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DM of the Rings LXVII:
A Sizeable Contribution

By Shamus
on Friday Feb 23, 2007
Filed under:
DM of the Rings


Looting Theodens armory.

Looting Theodens armory.

Comments (83)

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  1. Plaguespawn says:

    Well on the whole if i doesn’t move sell it bit my evil wizard and cleric characters always have a big bag o’ humanoid bits for evil spell components. Suffice it to say the other PCs tend not to be in such a hurry to loot enemies i get to first! Also the only cantrip i’ve ever had is preserve organ! Only major downside are the laundry bills:).

  2. Cynder says:

    Oh yeah, a “stoner” really pays attention…classic line from Legolas there.

    Loving that expression of Aragorn’s in the fifth panel. Really looks like he’s delved into a deep sense of concentration (for a change).

  3. Doug says:

    On the worth of Bilbo’s mail shirt: Firstly, the world supply of mithril had dried up long since. The best mines in the world were in Moria, now home to an immense number of orcs and the Balrog. That meant that what little “Moria-silver” there was left got forwarded to Sauron. Secondly, the shirt itself was of exceptional antique workmanship and hardly to be reproduced in the “present” times even if Gimli’s relations could have got hold of any mithril. It’s quite a commentary on Thorin that, even when ticked-off beyond words with Bilbo over the Arkenstone business, he didn’t demand the return of the mail-shirt. We have to assume that taking presents back just wasn’t excused in dwarves, no matter what the provocation.

  4. Morambar says:

    In general, civilization had been in decline and anarchy on the march since the fall of Numenor, yes, and it shows in all the wilderness areas of Middle-Earth. In a few generations Orcs would have been the ONLY life form because their fecundity made men look like Elves, and Elves (who according to the Professor bred seldom and only in the first centuries of marriage; the Seven Sons of Feanor were considered exceptional… ) practically sterile. That makes for interesting speculation in itself, whether the Eldar simply lost interest in breeding, all second generation Eldar were reincarnated fea of previous ones or new fea were born as parts of their parents. Not to mention the question of “if Eldar lose interest in children quickly, and Orcs are just Eldar perverted by Morgoth, why do Orcs breed like rabbits…?” So, yeah, outside of the few major settlements we’re looking at people subsistence farming while they wait for extinction, when they’re not huddling in their hidden holes while the Orcs bringing that distinction pillage their fields.

    Additionally, while it’s far less interesting and accessible to the 21st Century mind (and completely impractical for EPIC gaming… ) most “man on the street” commerce was conducted by barter until fairly recently. Your average 200 person hamlet doesn’t have the resources for a mint, or the need, and most of them will find a lot more value through utility in a young and productive milker than in a pretty but fairly useless pile of silver. They weren’t running around in suits of full chain or plate like we do in campaigns, and they weren’t running around with dozens of gold pieces in their purses; what currency they had was mostly the meager profits from bartering what they produced for what others produced to make a living, not amass a fortune. It’s quite plausible for a mailshirt worth 10X its weight in gold to equal the value of the Shire, or at least its asking price if one were named in coin.

    Which brings us to the one arena where there actually was often large amounts of hard currency: Nations and cities rather than towns. There were few true “cities” in the historical Middle Ages, but in Middle-Earth Men were just trying to survive, the great Dwarven cities of the First Age had been systematically looted and destroyed, and the Elves were in the last stages of full scale flight to Valinor. Thranduil and Dain might deal in currency and commerce, but on what scale remains to be seen. Even in Byzantium, arguably the richest, most powerful and longest enduring Medieval state, the currency was our seldom used “electrum” (which is essentially where D&D got it) because they didn’t have the stock to maintain solid gold currency against the constant threat of inflation, so they watered it down with a fixed and precisely determined quantity of silver, and made counterfeiting a capital crime.

    But unless you’re a hardcore history geek all that is a lot less interesting and entertaining than strapping on your Ethereal Plate, hefting your Holy Avenger and whomping that Black Dragon. “Just go with it, Sarge…. “

  5. Robin says:

    “if Eldar lose interest in children quickly, and Orcs are just Eldar perverted by Morgoth, why do Orcs breed like rabbits…?”

    A. Eldar lose interest after the first few centuries. Orcs don’t live for centuries.

    B. What, exactly, do you think “perverted” means”? Orcs are corrupted elves, with different motivations and focus.

    Secondly, the whole business of trying to deduce the economy of Middle-Earth from the lack of discussion about it in the books is nonsense. The books also don’t mention privies. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t use privies; it means that discussion of it was not important to the telling of the epic.

  6. Kasper says:

    My players once torched a village in which I’d described the racks of drying fish while trying to “fill out” the landscape. I then had to figure out a realistic price for 300 pounds of dried fish at the next market… Before they started burning that town too.

  7. Nice discussion on the economics of Middle Earth. I seriously enjoyed that one.

    And I’d just like to say that, in a cyberpunk setting, a single slab of dead human (or metahuman, in the case of Shadowrun) can sell for quite a lot of money. Any occultists would have to fight against the bodybrokers for the spoils.

    Hm. Which made me think twice about a cybered humanity. These days, you get mugged and even killed for your celfone. If you’re carrying several thousand dollars worth of cyberware in your cranium, what are the chances you’re going to live long in the streets?

  8. Amy says:

    I’m DMing a D&D game in Eberron. When my players killed a warforged (basically, a magic robot) with the Mithril Body feat, they took it apart and sold the mithril! Luckily, I wasn’t trying to run a really serious game anyway.

  9. Mike says:

    Yeah, this is pretty much how my party plays too

  10. ERROR says:

    Jeremy Bowers:

    Oh, console RPG’s…

    Have you visited http://project-apollo.net/text/rpg.html?

  11. Razorguy says:

    What I never understood was what the goblins eat in the first movie when adventurers can’t get into the mines…

  12. […] 1) I’ve somehow managed to fall onto the main storyline. While looking for a shop. I feel like Aragorn. […]

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One Trackback

  1. By Oblivion Oddities … « The Verbose Stoic on Tuesday Dec 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    […] 1) I’ve somehow managed to fall onto the main storyline. While looking for a shop. I feel like Aragorn. […]

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