From the Mouth of Sauron

Issue:    E-15
Date:     	   04-08-94

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
      From Brian Mason

Greetings, All!

First of all, there is a minority of people out there to whom I may 
owe an apology. During the last week in March, I was working at Mt. 
Wilson Observatory, and in trying to keep up with various 
housekeeping duties for "The Mouth" it is possible that I failed to 
fill some requests for back issues or general info files (it is also 
possible that I sent them to some people twice!). So, if I messed up 
your request, or if you want to rattle my cage, send your request 
for back issues or the general info files to me at and I will get to it asap.

In an effort to make our publication better, I've taken it upon 
myself to conduct a mini-survey. I'll enclose the survey below which 
you can cut and send to me. I'll tabulate the results, and send them 
along after I have the results. Below the cut-and-paste survey is an 
explanation of some of the questions:

 1. Email address: ___________________________________
 2. Name:          ___________________________________
 3. Number of me-pbm games played: ___________________
 4. Number of turns played: __________________________
 5. Number of me-pbm games currently in: _____________
 6. Nations Played: __________________________________
 7. Top 3 Finishes:___________________________________
 8. Rating of Editorials: ____________________________
 9. Usefulness of Editorials: ________________________
10. Rating of Encounters: ____________________________
11. Usefulness of Encounters: ________________________
12. Rating of Dragons Section: _______________________
13. Usefulness of Dragons Section: ___________________
14. Rating of Q & A: _________________________________
15. Usefulness of Q & A: _____________________________
16. Rating of Wish List: _____________________________
17. Usefulness of Wish List: _________________________
18. Rating of How I got Shafted: _____________________
19. Usefulness of How I got Shafted: _________________
20. Rating of Strategy: ______________________________
21. Usefulness of Strategy: __________________________
22. Rating of Humor Articles: ________________________
23. Usefulness of Humor Articles: ____________________
24. Other Comments: __________________________________

Explanation of questions:

Questions 1 and 2: Believe it or not, we have people to whom we mail 
"The Mouth" whose name we don't even know!

Question 3: This will give us an idea of the experience of the 

Question 4: A probably more accurate gauge of experience.

Question 5: How much does the readership play at one time.

Question 6: What does the readership like to play.

Question 7: How well has the readership done?

Question 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22: How much do you like these 
sections of "The Mouth" on the following scale

0 = strongly dislike
1 = dislike
2 = neutral or no opinion
3 = like
4 = strongly like

Question 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23: How useful are these 
sections of "The Mouth" to you on the following scale

0 = not at all useful
1 = rarely useful
2 = neutral or no opinion
3 = sometimes useful
4 = very useful

Question 24: Your chance to sound off on on things that the survey 
does not adequately address.
Thanks for your time.


       A Special Note
      From Brian Mason

To all readers of "The Mouth of Sauron:"

The Periodic Table of Elvish Names which was printed in issue 14 of 
"The Mouth of Sauron" was done so without the permission of the 
authors or the editor of Mythprint.

The publication of this within "The Mouth of Sauron" was an error in 
judgement on my part alone, for which I humbly apologize.

Brian Mason

Tom's Note:  I, too, apologize for this breach (especially in light 
of my fire-and-brimstone tirade in Mouth 3 or 4 about a PBM magazine 
that published my "Blood and Glory" articles without asking my 
permission).  While it isn't technically the responsibility of an 
editor to check on the legality of a submission (that's the burden 
of the person making the submission), it is indeed the ethical 
responsibility of the editor to have a look anyway.  This I did not 
do, and I apologize both to the authors of the original article and 
our readers.

After apologizing and communicating with one of the authors (Carl 
Hostetter) about this matter, he submitted the following article for 
the readers of "The Mouth."

Now, those of us who want to tell Murazor in game 97 to "say your 
prayers" he knows how! And, notice, gentle readers, that the actual 
offering in Quenya numbers 37 words, well within the 40 word 
"Whispers..." limit.


         =           "Attolma"          =
         = The Lord's Prayer in Quenya  =

      by  Patrick Wynne     (
     and Carl F. Hostetter (

A modified, text-only version of an original article first published 
in  the journal _Vinyar Tengwar_ #32 (November, 1993).

"Attolma" composition and notes are copyright (c) 1993 by Patrick 
Wynne  and Carl F. Hostetter. This text may be freely redistributed 
in electronic  form so long as it includes this notice and is not
altered in any  manner. It may not be republished without 

Attolma     i    menelessie,    nai         airitainieeva     
Our Father  who  is in heaven,  be it that  will be hallowed  thy 

Nai         ardalya      tuluva.
Be it that  thy kingdom  will come.

Nai         iirelya     tyarnieeva    mardesse  ve  menelesse.
Be it that  thy desire  will be done  on earth  as  in heaven.

Anta  men      siire  ilyaurea  mastalma.
Give  (to) us  today  daily     our bread.

Ar   avanta   men       raikalmar   ve  avantalme   raikatyarolmain.
And  forgive  (for) us  our wrongs  as  we forgive  (for) our wrong- 

Ar   nai         uutukuvalye         me  mailenna
And  be it that  thou will not lead  us  into overmastering desire

naa  fainu    me   ulkallo.   Amen.
but  release  us  from evil.  Amen.


A doubled vowel (e.g. aa) indicates that that vowel is long (i.e. 
has an accute accent in the original).

A "\" following a vowel indicates that the vowel has a macron (i.e. 
"-") over it.

A "_" preceeding and following a word or group of words indicates 
that it is to be italicized.

Bibliographical abbreviations:

VT:  _Vinyar Tengwar_. The Bimonthly Journal of the Elvish 
     Fellowship. Carl F. Hostetter, Editor.
     Internet address:

OED: _The Oxford English Dictionary_

The following works are all by J.R.R. Tolkien. Page references are 
to the most recent Houghton Mifflin Co. hardcover editions.

I:   _The Fellowship of the Ring_
III: _The Return of the King_
L:   _The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien_
LR:  _The Lost Road and Other Writings_
LT1: _The Book of Lost Tales, Part I_
LT2: _The Book of Loat Tales, Part 2_
UT:  _Unfinished Tales_
R:   _The Road Goes Ever On_
S:   _The Silmarillion_
SD:  _Sauron Defeated_

Other abbreviations:

Q: Quenya
N: Noldorin

1:   first person
2:   second person
sg.: singular
pl.: plural

adj. adjective
nom.: nominative
pp.: past participle

<:  "is derived from"
*:  indicates that a word or meaning is hypothetical, i.e. not 
actually attested in the published corpus.


Line 1:

_Attolma_ 'Our Father'. _atto_ is an affectionate form of _atar_ 
'father' (LR:349 s.v. ATA-). Compare the New Testament usage of 
Aramaic _abba_ 'father', a term "borrowed from childhood's language 
to express filial address to God",[1] as Christ's words in Mark 
14:36: "And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto 
thee..." (KJV) The exclusive 1 pl. possessive suffix *_-lma_ 'our' 
appears in the genitive _-lmo_ 'of our' in _omentielmo_ 'of our 
meeting' (L:265, 447). The exclusive 1 pl. pronoun does not include 
the person addressed as part of the we, us, or our; thus _Attolma_ 
'Our (but not Your) Father', _anta men_ 'give to us (but not to 
You)', etc.

_i_ 'who'. Cf. _i Eru i_ 'the One who' (UT:305).

_menelessie_ 'is in heaven'. This consists of *_menelesse_ 'in 
heaven', locative sg. of _menel_ 'firmament, high heaven, the region 
of the stars' (R:72), to which has been added the copular suffix _ 
ie_ (= _ye_ 'is'), as in _maarie_ 'it is good' (LR:72) < _maara_ 
'good' (LR:371) and _man-ie_ 'what is it?' (LR:59) < _man_ 'what?' 
(LR:63). A form closely analogous to *_menelessie_ is _nuumessier_ 
'They are in the West' (LR:72) < *_nuumesse_ 'in the West' + pl. 
copular suffix _-ier_ '(they) are'.

_nai_ 'be it that, may it be that, maybe' (I:394, R:67-68). _Nai_ is 
used with a verb in the future to express a wish, e.g. _Nai 
hiruvalye Valimar_ 'be it that thou wilt find Valimar' (cf. R:67 
68). For further discussion, see the next entry.

_airitainieeva_ 'will be hallowed'. This contains a present stem 
*_airita-_ 'hallow, make holy', from _aire_ 'holy' (I:394) + 
causative _-ta_ as in _tulta-_ 'send for, fetch, summon' < TUL- 
'come, approach' (LR:395). The past participle is thus *_airitaina_ 
'hallowed'; cp. _hastaina_ 'marred' in _Arda Hastaina_ 'Arda 
Marred', with bare stem _hasta-_ in _Alahasta_ 'Unmarred' (MR:254). 
With the addition of the future copular suffix _-ieeva_ (= _yeeva_ 
'will be', LR:72) this becomes *_airitainieeva_ '(it) will be 
hallowed'. Cp. _hostainieeva_ 'is counted', lit. *'will be 
collected' (LR:72), < *_hostaina_ 'collected', p.p. of _hosta-_ 'to 
collect' (LR:364).

Our translation of the Lord's Prayer is based on Jerome's Latin 
version in the Vulgate rather than on the Greek original, owing to 
our imperfect knowledge of New Testament Greek. Subjunctive verbs in 
the Vulgate version have been rendered into Quenya with the _nai_ + 
future construction. Thus Lat. _sanctificetur_ 'hallowed be' has 
been translated as _nai airitainieeva_ 'be it that (it) will be 

_esselya_ 'thy name'. This is _esse_ 'name' (III:401) + _-lya_ 
'your', the 2 sg. possessive suffix, as in _tielyanna_ 'upon your 
path' (UT:22, 51 n.3). For the reverential sense *'thy', cf. the 
suffixed nom. form _-lye_ 'thou' in _hiruvalye_ 'thou shalt find' 

Line 2:

_ardalya_ 'thy kingdom'. Cf. _arda_ 'realm' < GAR *'hold, possess', 
"often in names as _Elenarda_ 'Star-kingdom', upper sky" (LR:360). 
Also used as a proper noun _Arda_ 'The Realm', "name of the Earth as 
the Kingdom of Manwe" (S:317). _tuluva_ 'will come'. Cf. _entuluva_ 
'shall come again' (S:195), with prefix _en-_ 'again' (UT:317 n.43). 
Here _nai tuluva_ 'be it that (it) will come' represents the Latin 
subjunctive _adveniat_ 'may it come'.

Line 3:

_iirelya_ 'thy desire'. Cf. _iire_ 'desire' < *i\di 'heart, desire, 
wish' (LR:361 s.v. ID-).

_tyarnieeva_ 'will be done'. The base KYAR- 'cause, do' yielded 
Quenya derivatives in _tyar-_, as _tyaro_ 'doer, actor, agent' 
(LR:362). We have assumed a p.p. *_tyarna_ 'done' on the basis of 
_varna_ 'safe, protected, secure', apparently a p.p. *'uplifted, 
saved, rescued' < BAR- 'uplift, save, rescue(?)' (LR:351). Here _nai 
tyarnieeva_ 'be it that (it) will be done' represents the Latin 
subjunctive _fiat_ 'let it be done'.

_mardesse_ 'on earth'. Cf. _mar_ 'earth' in _i-mar_ 'the earth' 
(LR:72), with oblique stem _mard-_ seen in _Mardello_ 'from Earth' 

_ve_ 'as, like'. Cf. _ve raamar aldaron_ 'as the wings of trees' 
(I:394), _ve fanyar_ 'like clouds' (R:66-67).

Line 4:

_anta_ 'give!' (imperative). Cf. stem _anta-_ 'give' (LR:348 s.v. 
ANA1-). In Quenya there seems to have been no formal distinction 
between the bare stem of a verb and the imperative; thus NA\2- "Stem 
of verb 'to be' in Q" (LR:374) appears in _na\-i_ 'be it - that' 
(R:68). Here _anta_ represents the Latin imperative _da_ 'give!'.[2] 

_men_ '(to) us'. The accusative 1 pl. exclusive pronoun _me_ 'us' 
appears in _nuruhuine me lumna_ 'Death-shadow us is-heavy' (LR:56). 
The dative form *_men_ '(to, for) us' seems to appear in assimilated 
form _mel-_ in _nuruhuine mel-lumna_ 'Death-shadow us-is-heavy' 
(LR:47), lit. *'the shadow of death lies heavy for us' (cf. _lumna-_ 
'to lie heavy'; LR:355 s.v. DUB-).

_siire_ 'today, (on) this day', a neologism coined from SI- 'this, 
here, now' (LR:385) + the suffix _-re_ 'day' as in _mettare_ 'last 
day' (III:386) and _Cormare_ 'Ringday' (III:390). Also cf. _iire_ 
'when' (LR:72), _enyaare_ 'in that day' (ibid.), _yaare_ 'former 
days' (LR:399 s.v. YA-).

_ilyaurea_ 'daily, of the whole day', a compound of adj. _ilya_ 
'all, the whole' (LR:361 s.v. IL-, I:394) + *_aurea_ 'of a day', 
adj. form of _aure_ 'day' (S:190, 195), just as adj. _laurea_ 
'golden' is derived from _laure_ 'gold' (R:70). In the present 
context *_ilyaurea_ refers to a quantity of bread 'sufficient for 
the whole day'.

_mastalma_ 'our bread'. Cf. _masta_ 'bread' (LR:372 s.v. MBAS-). 

Line 5:

_ar_ 'and' (I:394).

_avanta_ 'forgive'. No Elvish word meaning 'forgive' appears in the 
published corpus. The verb 'forgive' in Old English was _forgiefan_, 
from the prefix _for-_, denoting loss or destruction, and _giefan_ 
'give'. We have used this as the model for a neologism *_avanta-_ 
'to forgive' < the privative prefix _ava-_ (LR:349 s.v. AWA-) + 
_anta-_ 'give' (LR:384 s.v. ANA1-). Privative _ava-_ is translated 
as 'for-' in _avaqet-_ 'refuse, forbid' (LR:366 s.v. KWET-), lit. 
*'say away'. Thus *_avanta-_ 'to give away, for-give', appearing in 
this line in imperative *_avanta_ 'forgive!', as well as with the 
exclusive 1 pl. nom. suffix _-lme_ 'we' in *_avantalme_ 'we forgive' 
(cf. _laituvalmet_ 'we will praise them', III:231, L:308).

_raikalmar_ 'our wrongs'. Cf. adj. _raika_ 'crooked, bent, wrong' 
(LR:383 s.v. RAYAK-), here used substantively to mean *'a wrong 
thing, sin, trespass'. _raikatyarolmain_ '(for) our wrong-doers'. 
*_raikatyaro_ 'wrong-doer, sinner' is a compound of _raika_ 'wrong' 
+ _tyaro_ 'actor, doer, agent' (LR:362 s.v. KAR-). With the addition 
of the possessive suffix *_-lma_ 'our', this appears in the dative 
plural _raikatyarolmain_ 'for our wrong-doers', i.e. 'for those who 
do us wrong'. A direct object _raikar_ 'trespasses' is implied but 
unexpressed in this clause; i.e. _ve avantalme (raikar) 
raikatyarolmain_ 'as we forgive (trespasses) for those who do us 

Line 6:

_uutukuvalye_ 'thou will not lead'. Cf. _tukin_ 'I draw' < TUK- 
'draw, bring', whence also N _tegi_ 'to lead, bring' (LR:395); here 
in the 2 sg., future tense: *_tukuvalye_ 'thou will lead'. The 
_Etymologies_ gives the negative prefix _uu_ 'not, un-, in-', 
"usually with bad sense" (LR:396). Use of this prefix to negate 
verbs is not yet attested in Quenya but appears in Sindarin, e.g. 
_uu-chebin estel_ 'I have kept no hope' (III:342). Also cf. 
Goldogrin _UU-_ "negative prefix with any part of speech" (LT2:346 
s.v. Niinin- Udathriol).

_mailenna_ 'into overmastering desire'. Cf. _maile_ 'lust' (LR:373), 
used in this translation to refer to excessive desire in general, 
not just sexual appetite. Cf. def. 5 of _lust_ in the _OED_: 
"Lawless and passionate desire of or for some 
object....Overmastering desire (esp. of battle)." That this more 
general sense also applies to _maile_ is implied in the 
_Etymologies_ s.v. MIL-IK-, where _maile_ apparently provides the 
basis for the name _Melko_ < *_Mailiko\_. The Noldorin form is given 
in this same entry as _Maeleg_, with which compare N _mael_ 'lust'. 
Other derivatives of MIL-IK- include Q _milme_ 'desire, greed', 
_milya-_ 'long for', and _milka_ 'greedy' (N _melch_). For the use 
of the allative to mean 'into', cf. _eari ullier ikilyanna_ 'seas 
should flow into chasm' (SD:247).

Line 7:

_naa_ 'but'. The _Etymologies_ s.v. NDAN- 'back' gives _na\_, _na\n_ 
'but, on the contrary, on the other hand' (LR:375). Also cf. _nan_ 
'but' with short vowel in "Fiiriel's Song" (LR:72). This is not to 
be confused with _naa_ 'is' (I:394, R:67).

_fainu_ 'release!' (imperative). Cf. _fainu-_ 'release' (LT1:250); 
for imperative use of the bare stem , see the discussion of _anta_ 
in Line 4.

_ulkallo_ 'from evil'. The adj. _ulka_ 'evil' appears in _henulka_ 
'evileyed' (SD:68, 72 n.12), and is here used substantively as 

_amen_. A borrowing of Hebrew _a\-me\n_ 'certainty, truth', used 
adverbially as 'certainly, truly'. This might also be rendered into 
Quenya as *_anwave_ 'truly' < anwa 'real, actual, true' (LR:348 s.v. 
ANA2-) + adverbial suffix _-ve_ as in _andave_ 'long' (III:231, 


[1]  John D. Davis, _The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible_, 
revised and rewritten by Henry Snyder Gehman (Philadelphia: The 
Westminster Press, 1924). F. Wilbur Gingrich's _Shorter Lexicon of 
the Greek New Testament_ (Second edition, revised by Frederick W. 
Danker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983) notes that 
Aramaic _abba_ is "a specially intimate term".

[2]  For a further discussion of imperatives cf. p. 5 of "Sauron 
Defeated: A Linguistic Review" by Carl F. Hostetter (VT24:4-13, July 


Well, boys and girls, I received another list of riddles from Keith 
Petersen, who diligently tracks such data on his own massive 
database (perhaps the largest and most complete in the whole game).  
Here are the ones that aren't already accounted for:

Destiny & Pride reared their noble heads
to stop the taint from so many beds
and so it came to ravage and it tore
the lives of so many in the war
and after it ravaged and after it slew
men came to realize what they knew
and the name was not war or somesuch
but a name that itself told so much

ANSWER: Kin-Strife

The last High one of the second of the three
the first bearer of one of the three
He fought the dark and besieged his seat
but was undone by the searing heat

ANSWER: Gil-Galad

Water made from rare and set with white
was kept in the second from everyone's sight
Soon will it's power be shown as real
when it is set to make the land heal


Keith's Note:  List list was edited and compiled by Keith Petersen 
with the help of his friends in Middle Earth and on Compuserve and 
Internet. The only restriction on this list is that new riddles 
(with or without the answers) and corrections be sent to me.  You 
may contact me via mail at PO Box 448, Burke SD 57523-0448 or 
71241,1206 on Compuserve.

Editor's Note:  We ask that if you find the riddle list to be of 
some use, that you comply with Keith's request and send him any new 
riddles you may encounter.  What you see here is just a very small 
part of the effort he's put out (his other material was already in 
the files of the editors).  Again, we thank Keith for the extensive 
list (especially since it just saved my bacon in game 117! - Tom).

This also from Dave Holt:

Alive without breath
as cold as death,
never thirsty, ever drinking,
all in mail, never clinking


Thanks Dave!


Enchanted Pool:  WATCH = no effect for neutrals.

Radagast:  there's a rumor that Radagast, much like Tom Bombadil, 
may be sighted by neutral and evil armies.  However, while you get 
a message for your army commander, no options are presented and 
there's no effect on your armies and characters (simply an 
interesting interlude).


Description:  Small ruined tower topping scorched hillock.  Flames 
still lick at the sides of the charred tower, but the unbearably hot 
fire is clearly diminishing and promises to soon die..."

Location:  White Mountains, Misty Mountains, Rough near Mirkwood 
(example:  hex 2214)


say 1 word ___

I recently received a deluge of material on the mysterious balrog.  
Here are the results:

SEARCH = combat for all allegiances.
ENTER = combat for all allegiances.
FLEE = escape for all allegiances.

I also have an unconfirmed rumor that if the character WAITs, the 
Balrog will exit the tower and attack the character.  Note that the 
description may vary slightly (ruined tower/hut/house/etc.).

Graveyard:  this is an army encounter.  It has no effect on the Dark 
Servants, but for Free Peoples and Neutrals spirits will come forth 
and ruin your food supplies.

Hobbits:  Hobbits can be encountered by Dark Servant armies, but 
they give no options and have no effect on the army or attached 

Thanks to Dave Holt for providing the majority of the encounter 
results this time around.  Thanks also to the people responsible for 
finding out, and confirming, the results of the Balrog encounter 
(Dave Holt included again).


Lomaw:  Offer TWO artifacts = combat for all allegiances.

Thanks to Dave Holt for confirming this information.  And readers:  
I'm about to offer up some new info on both Daelomin and Nimanaur, 
though not by choice.  I'll pick a response that hasn't been 
confirmed in our database.

         Other Notes

From Waller

91% Transport:  If you wish to transport as much of a resource as 
possible, either using the 947 or 948 order, compute 91% of the 
resource and use that number.  This results in slightly more than 
90% of the resurce being moved, while specifying 100% results in 90% 
of the resource being moved.  Less than 1% - big deal! - I know, I 
know...we obsessive/compulsives try to squeeze the least little bit 
out of everything....

Drones:  The heart of the game is the number and quality of orders 
you have available to execute each turn.  This is affected by; skill 
ranks, which increase the chances for success, but also increase the 
cost per order (higher skill rank characters cost more to maintain).  
A useful tactic, especially for the Dark Powers early in the game, 
is the creation of one or more "drones".
	 Drones are commanders with skill ranks of 10/0/0/0.  The idea 
is that you use the drones in your capitol to execute automatic 
orders, and some easy command orders.  The drones cost 200 gold per 
turn in maintenance, os if you keep a drone in action for 10 turns, 
you get 20 orders executed for 7,000 gold, or 350 gold per order; 
this is well below the 1,000 gold/order rough guesstimate that we 
have established as the baseline cost or "value" of an order 
(considering only the cost of building and maintaining a character).  
When your position is more prosperous and you want to increase your 
point score for characters, you can retire a drone and create a more 
powerful character, or throw him into an army as a subordinate and 
build up his command rank.

Tom's note:  the previous suggestions by Waller were transcribed 
from a paper copy sent to me.  All errors in spelling or structure 
are mine.

Reply to Waller
From Brian Mason

Drones: the only problem with them is that they cannot just go BE an 
effective character if you need them to (due to death of other 
characters, or whatnot). It is just as easy to have starting 30 
agents and emissaries executing the non-command capital orders (325, 
947, 948) with one order while their other order improves their 
skill ranks to the point where you can use them offensively (Tom's 
note:  more expensive, most certainly, but more flexible as well).

      ME-PBM Wish List

From Alan Ray

Here's something I'd like to see happen with this Middle Earth 
play-by-mail system:

I'd like to see a computer game released with all the same orders 
and nations and characters.  I would like to see the current setup 
mimicked.  I would want this to have excellent graphics, great 
sound, and awesome Artificial Intelligence.

The main selling point of this game though is I would want it to be 
modem playable with a friend, and also up to 4 players at least via 
a network.  I would want to be able to play any nation and not just 
be limited to a couple of nations playable by the human player.  I 
don't want this game if they're just going to half *ss do it.  So 
what if it takes 25 megs, it would be well, well worth it.  The 
price?  Don't know  about that, but I'm sure I'd pay it.

That's what I'd like to see!  



I'm playing in ME-PBM games 61, 116, and 129.  I'm looking for any 
other players in these games to talk to & discuss options.  I was in 
contact with several players, but I haven't heard from them in some 
time.  So, I'd like to hear from anyone in these games, Good, Evil, 
or neutral.

I play the Blind Sorcerer in 61, the Sinda in 116, and the Dark 
Lieutenants in 129.

Send your e-mail to:
(Leo A. Tischer)


I know you have a lot of back information on Middle Earth but do you 
have any back issues about the State of War that GSI currently runs. 
I have a friend who just joined a new game and wishes any help that 
anyone can provide. Once again thanks for any help.

Tom's note:  neither of us collects information on State of War.  I 
played the game for about 8 turns once and thought it lame, never 
signed up again.  Anyone else out there have info on State of War?

      News from the Net

Editors' note:  this is a new column suggested by Brian Mason. Brian 
uses his access to the newsgroup to digest the on 
going conversations and provide questions and answers that other 
people may have about ME-PBM. 

Post #1
From: (Brian Lowrey)
Subject: ME-PBM (More Questions)
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 16:24:20 GMT

Recently in Wispers a anoucment was made that Major Towns and Cities 
would start giving you recon reports.  In game 152 a recon was given 
in the opening long rider setup for the Major Town in Southwest 
Mordor. This is the only example I've seen.

Has anyone else seen examples.  Will it only apply to new games or 
will existing games be affected?

Reply from Brian Mason

The impression I had was that, like the changes to Agent orders, 
they will effect all games, new and current. One thing for loyal 
readers of "The Mouth" to note, and inform us on, would be the depth 
of report and the loyalty of the population center (or the loyalty 
of the population center where you did not get a report). We will 
tabulate and provide data on this as it comes in.

Reply from Tom Walton

Also remember that the recon reports only apply to games RUN after 
04-01, not games that arrived in your mailbox after 04-01.  As my 
most current turn is from 03-31, I've yet to see the recon reports.

Post #2
From: (Samuel Freeman)
Subject: ME-PBM: Capture Popcenter question
Date: 31 Mar 1994 15:22:07 GMT

The order for Capture Pop Center state that the PC is in effect 
under seige for that turn. The orders for recruiting and xfer food: 
PC to army state that the PC must not be under seige. Question:  Can 
I capture a PC and with a sub-commander either recruit troops or 
xfer food to army ON THE TURN OF CAPTURE?
Answers below were supplied by (Brian Cash)
No. If you do a capture, the pop center is under seige for that
entire turn. A threaten doesn't make the PC seiged, but it occurs
after most of the relevent orders take place (recruiting, transfers,

        Dragons Again

From Keith Petersen

Tom, (Feel free to use this for the next Mouth)

While I understand your feelings on dragons, personally I feel that 
the DS cannot know win a challenge game vs. a competent FP team. In 
my humble opinion, a competent FP team can manipulate the market and 
through see economic force (and the characters and armies that it 
can pay for) overwhelm the DS.

Almost every change GSI has made has favored the FP.

Rumors: tell of character locations, telling them where characters  
are.  (Remember that character strength is the DS strength; knowing 
where an army is and who is in command isn't any big deal). Here is 
a way to be told the name of the agent whose been stealing from you 
for the last few turns, killing your characters, etc.

BTW, a recent new type of rumor tells of money transfers between 
nations. This told of Harad's friendliness toward the DS before he 
had declared. Suddenly, they hit him with everything but the kitchen 
sink. I'm sure the FP need money transfers far less than the DS from 
the neutrals.

(Tom's note:  christ, this hurts.  Another nail in the coffin of the 

Harder agent actions, more deaths: certainly favors the FP. In early 
games, DS agent powers were able to help their weaker brethren with 
gifts of gold.  This is much more difficult.

Recently I have seen FP use their economic base to field decent cav 
armies.  Since DS have trouble fielding all cav armies, much less 
feeding also feeding them, these cav armies present a real problem. 
(Try to catch a cav army with an infantry army with no food).

I have seen a new (and terrifying) tactic in a recent game. Without 
going into the details (because I don't like it and I fear that its 
use could lead to automatic FP victory in every game), but they have 
discovered a tactic that causes one or two failed DS sells almost 
every turn. Needless to say, DS who can't sell anything in a given 
turn have serious problems. We have lost 3 DS to this in just 7 
turns of a new game. And truthfully, there wasn't anything we could 
do about: the market just refused to buy their products. And since 
you can't predict who it will affect ahead of time, you can't do 
anything about it. (They'll go bankrupt before you can transfer them 

Tom Walton expressed the same opinion (that it was difficult to 
impossible for the DS to win a challenge game vs. competent 
competition). Middle Earth, as it is currently is setup, is the 
economic-military might of the FP vs. the character strength of the 
DS. (Do you realize that the five neutrals have more economic might 
than the 10 DS put together?)  The agent changes gave away some of 
the DS character power while doing nothing to reduce the FP 
economics. Put another way: the DS average about 6 pop ctrs each. 
They own *no* cities and the avg size is about halfway between a 
village and a town (156 total pop ctr levels); the FP avg little 
over a town as the avg size and avg 10.5 pop ctrs each (322 total 
levels). (If my count is accurate, it is 62 vs. 105) Let me put it 
another way: add up the taxable levels of those pop ctrs at a 40% 
tax rate, and the DS' income is 94,000/turn and the FP's  is 
217,000. That is an AVERAGE difference of 12,300 gold (at 40%) 
between the avg. FP and the avg. DS at game start.

You can always say it didn't happen that way in the books. (I've 
heard that one too many times about assassinations). But unless GSI 
is willing to totally rewrite the game, add DS pop ctrs or subtract 
FP pop ctrs, the dragons are necessary. (Alternately: give the DS 
free armies with no upkeep).

You do realize that the same argument against dragons can be made 
against agents? You have a super agent. You started with some agent 
artifacts or picked up one awesome artifact (Ring of Wind) and you 
can know destroy the well-planned and carefully orchestrated attacks 
of your enemy. How much skill does it take to do a 615 order?

I feel the balance of power is already more than sufficiently in the 
hands of the FP. Removing dragons WITHOUT MAJOR CHANGES to the game 
would only make this much, much worse. (How about making Sauron 
recruitable? I'll bet that he'd toast some FP armies!) 

Reply to Keith Petersen
From Tom Walton

Keith is right on all points (except perhaps that comparison between 
agents and dragons).  As was stated in the article in Mouth #14, 
removing dragons would cripple the DS in most games.  To truly 
restore the balance, making skill the most important factor in ME- 
PBM, would take a major rewrite of the positions.  At the very 
least, a number of Free and Neutral pop centers would have to be 
reduced in size, or eliminated altogether to bring things into 

This is rather funny, I think; while most players agree that the DS 
are badly outgunned, my latest issue of "Whispers" contains six or 
seven ended games - with the DS winning all but one.  Are the Free 
in all those games really that incompetent?!  Do Free positions 
attract dorks as a rule?  What do you non-dork Free-players think?

An interjection from Brian:  Brian gave me his own experiences among 
Free Peoples to outline the problem:

     Game  62: Woodmen dropped, Eothraim out, Northern
               Gondor lost and Dwarves completely
     Game  97: Woodmen dropped, Northern Gondor lost.
     Game 131: Woodmen, Eothraim, Arthedain, and Noldo

And this does not even list just plain boneheads.

The point being, that at least in my limited experience, the Free 
Peoples are more often burdened with either new players who have to 
work on a fast learning curve (as some of my redoubtable allies in 
game 97 have done), or they are toast - Brian.

There's some speculation and rumor that one of the reasons that GSI 
isn't particular interested in revamping the 1650 game is that the 
2940 game is soon coming out.  They expect a major 'defection' to 
the new game, with interest in the old rapidly dropping off.  From 
a business standpoint, it makes no sense to correct the imbalance in 
the 1650 game if the number of new players drops below a certain
critical threshold.  So it may be that we're stuck with things the 
way they are.

On the other hand, I also heard that Bill took the opportunity to 
correct the problems inherent in the old game with the release of 
the new, and that the nations will be much more balanced (as will be 
the allegiances).  I also heard (rumor, mind you), that it'll take 
longer to build up military power (longer games - groan), and that 
both encounters and dragons have been completely rewritten.  It may 
no longer be possible (or perhaps only under rare circumstances) to 
recruit dragons in the 2940 game.  I certainly hope this is the 
case; of all things that people complain about, dragons are the 
biggest bitch that I see in my mailbox (this includes people who 
play Dark Servants and see the dragon as a 'cheat' to balance the 
inadequacies of Mordor, one not available to newer players who don't 
have the huge database files).

         Strategy & Tactics:  The Cloud Lord

From Brian Mason

It is, once more, with a certain degree of trepidation that I begin 
this strategy and tactics column. First of all, my experience with 
character-based nations is minimal: the only good agents I've ever 
had have been killed by even better agents. Secondly, once more my 
submission is being followed by one which is going to be much 
better; Tom has played the Cloud Lord, and played him quite well 
(Tom's note:  flattery will get you everywhere, Brian...need a new 
major town in game 97?).   So, like last weeks offering, this one is 
intended to mostly consist of observations which might assist the 
novice at the position.

How does the nation of the Cloud Lord 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 Dark Servants
=================== ============== =========================
Total Tax Base      tied for 18th  3rd
Resource Base       22nd           9th
Combat Strength     9th            2nd
Character points    14th           9th
Artifacts           12th           7th

The above are pretty misleading. Looking at these results, you might 
be led to believe that the strength of the Cloud lies in his 
military, not his characters. However, the truth is that his troops 
are far removed from the "front" and that is will take him time to 
get them there. Also, he does not have the recruiting centers that 
other, more military, nations of the Dark Servtants have.

The Cloud Lord has pretty poor production. Expected production 
(Population Center Development, Brian Mason, "The Mouth," #2) which
has not been adjusted for climate for the nation of the Cloud Lord 
would be as follows:

material    le    br    st    mi    fo    ti    mo    go
=========== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====
production  705   391   171   15    2277  103   165   2773

The Cloud Lord has fair production of most commodities he might 
need. His major shortfall is in the area of timber. Three of his 
population centers (3626, 3428, 3528) start the game with no 
fortifications. Not so much for defensive purposes, but rather, to 
protect them from being degraded if loyalty drops, it is important 
that these population centers have towers built on them. Because of 
this shortfall in the area of timber production, and also because 
the climate modifiers are usually better, I would encourage the 
Cloud Lord player to create new camps in Hill & Rough hexes; first 
at 3529 and 3729, and then south of the Ephel Duath, between the 33 
and 36 columns (the 33 column being the western limit to the Cloud 
Lord  map and the 36 column being the western limit to the map of 
the Easterlings).

While you do not have a backup capital, your capital is rather 
secure. Attack from the northwest or north is virtually impossible 
as the attacker would need to go through Mordor to get to you. 
Attack from the northeast would first pass through the area of the 
Long Rider and Blind Sorcerer. Attack from the South is the only 
significant threat, and even then you would have many turns advance 
warning. In the table below is shown the number of turns it would 
take a cavalry army force marching to reach 3630. The first column 
list the possible starting location, the second column lists who the 
probable attacker could be, the third column lists who you could 
possibly get advance warning from (i.e. the starting location is on 
their map), while the fourth column lists the minimum number of 
moves from that location to your capital (3630) force marching a 
cavalry army.

Starting       Probable       Advance        Turns to
from           attacker       warning?       reach you
============== ============== ============== ===============
3231           South Gondor   Fire King           2
               Haradwaith     Quiet Avenger

3232           South Gondor   Quiet Avenger       2

3436           Haradwaith     Quiet Avenger       3

4133           Easterlings    none                3

4022           Northmen       Long Rider          3

4225           Northmen       Blind Sorcerer      3

The bottom line here being that you can have at least two turns to 
recruit once you are aware of an army moving on you. Therefore, you 
should keep in your capital the materials to recruit 800 (if you do 
not improve your capital to a city) heavy cavalry.

Why heavy cavalry? It has the potential to not only reach you, but 
once a target is identified you can then go after it.

The Cloud Lord is one of the strongest, most fun nations in the game 
to play. The win the game more often than any non-neutral (Winners 
& Losers in Middle Earth, Tom Walton, "The Mouth," #8). Without a 
doubt, your agents are your greatest advantage. You should develop 
a plan early on to make sure your agents are constantly improving 
their skills.

This is a list of below of Cloud Lord characters, their starting 
abilities, and suggested assignments. 

Name           co   ag   em   ma   st   assignment
============== ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====================
Ar-Gular                 10   20        improve skill ranks
Araudagul      40                  20   army commander
Erennis             40                  agent #1
Gontran             30                  agent #2
Grasty         30                       army commander
Ji Indur       20   40        40   30   agent #3
Kadida              30                  agent #4
Shoglic                       30        mage

Of the first four character slots, three should be new  agents while 
the fourth should be an emissary to place camps in the locations 
listed above. The army should be split, leaving 100 hc behind at the 
capital. This army should be increased in size whenever production 
is sufficient in the needed commodities (leather, bronze/steel, 
mounts). The remainder of the starting army of the Cloud Lord, 5300 
strong, should be marched to and attack Northern Gondor. The Cloud 
Lord should never think of himself as a military power, rather, his 
starting army should go into the field to assist the military might 
of Mordor and once lost should not be replaced. The true strength of 
the Cloud Lord is in his agents. Both the four he starts with and 
the three he names. To march from 3630 through Mordor to Osgiliath 
will require one forced march and three regular marches (assuming 
the Fire King takes Minas Ithil, which he should).

Once the army is lost, the army commander should return to execute 
the capital only command orders or to improve the fortifications of 
the towns on the plains when the necessary timber is available.  

Consider the following financial turn of events:

          tax rate  revenue   maintenance    reserve
Turn 1    40%       13773     25800          40000

actions - raise taxes to 60%, name a 40 agent and a 30 emissary.

Turn 2    60%       19273     26840          12973

actions - name a 40 agent.

Turn 3    60%       19273     27880            406

So, as you can see, given this conservative turn of events something 
has to change.

The Cloud Lord should lose most of his troops on turn five, putting 
him in good financial shape. Also, his gold production may be 
better. Even so, he will be in poor financial shape for camp 
placement and tower building unless he gets more gold.

Fortunately, this goes hand in hand with improving his agents. From 
turn one he should, after naming a 40 agent, begin moving his agents 
out where they can begin stealing gold. If not from the neutral 
wealthy Harad, then from the Gondors, preferably South Gondor as 
Northern Gondor will be, despite their troop losses, in poor 
financial shape due to the losses of population centers in Ithilien 
and Rhovanion. There are other attractive nations to go after early 
on, but only the Gondors are likely to have the gold production that 
you will need to keep your own economy going.

The agent improving should go something like this, guard until the 
agent rank reaches 40-50, then move to a hostile population center, 
steal gold until the agent rank reaches 50-60 then move to where 
poorer enemy characters are, kidnap and assassinate until the agent 
rank gets above 80, and then go after the primary commanders.

After your army is lost, consider an adventure into Eraidor to take 
agent actions against Arthedain and Cardolan. This will inspire fear 
in these nations for several turns and will help keep them off 
guard, and possibly waste orders.

Fear is a very important weapon. Your adversaries will, after being 
the victim of agent attacks, will (or should be) constantly be on 
the lookout for your agents. Having their own agents ScoChar rather 
than improving their ranks by guarding.

Send your enemies threatening messages. Tell them you are coming and 
don't show up. Tell them you are coming and do show up, but make 
sure you win. Tell them you're stealing gold. Boast. To truly use 
fear as a weapon you must establish the game persona of the 
invincible agent.

From Tom Walton

This is the first time I've gone into detail on a character-oriented 
nation.  I tend to favor neutrals, who in most cases have lousy
characters; and of the Dark Servants, I generally opt for those with 
a strong military presence.  Characters to me are unique, but more 
commonly adjuncts to the primary concern - the conquest of the enemy 
via brute force.

I say this as a cautionary note to my suggestions for the Cloud Lord 
nation.  While my own experience as the Cloud Lord in game 115 has 
turned out remarkably well, I've done much worse as the Dragon Lord 
in 117, where I can't seem to get the military and character aspects 
of that nation to mesh in a coherent fashion.  So, while I can say 
in all honesty that I'm fairly decent with strategy and armies, I 
can't make the same remarks with respect to those nations for which 
characters, and not armies, determine victory.  In light of this, my 
suggestions might not be particularly good, and may only have worked 
for me out of sheer luck.  Buyer beware.

The following is a run-down of the exact strategy I used in game 
115, and which has put me into the number #1 slot for the Dark 
Servants (and fairly high among the Free and Neutrals as well).  
Since the strategy never failed at any point, I can't think of 
anything better to recommend.  I would, of course, love to hear an 
alternate point of view from someone who primarily players character 
nations and not military nations.  Onward:

The Cloud Lord is arguably the strongest Dark Servant nation in 
Middle-Earth.  This may sound strange:  the position has a so-so 
army, a poor character set, and only a few mediocre artifacts.  This 
is off-set by a strong economy, but even here the Cloud Lord doesn't 
compare to the Witch-King or to the stronger Free Peoples and 
Neutrals.  What set of factors, then, is responsible for making the 
Cloud Lord the top Dark Servant to take a winning position in all 
games of Middle-Earth?

In playing the Cloud Lord, I identified a few minor strengths which 
turned out to be major assets right off the bat:

- economic power.  Though the Cloud Lord is a minor economic entity 
in comparison to many nations, he ranks third among all Dark Servant 
nations.  Once the Cloud Lord loses his army to the Free Peoples, he 
can generate a nice surplus of gold each and every turn, something 
very few positions in Mordor can do even if they too lose their 
forces (although this is in part due to the fact that most of the 
Cloud Lord's characters suck).

- economic bonus.  Being the Cloud Lord, acquiring the 'excess' gold 
of other nations is fairly easy to do.  Indeed, judicious agent 
creation and use will give the Cloud Lord more gold than he knows 
what to do with.  In 115, this allowed me to ship over 100,000 gold 
to allies in the space of four turns, without which one of these 
might have gone bankrupt.  In any event, this gold not only will 
strengthen the Cloud Lord, it'll also help his allies keep up the 
good fight against the enemy.

- isolation.  Unless Mordor has some real boobs running the show, 
the Cloud Lord is situated such that he doesn't have to worry about 
his pop centers coming under attack.  This means that once his army 
is disposed of, he doesn't have to raise significant forces for home 
defense.  And, as Brian pointed out, imminent invasion will still 
give the Cloud Lord at least two turns of warning prior to the 
attack, allowing him to raise forces to counter the threat as it 

- agents.  Pretty obvious, eh?  Even with the changes to the orders 
made by GSI, Cloud Lord agents are still very effective even when 
first created.  Being able to make 40-pointers capable of stealing 
gold, possibly with a high stealth bonus, allows the Cloud Lord to 
get them into action right away without first training them up.  
Though assassinations and kidnappings may be out of the Cloud Lord's 
league during the opening of the game, gold theft and sabotage are 

The opening turns tend to be critical for Dark Servants; a mistake 
can result in disaster for the entire team.  This is what I suggest 
for the Cloud Lord:

- retire Ar-Gular immediately.  He's a worthless emissary/mage who 
won't be effective in any way for at least the next 15 turns.  Get 
rid of him and replace him with a brand-new 40-point agent.

- name 3 more agents asap.  This will give you four new agents 
within the first couple of turns, increasing your stable of agents 
to 8.

- use the last character slot to name a pure emissary.

- Once you have your eight agents, split them into three groups.  
Have two agents hit up one nation for gold (your worst agents are 
good choices), with two others doing the same to another nation 
(note:  do NOT do this with 30-point agents.  Train up the two low 
agents you start with to 40+ before sending them out to wreak 
havoc).  This guards against a single target running out of gold and 
leaving you in the lurch.  Take the remaining four agents and create 
a company under Ji Indur.  This company will steal gold, sabotage 
fortifications, and kidnap minor or unprotected characters.
	 Many people think that making Ji Indur the company commander 
is a waste.  Note, however, that he's the best agent available at 
start, with a potential 90 skill rank for kidnappings/assassinations 
(40 skill + 30 stealth + 20 bonus).  On the other hand, he's fairly 
lousy at his other skills, and will take turns of training to get up 
to decent skill scores (while crawling up the track in agent skill 
by doing 'Guard' orders).  From my point of view, it was a waste not 
to have him on the offense right away, and so I choose to make him 
the company leader rather than blow 10,000 gold and a character slot 
on another commander-agent.

- the Cloud Lord army is a major drain on the economy, and it's 
difficult to run a military campaign while leaving open enough
character slots to create an extensive agent network.  I'd suggest 
taking that army to the Ithil Pass immediately in support of the 
Fire King and neighbors against Gondor.  Attack the enemy as quickly 
as possible and try to lose the army early.  Your forces at Ithil 
can be the determining factor in whether or not Mordor is bottled up 
by the Free or whether it breaks out into the Ithilien and 

- begin recruiting a small force of heavy cav at the capitol once 
the main army is gone.  This will act as the home defense force for 
the Cloud Lord, and an emergency response team in case the Free 
Peoples break through the Pass or Morannon, or come in through the 
East.  Heavy cav are the only troops capable of reacting fast enough 
to an invasion, so a smaller force of cav is more effective than a 
larger force of heavy infantry.

- After your agents are on the offense, you should have gold coming 
out of your ears.  Don't hoard it; this will only hurt your allies, 
and indirectly, yourself.  Send excess gold to those which need it 
the most (probably the Witch-king and Dragon Lord).  The stronger 
your allies are, the less likely it is that the Free Peoples will 
come looking to bash down the gates to your capitol.  Since these 
allies will be bearing the brunt of the military campaign (in effect 
fighting for you), it only makes sense that they have the funds 
required to do a good job of it.

- As for stealing gold, the best choice for this is the Gondors.  
The Eothraim and Northmen have gold at the start, but they tend to 
lose their treasuries quickly.  Aside from which, they also happen 
to be favorite targets of other Dark Servants.  The Gondors, on the 
other hand, are usually running a surplus (all those troops dying in 
the Ithilien), so they often have cash in the vaults.
	 There's also the possibility of stealing from the rich 
southern neutrals, but I'd avoid this if I were you.  Having played 
southern neutrals 5 times (and getting hit by the Dark Servants 4 of 
those 5 times), I can tell you that more often than not the name of 
the offending agent showed up on my pop center report.  Even if the 
character was new, a simple spell would reveal who that character 
belonged to, identifying the fool who thought he was being so 
clever.  I've also doubled enemy agents to find out which nation 
they served, as well as captured them and interrogated them.  In 
all, if you hit the neutrals be prepared to incur their wrath and 
possibility a change of allegiance to the enemy side.

- The use of the agent company under Ji Indur is probably your most 
critical decision.  I'd advocate hitting nations with poor 
characters (such as the Eothraim or Northmen), leaving the Gondors 
alone for the opening game.  While this was my plan in game 115, the 
refusal of the Gondors to guard their characters, and the first-turn 
drop of the Fire King, forced me to concentrate my agent power and 
start butchering strong enemy leaders.  This wouldn't have been 
possible against an experienced set of players, but I lucked out in 
115 (damn good thing, too, because three Dark Servants dropped by 
turn 2).
- Many players spread out their agents among a host of nations.  I 
think this is a waste.  Any Free nation can take one or two agent 
attacks a turn and shrug them off as annoying; no Free nation can 
hold up long against the attentions of the entire Cloud Lord agent 
set.  I've used massed attacks with good results against the 
Gondors, kidnapping a host of characters, disbanding armies, and 
sacking treasuries.  It has, so far, allowed my nation to hold the 
Ithilien against all-comers, even with the Fire King out and no one 
else inclined to come help.
	 An example:  I recently sent both my company of four agents 
under Ji Indur and four other gold-theft agents to Minas Anor.  All 
identified characters present were kidnapped or killed, and the 
treasury was gutted.  In the space of one turn, Gondor's entire war 
effort was crippled.  Even should my agents leave, what will the 
paranoia inspired by a possible return do to his plans?

- A common tactic is to send agents to Eriador to help out the 
Witch-King.  This can be a good move, as neither Cardolan nor 
Arthedain are set up to repel enemy agents.  However, this also puts 
most of the Cloud Lord's agent power far from Mordor - too far to 
deal with a sudden thrust by the Free against the Dark Servants, or 
with the declaration of a southern neutral for Good.  I'd caution 
against sending your agents so far away until both the Ithilien and 
southern Rhovanion are secured militarily by your allies.

- This last suggestion will probably generate some controversy.  
Many players advocate stacking artifacts to create super-agents, 
those capable of blowing through guards and killing the best of 
characters.  I do not.  Stacking the artifacts means you have one 
really good agent (or two or three) - but that's it.  Instead, I 
believe that artifacts should be spread out to create a half dozen 
or more decent agents which can sabotage pesky fortifications or 
eliminate average-rank characters.  This allows you to make many 
more disabling attacks against the enemy each turn, which I think 
will prove much more a hindrance than losing a single nice character 
every turn.  It's something to crow about when you off Tarondor or 
Elrond, but really, what the hell difference is it going to make if 
10,000 Free troops are trying to barrel through the Pass?
	 In doing this, agents aren't used to kill the best characters 
among the enemy, but those which are most critical to the war 
effort.  Those left in the capitol, for example, are generally not 
very skilled; yet they're trusted with buys, sells, transport 
orders, and raising troops.  Kill these guys and the plans of the 
enemy go to hell in a handbasket.  Kill his army leader, and the 
subcommander takes over and keeps on trucking (as friendly Ice King 
opponent in game 97 just found out).  Other examples:  off the enemy 
emissaries and put a halt to his camp creation/upgrade efforts; nail 
one of his mages so he can't 'Scry' or 'Locate' anymore, depriving 
him of needed information; make a counterattack against his guarding 
agents, leaving better characters exposed to kidnaps on the 
following turns; steal all of his artifacts and drop the 'good' ones 
in the Sea of Nurn.  How nice is Tarondor if he doesn't have all 
those neat command items anymore, eh?  Hardly worth the effort of 
- Some final suggestions:  create two agents and another emissary on 
turn 6 (the latter in support of economic expansion); destroy minor 
bridges to train up new agents and really piss off the Free when 
their movement is screwed up; waste the fortifications of Gondor and 
point out the vulnerability to Harad and the Corsairs ("gee, the 
castle at Pelargir just disappeared - you guys want the city?"); 
drop in on the Woodmen for a short visit; nail the fortifications of 
the two Dwarven towns in the Grey Mountains (3002 and 2904) and 
watch them degrade due to low loyalty; do the same to Goblin-Gate 
and Gundabad if the Free have captured them.

The Cloud Lord is vulnerable in a couple of areas:

- Some players still operate as if the old agent rules are in 
effect, thinking they can kill hordes of guards and take out the 
primary target without working up a sweat.  Then they complain to 
high heaven when their efforts fail, or worse, their agents are 
killed in the attempt.
	 The old agent rules are OUT!  To play the Cloud Lord 
effectively, you now have to work up to these wondrous feats, 
avoiding the 'targets of glory' and working on more mundane tasks.  
This fact is one that a few Dark Servant regulars have difficulty in 
accepting, and so they go from being good players to poor ones.

- Agents are generally challenge-bait.  The main reason I formed a 
company was so that my agents could refuse and do an action while 
the company commander moved them (Ji Indur refuses and moves).  Any 
good commander can kill the best of agents, especially if he's 
toting around a glowing sword.  Betting on the enemy not seeing you, 
or not challenging you, is dangerous.

- Avoid enemy emissaries.  These guys can double your agents PRIOR 
to agent actions, rendering your characters ineffective.  And they 
remain ineffective until you conduct counter-intelligence (while 
giving away loads of information to the enemy).  I've used this 
tactic on a number of occasions against enemy agents, with the enemy 
being none the wiser (I've yet to have someone 'un-double' one of my 

- The Cloud Lord is lousy at scouting.  If you scout with only one 
agent when entering a new area, you'll likely miss a few characters 
no matter how good your agent is.  To counter this, have two agents 
move in and scout at the same time.  It's rare for them to both miss 
the same character, so the scouting reports often overlap and catch 
characters you'd otherwise not see.  This is true even if the agents 
aren't very good (two 50-point scouts are better than one 80-point 

That's it for me.  Since it's only turn 14 in my game, I really 
can't say much else about the use of the Cloud Lord after the 
initial stages of the game.

      by Leslie Foreman

The time has come to put pen to paper.
I choose to discuss the GSI caper.
On considering the options available to me
Concerning The Game - Oh, my - Let's see.
A narrative, a poem or an article with style -
Making the decision did take a while!
A poem was selected as the form of choice
To use rhyme and rhythm to echo my voice-
A poem seemed appropriate when discussing The Game
Since they're in the novels from whence The Game came.
There are numerous aspects to this gaming endeavor -
Folks see a plan work and think "O, How Clever!"
The importance of strategy cannot be overstated:
(Planning and  information are often underrated.)
Luck plays a part - we know it is true-
In dragon encounters and abilities, too.
Dragons are things players would rather not meet
Their characters resemble a tasty, crunchy treat!
Planning hex movement can be confusing -
(Listening to the numbers is often amusing.)
The alliances of the players are neutral, evil and good -
The neutrals can be courted with promises of wood.
The secrets of the neutrals can make The Game fun.
Rhudaur, the Easterlings and always the Dun(s).
Then there's the neutrals who make a rich pair
With ships and good gold - the Harad and Corsair.
The Game has aspects which we have discussed -
The turnsheets and phone calls are also a must.
When I answer the phone and a voice says "Hello"
I don't know if its neutral, ally or foe.
Turns can be submitted in a whole bunch of ways -
If you send it by mail, it may take too many days.
If you phone in your turn you're running the risk
That the order's listed wrong - tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk.
The wave of the future that makes life so easy
Is your own personal fax - I think I feel queasy.
With all this in mind, I have one thing to say -
Good Gaming to you as you continue to play!

 The New Game - Email Style
        From Alan Ray

Ok here's my idea:  An all internet game.

I would like to form a group consisting of 25 people (including 
myself) completely from the internet for the new MEPBM II coming out 
in the summer (if there's enough interest, even a group for the 
current MEPBM).  This will have a twofold effect.

1)  No longer will we have to call long distance but simply get on 
the internet and write our allies, enemies, or nuetral territories. 
This means LOWER phone bills.

2) From the 25 people that participate we will be able to gather 
info. a LOT faster on the MEPBM game coming out in the summer.

I have already talked to some people about this and they seemed 
interested.  I have talked to GSI about this new  game and they said 
that startup would be 12.50 for current players.  Of course, he 
said, the rules have changed a little and a new rulebook would be 
5.00.  So a total of 17.50 with the new rulebook.

If interested contact Alan Ray at:

Let's make it happen!  If you have questions write me at the above 
address.  See ya!

          The New Game - Another Viewpoint
      From Brian Mason

I remember first hearing of and registering for Middle-earth Play- 
by-Mail in late 1992. I recall poring over maps of Middle-earth from 
the books of Tolkien, reading the annals closely, and trying to pick 
up any clues I could which might assist me in my upcoming game.

My first and greatest shock, was finding, a couple of turns into the 
game that all my work, while it was interesting, and allows me to 
role-play nations then and now quite well within a historical 
context, was virtually for naught, as almost everything was already 

To try to make the tables as even as I could, I then became a pack 
rat of the first order. With the invaluable assistance of Glen 
Mayfield (to whom I owe a deep debt of gratitude) I acquired all the 
information I could: nation setups, encounter, riddle, artifact and 
dragon lists. All of this in an attempt to allow me to have the same 
starting advantages as my adversaries in the game (alas, it was not 
just information I lacked, for I was facing my co-editor, Tom of the 
silver tongue, who seduced both Rhudaur and the Dunlendings to his 

Nevertheless, this has always been one of the goals of "The Mouth of 
Sauron:" to even the table. If you win a game, it's not because you 
have more starting information, or because you have better encounter 
lists, it's because you are a better player.

However, in this goal of making things more fair, much has been lost 
in the taking away the mystery of the game.

Allow me to digress.

I remember in my senior year of high school, my good friend, Eliot 
Lee took the day off to wait in line to see the premiere of "The 
Empire Strikes Back." I, being a nerd of the first order, was not 
willing to miss calculus, so I stayed in school. On meeting Eliot, 
I asked him how the movie was. He said: "Oh, it was real good. Darth 
Vader is Luke's father."

I wanted to slug him.

In a moment, the drama that the movie could have built for me was 
taken away. While I then enjoyed the movie, and watched the 
devlopment of the plot closely, the drama of the moment was lost.

This commentary on the new game is then an appeal to maintain the 
mystery. We have always made it a point to publish anything non 
abusive that is sent to us. I can't think of a more fine example of 
Tom and I  publishing anything we disagree with more than the spirit 
of Alan Ray's suggestion above.

It is this very thing, early team games, and agreements to exchange 
data that can and will destroy the mystery and excitement of the New 
Game for me, you, and me-pbm'ers out in the wings. While all we can 
do is be advocates, and the fact remains that eventually the New 
Game will be known as well as this one, it will start off very 
unknown. I am firmly committed to not openly discussing the game 
until about a year has passed.

Tom and I have discussed this point extensively over the past few 
months. Because of how strong we both feel on this issue, and 
because of the drought that me-pbm 1650 will experience after the 
new game starts, we will cease publication of "The Mouth" sometime 
late this summer, and it will be in hiatus until such time as we 
feel that it is time, once more, to "even the tables."

We both realize that some of you will not share these opinions. It 
is our hope that, on reflection, more of you will opt for keeping 
the mystery in the new game.

          Last Word
       From Tom Walton

A few things from me:

Data files:  As I was sitting around doing the intensely boring 
chore of reformatting my files to ASCII text (something I've been 
avoiding for the last two months), I realized that my encounter file 
has a couple of bits of information that most likely never hit the 
Mouth.  These are minor things (e.g., confirmation on a suspected 
result, a blank response filled in here and there, etc.) and in all 
likelihood won't affect your games; but if you want the file, you 
can request it from Brian or myself.
	 Yep, with the conversion of dragons/riddles/encounters to 
ASCII text, I can now send these files to you from AOL without the 
mailer moving everything around and making them unreadable.  The
response from me won't be instant (allow a week, I like to do these 
things all at once), but you WILL get the file.

To dispel a rumor, and I don't know how the hell this one got 
started:  I have no inside track with GSI, wield no influence with 
Bill, and am not being invited to work for the company.  I recently 
heard this craziness and dismissed it - until someone called and 
asked me to 'talk to Bill' about getting him into a dropped position 
in a game, when GSI had already refused to place him in that 
position.  Seriously now, if I had an inside track would my 
characters ever get attacked by dragons?  I'd appreciate it if you 
could squash this rumor should you chance to hear it, as it leads to 
all sorts of unpleasantness over favoritism and access to restricted 
knowledge on game mechanics.  I DO NOT GET ANY SPECIAL TREATMENT!!! 
(Don't even think about using that excuse if I kick your butt in a 

And also, over the editorial comments Brian made concerning the new 

I agree with Brian whole-heartedly.  As my first game was 54, the 
mystery for me was shattered almost right away once I realized that 
everyone I was fighting had the setups, encounter and artifact 
lists, etc., and that I would have to acquire these to have any hope 
at all of survival.  I did, and the first 6 turns of 54 were the 
only turns in all 12 games that I've been in where I didn't have 
most of the game information at my fingertips.  This, of course, 
killed the sense of discovery right off.

In the new game Brian and I will shut down the Mouth and refuse to 
participate in large efforts to gain information on these items.  
We'll still exchange information with our allies in our games, but 
we won't attempt to form networks for the sole purpose of 
cataloguing everything in the game.  In this manner, we hope to keep 
some of that lost mystery alive, even for a little while, enhancing 
the enjoyment of ourselves and others who feel likewise.

There will, of course, come a time when people who don't see things 
the same way we do start getting a marked advantage because of the 
lists they've compiled.  When the differences start becoming 
apparent between new players and old (probably a year, we think), 
we'll once more jump into the fray and try to level the playing 
field, as we've done in some small way with the Mouth.

I apologize in advance; we had no intention of disclosing the 
retirement of the Mouth, to take place late this summer, until much 
closer to that date.  But Alan Ray has jumped us here and we thought 
it best to lay out our plans now.  While the loss of the Mouth may 
prove irritating or an inconvenience to some of our readers 
(especially those nifty data files!), I hope you can understand why 
we want to try to disable the info-networks in the new game for as 
long as possible.  Since the Mouth has, approximately, two hundred 
or more readers (who really knows anymore, what with it appearing in
places like Denmark, Germany, and Singapore), putting it on ice when 
the new game opens will, we hope, dissolve the largest info- 
gathering team in the ME-PBM community.

Again, in all likelihood we WILL be back and running assuming that 
both Brian and I are in good health and still playing this silly 
game, probably around Christmas of '95.  And the Mouth will continue 
to run for the 1650 game right up until the 2940 game starts; so 
there could be another 20 or so issues in your future here.  It's 
awhile yet before this puppy bites the dust.  While we don't want to 
start cataloguing the new game, we've an intense desire to finish up 
the lists for this old one (anyone want to help me with the dragons?  
What, no takers?).

Until the ghost of Adumir is avenged, and Urzahil's head rests upon 
a pike in game 97,