Shield of the Stiffbeards

His helm was crested with an eagle of the mountain peaks

The Dwarves of Middle-earth were divided into seven lineages, each descended from one of the original Dwarves given physical shape by the smith-Vala Aulë, and given life by Eru Ilúvatar. These seven Fathers of the Dwarves were set to slumber in separate locations around Middle-earth until the Elves should awaken, for Eru would not suffer his adopted children to come before his intended Firstborn. When it came time for the Race of Dwarves to enter the history of Arda, each of the seven Fathers awoke in their respective places deep beneath the earth, and awakening alongside each dwarf-sire was a dwarf-dam; except for the eldest, Durin, who woke alone. Durin founded the line of the Longbeards, and two other lines arose in the Blue Mountains, the Broadbeams and the Firebeards. The other four lines arose far to the east of the known lands of Middle-earth and do not come into the tales recounted in the Red Book of Westmarch.

Signal-flashing

This dwarf is one of the eastern Dwarves, of the house of the Stiffbeards. Dwelling in the mountains of Rhûn, his folk remain enigmatic to the peoples of the West. He is clad in a coat of lames, polished to a gleaming white finish and cinched around the waist with a silken sash. His helm is crested with the form of an eagle of the mountains, and his beard is braided into two stark forks, the hallmark of the Stiffbeards. His most important possession, however, is his great shield, forged in the shape of a sunburst. Not only does it serve him well in battle, for the Dwarves of all the houses have ever had their share of foes, but by holding it aloft so that its burnished surface catches the rays of the sun, it can also be used to signal his kinfolk from across mountain valleys or chasms.

Mountains of the East

Tolkien never did explain why the Stiffbeards were so named, nor did he explain the names of any of the houses of the Dwarves. Another mystery is just how Durin founded the Longbeards when he alone of the Dwarf-fathers did not awaken with a spouse! In addition to the Stiffbeards, the other mysterious eastern houses were the Blacklocks, the Stonefoots, and the Ironfists. They are only obliquely mentioned in the histories of Middle-earth; warriors from all seven houses took part in the attempt to reclaim Khazad-dûm from the Orcs. I was inspired to put together an outfit for an eastern dwarf by the chest piece that I used in this outfit. Something about it, perhaps the lamellar design, seems vaguely eastern to me. The protruding rear neck-guard of the helm (a little difficult to see on a stout dwarf-model) gives a similar impression.

Coat of lames

  • Head: Himhar (quest reward — epic [4o] Volume 1, Book 4, Chapter 8: The Unmarked Trail), umber
  • Shoulders: Leather Shoulder Guards of Vigour (looted — world drop general; or purchased — Esteldín medium armour vendor), washed
  • Chest: Wildermore Armour (crafted — metalsmith T8/Survivors of Wildermore reputation), umber
  • Hands: Skirmish Gauntlets of the Westfold (crafted — tailor T9/Helmingas reputation), white
  • Feet: Skirmish Boots of the Westfold (crafted — tailor T9/Helmingas reputation), white
  • Shield: Noble’s Heavy Shield (crafted — metalsmith T6)

Tips: A ceremonial version of Himhar is available for purchase from the LOTRO Store.

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Green-elf of Ossiriand

Woodland passage

The Green-elves were counted among the Eldar during the First Age of Middle-earth. They originated from a clan of Teleri who came into Beleriand because their leader, Denethor, had heard of the might of the Sindar living there. The Sindarin king, Thingol, permitted Denethor and his followers to settle in Ossiriand, a green, forested realm watered by seven rivers. Denethor’s people were a peaceful and retiring folk, and when Morgoth the Enemy attacked Thingol and his allies, the elves of Ossiriand suffered heavy losses for they were not prepared for war. Denethor was slain in the First Battle of Beleriand and although the hosts of Morgoth were defeated, most of the surviving elves of Ossiriand removed to Thingol’s guarded realm. The few who remained clothed themselves in green and became secretive and reclusive. This hidden people thus became known to the Sindar as the Laegrim, the Green-elves of Ossiriand.

Warrior-scout of the Laegrim

This Green-elf scout is clad in leathers of green, grey, and brown — well-suited for concealment among the silvan shadows of Ossiriand. He has remained in the Land of Seven Rivers to defend it from stray Orcs hoping thus to keep the land unstained by evil even in his people’s absence. Although prior to the First Battle of Beleriand the Green-elves were not warriors, in his new role as a warden of the Land of Seven Rivers he has quickly become gained in the wielding of bow and blade.

Patrolling the Land of Seven Rivers

I put this outfit together because I was eager to use the helm; it’s a newer piece, and it’s a reskinned version of the crafted Malledhrim Helmet. I thought it looked quite sharp with the crafted T6 medium armour. I’m also incorporating the gloves into an outfit for the first time. I find that a lot of the newer pieces (since Riders of Rohan, perhaps) don’t speak to me as much cosmetically as older pieces do, so I’m always quite pleased when I find a way to work them into an outfit that I like.

Secretive and retiring, they dwelled deep in the woods

  • Head: Aranhar (looted — world drop from any mob), Rivendell green
  • Shoulders: Spear-hurler’s Shoulders (bartered — Twenty-first Hall Warden trainer), grey
  • Back: Sturdy Elven Quiver (crafted — tailor T2/spring festival Red Flower Gift Box), grey
  • Chest: Footman’s Armour (crafted — Tailor T6), Rivendell green
  • Hands: Westemnet Skirmish Gauntlets (crafted — Tailor/T9), sienna
  • Legs: Far-arrow’s Leggings (bartered — skirmish camp classic quartermaster/Barad Guldur – level 85 medium), Rivendell green
  • Feet: Tawarwaith Shoes (crafted — tailor T6/Malledhrim reputation), Rivendell green

Tips: Aranhar is a heavy armour piece, a part of the Wall’s End set, that can drop from any mob in any region. Its stats will be scaled to your present level when it drops. You can also check the auction house for it, as I have often seen it for sale there. The shoulders used in this outfit are also available cosmetically from Lalia’s Market at the time of this post. The recipe for the quiver used to drop from Red Flower Gift Boxes rewarded from the spring festival flower-picking quest, but it’s now available as the Quiver of Caras Galadhon (bartered –Talan Fanuidhol barterer; or purchased — LOTRO Store). If you prefer a cloak to a quiver, consider the Cloak of the Autumn Wood (purchased — LOTRO Store) in Rivendell green as an alternative.

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Mount-matching: Honoured Yule-friend

Happy new year and welcome to another new feature here on The Starry Mantle! As announced before Christmas, I’m hoping for the blog to be more active in 2015 which is why I’ve added two new features. The first was “Wardrobe Updates”, and we have already had two installments. Today I’m introducing a feature called “Mount-matching”. In this series, I’ll be revisiting old outfits to show you matching steeds. In some cases, these will be outfitted war-steeds designed to coordinate with the original outfit, and in others, regular riding-steeds that are a good match. Many times these are the steeds that I use on my own characters who wear these outfits. I hope you’ll enjoy!

Onward, to Winterhome!

Honoured Yule-friend was a wintry outfit for a hobbit-lass who’s journeyed to Winterhome to partake in the festivities of the season. Naturally such a journey is tedious on foot, so she has chosen to ride; and she has clad her pony in the merriest tack she could find. One should always make a grand entrance at Yuletide!

Dashing through the snow

Spirits of both mount and rider were high

It looked like fine Yuletide weather

  • Body: Wintry Yule Caparison (bartered — Winter-home Yule festival horse trader/The More the Merrier – Tier 3), sea blue
  • Head: Halter of Thorin’s Hall (purchased — LOTRO Store), violet
  • Saddle: Saddle of Rivendell (purchased — LOTRO Store), default
  • Legs: Light Leggings of the Norcrofts (quest reward — [79] All That Remains), rose
  • Hide: Solid War-steed (auto-granted), sorrel
  • Tail: Braided Flower Tail (purchased — LOTRO Store), sorrel
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Wardrobe Update: Redeemer of the Exiles

The Original Outfit:Warden of the Exiles“, a red and grey cold-weather outfit. In the original post, the context of the outfit was the frigid journey across the Grinding Ice made by the exiled Noldor under Fingolfin. I wanted to showcase the design on the cloak by having it mirror the northern lights of Forochel. Here’s a Starry Mantle lore-fragment: In the original outfit, I edited the crescent moon out of the cloak design and ensured the moon did not show in any of the screenshots because at the time of the Flight of the Noldor the Sun and the Moon had not yet risen over Arda.

The Updated Outfit: I was given some constructive criticism on the original outfit that the bright red seemed out of place and was perhaps more thematically suitable for a follower of Fëanor (the Spirit of Fire) than of Fingolfin. I agree! Therefore, I reworked the outfit to eliminate the red, while still retaining the outfit’s centrepiece, which is the cloak. The Ajokoira Leggings are replaced with the Leijona Leggings, and Rochwen’s Boots are replaced by the Boots of the Galadhrim. The Rock-climber’s Armour is now dyed Grey. I think the new overall appearance fits the theme better, and there is more synergy between the boots and the chest.

What do you think? Has this warden been redeemed, or should her new outfit be exiled?

Her people dared the Helcaraxë

The Grinding Ice held many dangers

Go further than Oromë, endure longer than Tulkas

Follower of Fingolfin

  • Shoulders: Elven Steel Shoulder Guards (crafted — metalsmith T3; or purchased — Rivendell heavy armour vendor; or looted — world drop/general), sea blue
  • Back: Cloak of Winter Nights (purchased — LOTRO Store), sea blue
  • Chest: Rock-climber’s Armour (crafted — tailor T6), grey
  • Hands: Snow-dusted Travelling Gloves (bartered — Yule festival barter vendor/cosmetic clothing), yellow
  • Legs: Ceremonial Leijona Leggings (crafted — Tailor T5/Lossoth reputation),
  • Feet: Boots of the Galadhrim (crafted — metalsmith T6/Galadhrim reputation), grey
Posted in Outfits, Wardrobe Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Festive Selections

Festive Selections main

“The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history.”

— J.R.R. Tolkien, “On Fairy-Stories”

As you enjoy this year’s holiday season and the in-game Yule festival, here are some festive outfits to keep your characters looking merry and bright!

Magic Toy-maker         Red Elf of the North Pole         The Holly King

May your days in-game and out- be filled with joy!

Merry Christmas from The Starry Mantle

Posted in Selections | 2 Comments

Wardrobe Update: Bundled Traveller

If you’ve been a regular follower of The Starry Mantle, you know that the blog hasn’t been as active this year as it has in the past. I hope to change that in 2015. Therefore, today I’m introducing a new post category: Wardrobe Updates. Many of the outfits that I’ve presented on the blog are actually ones that I use permanently in-game on my various characters. As time goes by, I often edit them as I find new complementary pieces, or as new gear and cosmetics are introduced. In other cases, when the outfit was published I didn’t have access to a piece that would have worked really well but has since become available to me. The original version of the outfit will be shown in a gallery (click the images for full-size) along with the new version so you can compare them. Wardrobe Updates will allow me to address some old outfits I’m not happy with, as well as letting me add some new content to the blog to keep things fresh without having to spend as much time researching and writing a piece to accompany it. Of course, whenever I’m able, I’ll still share original new outfits accompanied by the usual lore discussion. Next year I’ll strive for more than the four new outfits I published this year!

Introduction out of the way, let’s have a look at the first entry in this new series.

The Original Outfit: “Bundled Up“, a cosy cold-weather outfit for a Hobbit on a winter stroll. I use this to this day as cold-weather gear on one of my main characters, and I really enjoy displaying it. And here’s a Starry Mantle lore-fragment: “Bundled Up” is one of only a handful of outfits ever published on the blog where the title of the post isn’t also a descriptive title for the character modelling the outfit.

The Updated Outfit: At the time that I originally published the outfit, I didn’t have access to the Oven Mitts, which make perfect Hobbit-mittens, thick and cosy. They replace the Ajokoira Gloves used in the original outfit, which were not a very successful match with the other components. The other change to the outfit is the cloak; the Warm Bear-fur Cloak is replaced by the Wintry Yule Cloak from the 2012 Yule festival. The white portion of the Wintry Yule Cloak has a very slight yellow tinge that I think works really well with the yellow already in the outfit. With these two simple updates, I feel the whole outfit is improved, looking more cohesive and even more snug and warm than before!

What do you think? Would you rather bundle up in the original outfit or the new version?

Rosy cheeks

Snowy frolick

Thinking of a whistling kettle at day's end

Watching the snowflakes fall

  • Shoulders: Yule Scarf (bartered — Yule festival barter vendor/cosmetics), crimson
  • Back: Wintry Yule Cloak (bartered — Yule festival barter vendor/festival rewards), violet
  • Chest: Radiant Dwarf-make Armour (crafted — tailor T5; or looted — world drop/general), indigo
  • Hands: Oven Mitts (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/cosmetic items), violet
  • Legs: Radiant Dwarf-make Leggings (crafted — tailor T5; or looted — world drop/general), indigo
  • Feet: Ceremonial Ajokoira Shoes (crafted — tailor T5/Lossoth reputation; or purchased — LOTRO Store), red
Posted in Outfits, Wardrobe Updates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Wargbane

Grim Beorning

The kinfolk and followers of Beorn were implacable foes of evil creatures, having an especial hatred for the Goblins and wild Wargs of the Misty Mountains. In the years of gathering darkness leading up to the War of the Ring the Beornings, led by their chieftain Grimbeorn the Old, kept a vigil on the mountain passes connecting Eriador to Rhovanion, ensuring that they remained open and that no foe came down into the Vales of Anduin, whether on two feet or four.

Skinchanging

Word has come to the hall of Grimbeorn that Wargs have been stirring and assailing travellers in the high passes, and he will not suffer their mischief to continue. At Grimbeorn’s behest, one of his trusted thains has ventured high into the snowy passes of the mountains in the failing days of the year. Braving the winter storms to stalk his prey, our Beorning is armed with a great club and clad in warm, fur-lined garb complete with a close-fitting hood and thick gloves. His horn-braced pack contains all that he needs to make his way in the wild, including a supply of the honey-cakes favoured by his people. His bear-hide mantle and boots are trimmed with fearsome claws collected from a great bear that died of natural causes — for bears are revered among the Beornings and they will not harm them. And just like a bear defending its den from scavenging wolves, our Beorning will not rest until the threat of the Wargs is ended. The hunters have become the hunted.

Return to the mountains

This is the first outfit I’ve shared in a long time (too long!). To anyone who’s been patiently awaiting something new on the blog, my apologies. I haven’t been feeling very inspired to outfit this year but naturally I had to try out something for my new Beorning. Since winter is in full swing, at least where I live, a cold-weather outfit seemed the thing to do. It’s always nice to have new warm clothing added to the game, and some of the pieces from the two unique Beorning equipment sets fit the bill nicely. This outfit was also the perfect chance to use these silly bear-foot boots from the Yule festival, which until now I had never put to any good use.

Foe of the Wild Wolves of Wilderland

  • Head: Worn Hood (auto-granted — Beorning male), umber
  • Shoulders: Lesser Memory of the West Shoulder Guards (bartered — Harndirion novices quartermaster/tier 1 difficulty Lore-master armour), black
  • Back: Elk-hunter’s Pack (purchased — LOTRO Store ), white
  • Chest: Wildermore Survivor’s Robe (bartered — Forlaw People of Wildermore quartermaster/People of Wildermore reputation), walnut brown
  • Hands: Oven Mitts (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/cosmetic items), sienna
  • Feet: Snow-beast Boots (bartered — Winterhome Yule Festival barter vendor/The More the Merrier — tier 3), white

Tips: Each Beorning character starts with a unique set of gear, different for male and female characters. You are rewarded the second set of equipment from the quest “Preparations for Travel” at the conclusion of the starter instance, so if you have a female Beorning, you can get this hood with this appearance then (it is called Radagast’s Hood). The 2014 Yule festival is tentatively scheduled to open on the live servers on 16 December and to run through 15 January.

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Beorning Selections

Beorning selections

“Some say that he is a bear descended from the great and ancient bears of the mountains that lived before the giants came. Others say that he is a man descended from the first men who lived before Smaug or the other dragons came into this part of the world, and before goblins came into the hills out of the North. I cannot say, though I fancy the last is the true tale. He is not the sort of person to ask questions of.”

— Gandalf speaking of Beorn, The Hobbit, “Queer Lodgings”

Six years after the last new classes were added to the game, Beornings have arrived! Last year I speculated about the possibility of a new character class, which I thought would be called Skin-changers, and it’s interesting to look back and see how many of my predictions came to pass (not many!).

If you’re trying out a new Beorning character and looking for some outfitting suggestions, here are some possibilities to inspire your imagination. These were not necessarily created with Beornings in mind, but they all have a wild and rough look that should suit the skin-changers of Wildermore.

Woodman of the East        Warrior-hero of Forochel        Woman of the Woods

Druidess        Haleth the Hunter        Little Beorning

Posted in Selections | 4 Comments

Second Breakfast’s Hallowe’en Celebration

Second Breakfast, a kinship on Crickhollow server, is hosting The Haunted Hill, a Hallowe’en celebration! Join them at the Party Tree on Sunday, 26 October at 1:00 pm /servertime for lots of fun and spooky festivities, including a costume contest. There are categories for the spookiest, most original, and best duo or group outfits.

I have been kindly invited to help judge the costume contest along with talented fellow outfit bloggers Gloredh of Wandering Around Arda and Nathrien of Material Middle-earth.

Even if you don’t usually play on Crickhollow server, why not roll up an alt and join the fun. I hope to see you there!

The Haunted Hill

 

Posted in Messages | 3 Comments