Art and Literature News / Gaming News

Top Guild Leader Contest — A Call to Arms

Originally published on

“I chose to republish this here on Middle-earth News because of the wonderful example it shows of the creative community that gathers both in LOTRO and the Middle-earth Network.  Both the Lonely Mountain Band and the Middle-earth Network were effectively ‘born’ in LOTRO and Harp’s article is an important part of the history of the Network.  As a network founder I ask you to read and enjoy this article as well as support  Harperella in her contest attempt.  This is about so much more than winning a computer for Harp’s family, but more about the loving and creative community we have here in LOTRO and the Middle-earth Network.”  – John

A Challenge Accepted

I am Harperella, leader of the Lonely Mountain Band, and longtime LOTRO Event planner and Community builder. Many of you know me from Weatherstock, some from Ales and Tales, and a few even remember me from Harperella’s Harrowing Tales or Welby’s brilliant machinima based on the tale.

Recently, I received an invitation from Guildlaunch to participate in the “Top Guild Leader”contest as part of a promotion for the latest expansion for Rift. While I don’t know much about Rift and have no use for a meaningless internet title, I was quite intrigued about the first prize of an Alienware gaming laptop. The day before, I had to explain to my daughter why asking for a laptop that could run LOTRO for her birthday was not something we could realistically get her. This contest seemed to be an answer to my silent prayer—a way to fulfill my little ones wish, and a chance to raise the profile of the LOTRO community.

The Call of Community

One of the things I have always cherished about LOTRO is its sense of community and diversity. We are not the largest MMO, but we have a passionate playerbase that actively builds connections. This community makes things happen! There is a rich lore associated with our MMO and I am constantly finding manifestations of that lore both in the game world that Turbine has created, and in the many events, tales, songs, and pageantry put on by players. Casual Stroll to Mordor has served as a focal point for all things LOTRO for many years. Bringing both in-game news and information as well as whimsical articles on cooking, beer, or even knitting! The community response to the Childs Play Fellowship Walk is nothing short of phenomenal!  This site at Casual Stroll to Mordor is hosted by the My Middle Earth network—a greater Tolkien Community that LOTRO is a part of. This community is a very special thing, made up of lore-nerds, casual players, raiders, freeps and creeps, musicians, socialites, artists and bloggers.

It has been my pleasure to serve this community over the past five years. So I am calling in some favors—I need your help to make this contest happen. I know that the community here in LOTRO can organize and accomplish things that no other online community can. So if you value community and what we have done for it at LMB, give me a vote at ! It requires a guildlaunch account, and each account can vote up to once a day from now until December 21st.

The Call of Music

When LOTRO launched, it had a feature never seen before or since in an MMO—an interactive music system. This system has spawned so much creativity and collaboration that I hardly know where to begin. I was first drawn to the Lonely Mountain Band after seeing Galenhir’s Music Video, Whisky in the Jar.

That video sparked a friendship that lasts to this day and has resulted in musical collaborations through the Lonely Mountain Band music project. That’s right—the music in LOTRO inspired us to go and make some music in real life as well! Two CDs to date and another on the way!

In-game music forms the core of nearly every social interaction in LOTRO. Whether it is stopping to listen and talk to a musician playing by the stables, hiring a band for a kin party, or attending an in-game concert, music makes connections happen in our game. Perhaps the best example of this is Weatherstock, the incredible music festival that the Lonely Mountain Band puts on each year on Landroval. Ten bands from across the servers come to play for an audience of over 500 players!  Each year I am struck by how much creativity and talent is displayed by these incredible bands.

In many ways, the Lonely Mountain Band carries the banner for the music system in LOTRO. We have three distinct bands within the kinship: Old Winyards, Bards, Beers, and Longbeards (BBB), and the Andune Ensemble. Our events have come to be associated with good music and emergent forms of gameplay. In the name of music, give a vote at!

The Call of Creativity

One of the amazing things about LOTRO is the sheer amount of creativity on display. Most games reward players for being efficient video game jockeys. But in LOTRO, there’s this other force at work drawing peoples creativity out. I’ve seen that creativity time and time again at Ales and Tales, where stories and original music are on display each week.

I’ve seen that creativity in the incredible videos put out by BBB.

I’ve seen that creativity in the style and artistry that so many put into their fashionable cosmetic outfits in-game.

CSTM has guides on hairstyles, cosmetics, and housing decor! So much creativity and art being created around a video game is simply astonishing to me. And I have done my best to create a kinship as part of a greater community that values and fosters this creativity. And so I ask you again—In the name of creativity, give a vote at!

The Call of Cuteness

My final appeal is a personal one. My daughter Harpermouse is an up and coming musician. This little lady has taken after me in real life by learning the harp, and in game by learning to freestyle live. In the past few months, she’s gotten over her initial shyness and learned to interact with the community in a playful and positive way. There isn’t another online community I would trust my daughter to. She has gotten so much positive feedback from her own expressions of creativity in music, riddles, and stories. We are currently working together on a theme song for our two twin elves, Silf and Sylf. The tune is her original work, and I present it to you here today for its first public viewing.

Silf and Sylf

This opportunity to teach music theory and lyrical composition would not have happened if not for the community and and support of friends and kin in this wonderful game of LOTRO. So if you believe in supporting sheer cuteness, vote at and make a little girl super happy on her birthday!



  1. Thank you for the reprint, John/Galenswerd/Galenhir! And I am happy to say that today Harperella pulled into first place in the contest. I want to thank everyone who has stuck by me even when the odds seemed insurmountable. Far Apart, Never Alone!

  2. What happened, did your competition get disqualified for cheating?