Medieval Armies DBA Page

Orc Army Page

DBA 2.0 Army Listings for the
War of the Ring

By David Kuijt
with thanks and appreciation to Luke Ueda-Sarson

DBA Armies of the Bad Guys

Mordor
Harad
Orthanc
Easterling
Misty Mountain Goblins
DBA Armies of the Good Guys

Gondor
Rohan
Dale
Elves of Mirkwood
Elves of Lorien
Khazad (Dwarves)
Scenarios

Battle of the Pelennor Fields

This page focusses on DBA armies for my favorite fantasy armies and period of interest, Tolkein and the War of the Ring. I use DBA instead of its fantasy variant, HOTT, because I prefer the element types of DBA and a more Tolkeinesque environment where magic is rare, subtle, and not a form of artillery. Almost all types of military forces in the War of the Ring can be classed easily in DBA element types, with very few exceptions. Those few exceptions can best be handled with scenario-specific special rules (e.g., the morale effects of the Nazgul on enemy troops; Eowyn's slaying of the Witch-King).

I'd like to express my appreciation for the work of Luke Ueda-Sarson in his excellent page on DBM/DBA for Middle Earth. My original lists were based upon his, although more focussed on the period around the War of the Ring rather than all of Tolkein's history of Middle Earth. After DBA 2.0 came out I modified these lists still further to take advantage of the improvements in element types, aggression, terrain, and other things.

Some DBA 2.0 Element Types in Middle Earth

Special Element Types

Trolls - huge trolls were perhaps the most ferocious and terrible forces Mordor possessed. In DBA terms trolls are classed as Elephants. This suits the difficulty of controlling them as well as their combat abilities. A Troll element should have three or four troll figures mounted on a 40mm square base (assuming 15mm scale); in the army lists below these elements are abbreviated "4Tr".

Warg-mounted Orcs - wargs were large, fierce, intelligent and vicious wolves; they often served as mounts for goblins in addition to fighting for themselves. In DBA 2.0 Wargs are best represented as Light Horse, with one additional rule. In DBA 2.0 in the terrain section it says "Dunes and Oasis are bad going except to camels"; to reflect the special abilities of Wargs and Warg-mounted Orcs, use the additional terrain rule that:

Woods and Marsh are bad going except to Wargs

Warg rider cavalry are impetuous. Like Knights or Warband, they follow up one base depth after enemy that retreat, withdraw, or are destroyed. In the army lists below "2Wa" is the abbreviation for Wargs or Warg-riding orcs or goblins.


DBA Armies at the Close of the Third Age

Misty Mountain Goblins - this army represents the various goblin and orc forces arrayed in the Misty Mountains or in the North. Use it for any orc armies not controlled by Orthanc or Mordor.

Mordor - this army represents typical forces of Mordor in its battles against against Gondor and other enemies.

Harad - this is the army of the Haradrim, Gondor's ancient enemy in the South.

Dale - these are the forces of the various human towns to the East of Mirkwood. The spear and bow are town militia; the horde are the poorer town militia and untrained volunteers in desperate times. The auxilia and psiloi are woodsmen.

Orthanc - this is the army of Saruman. It is composed of Dunlendings, orcs, and even some half-orcs. The Dunlending contingent might be better shown as an ally in Big Battle DBA, but it also participated in the battle of Helm's Deep under Saruman's commanders. The 3Cv or 2LH are Dunlending horsemen; the 4Bd are axemen and half-orcs. 3Ax are Dunlending foot with mixed weapons (mostly short spear and small shield); 4Pk are Dunlending foot fighting with longer spears in close formation (much like a Scots Common schiltron).

Mirkwood - these are the forces of the Elf-king in Mirkwood. The 4Bw are better armoured than the 3Bw.

Lorien - these are the forces of Celeborn and Galadriel in Lorien.

Khazad - these are the forces that can be mustered by the various dwarf-lords, notably Dain Ironfoot, King Under the Mountain. The Art is conjectural, but it is unlikely that Mordor and Gondor would have trebuchets and ballistae without the Dwarves having at least similar technology.

Note that the Dwarves have fought the Elves in the past, but not in the Third Age. They have also fought the Rohirrim when the horselords still lived in the North.

Rohan - the horse-lords, allies of Gondor. All Knights may dismount as Spear as normal for the dismounting rules.

Gondor - the bastion of the West against Mordor, and its most bitter enemy.

Easterling - the Easterling listing represents a number of cultures living far east of Eriador.


Scenarios

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields is perhaps the critical military conflict of the Third Age. A rough scenario description is available here


Last modified: October 9, 2006. Several minor changes in army lists; updated all the rules in accord with DBA 2.2.

The author may be contacted at kuijt@umiacs.umd.edu