Jun 272012


 In the smokey back room of the Bird and Baby, affectionatelly called “The Rabbit Room”, the LOTRO Questers came together again. What was a expected to be a small company of maybe a dozen or so free folk soon grew into a great company of heroes and by the time we embarked on our journey, had gathered nearly thirty hearty travelers!

Before we set out upon our travels to the northern remnants of the fallen Kingdom of Arnor, we took a moment to discuss the Rabbit Room’s famous residents, both in and out of game. C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield and Charles Williams each had their names rearranged and their likenesses  transported to middle earth and if you look closely among the gathered adventurers, you can see Jack Lewisdown, Owen Farfield and Carlo Williams. In spite of our interruption, they continued their discussions of absent friends and lost texts.

We left them to their scholarly discussions and set forth from the Rabbit Room, bound for the ruins of Tinnudir! Along the way we discussed the beauty and depth of the Professor’s Secondary World – both in literature and in the digital world. Discussions lead to talk of events great and terrible that would come to pass in the history of Middle-earth and as we passed Ted Sandyman, we admonished him for even sins he had not yet committed – some more forcefully than others…

That’s not to say we spoke of nothing by treachery and villainy on our quest! Far from it! We spoke of great heroes of the past, particularly none other than the name sake of Bandoras Fortunefoot, the Bullroarer – Bandobras Took! This great hero of the Shire is most known for inventing the sport of golf when he slew the goblin Golfimbul by striking his head from his shoulders with a great club. The head landed a great many yards away, in a rabbit hole. Thus the shirefolk gave Middle-earth the game of golf!

 But enough about heroes of the past! There are countless heroes here in the waning days of the Third Age! Our great company was lead by myself, Bandoras Fortunefoot – but I was certainly out shined by the valiant spirit of those who traveled at my side. Accompanying me on this great LOTRO Quest were Locney Esgal, Imperius, Nevanna, Beornara, Lurelias, Narimbor, Anagg, Beatwyn, Ngairiel, Gerakthir, Barosa, Gennyrose, Neiahel, Craicwyn, Knostril, Juneith, Daeglo, Diamond,Welken, Alebart, Muiran, Fisli, Larkfeather, and even the famous Goldenstar! Still as brave a company as we were, we were all humbled when we came to the tiny hobbit outpost of Dwaling. For you see, there dwell the Ronald Dwale, known in this world as John Ronald Reuel Tolkien! The Professor himself! We basked long in his wisdom and quite company, gathering to hear whispers and pieces of the histories of middle-earth or snippets of unfinished tales. He even offered to share a pull of Old Toby with us – a great honor indeed!

But our journey was not without perils for even the well-traveled roads of Middle-earth are not safe! Indeed, in spite of our valiant efforts some fell before the forces of Shadow along the road – but the great hero Imperius would leave no man (nor dwarf, nor elf, nor hobbit) behind! Going alone into the Wild with the courage of a Ranger he set to rescue our lost companions and bring them back into the folds of the company! His steadfast steps took him as far as Evendim, where he was able to rescue our fallen comrades and (though a bit late), rejoin the company!

Imperius, Hero of the Lost

Finally, we made our way to the shores of Tinnudir, ruined outpost of the once magnificent Kingdom of Arnor. We paused at its shores to look upon the ruined capital of Arnor, Annuminas. We celebrated our journey with fireworks and dancing, but a great fire stirred in our hearts. We looked upon Elendil’s city and the flames of injustice became kindled inside us. Suddenly celebration turned to valour and we sprang into the waters – charging the very harbors of the ruined capital! Indeed, our reckless heroics paid off as we stormed the shores of Annuminas, bringing low the servants of Shadow who fouled this once glorious metropolis with their presence!

After carving a path of justice with blades and bravery, we came to rest at a great relic of the past, the Tomb of Elendil the Tall, Bearer of Narsil. Humbled by the mere shadow of this great king of ages that had slipped into legend, we paused to reflect, relax and enjoy the fruits of yet another successful LoTRO Quest!

Join us next time, for laughter and lore, fellowship and tom-foolery! Join us and see where the road sweeps us of to! From the peaks of Amon Sul to the Foundations of Stone, there’s no telling where the next LoTRO Quest will take us and the only way to find out is to join us! Click the link below to listen to our epic travels, or download it for later enjoyment.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Jun 202012

Announcing LOTRO Quest – Episode #02 

From Tolkien to Tinnudir

LOTRO Quest is back for another epic adventure! We’ve been to Rivendell and followed Frodo to the Prancing Pony, and now we’re off on another majestic journey! This time, we’ll be setting off from the Rabbit Room inside the Bird and Baby in Michel Delving along side the Inklings themselves! We’ll be travelling down long-trodden roads, into the pages of the past and even into the presence of the of the Sub-Creator himself!

After a quick drink at the bar, we’ll set out to the reminant of the Kingdom of the North, to the very borders of its capital. The ruins of Tinnudir that look upon the Shores of Annuminas and the Tomb of Elendil will be our final destination, but not before a stop in Dwaling to see the Professor himself, known as Ronald Dwale in-game!

Be sure to come along on Thursday, June 21st at 8pm, Eastern Standard Time in Lord of the Rings Online on the Landroval Server! We’ll be meeting inside the Bird & Baby, in the Rabbit Room! Epic adventure and fine fellowship abounds! It’ll be a night to remember!

Jun 162012

Our quest for lore in the lands of Middle-earth is gaining in popularity and as such, we’re turning it into a regular and live broadcasted and podcasted show! With that in mind, we would like all adventurers to keep a few things in mind to ensure our listening audience receives a fun and fact filled show.

  • All are welcome to join us, in fact the more the merrier and the richer our conversations will be. If you don’t have a microphone, no worries, you can still join us in the Rabbit Room on Teamspeak and use the text chat window as many of us do.
  • Please keep all comments “G-rated” and family-friendly as this is being broadcast live and will be available for download via podcast. If you must curse at an orc, please make sure your mic is turned off.
  • If you will be making live comments, you MUST use a headset and microphone. Please do not play sound output through your computer speakers as it causes feedback if other adventurers are talking at the same time and makes it very difficult for us and our listeners to hear each other.
  • Teamspeak has a push-to-talk option for your microphone and it is strongly recommended you use this setting rather than voice activated. Background noise is often pulled in when voice activation is on and to ensure the game sound effects, music and most importantly the people talking can be heard, we recommend everyone use push-to-talk as their microphone setting.
  • Finally, quality of our broadcast is important. If you’re a quiet talker, please speak up so you can be heard by all the non-Hobbit ears in the audience. Also, there are many knowledgeable folks that join our quests but please try not to dominate the conversation, allow others to speak or ask questions as the more we can get everyone involved the better!

We look forward to seeing you on our next LOTRO Quest!

Jun 142012


From the steps of Bag End to the Inn of the Prancing Pony, the first official LOTRO Quest set out! A great company of heroes set forth from the steps of 2 Bag Shot Row to follow the steps of Frodo Baggins as he took his first steps towards Mount Doom. The company was composed of Bandoras, Galenhir, Narimbor, Rifflo, Juneith, Merrydew, Andang, Gyrefalcon, Cheeshire, Knostril, Galspi, Geraldthir, Pherhael, and the birthday girl, Arwenkester!

The Company Departs!

Here we are, standing on the terrace of Bag End, overlooking the beloved Party Tree. After discussing the sad fate and glorious rebirth of the Party Tree, we made our way across the hills between Bag End and Rushock Bog, before passing through Tookland and onto a tiny, rarely used road. The sun faded slowly into the west as we came upon one of Frodo’s campsites, and we paused to examine the remaining twigs and embers.

At an abandoned campsite

We finally took our first rest at Gildor’s Abandoned Elf Camp where the original company of Hobbits took refuge from the terrible Black Riders with the aid of the elvish travelers. We turned our eyes to to the stars, letting our gaze rest upon the famous constelation Melemacar, known in the common tongue of Westron as the Swordsman of the Sky!

Menelmacar over Gildor’s Camp

Our next stop took us to Bamfurlong, the farm of the feared Farmer Maggot! We didn’t stay long, because of the fierce nature of Grip, Wolf and Fang – the Old Maggot’s dogs. He was glad to see us go, and in this reporter’s opinion he wasn’t satisfied until we were far away, at the docks of Buckleberry Ferry. Unfortunately, the ferry itself was out of order and the company was forced to swim the chilly waters of the Brandywine River.  It wasn’t so bad, though. We were welcomed into Buckland and took our next rest at the broken home of the transplanted Mr. Baggins, Crickhollow. Fredegar Bolger greeted us at the door, still fretting over the door that had been destroyed by the passage of a dark servant of Sauron.

On the Docks of Buckleberry Ferry

Fatty’s Broken Door

Even the frightened reception of Fredegar Bolger was quite nice when compared to the misty chill of the Old Forest. The oppressive maze of woodlands sent a chill down the company’s collective spine, save two points of refuge. We soon slipped past Old Man Willow and came to the house of Tom Bombadil, where we spent a long part of the evening discussing the elusive nature of old Tom, and even paid a visit to his River-Daughter wife, Goldberry. Her falls were a new discovery to Bandoras, and he found the music of water breaking on rock to be quite nice.


Fair River’s Daughter

With the blessings of Bombadil, we took our first reluctant steps into the Barrow Downs, ancient grave yard of the Cardalon. Following in Frodo, Samwise, Pippin and Merry, we were even reckless enough to lay down and rest at the base of the Dead Spire. Fortunately, we were not stolen away in our slumber by Barrow Wights. The company broke our fitful, brief slumber and eagerly left the rolling graves behind. After passing the corpse of an unfortunate traveler we came onto the stones of the Great Road and crossed the Greenway. We paused at the gates of Bree to mock and insult Harry Goatleaf. He waved us away with a spit and a curse.

Not the best of ideas…

But the sights and sounds of the Free-People kept our hearts light! We came to the door of the Inn of the Prancing Pony. There among cheerful company and fine song, we convinced Narimbor to partake of some Blind Troll Stout and closed our successful LOTRO Quest with wishes of a Happy Birthday to our beloved founder Arwen Kester and her appropriately named character, Arwenkester!

A Cheerful Celebration!

This grand adventure was recorded and broadcast live on Middle-earth Radio, and is available for download or streaming using the player below. With our first official LOTRO Quest now in the past, we must look to new horizons! If you’d like to join us for the next one, keep an eye on Middle-earth News for an announcement of next event! In the mean time, let us know in the comments below what ancient places of Middle-earth you’d like us to explore, both in game and in lore, because in LOTRO Quest we’re exploring the both the digital world and the beloved words of Middle-earth!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


May 262012

Thursday, May 17th, starting at 9:30 P.M. EST, a great fellowship of Free-Folk and Middle-earth Network Founders will be meeting for the first official installment of LOTRO Quest! Join us at the front door of Bag End as we follow the Fellowship as they set out on their epic journey. We’ll be making our way across the Shire and into the Old Forest as walk in the footsteps of Frodo and his company of loyal friends as depicted in Fellowship of the Ring. Along the way we’ll visit abandoned elvish camps, Old Man Willow and Tom Bombadil’s House. At journey’s end, we’ll move over the Greenway Crossing and make our final stop at the Prancing Pony where we can celebrate our journey with a pint of Barilman’s Best!

See the journey of Frodo, Samwise, Merry and Pippin through the eyes of Lord of the Rings Online! Join us and become part of the company on Thrusday, May 17th at 9:30 P.M. EST in Lord of the Rings Online, on the Landroval server! Middle-earth News reporter Bandoras will be leading the merry expedition along with a company of valiant heroes, so don’t miss it!

May 262012

So, those of you who are regular listeners to our wonderful The Founder’s Inkling podcast know that the beloved news leader Arwen Kester has a less than spectacular computer upon which she attempts to play LOTRO. Her frame rate skips and she has difficulty accomplishing even the most basic of quests. This has lead to endless frustration on her part, and endless teasing on the part of the other Network staff who play LOTRO. The one thing in all her time gaming that Arwen has desired is to see the fair valley of Imladris – Rivendell.

So, how do we solve this problem? With a quest!

I, Bandoras, opened my big mouth and brought up the idea of an in-game LOTRO meet and greet for Founders and Network members. This tiny, simple, idea turned into an epic adventure! First, we all gathered at the Bird and Baby where we spent quite a bit of time admiring each other’s steeds and simply enjoy the fellowship of our fellow gamers, all while shooting the breeze on our Teamspeak server. But such a simple fair was not to be limited to those who were present only in game and in Teamspeak. Middle-earth Radio Station Director Michael Kaiser had a moment of sheer brilliance and decided to broadcast the Teamspeak discussions live over the airwaves of Middle-earth Radio! That’s when the adventure truly began!

At the Bird and Baby

After a bit of persuasion, we convinced Arwen that we could, in fact, provide her with ample protection for a trek from the Bird and Baby in the Shire all the way to Rivendell itself! She protested, but John DiBartolo (sword in hand), charged eastward and we all were swept in his wake. Merriment and fun was had by all along the road, and we even stopped to see one of the famous Shire rainbows!

Shire Rainbow!

But, as we traveled, so too did our fellowship grow! You, dear Network members and listeners, heard our epic quest broadcast across the airwaves and flocked to our aid! Person after person joined our fellowship on all fronts! Whether in game, in Teamspeak, or even in the Radio chatroom, you showed your mettle and walked with us down East-West Road!

Sixteen Amongst the Company

Along the way, we stood guard over the fragile Ms. Kester, pausing to slay orcs, crebain and even trolls that blocked our path! As we crossed the Last Bridge seperating the Lone Lands from the Trollshaws, a brilliant (if reckless) idea fell upon the company! Taking a large, wolf-laden detour, we paid a visit to Bilbo’s Trolls – still cast in stone to this day!

Trolls surround us!

But our celebration of history did not dissuade our quest. Soon, we were off again and after a few encounters with some of the darker denizens of the Trollshaws, we came to the Ford of Bruinen.  Pausing to admire the calm shores, we turned and made our way up the cresting hills and as the sun crept towards the horizon, we arrived at the Gates of Imladris and celebrated the company’s arrival in Rivendell with Arwen Kester’s character safely in tow.

Fireworks to Celebrate!

But, this night was about more than simply helping out a Founder. It was about fellowship. Fellowship of gamers. Fellowship of fantasy fans. Fellowship of friends. Without all the wonderful support of the listeners who came charging to our aid, this never would have been possible. Everyone here at the Network staff would like to take a chance to thank you, our beloved listeners and Network members, for showing such an amazing level of support for an event that was developed in a very brief time and presented with very short notice. You have truly showed the strength of the Free-People today.

Celebration at the Stables!

Given the extraordinary success and support of this event (dubbed by Mr. Kaiser “LOTRO Quest”), make sure you keep an eye out in the future for even more in-game Middle-earth Network events! Whether it’s music and dancing in the Shire, or exploring the hidden places of Eriador – there’s more adventure ahead for everyone!

Besides, we’ve still got to take the Arwen to Isengard, right? If you’d like Arwen’s account of this grand adventure, you can find great screen shots and a video of her expedition on her blog.

Arwen eating pie

If you’d like to listen to our wonderful adventure visit the LOTRO Quest Episode 00: Taking The Arwen To Rivendell post on Middle-earth News.

Thanks again, and be on the look out for more adventures in the future with LOTRO Quest!