Post Sections ⇅
- Who Are the River Hobbits in LOTRO?
- You Say Holbytla, I Say Hobbit
- Character Creator
- Racial Introductory Quest
- Holbytlan Cosmetics
- Racial Traits
- Into the Main Epic
- How to Unlock River Hobbits
- The Frame and Butterflies
- Lyndelby Housing
- How I am Going to Play my RHs
- TL;DR Unlock River Hobbits and Start a New Adventure
The River Hobbits are a recently-added playable race in The Lord of the Rings Online, introduced in Update 37. They make their homes East of the Misty Mountains and are attuned to the woods and wood-lore. In this guide I’m going to delve (excuse the digging pun) into the lore behind this race, see the options available to you when creating one and finally look at how to unlock River Hobbits for yourself. I will also touch on their unique cosmetic outfits and the new Lyndelby housing.Get ready to be the one in the village that does not wish to remain hidden away Lyndelby! There’s a lot going on in this update!
Who Are the River Hobbits in LOTRO?
Place of OriginUnlike other races, these halflings only have one place of origin: Misthallow. This places is secluded, but in the same way that the Shire Hobbits dug homes into hillsides, the River Hobbits dig into the sides of the mountains. According to the character creator they are
…known mainly in old tales and songs.And we’ll see that this is a lore-based description too.
River Hobbits in LOTR LoreBecause the books do not really detail this race, it was difficult to define what lore, exactly, underpinned this latest race in The Lord of the Rings Online. But we can put some pieces together.
Other NamesAn alternative name for them is, apparently, River-folk. This explained why it took me some time to find a non-LOTRO reference for “River Hobbit”! I was doubly annoyed at myself because the River Hobbit cosmetics from bundles use the term River-folk. When Angmar’s threat was becoming greater, many Hobbits – including Stoors began to migrate towards Eriador. However, some of them remained in Rhovanion, and would become known as “River-folk” or River-Halflings.
A Love of WaterNow, the Hobbits we know the most about came from other families/clans, like the Harfoots, who did not like water. However, the Stoors used boats and weren’t averse to swimming(Ref). They were also fisher-folk(Ref). And it is from this group that Sméogol, also known as Gollum, descended.
Shoes!The Stoors are known to wear shoes or boots when wading or in muddy conditions. For your own creations, make your own mind up, but if you wanted a lore reason to justify donning the latest fashionable boots, you have one neatly gift-wrapped here!
Closest Appearance to Men
By that I mean the “Race of Man”. Tolkien Gateway quotes the Prologue to The Lord of the Rings here.
What this does mean is that, for LOTRO’s creation of River Hobbits to be criticised for being like “small humans” makes no sense! It is, in fact, written-by-Tolkien lore that they are supposed to be that way.
River-HalflingsIf you’re still struggling to reconcile the River Hobbit with “tiny humans”, then instead see them as “River Halflings”. A Halfling is:
…often depicted as similar to humans except about half as tall, and are not quite as stocky as the similarly sized dwarves.
Further ReadingI highly recommend using Tolkien Gateway’s article above. All references are backed up and are taken from The Lord of the Rings or Unfinished Tales. There is one from The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien. So you can’t go far wrong.
You Say Holbytla, I Say Hobbit
Although Update 37 is called the “Humble Homes of the Holbytlan“, that name was not reserved solely for this group of Halflings.
Another translation yields “hole-dweller”. In either case, the Common Speech/Westron is rendered “Hobbit”.
Character CreatorThere are various aspects worthy of note in creating your new River Hobbit:
All Classes (That Make Sense)You can be any combat class you want to be, except a Beorning. There’s no such thing as a skin-changing Hobbit, unless those Rohan bedtime stories got really weird, really quickly.
All Skin/Hair/Eye Colours
There’s no restrictions on the appearance of your halfling it seems. Given how far they travelled and that the Hobbits went in various directions in their wanderings, you can feel pretty free here.
I made a dirty-tanned, blond young woman and an old, very dark-skinned, white-haired male.
I’ve always felt that height ranges were missing in LOTRO. While dwarves and hobbits were obviously shorter, for other races the only difference was that males were generally taller than females.
With these halflings, however, height ranges exist! And I realised that the tallest setting for a female one meant they were almost as tall as my female Race of Man. There goes the “half a height” thing!
Unique River Hobbit HairstylesAfter the Race of Man, River Hobbits are the only other race to have the new character creation settings. This means you have scope to really take your time and make your Holbytlan your own.
Oh, I Wish I was a Holbytlan With Flowers In My Hair.
One aspect are new hairstyles – many of which feature leaves or small flowers. This is something I hoped LOTRO would do even before River Hobbits were announced.
So I’m glad to see some options coming to playable characters too.
It’s the flowers and leaves that mean some of these hairstyle shots are taken from the side, rather than the front. You’ll see the back and sides of their head more than their face when playing, after all!
Male/Female HairstylesI do sometimes wonder why these are still split. Whether there’s some historical reasons for female Hobbits never having short hair, or male ones never having side pig-tails, or something else, I don’t know. But I have popped them here so you can browse them all. Many would work with either male or female, to be honest!
Racial Introductory QuestAs was the case for Before the Shadow, when you create a River Hobbit, you can choose an introductory storyline.
Which Intro Should I Pick?Your two options are:
Before the Shadow
Shadows of Angmar
If you’ve never done the River Hobbit introduction, then go with Shadows of Angmar on your first run. If you own Before the Shadow, then you miss the attack on Mossward – arriving just too late.
After your first River-halfling, decide which you prefer, to be honest. It’s your character and their story, go “write” it.
River Hobbit Introduction QuestThe introduction is done very well, but I feel it’s exceedingly abrupt. You’ll see what I mean, but I’d also like to point out there are some great humorous moments too. Here is a potted version:
Lastly, Grandmother Maddy gives you a speech about “don’t look back” (or words to that effect) but sternly instructs you to use your freedom to make yourself useful to people you come across. Promising not to be a totally useless wreck, you set off.
Some weeks later you arrive in Mossward and the start of the Epic Questline in LOTRO.
There are two sources of outfits for you. One is available to all players, regardless of which unlock bundle they purchased. The other is in one of those bundles.
Even if you only bought the race on its own and not one of the packs with cosmetics in, you can still get two River Hobbit outfits. This comes in the form of quest rewards.
Whichever introduction you choose, you end up in Mossward. That’s a good thing as the quest we want is there!
What these Cosmetics Look LikeThe outfit you temporarily wear in the racial introduction is available as a quest reward.
Weapon Aura of the River-folk
While many weapon auras sparkle, shine or crackle, the Weapon Aura of the River-folk is so lush, it’s dripping!
I don’t mean that in the currently-used form to mean great, awesome, amazing etc. It literally drips. I had forgotten that I had already made a mini-video of this, so that’s to the right, or below.
How to Get this Weapon Aura
Superior River Hobbit CosmeticsThe Superior Bundle in the LOTRO Store contains two full sets of River-folk cosmetics. While there is a jerkin and trousers set in one, and a dress in another, any character of any body-shape can wear them. Apart from the quest cosmetics, I prefer my River Hobbit lass in the jerkin somehow.
Don’t Use Trouser-less Cosmetics
An outfit design warning here: River Hobbits are taller and their body shapes are somewhat different from other Hobbits in LOTRO. This seems to particularly affect “trouserless” cosmetics, for example, the Beorning starter gear.
Applying such items seems to have the following effects:
- A mismatch between the appearance of the legs and feet, and
- A more obvious join at the back, where the feet join the legs.
Does It Matter?
In one sense, I guess not. But for me, this is a real shame, because I already feel like we do not have enough cosmetics that show character’s legs. I don’t mean that in a creepy sense, but consider Role-Play situations like swimming, or even being in the baking sun during Farmers Faire.
Anyway, a quick “solution” is to use some footwear to hide the foot join
The following aspects of River Hobbits are in effect from the moment you start playing your character. Those that are not a percentage will scale according to your level. LOTRO-Wiki has the calulation of what that looks like at Level 140.
Hardy HolbytlanEffect: Increased Morale
Seclusion Breeds SuspicionEffect: Decreased Will
Slippery Like a FishEffect: Improved Agility
SwimmerEffect: +1% Frost Mitigation
DaggersEffect: You may use daggers regardless of the class you choose.
Earnable Racial Traits
These are the Racial Traits that, by completing specific deeds, you can earn for your River-halfling. As usual, you can earn 9, but only slot 5 at any time.
Guile and Conviction
Way With Water
Seen the World
This trait appears to at least partially mitigate against the Seclusion Breeds Suspicion race trait mentioned earlier.
Virtuous River Hobbit
Spear and Dagger-damage Bonus
Return to Lyndelby
To see which deeds you need to complete, visit the Wiki at: https://lotro-wiki.com/index.php/River_Hobbit#Hobbit_Traits_and_Deeds
Into the Main Epic
There are two stages in how the River Hobbit introduction hooks into the Epic storyline. And it will partly depend on what content you have access to.
Lyndelby to Mossward
Having been told to “go make yourself useful”, sometime after leaving home you encounter the town of Mossward. Outside, Meneldir is fighting off Orcs who have sought to burn the town down. While the flames are raging, you defeat an Orc or two and then chat with Meneldir. Once that is done, you arrive in Mossward after the fires have been put out.
Where to Next?
The answer to this is dependent on whether or not you have Before the Shadow.
Yes, I DoThen you have a choice.
- Play Before the Shadow
You can choose to play through Before the Shadow, including the Epic (and side quests if you wish). When the Epic ends in Cardolan, you rejoin the original Epic in the Lone-lands, via a “vector” quest.
- Play from the Shire
Pick up the quest from the Hobbit in Mossward (you get an outfit from it, so do it!), then get the Mossward stablemaster to Michel Delving.
No, I Don’tIf you have not unlocked Before the Shadow, then River Hobbits still have access to Swanfleet quests, but not the whole BtS Epic questline, nor Cardolan. So, you can do some of your initial levelling from Mossward and around Swanfleet if you want to. Either way, to join the Epic a nearby Hobbit has a quest you can pick up. This will lead you to Michel Delving (take the Mossward Stablemaster) where the original Hobbit-started Epic story begins in the Shire.
How to Unlock River Hobbits
This race is unlocked via the LOTRO Store using LOTRO Points.
It is separate from any other expansions or content, so you can just search the store for “River Hobbit” and you have three package choices. You should be used to that set-up by now!
Note: I have scaled up the LOTRO Store icons to make them display better on larger screens. This has resulted in marginal (and largely unavoidable) differences to the original.
Price: 1,595 LOTRO Points
Price: 2,995 LOTRO Points
Price: 8,995 LOTRO Points
- Account-wide River Hobbit unlock
- 1 × Character Slot
- × 100 Mithril Coins
- Title: River-rafter
- Title: River-dancer
- Title: River-lord *
- Title: River-lady *
- × 20,000 Virtue XP
- 2 × River-folk Cosmetics Outfits
- Weapon Aura of the River-folk
- Butterfly Cosmetic Pet
- River-folk Frame
- Larger selection of River Hobbit-themed housing decorations.
* both titles are delivered to all characters.
The Frame and Butterflies
There’s not much to say about these, as a picture kind of suffices. The Butterflies are pretty but feel ethereal, rather than physical. Hopefully you can see enough from this picture until I get around to doing a mini video.
Lyndelby HousingUpdate 37 also included new Premium Housing – Lyndelby! I have only just started decorating my “small” house (which is not small!), so I don’t have much to show, yet.
I already have one premium property and that’s Rohan Housing, so it’s taking me a while to get around to also doing up my Lyndelby one. Once I think I’ve made my Smial homely enough, I’ll post an update.
I didn’t want to use this guide to go into depth on housing. However, to visit homesteads (Smials) in Lyndelby and to purchase them, find your local Housing Broker.
Wondering whether to purchase using Writs, Mithril Coins or a combination of the two? You may find my Which is Cheaper notes on my Rohan housing post helpful.
River-folk Housing Decorations
When you unlock River Hobbits with either the Greater or Superior bundle, you receive decorations inspired by this race.
And, if you don’t know by now, housing decorations is one thing I do not do here at FJ HQ.
Instead, head over to Déco du Milieu’s dedicated page to see what they look like.
How I am Going to Play my RHs
Being the short-attention-span type, I’m great at starting things and pretty poor at actually finishing them. This tends to reflect in creating more characters in MMOs. Not that any one character is “finished”, given, even on my main, I won’t ever catch up with the latest content!
But new classes and new races make me start new characters. The RP-er in me can’t change the race of a character I already have because my “head canon” is already set. So, when I unlocked River Hobbits I had to figure out how to play them.
Not Another Completionist
It was MassivelyOP’s article on spicing up LOTRO alts that triggered the thought.
So here’s what I decided, based on their prompts.
Minstrel (Epic Only)I haven’t played a Minstrel in years, so I’m relearning it. I’ve also set the landscape difficulty to 2. I know, not exactly challenging, but I’d rather go steadily. She is only doing side-quests to catch up her level to that of the Epic. That way, I won’t get bogged down by the mountain of content.
Farmer/CookI created this one based on MassivelyOP’s “living in the world” suggestion. I’ve never done farming/cooking beyond the early basics, so this is a new challenge for me. There won’t be any questing, unless I feel like doing LOTRO festivals with him.
TL;DR Unlock River Hobbits and Start a New Adventure
I will be upfront and say I was skeptical about how much the new race would add to LOTRO. But after playing for a while, and finding out that they’re pretty well-based on lore, I’m really warming to them. The packages may look pricey, but if you’re VIP you only need a few months of free LOTRO points to unlock the race. And F2Ps can still do LOTRO Deeds to get River Hobbits for free.
If you need a fresh start, then start a River-Halfling. They have the same character creation options as Race of Man, meaning you can make them really detailed. And, whatever you do, remember to enjoy your time in Middle-Earth!