Our valiant heroes hung the head of the troll on the wall of the kinship house and stood back to admire it.
“It looks as though the troll has crashed his head through the wall of our house” mused Van Hemlock.
“Ha ha! His body is probably in the air on the other side of the wall with his legs flailing around!” cried Teppo.
“This really has been a most splendid evening; this is what MMOs should be all about” I thought.
Over the Mumble channel I simply guffawed.
But what events had led up to this joyous conclusion to an evening’s gaming? Prepare to be astounded as, with a budget of a paltry half a million pounds and the power of ultimate blogging technology, I create for you an illusion of traversing time and space so real that Hollywood directors could only dream of such powerful mind altering effects.
[Four hours earlier…]
Observe how the bold font really makes you feel as though you’re actually there. Half a million pounds well spent, even if I do say so myself.
With a regular member of the Hobbington Crescent Massive away on holiday, and what with the trials and tribulations of last week, the general consensus was that it wouldn’t hurt to have a week off from saving Middle Earth from itself, because let’s face it, the Ring Bearer hardly seems to be in a hurry to get his pie-eating hobbit arse to Mordor any time soon anyway.
For those of you who may now be picturing the image of a hobbit bottom that munches on pastry-based foodstuffs, I apologise, it wasn’t what I had in mind, but once it was in my mind I felt compelled not to reword it, deciding instead to make you suffer the image as well.
The aforementioned Van Hemlock and myself, however, are gluttons for punishment or so it seems, as we both logged in to the game to see if anyone else was about, perhaps from a sense of duty, or perhaps because we wanted to make sure that we could, in fact, actually log back in after the trauma of the previous week. Either way, there we both were, and so we decided to have an adventure, the only requirement being that we attempted to avoid gaining XP as much as possible since we didn’t want to dramatically out-level the dearly absent members of our good kinship.
And so we cogitated over what activities we could undertake in the game, and inevitably our eyes drifted to our quest logs, and that’s when it happened:
“Y’know, the next part of Book 11 is in Goblin Town, it’s marked as suitable for a small fellowship and is also low level to us now. We could do that.”
“You can’t be serious?”
“We wouldn’t earn much XP, and I’ve been down to Goblin Town at a lower level than we are now and managed a large chunk of it solo, so we should be fine even without a healer.”
“Oh, God, we’re mad. We’re utterly mad, or masochists or something.”
“All of the above. If nothing else we’ve got to run all the way across from Rivendell to Goblin Town, so it’ll feel like a real Book for a while, until we get there and start, y’know, actually killing stuff.”
[laughing] “Let’s do it.”
Without further ado we made our way to Goblin Town and started killing the low level non-elite mobs there and found, much to our surprise, that these mobs dropped the quest items that we were seeking, and in the space of time that it takes a furious hobbit to swing a large two-handed hammer and a dwarf, with beard bristling, to swing a couple of axes around about his person, we had completed the quest.
It was somewhat of an anti-climax.
So we decided to continue on until we, uh, climaxed. Honestly, it wasn’t like that, just a hobbit and a dwarf out on a platonic date to slaughter all the orc-kind that they could find. So slaughter we did, and then twice around the block for another damn good slaughtering, and after the rambling adventure of running a half-marathon across Evendim last week, our latest self-assigned quest – to slaughter everything in Goblin Town that so much as moved – felt really rather refreshing. We slaughtered goblins, and we slaughtered orcs. We slaughtered wargs and their keepers. We pretended that the corpses of mobs had moved and slaughtered them again just to be sure. We slaughtered rocks and chests, camp fires and the darkness. We nearly slaughtered one another on several occasions. We laughed at that, and then slaughtered the echoes of our laughter as it reverberated around the empty cavernous scene of that which we had slaughtered.
It was pretty cathartic.
I posted to Twitter about the delights we were experiencing as The Smallest Fellowship, as we now dubbed ourselves, and shortly thereafter we were joined by a third. With Teppo’s Runekeeper at our backs the slaughtering process continued apace as we took down the Goblin King with ease and then proceeded to molest the troll-come-rancor-wannabe that lives in the pit in the Goblin King’s throne room. And I do mean molest. As the troll bellowed at our stalwart hobbit Guardian for the umpteenth time, our Runekeeper cried “jab your stick in his mouth” which, if it weren’t innuendo-laden enough, we promptly and entirely accidentally followed-up with a fellowship manoeuvre called “Three Pronged Attack”. Suffice it to say that the troll was not equipped to withstand this coordinated gang-bang: the Guardian shoving his stick in the creature’s mouth, the dwarf thrusting away with his purple weapon from behind as always, and the Runekeeper shooting his ‘white lightning’ at the troll’s face from all the way across the room; Runekeepers are such show-offs, and although I was tempted to dub our elven companion the Mirkwood Moneyshot, I decided against it.
After pretty much porning the poor troll into submission, we continued on down into the depths of Thundergrot where lesser trolls still provided a pleasantly invigorating and chaotic challenge as we over-pulled and subsequently attracted some re-spawns in what one can only describe as an AoE orgy; it looked unlikely that we would prevail. Actually, it looked like nothing more than a steaming great mound of angry trolls with a trio of barely observable smaller folk wriggling beneath it, but after a few well timed lengthy cool-downs were blown, we came through with our skins, as it were.
At some point along the way one of the trolls was kind enough to provide a suitable trophy head, which was tucked away in the hobbit’s really quite expansive backpack. It was later taken to a taxidermist in Bree who, improbably enough, was experienced with stuffing and mounting troll heads. He was particularly skilled I thought, as he chose the replacement eyes with such skill and care as to accurately represent the troll’s wide-eyed look of shock as it was unexpectedly taken by a three pronged attack.
Having sated our slaughtering needs we then headed back home to sell and repair, before journeying down to Echad Mirobel in Eregion for stage two of our evening’s entertainment, where the School at Tham Mirdain – which we had attempted to run as duos for fun a few weeks earlier – was awaiting our return.
This time though, there was a trio of us in the traditional tank/DPS/healer formation, against the forty or so Uruk-hai and Men of Dunland who currently held the school.
Three of us? Forty of them?
I make that Three Prong O’Clock.