Rangers of the North
Rood, once the largest town in the Nan Turnath, stands in stark contrast to the sturdy resilience of Bree. For long a buzzing junction of cross-country trade where the old King’s Road encountered the River Baranduin, it is suffering from a decline that has been ongoing since the Great Plague of the T.A. 1600s. It is located west of Fornost Erain on the Baranduin, about three quarters of the way from Fornost to Annúminas.
Rood gives the appearance of a dying town. One of the few places in Arthedain to be hit hard by the plague, probably due to its river location and the timing of the epidemic’s arrival (in mid-summer), many of its two hundred stone houses are abandoned and decaying. Rats and mice greatly outnumber mannish residents, and pest control is growing into a serious problem, particularly since a goodly portion of the surviving populace to fled to Fornost.
Rood is enclosed by a dike and hedge, but otherwise unprotected. The Elsiril (S. Star-stream") masks its western approach, and the Baranduin guards its southern edge. Nencar Keep, some two miles to the east, stands on an artificial island at the edge of marshland, the Nencar Bogs,
where the Nîn Erain flows into the Baranduin. Here the King’s Road from Fornost and the Vale Road from Occum cross the marsh and stream to merge at Rood. The King’s Road then heads west, upriver to Annúminas and the Twilight Hills.
In years past, Rood stretched all the way along the road between the two streams,. In the Second Northern War,the Angmarim came northwest like an avalanche from the direction of the Weather Hills and destroyed every work of Men they could find in the Nan Turnath. Only the core of Rood was rebuilt after the conflict, and the Nan Turnath has not recovered.
Still, Rood hangs on. The exhausted traveler can feast on roast fowl and drink and smoke to surfeit at such overpriced establishments as the Silver Tree, the Great Bend, the seedy Sunset Inn, and the most ancient watering hole of the town, the Battered Cock. Outside the last flies a tattered banner displaying a much-mistreated rooster, missing an eye and not-a-few of his feathers. With the exception of the well-kept and high class establishment called the King’s Board, Rood’s inns are well-known for watered-down ale, lumpy beds, and sinfully unpleasant
barkeeps and barmaids, all of them married to greedy Rood innkeepers.
The Rivermen of the Brandywine, always bold in the river villages, now bully their way freely through the declining town of Rood. It is visited all too often by mysterious, wandering strangers —vagabond trappers and rowdy miners. In the daytime, Rood seems a bustling if declining center of riverine trade, but under cover of night, it becomes in part a city of intrigue, rumor, threat — and worse. Rood is no place to stroll the streets after dark, alone, and unarmed.
In the later years of the Third Age, there are only a few scattered stone farm houses between Rood and the first slopes of the grassy hills at the edge of the river valley, Barnencar is a ruin, holding only a bandit camp. The Rood militia takes turns standing guard over the approach roads. Cairmach the Dunman is the Thegn of Rood. He normally resides in a large farmhouse outside of town, surrounded by two or three dozen of his men. A quartet of “constables” keeps Cairmach’s peace in the town. When in town, Cairmach resides in the best rooms in the King’s Board, accompanied by a half dozen guards.
1. The Battered Cock. Large, disreputable and airy, especially since the collapse of the roof. The old inn serves as a corral for horses—fleas for all.
2. Nalorn’s Farmhouse.
3. Squatters Shacks.
4-7. Warehouses and Docks. Located along a gentle bend in the Brandywine, these abandoned buildings once held furs and foodstuffs. Hundreds of rodents now claim these structures as their own.
8. Hedge and Ditch. The gates are supposed to be guarded, but the guards are not enthusiastic.
14. Crafts Shop and General Store.
15. The Great Bend. Once an inn of some quality (known as the White Wolf), it now caters to the Rivermen and other rowdies who prowl the country.
16. The Sunset. This inn takes those who can’t afford the Great Bend. Meals are so bad that Rood’s residents claim Olmkan’s pigs won’t eat the scraps.
18. Blacksmith. Navir the smith lives and works here.
19. Smokehouse. Operated by Olmkan and his wife and daughter.
20-22. Shops. A general store, a boat and barge shop for river-travelers, and an abandoned distillery, all owned by Grandon the Riverman.
23-24. Abandoned Warehouses.
25. Pig Farm. Run by Olmkan and his family, the farm is renowned for its succulent pork and sausage and its corpulent but kind owners.
26. The Silver Tree. This is the spot to meet in Rood. Everyone who’s anyone shows up sometime, if only to get drunk or plot some foul deed.
27. Metal Shop. Inferior weapons and tool work is done by the drunken owner, Aldan, a former wine-taster from Caras Celairnen.
28. Arms Shop. The Dwarf Begli runs this operation by himself.
29. The King’s Board. Once a King of Arthedain rested here, the rumor goes, but none can agree on the name of the King or the year of his visit. This inn holds twenty and is Rood’s best and most expensive. Formerly a favorite of the soldiers and Rangers who patrolled the Nan Turnath,
the King’s Board is now dusty and worn.
30. Servants’ Quarters. The young men and women who work at the King’s Board live here.
31. Belcarsûl’s House, The healer and physician lives here.
32. Apothecary Shop. Sisebuth’s shop and residence.
33. The Eketta House. Once a mansion of stately proportions, at least for Rood, this building is obviously decaying.
34. Stables. Abandoned.
35. Warehouse. Abandoned.
36. Bridge. Crosses the Elsiril. Guarded, closely at night, less so by day.
37. Storehouse. Abandoned.
38. The Mayor’s House. A fine, respectable stone building.