Much of this material is extrapolated from what Tolkien wrote, as he didn't go into as much depth in detailing it as other areas. Still, the authors do a good job of staying true to the feel of Middle-earth. This fiefdom is a good contrast to Minas Tirith. The princes of Dol Amroth and their subjects have not been exposed to the increasing darkness flowing out of Mordor, which has come to cast a pall over the great bastion of Gondor in the East. There is still hope in Dor-en-Ernil, but if Minas Tirith falls, hope will not long remain.
|Knights of Dol Amroth|
There are layouts and overviews of Dol Amroth, home of some of Gondor's mightiest knights; the elf port of Edhellond; Linhir, a Gondorian port; a coastal tower; and a Dunlending mountain village. A rundown of Dunadan culture is included, as well as character studies of various Gondorian and elven characters.
The ecology and climate is discussed, and random encounter charts are included, as is true of all Middle-earth Roleplaying game books. Naturally enough, given its location, this region has a lot of sea-based encounters, from manta rays to pirates. Inland, bandits and smugglers trouble travelers, while patrols seek to keep the roads safe - and I would imagine doing a good job, given that this is one of the safest, most stable areas in Middle-earth.
These books are generally well-detailed, giving a gamemaster a lot of material to work with in creating a believable backdrop for adventures, and this book is no exception. If court intrigue and chivalry are of interest to one's players, this would make a good addition to one's gaming library. Perfect for a Middle-earth-based game, with a bit of work the information could be used for other settings and games, too, if one is so inclined.
Peter Fenlon's maps are once again phenomenal. These are some of his most detailed and beautiful. Towers, cities, harbors, and countryside are all uniformly good and evocative.
|The Belfalas region of Gondor; Dol Amroth and Edhellond lie near to each other in the central Western portion of the map, which I had to scan in two parts.|
Now, the ships.
Havens of Gondor covers what may be the last unsullied realm of Men in Middle-earth. As such, it may be the last place where a glimpse of fallen Numenor can be had, or at least an echo of that mighty culture. This has some fascinating potential for players to have their characters delve into a place where time has stood almost as still as in the immortal lands of Lorien or Rivendell.
|They may appear effete, but they have yet to truly pass into decadence in Dol Amroth.|
|Loremasters in Dol Amroth still study teachings of the Elves.|
|An Elven swan-ship from Edhellond, underway to the West...whether just a visit to the Grey Havens, or to the Blessed Lands themselves, who can say?|
|The Sea-Ward Tower of Dol Amroth.|
But what if Sauron didn't fall? What if Minas Tirith was overwhelmed? Then Dor-en-Ernil would be left to stave off the forces of Mordor. It would be doomed, of course, but it would be the site of a last desperate struggle. This could make for a memorable game campaign, as the player's characters fight a hopeless battle, with Sauron's armies rolling West until they reach the Sea.
Havens of Gondor is a pivotal place in Middle-earth, full of potential. It's a bastion of good, a home to heroes. It seems deceptively placid, but stands poised to help rekindle a great civilization to the North and South, and rebuild in the East. This would be a great base for adventurers, and is a good example to show them of what can be lost should Sauron's plans come to fruition.