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,
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
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
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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