Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Ballad of Bingo Boffin - Part 1

The Ballad of Bingo Boffin saga was launched in July 2015 as an episodic quest chain with some similarities to the Epic Story, following and assisting a character through multiple zones. It follows the adventures of Bingo Boffin, an ordinary hobbit from Michel Delving.

Quest rewards Bingo Badges which can be used to purchase items including pets and housing decorations from Bert Bartleby (who can be found near stable masters in major towns in each zone Bingo travels through). The quests often reward titles as well.

Introducing Bingo Boffin

Chapter 1: The Call to Adventure (level 8)

Bingo has been feeling lonely and wants to invite his neighbours for a dinner party, but he needs your help with preparations as he can't decide what to cook. However, finding a map tucked into a cookbook borrowed from the library inspires him to go on an adventure instead.

Chapter 2: Training for the Journey (level 9)

Bingo is excited to start his journey but wants to be prepared so he asks you to see if Gaffer Gamgee, a friend of Bilbo Baggins, has any advice about adventuring. Gaffer Gamgee's advice: don't go - have some apples from his orchard instead. Unfortunately, Bingo doesn't like apples so asks you to donate them to the Bird and Baby Inn. One of the gossips learns that Bingo is planning to leave the Shire so he hastens his training. Off to the Stocktower to improve his physical strength! Unfortunately, climbing the tower is tiring work but lifting a mug of ale is much better.

Chapter 3: Sink or Swim (level 10)

There is one more skill Bingo thinks he needs to master before he embarks on his journey - he wants to learn to swim. He has an audience by the Brandywine River as he runs around to warm up before plunging into the cold river. The he can't decide which is the best spot, and then thinks perhaps a demonstration would help. Finally, he splashes in the shallows and is mighty pleased with his swimming prowess!

Chapter 4: Disapproving Boggs (level 11)

Bingo suggests returning to his home so he can pack his belongings. He realises he has borrowed some things from his neighbours and asks you to return them for him. His neighbour Myrtle Boggs has started a petition to stop Bingo from going on his adventure, but the mayor doesn't support it. You tell Bingo about it and he thinks it shows how much Myrtle Boggs cares, so he asks you to give her a bunch of flowers on his behalf.

Chapter 5: Leaving is not Easy (level 12)

Bingo is ready to leave and hopes you will accompany him on his journey. His first destination is Waymeet. He realises he has left his walking stick behind and asks you to fetch it for him while he continues on to Bywater.

Waymeet - already starting to miss home

At Bywater he hides from some nosy hobbits and then suggests sneaking out to the Frogmoors to escape them. However, he's afraid of frogs and asks you to kill a few to make him feel safer. Then he remembers he left an important satchel at home and asks you to retrieve it while he heads to Budgeford. At Budgeford he admits it wasn't as easy leaving home as he thought, but he's looking forward to crossing the Brandywine Bridge and visiting his relatives in Newbury.

Chapter 6: A Brood of Boffins (level 16)

Prisca Boffin is pleased to see Bingo but all her children are out and about in Buckland. She asks you to find them and tell them to come home. Bingo had forgotten how many there were and privately asks you to remind him about Prisca if he ever considers having children of his own.

Chapter 7: Marigold (level 18)

Bingo remembers there is one Boffin missing from the reunion - a girl called Marigold. Apparently she has been going off into the Old Forest with a wooden sword pretending to be a hero and bringing back mushrooms and stories about dangerous bats and wolves. Bingo and you find her near the Withywindle River. She's so pleased to learn that Bingo is an adventurer too and tells you that she's been invited to the home of a "strange creature with yellow boots" - Tom Bombadil.

Chapter 8: Defying Description (level 19)

Bingo thinks it has been quite the adventure journeying to Tom Bombadil's house, but now he doesn't know how to describe Tom Bombadil in his journal. he asks you to talk to Tom and find out more about him. Tom tells you to stand in a waterfall and dance for Old Man Willow. Tom is still a mystery to Bingo so he asks you to share his manuscript with Tom. Tom says he'll look at it and suggests you go meet Goldberry. Goldberry tells you how Tom cares for all the inhabitants of the Old Forest and tries to make them happy. This description helps Bingo with his writer's block.

Bingo and Marigold Boffin - visiting Tom Bombadil's house

Chapter 9: Synonyms for Spooky (level 22)

Bingo thinks it is time to take Marigold home and retrieve his manuscript from Tom Bombadil. However, Tom has got distracted and put the manuscript down somewhere outside his house. You find some of the pages on the path leading to the Barrow-downs and return them to Bingo. Marigold insists on helping Bingo hunt down the rest of the pages in the Barrow-downs. With the pages found, Marigold returns home and Bingo vows not to let anyone read his journal until it is finished. Prisca is keen to see Bingo leave - she doesn't want her family going on any more adventures.

Chapter 10: The Two Taverns (level 24) 

Bingo is ready for a rest and thinks Bree would be a good place to go. He meets a hobbit that recommends the Prancing Pony as a good place to stay. Bingo meets some other hobbits there and has a merry time eating, drinking, singing and dancing. All good things must come to an end and Bingo stumbles off to a haystack in the local stables to recover. When you find him, he tells you has had enough merriment and wants to find another tavern - he's heard of the Forsaken Inn in the Lone-lands and thinks that might be better.

Having a good time in the Prancing Pony at Bree

Arriving at the Forsaken Inn, Bingo claims it is certainly different from the Prancing Pony - oppressive and unwelcoming. At least it won't distract him from his journey.

Not staying long at the Forsaken Inn of the Lone-lands

And so the journey of Bingo Boffin continues ... (more to come in Part 2)

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