Turbine could have chosen to take a much easier and simplistic path when designing LOTRO - after all, many (if not the majority of) players only know Middle Earth through the Lord of the Rings, or have only seen the movies, or may just have decided to check out the game with no prior exposure to Middle Earth. The history and much of the Lore that isn't directly related to the War of the Ring and the paths of the members of the Fellowship is often lost or overlooked, and the game can technically be played just fine without knowing any of it.
But what a dull and bland place the Middle Earth of LOTRO would have been. And this blog would probably have had no reason to exist.
Even working within the constraints of the current licensing agreements that exist, and which dictate what Turbine can and cannot incorporate into the game, Turbine has been able to weave much of that expansive history throughout the Middle Earth we all play in.
You have already seen me touch on some of the history of Arnor, one of the realms of the exiled Numenoreans, in my blogs on Ost Barandor as well as Weathertop and the Weather Hills.
Arnor was divided into three separate kingdoms - Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur - in year 861 of the Third Age when dissent arose among the three sons of King Eärendur.
Rhudaur was the easternmost kingdom and "lay between the Ettenmoors, the Weather Hills, and the Misty Mountains, but included also the Angle between the Hoarwell and the Loudwater." In LOTRO, this would include the Trollshaws as well as much of the Lone Lands.
|Hillmen of Rhudaur|
In LOTRO, the history of Rhudaur can be found throughout the Lone Lands and Trollshaws, even in the Misty Mountains. You see it in the names of items, such as the Signets of Rhudaur, or in the names of some quests like "Rhudaur's Traitors." You can even earn a title, "Sage of Rhudaur," from doing a quest in Angmar.
A particularly good example is the area around Agamaur and the Red Swamp , filled to the brim with Hillmen of Rhudaur, some remaining Angmarim, and gaunt-men and wights that were introduced to the area long ago by the Witch King. This is a great example of how Turbine can pick up threads of Middle Earth lore and create their own tapestries of story within LOTRO.
Here we have a remnant of the legions of Rhudaur who are still very active, faithfully protecting and serving the center of all of the evil in this part of the Lone Lands - the Red Maid. As it so happens, the Red Maid is Naruhel - in LOTRO, the sister of Goldberry, mate of Tom Bombadil.
|Naruhel - The Red Maid|
Sources: Appendix A, The Lord of the Rings