This article is about the faction. For the NPC go to Ranger of the North.
The Rangers of the North, also known as the Dúnedain, are a race of men, a remnant of the fallen North-kingdom of Arnor. Descended from the Númenóreans of old, these men are a hardy people, few in number but resilient. They guard their ancestral lands of Arnor, secretly defending against those who would see it ravaged.
The Dúnedain are a branch of the descendants of the Númenóreans, who escaped with Elendil to the Grey Havens. There they formed the Kingdom of Arnor of the Numenoreans in Exile. Elendil was their lord, reigning from Annuminas on the shores of Lake Nenuial. The population of the kingdom was more Numenorean than the Southern Kingdom of Gondor, but there were many other men, descendants of the houses of Hador, Beor, Ulfang, and Bor, living in Eriador at that time. These formed the bulk of the citizens of Arnor. The kingdom stretched from the Tower Hills and the Lune to Angmar and the Misty Mountains, and southwards along the Gwathlo to the ruins of Lond Daer.
Elendil led the host of Arnor to battle in the War of the Last Alliance. They met the host of Gil-galad at Weathertop, and continued onward to Dagorlad, fighting in the vanguard at the Battle there and the Siege of Barad-dur. In the end Elendil and Gil-galad slew Sauron (though they died as well), and Isildur heir of Elendil cut the One Ring from the hand of Sauron. After staying in Gondor for two years and writing a scroll about his heirloom, he set out to Arnor with his elder sons Elendur, Aratan, and Ciryon. But they were assailed by Orcs, and he and his sons perished in the Disaster of the Gladden Fields, losing the Elendilmir and the Ring in Anduin. Arnor never recovered from the loss of Isildur's picked Numenorean guard, two-hundred strong. However, three warriors escaped bearing the Shards of Narsil. They fled to Rivendell and informed Lord Elrond of the disaster, and that Isildur's young son Valandil was now king.
Arnor was ruled by the Heirs of Isildur for long years after. Only one, Valandur, died a untimely death, in battle against the Men of Rhudaur. But after eight kings, in T.A. 861 Arnor was split into three separate Kingdoms due to dissension between the sons of Eärendur. These were called Rhudaur, in the east, Cardolan, in the south, and Arthedain in the northwest. Arthedain's claim, by Amlaith of Fornost, was just, but they were unable to reclaim the throne. Thereafter the throne was at Fornost, for Annuminas was depopulated. The Dúnedain began to decline, hastened by fighting between the three realms. The line of Isildur did survive in the kingdom of Arthedain, but eventually died out in the other two kingdoms.
But around T.A. 1300, a kingdom north of the Ettenmoors rose to power. This was named the Witch-realm of Angmar, and its sole purpose was the eradication of the Dunedain. Led by the Witch-King (later identified as the Chief of the Nazgul), the land was populated by Orcs and trolls and hillmen. Rhudaur was in secret league with them, for after the fall of the Dunedain the lordship had been taken over by a chief of the Hillmen. Argeleb I fortified the Weather Hills and claimed Kingship of all Arnor (for the lines had failed in Cardolan and Rhudaur. He took the title King of Arnor and Cardolan swore loyalty to him, but he fell in battle with Rhudaur. His son Arveleg counterattacked with Cardolan and drove back the foe.
Yet in T.A. 1409, a great host came from Angmar and ravaged the kingdom of Cardolan, killing the last Prince of Cardolan. The kingdom of Rhudaur was fully brought under the rule of Angmar at this time. Arnor valiantly defended Weathertop, but it was taken and the Tower burned, and Arveleg slain in battle. The Palantir was carried to Fornost, where reserves of Arnor pushed Angmar back from Fornost and the North Downs with help from Círdan and Elrond. Around T.A. 1637, the Great Plague struck, sweeping through Cardolan and destroying the last remnant in the Tyrn Gorthad. Evil spirits were sent to dwell there by the Witch-king, preventing its recolonization. And so Arthedain was the sole kingdom of the Dúnedain. For a time they had peace, but the power of Angmar was waxing in the cold lands of the north.
At the birth of the King's Heir in T.A 1864, Malbeth the Seer of Fornost spake, and he said "Arvedui you shall call him, for he will be the last in Arthedain. Though a choice will come to the Dúnedain, and if they take the one that seems less hopeful, then your son will change his name and become king of a great realm. If not, then much sorrow and many lives of men shall pass, until the Dúnedain arise and are united again." Thus Arvedui Last-King is the name recorded in lore.
Another prophesy Malbeth is said to have given, and it said "Over the land there lies a long shadow, westward reaching wings of darkness. The Tower trembles; to the tombs of kings doom approaches. The Dead awaken; for the hour is come for the oathbreakers: at the Stone of Erech they shall stand again and hear there a horn in the hills ringing. Whose shall the horn be? Who shall call them from the grey twilight, the forgotten people? The heir of him to whom the oath they swore. From the North shall he come, need shall drive him: he shall pass the Door to the Paths of the Dead." But that prophecy is yet unfufilled, and it is known not when it shall come to pass.
Arvedui Last-King married Firiel daughter of Ondoher of Gondor. When Ondoher and his sons were slain, he claimed the throne of Gondor and Arnor. But the Council in Gondor opposed him, and instead gave the throne to Earnil II. Thus the prophecy of Malbeth came to pass indeed. Now Arvedui percieved that Angmar was preparing for one final stroke, and he sent urgent messages to Gondor. But they could not respond, for they had fought wars and needed time to prepare and recover. Thus in T.A. 1974 the Witch-king struck again, and with overwhelming force managed to capture Fornost and drive the Dúnedain away. The King Arvedui, held in the North Downs till the last, then fled northward. He hid in an abandoned Dwarf-mine in Ered Luin, but by hunger was driven to the Lossoth, Snowmen of Forochel, and stayed with them until he could be rescued. When the ship of Cirdan came, the Lossoth begged him to not board, for the power of the Witch-king was strong in winter. But he did not heed them, and in thanks gave them his Ring, the ancient Ring of Barahir. Yet the counsel of the Lossoth proved true, for as he sailed home the ship struck a great berg, and was crushed into the ice. Arvedui, Last King of the North-kingdom, perished. With him, the palantíri of Annúminas and Amon Sûl fell into the sea.
This was not yet the end, as the sons of Arvedui escaped. The North-kingdom had fallen, and the Dúnedain were diminished, but they survived. The fleet of Gondor came later that year, and under Prince Earnur. The Grey Havens, and all the Harlond and Forlond too, were filled, and a great host (so it seemed to the northerners, though it was but a part of the might of Gondor) marched out. Among them were Northmen of Rhovanion proud and fair. They met the Witch-king on the plains west of Fornost, for in his arrogance he marched out to meet them. There his host was crushed, between the Elves of Lindon and the Men of Gondor and Arnor. He himself narrowly escaped the host of Rivendell and Lorien, being driven off by Glorfindel the Elf-lord.
The Dúnedain of the North then became a wandering people, for they were too few to repopulate Arnor. Many of their deeds went unnoticed and were forgotten during this time. However, their ceaseless vigilance over Eriador never ceased, and they patrolled and defended endlessly the Westlands. The royal line was maintained through the Chieftains of the Dunedain, of whom the heir was fostered always in Rivendell.
The Wilds were dangerous, and many Chieftains met wicked ends in the wastelands. Aragorn I was slain by wild wolves in Eriador in T.A 2327, while during the time of Arassuil, who became Chieftain in T.A. 2784, Orcs from the Misty Mountains began invading Eriador. The Dúnedain, with help from the sons of Elrond, fought the marauding orcs, but some slipped past their nets. These were slain by the Hobbits of the Shire, who ever the Dunedain worked to defend. After him, his son Arathorn I was also slain, while the last two Chieftains, Arador and Arathorn II, both died unhappily. Arador was taken by Trolls in the Coldfells, while Arathorn II rode to battle with the Sons of Elrond and was struck in the eye by a poisoned dart. But though the cost is often great, the Dunedain are ever-willing to protect their lands.
Aragorn II, the current Chieftain, is a masterful man, yet fair and just to all. His father was slain in his infancy, and so he was raised in Elrond's house. Known as "Estel" for his childhood, his true lineage was revealed to him at age 21. He met the Lady Arwen Undomiel, returning from a visit to Lorien, that same day. But Aragorn left soon after, and fought with the Sons of Elrond on the marches of Eriador, and in the armies of Rohan and Gondor, and journeyed long in the south and east before returning to the North in TA 2980. Then on Cerin Amroth he and Arwen plighted their troth, and Elrond gave permission, but not until Aragorn is king of both Gondor and Arnor. Unless that should come to pass, the two will be sundered forever. But he and his kinsman and captain, Halbarad, lead the Rangers of the North nonetheless.
Eriador is a sleepy land, without foes or threats, and knowing only peace. But what would that be without the Dúnedain? The North would have known it little but for them. Fear would have destroyed them. But when dark things come from the houseless hills, or creep from sunless woods, they fly from the Rangers of Arnor. What roads would any dare to tread, what safety would there be in quiet lands, or in the homes of simple men at night, if the Dúnedain were asleep, or were all gone into the grave? And yet less thanks have they than any. Travellers scowl at them, and countrymen give them scornful names. Fat men live within a day's march of foes that would freeze their heart or lay their little town in ruin, if they were not guarded ceaselessly. Yet they would not have it otherwise. If simple folk are free from care and fear, simple they will be, and they must be secret to keep them so. That has been the task of their kindred, while the years have lengthened and the grass has grown.
Rangers are the allies of Gondor, Rohan, and the Elves. They are also the vicious enemies of all who serve Sauron, striking fear into the hearts of any orc unlucky enough to encounter a Ranger.
The influence of the Dúnedain is felt throughout the Lone-lands, Eriador, and surrounding areas, even into the ruins of Angmar. They stand watch over the shire and the lands of Men, protecting them from orcs and fouler things.
- Ranger Camp - Temporary shelters for the Rangers of the North. They can be found all across Eriador. The camp is composed of tents, a crafting table, and a small farm. A Ranger Captain spawns here.
- Ruined Dúnedain Tower - The ruins of towers that once belonged to the Great North Kingdom of Arnor. At the top there is a chest, containing bones, skulls, weapons, armor, and treasure.
- Dúnedain Village - The villages of the Dúnedain of Arnor. They only spawn in the Angle.
- Ranger Watchtower - Watchtowers occupied by the Rangers of the North. These towers enable the Rangers to keep a watchful eye on Eriador.
The Dúnedain continue to guard the realms of Men, standing watch against the forces of Sauron.
- Ranger of the North - These Rangers wield a combination of dagger and bow, and are deadly archers.
- Ranger Captain of the North - Ranger Captains hire out Rangers to worthy players, in order to march against the evil to the East.
- Ranger Banner Bearer - The Banner Bearer raises the standard of the Dúnedain, bringing hope to allies and dread to enemies.
- Ranger Outriders - These mounted Dúnedain use horses to travel throughout Middle-Earth.
- Dúnedain Blacksmith - They supply the Dúnedain with their weapons and equipment, and with convincing, will do the same for you.
- Dúnedain - The inhabitants of the Angle, peaceful but watchful.
- Ranger Crafting Table - The crafting table of the Dúnedain, used to craft most of the following.
- Ranger Armour - Light armour the Rangers use. This armour enables the Rangers to walk unseen.
- Arnorian Armour - Ancient armour once used by the Men of Arnor. It cannot be crafted.
- Arnorian Equipment - Swords, Daggers, and Spears of the ancient North Kingdom. It also cannot be crafted.
- Ranger Bow - Deadly bows used by the Rangers.
- Arnor Brick - Building materials used by the Men of Arnor. Primarily composes various stone ruins and Dúnedain towers.
The Deeps of the Earth: