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Before the Shadow

Updated: Jan 10th 2023,

Key notes

  • Class Trait points have been unlinked from Quests & Deeds and will be awarded by mere levelling, from now on.
  • Virtue Cap has been increased from 82 to 84 for level140 players.
  • The new regions added are Swanfleet and Cardolan. I’ll detail below how to reach them if you aren’t creating a new character.
  • “Before the Shadow” offers quests ranging from levels 1 to 32 AND four new Epic Books!
    • The Ranger Meneldir at Mossward, will allow you to pick up the [Prologue, Ch. 1]
    • NEW: There are 2 “Afterword” quests you probably missed
  • There’s 40 new Missions
    • Locations:
    • All of these are currently eligible for the Delving System. Separate blog post for that.
  • If you’d like to play the new starter instance, “Mossward: the Border Village“, you’ll need to do so from the Character Creation screen by selecting the “Before the Shadow” intro. You can also opt in or out of the first time user experience.
  • Both Swanfleet and Cardolan have Trophy-hunter deeds and Treasure Caches deeds.
  • Endgame
    • Both the new 6 man (Sarch Vorn, the Black Grave) and the skirmish (Doom of Caras Gelebren) scale for levels 20 thru 140.
    • New items: off-hands, bracelets, cloaks, necklaces & class-specific essences will drop from the aforementioned runs.
    • They’ll be upgradable with Delving Writs, which in turn come from the Delving System.

A new way of earning the Riding Skill

In Mossward, if you visit the Blacksmith shop, NPC Skardí will have the quest you see featured here.

You don’t need to be a new character to do this. If you’re interested in the steed for your collection, take your completionist characters to grab it!

Regional Guide to Swanfleet & Cardolan

  • If you’re creating a new character, you’ll start in this region, from the village of Mossward.
  • If you aren’t, you can take a Stable-master to Mossward from many other areas without needing discovery (Housing Stable-master seems to have a min. level req. of 50; Celondim, West Bree, Michel Delving, Rivendell, Lhanuch).
  • If you quest in Mossward you’ll receive vector quests that lead you to other towns: Clégur (Prologue & Village in the Sky), Lhan Garan (Envoy NPC) and Tharbad (Eleri NPC).
  • Careful with Alla’s quests: they’re timed!
  • “Learning to fish” in Lhan Garan: the fishing spot you need is near the Hobby-master, further to the right of the NPCs involved in the quest. If no spots in the water are glowing, try leaving the area and running back in.
  • There’s a beautiful decoration item (a map table) as a quest reward – no spoilers: just tend to Lhan Garan NPCs!
  • In Glyn Helyg:
    • [Repairing the Bridges] when you’re asked to get chopped wood, you’re not looking for an item, you need to kill special trees to get them.
    • [The Quickest Way] another timed quest. And it won’t fail if you just disobey the hobbit’s instructions, haha.
  • Trophy-hunters: Cardolan has 9 special mobs to hunt; Swanfleet has 6.
  • Treasure Caches: there are 13 caches in Cardolan; 10 in Swanfleet.

Afterwords I and II

Once you’ve finished the new Epic story you’ll be left at Elrond’s Library. Now, I don’t want to assume whether you’re a new character or not, so I’m just gonna tell you the 2 places you need to revisit to find the Afterwords.

  1. Tornhad (The Angle of Mitheithel)

At the Ranger outpost, find Gorwen at (43S, 24W) and she’ll have a level 32 quest called “In Memory of the Fallen” that gives you a ring & the Before the Shadow Epic Themes Part II music box (housing item).

Quest requirement: you have to have completed “Book 3, Ch. 10: The Spectre of the Grey Fear”.

2. Isengard Depths

This one is trickier since this landscape area is NOT accesible unless your character is undergoing the Prisoner of Isengard phase of the Epic (Vol. III, Book 4, Ch. 18 to 26)

  • If you’re under levelled OR you’ve never completed the Epic chapters mentioned above, Vol. III, Book 4 is going to give you a chance to complete this quest. Egfrith will be labeled as a “forlorn prisoner” and the level 72 quest “Afterword: … and Answers” will be bestowed by an Ill-tempered Uruk. The reward is a teal necklace.
  • If you’ve already completed that segment Epic story, I’ve sad news for you, you won’t be able to talk to Egfrith in Isengard even if you use a Reflecting Pool to appear in the area (nothing spawns) and you can’t be summoned in.

Quest Requirement: Book 2, Ch. 7: Questions

Explorer Deed Maps



Base map is taken from LOTROCompanion. Coords by me.

Note: on "The Ravaging of Cardolan" you'll see the map is missing one item, the Scroll of Luilloth which can only be found if you have the quest "The Deciphered Scroll" underway. The requirement to obtain this quest is to complete "Luilloth, Princess-regent of Cardolan" first, a level 24 quest bestowed by Rhiangar in Herne. Her quest arc starts by Tharbad's stable, though. 


You can exchange Iron Coins of Cardolan at the Quartermaster in Caranost for: Travel Skills, loads and loads of housing decorations, and a cosmetic pet (Friendly Stork)

New Missions

  • Locations: Gerwyn’s Convoy (Andrath), Ruddymore Ruined Gazebo (near Sarn Ford), Clégur, Herne, Tharbad (Stonecrop Encampment), Scurloc Farm, Lhan Garan.
  • The currency is Greyflood Mark, character bound and it caps at 500. There are NO chests inside the missions.
  • The missions rotate, so they are not all available at the same time. Also, some of them seem to be chained in some way. Example: Rhona’s (Tharbad). I’ll try to get specifics later.
  • Deeds: every Delving tier from 1 thru 10 has a deed attached; the killings inside the new missions also count towards landscape slayer deeds.
  • My missions experience during Bullroarer – aka “What you may wanna know before you take them“:
    • Nímbarth: Scout doesn’t spawn after completing the objective – FIX: make sure NO half orc remains alive (there are more than you need for the quest goal, so it may happen). He spawns in the Captain’s platform near a pillar.
    • Almost all the ones with Caranost in the title are quite annoying to do in T10, with Siege of Sírlond being my most disliked.
    • Ruins of Gaervarad: Scout flat out bugged – wouldn’t talk to me no matter what.
    • Sifting thru time: there’s little room to maneuvre between the Delving Stone & the activation point of the instance so it may start before you can slot a gem and you’ll need to reset it to run the Delving version.
    • Tharbad Tower Ascent: mission didn’t complete despite having finished the goal, talked to the Scout AND received my T10 chest.
    • Dangerous Deliveries: The wave of outlaws spawned before I could click on pie #2. If this happen and you kill them, the mission won’t continue and you’ll have to reset it. Second try worked fine. My guess is: there’s a combo of hobbits who spawn to receive the pie that may be causing issues.


You can exchange Greyflood marks for: a Travel Skill to Andrath, Cozy Tabby Cat pet, loads of housing decoration, and scaling gear (boots and bracelets).

Delvings rewards here.

New Skirmish: Doom of Caras Gelebren

This Defensive Skirmish is available to players level 20-140, and can be played Solo, Duo, Small Fellowship, Fellowship, or Raid. It will release together with the expansion, on Nov. 15th.

There’s no discovery deed.

Loot: new off-hands and cloaks with class-specific essence slot; upgradable with Delvings Writs (tooltips in the Delvings blogpost)

Items Loot Table & chances can be found here (not made by me)

There are 14 “fluff” items in the loot table, between decorations, cosmetics & soldier skins

Sarch Vorn, the Black Grave

The 6-player instance will not be released on Nov. 15th but will release a few weeks later. 

Discovery required: Yes.

Go to 37.7S, 52.3W in Cardolan map, follow the path that starts at 38.8S, 51.8W (behind Dol Ernil in Tyrn Gorthad), cross the wooden bridge.

Closest stable is Gerwyn’s convoy (Andrath).

Loot: new off-hands, bracelets and necklaces with class-specific essence slot; upgradable with Delvings Writs.

In solo version you get a companion, but remember to resummon after first boss.

I promise I’ll add more tooltips later on.

New Class-specific Essences

What are they & how do I put my grubby hands on them?

These essences will be usable between levels 140-149. Each class will have 4 to choose from, two that belong in the new cloak special slot (cloak comes from the skirmish) and two that can be slotted in the new necklace (from the 6 man).

From what little I could find, these essences will be dropping at higher tiers from the 6 man instance (Sarch Vorn) and the Skirmish. The drop is split 50-50 between a class appropiate selection box and a random class appropiate essence.

Do you wanna know more?


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