The ruins of Arthedain hold meaning for very few of the inhabitants of Eriador. The great fortress of Fornost, last line of defense of the Dúnedain kings for centuries, is now known to most by the name "Deadman's Dike". To the middlemen, the broken stones and overgrown roads, sometimes inhabited by dangerous wildmen and orcs, are only the haunted fossils of wars long forgotten. But for the Dúnedain rangers, these relics hold sacred importance. They remind new generations of the glory of their ancestors, the majesty of Northern Kingdom, and its eventual fall at the hands of the Witch King.
Destroyed in the final Battle of Fornost in T.A. 1974, Arthedain was the last remnant of the Kingdom of Arnor and preserved the only true line of kings. However, the true heir, Aragorn son of Arathorn, is away exploring Middle-earth and has little interest in leading the rump state of Arthedain. The impetus for unification will come not from above but from below, from the Dúnedain Rangers who have long toiled to defend the free peoples and seek a more permanent solution. Rebuilding Arthedain in the Gondorian model, under the leadership of a steward, is a response to the growing power of Angmar.
Focus: law & culture, cavalry units, scouting
Unique General: Araphor
Demographics: 100% Dúnedain
Can form Arnor: yes
Max Armor Level: 4
Bonus: high tier units, retraining cost bonus
Malus: expensive units with virtually no replenishment, no economy bonuses
Arthedain's focus is scouting (they are able to train additional spies), elite units, and the religious/cultural buildings necessary to train those elite units. Arthedain's unique buildings are very good at quickly converting the population to Dúnedain culture. Arthedain is also the only successor kingdom which can unite Arnor when Aragorn returns.
The Kingdom of Arthedain was located in the north of Eriador, centered on the two ancient cities of Fornost and Annúminas. Fornost, which goes by the name of Deadman's Dike until being restored, is still a valuable defensive position countering the expansion of Angmar. Securing the kingdom will require an extended conflict with Angmar. With Ered Luin having lost a starting region, they aren't as much of a concern as in previous versions of the mod (where they would steal regions needed to unite Arthedain), but even if they become aggressive early, the needed regions can be acquired via diplomacy if necessary.
The Arthedain player should not forget about the threats from the south. A strategic alliance with the Clans of Enedwaith would be prudent so that forces don't need to be diverted to defend Bree from Dunland. On the eastern front, Angmar will attempt to expand into Rhudaur and trying to keep these regions out of their hands is probably not worth the effort. The Rhudaur regions have a chance of rebelling spectacularly if controlled by Edain during the Arthedain pathway (and vice versa for Arthedain regions controlled during the Rhudaur pathway).
The Arthedain roster consists of a few elite ranger-type units that have been given their own armor upgrade (pictured above) sandwiched between the ranger tier and the fully upgraded Arnorian tier. The Arthedain roster is not nearly as expansive as those of Cardolan and Rhudaur owing to the fact that Arthedain is the only successor which can unite Arnor (and thereby unlock additional units). But what it lacks in diversity, the roster makes up for in OP-ness. Make no mistake - these units may look like rangers but they have the stats of late-game, high-tier, elites. These units are intended to be used all the way into the late game, so there was no choice but to make their stats match this goal from the start. To balance, they are extremely rare with effectively only one unit being produced per region (with requisite barracks) until unification. Even after unification, the Arthedain units replenish extremely slowly. Only when Arnor is united do they truly become the mainstay of the army.
This means that during the Arthedain pathway and even after unification, the player cannot afford to sustain unnecessary losses. Every soldier lost is a setback. As in previous versions of the mod, the pathway units are unlocked in two stages based on how many Arthedain regions are controlled.
Dúnedain Rangers - the base for all ranger units, not elite compared to rest of the roster
Dúnedain Spearmen - heavy spear infantry to hold the line
Dúnedain Wardens - elite heavy sword infantry
Arthedain Blademasters - elite two-handed sword infantry
Mounted Rangers - light bow cavalry that perform decently in melee when fully upgraded
Dúnedain Cavalry - mid-tier heavy lance cavalry
Knights of Arthedain - super elite heavy sword infantry
Arthedain Household Guard - super heavy lance cavalry, one of the best cavalry units
Trebuchet - the only successor to get this siege engine
The default Edain of Eriador bodyguard unit, which will be shared by all three successor kingdoms, has been tentatively decided on. The "Woodsmen of Eriador" unit is a combination of the Woodland Hunters and Lumbermen armed with a longbow. Their stats aren't quite as good as the original steelbow-equipped Dunedain Bodyguard, but they are slightly more numerous. Their armor upgrade uses the beast slayers model but with a longbow instead of the anachronistic steelbow.
The Shire autonomy script referenced in the first dev blog has been finished. The successor kingdom unification scripts have been finished. Quite a bit of scripting work remains to be done. On the 3D front, we are continuing to debate the aesthetic and roster for Cardolan (hence why this dev diary was about Arthedain instead). On the audio front, work has begun in earnest on porting in El Monstero's sound overhaul.
Next Up: Kingdom of Cardolan