The L is silent.

Tales from The Beard, famed piper of the Dimrill Dale (A LOTRO Blog)

Viewer Discretion is Discouraged.


On Grace & Virtue, A Man On A Wire

Bulging Doris wrote in that shamrag article of his that I run a tame BB!  Can you imagine?  What gall, what insult!  I am wounded by the quill! To think he wrestled the authorship of such articles from the Celebrity Reporter himself so that he could be a more upstanding modicum of grace and virtue for the LMB as a field reporter!  Oh, oh, oh how easily they fall! Even worse, some Pontius character suggested this week that PB should try taming me into some infallible type of paladin character.  Oh dear.  My debau Ch’i ry level is unbalanced!  I can take Aegthil being credited to everything from the sun rising in the East to the strength of the tides, but to say that he and Carica constitute the prime offenders in BBB band debauchery level is really too much for this humble muse.  Detractors, beware!

Step 1.  Cut a circle in the box.

The Birgin Brigade.  Black Boots Boptional.

Despite Turbine force-emoting bandmates with sound bugs and disconnections, BB’s modus of operandi this week was extra degenerate (ED) per usual until our finale feature, a new transcription (they’re all here if you’re interested) for bone-broken boozemaven Carica called “The Stripper”, complete with pighorn.  And in proper form, the boxes came off (shall I spare your eyes?)  Pity poor Lauralda, our newest degenerate, for what she had to endure at her first BB.  Merry Yulefestimas, Bree!

Karma is utter bupkis.  Loyalty gets you nowhere.  Honor is for the birds.  Do what you want.

Glug, glug, glug,

~P.B., Over-Stressed, Trapped, Depressive Holiday Neurotic, Most Degenerate



Oh The Drama!


In Which There Is An Unexpected Ridiculous Beard Competition

“There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

In honor of No-Shave November and The Hobbit soon-to-be-released, I have decided to give away some hard-earned gold in a very undwarfish manner!

Just visit ( and dwarfify yourself in the most ridiculous manner possible and post it to (!

On the day of The Hobbit release (December 14th), some degenerate BBB members and myself will pick some winners and give you gold and whatever other silly prizes I may find!  It’s that simple!  (If you’d like to donate gold toward prizes or anything else, please contact me in game.  Prizes will be updated as the close draws near.  Basically, the more entries there are, the more gold I would like to give away!)

Don’t want to actually show your face?  Okay!  Substitute a dog or a watermelon, I don’t care! Have crazy sunglasses? Okay!  Want to do something with some fancy outer-world software?  Sure! There are really no rules! If you have a crazy image that you’re just not sure is forum-friendly, you can send me a link via PM on the forums.

All entries will be considered and probably mocked!  Have fun, have laughs!  Baruk Khazad!
(Note: Entries from outside Landroval are also welcome – I just won’t be able to give you gold if you’re hilarious.)

Thoughts for Black Friday Shoppers, Stolen, By PB

The wretched features of ennuyés, the white features of corpses,

the livid faces of drunkards, the sick-gray faces of onanists,

The gash’d bodies of battle-fields, the insane in their strong-door’d rooms,

the sacred idiots, the new-born emerging from gates,

and the dying emerging from gates,

The night pervades and infolds them.

– From The Sleepers by Walt Whitman

And in case that’s just too intellectual or something, just watch this to get the gist of the thing.

In Which PB Can’t Help But Play in Paint


I really tried to resist. Truly, I did.

Inspired by Aegthil’s latest musing @ I fancy myself a lobster.  Gaze upon it while enjoying this gem of modern entertainment.  I promise it will up the disturbafication factor by 10 or maybe -2 or something.  And… if you really have no clue what this may be about, allow me to point you here.


I gathered this information from my own experience and a number of sources listed at the end in the hopes of making a concise guide to help those unfamiliar with the raid run successful PUG groups. If you find something I have left out or would like to see me include, please leave a comment. ~ B.B.

Pinnacle of Orthanc

Aka Sarumadness!


  • ·         Before beginning, each raid member should have a generous amount of healing/power potions and max-level wound/disease/poison/fear draughts.  Short/long-term food is also highly recommended along with hope tokens and battle/warding scrolls.  Don’t be that person who has to beg food or pots off someone because you haven’t prepared.
  • ·         No one should retreat from the fight (per usual for boss fights) as you will be locked out for the duration.
  • ·         Ring bearers (described more in-depth below) must be alive at the end of each round.  If a ring bearer goes link dead and cannot return before the end of the round, wipe and restart since the raid cannot advance into the next phase.  If a ring bearer does go link dead, you can prolong the round by not killing the last Saruman clone until the person returns.  This becomes more taxing the further the group advances.
  • ·         A useful setting is to ‘show dispellable effects only.’ This becomes vital in phase three so that members can see and call out who needs to use a draught.

Party Make-up

  • ·         2    Tanks – keep agro on clones off of dps/healers (GRD, WDN.)
  • ·         1-2 Captains – buffs, off-heals, rezzes.
  • ·         1-3 Lore-Masters – de-buffs on Saruman/s, power, off-heals, tactical mitigation.
  • ·         2-3 Healers – heals, rezzes (MINI, RK.)
  • ·         ?    Dps – dps. (Pew-pew, shing-shing…)

The Fight

The battle occurs in five phases, six if you count the last bit with Saruman himself.  Each stage is triggered by five ring bearers countering Saruman at the appropriate positions (color-coded.)  Each ring has different abilities (described below) that aid in the combat.  After the rings are assigned and all are claimed, the battle begins after Saruman monologues a bit.  Each phase (keep reading) happens slightly different, so different tactics must be used.  Once the last Saruman clone is downed each time, the ring bearers should be in place to claim their rings so the next phase can be triggered.  In T1, the rings may be triggered in any order.  However, in T2, they must be done in the order Saruman shows with his staff, or the phase will not advance.  You will have to repeat the latest phase over.  For challenge mode in T2, no one can die. After phase five, the raid briefly fights Saruman before completion.


  • ·         The dps team should stay tightly bunched to assist healers through the battle.
  • ·         (Kill order may vary from group to group, but the one listed is one I’ve seen used successfully.  Mechanics on each Saruman are better described in the first resource listed below if you are interested.)
  • ·         The area around the center Saruman results in a ‘silence’ effect, so tread around the outside of the ring if that affects your class skills.
  • ·         Tanks split clones with dps group following the kill order listed.  Lightning should be tanked away from the dps group whenever it’s not being taken out.
  • ·         Dps-side tank should keep the clone turned away from the group but within melee range when possible.
  • ·         Saruman clones can be crowd-controlled, but adapt after one mez. This ability be extended using the frost ring.

The Rings

  • ·         Spare tanks and primary healers the responsibilities of the rings.  They will have enough on their plates.
  • ·         Tactical mastery classes are best suited for most of them. (LM, RK, CAP, MINI.)
  • ·         All de-buffs and buffs become available again each round.
  • ·         Ring bearers need to know their positions and how to trigger additional phases.


·         Shadow corruption goes on shadow clone first.  No one should remove corruptions until the corruption is at T3 (20+ seconds.)  Once it is removed, it does a massive amount of damage.  All members can remove corruptions at will once this is complete in each phase.  Be sure to arrange who will remove the corruption at the right time.

  • ·         The defensive boon is good to use when the dps team is near the dps-side tank and in dire straits.
  • ·         Any class works, though a high tactical mastery will greatly increase the amount of damage done.  Even better if it is one that can remove corruptions, since that’s one less bit of coordination to fret about.



  • ·         The defensive boon is great to give to high dps class (champ, hunter.)
  • ·         The offensive skill is a distributed nuke. 
  • ·         This ring can be wielded best by a red-line tactical mastery class (lore-master, rune-keeper.)


  • ·         The offensive boon is used well early on, so that either the first or second clone can be destroyed quickly.
  • ·         The defensive skill can be used whenever a player is getting low on power or is getting hit by a clone they shouldn’t be getting hit by.
  • ·         Any class works well for this one.


  • ·         The defensive skill is best placed on one of the tanks early on when they are acquiring agro.
  • ·         The adaptations can be removed if a crowd-control skill is regularly being placed on any of the clones.  It is best used later in the fight otherwise, when fighting clones that have been buffed by earlier ones.
  • ·         CC classes can use this ring well though any could if they knew what to watch for.


  • ·         Both skills are offensive in nature.
  • ·         Place the boon on someone who already causes high dps. (champ, hunter.)
  • ·         This ring can be wielded best by a red-line tactical mastery class (lore-master, rune-keeper.)

Phase I

  • ·         Kill-order:  Shadow, Venom, Storm, Frost, Fire
  • ·         Battle begins once Shadow ring is claimed.
  • ·         Ring bearers return to their spots before the last clone has 20k morale.
  • ·         The fight can be prolonged to allow for skill cool-downs and power regeneration if needed.
  • ·         Eat short-term food once out of combat. Ring bearers use their first ring skill once it lights up to hold their ring aloft.  In T2, go in the order that Saruman shows with his staff.

Phase II – “Overheal Phase”

  • ·         Kill-order:  Shadow, Venom, Storm, Frost, Fire
  • ·         Environments begin.  Ignore them. They buff their corresponding color clone, but usually change too quickly for the dps-side tank to worry about. (The first resource has more on this topic for interested tanks.)
  • ·         The venom clone will randomly put massive poison DOTS on raid members. The DOT is cleared once the targeted player is healed to maximum morale.  All healing classes should assist as the healer calls out who to “overheal.”  The poison de-buff appears as a green box with a cross.
  • ·         Once the venom clone is defeated, healing is no longer such an issue.
  • ·         Ring bearers return to their spots before the last clone has 20k morale.
  • ·         The fight can be prolonged to allow for skill cool-downs and power regeneration if needed.
  • ·         Eat long term and short-term food once out of combat. Ring bearers use their first ring skill once it lights up to hold their ring aloft. Refresh captain buffs/scrolls/tokens, etc.

Phase III – “Potting Phase”

  • Kill-order: Shadow, Frost, Venom, Storm, Fire
  • The central Saruman becomes active in this phase and should immediately be de-buffed by the lore-master using improved frost lore. This and other de-buffs should now be run continuously on the central Saruman until the end of the raid as they affect all clones.  This lowers the amount of damage they are able to deal.
  • The frost clone causes pot-able effects on random players.  These must immediately be potted or else the resulting effects can quickly cause the raid to wipe.  Until the frost clone is eliminated, the most important part of the fight is quickly removing these effects before they cause massive damage/death. They must be removed within 8s.
  • Saruman will also randomly cast purple fear clouds that raid members must maneuver out of.  Moving continuously clock-wise seems to be the preferred tactic of dps groups. Always move behind clones instead of in front of them.
  • Pot-able effects end once the frost clone is defeated.
  • Ring bearers return to their spots before the last clone has 20k morale.
  • Ring bearers use their first ring skill once it lights up to hold their ring aloft.

Phase IV

  • Kill-order: Shadow, Venom, Storm, Frost, Fire
  • Pot-able effects no longer occur.
  • The group must maneuver continuously dealing with purple fear and green poison clouds. 
  • Shadow clones drop healing clouds that they should be pulled out of.
  • Venom clones drops the poison clouds and should be defeated second so he stops.
  • Ring bearers return to their spots before the last clone has 20k morale.
  • Ring bearers use their first ring skill once it lights up to hold their ring aloft.

Phase V

  • Kill-order: Shadow X 2, Venom X 2, Storm X 2, Fire X 2, Frost X 2
  • Dps group should move as a group from doorway to doorway since non-dispellable knockbacks occur through the round.  A ring bearer overboard is wipe news for your raid, so be sure to stress the importance of keeping against the doorway walls to minimize the chance this will happen.
  • A mezzing class should immediately mez the second shadow clone that is not being destroyed.  They have healing corruptions and they need to be interrupted as long as possible until both can be taken down.  If the mezzer has the frost ring, they can use its one ability to make it so the shadow clone can be mezzed a second time.
  • Ring bearers return to their spots before the last clone has 20k morale.
  • Ring bearers use their first ring skill once it lights up to hold their ring aloft.


  • ·         The group should gather immediately against one of the doorways facing Saruman. Dps him at range until he monologues again.  A special friend gives you a lift and the raid completes. 


Good luck!



& other random comments and pictures I found

A Year of Firsts

From the desk of the Pet Biographer (Beorbrand is behind me practicing pipes) ~

Real-life and LOTRO have dealt us a series of firsts this last year, several lovely and mostly not-so.  However, many of the better bits have been relative to LOTRO and even small things call for celebration, especially when they do not seem so small from a personal perspective.

While I have traipsed across Middle Earth off and on since closed Beta, this is the longest I’ve played in one clip and with great delight at that.  It’s not that I’ve particularly grown enamored with the game.  If anything, I’ve been rather displeased with the direction the whole thing has taken since going free-to-play.  The greater infusion of riff-raff, micro-store ‘pay-to-win’ items, and the perceived shift from providing high-quality content to buggy repetitive quantity are all very discouraging developments.   I accept that this is the direction the game must take (with lumps and bumps) if it is to remain profitable, however.  Still, the only thing that keeps me hooked gaming in Tolkien’s world vs. any other is its online community, particularly those involved with LOTRO’s unique music system.  There’s nothing like it in any other online application, and I’ve had a real blast playing, composing, and sharing music with other kindred spirits across the globe.  It is a joy to test the music system limits, so to speak, and to play the role of a much-maligned travelling musician/pyrotechnics-expert redneck-want-to-be-intellectual (i.e. lore-master) while going about it.

I had left the game for ten months or so when my first kinship dissolved in an ugly split.  Other kinships I tried just did not feel like a good fit.  The radiance system had all but ruined the game itself for me (said kinship fell apart over it,) and the social aspect ended along with the original group.  Fun was lacking with few to share my victories and setbacks with and so I left.  I got caught up in work subsequently (I can be quite the workaholic) and it was only in facing an extended vacation that I resolved to give Middle Earth another chance.  The music system had always been of particular interest to me, and I decided to focus my time more on the mechanics and role-play elements it offered over ‘mad lootz’ and experiencing the latest content.  I still like those things, but I let the music demand first priority these days.  I’m glad for it.  When I returned to the game looking for a music-oriented kinship, I knew the Lonely Mountain Band was the place to be.  I must admit initial disappointment however, in discovering little action on the music forum and in finding LMB’s music presence outside of Weatherstock to be limited (mostly) to Old Winyards at A & T.  I had caught myself longing for something that didn’t seem to exist.  There is always the worry as well, in joining a new group that you will step on toes by becoming too involved/seeking creative control.

While quite young, I remember watching this old comedy about a bar where people gathered every night to talk about their daily trials and drown their sorrows in beer.  It wasn’t the first show I watched that featured camaraderie or drinking in large quantities, but it stuck with me.  The notion of having a circle of friends to gather with and share your drinks and tribulations was something I found very appealing. I was lucky to have such a circle of friends to pal around with until recently but the winds of life have dragged us all in different directions and mostly far away.  That notion of the community pub seems lost for many, as modern society leads many of us to live more of our social lives online.  There are social networking ‘apps’ and ‘Skyping’ and texting to keep in touch with your buddies of course, but something still seems amiss without that age-old tavern scene.  There is no opportunity to meet new people, to comment on random events or the cute blonde at the end of the row, or to take simple delight in the house band cutting loose or yelling en masse at the piss-poor referee on the television.  That fun interaction has been lost in the fray, and I’m tired of making up new cute comments for pictures of friends’ babies and adorable pet costumes while my own life stagnates in limbo.  Some long for the days of wine and roses, but I was itching for the equivalent of wings and beer, with a side of raunchy humor.

Fast forward through a good deal of forum posting and playing solo (then duo, and trio) sets at the Pony, and the seeds for BBB were planted. How fortunate for me that someone (and others later) took the bait and that it has grown into an enjoyable thing where I’ve met some superb people from all over the damn place and learned some fun stuff about a bunch of new things.


I really never imagined BBB ever turning into what it has, and that’s great.  It evolves a little bit each time someone new comes through or passes on.  Irving Berlin wrote it about love, but it’s comforting to know despite everything I’ve weathered, I’ve got BBB to keep me warm.