The Hill-men were the descendants of the indigenous Men who inhabited Middle-earth before the return of the Númenóreans. The Dunlendings were one branch of Hill-men; the ancestors of the Men of Bree, another. In the Third Age, the Hill-men of northern Eriador became subjects of the kingdom of Arnor, but after Arnor fell, the Hill-men of Rhudaur turned to evil and allied with the realm of Angmar. In LOTRO, Turbine has presented some of the descendants of Rhudaurian Hill-men as having remained in the service of Angmar (such as the Corcur and the Trév Duvárdain), while others (such as the Trév Gallorg, and presumably additional clans, though we do not meet them) have returned to an independent, nomadic lifestyle in the very shadow of the land of Angmar. According to the LOTRO Lorebook, these clans established a neutral settlement, “a great tent city they named Aughaire, the Meeting-place. Here, the clans trade in furs, meats and produce, medicines, and slaves.”
This man is a kern, a warrior not yet come into his inheritance who leads a semi-independent warband known as a fian. During summers, his fian hunts wild aurochs in the hills of Angmar and makes ritual war on enemy clans and fianna, but now, in the winter, they are guests of the Trév Gallorg and fed and quartered in Aughaire in exchange for their military services as needed. To guard against the cold winter of Angmar, he wears a warm, fur-lined long kilt, and a fur-trimmed cloak, boots, and pauldrons. An intricately inlaid breastplate protects him in battle, along with boiled leather vambraces and an iron helm topped with a white horsehair crest. Winding his mighty aurochs-horn, he cuts an imposing figure, both to rival warbands and to folk from lands further south.
Whereas Wednesday’s outfit was meant to be a more humble, “back-to-basics” look, this one is an attempt at a more dramatic, epic-looking ensemble. I’ve been really interested in making a Hill-man outfit, and the specifics of this one are inspired by the clothing worn by the Hill-man chieftains in Angmar, like Crannog and the evil Domongart. Also, I like the ways that Turbine has built upon the existing lore of the Hill-men by incorporating Gaelic cultural elements into their story, and, true to Tolkien’s scheme of linguistic analogues, using Gaelic names and words (seemingly both Irish and Scottish, from what I can tell) to represent their language. For this outfit, I’ve extended Turbine’s extrapolation into my context story by referencing traditional Gaelic warriors, the kerns (Middle Irish ceithern), and warbands, the fianna.
- Head: Gleaming Westernesse Helm (looted — world drop/level 46), orange
- Shoulders: Ceremonial Leijona Shoulder Guards (crafted — tailor T5/Lossoth reputation), black
- Back: Warm Winter Cloak (bartered — Yule festival barter vendor/cosmetic cloaks), sienna
- Chest: Dragon-scale Breastplate (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Helegrod cosmetic clothing – heavy), black
- Hands: Pever-durnvol (looted — Rise of Isengard instance cluster), rust
- Legs: Rhymer’s Trousers (Echad Andestel Minstrel trader or Caras Galadhon Minstrel trainer or Ost Galadh Minstrel trainer), black
- Feet: Ceremonial Ajokoira Shoes (crafted — tailor T5/Lossoth reputation), orange
- Device: Horn of the Dwarrowdelf (pre-order — Mines of Moria)
Tips: The gloves used in this outfit have the same appearance as several Dunland quest rewards. I was surprised to find that with Update 7, released this past Monday, the Horn of the Dwarrowdelf received an update to its animation. I think it looks pretty cool now! I haven’t checked yet to see if the animations for champion and captain horns was similarly updated. If anyone happens to know, please do share!