Adventures in Middle Earth
The Land and its people
Arthedain is located between the Baraduin (Brandywine) and Lhun rivers. It is a land of great contrasts, the far southwestern part is warm and fair while the eastern and northern parts are rocky and frozen respectively.
The land is generally flat but has a series of ridges generally running from southeast to northwest. The most easterly of these ridges is the Weather Hills, which are a vital part of the defense of the realm. The other major range of hills is called the Northern Downs and contain the heavily fortified city of Fornost, which is the current capital of the kingdom.
The southern part of the kingdom contains much fertile land, much of which is not farmed for lack of hands to work the soil. This has been a continuing problem for Arthedain since the founding of the realm. Hardy folk enjoy the weather and hard work yields strong warm homes and bulging storerooms but there are many other places in Middle Earth where it is easier to live. This has led to the country being chronically under-populated, which is something King Argeleb II attempted to solve when he gave the southeastern corner of his kingdom to an enterprising race called Halflings.
The advantage of being somewhat underpopulated is that the people of the kingdom are a tightly knit society (with some major exceptions) and willingly come to each others aid. Another advantage is that the kingdom takes advantage of the long winters to maintain the highest standard levels of education of any Mannish realm and this preserves the study of useful hedge magics. The people of Arthedain are mostly not mighty spell-casters but they know many useful cantrips for staying warm, comfortable, and alive in a land that can be harsh.
Arthedain is a Kingdom with a royal family and 63 noble houses. The houses range greatly in size, strength, and wealth but all maintain at least a small retinue of armed and trained fighters. The royal family maintains a standing army of 1000 foot soldiers and 500 cavalry, all well-equipped and superbly trained. The noble houses are almost as well trained and equipped but never have more than 1 mounted warrior for every 7 foot soldiers.
The King in Fornost has a royal council of 7 noble advisors and 7 commoner advisors (who are selected by the King for their wisdom). The noble advisors are selected by the noble families to make up for gaps in the Kings knowledge or experience. The King and his council are advised by the Seers of Fornost, a mystical council of spellcasters who apparently have some ability to see into the future and what is happening around the realm. The King has the right to dismiss any advisor he desires but he must immediately appoint a new commoner when one is dismissed and traditionally the Seers are never dismissed.
Although Arthedain originally had no opponents, the birth of Angmar and the subversion of Rhudaur have slowly changed the country’s outlook from one of total peace with the land to a very strongly defense-oriented culture. The great attack from Angmar in 1409 destroyed the heart of Cardolan, raized Annuminas, and nearly destroyed Arthedain; and the nearly 250 years of petty wars since then have forced the elf-like Dunedain leaders to realize that they must fight for their lives and freedom. Still, the Dunedain of the North tend to view combat as a test of fitness and character rather than a matter of life or death that must be won at all cost.
All major fortifications in Arthedain are the property of the King and maintain a garrison able to at least close the gates in the face of attackers. The eastern fortifications always maintain enough food to survive a siege of a year or more and are always on high alert.
Fornost is the political, military, and cultural center of the kingdom. It also has the largest libraries, the best teachers, and produces most of the magic items in the realm. It is also the single strongest Mannish fortification in Middle Earth at this time except for Isengard.
Arthedain is both alone and well-endowed with allies. Emotionally, their closest allies are the High Elves of the Grey Havens and Rivendell. The Wood Elves of the Grey Havens also willingly lend assistance in defense of the country. The relatively few Dwarves of the Blue Mountains do a brisk business with Arthedain, trading high quality iron for foodstuffs and herbs. Distant Gondor has been known to flood the Grey Havens with ships and warriors in the past but that is less likely since the Great Plague. But all of the allies face the challenge of distance, the population centers of Arthedain are far from everything and need to be able to hold on until aid can arrive.
Dunedain – 11 or less
Black Numenorian – 4 or less
Normal Men – Automatic
Half Elf – 3
High Elf – 8 or less
Wood Elf – 9 or less
Dwarf – 8 or less
Halflings – Automatic (but you’re going to need a good angle to make the character work well for you)