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"The Lord of the Rings" Meets Traveller

Long ago, I came up with an adventure to introduce Trav to die-hard Fantasy players - here's the condensed story; comments invited:

While trying to catch up to the fleet that would eventually settle the Sword Worlds, the converted freighter SS "Laxenbourg" made a serious navigational screwup, and ended up in what would become the Vanguard Reaches.

After their ship is disabled in a system with a single habitable planet - and an accident that forced a messy evecuation (the sleeperships' wreckage can be found on a moon of one of the system's gas giants) - the colonists (a cult-like LotR revival) quickly fell back on their "training", and quickly slid down to G/TL3, naming their states after those in the books.

The Humans, Hobbits and Dwarves are descendants of these cultists; some flora native to the Shire and the Dwarven heartland began causing genetic changes to some descendants, altering their physical forms along the lines of the races in the books, likely via an as-yet-undetermined psionic effect; the flora itself is virtually extinct. These genetic changes are slowly breeding themselves out, and the Hobbits and Dwarves are slowly returning to human-normal.

-Note that the process will take several generations to complete un-aided, but may be either impeded or reversed if the original flora is saved and cultivated.

In the intervening millenia, the crew and passenger's descendants have totally lost their original history. Steeped in Tolkien's stories, as they reverted to Iron Age feudal societies, they began to forget about a place called "Earth"...

The world is located to spinward of Vanguard Reaches Sector; planetary stats(CT): X867870-3 347

The system poses a significant navigational hazard internally, due to its multiple asteroid belts.

The planet itself is rich in both Platinum and Lanthaneum; with about 1 - 3 months of dedicated searching, Belter PC's will discover major Zuchoi deposits in two of the Belts.

The "Elves" are the descendants of pre-Maghiz Darrian explorers stranded on the planet following a very bad mis-Jump (they, too, have long-forgotten their true origin, simply believing that they came from "above").

They are not actually immortal: the anagathic properties of a certain fruit has extended their lifespans to c.300 standard years. This fruit has assumed religious connotations among the 'elves', and is almost never mentioned to outsiders, and then only in the context of "majic" (note that the Elves honestly believe this).

The fruit is also a powerful psi-booster.

The "real" SAURON was a human Genghis Khan-type figure from about 300 years after the humans first landed. He organized a massive coalition of Orcish tribes, and laid waste to most of the settled region of the world's main continent.

The Orcs came to worship him as a God -- the Humans, Elves, Dwarves and Hobbits came to regard him as a boogeyman...until he suddenly "returned" 35 years previous to game-start.

His forces were eventually wiped out in a series of Pyhrric battles with a Human/Dwarven/Elven coalition, that drove the surviving Orc tribes into a desolate mountain range.

The NEW Sauron and his assistants, the Nazgul (the ones causing all the trouble when the PCs arrive) are actually renegade Zhodani Nobles who crashed on the planet after Jumping directly into one of the system's
planetoid belts, some 40 years previously.

Unfortunately, they landed in an area with a wild version of the Elves' anagathic fruit; this varient possessed LSD-type hallucinagenic effects that drove the Zhodani Nobles totally insane. (The Zho-Sauron was a powerful Telekinetic and Telepath; his followers were skilled in a broad range of disciplines. They are now considerably more powerful, due to prolonged exposure the narcotic fruit.)

Finding the world "hopelessly disorganized", they have begun assembling an army of Orcish tribes, billing themselves as the "returned" Sauron and his "staff". They still have access to a very small amount of high
technology, and use it to punishing effect...What no one realizes is that they also possess a few items of Ancient technology. (GMs should be creative, but not enough to overwhelm the party.)

-Note that Zhodani Noble-PCs will be duty-bound to destroy/arrest this band of lunatics by any means necessary -- including summoning reinforcements from the Consular Guard...

Orcs - think of the Gargun from the "Harn World" RPG; they are the native race on the planet. Never able to organize well, they are still a very serious threat: they are fast, agile and very dangerous in close combat; they will eat nearly anything organic; they have a form of genetic memory; are born directly into adolescence and fully mature within one year; and are driven to mate at all costs - and aren't too picky about what they mate with (no, there are no 'half-Orcs' running around, whatever the local legends say).

The renegade Zhodani have used rather crude, 'brute-force' methods to increase the birthrate of a strain of far larger Orcs, locally termed "Uru Khai". These Orcs will be used the same way the original Sauron used them: as shock and assault troops.

The renegade Zho's are using a form of telepahtic programming to control the Orcs' behavior; this is only really effective when one of them is close by a group of Orcs.

Dragons. Yes, dragons exist here. They are completely natural creatures, whose stomachs produce Hydrogen as a byproduct of digestion; this gas is siphoned off into "lifting bladders" to aid in flight and in producing flame. (If at all possible, please refer to the recent [2004] "Animal Planet" program on :Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real" http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0433367/ .)

Dragons produce flame by expelling Hydrogen gas from their flight bladders into their mouth, where they mix with natural platinum compounds to chemically produce fire. This of course restricts their ability to fly - until they eat, thus producing more Hydrogen.

Dragons collect both raw minerals and metallic jewelry/coins, as local refining methods cannot completely separate the platinum out of other metals. Dragons - while not sentient, per se - are extremely intelligent: they know that Elves, Orcs and Humans(Humans, Hobbits and Dwarves all "smell" the same to Dragons...for obvious reasons) are terrified of fire, so the metals they take at every opportunity are used as a kind of "ammo dump" for their breath-weapon.

The Elven and Human communities have been striving to kill or drive off the Dragons for millenia, and have greatly reduced the Dragons' numbers, locally. Quite without realizing it, this has caused an explosion in the breeding rate of the Orcs, who were the Dragons' main source of organic food(the Orc's phenominal breeding rate is a direct response to the Dragons' efficiency in hunting).
Lord of the Rings in Space ...
... isn't this Babylon 5?

The concept of a Fantasy genre environment coming out of Science Fiction isn't incompatible. One of the best, in my opinion, being Anne McCaffrey's PERN series. After all, high technology would seem like magic to lower tech societies. Even modern day gadgets like cigarette lighters would seem magical. A modern handgun could be a magical wand of death in pre-gunpowder societies.
You could add Sauroman as well. A free-trader trader has crashed there several decades (or more if they've discovered the "Elven" anagathics), along with a cargo of some low-tech industrial tools (which has partially survived the crash). Being an avid enterprenour (sp?) with a nose for good business opportunities, the trader's captain began working towards building a local industrial base. Using his knowledge of technology, his few high-tech surveylance gadgets ("palantir") and his First Officer who had Liaison-2 and Carousing-5 ("Wormtounge"), he managed to manipulate the surrounding monarchs into giving him access to workforce and raw resources. Around his crashed ship (and the large antenna-tower he've constructed for surveylance use) he bagan building factories, very polluting ones as well (with no pesky regulations to restrict him). He produces low-tech items, especially arms and armor, at industrial quantities (TL4 techniques). Naturally, the new Sauron is his main client, as huge Orc armies need similarly huge amounts of gear. The Zhodani Sauron has some telepathic influence over "Sauroman", but not complete control - and "sauroman" plays both ends against the middle for maximum profit.

His long-term plan is to stage an economic takeover of that world, eventually re-contacting civilization and using his monopoly of this emerging market (and very cheap workforce) to get very, very rich.

"Gandlaf" was an Imperial law-enforcement agent sneaking aboard "Sauroman's" free trader, who was about to arrest him for various charges (smuggling, safety violations, minor fraud) when the misjump has occured; naturally, he doesn't approve much with "Sauroman's" new "empire", not to mention the fact that, as a loyal Imperial agent, he doesn't really like "Sauron" to say the least. He tries to manipulate the locals to do the job for him, ofcourse.
Perhaps you were thinking of this:

Pat Murphy, writing as her imaginary friend/alter ego Max Merriwell, presents a view of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit through the lens of space opera.
Bailey Beldon, a norbit who loves a good tale of adventure from the comfort of his asteroid belt home, unexpectedly becomes an unwilling protagonist when adventurer Gitana and a group of powerful Farr clones show up on his doorstep to retrieve a message pod he has scavenged. The message--from another Farr clone--includes a map of previously unknown wormholes and the tantalizing promise of a glorious Snark, the Farr term for alien artifacts left behind by the Old Ones.

Bailey suddenly finds himself light years from home and in the company of an oddball assortment of characters, including a 'pataphysician named Gyro Renacus, who, along with Gitana, appears in Murphy's Wild Angel, and Fluffy, a fighter pilot who is part cat. (Max Merriwell even writes Murphy in as a character.)

Assisted by his tone-deafness, his pragmatism, and a Mobius strip that can slow time to a crawl, Bailey pits himself against Resurrectionists who use the clones as spare parts, trancers who hypnotize with music, pirates, gigantic metal-eating spiders, and the Boojum--the Snark left to guard the treasures the adventurers seek.

Murphy's prose sparkles throughout. Her tone ranges from the dazzlingly descriptive (as in her portrait of the heart of the galaxy) to the crisply active to a fairy-tale tone that brings to mind the soothing voice of Maurice Evans, making There and Back Again a choice novel to cozy up with on a rainy day. --Eddy Avery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly
Purporting to be a space opera by the prolific hack "Max Merriwell," this latest and disappointing novel from top fantasist Murphy (Nadya, etc.) is a transparent translation of Tolkien's The Hobbit and Carroll's "The Hunting of the Snark" into SF. One day Bailey, a chubby "norbit" who lives contentedly on an asteroid, is visited by the adventuress Gitana and seven members of the Farr Clone, who are on a quest. They seek to rediscover a lost colony and a rumored treasure of the Old Ones, those ancient beings who created the wormhole system that crisscrosses the galaxy. Gitana, over the Farrs' objections, insists that Bailey is exactly the additional member the group needs to form a cohesive whole, despite his lack of obvious talents. Readers who have read The Hobbit and are familiar with the conventions of space opera can probably guess the rest of the plot. Murphy seems to be having a lot of fun with her pastiche, but it founders. Although there are some lovely bits involving Bailey and a feisty spacecraft named Fluffy (after the cat who makes up part of the craft's cybernetic AI), too often the tale reads like what it purports to be, a second-rate space opera. There aren't enough humorous moments or brilliant variations on Tolkien to make up for the recognizabilityAand thus predictabilityAof the story line. In an afterword Murphy reveals that she's working on a fantasy novel, The Wild Angel, to be published as by "Mary Maxwell," one of Max Merriwell's pseudonyms. Hopefully, Murphy as Max as Mary writes with more panache than Murphy as Max. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Originally posted by kafka47:
[QB] Perhaps you were thinking of this:

Pat Murphy, writing as her imaginary friend/alter ego Max Merriwell, presents a view of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit through the lens of space opera.
I can safely say "No" - I've never even heard of this, though I'll certainly check it out.

This was a way of translating JRRT directly into Trav, staying as close to the story as possible. Set up correctly, the players won't suspect a thing - especially if they got there via a nasty misjump: is this really LotR? Or something else?