It's time for my (long overdue) second part of the Rohan landscape series, my very own excuse to post all the landscape pictures I've been taking in-game the past weeks. This time, we'll make a virtual travel through the Wold, the uttermost northern region that falls under Rohirric territory.
I was sent to the Wold by my epic quest from the South, but if you don't follow the epic storyline, you will enter the region (and with that, Rohan) from the Great River region to the North. This will be your first view of the region: a transcendence area with the hills and last remnants of the ruins of the Southern Great River, in which you can already see the grass become more yellowish as it is in the plains of Rohan.
Now I already gave it away! Indeed the well-known plains of Rohan start here, with sloping hills and undeep clear waters in the lower parts. Wild horses wander around, sometimes alone, sometimes in large groups.
The Wold features the first Rohirric settlements after Stangard, of which the well-defended Harwick (picture above) is the largest. Since Tolkien didn't describe any villages in this particular area, the game makers had to make up some names of themselves. And just like Tolkien did, they took their inspiration for Rohan from the Saxons. There's no doubt that they were inspired by the many wics or wichs of the seventh and eight century that are found throughout northwestern Europe. These towns were all harbour towns that played a role in international trade. In fact, they were the only city-like places there were in these times. In England we find places like Lundenwic (London), Eoforwic (York) and Ipswich.
Even though Harwick isn't a harbour town (the water on the picture above is very shallow), its name reveals that our developers tried to keep with the lore and took their inspiration for this region from the Saxons, as we know Tolkien himself did.
War may bring people together, but it may also drive them apart. The village of Langwold experienced the latter. While their houses were burnt to the ground by invading brigands, the leader of the nearby Harwick doesn't want to provide shelter. It is the first example of the troubles in this threatened country.
Lewis Maskell of Stnylan's Musings eloquently describes the atmosphere among the people of the Wold in his article Unwelcome at Harwick. Syp from Biobreak takes a more mundane approach to the behaviour of the thane of Harwick in If LOTRO would let you be evil, the world would be a much better place.
For the nature lovers among us, the Wold features many wild animals, of which many quite unfriendly. I cleared quite a few of them to get the romantic picture above. The shallow waters are inhabited by salamanders, the northern fields by large wild cows. There are no wild bears in this region. My pet bear (picture on top of the article) looked very carefully.
When exploring the plains of the Wold, it is advised to travel by war-steed. Brigands and roving warbands roam the fields, and a quick escape can be of vital importance. For the ecologists interested in boars: they are found just south of Harwick.