In places deep, where dark things sleep.. (Thorin's song from the Hobbit)
Introduction This web page is the background for an RPG campaign I am planning on running set the Lindon region of Middle Earth. I will be using the rules of Rune Quest (3rd edition). I hope to capture the magic light feel of Middle Earth. My period is the years immediately after Bilbo's quest and Sauron's return to Mordor.
Lindon refers to the extreme northwest of Middle Earth, to the west of The Shire. The gazetteer below covers Lindon, the Blue Mountains themselves and some of the neighboring areas.
Adventurers Guild An organization of treasure-hunters. It provides little in the ways of real services, but has a number of secret marks and signs to recognize each other. A treasure hunter who cheats his comrades will be tried and punished with loss of membership, fines or even death. There are chapter houses in the major dwarven cities as well Harlond & Forlond. The membership is about 70% Dwarf, 20% Men, 10% others.
Animal Town In Forlindon there is as a town of beasts that walk upright, talk and have hands. They have a civilized society, with a culture similar to that of the Shire. If beasts of different species marry, the male children are of the father's species and female children are of the mother's species. For all their civilization, if stressed, they can revert to animalistic behavior. They are all vertebrates and include domestic animals. They are reticent about their origins. Dogs are the single most numerous species. They are ruled by an elected Mayor and his council. They don't like being confused with the talking beasts of the Beast Kingdom.
Averni A Dunlendish tribe that recently migrated to southern Harlindon. The worship Melko and practice human-sacrifice. They are fierce fighters and use chariots. There have been clashes with the Woads and the Beast Kingdom.
Balrogs A few weaker ones have remained here since the War of Wrath. Treasure-hunting is a dangerous profession. Many of these creatures will reform even if slain (fortunately the process takes years and they are not interested in personal vengeance).
Beast Kingdom, The A land of awakened, sentient, talking animals in Harlindon. They maintain close ties to the Elves (both varieties). Except for speech and intelligence, they are completely normal specimens of their species (perhaps a bit larger than average). Although they worship the Valar, they can engage in acts of animalistic ruthlessness, especially the carnivores. It is ruled by a huge stag. (No lions here, only animals of the north woods). They don't like being confused with the talking animals of Animal Town.
Black Hobbits A few hobbits live underground. They often show physical changes from the usual form (Huge eyes or blindness for example). Most are evil, but will only attack lone travellers (or pick off the last member of the party). Their culture is primitive.
Dark Elves These mysterious Elves claim to be the descendants of Maeodros, son of Feanor and his folk. They hate Morgoth (and his followers) and despise the Valar (and the high Elves). They are few in number but make up for it with extremely high skill levels and magic. They will not ally with others, and still keep the Oath of Feanor. They do maintain some ties with the Dwarves.
It is believed that their main stronghold is the island of Himling, but they maintain outposts in the Blue Mountains. It is not clear how they travel between Himling and the Blue Mountains.
They form small hunting parties and hunt down evil creatures. They fight completely without fear and will not retreat. When killed, they recreate their bodies (much like the way Orcs are made), and reincarnate. This process leaves them weak for a year. The reincarnations have worked some changes in their bodies, while still tall and beautiful, they have glowing red eyes. The High Elves view them as undead.
They are the only inhabitants of Middle Earth (until the treachery of Saruman) that use gunpowder in battle. They make use of large grenades.
Dragons True dragons are gone, hunted to extinction here by the Kings of Arnor and the Elves early in the third age but various degenerate forms are not uncommon.
Dunedain Lindon was never part of the North Kingdom. The main Dunedain settlements are in the Lune River valley. They are civilized. They are successful herders of pigs & cattle.
Dungeon A Mannish word derived from the Dwarvish Dum-Feon (lit. Mansion of Ghosts). This is the general human term for underground places. The Blue Mountains have many dungeons, often connected by the Great Tunnel. The upper areas contain Dwarves, Svartar, Kobolds, Goblins and Black Hobbits. The lower areas actually have treasure, but also have dangerous creatures. The following standard RQ creatures might be found in dungeons (some only near the surface): Giants Ants, Basilisks, Brown Bears, Giant Beetles, Crocodiles, Dragons (wingless), Dwarves & Svartar, Gnomes, Salamanders, Undines, Dark Elves, Ghosts, Ghouls, Griffins, Giants, Black Hobbits (halflings), Headhanger, Hellions, Humans, Insect Swarms, Rock Lizards, Manticores, Hags, Oreads, Ogres, Orcs, Skeletons, Disease Spirits, Passion Spirits, Stoorworms, Cliff Toads, Cave Trolls, Dark Trolls, Vampires (not undead, with no special vulnerabilities and no powers other than flight and control bats), Werewolves, Wolves,Wraitsh, Wyrms, Wyverns, Zombies.
Dwarf-Light A dim, cool magical light that emanates from the walls of dwarf mansions. It persists even after the dwarves are gone.
Dwarves All the dwarf houses maintain strongholds in the northern Blue Mountains. The region is rich in coal. It has some iron, but generally lacks more precious metals and objects. The ancient cities of Belegost & Norgrod have been resettled, but there are places in their depths that are best avoided. The dwarves do not farm, but trade for food with the Shire and other nearby peoples.
The dwarf strongholds of Forlindon are linked by the Great Tunnel. There is only 1 dwarf stronghold in the southern Blue Mountains which is shared by all the houses.
Elves, High Cirdan is lord of the Elves of the Grey Havens (Mithlond). The other free peoples of Lindon look upon the High Elves with respect (and even awe).
Cirdan makes a point of keeping the Gulf of Lhun and the road to Rivendell free of any hostile forces. Anyone he threatens that area (including the Shire) will face a small, but extremely tough force of Elves.
Elves, Mountain These Elves have ignored the call of the nearby sea for so long, that they are no longer completely elvish. They are diminished in stature and culture, and have started on the path that we lead to Fairies in future years. Their material culture is primitive. They have interbred to some extent with humans, dwarves, hobbits and even animals. They still have some potent magic. They are still generally good, but some have become rather chaotic. Like Wood Elves, they can only see the mundane realm.
Empty Lands (or Wilderland) The area east of the Brandywine and west of the Misty Mountains is largely uninhabited. (Notable exceptions are Bree, some Dunedain settlements near Fornost, Rivendell and Dunlend). The reason for this was a period of Orc invasions of Eriador (TA2745 to 2748). Even after the main invasions, smaller raids disrupted the lives of the inhabitants until they were killed, fled or starved. The Fell Winter of TA2911 was big blow to the remaining settlements.
Forlond & Harlond These port towns conduct local trade & fishing in the Lhun estuary. Their populations are a mix of Dwarves, Men & Hobbits. The inhabitants are peaceful & civilized. Forlond is somewhat larger. Every spring, the towns compete in a large rowing race.
Ghosts The fierce battles of the War of Wrath left many ghosts. These ghosts will sometimes reenact their battles, drawing bystanders into the fight. Attempting to have dealings with them is very dangerous.
Giants A mysterious folk living high in the mountains. They are not generally hostile to their neighbors, but are not above stealing livestock for food. The elves believe them to be diminished Maia.
Goblins Some survivors of Golfimbul's army and other of the orc invaders of Eriador settled in the mountains. They have interbred with pigs to increase their numbers, resulting in some particularly ugly goblins.
Great Tunnel An ancient dwarf tunnel running down the Ered Luin. In Forelindon it is still an active trade route, leading to a road to Mithlond (the Grey Havens). Travellers can take the ferry across there, and then a path to the White Towers. At that point the route connects to the East road. In Harlindon, the tunnel is largely ruined.
The Great Tunnel is a masterpiece of dwarf engineering & magic. Dwarf-Light provides a dim light for the whole route. The main tunnel is normally safe, but side passages can lead many places you shouldn't go. The dwarves patrol the Great Tunnel.
Dwarf cities typically are built around a single long hallway, going from the great tunnel to a surface entrance.
From North to South.
The entrance to the tunnel at the north end is marked by 7 pillars of a shiny metal, arranged in a circle. Inside the circle the temperature is about 50 degrees F., despite the fierce winds blowing off the nearby ice bay of Forochel. The Lossoth consider it to be sacred, and come frequently but Dwarves, even Svartar will not venture inside the circle. (Some claim that no creature except humans can enter).
The next section of tunnel is inhabited by Svartar, Goblins and Kobolds. Dwarves have no reason to go there.
The city of Modsognir
An outpost of the Dark Elves
The city of Forkbeards
The city of the Shortbeards
The city of the Longbeards (Durin's folk)
The city of the Lightbeams
Norgrod or Tumunzahar, the ancient city of the Firebeams
Hodgkin's Inn where the the Tunnel exits the northern part of the Blue Mounaints
During nights of the full moon, a faint tunnel can be seen crossing the Gulf of Lhun. I wouldn't try walking on it.
The northern entrance to the tunnel in southern part of the Blue Mountains contains an empty, cursed city. Adventurers, willl hear hammering and wordless voices. They are in no danger as long as they don't touch anything. The dwarves of this city supported Sauron during the dark years.
The next section is blocked by rubble. There is a way around the blockage, according to some.
In the central portion of the southern section of the Blue Mountains, is a city called New Mine. It contained dwarves of all 7 houses, as well as humans, hobbits, talking animals and even elves. A variety of metals are found here. New Mine is run by a council with 1 member of each dwarf house, 1 human and 1 hobbit. Conflict is common here, but killing your foes is frowned upon.
Belegost or Gabilgathol, the ancient city of the Broadbeams.
At the southern entrance to the Great Tunnel, the Averni have setup a temple to Melkor.
A trail runs south to the sea, unobstructed by vegetation despite the lack of maintenance. On nights of the full moon, the trail seems to be a tunnel.
Grey Havens The home of Cirdan and his high elves. This is where ships are built for Elves to sail to the West. There is a bridge connecting the 2 parts of Mithlond, a marvelous Elven structure seemingly grown of wood. The main Dwarven trade route to the east passes along this bridge. The Dwarves call it Lindon Bridge.
Healing Potions Elves, Dwarves and even Orcs know how to make these. They heal D6 damage, at the rate of 1HP per hour, provided the user is sleeping or resting. Only 1 dose can be taken effectively per day.
Little Folk An isolated group of hobbits who still speak a form of Dunlendish. They have a barbarian cultural level. There had been a small amount of mixing with Elves, Dwarves & Humans. Some can actually do a little magic. They are related to the Stoors. Their villages are in Harlindon.
Himling The former stronghold of Maedros son of Feanor, now an island off the shore of Forlindon. Cirdan discourages travel there. Those foolish enough to approach are beset by storms and sea monsters. No one is known to have visited since the Numenorans. It is believed to inhabited by Dark Elves.
Hobbits, Scratch Primitive hobbits who dwell in holes in the ground. They are ignored by their embarrassed Shire brethren. They can be found through the region. Some speak Dunlendish, others Westron.
Hodgkin's Inn This inn is located where then Great Tunnel emerges from the Blue Mountains. The Hodgkin's family has run the inn for generations. The innkeepers are human, but the majority of guests are dwarves. There is a store that sells useful supplies and equipment (even healing potions).
The crowd at Hodgkin's Inn can be boisterous, but they are not violent. All weapons must be checked and violence results in expulsion (or worse).
On the first day of each month, the Adventurer's Guild meets in the common room. Normally, group leaders will give a short speech describing their intentions and see who wants to join them. The expeditions may target deep ruins in the mountains, but more often are trading caravans.
Istari Gandalf visits this region frequently. Radagost comes by occassionally, usually to visit the Beast Kingdom.
Kobolds A smallish orc-like race only about 3' high. They live underground and seem to lack any need for outside food. A nasty bunch, but they dislike physical confrontation, preferring to ruin & steal property. They care naught for Sauron. They are somewhat rocklike, making them tough to kill. They fight only with stones and minor magic.
Living Rock The human term for a substance that is like lava at room temperature. It is found in seeps, in deep tunnels in the Blue Mountains. This is an important ingredient in forging dwarvish magic items. Retrieving living rock is a frequent goal of adventurers.
Lossoth These primitive hunters can sometimes be found in the northern part of Forlindon. In addition, some have started herding reindeer. (Inuit/Eskimos and Saami/Lapps are the model for this culture).
Maia There are a number of Maia active in the region. Some of mountain Maia are evil. The most notable Maia is the River Woman, guardian of River Lhun.
Magic in Middle Earth Magic in Middle Earth does not follow the standard RQ model. Spell magic is found only among Elves, Maia and similar creatures. There is often natural magic in places and beings, which can sometimes be manipulated by humans. Dwarves have no cast spells, but can enchant spells into magic items. There is no divine magic, as the power of Valar cannot be channeled. Binding of spirits is black magic. Spells are cast by simply speaking. Potions can be created which enhance their already magical ingredients, (even some humans can do this).
Use the rules for spirit magic for casting spells and ritual magic for creating items. Characters will not normally learn spells or create items in the course of the game, but this could be a plot point in an adventure.
Masterpiece Dwarves will usually forge (or inherit) an item which they consider their favorite. They will only part with it if they make (or inherit) a better one. Items which they find or buy will not be considered masterpieces, and they will willingly sell or lend them.
Merfolk Little is known of these humanoid sea-dwellers. It is not clear whether they are more akin to humans, elves or dwarves. They have little technology, but some magic. They have a high King, but his authority over the tribes is limited.
Orcs There are no true Orcs in this area. So what are Orcs?
During the First Age Morgoth captured many Elves (a few even joined voluntarily). He twisted and tortured them into the race of Uruks. The Uruks are unaging and even if killed they can be reincarnated after a time, by creating a new body for them out of mud and clay.
For Morgoth and Sauron, Uruks were fine servants but there were never enough of them. So they were interbred with prisoners of all sorts, humans, dwarves, elves and even animals. (It is worth noting that all Uruks are male). These crossbreeds although inferior to the original Uruks, were available in larger numbers. (Orcs mature quickly).
In some cases, the Orcs became so intermingled with others, that some were female. These thoroughly mingled Orcs starting forming clan & tribal structures. In the north, such Orcs are called Goblins.
It is possible that some other species derive from Orcs. Trolls may have been Uruks crossed with Ents or Giants. It is possible that some mingled so much with others as to lose the taint of evil. Could Hobbits derive from Orcs crossed with rabbits and humans?
Petty Dwarves Smallish dwarves he claim membership in no house. They have no cities of their own but work for other dwarves or settle among other species.
Power Levels Typical power stats.
|5||Invertebrates, Fish, Plants|
|8||Slave orcs, birds, mammals, trolls|
|10||Humans, Goblins and other independent orcs, intelligent animals|
|12||Dwarves, Uruk-Hai, Mountain Elves|
|15||Wood Elves (and other Elves who have no travelled to Valinor), fell creatures(Watcher in the water), degenerate dragons, evil spirits (barrow-wights), ghosts|
|20||High Elves, Wood Elf Leaders, lesser dragons, Nazgul, Mouth of Sauron, Giants, major evil spirits (Old Man Willow)|
|25||High Elf Leaders, greater dragons(Smaug), the Witch-King, lesser Balrogs, minor Maia(Goldberry), Shelob|
|30||Istari, Balrogs, major Maia(Tom Bombadil, Caradhras)|
|35||Sauron, most Valar|
Religion The Elves know the Valar, so they give them respect but not formal worship. Elbereth is frequently prayed to. The Dunedain and Hobbits follow Elvish practice.
The Wulfings and Woads maintain holy tree groves, with seasonal ceremonies. Both have hereditary priests, but priesthood is a mostly an honorific.
The dwarves have formal worship of Aule (who they call Mahal), but no priests. Respect is given to the other Valar, but no worship. The Svartar still claim to follow Aule.
Goblins worship Melkor in an informal way.
The Averni have priests appointed by the Chief, who lead formal ceremonies of Melkor worship. A sacrifice of a sentient being is required.
Sea of Monsters This is the name dwarves give to the seas to the West of Lindon. The monsters are not a threat to large ships, but are enough to discourage fishing boats and coastal settlements. The frequent storms are also an issue to seafarers.
Shire, The A civilized land inhabited entirely by Hobbits. It is to the east of Lindon, astride the Great East Road. Its inhabitants are peaceful and friendly, but are also smug and proud of their ignorance of the outside world. Fortunately for them, it is protected by Cirdan, the Dunedain, Tom Bombadil, the Dwarves, Gandalf and others. They trade food with the dwarves for manufactured goods.
Svartar The Dwarf term for outlaws. There are entire communities of Svartar in the Blue Mountains, where they make common cause with Goblins. They also sometimes ally with more reputable dwarves.
Technology in Middle Earth Lindon and its neighboring areas are the most technologically advanced part of Middle Earth. The Shire has technology similar to 18th century Europe (except for the lack of firearms). The Dwarves mix magic and technology in sophisticated ways. For example, the Dwarves have mine carts that run on rails, usually pushed by Dwarves but occasionally magically self-propelled. An inventor in Animal Town has built a steam-powered motor vehicle (and generated much controversy in doing so).
Technological development has been held back by a number of factors. The immortal Elves have little desire to change things. Humans tend to look upon Numenor as the pinnacle of development and just keep on trying to restore the old ways. Dwarves and Hobbits are innately conservative. Sauron has no interest in improving the lives of his slaves and fears developments in military technology. Also, the lack of large off-shore islands has discouraged the development of sea-borne trade.
Gunpowder is known in Middle Earth, where Dwarves use it to make fireworks. Use of it in weapons is viewed as being innately evil. Only the Dark Elves and Saruman use explosives.
Tharbadians After the Fell Winter, floods destroyed the city of Tharbad. Its inhabitants fled in all directions. Distinct Tharbadian communities can be found Harlond, Mithlond and along the coast of Harlindon. Tharbad was an independent principality whose rulers descended from the royal line of Arnor. They view themselves as being Dunedain and are skillful boatman. Tharbadians value fine arts and money.
A new city has been started at the mouth of the Brandywine river, which is called New Tharbad.
Treasure-Hunters The many ancient ruins from the first age have created a class of professional treasure-hunters. They are most commonly Dwarves, but many Humans and a few others have joined in. Most treasure is in the hands of guardians who are too tough to beat, so steal and run is common. Mithril, gems and gold can be found in ancient hoards. Living rock is also a common target of treasure-hunters.
Wain Folk A nomadic people who live in southern Harlindon. They travel in large horse-drawn wagons. They herd cattle. They are descended from the Wainriders and still speak a form of the Eastern tongue, with many words from Westron and Dunlendish. They worship 2 gods, the Creator (which they identify with Manwe) and the Destroyer (which they identify with Morgoth). They believe that these 2 gods should be kept in balance. They are not particularly warlike, but they can fight it they need to.
Websites Ungoliant's World Wide Web has a number of useful websites. The Encyclopedia of Arda has the most definitive information on Middle Earth. The History of the Men of Darkness is full of useful information about the south and east of Middle Earth. Tolkien Meta-FAQ has answer to most questions you have about Middle Earth.
Woads These humans are related to the Dunlendings and still speak a Dunlendish language. Their culture level is Barbarian. They paint themselves blue before battle. They worship the Valar. They herd pigs. (Their culture is similar to that of the ancient Celts). They live primarily in Harlindon.
Wulfings These humans trace their ancestry to the Atani who chose not to go to Numenor. Over the years, they mingled with other humans akin to the Dunlendings. Their culture level is Barbarian. Their ruling house has the hereditary ability to turn into Wolves. They worship the Valar. They herd cattle. (Their culture is similar to that of the ancient Germans). They live primarily in Forelindon.