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 of the White Hand becomes ever stronger each day. Saruman’s armies are growing and pushing past the boundaries of Nan Curunir. The Rohirrim are all that stands between them and the surrounding lands, but will Théodred’s small force be enough to hold the uruks at bay?
Chapter 1: Separate Ways
Book 5 begins at Halbarad at the Rohirrim Scout-camp in the Gravenwood of Dunland (80.9 S, 10.6 W), at level 75. Halbarad wants to return Théodred’s favor by helping him fight Saruman’s forces, but the Grey Company must continue their journey and find Aragorn in Rohan. Instead, Halbarad has us stay with the Rohirrim and lend them our strength. Not being as injured or distressed as the rest of the Company we should make a fine addition to the Prince’s numbers and be able to journey south with haste when the time comes for us to depart.
We say farewell to Saeradan by the campfire. The Ranger gives us the company’s blessings, both in the form of a new tunic as well as his admiration and thanks. Saeradan sends us to Corunir, who is found a short distance to the north. Corunir gives us his spare boots and offers more goodbyes before sending us west to Golodir. He is ready to wreak revenge on the Dunlendings who betrayed the Company and killed our friends, but sends us on our way with a hood. Calenglad waits by the Tree of Tribute, pondering the short lives of Men. Lost in thought, Calenglad sends us to Radanir, who rests between the tree and the scout-camp. He hopes to buys us a drink in a peaceful land when this is all over, but for now gives us a pair of gauntlets and sends us to Prestadír. The Ranger hopes we will try and save Lothrandir if the opportunity arises and offers us the final piece of the Grey Company outfit. Return to Halbarad and the Grey Company departs.
Chapter 2: Grimbold
Halbarad sends us to the Rohirrim camp in the Heathfells at the fords of the river Isen. Meet Grimbold to gain our new orders. We are to meet with several Rohirrim in the camp to familiarize ourselves with their information; examine a map in the camp, speak to the esquire Cynstan near the river, and speak to Trumbald north of the camp. Théodred is in the camp when we return and thanks us for joining his forces.
Chapter 3: Training on the Banks
Théodred gives us his impression of the enemy’s numbers (and mocks his second-in-command’s math skills in the process). The outlook does not look good and every person will be needed in the coming battles. Youths are being trained nearby so talk to Athelard on the small eyot in the Isen. Challenge a footman and archer to show them the proper method of fighting. We leave them to their training and head to Rungar north of Grimbold’s camp. Rungar is training men in mounted combat, which sounds like it could be a very useful and very fun skill to have. All we can do (for now) is pick up the used nets from the ground. Return to Théodred to hear the prince’s plan. Because he lacks enough men to face Saruman’s full force he intends to hit the Wizard with a surprise attack, driving him behind the walls of Isengard. If the armies continue to build up their strength but remain within the safety of the fortress then what harm can they cause? We speak to Grimbold, who approves of the plan and asks to join in the attack.
Chapter 4: The Prince of Rohan
Grimbold sends us to the map table to study the plans; examining the table begins the attack inside a solo instance. Théodred and Grimbold lead the attack on Isengard, leaving a small number of riders behind to defend the Ford, under the command of Cadda. We are sent with Cynstan to give these orders to Cadda and along the way the esquire asks us about war and the fear that comes during battle. Cadda is not happy with these orders but will obey the command. We return to Théodred and mount our horses as the Rohirrim begin the attack (and we get a neat mini-movie of the plan in action!).
We ride with the Rohirrim a short distance before they stop to wait for a scout to return. Back in Grimbold’s Camp the final phase of the attack is ready to begin, so examine the map-table once more.
The Rohirrim have arrived at Isengard and attack it; we flank the fortress on foot with Grimbold. A few half-orcs attack, followed by a big one.. who turns out to be Rungar, on horseback. Though the riders successfully reach the gates of Isengard, a massive horde of uruks stormed out of the gates and surround the Rohirrim. We must defeat uruks to protect the surviving Riders. More orcs will attack us even when we have defeated enough, so speak to Grimbold quickly to retreat.
As we continue to attempt a retreat the enemy pushes in from all sides. This is a challenging fight; although Grimbold helps fight the orcs, many more swarm us and defeat comes easily. Fortunately, the map-table takes us back to this stage of the instance if we are defeated. Flee south with Grimbold, stopping to fight and then rest when the opportunity comes. Near the border of Nan Curunir we are approached by a rider coming from the opposite direction; a second force of uruks attacked the Ford in secret. Prince Théodred has been surrounded by uruks on the island in the middle of the River, so we use the map-table once more to travel to the Ford and attempt to save him. Challenge our former Isengard jailer Morflak; the uruk retreats as a new company of Rohirrim arrives from Helm’s Deep to the east, lead by Elfhelm.
Although the remainder of the riders have been saved, many have been lost and Théodred lies mortally wounded. Grimbold and Elfhelm inform him of the battle’s results and promise to keep the Ford secure. Théodred asks us to stand by his father, the king of Rohan, and is lost to Middle-Earth. Speak to Grimbold one more time as the book ends. Though Théodred has perished the Ford must be held, lest Saruman gain a passage into Rohan. Those are worries for later though as the days grow darker; for now we rest while we still can and mourn the fallen Prince of Rohan.
Turning the Pages
The attack on Isengard on Théodred’s final day of battle is as short as the book that tells the tale. We are given the opportunity to assist in the preperations for battle, but every task is in a short distance. There is no time to travel further for more support or wait and build up strength. Isengard’s forces would pose too much of a threat to Rohan if they attack the horselords directly and so the armies must be stopped here and now.
The quick progression to the attack provides the feeling of urgency while still allowing us to witness just how unprepared Théodred’s forces are. Many of his number are youths who aren’t ready to fight on foot or horseback and even his own esquire has not yet felt the heat of battle. It is no surprise when Théodred’s plan fails (especially to those who have read the books), but we are still pulled in to help ensure the Rohirrim aren’t wiped out. At the end of the day the fate of Rohan has not improved and the prince is dead – this tragic battle is but a spark that will set alight war on the fields of Rohan and Fangorn forest.