Cardolan: A Middle Earth campaign setting for 4e D&D

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29 Responses

  1. Stargazer says:

    That’s a great idea for a D&D4E campaign! Although I am sure some hard-core Tolkien fans will cringe at this idea, I am pretty sure this could actually work.

    Stargazers last blog post..Map for my Dungeonslayers campaign

  2. Beth says:

    I love this idea. My group probably has close to a year before we’re done with the current campaign. But a one-shot or something to get a feel for it…. Cool idea.

  3. kaeosdad says:

    Awesome! I am going to harvest some ideas from this article for sure. Great idea.

  4. benpop says:

    Good job! This looks very workable. My enthusiasm doesn’t extend to the addition of tieflings and dragonborn, though you do make a good case for the two and I might come around.

    Note on term usage: only the top 14/15 of the Ainur are known as the Valar, by definition — the rest are known as the Maiar, so there are no “lesser Valar” as stated in the penultimate paragraph.

  5. Elton says:

    Well, you need to know that you can practically do anything with any Roleplaying Game if you are willing enough. Just remember that there are better rule sets for certain Genres.

    I.e. Superheroic Roleplaying can be done with 4e; but Mutants and Masterminds, Villains and Vigilantes, and the official company RPGs (along with Silver Sentinels) do the genre better.

    You CAN do the Savage Dragon with 4e. And you CAN do Middle Earth with 4e. But remember that some RPGs can do genres and worlds better when they are written for them in mind.

    But just remember, theoretically, you can do anything with any roleplaying game.

    Eltons last blog post..Series Bible

  6. Greywulf says:

    @All Glad y’all liked it :D Welcome to the campaign setting I’m using for 4e D&D.

    @Stargazer Yeh. I can see some Tolkien fans turning in their grave at the thought of sullying Middle Earth with D&D, but the truth is that 4e is the first Edition I’d even consider up to the task. The loss of Vancian magic and 4e’s emphasis on epic-style play means it works pretty well. Hope so, anyhow!

    @benpop Gah! Good catch, corrected. That’s what I get for writing on a flow from memory late at night :D

    @Elton Absolutely!

  7. Dice Monkey says:

    Phenomenal. I think this is awesome. I agree with Stargazer. This would definitely work.

    Dice Monkeys last blog post..Critical Failure: Fire Bats!

  8. mordicai says:

    The way I’d cut it, tieflings become Black Numenoreans, half-elves become Numenoreans. & I’d probably just ignore the dragonborn– not a snub on the race, but I don’t see ’em fitting in.

    mordicais last blog post..Demon Drop.

  9. Greywulf says:

    @mordicai That would work too. I intentionally aimed to fit all the Core D&D bases into the setting to keep all of the players’ options open, but as ever YMMV. It’s good to see the creative juices going on this one.

    (and hello if you’re coming from Robot Viking!)

  10. Jens Alm says:

    htI’d go for half-elves as sindarin, elves as sylvan and eladrin as noldor. Dragonborn is too far fetched for my Middle Earth, bu I like your “let’s get it all in” attitude as an experiment.

    Jens Alms last blog post..Other Uses For Action Points

  11. kraig says:

    i agree with Jens Alm… I would make the Elves the three races… Half Elves sounds like a Human or Elf racial feat.

    Dragonborn? I would just exclude them. Maybe add in one of the races from the MM to replace them or find a Middle-earth race that the mechanics work for and change the fluff. Your fluff change could work.

    Like the Black Numenorean for the tiefling… change the way they look and use the same mechanics.

    I would also ask the players to change the name of their powers to fit a tolkien theme.

  12. Goken says:

    Take a look at the new Player’s Handbook 2. There are several new options that can really enhance the Middle Earth feel, including:

    The Diva race – Seems tailor made to let players run Maiar like Gandalf. In fact, perhaps Wizards are almost always of the Maiar race, now that it’s playable.

    The Half-Orc race – Some people like to play Uruk-hai, so this race could find use.

    The Shaman class – As protectors and wielders of natural spirits, this seems tailor made for emulating elf magic.

    The Warden class – This class is a “primal” powered woodsy warrior. At first I disliked this class as treading too close to the Ranger’s territory, but when viewed for Middle Earth it’s quite appropriate.

    There may be a few other classes and races that can fit into Middle Earth (Bard? Gnome?), but the ones I’ve mentioned seem the best to me. I’d recommend removing the Cleric and Paladin in favor of the Shaman and Warden (that’s a Leader and a Defender for a Leader and a Defender), so that you’ve still got options for those two roles without inserting god powers where they don’t belong.

    You can remove the Dragonborn and Tiefling now in favor of the new, more appropriate Half-Orc and Deva.

    I also recommend removing the Warlock class as an option, that just doesn’t seem to fit to me (are there magical curses in Middle Earth?). An extra striker class that could be added to replace it is the new Barbarian class (Wild Men anyone?). But it’s not absolutely necessary; you’ve already got the Ranger and Rogue.

  13. Greywulf says:

    @Goken Oh I like that! Well spotted. Good catch on using the Deva in particular. The PHB2 definitely brings some great options to the table.

    follow @greywulf on twitter

  14. Arthur says:

    This is beautiful stuff Greywulf. I’m getting the core 4E books, and am totally using your setting for my 4E games! I’ve always wanted to do D&D in Middle-earth, a merging of my two great passions, and this is just flat beautiful.

  15. Greywulf says:

    @Arthur Thank you! I’m glad you like it :D

  16. Timmy says:

    http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/w/wereworms.html

    Argument for dragonborn, although I’m probably in the same boat that wouldn’t include them.

    Here’s a justification for druids as well:
    http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/b/beorn.html

    Black Numenoreans/Haradrim are a good fit for Tieflings, as someone mentioned, and Maiar for Deva. LOTR already had half-elves, with Elrond and such. They were called Peredhil.

  17. Dreyrugr says:

    My 4th Age campaign starts this weekend. Thanks for illustrating how easily this could be done.

  18. slayer says:

    you always seem to have what im looking for greywulf but this might top all else. great job

  19. CaptPoco says:

    Back in ’87, a little company called ICE created a pretty extensive supplement detailing this region of Middle Earth. Check it out!

    (oh, and you need to upload a .pdf of your own to scribd if you want to download this .pdf)

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/11128325/Lost-Realm-of-Cardolan

    • greywulf says:

      What you’re doing there is posting up copyrighted material that belongs to someone else and that’s a big no-no.

      I’ll let your comment stand but suggest that you think twice about a) posting stuff like this on scribd, and b) posting a link to it in public. Just a heads up.

  20. Alex says:

    Maybe you could also add the Seeker as an extra striker class. We don’t see many heroic barbarians in Middle-Earth :)

    It’s not-too-magical and it can also add some striking depth.

  21. frota82 says:

    Dear Greywulf,

    Don’t know if it’s been pointed out already, but I guess the Numenorians could use half-elf stats, because in the Middle Earth true half-elves (like ELROND, for Eru’s sake) were very rare and looked like full elves.

    GREAT work, btw. I do not play 4e, but I read the book and this could really be a great campaign!

  22. Matthew Morris Tobin says:

    I think this is really creative, and I have always loved the often overlooked Kingdom of Cardolan. While many would say it is only a place of ruin and wasted ambition, we shall see the glory of Cardolan restored. (I would probably not have Dragonborn, though. That’s just me, I’ve not been keen about dragons. In too many settings they bounce around like Greek gods leaving unwanted offspring all over the place.) But this is highly commendable.

  1. February 11, 2009

    […] am  Over at Greywulf’s Lair, there is a very well written and inspiring post on how to do Tolkien’s Middle Earth with D&D 4E rules. Not d20, not OGL, but strict D&D, all inclusive. If it’s a beholder, then perhaps […]

  2. June 1, 2009

    […] what to do. We’ve three campaigns ongoing – a 4e D&D one set in and around Nentir Vale in Cardolan, the eternal and world-spanning (nay, multiverse-spanning) Superheroes Campaign, and our young and […]

  3. December 14, 2009

    […] by andyslack on 14 December 2009 This post is here just to draw your attention to Greywulf’s excellent idea of transplanting D&D 4e’s Nentir Vale into Cardolan, in Middle Earth, in 1650. Nice job, […]

  4. May 6, 2013

    lån penge…

    Greywulf’s Lair – Cardolan: A Middle Earth campaign setting for 4e D…

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