The River Hobbits of LOTRO

LOTRO River Hobbits - the Lore behind them, how to Unlock them, River-folk bundles and Cosmetics and more.

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?

River Hobbits are “the last of their kind” and appear to be descended from the Stoors. These “River Hobbits” have adapted to their mountain home, becoming “more agile and nimble than their cousins”.

Place of Origin

Unlike 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 Lore

Because 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 Names

An alternative name for them is, apparently, River-folkExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab). 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 Water

Now, 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.


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

This race is not a ‘reskinned Hobbit’. It’s actually a downsized Race of Man. They used to have the human emotes as well, but that was silently changed to Hobbit ones. I preferred the human ones for my River Hobbit, so I was a bit sad when that happened.

By that I mean the “Race of Man”. Tolkien GatewayExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) 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.


If 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. Link (Opens in New Window/Tab)

Further Reading

I 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. TolkienExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab). So you can’t go far wrong.

You Say Holbytla, I Say Hobbit

Although Update 37External Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) is called the “Humble Homes of the Holbytlan“, that name was not reserved solely for this group of Halflings.

Holbytla (where Holbytlan is plural) is actually a word from Rohan culture and literally means “hole builders”, with the race itself being something of a myth or legend(Ref).

Another translation yields “hole-dweller”. In either case, the Common Speech/Westron is rendered “Hobbit”.

Character Creator

There are various aspects worthy of note in creating your new River Hobbit:

Any Class (That Make Sense)

You can be any LOTRO 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

Be Creative!

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.

Height Slider

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 Hairstyles

After 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.

Bregoleth in Before the Shadow has leaves woven into her hair, and some LOTRO mounts have flowers in their manes (e.g. Steed of Entwining Blossoms, Shire Holly Steed).

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 Hairstyles

I 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 Quest

As 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

This option will only be available to you if you have, in fact, purchased the Before the Shadow expansion. How frustratingly logical!

With this option, you’ll get the introduction all characters of any race have starting before the attack on Mossward.

Shadows of Angmar

If you select this option – or have no choice but to choose it – then you will be transported to the unique starter for River Hobbits.

This takes place in Lyndelby where you are telling everyone you intend to leave for your adventures now.

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 Quest

If you don't want spoilers then skip to the next section.

The 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:

Are You Leaving? See You Later!

As you port in, you have made the decision to leave the village for good. Dun-dun-duuuuuun. Not that some believe the “she’s leaving the village” line:

Anyway, apparently, people knew the day would come but some wished it wouldn’t.

You have to tell Grandmother Maddy about your plans. Apparently, she’s “kind of a big deal” about these parts.

From Frogs to Goblins. Frog-Goblins?

But you can’t just leave, you have to say goodbye to your friends and neighbours first. Otherwise “it wouldn’t be proper”, so says Grandmother Maddy. Fair enough.

As you’re saying your farewells, one local wants you to say goodbye to his pet frog. Only said frog is nowhere to be found. Eventually you hear him up a small hillock facing off some goblins who quite fancy making your valley their home.

Their marketing manager thinks “Goblin Valley” sounds great. “Goblin Town” was taken, after all.

Equipped With Naff Weapon by Eagle

Just as the goblins prepare to attack to clear out the locals, they’re all knocked out by a giant Eagle. Turns out this Eagle is well known to the locals.

But the Eagle noticed you saying goodbye to folks, warns you about the big world and bids you take a pretty shoddy weapon out of the goblins’ sack to prepare you for your big adventure. If you expected a better weapon, it was a goblin’s sack, so that’s why.

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.

Holbytlan Cosmetics

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.

Quest Rewards

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!

Find Fridolin

Look for Fridolin Took who has Quest (Normal) A Hobbit’s Home from HomeExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab).

Claim Your Cosmetics

You will need to take the taxi to Michel Delving in the Shire to speak with Wil Whitfoot. That costs 5 ×Silver Coin Silver.

Use your milestone skill to return to Mossward.

What these Cosmetics Look Like

The outfit you temporarily wear in the racial introduction is available as a quest reward.

Female River Hobbit
Male River Hobbit

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

It comes with the Greater Bundle and the Superior Bundle

Weapon Aura Of The River Folk Video Cover
Play this video
Weapon Aura Of The River Folk Video Cover

Superior River Hobbit Cosmetics

The 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.

The example used here is Langhár’s Tunic and WaistcoatExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab). But it equally applies to the non-race-specific Tough Jacket of Anórien MercyExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab).

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

Racial Traits

In-Build Traits/Passives

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-WikiExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab) has the calculation of what that looks like at Level 140.

Hardy Holbytlan

Effect: Increased Morale

Seclusion Breeds Suspicion

Effect: Decreased Will

Slippery Like a Fish

Effect: Improved Agility


Effect: +1% Frost Mitigation


Effect: 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

Racial Trait: Guile and Conviction Bonus

Way With Water

Racial Trait: Way With Water


Racial Trait: River-folk

Seen the World

Racial Trait: Seen The World

This trait appears to at least partially mitigate against the Seclusion Breeds Suspicion race trait mentioned earlier.

Virtuous River Hobbit

Racial Trait: Virtuous River Hobbit

Spear and Dagger-damage Bonus

Racial Trait: River Hobbit Spear and Dagger-damage Bonus.

Return to Lyndelby

Racial Trait: Return to Lyndelby

Elusive Catch

Racial Trait: Elusive Catch

Hobbit Silence

Racial Trait: Hobbit Silence

To see which deeds you need to complete, visit the Wiki at: Link (Opens in New Window/Tab)

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 Do

Then you have a choice.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Even if you choose Before the Shadow, there is no reason you cannot also go back to the Shire and complete the Epic there. Why not start the Bingo Boffin story (The Call to AdventureExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab)) at the same time?

No, I Don’t

If 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 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.

Base Bundle

Base River Hobbit Bundle

Price: LOTRO Points 1,595 LOTRO Points

Bundle Includes

  • Account-wide River Hobbit unlock
  • 1 × Character Slot
  • Title Title: River-rafter

Greater Bundle

Greater River Hobbit Bundle

Price: LOTRO Points 2,995 LOTRO Points

Bundle Includes

  • Account-wide River Hobbit unlock
  • 1 × Character Slot
  • Title Title: River-rafter
  • Title Title: River-dancer
  • Virtue XP × 2,500 Virtue XP
  • Weapon Aura of the River-folk
  • Small selection of River Hobbit-themed housing decorations.

Superior Bundle

Superior River Hobbit Bundle

Price: LOTRO Points 8,995 LOTRO Points

Bundle Includes

  • Account-wide River Hobbit unlock
  • 1 × Character Slot
  • Mithril Coin × 100 Mithril Coins
  • Title Title: River-rafter
  • Title Title: River-dancer
  • Title Title: River-lord *
  • Title Title: River-lady *
  • Virtue XP × 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.

Unlock River Hobbit Without a Bundle

In mid-2024, LOTRO released the River Hobbit onto the LOTRO store, without tying you into purchasing a bundle of goodies.

So, if you search the store, you can find an option called Race: River Hobbit. It only costs LOTRO Points 1,000 but does not come with an extra character slot. So make sure you have one available.

If it helps, character slots are LOTRO Points 595 off-sale. That’s why the “base River Hobbit bundle” is LOTRO Points 1,595 (you also get a bonus account-wide title with the bundle, though).

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.

River-folk Frame

I have slightly upscaled this to try and show it more clearly. Apologies for the fuzziness.

Butterflies (Pet)

Lyndelby Housing

Update 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.

Getting Started

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 BrokerExternal Link (Opens in New Window/Tab).

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.

River Hobbit Decorations on Déco du Milieu

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)

My River Hobbit in the Before the Shadow Epic

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.


My male River Hobbit arrives in the Shire.

I 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!

About the Author

Fibro Jedi
Fibro Jedi

I have been playing MMOs for about ten years and began writing guides to The Lord of the Rings Online in 2017. I've only been creating content about Final Fantasy XIV since 2022, but I am glad for the mix. My current games include LOTRO, FFXIV and the occasional Palia session too.

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