Rohirrim

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This is a page about the Rohirrim culture on Elendor. For information about Rohirrim in J.R.R. Tolkien's books, see Rohirrim (canon)


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The Banner of Rohan

Rohirrim

Ruler: Gwen - Rananar
Alignment: Good
Unrestricted Species: Human
Restricted Species: None
Allied Cultures:



Coming down from the North near five centuries before, the Eotheod were lead by Eorl the Young. Upon the fields of Calenardhon they fought by the side of the South-kingdom of Gondor to win a great victory, and in so doing win that broad land for their own. Taking the Oath of Cirion (the Steward of Gondor in those days) and Eorl, Calenardhon was renamed the Riddermark (Mark of the Riders), and its first King was Eorl himself. In honor of him, his people named themselves the Eorlings (Sons of Eorl), but in Gondor they are more well known as the Horse-lords, the Rohirrim.

Blonde of hair, clear of eye, and grave to look upon, the Rohirrim are known the best for their horses. They are wise but unlearned, few knowing letters but all knowing many songs. They are a warrior people, delighting in feats of arms and great deeds, thinking it greatest to be remembered in song forever -- that is the surest immortality, to be remembered. Proud but wilful, the Rohirrim have held true to the oath of Eorl over the centuries, coming to the aid of Gondor at need.

With the gifting of the Mark to the Eorlings, the oldest native population took to anger and fled before the numerous new settlers. Living north of the Gap of Rohan (being the expanse of plains between the Misty and the White Mountains), they were named Dunlendings for their swarthy appearance. They are a primitive folk, lacking in arts, and they both fear and despise the Rohirrim, calling them the thieves from the North and straw-heads. In the time of Helm, last of the First Line of Kings, they assaulted the Mark and held it for a time before being thrown back. To this day they make raids among the small holdings about the Gap, searching for plunder that they value - good arms and armor, and other things of high craft that they do not possess of themselves.

Orcs too have been a danger, and once they had holds in the White Mountains which make the southern border of Rohan. Yet all of those were driven away and slain more than a century before the present. Still, orcs are a danger, and they seem to grow more numerous in these days, plundering in small bands about the Gap and the eastern marches. Where these orcs come from, no one knows for certain, though orc holds in the northern mountains and the Black Land away East are speculated.

The Rohirrim have diversified since their nomadic days among the Eotheod. In the Westfold, the great population of that strip of land are largely agrarian and sedentary, yet in the east the people stay more often to the nomadic wanderings of their ancestors from Eastfold through East Emnet to the Wold; because of this they are a less numerous folk. Still, under the wise rule of Theoden King, and despite the whisperings of untold dangers, the Rohirrim prosper and are a greater folk than they were in Eorl's day.

Contents

Clans

Rohan is a clan society, dominated by three major clans, Mearas, Ethias and Eowain. The very social center of Rohan is centered around the clans. Every person is born into a clan, and is a member of a clan. Further information about each clan can be found in their respective subsections.

Mearas Clan

The Mearas Clan, named in honor of the noble breed of horses first tamed by Eorl, consists of the King of Mark and some of his close relatives. Though the clan membership typically passes from father to child, a relative of the King may also be adopted into this clan, especially if that kinsman is named heir to the throne. Several of the Knights of Theoden's household and their families are also Mearas through their close kinship to the King.

The clan members breed and care for the beloved Mearas horses to insure they retain their purity and majesty. While these horses are known to only submit to be ridden by the King and his sons, other kinsmen of the king do care for them as well. Clan members hold lands for grazing and farming in several areas of the Mark, but are especially concentrated in the area around Edoras.

Rohirrim from every clan hold those of the Mearas clan in the very highest regard and look to them for leadership. Though the Meara typically do not intervene in the affairs of the other Rohirric clans, they often are invited to take part or lead in special ceremonies such as weddings and might also be asked to solve major disputes between clans.

Eowain

The members of Clan Eowain keep many of the nomadic traditions that go back to the days of the Eotheod. The Eowain travel with their herds of primarily horses but also other livestock in search of good grazing lands from the edge of East Emnet east to the swampy area around the Entwash and north from the Great West Road and Ered Nimrais to the Wold and the southern fringes of Fangorn Forest.


While settlements typically are not as large or permenant as those in other parts of Rohan, some of the major villages would include: Stowburg, the site of the Eowain clan house; Mering, in the swamps of the Eastfold; Stjernholm, a small settelment near the Great West Road; and Aldburg, the ancestral home of Eorl which is mostly abandoned aside from a few of his decendants. Many Eowain return to these settlements only in the depths of winter.

Two things are the pride of Eowain. First, their freedom of movement, making them fanatical lovers of liberty as well as a fiercely independent lot, coming and going throughout the Eastfold controlled only by the availability of suitable grazing sites. Secondly, their horses. The steeds bred in the East-Mark have a reputation for being faster and more agile, if not as strong as the western ones, and well suited to the highly mobile calvary tactics preferred in the East.

Not surprisingly the nomadic herding lifestyle of Eowain produces some of the finest horsemen in Middle Earth and Eowain Riders are renowned even in Rohan for feats of horsemanship, scouting and raiding, and great deeds from the saddle. However, the Eowain do not compare with the folk of the west as far as organized maneuovers campaigns however since the fiercely independent nature of these clansfolk and their inherent distrust of authority often make for headaches, miltary or otherwise. Nevertheless, a typical Eowain member is a loyal subject of his/her King as expressed in the Eowain motto, "King, Clan and Country".

The Eowain primarily earn their living through their herds of sheep and cattle as well as by farming. Some of the main products produced include grain, barley, and various raw materials used for cloth. Though they typically have other professions, most able-bodied men are expected to serve the eoreds in times of need, while the women serve as healers or take care of the farms, herds, and families while they are away.

Most Eowain, men and women alike, are used to taking care of themselves and thus are proud and resistant to changing their independant, semi-nomadic lifestyle. Eowain are honest, simple and straight forward folk; lovers of a good ale after a hard ride. They are also extremely proud people, easily rubbed the wrong way by the slightest insult to their rural lifestyle. Their free manner and highly de-centralized political system often leads them to scoff at the hierarchy.

Eowain is led by a Maegtheow (Clan Master), who is assisted by the Maegwitan (Clan Council). The Maegwitan is made up of the Maegrads (Clan Counsellors), who are some of the most influencial people in the clan. Usually about half of them are the craftmasters (such as the Masters of the weavers, traders, horse-breeders and so on) within the clan, a quarter or less are nobles or men (women) of wealth and influence and the last quarter or so are in general respected elders of the clan.

The main duties of the Maegrads are to assist the Maegtheow in solving the various problems which might concern the clan, its members and its lands; marriages between members of different clans, civil disputes of all natures and the negative effects of both weather (harsh winters, droughts) and outside forces (such as orc raids). It is also the duty of the Maegwitan to arrange the election of a new Maegtheow when one is needed, and to win a candidate must be supported by a majority of the clan's people as well as the majority of the Maegrads. The Maegwitan always meet four times a year; spring, summer, autumn and winter, as well as when there is need for a meeting.

The emblem of the Eowain clan is a white rearing horse between two bound sheaves of grass from which longswords rise, on green.

Ethias

Clan Ethias are the decendants of Helm Hammerhand, 9th and last King of the 1st line. They live in the western part of Rohan, controlling and maintaining the strong hold of Helm's Deep. They are a settled people, preferring to live in small towns instead of following their nomadic heritage. Many Ethians have taken up farming and mining, making them the two biggest industries. There is only a small permanent military force, but in times of need, all able men are expected to answer the Call to Muster.

Presently Ethias controls the Westfold plains, Helm's Deep, the valley of Harrowdale, the village of Dunlostir and the mining town of Grimslade. On the north-western plains live the horse herds and those that tend them. The horse wards live in small camps near the streams and salt licks frequented by the horses that roam freely. After a month or two in one spot, the warders pick up and move camp, often travelling entirely across the westfold. But their first concern is always the needs of the horses that pass by them.

Although all Rohirrim love and respect the great horses, most earn earn their livings in other ways. In the West-mark, farming and mining are the biggest ways. Farms dot the plains along the Great West Road while vineyards and orchards wind their into many of the White Mountains' valleys. The main crops are grains for both man and horse as well as barley and hops for ale. The fortress at Helm's Deep, called the Hornburg, is the most formitable defensive structure in Rohan, and possiblely the West. It is located deep in a valley, called the Deeping Coomb, in the Ered Nimrais Mountains. The Ethian Clan House is also located in this protected valley. It is the political and military center of the Westfold. Small farms dot the plains just outside of Helm's Deep as well as vineyards in the smaller nearby valleys. At the back of the Coomb, and behind the Burg, lies the wonderous caves of Aglarond. It is in these caves that supplies are stored for the keep. Semi precious stones are also mined there, but that is strictly controlled by the Ethias Clan Master so as to not destroy the natural beauty of the caves.

The people of Ethias are proud and honorable. They have sired more nobility than any other clan. And since they are more settled than the Eowains, they tend to view the East-markers as a bit backward. This has caused problems occassionally as the Ethians sometimes take a superior attitude towards their eastern cousins. The settled nature of the West-mark culture is due in part to the constant attacks of the Dunlending. It is an old feud, dating back to the days of Eorl and fueled by the Dunlendings' claims that Rohan is their land. Ethians' feelings toward Dunland range from suspicion to full hatered with a very small minority being sympathetic. This symathy comes from only those with some Dunlending blood. as there have been times when the cultures intermingled.

Less than a days ride north of the West-mark lies the ringed keep of Isengard. Saruman, the White Wizard, took over Isengard in 2726, right after Frealaf Hildeson, Helm's sister son and first king of the second line, was crowned King of Rohan. Beren, Steward of Gondor, gave him leave as Isengard was still controlled by Gondor. For many years Saruman was a strong ally to the men of Rohan and Gondor. But over the generations the paths of Rohan and Isengard have parted until nothing is known today of the doings in the ringed tower.

The emblem of the Ethias clan is a silver fist on red.

Horses

Rohan, being the Land of the Horse Lords, has a special fondness for horses. As such, horses are used alot in everyday life for a Rohirrim. Presented here is some information from which a little more about horses and their place in Rohan can be learnt.

Ceremonies

The Bonding

For a Rohirrim a horse is not simply a nameless animal used for transportation but a dear companion, held in high regard and cared for lovingly. Most Rohirrim, knowing the importance of their horses and that they may one day be saved by them, highly values the companionship with their steeds and strive to form a deep bond. Thus, the choosing of a first or a new horse for a Rohirrim is a matter of great importance. The man or woman who seeks a new steed will be taken by an Eomaegister to a herd and approach the horses, singling no one out but waiting for a sign of any kind or perhaps for one of the steeds to approach him.

Once the 'candidate' knows which horse he has chosen/been chosen by, this animal will be singled out from the herd and it is up to the rider to convince his new mount that he is worthy. A true Rohirrim would not use violence but skill to prove himself and gain the horse's acceptance. Once this is obtained, a brief ceremony remains to seal horse and rider to each other. The Eomaegister will make a small cut in the riders palm and upon the horse's neck, asking the former to press his hand against his new steed's wound to allow their bloods to mingle. After that the Eomaegister will cut a few strands from the horse's mane and rider's hair, braid these together and tie about the rider's wrist.

The Releasing

When a horse dies, be it of injuries sustained in battle, due to an accident or of old age or anything else, it is up to its rider to perform a last service for his faithful companion. The circle of their braided-together strands of hair tied about the rider's arm at the bonding will be cut to mark an end to the partnership and it will then be burned together with the horse to symbolize that the rider staying behind gives up a part of himself as a gift for a friend. If the horse's body cannot be retrieved and burned, only the circle of hair will be burned, then symbolizing the whole act itself.

The Foaling Feast

In late spring each year, when the foals are born and the herd so rejuvenated, a week-long celebration is always held. The place varies from year to year, and it is a great honour as well as a great responsibility to be the Eomaegister(s) in whose region it takes place. During the festivities all sorts of horse-related activities, often in the form of contests, take place. Prices are awarded for the finest herds, the finest stallion, mare, yearling and foal and both races and many other tests of riding skill are held. This is also a chance for those who make saddles and bridles to sell more of their merchandize and even to have their work judged to find the finest in the Mark. Finally it is the time of the year when all the Eomaegisters and their superiors as well as their apprentices meet to discuss the past year, plan the coming one and exchange horses to revitalize the herds.

Organization

Since there is more or less no information from Tolkien about how the care for and breeding of the horses were arranged in Rohan, we have for the sake of RP created a system which we hope is both plausible and playable. The structure is basically a four-tiered one, connected primarily to the clans but (as some horse specialist can be tied to a patrol or an eored) also in part to the military. Anyone, both men and women, can work within it (even though 'he' is used throughout the following text). The ICly highest authorithy on horses in the Mark is the Erkenstedamaegister (literal meaning: chief stallion master). He is chosen by Theoden from one of the Stedamaegisters to supervise the breeding in Rohan. No major decisions about horses are taken without the Erkenstedamaegisters approval. He wears a brooch of gold shaped like a rampant stallion as a badge of office. This position is not hereditary.

Below the Erkenstedamaegister are the Stedamaegisters (literal meaning: stallion master), one for each clan (including the NPC clans). They are chosen from the Eomaegisters in that clan by the Clan Master and the Erkenstedamaegister to supervise the breeding within that clan and in general to represent all of their craft on the clan council, although this is not necessarily the case in some clans. When a Stedamaegister is chosen to be Erkenstedamaegister, he still retains the duties of Stedamaegister for his clan as well (though he may appoint a second in command to share the duties with), just like he when chosen to be Stedamaegister still retains the duties of an Eomaegister in the region where he previously worked. He wears a brooch of silver shaped like a rampant stallion as a badge of office. This position is not hereditary.

The Eomaegisters (literal meaning: horse master) are the other horse specialists within each clan, who work with and below the Stedamaegister of their clan, including breeders, horse healers and trainers; some specialized, and some knowledgeable in all areas. What kind of authority and duties an Eomaegister has can vary quite a lot, much depending on how he gained the title which can be both hereditary or achieved through skills earned during an apprenticeship. If it is inherited, the situation is generally as follows: Your family (which in the majority of these cases holds the rank of thegns or ealdormen, i.e is some kind of nobility) has been entrusted the care of a herd of horses or your family has for a long time been working for a noble family and handling the care of their entrusted herd for them. Most Eomaegisters are tied to a certain region (that is the case for all of those which are responsible for a certain herd), and there's a limit to the number of PCs which may be active within the same region, but some are also permanently assigned to an eored and they're then responsible for its horses. An Eomaegister wears a brooch of bronze shaped like a rampant stallion as a badge of office.

The rank below Eomaegister is that of Eoscealc (literal meaning: horse servant), and these make up the main body of people working with horses within each clan. Often an Eoscealc is apprenticed to an Eomaegister with the aspiration to become one himself, but this title is also given to any grooms or helpers working under the 'jurisdiction' of a particular Eomaegister without aspiring to becoming one. Many Eoscealcs come from the Eomaegisters families, or from families living on their lands in the cases when they are thegns or ealdormen, but anyone who wishes to become one may approach an existing Eomaegister and ask if he may become an apprentice. All PC Eoscealcs who wish to become Eomaegisters should be apprenticed to (or assigned to at least if they have no aspirations to rise further but wish to remain Eoscealcs only as a secondary profession) either another PC Eomaegister or to an NPC they've created (for example a father) regardless of whether they want to work within a certain region or within the Eoreds. The details of this arrangement should be noted in the character's history. Eoscealcs wear a brooch of copper shaped like a rampant stallion as a badge of office.

One of the major things to RP for horse-specialists is helping a clan-member to find its first alt. a new horse (for the bonding ceremony), as this should traditionally be done by an Eomaegister from the same area as the person who needs the horse, but Eomaegisters and Eoscealcs also have plenty of things to do on a daily basis. People might come to them with all sorts of problems, for example sick or lame horses, troublesome horses or mares which they are looking for good stallions for. It is the Eomaegisters and the Eoscealcs duty to not only make sure that the herd they're working with is thriving but also to care for the general health of all horses in their area. All extended patrols should also have at least an Eoscealc assigned to care for their horses.

Regions

The East-mark regions

The Wold

The NE of the Riddermark, bounded by the Limlit and the Anduin. No important towns, save for such burgs as Mestbrim Weard in the NE of the Wold, and others. A windswept, dry land, supporting vast herds but few settlements. Horses bred here are mostly of the lighter, faster type.

East Emnet

Burgs and homesteads are more common here; the area is roughly central eastern Rohan, mostly plains and meads. Horses bred here are mostly of the regular type.

Eastfold

Southeastern Rohan, it has the most villages of import, such as Stowburg seat of Eowain and Mering; a place of hills which extend into the White Mountains. Hills, dells and farms. Horses bred here run all the way from light to heavy.

The Folde

West of Eastfold, it is part of the King's Lands; Aldburg is there, home of those descended from Eofor son of Brego Eorlsson. Meads, willow-grove and long grasses. Horses bred here are mostly of the regular to heavy type.

The West-mark regions

The Gap

NW Rohan, it is a fairly empty place, though there are homesteads and herders there; a broad, flat plains between the Andrast and the White Mountains. Horses bred here are mostly of the light type.

West Emnet Again, broad plains, also some marshy land and it is rather central western Rohan. Horses bred here are mostly of the heavy type.

The Westfold

Many farms and settlements, hills and mountains. Southeastern Rohan. Horses bred here are mostly of the regular to heavy type, and ponies are common in the mountain areas.

The West Marches

No real settlements, but homesteads; little power from the King, and the folk there are half-breeds. Horses bred here often differ a lot from those found in the rest of Rohan, many are much smaller and very hardy and the most common type of 'normal' Rohirric horse is the light one.

Types

The most basic division of the horses existing in Rohan is a two-part one: First we have the Meara, the offspring of Felarof, father of horses, who stand above normal horses like elves stand above men and who carry no riders save the King of Rohan and those of his line. Whether the Meara mingle, or have done so in the past, with regular horses we do not know for sure, but perhaps there is at least a small touch of Meara blood in all Rohirric horses from back in Felarofs days, as it would seem he was the only of his kind which the Rohirrim captured. However, for all intents and purposes the division between Meara and the second type, the non-Meara, stands.

The non-Meara can then be divided into several sub-types. Not breeds, because they're all pretty much just variations (though one might argue that ponies and heavier draft-type horses should be counted separately; it is not done, however) within one common breed. All the non-Meara are after all the descendats of the horses the Rohirrim brough with them, with (in some cases, such as ponies and drafts) some blood from the horses which already existed in the area mixed in; these were likely small and hardy ponies near and around the hills. The main part of the non-Meare are, however, the 'common' Rohirric horse, the one one ridden by most of us, and while it is seen as the same breed all over the Mark, over the centuries different regions have specialized in slightly different sub- types, depending on preferences and military needs.

This way three sub-types have developed, simply called light, regular and heavy. The lighter ones tend to be faster and more mobile, and thus often used by scouts, while the heavier lack some speed but instead possess greater strength, which make them the favoured choice for primarily the heavier cavalry units of the West-mark. The regular type, as one might guess, combines the traits of the light and heavy ones but doesn't excell in either speed or strength, and it is also the most common one. Stamina and hardiness is equally great for all types. It is the IC duty of the Eomaegisters to uphold the breeding standards for his region, for the Stedamaegister to ensure balance within the clan and for the Erkenstedamaegister to coordinate breeding all over Rohan.

Maps

Newbies

This information is designed to help new Rohirrim players to acquaint themselves with the culture and to provide with the basic start to setting up one's character.

Clan information

Selecting a clan is another decision you will need to make since all Rohirrim belong to a clan from birth based upon kinship. Clans fill much of the social, spiritual, ceremonial, and economic aspects of Rohan. Read the files on +rohelp clans and pick the one you feel suits you best. Talking to the Maegtheows (Clan Masters) will also help you make your decision. The four most important clans of Rohan are:

   * Eowain - the main clan of the East-mark
   * Ethias - the main clan of the West-mark
   * Niu - a trading clan, centered in Edoras *
   * Mearas - the royal family of Rohan *
  • This clan is not open to new players or it isn't recruiting at the moment.

Keep in mind that the part of Rohan you live in and some of the possible jobs you can hold are related to your clans. When you decide, type: &clan me=[clan name] and @set me/clan=VISUAL

History

Choosing what type of character you want to play and coming up with a background for him or her is one of the most important things to do as a beginner in Rohan. It is generally helpful to write your history as an attribute on your character by typing: &history me=[a few paragraphs about your character's background]

A few suggestions for what to include are: family background, where your character lives, important events in your past,why your character chose a paticular profession, basic personality characteristices, motivations for why your character acts the way he or shedoes, etc. A few things which are not allowed for new players or which you would need special approval for are:

   * Relatives from cultures other than Rohan or Gondor,
   * Extensive travelling outside Rohan (or Gondor),
   * Being related to members of the royal family,
   * Hair color which isn't the typical Rohirric blond,
   * Being an orphan because orcs or Dunlendings slaughtered your entire family,
   * Being able to read or write. 

When you finish your history, type: @set me/history=VISUAL and +mail radmins with a request to look at the history (see +help +mail). The Las will then either approve it or offer suggestions to you. You can also +mail radmins with the history itself and not write an attribute if you prefer. If you want ideas or suggestions at any time please ask one of your fellow Rohirrim. We cannot write your history for you but can certainly point you in the right direction. A few helpful examples of typical Rohirrim backgrounds are presented in the Examples section.

Jobs

Having an IC profession can greatly contribute to your RP and your character. Most rohirrim player characters have a job and many have two or more. Those choosing to be a Sperewigend (Rider) or Speremund (Guard) are strongly encouraged to take a non-military job as well, since very few Rohirrim serve the military full time. For suggestions for a job, look at +rohelp titles. Most titles on the list are available either to begin in or advance to through promotions. You may also have an idea for a position that's not listed. If so, talk to one of the LAs and if the job fits our culture we can add it in. The command clanlist [clan] can also tell you what major positions in each clan are needed.

Starting

After you have an idea what your character will be like, the next step is to begin roleplaying. Rohirrim frequently meet and rp in Edoras in places such as the Sleeping Stallion Inn (SSI), Entrance Square, The Old Horse Tavern, and the Healers. Other locations around Rohan are used as well, especially for tinyplots, but Edoras remains the center for most RP in Rohan. You can also use the channel to ask those on-line if and where any rp might be going on (though you do have to keep travel times in mind if they are not nearby). The Rohan board will list most TPs that are being planned so that you can try and be here for some of those as well. Your own ideas for TPs are also welcome, though you should ask the las to approve any which involve travel, more than a couple of people, or anything unusual for Rohan. The LAs can also help out in organizing TPs, especially if you have something in mind that involves another culture.

Role-Playing

General

This section features information about the aspects of the Rohirrim culture that affect role-play and every day life in the MUSH, namely maps, different policies, attitudes towards foreigners, information about IC insignias and tips about roleplaying horses.

Maps

Polices

Alt Characters

Elendor players are asked to keep to only one character per person. If for whatever reason you are dissatisfied for how things are going for your character in Rohan, or might be wishing for a change, please talk to a Local Admin, and we can try our best to help solve whatever problems you may be having.

However from time to time for special reasons, players are allowed an alt character with their culture's +ruler's permission. This is by no means a right, instead it is a special privledge given to those who have proven themselves of being able to handle the day to day roleplay of their current character. (Please see NEWS ADMIN POLICY ALTS for the MUSH's +admins policy on alt characters.)

Rohan also has a few guidelines that we go by in the granting/turning down of alt character requests. The first and foremost is the need for a proven ability to handle one's self in normal roleplay and be able to follow the rules while getting along with their other players. If there is even a doubt to this, or the player has not proven himself yet, the alt character request can be denied at discretion of the Rohan LAs (Local Admins).

There are a few other guidelines that are followed as well in the consideration of an alt character request. The player must have been on the MUSH for at least a four month period. (In order to see how long you have been on the MUSH, type: ex me/first*) A player must also average at least 2 hours of online time a day, if you are hardly ever on as your main character, surely you can not contribute to an additional culture as well. MUSH downtime is considered into this however and will not count against a player. (Type +top [your name] to see your connected time for the current month.)

These are the main deciding factors in the granting or refusing of an alt request, however other factors may arise as well. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please talk to one of your Rohan Local admins.

Combat Registration

Active new players to Rohan wait two weeks before being eligable to take the combat registration test. During this time, they are expected to establish their character within their chosen clan and profession. For more info on this, see +rohelp newbies.

Also during this two week period, all new players wishing to become combat registered should read and learn the combat system help files . Anytime after the two weeks, new players may approach a trainer or LA and ask to be combat registered. A question and answer test covering the information in the HELP COMBAT files is administered by the trainer or LA. New players should have an understanding of what combat commands do, how they work, and how IC death occurs.

The player requesting comat registration will also be asked to RP within a combat situation, which will be presented set up by the tester. This usually intails a verbal description of a situation that the testee must respond to. This is known as the RP test. To pass, it is expcted that new players can make realistic combat poses as well as understand and accept that no IC combat occurs without RP.

The final two things covered are arbing and special circumstances. The tester will explain how and when to use the arbing system and make sure all new players understand it. Finally, the tester will explain how to deal with special combat situations, such as attempts to sneak past enemies in the same room.

Homes

Due to database space limitations, we are unable to provide individual residences for all players. You can make your residence in the common sleeping room in Edoras. (In the Boarding House off the Market, which is accessible from the Entrance Square.) You are also welcome to refer in RP to your character residing in other places - for instance, living on a farm in the Eastfold - even if a specific room for the place does not exist.

New players are automatically linked to the common sleeping room when they are cultured. It is suggested that unless you have a special reason that you keep this set as your home. (The room you are linked to is the one where you will go when you type HOME.)

For more information about overall Elendor policies, please see NEWS BUILDING and NEWS BUILDING QUOTA. Feel free to speak to one of the LA's if you have any questions.

Tinyplots

The TinyPlot (TP) policies of Rohan are as follows:

1) Scope of plots is a necessary definition. A plot whose scope causes long term effects on dozens of people (be they PC or NPC), such as a flood which washes away a village, is one which requires appropriate submittance and approval. A plot whose scope is purely between a handful of people does not require any particular approval. (Say, three friends negotiating with a horse trainer for a few days.)

2) Inter-cultural plots (except as noted) require approval, unless it is something as simple as trading with a Gondorian merchant (for an example) who has already been approved to be in Rohan. Travelling outside of Rohan requires approval, even if the 'scope' of it is a single person. This is for thematic and IC reasons.

3) Small skirmishes are exemptions to this -- a patrol against roughly equivalent numbers of orcs or Dunlendings, so long as it remains a skirmish, needs no particular approval. However, asking about whether the date conflicts with anything else interesting happening would be appreciated, so that the player base is not spread too thinly.

4) Inter-clan plots which are meant to foster major changes or cause wide-spread impact also require approval, even if the initial RP involves only a small group of PCs. (Because of the fact that, say, a murder involving two clans would have large portions of both clans involved.)

5) Another useful exemption is a plot whose scope includes a large amount of NPCs, but whose effect is very limited. The best example of this is a pair of PCs starting a bar brawl as part of a private, two-person plot, and RPing that an entire bar gets involved -- without deaths, or ensuing long-term conflict.

Players are asked to go through the official TP coordinators when they feel their plot is in reasonably cohesive shape. It is the job of TP coordinators to help players organize, fill out, and properly adhere to theme and common sense considerations. Once a plot is passed through a TP coordinator's hands to their satisfaction, the plot will be moved on to the LAs for final consideration. It is also the job of TP coordinators to come up with potential plot ideas, and if possible work to tie together on-going and 'in-the-works plots.' Keep this in mind when you begin to plan a TP.

Please use the above guidelines in deciding what needs submittance. If you have a TP idea, feel free to contact the TP coordinators. Questions about the policies should be directed to the LA's.

Weapons and Armor

Weapons and armor are used as a part of the Elendor combat system here. Combat roleplay can happen outside of the system when two parties agree to it, however even in using the combat system there still must be roleplay required. The combat system is just used as a impartial arbiter on the combat. For more information on the Elendor combat system, please see: +help combat.

To receive equiptment to use in the combat system such as weapons and armor, you must have met the requirement to have been combat registered. To see those requirements and what it entails, please see: +rohelp combat registration. However once you are combat registered, and maintain a reasonable online time as well as active participation in roleplay, you are entitled to weapons and armor.The basic process to receive equiptment is once approved for it, the Local Admins will notify the culture's smiths that you are allowed to have armor and weapons. At that point the receiving of the equiptment must be roleplayed in an IC manner. If you feel you should have a weapon or armor and do not, please contact one of your Local Admins.

Types of weapons or armor that is given out is based upon your status in Rohan. For the most part it depends on your military status. The equipment distribution standardly is this:

Speremund/ Sperewigend


Ring Mail Armor, Studded leather helmet, Studded leather shield and a spear or longsword

Maegistermund/ Maegisterwigend


Chain Mail Armor, Studded leather helmet, Studded leather shield, longsword/spear

Aethelmund/ Aethelwigend


Chain Mail Armor, Metal Helmet, Studded leather shield, longsword/spear

Marshals


Chain Mail Armor, Metal Helmet, Metal Shield, Longsword/spear


Other non-military positions are entitled to some protection if they so desire and it is distributed as the following:

Clan Leaders


Chain Mail Armor, Studded Leather helmet, Studded leather shield, spear

Healers


Studded Leather Armor, Studded leather helmet, staff

Other non-military citizens


Studded Leather Armor, Studded Leather helmet, various weapon (typically staff)

Foreigners

The Rohirrim are slighty xenophobic when it comes to the surrounding cultures, save Gondor and its people. These following descriptions give some insight into how an average Rohirrim would react to the representatives of other cultures and races.

Dwarves

Rohirrim rarely encounter dwarves though they do know of them. They tend to be distrusting of them but are usually not hostile. They are noted for their building skills, a trait admired much more in the Westfold than in the east.

Eagles

Generally not well liked as they are known to occassionally prey upon our livestock.

Elves

Rohirrim are suspicious of elves and their rumored 'magic' abilities. Though elves are not often seen in Rohan, anything strange or not easily explainable is often attributed to them. The Rohirrim do not hate the elves but do not usually wish to be anywhere close to one out of concern for their mysteriousness. Many Rohirrim think the elves are powerful sorcerors and they are often mentioned as such in myths and stories.

Ents

Anyone who ran into an ent would probably suspect he or she was seeing things. If they told others about it they would think they were crazy, had been out riding for way too long, or were joking.

Hobbits

They seem like children to the Rohirrim and would usually be treated as such. Rohirrim might develop a fondness for them but would be skeptical if they claimed to be something other than children.

Dunlendings

The range of feeling towards the Dunlendings is broad. It is angriest in the west because of the repeated contests against the Dunlendings, with their regular raiding and thievery and the ancient grievance of their slaying of Helm and his sons, and cooler elsewhere. On average, it seems most Rohirrim find the Dunlendings ignorant and foolish, and have been known to treat them with mercy.

Insignias

Insignias are worn by people in various occupations to signify their position and rank within the culture. The different insignias can be divided into two groups: civilian insignias and military insignias. In addition to these insignias individual characters might carry other marks of family or kinship.

Civilians

Erkenstedamaegister


Gold Rampant Stallion Brooch

Stedamaegister


Silver Rampant Stallion Brooch

Eomaegister


Bronze Rampant Stallion Brooch

Eoscealc


Copper Rampant Stallion Brooch

Apprentice Blodmaegden


Silver Crescent Moon on Silver Chain

Blodmaegden


Blue Crescent Moon Tattoo & Silver Crescent Moon Brooch

Blodmaegdenmaegister


Silver Crescent Moon Medallion edged with Gold

Haelendwine


Golden Toothed Leaf upon a Round Badge of Blue

Talumirage


Rearing Horse with Harp under Front Feet


Military


West Mark


East Mark

Apprentice Sperewigend


Small Red Armband


Green Armband

Sperewigend


Red Armband


Green Armband with Silver Circlet

Maegisterwigend


above with Bronze Hash


Bronze Sash or Bandolier

Aethelwigend


above with Silver Hash


Silver Sash or Bandolier

Speremund


Copper Head of Mearas on Green Field

Maegistermund


Silver Head of Mearas on Green Field

Aethelmund


Golden Head of Mearas on Green Field

Paethfindian


Braided Leather Armband

Chief Paethfindian


Braided Leather Armband with two knots


Roleplaying Horses

As horses are quite an important piece of everyday life in Rohan, they should also be included in RP. However, horses, or role-playing them, might not be familiar to everyone. In the following is presented some general information regarding the role-play of horses that can help to facilitate horse RP. More information about the role of horses in the Rohirrim culture and the horses themselves can be found in the Horses section of the website.

Descriptions

Tolkien wrote that the Rohirric horse was of 'great stature', and while this likely means that the Rohirric horse is generally a fair-sized horse, too large horses have certain disadvantages, so it is unlikely that Tolkien intended them as abnornally large compared to RL breeds -- of which few have an average height of above 16-17 hands (measured at the whithers; one hand being equal to 10 cm or 4 inches). Also, historically horses tended to be a fair bit smaller, even the knights rode horses which were around 14-15 hands before proper breeding programs were started. It seems likely that most Rohirric horses are in the range between 16-17 hands, though as the population might be fairly varied and we must count on influences from both smaller horses like mountain ponies and such and maybe also from the surely larger Mearas, we can probably assume that anything from 15-18 hands (150-180 cm) is possible.

And just as there would be plenty of variation in regard to size, the same is probably true for build. Though most would have a elegant and not too heavy build, and quite likely well-arched necks and highly carried tails there would be room for differences. Some would be lighter and sleeker, born to run fast and be highly mobile, others would be more compact and powerful, able to carry more heavily armed men and be useful for impressive charges. Some suggestions for RL breeds to look at for inspiration could include Arabians (though these are likely much lighter than what Tolkien envsioned, having developed in a desert climate) or Andalusians (which might be a touch on the heavy side, but certainly could fit the general idea).

Both these RL breeds also produce a very large number of grey horses -- and it seems certain that grey (or white) was the most common colours for the Rohirric horse -- followed by chestnuts, bays and blacks, which also could fit on the Rohirric horse. However, it is not implausible that other colours can exist within the Rohirric horse population; in many RL breeds the lack of variation in regard to colours is due to us humans breeding selectively for solid colours, having for a long time seen these as more elegant than the 'mixed' colours such as duns, roans and piebalds. Something else to remember when descing your horse is that many horses have (sometimes quite striking) white markings on their legs (white socks or pasterns, for example) head (perhaps a star or a blaze) which are important for identifying a specific horse.

Role-playing hints

As horses are such an integral part of the Rohirric culture it is of course nice if this is reflected in our RP, whenever possible. And just as it helps RP to have a well-developed personality for your character, the same is true when it comes to your horse. So, try to develop your horse some, and give it little quirks you can use to enhance RP. Perhaps its lazy and laidback, or very nervous and bad-tempered, and perhaps it will do anything for carrots -- or even ale, and maybe it can't stand bay horses, or blond women. Horses aren't dumb beasts without likes and dislikes, so do try and give yours a bit of depth.

Ideas for what to do with your horse, even if you're not one of the horse specialists they can actually be used to create RP, include things like having your horse escape from the stable (together with a bunch of friends perhap.), getting sick or lame during a long ride or an important patrol (in fact, patrols always give you a chance to RP a bit of horsecare, if you care to), developing a sudden dislike for another horse, or a human, maybe even kicking the wrong horse/person and starting a minor feud. For those who want to use their horses a bit more there are possibilities, it is just, as usual, about being creative.

Of course, it is important to consider what is within the range of what is natural for a horse, because beneath all the training and domestication the 'true' horse still exists, and it will shine through at certain times. Horses know they are essentially -prey-, and they will to a certain degree obey their instincts. Training, and a trusted rider can minimize the effects, but you should let them show when you RP your horse. Fire for example is an enemy all animals know and fear, so while a trained horse, held or ridden by someone it trusts, will probably still obey, it will be affected and even the calmest and best-trained horse will probably react to sudden sounds or movements which it cannot identify as safe immediately. That is especially true for anything approaching the horse from behind or above, as that is what a predator would do.

And as for the various creatures a horse in Middle-Earth might encounter, it would undoubtedly recognize most of them as dangerous, not the least because they smell of meat-eating predator. However, as has been noted before, a horse with its trusted rider or someone to calm it nearby wont bolt just like that, though it will most likely show signs of nervousity. It would run if it could, but as long as their rider, for example in a fight against orcs, keeps calm, it will obey. But, horses are extremely sensetive to moods, so if you are angry or afraid, expect it to affect your horse. To sum up: You can make a horse charge against orcs, and most likely trolls too. Wargs frighten horses, and if an eagle sweeps down I believe they would be pretty startled. And Nazguls well, if you stay on you did a good job. Nazgul's emit terror, and it will affect the horses as much as it affects us, if not more.

Finally, some words about using horses in combat RP. Horses can be trained to attack, or at least kick and rear on command, but they're not predators, and can't be expected to fight with their riders in the same way that say, a warg, might. They will defend themselves, and its rider, but a mentally sound horse won't chase after someone to try and kill him/her/it.

Religion

As Tolkien describes in Letter #153, "... no temples or 'churches' or fanes in this 'world' among 'good' peoples. They had little or no 'religion' in the sense of worship. For help they may call on a Vala ... as a Catholic might on a Saint, though no doubt knowing in theory as well as he that the power of the Vala was limited and derivative. But this is a 'primitive age': and these folk may be said to view the Valar as children view their parents or immediate adult superiors, and though they know they are subjects of the King he does not live in their country nor have there any dwelling."

What this means is that the Good peoples are natural believers in higher powers than themselves, and that by and large all Good peoples believe (in one form or another) in the supreme god, Eru. In Rohan, Eru is seen to be the Fate of all things and that is why, when spoken of, he might be referred to as Wyrd or, less usually, as the All-father or the One.

As to beliefs in the Valar, as Tolkien put it, the Rohirrim clearly knew of Bema, which is our name for Orome the Hunter. He is particularly strongly identified with Riders, warfare, the breeding and herding of horses, and hunting. Opposite him would be Foldewyn, which is the name for Yavanna who is responsible for the hearth, the harvest, childbirth, and the arts of healing and weaving. The other Valar may be known of through the Gondorians, but are much less important to the Rohirrim. Foldewyn, in the form of the Lady, is especially important to the order of healers of the Riddermark.

Finally, ancestors are respected for the deeds, and a Rohirrim may call out their name to put them in mind of their ancestor's courage and deeds. But Rohirrim do not believe that these ancestors can physically affect the world from beyond, just as they understand that Bema and Foldewyn cannot -- theoretically they will hear the call, but they can do nothing. Ancestor "worship" doesn't exist, in the sense of making libations or calling on ancestors to come down and help things.

In a society such as the Mark of the Riders, oaths are of grave importance and are what bind society together, from the greatest to the least. The Men of Rohan place great trust in oaths, because the Rohirrim abhor lies and so feel that it is very difficult to lie to them. Swearing an oath, and accepting one, shows confidence in its binding nature.

It makes sense for solemn vows of very great importance to incorporate more than just one's word of honor. Oaths are not sworn by Wyrd at all, however, because Rohirrim view Eru as impartial fate that runs how it will run, no matter what Men do. Swearing by Bema and Foldewyn is also very rare (except in the case of the healers of Rohan, who swear themselves to Foldewyn), for similar reasons and for those explained above. It is probably more common for an ancestor or great figure of the past to be mentioned in a serious oath, as if the memory of them makes the vow more binding.

Military

The Rohirrim military is comprised almost entirely of cavalry; of mounted warriors called Riders that are fully trained for war and serve for a term, or in some cases permanently, in the King's Host. During times of war hosts of non-professional warriors, called fyrds, may also be called into service. The fyrds consist mainly of men past their prime, young men not ready to become Riders, and meaner folk otherwise unable to serve in the King's Host. However, due to the ample amount of mounted and trained Riders, the fyrd would be rarely needed.

Of old, any number of men riding as an unit for exercise or on service was called an eored. During King Folcwine's time the Rohirrim forces were reorganized and a 'full eored' in battle order came to mean no less than 120 Riders including their captain. The Full Muster of the Riders of the Mark, or eohere, is comprised of roughly 100 such eoreds. During times of peace the number of Riders is approximately 1200, one tenth of the Full Muster. These professional warriors form the well-trained and equipped core of the Full Muster. Most able-bodied Rohirrim men, however, serve for a time in the King's Host in their youth, forming a trained reserve to fill out the ranks when a Full Muster is called.

Rohan is divided into three areas, or wards, for the purposes of military organization. These are Edoras, East-mark and West-mark. Their boundary is the Snowbourn River to its junction with Entwash, and from there north along the Entwash. The Muster of Edoras is commanded by the First Marshal of Mark, and it includes Riders drawn from the capital Edoras and adjacent King's Lands (including Harrowdale) and from some parts of the West-mark and East-mark. The Second and Third Marshals were assigned commands according to the needs of the time. The ward of the Second Marshal covers areas west of Entwash, including Westfold, Westemnet, Helm's Deep and the Gap of Rohan. The ward of the Third Marshal covers areas east of Entwash, including Eastemnet, Eastfold and the Wold. Each Marshal has at all times one eored stationed at his base of operations to be used as the Marshal sees fit.

Currently the acting First Marshal is Elfhelm, governing the Riders and other armed men of the garrison of Edoras. Second Marshal, the King's son Theodred, has command over the West-mark with his base at Helm's Deep; and the Third Marshal, the King's nephew Eomer, has as his ward the East-mark with his base at his home Aldburg in the Folde. In the Full Muster the First Marshal commands the leading eored, the King's Company, while the Second and Third Marshals lead the first eoreds of their respective Musters.

Serving under the Marshals are 7 Feldmarshals who act as their advisors and field commanders of whole eoreds in active service during times of peace. Usually there are two Feldmarshals in East-mark, two in Edoras and three in West-mark. In wartime the Feldmarshals have such roles that the Marshals decree, but usually they each lead their own companies of several eoreds.

Eoreds have their own commanding officers, captains (Aethelwigend = 'noble warrior'). The total number of captains is approximately 100 in the Full Muster of the Riders, there being perhaps 10-20 captains in active service during times of peace. However, during peacetime captains rarely command full eoreds, but rather patrols that are detached all over the Mark, watching the borders. Many noble lords usually serve for a time as captains in the King's Host, and thus in times of war lead an eored of Riders drawn from their own household and adjacent areas.

Each eored is typically divided into six or more smaller units called patrols, commanded by a patrol leader (Maegisterwigend = 'master warrior'). The composition of individual eoreds differs between regions, but usually each eored is a self-sustained unit with its own scouts and supporting personnel such as messengers and healers. If the situation demands it, patrols and eoreds can be combined or split into such groups of Riders that are required for the task at hand. Normally each patrol consists of 20 Riders (Sperewigends = 'spear warrior'), including the patrol leader.

In the West-mark it is more common for different patrols within an eored to specialize for a certain role, such as heavy shock troops armed with long spears or fire-support using bows as their main weapon. In the East-mark such distinctions are usually not made, making the patrols more versatile in different situations than their West-mark counterparts.

Shieldmaidens

For more than a thousand years, the Rohirrim and their ancestors have made a habit of training young women in arms. The main purpose of this was so that, in times of great need, the women could defend themselves, their homes, and their children should the warriors be away or too weak to do so alone. This tradition remains very common, especially among the eastern clans that have held to more traditional herding life rather than sedentary farming. However, shieldmaidens are more than simply women who have some skill in fighting.

Shieldmaidens are, one and all, women who have set aside the life of womanhood to move at the borders of the world of men. It's a great step, as they abandon many of the things they were taught to do and desire -- household skills such as weaving and brewing, and even the desire to wed and have children. The causes for women to forsake female life are many, but usually at their heart is some great tragedy. Therefore, shieldmaidens are very rare indeed, and there are rarely more than half a dozen at any one time.

Because of the grey area that shieldmaidens reside in, varying beliefs have been brought about because of them. Most warriors actually see shieldmaidens as figures who carry luck with them, and there have been eoreds that have welcomed shieldmaidens to ride in their company upon patrols and even into battle. There are some, however, who see them as unnatural, and even unlucky, and avoid them with great vigor.

Typically, shieldmaidens are fairly well-armed, and this is generally due to the fact that the majority of them come from noble families who take pride in the choices of their daughters. Others have, by their courage and their deeds, won patrons who could outfit them for war. So armed, the shieldmaidens are often drawn into helping nobles and clans into organizing the defenses of their lands, and this is by far their most usual task. Not all shieldmaidens see battle, and even fewer actually ride into it.

As you can see, our take on shieldmaidens is a pretty conservative one. It's not a means to becoming a warrior who goes seeking adventure or throws themselves into the teeth of danger. By becoming a shieldmaiden, a character takes on a nearly monastic sort of life, celibate and lacking any desire in marriage. Women who claim to be shieldmaidens, but do otherwise, are considered "loose" women who are simply looking for the company of men and are shunned. It's a difficult life to choose.

For a player to be allowed to play a shieldmaiden, they have to show great familiarity and understanding of the culture's theme, skill and initiative in roleplay, and a commitment to making a contribution to the culture. Also, the character must have some exceptional skill in a weapon (training of Veteran or higher). Typically, a player will not be able to reach shieldmaiden status in less than 6 months, and it's expected that it can take rather more.

If there are any questions, please direct them to the LAs.

Language

The Rohirric language is loosely based upon Old English. The information in this section will hopefully be helpful in creating names, or understanding the meaning of common words and titles within the culture.

Words

The language of Rohan, Rohirric, is reminiscent of Old English according to Tolkien. The following table lists some Old English words that can be used e.g. when considering the character's or a horse's name.

ale - ealu bane - bana black - blaec blue - hlaewe(n) bow - boga brother - brothor counsel - raed dark - deorc deed - daed doom - dom even - efen fair - faeger fast - faest fire - fyr friend - wine glove - glof green - grene guardian - mund hawk - heafoc hill - dun icicle - gicel lame - lama lore - lar maiden - maegden mane - manu merry - mirige mighty - mihtig night - niht quick - getale ring - hring shield - sceald slice - slitan son - sunu spike - spic stallion - steda sting - stinga strider - stridan sword - sweord, brand tooth - toth tower - tor(r) war - werre wild - wilde yellow - geolo, geolu


anger - grama bearer - bora blade - blaed boar - bur brave - deor cloud - sceo cut - cyttan daughter - dohtor deep - deop dusk - dox evil - yfel famous - mer field - feld foe - fah frost - forst gold - gold grey - graeg hair - haer healer - haelend hot - hat ill - lath light - liht, leoht loud - hlud mail coat - hlence mare - m(i)ere messenger - boda moon - mona noble - aethel rain - regn scholar - scoler(e) silver - siolfor snake - snaca speak - specan spire - spir star - steorra stone - stan strong - strang tale - talu torch - brand true - treowe warrior - wigend wise - wise yew - eow, iow

Titles

The following titles are used within the Rohirric society to indicate rank and position. (Note: * - indicates positions that require a promotion)

Aethelmund*


Captain of King's Guard

Aethelwigend*


Captain

Aldorblodmaegden*


Senior Healer

Aldorhaelend*


Senior Healer (male)

Blodmaegden*


Healer

Blodmaegdenmaegister*


Master Healer

Bodigmund


Bodyguard

Clathere


Clothier

Daelian


Merchant/Trader

Drihten*


Lord

Eomaegister*


Horse Breeder/trainer

Eoscealc


Apprentice Horse Greeder/Trainer/Groom

Erkenstedamaegister*


The Chief Horse Breeder of Rohan

Geaslanguma


Professional Gambler

Gemmian


Jeweller

Getaleboda


Messenger

Haelend*


Healer (male)

Haelendwine


Herb Gatherer/Apothecary

Haelendwinemaegister*


King's Herbalist

Hirde


Herder

Hlaefdige*


Lady

Hlafere


Baker

Hlenceleof*


Armorsmith

Ierthling


Farmer

Larmaegister*


Loremaster

Lassablodmaegden


Novice Healer

Lassahaelend


Novice Healer (male)

Lassahlenceleof


Apprentice Armorsmith

Lassawaepenleof


Apprentice Weaponsmith

Maegistermund*


Senior King's Guard (equivalent to Patrol Leader)

Maegisterwigend*


Patrol Leader

Maegraed*


Clan Elder

Maegtheow*


Clan Master

Meduscealc


Mead Server (Bar maiden/Servant)

Paethfindian*


Scout

Scealc


Servant

Scealdmaegden*


Shieldmaiden

Specanscoler*


Language Teacher

Speremund


Member of King's Guard

Sperewigend


Rider (military term, meaning spear warrior)

Stanmason


Stone Mason

Stedamaegister*


Senior Horse Trainer/Breeder

Talumirage


Bard

Tannere


Tanner

Waepenleof*


Weapon Smith

Waepenscoler*


Weapons Trainer/Weapons Scholar

Wefan


Weaver

Wefanmaegister*


Master Weaver

Widusmid


Carpenter

Wraestian*


Pugilist

Handbooks

To help new players better play some of the most common roles in Rohan, RP handbooks have been created to act as simple guides. While it's impossible to capture all the nuances and details of the daily lives and practices of such roles, these handbooks are a good place to start learning about some of the most important roles in Rohan.

Bard

Welcome to the world of the Talumirage, the bards of Rohan! Whether your character is a bard by profession or merely wishes to dabble in the occasional song, you still play a very important role in Rohan's society. Unlike in the real life world of today, music and song, and the people who crafted and performed them, are an integral part of Rohirric culture. There is so very much more to being a bard than sitting in the local tavern and singing the day away.

Oral Society

To understand the role of the Talumirage, it is helpful to first understand that Rohan is an oral society. In brief, this means that, save for rare exceptions, such as nobility and royalty, the people of Rohan do not read and write: No newspapers, no letters, no history books. For anyone who has fallen asleep reading a dull lesson out of a musty history book, this might seem like a nice idea, but without writing, how does a people learn about their past, or hear the noteworthy events of the present? That is where you, the bard, come in.

What the Bard Does

Bards fulfill many roles in the culture. They are entertainers, teachers, messengers, guardians of Rohan's past. Through song and verse, they weave tales of past deeds, important events, and current deeds and events of note. They sing songs honoring what is important in Rohan's culture. They sing songs to amuse and entertain. They travel throughout the land performing their songs, whether at taverns and inns, at campsites, or at festivals and feasts. Song is a part of everyday life in Rohan, and bards are a very visible, very important element in that.

Tips on Playing a Bard

At this point, playing a bard might seem a rather difficult thing to do. You might not know Brego from Folcwine; you may not be able to rhyme two lines together. Admittedly, it is difficult to play a bard in Rohan without some base knowledge of what the culture is like.

First off, if you haven't read Lord of the Rings, now's the perfect time to do so. Not only the books themselves, but the index as well, provide excellent information on what Rohan is all about, and on Rohan's history. Unfinished Tales also is a wonderful source, especially for information on Eorl and on the military. If you're still stuck for material for songs, try the Rohirrim logs page on www.elendor.net. There are some great songs waiting to be written about those logs.

Of course, just as sperewigends do not spend all their time fighting, and blodmaegdens do not spend all their time healing, talumirages do not spend every minute of every day singing. So, it is not necessary to break into song at every moment. On the other hand, as a bard you may be called upon at any time to sing ICly, so it is always good to have a song or two ready at hand. They do not have to be long songs; indeed if they are too long they can prevent other people from RPing in the scene. A good rule of thumb for length is to not pose more of a poem at once than can fit on a screen; in other words, if things start scrolling madly by, you probably want to break things up. Allow others to react to your poem, even if they might interrupt it then continue with the next stanzas of the poem. Four to five poses of poem is normally sufficient, especially if you are not the only bard performing, though this is only a guideline and not a strict rule.

Writing Poetry

Having to write poetry as part of playing your character may seem like the hardest, and for some people, least attractive part, of playing a bard. However, there are some guidelines available that can make this job much easier.

First off, you already have a good amount of subject material available to you. Songs and poems should tend to be more "old-fashioned" than modern songs; for example, songs of love should be less explicit, and songs and poems about angst or ultra-personal details are not really thematic. If you're not sure if what you want to perform is really "Rohirric," you could always ask an LA. Barring that, if your subject matter draws IC stares or other remarks about its strangeness, it's possible that it isn't in keeping with theme.

The second important thing is the form of the poem/song itself. Poems are generally chanted or sung, with or without musical accompaniment. Poems should have meter and verse, so modern free verse is out of the question. However, Rohirric poetry does not have to rhyme, so if rhyming escapes you, you're in luck. The true Rohirric style of poetry is in Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse, as in the epic "Beowulf".

Alliterative Verse

So, what is alliterative verse anyway? Alliteration, in its simplest form, is the repetition of consonant or vowel sounds in a line.

Seven silver swans swam silently seaward.

The s-sound is repeated (over and over), and that is the basic of alliteration. In verse, alliteration only need keep the same sound in the same line; the next line can have a different sound alliterated. For example:

horse and horseman; hoofbeats afar sank into silence: so the songs tell us.

If you've never used alliteration before (and don't worry; most people haven't), you may feel more comfortable starting out putting alliteration into the more familiar (in English) rhymed verse. It isn't strictly Rohirric, but it's a good start. For that matter, you may not ever go beyond this point, and that's fine too. Bards take years to learn their craft, so no one's expecting you to pick it up in a couple of days.

Making It Rohirric

Once you're comfortable with alliteration, or if you feel like jumping in right away, the next step is to put your alliteration into Rohirric form. This would be unrhymed verse (though if it ends up rhyming that's okay) that follows a specific meter. First of all, a song can be broken down into verses, though in Rohirric poetry this is not necessary. It may be easier to break it into verses, simply for RP purposes, if it is a long poem, so that you can divide it up into poses. Rohirric poetry does not worry about syllables in a line; it worries about beats, traditionally four. A beat is the stressed syllable of a sung or spoken line. For example:

HORSE and HORSEman; HOOFbeats aFAR SANK into SIlence: SO the songs TELL us.

The number of syllables in each line is not the same. Each line is broken up into two half-lines, each with two beats. This actually isn't as complicated as it might sound; in the above example, "horse and horseman" is one half-line and "hoofbeats afar" is the other, the same with "sank into silence" and "so the songs tell us."

So, now you have the optional verse, the lines, the half-lines, and the meter. How does alliteration fit into all of this? Well, simply put, the repeated sound should fall on the first beat of the second half-line, and either beat of the first half-line, the first beat being the more common of the two.

MOURN not overmuch, MIGHTy was the fallen.

Commonly one of the other beats also alliterates:

Mourn not overmuch, mighty was the fallen.

This is usually the other beat of the first half-line, as in the example above, but the second beat of the second half-line can be used instead, or alternatively, all four beats in the line.

Glory escaping, gathering gloom Hearken the hoofbeats, hearken the horn

Often, poems contain all three examples.

Links

This is just a brief overview on the function of a bard in society and the craft of the Rohirric song. For further information, here are some links with more detailed explanations:

Alliterative verse:

http://alliteration.net/fieldgd.htm http://www.xrefer.com/entry/367586 http://www.talkingabouttolkien.com/e_poetry.html

Bards and their poetry in an oral society:

http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/2662/bards.html http://csis.pace.edu/grendel/projs991d/scop.html http://www.mun.ca/mst/heroicage/issues/5/Bruce1.html

Rider

So, you've decided to be a Sperewigend. Welcome to the Riders of Rohan! To help you out in your new position, here is some useful information playing a sperewigend.

Eoreds

The basic unit of the military in the Riddermark is the eored, consisting of 120 Riders, led by an Aethelwigend, Feldmarshal, or Marshal. This is broken down into patrols of 20, each led by a Maegisterwigend. And, of course, the sperewigends are the warriors that make up the rest of the eored. (For more complete information, see +rohelp military for information on the military, and +rohelp titles for information on what each title means.)

Duties

The primary function of a sperewigend is to protect Rohan and its people. However, in times of peace, even nominal peace such as now, not every warrior is needed in muster. Therefore, you have the option of playing a full-time, or a part-time warrior, and having a second profession is encouraged. Other than riding out and fighting, you may be called upon by higher-ranking officers or representatives of the House of Eorl to perform other duties. You can, of course, refuse to do any of them, but remember that you will face the IC consequences!

Etiquette

You may be asking yourself, How do I get into an eored? Basically, you have two options. You can either be a part of an NPC eored, or you can join one with a PC leader. (See +roriders West and +roriders east to see what leaders are currently available). Of you are unsure which would be the best for you, ask an LA for help. There are some basic rules of etiquette that you might want to be aware of for each, though, and each has its pros and cons.

NPC Eoreds

The main benefit of an NPC eored is that it gives you the most freedom in terms of being able to go places and move about Rohan freely, and works especially well if there are no PC eoreds available during your hours. The downside is that it can get kind of lonely, as there's no one else in your eored to play with.

When in an NPC eored, there are a few things you want to remember. The first is that, in combat or anywhere else, you generally shouldn't be posing your whole eored, or even your patrol. If you do feel the need to RP NPCs (and in combat, it's almost essential), please limit yourself to 2-3 NPCs of the same rank. If there is some reason you need to RP your entire patrol or eored or an NPC of higher rank, you may want to check with an LA first.

The second is that, usually unless there is a time of great conflict, you will be riding with just your patrol of 20. They generally have an area that they patrol (West or East, etc) and they don't leave Rohan. This, of course, can be modified in cases of TPs, where everyone might be concentrated in an area that is not normally theirs to patrol. Sometimes you may be out riding with less than your patrol, such as for scouting, escort duty, returning from leave, or a host of other possibilities. Just try to remember... if you set out with your whole patrol and suddenly they aren't with you, or if suddenly you are with less than your whole patrol when you were with all 20, you need to account for the difference in RP.

Thirdly, you are responsible for your eored. Please bear in mind that they as a whole must adhere to the same theme as you as a single player must. So... no disappearing eoreds, eoreds serving Sauron, eoreds made up of women, etc. Please also avoid killing off entire eoreds, or NPC leaders in the eored. A good point to remember is:You cannot RP or emit an NPC of higher rank (maegisterwigend or above, so generally you should also not kill off an NPC of higher rank. All in all, having an NPC eored seems like a lot of responsibility, but it can be very fun and satisfying.

PC Eoreds

The main benefit of a PC eored is that you actually get to RP and interact with other memebers of your eored. Ot also takes the guesswork out of figuring out the whys and hows of an NPC eored. The biggest downside is trying to coordinate times if yours and your leader(s)'s don't coincide.

As with NPC eoreds, there are a few things you want to bear in mind. The first is that you will be given orders by your superiors. This is just a fact of your position. That does not mean you have to follow the order; just remember that there will be IC consequences if you don't. Secondly, again you should only RP 2-3 NPCs tops of the same rank, and not any of a higher rank. Also, please do not make up NPC superiors unless you have cleared it with the leader of your eored; generally he already has those positions filled with NPCs and PCs. Your best bet is to find out to whom you report.

Third, do not join an eored or a patrol without speaking to the leader of it first (ICly or OOCly). Again, check out +roriders east or +roriders west to find out who you need to contact. Let him know you want to be in his eored, and take it from there. Once in an eored, you may be assigned to a specific patrol, or be advised to contact the leader of a patrol. If in doubt, just ask.

Combat

There are already pages and pages of helpfiles on combat, so this will be brief. Combat is done primarily on horseback; hence the name 'Riders of Rohan.' Please remember to pose your horse in combat, even if just to say, "I wheeled my horse about..." Also, we are the best horsemen in Middle-earth, with the best horses. Therefore, please bear in mind that it is rare to fall of or be knocked off your horse. It is also unusual to dismount to fight. The other thing you want to remember, is that we are a well-armed warrior people. Finghting with bare hands is not only rare; it is foolhardy and a good way to get yourself killed. If you have unanswered questions after reading the combat help files, please talk to an LA or a +trainer.

Horses

There is a lot of wonderful information on horses in +rohelp horses, and that is the first place you should go if you have any questions. In Rohan, and especially for the Riders, horses are more than just animals, and more than just a way of getting about quickly. Horses are a way of life; they are as our kin; they are our brothers (and sisters) at arms. At times we depend on them for our very lives. So, take good care of your horse, and try not to kill it, eat it, let it get captured, or give it away. As with most things, if you do, there will be IC consequences.

Conclusion

This is just a guide to help you as a Rider of Rohan. There may be situations it does not cover, or times when you feel an exception needs to be made. If any questions still remain, please feel free to contact an LA about your specific question(s) or situation. Again, welcome to the Riders of the Mark!


Links

Elendor

Rohirrim role-play logs, in addition to logs by other cultures, are available at the Elendor MUSH website - http://logs.elendor.net

Elendor MUSH - http://www.elendor.net/

Tolkien Related

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - The official site for the upcoming Lord of the Rings movies - http://www.lordoftherings.net/

TheOneRing.net - Lord of the Rings Movie News and Rumors - http://www.theonering.net/

Rolozo Tolkien - Tolkien Images, Alphabets, Quotations and Verses - http://fan.theonering.net/rolozo/

The Tolkien Society - http://www.tolkiensociety.org/

The Encyclopedia of Arda - A vast, if still incomplete, site that attempts to present the world of Tolkien's writings in an encyclopedic form - http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/

Languages

Ardalambion - The most comprehensive site about Tolkien's invented languages that one is likely to find on the net - http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/

Old English Dictionaries (useful references when devising Rohirric names) - http://www.mun.ca/Ansaxdat/vocab/wordlist.html http://www.wordgumbo.com/ie/ger/oen/ http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~kurisuto/germanic/oe_bright_glossary.html http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~kurisuto/germanic/oe_bosworthtoller_about.html

Anglo-Saxon Names - http://members.aol.com/MtFreehold/newsaxonnames.htm http://www.gaminggeeks.org/Resources/KateMonk/England-Saxon/index.htm http://www.panix.com/~mittle/names/engoldenglish.shtml http://www.20000-names.com/male_anglo_saxon_names.htm

Horses

Breeds of Horses - http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/horses/

Horse Colours & Markings - http://www.equiworld.net/uk/horsecare/colors&markings.htm http://www.equine-world.co.uk/about_horses/colours.htm http://www.vgl.ucdavis.edu/~lvmillon/coatcolor/coatclr3.html http://members.aol.com/battyatty/ http://www.angelfire.com/tx4/horselovers/horsemarkings.html

Lists of Horse Terminology - http://www.feed-barn.com/horse-terms.html http://www.angelfire.com./tx2/kidshorses/dictionary.html

Bards

Alliterative Verse - http://alliteration.net/fieldgd.htm http://www.talkingabouttolkien.com/e_poetry.html

Bards & Oral Society - http://www.geocities.com/Vienna/2662/bards.html http://csis.pace.edu/grendel/projs991d/scop.html http://www.mun.ca/mst/heroicage/issues/5/Bruce1.html

Coding and Building

The PennMUSH FAQ-o-matic - http://www.pennmush.org

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