Code:
                         From the Mouth of Sauron

Issue:    E-23
Date:     07-10-94


First Word

Greetings once more from elsewhen.

In my mailbox yesterday was the most recent issue of "Whispers of
the Woods," and rather than grouse about game 97, I thought I'd
make a few comments on a couple of the articles in this issue.

First of all, there is a long article dealing with game mistakes.
Now, while we do not know that any of our "How I got screwed..."
articles, letters, etc. in "From the Mouth of Sauron" did any
good, the fact remains that Bill Feild (Hi Bill!) does get "The
Mouth" and this article certainly addresses many of our loyal 
readers complaints and comments. I think that this article will
clarify for readers how GSI handles mistakes, clears up errors,
and deals with other problems. 

On the whole, reading an article like this makes me feel "upbeat"
as it clears things up immeasurably. I'd encourage all to give
this article a read through. It's nice to know exactly how they
handle faux pas of various types, and to know that they are more
flexible than my Grandfather's Buick.

Also, in this issue is a new edition of the Oracle. About 20 of the
questions answered here were right from 3x5 cards which I sent in
to "Whispers..." See if you can guess what I don't know about...

And, finally, we get the official announcement of the new me-pbm
scenario. The setting is TA 2950, not 2940 as mentioned in our
musings contained herein. It is worth mentioning at this point
that if the circa is not "too circa" the Dwarves may have reclaimed
Erebor. Despite it being set at "2950" they specifically state 
that Erebor is a ruin. Does that mean that Smaug is there? Official 
player positions are as described previously in "The Mouth." 
However, I do have one bone to pick. 

The three Free People elven positions are the Silvan, Sinda, and 
Noldo elves. Presumably, the Noldo is as they were in the 1650
scenario, with the Sinda being as they were in the 1650, less the
Lothlorien population centers. My gripe is with the naming of the
other as the Silvan elves. Again, I'm assuming that this is the
Lothlorien position, but I find it ironic that the Silvan Elves
are not led by a Silvan Elf, and that the Noldo Elves are not led
by the most powerful Noldo elf. But then, hey, that's my problem.

The announce new encounters, new artifacts, new riddles, new 
information (supplied to all), and a new rulebook. Wowzers! This
sounds like fun! I can't wait until the August/September startup!

See you in 1700 years in the near future.

Brian


                                  Dragons

Lomaw:  Offer TEN thousand gold = dragon recruited for
Dark Servants.

Scatha:  Offer TEN thousand gold = injured/killed for all
allegiances.

Thanks once again to all of you who keep sending in your
information.  Even if I already have it, it's good to see
confirmation of the existing data.


                                Encounters

(From Tom:  This is an encounter which might be a
variation on old spirit encounters, or something else
entirely.  I've never heard of it before.)

"As we crossed an ancient grave yard last night, the
ground seemed to erupt with the dead!  Rotting bodies,
Skeletons, and Ghosts streamed out of their graves and
moved towards our troops.  Suddenly, however, they
stopped, and a single Ghost moved forward.  "Hail,
warriors, We are the scouts who fell to a vile ambush
many years ago. But I see that you are not the ones for
which we search.  You may pass."

And with these words, the Spirits returned to their
graves with a sigh of despair."

This was in reaction to a Dark Servant force, which found
mithril arms and armor in it's baggage train after the
encounter.

Thanks to Tim Garr for this info.


                                Other Notes

>From David Foreman

Tom/Brian,

One of your gentle readers sent this to me, and he may be
too embarrassed to send it to you for submission in the
mouth.  Do with it what you will!


Hello everyone!

It is my great pleasure to inform you that Colin James
Fitzpatrick was born on June 15, 1994, at 3:08 a.m., in
the Universitaetsklinik in Frankfurt, Germany.

He weighed 4120 g (9 lbs. 1 oz.) and was 59 cm (23 1/4")
long.  His mother, Michaele, is recovering nicely from
the caesarean operation and will be home some time next
week.  

Colin is healthy and happy and looks forward to coming
home soon.

The proud papa,
Darin Fitzpatrick

>From Jeremy Richman

I've been enjoying the new-age speculations in the last
two issues, thanks for doing the research.  I'm very
disappointed in GSI that the initial official games may
be seeded with play-testers -- this will put pressure on
everyone to step up efforts to become know-alls.  Pity. 
I hope GSI learned from the present game to make PC
locations and army-strengths at least slightly variable.

I wanted to respond to your comments about Curses.  I
assume some of that is coming from game 70.  I agree that
Curses is quite powerful, and frustrating, to be on the
receiving end of.  I just want to point out how much
effort has been put into this in game 70.  I have
something like 6 mages who are in the squad, most of them
with a mage artifact because without a mage artifact each
my net chance of killing someone would be less than 40%,
since most mages of 70 or below tend to learn hard spells
at 40-60% casting ranks, as I can attest from game 70.

So think about the amount of effort I've put in, during
the game, to get to the point where 6 of my characters
can kill 2 enemy characters per turn. 

1. 6 mages performing order 710 an average of 20 times
each to achieve the necessary level.  This is 120 orders
that have no other benefit (unlike an agent who guards,
or an emissary who improves loyalty or makes camps, where
skill goes up and something comes out of it).

2. 6 mages learning Curses.  18 more orders.

3. 6 mage artifacts + 2 non-mage Spirit Mastery artifacts
located and found and retrieved, one way or another. 
Including locating, visiting, investigating (or
stealing), returning, handing off (and sharing SM
artifacts around), call this an average of 6 orders per
artifact or roughtly 50 more orders.

4. 6 mages learning 3 spells each is $18,000 gold. 

We are talking almost 200 orders here and my guess is I'm
a little low, FOR NO OTHER BENEFIT than 20 turns later
being able to kill 2 characters per turn.  I don't mean
to underplay how powerful this is, but look at what I've
given up.  If I'd retired my mages and named emissaries,
think what 100 emisary orders (assuming they move each
turn) would have accomplished for me ?  Or 100 agent
orders ?

I might well have already killed the same number of
characters with agents that I will kill with Curses, and
much earlier.

Of course, the main thing that Curses gives is the
ability to kill otherwise unkillable characters.  And my
experience is that 80-pt characters are virtually immune
to agents below 100 points of agent/stealth power.  And
remember, it is quite possible to forestall Curses squads
by hunting down enemy mages, something I try to do in my
games when possible.  Moving off from game 70, I've
formed Curses squads in games where the enemy had won the
military fight and the game was becoming a character-war.

I always wondered why, with the heat off them, the enemy
never seems to locate my mages and send agents after them
?  I'm so paranoid about this I frequently move my mages
(more wasted orders, though I try to reduce this by
putting them in a company) but they are findable. 


And there are ways to deal with a Curses squad.  A squad
is often very likely to hit front-line top commanders --
so set a trap and pile agents all around your armies. 
This may seem like a waste, too much of a shot in the
dark, but considering how much effort has to be put into
a SM squad it shouldn't be too easy to take apart.  (BTW,
please don't do this in 70!).   Form your own Curses
squad for a counter-offensive (but don't go up against
the enemy squad unless you have more mages than they do,
so if they curse you you can still kill one of them). 

Another idea: just like dealing with high-level enemy
agents, have lots of backup commanders.  And/or withdraw
your prized Marshal until the squad is dealt with, and
staff your main army with loads of less-valuable
commanders.

Lastly, don't let a Curses squad be formed, if possible. 
Get to the artifacts first, even the enemy-aligned ones. 
Treat them as valuable as the Ring of Wind and other top
agent artifacts.  Steal their mage artifacts and collect
the loose ones first, so their mages will have poor
casting ranks.

Guess that's it for Curses commentary.

(From Tom:  Actually my objections to curses can be
boiled down into main items:

1.   They completely non-historical.  As this is supposed
to be Middle-Earth we're playing in and not the random
creation of a designer, this objection is actually
significant.

2.   There's no protection.  Curses are automatic. 
There's no other order that has a 100% success rate - and
is so devastating when employed successfully.  I might
overlook objection #1 if there was some way to protect a
character against curses, or reduce the effects.  But
there isn't.  As with dragons, you simply bite the
bullet.

I agree it's difficult to get a curses team together in
the first place, and probably not cost-effective in the
long haul (unless you're playing on a team).  But my
basic objections to having curses around to begin with,
set up to act in the way they do, still stand.)

>From Dave Rossell

I didn't realize GSI was playtesting with general
circulation Me-PBMers.  How many playtests has GSI run? 
How many people did they involve?  I'm all in favor of
keeping information on the new game to a minimum, but
will that even be an issue given the playtests?

Someone mentioned their Woodmen nation creating five
characters with the +20 challenge bonus.  I've named nine
characters in game 119, only one had any special ability
at all--the +20 challenge bonus.  Four of my starting
characters had stealth, one had a challenge bonus. 
Needless to say, I was bitterly disappointed.  From the
description in the rule book, I had expected good agents
and a decent chance at some nifty characters.  As a
result, I have a lot of 30 agents running around scouting
for my fellow Freeps, but few of my characters with the
strenght to do much interesting as agents. 

More info on rolls turning sour for the winning side: 

In game 119, the Freeps are walking over the evils at
will.  Once our lead became commanding,
assassination/kidnapping rolls started to go sour.  

Examples:

a 70 agent with 70 stealth killed kidnapping a 50 mage
with no guards.  Four other kidnap/assassination orders
failed in the past 3 turns.  Each order was executed
against a 50-rank mage or commander with no guards. 

>From Holger Eichmann

After I asked around about the difficulty of the order
'Improve Population Center' some friendly people sent me
some data:

Emissary Loyal. Popul. success
  rank 
   30     19    camp     yes
   30     35    camp     yes
   30     36    camp     no
   37     25    camp     yes
   44     19    camp     no
   44     30    camp     yes
   48     19    camp     yes
   51     45    camp     yes
   71     38    camp     yes
   54     36    village  yes
   54     47    village  yes
   40     35    town     no
   43     55    town     no
   61     40    town     yes
   65     52    town     yes
   60     75    maj.town yes
   84     75    maj.town yes

Special thanks to Michael Schwuchow, Darin Fitzpatrick,
Paul R. Stratton, Brian Cash, Kai Pfingsten and Alexander
Maetzing.

Because these are too few data to make a rule out of it,
has anybody  some experiences with this order, which he
could send me  (eichmann@ceres.amp.uni-hannover.de)?
Thanks for your help!

>From Jerry Clark

Brian,

I was reading the Witch-King article (which by the way is
very interesting) and I noticed that you said to keep
Murazor as a backup commander so that he is training and
doing the mage thing, and keeping the challengers of the
Noldo, Arthedain, and the Dwarves away.  Please forgive
my ignorance in this area, but does this mean that
Murazor as a backup commander traveling with the army
could issue challenge to Argeleb, if he is the primary
commander of the Arthedain army, and kill him?  If this
is the case, I will become more enlightened by this fact.

Secondly, let's say that Tarandor is the commander of an
army and he sees that Ren is in a hex, but let's say that
Celdrehing is there (basically Dragon Lord sees a
challenge coming) also.  You guessed it; Tarandor
challenges Ren, but Celdrehing also challenges Tarandor
(BTW, Celdrehing is not in an army in this scenario).  Is
Tarandor dead?

I am really enjoying the article on the Witch-king, but
I would like to add a twist to it and see what your
strategy would be for handling this "little problem." 
Let's say Rhudaur attacks you on Turn #1.  What would you
do? 

(From Tom:  as for Rhudaur, I'd curse the player for not
playing a neutral like a neutral, then spend all of my
energy wrecking his nation.  Teach him a lesson!)

>From Darin Fitzpatrick

I am currently re-reading the LotR for the nth time.  It
is amazing how much clearer some of the scenes are after
having played on the same ground for a while.  I heartily
recommend another read to anyone who hasn't looked at the
trilogy since playing ME-PBM.  Another result is that
historical events that impinge on ME-PBM leap out.

RE:  The Rohirrim in 2950

Eomer's sword is Guthwine, which he may have from his
father Eomund, or his father, whose name I don't know and
can't look up at the moment.

In order to reflect the advantageous trading position of
Rohan, they might get a trade bonus, a la Northmen in
1650.  This would allow fewer pop centers but still
reflect their prosperity.

I would certainly expect camps dotted around Calenardhon. 
They would give appropriate mounts and leather
production, and reflect the horse-herders that roamed the
land.  A few mountain camps producing metals, especially
gold, might add to the prosperity of the Rohirrim. 

I hope, by the way, that we won't start seeing a bunch of
references to "the Rohan."  Rohan, the Riddermark, the
Mark, the Rohirrim.  Thank you.

RE:  E-mail formats

I don't know too much about other systems, being a
newcomer to e-mail, but I always copy the Mouth into MS
Word.  With a normal font this screws up the spacing of
the tables, but I then set the font to "Line Printer,"
which does not use proportional spacing.  This irons out
the spacing trouble, since each character takes up the
same amount of space.  My e-mail program also uses
non-proportional spacing.  I wonder if GSI prints out the
e-mail turns in order to type them in? 

The game program runs on Macintosh, I believe, so that's
probably what they use for e-mail, too.

RE:  Harbor destruction at Tol Buruth

I was told by GAD that ships in a non-shore hex without
a harbor are "still there, but not available."  I took
this to mean that you can't move a navy out of the hex. 
Sam Freeman seems pretty sure that you can.  Does anyone
have experience with this?

(From Tom:  you can pick up the ships and move out, but
once you do you can't move back into the hex with those
ships until the harbor is rebuilt.  This keeps players
from destroying enemy navies by  destroying the port or
harbor they happen to be anchored at.)


                             News from the Net

Post #1
-------------------------------------------------------
From: smgst15+@pitt.edu (Shawn M Glass)
Subject: ME-PBM 141
Date: 14 Jun 1994 19:05:28 GMT

Greetings Brian (Blind Sorcerer).  I play the Dark
Lieutenants in game 141.  I will send you more info on
the other DS players shortly.  Doug (Corsairs), since you
have e-mail access, expect a note from me also. Brian
(Cloud Lord), talk to you soon. 

As Brian already asked, are there any other players (FP,
DS, or Neutrals) with internet access in this game. 
Especially Northern Gondor...ha ha.

                                    The Mouth of Sauron

Post #2
--------------------------------------------------------
From: eichmann@ceres.amp.uni-hannover.de (Holger
Eichmann)
Subject: MEPBM: Improve Population Center
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 10:27:53 GMT

Has anybody some experiences with the order 'Improve
Population Center'? Of which rank should my emissary be
to have a good chance of success? How important is the
loyality of the population center ? 

Thanks for your help
Holger
--------------------------------------------------------
Holger Eichmann  

new email address!!!!!
eichmann@ceres.amp.uni-hannover.de

--------------------------------------------------------
response from stratton@bach.seattleu.edu (Paul R.
Stratton)
--------------------------------------------------------

Higher the loyalty the better.  A good rule of thumb is
to remember that PCs start at various levels.

camp    30
village 45
town    55
MT      75
City    90?

Try to have the loyalty for the PC you want to upgrade as
near as possible to the loyalty of the size you want. 
Higher level emmisaries are better.  I've had a 71
upgrade a camp @ 38 to a village with no problems and an
84 emissary upgrade a MT @ 75 to a city.  My guess is try
to have the loyalty around 2/3 of of the starting level
and use a 50+ level emissary.  I had 65 emissary upgrade
a Town at 52 to a MT without and trouble.

Have fun

Paul Stratton

---------------------------------------------------------
response from bcash@netcom.com (Brian Cash)

---------------------------------------------------------

Some.  60 emis can turn a MT with 75 loyalty into a City.
I had a 30 emis turn a camp to a village at 35 loyalty,
but I think I was lucky.

The emis rank is more important than the loyalty.

I would use 50+ emis, so you don't waste too many turns. 
Brian /-|-\ "PS you can no longer give dragons artifacts"

--------------------------------------------------------
response from pearsoni@afrc.ac.uk (Ian Pearson)
--------------------------------------------------------

I actually think it is quite simple. Add your pop centre
loyalty to your emmisary rank plus the result of a 1-100
random chance. 

It seems to work for me, takinga large sample to produce
an average.

This isn't new. Read your rule book very carefully. 

Ian Pearson


--------------------------------------------------------
Post #3
--------------------------------------------------------
From: freeman@cae.wisc.edu (Samuel Freeman)
Subject: MEPBM Artifact Powers
Date: 21 Jun 1994 19:52:19 GMT

I have some questions about secondary powers of certain
artifacts.  Some secondary powers are "latent" (bonus vs.
dragons), and some give the holder access to certain lost
spells.  Now I've hear of Tarondor using the Ring of
Axardil (access to Teleport spell) to teleport around
Middle Earth.  Can other secondary powers be used by
non-mages?  For example, can a pure commander use Durin's
Axe to summon hordes?  If so, is the # summoned dependent
on the command rank or what?  Also, if the artifact gives
a character access to a spell, but the artifact is later
transfered or lost, will the character still have access
to that spell?  For example, could a curses squad be made
from one artifact with access to Spirit Mastery (one mage
gets it, learns curses, then passes it to another mage,
and repeat)?

Sam
freeman@cae.wisc.edu

--------------------------------------------------------
response from Patrick F. McGehearty 
---------------------------------------------------------

I don't know about several of these questions, but I do
know that once a character learns a spell, they can pass
on the artificat and still retain the spell.  Yes, curses
squads are easy to create once the right artifact is
found.

--------------------------------------------------------
Post #4
--------------------------------------------------------
From: v011l6fc@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu (DAVE ROSSELL)
Subject: ME-PBM Dragons and Artifacts?
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 1994 17:12:00 GMT

Did someone out there just post something about no longer
being able to use artifacts as dragon homing collars? 
Can anyone out there confirm this?

--------------------------------------------------------
response from freeman@cae.wisc.edu (Samuel Freeman)
--------------------------------------------------------

I can't confirm this personally, but the latest edition
of the rulebook does say (under Transfer Artifact order
description) that the recipient cannot be a hostage or
NPC.  Dragons are definitely NPC's, so the rulebook seems
to imply that you can't give a dragon an artifact. 

Sam

--------------------------------------------------------
response from bcash@netcom.com (Brian Cash)
---------------------------------------------------------

I put a side note on a reply.  I have seen, personally,
a turn that said "character not a valid target" or
something to that effect.  The loophole is closed.

--------------------------------------------------------
Post #5
---------------------------------------------------------
From: Patrick F. McGehearty 
Subject: ME-PBM Dragon recruiting
Date: 22 Jun 1994 19:58:48 GMT

Anyone have information on how to recruit Scatha or
Ando-Anca if one is a Dark Servant?

---------------------------------------------------------
Post #6
---------------------------------------------------------
From: kgiven@aol.com (KGiven)
Subject: ME Recruiting Dragons yet again
Date: 23 Jun 1994 00:41:03 -0400

An FP has just had Scorba appear in one of his mtn camps. 
I know Scorba is one of the two dragons the FP can
recruit, but how?  Also, what is the probability that
he'll still be there, if a character has to move to the
camp first.  Thanx in advance

Kevin

--------------------------------------------------------
Post #7
---------------------------------------------------------
From: shpark@mothra.syr.edu (Sheeyun  Park)
Subject: MEPBM #168
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 1994 19:31:18 GMT

Is there anyone in game #168?

Cloud Lord

shpark@mailbox.syr.edu

-------------------------------------------------------
Post #8
---------------------------------------------------------
From: kain@io.org (Arnold Mohamed)
Subject: Middle Earth Riddle
Date: 1 Jul 1994 21:42:48 -0400

Does anyone have any idea on the answer to this riddle? 
:

The "secret shadow"
        The messenger of the dark
                a woman of the night
                        a bird with a bite.

Could it be Ungoliant?

--------------------------------------------------------
response from tomtg@aol.com (TomTG)
---------------------------------------------------------

Nope
The answer is Thuringwethil
---------------------------------------------------------
Post #9
--------------------------------------------------------
From: r.tweedy@genie.geis.com
Subject: MEPBM #169
Date: Sun,  3 Jul 94 16:03:00 UTC

Harad player in 169 seeks others in this game for
diplomatic talks.  There's a month until kickoff, after
all!
 
--------------------------------------------------------

(From Tom:  please note that these posts are taken as a
representative sample.  We've already answered some of
the questions put here and simply print them to give you
an idea of what's going on outside of the Mouth.

Also, I've recently (just two turns ago) seen a player
collar a dragon with an artifact.  If the loophole was
closed, it was done within the last month.)


                         GSI and Customer Service

>From Rochelle Newman

Regarding GSI's fax machine and customer service:

A friend in our game faxed in a turn, in which he wanted
one of his characters to join a company led by Bain.... 
well, he got his turn back, and it said that he was
ordered to join the company led by Gain, and, since Gain
was not there, he couldn't join.  Having Faxed in his
turn, my friend still had his copy of the original, and
went back to check --- he had written Bain quite clearly,
so he assumed GSI had mistyped the info ("g" and "b"
being so close on the keyboard).  Since Bain hadn't moved
the company anywhere, it wouldn't have been a problem for
GSI to correct the mistake, and so my friend sent in a
letter with his next turn explaining the situation and
asking them to make the correction.  GSI  refused to do
so; they responded instead that it looked like a "g" to
them, and that if my friend suspected that his fax
machine was garbling his characters, he should really go
and have it fixed.......

>From Darin Fitzpatrick

My personal experience with GSI has been limited:  they
sent me my setup and gave me GAD Games' address.  I also
called them once when GAD couldn't answer a question.  I
will nevertheless venture to comment on Bill Feild's
letter. 

It seems that the biggest problems that customers have
with GSI do not impinge in any way on the Game Master
role.  Such things as e-mail confirmation, extra service
fees, availability of smaller copies of the map
(including stickers, as suggested by Dave Foreman), etc.
affect only the convenience of the customers, not the
fairness of the game.  There is no reason that these
problems cannot be resolved satisfactorily.

The numerous game improvements that have been suggested
are a bit more difficult.  I would definitely say that
any changes in running games should be announced at least
3 turns in advance.  Obviously, GSI is not going to
implement each item on the "wish list," but it would be
encouraging to see some of them in the new game.  I would
also like to see versions labeled, just like other
software, so that the appropriate changes can all be
implemented at one time and tracked.

Listening to customer feedback is the single most
important job of a service company, even an apparent
monopoly like GSI.  Bill may prefer his "Game Master"
hat, but my GM buddies don't charge $6.50 a turn. 

Fairness as a game master dictates that players are not
penalized for mistakes caused by inputters or program
errors.  GSI should make every effort to correct its
mistakes - up to and including re-running an entire turn
for everybody, at no charge.

Another issue involving fairness is the answering of
questions by GSI staff.  Apparently the amount of
information available to players is related to the
persistence of the asker and the mood of the staff
member.  Information should not have to be wheedled out
of GSI.  Some things are known, and some unknown to
players, and this distinction should be clear to all
staff members.  A standard response list might help
matters.

To comply with Tom's request for hard data:  I had a
setup and friendly note within 10 days of my request
(includes overseas mail time.)  When I called, I got a
correct answer right away.  And, just last week, I sent
an e-mail to Bill requesting hard info on the new game. 
All my questions (regarding start-up time, team games,
costs, etc.) were answered within two days, also by
e-mail.  Thus far GSI has a near-perfect record with me. 


                     Naming Less Than Ideal Characters
                           by Darin Fitzpatrick

While considering the possibilities of character
creation, one question seems to crop up frequently: 
Should I name a character with less than the  maximum
potential skill rank?  Of all the nations that can name
40-point Commanders and Mages, only Arthedain does not
have the appropriate starting characters, and Mages are
of secondary importance for that position.  Thus the
question is most interesting for those positions who can
create rank 40 Emissaries and Agents, but do not start
out with the appropriate skill levels to take advantage
of this ability.  These include the Dunlendings (40
Agents) and the Quiet Avenger and Northmen (40
Emissaries.)

Nations who do not start out with 30 rank Emissaries
(just about everyone) or Agents (all but one FP), but do
not have an appropriate special ability, can use the
"Name New Character" command to build a fresh 30-point
character, who then typically names further 30-pointers. 
This costs bit more up front, but the earlier use of the
characters more than makes up for the 5000 gold in almost
every case.  "NamChar" does not, however, allow creation
of 40-point characters.  The player of one of the
above-mentioned nations is thus faced with the decision
of when to name characters.

Let's look at the results of two options, using the QA as
an example.  In the first case, Adunaphel names two
Emissaries as soon as possible.  In the second, she waits
until she has reached rank 40 (or 39, which is close
enough not to matter.)  In both cases, all characters do
"InfYour" whenever possible, resulting in an average
increase of 3.  (See "More Character and Skill
Improvement," Tom Walton, Mouth #3.)

               Case 1                    Case 2
      Adunaphel  Em #1  Em #2  |  Adunaphel  Em #1  Em #2
Turn 1:    30       30     --    |     33       --     --
Turn 2:    30       33     30    |     36       --     --
Turn 3:    33       36     33    |     39       --     --
Turn 4:    36       39     36    |     39       39     --
Turn 5:    39       42     39    |     39       42     39

So we see that by turn 5, both cases give the same
result.  In case 1, 10,000 gold is gone from the treasury
by turn 2, vs. 3 turns later in case 2.  By turn 5
maintenance has cost 3,860 more gold than in case 2.  In
exchange for this investment, case 1 results in 10
"InfYour" orders, vs. 4 for case 2.  In case 1, 3 of the
"InfYour" orders must be in the capital; in case 2, only
1 must be.

One other factor comes into play.  In case 2, luck plays
a greater roll.  The abilities of all 3 characters depend
on the increases of the first one.  If Adunaphel is
lucky, she could have 40 points by turn 2.  At the
opposite extreme, she could still be at 35 by turn 5.  In
case 1, the random factor is uncoupled, and each
character progresses independently of the others.

The decision, then, is whether to invest gold in order to
get orders and loyalty. (For agents, the added orders are
guards, which are probably less valuable than loyalty
increases, especially for the Dunlendings.)  The new
characters can also execute caravan transfers and buys &
sells, since they are in the capital. 

This decision will vary somewhat from game to game, but
I would suggest the following:  For the QA, gold is
somewhat limited at start, so it would probably be wise
to conserve the treasury and wait a while.  If, however,
you like to risk creating camps with 33 Emissaries, you
will want to get them in action as soon as possible.  If
bad luck strikes Adunaphel's increases, I would name
Emissaries by turn 4 anyway and cut my losses. 

The Northmen have two different considerations.  First,
they are more likely to face massive theft.  Second, they
live or die by the market.  I would therefore try to
empty the treasury as fast as possible, before the Long
Rider does.  Unfortunately, the Northmen must name a
30-point Emissary first.  I would probably even name two
right away, just to get things moving all the sooner. 
The Emissaries can then issue buys & sells to keep the
economy going, and having more gives security in case
some get killed.

The Dunlendings have a much more relaxed situation.  They
must also name a 30-point Agent right away, but I would
then wait until he hits 40 to name further Agents.  This
could even coincide with turn 6, when 3 new slots open
up.  Dunland is not likely to see much thievery, and can
marshal its resources for a few turns in peace. 

This decision obviously remains rather subjective, but I
hope to have shed some light on the factors that
influence it.  I welcome any comments.


                       On the Witch-King S&T Article
                             From Paul Comber

Liked the piece on WK srategy.  Here is my tuppence
worth.

I am playing the WK in Game # 31 UK. Its turn 15 or so
and we recently knocked out the FP. (4 were eliminated,
the rest gave up) To be fair to them, although they were
a team they were a new one and so didnt have access to
encounter lists etc. Anyway, the strategy I used as the
WK was as follows.

1. Recruit HI
2. RECRUIT HI
3. RECRUIT HI !!!

4. Use Murazor as an Emissary/Mage. By using him with the
Pectoral I built up  pop centres from towns to major
towns and major towns to cities. This I feel gives
several distinct benefits. 

a) MUCH more difficult to Threaten for the FP esp. the
Cities.

b) Higher defensive bonus, with good loyalty from Dragons
the difference between a cities defense and a MT can be
quite marked.

c) Since you have high taxes you can get the money back
for the building pretty quickly.

Send Angulion south to Mordor ready to collect a backup
capital if needed and meanwhile build safe pop centres in
Mordor.

5. Scream at the other Mordor players !  such lines as,
"I need help and I need it now , do you expect me to play
for 12 turns and get trashed just to help you ? and you
dont help me ?" often do the trick.

The Mordor players MUST support the WK or he is dead
meat. support must come in 2 forms.

a) MONEY

Mordor should be constantly badgered for cash, point out
that you are facing at least 4 FP's while they deal with
6 between them. I regard a minimum of 10,000 a turn as
acceptable.

b) AGENTS.

The only way to deal with the recruiting power of all
those FP's is to knock some of them oout without using
troops. The Cloud Lord must send at least 1 agent to help
you, others should be encouraged to help. 

c) Swop of MT's . Never thought of this ourselves but it
appears to be a very sound idea, I wish I had heard of it
earlier.

6. Talk, Talk and talk again to the neutrals.

Rhudaur is crucial . If he doesnt help then you are
finished. Staying neutral is not good enough, he must be
encouraged to actively aid you. Try to convince him that
he is as dependant on you as you on him. (I believe this
to be true) A scenario to paint is what happens to you
when I am dead ? Rhudaur is small fry when compared to
FP's . If they win he has no chance and must join them,
then he will be one of many with no chance for individual
victory.

Offer virtually anything to get him, several combat
artifacts is CHEAP !

In summation I believe this is NOT a military position.
It , like the QA is a DIPLOMATIC one. You must get the
neutrals on your side, you must get support out of your
own team no amount of military skill will save you from
competant opponents unless you achieve these things. 



                              A Lost Cause
            (or How the Ice King Bit It in 7 turns in Game 101)
           (or, Justifying the Early Demise of the Dark Servants
                               in Game 101}
                             by Nunya B. Sness

- -----PRELUDE-----

In response to Dave Holts article in The Mouth #19, I
felt I would divulge a unique perspective on that game -
a losers.  Hullo, I'm the Ice Cream King of 101, or as
the ladies called me, Whore-mew-wrath.  Mine is a tale of
woe, filled with heart throbbing anti-climaxes, and
gut-wrenching sadness.  Ohhh, if I were to do it all over
again...but alas, now I hang by bound limbs, Saurons
flame licking my arse in eternal torment. Boo hoo hoo...

- -----GGB gee's-----

The start of this game might warrant a separate article
to be placed in the "How I Got Shafted by GSI" section,
but anyway, let me tell ya what happened.  With 3 games
under my belt (2 completed and 1 ongoing) I thought I'd
try being one of those famed game savers known as the
standby.  I'd great admiration for this player, you know
the type, the guy that comes in out of the blue on turn
6 or so picking up that desperately needed dropped
nation.  The cavalry so to speak. Well, I thought I was
going to be a hero-WRONG-.

This was back in the good old days when GSI didn't list
the standby's available on the turnsheets.  You were put
on some hidden sacred list held in the impenetrable
fortress Dol Miami in that southern swampy wasteland of
Floridiath.

You can imagine the pride I felt, getting that long
awaited (like 3 months I believe) communique that The
Great God Bill was looking for a warrior.  A gleeful man
was I as I said: "Ohh Great God Bill, what nation is it
that needs my guidance, my wisdom, the Noldo? Long Rider?
Maybe the revered Cloud Lord?"  I squirmed with
anticipation at what was to be dealt to me; and then, in
as monotone and uncaring voice as only The Great God Bill
can muster he said:  "We have an opening for the Quiet
Avenger".

Uproarious laughter filled my innards, could he be real. 
I sought a nation to lead, not a doormat to be cleaned
from the Free Peoples boot wipings.  In my most
subservient voice, and trying to hide my innards
laughter, I asked:  "Oh Great God Bill, there surely must
be mightier nations that I could do thy bidding.  I mean
not to judge your infinite wisdom, but I beseech thee,
could there be something else available?"

Reflecting back on the moment, I should not have been so
cocky in my hasty statement;  for as the traveled should
know, the Great God Bill does not take kindly to having
his authority questioned.  In addition, the Great God
Bill is quite cunning in his ability to hide his rage;
thus he sprang upon me a literal Pandora box.  Again the
Great God Bill speaks:  "Well, I do have an Ice King
position available."

The wheels in my head spin as I recall the lore of this
nation...ah yes, 40 point agents, stealth, a dream
nation...being traveled myself, I knew not to take the
position without further question so I humbly asked:
"What kind of condition is the nation in?"

"PEON!!!" he roared as the Earth trembled, "YOU DARE
QUESTION ME?! YOU IMBECILE!!! YOU KNOW I CAN NOT TELL YOU
ANYTHING!! I WILL NOT ENDANGER THE INTEGRITY OF THAT GAME
YOU FOOL!!!"

Not wanting to bear any further anger from the Great God
Bill, I quickly apologized and accepted his gracious
offer. 

- -----SURPRISE---

About 2 weeks later I open my mailbox to find my new
game.  The past month I've planned numerous ways of how
I was going to dispel the Free People scum from the face
of Middle Earth.  I rip open the monster envelope. Flail
it aside. Unfold my turn. I look at the cover page...400
victory points...ok, so all's not lost right?  I look
down a see it's only turn 3 - cool, can't be that bad...I
flip the cover page and........@#$#&$#@!?$*$##$!
!$&%?$$!$!!$%^^ %@$$!$%^&&%# !@%$^&$# !#@$%%
$%^^$@..."what the ?!! Two frickin' pop centers?!!"
#$%@#$# #$%@##%$% $#$%#$!#@%$   $#@$%%?#$#@$@#$? (what
followed was an extended cursing and wading up of my turn
sequence, that is much too long and extended to describe
here.)

- ------THE NEXT DAY-----

I search about the house for the ball of paper I recall
being my turn sheet.  Apparently one of the thrashings of
the wad actually made it in the trash can.  I remove it
and try to smooth out the crumpled mass.  After cursing
a couple more times at having only two pop centers I
looked the setup over.  Apparently the position had not
had anything done to it yet. Here's what I saw:

Pop Centers -> Durthang (MjT), Kathund-akul (Cmp)
Armies      -> Baltab with large army
               Hukor with medium army
Maintenance -> Army       14,400
               Pop Center  1,500
               Characters  6,800
Production  ->     Stores   Produce
               Br  1096     274
               St  1676     419
               Fo  2500
Economy     -> Tax Rate 40%
               Revenue  8200 (-14,500)
               Reserve  6497
Characters  -> All starting with no increases

Of course the most demoralizing factor of this setup was
the map. There were 12 army icons on the map - 6 Free and
6 Dark.  The only damage apparently done to the Freebies
was that Ithil was a town.  The current situation was FP
armies at: both N. Gondor cities, Osgiliath, Ithil,
Ungol, Morannon.  DS armies at: Durthang, Morannon, Dur,
Ungol, 3324 camp.  I could see that my starting town had
been captured and my starting camps burned. In addition,
Thuringwathost was toast. 

- -----THE PLAN-----

My first and foremost concern was getting my economy in
order.  My general plan was to sell as much every turn as
possible (not much here with 2 frickin pop centers),
steal as much as possible (less than above), retire some
characters (cut maintenance minimally), and kill my
troops first and foremost(BINGO!).  In addition, I was
going to grovel for what assistance I could from the
other DS's - YEAH RIGHT -

As so many games in the past have died, so did this one
by the lack of player communication.  I sent out cards
every turn I was alive and only received something back
from one other DS (which, by the way, he was so into
trying to tell me how to run my nation I almost decided
to try to change allegiance and slam his ____    }:]

- -----THE ASS WHUPPIN'-----

Here's how the rest of my game went:

- ---Turn 4---

Cons : only retired Abdahkil. Should have dumped Virsh as
well. Didn't move out army this turn.  Wasted order
scrying Osgiliath when had a scout area already there

Pros : new 40 point agent has 10 mage. transferred all
but 100 of Hukors troops to Baltabs army - gonna make an
ass stompin' army.

Highlights :
- -Deficit has increased to -17,100, reserves at 11,234.
- -Map shows additional FP army. Ithil DS army gone. FP
army at Morannon bypasses and is at 3222 camp/fort. FP
army at 3223, all others as above.

- -TURN 5-

Cons : Baltab army tried to force to Barad Dur to help Dk
Lt but stopped at 3223 owned by S.Gond (should have gone
for Osgiliath). Gaurhir tries to move/join Baltab at Dur.
Tax rate tried to change to 75, only got 53. Moved emis
to camp to increase to village, S. Gond there with army 

Pros : 3300 gold stolen from N. Gond.  Another 40 point
agent. Both mages in Baltab army 

Highlights :
- -Deficit has increased to -18,725, revenue up to 9,175,
reserves at 20,629.
- -Ungol DS army gone, Ungol captured. FP army at Barad
Dur. Osgiliath army moves into pass? FP army at 3028.
S.Gond at my camp with med. army.

- -TURN 6-

Cons : Baltab army makes it to Dur, down to a town owned
by N.Gond. Emis unsuccessful at influencing camp
threatened by S.Gond. 

Pros : Baltab army threats 3223 successfully. N. Gond
army only has 300 troops (see next turn cons). 2,750 gold
stolen from N.Gond.

Virsh dies from encounter.  Somebody blows Osgiliath
bridge.

Highlights :
- -Deficit has increased to -19,985 (this is going the
wrong direction),  revenue up to 10,275 (this isn't),
reserves at 11,358(this is).
- -Ungol/Ithil armies combine and are at 3425 -
Ungol/Ithil undefended.

New Osgiliath army. New DS armies (Fire K?) at
3225,3327,3426.

- -TURN 7-

Cons : Baltab dies from challenge from N.Gond-Hoarmurath
gets army (he's only a 20 point commander). All mages in
army waste orders for casting (combat) and prentice (from
expected pop capture.)  Turn 5 agent dies from encounter.
Emis unsuccessful at camp creation. Lost 3223 camp to
S.Gond.

Pros : 7,944 gold stolen from N.Gond.

Highlights :
- -Deficit has increased to -21,485; revenue down to
8,875; reserves at  10,321.
- -Ungol/Ithil still undefended. FP army at new Fire King
cap.  NG Dur army at my camp/fort.  FP 3028 army combine
with Osgiliath army. DS armies move to 1 hex of new Fire
King cap.  Neutral army at 2929.

- -TURN 8-

Cons : Hoarmurath tries to move to Ungol, stopped by S.
Gond at 3323.  Emis fails at camp creation. Lost 3222
camp to N.Gond threat.  Osgiliath bridge rebuilt.

Pros : Hoarmurath threatens Barad Dur successfully. 3,200
gold stolen from N.Gond.

Highlights :
- -Deficit has DEcreased to -16,455; revenue UP to
13,225; reserves at 4,082.
- -FP armies stretch from 2924 to 3224. Fire K. new cap
captured.  Neutral army gone (actually has turned into a
free.)

- -TURN 9-

Cons : Turn 4 Agent injured by S. Gond. Emis fails at
camp creation due to insufficient gold.  N. Gond ex-Dur
army shows up at my capital. Tax rate auto-increase to
78%. Reports of FP armies running amuck in Cloud Lord
territory. FP icon at Ungol is composed of 3 medium
armies and a huge Corsair army.

Pros : Gaurhir retires. No gold in N. Gond treasuries.
Hoarmurath army wipes out S. Gond army taking 45% losses.

Highlights :
- -Deficit has DEcreased to -7,123; revenue UP to 14,400;
reserves at 0
- -FP at Morannon, Durthang (see above), 3428, 3018,
3319, etc. (death is eminent)

- -TURN 10-

Cons : BANKRUPT! Turn 4 Agent captured by S. Gond.
Hoarmurath army wiped out by FP armies. Hukor army
disbanded by his death from personal challenge from N.
Gond. Emis fails at influencing Dur.

Pros : 4,676 stolen from N. Gond.

Highlights :
- -Deficit shot to hell; revenue shot to hell; reserves
shot to hell
- -not a single DS army on my map. Hasta!

- -----GOODBYES AND SALUTATIONS-----

My hats off to Freeps of this game; perhaps you would not
have been so lucky if I was in here from the start and
had a little cooperation from the other Darserv's. Who
knows, anyhow, congrat's to you and yours. And as a final
note, to all you Freep's who were so uptight as to not
write back from my gag's, jabs, and pokes in my 3X5's and
in WOW, I leave you with this as I burn in hell...."I'm
your Ice Cream King; stop me when I'm passing by...you
see all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy!"

Philip R Tripp

ps. Oh yeah, couldn't just leave it at that, for those of
you who don't get WOW in addition to this great e-mail
mag, let me FINALLY close with the scores printed in
Junes WOW for game 101 standings:

#22 Harad - 1867     (I almost had this many vict pnt in
                      my 112 Harad on turn 9.  Pitiful
#10 Noldo - 1800     Corsairs in 112, where are you now
                     fool!?
#7  S.Gon - 1750    Sorry, had to add that in somewhere.)

Top Dark Servant: #11 Witch King - 667
Highest Challenge: Murazor/WK   - 203
Highest Command  : Ashdurbuk/WK - 142
Highest Agent    : Din Ohtar/LR - 122
Highest Emissary : Angulion/WK  - 100
Highest Mage     : Murazor/WK   - 170
Most Mithril     : Dwarves:     - 1429
Most Artifacts   : Witch King:  - 24
Most Kills       : Dwarves:     - 6

   Admittedly a win is a win, but would you want to be a
Freep with these guys running around. -PRT-


                     Strategy & Tactics: The Northmen
                              By Brian Mason

(From Tom:  Brian headlines this article as he dives into
the S&T without the comments of his trusty co-editor. 
After reading what Brian had written, I realized that I
agreed with him 100% and that an additional section from
yours truly would just waste space.)
 
I've been hesitant to take a look at this position for
the simple reason that Jeremy Richamn is playing this
position in game 131, and apart from knowing more about
this game than I do, he is very familiar with this
position. Nevertheless, I'll make a stab at it, and see
what I can come up with.
 
Basic Data
 
How do the Northmen compare to other nations? At the
start of the game they rank as follows (Allegiance
Comparison Tables, Tom Walton, "The Mouth," #3):
 
item for comparison among all      among Free Peoples
=================== ============== =====================
Total Tax Base      tied for 8th   tied for 5th
Resource Base       tied for 12th  tied for 7th
Combat Strength     12th           5th
Character points    tied for last  tied for last
Artifacts           tied for last  tied for last
 
The Northmen have very good production in some areas, and
abysmal production in other. Expected production
(Population Center Development, Brian Mason, "The Mouth,"
#2) which has not been adjusted for climate for the
Northmen would be as follows:
 
material    le    br    st    mi    fo    ti    mo    go
=========== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== === =====
production  1722  52    35     0  5464   103   384   799
 
Dealing with the Long Rider
 
One of the biggest problems the Northmen face has already
been outlined in a previous S&T discussion (issue 16).
The siege which the Long Rider can put your capital
under. While it is just as likely that the Long Rider may
concentrate on the Eothraim (it is possible, given the
much more precarious financial situation and the greater
military strength that having the Long Rider concentrate
on the Eothraim is the more effective course of action).
However, the possibility remains that Din Ohtar and
Lomelinde can make your capital a dangerous place to
remain. There are a couple of ways to approach this
problem:
 
1. Go on the offensive. Get a couple of good
subcommanders in your capital army and train them
(through both ArmyMan and TrpsMan) every turn. When
somebody turns up, challenge them. Keep Dudannis (or a
new 30 agent) around just to GrdLoc every turn.

2. Ignore it. Stay in your capital, play normal, and hope 
that the Long Rider doesn't come, and if he does, get
out.

3. Run. On turn one get everybody out of your capital.
Only go back when you know (or believe) it to be a safe
place.  Communicate with your allies often to keep track
of the location of Din Ohtar and Friends.

4. Run faster. On turn one, sell all you can and Relocate
your capital. He will eventually find you, but this may
give you the time you need to get early nation orders
accomplished (character creation, etc.).
 
What kind of Characters?

Invest the gold right out and get yourself a 30 emissary.
Send him out have him place camps (the four unoccupied
Iron Hills hexes are good choices on your map, as the
forest around Rhubar off your map). When he/she is a 
40emissary bring them back. Name lots and lots of them. 
You have one of the maps which shows the least to other
players, so take advantage of this by building camps and
upgrading them. Make yourself an economic powerhouse.
When the emissaries get much above 50 form them in
companies and send them out to ruin somebodies day.
Assuming you name the 30 emissary on turn two, he moves
off on turn three and begins creating camps on turn three
he should be ready yo begin naming 40 emissaries when you
get your turn six allotment of characters.
 
If you were in Eriador, you'd have the best agent in the
region. 
 
You're not in Eriador.
 
You have a good agent, but a good agent is not adequate.
Name and train. Name and train. Name and train. The other
three slots (after naming the 30 emissary) should be
filled with 30 agents (assuming you haven't lost
commanders). Have them join armies and train them
constantly. Only by training every turn can you even hope
to slow down the Long Rider. 


What do you do with the rest?
 
When you get a new camp send your mages to them and have
them train there, out of the limlight so they will not be
an obvious target. They can quickly get to an adequate
level where they can begin learning good lore spells.
 
Your armies have some rather obvious duties.
 
The Rhun navy: At most, available transports can carry 
600 more infantry. While this is the weakest of all
Northman forces, it has the potental to do the most
damage. Every turn one order should be spent on order 830
to patrol the Sea of Rhun. To intercept the Long  Rider
navy is the goal. Losing the Northmen navy is
inconsequential if the Long Rider loses his capability to
ferry troops from Tol Buruth to the shore. Carefully
planned coordination with the Sinda can allow the maximum
coverage of area.
 
Combining the two armies at Esgaroth and Dale is a rather
obvious first turn move, for good reason: it's a smart
idea. Get the armies together, make them a lethal force
and give each one a backup commander. Their objectives
are a little more nebulous. Recruiting right away and
moving them to a rendevouz point is a good first move but
after that, the choices become a little less clear. 
Moving across the road on the North of Mirkwood towards
Kala Dulakurth is an option, but if the Long Rider is
successful in landing troops your other armies may not be
sufficient to stop him. Prehaps the best starting plan is
to have the armies combine at 3408/3509 to get them  off
the Dragon Lord map and you are able to coordinate
strategy with the Eothraim, Dwarves, Sinda, and Woodmen. 
 
As to your capital army, where you move it depends a
great deal on how you plan on dealing with the character
threat. Further statements would be speculation.  

Other factors
 
I've avoided discussing possibly the most important
Northmen ability, that of making a tremendous impact on
the market.  I'm not going to get into the details, but
I commend for your attention two excellent articles in
past issues of "The Mouth." In issue 2, "Economics in
Middle-earth" and in issue 8, "Emissaries in
Middle-earth," both by Tom Walton. Also, Dave Rossell has
some good comments in his "Strategy & Tactics: The
Northmen and other comments" in issue 13 of "The Mouth."


            Speculations on player positions in the 2940 game:
                       The Rhovanion Free positions:
                       Woodmen, Northmen and Dwarves
                              By Brian Mason
 
 
Information on these positions is pretty sketchy in T.A.
2940, so, rather than list them seperately, we combined
them into a regional group. I'm not sure exactly where to
go with this. There are bound to be lots of changes in
these positions, but most are in the Dwarves position,
and most of those depend entirely on GSI.
 
Probably the most specific and important difference is
how exact it will be to the T.A. 2940 year. There were
many important events that closely followed 2940 (many
detailed in "The Hobbit" which is set, mostly, in T.A.
2941), specifically:
 
2941 -        Bilbo find's One Ring, Smaug killed, Battle
               of the Five Armies, Erebor re-established,
               Dain II (Ironfoot) becomes King under the
               Mountain

2944      -    Dale rebuilt, Bard becomes King
 
So, how free and loose GSI is with dates (or how
liberally they interpret "circa 2940") can have a great
deal to do with how some nations, especially the Dwarves
and Northmen, will be played. Careful reading of the
nation descriptions (when these become available) will
answer most of these questions.
 
The Dwarves
 
This position is has also seen significant changes.
First, in 1981 Khazad-Dum falls, and in 1999 Erebor was
founded. From 2000 to 2590 the Dwarves settle in Southern
Grey Mountains but are driven out by Dragons, mostly to
Erebor and the Iron Hills. In 2770 Erebor was taken over
by Smaug, and the Dwarves fled to the Iron Hills. From
2793-2799 is the War of the Dwarves and Orcs and in 2845
King Thrain II lost the Dwarven Ring of Power to Sauron.
The Dwarves will now possess several larger population
centers in both the Blue Mountains and Iron Hills.  The
Dwarves of "The Hobbit" are all active characters in this
time. Thorin Oakenshield is King.
 
However, given how loose the chronology is, it is
possible that the capital of the Dwarves IS Erebor (and
therefore, Smaug is dead) or that it is not, and remains
in either the Blue Mountains. With the loss of Moria and
the destruction of some population centers to dragons it
is reasonable to assume two things: one, the Dwarves are
not as powerful as they are in the 1650 game, and two the
holdings in the Blue Mountains and the Iron Hills are
larger. 
 
There are many named characters, notably, Thorin II
Oakenshield (probable stats: command = 50, emissary = 20
(though his actions in "The Hobbit" might lead you to
give this a negative number)). If he is dead, the King
would be Dain II Ironfoot. His heir is Thorin III
Stonehelm, and at age 76 in 2940, certainly fitting for
a character. Other Dwarves include: Balin (a Dwarf of
some import who was in Thorin's Company and led the
ill-fated expedition back to Moria that found Durin's Axe
in 2994), other Dwarves of Balin's expedition (Floi,
Frar, Loni, and Nali), other Dwarves of both Balin's
expedition and Thorin's Company (Oin and Ori), those of
Thorin's Company (Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Dwalin,
Gloin, and Nori) and those of Thorin's Company that died
in the Battle of Five Armies, and thus may not be
characters (Fili, Kili, and Thorin). Gimli, Gloin's Son,
of the Fellowship of the Ring is only 61 years old.
 
In addition to most of the artifacts (with the exception
of Durin's Axe and the Dwarven Ring of Power) from the
1650 game the Dwarves may also possess Orcrist and the
Arkenstone may also be an artifact. The Mithril-Mail is
also possible as an artifact. 
  
The Woodmen
 
Using the method outlined in last issues article on the
Imladris/Mithlond Elves, we can get a rough idea of
Beorn's abilities. I suppose it is possible that he is an
army encounter rather than a character, however, if this
were the case I'd be very disappointed. 
 
Using the same technique as outlined in last issue's
article on the Imladris/Mithlond Elves we can estimate
the following characters:
 
     Beorn (berserker/shape changer from "The Hobbit")
command = 50, agent = 20, emissary = 10, stealth = 15.

     Freobeort (Beorn's nephew) command = 30

     Swiftwulf (possibly a Dark Servant character, but a
Woodman, nonetheless) command = 30
 
It is implied that Maethelburg is no longer a thriving
population center in T.A. 2940. Prehaps it has decreased
while the Carrock has risen. This, and the status of
other Woodmen population centers is uncertain.
 
The presence of any artifacts is uncertain.
 
The Northmen
 
Like the Dwarves, exactly how the position starts depends
on whether or not Bard is sporting Smaug-skin boots. If
this scenario is "post-draconis" then Bard the Bowman is
King Bard and just won a pretty terrible challenge. If
not, he may have an artifact (namely, the Black Arrow
mentioned in "The Hobbit") which can kill a dragon. It is
also possible that both the Dwarves and Northmen may have
the superior scout/recon abilities the Dwarves have in
the 1650 scenario. 
 
However, many Northmen population centers have been lost
to or have been destroyed by the Northern Easterlings,
and Dale may or may not still be destroyed, as it was by
Smaug (2770).
 
Shrel-Kain may still exist, but this evidence is rather
tenuous. Reference is made in "The Hobbit" to the wine
served in the Elvenking's (Thranduil's) palace as coming
from the region of Dorwinion. It is unclear whether this
is that of 'their kinsfolk in the South, or from the
vineyards of Men is distant lands.' The region of
Dorwinion is not on the maps of "The Lord of the Rings"
or "The Hobbit," however it is on the map drawn by
Pauline Baynes Map of Middle-earth and is identified as
the region along the northern shore of the Sea of Rhun.
Given that the Northmen are desribed in the nation setup
of the 1650 game as coming from "...the Dorwinrim [sic]
region near the Sea of Rhun." 
 
In addition to Bard the Bowman (or King Bard) the Master
of Esgaroth (unnamed in "The Hobbit") may be a character.
Apart from the fabled "Black Arrow" there is no direct
evidence for any other artifacts.


                                 Last Word
                              From Tom Walton

Some of you may have noticed that we were out of
commission for awhile, about a month.  In fact, many of
you may have noticed, at least judging from the mail in
my mailbox.  It turned out that we initially started
running a week late because of non-game activities, then
Brian went on vacation, followed the next week by myself. 
When all is said and done, nearly four weeks passed
between Mouth #22 and Mouth #23.

This prompted a number of inquiries about why we didn't
announce the closing of the Mouth.  Which brings me to my
next subject.

The new game starts in less than a month.  With that we
really will be closing down the Mouth, at least for
awhile.  As it stands, it looks like issue #25 will be
the last of the lot in this incarnation.  Not a bad
number, eh?

If you want to get something into print, you still have
two issues to do it in.  After that, you're out of luck. 
So, all ye procrastinators, now's the time to get
cracking on those keyboards.  We promise to print
EVERYTHING that meets our minimal standards on not
trashing other players, no matter how large the Mouth
becomes or how high my AOL bill is from the upload and
mailout.

But time is short, and getting shorter still.  If all
goes well, issue #25 will hit the electronic highway
within 2 or 3 weeks.  And that will be the last Mouth for
perhaps a long, long time.

That's all I have for this time around,

Tom