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The strategy guide/preview for Rhun in the upcoming Dominion of Men. Originally written by CountMRVHS on Total War Center.

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The Chiefdom of Rhun

The Chiefdom of Rhun is the big Easterling faction in Dominion of Men, as distinct from the smaller chiefdoms of Khand and North Rhun. Much like in TNS, Rhun continues to benefit from hordes of barbaric troops and the wherewithal to strike out in several directions at once. When you play as Rhun, you're playing as the big, sprawling chiefdom in the East – so go ahead, throw your weight around!

But players who remember Rhun as the best 'steamroller' faction in TNS will find that, well … some of the steam has gone out of the old steamroller in DoM. Getting to the point where you can train anything in a newly conquered province takes significant investment in time and treasure, to say nothing of getting to the point where you can train anything resembling elites. You may have hordes of warriors at your beck and call, but settlements you conquer from your foes may be just as unruly as your soldiers, requiring the iron fist of a powerful warlord to keep them from revolting.

The flip side of this slower pace of conquest is that each settlement you take from an enemy represents an enormous setback in terms of recruitment and income for them, since even if they retake it, they may need to build it back up from scratch. So raids and scorched-earth tactics can be devastating to the enemy – just make sure that you have a strong enough force guarding your own lands to prevent your foes from trying the same thing!

That said, in the early years an aggressive chieftain can build up some momentum, bringing neighboring settlements under the ox-head banner and putting rivals on the back foot. And maintaining that momentum is important for Rhun. Since Rhun is the biggest faction in the East, there are plenty of factions just waiting to drive back your warriors and put your own settlements to the torch.

Obvious foes for Rhun include the Northmen of Dale and Rhovanion, who suffered Easterling invasions in the past. Expect some early fighting with Rhovanion in particular, since both of you are likely to skirmish over the same independent settlements south and southwest of the Sea of Rhun. Dale is beyond your reach for now, but in the mid- to late-game, once North Rhun and/or Rhovanion no longer stand between you, some epic clashes may ensue. Dale's military is varied and strong, with some troops that can do great damage to your generally lightly armored warriors. If Dale has secured its position as the prominent power in the North, watch out for its many longbowmen and staunch foot troops.

To have the resources to go head to head with Dale, you'll want to extend your power in other directions as well. To your south lies the Chiefdom of Khand, a faction that presents an interesting dilemma. At the current stage of development, Rhun and Khand begin the game with a strong alliance, even sharing military access. It's possible to maintain this alliance surprisingly far into the game, since Khand will clash with Haradrian powers to its south. And obviously, having a buffer along a relatively nondescript border is a great advantage, allowing you to free up troops from garrison duty to join the push west and north. (Or, you can use the military access agreement and send troops of your own to aid Khand's struggles in the south, capturing cities from the Haradrim to prevent your allies from growing too strong or to prevent the Southrons from defeating your allies.)

On the other hand, one of Rhun's advantages is that it can train some powerful region-specific troops if it conquers certain provinces and develops the required buildings. And some of those region-specific troops require regions in – you guessed it – Khand. Like in TNS, Rhun can train Khandian-style mounted archers, but only if it holds lands in Khand. So do you honor your alliance with your southern neighbors and give up the great advantage of being able to train fast and powerful horse archers? Or do you adopt a tous azimuts foreign policy and bash your way south, eschewing a stable border but gaining some excellent battlefield mobility?

Probably the strongest enemy Rhun will face in the early years is the Kingdom of Adunabar. Assuming you push into Mordor to claim the rebel settlements there, you will brush up against Adunabar's eastern borders. The kingdom's strong Cultic infantry, supplemented by Orcs and other beasts, may prove daunting, but the settlements around the Sea of Nurn are potentially rich – and there is the opportunity to ally with the RK, as both of you work away at Adunabar's defenses.

Lesser foes in the area also await your conquering tread. The Chiefdom of North Rhun may seem to be a natural friend, but they may covet your wealthier lands and deem a strike against you preferable to attacking strong Northmen. The Kingdom of Dorwinion may be snuffed out quickly and their rich province added to your growing empire with a few well-timed attacks – or they may prove a more resourceful foe. Some of Dorwinion's troops are equipped and trained to damage your cavalry. If you allow the kingdom to grow too strong, you may find yourself hard-pressed to end a war with them decisively.

And then there's the Dwarves. Any fight against Dale will ensure you are also at war with their Dwarven allies. While their homelands are scattered across the North, there are Dwarven settlements nearby in the Iron Hills and the mountains west of the Sea of Rhun – as well as Erebor itself. Taking these settlements denies Dale a powerful ally, and allows you to share out to your victorious warriors the famed riches of the Dwarves – provided you can defeat them. The Dwarves tend not to be aggressive foes, but they are stubborn and resilient on the battlefield.

Rhun's roster from TNS survives the transition to DoM largely intact. Chieftains no longer ride to war in wains, but on horseback; the wains are trainable as a regular unit. Some units are now limited to particular regions. But overall, Rhun's military remains the same: a core of wild infantry warriors supported by some limited ranged troops, with a potentially strong cavalry as a crucial wing. Dependent upon outnumbering your foe – but not to the extent of the Haradrim – you must rely upon the varied troops at your disposal and those pressed into your service in foreign lands, holding together your mismatched hosts through the strong will of your chieftains.

These will be the tools with which you will build your empire, a force to rival that of the Wainriders of old. And when your chiefdom subdues its nearby rivals and pushes into the West, even greater challenges await. The Wainriders never got close to Minas Tirith, but perhaps, under a strong enough leader, your Easterlings can cross the Anduin and bring to its knees the city that organized the defeat of their ancestors time and time again.

Rhun is the obvious choice for an aggressive player, one who hopes to defeat his foes quickly in campaign as well as on the battlefield. And while the mechanics of this iteration of the mod make that strategy more challenging than before, attack is still the surest route to victory for the chiefdom in DoM.


This is awesome, when will we have the next release? I really want to play with the custom maps. Can you add a Isengard faction for custom battles?

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FeánaroTWC Author

There was an Isengard faction for Historical battles in The New Shadow, and I guess it could be made playable for custom battles with some minor file editing, but it has been removed in Dominion of Men due to it being replaced by actual campaign map factions.

Which unfortunately means there won't be an Isengard faction in the next version.

(DoM has all faction slots occupied, which means that there will be 18 playable factions)

As for the the release? Discounting real-life issues that might suddenly arise, we are aiming for a 2014 release.

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