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David Mayeux
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"I am but nothingness that Loves" --Raissa Maritain
"I am but nothingness that Loves" --Raissa Maritain

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Logan: Anti-Pelagian Film
Saw Logan the newest movie about the character known as the The Wolverine whose origin is found in comic books, and the last film with Hugh Jackman playing the titular role. It's going to leave me thinking for days, and I think people will be talking about ...
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Seeking collective knowledge in identifying this symbol. Any thoughts? Positive identifications? #symbols #alchemy ? #neoplatonic ? #blacklodge ? #masonic ?
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Non-terraformed planetary weather systems. For planets with monasteries that truly want to get away from people (Carthusians?), penal institutions, and extreme prospectors.
Global warming? Meh. That's mundane compared to weather on other planets. This listicle explores ten planets with some crazy stuff going on, yo. Great fodder for your DayTrippers campaign...
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Thinking about maps in the Third Age of Middle Earth. First, mentions in the books that I can find:

In The Hobbit:

There's Thror's map of Erebor and the surrounding land, of course, and the mention of a map of the Country Round in the Shire on which Bilbo marked his favorite walking routes in red.

an interesting exchange after Gandalf first shows the dwarves Thror's map:
"I don't see that this will help us much," said Thorin disappointedly after a glance. "I remember the Mountain well enough and the lands about it. And I know where Mirkwood is, and the Withered Heath where the great dragons bred."
"There is a dragon marked in red on the Mountain," said Balin, "but it will be easy enough to find him without that [...]"

and while the dwarves debate about the troll's campfire, it is mentioned: "The old maps are no use: things have changed for the worse and the road is unguarded." [emphasis mine]

In Fellowship

In his forties, Frodo "looked at maps, and wondered what lay beyond their edges: maps made in the Shire showed mostly white spaces beyond its borders."

In the chapter "The Ring Goes South"

"Aragorn and Galdalf walked together or sat speaking of their road [...] and they pondered the storied and figured maps and books of lore that were in the house of Elrond."

Gandalf says to Pippin after the hobbit misidentifies some mountains, "There are many maps in Elrond's house, but I suppose you never thought look at them?"
[To this Gimli replies]: "'I need no map,' said Gimli, who had come up with Legolas, and was gazing out before him with a strange light in his deep eyes. 'There is the land where our fathers worked of old, and we have wrought the image of those mountains into many works of metal and of stone, and into many songs and tales." and he goes on to name many of the mountains and other landmarks.

After Merry and Pippin have been kidnapped by the orcs, Pippin comes to regret his lack of the study of maps at Elrond's:
"He wondered what kind of folk [the Riders of Rohan] were. He wished now that he had learned more in Rivendell, and looked more at maps and things".

and in Return the chapter "The Land of Shadow" Frodo mentions one of Elrond's maps: "In Rivendell before I set out, I was shown a map of Mordor that was made before the Enemy came back here; but I only remember it vaguely. I remember clearest that there was a place in the north where the western range and the northern range send out spurs that nearly meet."

Most of the time, locations and ways come from memory, not maps, such as is found in the LOTR chapter "A Journey in the Dark":
'How far is Moria?' asked Boromir.
'There was a door south-west of Caradhras, some fifteen miles as the crow flies, and maybe twenty as the wolf runs,' answered Gandalf, grimly.

and in The Hobbit "Over Hill and Under Hill": "There were many paths that led up into those mountains, and many passes over them. but most of the paths were cheats and deceptions and led nowhere or to bad ends; and most of the passes were infested by evil things and dreadful dangers. The dwarves and the hobbit, helped by the wise advice of Elrond and the knowledge and memory of Gandalf, took the right road to the right pass." [emphasis mine]

Maps are only worthwhile to dwarves inasmuch as they show something unusual or outside personal or cultural knowledge/memory of the area. Based how Thorin and Company treat Thror's map, and Gimli's rejection of maps in general, then it may be that dwarven maps aren't created primarily to show relations (distance and direction) between places, so much as to note something specific and unusual or of particular interest: like the secret door.

Based on Bilbo's Country Round map that he feels free to mark up and his love of plural maps, also Frodo's many maps, Hobbit maps may have more general relational purpose and be much more common. However, they are insular about their maps, with only "white spaces" beyond the borders of the Shire. Of Samwise and maps, the narrator says "Maps conveyed nothing to Sam's mind, and all distances in these strange lands seemed so vast that he was quite out of his reckoning." So maps aren't universally admired among hobbits, and to Sam, at least, they're too abstract. Pippin, also, doesn't place an prime importance on knowing the maps that pertain even to a long journey he'll be a part of, even when available, when he feels he has others to rely on.

Since what Frodo remembers of the map of Mordor is not an unusual landmark, but a geographical feature, Elvish maps may be more generalized as well, but since they didn't just hand it over to Frodo, maps are likely not commonly copied and remain rare (the Rivendale collection of "many maps" representing individual maps collected over time, perhaps handed over as more and more elves headed toward the Grey Havens to sail west). I imagine the elves prefer memory to maps.

Beyond Aragorn studying maps with Gandalf at Rivendell, none of the various Cultures of Men of Middle Earth make mention or use of maps within Hobbit or LOTR that I can find.

It seems in TOR-RPG, then, despite the inclusion and suggested use of "The Adventurer's Map", unless characters are at a place known as repositories for knowledge, such as Rivendell (and, as above, the map of Mordor was "out of date" and Frodo didn't get to take it with him), or Bag End, that they should have minimal access to maps. Also, even when access is available, players should consider their character's attitude toward maps, and if the party gets separated, separate themselves player from character knowledge. Regardless of knowledge or interest in maps, the Adventurer's Map within the corebook itself shouldn't be treated like a physical object that the characters have access to so much as a sense of "the knowledge and memory" the characters' have from experience, wrought images or song and tale, or the "wise advice" given by travelers with experience of the area.

The fun part (from a storytelling and adventuring point of view) is that memory, legend, song, and advice very well may be out-of-date, lacking important detail, misremembered, or just plain wrong. I think that should be considered when the characters are on their journeys.
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30 Min. wordless, stop-motion adaptation of Wagner's Ring Cycle. So much to mine from here (as Tolkien obviously did).
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Franz Strassen: Odin confronts Alberich ... aka the Grey Pilgrim in Mirkwood encountering Gollum.
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