A Guide to Bree-land
by Cameron "Aelryn" Sorden
Bree-land is the whole area surrounding the town of Bree, and it's chock full of interesting things to do and see. Bree and the surrounding areas are designed to take a character from about level 1 to level 20, so if you're anywhere within those ranges you'll find plenty to do here. In this guide, we'll take a look at each major area of Bree-land and talk about what you can expect to find there.
The Town of Archet
While the town of Archet played a relatively minor role in the books, it's an area that anyone who starts a human or hobbit in LoTRO is quite familiar with. That's because their newbie instance takes place in the village of Archet. Unfortunately, the vicious gang of Blackwolds advance out of their fortress to the Northeast and burn the town, so when you get to the main part of the game there's not much left of Archet besides a smoldering ruin.
There's not a whole lot to see or do near Archet, but do make sure you check out the spider caves. They're accessible from two different entrances, and you can find the fearsome spider Iornaith deep within a buried cellar at the back of them.
The Town of Combe
Just south of Archet is the town of Combe. Combe offers slightly more to see and do than Archet does: There's a crafting area, an inn with a bard, a training hall, and a whole slew of level 6-10 quests for you to pick up and do. If you're on the human prologue quest you'll be sent here to speak to a ranger and continue on your path towards book I.
Make sure that you don't miss Ellie Cutleaf's house and the Combe Lumber Yard while you're exploring here. Both are considered parts of Combe officially, but Ellie's house is in a secluded glade to the west and the lumber yard is down the path to the east. You'll need to talk to Ellie at some point for a quest, and the Lumber Yard has several more quests for you, mostly revolving around the Chetwood.
Most of the quests received in Combe deal with the Chetwood. The Chetwood is a wooded area northeast of Combe, and it sprawls across the whole northern part of Bree-land. While it certainly isn't as big or as dangerous as the Old Forest, don't think venturing into the Chetwood will be an idyllic walk in the park, though.
The main branch of the Blackwolds, led by Jagger Jack, make their home in the northern ruins and in small camps throughout the forest. There are wolf dens in the western reaches and also a breeding farm for the Blackwolds' vicious dogs on the Southeast edge. Keep an eye out for a nasty warg that patrols the eastern reaches, as well. He's a level 15 elite, and he'll happily make a meal out of you if you're questing here at a level that's appropriate for the area.
The Midgewater Marshes
In the Lord of the Rings, the midgewater marshes were the area the hobbits traveled through upon leaving Bree. They were filled with insects that made noises sounding like "Neeker, breeker," so were named Neekerbreekers by Samwise.
The marshes look much like the books describe them: dreary, swampy, and full of bugs and spiders. There are some scattered ruins throughout that are worth exploring and a large ruined building in the center that has a few points of interest, but other than that there isn't much to see here. Make sure to get the deeds for killing neekers and flies, and watch out for the goblins in the southern areas of the marsh. Be especially careful in the southeast. There's a level 15 elite goblin running around that champions will have to kill for their class quest.
The Town of Staddle
Just south of Combe you'll find the village of Staddle. Staddle is a small settlement on the east side of Bree that has a rather large hobbit population. Staddle will likely be the second town you encounter after Archet if you're playing a human, and you'll find a plethora of quests both in the main part of town and also from the hobbits to the East of it.
If you travel south a bit from Staddle, you'll encounter a bandit fort and the southern bit of the Chetwood. There are a few quests that involve this area, including a rather well-known and hated (or loved depending who you talk to) fedex quest that sends between two hobbit lovers literally five or six times.
The Town of Bree
Bree is pretty good-sized city, and it's the hub and focus of Bree-land. You'll often pass through Bree when traveling from one location to another. The city has anything you could want within its walls: taverns, a crafting hall, an auction house, a registrar, and any number of vendors and amenities. There's even a fair number of quests.
If you want to explore one of the other starting towns, the stable master in Bree will let you fast travel to either of them for 1s. Also, if you're having difficulty navigating, don't worry. The map of Bree shows you where all the major points of interest are. Make sure to stop by the Prancing Pony and say hello to Strider.
The Southern Bree-fields
Ironically, there are no western Bree-fields. What you would think would be west are the southern Bree-fields. Other than Adso's camp, there's not a lot to see here. There are a few farms, the hills in the northwest, and a large bandit encampment in the northern part, but after you've done a quest or two you'll likely move along pretty quickly.
The road that travels across this region will eventually lead you to the Shire, so if you're of a mind to go explore the lands of the hobbits, head this way. Don't stray too far from the path, though. The southern Bree-fields are also where you'll find entrances to the Old Forest and the Barrow Downs, both of which are intended for characters in their mid-teens to early twenties.
The Northern Bree-fields
The Northern Bree-fields have a number of quests for characters in their teens, and are probably where you'll encounter your first tier-2 resources if you're a gatherer of any kind. The area is peppered with farms, a work site, rivers, and the occasional ruin. It's a large, open area, and you can quest and gather here in relative peace if you'd like.
If you follow the Greenway (the road) all the way to the north, you'll eventually head into the North Downs. Lower levels should avoid that area because it's intended for mid-twenties characters. You'll also have to travel on the Greenway to get to the eastern Bree-fields.
The Eastern Bree-fields
The eastern Bree-fields are far to the northeast of Bree, and they're a very beautiful and hilly highland area. In their southeastern reaches you'll find the far northern arm of the Chetwood, and in the east you'll find the Nen Harn, a giant and beautiful lake full of islands with snapping turtles and frogs.
There aren't many quests that take you up this way and there isn't a whole lot to do here, but if you're the explorer type you'll definitely want to see the Nen Harn and the giant waterful at its edge. It's absolutely stunning. Turn your graphics all the way up and enjoy the view.
That covers all the major areas of Bree-land, except for the Barrow Downs and Old Forest. Those each deserve their own section, so we'll be tackling them in a different article. I hope you've enjoyed your tour of Bree and have some feel for the lay of the land. Go out and start exploring!
- Cameron "Aelryn" Sorden
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