to face with an old one.

    • Platosbeard

      He does what any swordsman would do. He dies.

      • Chee Moon Yeo

        Or, he somehow manages to defeat Cthulhu with a goddamn rapier.
        After the D20 session where just FOUR people kill a freakin’ dragon, I’m convinced that Tandem the Spoony can do the impossible.

        • Tung-Hin Lee

          Plus you have to remember, Tandem used to be a god. I don’t know how, but he’ll find some way to access those godly powers again. Honestly, that’s probably the only chance he really has of taking on Cthulhu. :p

          • draxo

            He can win for a whole ten minutes…!

  • Stephen Martin

    That’s a good point about the Eagles. I always just assumed they were tied up with the War in the North. Then again you can also observe politics in action with the Treants so that is probably a factor as well but your explanation explains why it is never even once vocalized by the members of the party.

    • Mike

      It’s a plothole. Otherwise, there would be no story.

  • Georg Veramme

    The thing i recall from the 3th age was…okay, the story sucked…but the Helms Deep area was AMAZING. Seriously they recreated pretty much all of Helms Deep in it, and I think Minas Tirth to. Combat was actually very good and i did like Evil mode, but fighting the Balrog and THE EYE OF FUCKING SAURON? Yeah, fuck you, game.

  • Joshua William Hastings

    This is the problem I had with the ‘Third Age’ RPGs for Lord of the rings, which followed the story of some dudes who were ‘just behind the main group’, to the point where they helped Gandalf fight the Balrog and even (Spoilers) fought the eye of Sauron itself, with like fucking swords and stuff. It made no sense, not to mention the game was boring as all hell.

  • Da’Shain

    I know I’m going to get flamed, but I really have to disagree about your problems with the eagle plan. I’m sure there are other problems with it, but the ones you specifically point out. First, how would guys on “the wall” of Mordor necessarily see eagles thousands of feet up who don’t have to pass over the wall? Wait for a day with cloud cover and just fly through/over clouds. Alternately, fly over some portion of the border that’s been scouted before and has relatively low coverage; for example, fly in from the north- or south-east where the forces of Sauron have little reason to be watching. And if they are spotted, the danger isn’t them being killed in the air, because really, what the hell can reach them beside fell beasts that may or may not be there in time; no, the danger is Sauron actually realizing “Holy shit they want to destroy the ring” and actually fortifying Mt. Doom … but it’d still be pretty hard to stop someone simply dropping the ring down the volcano’s blowhole. Second, the fell beasts might be in play or might not, depending on how fast the wraiths reform and how fast the eagles plan can be enacted; pretty much all the wraiths had lost their physical form and weren’t seen again until what, midway through Two Towers? Third, Sauron clearly can’t sense the ring unless it’s being worn, and the wraiths can’t sense it unless it’s in spitting distance. Otherwise how the hell would Frodo and Sam have been able to WALK twenty leagues through Mordor?

    • Renaissance_nerd

      the fatal flaw in your argument is the fact Sauron himself can scan basically all of middle earth. it’s not hard for him to spot a UFO off in the distance, home in on it and dispatch the nazgul to go kill it.

      • Da’Shain

        Er … since when? He can scan far off places through the Palantir and such, but he still has to focus on them. If he never has reason to look there, he’ll never see eagles passing a mile over his tower.

        And again, the wraiths may not even have their fell beasts if the eagles are mobilized quickly enough, and may be too far away when the eagles are spotted to do anything but race back too late (as they did at the end of RotK).

        • Renaissance_nerd

          he was constantly looking all around again it’s much easier to see an object in the air where is it not concealed by anything than it is to spot two hobbits on the ground. going on foot was a longer but much safer plan.

          • Da’Shain

            Why would he be looking a mile in the air? How would he pick the exact point at which eagles are flying to Mordor, especially if the eagles are not simply flying in a straight line? How could any of his minions see through cloud cover? And most importantly, what can Sauron do if he sees the eagles over Mordor but his fell beasts are either not ready yet or outside of Mordor looking for the ring? What’s the relative speed of an eagle vs. a fell beast? Can Gandalf on eagle-back use his light powers to drive the beasts off? Etc., etc.

          • Renaissance_nerd

            given the gravity of the situation would you take that chance? you base your arguments on a lot of what ifs. In a life or death situation you can’t go with the “what if” plans.

          • Da’Shain

            Er … the entire plan was based around an absolutely massive “what if”. “What if Sauron is too damn stupid to realize that hey, maybe these guys don’t want someone in his place and will instead seek to destroy the ring?” And then there’s “what if the party of only 9 people gets killed on the way”, “what if one of these 9 fallible people decide to take the ring for themselves”, “what if Sauron has sealed the Cracks of Doom” … etc. The entire mission was based on a Hail Mary; I fail to see how using eagles to get there faster and with less opportunity for resistance is any more of one.

          • Renaissance_nerd

            the simple fact is going on foot was a longer but much safer plan. the giant eagle thing has been debunked, give it a rest.

          • TerminalSanity

            Maybe because Sauron had more a few airborne agents flying a mile in the air himself most notably the F-ing Nazgul!!! Seriously what you think after the battle of five armies in the hobbit he wouldn’t tell at least some of his agents to keep an eye on the eagles. Sheesh let it go. They whole plan was contingent on stealth there’s nothing stealthy about giant eagles flying through the sky. And its not like they eagles could stay in the sky the whole way either they’d have to stop somewhere along the way where whole party would be incredibly vulnerable.

          • Da’Shain

            He might have told his agents that twenty years ago, sure. Orc lifespans are short, though, and the Nazgul are otherwise occupied, and again, might not even have the fell beasts (which no one at the time of the council knew about) yet, and even if they do are most likely out and about killin’ dudes or searching for the ring.

            And yes, traveling for months overland is totally more stealthy than birds flying a mile above pretty much anything. As for stopping, sure, they’d have to make camp at night. So did the Fellowship. Pick deserted areas (they’re EAGLES, they can see rabbits moving from a mile up), hunker down, rinse, repeat.

          • TerminalSanity

            Sauron wouldn’t have ever stopped telling his followers to keep an eye on or kill the eagles because they never ceased being his enemies. BTW Orcs are corrupted elves in LOTR their lifespans are extremely long not short.

            It was clearly established that the Nazgul were abroad searching for the ring throughout fellowship and the two towers and they were not the only airborne agents at Sauron’s disposal(remember the bird spies that forced the fellowship to go through Moria?) And traveling months overland through forest and underbrush is much more stealthy than flying through the sky where you’re literally visible from horizon to horizon from the ground even if you tried to use BS argument they flew above the clouds (which wouldn’t always be an option)they would be very much visible for miles when they landed. Seriously WTF is remotely stealthy about a Gaint eagle?

    • Platosbeard

      This is why I hate the comment system – I have to repeat myself and others. In sum, the eagles are the single most prideful race on Arda, prime targets for the Ring’s power. The eagles are true neutral and have the HEAD OF THE GODs at their back; they hold themselves apart from the events because they don’t freaking care who wins. Either way nothing changes for them. The hobbits were able to sneak under the radar because Sauron couldn’t conceive of some one destroying the Ring instead of abusing it’s power. Also, the Fellowship was a B-Squad team from the start – that’s why the hobbits were included. The A Team, like Glorfindel and Faramir, were left out on purpose. Elrond says something like “Now is the time for the small to shine” or some such.

      • Da’Shain

        They might not care who wins, but they can certainly be talked into helping, or else why would they have helped in the Battle of Five Armies or at the close of the battle against Sauron?

        The point about the eagle’s susceptibility to the ring, though, is a good one, and is probably the best answer to this question I’ve seen. They are depicted as incredibly prideful. It doesn’t explain why the possibility was never brought up, though, nor do I believe that every single intelligent eagle would be absolutely unable to resist the ring’s pull for a shorter period of time than Frodo and Sam do.

        • TerminalSanity

          Actually they would absolutely not be able to resist the ring as well as Hobbits. That’s the entire reason the ring was left in the hands of the Hobbits because all the races , men, wizards, elves, and yes even the freaking eagles they were the best equipped to handle the Ring of power because all the races they were the least ambitious, only wanting take delight in the simple pleasures of life. For crying out loud the entire underlying theme of damn story is that power is best left in the hands of those most loathe to do anything with it beyond disposing of the need of such power.

          The reason why using the eagles was never brought up is because within the context of the story we’re presented with it was a non-starter from the get go. Hell Mirkwood was implied to be under siege during the events of The fellowship and the Two Towers. The Eagles were occupied fighting their own battles until the end and they only got that oppunity probably because of Gandalf’s intentionally distracting assault on Mordor.

          • Da’Shain

            I didn’t say “resist as well as a hobbit”, I said “resist for a shorter period than Frodo and Sam do”. It took Boromir weeks if not months (I forget the exact timeline) before he was overwhelmed with desire for the ring; the journey wouldn’t have even taken those weeks or months on eagleback.

            The eagles don’t live in Mirkwood, they live in the Misty Mountains. And they may have been busy with their own battles … but so was EVERYONE ELSE. And everyone else can’t friggin’ fly away from any battle. An eagle was able to take time out of its busy schedule to rescue Gandalf from Saruman, why the hell wouldn’t they place saving the entire world as a higher priority?

  • Amdor

    “all blades perish that pierce that dreadful King” ^^ Really cool to have episodes of counter monkey daily. When I was speaking to Joe he said you’re great at vlogs, and I agree.

  • smaco

    What is that game Spoony was talking about around 30:00ish, not The Third Age, the other one… with the customisable fellowship? it genuinely got me curious.

  • adam france

    The only MERP (Middle-Earth) rpg campaign I ever really got to fly began about ten years before the massive attacks on Rohan and Gondor by the Easterlings, Corsairs and Dunmen in TA 2760ish – about 200 years before LotR. It was close enough in time for the world to be more or less the same as that shown in LotR, but far enough in the past the war of the ring is far off and not relevant. There is a massive war on the west pending, this is the war in which King Helm of Helm’s Deep fame falls, and I had the pcs battling underground agents of Mordor (which was openly ruled by the Witch King in this time) who were stirring up the evil mannish nations and preparing for the big attack.

    Only MERP campaign ever to work for me.

    • draxo

      Yeah setting MERP in th past is probably the best way to run it.

  • Josh

    I would have LOVED to have seen Miles go on a crazed rant like that. lol

    • Renaissance_nerd

      Miles is Spoony’s younger brother. His older one we have never met.

  • ScreamingDoom

    I’ve never had any problem with the superhero games I’ve played. Most of them were in their own universe, and the ones that weren’t we just changed continuity. It’s not hard — choose a starting point, everything from that point on happened as written, everything after is subject to change. I don’t see why this is difficult.

    I’d love to play in a B5 game, though. That’d be awesome! You need to do a video talking about that campaign, Spoony. I really want to hear about what happened there.

    As for Lord of the Rings… I can think of a few ways to do it while being set in the War of the Ring era, but none of them work if you want to split hairs about continuity.

    First, you could just play the bad guys trying to stop the Fellowship.

    Second, you could play the theoretical Good Orcs that are postulated about and attempt some kind of Fifth Column manuever to undermine Sauron’s forces and/or subtly aid the Fellowship. This be interesting as it’d be kinda like a deep cover spy game, with the air of a conspiracy.

    Third, you could not have a ring. Who says Sauron had to put his mojo in a ring, anyway? Put it in something different, which the PCs come across and have the build their own Fellowship.

    Fourth, you could set it just after the Fellowship fails and Sauron gets the ring back and begins his assault on Middle Earth. That’s right, just give him his stupid little ring. So what? It doesn’t DO anything other than turn you invisible. Useful, but HARDLY a weapon of unfathomable power. And even if it IS… Sauron had the ring BEFORE and was STILL defeated. Obviously, it’s POSSIBLE to do — if it happened once, then it can be done again. Not easily, of course — it would require re-assembling the old Alliance (not easy as most of the Elves have left and the ones remaining probably just want to get away) and also get help from the other races like the Dwarves and maybe some of those theoretically Good Orcs. But it could be done.

  • adam france

    The war was canonical, but with very little info given by Tolkien about it – so the pcs got to be heroes without it clashing.

  • adam france

    I’ve yet to see a Fourth Age MERP game that avoided just making the 4th Age timeline a mass of repeats from earlier in the ME history (Gondorian Civil War, Wars of Gondor against Easterlings and Haradrim, wars against less organised orcs, the West Kingdom unifying then later splitting again, and so on) – it’s hard to get past the lack of engaging big bads (even accepting the Blue Wizards are out there) imo. Also 4th Age means less ‘classic’ ME ‘feel’, less elves, less magic etc. I just never liked it.

  • sbkMulletMan

    Oh god, I remember the 3rd age game. It was such a shameless milker of the cash cow, just a half-assed rip-off of Final Fantasy 10 (only better because you didn’t have to deal with Tidus or other goofy-haired fucks) that was put together to squeeze out a bit more money on the franchise.

    However, the game did make me laugh with how awkward it was that you were a Bizarro-Fellowship trying to catch up to the regular one. It was such a stupid idea, but I admit, it’s the kind of stupid that stood out and offered some great “so bad it’s good” moments.

    And on a side note, I love how Oreo keeps staring at the camera, because I feel like she’s piecing it together that “this is the device that steals daddy’s attention from me”. I wouldn’t be surprised of Oreo just destroys that camera one day out of sheer jealousy.

  • Denderfurger

    more Counter monkeys! F yeah!

  • Calderon Perez

    Spoony, have you ever played Ars Magicka?

  • chris

    get your brother on video raging about movies vs the books people you know we wanna see this vote up !!!! XP

  • Adrian Burt

    Thank you, oh god thank you. Spoony you’re the first person besides myself to explain why the eagles aren’t a plot hole.

    Also great job explaining why any role-playing game that has a plot, or is based on an IP with a very tightly controlled narrative, sucks. It’s actually why I hate games that have plots, be they war games or RPGs. Just give me a setting with a good history and let my players be the characters who drive the plot forward, not some shmucks twiddiling their thumbs while the real characters drive the story. It’s part of the reason why I like the Warhammer 40,000 RPGs from Fantasy Flight, because Warhammer 40,000 has a huge setting and no plot. There’s always some dick complaining that Games Workshop never advances the plot. Well there’s a reason; Warhammer has no plot!

  • CaptainDingaling

    I really don’t care for the CM videos since their about board games and I don’t play those but it’s nice to see Spoony enjoying his work and putting up regular content like he used too :)

  • Markus

    You almost gave us a new video game review with this. So I’m not complaining about going off on a tangent.

  • Angel R. Llera Padro

    I find it easier to go with: “Or is it?”.

    As in if you have the continuity lawyer and he says: “no! what happens is this and that…”
    I reply usually with: “I know, then something is obviously not quite right here isn’t it?”

    It throws them for a loop and keeps everyone interested and engaged.

  • TerminalSanity

    Nice to see Spoony shoot down the retarded Eagle argument the way every LOTR who ever read the books does: there’s no way the Eagles could get into Mordor unseen until after Sauron’s fall. Seriously Sauron had spies and agents in every land the fellowship passed through how in hell were they not going to notice giant eagles flying through a largely empty sky?

  • Logion

    man, Oreo is sooooo cuuuute!

  • Matthew Seager

    Fun to watch, especially loved your moment of “Gods I wanna play some love caft”

    Though sad to hear the Serenity Cortex system not getting any love, thats what me and my friends play and I really rather enjoy it.

  • LoneWolf343

    Thank you for pointing out the eagle complaint!

    Also, I have a friend who DMs a lot under the GURPS system, and he actually hates D&D (he calls it DURPS.) He’s been using it to build his own original RPG, and it is really quite good.

  • Dave Zap

    If there a Game of Thrones rpg? Is Spoony into that Show at all?

    • SamThePsycicClam

      In one of his reviews (Final Fantasy X I think) he was reading A Dance with Dragons which is the latest book in that series so I would say yes. Also I think he does own The Song of Ice and Fire RPG, which is the name of the book series (Game of Thrones being the first book not the series name). He talks about it in one of the counter monkeys I believe, I can’t remember which one, I do remember he said he owns it but has never played it.

  • afbee

    those LOTR games sound like a few Let’s Play idea’s!

  • Kendotuxedo

    Can I petition Spoony to return to Let’s Plays so he can Riff “Eternal Darkness” or “Call of Cthulhu, Dark Corners of the Earth”… … … … I’m not gonna get it, am I? … cyclops is a douchebag

    • Renaissance_nerd

      i would love it if he let’s played Eternal darkness, but those are good games and his shtick is about bad games…

      • Kendotuxedo

        Would you really call “SWAT 4″ a bad game?
        That’s one of the better quality games in Spoony’s arsenal and it’s probably some of his best work.

  • Alex Stockwell

    You ever played “War in Middle Earth”? It was a battle strategy game from the black disk days.

  • Asa Wolfinger

    … WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOUR PLAYERS!?! Seriously some of that stuff is understandable, but my god! I have run games for dozens of players and I have meet like 4 or 5 people like that, but killing the ring barer and steeling the ring as an inevitable event? Cripes!

  • Freddy Duran

    Review the game! :D

  • Mursa ArtDragon

    How about a steam punk or sci-fi re-imagining of LotR. while the plot is the same, it plays out from there however the characters want.

  • Felipe Sarabia

    If I’m not wrong the mages were called Istari by the elves….which is a pretty pointless extra name since they still “mere” maiar (minor gods/angels according to the Silmarillion) which were rumored to have been sent by the Valar to counter the power of Sauron (a maia that decided to follow Morgoth). The books never specify how many of them there were, in the Silmarillion (more specifically in the part that goes by “about the rings of power and the third age) we are only told that three stayed in the west of Middle earth (Gandalf, Saruman and Radagast) and the rest went to the far east, thus explaining why we don’t see them in the main story of the war of the ring.

    Also, I’m surprised that they included Bolger in something at all, considering he disapears quite early from the books.

  • Justin Smith

    Dresden is a good game, while the main system is my cup of tea (FATE, I have a perferred system for Urban Fantasy/Horror which is Mortal Coil…and I’m not a big fan of the Dresdenverse), it is a rock solid game that does encourage playing your character as its made and having that character evolve in play. The rules support this in a cool ways, I’d check it out.

  • Antismurf67

    I actually read this really cool blog post that theorized that Bombadil was actually the most evil creature in all of Middle Earth, and that now that the elves are leaving, there’s nothing left to stop him. You could probably make a campaign out of that.

  • megamanfan

    my group actually plays the dresden files ,and i’ll point out hte good and the bad:

    the bad:
    the health system is wierd. like, you can get hurt, or take a minor injury, but sometimes you take damage, i dont know.
    magic is too broad. you have to take some points into a magic, like thaumaturgy, or ritual, and then you can just do whatever.

    the good: it has a good set up system, where you basically get to choose all your powers. the city creation also helps out the GM, so they have some clue hoe to progress the story. the best part is it pretty much allows you to be whatever you want in terms of character and powers.

    • Michael Wells

      Iron Liz told him in one of his Pathfinder Streams that it was pretty bad. So lets all blame her (Not really just joking here, do not go blaming Liz.. no Fanboy Hate)

  • Ryan Young

    While they’re all entertaining, these were some of the best counter monkeys you’ve given us, Spoony. Definitely made my past few days better.

    Oh, and thanks for bringing up that bit about the eagles. Even my dad, who read the books in the 60s and only just now watched the movies, scratches his head at people who bring up that argument by saying “Well of course they were able to fly in AFTER the fact”. I always wonder what people think Sauron and all his dudes were doing when it was focused on the Fellowship. Playing cards? Not paying any attention to well, anything?

  • Victor de Coimbra

    I actually enjoyed Third Age a bit, but it was mostly because of it’s battle system. It was kind of fun and flashy. Kind of like FFXIII, but with more choices. Of course, the story was horrible, as Spoony says, but i had a good time with it. The equipment system was also pretty fun. Plus, you get to play as Gandalf and Aragorn in certain battles.

  • Renaissance_nerd

    fun fact: Everything in Lord of the Rings Online is approved by the Tolkien estate.

    • draxo

      I have little respect for the Tolkein estate.

  • Princess Stabbity

    Oh. My. God. You just had to mention the most boring time of Dragonlance. I had that blocked out of my memory, yet one mention of it made me look at my bookshelves in sorrow and fire burning rage where the books based during that time still sit. Worst. Idea. Ever. My fangirl heart never recovered from that. (And then Forgotten Realms ended me by freaking killing off Mystra/Midnight and I forget what other gods. ARGH.)

    I had no idea all that happened in The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age. Still have it, but I never beat it, so.. wow. I just.. wow. You freaking fight Sauron and the Balrog?? What?? Sigh.. why… Forever denied nice things.. lol.

  • Antoni Belbart

    Spoony, you should totally make a full review of “The Third Age”! XD

  • Daniel Thomas Stack

    Spooony, here is how you can do a Middle Earth RPG. Alternate History. Because the thing is from the end of the Battle of 5 Armies all the events not involving the ring are pre-ordained for the War of the Ring. Have Bilbo get caught in the neck by a stray arrow as he’s trying to hide invisibly on the edge of the battle of 5 armies. Never returning to Hobbiton. All the Bad Guys, All the Men The main themes of events even Sarumon and his Urukhai are all set in their courses. From this situation you have the world without the fellowship and all sorts of possibilities for finding the ring and what can happen with it.

    Edit: BTW You NEVER Not Ever Stat Tom Bombadil. Nothing of this world has any power over him that is why you couldn’t safely leave the ring with him. He’s a Vosh category immortal.

    Edit again: Actually its all blades perish that pierce the Witch King of Angmar. Because of the Curse he used to make himself immortal “No Man” can kill him.

    • Jared Fullyfisted

      The Games Workshop Strategy Battle Game DID have a profile for Tom Bombadil… but every stat was ‘?’. Best profile ever. He was basically a massive trolling weapon for the forces of good, because he would automatically cancel a fight every turn (He just goes up to enemies and stops them attacking ANYONE) and he could cast spells without rolling. I think that’s what profiles for god-like beings should be like.

      • draxo

        Yeah Bombadil is essentially a spirit god of nature or some such iirc. He’s totally detached from the world of man / civilisation. I think Gandalf spoke on leaving the ring with him and said it would be a poor idea because it needed to be destroyed. if they left it with Tom, he would hold firm as the ring had no power over him.. but the armies of Sauron would still march, still conquer.. still destroy the world until everything was dead but Tom, and with everything gone, Tom would lose his grip on the world and drop the ring as the final being standing.

  • SamThePsycicClam

    The Third Age was cross console and it really did suck hard. If I was doing a Lord of the Rings RPG I would set it in the first war against Sauron, during the forging of the rings of power. I would make the characters representatives of powerful houses, chosen warriors to fight against the hordes of evil on the front lines, each campaign being a struggle for a strategic area building up to the battle of mount doom. That way the death of a hero would not be a game breaker because another group could take over, unfortunately it would have an expiry date when the battle takes place. Also you could have Elves, Men and Dwarfs forced to work together to turn back the tide of evil as Elves and Men were in the battle of Mount Doom

  • Arnes Lindorm

    Im here just to say, that J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his stories to be a living legend for his country and for the world. He had this dream about people reading his works and making their own journeys to Middle Earth, and even more, Tolkien created a world for us to explore… So, with all my love to you Spoony, I do not think for a second that Tolkien would be spinning in his grave. I think he would rise a brow, smile with boyish amazement and light his pipe with utter joy. To have role playing games, video games, cartoons and movies based on his work… Wow, I think Tolkien has had what he desired. PS. What I say here, is of course true, but I cannot remember where I got this piece of information…So all I know is that this is what Tolkien had said and please, if other commenters can and know this to be true, please back me up with this! Otherways, point me wrong. :) PPS. Poor english is poor. I am a finn, so forgive any of all my typ0s.

  • CosmicKirby

    These Counter Monkeys were awesome. If you go into it with a little bit of structure, then tangent off these things turn out great.

  • Jonathan Andersson

    I remember that LotR game, The Third Age. I had it on GameCube. Goddamn, did it suck. It always felt like I was playing as the cheap imitation of the Fellowship and the combat system was so broken, because the turn order was based on speed, which meant that when you inevitably encountered an enemy party that was faster than you, they could attack over and over and over again.

    Like, three times in a row and then one of your guys could attack and then the enemy attacked three times in a row again because they’re faster than the rest of your group. That alone pissed me off to no end, forcing me to develop counter attack moves through hours of grinding to even have a chance to break through that cycle and not waste my turns healing everyone.

    It didn’t help that I had to fight monsters the Fellowship or other important characters encountered in the movie, like the fucking Balrog, the Witch King of Angmar and even that big ogre thing in Moria. Felt like I was the damn janitor, cleaning up other people’s messes.

  • Marcus Noble

    I definitely agree with using alternate timelines/universes in existing continuities for an RPG. I’ve had good experiences doing that while running the Doctor Who RPG. Though admittedly being Doctor Who alternate timelines and universes fit into the story and mood quite naturally.

  • Jonathan Andersson

    I remember The Third Age. I had it on GameCube. It did suck ass, because the player’s party felt like a cheap knock-off of the Fellowship and the combat was broken beyond reason, making it so the fastest creatures attacks first, which makes them attack several times in a row.

    That forced me to develop counter-attacks through hours of grinding to break that cycle and not waste my turns on healing everyone when it was finally their time to attack after having orcs attack me no less than six times in a row.

    But what really confused me back then was when I had to fight everything the Fellowship and their friends faced and then some, like the Balrog, the Witch King of Angmar and that troll/orge thing in Moria. Even Sauron himself was a boss, which made it look like he died because your party kicked his ass. All that felt very contrived and nonsensical.

    It never had an adventure of its own either, because it always cleaned up after or directly aided the Fellowship (bad move there), which made me feel like I was a goddamn janitor of some sort.

    • doresh

      Now that you mention that nuance of the combat system, I recall having a Mumakil wipe out my entire party because this goddamn thing spammed at least HALF A DOZEN AOE attacks – in a row. Without my guys actually being able to anything in between because it WASN’T THEIR TURN YET.

      And it was also weird how frequently they fought Nazgul onf fell beasts rather early in the adventure. Aren’t these guys supposed to be scary Oo ?

      I think this “War in the North” game was a bit more clever by telling an original adventure. That game wasn’t particularly good either AFAIK, and it didn’t help that it had to compete with Skyrim.

      • Antismurf67

        I think the main problem with War in the North was the ungodly amount of fatal glitches that refused to let you progress in the story. Other than that, it was a fun game.

        • doresh

          A contemporary game that gets packed with game-breaking bugs? What are the odds XD ?!

  • Faust

    Wow. You’ve totally got me wanting to play Call of Cthulhu. It sounds very similar to The Mayfair game “Chill” by (David Ladyman ISBN: 0923763236). And yeah “Ladyman” might be the worst last name I’ve ever heard.

  • Tycho Shiel

    The Silmarillion is actually my favorite Tolkien book, but even I’ll agree that it is long and slow…

  • Micah Schweitzer

    Never commented before, but I must thank you, noble Spoony One, for you’ve probably saved my campaign. I’m a first-time GM running a Dresden Files game, and I’m about to introduce Nicodemus as the guy behind this whole circuitous scheme involving ghouls, White Court, faeries, greater and lesser dragons, and the end of the world. Two things: I very probably won’t stat him now, even though Physical Immunity with a +0 Catch (essential immortality) might render that moot anyway. Secondly, thankfully, only one of my players has read the novels, and after hearing your shpiel about Mr. Morden, I’m only letting that player see Nicodemus once he’s hovering twenty feet in the air shouting Satan’s praises as the bomb goes off. I owe you a beer, good sir.

  • Dustin Harms

    On the subject of a Lord of the Rings based tabletop, an idea struck me as you were talking about before or after the Ring event. What about setting the game *immediately* after the Ring is destroyed. Think about it – There’s no a massive power vacuum, anyone high up in Sauron’s old regime is now scrambling to assume power. The Nine are still on the loose, and even if the Nazgul are given rest now that the One Ring no longer binds them, the Nine Rings of Men still exist. Just because the One is not there to control them doesn’t mean they lose their power. So now you have the rulers of men scouring the countryside, seeking out the lost Nine, armies of orcs and goblins itching for a fight and hideously well armed turning on anyone they can to carve out their own domains… and a new band of heroes arises amid the chaos. Could even involve a plotline of one of the rulers of Men seeking to possess all of the Nine, whether for good or ill – and that kind of power surely would corrupt any Man, even without the Dark Lord. I dunno, I think it has possibilities :)

    • Brett Engetschwiler

      Actually, I don’t think that would work; wasn’t it stated in LotR that if the One was destroyed, the rest would lose their power? That’s one of the reasons the bearers of the Three went into the West. When the One was destroyed, the Nine also lost their power.

      • silbmaerto

        I’m not familiar at all with the lore of LotR, but couldn’t the DM possibly just say that something else was somehow maintaining the power of the Nine, and then have the mystery of finding out what that “something else” is be part of the adventure’s plot? I can think of many stories that could lead out of that.

    • Dan Schuett

      Might be mistaken here but I seem to recall that after Sauron bites the bullet for good all the rings lose their power. The One Ring may have been Sauron’s crown jewel but he forged all the rings and they all got their power from him. Still like the idea of dealing with the circumstances immediately afterwards but I’m pretty sure the rings of power are out of the picture after Sauron bites the bullet.

  • Rowan Anderson

    Loved this rant, all four parts of it! In all honesty I could listen to you speak about rpgs all day. Don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing…still! Excellent rant. Although I have to admit I agree with you brother about the removal of Glorfindel from the film. Hmm, guess that makes me a rabid, mouth foaming person. can’t wait until ‘The Hobbit’ comes out. I’m sure your brother will have a fit.

  • Josh Baerg

    I have (had?) LotR The Third Age. I remember getting to the Balrog, but I don’t think I got any further. Like Spoony said, it wasn’t very good.

  • Daniel Kenneth Heintzelman

    I read the silmarillion when I was 13.

  • Valérie Dicaire

    Couldn’t you set a LotR game in a parallel universe in which Sauron has retrieved the ring of power? Like, image Bilbo never took the ring from Gollum, and so when the nazgul captured him, Sauron finally gets is ring back and retakes corporal form. So the game is pretty much about fighting his invasion forces and all kinds of villains, new and familliar, making alliances, finding magic items, capturing strategic strongholds and so. You would be the hero and not the sidekick, and it would eliminate any form of predictability seeing as it’s an entirely new story. Crossing path with existing characters wouldn’t mess up anything either since they no longer have a define path. Maybe Sauron would be too strong to be actually beaten in this case, but maybe you could defeat him temporarily by taking his ring again… And start a new quest from there… Lots of potential I think!

  • Kimarous

    Oh lord, The Third Age. This video doesn’t even do it justice. Warning: huge rant incoming.

    First off, it’s not just a generic Gondor captain, a generic elf, and a generic dwarf, but also a generic ranger, generic Rohan warrior maiden, and a generic Rohirrim rider. ESPECIALLY the Rider! He doesn’t even have a fucking horse; he just stands there and stabs with his spear all day… and yet he still feels like the strongest fighter in the whole game! I don’t think he even appears in any story portions aside from the one cutscene he was introduced in! o_O

    And that isn’t getting into the other in-story stupidity. That fight with the Balrog? You are literally right behind Gandalf when the bridge collapses, the Fellowship should be RIGHT THERE… then all of a sudden, boom – Rohan wilderness. Uh, and you couldn’t meet up with Boromir then because…?

    Oh, and then it turns out that you weren’t sent by Denethor to find Boromir at all! At Ostagar, it’s revealed McGondor is actually a sleeper agent sent by the Witch King to find the ring, being controlled all this time by a Morgul blade fragment! …At which point McGondor immediately frees himself by RIPPING THE FRAGMENT OUT! Of course! Why didn’t Frodo think of that?

    Then the romantic subplot. So the elf is a girl and you meet her first. In the middle of Moria, after you save her from falling off the narrow stairs, she kisses McGondor right out of nowhere and mutters some elven crap. Later, when the shield maiden is met, McGondor wants to help her and elf girl has a mild hissy fit over him chasing “one pretty face”… and then later, it’s revealed that McGondor and Rohan Lady were destined to be together, Elf Girl knew this, and then rejects further romantic interest. Then what was with that tsundere shit earlier?

    Lastly, the Eye of Sauron. Big Lipped Alligator moment at it’s finest. You fight through the many, many, MANY fields of Pelenor, Rohan Lady is mortally wounded by a Nazgul, Aragorn somehow heals her, Elf Lady stops being tsundere, and you’re invited to join the Battle of the Black Gate. End of story, right? Wrong! Keep walking deeper into Pelenor, and BOOM! Atop Barad-Dur hacking at the Eye of Sauron itself! W…T…F…? And when you win, you just get a generic speech from Gandalf of how the Fourth Age has begun. Yay?

    And that’s just the story. The worst part is the mechanics. Oh, sure, you level up like every other RPG out there (killing things), but you only learn new skills by repeatedly using the same skill group over and over. Let’s say McGondor has Swordsmanship and Leadership and starts with one skill each. Ten Leadership moves later, new skill. Oh, but if you want the OTHER 10-point Leadership move, do it ten more times. Or the skill above the one you want after the skill you just got? 20 more times. For every… single… skill. I’ve never played an RPG that has made me grind so much.

    TL;DR – That game suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks!

    • doresh

      Ah, that funny twist. At least this might explain why the Nazgul you fight in random battles are rather tame (they don’t really want to kill you). But why did the Witch King created (yep, he created him AFAIK) from Gondor, if they basically knew the ring is somewhere in the Shire? He must’ve known how hard it would be to catch up to them. Was EA afraid to let people play an evil hobbit?

      And I can’t help but feel that the final boss was a rip-off from a Shin Megami Tensei game XD

  • George Gray

    …how do you not like bombadil? that mischevious fuck that chilled in the woods with his wife and gave not a single shit. shame spoony, shame.

    • Michael Sweeney

      Maybe because he is involved in one of the more boring segments in an already boring book?

  • Darby Bryan-Dye

    I’m on your brothers side. Though in addition to the continuity issues, I feel the script was poorly written, and the majority of the acting was sub par*. All In all I found the first two movies to just be OK (after ignoring my adaptation complaints). The third one I actually liked, though I should point out that it is the least accurate of the three. Oddly I don’t mind the removal of Tom Bombadil though I love the character. I just saw it as a good place to cut the story for time. Although without the old forest and the barrow downs you never get to see the hobbits grow into adventurers. Oh, I have to give mad props on the creation of Hobbiton, that was easily the most impressive thing in all three movies.

    *Actors I thought did an good job were Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Andy Serkis (though his “gollum” sound was WRONG), Ian Mckellen, and John Rhyes-Davies.

    • TerminalSanity

      While I think every thematic and plot deviation Peter Jackson made were probably the weakest elements of the films, I can still enjoy them. If nothing else Peter Jackson managed capture the epic scale of the story and the world it took place in and that in and itself was immensely impressive feat, and if nothing else its entertaining to behold.

      I just wish the man had a better sense of subtly and subtext when it came to storytelling: I don’t care that Arwen found Frodo and not Glorfindel but I resented the fact they didn’t let Frodo stand alone against the 9 at the ford like he did in the book. Gimli shouldn’t have been f-ing reduced to comic relief. Faramir shouldn’t have been such a weak minded tool that was point of his character that he was the brother that should have gone and turning Denethor into a cold preening oblivious power hungry tool sucked every bit of interest and tragedy out of the character. Having Frodo turn Sam away on the stairs, made Frodo look gullible and idiotic. But have to say nothing pissed me off more than Peter Jackson’s choice to cut out two thematically critical scenes on the Crack of Doom Sam passing up his chance to kill Gollum and Frodo invoking the Power of the ring to curse Gollum (it wasn’t an accident that he fell into the crack of doom) those two acts fundamentally underscore the entire f-ing theme of the story: Power is best put in the hands of those who want to wield it the least.

      • Darby Bryan-Dye

        Excellent points. On the Glorfindel/Arwen thing, something that angers me in addition to Frodo not getting to stand alone, is the point where Arwen summons up the River, rather than Elrond.

        Though I feel he pulled away from the epic scale of the book. Turning it from a Journey and a quest, into a long chase. Brushing over the moments of calm (usually with sweeping helicopter shots), which are there to give you a moments respite from the adventure, so you can reflect with the characters on what they have accomplished (or lost). The constant screaming and (usually) over scored music took away from a lot of scenes that should have been otherwise frightening.
        Oh and yeah the scene where Frodo turns Sam away on the stairs, that one almost got me up on my feet yelling ‘bullshit’. That scene undermined the entire relationship of Frodo and Sam.

  • Dan Schuett

    These four videos have taught me a valuable lesson, only kill something if you know it’s going to stay that way, otherwise you’ve just pissed it off.

  • MechaVelma

    I looooove the people who treat the Ring Trilogy as holy scripture. I walk right up to them and tell them how awesome the movies were and how close they were to the books.

    Its the same kind of sadistic, blissful pleasure Loki got in the airport when he was talking to the nun about Alice in Wonderland.

  • Will_Z_Macht

    Hey Spoony! Ever play MechWarrior? If so, how do those games go?

  • Agrippa911

    Nice to know I have Miles (I’m assuming he’s your older bro) on my side in my disdain for the LOTR movies. I’m not as angry about changes from the text, I just didn’t like Jackson’s direction.

    • Chee Moon Yeo

      Miles is the younger brother. The older brother is the one Spoony talked about in his Ultima IX finale.

      • Agrippa911

        Ah, so there is another brother. Was wondering if he was referring to Miles in the Ultima review. Makes sense as he would have just said “Miles” then.

  • David Gray

    I think that there is something that a lot of people don’t understand about the movies and that is the book is entirely unfilmable. If you were to try and film the whole book, it would just flop and fail as movies. The reason is the book is rather unique in its own structure as it doesn’t follow a formal literary structure like most other works of fiction. I am a HUGE Tolkien fan. I’ve read many of the “History of Middle Earth” books, I’ve read The Silmarillion, I’ve read Unfinished Tales, and I even have LOTR 50th Anniversary Edition. Yet I love the movie adaptations and consider them three of my favorite films of all time.

  • Joe Wright

    This made me laugh, really really hard.

  • Nagneto Lives

    40:00: Your bro should have said: BETRAAAYYAAALLLL!!!!!!

  • sifer2

    Yeah that always bothered me seeing Wizards in the videogames of LOTR. Cause there only a couple of them, and they are more or less like Arch Angels sent to Middle Earth to help the people. Which is why its such a big deal that Saruman goes bad. The Balrogs were also their bad guy equivalent which is why its such a big deal that Gandalf would encounter one. And normal Mortals would not stand a chance in hell against that thing it was probably the second most powerful being next to Sauron still around. That PS1 game sounded bad.

    It does beg the question though what was so important the other Wizards didn’t get involved in the war of the ring. You could perhaps base a campaign around that with a different Wizard giving you your quests. But in the end the players are still going to want to do something involving the ring so I agree its a no win situation. There is also a big difference between people who read Silmarillion, and those who didn’t. That book explains a lot of background info like the Wizards but it indeed kind of boring since its structured like the Bible with a lot of loosely connected stories spanning thousands of years. And if you didn’t read it then yeah you would be pretty lost in a none third age setting.

  • Patrick Allen

    You could try locating the story on a different part of the continent, because Middle Earth is only part of the whole world. Sauron was only one lieutenant of Morgoth, there easily could be others around. It might not be as fulfilling as self-inserting into the Quest of the Ring, but it could work.

    • doresh

      The problem is that most people are only familiar with Middle Earth. Playing on a different continent would just be like playing in an original campaign for most people.

  • HiltsuPeku

    I guess one could play a game of LoTR in a universe where Sauron got his ring back. It would get quite desperate, but I think one could make it work. Most of the fellowship could still be alive if you want to play as them and the big bad is still there to be fought.

  • Matthew Underwood

    The LOTR game you were thinking of is called “Lord of the rrings: The third age” Made by EA; Surprise, surfuckingprise.

  • Dja_Akh

    My first idea to play LoTR would be either having the characters doing some very important task until the ring is destroyed. One thing would be, to defend one of the major cities, which is going to be invaded and it is up to the group to protect the city until the ring is gone.
    Another possibility would be an alternativ reality where there is more than one group bound for mordor. Maybe Saurons essence is stored in more than one ring. Or Sauron constructed decoy rings with almost the same power, but otherwise rather useless. So more than one group has to make it to mordor (the groups started in different locations at different times, whenever and whereever a specific ring was found so keep one group take all of them).
    I don’t think, it would be impossible to play LoTR. Though I would not like to play it :)

  • angela

    All this sounds like it’s just near impossoble to make a game based off an already established plotline. Reminds me of some of the stuff I do, though that’s more of an exchange of fanfiction than a table-top…
    Still, this whole thing makes it seem like players just wanna fuck up the canon, you know?

  • Raymond Wolfe

    Spiffing rant good sir, thoroughly enjoyed it! :D

    FYI: The blue wizards were Alatar & Pallando (or Morinehtar and Rómestámo, mortal names? such as Gandalf being called Mithrandir) they were incredibly mysterious and blue… thats all we know! (though one “out there” theory is that Saruman may have killed them as he went east with them and only he came back)… i think the only other wizard like being in a mortal body aside from the Istari was the witch king of angmar (pre op*cough* i mean ring corruption).

    Tolkien had a habit of some characters just ceasing to be in the story with no explanation (Radagast to name another). When you were talking about your brother raving after the two towers because of inaccuracies it reminded me of myself and a friend raving in a similar way when we saw em. Other gripes: Arwen (thank christ they diddnt use the footage of her at helms deep), “go home sam”, aragorns “death” in two towers, faramir taking Frosam to osgiliath and acting like a douche, ect.

    It’s funny though because they kill all the elves at helms deep anyway, so its a self correcting paradox haha. Films & Books both fantastic, like the difference between instant coffee and a long brewed fresh ground cup from Ecuador.

    There is soooooo much scope for interesting none fellowship following stories in middle earth, the stories of the other great rings for e.g.

    Keep up the good work spoony one, may the yuks never end!

    Thanks from Yorkshire, England!

  • Jon Defiler

    Okay, you know Frodo? That ringbearer? He ran off as we tried to get through the pass of Rohan. He got caught. Sauron has the ring, Sarumon is controlling Theoden, Denethor is still in Gondor. You have to beat Sauron -again- by marching on Mount Doom with the combined force of all of Middle Earth, and you have to be the one that gets all these assholes together.

  • IrkenTrad

    OH GOD, FIGHTING THE EYE OF SAURON, which has like two, time-consuming moves. Such a shitty game… and you fight in Pelennor Fields against the Witchking, then get suddenly teleported to the TOP OF FUCKING BARAD-DUR.

    Interestingly enough, it turns out that the developer that made that game then started making Dead Space. Still can’t forgive ‘em for Third Age, though.

  • James Cotton

    I love how Oreo sometimes looks directly into the camera. Other times she’s trying to find the invisible person her daddy’s talking to.

  • Ghoul_Aid

    Man, you should do more rants like this. Seriously, this is gold. Enjoyed every second.

  • Erin Crouch

    I absolutely <3 you for that entire LOTR section, Spoony. Agree 100%.

  • Rawley Miller

    Has anyone ever played “Dangerous Jounreys?”

  • Byron Webb

    Just a couple of comments: Our roleplaying group has visited the 3rd age of Middle Earth several times. Usually during the War, but not always. We’ve never played the Fellowship, nor have we really wanted to. Our take is they can save the world, but we have to preserve the world long enough for it to be saved.
    Regarding Evil: Morgoth brought evil into Arda, but he was one of the original Vala, so evil has always been part of Middle Earth. If your GM thought otherwise, he was mistaken. Numinorians were certainly capable of evil and they fell because they were envious of the Elven eternal life; forgetting that mortality was considered a boon by Eru, not a curse.

  • Levi Price

    dude the only thing you need to do in order to make the lord of ring game to work, is to stop thinking lord of the rings and start thinking hobbit

  • Jacen Chen

    Please do more rants about B5

  • Mike Fang

    Heh, a masterful series of vids.

    And also, I gotta agree about the whole X-men, mutant registration thing. It’s funny, because I’m a gun owner, and I don’t think there should be any additional gun control, such as a registry of gun owners. This is because you already have to have a license to carry a gun. If you’re found without a license and carrying a gun, you can get fined or arrested. THAT is the closer parallel to the whole mutant registration thing. This registry doesn’t have to be used like racial profiling; it can be a licensing program to give people a license to use something that could be harmful to others if abused but that if they don’t abuse it, they’d have every right to have.

  • Joshua Leone

    Spoony=Genius, I’ve been saying that about Mordor for eevvver!

  • Bruce Kilkowski

    Geez, if your brother called betrayal on the elves at Helm’s Deep, I can only imagine how he would react to Ralph Bakshi’s LotR. Come to think of it, that wouldn’t be a bad one for you to review, Spoon.

  • Shadowdancer21b

    The race of Numenor are called Dunedans. The only reason I know that is Nethack. Third Age sucked but not quite so hard.

  • Cleggster

    Since it does seem to be of interest, I should point out the new RPG called The One RIng. I just started playing it and I love it. The mechanics perfect fit the setting. And it’s answer to what to do about the war of the ring is to not set it then. The game currently takes place 5 years after the Battle of the 5 Armies. So you have lots of time to whatever you want before events start up. None of you characters (unless your an elf…ehem) will live to adventure during that time. Currently around Mirkwood, apparently there will be more areas in the future.

    Seriously, if people are looking for some Middle Earth role playing, this is my favorite. More in setting than MERP and better mechanically than the Lord of the RIngs RPG.

  • Chris Det-lef

    The longest D&D campaign I’ve been in – going on over a decade long – was set in the silmarillion. Started in before the sun was even sung into existence. We came close to defeating Glaurung. We left off around the year 400 of the 1st age..

  • Michael De Piazza

    D: why does no one other than me like LOTR: Third Age. I thought that game was fun. Who cares if you’re random characters?

  • Erik Just Christensen

    I would say that if you wanted to do a LotR´s RPG but not put your players smack down in the middle of it all, but at the same time you don´t want to set it apart from the whole war of the rings i would set it in the East and South where the two blue wizards went.
    From what i´ve found on Tolkien Gateway those parts of the world also suffered under Saurons hands, so there would be plenty of options for players to kick some orc ass and perhaps try their luck with a single Nazghul towards the end.
    Also from what i understand the Blue Wizards also founded a magic cult so a few people who knows about magic wouldn´t be completely impossible
    At the same time you would keep players from going to Mordor as that would be a very long way away and even if the players did go towards there they woudln´t even get near before it was all over.

  • Steve Joanis

    LotR RPG can be somewhat easy. set it during/around the Battle of 5 Armies. lots of skirmishes, loot, and other fun stuff to go with. You can even fudge it a bit with the party going into the dragons lair, taking treasure, heck even killing the dragon if they plan it right eventually.

  • Ben Alsop

    I actually ran a really good LoTR game once. I set it 20 years after the ring was destroyed. When Saruman escapes his tower, he takes Rivendell with a contingent of orcs and starts tunneling through the mountains; starting havoc all over the world. Since most of the elves have left, he takes over the surrounding country very easily. The PCs started in Gondor as a group of knights who are sent (by Aragorn of course) to find where all the orcs are coming from. It was really fun to play with different locations throughout the world and make up what 20 years of peace did to the different regions. It wasn’t exactly lore friendly, but it was fun to play.

  • peteshamrock101

    Wow miles takes no compromises when it comes to LOTRS lol. Im sure jackion stayed as true to the books as he coud. Coulda been worse…the story coulda got fucked over like when they made that drangonball movie…talk about a betrayal of the books (manga) >.<

    • Chee Moon Yeo

      Miles is Spoony’s younger brother. The older one is the brother Spoony talked about in his Ultima IX finale.

      • peteshamrock101

        oops my bad i did’nt know he had more brothers >.< sorry

  • Angus Livingstone

    September 2012: Best month in TSE as far as productivity goes.

  • Kieran Smith

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned it, but there is a pretty new RPG for LOTR called One Ring. It’s set between The Hobbit and Fellowship and does a great job with the system and flavor. This way you don’t get conflicts with the Fellowship, and nothing really huge is happening where people know about it, and it lets you run throughout the world without worrying too much about screwing up the plot. I really like it. Give it a look.

  • Angus Livingstone

    Your impression of your older brother during the LOTR bit reminded me of your Ric Flair impression at first.

  • Marc Thompson

    T.V. Shows to RPG’s – Try Leverage. I rolled my eyes when I saw it, and started reading it at a game store to mock it… and then 90 minutes later I bought it. Had a fantastic game with it, and it’s now my go-to game for any game with heists. I’d even adapt it for games like Cyberpunk and Shadowrun.

    The new Marvel system by the same company (Margaret Weiss Productions) is pretty damned good as well.

  • Foster Davies-Smith

    Spoony you just need imagination to make Lord of the Ring to work. Here’s my solution: Flip it.

    Make Sauron the last hope to lock Morinth down forever and the last bar left on his cage. If the ring is destroyed all hell literally breaks loose on middle earth. You have to stop the fellowship or everything is lost. Gandalf won’t listen and the fellowship is stubborn as hell. The elves completely hate the orcs who rather then being corrupted elves are descended of a cursed elf tribe. You can play an antihero and still be a full on hero. You got room to play for an elf if you threw off your curse a little. A dwarf that figured this bullshit out or a mercenary all sorts of things.

    You just need to get creative, go batshit, write it all down, then clean the garbage off and you may find something good in the pile.

    All the best man.

  • Ben MacConnell

    My idea for a LoTR RPG would be to have some random guy (maybe an ancient pureblood Numinorian sealed in a cave somewhere) rising up to take control of the orcs after the fall of Sauron. And he’d be mass producing rings of power (thought they’d be pretty crap compared to the ones made by Sauron or even Saruman), and giving them off to his generals or some crap. And the objective would be to seek out and stop him, or at least clean up all the random rings left to circulate across Middle Earth and corrupt people.

    Heck, have the guy only have command of a certain subtribe of orcs, and part of the campaign would deal with trying to gain the trust of the other tribes so they’d help you against the bad guy.

  • Ryan Letendre

    Glad to hear Spoonys a fellow fan of the Dresden Files. I love that series. And yes the rpg does blow.

  • Segatron

    I can understand the facepalming over the Idea of a MMO version of Lord of the Rings. Still I think the in game story does offer you a solution to the other dilemma of placing a coherent story in the War of the Ring timeline. Essentially you have Elrond send you to the generals of the enemy armies to bluff Sauron into thinking that the One ring is traveling with them and not the fellowship.

    and then you steal from them.

    Yeah… Battle for Middle Earth. EA gets tired of ruining Ultima so they mess up something people have loved even more and for a longer time, by turning it into Final Fantasy X. Classy as always!

    Or as my friends use to call it, “The stunt doubles of the Ring”. And any excuse for Spaceballs quotes is a good one.

    I don’t mind that they expanded Arwen in the movies, making her a bit more dimensional than the books, but I can understand those who wished to keep Glorfindel in. He’s pretty hardcore as Elves go, even considering how Tolkien Elves are far more hardcore than most of their imitators.

  • harry de bie

    whats that LoTR game called you were talking about with the all hobbit party?

  • Christina Masterson

    video stops streaming after about minute 31 :/

  • Dries Vandooren

    Third age was on the PS2, I had it on the PS2.
    It was actually a good game, I really enjoyed it, you make it look bad while it was good. The graphics were surprisingly good, and all the gear you changed, changed in the cutscenes, even the beltbuckle from the dwarf!
    Me and my brother loved the game and kept playing it, there were some PITA points like fighting the Balrog of Kazad Dhum with Gandalf being the only character who did some damage whilst all the other characters were healing and reviving themselves.
    And the part about the eagles is true, I am a pretty big fan of the trilogy and The Hobbit (still kinda buthurt that they made 3 movies from the 250page book).
    So yeah, I have gotten the same complaint from people who asked why they just didn’t ride on the eagles to destroy the ring, and my anwser was like yours, but nearly as good.
    I just love the LOTR

    • doresh

      Yeah, that outfit stuff was neat, but lots of grinding for skill points, a half-assed copy from a JRPG (they forgot cities and exploration, something Squeenix would later imitate with FFXIII Oo) and a very questionable treating of the source material is not exactly good. It’s not the worst thing evar, but it pales in comparison to most other RPGs of the system.

      But one can enjoy a lot. I enjoyed FFX and FFX-2 for the first 3 quarters or so ^^

  • Jim Thorpe

    You should probably read it, because, uh, I don’t know where you’re hearing that the Dresden Files RPG is bad. I hear NOTHING but good things about it, that it’s the best version of the FATE ruleset, that it’s a brilliant game even if you hate Dresden Files, that it’s a great game if you love the books, seriously, nothing but excellent reviews. Who are you hearing your game information from, the RPGPundit?

    • Liam Murray

      I have to second this. The first session is taken up by group Character Creation, and City Creation. Part of this is defining an ‘earlier adventure’ that each of you had, and how some of the other characters were involved in it.
      For example; the PI character might have been following a missing child case, when he ran into a suspicious looking guy hanging around the area the child went missing. This guy turns out to be one of the other characters (the Changeling) who was trying to protect the neighbourhood children from further predation by Things That Go Bump. They team up, and along the way get some information about the threat from another character (Paranet Contact/Magic-User).
      This would have all been decided in the group character creation as the backstory adventure Starring the PI, with the CHangeling and Paranet Guest-starring. Those two would have their own Adventures they star in, with various other PCs playing a guest-role.

      City Creation has the group decide on what City they want to base the game in, as well as some Themes they might want to establish for it. They decide on important figures of note/threats (eg. I want the Mob to have a hold in the city, and I want there to be a ruthless guy we kind of have an understanding with, but may fuck us up if he deems it worth it; let’s call him Marcone). The GM then takes the various City stuff decided, works out Motivations and secrets and all that good stuff, and should have some good stuff set for the next game session.

      This method of base character and setting establishment really brings a strong sense of buy-in for the players, as they’ve been able to explicitly include elements that they’d like to have addressed in the game. Not only that, but the characters all know (of) each other, and should have various pieces of shared history already.

      The system uses a variant of the Fate rules, which isn’t too difficult to grok. Actions have narrative weight. Running out of time to write, but I sincerely hope that you give Dresden another chance. Even if you don’t like the rest of it, as you mentioned before, the marginalia fluff is fantastic

  • volbla

    This was by far the lamest Counter Monkey series of episodes ever, but also one of the most awesome ones. Call of Cthulu? I barely have an idea what that is, but even i got caught up in your enthusiasm. You, sir, are the king of rambling.

    • Mitchell Bandes

      “the lamest Counter Monkey series of episodes ever, but also one of the most awesome ones.”

      Do you read the words you type before you hit “post”?

      • volbla

        I don’t see the problem. Lame in one way and awesome in another. Just like half the stuff Spoony talks about, incidentally.

        You know when he calls something like Yor or The Clones of Bruce Lee awesome? Yeah… because you also know it’s really fucking lame.

  • Nick Rivest

    There are issues with your eagal thing for LOTR. See, it’s clearly not a outright beakon, because when the hobbits are moving through Mordor, the eye goes over them and yet doesn’t see them. He can sence the general location, kinda, but the ring’s not a “Hey, I’m here!” beacon. And also, why would they have been shot down? How high do those walls go? 100-200 feet? how high can even their ballistae, not to mention their archers, shoot? The eagles could easilly fly over that shit. Fell ebasts? Those are BIG eagles. They can be equipped with some ballista and archers of their own. We see the fell beasts aren’t invincible.

    • doresh

      True, it only really acts as a beacon if someone puts the ring on. But Sauron didn’t notice the hobbits because they were tiny dudes in a region were Sauron didn’t expect anything (he was probably just glancing over it). Giant eagles in the sky? Any outpost worth its salt could spot them from several miles away.

      Archers might not reach them, but if Gandalf can scare away several Nazgul with his shiny staff, I think Sauron’s eye might actually be able to zap them out of the sky.

      And those eagles aren’t Mumakil. You can’t just put that stuff on them without getting in the way of their wings, not to mention that they can probably not carry all that much if they function anything like normal birds.

  • Ragnara

    The battle with the balrog went like this (At least for me): First round of combat, my guys do jackshit. The balrog hits them all at once and they all die. Except for gandalf of course and he has to do the rest of the fight alone.

    And stuff I need to get off my chest, because I have nerd complexions.
    There are indeed only 5 wizards, the two blue ones went off into the east and never came back.
    They are of the Maiar “race” lesser gods and servants of the Valar (the real deal). Sauron was one as well, as are the balrogs, the eagles and some other stuff.
    The Dark Eye you mentioned has nothing to do with LotR other than being inspired by it.
    The Silmarillion, or rather the time period that is being told about in the Silmarillion, is great for adventures. Sure the book itself is kinda like a history book, but it spans over hundreds of years. You have the first men coming to middle earth, have them cooperate with the elves to fight back Morgoth’s armies. And you could do some really grand stuff, cause humans and elves back in the days were, like you said, much more powerful then the ones who live during the third age. One dude fought 5 balrogs, another one bested a dragon alone. The players could be exploring dungeons filled with maybe prototype creatures Morgoth never got the chance to unleash on the world, or which he thought wouldn’t be brutal enough. You could have them fight in giant battles, sneak into evil towers, defeat lower class Maiar with elvish artifacts, they’d have to find in an abandoned city, etc.
    And the numenorians got their island after morgoth was defeated, so there was plenty evil in the world. They actually got tempted by a disguised sauron to rise up against the gods, who then sank their island.

    I think I thankfully forgot some other stuff I wanted to point out, so I’ll just end this with saying how much I love watching your videos, especially counter monkey and your video game rants.

  • likalaruku

    If Spoony wrote a short novel of Counter Monkey, would you buy it? I would.

    • doresh

      Why not? I like his old written reviews, so more written Spoony is always good XD

  • Josh Post

    oh yea, the Eye of Sauron, that was the major problem I had with that game… I liked the rest of it, but as soon as I finished cleaning out the plains of Gondor, I ended up at the Eye, and was like “WTF?”

  • Joe Kline

    was just curious if you ever tried the ghosbusters rpg, i got quite a bit o play out of that one growing up

    • MFlorian

      Ghostbusters International is a great system. I still have the basic box set.

  • William Staples

    The original Middle-earth Role Playing game (MERP) let you play in any era, but the default setting was about halfway between Sauron’s original defeat and his return in LotR. It did a really great job of filling in the gaps and creating an interesting and viable setting. Basically Sauron had been driven out of Mordor but had sent the Nazgul back to prepare for his return, and each of the nine Nazgul had his own kingdom. Remember the Witch-king of Angmar, the Lord of the Nazgul? He was the main villain.

    The game system was really kind of bad and horribly convoluted, but the setting was great and could be ported to GURPS or another system.

    • William Staples

      Also, there were only five wizards in the book – the three you mentioned, plus Alatar and Pallando, the two Blue Wizards. However, in MERP you could play an “animist”, which was basically a lesser mage. The Mouth of Sauron was one of these, I think.

      There have been two other Middle-earth RPGs: “The Lord of the Rings RPG” from Decipher, which only had the license for the movies, so they couldn’t use anything not mentioned in them (ie, everything that let you play a game not centered on the Fellowship); and “The One Ring”, which has only been out for less than a year, and encourages you to play in the area of “The Hobbit” (the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood) shortly after the Dragon was killed. I don’t know enough about either to offer commentary on them.

  • Cláudia Lima

    i had no idea that there was a d20 of Wheel of Time OwO so many thanks! it’s one of my favorite books, and Sanderson isn’t so bad since he was picked by Jordan and his wife. give it another try when the last book is released =P and again so many thanks for the info *w*

  • MrRuse

    I believe there were five in total: Gandalf, Saruman, Radagast and the two blue wizards who buggered off into the East and were never seen again.

    And the reason there are so few “wizards” is because they are Maiar, the near-equivalent of angels in Middle-Earth.

  • Gamer2002

    If you hate Cyclops you must read Whedon’s Astonishing X-men run.

    • MFlorian

      -_- Ugh.

  • benrgamer

    Funny, I’ve never played the game myself, but the last time I read it mentioned it was said that The Third Age was -alot- like Final Fantasy X…

    • doresh

      It basically just copies the combat system and offers overall less content and less stuff to make fun of.

  • Scott Woodward

    To be fair, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know Mr. Mordent is bad flipping news. First episode he shows up in he comes off as so oily and sinister he might as well have carried a sign around with big neon letters saying “I’M A FUCKING VILLAIN!!”.

  • Andrew Joyner
  • Vladimir Tolpygo

    Hmm, I really didn’t find the Silmarillion boring – I mean sure, it’s quite difficult to get through the beginning with all the names, names and more names, but for the language it chooses to use, the Silmarillion sure turns out to be a very touching book (in my opinion). But the beginning, yes, quite difficult to read. I actually had to make a graph of all the gods and their children/servants while I was getting into the book…

    • William Staples

      The Silm can be boring if you approach it as a novel. To get the most out of it, though, it should be approached as a book of myths, like Eddas or the works of Homer.

  • Lazar Gruev

    We want a review of that LotR game!

  • Gard Nysæther

    the creature your talking about aint Sheelob or whatshecalled, it’s a much older one that is presumed dead or eaten itself that was the mother off all huge spiders, long loong before Sheelob even existed=) ps, his master was Morgoth/Melkor

  • L1nk1

    I don’t see why do you point out the fact that you split the videos for money. Sorry for criticism. Anyway… Waiting for let’s plays to come back.

    • Dan Schuett

      I think he was making a joke. He likely split the videos because most people won’t sit through a 2+ hour ramble.

  • Misroi

    The best way to run a game in a world with an established continuity – break canon early, and break it hard.

    “The five of you drive your landspeeders across Tatooine’s dunes. On
    the horizon, you see a thick black column of smoke rising into the sky,
    writhing like a living tendril trying to grasp the twin suns and pull
    them to earth. As you get closer, you notice that the smoke is issuing
    from the main building of a moisture farm. It blazes out of control,
    and not far from that is a trio of blackened skeletons. One of you
    realizes this is the Skywalker farm, and that all three of them must
    have perished in the blaze. What do you do?”

    How would Star Wars have been different if it was following the PCs instead of Luke Skywalker?

  • Matthew Bass

    I’ve read the Silmarillion, hard to grasp but a really good story!

    • TerminalSanity

      Story? It was essentially were multiple stories of varying quality about the first and second ages. I personally favored the tale of Turin because it was essentially about a character getting f-ed over in increasingly horrible ways really through little fault of his own save for a bit of pride and recklessness

    • Rakkrakk

      The Silmarillon isn’t even a story. It’s an amalgumation of worldbuilding myths, the modern equivalent would be something like Heitz’ Legends of the Alfar, that aren’t really following any path but that of chronology.

  • Matthew Bass

    Also I liked the Third Age

  • Nightmare Drusilla

    Honestly I never found running a game in a universe with established continuity, for example in LOTR have Frodo and Sam die in the tower…. then improvise.

  • Ryan McGrath

    Yeah, you mentioned that alt. universe thing in your Thieve’s World video, I recall. It’s a good way of doing things. I’m going to try to make a JOJo’s Bizarre Adventure campaign with the Window system, and I’m going to use that.

  • Peter Larsson

    More nerd stuff!
    More tangents!
    More live recordings of RP sessions! (or boardgaming night)
    More stories! (if you’ve got any that is)

    Give us what we want and NEED so that we can fuel the nerd revolution!

  • Grayson Pryce

    Loved this. hope to hear more about Call of Cthulhu and insanity

  • Squall Lee

    spoony, you should do a video about The Third Age game

    • doresh

      I dunno, it doesn’t appear to be as entertaining as the Final Fantasy games ^^

  • eyesonflux

    I wouldn’t mind playing a side character in a Lord of the rings rpg, even if you are not with the fellowship, you could still be doing important things, that would be good in the grand scale of things..

  • Amanda Holland

    you’re right–it’s 5. 5 astari. gandalf, saruman, rhadaghast, and then two that tolkien doesn’t even really develop. he just says there’s two other guys and that they killed each other.

    • doresh

      Well, according to one of his later letters, the other 2 mages apparently played a big part on the eastern front of the war.

  • Amanda Holland

    I probably totally screwed up Rhadagast’s name, but considering that he’s such a minor character, I don’t think it matters that much XP

  • Rhesus

    I’m almost sad that I heard about the bipolar-stuff.

    Cause now when I see him rant on like this (which I really enjoy, and there’s always a ton of stuff to read up on after he dispersed some encyclopedic geek knowledge) I just get the weird feeling that I’m seeing part of an illness. A lot of productivity comes from getting excited like this, but I hope that he’s able to cool of when not on camera.

    Love ya spoon

  • Discordius Erisianus

    You’re wrong, Spoony.
    The reason they didn’t destroy the ring with the Eagle method was because then the story would be much lamer and quicker.

    • doresh

      It must be the same force of nature that prevents Bond villains from just shooting Bond.

  • doresh

    So “finally making a (non-cartoon) movie-adaption of a novel deemed unfilmable for decades” is equivalent to “making movie tie-in games a DECADE after the fact because we gotta milk this license for all its worth” Oo ?

    Ever since this first wave of games, EA focuses on this “war in the north” thing, which has nothing to do with the movies anyways, so who cares?

    And the book license was hard to get because I think Vivenda got it first.

  • doresh

    Everyone likes D&D :D !

  • Ertzi

    I would much prefer that you talked about your games as a DM or player. That is where your awesome storytelling skills can shine. I don’t fancy these more educational Counter Monkies. I just want to hear cool and funny stories.

  • HallowXIII

    I suddenly realize I must be the only person ever to have enjoyed reading the Silmarillion.

    Meh. Great video as usual, Spoony. How does one talk for this long without being boring? xD

  • Picard1701

    You know I had almost this same reaction like Miles, when I saw Elves in Helms deep, and as much “Third age” game could be stupid… you must know that Peter Jackson wanted to put Sauron in ROTK, there is deleted scene with commentary, showing Aragorn sword fight Sauron. I don’t kidding about it, he realy wanted to put this in the movie… you can watch it on youtube.

    • doresh

      Man, I’m glad he didn’t had the last word on that plan Oo

  • Darren Christopher Grant-Hall

    The way I’d do lord of the rings. Set it after the ring is destroyed and Frodo had failed. The ‘Party’ may be the ones to finally destroy it while having no connection to the actual characters, completely new set of problems and Hell, they aren’t just some Schmucks, they are the saviours of middle earth.

    That’s how I’d do it :)

  • Darren Christopher Grant-Hall

    To run Lord of the rings, set it after the lord of the rings, after Frodo fails. Advantages are you are the hero’s trying to find, recover the ring, in an even worse situation. Most of the fellowship are dead. It has the advantages of being a familar setting, you are the hero’s cleaning up after the fellowship has failed.

    That’s how I’d do it anyway.

  • ShinDanHibiki

    Is this just the counter monkey site now or what?

    • kevbo2040

      It is whenever Spoony doesn’t feel like generating actual content. He basically does one review a month now, if that; otherwise he just pads it out with movie reviews where he sits and talks to the camera, or Counter Monkey, where he sits and talks to the camera…and even those come out about once a week at best.

      • Rakkrakk

        Right, because RPG tips and tricks and stories aren’t content at all…

    • marabackman

      You say it like it’s a bad thing. :P As someone with the same hobby, I welcome the rants about RPGs and like to pick up some pointers every now and then :)

  • Shadowflame

    At the end, the eagles kick the asses of the felbeasts with no trouble, so I doubt that would’ve been an issue at all. As for the guys on the walls, their weapons could only reach so high.

    No one would bring up the eagle plothole if we didn’t see the eagles come flying in -anyway-, right over the walls and taking out the felbeasts.

    I understand the desire to argue against all plotholes, but let’s be honest – the only reason the eagles didn’t fly Frodo to Mordor was because we wouldn’t have a story otherwise. If Tolkien had actually thought about the plothole he would’ve included something in the book about it, maybe had one of the characters bring it up as an idea and another character explain why it couldn’t be done.

    But in reality, Tolkien just wanted to write a story. He didn’t care about these plot holes nearly as much as you do, and in fact he was quoted as saying he didn’t like when people thought way too hard about his work or tried to find deeper meaning in it. Accept the plot hole because, in the end, it doesn’t matter – it comes down to, “Do you want a story or not?”

  • Stephanie Mularz

    I can’t believe that I never noticed your bookcase, I’m totally digging your cutouts!
    You never see anyone else with Final Fantasy VI gear anymore, quoting Chef Ramsay “I’m a proud (Wo)Man!”

    Yeah, this post was a waste of time really, back to ripping off the heads of gummy bears and placing them on other gummy bear’s bodies.

  • Bruce Bigg

    Let me tell you, Spoony. I’ve never played any D&D. I have no interest in playing D&D. You ranting about D&D, though, is some of the most entertaining stuff on the ‘net.

  • Cochise Rhone

    Whoa, I kinda forgot what this was about originally. But to futher your 1st and last points about

    Cyclops, here you go. A video aobut the WORST leader in fiction

  • Aaron Trussler

    Alternate ending LOTR would work. Say, Frodo got corrupted didn’t destroy the ring instead and he killed Sam and Gollum and went into hiding like Gollum did, the cycle could totally started over again. 300 Hundred years later it’s a completely different story would start and end. You could even have Frodo be the new gollum.

  • Astrolounge

    Now I want to go read DM of the Rings again.

  • Jeff M Long

    SPOONY…. LOSE ALL THE FUCKING ADVERTISEMENTS… holy shit its like navigating a Free Streaming Movie website, or Myspace post-collapse… or whatever.. 30 second intro/outro ads to your VIDEOS?!

    Edit: Not all of them.. just stop using obnoxious ones…

    • Matt Browning

      Old post is old, but he can’t control what adverts you see. People pay him to put whatever the hell on, he has no control over what they show.

  • jpakwall

    If I were to DM a game set in an established universe, most likely I’d want to set it in a place that has little detailed focus in it’s show/book etc. One thing that seems reasonable to try is to attempt to build a campaign based on a vague event spoken of in a established story universe, like the Bothans spying for the death star plans ;P. No one knows what a Bothan is, much less what they did (Oh I’m sure there’s a comic or book about them, but let’s just assume such does not exist), so why not take advantage and have all the players participate in one of the most key, and simultaneusly vague events that happened off camera?

  • sprezzatura15

    So Spoony- props for being a Nerd Boy and admitting that the Silmarillion is a freaking SNOOZE. Except for Beren and Luthien, it is SO impersonal and generally depressing, but try telling THAT to any of my nerd guy friends….

  • Daniel Muir

    As much as your commentary is fascinating and quite true, I could not possibly disagree more regarding what you say over being a “sidekick”. Playing someone else’s character – regardless of how awesome they are – is boring. Creating your own character is interesting. You don’t have to be a part of the Fellowship, or be Batman, to have fun with the concept you’ve created and designed. People just THINK that you do and as such never really get into designing their own concepts. Playing badass motherfuckers can be fun, but it can be just as fun to play a nobody who rises to prominence. Seeing a character grow is part of the appeal of D&D – if it works there, why can’t it work in LOTR or the DC universe?

  • Dyler Eriksson

    How you could do LOTR game is that you don’t have the ring, but something else. Like a sword or armor! And every time you would use it, you would gain corruption or something alike, and begin to turn. Eventually the character would be unplayable if he would use these things too often and just, die. The thing would have good stats but not overpowering that would make it a cakewalk when used, but would give rather nice bonuses to make the battle rather easy. I think this would actually work.

  • Love!

    does reading the call of cthulhu gamebook make you lose sanity too?

  • Vault13Dweller

    What about a Lord of the Rings game where you’re hobbit guerilla fighters trying to resist the orc occupation? That could be a pretty cool tabletop adventure.

  • James Hazen

    Is there an alternate means of viewing this video? I’m on a pretty shitty wifi and this video refuses to buffer while paused for some reason.

  • Marquel Lee

    I was legitimately stoked for an xmen rant. Haven’t read an xmen comic since I was 10…something about some guy called onslaught or somethin?

  • Haakon Løtveit

    I can see one making an adventure after the war of the rings, where you were high-officials of Rohan, Gondor, or whatever.

    Your quests would be more along the lines of empire-building, forging alliances, reclaiming lands from the orcs, etc.

    Or you could be like the King of Dale and his men, and see how big you could get your empire.

    I doubt many people would enjoy playing that kind of story though. But it might be fun with the right party though. However, at that point, you might as well play wizards from Age of Wonders.

  • Freddy Duran

    I Actually found that game at a swap meet about a month ago, i would have got it but i think it was for xbox, and i don’t own one…i wanted to fight sauron =(

  • Brian Cole

    OMG THANK YOU!!! Thank you Spoony for finally saying what I’ve said all along about the eagles and Mordor. That’s not a plot hole at all, it makes perfect sense why that wouldn’t have worked. So thank you for standing up and telling everyone.

  • qlmaX5

    The problem I have with the Serenity RPG (this is coming from a guy who has played through three campaigns with it) is that it uses the Cortex system, which I HATE.

  • josh martyn

    when playing Lord Of the Rings the best thing to do is kill off Frodo and have the characters be Elven back up to complete the journey.

  • orzene

    Spoony..your Table-Top gaming rants are fucking Golden.. Loving it!

  • Randall Taylor

    I always hate the eagles being brought up, not just because of the idea but because its also delivered with the idea that Tolkien didn’t think of it & that they were the first people to think of this. Ever.

  • Michael Baker

    Now I really want Spoony to do a review or a recorded play of the Wheel of Time rpg. It must happen!

  • Vaughan MacDonald

    For those of you playing at home, The Silmarillion is the complete history of Middle Earth.

  • Elijah Anderson

    thank you spoony for finaly destroying the people who complained about the plot point in LOTR.

  • Esa Karjalainen

    I’m sure this has been mentioned but the Dresden Files RPG is actually pretty awesome. Well, unless you’re allergic to Fate RPG.

  • Adrien Rivoire

    a possibility for a Lord of the rings rpg is to take place during the war of the ring but alternate story. Also it takes place in the North with the dwarves, for a reason, they are losing on that front. so the party would have to help them win otherwise that would reinforce the armies of Sauron

  • Xandermorph

    I actually really like MERP… I’ve DMed with it many times and never once set it during the War of the Ring. OR , if it happened to be set during the same time, I set everything somewhere else outside of Middle-Earth. Or had the players leave Middle-Earth as soon as I could get them out.

    Fuck in one game I remember things got REALLY crazy – the players wind up persuading another nation-state on the eastern part of the continent to INVADE Middle-Earth around the same time as the Battle at Helm’s Deep. As I recall, the leader of the nation-state had learned via the players about the danger Sauron posed to his people and decided to intervene, but to do so on a particularly aggressive scale and the players got swept up in that. That campaign lasted nearly a year and turned out really awesome… and REALLY bizarre. I’ll make a video detailing that one :)

    If you read some of the supplements to MERP’s setting, you get to see the ENTIRE rest of the massive continent that Middle-Earth occupies about a 5th of, if that. The continent extends thousands of miles east of Rhun and south of Mordor. It’s not all that detailed, but the map has every major location named and has different environment types clearly delineated. I just learned what I could (which isn’t much, but it was enough to get me inspired) about the outside lands as described in the supplements I had access to at the time and simply pulled the rest out of my ass. And it usually ended up being really fun.

    So yeah, with some imagination you can parallel-universe the FUCK outta MERP :D

  • WolfCryer

    Yeah, that guy with all the oWOD books.. used to be married to that guy. That was really annoying sometimes and it even got him into a couple of unnecessary fighs with other DM’s..

  • igotbanned999

    Could you do an RPG of Dagor Dagorath? That would be FUCKING AWESOME!

  • wizzbang

    I’ll be honest… I’m with Spoony’s brother when it comes to the LotR films. But that might owe as much to my OCD as to my reverence for Tolkien.

  • Lyrander

    Now I’m really curious about that LotR game where you can recruit who you want. What game was that? It sounds awesome. Also, how can Serenity suck and Supernaturals rule? They’re the same system!

  • Sajeh

    All it needed to cure Noah Antwiler’s bipolar 2, was a danish farm dog looking dog and a girlfriend soulmate.

  • The Janitor

    Ah, yes. The Nazgul Felbeasts versus an entire *race* of Giant Eagles.

    • The Duke

      To my knowledge there aren’t that many Giant Eagles. At least in comparison to the Felbeasts.

      • The Janitor

        I don’t know if we can count the films or only the books, but we do see more than a dozen during the flight in The Hobbit. I don’t know if said amount of eagles were in the book.

        • The Duke

          Mhm, that’s true. Still, I would assume there are easily more Fellbeasts than Eagles. I mean, Sauron is just an eye so he probably spends about 99% of his time planning, as an evil lord would, and accounted for that very idea.

          The other 1% of time is spent picking which socks to wear when he is finally brought back.

        • Zefram Mann

          Yeah, but that’s The Hobbit. Less said about that whole trilogy the better.

  • kamrom dechu

    The only good time to cave is when you got the name wrong and nothing else. You meant the guy they said, but you just got mixed up on the name.

  • Stephen Bryce

    Re: The Eagles VS. The Fell Beasts

    As far as the movies are concerned, no it’s NOT a stupid complaint, and here’s why.

    1) The movies never bothered to explain the eagles AT ALL — including where they hell they came from, and why they only ever appear as a Deus Ex Machina. No other references, nothing. You can’t just drop something that grandiose into a movie without explaining how it works.

    2) While I admit this is probably an invention of the movie, the eagles DID take on the fell beasts AND WIN, during the final assault on Mordor. So where the movies are concerned, Spoony is completely incorrect.

    • Dirge

      Why did the Eagles win against the Fell Beasts during the final assault? SImple, their leader died during that huge war that went on just earlier. You know, the guy who got stabbed in the face? He was the strongest, their leader. He died, and thus they were weakened, since they’re all connected. Now, I am probably not one of the best people to try and explain it, but I know why the Fell Beasts lost. Its that simple, and I wont be bothered to try to explain further.

      • Matrim

        The fell beasts were ancient, but mortal creatures. They could be killed, Eowyn lopped off the Witch-king’s beast’s head before taking him on. If Eowyn could kill one, the Eagles could kill one, easily.

    • Charos

      “1) The movies never bothered to explain the eagles AT ALL”

      That’s true of a lot of the characters, hell, unless you’ve read the Silmarillion it would generally be completely unknown that Gandalf is an Ainur of the same “make and model” so to speak as Sauron or why Sauron was interested in making a bunch of rings and taking over middle earth in the first place beyond “he’s EVIL bwahahahaha!”. I enjoyed the movies and all, but they definitely left out huge chunks…but then so do the books, so you’d have to check out the Silmarillion to know where they all came from. It clarifies a lot as to why the Eagle’s won’t just do the work for the people.

    • Rakkrakk

      His complaint was that the ring was a beacon of light to Sauron, and the Witchking of Angmar undoubtedly would’ve been too powerful for the eagles. He broke Gandalf’s staff, for f*ck’s sake.

      • Matrim

        The thing is, you don’t have to actually attack the Nazgul to beat them, as evidenced by the “battle” at the Ford of Bruinen where the Nazgul’s mounts (including that of the Witch-king) were killed and they had to walk their asses back to Mordor. If you killed the fell beast he’s riding on, there’s not much the Witch-king can do about it.

        • Rakkrakk

          So? The Fellbeasts can just as well kill the eagles and let the ringbearer plummet to death and then the Nazgul can pick up the scraps because as eldritch abominations they can survive a fall like that. Don’t use an arguement that works both ways. xD

          • Matrim

            True, except that there are only nine confirmed fellbeasts and a whole host of eagles. And, besides, if frigging Eowyn (who while badass is still just a normal human) can kill a fellbeast with a single blow, I don’t think the eagles would have much trouble.

          • Rakkrakk

            In terms of the movies there are only two or three. xD

  • Stephen Bryce

    It would have been nice if the movie had taken a minute to establish that.

  • CrotaroLP

    Awesome, simply awesome episode(s)!
    Aaand, for some reason, dunno why, I got a big wide grin on my face when you went that super excited in the first minute. I mean I love to see/hear you rant about absolutely crappy stuff, but obviously I really enjoy seeing you in total excitement as well(maybe because a lot of your vids look like the game/movie/whatever really tortured you, and talking about some really awesome stuff gets you back some sanity or something?)^^

  • Dirge

    This was due to the loss of the leader, the one who died in the battle previous to the final assault. It’s been a while since I watched it, so I apologize for not giving any names, but I hope that was enough to get my point across. Hope it helps.

    • Otto Torrens

      Even then idk

    • Matrim

      Not really

  • Rakkrakk

    From my memories of LotR: Third Age(Yes, I actually played it. With a friend so it turned into a fun riff instead): You fight the Balrog alongside Gandalf. An Gandalf is the only one who does a recognizable amount of damage, the rest just turtles up and heals themselves and Gandalf.

  • Koala

    Even if the Eagles could win, Giant Eagles fighting big winged beasts outside of Sauron’s tower thing might, and i stress “might” just draw his attention. I’m pretty sure it was established in the movies that if Sauron notices the ring bearer close by you’re gonna have a bad time.

    • Matrim

      That’s why you do pretty much exactly what they did in the story, only sooner. You take a big fuck-off army to the Gates of Mordor and start a big row, meanwhile the Eagles head in while everyone is paying attention to the Gate. By the time Sauron sees them, it’ll be too late.

  • jcalveras

    Do you want drama ? Play the First Age, Dagor Bragolath, when Fingolfin, king of Gondolin fell at the feet of Morgoth himself. :))))

  • Matrim

    I feel Miles’s rage, but I really didn’t freak out until they fucked up most of my favorite scenes in Return of the King. Seriously, the Denathor death scene was a crime…as was the scene at the Crack of Doom.

  • Billy Olsson

    In my group of friends we have a saying.
    Rule number 1: The DM is always right.
    Rule number 2: If the DM is wrong, see rule 1

  • John Calderini

    I’m playing LOTRO as I’m watching this… didn’t even know it was going to come up…

  • Brett

    I received The Third Age on GBA as a christmas gift that year it came out. It’s actually a completely different game from what you describe of its console brethren, Spoony. The GBA version is actually a fairly decent turn-based strategy RPG where you can play as the good guys or the bad guys. As the light side, you can choose 1-3 (depending on the mission) members of the fellowship (and some of their allies) to control in battle, each of whom have their different stats, and in any given mission there are also nameless minion characters (as appropriate as possible to the setting, so you’d have elves helping you in Rivendell or Rohan soldiers in the Rohirrim Plain) that you can order around just for cannon fodder’s sake.

    It also strays quite a bit from what happens in the movies. For example, rather than fight the nazgul at Weathertop, there’s actually some thing where Aragorn rallies a group of villagers to fend them off when they come searching for you at Bree. Instead of fighting inside Moria or even at the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, the game skips the scenes inside the mountain and gives you a battle takes place outside, after Gandalf and the Balrog have fallen into the abyss, with your characters essentially trying to survive an onslaught of goblins and a cave troll. I guess the development team forgot about the fight at Balin’s Tomb from the movie? Couldn’t figure out how to render the Balrog in a really cool way or have him at that sweet spot of difficult-but-not-so-difficult-you-can’t-get-away?

  • fireball3477

    I love the Wheel of Time books, despite the big flaw that Jordan just dragged the whole series for too long. I’d recommend the following: Read the first 5 or 6 books, just brush through the middle ones (there should be enough good summaries out there), then maybe continue at the last chapter of book 9 when things finally move on. And I think Sanderson did a good job with the final books when Jordan passed away after vol. 11.

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