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dadeennbsv

Mr Underhill: A game about hobbits

RPG system: LARP
Participants: 16 players, Female characters: 5, Male characters: 5, Characters that are not strictly defined as male or female: 6

By

✏️Vadim Ingwall Baranovsky
✏️Oleg Roderick
OrganizerOleg Roderick (GM, Summer Larpin' 2022)

Description

It is rumored that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have taken a fairy wife. Did he now? How does that even work? Why would he do a thing like that when there are plenty of eligible rosy-cheeked hobbit girls whose fathers have a share in a very attractive hillside construction business.

More importantly, is it true that his cousin twice removed, no, the other one, I mean her older step-sister, once said over breakfast that her brother, and he said... Where was I?

"Mister Underhill" is set in the days of very early hobbit history, when myths, legends and silly songs were literally true. The game is set in Tolkien's Middle Earth, but chosen time period allows us to treat exact chronology of events casually, invent parts of history, and welcome participation regardless of player familiarity with the books. Academic knowledge of Tolkien's work is not required!

Human lands of Arnor are in decline, fall of Arthedain did not happen yet.

Thirty-three years ago brothers Marcho and Blanko crossed Baranduin. Children born to a new settlement are considered adult this year. This year's harvest of pumpkins was particularly good. Dark shadow of Angmar looms. This barrel of salted fish comes all the way from Gladden river, I swear by my grandmother, precious. There are rumors of a dragon.

Three of the most influential families of the Shire take counsel to decide who will settle disputes and lead them in war. They agree to resolve it sensibly: whoever lays out the most generous table of food should rule.

Impartial dignitaries from Men, Dwarves and Elves are invited to judge. Wait. Are Elves real?

It is rumored that long ago one of the Took ancestors must have taken a fairy wife. Did he now? How does that even work? Why would he do a thing like that when there are plenty of eligible rosy-cheeked hobbit girls whose fathers have a share in a very attractive hillside construction business.

More importantly, is it true that his cousin twice removed, no, the other one, I mean her older step-sister, once said over breakfast that her brother, and he said… Where was I?

“Mister Underhill” is set in the days of very early hobbit history, when myths, legends and silly songs were literally true. (This will allow us to treat exact chronology of events casually, invent parts of history, and welcome participation regardless of player familiarity with the books.)

Ok, the basics.

There is a sea to the West, and lands unknown to the far East. There is a great mountain range across the map, several large rivers, but no lakes that you need to worry about. The Good Human Kingdom, a remnant of the Fallen Great Human Kingdom, is the most important place in the world, except that elves and dwarves do not agree. The aforementioned Human Kingdom is currently broken into two parts. Gondor and Arthedain. Gondor in the south is more imperial. It keeps Mordor, lands of the former Big Bad, in check and under observation. The Big Bad (Sauron) has been defeated centuries ago, but banished rather than destroyed – hemight return.

Arthedain in the north-west is more chivalrous. It just fought and won the war against a northern bad kingdom of Angmar, whose witch-king may or may not be Sauron’s chief captain. He is the current Big Bad. Lands between Arthedain and Gondor are in various states of desolation, trouble, sorcery, adventure, trade, and “we don’t know who lives here, but they are not nice”. Elf-forests and underground cities of dwarves are present here and there. Uncivilized men, goblins, orcs, trolls, wargs (big bad wolves) live where they want to, they are evil and dangerous. Bears and Eagles are good and dangerous. Then there are things with no proper names, and they are dangerous as well.

Through that landscape, tribes of hobbits wandered for many years, in search for a place where they could mind their own business, not be eaten by things that go bump in the night, and not hunted by elves who might mistake them for a new type of orc. Finally, they were allowed to settle across the river, in little-used forest/hill country in the west of Arthedain, technically as vassals of the human king, but in practice almost immediately forgotten by the world and, on the average, keen to forget it as well.

This was about thirty years ago.

Children born in the first years of settlement are just about now coming of age. Most of them have never seen anything but peace, good tilled earth, and simple things built to last. They don’t know why their refugee parents insist on seven meals a day, but they are generally supportive of the idea. Seven meals a day agree with hobbit physique.

This is when and where our story begins. In this one hobbit village, the Elders of three most important families get together to decide on settlement administration. Whichever family can feed, entertain and receive guests best, will appoint one of their own to decide on matters of land use, legal disagreement, trade and war. Such as they are for a hobbit.

Played at

Intercon U (2022)
Summer Larpin' (2022)


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