Once you have completed something from all years of the LOTRO Scavenger Hunt (Eriador version included), Waldo Rumble decides it’s time to figure out who was behind it. The planning committee was put out that they weren’t included in the sudden appearance of ribbons and lists at the Party Tree! Just when Waldo was despairing at ever figuring out why he was subjected to the Scavenger Hunt he spies a suspicious figure. He hopes that the instigators may finally have slipped up. And thus the riddles of The Mastermind’s Minion begin! I was determined not to ask on Twitter, or look it up on the Wiki – I wanted to solve this puzzle myself, I’m a bit stubborn like that. So let’s start on the trail!
Waldo’s mysterious figure disappeared up towards Bag End, so he suggests you start there. Sure enough, on the path, you find a discarded scroll.
In case you’re using a screen-reader or can’t easily read the image, I’ll write the clue out in full. I hope this helps.
Three came to visit.
“Where shall we meet?” they asked.
“Why, in the very centre,” said I, “A stone marks the spot and cannot be missed!”
“Will you be there?” they asked.
“Nay, not I,” I replied.
The most obvious location that has a stone that “cannot be missed” is the Three Farthings Stone at Bywater.
Yes, I was correct – hurrah! Another scroll – and yes you’ve probably guessed correctly. We’ll be following scrolls for the entirety of The Mastermind’s Minion, so I’ll stop mentioning scrolls, unless it matters!
A broken branch,
a buzzing buzz,
tooth and claw,
they Took what they ought not!
This reminded me very much of Adelard’s Chapter at The Great Willow. Their rucksack was caught in the tree. The first attempt to knock it down with a stone results in you defending two Hobbits (both of whom are Tooks, from the clue) from bees. The second results in a Bear attack (tooth and claw). Because they took a chapter from the Year Book.
At the Great WillowAnd here’s the next, even more obvious clue. At least it’s obvious if you’ve spent any length of time in The Shire!
Mud and pigs and terror!
The Bolgers sleep uneasily when he stalks the sties!
Even the smallest shadow can strike fear into a Hobbit’s heart!
Although the quests at Budgeford can easily, accidentally be missed, some parts of the Explorer of the Shire Deed pass nearby. This clue is about the Spectre of the Black Rider quest-chain about a Hobbit pretending to be a “Black Rider”. All at the behest of someone who called themselves “The Chief” funnily enough. So I headed to the pig sties of Budgeford.
At BudgefordOh look! What have we found in the mud? It’s a scr… no wait I said I wouldn’t say that word again without need!
Take a swing at clue number fore, and watch out for the water hazard – I want to hear no complaints from ewe!
It’s par for the course if you run afoul of old goblin’s fellows, but don’t go looking for them!
This one took me a bit longer and the temptation to use the Wiki was strong! The golfing references led me to Brockenborings and to the statue of Bullroarer. But there was no scroll there. However, North of the Greenfields is key Goblin Slayer territory. And the western camp is Golfimbul’s Hole. However, you were told not to go looking for Goblins. Eventually, desparing of ever finding this one without help, I stumbled on it.
The reason it took me time was (as the commenter below pointed out) I missed the “ewe” clue, so didn’t realise I was looking for sheep! The scroll this time is nearer to the eastern goblin camp by a small watering hole for sheep. Here you can pick up the Sheep Theft quest-giver.
At The GreenfieldsHere, you’ll be pleased to know is your final clue of The Mastermind’s Minion!
Walking in the wood is not unusual, unless you are made of the stuff. Then it is most peculiar!
The only thing in a wood that is “made of the stuff” are Huorns or “Walking Trees“. There in Spider Slayer territory, you can rescue a walking tree. Not that anyone believes you! You cannot actually enter Lob’s Grove proper without the quest, but that doesn’t matter. Head that way anyway.
The Master’s Minion Revealed!Upon arrival at Lob’s Grove you find Ebrulf Sackville and he has quite the story to share. You should read it in full when you find him! In short, the whole thing was the idea of Lotho Sackville-Baggins and Ebrulf was very pleased to create it for him.
I’ve often joked that LOTRO Festivals were a tool of the enemy to stop the Free People’s from fighting Evil. Or at least, to distract them! And that’s exactly what is happening here – keeping our eyes off Lotho’s activities. Being right is not always satisfying, but you have to feel sorry for Ebrulf here!
- Bag End
- Three Farthings Stone (Bywater)
- The Great Willow
- Budgeford Pig Sties
- The Greenfields, near the Scrag-dells
- Lob’s Grove (Bindbole Woods)
TL;DR The Mastermind’s Minion, the Journey and the Solutions
Thus the LOTRO Anniversary Scavenger Hunt comes to an end. No more scrolls will appear next year, although they will still be there for people to complete if they want. But this was a great ending! The Mastermind’s Minion is just one of great puzzle or clue-based quests that LOTRO are fab at and I loved it. At the end you get some housing decorations and 9 LOTRO Anniversary Tokens. But as with everything in The Lord of the Rings Online, you should enjoy the journey and the story more than the destination!