IntroductionThis page provides information on the history of the town of Fennas Drúnin, the town's immediate neighbours and the town itself. All the information provided here is in the Player's Guide, which will be sent to you before the game. The game is set in 1641.
HistoryFennas Drúnin is a small town in Middle-earth, located at the confluence of the rivers Bruinen and Mitheithel. To the south lies the old Kingdom of Cardolan and the great city, Tharbad, still Cardolan's titular capital. To the north is the Angle, sparsely populated sheep herding country, and beyond that, the Trollshaws, a wild and desolate place, populated by backward Dunlending tribesmen and ruled by King Broggha, himself no better than a barbarian. To the east and west, across the rivers, is uninhabited scrubland.
Since the war in 1409, the town of Fennas Drúnin has largely been left to its own devices, surviving on trade and its main produce, wool. It owes formal allegiance to no Lord or country, but naturally feels an affinity to Cardolan to the south and often casts a wary eye towards its less civilised northern neighbours.
Economically, Fennas Drúnin has been in decline since the war and with the arrival of the plague in the winter of 1636, the town was almost broken. Although not as badly hit as places to the south, 15% of the population died and another 15% (often those with money in the middle classes) left. Recently, however, with the arrival of Forak's Violators and Beradan's successful hide business, things have looked up. Despite this, about half the peasant population have no work for most of the year and poverty is widespread. Even the town's craftsmen are feeling the pinch and often have to send their children out to work.
Fennas Drúnin's Neighbours
Immediately to the north of the town lies the land known locally as the Angle, which forms a rough inverted triangle with Fennas Drúnin at its apex. The land is sparsely populated, mostly by Dunnish peasants, who make their livelihood through herding sheep. They are loosely ruled over by two Dúnedain Lords who live in heavily fortified towers to the north and east and provide a valuable buffer between Fennas Drúnin and the barbarians in the Trollshaws.
Closer to the town are several farms which provide the town with much of its food, supplemented by fishing and the vegetables that are grown in virtually every garden within the town walls and on the patch of common land within the walls.
To the east lies the deserted land of Erigion, once home of the Elves, but abandoned since the middle of the Second Age. It is now the home of the odd bandit and wanderer and the mercenary group, Forak's Violators.
To the west are the empty lands of En Endoriath, once vast sheep pastures, the wool from which made Cardolan rich. That, though, was before the rise of Angmar and the war of 1409. Again, no-one lives there and the area is constantly raided by forces from Angmar to keep it that way. It is 160 miles across the open country before civilisation is reached in Arthedain and although there is some traffic along the roads, it is a dangerous journey.
To the south, along the west bank of the river Gwathló, lie the old lands of Cardolan. The nearest settlement is over 60 miles away, while the capital, Tharbad, is 120 miles downstream. However, travelling by river or along the old road is still relatively safe and the majority of what trade there is goes by that route.
Forak's Violators are a mercenary group who set up camp over the river Bruinen a few years ago. They have brought much needed trade to the town and their men can often be seen drinking in the Boat Inn, where Kara, the public face of the Violators, can be found.
Strange folk sometimes come to Fennas Drúnin to do business with the Violators. Overall though, they are felt to be a mixed blessing. While their money is badly needed and their presence adds to the town's security, they are a rude and uncouth group. However, due to their undoubted military strength (they could raze Fennas Drúnin to the ground should they so desire), it has generally been felt unwise to upset them.
Another problem that Forak's Violators have brought with them is prostitution. Some of the peasant women have taken to prostituting themselves to earn a few coppers, something which never used to be a problem in Fennas Drúnin. It is generally known that women can be obtained in the Boat Inn.
The Trollshaws, though technically not a neighbour of Fennas Drúnin's, still figures large in the thoughts of the townsfolk. It is populated by warring tribes of Dunlendings, though recently they seem to have been united under a King called Broggha. Some see this as bad news since it was always thought that the Dunlendings were too busy fighting themselves to bother with Fennas Drúnin and the Angle. It is also assumed that the Dunlendings are loosely allied with the Witch-king of Angmar.
Fennas Drúnin is a town of about 1,000 people, standing on the northern bank of the river Bruinen, just upstream of its confluence with the Mitheithel, where the two rivers meet to form the Gwathló. It is walled on all four sides and forms a rough square, with the docks on the southern edge and the main town gate (the Hill Gate) to the north. From here the road runs north into the Angle and thence to the Trollshaws, 100 miles beyond. There is also a branch to the west which runs a couple of miles to the ferry across the Mitheithel. From there the road runs down the west bank of the Gwathló all the way to Tharbad, some 120 miles away.
The main building of the town is the Keep, effectively a massive stone tower, isolated from the town walls and standing in the northwest corner of the town. This is where the Captain of the Town Watch traditionally lives and where the Town Council meets, in the Great Hall on the first floor. South of the Keep stand the four grand town houses, long home to Fennas Drúnin's most influential and richest families.
The main street runs down from the Hill Gate to the docks and links the town's two inns, the more upmarket Gate Inn, a fine building just next to the Hill Gate and the more downmarket Boat Inn, standing next to the docks. Generally the quality of the housing in the town decreases as one moves south and east through the town. The docks are where the local fishermen can be found, along with the bargemen who ply the Gwathló to and from Tharbad. Those wanting to cross over into the debatable lands of Erigion or visit Forak's Violators can easily find a boat for hire here.
Fennas Drúnin's taxation and finances are fairly simple. There is a building tax, paid at the end of the year and based on the size of the property. Taxes are also paid on goods brought into the town with the exception of those who hold exemption stamps which are on sale for 2 Silver Pennies per year.
In all, the Council raises about 20 Silver Pennies a year in building tax and 20 a year in trade taxes. The Mayor acts as treasurer for the Council and keeps the money in the Keep. Expenditure is generally incurred on the Town Watch, repairs to the Town Walls and Keep and a small stipend for the Mayor.
In past times, income from trade taxes has normally been at least double that from the building tax and more often three to four times higher. Under Ostomir's reign as Mayor, rates at which the building tax and goods tax are levied have almost doubled, although the overall income from taxes have fallen. The town walls are in a poor state of repair and only the Keep has had any work done on it in the last five years. Current reserves stand at about 50 Silver Pennies.
Major Annual Events
The Western Middle-earth calendar is split into 12 equal months of 30 days each, with two days between December and January (the Inter-year Days) and three days between June and July (the Mid-year Days). The second of the Mid-year days is the time of the Mid-year Festival, celebrated across the whole of Middle-earth. In Fennas Drúnin, the Festival is a time of major celebration and the Mayor traditionally makes a speech from the balcony of the Keep, dressed in full regalia. Folks from all over the Angle converge on the town and a major market is held.
The Mid-year days are also marked by the Dunlending tribes in the Trollshaws who by tradition all gather at the Last Inn, a place 80 miles north of Fennas Drúnin on the banks of the River Mitheithel. Here they swap tales and trade with each other. Every year, one or two hardy merchants from Fennas Drúnin make the trip north to bargain with the tribesmen.
For the first three months of the year, it snows in the Trollshaws and to a lesser extent in the Angle. Then, in April, it thaws and rains a lot. While in the Angle this is a major nuisance, in the Trollshaws it is a time of great danger since even the smallest stream is in a raging flood. For the whole month of April, people don't travel unless they absolutely have to, even in the Angle, where things are relatively safe.