In Progress Mordor: Udun

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BWOT

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#1
~:~|~:~ MORDOR ~:~|~:~
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SUBPROJECT: Udûn
1B

Sub Project Leader: BWOT
Sub Co-Leader: TBD
Sub Project Staff: TBD

Background lore
Udûn was a depressed valley located in northwestern Mordor. It laid between Cirith Gorgor and the Isenmouthe, and was traversed by large armies of Sauron in times of war.

  • Lore File
Udûn and Carach Angren

  • Middle Earth Atlas Map
1527630633706.png

Introduction
Udûn is one of the few areas of Mordor which is described in the book. The main locations of Morannon, Isenmouthe, and terra-forming will be given out to Designers. For terraforming and the orc tunnel I will be running those with the Multiple Area Meathod (where you start with area 1, complete, move to area 2).There can possibly be a build day for one of the camps inside the vale of Udûn. The main locations I am basing off lore descritptions than that of the book.

The planning is still in development but here is the doc that all planning will go on: Udun: Mordor

Concepts
These are my drawings of some areas:
1527632619500.jpeg

1527632646184.jpeg



Detailed Plan

1530647575821.png

Each of these tasks will be proceeded in this manner:
1. Planning
2.Terraforming
3.Build


- The Black Gate / Morannon: @BWOT
- Isenmouthe: TBD
- Orc Tunnels: TBD
- Man Holds: TBD
- Armories: @BWOT


**Disclaimer: Durthang is not included because Eriol wanted it to be in his section.

A complete excel to do list will be made in the future

Possible commoner/adventurer jobs: Orc Tunnels, Orc Camps, Terra related

**A public thread will come out soon.

Geology
Terrain:
The terrain should not be totally black as that is unrealistic however I feel it should still be dark. Planning to use a lot of dark rocks, and then also having some ash accumulate on the other side Isenmouthe Spurs of the Udun Vale, because those are the wind directions

Wind: The wind itself inside the Udun Vale would probably not be so strong but if there was any it would be going in a circular look clockwise, this will be taken into account for wind erosion on rocks

Water: The water is probably close to non-existent in that area which means there needs to be tanks or something to supply the soldiers and camps. For rain erosion, it is very possible and probably there will be a bit more due to the acidity of the air

Rocks: Probably a majority of it will be Andesite

Vegetation: Close to none, but if any very acidic plants that need close to no water

Lore Related Places
Udun:
The valley behind the Gates of Mordor UdOn was located in the northwestern corner of Mordor, where the Mountains of Shadow met the Ash Mountains, At one end of the valley was the Black Gate across Cirith Gorgon, the Haunted Pass, flanked on either side by the Towers of the Teeth, At the opposite end was the narrow pass called Isenmouthe, which was barred by a fence of pointed iron posts, an earthen wall, and a trench spanned by a narrow bridge, A road ran through Uddn from the Black Gate to Isenmouthe and then branched into two roads to Cirith Ungol and Barad ddr There were many Orc holds, armories, and tunnels in the mountains on either side of Udun. These were used by the troops guarding the Black Gate, The castle of Durthang was on the western side of the valley, and there were other forts and towers on either side of the lsenmouthe.

Morannon: Probably the most iconic places in Udûn, aka the Black Gate. It is the most direct and therefore most fortified entrance into the Dark Realm. Built by the power of the one ring and made from black impenetrable stone, once Sauron's fall it became a Númenorean Garrison to keep the evil of Mordor within. However during the Kin-strife in Gondor, the Nazgûl and orc packs came and reclaimed all for the Dark Lord.

Tower of the Teeth: Gondorians built two watch towers when Sauron fell, but when the Nazgûl came back they corrupted them for the red eye and became Carchost and Narchost.

Carach Angren: The pass in the northwest of Mordor, also called by the Mannish name of the Isenmouthe (both versions of the name mean 'iron jaws'). It was formed where spurs reaching out from the ranges of the Ephel Duath and the Ered Lithui met, leaving only a narrow passage between the Plateau of Gorgoroth and the smaller valley of Udun to the north. As the passage to the Black Gate of the Morannon, Carach Angren was heavily fortified, and both the rocky spurs that overlooked it carried fortresses and watchtowers. Across the passage itself, a wall of earth had been built, and a great ditch had been dug across the opening spanned by a single bridge.

Man holds: Along the western side of Udun were the Man-holds. Sauron also used men out of the East to swell his Dark Armies and so needed to house them as they gathered at the Black Gate. Unlike the orcs which were slaves to Sauron's will the men of Rhun, Harad and Umbar, had made allegiances with the Dark Tower. They expected more than the average orc and so the housing of the men, was some of the best to be found within the Gates of Mordor.

Orc Tunnels: All the hills and rocks about the Morannon were filled with hidden foes, and the shadowy defile beyond was bored and tunneled by teeming broods of evil things. Along the eastern edge of Udun a great host of orcs dwelt, having been tunneled by countless slaves and the great hill-trolls of Mordor. Here Sauron could amass vast armies to protect the Black Gate or send forth to crush the forces of the West. Deep caverns were cut into the rock that could hold and feed countless Uruks and Snaga ready for battle.

Armories of Udûn: In the vale of Udun along the eastern wall, high atop the inner ridge and close to the towers of Carach Angren at the Isenmouthe, stood the Armories of Udun. Built to defend the Gate to the Black Land, the armories held a massive store of weapons and supplies to outfit the huge armies of Mordor. A great forge was built and maintained, which fed an endless stream of metal works to arm the Orcs and Trolls gathering for the final war.

General Concepts
To be finished

Back to Mordor Main Post:
In Progress - Mordor: The Dark Lands
 
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Eriol_Eandur

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#2
Is there a pass over Ephel Duath at Durthang in one of the planning maps? That would be against all lore. The road from Carach Angren is going up to Durthang up in the mountains but there is no pass mentioned in Tolkiens writings. Such a pass would have been VERY importants in the wars of Gondor. Thus Tolkien not mentioning it implies that there is no pass.
Also I was planning to do some major reshaping of terrain between Carach Angren and Durthang to make it matching the description in the books.

I have a few things to add to the project planning:
  • South of Carach Angren the road comming from Morannon split into three roads (not two): One to Barad-dûr to the east. One to Minas Morgul to the south and one to Durthang to the west. All relevant book quotes about Udun are >>here<<.
  • Gondor kin-strife was 1432 to 1448 T.A. The Nazgul came to Mordor only 500 years later in 1980 T.A. and took Minas Ithil in 2000 T.A. where they remaind quiet for more than 400 years before they started to send orcs to attack Ithilien and Osgiliath. Sauron did not return to Mordor before 2951 T. A. less than 70 years before the War of the Ring. Only at that time he declared himself openly and started rebuild Barad-dûr. There is no hint that the Black Gate was build before that time. In opposite the Dagorlad before the Black Gate was a often used Battle Field of Gondor where they fought the people of the east trying to invade Gondor.. That would not have been possible with enemy fortifications at their flank. My conclusion is that the Towers of the Teeth and the Black Gate should be of very different styles. The former were build about 3000 years earlier by the men of Gondor. The later was buld only 70 years ago by Sauron's servants.
 
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Eriol_Eandur

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#3
There was is a discussion on discord I want to preserve, so I copy my posts here:
Eriol Eandur said:
Huh, there are many great pictures created in the movie, but the black gate is really bad.
To be honest I found it just ridiculous when I saw it. It is about 40(sic!!!) meters wide. Such a constructions would need to be made of steel, not stone. Yes I know you will say Sauron can do that. But why should he do that, there is no sense at all in making a 40 meter wide gate to defend a location. It's less defensible than a mighty wall. It's much more expensive. There is no use in having such a gate. All you need is a gate wide enough for a road.
Some may say "but it's epic". Sorry, no, it is not epic at all. To be epic something doesn't needs to be "realistic" in a way that something like that exists in real world but it MUST be credible in a way that it makes any sense.
In contrast the Black Gate is one of the most impressive places in the books with the Towers of Teeth on both sides and it's 3 vast iron doors under a single frowning arch.
Eriol Eandur said:
The Black Gate as well as the Towers of Teeth were destroyed by the earthquake following the destruction of the Ring. "And even as he spoke the earth rocked beneath their feet. ... The earth groaned an quaked. The Towers of Theeth swayed, tottered, and fell down; the mighty rampart crumbled; the Black Gate was hurled in ruin." - The Field of Cormallen
@RubenPieterMark then asked why I think the Black Gate has three doors.
Eriol Eandur said:
I will always imagine the Black Gate as 3 doors as it was like this in the first edition of LotR. The first german translation I read 30 years ago was based on this. Also the map in The Atlas of Middle-earth shows it like that.
Tolkien changed the conception in the second Edition of LotR to a single gate with two swing doors.
No idea why he did so. That concept is much more common and much less interesting :p
He forgot to correct it at some places though. This passage in "The Black Gate Opens" was still in the second Edition and only changed later by Christopher Tolkien. "And thereupon the middle door of the Black Gate was thrown open with great clang, and out of it there came an embassy from the Dark Tower." - The Black Gate Opens
 

RubenPieterMark

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#4
Basically Eriol is against the movie depiction because it contradicts the book's description, while I think the book does not contradict the movie's depiction that much.
Here you can find all the descriptions of the Black Gate in the Lord of the Rings: Henneth Annun - Morannon.
1546973741917.png

Let's analyze the description from the Return of the King.
Across the mouth of the pass, from cliff to cliff, the Dark Lord had built a rampart (='a defensive wall of a castle or walled city, having a broad top with a walkway and typically a stone parapet.') of stone.
The terrain certainly seems to match the book, so does the layout of the gate.
In it there was a single gate of iron, and upon its battlement sentinels paced unceasingly.
So this is obviously the difference between the book and the film: in the film the whole middle section of the wall is the gate; there is no battlement above it.
Beneath the hills on either side the rock was bored into a hundred caves and maggot-holes: there a host of orcs lurked, ready at a signal to issue forth like black ants going to war.
This is a detail that was not added to the movies, probably because it would look too messy on screen. Should of course be no problem on MCME though.
The two vast iron doors of the Black Gate under its frowning arch were fast closed. ...
And thereupon the middle door of the Black Gate was thrown open with a great clang, (...).
The gates in the movie certainly are made from iron.
This passage contradicts itself; first it says there are two doors, then there are three gates, this is because -like Eriol mentioned above- Christopher Tolkien forgot to update some sentences apparently. The last version of the Black Gate however, is that it is one large gate, consisting of two swing doors, like in the movie.

Concluding the factual differences between the movie and the book: in the movie the whole middle wall swings with the gate, while in the book the gate has a battlement which probably does not swing along with the doors.

I'll respond my thoughts to Eriol's thoughts now. The concerns about the realism of such a huge gate were not a big deal, because I think we both agreed that there are other forces that would make such a gate possible than what our realistic senses would guess. The question (by Eriol) is: why build such a large gate, if it is so hard to build and if it is not defensible? I think the answer is: there is no need for a defensible gate. I don't think that Mordor had any threat of a large siege, and if there was one, their strategy would be offensive and not defensive, with their massive manpower. I think that the idea behind a large opening is to be able to very quickly move out very many troops, to reduce the bottleneck of the Ûdun valley. Mordor had many, many troops, which were supposed to be released very quickly.

All in all, in my opinion, there are good points for moving away from the movie version to closely follow the book, and to follow the movies and ignoring the small inconsistencies between the book and movie, but they are small. I think that many players would be disappointed upon seeing a Black Gate not resembling the movie however, and I think that this quite an important factor as well. Sorry for the long post.
 

Eriol_Eandur

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#5
I thought about offensive purpose too, but that would make sense in only one very special situation:
  • If a greatly inferior host stands in front of your gate you'll be able to overwhelm them quickly. Who would expect such a stupid enemy host? :D
However in all other situations:
  • If there is a equal or superior host in front of your gate it's obviously better to stay inside and have a more defensible gate.
  • If there is no imminient battle even a large host would marsh on a road only. Marshing off road is much more exhausting and thus much slower than marching on a road. Thus the gate doesn't need to be wider than the road.
This makes me believe a 40 meter gate is completely implausible.
 

Ardelenia

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#6
Udûn was a depressed valley
Are you talking about the elevation or the mood?
Do I correctly interpret the two slag hills in your lovely drawing as representative, and not the only two?
Also @Eriol_Eandur I'm with you all the way, I also have an old edition that still says three gates.
 

Mattakaaltmerboi

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#7
Is there a pass over Ephel Duath at Durthang in one of the planning maps? That would be against all lore. The road from Carach Angren is going up to Durthang up in the mountains but there is no pass mentioned in Tolkiens writings. Such a pass would have been VERY importants in the wars of Gondor. Thus Tolkien not mentioning it implies that there is no pass.
Also I was planning to do some major reshaping of terrain between Carach Angren and Durthang to make it matching the description in the books.

I have a few things to add to the project planning:
  • South of Carach Angren the road comming from Morannon split into three roads (not two): One to Barad-dûr to the east. One to Minas Morgul to the south and one to Durthang to the west. All relevant book quotes about Udun are >>here<<.
  • Gondor kin-strife was 1432 to 1448 T.A. The Nazgul came to Mordor only 500 years later in 1980 T.A. and took Minas Ithil in 2000 T.A. where they remaind quiet for more than 400 years before they started to send orcs to attack Ithilien and Osgiliath. Sauron did not return to Mordor before 2951 T. A. less than 70 years before the War of the Ring. Only at that time he declared himself openly and started rebuild Barad-dûr. There is no hint that the Black Gate was build before that time. In opposite the Dagorlad before the Black Gate was a often used Battle Field of Gondor where they fought the people of the east trying to invade Gondor.. That would not have been possible with enemy fortifications at their flank. My conclusion is that the Towers of the Teeth and the Black Gate should be of very different styles. The former were build about 3000 years earlier by the men of Gondor. The later was buld only 70 years ago by Sauron's servants.
It would actually be possible to include both ideas from the movie and the book. Let's say we have two very long gates next to eachother opening to Mordor. Then we could have a battlement further along and then finally a smaller gate. This would mean that the two gates would represent the movies rendition and the battlements and third gate would represent Tolkien's description.
 

Eriol_Eandur

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#8
@Mattakaaltmerboi Sorry I don't understand what you suggest. But can it fit with this description from the book?
In it (the battlement) there was a single gate of iron, and upon its battlement sentinels paced unceasingly.
 

Eriol_Eandur

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#9
Do I correctly interpret the two slag hills in your lovely drawing as representative, and not the only two?
The two slag hills are not representative but explicitly mentioned in the book:
The Return of the King - The Black Gate Opens said:
Therefore Aragorn now set the host in such array as could best be contrived; and they were drawn up on two great hills of blasted stone and earth that orcs had piled in years of labour. Before them towards Mordor lay like a moat a great mire of reeking mud and foul-smelling pools.
 

Mattakaaltmerboi

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#10
@Mattakaaltmerboi Sorry I don't understand what you suggest. But can it fit with this description from the book?
What I am saying is that maybe you should combine the concept of the black gate from both the movie and book since some people want to see things from the book and vice versa.
 

Ardelenia

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#11
The two slag hills are not representative but explicitly mentioned in the book:
Thank you for that quote. But there are certainly many other piles of slag alternating with deep pits, with mud and noxious gases in the bottom, which we hear about in The Black Gate is Closed. I guess that might be what BWOT labeled "the desolation." Is it just that these two hills are particularly larger/taller?
 

Eriol_Eandur

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#12
Exactly @Ardelenia:
The Two Towers – The Passage of the Marshes said:
They had come to the desolation that lay before Mordor: The gasping pits and poisonous mounds grew hideously clear. … they came to an almost circular pit, high-banked upon the west. It was cold and dead, and a foul sump of oily many-coloured ooze lay at its bottom …