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Old November 18, 2007, 03:42   #1
Bandobras
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RFC: Middle Earth map for Un in ASCII; is it readable?

I've just mangled Nick McConnell's ASCII map for FAAngband and made a map for the early section of Un in a similar style (thanks Nick!). I wonder if it's readable enough (warning, monospace fonts required) and if there are errors wrt Tolkienology and wrt Un plot and data. And I'm a bit proud of it so here you are:

Code:
=================== "Map" of (northern) Middle Earth =======================

Below is a rough diagram of the linkages between the regions of Middle Earth
your character can visit.  Dungeons' depths are shown in brackets under 
the region where the entrance lies.  Note that some wilderness areas have
no dungeon underneath, but still have a guardian (usually a unique monster), 
who may or may not block passage to another region.  Only passages 
that are never blocked are shown on the map.  This is why only (most of) 
northern Middle Earth is shown --- to get south to where the fate calls, 
you need to fight your way through.

Some towns of Middle Earth are widely known and these are marked by '*' 
on the map; the others are for you to discover --- or perhaps help rebuild?  
The regions change as you shape the fate of Middle Earth by your brave deeds;  
only the initial situation is shown on this map.  Some passages are initially 
one-way only; they are marked with an arrow.  For more information 
about wilderness and dungeons, see "dungeon.txt".

                                         
                                                   ##           Lonely Mountain
                  Trollshaw Forest (5-6)            ###              (21-38)
                   /                 |               ##                 | 
                  /   Midgewater     |                #                 |
Hobbiton*        /   / Marshes |     |          Misty Mountains      Lake-town*
 |    \         /   /  (12-19) |     |            path ##             /  |
 |     \       Bree*           |     |           (6-13)<---Beorn's   /   |
 | East Road-->(1-4)   Weathertop    |          /      #    House   /    |
 |                  \    (21-31) \   |  Rivendell*     ##       \  /     |
 |   Ferry           \      |     \  | /      \        ##      Mirkwood  |
 |         Buckland*  \     |      Ford        \      ##        (15-26)  |
Maggot's               \    |                   \   ###        /   |     |
 Farm        Old Forest \   |                  Caradhras      /    |     |
 (3-6)                   \  |                 / (21-50)      /     |     |
                       Barrow Downs          /      ##      /      |     |
                          (5-20)            /      ###     /       |     |
                                        West gates  ##    /        |     |
                                         of Moria <--- East gates  |     |
                                          (7-24)  ####  of Moria   |     |
                                            |      ###             |     |
                                            |      ##            Dol Guldur
                                            |     ##Lorien*     /  (41-65)
                                            |    ##            /  
                                            |   ##            /
                                            |  ###    Fangorn/
                                            |   ##   /
                                            Isengard/
                                             (7--35)             Parth Galen
                                                   \              
                                               ##   \                  Marshes
                                  #################  Edoras*        of the Dead
                        ##############            ## (1-22)             
                                             Paths #####
                                          of the Dead ######
                                                          ############## Minas
                                                                         Tirith*
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Old November 18, 2007, 03:55   #2
Pete Mack
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That's very nice, and much better than the abstract map I once generated using Unix tools. (awk, viz, troff)

However, it is missing the links for "The Hobbit" (Bilbo) quest.
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Old November 18, 2007, 04:09   #3
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Cool. I think it's an improvement on the original - I might have to redo mine now...
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Old November 18, 2007, 08:40   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete Mack View Post
That's very nice, and much better than the abstract map I once generated using Unix tools. (awk, viz, troff)

However, it is missing the links for "The Hobbit" (Bilbo) quest.
I think Mikolaj is suggesting that these links are not initially available and need to be 'opened up' by completing some dungeons. Also, some of the interconnections have changed since you played. But the hobbit quest was always Hobbiton -> Bree -> Trollshaw -> Rivendell ->Misty - > Beorn ->Mirkwood -> Lake-town. Its just now possible to get to Mirkwood via Isengard which means the Beorn -> Misty link may be easilly traversed in one direction (thus the one way arrow).

Again, this is very, very cool. Thanks for this.

Andrew
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Last edited by andrewdoull; November 18, 2007 at 08:46.
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Old November 18, 2007, 08:53   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandobras View Post
I've just mangled Nick McConnell's ASCII map for FAAngband and made a map for the early section of Un in a similar style (thanks Nick!). I wonder if it's readable enough (warning, monospace fonts required) and if there are errors wrt Tolkienology and wrt Un plot and data. And I'm a bit proud of it so here you are:
I can see why you are justifiably proud. As I mentioned, this is great.

Looking at the map, it's definitely a lonely place east of the mountains in the event you accidentally wake a certain someone.

And maybe one way arrows to Hornburg? A warning next to Dol Guldur? I'd also like Moria to be explorable from the west without having to keep going through Caradhras - I know the geography matches this way better, but having to skirt a level 21 location every time is not great for early players.

(spoilers follow - tried to hide them as best I can)
I also suspect those capable of toppling Saruman at Isengard should be rewarded in Fangorn with attendence at an Ent Moot (and perhaps a redrawn Isengard, awash with water and with flooded dungeons underneath that need cleaning out). Or perhaps the Ent Moot might be needed earlier... hmmm...

Andrew
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Last edited by andrewdoull; November 18, 2007 at 08:59.
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Old November 18, 2007, 15:41   #6
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Thanks a lot for the comments. I've not only had a lot of fun (having cold and staying home is sooo nice), but I'm also flattered.

The map is for the current SVN (which is changed, in particular, while drawing the map, to fit it ;D), which will probably become wip7c when Andrew gets a cold, or something ;>. The Bilbo quest looks as Andrew said and indeed you can go around the obstacles of Misty Mountains, but this is a dangerous road, so beware. The one-way link from Beorn's to the eastern entrace of Misty Mountains is open, because you take the secret goblin entrance, not the East-West Road the goblins are hunting travellers on. In game terms, if you already took the south road via Isengard with all the consequences (or defeated the goblins), there is no point in harassing you again. Similary with Moria.

Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
Looking at the map, it's definitely a lonely place east of the mountains in the event you accidentally wake a certain someone.
Well, and so it was, unless we add in some coarse Woodsman's village so that the player does not have to walk to Rivendell and back all the time (not really that far, BTW, 5 wilderness locations from said dungeon, as opposed to 2--3 locations to the Woodsman's village). Not to mentions secret town, which requires a WOR, though. And there is a warning just on the (only) doorstep of the certain someone.

Quote:
And maybe one way arrows to Hornburg?
Great idea, that would prevent scumming. However, Hornburg would become a dead end, so we'd have to decide where it leads after victorious battle (Paths? Capital again? Isengard? moot?).

Quote:
A warning next to Dol Guldur?
I've added one, but it's not enough. Either make it stronger or add an easy battle (crossing Anduin or just at Dol Guldur) with stats and exp draining monsters, you can attempt it many times and if you win you are probably ready for the trouble and you get it right away.

Quote:
I'd also like Moria to be explorable from the west without having to keep going through Caradhras - I know the geography matches this way better, but having to skirt a level 21 location every time is not great for early players.
Especially with the guardian on the level... Done in SVN, though generally I think lots of linearity in the map helps new players appreciate the real branching points.

Quote:
spoilers
Great ideas. Perhaps put the moot in place already when the evil is stirred (then you have to "win" it to get help) or make it the exit from victory in Hornburg (then it's more like a reward)? Just let me know what to draw.

Here is the new version of the map. Actually, it's in SVN only now, because I've forgotten "svn add" before.

Code:
=================== "Map" of (northern) Middle Earth =======================

Below is a rough diagram of the linkages between the regions of Middle Earth
your character can visit.  Dungeons' depths are shown in brackets under 
the region where the entrance lies.  Note that some wilderness areas have
no dungeon underneath, but still have a guardian (usually a unique monster), 
who may or may not block passage to another region.  Only passages 
that are never blocked are shown on the map.  This is why only (most of) 
northern Middle Earth is shown --- to get south to where the fate calls, 
you need to fight your way through.

Some towns of Middle Earth are widely known and these are marked by '*' 
on the map; the others are for you to discover --- or perhaps help rebuild?  
The regions change as you shape the fate of Middle Earth by your brave deeds;  
only the initial situation is shown on this map.  Some passages are initially 
one-way only; they are marked with an arrow.  For more information 
about wilderness and dungeons, see "dungeon.txt".

                                         
                                                    ##           Lonely Mountain
                  Trollshaw Forest (5-6)            ###              (21-38)
                   /                 |               ##                 | 
                  /   Midgewater     |                #                 |
Hobbiton*        /   / Marshes |     |          Misty Mountains      Lake-town*
 |    \         /   /  (12-19) |     |            path ##             /  |
 |     \       Bree*           |     |           (6-13)<---Beorn's   /   |
 | East Road-->(1-4)   Weathertop    |          /      #    House   /    |
 |                  \    (21-31) \   |  Rivendell*     ##       \  /     |
 |  Brandywine       \      |     \  | /  |   \        ##      Mirkwood  |
 |  | Ferry  |        \     |      Ford   |    \      ##        (15-26)  |
 |  |        V     ?   \    |             |     \   ###        /   |     |
 |  V   Buckland*  |    \   |             |    Caradhras      /    |     |
Farmer    |        V     \  |             |   / (21-50)      /     |     |
Maggot's  Old Forest-->Barrow Downs       |  /      ##      /      |     |
 Farm       (7-10)        (5-20)          | /      ###     /       |     |
 (3-6)                                   West gates ##    /        |     |
                                          of Moria<----East gates  |     |
                                           (7-24)  ###  of Moria   |     |
                                             |    ####             |     |
                                             |     ##            Dol Guldur
                                             |    ##Lorien*     /  (41-65)
                                             |   ##            /  
                                             |  ##            /
                                             | ###    Fangorn/
                                             |  ##   /
                                             Isengard
                                              (7-35)             Parth Galen
                                                   \              
                                               ##   \                  Marshes
                                  #################  Edoras*        of the Dead
                        ##############            ## (1-22)             
                                             Paths #####
                                          of the Dead ######
                                                          ############## Minas
                                                                         Tirith*

Last edited by Bandobras; November 18, 2007 at 16:14.
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Old November 18, 2007, 22:12   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandobras View Post
Thanks a lot for the comments. I've not only had a lot of fun (having cold and staying home is sooo nice), but I'm also flattered.

The map is for the current SVN (which is changed, in particular, while drawing the map, to fit it ;D),
For the best, I think. The only problem is the description of the current Caradhras, which assumes that it blocks the misty mountains passage, whereas this has not necessarily happened yet. I'll put a fix in that'll amend this.

Quote:
Great idea, that would prevent scumming. However, Hornburg would become a dead end, so we'd have to decide where it leads after victorious battle (Paths? Capital again? Isengard? moot?).
At the moment, everything is triggered by the same set of events, which players may not be aware of unless they read the appendix of the hobbit. There should really be several events - Saruman's betrayal, Gollum's capture by Sauron, and so on, that trigger darkening of Isengard, release of the Riders etc.

I suspect Edoras -> siege may be enough for Saruman. Although later (with friendly monsters, quests) it should be the player encountering Radagast, then investigating Isengard.

Quote:

I've added one, but it's not enough. Either make it stronger or add an easy battle (crossing Anduin or just at Dol Guldur) with stats and exp draining monsters, you can attempt it many times and if you win you are probably ready for the trouble and you get it right away.

Especially with the guardian on the level... Done in SVN, though generally I think lots of linearity in the map helps new players appreciate the real branching points.
I'll do some additional work and update the map where relevent. Let me know what you think.

Andrew
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Last edited by andrewdoull; November 18, 2007 at 23:52.
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Old November 18, 2007, 22:52   #8
Bandobras
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
The only problem is the description of the current Caradhras, which assumes that it blocks the misty mountains passage, whereas this has not necessarily happened yet. I'll put a fix in that'll amend this.
Great. I tried to fix it by making it vague enough, but I ended up with something absurd (Goblins constructed the ancient East-West road? I don't think so.). At the moment I'm not even sure the way was blocked by Gandalf or anybody else. IIRC he was to ask a giant to block the trap constructed by the goblins, not the road itself. Which makes me wonder why Frodo did not use the road. Hmmm.

Edit: Actually the East Road goes only to Rivendell, close to Rivendell is the High Pass or Pass of Imladris over the Goblin-town, from it runs the Forest Road to Lonely Mountain. The High Pass does not seem to be made by goblins and it is said Beorinings guarded it during the War of the Ring. The only other pass, Redhorn Pass lies under Caradhras. I still have no clue why the Fellowship didn't use the High Pass --- perhaps the terrain from it to Lorien was too exposed to Dol Guldur forces or just Misty Mountains orcs.

Quote:
I suspect Edoras -> siege may be enough for Saruman.
What I was pointing at was the it would be great to make Horburg unescapable until the battle is won (or make it disappear from the map if the character escapes) by making the road to Hornburg one-way, but, since Hornburg has no other exists, the player would never be able leave Hornburg again.

Quote:
I'll do some additional work and update the map where relevent. Let me know what you think.
Wonderful. I'm done for now. It will be exiting to see you turn my work inside out . Feel free to tear out all the makeshift descriptions made with a dictionary in hand and write something witty. BTW, the system for dungeon.txt script is wonderful --- it's brain-damaged simple and yet it's enough for quite a nontrivial adventure game.

Last edited by Bandobras; November 19, 2007 at 00:48.
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Old November 18, 2007, 23:50   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bandobras View Post
Great. I tried to fix it by making it vague enough, but I ended up with something absurd (Goblins constructed the ancient East-West road? I don't think so.). At the moment I'm not even sure the way was blocked by Gandalf or anybody else. IIRC he was to ask a giant to block the trap constructed by the goblins, not the road itself. Which makes me wonder why Frodo did not use the road. Hmmm.
Agreed. It's blocked by Gandalf - I've added a low-level pass location, which unfortunately makes the map use the boring 'Redhorn pass', as opposed to 'Caradhras'...

Quote:

What I was pointing at was the it would be great to make Horburg unescapable until the battle is won (or make it disappear from the map if the character escapes) by making the road to Hornburg one-way, but, since Hornburg has no other exists, the player would never be able leave Hornburg again.
Done. You beat the bad guy - you get to go to the Ent Moot... otherwise you're stuck at the siege.

I'm still vacilating about Saruman. I think I'm going with several ways to darken Isengard: defeating the Fangorn guardian (who has changed), defeating the low-level Isengard guardian (who I'm making up at the moment). I'd also like a plain 'wandered into the wrong place' location to reflect Gandalf getting entrapped by Saruman, which will ensure that Hornburg is accessible from the start. Suggestions welcome (should there be a separate 'dungeons of Isengard' / 'plains of Rohan'?? I'm not sure. Maybe just getting to Edoras should be enough) or should I just continue to use Dol Guldur.

I also want a branch for tracking Gollum up until where he crosses into Mordor... but that'll require adding a 'unique is alive' test (no biggie), as I quite like the idea of being able to follow all the various side quests that fellowship characters took.

Quote:
Wonderful. I'm done for now. It will be exiting to see you turn my work inside out . Feel free to tear out all the makeshift descriptions made with a dictionary in hand and write something witty. BTW, the system for dungeon.txt script is wonderful --- it's brain-damaged simple and yet it's enough for quite a nontrivial adventure game.
Indeed. I'm all about brain damaged hacks...

Andrew
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Old November 19, 2007, 20:22   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewdoull View Post
Agreed. It's blocked by Gandalf
I'm still not convinced, especially that somewhere (probably in the Histories of Middle Earth) they say Beornings kept it open through the War of the Rings. So, I've given hints in the description that the High Pass (this is the name of the one north-east of Rivendell) is too high (and possibly too much to the north?) to be attempted when snow falls, as opposed to Rehorn pass, which is generally worse, but depends not so much on the season, but on the weather. Let's say this is part of the reason the Fellowship did not try the High Pass and this is why we close it later in the game (but I've avoided mentioning seasons of the year too frequently or we risk drawing player's attention to the lack of syncronization of the plot with the in-game calendar ).

Quote:
- I've added a low-level pass location, which unfortunately makes the map use the boring 'Redhorn pass', as opposed to 'Caradhras'...
Since Redhorn is just another name for Caradhras (a translation from elvish to Westron (represented as English), most probably), I've explained it in the description, so Caradhras is mentioned at least there. The pass is everywhere in Tolkien mentioned only as "Redhorn Pass", no elvish name here. Also in the real Caredharas location I've hinted at the character loosing his way and so not traversing the Redhorn Pass, but randomly wandering the mountain itself. Hence the new name (no pass in it) and hence the unexpected exit from the location.

Quote:
Done. You beat the bad guy - you get to go to the Ent Moot... otherwise you're stuck at the siege.
Great, but you can still get away and return using any map and the siege remains also after you beat it; at least the siege should in both cases disappear. I can correct the problems and also block the way from west Moria to Darkened Isengard using new locations: Emptied Isengard, Flooded Isengard, Dunland, Dunland rallied by Saruman.

Quote:
I'd also like a plain 'wandered into the wrong place' location to reflect Gandalf getting entrapped by Saruman, which will ensure that Hornburg is accessible from the start. Suggestions welcome (should there be a separate 'dungeons of Isengard' / 'plains of Rohan'?? I'm not sure. Maybe just getting to Edoras should be enough) or should I just continue to use Dol Guldur.
The last two sound best for me, but with the former don't ruin Edoras after a single visit there! Perhaps ruin Edoras only when you get into Horburg (siege has started, orcs roam Rohan). I can program that (I really like the dungeon.txt hacking:-).

Quote:
I also want a branch for tracking Gollum up until where he crosses into Mordor... but that'll require adding a 'unique is alive' test (no biggie)
Well, there already is one. Actually, the only other test is "dungeon entered".

P.S. If you still feel the east side of Misty Moutains has too few towns, perhaps add Iron Hills? This is where on of the Five Armies come from... Once I cut off Darkened Isengard and west Moria I could also remove the one-way links from the east across Misty Mountains (I'd put the same dungeons to defeat there) and then the player, with some labor, can have himself trapped on the east side without any town and with deep dungeons to fight through, so Iron Hills would help, unless we want to be so cruel.

Edit: is it intentional that Fangorn aflame has the same guardian as Hornburg?

Last edited by Bandobras; November 19, 2007 at 21:25.
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