“At its greatest Arnor included all of Eriador, except the regions beyond the Lune, and the lands east of Greyflood and Loudwater, in which lay Rivendell and Hollin. Beyond the Lune was
Elvish country, green and quiet, where no Men went; but Dwarves dwelt, and still dwell, in the east side of the Blue Mountains, especially in those parts south of the Gulf of Lune…”
The purpose of this guide is to describe the lands and peoples of western Eriador, the Blue Mountains (Ered Luin in Sindarin) and Lindon, including the regions of: the Hills of Evendim; West Lune (called East Lune in the resource Journeys & Maps); the Tower Hills; the Grey Havens; the Gulf of Lune; the Blue Mountains; Forlindon; and, Harlindon. The Shire has been covered in a separate treatise. Eastern Eriador is addressed in the Rivendell sourcebook, while Bree and Bree-land are covered in the sourcebook Bree.
Western Eriador was split between the western halves of the North-kingdoms of Arthedain and Cardolan (formerly the westernmost region of Arnor) and the Elvish lands bordered by the Blue Mountains to the west and the north-south course of the River Lhûn to the east. Since the fall of the North-kingdoms much of Eriador has reverted to wild lands, from the flat, open plains north of the Hills of Evendim to the rock-strewn hill-country found south of the Great East Road. Bordering the north of Western Eriador is the Ice Bay of Forochel; south of the River Greyflood is the land of Enedwaith. Lindon, on the seaward side of the Blue Mountains, is divided by the Gulf of Lune into Forlindon in the north and Harlindon to the south.
The Hills of Evendim
The Hills of Evendim, called Emyn Uial in Sindarin and also the Twilight Hills, was the site of Annúminas, the original capital of Arnor. The city was constructed next to the brilliant blue waters of Nenuial (Lake Evendim), several miles south of where the Baranduin (Brandywine River) begins its journey to the Sea. Annúminas fell into decline sometime after T.A. 250; in the year 861 Arnor was divided into the smaller kingdoms of Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur, and the capital of what was now Arthedain was moved to Fornost. The Hills themselves form a ridge that stretches from the northern borders of the Shire northward for over one hundred fifty miles.
Streaming out of the Hills of Evendim, the Siruial (Twilight River) flows south and west to empty into the River Lhûn. East of the Siruial vine-covered ruins of ancient stone mansions haunt the otherwise beautiful landscape; ghosts of the the Dúnedain realm of Arnor when the Men of the West ruled these lands. But none dwell here now and few visit--other than Rangers of the North who come to gaze on the lands of their ancestors and then move on. Numerous smaller streams and rivulets hamper the progress of any would-be travelers.
Goats and sheep roam the hills; deer shelter in the woods and groves ringing Nenuial, its lake-waters teeming with bass, pike and silvery trout. Lynx, foxes and wolves prowl the hills and woods for their dinner. Kestrels ride the winds by day while owls hunt under the stars. Songbirds can be heard throughout the hills, many of them descended from former pets of Dúnedain ladies. Feral cats, also descended from former pets, hunt on the slopes and among the rocks for rabbits, squirrels, mice and other small creatures. The plains to the north and east are home to herds of elk, wild horses, kine and oxen as well as packs of wolves and wild dogs.
The most adventurous of Hobbits might conceivably dare the hike to Nenuial and might even try their luck at a bit of fishing. But there is no record of any such visits. To dare the lake would also mean challenging the ghosts and spectres that doubtless haunt the ivy-covered ruins and mausoleums that can still be found among the hills.
Men have not lived in this country since the division of Arnor when the capital was moved to Fornost. Hunters and trappers occasionally try their luck while treasure-hunters might root through the ruins of ancient estates. The Rangers of the North still come to look upon the courts of their ancestors; it is rumoured that they maintain hidden refuges and caches of equipment and supplies in the hills. In truth, the Dúnedain have striven to keep the ruins of Annúminas free of such perils as Barrow-wights and other servants of evil. However, there are dangers that even the Dúnedain have overlooked. Barrow-wights inhabit a handful of isolated tombs on the former grounds of secluded manors that once belonged to wealthy Númenóreans lords, while the spirits of departed Dúnedain lords and ladies roam their crumbling former halls mourning for what they have lost.
Aegathir the Fell Wraith
This former Captain of Arnor cannot recall the name he was born with; the only one he answers to now is Aegathir (Fell Spy). It is the name given to him by his dark master after long torment and torture with a Morgul-knife. Aegathir became a Fell Wraith under the control of the Witch-king and served him in Angmar for many years. Now the Wraith has been given a mission: to search the ruins of Annúminas for relics of the fallen North-kingdoms that might have been left behind and lost in the sack of Arthedain. The Enemy believes that one of the palantíri--the Seeing-stones--might still be somewhere in the ruin of Arnor's former capital. If not then there may still be artefacts of value to the Dark Lord of Mordor.
See the entry for Fell Wraiths in Rivendell.
The ancient capital of Arnor fell into ruin centuries ago, but there is still much haunting beauty in its tumbled white stones covered with mosses and ivy. There may still be undisturbed chambers buried deep beneath the rubble where Dúnedain artefacts wait to be discovered. The city remained in decline and abandoned for many years before the court was formally moved to Fornost. One of the palantíri, the Seeing-stones brought to Middle-earth from fallen Númenor, was kept at Annúminas. When the forces of Angmar overcame Arthedain, the stone was moved to Fornost. When Arthedain fell at last, King Arvedui took both the Annúminas-stone and the palantír of Amon Sûl and fled with them to Forochel where he and the stones were lost. Many objects of value might have been lost to theft, simple neglect or poor record-keeping.
NenuialNew Fellowship Phase Undertaking: Visit Annúminas
(Rangers of the North only)
A Ranger of the North who spends a Fellowship phase to visit Annúminas on the shore of Lake Nenuial will find a degree of peace, allowing him to heal one point of permanent Shadow.
Lake Evendim is one of the most beautiful sites (and sights) in Middle-earth. Sheltered by the surrounding hills, its deep, blue waters are as a mirror, and at night the moon and stars are reflected in it. There are few sights more stirring to the Dúnedain of the North.
"Beyond the Lune was Elvish country, green and quiet, where no Men went…”
From the icy tundra of Forochel in the north, down to the gentle waters of the Gulf of Lune, the River Lhûn winds its way through over three hundred miles of sparse woods and hills. The river is the principle source for water for all of the lands between the Hills of Evendim and the Northern Blue Mountains, for little rain falls east of those peaks.
The Lhûn (or Lune, to Hobbits and common Men) has two sources, both in the Northern Blue Mountains. The greater Lhûn has its start in the north-most ridge of the Blue Mountains that extends northwest from the ruin of Mount Rerir to the Ice Bay of Forochel. The Lesser Lhûn (or Little Lune) rushes out of the foothills some one hundred eighty miles from the gulf, flowing east for one hundred miles to join with the Lhûn proper. Beyond the river's mouth is the harbor of the High Elves that is known as the Grey Havens.
The Blue Mountains mark the western border of Eriador, so the history of West Lune is essentially the history of Eriador (as related in the supplement Rivendell).
ELEMENTS OF LANDSCAPE
The Greater Lhûn emerges from the rocky foothills of the Blue Mountains, flowing south for thirty miles before making a sharp turn to the east for another twenty miles before gradually returning to its southern course. A triangular area of land that covers about thirty square miles east and north of the river is counted as part of West Eriador; this area, dominated by marshes and treacherous bogs, is known as the Bend. The Greater Lhûn separates the northern portion of West Lune from the Lone-lands between the Ice Bay of Forochel and the Hills of Evendim. The Lesser Lhûn divides West Lune in half before merging with the greater river; most of the territory through which the river travels consists of grassy plains to the west and the sparsely wooded wasteland of West Lune itself.
West Lune sees seasonal flooding in the spring when the snows melt in the Blue Mountains; however, the flooding is rarely severe and the few Mannish inhabitants of the region take them in stride. The heaviest flood seen in centuries followed the Long Winter of T.A. 2758-59, but that was by far the exception to the rule. The mountain streams and gullies are subject to flash floods from either the spring thaw or the runoff brought by heavy rains on the west side of the range.
The Land Between the Rivers
The head of the Greater Lhûn is fed by fast, cold mountain streams and rivulets about seventy miles from where the Northern Blue Mountains terminate at the Ice Bay of Forochel. North of the Lhûn, Forochel is rocky tundra for most of the year; transforming into bogs and shallow lakes over permafrost during the brief summer. South of the river the terrain is dominated by low hills; one can find hardy grasses dotted with wildflowers, thickets of bushes and shrubs. The region is nearly treeless until one reaches the foothills of the Blue Mountains, where scrubby firs and pines cling to cracks in the rocks. However, the landscape becomes gentler and more pleasant as the river winds its way south to where it converges with the Lesser Lhûn. Stands of trees begin to line the banks of the greater river and wildlife becomes more plentiful. There are no easy passages through the mountains until one travels south of the Bend, where the range turns straight south. About sixty miles south of the Bend, with the head of the Greater Lhûn perhaps another thirty miles beyond that, lies the Cirith Forod (North Pass) that provides access to both Upper and Lower Forlindon.
The Lesser Lhûn emerges from within the mountains themselves, rushing through a slick, narrow gully. The course of the river turns gently to the north for several miles before resuming a more easterly flow to merge with the Greater Lhûn to continue south towards the Gulf. The lands are less harsh though still rough country, transitioning into scrubland, low hills covered with coarse heather, and riverbanks lined with modest groves of fruit trees and willow.
South of the Lesser Lhûn
A pair of passes through the mountains lie south of the Lesser Lhûn. About twenty-five miles south of the river lies Cirith Belegost (Mickleburg Pass), which was formed when the earth above the Dwarven city of Belegost subsided some time after S.A. 40. Another twenty miles south of that is Nan Nogrod (Hollowbold Vale) which is screened at the western end by thick forest. The eastern entrance to the pass was originally the site of the East Gate of the Dwarf-city of Nogrod. The western ends of the two passes lie to the north and south, respectively of Mount Dolmed, a site held sacred to the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains as the location where their founding fathers first awoke in Middle-earth.
The west vales, since the fall of Arthedain have become frontier lands where there is no rule of law. However, trouble-makers should beware; when called upon, those folk who live here enforce their own brand of justice. Thieves and other malefactors, if caught, are likely to receive any punishment from being sent off with a beating to lynching or worse. Trials are rare and there is no nobility or king's justice to which to appeal.
A Lonely Land
The region of West Lune was never heavily populated. Elves dwelt there until the fall of Arthedain from the forces of the Witch-king, at which time they retreated into Lindon. Dwarves still live and strive in the Blue Mountains, but mostly in the southern range on the other side of the Gulf of Lune. Today one can only expect to find a few small Mannish hamlets along the banks of the river and scattered, isolated farmsteads and freeholds. There are no true inns or sizable settlements and no good roads. One can travel for days without encountering another human being.
Mostly, these are not particularly dangerous lands. The most common hazards are those found in nature: Boggy marshes; rockfalls in the mountains; fast-moving rivers and streams. Several varieties of dangerous animals inhabit the region: mostly bears, wolves and spotted lions; but there are no Orcs or true Wargs, the only Trolls to be encountered are Snow-trolls in the northernmost portion of the Blue Mountains. Rumors of Giants persist but they remain unsubstantiated. The Lossoth (Snowmen) of Forochel speak of a spirit or beast that haunts the northernmost reaches of the Blue Mountains; however, if it exists then West Lune seems to be outside of its territory.
West Lune is teeming with life. Besides the native creatures, many beasts that from farms that were ruined with the fall of Arthedain returned to the wild and prospered. The mountains are full of wild goats and sheep. Pigs and donkeys roam the foothills. Foxes and weasels compete with feral cats for northern hares, frogs and other small creatures. Beavers and otters inhabit the rivers and larger streams. The Lhûn and Lesser Lhûn are home to trout and salmon -- favoured prey for the brown bears that inhabit the region. Cattle and oxen graze on the grasslands guarding their calves from wild dogs and wolves. During unusually harsh winters, packs of White Wolves have been known to invade West Lune from Forochel. White Wolves are large, powerful canines with thick, white coats and large, well-furred feet (treat them as Wild Wolves from the Loremaster's Guide). In recent years, one pack led by a White Wolf/Warg hybrid called Carchelek, has claimed the lands north of the Lesser Lune for their territory.
Birds can be found in profusion in the West Lower Vales. Eagles are common in the mountains, sharing the skies with hawks, falcons and other birds of prey. Wild chickens compete for food with native grouse and pheasant. Thrushes, nightingales, larks and other songbirds nest in the rocks as well as in the trees that line the Lhûn. Owls hunt by night, taking their toll on rabbits, small rodents, lizards, snakes and amphibians. Long-legged herons and storks wade in the Lhûn. The river and surrounding wetlands support many other waterfowl from ducks, loons and geese to majestic swans. Smaller birds catch swarms of biting and stinging insects that infest the summer bogs, as do common bats that emerge in the evenings from caves, dead trees and even ancient ruins.
Elves dwelled west of the River Lhûn until the destruction of Arthedain by the kingdom of Angmar. At that time, the Elves retreated to the Grey Havens and Lindon, west of the Blue Mountains.
The Men who dwell in the West Lune are typical Eriadorians, a mixture of Northmen, Dúnedain and Dunlendings, some of whom have taken Lossoth brides. They live in isolated farmsteads and freeholds or in small clusters of homes scattered along the River Lhûn and Lesser Lhûn. One such hamlet is Anthorp on the west bank of the Lhûn above the confluence of the larger river and the Siruial (Twilight River) that has its source in the Hills of Evendim. Anthorp is little more than a trading post and a handful of wooden homes and outbuildings, but it is the nearest thing to civilization to be found between the Tower Hills and Forochel.
NOTABLE CHARACTERSNew Weapon: Sling
Slings have largely fallen out of favour since the coming of the Númenóreans; however, there are still Men of Eriador who use them for hunting and self-defense. Slingers in Eriador will likely be using sling-stones rather than lead or iron bullets. In addition, virtually anything that can be thrown by hand can be placed in a sling and flung with greater force and distance.
Edge: G-rune (Eye, if wielded by a monster or other evil Adversary)
Called Shot: Piercing blow regardless of the outcome of the Feat die.
Notes: Ranged weapon (as Bow). Encumbrance rating is 0.
Carchelek (Ice-fang) is the result of a mating between a Warg and a White Wolf. He resembles a huge White Wolf, but his fur is coarser and light grey instead of white. Consider him the equivalent of a Wolf Leader, substituting the Deadly Elusiveness special ability in place of Strike Fear. Carchelek leads a large wolf pack (if encountered, assume at least two Winter Wolves for each companion plus Carchelek). He considers all of West Lune north of the Lesser Lune to be his territory, but he is not beyond leading his pack south of the river in search of mischief and murder. He is a thoroughly evil beast.
Attribute Level: 5
Skills: Personality 2, Survival 3, Movement 3, Custom 1, Perception 2, Vocation 2
Weapon Skills: Bite 3, Rend 1
Special Abilities: Deadly Elusiveness; Fear of Fire; Savage Assault.
- Weapon Type: Bite; Damage: Attrib. lvl; Edge: 10; Injury: 14; Called Shot: Pierce;
Notes: Wolves possess powerful jaws filled with sharp fangs.
- Weapon Type: Rend; Damage: Attrib. lvl; Edge: Eye; Injury: 14; Called Shot: None;
Notes: When an enemy is most vulnerable, Wolves rend its body using their hideous claws.
The region of Minhiriath is bordered by the River Baranduin (called the Brandywine by the Hobbits of the Shire) to the north, the Greyflood to the south, the Old South Road to the east, and the Sea to the west. The land was never heavily populated. Before the coming of the Dúnedain it was covered in woodland--part of the great forest that once stretched from Fangorn to the Blue Mountains. The earliest inhabitants were related to the ancestors of the Númenóreans but spoke a different language, possibly similar to the tongue used by the Druadain (the Men called Woses by the Rohirrim). The loss of the forests brought about by the arrival of the Númenóreans during the Second Age drove the earlier Men either into Eryn Vorn, the wooded cape located at the mouth of the Baranduin, or north to Bree-land. Having become part of Arnor, when the North-kingdom was divided in TA 861 following the death of King Eärendur, Minhiriath made up much of the kingdom of Cardolan only to be claimed by Arthedain after Cardolan fell in the year 1409. Minhiriath remained under Arthedain's control until Angmar brought down the kingdom in 1974 with the capture of Fornost. The Great Plague swept through the region in 1637, decimating the population. Men abandoned Minhiriath completely when the floods of 2912 washed away the bridge at Tharbad and devastated most of the land.
The fens of Minhiriath teem with birds and animal life. Swans and wading birds ply the rivers fishing and building their nests. Otters and beaver can also be found along the rivers. Bats and smaller birds hunt insects on-the-wing. The hills host hares, foxes and other creatures.
Other than the foresters of Eryn Vorn, who seldom (if ever) leave the depths of their wood, no one dwells in Minhiriath today. Neither Bree-landers nor Shire-hobbits have any cause to come this far south unless it's to use the Greenway. The Wild Men of Enedwaith might cross the Greyflood to fish or hunt for game. Bands of Dunlendings also sometimes enter the region to hunt--or waylay travelers using the Greenway. Wandering companies of Elves have been rumoured to be seen entering or leaving Eryn Vorn; but even Rangers find few reasons to come further than Tharbad.
Kyna is a young huntress and fisherwoman of Enedwaith who is quite familiar with the fens west of Tharbad. Although curious about travelers, she is also cautious of potential threats posed both by strangers and by the land itself. For more about Kyna, see the Rivendell sourcebook.
The forest of Eryn Vorn covers the cape located south of the estuary of the River Baranduin. Like the Old Forest that borders the Barrow-downs near Bree, the wood is a remnant of the great forest that once covered much of Eriador. Now it is home to the descendants of the native Men of Minhiriath, now a secretive hunter-folk who dwell deep in the forest. Though these Men were originally afraid to cross the Barandruin out of fear of the Elves of Harlindon, it is rumoured that the Elves have, over time, befriended the foresters. The Rangers might know something of this.
At the head of the estuary of the Greyflood, about 40 miles from the Sea, lay the deserted ruins of the ancient harbor of Lond Daer. The site, on the Enedwaith side of the river, dates back to the Second Age when it was founded by the great mariner Aldarion, later known as Tar-Aldarion, the sixth King of Númenor. Originally named Vinyalondë ('New Haven'), the harbor came to be known as Lond Daer Enedh ('Great Middle Haven'), often shortened to Lond Daer.
The deforestation of Minhiriath and Enedwaith by the Númenóreans resulted in attacks by the native Mannish population, requiring the harbor to be rebuilt several times. The remaining forests of the region (with the exception of Eryn Vorn) were burned in the Second Age by the armies of Sauron during the War of the Elves and Sauron. With a lack of lumber for ship-building, Lond Daer fell into disuse and then into ruin. The ruins were largely submerged in the floods of TA 2912 that also devastated Tharbad. The Wild Men of Enedwaith avoid Lond Daer, claiming that evil things haunt the ruins.
Travelers seldom use the Old South Road any more. However, if they need to cross the Greyflood, they still ford the river at Tharbad, though the crossing can be dangerous when the river is high. Tharbad is further discussed in Rivendell.