Filling in the World of Middle-earth

lolplaylotro

Guardian of Time
Those proper names now exist in Azanulbizar. Every house is represented along with lore specific banners. So now the devs can finish one of their own contributions to the legendarium. They can write the origin of Dourhands because they have license to use proper names for Firebeards and Broadbeards. Together those three houses represent the Dwarves that remained after the fall of Nogrond and Belegost. Previously we knew next to nothing about Dourhands except that they originate from the area of Blue Mountains. The only other thing we know is they've been corrupted somehow (Before the Shadows of Angmar: Redux). Basically our knowledge stops at Angmar using them against the Free People by resurrecting Skorgrim.

Many things we don't know. Such as: the proportion of Dourhands which correspond to Longbeard, Firebeard, and Broadbeard. We don't know what happened to create them originally. Based on the lore we know the remaining Dwarves of Blue Mountain were in the process of migrating to Khazad-dum. The Dourhands just happen to be a band which is obsessed with robbing Edhelion. In North Ered Luin. Now if we draw a straight line from North Ered Luin we end up back on Angmar's doorstep in Forodwaith. It's also a suitably epic location to pivot back to Rhudaur and thus Reunited Arnor.

The chances the devs won't complete their own unique story contribution is slim. Even slimmer it will go unresolved before Reunited Arnor in any form.
 

Harvain

Well-known member
The chances the devs won't complete their own unique story contribution is slim. Even slimmer it will go unresolved before Reunited Arnor in any form.
However there are various Stories which either Don't have Conclusions or Players feel like they don't.

Rhun for example in LOTRO has a very big question mark that we Players have been left wondering about since 2018 with Updates 22 & 23 for why so many Refugees are fleeing into the areas of the Iron Hills, Erebor, and Dale:
Mere days have passed since Jangovar Easterlings were repelled from Dale. However, new Easterlings have arrived from far Rhûn, dressed in rags, and telling tales of sorrow.

So one can't really expect that any Storyline will receive it's due anytime soon or have full closure if it's not apart of the Current Focus of Content.
 

Erei

Well-known member
Those proper names now exist in Azanulbizar. Every house is represented along with lore specific banners.
Not under the Tolkien's name. They can't use it.
Tolkien:
-Longbeards
-Firebeards (blue mountains)
-Broadbeams (blue mountains)
-Ironfists (east)
-Stiffbeards (east)
-Blacklocks (east)
-Stonefoots (east)

Lotro :
-Longbeards (no changes)
-Drasa's folk/Kambrada (stout axes) (formerly east, then Mordor)
-Zhelrukha (east)
-Naranghoth (Sindarin for Firebeard)
-Landorrim (Broadbeams ? Apparently ?)
-Abnuzhu (east)
-Temamir (south)


Dourhand would make it 8 (which isn't lore accurate), so it's assumed they are an offshoot of one of the 7. Tolkien mention "petty dwarves" who were on the side of evil on occasion. They were formed by exiled dwarves, who crossed in Ered Luin long ago. We can assume the Dourhands are those dwarves.
They are said to have lost much of their skills. Which make the Dour-hands name have a sense in the way they can't produce good craft from those hands.
 
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lolplaylotro

Guardian of Time
However there are various Stories which either Don't have Conclusions or Players feel like they don't.

Rhun for example in LOTRO has a very big question mark that we Players have been left wondering about since 2018 with Updates 22 & 23 for why so many Refugees are fleeing into the areas of the Iron Hills, Erebor,
Well sure. That's a different topic though. All those unresolved story threads. Including Rhun, will need to be resolved for sure. My response is related to the "why" asked by Malachi:

Putting far-away speculations about King's Arnor aside for a moment, what do we think it's going to be the story in East-East Angmar where actual landscape work is being done?
So looking specifically at the work in Angmar. Why create a more connected Middle-Earth in this area, and what, if not Reunited Arnor, is the story behind this change? Perhaps it's exactly as it was worded in the related Casual Stroll through Kingdoms of Arnor. This is because the Iron Pass must exist before we can resolve Angmar. Likewise we cannot subdue Angmar during Reunited Arnor without resolving Angmar related story threads in Eriador. Thus the addition of Iron Pass is of historical significance, and may not have a story aside from it exists in lore. It does point back to Angmar. Then again everything Eriador points back to Angmar. The only thing that's really obvious is that whatever the new story will be, it will naturally involve Angmar. The biggest unresolved Angmar story in Eriador is the origin of the Dourhands. Are there other unresolved threads involving Angmar in Eriador because those likely need to be resolved too. Before anything Reunited Arnor.

-Naranghoth (Sindarin for Firebeard)
-Landorrim (Broadbeams ? Apparently ?)
Yes, those are the ancient allies of Durin's Folk. The ancestors of the Firebeards and Broadbeards. The origin of the Dourhands takes place after the fall of Belegost and Nogrod. It would be suitable to use their true names as they are ancient allies and ancestors. If the devs weren't licensed do you really think they can get away with a firebearded banner for Narfanghoth? Do you really think ME-enterprises would allow this.

The License doesn't allow LOTRO to use any of the "Proper Names" for the Dwarf Houses besides the Longbeards as the other 6 aren't mentioned in The Hobbit, LOTRs, or Appendices. Anything that falls outside of these sections of Lore are not allowed to be used.

The best example of this is Sauron's guise during the Second Age: Annatar, Lord of Gifts. Due to this being a Silmarillion name LOTRO has called Sauron's Second Age guise: Antheron, Gift-lord.
In order to depict Annatar in any form the devs need a license. The Gift-lord reference requires a license. Unless it can be believed that creating a facsimile of Annatar does not require a license. It may be true the devs change wording of lore. To even have a representation of Annatar, whether it is literal or not still requires a license. So is it really a big deal the devs have Sindarin names for the ancient allies of Durin's Folk. From a licensing point of view they still have to come to an agreement with ME-enterprises. It's just that many expect the literal interpretation.
 
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Arnand the Fox

Well-known member
Unless it can be believed that creating a facsimile of Annatar does not require a license.
While I can't speak to the specific of LoTR's license, that is generally how it tends to work.

For example, in Star Trek there is a race of patriarchal feline aliens known as the Kzinti. The Kzinti are owned by Larry Niven, and couldn't be used in Star Trek Online without paying him quite a bit of money. So, when making STO, Cryptic Studios made up the Ferasans, a race of patriarchal feline aliens that come from the exact same areas of space as the Kzinti to get around the license issue.

SSG very likely doesn't need a license to create a facsimile of Annatar because licenses tend to be about specifics, not concepts like "Sauron took on a disguise to make rings with the Elves".
 
In order to depict Annatar in any form the devs need a license. The Gift-lord reference requires a license. Unless it can be believed that creating a facsimile of Annatar does not require a license. It may be true the devs change wording of lore. To even have a representation of Annatar, whether it is literal or not still requires a license. So is it really a big deal the devs have Sindarin names for the ancient allies of Durin's Folk. From a licensing point of view they still have to come to an agreement with ME-enterprises. It's just that many expect the literal interpretation.
1.) Middle-earth Enterprises doesn't even have the license for non-Lotr and non-Hobbit content. J.R.R.T never sold those and they remain with his Estate.

2.) Sauron's activities in Eregion are also documented in Lotr.

3.) The devs can file off the proverbial serial numbers with "Antheron" and the other examples, since the Estate is unlikely to try to take action against it as long as they don't overdo it.
 

Scenario_SSG

Senior World Designer
Why create a more connected Middle-Earth in this area, and what, if not Reunited Arnor, is the story behind this change?
Any area introduced into an existing territory such as Eriador is more likely to be set at a point in time near to the surrounding areas instead of introducing a significant time jump. A substantial time jump would make the narrative of that area and its surrounding spaces lack cohesion. The time setting for Yondershire, The Angle, Wildwood, Swanfleet and Cardolan all work with the areas surrounding them to show the state of the world consistently.

Considerable time jumps can and have occurred in places before - but those jumps are often paired with a distant teleport/separation. Azanulbizar, Mordor Besieged, Battle of Gladden Fields, all the various Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith variants, and the transition from pre-battle to post-battle Pelennor Fields are examples.
 

Scenario_SSG

Senior World Designer
LOTRO can only directly reference names and events that occur in The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and their associated appendices. We always conduct research across the entire legendarium beyond our license to remain as true the lore as we can without contradiction. We can and do depict names and events outside of the license in a way that is license friendly and we work closely with our licensor to ensure that we are not overstepping our license.

The names of the Dwarf kingdoms, Antheron, and certain characters present in the Mordor Besieged story line are but a few examples of the care we take to remain consistent with and respectful of ALL of Tolkein's works while doing so in a way that our license allows.
 

Malachi

Active member
a way that is license friendly

I would be fascinated to have a glimpse into Tolkien-related legal discussions, those must be quite weird at times!

Based on how the legal disclaimer says "The Lord of the Rings and the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks of Middle-Earth Enterprises, LLC" I would presume the lawyers are more concerned with direct use of the names, and not the broad concepts. So if a word search for "Firebeards" in the game files returns a hit, that is a big no-no, but a banner displaying a fiery red beard is nobody's concern.
 

Gloredh

Wanderer
just like the elves of the Oasis that has now been hinted at twice in the new epics. If we go to this oasis in the next expansion, it stands to reason that those would be avari elves, yet the name "avari" is outside the licence so the devs need to find an alternative name. Sure they could make them sindar but... well that would be a bit boring wouldn't it, we have plenty of sindar already XD
 

Erei

Well-known member
just like the elves of the Oasis that has now been hinted at twice in the new epics. If we go to this oasis in the next expansion, it stands to reason that those would be avari elves, yet the name "avari" is outside the licence so the devs need to find an alternative name.
I would so hope so !
Sure they could make them sindar but... well that would be a bit boring wouldn't it, we have plenty of sindar already XD
We have plenty of dwarves, yet we can go an entire xpacs without major dwarf presence, when it's not an entire epic spanning multiple xpacs and updates dedicated to them :D
I, for one, wouldn't mind a Elf themed xpac. I wouldn't say no to an Hobbit xpac either.
 

Erei

Well-known member
The first half of Swanfleet is kind of that, isn't it? :)
I mean, there are hobbits, it's true, but it's roughly 1/4th of swanfleet, which is half the xpac :) Swanfleet is shared by the dunlendings, the Men and some elves in the north. It was nice tho. Even if it was weird to literally stumble onto the Enedwaith village by taking a wrong turn.
I do understand how difficult it is to include Hobbits, with how the lore is. Although one day I expect we'll get the scouring of the shire and we'll eat hobbit 6 times a day when that come. Figuratively speaking.
 

auximenes

Well-known member
The names of the Dwarf kingdoms, Antheron, and certain characters present in the Mordor Besieged story line are but a few examples of the care we take to remain consistent with and respectful of ALL of Tolkein's works while doing so in a way that our license allows.
Your teams have done a fine job of walking that fine line over the years.

just like the elves of the Oasis that has now been hinted at twice in the new epics. If we go to this oasis in the next expansion, it stands to reason that those would be avari elves, yet the name "avari" is outside the licence so the devs need to find an alternative name. Sure they could make them sindar but... well that would be a bit boring wouldn't it, we have plenty of sindar already XD
Yeah, they can tack together some Sindarin words that mean Elves of the desert pond and everybody can be happy. The players know who they're talking about as it relates to the lore and the license-holders can sign off on it.
 

Gryffs

The Rounder Bounder of Little Delving
it was weird to literally stumble onto the Enedwaith village by taking a wrong turn.
Yeah, these days it's funny how the quest lines in Enedwaith are like "could there be a settlement of hobbits?!?!?!" and we're like "yeah it's 2 doors down from Lintrev" 😅
 

Erei

Well-known member
Yeah, these days it's funny how the quest lines in Enedwaith are like "could there be a settlement of hobbits?!?!?!" and we're like "yeah it's 2 doors down from Lintrev" 😅
Exactly what I thought !
Now I imagine those Enedwaith Hobbits are just saying that to all the tourists, to make them feel special.
 

lolplaylotro

Guardian of Time
Any area introduced into an existing territory such as Eriador is more likely to be set at a point in time near to the surrounding areas instead of introducing a significant time jump. A substantial time jump would make the narrative of that area and its surrounding spaces lack cohesion. The time setting for Yondershire, The Angle, Wildwood, Swanfleet and Cardolan all work with the areas surrounding them to show the state of the world consistently.

Considerable time jumps can and have occurred in places before - but those jumps are often paired with a distant teleport/separation. Azanulbizar, Mordor Besieged, Battle of Gladden Fields, all the various Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith variants, and the transition from pre-battle to post-battle Pelennor Fields are examples.
Thank you so much! Your willingness to participate in this discussion, especially this clarification, makes the Hobbit in me very happy.

So if a word search for "Firebeards" in the game files returns a hit, that is a big no-no, but a banner displaying a fiery red beard is nobody's concern.
I'm just going to put this back out there. From an earlier post to Harvain: the names we go have are Sindarin. That should be a bell ringer for the lore enthusiasts. It's a literal interpretation, but in Sindarin. What stories do we know involve the Sindar and Ancient Dwarf Allies of Durin's Folk 🤔

We have plenty of dwarves, yet we can go an entire xpacs without major dwarf presence, when it's not an entire epic spanning multiple xpacs and updates dedicated to them :D
I, for one, wouldn't mind a Elf themed xpac. I wouldn't say no to an Hobbit xpac either.
Impossible. The part about going entire expansion without Dwarves that is. In Before the Shadow we got to see a crossroads, where the stories of Men (and Hobbit) coincide. Prior to Gundabad, we got the same thing. Only in that case it was a crossroads where the stories of Men(Rohan) and Dwarves coincide. Then we get into Gundabad and suddenly we're treating Dourhands like lost relatives. So that's a whole story about the interplay of Dwarf stories. What I'm trying to say is the stories of Middle-Earth have deliberate crossover. Much like the stories of LOTRO are deliberate reinterpretations. The diplomatic relations between Elves and Dwarves is a particular focus of the lore. There are other such cases I'm sure. It's just impossible to tell a cohesive story without including the Dwarves, This shouldn't be seen as a detriment either. How can we possibly tell cool stories about Elves without including Dwarves.
 

Erei

Well-known member
Impossible. The part about going entire expansion without Dwarves that is. In Before the Shadow we got to see a crossroads, where the stories of Men (and Hobbit) coincide. Prior to Gundabad, we got the same thing. Only in that case it was a crossroads where the stories of Men(Rohan) and Dwarves coincide. Then we get into Gundabad and suddenly we're treating Dourhands like lost relatives. So that's a whole story about the interplay of Dwarf stories. What I'm trying to say is the stories of Middle-Earth have deliberate crossover. Much like the stories of LOTRO are deliberate reinterpretations.
I mean we get "cool stories about dwarves" without the Elves. Like, the entirety of the Dwarf epic. Moria. Mordor stout axes. Iron hills.....
Why can't we get "cool stories about elves" ? I mean they existed before dwarves, I'm certain they are able to do stuff on their own. And more than "hug a tree" quest or "whine about leaving", that'd be a nice change.
 
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Scenario_SSG

Senior World Designer
I mean we get "cool stories about dwarves" without the Elves. Like, the entirety of the Dwarf epic. Moria. Mordor stout axes. Iron hills.....
Why can't we get "cool stories about elves" ? I mean they existed before dwarves, I'm certain they are able to do stuff on their own. And more than "hug a tree" quest or "whine about leaving", that'd be a nice change.
Stay tuned.
 
The upcoming "Casual Stroll" stream involves Osgiliath and Ithilien, can we expect showing off a new version of these areas to eventually link up with Umbar, or will this be one that treads old ground? Or do we have to wait until Wednesday to find out?
 
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