From the Mouth of Sauron

Date:  02-15-95
Issue:  E-27

Note:  all authors retain exclusive rights to their
material.  Reprinting is allowed for non-commercial
game use only.

The Mouth is edited by Brian Mason and Tom Walton.  All
correspondence can be sent to them at:

Brian Mason    -
Tom Walton     -,

First Word

Once again we're back in full production.  Considering all of
those subscription requests we received over the last few
months, it seems that we stepped up to the plate none to soon.

As usual, we beg/borrow/plead for submissions.  We'll print
darn near anything; our standards are essentially non-
existent.  All we ask is that you refrain from initiating
flame wars or insulting people by name.  And that your
submission is somehow remotely connected to ME-PBM or Tolkien. 
If you ever wanted to be read by thousands (okay, hundreds,
but we're getting there) this is just about the easiest way to
do it - other than posting to, of course.

While your kindly editors will go to great lengths to fill
dead space, we have to admit that we'd rather you did the hard
work.  We've suffered through enough dry issues, frantically
whipping out articles at the last minute to fill the pages, to
last us a lifetime.

For those of you who unexpectedly got this in your in-basket
and are no longer playing in Middle-Earth, drop Brian or
myself a line (depending on who sent it to you) and we'll take
you off the list.  Otherwise, you'll just keeping getting the
mag whether you like it or not.

And for those of you who don't know, we aren't collating data
for the 2950 game until issue 35 or so.  Trying to preserve
the mystery, and all that.  We will print articles on the
game, as well as descriptions of battles/encounters/etc., so
don't hold back in this regard.  But as for the particular
powers of artifacts, nation setups, and so forth, you won't
see that in the Mouth or our data files for some time yet.

May you stomp your enemies but good,


News from the Net
Due to the tireless efforts of Brian Mason

I recently ran into the following encounter (without
issueing an  investigate order) when I moved onto an
artifact I located:

 --- had just bedded down for a good night's rest when his
eyes were  arrested by a soft glow emanating from over the
next hill.  Deciding that he had better discover the source
of this glow, he picked up his belongings and made his way
cautiously over the rise.  As he drew closer, he noticed
that the glow seemed to be coming from a small cave set back
into the hill.  He entered the cave ready for anything but
halted in amazement when he entered the central chamber. 
Inside was a large dark mirror with constantly shifting
images of people, places, and ancient artifacts.  It was
from the mirror that the glow was emanating.  Across the
mirror stood a skeleton of a giant humanoid decked out in an
assortment of intricately carved armor and holding a giant
sword in readiness.  Finally, between the mirror and the
skeleton was a stout door set into the wall fastened with a
stout metal lock formed by an ancient craft.  Should you

 Touch the mirror and call out a name ______ (Character ID)
 Touch the mirror and call out a place ______ (Hex #)
 Touch the mirror and call out an artifact ______ (Artifact #)
 DESTROY the mirror
 Try to OPEN the lock on the door
 ATTACK the skeleton
 STEAL the armor and weapons from the skeleton

Does anybody have any experience with this encounter?  Since
I came looking for an artifact I feel calling out the
artifact name may be the correct response (of course this
could simply do another locate for me).  Does this
description appear in any of Tolkeins works or in any ICE
products?  Any help will be apprreciated.  BTW, the
character is probably strong enough to deal with a skeleton

Dave Wenger  writes:
In Middle Earth (1650), what are the different taxation
levels that will cause morale to increase, decrease or stay
the same each turn?  When actually making the change, how
much of a change is felt in pop center morale for what size
jumps up or down?
Chelsea Wood  writes:

As far as I can tell, 1-40 tax rate increases loyalty by 1-2
points, 40-60 plus or minus 1 point per turn, minus 1-2
points for a tax rate from 61-100. WHen you change the tax
rate, the loyalty can decrease by difference up to the
maximum - if you raised it from 40 to 60, the loyalty range
is minus 1-20 points for each pop center.

Eric Schnurr  writes:

As I understand it, here's the breakdown on tax rate vs

Tax Rate   Loyalty
  1-19%    +2 to +4 pts
 20-39%    +0 to +2 pts
 40-60%    -1 to +1 pts
 61-80%    -2 to +0 pts
 81-100%   -4 to -2 pts

     Before the inland sea that now is there
        There stood a place high in the air
          and atop this northernly spire
            the smithy's work vent forth its fire
     It is said that Cuivienen in the Northeast of the world
was the gulf of the inland sea of Helkar, that was made when
Morgoth overthrew the lamps of the Valar. Since we are talking 
about the north, the good one is Illuin. 

A Noldor of the first
A fate uncertain had this Elf-Lord
One son trotured by blade and thirst
One confined in darkest pit by evil horde.

How about Finarfin. His son Finrod was imprisoned by Sauron
at Tol-in-Gaurhoth.

Of them they were one of the three
Larger and heavier than either of the other two.
A great hairy move was made in the third but many did not agree.
And back some went and were gladdened by the dew.

I believe the correct answer is "Stoors".  They were one of
the three strains of Hobbits and were typically broader and
heavier than the Fallohides or Harfoots.  In the third age,
all three strains of hobbits emigrated westward from the
Vales of the Anduin to the Dunland area, but some of the
Stoors returned eastward and settled by the Gladden Fields. 
Gollum, in fact, was one of these Stoors much corrupted by
the One Ring.  Good Luck 

I had the riddle,

On both sides of a celebrant
  With tall warders from ages old
    It leaves the wonder of silver and gold
      To those who would be so foolish and bold.

The answer is "Lothlorien".

The Rogues Gallery

(Editor's Note:  this was originally started for game 2950-
22, but now that we're at full readership anyone can submit
a listing of their exploits and accomplishments if they so

From Shawn Glass

I guess it's time I should mention a few of my exploits for
the pages of the Mouth. I first played the Noldo in game 9
of the 1650 scenario.  Very little communication passed
between players in this game, yet I held my own to the very
end.  However, down to three DS against 3 FP, they
concentrated on the Sinda, knocking them senseless (the LR,
CL and Dark Lieutenants remained).  The Dwarves fell next,
and soon countless agents showed up at Imladris and my
capital, putting an end to Elrond's rule.  Still, I placed
third, the first time the losing side placed in the top
three.  I played the Noldo a second time in a game that
lasted forever but went nowhere.  The Duns back-stabbed me
and quickly the elves grew tired of ME and sailed to
Valinor. Currently I am in eight games (not something I am
very proud of)! I became enthralled by the game, and in
three separate games I thought the end was near, so I joined
another.  Unexpectedly, I scraped by and am even in the top
three as the Dragon Lord.  Here are the games I am currently
involved in:

   115 Dragon Lord, playing side by side with Tom and Chris
(who have been reborn as the Noldo and dwarves in this
game).  This long game should be coming to a close soon, as
the Noldo are the last resistance left to face.
   125 Northern Gondor.  This has been a very trying game
(The Contest of Champions).  Holding strong for the first 20
turns, a sudden Harad and QA invasion nearly wiped me out. 
DS armies cover my map, but the Free will fight to the very
end.  Ron, so you play the Witch King...
   141 Dark Lieutenants.  This strange game had all the
Neutrals turn free except for the Easterlings.  Luckily I
moved quickly into NG and claimed Aglarond, Calmirie, and
surrounding pop centers.  I've eliminated the Duns, while
the WK amazingly defeated Rhudaur.  Mirkwood is ours, but
the Corsair/Harad union has been making life difficult for
   148 Blind Sorcerer.  I've managed to take this secure
position to first place.  A very skilled Dunland player
still opposes me in Mirkwood, as my talented
agent/curses/emissary squad claims the rebellious Corsair
territory as my own.
   151 Corsairs.  Not much to talk about.  A rather boring
game that has been dragging on one turn to long.  Brian L.,
what DS are left anyway?
   175 Southern Gondor.  A very exciting team game that has
the current Rohan players playing on the DS side.  The
cooperation has been fantastic, and each turn is full of
   7 (2950) Dark Lieutenants.  I've noticed bankruptcy is
more of a threat than any invading neighbors in this game,
and dragon encounters have the ability to cause fear again.
   22 (2950) Saruman the White.  Has anybody heard tale of a

Eomer's Saga
From Dave and Rochelle

(Editor's Note:  this is something of a continuation of a
piece I did in issue 26.  If you're new to the Mouth - and
it seems a significant portion of you are - you might want
to track down that issue to get some background on what went
before.  Tom)

Eomer hunched lower over his horse's lathered neck,
desperately trying to urge the tired beast on just a few
furlongs farther.  The winter wind tore at his face, now
haggard and hollow-eyed from riding all night.

"Almost home," he thought to himself. Or said to himself. 
He wasn't sure anymore. The last few miles had become a
grey-tinged blur of exhaustion that wrapped his brain in
gauze and burned every muscle. "Got to reach Helm's Deep. 
Safe there." Soon  

The memories of his nightmarish escape from the sybaritic
sylphs that Elrond called "cheerleaders" flashed in his
head.  "Never trust elves again," he mumbled through lips
blue with cold. "Rather hug a  balrog."

At last, off to his left, Isengard appeared over the trees,
standing watch over the pass.  Eomer scarcely saw it.  His
world had narrowed to a tunnel through which he galloped,
oblivious to his surroundings. The tunnel had become so
small, so dark, he scarcely noticed the old man in time.

Hauling on the reins he brought the horse to a skidding halt
just before the white-robed figure standing on the trail. 
Eomer swayed in the saddle, squinting his eyes, trying to
focus on the man who hailed him. 

"Where are you going in such haste young man?" asked the
stranger in a soft, melifluous voice. The stranger smiled,
radiating comfort and benevolence, and Eomer found himself
trusting the man almost against his will.

"My apologies, grandfather," he rasped as he tried to make a
sketchy bow from the saddle. Mistake.  The world spun and
darkened as his body tumbled out of the saddle.  The ground
arrived hard and fast, bringing Eomer coughing and groaning
back to reality. 

"Perhaps I should have asked you what you flee," the man
said with that same smile that banished fear and made him
fell, well, content to be sprawled in the snow, half dead
from exhaustion, with Elrond's demon-spawn on his trail.

"I'm sorry sir. My name is Eomer, son of Theoden, King of
the Mark. I flee from cheerleaders," he said as the old man
helped him sit up.

"Cheerleaders?" asked the man, his brow furrowed in
puzzlement. "Is that a new species of orc?"

"No sir.  A species of elf. Created by Elrond to torment
mortal men." 

"So, you've come all the way from Rivendell then?"

"Yes grandfather.  I went to seek Elrond's aid in the
struggle against the evil that has awoken and seeks to
darken the land. All I discoverd was debauchery and
decadence. All I received were tortures disguised as
pleasures and evasions disguised as promises. Elrond." He
spat.  "I'd sooner attack Minas Morgul with a dinner fork
than sup with him again."

The old man smiled knowingly. "Ah, Elrond. You might have
saved yourself some trouble young lord, if you had studied
your own history. Eorl himself had dubbed Elrond
'Cah-ligu-lah', the Depraved One."

"Our people do not devote their taxes to history, sir. We
spend our riches on science and seigecraft. Useful things.
Historians always seemed as worthless as writers and
minstrels.  Only a hadful of naive youth train in the
historian's half-forgotten craft."

"Well now you know better, my uneducated young friend. Come,
you must sleep in my home tonight as you and your horse
rest. You can continue on in the morning."

"That is a generous offer sir, but I would not plague your
hut with the cheerleaders. It would be a poor way to repay
your kindness." 

"Tut, tut," said the old man with a smile. "Orthanc has not
fallen yet. I don't think a handful of Elrond's bimboes are
likely to rend the tower's walls."

"But that means you're . . ." Eomer stopped, wondering if
he'd traded one death for another.

"Yes," the old man said as he eased Eomer to his feet. "I am
Saruman the White, alias Saruman the Wise, first of the
Istari.  Oh, don't look so horrified!  Fear not! I do not
serve the Shadow, at least not yet. You are safe with me."

The wizard's words smothered Eomer's protests. Yes, he was
perfectly safe. Elves would never catch up. Deal with
problems tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow was a much better time to
think on this. The old man is right, I'll just do what he
says. Eomer went along with the wizard, leaning on the old
man's shoulder, while the horse followed behind like a dog.
The party shuffled through the gates of Isengard, Saruman
chatting all the while. 

"We'll have sleeping quarters set up for you in no time.
Say, you wouldn't happen to interpret dreams, would you?
I've searched through all of the lore and I can't find
anything about this one recurring nightmare of mine. I keep
seeing this enormous red eye . . ."

As Saruman's words drifted into the cold on the white puffs
of his breath, the gates closed behind them, shutting up
Eomer in the dubious safety of the strongest fortress in the
western half of the world.

On the Road Again
by Brian Mason
Galadriel stirred the embers of her fire and drew her cloak
closer about her. As the pine sap popped and sparked she
looked into the fire and considered portents which had
recently been revealed to her.
The Nazgul were abroad again. A little over a dozen
centuries ago the Free Lords of the Free were stronger.
While she had wandered across the breadth of Middle-earth
her time might have better served if she had tried to stir
the wills of the people then, had made to strike at Mordor
when the Free Peoples had greater strength. But in those
times Amroth reigned in Lothlorien and she and Celeborn had
travelled about the land like tourists: enjoying the sights,
visiting with people, watching the seasons change. 
Yet she had not acted then. Mighty among the dwellers of
Arda was she, and yet she had made mistakes. She had
listened to the words of Feanor in Tirion and left Aman.
Though tutored by Melian in Doriath she was powerless to
prevent the Sons of Feanor from sacking Menegroth. Had she
been upon Amon Amarth, as Elrond was, it is possible she
could have convinced Isildur to cast the Ring away. Had she
acted earlier in this Third Age of the Sun, Sauron might
have been defeated and Amroth and Nimrodel might not have
been lost. 
She struck at the fire with the burning brand in her hand
sending a shower of sparks in the smoke skyward. 
Seeing the swift passage of time is a great danger. Knowing
that the world ages and changes around you in swift movement
of time you are blinded by complacency: it can always be
done later. 
For all the hastiness of the Aftercomers, their own
mortality forces them into action. They recognize that life
is fleeting, yet what they have so little of they give away. 

Words have reached her. Words of great deeds at the Causeway
Forts defending Osgiliath. Words of bold action all about
Mirkwood by the brave men of Beorn.  
She would go abroad. She must shrug off the guilt with not
acting in the past and act now. Over ten thousand years of
the Sun had she seen. The greatest fear was in not acting,
yet that was past. She was on the road, but much there was
still to be accomplished. 

Character Movement
By Shawn Glass

I don't know if this is common knowledge or not, but I found
a way to  move a character over the 12 hex limit (without
spell use).  If it is  necessary to move a character up to
24 hexes, two characters can accomplish  this.  A character
with command skill creates a company and moves (order 820). 
Any characters in the company can then issue MovJoin (870)
without declaring an army commander to join, and can move an
additional 12 hexes.  I accidentally discovered this when a
character in an army moved with the army then moved to join
another army, breaking the 12 hex movement limit.  Later I
used this knowledge to move all the characters in an agent
company (besides the commander) to a hex that my enemy
thought was surely safe from my interference (my agents were
within Mordor while my capital suddenly saw the arrival of
an emissary/agent squad).  My enemies were quite amazed that
all my agents had mage skill and the lost teleport spell (or
so they thought).

No More GAD
From Paul Erik Lundstroem

Hi Brian! Well, it's really not much of an article - more
like general information.

GAD Games in UK has lost the MePBM license to a new company. 
Their name and address:

    Allsorts PBM Games
    PO Box 25
    EX23  9YU
    United Kingdom
    Phone: +1288 361112;     Fax: +1288 361919;
    Compu Serve: 100425,144; E-mail:

It appears they took over by January 1. It has been a smooth
(game-wise) take-over - nobody knew anything about it (I
didn't, anyway!). I don't know much about the company, they
say more info will follow (well, it better!), but they have
taken the GM, Matt, with them, so they are not starting from
scratch. They hope to be able to obtain the 2950 scenario by
March, probably with a launch date early April (my guess).

Grudge Games
by Brian Mason
Part One: On Getting the Game Started
This series of articles will focus on several aspects of
grudge matches. It will deal specifically with game 22 of
the 2950 scenario and may allow you to see some of the
pitfalls which were experienced in getting this game started
and avoid them. Many of you will have had much more
experience than I in this area, however, one of the duties
of editor of an ezine like "From the Mouth of Sauron" is the
necessity of writing articles when more talented people are
not forthcoming.
The germ of game 22 grew out of an idea posed by Rochelle
Newman and Dave Rossell. "The Mouth" began a hiatus
following issue 25 to attempt to attempt, in some small way,
to curtail the information exchange it generated with
regards to the new scenario. As Tom and I were both getting
into one of the first of the new games we wanted the game to
maintain a degree of mystery for as long as possible. 
Rochelle and Dave suggested that we try to get together a
group of players who were also committed to maintaining the
mystery, and to that end, sent out a general email to all
Mouth subscribers in early October. We quickly generated a
group of 20 players, and shortly after that began soliciting
players for lists of their choice of positions. 
Through a series of people falling out, signing up, and more
than one faux pas by yours truly we arrived at a final list
of 25 players. 
Part Two: Ways to Assign the Positions
When the time comes to deciding who plays which position
three possible ways occured to me:
     1.   Attempt to evaluate each persons play and then
          divide up the two teams as evenly as possible with
          the most inexperienced players in non-critical
     2.   Give each player a completely random assignment
          and then allow them to swap with other players
          if each of them desires to do that.
     3.   Ask people for their position assignments and try
          to give people what they want.
I would only attempt to do number one if I was not going to
be in the game! The chances of doing something like that and
not offending someone is quite frankly hopeless. It might be
possible to ask each player to evaluate themselves or to
rank people on places in games, games played, turns played,
etc., but again, all of these things run the risk of not
being a true objective rating of skill.
While number two has a certain "Monte Carlo" appeal to it,
you will end up forcing people to play positions they didn't
want to play. In a game costing nothing but time, or one
where every player funds 20 turns in advance this might
work. Otherwise you run the risk of having massive drops.
Again, I wouldn't want to do this unless I wasn't playing.
Option three was selected as being the one which was likely
to upset the fewest people. I really had no hope of getting
through this without making a few people unhappy. However,
being in this game, I wanted to do it in a way where the
rules were clearly explained and methods for assignment
understood. In other words, I wanted to remove any personal
involvement from the assignment of player positions.
Part Three: Assigning the Positions
From each of these people we requested a list of their top
five position choices. The rules were set out in the
following way:
     1.   If a specific position is only selected by one
          person for any of their position choices that
          person plays the position.
     2.   Once all the cases in point one are met, all
          possible permutations (given the requests) are
          considered and are tabulated. The case with the
          highest point rank (rank being 5 points per
          position where a player gets his first choice,
          4 for the second choice, etc.).
     3.   Publish and list all choices, describe in detail
          how the positions were assigned and ask other
          players if they see a higher point rank
The idea here then is was remove myself from the loop. Tell
everybody what everybody wanted to play and ask them to come
up with a higher point total.
Once the total list was tabulated some interesting
observations could be made. Both in the total number of
selections and number of first preference selections the
White Wizard was very popular. An isotropic distribution of
selections would have seen each position with 4% of the
total. The White Wizard pulled 10.4%. Seems everybody wanted
to play Saruman. Also, given the same isotropic
distribution, you'd expect the Free, Dark, and Neutrals to
carry 40%, 40% and 20%, respectively. They carried 40.8%,
32.8%, and 26.4%. 
As far as assigning positions go, four of the positions (the
Woodmen, Northmen, Southern Gondor and the Fire King) only
had one person request them. Given that, assigning these
positions was trivial. 
In the following table, players are identified as numbers
and are arranged in a matrix where each position has five
columns corresponding to rank selection.
Position         |  1st  |  2nd  |  3rd  |  4th  |  5th  |
Woodmen          | 10    |       |       |       |       |
Northmen         |       |       |       |       | 21    |
Riders of Rohan  | 01    | 07 22 |       | 18    | 23 24 |
Dunadan Rangers  | 22 24 | 04 23 | 02 03 | 01    | 07 12 |
Silvan Elves     |       |       |       | 02    | 03 18 |
                 |       |       |       |       | 19    |
Northern Gondor  | 07    | 01    |       |       |       |
Southern Gondor  |       |       | 16    |       |       |
Dwarves          |       |       | 15    | 03    | 02 08 |
Sinda Elves      | 03    | 02 12 | 07    | 06    | 01    |
Noldo Elves      | 02    | 03 11 | 12 17 |       | 06    |
                 |       |       | 22    |       |       |
Witch King       | 04    |       | 17 22 |       |       |
Dragon Lord      | 17    |       | 19    | 11    | 13    |
Dog Lord         | 15 19 | 20 24 | 13    | 23    | 17    |
Cloud Lord       |       |       | 13 15 | 04 06 | 08 20 |
                 |       |       | 25    |       |       |
Blind Sorcerer   | 20    | 06    | 18 25 | 24    |       |
Ice King         |       |       |       | 15    | 09    |
Quiet Avenger    | 23    |       | 09    | 13    |       |
Fire King        |       | 05    |       |       |       |
Long Rider       | 11    |       | 20    | 25    | 15    |
Dark Lieutenants | 13    |       | 23    |       | 20    |
Corsairs         | 06 25 |       | 08 11 | 09 12 | 04 14 |
                 |       |       |       | 19    |       |
Rhun Easterlings |       | 08 18 | 14    |       | 11    |
Dunlendings      | 08    | 17    | 24    | 14    |       |
White Wizard     | 09 12 | 19    | 01    | 04 07 | 22 25 |
                 | 14 18 |       |       |       |       |
Khand Easterlings|       |       | 09 14 |       |       |
Once these first four positions were assigned, the objective
was to get as many people near the top of the list as
possible. A point value was assigned where each player
getting their first selection is worth five points, their
second selection four points, etc. Given this and the
preassigned positions scores could range from 34 to 118.
The generated selection had fifteen first choices, 5 second
choices, 2 third choices and 3 fifth choices given a point
value of 109. 
Also, with the exception of the Silvan Elves, Dog Lord, and
the Ice King each position was played by the person (or one
of the persons) ranking it highest. While I was somewhat
embarrassed by getting my top choice the numbers didn't lie;
this generated the set of assignments with the most players
getting what they wanted. 
While the positions here are assigned as equitably as
possible, which position you play is not nearly as important
as who you play with. Next issue we will take a look at the
team dynamic.

Last Word
From Brian Mason
A bit later than we had hoped we bring issue #27 to a close.
I feel a bit like Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the fiction I
offered for your amusement in this issue. Unlike he of Kubla
Khan's Pleasure Dome, the only altered state I normally
experience is sleep deprivation. Nevertheless, the offering
is only a shadow of what I had at one time sparking from one
synapse to another. Those of you with ideas for articles,
stories, poems, etc., learn from my mistake: temper the
steel when the blade is hot.
We had hoped for more submissions from players in game 22,
and as those were not forthcoming in the volume which we had
hoped we decided to reopen "The Mouth" to regular
So, submissions, submissions, submissions! 
I'll be out of town for a week, but should be checking email
So either send it to Tom,
                         or send it to me,
                                          but just send it.