Quoth Findegil: "The Drughu speak contemptuously of the Beffraen, branding them as faithless traitors in the Wars of Beleriand (in the course of which they are said to have been seduced into Morgoth's service). Haladin tradition maintains that, together with the faithful Drúedain, their ancestors drove the Beffraen out of Beleriand, forcing them southward and eastward along the coast of Eriador. This agrees with the testimony of our own loremasters, who report the existence of a "fairly numerous but barbarous fisher-folk … akin in race and speech to the Drúedain of the woods of Anórien" who dwelt "in the marshlands of the mouths of Greyflood and Isen". Haerandir adds that in his own day the Beffraen ranged as far north as the forested cape of Rast Vorn, but that none would dare to set foot south of the Isen for fear of violence at the hands of their Drúg cousins."
In the First Age, one obscure band of the Drúedain became servants of Morgoth and the subjects of one of his experiments. The ancestors of the Beffraen (Dn. "Formers"?), then indistinguishable from other Drúedain, settled around the Midgewater Marshes and the Nîn-in-Eilph (S. "Swanfleet") in Eriador. In the mid First Age, the proto-Beffraen fled southwestwards towards the coasts when several clans of another people, the Edain, migrated into central Eriador over the Misty Mountains. These Drúgs were most likely the original inhabitants of Cardolan. Their descendants were known as the Beffraen, and after the First Age they were restricted to the lands in Eriador between the Baranduin and the lower Gwathir.
These barbaric tribesmen of Enedhwaith known as the Beffraen were close relatives of the Drúedain. However, they had never been friends with the Edain, and had been expelled from their tribe for unorthodox practices. The Beffraen, however, had prospered and multiplied while their kindred diminished, since they were a more fertile group amongst themselves and often raised large families. After ages, the Beffraen had grown taller and more muscular than the Drúedain, undoubtedly the result of intermingling with the local Mebion Bran, with whom they had loose relations.
The Beffraen in T.A. 1640-1650
- Political Organinization: Tribal chiefdoms.
- Rulers: Sherl, the oracle; Maelgym, chief and shaman.
- Administrative Organization: Entirely tribal-based, with elders, chiefs, and holy men wielding various degrees of authority; communal property within a village.
- Population: ~600 Beffraen.
- Military: ~120 Hunters and Scouts.
- Products: No exports.
- Symbol: None.
The Beffraen in Third Age 1640-1650 were descended from the ancient Drúedain, being gifted with night-vision and a somewhat enchanted quality. Some had Mebion Bran blood (the precursors of the Hillmen of eastern Eriador). The Beffraen now lived only in the area around Eryn Vorn and the woods south of the mouth of the Gwathló, though they once inhabited all the coasts of Cardolan. They came into conflict with the Númenóreans before other Eriadorans, and retained a deep hatred for all the Dúnedain. Traditionally, the Beffraen had attacked any outsiders, and were still a menace to storm-tossed sailors. Of late, the leaders of Saerlann had been able to establish contact with the Beffraen and set up some limited co-operation.
The Beffraens' suspicion of foreigners prevented any close scrutiny of their culture. Travellers who survived the perils of the Rast Vorn often found death by means of poisoned Beffraen darts. A Beffraen ambush was nearly impossible to detect, for like all of the Drúedain, the Beffraen could sit absolutely motionless for hours or even days at a time. Needless to say, no trade occurred between the Beffraen and their neighbors. The Cardolani who lived in the area viewed the region with fear and superstition. Few outsiders had even seen a Beffraen, and those that had commonly mistook them for the Undead that haunted the region. The Beffraen were a hunter/fisher/gatherer culture, people with little more than stone-age technology (they had many captured weapons though). Their tribal groups were led by a chief known as a Klag, who may have been either a warrior or a tribal conjurer, though little was known of their organization or language. Beffraen religion was a bitter and grim one, having much to do with the fear of nature and the outside world. The Beffraen had been tainted by their association with Sauron during the Second Age. Because of this, their ability to use magic had been affected and they suffered restrictions to all magical skills. The Beffraen were adept are handling their small hide skiffs, and they must have excelled in the ways of the forest in order to survive the terrors of Eryn Vorn.
- Build: Beffraen generally had a broad, stumpy profile marked by wide, flat features, deep-set eyes, short thick legs, heavy lower bodies, and pronounced brows that helped give them an eerie character – unlike any other men. They had little body hair. Men averaged 185 pounds, females 155 pounds.
- Coloring: Dark hair and eyes with ruddy to sallow complexion.
- Endurance: Average.
- Height: Men averaged 5 feet, women 4’ 7”.
- Lifespan: 40-60 years
- Resistance: Average
- Special Abilities: They had excellent night vision and could see at night as well as they could during the day. The wide noses of the Beffraen gave them an excellent sense of smell: range 100’ upwind, 2000’ downwind, and 500’ in still air, which provided a bonus to perception by scent and tracking. They excelled in the ways of the forest and tended to live in tough environments. They were skilled at foraging.
Slightly larger than their Wose cousins, the Beffraen showed signs of interbreeding with outsiders mostly in their height, which ranged from 4'5" to 5'5". They retained the broad stumpy profile and wide faces of their ancestors. They had little body hair, and males typically shaved all their heads save for a top-knot. Clothing was simple, leather or fur loincloths and robes. Most Beffraen decorated their bodies with large tattoos that made religious statements or related personal and family history.