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eternalsage
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Location: Bree

Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Fri 03 Sep 2021, 15:23

I feel you. I just require my players to have a really strong background story. So far my wife is the only one in our group to go that route. She and her husband (my npc) were already precocious hobbits in their tweens who fell in love with Bilbo's stories and decided to have an adventure the same way that rich old white people go on safari, as in not really understanding what they were doing, but thinking it sounded fun.

They are essentially a precursor to Merry and Pippin in that way, with Rosemarie being a Brandybuck 'Scholar' who wants to learn all the cooking recipes in the world and who was already having 'adventures' to Bree for that purpose. Bledic (a warden), on the other hand, is a more normal hobbit who has a position as a Bounder (thus already as close to an adventurer as normal hobbits get) who is excited by his wife's eccentricities and follows her out of both and awe of her bravery and a desire to protect her. He has slowly been developing an idea of a 'Bounder for everyone' as they adventure.

They are nearly done with Tales from the Wilderland, and have created a rather good place for themselves with the Beornings by just being courteous and always willing to help. Rosie is learning to keep bees during her Fellowship phases and they have founded a little farm near Beorn's place (their patron) and generally do hobbit things

Oh, and the 'safari leader' is a young dwarven merchant the two met in Bree who is traveling the world and trying to re-establish trade routes for Erebor. So, yeah. Any other hobbits in adventures or whatever I have been changing to humans.
“It is useless to meet revenge with revenge; it will heal nothing.” - Frodo Baggins, Return of the King
 
gull2112
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Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Sat 11 Sep 2021, 21:36

My Party does include an Elf, and they are starting in Hobbiton as guests of Bilbo. I will caution the players that, as big folk, they are looked upon with great suspicion in Hobbiton, and should keep to themselves traveling to and from Bilbo's Hole, with no casual gadding about whilst there.

In Bree, the Elf definitely wants to stay cloaked, as an elf in Bree is going to get noticed by the wrong sorts of folks. I'm sure the dwarf will get a kick out of this as many of the Elvish areas they will be going (Thranduil's House and Rivendell) won't be welcoming to dwarf kind. Far from being a problem, I think it adds a bit of depth and good story making to what otherwise might be a dull situation (Elves as mistrusted liabilities, as opposed to Awe inspiring wonders!).

Thanks for bringing this up! It is a great complication to add to an otherwise "safe" area. Even if at low level they probably aren't going to draw too much "Eye" attention, the party won't know that for a fact, and it immerses them into the world.
 
tedium34
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Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Thu 16 Sep 2021, 18:23

I had been wondering about this too. I do wonder if an elf would actually be comfortable in the inn in Bree - too claustrophobic, mannish and basically crass for them to be truly comfortable - Legolas was a little uncomfortable it seems even in Minas Tirith and he was not hanging out in bars. I might even give them some form of penalty when there. Gildor and the wandering companies do not seem to go there, or the Shire, openly, but maybe in the case of Bree they might visit very discretely. Though taller than most men, possibly they might have passed as a Dunadan at least if they kept their hoods up and did not draw attention to themselves. LoR says the men of Bree were more familiar with elves than most, but from the reaction of people in Rohan and Gondor to Legolas that is not saying a lot. There may have been people in Bree who had more knowledge of elves than others, perhaps even willing to aid them in being discrete. Tom Bombadil knew of Barliman Butterbur (though that does not mean he knew his father or grandfather), which meant he had met him or knew people who had (elves?) and trusted him enough to mention him to Tom. In TOR 1e the innkeeper of the time denies ever having met an elf; which may a) be true (but does not mean others in Bree knew more of elves); or b) he is lying or at least being discrete, because the elves would not trust anyone who told strangers much about them or their interactions with Bree. Barliman probably was a baby at most in 2965, but who knows what he might have done in his younger days, possibly visiting elves or Bombadil, or aiding them (or PC elves) in some way. If Barliman knew of Bombadil (rather than simply been known by him) his knowing elves, at least vaguely, would not be surprising in comparison.

Just as an aside I did notice again the reference in the Bree chapter of LoR about other hobbits, apart from those in Bree, living outside the Shire ("ome, doubtless, were little better than tramps ...."), who Shire hobbits knew enough about the existence of to consider "uncouth" (i.e. they lived in Eriador), and do think this could be quite an interesting area to explore and alternative background for a hobbit character.
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Thu 16 Sep 2021, 23:03

In TOR 1e the innkeeper of the time denies ever having met an elf; which may a) be true (but does not mean others in Bree knew more of elves); or b) he is lying or at least being discrete, because the elves would not trust anyone who told strangers much about them or their interactions with Bree.
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Or, c) the innkeeper has met one or more Elves but never realized it as they were disguised.
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tedium34
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Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Fri 17 Sep 2021, 11:55

Agreed - a) should really say it is something he believes to be true.
 
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Aiden Harrison
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Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Fri 17 Sep 2021, 14:49

I wonder if the Bree section of the finished book will have anything to say on the subject - suggestions or guidance on how to treat elves.
 
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HunterGreen
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Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Sat 18 Sep 2021, 13:46

I hope it will go back to the one relevant quote in the source material (which makes plain that by canon, Elves are known in Bree) and dispense with this entire bit of nonsense for once and for all. I don't understand why this keeps coming up. Well, in TOR I do because the Bree sourcebook repeated this mistake, though I see it in other places too -- LOTRO RP often falls into this trap and I can't figure out why.

he Men of Bree were brown-haired, broad, and rather short, cheerful and independent: they belonged to nobody but themselves; but they were more friendly and familiar with Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves, and other inhabitants of the world about them than was (or is) usual with Big People.
- Fellowship of the Ring, The Sign of the Prancing Pony

(I think this is the third time in this thread this quote has been brought up, and yet the question still is not 'settled'...)
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eternalsage
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Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Sat 18 Sep 2021, 14:55

The main reason it's not settled is that it really doesn't jive with the rest of the source material in that Elves don't just hang around other cultures. They (and all the cultures of Middle-earth, really) are rather xenophobic compared to what we are used to in other fantasy. That said, its 'for reasons' and those largely make sense (prowling enemies and lack of strong kingdoms to keep them at bay, mostly) within the world. Not hating on it. The quote in question doesn't mean with that nor with the disdain for the Rangers, or with the elves predilections. I can't imagine Elrond in Bree. The way they are described and the way Legolas acts makes it pretty plain that they don't travel much and when they do they like to rough it.

Now, I also don't see any reason this needs to be a settled issue. Just like elf ears, balrog wings, and the success of the blue wizards, there are debates that have existed since the 60s and I don't see why this couldn't be another, because there is textual and contextual evidence on both sides.

That said, it doesn't need to be settled. Run your game the way you see fit.
“It is useless to meet revenge with revenge; it will heal nothing.” - Frodo Baggins, Return of the King
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Sat 18 Sep 2021, 16:19

The main reason it's not settled is that it really doesn't jive with the rest of the source material in that Elves don't just hang around other cultures. They (and all the cultures of Middle-earth, really) are rather xenophobic compared to what we are used to in other fantasy. That said, its 'for reasons' and those largely make sense (prowling enemies and lack of strong kingdoms to keep them at bay, mostly) within the world. Not hating on it. The quote in question doesn't mean with that nor with the disdain for the Rangers, or with the elves predilections. I can't imagine Elrond in Bree. The way they are described and the way Legolas acts makes it pretty plain that they don't travel much and when they do they like to rough it.
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Well, that depends a bit on which type of Elf we're talking about. It's not uncommon for the High Elves to form wandering companies that travel about for the pleasure of it, walking under the stars. The Sindar might be prone to forming similar wandering groups, though I'm not sure about that. The Elves of Mirkwood seem to seldom leave the Woodland Realm except for reasons of trade and security. The Elves of Lorien for the most part don't leave their own realm at all, the exceptions are those few who act as agents for Galadriel and Celeborn.
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Alfgar
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Re: Keeping Elves out of Bree

Sat 18 Sep 2021, 16:34

The Wandering Companies were composed of Lindon Elves and Rivendell Elves. Lindon Elves were known to visit the Shire in Spring and Autumn. Rivendell Elves (such as Gildor's company) were known to cross through the Shire to visit the Tower Hills. Gildor, before he was told of the Nazgul, had no issues talking to the four hobbits so I do not see them as being completely xenophobic. The Elves also had dealings with Bombadil as well. That some of these Elves might have ventured into Bree is not improbable even if we did not have the quote stating that they did.

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