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The Lost Realm of Cardolan

The southernmost part of Arnor, Cardolan was a separate Dúnadan kingdom from T.A. 861 until T.A. 1409. Cardolan was the most densely populated area of old Arnor and contained sizable populations of Gwathuirim, Eriadoran commoners, Northmen, and Dúnedain, as well as scattered groups of Beffraen and Drúedain. Its last Ruling King perished while fighting the Witch-king's hordes in the Barrow-downs. Under weak but continuous Angmarean pressure thereafter, Cardolani society decayed and the realm collapsed into chaos. It was gradually depopulated after the Great Plague. The trade center of Tharbad on the middle Gwathló was Cardolans chief city. Sudúri, farther down river, was the only larger town in Cardolan after Tharbad fell into ruin in the late Third Age.

the Realm


Rulers of Cardolan

Cardolan was a realm in turmoil. Her royal family died out in the wars with Angmar, leaving a number of rival Dúnadan princes with claims to the throne. Upstarts, like the Dunnish King of Saralainn and the rebellious villages of Feotar were able to establish their independence in the chaos which followed the wars. The Plague added another element to Cardolan's troubles. It sparked a further series of migrations, the most significant of which was the intrusion of a large band of Trolls into the central plain of Minhiriath. Thus, the realm of Cardolan was in actuality a number of petty kingdoms, each in constant conflict with the others.

Cardolan in TA 1650

Cardolan in TA 3019

  • Political Organization: Various tribal Areas.
  • Rulers: None (local Chiefs).
  • Administrative Organization: None.
  • Population: 118.500 Southerners.
  • Military: 12.000 tribal Warriors.
  • Products: Wool, textiles, Grain, Herd Animals.
  • Symbol: None.

Cardolan was once part of the great Kingdom of Arnor. Following the divisive year of T.A. 861. Cardolan appeared to have a bright future. Of the three fragments of Arnor, Cardolan had the most fertile soil, the largest land area and urban center, and the closest ties to Gondor and the Númenorean past of the Dúnedain. Unfortunately, the broad plain of Eriador acted as a highway for every migratory people in western Endor and the Kings of Cardolan witnessed a centuries long struggle for resources between the indigenous Eriadorans, the ruling Dunedain and the migratory Hobbits and Dunnish tribes. The Witch-king of Angmar too found the fertile plains of Cardolan tempting, and, after encouraging strife between Cardolan and her neighbors for centuries, invaded himself in the year T.A.1409. His attack drove the defenders reeling in retreat down the Great East Road. King Ostoher fell defending the Tyrn Gorthad, and the death of his daughter, his sole surviving heir, a few years later brought a long reign of troubles on Cardolan. Civil war was now a regular occurrence, as the heirs of Cardolan's great noble houses struggled for dominance. The strength of the realm had diminished greatly, and the lords of Cardolan fought their wars with plots of deceit and small bands of mercenaries. The common folk of Cardolan desired only to be forgotten by their overlords and to get on with the business of agriculture. Though harsh winds scoured the uplands of Eriador, where herding provided the chief source of revenue, the lowlands were known for their fertility. Due to the good soil and the mildest climate north of the White Mountains, agriculture in the [[Gwathlo Valley]] was less toilsome than in other regions. However, a severe population shortage prevented Cardolan from rising to its former prominence. Even before the Plague, a sharp demographic decline made its impact on the realm, for many commoners fled to seek the stability of Gondor or Arthedain.

The lords of Cardolan schemeed against each other, playing external forces and internal ones, such as the Warlord and the King of Saralainn, off each other and their rivals. Both Arthedain and Gondor desired stability in the region, or the security of the Great North Road at the very least. Gondor appointed the Canotar of Tharbad, an official with nominal authority over all of Cardolan, with the hope of controlling the violence in Tharbad. However all the Canotars had their hands full managing the highly competitive guildsin the city, who frequently worked in league with the Dunadan Princes. Thus, the Canotar had become yet another player in the powerstruggles in Cardolan. The King of Gondor would have liked to bring Cardolan under his direct authority, but he lacked the strength to quell the inevitable violent reaction which had become an integral part of Cardolani politics. Cardolan's problems did not end with petty political rivalries. Few other lands were as disrupted by the Plague, and countless small villages were deserted in its wake. Worse, a flood of refugees from Dunland and Western Gondor had come to Tharbad, hoping to start a new life in the city. The lords of Cardolan had to import tons of food merely to keep the population from starvation. A sizeable shanty-town north-west of the city attested to the Canotar's inability to handle the situation. Unrest grew among the urban poor each day and the power of the guilds increased in relation to the level of malcontent. To make matters worse, a large and unusually well-organized band of Trolls, led by a figure known only as the Warlord, had driven deep into Cardolan during the Plague to take up what appeared to be a permanent occupation.

separated provinces


Men: 1650: Earnil Cennaigh Echorion Finduilas III Hallas Imlach Lanaigh Minastir Paddro Pelendur Sispar

Orcs: 1650: Dunadd

settlements and Points of Interest


Settlements of Cardolan


Adandor Aethelan Allimir Althil Amlolas Amon Sarn Amrelor Andrath Annon Baran Argond Annithir Annon Baran Arading Argond Argost Arnach Aspar Balost Bar-en-Ibun Bar Gorthad Barad Esher Barad Girithlin Barad Vin Bar-en-Ibun Bautorach Benglaras Blackwood Hill Blind Ox Hold Bondor Bor-Leath Bregnas Brildil Buckhill Buckland Gate Bucklebury Burh Calden Burh Ruasul Burh Waulfa the Cabden Cairg-Faergus Calthiel Caranthel Caras Gwanoth Carn Gasadaer Cemetary of Thalion Chalnen Cithiel Cithrenor Clearwater Wells Creb Durga Crickhollow Cross Stones Daelmoth Darras-ola-Ras Dead Town Denerond Deveney Dinach Dirdabor Dol Calantir Dol Gelin Dol Girithlin Dol Tinare Dongorath's Hold Dongril Dwaling Edirey Edras Erenir Faemar Fangoth Feagil Fealond Filimer Finnsburh Fogu Maellin Fordhall Forondir Foulbrook Galathlilwar Gamuthik Geleborn Girwing Greenwatch Greyflood Settlements Grindwall Gundiok Gwaelin Harbarist Hardrath Haysend Hermit's Cottage Herwen High Hay Himsiril Keep Hythe Iach Mardi Iarond Ifin Laldír Logeband Lond Angren Lond Daer Mathlor Merchebrook Metraith Meur Tol Minas Girithlin Minas Malloth Minas Mellon Minas Thonfalon Mindo Liriel Mindo Tinaree Mistalonde Nadior Nansret Netel-eyghe Newbury Nidada Nilenel Rainbow Bridge Ramradas Red Hundred Redhel Rochbar The Ruins of Minas Iaur and Bar-en-Uinendil Sarn Ford Ser oneldeon Tarma Seren Silanir Soas Southbrook Stonehall Stonehill Sudúri Swanlynn Swansong Nape Talsir Telwaen Thaendor Thalion Tharaman Tharbad Tharchel Thyn Gorthad Tirarnarth Tiras Maegthil Todolb Traith Chefudoc Troich-Ara Chleasah Trollhead Undrond Wagon Encampment Wolfsdale Woodsedge


Bein Com Brandywine Settlements Brandywine swamps Buckland Cape Vorn Cardolani March Ceren Hills Chalk-prairie Chielwis Dol Calantir Dol Tinare En Eredoriath Entamundo Eregion Estates Eriadoran Coast Eryn Vorn Ethir Gwathló Faerdor Foradûn Girithlin Glanduin Greenvale Greyflood Settlements Gwathlo basin Gwathlo Marches Hagavorl Hashgmur Hoarwell March Isles of the Dead that Live Iaur Men Formen Len Naugrim Lostriand Milkfall Edge Minhiriath Mintyrnath Mithe Steps Mora Hal Nen-i-Sûl Nîn-in-Eilph Old Forest Ossilryn the Oyer Pinnath Ceren Pinnath Nimren Prairie Wild Rast Arnor Rast Vorn Rohwaen Saralainn Sarn Cantons Sharkey's wall Sirihini South Downs Taur Iaur Tharbad Marshes Tinare Tyrn Gorthad Tyrn Hyarmen Withywindle swamps Worthy Hills


  • MERP:Arnor
  • MERP:Bree and the Barrow Downs
  • MERP:Lost Realm of Cardolan
  • MERP:Middle-earth Adventure Guidebook II
  • MERP:Northwestern Middle-earth Campaign Atlas
  • MERP:Palantir Quest
  • MERP:Raiders of Cardolan
  • MERP:The Shire
  • MERP:Thieves of Tharbad
  • MERP:Woses of the Black Wood
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