Maps in the style of Gondor: Angmar, Bree-land and the Foundations of Stone

A while back I had a creative spurt in which I tried to update some of the old LOTRO maps mimicking the style of the new Gondor maps which integrate in-game satellite imagery laid into the familiar map parchment with dabs of paint splattered around the edges. While my maps are nowhere near professional worthy, I learned much during the process, like brush jittering, blending modes and the importance of sleep. Before I filed the images away into my archive, I’m publishing them here as a more permanent and searchable location than Twitter.


Adventures in hard-mode: Level cap without doing the intro

“Captain Brackenbrook! Captain Brackenbrook! The Blackwolds are attacking Archet tonight, and they’ve got help from Angmar. But don’t worry because I’ve been proactive. I swam Lake Evendim sparring with the Guaredain, ran along the Gondorian beachs Rocky style, and jungled in Ithilien (yes, all within one ‘in-game’ day) so I could come back and defend Archet from the brigands tonight.”

Brackenbrook stares vacantly. “Great. Who are you again?”


“Talk to the fist, old dude.”

Long story short, after over a year, I managed to level a character to level 105 without ever having completing the introduction quests. Along the way, I’ve learned much about how the game works, nothing super useful to the everyday player, but interesting nonetheless. Despite leveling to the cap, you will continue to wear the mark of “Newbie” in your passive skills that normally gets replaced with “Novice” so you can venture out into the world.

Playing like this is more of a hindrance, however, as many aspects of the game are restricted to those without the “Novice” trait awarded upon successful defense of Archet and Thorin’s Gate. One of the most notable is the lack of riding trait; your avatar’s calves will be thicker than tree trunks by the end. This, their travel skills, and the fact that they are awesome, is why I chose a Warden to level.

I wear the title of Newbie as a badge of honor!

Cannot access without the Novice trait

  • Cannot join fellowships or invite others to fellowships
    • Exception: you can group if both characters have not completed the intro and are in “the same instance of the world” (e.g., cannot group with someone inside pre-intro Archet if you’re off in the Low Lands)
    • Exception: you can group with others that you’re matched with through the Instance Finder)
  • Cannot join a kinship
    • Exception: you can start your own kinship
  • Cannot get the Riding trait which means no mounts
    • Exception: you can ride the slow Moria goat (it’s +32% speed unless you have the Apprentice or Journeyman riding boosts)
    • This means no mounted combat which prevents you from getting a trait point in the Broadacres
  • Cannot use a milestone
  • No reputation deeds but you can gain reputation
  • Can turn in tasks, but you won’t get the deeds
  • No auto-bestowed introduction quests (that’s a good thing)
  • Cannot complete class skill deeds on tier 1
  • Cannot complete many slayer and explorer deeds in Bree and Ered Luin
  • Cannot access the Collections panel
  • Cannot use travel maps
  • Hidden emote deeds (e.g., /cheer 100 times) don’t trigger
  • Cannot be summoned by horn or captain
    • Possibly with Guardian’s acorn (not tested by me)

Can access without the Novice trait

  • Can do skirmish tutorial and skirmishes
  • Can use legendary items/imbuement
  • Can use essence gear
  • Can use XP disabler from store
  • Can use cosmetics
  • Can use cosmetic pets
  • Can use stat tomes
  • Can do racial enmity deeds
  • Can do festivals (but no festival auto-bestowal quests (yay, no Hobnanigans maps))
  • Can do forced emote deeds (e.g., Frosty Beverage, Snow Crystal)
  • Can do craft
  • Can do epic quests (and deeds)

Low-effort cosmetics: The Pacifist Dwarf

This here is Hagbro. He’s a level 1 dwarf who has sworn off all violent tendencies after his sister went into a genocidal rage, as dwarves are prone to do, slaughtering every last woodland creature in a ten-kilometer radius of their childhood home. The void of furry critters caused Hagbro to leave his family and his destiny as a guardian of Erebor in search of higher meaning. He now wanders Middle-Earth in garb emulating the beasts he lost in his youth. He also has a drinking problem.

Living off the land
Befriending dead animals
Bonding with nature
Contemplating the meaning of life
  • Head: Mask of the North Ithilien Fox
  • Shoulders: Mantle of the North Ithilien Fox
  • Chest: Bare-chest (295 TP)
  • Pants: No pants

Cape of Belfalas annotated map

I thought I’d never blog again, but I haven’t seen a decent map of the Gondor premium housing area yet. And since I enjoy making maps and had some free time, well, here you go:


Bonus steps for quick travel from Bree to Minas Tirith:

  1. Talk to Gondor housing lady at boar fountain in Bree.
  2. Tour a house at 5 Cape Road.
  3. Exit the neighborhood to the east.
  4. Take the swift horse outside to Minas Tirith.

Department of Strategery is no more

After a long and winding journey, it is with a heavy heart that I announce the closure of Department of Strategery. In the coming weeks, the .com site will disappear but an archive will be available indefinitely at this site, so please update your links (add ‘wordpress’ to the domain name) and subscriptions to ensure you can still access the content.

All good things must come to an end. After 137 posts sporadically published in the past 5 years, I’m finally calling it quits. As my interest in the game wanes, so has my posting frequency. Don’t get me wrong, I still love playing, but I’m stepping away from my self-built strategerical pulpit and moving into a more pedestrian role. @DoStrategery will become @Elisapee_DoS on Twitter to spout nonsense and handle business on a personal level, and you may bump into me from time to time battling the enemy and collecting pets on the Evernight [EU] server or frolicking about the Landroval [US] server.

Thank you to all the commenters, linkers, subscribers and visiters who took the time and shaped what this site became. Thank you to all the friends I’ve met along the way, and I hope to meet you all along the next journey!

Update 18.2: early raid preview and quality-of-life improvements

Bullroarer is alive once again for an early preview of update 18.2. After reading the preliminary patch notes, I appreciate these quality-of-life updates almost as much as the major content updates. But it’s not all OCD-appeasing UI and system enhancements — there’s a six-boss, 12-person raid on its way set during the later stages of the Battle of Pelennor.

And it should go without saying that on the Bullroarer server the details and numbers are subject to change and should only be used as an indication of the live release.

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