Welcome to LOTRO Epic A Day, where I guide you on an epic journey through Middle-Earth, one day at a time. Each Book of the Epic quest is separated into its own Day, with Side-Days for leveling up to the next book. Any plot spoilers are contained within the story overview in “Turning the Pages”. Gather up your belongings and hit the road, a new Day awaits!
The threat from Mirkwood cannot be avoided any longer. We must venture to the dark forest in the hope of trading hostages and preventing an invasion from forces stronger than mere orcs.
Foreword: The Dark Shore
Haldir begins the Book by outlining our objectives in Mirkwood: bringing battle to Dol Guldur at the time we choose rather than when the enemy can attack Lothlórien in force, and exchanging Mazog for the captive dwarves. The Malledhrim (the Golden Host of Lothlórien) could use our aid in achieving these goals. Report to Braiglinn at Imlad Lalaith (17.4 S, 63.8 W) to learn more details about the plan. He tells us that we will cross the Anduin to reach Mirkwood, so use the boats at Imlad Laliath’s docks to travel into Mirkwood when you are ready to continue the level 61 quest.
We arrive at Echad Sirion in Mirkwood and must complete several quests before being able to explore the region fully. Malledhrim Commander Fuirgam (15.3 S, 61.6 W) offers quests as part of the epic, but there are also several side quests we can complete only during this initial portion of the Book. These are entirely optional and are covered in Side Day Mirkwood. Here we will focus on the required Foreword quests. *The Mirkwood Landing Deed can only be completed during this initial stage. Complete the Aiding the Fallen and Forerunners quests as well as the final assault on the Orc fortress to complete the deed. Completing all 5 non-“Foreword” quests will definitely net you the first two objectives, while accomplishing the the Epic/Foreword quests will grant you the third.*
Foreword: Assault the Gates: Orc-fortifications defend the banks of the Anduin, keeping the Malledhrim from landing all of their boats. Capture a gate to enable the Elves to disembark safely. Choose either location marked on the map (only one gate will be necessary). When you arrive, wait until you see Malledhrim Soldiers approach the gate before beginning your attack; the soldiers appear periodically and are an immense help in defeating the Orcs guarding the gate. Once you arrive you will have to stay within a very small range of the gate and remain alive for 3 minutes in order for the gate to be considered captured.
Foreword: Leaderless, They Fall: Defeating uruk war-leaders will drive the enemy into disarray – find and defeat two of these enemies. While there is an area to the east marked on the map, it is likely that you will encounter and defeat War-leaders while destroying supply-crates. As long as there aren’t any other enemies nearby the War-leaders are fairly easy to defeat.
Foreword: Out of Supply: The Orcs in Mirkwood can withstand a prolong siege thanks to generous supplies. Destroy several supply-crates to weaken their defenses. These supplies are found past both of the gates mentioned above, but there are more than enough crates to destroy in a single camp.
Fuirgam gives us three more quests after completing the initial assignments.
Foreword: Barring the Gate: There is one road leading into the Mirk-Eaves from the main forest. Jamming the gate will stop Dol Guldur’s reinforcements from reaching the area. This is found in the northeast section of the prologue region, along with the targets for our other 2 quests. Watch out for the War-leader who guards the gate.
Foreword: Feral Flankers: Warg-riders are hassling the Malledhrim and preventing them from taking advantage of the Elves’ superior speed. Defeat 7 Taughâsh Riders in the area to aid the Elves. The Warg-riders can be found throughout the area, not just where the quest is marked on the map.
Foreword: Engines of War: We have encountered the enemy’s siege-engines in earlier Epic Books, so we know what must be done to prevent the Malledhrim from being wiped out. Destroy 3 catapults and 3 ballistae before the Elves’ assault begins. One of the ballistae is easy to miss – it is on a ledge at the back of the camp (14. 2S, 59.3 W).
Return to Fuirgam to finish the assault on the Mirk-eaves by joining the Elves in an instance to attack the nearby fortress. This will lock you out of any quests you haven’t completed in the area, so finish the few side quests here if you wish before beginning the instance. We have to keep Fuirgam alive during this instance, but he has plenty of morale and won’t go down easily. The assault itself is fairly simple, the only somewhat challenging part being the final battle with the Commander and his allies.
Finishing the instance allows the Malledhrim to secure their claim at the initial landing in Mirkwood. We arrive back in Echad Sirion where new quests are available as the Elves move their attack further east.
Chapter 1: Plans of the Golden Host
Alfirimbes sends us back to Lothlórien to give word of the successful landing in Mirkwood and to give the signal for the second party of Malledhrim to cross the river. The nearby boat will take us back to the docks where we speak to Braiglinn and travel to meet the second company of Elves. We cross into Mirkwood with them and meet with Dwarves who have recently arrived here with Mazog in tow. After the instance we speak with Alfirimbes once more. There is hope that our goals will be achieved, both the hostage exchange and the delay of Dol Guldur’s attack.
Chapter 2: Rumors of Mazog
Our success is dependent upon secrecy. We must search for messages that might indicate whether or not the enemy knows of Mazog’s arrival. This mission comes in two parts: defeating orcs or goblins in the Mirk-eaves and finding a coffer with information about Mazog. Any orcs or goblins within the Mirk-eaves (the area marked on the map) will do; the enemies are found in larger concentrations near the coffers we seek. Coffers can be found at 17.4 S, 60.0 W and 18.4 S, 60.9 W. We only need to check one coffer to obtain the letter addressed to Mazog. Alfirimbes is glad to read this letter – it reveals that the Orcs do not know of Mazog’s capture and arrival. There is a new problem however, involving a Dwarf of Bróin’s company. Lúth is worried that the Elves do not appreciate how dangerous Mazog is and asks for a Dwarf guard to be stationed wherever Mazog is. We return to Alfirimbes with these concerns, but it is already time to move Mazog deeper into Mirkwood.
Chapter 3: Midnight in the Drownholt
Alfirimbes informs us of the path we take through Mirkwood. Raddir has plotted a course that will be free of Orcs but full of more natural hazards in the form of briars, stagnant water, and slowing mud. The instance begins after we speak with Alfirimbes again.
We move Mazog with only a single elf aiding us at any given time, keeping the group small to ensure secrecy. We use the banner to pick Issuriel’s buff before turning to the dangers coming from the swamp. After defeating several waves of bog-lurkers we must chase after Mazog while he leads us through patches of swamp and briars that slow or hurt us (you can go around some of these locations to avoid being injured). Another few waves attack us when we reach Cúcheron; defeat the lizards and bugs before clearing out the tunnel ahead so that the prisoner can be taken forward. Speak with Raddir and Cúcheron before taking Mazog through the tunnel.
Sigileth fights off more waves of enemies with us when we emerge from the tunnel. After chasing Mazog again we come to a body lying dead in the swamp. We have arrived too late; Raddir is dead. After we secure Mazog’s shackles one last time he makes a break for the edge of the wood. We must reach Archador ahead of him, but following Mazog will take us through slow-inducing water. Instead, take the path to the right up and over the swamp, avoiding any dangers. Speak to Archador at the end of the chase to travel to the cellar of the Haunted Inn, where Mazog is held captive near Elves mourning Raddir’s fallen body. The hostage has been taken deeper into Mirkwood, but the cost is already beginning to take a toll on the company. After ending the instance we are directed to head outside of the Inn to speak with Cúcheron. The Elf has bad news – only Raddir knew the secret paths that lead to Dol Guldur. Without him the way forward is hidden.
Chapter 4: First Offensives
The Elves need time to decide how to move forward. In the meantime Cúcheron sends us to Dúndurion, a Golden Host member planning several strikes against important Orc strongholds. Dúndurion asks us to help attack the ruins of Dannenglor. To proceed with the chapter we must complete the skirmish Strike Against Dannenglor either solo or with a group of any size (check Pineleaf’s linked guide if you need help finishing the skirmish). This skirmish is unlocked at level 60, so anyone attempting this book under the recommended level must catch up some before continuing on. If the skirmish proves too difficult at this time there is also the option of leveling up even more but still running the skirmish at level 60. After battling through Dannenglor and defeating the Sorceror in charge of this evil fortress we can speak with Dúndurion again before returning to Cúcheron outside the Haunted Inn. No route has been found to reach Dol Guldur, but a new problem has arisen with the Greyhammers.
Chapter 5: Treacherous Lights
Cúcheron had concerns about the Greyhammers, but could say little without risking a bigger rift forming between the Elves and Dwarves. Inside the Inn, Otri Greyhammer explains the problem. Two of the Greyhammer dwarves have gone missing within the murky swamp south of the Inn. We must search the Drownholt to save the missing dwarves. Bog-lights produce false images to confuse us and lead us to our deaths (or at least to a short battle), but we will find the Dwarves with persistence (keep trying until the real Dwarves have been found). Otri is very uneasy when we return from rescuing the lost dwarves and hopes the Greyhammers can return home soon. He sends us to the cellar where Bróin anxiously waits for the Elves to decide on the way forward.
Chapter 6: The Choice of Ways
Bróin has us speak with the Elves in the cellar to decide on the proper course. Someone must take leadership over the group; every wasted moment is one more moment Bori spends imprisoned in Dol Guldur.
Sigileth believes that we should head far south through Taur Morvith, Issuriel suggests taking the dangerous road through the Scuttledells, and Archador advises abandoning secrecy for haste and moving directly east to Dol Guldur. Outside the Inn, Cúcheron suggests we scout each choice by aiding scouts near each path to discover the dangers we will face.
Scouting Emyn Lûm: Enedhel (14.3 S, 51.5 W) has us hide behind three tall stones along the road to Minas Gîl. Interact with the stones and then peel away quickly – there is no need to remain behind to get caught by patrolling orcs. Return to Enedhel with word of the patrols and he argues against using this path.
Scouting Taur Morvith: Erymbes (16.0 S, 51.2 W) tells us to assess the Orc-presence at Krul Lugu, where her friend went to scout before going missing. Find and defend Malendol outside the Orc-camp (17.4 S, 50.4 W) before returning to Erymbes.
Scouting the Scuttledells: Gladiel (11.5 S, 49.3 W) needs venom samples from spiders before she can know just how dangerous this path will be. Defeat and loot spiders in the region for their venom (not every spider will have venom so this can take some time). Take the venom to Gladiel, who finds that it isn’t fatal enough to hinder the Hidden Guard from passing through the Scuttledells.
After scouting all three paths we can return to Cúcheron outside the Haunted Inn. Using our information, Cúcheron decides to take the hostage through the Scuttledells. We inform Issuriel of this decision inside the Inn’s cellar. Issuriel is sure this is the right course of action, but she has one more concern before we continue on.
Chapter 7: On Edge
A feeling of dread has come over some of the Elves stationed in this portion of the gloomy forest. We should reassure several of the Malledhrim so that they know they are safe even though we march under a dark canopy. Although we offer calming words there still seems to be a sense of unease in the air. Return to Issuriel regardless of the lingering gloom.
Chapter 8: Mazog in the Web
It is time to travel through the Scuttledells and approach Dol Guldur. Speak with Issuriel to begin the solo instance through the dangerous region.
This instance has us chasing after Mazog andd changing banners for buffs once more. Remember to use the banner at each stop to obtain a buff. Defeat several ways with Issuriel and then Achardor and Cúcheron. After this we can make our way through the spider webs to the east while battling more spiders. Defend Issuriel from spiders and hounds before we take Mazog deeper into the area. It is not long before a group of spiders entangles the Hidden Guard in webs. Mazog escapes and Issuriel gives chase, but we remain trapped. Use movement keys to wiggle back and forth to break free before helping Achardor out of the webs. After a short chase we come upon Issuriel and Mazog, both wounded by the spiders’ poisons. There is one final battle, but Sigileth and Cúcheron arrive to lend their aid.
The group escapes south of the Scuttledells to Ost Galadh, but Issuriel and Mazog are dying from their wounds. Archador sends us to Bróin, who waits inside the small room in Ost Galadh. Bróin declares the errand failed – there is no hope to rescue Bori if Mazog dies – and sends us to Issuriel. The Elf maiden is hanging on to life by a thread but manages to say a few words. She does not wish to see the Hidden Guard fail; Mazog must not die.
Chapter 9: Coursing Venom
Issuriel gives us instructions to gather ingredients for an antidote before collapsing in pain. We must collect a rare Sereglos flower and an unmarked Saewathel venom-sac. Return to the Scuttledells (this time in the over-world) to find the ingredients. Blackvenom spiders in the caves at the north boundary of the Scuttledells are the best bet for the venom-sac. The flower is found at the Shrine of the Ancient One to the east of the Scuttledells (11.4 S, 48.3 W). Issuriel directs us to Barvessain, an Elf in Ost Galadh who can make the antidote. Barvessain is above the room Issuriel and Mazog are kept in, reached by traveling up several ramps to the top of the fortress. The antidote is brewed, but there is only enough for a single dose. We must return to Issuriel and declare who we will save.
Sometimes we can affect the progress of good in Middle-Earth. Other times people choose to change their own fate. Such is the case here; choose to save Issuriel and she will refuse the potion, saying that Mazog must survive or the entire effort is for naught. We respect her decision and give the antidote to the Orc, saving his life as Issuriel’s slips away.
End of Spoilers
Archador is furious with how the events have transpired thus far. Speak with Gruingalas outside the room to allow Archador to share Issuriel’s last moments undisturbed.
Chapter 10: The Exchange
Scouts have been sent to assess Dol Guldur before the hostage exchange is made. Gruingalas sends us to meet the scouts and gain their knowledge so that we will be best prepared when the exchange happens. Two of the scouts are on the road leading east into Dol Guldur and another is in the north, keeping watch over the Orc armies. Be careful as we journey to the scouts – crossing into Gathbúrz means that we will encounter level 65 enemies, the highest level enemies we will see in Mirkwood. Share the information with Gruingalas at Ost Galadh to learn of a new problem. Bróin is missing and Archador has become even angrier.
We witness Archador’s fury and the Hidden Guard’s deliberation in a short instance. Mazog tries to turn the argument into opportunity for himself, but Bróin arrives … with another dose of the antidote! The dwarf traveled deep into Mirkwood’s dangerous forests to find more of the rare ingredients and has saved Issuriel. Archador is thankful for the efforts, and the Hidden Guard is at last ready to travel to the gates of Dol Guldur.
The company arrives at Dol Guldur with Bróin weak and short of breath; Archador asks that he stay slightly back to keep the Orcs from sensing any weakness, though he now knows the strength the Dwarf truly has. Bróin agrees and the rest of the company moves closer to the fortress with Mazog in tow.
Archador discusses the trade with the Keeper of the Gate, who leads us a short distance past the gate. The dwarves are here, guarded by none other than Gorothúl. He offers these dwarves for Mazog, but Bori is not among them. The negotiations take a turn for the worse as one of the dwarves is killed. The situation becomes even worse as Nazgûl, the true masters of Dol Guldur, arrive. Neither Bróin’s strength nor Archador’s defiance can best these foes, so we must turn and run.
Back at Ost Galadh Cúcheron tells us what he knows of the three Nazgûl inhabiting Dol Guldur. The Lieutenant commands the others and is second only to the Witch-king of Angmar. The Gloom of Nurn is a wild-man from Nurn and wields a mighty war-hammer in battle. The Black Blade is from Lebennin, but Cúcheron knows nothing more about him. Sigileth is not so forthcoming; the Elf is stricken with grief and does not speak. Bróin is also distraught. Is there any hope against the evil forces of Dol Guldur?
End of Spoilers
After we have failed in our endeavors we speak once more with Gruingalas at Ost Galadh.
Chapter 11: The Approach to Dol Guldur
Although the Hidden Guard’s efforts have been squandered, the attack against Dol Guldur continues. The main forces of the Golden Host are camped at Thangúlhad in Gathbúrz; we should speak with Ningloril to find out how we can provide assistance with the larger objective, delaying the enemy from making a direct attack upon Caras Galadhon.
Chapter 12: The Armies of Gathbúrz
The armies of Dol Guldur are gathered in camps throughout Gathbúrz. Defeating commanders will weaken the Orcs. If we can find battle plans we will be able to plan for their attacks. We are assigned to both of these tasks and must defeat three uruk-commanders while searching for plans. The plans and commanders are found on top of the tall fortifications within Gathbúrz. Keep in mind that you must defeat a commander in each area indicated on the map, not just three anywhere in the region. These uruks shouldn’t be too difficult to defeat as long as they are attacked without any other enemies near enough to join in the fight. Speak to Ningloril after obtaining 5 plans and defeating 3 commanders.
Chapter 13: Students of Gorothúl
Sorcerers of Dol Guldur are attempting to draw fell spirits to their service. Hindering these dangerous enemies is our next priority. We must defeat 8 of the spirits in the Ashenlades and collect 10 spell-tomes, which are gained by defeating and looting sorcerers (Masters) in the area. Check the map for the Ashenlades location – the spirits are being summoned in the far southeast corner of Mirkwood (spirits are found at the front of the region as we enter it, and Masters are in the rear atop the Sâd Doldúr fortification). Fight the spirits from range if possible, because of the dread they add if fought up close. Ningloril will take the tomes from us and destroy them when we return to her. There is one less threat facing the Golden Host, but there is no time to celebrate; the armies of Gathbúrz are on the march.
Chapter 14: Thangúlhad Endangered
Orc troops approach Thangúlhad. This base must be defended or the Golden Host will lose their foothold in Mirkwood. Speak with Ellunen for our orders and to gain access to the Protectors of Thangúlhad skirmish. Complete this skirmish to defend the base and finish the chapter. Use Pineleaf’s detailed guide if you have trouble defending the Golden Host or utilizing the catapults.
Chapter 15: Assault on Dol Guldur
After Thangúlhad is safe from the advancing orcs it is time to make our attack on the enemy. Ellunen sends us to Goldagnir to learn our role in the coming battles, which will occur in the form of two skirmishes of any size (solo/duo/fellowship/raid) we choose. The first task is to breach the Necromancer’s Gate to allow the Golden Host entry into Dol Guldur. We must complete the Breaching the Necromancer’s Gate skirmish to progress (use another of Pineleaf’s guides for assistance if necessary). The quest log incorrectly states that the skirmish has a minimum level of 65, but you can actually complete both the skirmish and chapter as early as level 60.
After breaching the gates the second attack begins. Speak with Goldagnir before running the Assault on the Ringwraiths’ Lair skirmish, which also opens at level 60 and not 65 as the quest log indicates. Both skirmishes end up being fairly straight forward, involving mostly linear paths between control points that we must capture and then defend before battling a boss at the end. Assault has a rather dramatic final battle where we face off with a Cargûl (as well as a massive fell beast if we are running the skirmish with a group, though the bosses can be fought separately by hugging the door while fighting the Cargûl).
Goldagnir congratulates us for the successful attacks and sends us back to Ningloril to attend to a different objective.
Chapter 16: The Dungeons of Dol Guldur
With the gates of Dol Guldur under Malledhrim control, now is the perfect time to infiltrate the dungeons and release Bori from captivity. Speak with Ningloril to begin the instance and join the rescue party.
Speak with Ningloril again after entering the instance. A door to the east opens – we travel through it in search of the imprisoned dwarf. Open another door at the end of the passage to find Bori. Talk to Bori only once! Speaking with him a second time will send him running out of the prisons, but we should first spend time planting Nightshade Barrels along the corridor so that the Guldur Thugs will fall asleep (much easier than defeating them in a fair fight ). After beating down the massive Guldur Overseer we can speak to Ningloril and escape the prisons.
Only one objective remains. The Golden Host must lay siege to Dol Guldur for as long as possible. In the meantime we can speak to Bori, who offers his gratitude for the sacrifices made on his behalf. Of course, the next thing he says is a plea to rescue the legendary mithril axe Zigilburk.
Chapter 17: Memories of Mithrandir
Bori has remembered a tale from his childhood. Gandalf once entered the very dungeons where Bori had been imprisoned. He must have known a secret way in, which Sigileth confirms. Unfortunately Raddir was the only one to walk that hidden path with Gandalf many years ago, so we must find the secret passage ourselves.
After traveling to the Ashenlades we can find the entrance to the secret passage at 18.3 S, 44.0 W, just outside the walkways of Sâd Doldúr. We must clear the cavern of enemies so that the Malledhrim can safely use the passage. As we defeat enemies we watch scenes from the past, bearing witness to Gandalf and Raddir’s journey through this passage. Explore each side path to defeat all of the enemies and open new paths forward (you will need to backtrack a few times to find a new path).
While investigating the Necromancer of Mirkwood Gandalf discovered it to be Sauron, returned and attempting to gain power. Our journey takes us into of the tunnel Gandalf came out of and up to a door that leads into Dol Guldur. Bróin and Sigileth arrive on our heels and we return to Thangúlhad to prepare for the final assault.
Chapter 18: The Battle in the Tower
The Golden Host prepares for the final assault on Dol Guldur. Goldagnir has the plans for this battle, so speak with him to gain access to the Battle in the Tower skirmish. This skirmish involves an invasion of the tower of Barad Guldur and culminates in a battle against Mazog. Deal with the Orc scum once and for all, complete the skirmish and watch the end of Volume II. The Golden Host’s mission was a success; Bori has been rescued and Dol Guldur’s attack on Lothlórien has been delayed. While Volume II’s Epic storyline is over, there are some loose ends to tie up in the optional Epilogue. Quests across Moria, Lothlórien, and Mirkwood connect us with characters we encountered during these past nine books and let us find out what happens to them as the Epic Quest moves south.
We have aided the Dwarves in Moria, the Elves in Lothlórien, and both groups in Mirkwood, but our journey is not over. We can take a moment to rest, but an even greater foe awaits us in Volume III, in which we journey south towards Saruman and the Rise of Isengard.
Turning the Pages
Volume II has taken us on a journey through deep mines and both golden and murky forests. The Dwarves of Brogur and Bósi’s company sought glory from the achievements and riches of Moria while the Elves sought a peace that kept all others away. Neither wish was to be – our enemy had their own desires. Darkness threatened all, creeping in from beneath the mines as well as from Mirkwood to the east.
Although the Dwarves and Elves united to defeat the enemy (with some assistance from our own efforts), both groups suffered more than their fair share of loss during the struggle. Was the attempt to reclaim Moria a futile endeavor? The dwarves do control a large portion of the Mines at this point in the story, even if there are orcs and monsters to contend with. It could also be argued that Gorothúl and his Nazgûl allies would have begun their assault regardless of the venture into Moria (in which case the Elves would have lacked any aid from the Dwarves). However, the extent of the losses suffered over the course of these nine books is not insignificant. Regardless of the exact cause of this tragedy, one hopes that a lesson has been learned by all involved, especially as the crisis mounts in the next Volume.
That is the grim story we have played through during Volume II. The follies of the Dwarves have provided occasional moments of hilarity as well as annoyance – it will be hard to forget the miles traveled through Moria’s winding maze of tunnels – but it hasn’t been a very happy tale. The game has been fairly dark and sometimes our choices don’t seem to matter much, but this has created stronger character moments, such as seeing the Dwarves at the worst and best and witnessing just what can drive an Elf to extreme anger. The choices the characters make have had a strong impact on the story, giving us a small taste of what it feels like to be part of the group rather than being the sole hero of the quest. It will be interesting to see how this is expanded on in Volume III, so let’s play on.