Herblore was important to the various peoples of Middle-earth. After the War of the Ring, Merry Brandybuck contributed to the Red Book of Westmarch an essay entitled “Herblore of the Shire”, which discussed the Hobbits’ cultivation and smoking of pipe-weed. In addition to such plants with recreational usages, others were used medicinally by the Free Peoples. Athelas was one of these, a herb with a great virtue of healing. It was said to have been brought to Middle-earth by the Men of Númenor, but by the end of the Third Age, most had forgotten its special properties. Even in Gondor, it was appreciated only for its refreshing scent. Nevertheless, the Dúnedain of the North had not forgotten its original use, and athelas, or kingsfoil as it was known in the common speech, still grew in the North near places where the Men of Westernesse had once lived.
At a small cottage on the North Downs there dwells a herb-woman. Originally from the the Bree-land, she travelled into the wild to study the lore of leaf and root in seclusion. Once settled in the Kingsfell, she befriended the Rangers of Esteldín and from them learned the virtues of kingsfoil. Her knowledge of herbal remedies and treatments is extensive, and now even the Rangers turn to her for advice on their usage, but the common folk of the Kingsfell (those few who remain) mistrust her as a witch. They say that roots and boughs will move at her command to ensnare folk, and even that she knows how to speak the secret tongues of birds and beasts. But in truth they need not fear her, for she will offer succour to any good folk in need who come to her cottage. Today, she has set out into the rugged terrain of the North Downs to collect wild herbs. She wears a comfortable leather coat, motley from many years of patching and mending. A warm woolen shawl and matching brimmed hat guard her from the unpredictable weather of the Downs, and she wears a pack in which to store the ingredients she collects. A number of strange implements are fastened to the pack, including her smoking-pipes, for in her solitary studies she has uncovered much lost lore. The final tool in her herbalist’s arsenal is a sickle-like dagger which facilitates harvesting herbs and also serves as a weapon should she encounter foes.
I’ve wanted to make an outfit with this old robe for a while now, but I was having trouble putting something together that I liked, until I came upon the hat/shoulders combo that I used in the outfit. These shoulders are undyeable, and their default colour is fairly difficult to match. When I realized that this rough, threadbare hat could be dyed to match the shoulders nearly exactly, they reminded me of this patchy robe and this outfit was born. This outfit is also my way of working out what the character of a lore-master from Bree-land might be like.
- Head: Padded Hat (purchased — Combe light armour vendor; or looted — world drop/general), Rivendell green
- Shoulders: Shoulders of the Eorlingas (pre-order Rise of Isengard), default
- Back: Sage’s Pack (purchased — LOTRO Store), sienna
- Chest: Rough Cloth Robe (crafted — tailor T1; or purchased — Combe light armour vendor; or looted — world drop/general), indigo
- Hands: Fingerless Gloves (quest reward — Yule festival  Self-sacrifice: Support the Poor), white
- Feet: Heavy Padded Shoes (crafted — tailor T1; or purchased — Combe light armour vendor; or looted — world drop/general), navy
- Weapon: Boar-tooth Dagger (quest reward — Trollshaws  Boar-tooth Dagger)
Tips: As mentioned above the shoulders used in this outfit are tricky to match. Other than this hat, one other combination I know of that works really well is to pair them with the Traveller’s Hood (purchased — LOTRO Store) dyed grey.