Saturday, March 16, 2019

Bare-chested Bard

It all started in September of 2016 when Gamutdorok, of Crickhollow's amazing Second Breakfast kinship, started the LOTRO hashtag #NakeDwarfGo on Twitter. (Of course, it's safe. I wouldn't intentionally link questionable content on this family-friendly blog!) What was a completely innocuous joke then has transformed into a cheerful, hilarious, and addictive subculture showcasing any and every dwarf encountered using the Bare-chested cosmetic. It's filled with dwarves parading in hot pants, dwarven bands singing and strumming shirtless, dwarves proudly displaying carefully sculpted beards, dwarves that...well, the list is endless. Frankly, I'm surprised nobody started the racy "Dwarves of Middle-earth" calendar, which would have better funded the expedition into Ered Mithrin! (If anyone asks, you didn't hear that from me!)

I couldn't resist and joined the fun, adding my own to the Twitter collection!

Meet one of my model dwarves, Toraden Gamaldorn, drunken bard extraordinaire:

Toraden spends his time in The Great Hall and the Hall of Kings, often seen garbed in red and gold, captivating audiences with skillfully sung ballads or his elaborate and embellished tales of Durin's line. His impassioned and dramatic performances evoke ancient memories carved into the stone halls. They've also awoken a desire within listening dwarves to return to the prosperous days of old, before the curses of dragons, balrogs, and other foul creatures plagued them. When off duty or taking a break from his bardic activities, he's at Thorin's Hall Inn with his bearded mug parked in a frothy mug that seldom remains devoid of ale. And it's here he's listened to the tales of travelers, which became the foundations for his songs...after having taken a few liberties, of course.

And now that I've established a background for Toraden, written specifically for this entry, he could could return. And I may leave all of his outfits shirtless.

This has been an unexpected, yet highly enjoyable experience. I hadn't expected to take the plunge and challenge myself by using the Bare-chested cosmetic. I'd always avoided it because the chest slot has been, arguably, the most important and obvious component in all of my outfits. I'd never left it "empty." Without anything to connect the top and bottom halves of this outfit, I had to be more cautious and more deliberate with my cosmetic choices. I was forced to pay more attention to the legs, which are often covered by onesies, the feet, and the shoulder slots. It's definitely a different approach to outfitting. And I would be willing to do it again!

Head: Ceremonial Circlet of Restoration (Crimson, Lalia's Market)**
Shoulders: Shoulders of the Mighty Verse (Crimson, Minstrel class vendor in the Twenty-first Hall)***
Back: Plain Cloak (Crimson, Bree-town Outfitter)
Chest: Bare-chested (Default, LOTRO Store)
Legs: Leggings of Durin's Guard (Crimson, Guardian class vendor in the Twenty-first Hall)
Feet: Boots of Durin's Guard (Crimson, Guardian class vendor in the Twenty-first Hall)

**This circlet also shared the same appearance as the Circlet of Restoration, a Lore-master's barter item from the Ettenmoors.
***Also available at Lalia's Market at the time of posting.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Staff Skins Collection, Part 3

Like the previous CWP entry with swords, this collection was created to flesh out the staves a bit more. A glaring number of crafted one were missing from the first two installments.

As usual, if there were other ways of obtaining any of the skins below, please let me know in the comments.

 Ash Staff - Crafted from the recipe of the same name

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Feathered Fury

Approximately two weeks ago, LOTRO Family of Twitter hosted another delightful themed screenshot contest. This particular one revolved around cosmetic pets--not to be confused with Lore-master combat pets--earned from various festivals, deeds, and side quests. Luckily, I had a screenshot on hand that fit the criteria and submitted it, which you can either see here or before the outfit breakdown below. I've always loved the various vistas in LOTRO, taking screenshots at every opportunity. Although most of my landscape screenshots are just that, I've occasionally used my character and an emote to enhance the atmosphere. In this case, it included a raven earned from the Anniversary Festivals's Tome of the Raven, which was a royal pain to position properly.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Cosmetic Implements Collection

Ah, one-handed implements. These are probably the most unique category of weapons in the game. Some are purely cosmetic. Others, like the aptly named Slapper Fish, have incredibly low combat damage. These are also all one-handed, which means they can be overlaid on any one-handed weapon except for spears. I don't know exactly why, but I expect it has to do with both the animations and how spears are held. Lore-masters will find the same problem with their staves, despite eventually learning how to dual wield. Two-handed weapons users will also find they can't use these either.

If you're interested in these, they make for home hilarious outfits. Imagine dual-wielding Breads of the Third Age or the Giant Flower! And, as usual, if there's another way of obtaining anything you see here, let me know in the comments.

Bane of Warm Butter - Bartered from Bert Bartleby in Michel Delving

Basket of Apples - Bartered from the Fall Festival

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Iron Garrison Miner

It's been a long time since I've entertained role playing on this blog. I used to write stories--short blurbs may be more accurate--for my characters that matched the outfit and images contained within a given entry. It's been years, probably five or six, since I last did that. I almost wrote a brief story, but I decided to let the images themselves tell the tale of an often exhausted dwarven miner, hard at work, deep within the darkness of Moria.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Sword Skins Collection, Part 3

It's been some time since I started Cosmetics Weapon Project section. Originally, this was meant to be a collection of the weapons I'd owned or had tucked away in storage. By the time I'd finished the main categories, this project evolved to contain crafted weapons (even though I'd never used them), rare quest weapons, and hidden, unused skins (some of which have been released through the LOTRO Store).

Swords had been one of the first categories uploaded, which meant it didn't get the same amount of time, effort, and thoroughness as the others. This post is meant to correct that oversight, further fleshing out swords. There are some skins feel like they should be here, especially among the LIs, but have already been featured in the first two installments.

As usual, if there's another way of obtaining one of the skins listed below, please let me know in the comments.

 Ancient Steel Sword - Crafted from the recipe of the same name

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Verdant Grace

Quite often I repurpose slotted or old outfits. A splash of a different color, the exchange of at least one piece...that's all it's taken to transform an old character appearances into something new, fresh, and exciting. I've always been surprised how a subtle change in color, either in tint, shade, or tone, has altered the concept and emotion of an outfit. For those that have regularly visited Material Middle-earth, this particular clothing combination should look familiar. It's mostly a recolor of Silvan Elegance, which was posted in February 2018, almost a year from today.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

LOTRO Store Weapon Skins Collection

I don't know exactly what sparked it. It was either me finding some unique and unused Legendary Items in LOTRO's coding last year or the forums thread wanting some new addition to the LOTRO Store (also from last year), but the developers saw fit to finally introduce these to the game. Almost all of these skins are exclusive to the Store, costing 395 LP apiece. If there's an in-game way of obtaining something here, I'll have made a note below.

Three different sets have been released, the "Soaring Depths," the "Khazad-dûm Vaults," and the "Storied Past" sets. I must point out that these skins have only appeared in the store for limited periods of time, and even then, only one set at a time. Watch the LOTRO Store (or Twitter or the client launcher), as I have, for their next appearance. I'd say once every month or two we've been graced by their presence.

I've collected only certain ones, as I don't have infinite funds to pour into LOTRO's coffers, and I haven't regretted those purchases either!

And, oh yes, I've moved these skins from the other CWP entries to here.

Soaring Axe of the Depths

Axe of the Khazad-dûm Vaults

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Ward of the Mountains

As this was my second dwarf outfit, I thought I'd just dive in, not put too much thought into what pieces I would use, and follow my fashionable instincts. What resulted was a heavily armored dwarf  that was also armed to the teeth (lots of pointy weapons, too). The outfit itself does feel a bit cumbersome, but it works. The only thing I'm not particularly fond of is the hauberk-style heavy chest piece, the Reinforced Chestplate of the Adventurer. I'm not quite sure if it was that only the top half was plated or how flat and curveless it appears when donned by a stocky dwarf. Then again, I've been getting used to dwarven body structure these past couple months and the U23 skins have made it easier.

Friday, January 11, 2019

2018 Yule Outfit Contest Winners

After seventy two submissions, nearly three weeks, a fair voting process, and some discussion, the outfit blogs of Material Middle-earth, Cosmetic LOTRO, and Wandering Around Arda are proud to finally present the winners of the 2018 Yule Outfit Contest!

As a reminder, each entry was carefully examined against the following criteria:

  • Representative of the Yule spirit or Wintry ambiance.
  • Originality of the overall design.
  • Integration of the various pieces used.
  • Blending of dye colors.
  • Overall impression and quality of the screenshot.

Although it wasn't easy, judging these submissions was truly an honor. All of the outfits we received were beautiful. Lots of care, passion, and enthusiasm went into each and every one. Just from effort alone, I wish it were possible to award everybody a prize. Unfortunately, we could only pick three winners. Before I make the official announcement, I invite everyone to view all of our entries via this Flickr album. Player names are attached to each image.

Without further ado, congratulations to our three fashionistas below!


First Place: 1550 LOTRO Points

Holfi of Laurelin

Head: Wintry Yule Cap (Crimson, random reward from the Sack of Presents during the Yule Festival)
Shoulders: Fur Mantle (Default, Yule Festival barter reward)
Back: Sage's Pack (White, LOTRO Store)
Chest: Ale Association Robe (Crimson, Ale Association reputation barter reward)
Hands: Extravagant Festival Gloves (Red, reward from Gain and Glory: Assist the Rich)
Feet: Ceremonial Ajokoira Shoes (Red, Lossoth Tailor reputation recipe)

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Tempered and Sagacious

Material Middle-earth returns this week with another PvMP-centric appearance. Unlike December's Garrison Commander outfit, this one can be acquired, in full, without entering the Moors, but requires mithril coins to purchase. Normally, I don't post outfits that rely so heavily on real money (or ungodly luck from Hobbit Presents), but this something I love sporting on my Lore-master. And it feeds my shameless and often unsatiated love for the color purple.

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