Thanks to a the official forums, I found out about the Grand Shire Chicken Run 2013 happening on the Laurelin EU-RP server ahead of last evening. This is an aspect of LOTRO I’ve never explored, I have played through the Shire once but somehow missed this farm and the ‘chicken-play’ quest lines.
Everyone gathered at Sandson’s farm in the Shire, North East of Michel Delving for a 7:30pm start.
This was a guild-organised event, though open to all-comers. Thanks to the members of the Grand Order of the Lost Mathom as they provided a lot of guidance! I decided to be one of the ‘herders’, i.e. an armed escort, since I’d never quested in the Shire on this character and there seemed to be pre-quests before I could unlock the chosen route for the evening.
So heroes became hens, and we all trotted off in a rough formation heading eastward. Other than the odd boisterous boar or wandering wolf there wasn’t any real danger as we left the Shire and crossed Breeland. The group of 10 or so escorts formed a raid – I’ve never been to one in LOTRO so hadn’t seen the dark blue name colour before!
We were informed/reminded early on that the chickens can’t see any chat communication from us, so we had to be wary that they might get split up or left behind easily.
At a few points there were pre-arranged stops for screenshots, like here at the Forgotten Inn. This was were the danger ramped up a few notches. One chicken ran off while we were still assembling and was lost to a stealthed wolf near the Inn!
Doing this run reminded me of my naive optimism years ago when I decided to ride to Rivendell on my starter mount – it was a real experience, I wasn’t in a guild and didn’t know what lay before me at all! I did make it alive first attempt but had a lot of scares and desperate runs from higher level monsters.
Another screenshot pause at the bridge leading to the Trollshaws.
The final rest-stop before we climbed up the steep slopes to reach the city.
All in all it was a wonderful evening, a very different pace from normal questing or dungeon-running. There was a good amount of in-character roleplay between the escorts and plenty of wild animals to one or two-shot. We even ambushed a troll before it could get even the scent of a chicken.