Spring Selections

Spring selections main

‘How do I feel?’ [Sam] cried. ‘Well, I don’t know how to say it. I feel, I feel’ — he waved his arms in the air — ‘I feel like spring after winter, and sun on the leaves; and like trumpets and harps and all the songs I have ever heard!’

The Lord of the Rings 6:IV

At long last winter has come to an end in the northern lands of the Primary World and now come once again the days of sunshine and rain, green grass and green leaves, and blue sky and white clouds.

If you’re feeling like wearing an outfit of fresh, bright colours to go along with the season, here are some springtime selections to help provide some inspiration.

Floral archer       Gwend Nestadren       Piper of the Elendili

Merry Wood-elf       Stalwart of Sarn Ford       King and Queen of Faerie

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Outfit Screenshots

Tips portrait

Hi everyone,

Last year I shared the first two installments of a short series of outfitting tips. The first was all about outfit and wardrobe management and the second was about the process of actually making an outfit. After an inexcusable delay (sorry) I’d like to share the third and final part today.

This final part of the outfitting tips series is about a topic originally suggested to me on Twitter by @BERIAHIM. It covers some suggestions for taking great screenshots of your outfits so that you can share them with the rest of the LOTRO community, whether it be on the official forums, on social media, or on your own blog or website.

I hope you enjoy the suggestions and please feel free to add your own tips and tricks in the comments of the guide. Until next time, happy outfitting!

– Starry

Posted in Messages

Southern Ruffian

She warned the halflings against crossing her

Coarse and uncouth

Late in the year in IIIA 3018, Men from the South began to appear in the Shire. Apparently they had been hired to assist Lotho Sackville-Baggins, who had become rather too rich for his own good selling pipeweed to Big Folk away south. He had bought up a lot of property in the Shire and become very influential. At first the ruffians seemed content to follow Lotho’s orders, but their regime became more and more oppressive and in the end even Lotho was powerless against them. It was then that the true master of the ruffians, Sharkey, came to the Shire, and things went from bad to worse.

Pillaging the Shire

Menacing the Shire-rats

These two ruffians are enjoying terroising the Shire-folk and living on the fruits of Hobbit-labour. Coarse and uncouth, they are of Dunlending stock, from clans that had long been in the service of Saruman, or Sharkey as they know him. They are clad in dark leathers made in mass quantity by drudges in the workshops of Isengard, and they each carry bags of spoils wrested from Hobbit-families, rich and poor alike. Word has come lately that members of the wretched Took clan have holed themselves up in their filthy tunnels beneath Tuckborough and have been emerging to shoot at the southerners with their little bows. Well, Sharkey won’t have it, and these two intend to teach the Shire-rats a lesson they won’t soon forget!

Ripe for the taking

The Shire belongs to Sharkey now

I felt it was time for another installment of “His and Hers”, this time with a decidedly evil twist. The dark, leathery look of the pieces in these outfits made me think of something perhaps mass-produced in Isengard and thus to think about the ruffians that Saruman employed to help ruin the Shire. While they’re unpleasant folk to be sure, I’m pleased with the way these outfits turned out as a matched pair, and I hope you enjoy them too!

Southern harridan

Hers

  • Head: Black Corsair Eyepatch (looted — spring festival/Gift Box), default
  • Shoulders: Westernesse Protector’s Shoulder Guards (crafted — tailor T5; or looted — world drop/general)
  • Back: Treasure Hunter’s Satchel (bartered — treasure hunt base camp reward vendor), black
  • Chest: Combat Armour of the Deep (crafted — tailor T9/Tailor’s Guild reputation), black
  • Hands: Fingerless Gloves (quest reward — Yule festival [10] Self-sacrifice: Support the Poor), white
  • Legs: Lesser Arrow of the West Leggings (bartered — Harndirion Novices Quartermaster/tier 1 difficulty Hunter armour), black
  • Feet: Disused Boots of the Dunland Soothsayer (quest reward — [67] The Blocked Supply-lines), black

Tips: An alternative to the Black Corsair Eyepatch is the Mariner’s Eyepatch (bartered — Tale of the Shipwrecked Mariner quatermaster) available once a year during September’s “talk like a pirate” event. The boots in this outfit have the same appearance as several other Dunland quest rewards.

Hired tough

His

  • Head: Lesser Arrow of the West Helmet (bartered — Harndirion Novices Quartermaster/tier 1 difficulty Hunter armour), black
  • Shoulders: Taranc (looted — Rift of Nûrz Ghâshu/Shadow-eater and Stone-biter), black
  • Back: Treasure Hunter’s Rucksack (bartered — treasure hunt base camp reward vendor), black
  • Chest: Lesser Arrow of the West Breastplate (bartered — Harndirion Novices Quartermaster/tier 1 difficulty Hunter armour), black
  • Hands: Fel-durnvol (looted — Rise of Isengard instance cluster), black
  • Legs: Combat Leggings of the Deep (crafted — tailor T9/Tailor’s Guild reputation), black
  • Feet: Lesser Arrow of the West Boots (bartered — Harndirion Novices Quartermaster/tier 1 difficulty Hunter armour), black

Tips: At the time of this writing, a ceremonial version of Taranc is available for purchase at Lalia’s Market. Fel-durnvol has the same appearance as several other Dunland quest rewards.

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Improvements to Find an Outfit, Part 2

Gravatar

Whew! I recently decided that I wanted to make the blog easier to search, and I knew it was time to give some love to the Find an Outfit page. It was a big project (bigger than expected!), but I’ve updated all the tags on the blog and the lists of outfit pieces given in each post.

The tags are now organised in way that I think is more conducive to searching for outfit inspiration. Perhaps you’ve got a specific piece from an armour set in mind that you want to incorporate into an outfit, or maybe you have a certain “look” in mind — a warrior’s outfit, or something with a hood, or an outfit with a quiver for your hunter. Do you insist on only the warmest fur or looks from the realm of Rohan? Maybe you really like red, or chartreuse. No wait, the last one is just me! The new selection of tags should make this type of searching much easier.

Once you’ve found an outfit you like, the next step is finding the pieces. Hopefully that’s become easier, too. Since the beginning of the blog, I’ve always given a list of the components of the outfit, but I felt it was time to standardise them and bring them up to date (a lot of items have changed names since November 2011!). I’ve changed the lists so that, in general, the easiest method of obtaining a piece is given. Since not everybody crafts, has guild access, or runs instances, often the easiest way to get any particular piece is by bartering marks and medallions, doing quests, or bartering reputation tokens. Fortunately the majority of pieces are available in several different ways, so chances are you’ll be able to get a piece one way or another.

I hope you all enjoy the improved Find an Outfit page. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or comments (or spot any glaring errors). In the meantime, happy outfitting!

– Starry

Posted in Messages | 6 Comments

Southern Ranger

Masked Ranger

While the Rangers of the North were the remnants of the Dúnedain of Arnor as a people, the southern Rangers, the Rangers of Ithilien, were a force of warriors and scouts of Gondor tasked to harry the servants of the Enemy on the eastern shores of the Anduin, lands lost to Gondor as Sauron’s strength began to grow apace in the Third Age.

Sudden defense

This woman is one of the southern Rangers, but she has traveled far from Ithilien, up the west bank of Anduin and into another land held in the past by Gondor. She has come to the shores of Nen Hithoel, once a part of the South Kingdom but now long abandoned. Strewn about the landscape, the ruins of fortresses built in bygone days stand as silent reminders of the region’s past as the northernmost territory of Gondor. She has come to scout the ruins in the hope that one may be found to serve as a hidden refuge for the Rangers of Ithilien should the kingdom of Rohan, lying to the west, be overrun by the forces of the traitor Saruman. If it should come to that, the Rangers’ policy of assailment may need to be extended from Ithilien into this land, so that the fist of the White Hand might not fully close on the region and menace Gondor from the north. She is clad in the colours of the woods and the fields, and masked so that a flash of fair skin will not betray her to enemy eyes, but if she should be discovered, she is armed with a throwing hatchet, keen hunting knives, and a slender dagger sheathed at her ankle.

Overgrown ruins

I hope everyone is having a lovely new year so far! It’s great to be back with a new outfit, and I thought I’d kick off the year with a well-loved outfit staple, the Ranger-inspired look. There can never be too many Ranger outfits! In this outfit, I wanted to highlight the mossy green colour of the undyeable portion of the chest-piece. It’s a somewhat unusual colour in the LOTRO outfit palette but there are other pieces where something similar can be found, including the shoulders and gloves I chose for the outfit and on the small bit of trim on the boots. In blog-related news, since I no longer post to a regular schedule, I’d like to remind everyone that the best way to keep up with The Starry Mantle is to sign up for email alerts; or, if you’re a WordPress user, to the follow the blog; or finally, to add the blog to your RSS feed (since the termination of Google Reader, I’ve been using Bloglines). You can also follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, but I find those platforms make it easier to miss an update, especially if you happen to follow a lot of people. But whichever way you choose to follow and enjoy the blog, I’d like to thank you for your continued readership!

Scouting the ruins of Nen Hithoel

  • Head: Helm of the Shadow-walker (bartered — skirmish camp classic quartermaster/Barad Guldur – level 65 medium), grey
  • Shoulders: Ceremonial Beast-master Shoulders (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Helegrod cosmetic clothing – light), Ranger green
  • Back: Campaign Backpack (purchased — LOTRO Store), Ranger green
  • Chest: Battle Armour of the Mark (crafted — armourer T8), Ranger green
  • Hands: Eastemnet Battle Gauntlets (crafted — armourer T8), Ranger green
  • Feet: Woodland Ranger’s Boots (deed reward — Volume III Interludes, Part Two), ranger green

Tips: If you don’t have access to the equipment version of the helm used in this outfit, a ceremonial version is available for purchase at Lalia’s Market at the time of this writing. The Campaign Backpack originally became available during a special in-game event in which a GM-controlled Amarthiel attacked various locations in the Ettenmoors. Barter tokens dropped during this event which could be exchanged at Esteldín; one of them (the Broken Signet) was for the Campaign Backpack. If you don’t have access to the Woodland Ranger’s Boots, an alternative that incorporates the same mossy green hue used in the rest of the outfit is the Ceremonial Town-saver’s Boots (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Rift cosmetic clothing – medium) in their default colour. If you use this alternative I’d suggest changing the dye colour of the gloves to sienna to better match the brown leather portion of the boots.

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The Holly King

Festive fun

The Holly King is a Primary World mythological figure whose existence as an archetype has been argued by authors such as poet Robert Graves in The White Goddess and anthropologist Sir James George Frazer in The Golden Bough. Both writers thought that there is evidence in the Celtic, Scandinavian, and other bodies of folklore to suggest a mythical eternal struggle between two figures, each representing one half of the year: the Holly King and the Oak King. The Oak King represented summer, while the Holly King, dressed in red and with sprigs of holly twisted into his long white beard, represented winter. Though probably primarily a Celtic figure, because the Holly King was at the height of his power during the Germanic Yule festival he became strongly associated with that festive season in places where Celtic and Germanic peoples came into contact (such as the British Isles). The Holly King may even have been a pagan precursor to Father Christmas (a figure which was later blended with wonderworker and gift-giver St Nicholas of Myra to become Sinterklaas). Graves identified a number of paired mythological figures that he felt represented the Oak King and the Holly King, including, respectively, the Arthurian figures Sir Gawain and the Green Knight — whose story Tolkien translated from Middle English to Modern English. The Holly King isn’t referenced anywhere in Tolkien’s works, and there is no evidence that the Hobbits of the Shire had a folkloric figure like the Holly King, but it’s something that wouldn’t feel out of place, especially for Hobbits with Stoor ancestry, given their historical closeness with the Men of Dunland and the Celtic translations Tolkien gave their names. Most of all, the idea makes for a fun Yuletide outfit!

Here he comes a-wassailing

This lad is dressed up as the Holly King for his extended family’s Yuletide celebration, to the delight of his younger cousins. Tales of this spry old figure have been told by the fire in his Stoorish family for generations, perhaps back even to the time out of memory before his distant forefathers first came to the Shire from the South. Now, worn with retelling, those old stories have come to be associated with the Yule festival. Sprigs of holly adorn his hat and his backpack (full of treats), and he holds another in his mitten-clad hand. Although the evenings are chill and snowy, he will be kept quite warm when he goes out to select a Yule-log for his hearth or to visit his neighbours a-wassailing. Nevertheless, it’s nice to return to one’s own Hobbit-hole, well-decked for the season, to enjoy a mug of warm brandywine!

Selecting the Yule log

I hope everyone’s enjoying the in-game Yule festival. May the present-sacks be good to you and your kith and kin, and your days in-game (and out!) be full of cheer!

Yuletide cheer for all

Merry Christmas, happy holidays,
and all the season’s greetings
from the Starry Mantle!

  • Head: Wintry Yule Hat (bartered — Winter-home Yule festival quartermaster/The More The Merrier – tier 2), red
  • Shoulders: Lesser Memory of the West Shoulder Guards (bartered — Harndirion novices quartermaster/tier 1 difficulty Lore-master armour), white
  • Back: Wintry Yule Backpack (bartered — Winter-home Yule festival quartermaster/The More the Merrier – tier 2), yellow
  • Chest: Ceremonial Robe of the Seven Stars (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Annúminas cosmetic clothing), crimson
  • Hands: Oven Mitts (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/cosmetic items), yellow
  • Feet: Ajokoira Shoes (crafted — tailor T5/Lossoth reputation), red
  • Hand: Festive Yule Mug (bartered — Winter-home Yule festival quartermaster/festival rewards)
  • Hand: Bunch of Holly (bartered — Winter-home Yule festival quartermaster/festival rewards)

Tips: The Wintry Yule Cap, a hat with similar styling to the one in the outfit, but decorated with a snowflake instead of a holly-sprig, randomly drops from the sacks of presents rewarded by the Yule festival daily repeatable quest.

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Winter Selections

Winter selections

And Ilúvatar spoke to Ulmo, and said: ‘Seest thou not how here in this little realm in the Deeps of Time Melkor hath made war upon thy province? He hath bethought him of bitter cold immoderate, and yet hath not destroyed the beauty of thy fountains, nor of thy clear pools. Behold the snow, and the cunning work of frost!’

– The Silmarillion

In Middle-earth, Morgoth brought about the bitter cold of winter but did not foresee the beauty of softly falling snow or the wonder of intricate patterns traced in frost that would accompany it.  Winter is come again in the northern lands of the Primary World and with it the in-game Yule festival. If you’re venturing out to Frostbluff to take part in this year’s Yuletide festivities, or perhaps adventuring through the colder reaches of Middle-earth, like Forochel, the Misty Mountains, or Wildermore, here is a selection of wintry outfits to keep you warm and snug!

Winter selections bundled up Winter selections warrior-hero of the north Winter selections peak stewardWinter selections misty mountaineerWinter selections Lossoth shaman Winter selections honoured Yule-friend

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