Help the GM prep: Eowyn

edited January 2016 in Make Stuff!
You've got one character to deal with: Eowyn, from Lord of the Rings.

What's a great situation to throw her into, and when and where does it take place? Feel free to play fast-and-loose with Tolkien-stoff, as you like (or stick to it, if you wish).

What's the most interesting thing about her that we could highlight in an RPG?

(Clarification: Eowyn is the player character, and the only one, here.)

Comments

  • Dishonoured dead Rohirrim warriors are haunting her. These warriors blame her, but were cowards that trailed the other Rohirrim riders and were ambushed by Uruk hai
  • Aragon, king now, shows up and it becomes clear that there is a side of himself he doesn't feel he can express with Liv Tyler.
  • Her son Elboron, as a young adult is showing no respect for her or Faramir. Sent for a while to Gondor he has been sent back along with a letter saying his conduct was unbecoming. He was drunk and clearly lusting after Arwen - this is the polite way for Aragorn to send the problem back home.

    And Elboron's cousins really want to joust him into the mud.

    Actually, when are we talking about here?
  • Wormtongue gets Theoden to order Eowyn to do various kinds of not-cool stuff in various settings. Over what will she finally break her vows to obey her liege? In front of whom? First not-cool stuff that comes to mind: punishing the righteous, letting the wicked go free or act unopposed, publicly supporting others who do these things, marrying some douche.

    Wait, Paul, are you prepping a game, and someone's playing an Eowyn-like character? Or is this just some thought-experiment?
  • edited January 2016
    Yes, this is prep for a real game, with just one player! The place and time is yet unspecified. (So feel free to play fast-and-loose with that if a great idea comes to mind.)

    Good stuff so far!

    Investigative questions are good too, since we're on this kick of communal prep. I'll throw out one:

    If Eowyn was a character in a game with Keys (TSoY, Blackbird, etc), what might be some great Keys to describe her character?
  • At what point in time does this game take place? It's easier for me to ground my thoughts if I have "Okay, this is pre-Towers, so the Theoden/Wormtongue/Sauruman dynamic is still in play, and Aragorn is not" or the reverse. (This even applies to Keys, other than "Shieldmaiden of Rohan.")
  • I said above that it's up to the reader. However, "after the events of the Lord of the Rings trilogy" is probably best from here on out.
  • edited January 2016
    Although the One Ring is destroyed and the Ringwraiths have been slain, the lesser rings of power are not accounted for, and are now no longer subject to Sauron's command. If they have been smuggled out of Pelennor Fields (or Barad-dûr or wherever the heck they were), a great deal of chaos might ensue.

    Imagine a petty warlord or bandit of Angmar getting his hands on one of the Nine, whipping some Men, Dwarves, and Orcs into submission, and trying to set himself up as the Witch-King Returned. Who better than Éowyn for the King to send to bring peace to Arnor?

    And, hell, when she's done with him, there are eight more to deal with....
  • Oliphaunts
  • creases,

    That's cool - I had the very same idea last night, and have even started working it up. Lots of potential there!

    Oliphaunts, very important, yes. Noted.
  • edited January 2016
    Hey, maybe after Eowyn killed the witch-king, his ring was left lying there, and she picked it up...

    Either that or her fight with him has created some attachment between the two. His memories, a remnant of his consciousness, something at the corners of her mind or in her dreams...
  • -Wraith things that No Man May Harm, or even Perceive, are possessing people in Gondor and causing them do Bad Things.

    -Young would-be women warriors of various peoples are coming to Eowyn and asking her to train them in secret.

  • Either that or her fight with him has created some attachment between the two. His memories, a remnant of his consciousness, something at the corners of her mind or in here dreams...
    That's *exactly* where I was going. I should post my idea myself, I suppose!
    -Wraith things that No Man May Harm, or even Perceive, are possessing people in Gondor and causing them do Bad Things.

    -Young would-be women warriors of various peoples are coming to Eowyn and asking her to train them in secret.
    That's fantastic, particularly the second one!

  • Creases idea of the lesser rings, what did happen to them in Tolkiens history's ? Cus for plot ideas I like :)
  • Creases idea of the lesser rings, what did happen to them in Tolkiens history's ? Cus for plot ideas I like :)
    Nothing is really said of them; Though it's safe to assume that after the destruction of The One, that their powers faded as well.
  • edited January 2016
    The Three that were given to Elves were carried into the West by Galadriel and Elrond.

    Of the Seven that were given to the Dwarflords, four were eaten by dragons and destroyed by the time of the War of the Ring. The remaining three had been re-acquired by Sauron and were held in Mordor, probably in Barad-dûr.

    Nothing is said in canon about the ultimate fate of the Nine given to Men upon the destruction of the Nazgûl. It's not even entirely clear whether the Nazgûl wore them, or whether Sauron kept them in Mordor. If they were worn, then they would presumably be wherever the wearer was when it fell. The Witch-King fell at Pelennor Fields. The other eight were at the Battle of the Black Gates, and were rushing toward Mount Doom when the One Ring was deatroyed (and Sauron, and apparently the Nazgûl, with it). So, if these rings were not destroyed when the One Ring was destroyed, they might have tumbled to earth somewhere in Mordor between the Black Gates and Mount Doom.

    If they weren't actually worn by the Nazgûl, they're probably in Barad-dûr, along with the three remaining rings of the Dwarves.

    In either event, the rings are likely to be found sooner or later by the Gondorian armies and colonists that will presumably sweep into Mordor and make it civilized, or their descendants.

    As for the remaining rings' power: the way I see it, there are three ways you could go. Either:

    1. They lose their power completely when the One Ring is destroyed. This is probably what Tolkien intended. Or:

    2. They retain some residual power. The possessor of one of these rings would have some minor sorcerous abilty and would be corrupted to evil, but would not be able to approach the Nazgûl's power. This is a reasonably Tolkien-ish outcome, and provides lots of adventure opportunities without ramping the conflict up to LotR levels. Or, finally:

    3. They remain at full strength, but no longer subject to the control of the One Ring. This seems to me to be the best option for high-stakes adventuring in the Fourth Age. It's broadly consistent with the letter of the text, if not its tone. Gandalf never seemed to be especially worried about the fate of any of the rings except the One Ring—but there were limits to Gandalf's knowledge of the rings' power and nature. This option would make for an especially grim surprise, because it means facing down a new generation of sorcerers who could rival the Nazgûl in power, but who are not controlled by Sauron and can act autonomously.
  • edited January 2016
    All of that said: Tolkien also toyed with the idea of a sequel to LotR that would revolve around the growth of a new secret cult of Morgoth in Fourth-Age Gondor. He abandoned the idea, apparently because he thought the stakes would never rise above the level of a mere "thriller", without adding anything thematically interesting to the legendarium. But, we're gamers, we're not in it for themes, we're in it for thrills. So, that might also be on the table.
  • Indeed! I've been thinking about it along these lines since I started this post.

    A quick look at the books shows that there are a few lines like (not verbatim), "The Witch-King's cry faded and was never heard again in this Age[...]" (emphasis mine).

    Likewise, even Sauron is described vaguely as a shadow which rose into the sky and was blown away by the wind... (it's really not terribly clear whether this means destruction or a retreat). (Although perhaps there is more about this elsewhere in the legendarium?)

    It seems believable to me that Tolkien was leaving some room for a "sequel", or, at least, believable enough for our purposes.

    creases, of your options above, I like the second. It's very Tolkienesque and appropriate - it's right that, in Middle-Earth, the villains of the present are ever weaker than those of the past, mere shadows of them; but it is balanced by the fading of the heroes, as well. Eowyn, badass as she is, is no Glorfindel or Gandalf or Galadriel, but will have to deal with evil as a Woman, not an immortal being of power.
  • edited January 2016
    On recovering a ring of power would she not be tempted by corruption?
    Maybe there could be relics to help protect her which she could adventure for or advice she must first seek.
  • edited January 2016
    On recovering a ring of power would she not be tempted by corruption?
    Maybe there could be relics to help protect her which she could adventure for or advice she must first seek.
    Ooh, I like that idea! Maybe when Boromir (and briefly Faramir) were angling for the Ring, Gondor put some research into how to control it instead of be controlled by it. The researchers could include the usual divide between the honest and responsible and the biased and power-hungry. Eowyn would encounter various sources pushing various approaches, and have to sort out whom to trust.
  • The researchers could include the usual divide between the honest and responsible and the biased and power-hungry. Eowyn would encounter various sources pushing various approaches, and have to sort out whom to trust.
    yea sort that out Eowyn,
    Hey also when Eowyn wears the ring the world changes around her. She is not visible and becomes some shade type form.
    Now this could be a whole new direction to go, e.g
    There could be a ring trapped in this other world worn by someone how will not take it off. So she must adventure alone to find this person?
    In this side realm could there be creatures that don't need rings to be in it.

    I wonder if there is a Tolkien explanation of all this stuff on the web?

  • edited January 2016
    Yeah! Without Sauron around, the realm you enter when wearing a ring should be different now. Maybe the basics persist, but without a giant flaming eye dominating the landscape, you can see other things at a distance, such as objects of power/significance that may or may not exist in recognizable form in the "real" world. Entering ring-land might be the only way to get certain things done, address certain threats, take advantage of certain opportunities, etc. And of course that entry still comes with a cost (slowly become a wraith? but a "free" wraith driven by something other than Sauron's will?)...
  • Interesting!

    Of course, there are also other possible interpretations, like an "unreliable narrator" reading of the Lord of the Rings. (How did Frodo *really* lose his finger? His story of Gollum biting it off and then falling into the lava seems a little *convenient*, wouldn't you say?)

    I've never heard a Tolkien explanation for how/why the Ring influenced the wearer's perception of the world around him, and how it's connected to "wraith-hood", but I'd imagine there is one somewhere! If anyone sees one, please mention it here.
  • I'm still curious to hear what people feel are thematic pillars of Eowyn's character, or anything else which could be used for Keys or similar game traits.

    Some kind of trait which explains her bravery and desire to prove she can do what a man can seems obvious enough. What else? (Or is there a particularly good Key/trait which captures this? In that case, feel free to drop it here.)
  • Themes? Honor and loyalty, leadership and service, family/Rohan and mankind/Middle Earth. Maybe freedom, if you hearken back to how much bullshit she had to suck up while Wormtongue was running things.
  • I love the idea, that someone has found the ring of Witch-king... that still had some residual power, anger, malice and hatred of original owner, which in time changed the one who found it (and kept it out of greed in hope he will sell it). He may hear Witch-kings whisper in his dreams, he hears echoes of his death-cry and sees ring of fire in front of him in broad daylight. He may settled in one of old Mordor fortresses on borders with Ithilien (either Minas Morgul against the ban of the King or for example Durthang) and became a tyrant, leader of evil men and raider. Powers of Ring are now unchanneled (without the evil will that focused them) and fuel him with strenght and torture him in the same time.

    Éowyn estabilished connection with Witch-king in moment when she killed him as well... and so both she and main antagonist share some kind of bond, may see each other in their dreams or sense something from the other.

    I imagine start of campaign when Faramir and most of men are gone to war alongside King and only Éowyn stays home in their home in Emyn Arnen with their small son Elboron, few servants and maids. They woke her in the middle of night because they have seen the light of nearby village burning against night sky. Raiders and main antagonist are coming to kill them. She takes sword, ready to defend her home and family against all evil. I imagine her bitter laughter as ring of steel in this dark hour, because she is not defeated yet, for she is the Lady of the Shield-arm, the White Lady of Rohan and Dernhelm still.
  • edited January 2016
    That's beautiful! I love it.

    Here's my own idea (which came to mind before I started this thread, and, as you will see, aligns quite coincidentally with some of the ideas posted here):

    Sometime after the events of the War of the Ring, Eowyn finds herself haunted by dreams where she is desperately searching through the desolate wastes of the battle of Minas Tirith. In the dreams, she is looking for something, turning over the remains of the dead, scrabbling in the earth...

    One night, unable to sleep, she wanders out into the garden. There she meets an apparition: an aged, noble, ancient, bearded man. He explains to her that he has long departed this world but seeks her aid.

    He tells her that he is unable to enter the afterlife and he believes it is because he has been given a purpose. Someone or something has been at the battlefield and taken something from the place where the Witch-King fell in battle. He worries that this could be ill news - perhaps someone wishes to revive the Witch-King, or draw on some fell sorcery?

    He beseeches her to find this person and stop them from whatever it is they are doing. As a ghost, he will accompany her and may be able to lend her his lore and wisdom, as well as guiding her towards their quarry, who appears to be heading South. There is not much time to spare!

    (The player has indicated that she would like Eowyn to be send on a quest or adventure, so this is what I came up with.)

    Possible Twist: The ghostly apparition guiding Eowyn could be, in fact, the shade of the Witch-King, hoping to get his hands on the Ring. (He may not know if it is the Ring which is being carried or not.)

    Possible Twist #2: The Witch-King, no longer bound by Sauron's influence, can be redeemed!


    I'm still a little shocked at how close this is to some of the suggestions in this thread!
  • Themes? Honor and loyalty, leadership and service, family/Rohan and mankind/Middle Earth. Maybe freedom, if you hearken back to how much bullshit she had to suck up while Wormtongue was running things.
    Very well! Does that lead to any specific situations, player cues, Beliefs, or Keys? (I am using a homebrew here, so I can squeeze in different forms of character Traits, but I'd like to be able to present a few different options.)

  • edited January 2016
    I can imagine a wide field of possibilities, but no, none have materialized as specifics in my brain yet. I guess I was thinking of values the GM could set them against each other. So a key or belief about acting with honor, and a key or belief about loyalty to her liege, and then the GM says, "your liege asks you to do this thing that violates your honor code!" Same with serving the interests of all Middle Earth vs serving the interests of Rohan.
  • Possible Twist: The ghostly apparition guiding Eowyn could be, in fact, the shade of the Witch-King, hoping to get his hands on the Ring. (He may not know if it is the Ring which is being carried or not.)

    Possible Twist #2: The Witch-King, no longer bound by Sauron's influence, can be redeemed!
    Possible Twist #3: The someone who took something from the battlefield and is up to no good is Eowyn herself! The ghost can't see her when she wears the ring, so he doesn't know. Eowyn also doesn't know, as she only slips the ring on in her sleep. So basically Eowyn is hunting Evil Eowyn, just like Jack hunting Tyler Durden.

    Okay, that may not be playable, but it'd make a neat short story.

    I am less enthused about "ghost kept from afterlife" than some of the stuff from this thread. Just seems too familiar from other fiction that isn't LotR.
  • edited January 2016

    I am less enthused about "ghost kept from afterlife" than some of the stuff from this thread. Just seems too familiar from other fiction that isn't LotR.
    Agreed. Best if the ghost is lying, in this case.

    Any other clever ideas for making the ghost/shade/spirit more LotR-like?

  • In LotR, the main reason I can recall for lingering ghosts is being bound by an Oath or a Curse.

    If the item removed from the battlefield was something that the ghost has an Oath regarding, or which has Cursed him. If we're playing the angle of "The Ghost is the Witch King" then it seems possible that he is still Cursed by his Ring. Alternatively, perhaps he has some Oath lingering from back when he was human, but I'm having a harder time with that angle.
  • (Yes, that's precisely what I had in mind.)
  • Maybe the Witch-King swore an oath to Sauron that he'd lead Mordor to victory, and that's the oath his ghost must uphold...
  • I've almost completed the game this will become, limited though its application may be! I will post a first draft sometime tomorrow.
  • Here is the completed game (which is already in progress):

    story-games.com/forums/discussion/20513/thus-began-the-adventures-of-eowyn
  • Thank you all for your input - you'll find pretty much all of it in there!
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