Leveling by questing alone becomes more difficult beyond 20th level. The challenges are greater and the monsters are deadlier. But it’s not impossible . . . especially for a clever player with a well-prepared hero. In our previous article on Solo Play we covered the basics for solitary questing during the beginning levels. Here, we'll cover tactics for a more advanced character, including what one can achieve in Middle-earth while working alone to defeat the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron.
After completing the Quests of Book 1 and cresting 20th level, your hero’s best options for solo adventuring lead from the lands of Bree north and east into the rest of Middle-earth.
Solo Quest Hubs
Here is a list of the major solo quest areas for characters of 20th – 40th level. Many of these quests are of the slayer variety – killing large groups of animals or servants of the Dark Lord, with a few other quest types tossed in.
East and south of the Bree-lands are the Lone-lands, once part of the great Kingdom of Rhudaur in ancient times. With the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron, this now desolate region is home to wandering packs of Orc-kin and Goblins who regularly attack travelers on the Great East Road and leave burned villages in their wake. Solo Quests in the Lone-lands range from 20th − 30th level. That makes it the perfect place to play following your completion of the Book 1 Epic Quest.
A day’s travel from Bree in the southwestern portion of the Lone-lands is the Forsaken Inn—the last outpost of civilization in this region. In addition to offering goods and services, the Forsaken Inn and environs offer many opportunities for questing.
The chef of The Forsaken Inn is Old Mugwort; his reputation as a cook is somewhat lacking, but he attributes that to hard times and poor supplies. Mugwort has several quests to offer—success with them will help purge the area of evil, while at the same time net supplies. These quests include driving Goblins from the Lone-lands (Enfeebling the Foe), slaying Wargs (Raising the Wargs' Ire), and defeating their leader (Drawing the Pack).
Another Quest hub is Ost Guruth, an ancient fortress once belonging to the Kingdom of Rhudaur that is now under the control the Eglain. Located in the northeastern portion of the Lone-lands, Quests obtained in Ost-Guruth often branch north to Angmar and east to the Trollshaws.
Be sure to seek out Stanric of the Eglain, a supplier and arms merchant in Ost-Guruth who is attempting to organize a defense against the wild beasts roaming the Lone-lands. Stanric has an abundance of Solo Quests that involve retrieving spider venom to develop antidotes (Venom of the Ruin-stalkers), preventing a plague about to be unleashed by the Orcs (A Plague Upon Us), and hunting boars to help the Eglain prepare for a harsh winter (Well-Prepared).
The region of the North Downs was once part of the Kingdom of Arthedain, and held the great cities of Annúminas and Fornost during the Second Age. The lands then fell to the Witch-king of Angmar, and evil has maintained its grip ever since. Today the Rangers of the North gather in the hidden refuge of Esteldín and work with the heroes of Middle-earth to eradicate the ancient evil. The North Downs is full of solo quests from 30th − 40th level. As you travel north from Bree-town into the North Downs, the first solo quests you'll encounter start in Trestlebridge, then north to Fornost and west into the lands of Nan Amlug (West and East).
Some of the Solo Quests of Trestlebridge can be obtained from Gondranc, an armoursmith and Ranger who is feverishly crafting high-quality armour for the upcoming war against the Orcs. In the Quests Leathery Wings of the Drakes, Aurochs Mantles, A Promise Fulfilled, Scales of the Earthbound Foe, A Request to the Earth-kin and Techniques of the Masters, you can assist the Ranger and earn drake-armour as a reward.
The lands north of Trestlebridge hold the initial invasion force of Orcs and Goblins. Going head-to-head with this many troops is difficult—unless you use the hit-and-run tactics of soloing heroes (such as Hunters and Wardens). Find the Free Peoples’ Camp south of Fornost and seek out the Quests Stem the Invasion, Fell the Trolls, and The Forgotten Company. These provide potent items upon completion: a helm (Hanhar), a shield (Longamath), and a spear (Widdup's Spear).
Some of the quest series outlined above might have an associated Fellowship-base for a conclusion. If you are on the higher end of the level range and are cautious and well-equipped, then these final quests are very possible on your own.
You Can Own a Horse
Traveling over great distances in Middle-earth is done by endless running between cities, using a Milestone, Swift Travel, or by renting a horse. Unfortunately, Swift Travel is not always available, and the other modes require that you've already been (or are going) to that region. Either way, you’re looking at a large amount of time spent walking or running. This all changes at 35th level when you become eligible to buy a horse . . . or a pony if you’re a Dwarf or a Hobbit. Having a horse is a great asset in your soloing career, as you can travel faster to any region of Middle-earth. In addition to your level, the following is required before you can obtain your own horse:
Considering the amount of gold required to buy a horse, it might be in your best interest to start saving early in your adventuring career. If you have the coins prior to 35th level, you can afford to buy your horse sooner . . . but you’re not eligible to complete Eogar’s required quests. The quests are not difficult, and basically teach you how to use and maneuver your trained mount. The horses available include: Blonde Sorrel, Chestnut, Bay, and Bloodbay. You gain more options through specific trophies and quests: Dapple-grey Dun, Dark Chestnut, and Spotted Grey from the Harvest Festival. These latter horses typically cost more than gold pieces and in some cases require you to be higher level.
These series of quests are available at 30th level and are always solitary. They are designed to test the mettle of each of the classes. The rewards (examples listed below) are designed specifically for a class. Class quests also can be found at 15th level.
Another way to gain experience through soloing is by completing reputation quests. Similar to Deed slayer quests, these adventures give you the chance to gain new virtues as well as titles. Best of all, they do not consume large amounts of time – a great benefit for the solo quest player. Reputation can be gained from different factions of Middle-earth, such as one of the races, certain villages or towns, or from crafting powerful items. Completing these quests gets you reputation points. There are four levels of reputation: Acquaintance, Friend, Ally, and Kindred.
And there are two primary benefits of reputation quests:
In addition to individual quests and crafting, which can improve your character’s reputation, there are three important reputation quest series you can attempt beginning at 35th level:
1. The Elves of Rivendell (Level: 35): In the wondrous city, the Elf Imyl wants you to recover 10 Signets of Rhudaur—Relics of the long-dead kingdom of Rhudaur, which allied with the Witch-king of Angmar. The rulers of Rhudaur were the enemies of Rivendell, and those who now own the 10 signets are also considered adversaries. These quests take your character to the Misty Mountains and the North Trollshaws.
2. Rangers of Esteldín (Level: 38): In Evendim, the Ranger Calenglad bids you travel to Esteldin and find a way to help the residents against an Orc threat. The Ranger also wants you to gather the Orcs’ battle-medallions as trophies. Completing this quest gives your character the reputation needed to purchase items not available to other characters . . . also depending upon your reputation level.
3. Wardens of Annuminas (Level: 35+): Located in Evendim, the Wardens guard the ancient tombs and ruins which were once the capital of Arnor. You can gain reputation with the Wardens by seeking a woman named Cuguminuial near the west wall of Tinnundir. She wants you to deliver a crate of much-needed supplies to an outpost in Dunedain. Once there, you can gain additional reputation quests from three NPCs: Eirieniel, Calaneth, and Dannassel. These quests pit you against bandits and monsters that have infiltrated and looted the Arnor ruins. By the end of these adventures you should have sufficient Reputation to pursue crafting quests and gain rewards based on your reputation level.
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