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The New Notion Club Archives

Vacation in Mordor


The name of no land conjures up more fear than that of Mordor (S: "Black Land" or "Dark Land"). Even Angmar and Mirkwood cannot inspire the dread associated with the barren volcanic plateau of Gorgoroth and the dry reaches of Núrn. Once the home of Sauron, Mordor was now an arid and unfriendly place, overrun with Orcs and other foul creatures.

Other names

The Black Land, The Dark Country, The Dark Land, Land of Shadow, The Nameless Land.


  • Type: Volcanic Plateau.
  • Area: 117.200 square miles.
  • Elevation: average: 3.100 feet; lowest point: Morannon (S: "Black Gate") 850 feet; highest point: Orod Raugbalch (S: "Mighty-demon Mountain") 9.032 feet.
  • Climate: average annual precipitation: 5-20 inches; mean annual temperature: 80-90°F; average low: Girithron 25°F; average high: Ivanneth 120°F.
  • Composition: The entire plateau of Gorgoroth is of volcanic origin, as is most of the land of Nurn to the south. In many places, the furnaces of the earth are still active, filling the air with noxious fumes and occasionally hurling chunks of rock and lava for many miles. Basalt is the most common rock type, giving the region its black appearance. The landscape appears jagged and cracked, the result of powerful volcanic activity and millennia of unchecked erosion.
  • Notes: While Gorgoroth is as dry as death, some vegetation is present in Núrn. Unfortunately, little is known about Núrn, for the last Men of the West to travel there were the scouts of Elendil during the siege of Barad-dur at the end of the Second Age. Old maps depict a great inland sea, which some journals describe as "salty and unpotable." Still, fresh water must exist in Núrn, for Sauron fed his vast armies from foodstuffs produced there. Current expeditions into Gorgoroth never have any pleasant details to report. By all accounts, the plateau is arid, nigged, and Orc-infested. It is a haven for fugitives from Gondorian justice, though surely the gallows would be preferable to a life in Mordor.

Mordor in T.A. 1640-1650

  • Political Organization: Occupied Territory (by Gondor) under military rule.
  • Rulers: Dringir, Captain of Durthang; Veantur, Captain of Cirith Ungol; Dorgilatar, Captain of Cirith Gorgor.
  • Administrative Organization: Gondor's military holds the only legitimate and stable authority in Mordor. Command is divided into three districts, each centered around one of the citadels in the Ephel Duath. This leaves most of Gorgoroth and all of Nurn unadministered (and unoccupied), but the risks are too great to act otherwise.
  • Population: 75,000 Orcs (mainly in Nurn).
  • Military: Durthang: 200 Gondorian soldiers; Cirith Ungol: 100 Gondorian Soldiers; Cirith Gorgor: 300 Gondorian Soldiers; Conquered Host: 11.000 Orc Warriors; 2,170 Uruks; 750 Warg-riders; 100 Trolls.
  • Products: No exports.
  • Symbol: The White Tree of Gondor.

In ages past, according to mournful Elvish songs, Mordor was once a pleasant and verdant land, as fertile as Ithilien, but the eruptions of Orodruin following the creation of the Ruling Ring by Sauron in the middle of the Second Age turned the plain of Gorgoroth into an arid wasteland. The region known as Nurn is not as desolate as Gorgoroth, but the perils of traversing the waste of Orodruin prevents Gondor from exploiting the iron mines and fields around the Sea of Nurn. Orcs hold the area in increasing numbers, and their organization improves (by means of secret orders imposed from Dol Guldur). The scattered tribes have formed themselves into six confederate groups, apparently under the influence of some outside powers. Only the most foolhardy of explorers venture very far from the Gondorian outposts in the region. Not even the army travels deep into the Orc-held lands without a sizeable host. The Gondorian garrisons were established at the request of Isildur, who wished to ensure that the hordes of Mordor would never again trouble the West. However, pressing problems on Gondor's eastern and southern borders caused her gaze to wander away from Mordor. The Orcish population grew, even as the Kings slowly reduced the size of the garrisons to free troops for more immediately ominous campaigns. The Plague further decimated the number of Gondorian soldiers who kept watch on Mordor, for their numbers were not replaced. Contact with the outpost at Carach Angren ended soon after the Plague, and the Captain of Durthang has recommended that evacuation would be the wisest course of action in light of the citadel's precarious position. Mordor became a territory of Gondor after the Downfall of Sauron at the hands of Isildur, but it remains unexploited. The lack of easily obtainable resources cooled most interest in the region, and most Kings were content to leave only a small garrison in the wasteland to keep watch on Sauron's legacy. Raids by Orcs are common, and only in the Dúnadan citadels are Men safe. Travel between the fortresses usually occurs in large and well-guarded caravans. Garrison duty in Mordor is an assignment most soldiers are loath to pull. More attractive is the garrison at Minas Ithil, where a soldier can campaign against Orcs for one week and relax in the city for another. Terror keeps most casual visitors out of Mordor, and the lack of easily available resources keeps most serious investors at bay. The ruins of Barad-dûr remain undisturbed since the fall of Gil-galad and Elendil, but there are none with the courage to brave an extended expedition into Gorgoroth. King Tarondor would seriously consider subsidies for settlement in Mordor if he could be convinced that the parties concerned were well-armed, well funded, and determined. He has received no such offers, however. Instead, his advisors counsel him to abandon his citadels in Mordor, for they provide no useful function to the kingdom in a time of great crisis. Were Gondor to intensify her operations in Mordor, however, the King would eventually notice that the increase in Orc population is not a result of ordinary growth, but of a constant inflow of reinforcements from Dol Guldur in southern Mirkwood. The Orcs travel in secret, using hidden tunnels to bypass the watchful eyes of the Gondorian garrisons. They have orders to prepare Mordor for the return of its master, and they busy themselves out of the eyes of the garrisons, building cavern complexes and infernal machines of war. A number of the Nazgûl have arrived secretly in Mordor to direct them in their tasks. Their presence is not suspected even by the Wise, for Sauron has no desire to reveal himself openly before his agents find the Ring.

Regions and Bodies of Water

Agarnaith Arandor Batakh Inâ Baugatsor-i-Sauron Caranduin (Mordor) Ceber Dúath Chain of Blades Chaydash Cirith Dúath Cirith Gorgor Cirith Morgûl Cirith Ungol Cracks of Doom Culduin Dath Nethryn Den Núrn Dor Amarth Durthang-Spur Ephel Dúath Ered Angûrath Ered Lithui Eregwath Forest of Carnan Gaer Dûrlith Ghâshghurm Ghurzun Gorgoroth Grip of Sauron Grishbalt Gurthrant (Dûaduin) Gwathiraug Haidh-i-Naug Huk Saromis Hutel-Hara Sands Imlad Morgûl Lhingris Lithlad Maegond Spur Mesha Omûr Mithram Spur Mokál Rukh Morgai Nargil River Naur Trench Núrn Núrnen Orodruin Orodruin's Western Foothills Parth Daenarth Perth Ulmyn Ruinen Sirilith Talath Úrui Udûn
Borderlands: Dagorlad Dead Marshes March of Caradhram Nan Girith Teshgol Boundary

Settlements and Places of Interest

Adambel Adzamon Agarnaith Camp Akûlug Amon Amarth Amon Darthir Amon Fuin Amon Gorgor Amon Rûth Amon Thaur Amondhol Angathrai Anglach Angûrath Antimony Mines Ash Watch Ashronk Barad Ungol Barad-dur Barad Feren Bar-Lithryn Barad Núrn Barad Othnir Barad Perras Barad Silme Barad-wath Barad Wethrin Bardúath Barthost Barrows of Mordor Baur Kasak  Bhol Rûdh Black Hand Fortress Blozronk Burkh Núrn Bûth Ovaisa Carach Angren Caragor's Cave Caran Carndil Carvarad Carchost Cirith Dúath Cirith Gorgor Cirith Helkond Cirith Núrn Copper Mines Court of Horror Cracks of Doom Dar-ghûrum Dâr Mauzur Den Núrn Dimrost Díngarth Dol Naeg Dragon's Lair Durthang Eastern Guard Echan-in-Edhil Ennyn Ûr Faltor Gâm Fennas Gost Fire Mountain Fort Morn Fushaum Bal Fushaum Tûm Gakhronk Garmagoum Gelebrin Ghâshgôr Gold Mine Gorneihal The Gorthaur Grop Kodar Gûldag Hallorn Hallras Hightower Iant Angos Iant Ruin Ironmine Kaalezh Kal Nargil Kala-gijak Kâm Lagúrz Kála-murg Katund Akûl Kermandûr Khargukôr Kra-Búrzum Krulronk Kûl Tarkorûl Kurvasagh Lag-Angren Lag-Dagûr Lag-Digturmarr Lag-Fhauga Lag-Flaksharbtur Lag-Ghurzûn Lag-Hundur Lag-Kirithgal Lag-Konzi Lag-Lithlad Lag-Mayakûl Lag-Malmabuz Lag-Scara Lag-Shermat Lag-Uyakdagûl Lag-Ûlurikon Lag-Vrasfhotak Lag-Zayarzot Lair of the Gloom-lord Lhugdol Linnica Lug Ghurzûn Lugarlûr Lûghash Luglûrak Lugshar Lugvarg Magh Ashtu Magh Groth Magh Hátur Magh Nûl Magh Urro Magh Vadok Marmaegon Matum Graz Maudhúl Ghûg Maudhúl Târ Maudhúl Vôr Minas Dûrlith Minas Morgûl Mokh Darga Mokh Shapat Morannon Mordath Morgoth's Scar Morigost Mormaegon Mornaur Murvarg Naerband Narchost Nargroth Nauronk Nebûrkha Nehirin Nelegroth Núrnen Fishery Núrngost Núrumurl Iol Shale Mines Oraishapek's Mound Orduga Aivaisa Orod Raugbalch Orodir Ostigurth Outcast Camp Ram Raedas Rath Cail Rauveleg Rhûd Vorn Rog Angren Rogkalúr Rûl Rustrond Samkara Sammath Naur Sárronk Seregost Sharkburz Sharmat-Dûr Shindrâm Silent Haunt Strand of Fire Sturlurtsa Núrn Teshgol Camp Thaurband Thorzhaf Tir Bannor Tir Obel Tissen Torech Ungol Tower of the Mouth Udûn Foothold Urlurtsu Núrn Uruk's Hollow Vaarfest Virk Ulgath Viznak's Hideout Zagronk Zarôk Ioriag


Caran Road Demon Road Devilish Cross Doom Road Fell Road Ghâsh Road (Sauron's Road) Great East Road (Mordor) Khand Road Moroth Road Mulburz Road Nargroth Road Núrn Road Seregost Road Sirilith Road Southward Road Thaur Road Tribute Road


Orcs: Gusmûras Lesser Orcs Uruk-Hai

Trolls: Cave Trolls Graugs Hill Trolls Olog-Hai Stone Trolls

Animals: Angusaiweli Ants Ash-claws Axebeaks Battle-Cats Beaded Lizards Black Erbain Black Goats Black Lizards Black swans blod-slug Bog spiderlings Bugs Burrowers Caragath Caragors Carrion-flies Cave-bears Cave Lions cliff-bats Cliff buzzards Death shrews Deep-claws Deer dire-horns Dire Wolves Ducks Eagles Ebon-serpents Echo-hawks Falcons Fell Fowl Finches fire-crawlers flame-tongue Salamanders Flyers of Mordor Gnats Gore-Crows Gorgoroth-Crawlers Gorgoroth toads Gorgoroth Wormlings Great Bats Great Beasts Grey wolves Grodbogs Ground bees Gûlscaru hill-breakers large wading birds leeches lesser Hell-Hawks Hornets Locusts of mordor Mabelmaikli maggots midges mole-rats Mordor-Bats Mordorian Cat Mordor Cattle Mordor Horses Mordor Rats Mordor salamanders Morgai Bees Morgai flies Morgûl Bats Morgul Spiders Morungol Mules Mungos Norbogs plague-flies plague-rats plateau-avancs rift-crawlers Rock Vipers Ruins-bats Mordor Scorpions slag-slugs Slugs Snakes Sparrows Spawners Spiders stone-shells Stone-splitters Sulokil swamp-boars swamp-serpents Toads toxic froglings tree-rats Udun-bugs ungol-maggots ungol-preys vale-crawlers venomed serpents War-wolves web-crawlers Winanbar Zûrmi Cats

Monsters: Ash drakes bog-lurkers Caerogath Cave-Worms Fell-beasts fell spirits fire-drakes fire Grim flame-spirits flame-worms Giant Spiders Glamors Huorns Morroval rock-worms Rogmuls shadow grim shadow roots Wargs

Undead: Banner-wights Barrow-Wights Darkwaters elf-wights Ghashgurm fell spirits Flames Ghosts Ghouls Ghûls Groping Dead Gúrzyul Shades Skeletons Specters tower-spirits wandering-glooms Werewolves Zuzarhî

Other: Awakened Trees


Alfirin Athelas Azuradan Bleeding saplings Blight Mushrooms Blue Milk Brambles of Mordor Carandôl Earthbread Elgaran Eregwath-wort Galenas Gorgoroth Cactus Gorgoroth Nettles grey grass Gwînuial Hithlas Lothrond low scrubby trees Mallos Mordor briars Morgai Thorns Morgûl-Moss Morthond mosses Naugrimbas Niphredil Núrn-Trees Orchamarth piked Shrubs Pungent flowers Remmenthond spewing mushrooms Thorny vine Weeping reeds


Men: Alashi Donaen Donan Edain-i-Morgûl Outcasts of Udûn Guruthal Urgurnk Khundolar Nurnhoth Odhriags Rangers of the Black Gate Nêbh Rûdh (Red Sky Clan) SuhalarThandrim Variags


before T.A. 1640
Drepa-Hai Duruk-Burniz Goth-Skrigurz Halraendir (or Homhurzig) Rumarzgi Scara-Hai (or orcs of the green claw) Skugga-Strigz Snagaghash Snaga-Ong Thrakognir Urgdug Uruk-Burzrik Uruk-Ghashavir Uruk-Guniga Uruk-Ongrum Uruk-Rakshi Uruk-Snarka
T.A. 1540 - 1975; T.A. 2002 - 2460
Dâgûlhî Dark-Tribe Feral-tribe Machine-Tribe Marauder-tribe Mystic-Tribe Outlaw-Tribe Skuggák-Hai Slaughter-Tribe Terror-Tribe Under-folk Uruk-Burzmal Uruk-Hrizg Uruk-Morgûl Uruk-Rafshat Uruk-Udûn Uruk-Zôkon Warmonger-Tribe
T.A. 2460 - 3019
Bloodless Durghaz-nar Fushaum Ghash-Hai Gorgoroth-Orcs Kala-gijak Lithlad Orcs Lugvarg Morannon Orcs Morgul Orcs Núrn Orcs shadow clan Shakfut Stained Udûn Orcs Ungol-Orcs Zhavar-Hai
Núrnish Orcs:
Gorugoltur Jarnkakog Samundlugûth

Others: Mornaugrim: Firehorn Dwarves Stout-axe Dwarves


Black Council Black Guard of Barad-dûr Chosen Order of the Eye Dauma Gúrzyul Vat-keeper Guild


Bal-gûjâb Black Speech Daumaprap Haradaic Jûgflas Lufûsflas Nî-gûjâb Varadja


Ainur: Balchiar Borangos Blood-blade Carnán Carrog Gaurhir Gorkasak Guinfirin Khílnat Kulgrú Lairathin Lhaereth Nakhtsum Ruthragon Sauron Shakrum Shelob Sudden whelmer Tar Goroth Zaghar Shar Zaken

Dwarves: Dreri Eitur Freki Grarnath Gorvin Nath Slarnur Spakorth Stethi Sversting Threlin Torvin Vaskmun Greytooth Zedrokk

Elves: Celebrimbor Celedhring Hendolen Thelaron

Men: Abdahkil Abrazaphel Aganbar Angûlion Aram Asgon Ashburgnul Ayorzén Azra Ballath Gondil Black Hand Ciryaher Crúmgam Crúmgraru Daurazar Dírhael Effern Elvir Eryn Frolum Golodhros Halgon Hallas The Hammer  Herumor Hirgon Huya Ioreth Kâwon-weni-Khûrs Khirgi Khokali Khopol Khupol Krûsnak Kurtil Lachir Lairathim Lithariel Lomazar Malatuk Márwen Mordú Morgalad Ninko Ortakûl Rabokhor Talion Tarcil Thang Tónn Varthkûr the Tower Turgon Ugrukhôr Ûrîkhôr Ûrzahil Vakalabath Veantur Viddis Viosiol Wulfrun Yadêphal Yordam Zoreth

Orcs: Aarlok Argdush Badzurz Baghrat Baugar Bazghûr Bazk Bâzkû Blan Bolingul Bolvag Brogmaush Brug Bug Bukra Bulmus Burz Craklásh Danghát Daumdorût Dharpush Dror Durzkha Felgrom Fha-Korlash Flug-Dush Gaballol Gaghoth Gartor Gashdrak Gashrûk Gazbag Gazbug Gazgash Gazhorn Gimbrakh Glupronk Goragâsh Gorbag Gorbug Gordmúl Gorlúk Gorshag Gorûl Gorzag Gothmog Gradragh Graimael Granesh Grarbag Grishnákh Grobag Grongut Grushat Gugru Guritz Holdor Kardush Karg Khur Krag Kralshanack Krúrglok Kumai Lagduf Laglug Lagrad Lazdrag Leegrash Lob-Zagh Luftak Lugbol Lughak Lughorn Lugor Lúksu Lurd Lurz Malkon Maúl Maukatish Maushak Mauthak Moog Mornok Mozgog Mudbag Murgash Muzgash Muzlun Nagrad Nagzag Narg Narghásh Nazhdrag Nazog Nog Nugrat Nûzu Ongdragh Orthog Párgrub Poka Práguk Pugraft Radbug Radlag Radnag Rashkûk Raskal Ratbag Róglarg Rhukskâ Sárnazt Shag-rurz Shagram Shagrat Shardul Sharuk Shaturro silent one Skargnakh Sharuk Shíkurz Shukhúr Snaga Tarburz Thak Thauk Tug Tzerlag Uklurg Ironfangs Ufluk Ufthak Ulurilz Urgai Urzot Ushkbal Uthlug Utsar Uunk Virsh Viznak Yizrag Yod Zaboth Zagmuz

Trolls: Araudâgûl Azgûrath Baltab Bolvag Buktavul Bulrakur Gorzum Gothmog Grakoraz Gûrthlug Khoshug Kruxtôgg Mollock Nughorg Rogrog Sapakar Sharlag Shogmog Thorako Thormurg Tormog Ulkaur Urulok Uthmag Zhólug

Undead: Angûlion Ard Ashburgnul Bawâbnaru Dwâr Grangath Guarthoth Hôarmûrath Indûr Khamûl Khôrahil Kathanul Krassa-phursa Krusnak Lugbol Ren the Unclean Sorthog Tindomûl Ulurgroth Urudanî Stonemaiden Ûvathar

Other: Gamnakur Gristlebite Irongrasp Murgzot Nuzdum rotwing Saernaston Spitpyre Wûran


  • MERP: Gorgoroth
  • MERP: Middle-earth Adventure Guidebook II
  • MERP: Middle-earth Campaign Guide
  • MERP: Northwestern Middle-earth Campaign Atlas
  • MERP: Teeth of Mordor
  • MERP: The Tower of Cirith Ungol and Shelob’s Lair
  • Wiki (archived, latest available)