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Middle-Earth 1650 Scenario

Northwestern Middle-earth in the 17th Century T.A. (Third Age) is a time of political and social upheaval. This area, known simply as the West, encompasses the lands north of Umbar, west of the Sea of Rhûn, and south and east of the Great Sea. Following the end of the Second Age, climaxed by the fall of Sauron and the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, the West enters a brief period of growth and prosperity. Next follows a period of migration and expansion by various Free Peoples who find themselves needing more land to act as a buffer from their neighbors as well as to support their growing populace. Around the end of the first millennium, the return of Sauron and his minions begins. This has a dramatic effect on the peoples of the West as the establishment of numerous strongholds by Sauron's chief servants, the Nazgûl ("Ringwraiths"), takes its toll on the neighboring realms: the divided realms of Arnor weaken, conflict escalates between Gondor and Umbar and new conflict arises between factions within Gondor itself, and resurgent invasions by various Easterling peoples pressure the various realms of the Rhovanion. Finally, in T.A. 1635-37, the Great Plague sweeps through Rhovanion, Gondor, and Eriador. The devastation following the plague forces all realms and powers to withdraw for a while, consolidate their forces, and consider the new political landscape. New nations are on the rise: Strong Neutrals that have no current allegiance, isolated Free Peoples that were spared the Plague, and bastions of the Servants of Darkness that always seem to have forces rallying to their cause. The time is ripe for a powerful leader to forge a strong alliance among the Free Peoples, or the forces of Darkness, and remove the threat of foreign domination, once and for all.

Significant events of the Third Age are outlined below. The list is not intended to be complete but rather to highlight the political and social events of the near past. A more complete time-line can be found in Tolkien's The Return of the King™ (The Lord of the Rings™, Book III) Appendix B, and in numerous publications in the Middle-earth Role Playing Series, published by Iron Crown Enterprises.

The Early Third Age

1 - A watch is placed on Mordor.

2 - Isildur, King of Gondor and Arnor, is killed at the Gladden Fields while enroute north. The One Ring vanishes from all knowledge. The realms of the North (Arnor) are sundered and Gondor begins to pursue a separate course.

ca.250-850 - Arnor is in general decline. The capital is gradually shifted from Annúminas to Fornost Erain.

490 - First Easterling invasions into Rhovanion.

ca.1-500 - The end of a series of migrations (begun at the beginning of the Third Age) of Eriadoran Northmen, resettling in Rhovanion.

748 - Gondor absorbs all the lands east of the Anduin, north of Mordor, south of the Greenwood (Mirkwood), and west of the Sea of Rhûn. The Gondorians call the area Dor Rhúnen.

830 - Conflict begins between Gondor and the Black Númenórean Kingdom of Harad.

861 - Arnor is divided into three lesser kingdoms: Arthedain, Cardolan, and Rhudaur.

913 - First major Gondorian campaigns against Harad.

933 - Gondor takes the Black Númenórean port of Umbar, capital of Harad. Soon thereafter, the lords of Harad lay siege to the city.

ca.1000 - Sauron stirs once again. The Valar send five Maia Istari (Wizards) to Middle-earth in order to maintain the balance.

1015-1149 - Gondor reaches the height of its power during the reign of King Ciryaher ("Hyarmendacil I").

1050 - Gondor's armies crush the Haradrim.

ca.1050 - The Nazgûl reappear. Sauron resurfaces and goes to Dol Guldur. The Greenwood gradually falls under the Shadow. It slowly becomes "Mirkwood".

ca.1300 - The Nazgûl are sighted once again. Their leader, the Witch-king, founds Angmar in the northern Misty Mountains. He plots against Arnor's three successor states.

ca.1301-50 - Rhudaur ceases to be an independent kingdom. Dunlendings, allies of Angmar, invade and strong influences of the Shadow are present causing divided allegiances. War erupts between Arthedain and Cardolan and the forces of Angmar.

ca.1409 - Cardolan is overrun by the armies of Angmar. Rogrog slays Ostoher, the last Lord of Cardolan, during the fighting on the Barrow Downs ("Tyrn Gorthad"). Arthedain barely weathers the assault.

1409-1636 - Cardolan declines as an independent kingdom due to internal political struggles.

1432-47 - The Kin-strife in Gondor. Led by Castamir of Pelargir, the Sea-lords of the South seize control of the kingdom. King Eldacar flees to Rhovanion.

1447 - After a ten year exile, Eldacar returns to reclaim the throne of Gondor. His army of Northmen and Gondorian loyalists vanquish Castamir's rebellious forces at the Crossings of Erui. The Rebels flee by sea and seize Umbar, beginning the rule of the "Corsairs".

1635-37 - The Great Plague, a collection of devastating diseases and pestilences, sweep through Rhovanion, Gondor, and Eriador. Calenardhon is gradually abandoned after this time. The Tower of Orthanc (Isengard or Angrenost) remains guarded but its use becomes continually less frequent.

1640 - The capital of Gondor is moved from Osgiliath on the Anduin to nearby Minas Anor. Osgiliath, already depopulated by the Plague, continues to decline slowly. The watch on Mordor ceases.

"The Hobbit"™, "The Lord of the Rings"™, "The Fellowship of the Ring"™, "The Two Towers"™, and "The Return of the King"™ and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein, are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises and are used, under license, by Game Systems International Ltd.

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