The indiginous Men of Middle-earth were not as culturally or technologically advanced as the returning Númenóreans and thus for the most part had a simpler way of life. Even at the end of the Third Age, after the Númenórean realms-in-exile had been long-established, the lives of many indiginous peoples — for example, the Eorlingas and the Dunlendings — went on much unchanged. Farming and animal husbandry were likely the major sources of livelihood for most, and some may have lived a pastoral life as well.
High on a hill stands a lonely goatherd. This woman of the Dunlendings, youngest daughter of a large clan, ekes out a simple pastoral life in the stony hill-lands at the knees of the Misty Mountains. With only her her faithful hound for company, she leads her herd from pasture to pasture. Living under the wide sky, she has only infrequent contact with others of her people and has little care for the conflicts that now brew between the Dunlendings and their traditional rivals, the Forgoil. She is simply clad in a coarse cloth skirt and a waistcoat of durable leather. A conical hood, patched after many years of use, protects her head from the at-times harsh elements of Dunland. A roughly-stitched backpack holds her few belongings and provisions, including a stout hatchet for the chopping of firewood. She is never without her ornamented crook, which she uses both to guide her herd and as a walking stick. Of late, she has met with other goatherds who have told of strangers from the North: tall, grim and grey-eyed, riding south through Dunland and headed for the Gap of Rohan. Storm clouds gather over the River Isen. Croaking calls of crebain echo through the hills by day, and by night the stars are veiled. What forces now are at work in these lonely lands?
This outfit came about because I’ve been dying to use this funny old hood and because I wanted to have another go at finding a successful use for these notoriously awkward leggings. The hood suggested to me someone living a simple life in the wild, and when I remembered the wild goats in the Great River region, the goatherd concept was born. Even though I took the screenshots on the Fields of Celebrant, I’ve themed this outfit as Dunlending in origin, since I think it quite likely that many of them would have been pastoralists given the terrain of their country. The Dunlendings, with their Celtic-flavoured culture, are a people I’d like to explore a little more in some future posts.
On a different subject, I hope everyone is having fun putting together outfits for the NPC Look-alike Contest which I’m co-hosting along with the fabulous Hymne of Cosmetic Lotro. We have great prizes to award, courtesy of Turbine, including Turbine Point codes and even a Riders of Rohan Legendary Edition key, so if you haven’t entered yet, make sure to send us your outfit soon! We’re accepting entries until midnight Eastern Standard Time on Friday, 21 September 2012. If you’re a little hesitant about taking screenshots, or just want some tips, our fellow outfit blogger Devonna of The LOTRO Stylist has an excellent and detailed guide to help you get your best pictures. I’ve been really enjoying the submissions we’ve received so far and can’t wait to see more! As Hymne has pointed out, however, we’re looking to see evidence of your creativity in this contest, so dressing head-to-toe in Grey Company Ranger cosmetics isn’t going to earn your entry any points for originality, even if it does make you look exactly like an NPC. With that in mind, keep those awesome submissions coming and, as always, happy outfitting!
- Head: Heavy Quilted Hood (crafted — tailor T2; or looted — world drop/general), washed
- Shoulders: Mathom-hunter’s Mantle (looted — Hobbit presents/light armour), white
- Back: Patched Woodcutter’s Pack (purchased — Bree-town Hunting lodge vendor/Men of Bree reputation), white
- Chest: Sturdy Dwarf-make Leather Armour (crafted — tailor T3; or looted — world drop/general; or purchased — Thorin’s Hall medium armour vendor), grey
- Hands: Isengard Prisoner Gloves (quest reward — epic  Volume 3, Book 4, Chapter 25: Final Preparations), rust
- Legs: Clanweave Leggings (quest reward — Dunland  In the Shadow of the Mountain), washed
- Feet: Isengard Prisoner Boots (quest reward — epic  Volume 3, Book 4, Chapter 23: The Wizard’s Vale), rust
- Weapon: Smooth Lebethron Staff (crafted — woodworker T4)
- Lore-master Pet: Dog
Tips: If you don’t have access to the Mathom-hunter’s Mantle, you could substitute the Shoulders of the Mighty Verse (bartered — Twenty-first Hall Minstrel trainer), but I specifically used the Mathom-hunter’s piece for it’s greyish-blue section, which I hoped would mirror the bluish strip at the hem of the skirt (though it is an imperfect colour-match). If you have access to neither shoulder pieces, the Noble’s Woolen Mantle (quest reward — Dunland  Silent Riders) or similar wrap-style shoulders make a suitable alternative. The leggings used in this outfit have the same appearance as several other Dunland quest rewards. Dog-speech, the skill for a Lore-master to summon a non-combative dog pet, is learned via the Tome of the Dog (looted — world drop/level 45+; or purchased — LOTRO Store). Sadly there is no goat pet… (yet?).
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