When are each of the skirmishes set?
Once you unlock a skirmish, you can run it at any time. Therefore, you will most likely be stepping out of the normal timeline of the game whenever you run the skirmish.
In addition, you can run a skirmish as often as you wish. While it is likely the Dourhands made more than attempt at taking Gondamon, I suspect they didn’t have a drake handy in each attempt. Other skirmishes (such as The Battle in the Tower) definitely involve unique situations.
While you can run a skirmish any time, it would be interesting to see where each skirmish actually fits within the game’s storyline. Therefore, I will look at each skirmish and see where it fits.
In addition, I will also determine where the skirmish fits within the timeline for Howls of the Wolf. In that series, I may occasionally vary from the order intended by the game designers to make a more coherent story.
Now let’s look at each skirmish (or skirmish cluster) to see where they fit.
Trouble in Tuckborough
While this is the first skirmish many players run (it is one of only two free skirmishes that you can run at level 20), it is currently the final skirmish in the timeline.
The primary clues for the timing come right at the star when the bounder says, “Sharkey’s men have locked the Tooks up inside the Great Smials! It is just before harvest, so the foodstocks are running low!”
Sharkey arrives in the Shire on September 22, which is close to when the harvest would have started. Sharkey would have likely become infamous very quickly, so the skirmish could be set anywhere from late September to mid October (any later would be well into the harvest). As this is the only skirmish set after the destruction of the ring, we can safely place it at the end of our list.
Siege of Gondamon
The storyline in Ered Luin is the earliest in the game. We have no real updates as to what happened there after we perform our various quests. Therefore, this skirmish could technically take place at any point within the game’s timeline. Since the elves and dwarves are working together, I will place it after the incidents in the epic story (as it is the epic story that convinces the elves and dwarves to work together).
For my timeline, I decided to place this skirmish after Stand at Amon Sûl and Survival: Barrow Downs. This was solely for story flow purposes and not due to any real evidence.
Storm on Methedras
The minimum level for this skirmish (20) is strange at best. While Tuckborough is out of synch time wise, that skirmish is at least set in a zone you visit at an early level. Storm on Methedras is in Dunland. In fact, you can see the Tower of Orthanc from some points in the skirmish.
This would be more suitable for a skirmish with a minimum level of 70. This skirmish also feels like the third part of a trilogy (as you meet the skirmish’s boss first in Enedwaith and later in Dunland).
This skirmish is obviously set while you are traveling with the Gray Company. Game wise, this would be just before the first battle of the Fords of Isen, which would place the skirmish one or two days before February 25.
For Howls of the Wolf, I will have to deal with at least one time anomaly no matter what I do. The epic story line implies that the Grey Company gathers after the fellowship leaves the Golden Wood, while logically Galadriel would have sent word to Elrond back in January. My solution is the travel with the Grey Company (and thus running Storm on Methedras) before entering Moria.
For this to work, I need to assume that I arrive in the Golden Wood after the company of the ring depart (otherwise it would require the Grey Company to rest a ridiculously long time in Dunland before entering Rohan). Fortunately, running into the Fellowship is not a necessary element of my story.
Stand at Amon Sûl
This skirmish is set after October 3 (the year prior to Trouble in Tuckborough). This is set by the opening voice over, which refers to a recent fight between Gandalf and the Nine. Since I cannot see the incidents in Book 2 of the epic taking place in less than three days, I presume that you meet Candaith after October 6 (when Aragorn and Frodo are at Weathertop). After we add a few days to allow the orcs to reach the area and set up their defenses, we get a date from mid to late October.
I would set the skirmish itself on the night after we clear Weathertop of the orcs and goblins that were infesting it in Book 2. For my personal time line, I am placing this skirmish second (right after Barrow Downs).
Attack at Dawn
There is little to fix the timing of this skirmish. As there is no mention of Siniath as being in the Grey Company, the skirmish may even be set after the Grey Company sets out. That said, I decided to treat this skirmish as one of the tasks we perform while gathering the Grey Company (even though you are actually sent on a completely different task in the game itself).
Thievery and Mischief
This skirmish is definitely set in early January, as Butterbur states, “…the fight was early in the New Year, after the heavy snow we had.” We know that the skirmish represents the incident described by Butterbur because we witness the death of Mat Heathertoes (one of the victims Butterbur names) during the skirmish.
The voiceover implies that the skirmish takes place after the Gray Company leaves (as the rangers are absent) but I feel that this is too late to fit with Butterbur’s description. Therefore, I will have to assume that the voiceover refers to how much the rangers were scattered by recent incidents.
Defence of the Prancing Pony
This appears to be on the same day (or the day after) Thievery and Mischief.
The Icy Crevasse
This is obviously a winter skirmish, though I cannot narrow the intended timeline past that. I chose to set this skirmish while gathering the rangers for the same reason I set Attacks at Dawn during that time.
Ford of Bruinen
Since no one mentions an attack against the Ford while the company was resting there, this skirmish is likely set at some point between the departure of the Fellowship and the departure of the Grey Company.
I decided to place this skirmish while the Fellowship was in Moria. The enemy likely believes that the ring is still in Rivendell and would have made some attempt to cross the Ford and search for the valley.
Survival: Barrow Downs
There are no clues as to the timing of this skirmish. Therefore, I decided to place this skirmish first in my timeline. Yes, it is the last purchased skirmish to become available but we need a local skirmish early in our story.
Moria Battle Skirmishes
These three skirmishes are set in close succession. We know that this has to be before February 15 (when you arrive in the Golden Wood). The most likely timing is February 13.
As I explained earlier, in my own timeline, I will be setting this a little bit later than the game intends. I need to be in Mirkwood before the breaking of the fellowship (we know that the battle in Mirkwood is already underway them from Frodo’s view on the Seat of Seeing), so February 20 would be a reasonable date for the battles in Moria.
These five skirmishes are part of the epic story line and are in close succession. We know that they have to be set after the Fellowship leaves the Golden Wood on February 17. In the game timeline, you have to be through with the operation and in Dunland with the Grey Company by February 25. How’s that for a tight timeline?
This is why I decided to adjust the order of Moria/Mirkwood and Dunland for my personal timeline. Since there are currently no skirmishes set in Rohan, my only time constraint is that I start the Mirkwood series before Frodo reached Amon Hen. As I am setting the Moria skirmishes on February 20, we can set Dannenglor on February 24 and the remainder on February 26.
Below is the order in which the various skirmishes will appear in Howls of the Wolf. As noted before, this is not intended to duplicate the order intended by Turbine. How well will this timeline hold up with the release of future skirmishes? Only time will tell.
- Survival: Barrow Downs
- Stand at Amon Sûl
- Siege of Gondamon
- Thievery and Mischief
- Defence of the Prancing Pony
- Ford of Bruinen
- Attack at Dawn
- The Icy Crevasse
- Rescue at Nûrz Ghâshu
- Storm on Methedras
- Battle of the Deep-Way
- Battle of the Way of Smiths
- Battle of the Twenty-first Hall
- Strike against Dannenglor
- Protectors of Thangúlhad
- Breaching the Necromancer’s Gate
- Assault on the Ringwraiths’ Lair
- Battle in the Tower
- Trouble in Tuckborough
Until next time, may your shield protect you and your spear never break,