GENERAL INFORMATION TAB
The Fourth Age mod takes place, as the name suggests, in the Fourth Age of Middle-earth, near the end of its second century. After a period of peace and prosperity, a New Shadow emerges in the mysterious land of Rhûn, thrusting the Rhûnic clans, now free of the Shadow that held them in the past, into a brief and bloody civil war, after which a new Dark Lord, formerly known as the Mouth of Sauron, overthrows the Emperor of Rhûn to lead its people down a dark path of Morgoth-worship and renewed war with the West, specifically the Reunited Kingdom of Gondor and Arnor and the Kingdom of Rohan, their chief ally. The tribes of Harad, unsatisfied with the Gondorian rule imposed upon them, soon ally themselves with this New Shadow, and the battle for the fate of Middle-earth is, once again, about to begin.
The mod contains four factions at present: Gondor, Rohan, Rhûn and Harad. Each faction has an array of new units, heroes, buildings and powers.
For more information regarding the four factions, such as unit rosters and a brief overview of their lore and position in the geopolitical landscape during the timeframe of the mod, please refer to the appropriate faction pages. For an elaborate timeline and overview of the years and events leading up to the conflict during which the mod takes place, please check the tabs that follow below:
THE REIGN OF ELESSAR
Aragorn is crowned King of the Reunited Kingdom of Arnor and Gondor. The War of the Ring is finally ended before the Black Gate of Mordor, and later in the year the Shire is freed from Saruman’s tyrannical rule by Frodo, Samwise, Peregrin and Meriadoc.
The Mouth of Sauron departs from Mordor with a small group of black-robed followers. They escape the watchful eyes of Minas Tirith and head north-east, crossing the Celduin and disappearing into the wastes that lie beyond.
Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, former bearers of the Ring, depart Middle-earth together with the Three Bearers, Gandalf, Elrond, and Galadriel. The Fourth Age begins.
King Elessar and King Éomer set out on a campaign to destroy Sauron’s scattered Orc forces. Minas Morgul is cleansed and the slaves at the fields of Nurn, primarily consisting of Easterlings that were unwilling to join Sauron, are freed. King Elessar and his host escort the slaves East to Rhûn, where they find a land ravaged by civil war between forces loyal to Sauron, and others loyal to either themselves or a mysterious cult lead by two secluded, old men. King Elessar grants positions of power to former slave leaders and together they restore order in the far-stretching land of Rhûn. King Elessar also installs a temporary Gondorian prefect in each of the country’s clan-controlled regions.
King Elessar and King Éomer venture South to the city-state of Umbar, where they are greeted with fearful hostility by the city-state’s leader, a man of Black Numenorean descent. The combined host of Elessar and Éomer greatly outnumbers the small force stationed at Umbar, and after King Elessar challenges the city’s leader to single combat and defeats him, they surrender and sign a peace treaty. King Elessar leaves Umbar in the hands of one of his captains, ordering him to actively pursue mutual benefits through trade and to continue making peace with the Haradrim tribes that dwell further inland. King Elessar further reclaims Harondor, making it a part of the realm of Gondor, as it once was.
Legolas and Gimli complete their journey through Middle-earth. Legolas leads a company of Mirkwood Elves to dwell in the lush land of Ithilien. Gimli brings a contingent of Lonely Mountain Dwarves to settle in Aglarond, where they begin their work to increase the caves’ beauty tenfold, and expand and rebuild the fortress of Helm’s Deep.
Elessar declares the Shire a Free Land under the Sceptre of the North.
The renovation of Minas Tirith is completed.
Annuminas is rebuilt in the North, and King Elessar returns once more to his birthland to govern his Reunited Kingdom from that ancient city. The Thain of the Shire (Peregrin Took) and the Mayor of Michel Delving (Samwise Gamgee) are made councillors to the Kingdom in the North. Gimli and his Dwarves complete the reinforcing of Helm’s Deep. King Éomer grants them special citizenship, allowing them to live in and around Helm’s Deep by their own customs, alongside those of the Rohirrim.
Queen Arwen gives birth to a son, which she and her husband King Elessar name Eldarion, meaning Son of the Eldar.
The Gondorian rule of Umbar is relieved, after decades of peaceful trade with both Umbar as well as a host of other Haradrim nations.
King Éomer feels his death is drawing near, and calls for Meriadoc Brandybuck to visit him one last time in Rohan. Éomer dies, and his son, Elfwyne, becomes King of Rohan, inheriting a prosperous, powerful nation.
Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took go to live in Gondor until their deaths.
Death of Faramir. His son, Elboron, succeeds him as Steward of Gondor and Prince of Ithilien.
King Elessar realizes his life has reached its end. He calls for his son Eldarion, now a powerful and wise man in his own right, and crowns him King of the Reunited Kingdom before giving up his life willingly, like the Kings of Old. After the death of their friend, Legolas and a most venerable Gimli sail into the West, ending the Fellowship of the Ring in Middle-earth. Elves remain in Ithilien, now under the rule of Elboron, son of Faramir. The Dwarves of Aglarond elect a new leader, a young Dwarf lord by the name of Farin Ironhide. Celeborn, husband of the departed Galadriel, collects the remaining Elves of Lothlórien and goes to live in Rivendell with the Sons of Elrond.
UNREST IN THE NORTH
After making the rounds through his inherited Kingdom, presenting himself as King to his subjects, King Eldarion travels East to Rhûn, where he is welcomed by the Easterlings, still ruled by the descendants of the slave leaders that his father freed. King Eldarion, pleased and impressed with the courtesy and prosperity of Rhûn, removes the Gondorian prefects from their office and bestows the lands of Rhûn with independence and friendship. In a great gathering of Easterling clans under the guidance of King Eldarion, Dûrthin, a wise scholar and tradesman, descendant of the ancient Eastern Kings that once resisted the Shadow, is elected King of Rhûn, and his throne is set in Tharnim, a city on the eastern shores of the Sea of Rhûn. The clans of Rhûn all give up a part of their autonomy to the court of King Dûrthin, so that their country may be led singularly into a bright future.
King Eldarion travels south to Umbar, where he is greeted less courteously. A sect of Black Numenoreans make an attempt on the life of the King. In response, King Eldarion removes the Umbarian leaders from office completly and installs Gondorian rule, effectively drafting the city-state of Umbar and into his realm. This does not sit well with the Haradrim nobility, who remember their ancestors losing the land of Harondor to King Elessar.
Brûdhan, son of Prince Khûrthan, son of King Dûrthin is born. King Elfwyne of Rohan dies. His son, Thengel II, becomes King of Rohan.
Eldaravir, son of Eldarion, is born.
King Dûrthin dies and is succeeded by his son, Khûrthan, who continues the prosperous connections with the West.
A whispering fear blows through the hearts of Men when King Incathín of Dorwinion is assassinated. Evil tongues whisper that this senseless murder was the work of Easterlings under orders from King Khûrthan. Eldarion, in his wisdom, sends a small party of Gondorian soldiers, led by an experienced captain named Dormir, to cooperate with King Khûrthan’s court in the investigation of the murder and the following allegations. Before they cross the borders into Rhûn, Dormir councils with King Barand of Dale, descendant of Bard the Bowman. When Dormir leaves Dale the following week, he is waylaid by a party of black-armored men. The ensuing skirmish results in the annihilation of the Gondorians, with Morgon, son of Dormir, who was on his first expedition outside of the realm, barely escaping with his life. The black-armored men vanish with the remains of the Gondorians.
King Eldarion hears of the disaster near Dale when Morgon returns home, and promotes him to captain after his father. He then decides to set out for Rhûn himself, taking Morgon with him, as well as a sizeable host of men. King Khûrthan, receiving word from Dale about the massacre, decides to set out as well in order to prevent things from escalating.
The two Kings meet one another near the shores of the Long Lake. King Khûrthan assures King Eldarion that he knows nothing of any Easterling involvement in either the assassination of Incathín or the deaths of the Gondorian investigators lead by Morgon. King Eldarion trusts in Khûrthan’s sincerity and their mutual wish to avoid conflict, and together they set up an investigation into the matter. Captain Morgon, meanwhile, travels into Rhûn secretly and without his king’s consent, together with his close friend Tirgil, and a company of Elves and Men of Ithilien. Morgon is convinced that the threat they face originated in Rhûn, and is bent on finding out the truth.
A NEW SHADOW RISES
In Rhûn, Prince Brûdhan, son of Khûrthan, is haunted by terrifying visions, foretelling the downfall of Rhûn and the return of the Shadow. In despair, he discloses these visions to his returned father, who, after a time of consideration, sends his son into the distant, easternmost provinces of Rhûn, to seek out two old men known only by an Elvish name; Ithryn Luin. Prince Brûdhan departs, taking a small contingent of royal Easterling warriors with him.
During Prince Brûdhan’s journey eastward, his visions intensify. A whispering voice appears in his mind, telling him of atrocities committed by his ancestors during the civil war in Rhûn, and of the ancient wars between Gondor and Rhûn, when Rhûn was humiliated in defeat again and again until now they serve Gondor in fearful friendship. Brûdhan starts to question his sanity while doubts of the legitimacy of his line begin to shine through.
Captain Morgon, meanwhile, has lost his way in the vast wastes of Rhûn. Winter is setting in, and the sources of food disappear freeze over. Several of the men in his company die before they finally come across a strangely lush valley, apparently unaffected by the woes of winter. They are welcomed by two old men, dressed in blue robes with their beards tucked into their belts.
Once the Blue Wizards revive the spirits of Morgon’s company, the captain tells the old men of their purpose in travelling so far from home. To Morgon’s surprise, the old men know all about the land of Gondor and its history. They are concerned with the recent developments between Gondor and Rhûn, with a shadow coming over their faces as they inform Morgon that King Khûrthan had spoken the truth, and that Rhûn in its current state was not responsible for the death of the King of Dorwinion or the deaths of Morgon’s company. The old men tell Morgon that they will accompany him on the road westwards, for they have need to speak to King Khûrthan.
Meanwhile, Prince Brûdhan and his company of royal warriors are caught in a snowstorm that lasts for a week. They seek shelter in a secluded cavern where the snow does not reach them, and are overtaken by a group of black-armored men.
In the early spring of the year 165, Morgon and his company reach the court of King Khûrthan at Tharnim together with the old men, who, before the king, reveal themselves as the fabled Ithryn Luin, the Blue Wizards, Morinehtar and Romestamo,Darkness-slayer and East-helper. They inform the King of their suspicions regarding the previous incidents, referring to the ancient cults of Shadow of the past. When King Khûrthan asks them if his son, troubled by visions of Shadow and Fire visited him as per his instruction, the Ithryn Luin tell him that they have never met his son. This troubles the King greatly, and he immediately sends out a host of one two thousand Easterling soldiers eastward in order to find his son and bring him home. The Ithryn Luin join the King’s host. Captain Morgon and his company return home to Minas Tirith to report to King Eldarion.
On Midsummer’s Day, the Ithryn Luin and the host of Rhûn come across an abandoned campsite in north-eastern wastes of Rhûn, with a tattered royal banner still stuck in the ground. Weathered tracks lead a way’s north, to a family of bare, tall hills, shrouded in an unnatural mist. The Ithryn Luin decide to investigate the hills, telling the commander of the Easterling host to lay low until they return.
The Wizards never return, and when the commander of the Easterling host marches a portion of his army in a day later, they are met by a lone figure, dressed in black robes, who introduces himself as the former Mouth of Sauron. The very uttering of this name frightens the commander. The Mouth of Sauron informs him that he has nothing to be afraid of, provided he does precisely as he is told. The Easterling commander hesitates for a moment, but then orders his personal guard to apprehend the lone figure. As he does so, a large number of warriors, heavily armed, wearing robes of black mail, step forth from the fog. Among their faces, the commander recognizes some members of the royal guard. The Mouth of Sauron tells him that he may surrender his forces to his authority, or suffer a fate worse than death. The commander becomes enraged, and orders his men to charge.
The ensuing battle is short. The Mouth’s forces are well prepared and in greater number, and a great many of the Easterling force surrender after seeing how outmatched they are. As the battle commences, Prince Brûdhan and his royal guard emerge from the fog, and they do battle with the commander and his personal bodyguard, slaying them swiftly. The Mouth of Sauron, displaying his powers of necromancy, calls forth evil spirits from the wastes to inhabit their corpses. The rest is drafted amongst the Mouth’s host and forced to swear oaths in blood.
The Mouth’s forces now consist Prince Brûdhan and his men, the unwillingly converted Easterling host, as well as the reanimated corpses of their commander and his bodyguard, the reanimated corpses of the Gondorian captain Dormir, now named Gûrthgul, and his entourage of wraith-guards, as well as a host of Men recruited by the Mouth in various ways, some snatched from their cradles, some kidnapped from trade outposts, and many that dabbled in the ancient rites of Shadow, their dark prayers answered swiftly and silently.
The Mouth announces that he shall no longer be known as the Mouth of Sauron, but as Khôragan, a Black Numenorean name. His mission is clear: to inspire a fracture in Rhûn’s fragile alliances with Gondor, and to cast the land back into the worship of Morgoth, his ultimate master. In private, he orders Prince Brûdhan to venture out to the remaining forces stationed to the south of the hill-range and declare himself an ally of Khôragan the Necromancer, to discredit his father’s reign, and to declare Rhûn in a state of civil war between those loyal to their ancient master, Sauron, and those loyal to their ancient enemies, the Descendants of Númenor. This he does, and thanks to some of Khôragan’s subtle magic, the collective host of King Khûrthan is converted, each of them swearing an oath of blood to their new master. This addition to his forces grants Khôragan an army to be reckoned with, and he sets out south, to conquer the various clans of Rhûn and swell his forces.
A FRAGILE PEACE
The land of Rhûn is cast into a second civil war. King Khûrthan, with the help of his allies in Rhovanion as well as King Eldarion, marches from Tharnim into the East. Many battles are fought throughout the Eastern wastes, though neither Khûrthan nor Khôragan can claim victory. The Fallen Prince sends out messengers to Khand, convincing the descendants of the Variags, who suffered grave losses during the War of the Ring, to join this new Dark Lord and to avenge their ancestors in the upcoming War by traveling south to Harondor and take the land from Gondor, thereby forging an alliance with the Haradrim warlords of the region.
Once word of this window of opportunity reaches the young Haradrim warlord Sêlath, he wastes no time and together with the Variags of Khand he speedily raises an army to march first upon the Gondorian settlements dotted throughout Harondor, enslaving the Gondorian settlers and sending them through Khand towards Rhûn, by orders of Prince Brûdhan, to be killed or drafted into the hosts of Khôragan. Sêlath then marches upon Umbar and takes it by storm, killing all Gondorians in the city and fortifying it with the increasing number of Variags and Haradrim that join his cause.
Gondor sends word to Edoras, where the armies of the old King Thengel have been in a state of readiness for months. The old King leads his Rohirrim from Edoras to Minas Tirith, from where they go south towards Umbar, where they are met by a great host of Variag horsemen, whose numbers continue to grow as more warriors arrive from Khand and the vast plains of Far Harad. The Rohirrim, now vastly outnumbered, manage to hold the border of Harondor and Ithilien together with Lord Barahir, son of Elboron, son of Faramir and his host of Elves and Men. King Eldarion decides to pull back the brunt of his army and march back to Gondor to reinforce the Rohirrim, leaving King Barand of Dale and King Durin VII, son of Thorin Stonehelm, in charge of the defense of Rhovanion and the campaign against Khôragan. King Eldarion also sends for the descendants of Grimbeorn to bear a message across the Misty Mountains to the realm of Arnor, ordering the Arnorian captains to muster their forces and cross east into Rhovanion to ensure the Eastern threat is contained.
Once the Gondorian forces have left Rhûn, Khôragan sends Prince Brûdhan to Tharnim as an emissary, with the secret mission of murdering the King. Prince Brûdhan executes the orders and crowns himself King of Rhûn, claiming leadership over all of Rhûn’s armies. His royal guards eliminate the previous captains of the armies still stationed at Tharnim, taking secondary command of the forces. King Brûdhan then brands the remaining forces of the dead king as traitors of Rhûn and marches his armies further east to quell their continued struggle, finally uniting the whole of Rhûn under the banner of Khôragan in the winter of FA 170. The city of Tharnim is abandoned and Khôragan orders a great migration to the darkest reaches of Rhûn, leaving the lands bordering Rhovanion deserted. The Dark Lord also sends messengers through Khand to Harondor, where the warlord Sêlath remains at war with the forces of Gondor and Rohan. Sêlath is offered a position of power within the hosts of Khôragan if he can manage to negotiate a truce with King Eldarion and retreat eastwards over the river Harnen to dwell for a time in the southern range of the Ered Lithui in Near Harad. Sêlath accepts, and a time of watchful peace begins. Erebor and Dale station watchposts along the river Celduin and the Carnen, and Gondor and Arnor construct a watchtower on one of the high hills on the western side of the Sea of Rhûn, which they name Amon Aear, after the Sea it is intended to oversee.
THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE-EARTH BEGINS
King Thengel II dies. His son, Éothain, becomes King of Rohan.
King Eldarion dies suddenly. His son, Eldaravir, becomes King of the Reunited Kingdom.
Shadows creep back into the decaying city of Tharnim and a great fire is lit. The watchmen at Amon Aear alert their commander, who sends word to Minast Tirith, Dale, and Erebor. Before King Eldaravir has the change to respond, the Dwarves and Men of Rhovanion muster an army and march south to Tharnim, where they are overwhelmed by the sudden appearance of a large host of Men of the Shadow. At the same time, a great host of Haradrim and Variags march upon near-abandoned Umbar and from there launch an assault across the Harnen into Harondor.
TO BE CONTINUED