Daily Archives: September 16, 2009

What really happened to Radagast the Brown.

“I will go to Saruman,” I said.

“Then you must go _now_,” said Radagast; “for I have wasted time in looking for you, and the days are running short. I was told to find you before Midsummer, and that is now here. Even if you set out from this spot, you will hardly reach him before the Nine discover the land that they seek. I myself shall turn back at once.” And with that he mounted and would have ridden straight off.

“Stay a moment! ” I said. “We shall need your help, and the help of all things that will give it. Send out messages to all the beasts and birds that are your friends. Tell them to bring news of anything that bears on this matter to Saruman and Gandalf. Let messages be sent to Orthanc.”

“I will do that,” he said, and rode off as if the Nine were after him.

— J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Alas, he had travelled no more than a few yards from Gandalf before a wandering wolf took a fancy to his steed and began to pursue Radagast. Despite his best efforts, his skill with the steed was no match for the wolf’s almost unnatural speed, and soon Radagast’s mount was brought tumbling down by a cunning bite from the pursuer’s jaws. Radagast regained his feet and using the ways of the Wise he brought the wolf to heel and slew it.

“Any trouble there?” asked Gandalf.

“No, no. I’m fine. I shall away to Isengard at once!” and with that, Radagast mounted his faithful steed and rode off as though he raced to catch up with the setting of the sun.

Unfortunately a short distance further on there was a large bear blocking his path. He swerved to avoid its attentions, leaping his snorting mount over a hedge and into the forest, but was dismayed to find that he had leapt into the midst of a sounder of boars. The boars gave chase and, through some unknown cunning, managed to unseat him from his horse. Tumbling to a halt he jumped to his feet and, calling upon the power of the ancient words that he knew, slew the troublesome beasts.

“Need any help?” Gandalf asked, popping his head through the hedge.

“NO! Fine! … Thank you”. And with that, Radagast flung himself up onto his horse and galloped away as though the world behind him were aflame.

He passed no more than a couple of trees before the bear that he had tried to avoid earlier wandered into view, lazily swatted at him – knocking him flying through the air and into a nearby tree – before wandering off into the forest. Shaking sense back into his stunned head Radagast grabbed for the reins of his horse and with one swift movement propelled himself into the saddle. No sooner had he sat himself upright than a rather crotchety badger poked its head out a hole at the base of the tree and looked at him slightly funny, instantly dismounting him again. As he picked himself up and brushed himself down he glared back at where Gandalf was just now walking around from behind the trees. Gandalf stopped suddenly in his tracks as though struck bodily by the stare, took pause for thought and said nothing. Radagast called his horse to return, wearily climbed up on to its back and trotted off.

He made it fifty yards further down the road before a moth flapped its wings in Mordor and caused him to be thrown forcefully to the ground, at which point he was set upon by all manner of crap angry animals and was never seen again.


Not enjoying the mount mechanics in Lord of the Rings Online terribly.

Two things you always wanted to know about DDO Unlimited but were afraid to ask

With Dungeons and Dragons Online now free-to-play in its Unlimited guise there’s no reason not to take a look (unless the 3Gb+ client download is a problem), and Massively have a splendid post with some common questions for new DDO Unlimited players that’s well worth a browse. Your intrepid KiaSA team have also been investigating, and discovered a couple of things.

Firstly, free players only start with two character slots, fine for having a poke around in the game but maybe slightly restrictive for alt-o-holics. You can buy more in the store, but when Melmoth bought some points to unlock the Monk class he found he had two extra character slots; it turns out that purchasing points upgrades you from “free player” to “premium player” with a few extra perks (though obviously not as many as a “VIP” subscriber), including the extra character slots, which is nice.

Secondly, the European DDO site seems to be a bit quiet about this whole “free to play” business (though I confess I haven’t looked too deeply), but not to worry, the sign-up with Turbine seems to work absolutely fine from here as does buying points with a UK credit card. Turbine have even been kind enough to set up an unofficial UK server. See, if you’re a keen student of Eberron lore, you may think of Khyber as the Dragon Below. If you’re a Brit (or at least a Brit of a certain age, I dunno about the kids and their newfangled wheely trainers and hippity-hoppity music), Khyber can only mean one thing, so when there’s a server called “Khyber” in the list I’d be most surprised if the majority of British players didn’t pitch up there. To make us feel more at home, Khyber even has specific NPC voicing; on the other servers when you first meet an NPC rogue on the beach he has some generic accent. On Khyber, he’s voiced by Dick Van Dyke: “Gor bloimey luv a duck do what gert yerself up the apples and pears me ol’ china” he says, “stone the crows it’s all gone a bit Pete Tong we’re in right Barney and you’re borassic, but I’m a diamond so I’ll let you ‘ave a Mick[1], Council[2], House of[3], John[4], Aardman[5] or bus[6] for nuffink, knees up Mother Brown doin’ the Lambeth Walk oi!”

[1] Mick Jagger – dagger
[2] Council Tax – great axe
[3] House of Lords – longsword
[4] John Napier (inventor of logarithms) – rapier
[5] Aardman Animation – falchion
[6] bus nun weave-weave-cheese arm-rave of glider mane – plus one guive-guive-guisarme-glaive of spider bane

OK, that’s a lie, he’s the same on all servers and just has a slightly dodgy Lahndahn accent, but the tutorial does offer ample “lovely pair of melons, miss” opportunities.