War of the Silmarils is a sub-mod of Third Age: Total War, the ever popular total conversion for Medieval II: Total War Kingdoms. The goal is to follow the lore as closely as possible and faithfully reproduce the heroic First Age of Tolkien's Middle-earth in the Medieval II: Total War engine. War of the Silmarils will feature many new unique factions, each complete with a roster of units, a completely new campaign map of Beleriand and the lands to the North, and much more. So if you're one of the many who have been enthralled by Tolkien's mystical world, this is a mod to watch!
In the time before time, during the Years of the Trees, the Elves first awoke under the stars by the clear waters of Cuiviénen. From there it was that Elwë of the Teleri, along with Ingwë of the Vanyar and Finwë of the Noldor, departed with the Vala Oromë as ambassadors to Valinor; and there he saw the Light of the Trees, and upon his return he persuaded many of his kindred to follow him back to the Undying Lands. But on the Great Journey to the West the Teleri came to love Middle-earth, and they did not arrive at the coast until after the departure of the moving island of Tol Eressëa, and thus they stayed in the land of Beleriand for many years. During that time Elwë encountered Melian the Maia in the woods of Nan Elmoth and, enchanted by her beauty, he fell in love with her; and there they lived entranced together for two centuries, and many of the Teleri searched for their lord and would not leave without him. Thus when the Vala Ulmo returned for them, a part of that people remained behind, and the Sea filled them with sorrow.
After Elwë awoke from the trance, many of the Teleri had grown to love Beleriand and decided to stay. These later became known as the Sindar, the Grey Elves, or the Elves of the Twilight; and they have ever been extremely gifted in music, and their voices are very fair; and when Elwë returned, revealed as a lord of great reverence, he became the King of that people and ruled with his Queen from the land of Doriath, where he established his kingdom. There he summoned all the wandering Sindar, and that land was originally known as Eglador, meaning "Land of the Forsaken", for so those of the Teleri that remained in Beleriand called themselves. For years uncounted the Sindar dwelt in peace and plenty; they roamed throughout Beleriand, from the shorelands of the Falas in the west to the Blue Mountains in the east, and all acknowledged Elwë Singollo as their lord. And in those days he became known as Elu Thingol that is “Greymantle” in the Sindarin tongue, and thus he has been known ever since. His hair is silver and long and his eyes are keen like stars, and he is the tallest of all the Children of Ilúvatar and the mightiest of the Eldar save Fëanor only.
Now Doriath is a land of forests in the centre of Beleriand, and it means “Fenced Land”; for Melian the Queen fenced the realm with unseen walls of shadow and put a girdle of enchantments and mists about it, so that none can enter without the leave of King Thingol; and this became known as the Girdle of Melian. The vast forests of Doriath are adjoining the Great River Sirion and its eastern tributaries: Mindeb, Esgalduin, Celos and Aros. The kingdom lies in two parts, separated by the river Esgalduin: the lesser northern beech forest of Neldoreth, and the main southern forest of Region, yet there is also the small oak forest of Nivrim at the West March, and the eastern woods of Arthórien between Aros and Celon, where many of the Green-elves of Ossiriand now dwell as refugees since the First Battle of Beleriand. The forests of Brethil and Nan Elmoth are also held as part of the realm, though they lie outside the Girdle of Melian. Yet Elu Thingol sees all of Beleriand as his realm, from the Gelion to Belegaer, the Great Sea: he is the King of Doriath, King of the Sindar, High-king and Lord of Beleriand.
Towards the end of Melkor's captivity, Melian had counselled Thingol that the peace of his realm would not long endure, and so with the aid of the Dwarves he delved the wondrous halls of Menegroth, the “Thousand Caves”, which became Thingol's capital city and fortress in Doriath. The gates of Menegroth are carved into a rocky hill alongside the river Esgalduin, accessible only by a great stone bridge over the river. The vast caverns beneath are considered one of the finest works of the Elves both in Middle-earth and Valinor. Its many halls and chambers are carved to look like a beech forest with stone pillars in imitation of trees, complete with sculptures of birds and animals, illuminated by torches.
King Thingol formed a defence of his realm with companies of archers that guard the borders, the Marchwardens, and he made sure that the Sindar of Doriath would be well-armed against the invading wolves and Orcs of the north. Through trade and with the help of the Dwarven-smiths of Belegost and Nogrod, the deep armouries of Menegroth were stored with great wealth of weapons: metal wrought like fishes' mail and shining like water in the moon; swords and axes, shields an tall helms, and long coats of bright mail; for the hauberks of the Dwarves were so fashioned that they rusted not but shone ever as if they were new-burnished. And that would prove well for Thingol in the time that was to come.
Now when the Noldor returned to Middle-earth at the beginning of the First Age, the borders of Doriath were already closed against Morgoth, and King Thingol welcomed not with a full heart the coming of so many princes in might out of the West, eager for new realms; and he would not open his kingdom, nor remove its girdle of enchantment, and he would allow entry only to the children of Finarfin, who are related to him through his brother Olwë. And when Thingol heard word of the terrible deeds of the Noldor and the slaying of his own kin at Alqualondë, his heart was filled with hatred for the sons of Fëanor, and the very use of the High Speech of the West has been forbidden throughout Beleriand ever since; and all the Sindar heard his command, and they refused the tongue of the Noldor, and shunned those that spoke it aloud. And when in later years Men first arrived in Beleriand, they were also refused passage through, but at the request of Finrod son of Finarfin the Folk of Haleth were allowed to live in the forest of Brethil as vassals to Thingol, charged with the protection of the Crossings of Taeglin.
Lúthien the Fair is the only daughter of Thingol and Melian, and she is the most beautiful of all the Children of Ilúvatar; for her eyes are grey as the starlit evening, and her hair is dark as the shadows of twilight. As the light upon the leaves of trees, as the voice of clear waters, as the stars above the mists of the world, such is her glory and her loveliness. And she is often seen dancing upon the unfading grass in the woods of Neldoreth, in the glades beside Esgalduin, filling the hearts of those around her with wonder and light and hope.
But now a time of great peril and darkness has fallen upon all; for Morgoth has without warning broken the Long Siege of Angband in the North and the proud armies of the princes of the Noldor were scattered in the four winds. One winter’s night in the year 455 of the First Age, the fires of Angband burnt and destroyed the vast green field of Ard-galen in the north, and many of the Noldor were slain, and thus the battle known as Dagor Bragollach, “Battle of Sudden Flame”, has began. And though the Hidden Kingdom is still protected and shielded from evil eyes by the Girdle of Melian, the Marchwardens of Doriath must now guard the borders with ever greater vigilance, and prepare to face the coming darkness…
* Doriath is a Sindarin faction in the heart of Beleriand, with strong and versatile infantry and elite archers yet lacking in cavalry, starting with seven settlements in a land covered by forests: Menegroth, Hírilorn, Esgalduin, Arthórien, Nivrim, Aelin-uial and Iant Iaur.
From an early stage in their life many of the Grey Elves of Doriath are taught two things above all else: how to master the string of the harp and of the bow. When hunting their prey in the woods, accuracy and speed are most highly valued as they learn to bring a quick and painless death. When roused to anger, the Sindar bring these skills to bear, loosing their feathered arrows at the enemy with lethal accuracy. Garbed in muted hues and wearing hooded cloaks woven with the mastery of the Grey Elves, these silent hunters can easily hide unseen in the green forests and ambush their enemies bringing swift and silent death from the shadows.
The folk of Doriath may be unaccustomed to the ravages of war, having lived long under the protection of the Girdle of Melian, yet when called to arms they are more than capable of forming a battle line and presenting an effective defence against any foe; for they had not always been at peace, and have on occasion been moved to skirmish against Orc raiders sent by the Dark Lord into Beleriand. Robed in muted hues and the grey garb of their people, they can easily hide in the woods and disappear from enemy eyes; and they march into battle armed with simple spears and sturdy round wooden shields bearing the royal device of the King and the flowery devices of their beloved princess, Lúthien the Fair.
The Kingdom of Doriath has long employed a system of errand-riders to pass messages swiftly across great distances. They ride their horses without reins or saddles, as is the elvish way, for they need them not; and in times of war it often falls upon these mounted heralds to act as scouts as well as light cavalry; for they are lightly armed, carrying with them only enough to defend themselves when cornered, preferring to escape with haste on their fast steeds or hide under leaf and branch rather than fight; and often they are used for flanking enemy formations or hunting down retreating Orcs on the battlefield. Wearing the dusty, travel-worn garb of one who spends many days and many nights on horseback, they carry a spear and a round wooden shield bearing the colourful devices of Doriath, counting more on the speed of their mounts rather than the strength of their arms.
Before the darkness of Morgoth returned to Middle-earth and forced the Sindar to retreat within the safety of Doriath, many of them walked freely through Beleriand and lived in harmony and peace. Now there are still some who dwell beyond the Girdle of Melian, hardened by the constant threat of Orc raids and the many skirmishes fought near their woodland homes. Should the Lord of Beleriand call the Sindar to war, these valiant Elves would take up arms and march into battle proudly under the banner of Doriath. Clad in dark forest colours and protected by leather armour and helmets and sturdy wooden shields, they march into battle armed with swift javelins and sharp elven axes, as is the way of their people. Their light armour and their ability to hide in the woods allows them to be swift and lethal skirmishers, providing support for the heavier troops of Thingol’s armies; and though not as disciplined or highly trained, these woodland levies are grim and experienced warriors bearing cold hatred for the creatures of Morgoth, from whom they have defended these lands for years uncounted.
Heavy spearmen may be an uncommon necessity among the Sindar, who have ever preferred the use of the swift bow and the sharp axe, yet those of the Grey Elves that choose this path become highly disciplined and skilled in battle. They form the backbone of the hosts of Doriath, and they are equipped with the finest arms available in the realm; for the Grey Elves of Doriath keep in the armouries of Menegroth great wealth of sharp blades forged by the masterful smiths of Nogrod and Belegost. Garbed in the long grey cloaks of their people, they can hide if so they wish from all but the most skilled and cunning spies of Morgoth; and they march under the banner of Elu Thingol clad in full hauberks made of the linked mail of the Dwarves, which is impervious to the slow decay of time; for they are so fashioned that they rust not but shine ever as if they are new-burnished. And they bear tall helms, wielding sharp spears and carrying sturdy shields bearing the royal devices of Doriath, and iron greaves protect their legs; and they can swiftly form an impassable shield-wall and stand their ground effectively and without fear against their foes.
These disciplined Elven swordsmen form the backbone of the hosts of Doriath, and they are equipped with the finest arms available in the realm; for the Grey Elves of Doriath keep in the armouries of Menegroth great wealth of sharp blades forged by the masterful smiths of Nogrod and Belegost. Armed with such swords and clad in full hauberks made of the linked mail of the Dwarves, which is impervious to the slow decay of time; for they are so fashioned that they rust not but shine ever as if they are new-burnished. And they bear tall helms and carry long sturdy shields adorned with the royal emblems of the house of the Lord of Beleriand; and iron greaves protect their legs, and the grey cloaks of Doriath hang from their shoulders. A brother’s rivalry exists between these swordsmen and their axe-wielding brethren; disputes arise from their choice of arms, both contending that theirs is the better weapon, and citing deeds of valour on the field of battle as proof of their prowess.
The Sindar have always favored the axe throughout time, ever since they were taught its use by the Dwarves in ages past. These disciplined Elven axemen form the backbone of the hosts of Doriath, and they are equipped with the finest arms available in the realm; for the deep armouries of Menegroth are filled with great wealth of axes and armour and shields and helms forged by the masterful smiths of Nogrod and Belegost. Robed in grey cloaks, they are clad in full hauberks made of the link-mail of the Naugrim, which is impervious to the slow decay of time; for the hauberks of the Dwarves are so fashioned that they rust not but shine ever as if they are new-burnished; and they wield elven ornate axes, elegant in shape and yet sharp and deadly. They bear tall helms and carry round iron shields with the royal device of Thingol engraved upon them, and iron greaves protect their legs. In battle they throw iron javelins at the enemy lines before charging, and they are chosen among the strongest and stoutest of the Elves of Doriath; for it is their part to break the enemy formation through the sheer momentum of their thunderous charge. A brother’s rivalry exists between these axemen and their sword-wielding brethren; disputes arise from their choice of arms, both contending that theirs is the better weapon, and citing deeds of valour on the field of battle as proof of their prowess.
The skill of the Sindar of Doriath with the bow is renowned among the realms of Beleriand, and not without cause. These disciplined Elven archers form the backbone of the hosts of Doriath, and they are outfitted with the finest mail available; for the deep armouries of Menegroth are filled with great wealth of armour and helms forged by the masterful smiths of Nogrod and Belegost. They are clad in full hauberks made of the link-mail of the Naugrim, which is impervious to the slow decay of time; for the hauberks of the Dwarves are so fashioned that they rust not but shine ever as if they are new-burnished; and they bear tall helms and iron greaves, and they carry great bows longer and stouter than those of the Falathrim or the Green-elves, each strung with a string of elf-hair, and swift arrows with shafts made of hard ash or oak fill their quivers. Wearing the long grey cloaks of their people, they are able to move in stealth if they so wish, drawing upon their common past as hunters of wood and glen to ambush their enemies; and the Orcs of Morgoth fear the silent bows of the Sindar as much as they fear the bright swords of the Noldor.
Marchwardens of Doriath
Led by Beleg Cúthalion, the Marchwardens are the most renowned and most important of all the warriors of Thingol’s armies; for they alone keep the borders of Doriath safe from Orcs and werewolves and the terrible spawn of Ungoliant, and keep them away from the Girdle of Melian, protecting those not within the safety of the Queen’s powerful enchantments. Their status is so high that they receive gifts from the very hand of the King and Queen themselves, as they are the bravest and stoutest of all bowmen and ambushers of Doriath, equally skilled in battle with the sword and with the bow, and they know the tongues of all the birds and the beasts of the forest. Of the hand of Melian they receive the elvish waybread called lembas made by the Queen herself, bringing healing and reviving effects on weary body and spirit. And of Thingol their King they receive powerful bows made of the beech woods of Doriath and strung with a string of Elf-hair; and bright long swords from the royal armouries and full coats of the linked mail of the Naugrim hidden under grey hooded cloaks, making these wardens silent and invisible yet deadly and invulnerable against all but the most potent weapons of the Dark Lord.
[Special AOR unit]
At times of need the Marchwardens will ride fast steeds to battle without using reins or saddles, as is the elvish way, and they will fight without fear as swift and deadly archers on horseback under the banner of the Lord of Beleriand. Led by Beleg Cúthalion, these mounted Wardens are the most renowned and most important of all the warriors of Thingol’s armies; for they alone keep the borders of Doriath safe from Orcs and werewolves and the terrible spawn of Ungoliant, and keep them away from the Girdle of Melian, protecting those not within the safety of the Queen’s powerful enchantments. Their status is so high that they receive gifts from the very hand of the King and Queen themselves, as they are the bravest and stoutest of all bowmen and ambushers of Doriath, equally skilled in battle with the sword and with the bow, and they know the tongues of all the birds and the beasts of the forest. Of the hand of Melian they receive the elvish waybread called lembas made by the Queen herself, bringing healing and reviving effects on weary body and spirit. And of Thingol their King they receive the finest horses of the realm, and powerful bows made of the beech woods of Doriath and strung with a string of Elf-hair; and bright long swords from the royal armouries and full coats of the linked mail of the Naugrim hidden under grey hooded cloaks, making these wardens silent and invisible yet deadly and invulnerable against all but the most potent weapons of the Dark Lord.
[Special AOR unit]
Heavy Doriath Infantry
The ranks of the heavy infantry of Doriath are filled with the bravest and stoutest axemen in Thingol's armies, and they are outfitted with the finest arms and armour available in the realm; for the deep treasuries of Menegroth are abundant with great wealth of axes and armour and shields and helms forged by Telchar himself, or by his master Gamil Zirak the Old, or by elven-wrights more skillful still; for some were even wrought by Fëanor in his mastery, greatest of all craftsmen to ever live in Arda. They march into battle clad in long coats of bright mail, impervious to rust and corrosion and the slow decay of time; for the hauberks of the Dwarves are so fashioned that they shine ever as if they are new-burnished. And they wield long and sharp elven axes, and they bear tall crested helms and carry long leaf-shaped shields inlaid with gold and gleaming like silver starlight; and the grey cloaks of Doriath decorated with patterns of leaves hang proudly from their shoulders.
(Inspired by a painting of Ted Nasmith.)
Sentinels of Neldoreth
Selected by Elu Thingol for their unsurpassed skill and strength, the Archers of Neldoreth are considered to be among the finest in Beleriand, and they are renowned for their ability with the longbow. They are girded with arms and armour from the very royal vaults of Menegroth: linked mail of dwarven-make, great longbows made of the beech woods of Neldoreth, and great elven double-bladed axes which they wield with two hands against any foe lucky enough to survive their deadly arrows. Garbed in the grey cloaks of their people, they wear their hoods over their shiny gilded helms, and they march into battle under the banner of the princess of Doriath, the fairest of all the Children of Ilúvatar, displaying her two devices: the first showing the white niphredil that grew at her birth, similar to a delicate snowdrop; and the second holding an elanor in the centre surrounded by stars, echoing the device of her father. Protected by their elven cloaks they can easily hide in the woods, and having mastered the art of ambush and stealth they will deliver quick death to anyone who dares trespass their lands, and they will protect their beloved princess to the death; for they are the Sentinels of Neldoreth, silent guardians of the enchanted forests where Lúthien the Fair often dances in the moonlight.
Guards of Menegroth
The guards of the Thousand Caves are an elite division hand-picked by Mablung the Heavy-Handed among the stoutest and tallest Elves of Doriath. Like their Lord and King Thingol Greymantle they wear long grey cloaks, and their garments are wealthy and decorated with bright gems and elvish patterns. Equipped with the finest arms from the royal treasuries and vaults of Menegroth, they are clad in metal wrought like fishes' mail and shining like water in the moon; and they bear tall helms adorned with large emeralds, and they carry sharp spears and long ornate leaf-shaped shields gleaming like silver in the starlight. They fly the royal banners of Doriath: the device of Elwë Singollo, a winged moon on black surrounded by stars; and the device of Melian the Maia, with flower-shapes and stars resembling a single flower of Telperion; and the two devices of Lúthien, one showing the white niphredil that grew at her birth, and the other holding an elanor in the centre with stars about it. The Guards of Menegroth may serve as ceremonial guards of the King and his Halls, yet they are highly disciplined and more than capable of forming a deadly spear-wall in battle. Renowned for their precision in drill and close-order fighting, they will gladly give their lives to protect their Lord and Lady from anyone foolish enough to threaten them.
[AOR unit and bodyguard]
Rusichi:Total War for various stuff
Shredder for some models and textures and the banner carriers
koultouras for the elven axe from FRoME
glassakias for making the models
Squeaks for the Heavy Doriath Infantry
Earl of Memory for helping with skins and shield textures
LostLT for helping with the descriptions
Ellin Athinaios for unit concepts, descriptions, mapping, remodeling, retexturing, revamping and putting together the finished roster
And of course, J.R.R.Tolkien for the inspiration and the source material (The Silmarillion, Unfinished Tales, HoME)
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