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Monster Play

Guide to LOTRO Monsterplay (PvP)

1) What is Monsterplay? Monsterplay is player-versus-player (PvP) combat in Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO), but playing on the evil side (creeps) as an Orc, Uruk, Warg or Spider. You fight against the Free Peoples (freeps). It is restricted to one area, the Ettenmoors, which is located north of Rivendell and only reachable by a stable ride. It differs from PvE (player-versus-environment) in the fact that it is not-scripted, so there is a lot of unexpected action. I like to think of it as what roleplay is for people who like stories, but then for players who like ingame action/fighting - this is where you decide the combat plot.

2) What is the difference between playing on freepside and creepside? Playing freepside is advised at the endgame level (lvl 85). Access to The Ettenmoors is restricted to characters with lvl 80 and up and you have to play with a subscription (VIP status) to be able to enter freepside. You take all you hard earned PvE equipment along, together with all your skills, traits and so on - so if you want, you can start Ettenmoors gameplay rather equipped. As a freep you get to experience the non-scripted combat and you earn renown points by killing creep player characters. If you gain enough renown points, you advance in rank, getting you a new title. At certain ranks, you can buy equipment with commendations (see later), of which the black horse (available at Rank 9 Glory), the PvP armour pieces (which grant you audacity and set skill bonuses, see later) and the ability to buy second age legendary items at R10 are the most wanted.
If you play on creepside: there is actually work to do! You will start as an unranked lvl 85 Monster player, but rather weak
. By making rank, you actually gain strength, morale, power, new skills, new resistances, new traits and even some new items. You make rank by collecting infamy points, which are gained by killing freep player characters, and, since the Rise of Isengard update, also by finishing daily quests. As you make rank and buy the new skills, you will get stronger. You will have to get to rank 5-7 to be able to be a competitive adversary, and at least rank 7+ to be a strong adversary. By killing freeps and completing quests, you can earn commendations (comms), which are used to buy new skills and traits, as well as potions and special items. These commendations were introduced after the Rise of Isengard (RoI) update 7, and they replace the old destiny points system.


3) Choosing a Monsterplay Class

 To start Monsterplay, you have to create a creep character from your LOTRO character screen, by pressing the "Monster Play" button. You need to have a character at at least lvl 10 to do this. If you are a free to play (F2P) player, you will be able to play the reaver for free. If you want to play other classes, you can unlock them via the LOTRO Store. If you have a (lifetime) subcription or when you unlock other classes with Turbine Points in the LOTRO store, you will have the option of creating the following monsters:

1) REAVER (Orc) - Savage, brutal and deadly, the Reaver is at home on the field of battle - and few places else. His swift attacks and ability to dual-wield weaponry make him a formidable foe. When pressed, the Reaver is capable of tapping the strength of his blood to become a frenzied warrior who rains blows on his enemy with frightening speed. Freepside counterpart class: Champion. Primary Role: Melee Damage (Burst) Secondary Role: Damage (Sustained), Debuff


 2) WEAVER (Spider) - Cunning, patient and fearsome, the Weaver's home is not within the heart of the battle, but rahter at its edge, where she can best employ her strengths and shield her weaknesses. With poison, clinging webs and the ability to burrow beneath the ground, the Weaver is a mistress of woe who skulks the fringes of battle. Freepside counterpart class: Loremaster. Primary Role: Crowd Control Secondary Role: Ranged Damage (Over-time), Surprise


3) BLACKARROW (Uruk) - Accurate, vindictive and violent, the Blackarrow employs the bow against foes, striking from behind the front-line warriors of Angmar's army. Employing fire and deadly gifts of shadow from Angmar, the Blackarrow is a potent foe who drives his arrows deep into his targets' midst. Freepside counterpart class: Hunter. Primary Role: Ranged Damage (Burst) Secondary Role: Ranged Damage (Over-time), Crowd Control


4) WARLEADER (Uruk) - On the battlefield, the Warleader shines as an inspiration to his allies. Through mocking, humiliation and force of will, the Warleader can inspire the meekest of troops to greatness. His fearsome shouts augment his strong arm. His shield bashes the face of his opponent, leaving him dazzled for a moment. The warleader stands strong in battle, with enough survivability to crack his whip to the end of the fight. Freepside counterpart class: Captain/Minstrel hybrid Primary Role: Heal (burst), in-combat rez Secondary Role: Tanking, buff, crowd control


5) STALKER (Warg) - At home in a pack or stalking the woods silent and stealthy. the Stalker strikes suddenly and does not offer escape to his foe. Strong jaws, hardened claws and fierce determination drive the Stalker, making him on of the most feared opponents in battle. Freepside counterpart class: Burglar.

Primary Role: Damage (Burst), Stealth/Scout, Surprise Secondary Role: Debuff, Limited Crowd Control


6) DEFILER (Orc) - The Orc Defiler has learned of plagues and venoms, and can put them to use restoring the forces of the Dark Lord or bring low the Free Peoples. Freepside counterpart: healing Runekeeper/debuffing Loremaster hybrid Primary Role: Healing (Heal-over-Time), out-of-combat rez Secondary Role: Debuff, Crowd Control, Ranged damage


As you see, some class characteristics resemble PvE classes, though there certainly are differences. Choose the class you like, you can have 6 monster characters at the same time (not intervening with your PvE character slots). Basically, the only thing you have to configure is a name - there is no option to change appearance in a way that is possible on freepside (except for skins, see later).

4) The World of Ettenmoors Enter the world of Ettenmoors and play! You will spawn in Gramsfoot, which is the creep base. This base is protected by a "Wall of Death", meaning your creep is safe there (no freep can enter the base). Below is explained what Ettenmoors looks like and some common abbreviations are explained.

          Map of Ettenmoors and its settlements


Delving of Fror

                          Map of Delving of Fror and access points

Home Bases

The creep base is in the North-West and is called Gramsfoot ("Grams") and the freep base is Glan Vraig (GV) is located in the South-East; they are no-go areas for the other side.

Conquerable Keeps

There are 3 main keeps, around which most big fights evolve: Tol Ascarnen (TA) on the island in the center; Lugazag (Lug) in the North-West, quite close to Grams; Tirith Rhaw (TR), in the East, quite close to GV.
Next to the 3 keeps there are two minor camps: Lumbercamp (LC) in the South and The Isendeep Mine (Isen or ID) in the North. The three keeps and LC/ID can be conquered by defeating the highest ranked NPC in the location: the Captain-General in freep bases and the Tyrant in creep bases. Ofcourse player characters will aid the NPCs in defending the keeps. If you open the map, you can see which bases are "red" (marked with the eye - owned by creeps) or "blue" (marked with a tree - owned by freeps). Conquering a keep will get you 100 infamy points (if you picked up the quest for it). Furthermore, since the RoR update, your side will earn a +20% infamy bonus for every keep or camp it owns. TR and Lug both have a graveyard (GY) nearby. If someone dies and the keep is controlled by your side, you'll respawn at that nearby graveyard instead of the GY in Gramsfoot (creeps) and Glan Vraig (freeps).

Camps and Relics

Next to the 5 conquerable camps/keeps, there are 4 non-conquerable locations which are important in questing and around which many fights evolve. The two most important ones are Orc Camp (OC), located at west of TR (since RoR update, at old TR graveyard spot), and Elf Camp (EC), located south of Lugazag (since RoR update, at old Lug graveyard spot). Defeating the highest ranked NPC in the enemy camp (EC), First Marshall An, gets you 100 infamy. As of the RoR update, the two bridges of Tol Ascarnen (south bridge (SB) and west bridge (WB)) are not conquerable anymore.

Two other non-conquerable bases are Dar-Gazag (DG), the most westward location which belongs to creeps, and Ost Ringdyr (Ost), the most eastward location which belongs to freeps. DG is important because many quests start from there. Furthermore, both locations can be attacked by the other side. By defeating the Tyrant/Captain General in those locations, you get access to 2 relics. These relics have to be carried to the other side (so from Ost to DG) to earn a buff for all creeps or freeps. You might have noticed a buff icon when playing PvE, earning you 5% extra XP - that one appears if freeps get both relics.

Outposts and Delving of Fror

Next to those locations you have four Outposts (OP) (changed from 5 to 4 with RoR update)- by conquering those outposts by defeating the NPCs, you get 100 infamy. Having an outpost in your possession grants you a bonus in tactical and physical mastery, increasing your damage. Every outpost and EC and OC have entrances to the Delving of Fror (DoF): a huge underground elite NPC Dungeon In this dungeon, spirit stones used to drop - these stones, which could be used to barter for potions and items, were replaced with commendations after RoI Update 7. Since the RoR update, killing the bosses in DoF grants your side a +30% (Rottenroot Huorn and Grodris Drake Matron) or a +40% (Gaergoth the Unbound) infamy gain.

Other quest locations

Two quest locations are Grothum in the North (creep camp, giving quests) and Hoarhallow in the South-West. This is a Hobbit Village in Ettenmoors - by killing NPCs there you can do quests and make money.




5) How to start playing a Creep toon So how to start with your green ring Monster toon? To make progress, you need the PvP currency called commendations. Commendations are automatically earned by killing other players and by completing quests. You will gain infamy points by killing other players. At set amounts of infamy points you will earn a rank. There are 15 ranks in total. As you rank, you will be able to buy more skills, get more defenses, morale and power.
a) Buy new skills with commendations: Improve yourself! You can find the skills at the Monster Player trainer at Gramsfoot. You can already buy new skills at rank 0. You need commendations to buy them.
There are 4 types of skills:

  • active skills: these are combat skills and buffs, comparable to those on your PvE character. You buy them at your class trainer in gramsfoot in exchange for commendations. Another alternative to get your skills is to buy them at the LOTRO store, for Turbine points (300-700 TP/skill). Skills bought at the LOTRO store will not have a rank requirement (e.g. you can buy a R9 skill at R2).
  • passive skills: armour, avoidance, damage, health, power and resistances. Every Rank unlocks new skills.Since the Enedwaith update, all creeps get all former passive skills from rank 1 to 4 at character creation. From rank 5 on, you are able to buy additional passive skills. Passive skills will cost 500-6,000 commendations to upgrade. New after the Rise of Isengard update is the Battefield Promotion passive skill, available from rank 1 and up. It provides additional health, power, damage/healing and finesse. Battlefield promotions are free. Audacity is a passive skill which was introduced with RoI update 7. It will be explained in greater detail below, and its main use is to reduce incoming damage, crowd control duration and power usage. Audacity costs 100 - 6,000 commendations per rank (max 13 ranks, rank 8-13 will cost 6,000 comms per rank).  

passive skills 


The strength of your passive skills is reflected in bars in your character tab.


  • traits: there are 3 types: corruption, class and race traits. Corruption traits determine the build of your toon: for example: trade power for morale, increase damage for health or upgrade resistances. Class traits get you class specific advantages, like cooldowns on skills, extra abilities (e.g. more stealth, greater run speed).  Racial traits are available from rank 5 on. They can be bought at your race specific trait trader. If you are lucky to find a greater sigil of battle, you can trade this one for a high rank skill or one of 5 unique skins. The high ranked skill/trait is also usable at lower levels.

The Monsterplay Trait Window with Corruption, Racial and Class Traits.

  • appearance: the only way to change your looks is to buy a new skin at the monster player trainer. At every rank, you will be able to buy a new skin. Skins will cost 7,500 commendations. There are also 5 unique skins available that can be traded for (greater) sigils of battle. These sigils drop from steel-bound lootboxes, which are rare random drops from NPCs. And when we say rare, we mean rare (some people had to kill >3,000 NPCs to get one drop). These lootboxes can be opened by sturdy steel keys, that are either a rare drop, or which can be bought in the LOTRO store.

SKINS (credit: pictures composed by Odahia)

DEFILER Rank | Sigil | Anniversary (note: sigil missing 2 skins)

WARG Rank |Sigil | Anniversary

WARLEADER Rank | Sigil | Anniversary

BLACKARROW Rank | Sigil | Anniversary

SPIDER Rank | Sigil | Anniversary

REAVER Rank | Sigil | Anniversary

b) Get more commendations: Defeating freeps, healing creeps and questing Buy skills! But... you need commendations to do that. Commendations are a trading currency introduced with RoI update 7, and they are automatically earned when killing freeps and completing quests. Commendations can be earned by defeating freeps. The amount of commendations will depend on several factors: (1) how many players contributed to killing the player (the total amount of comms is distributed), (2) the bonuses (keeps/delving bosses) your side has, (3) the rank difference between you and the defeated freep (you get a small rank multiplier bonus). As of the Riders of Rohan update, healing a player with your defiler or warleader, also gets you a share of the infamy and commendations.

You can also earn commendations by doing the the repeatable Ettens quests. They give you between 10 - 50 commendations per quest. For most quests you need to gather items, like troll stone slabs, hobbit feet, elf ears, dwarf beards etc. The most common starting quests are the "get slug-meat" quests from the slug pits near grams (but beware of slug-pit camping freeps).
c) Be there, quickly: Get your Ettens Maps You will get a one hour cooldown map to Gramsfoot when you start (you will find it in your inventory). You can get a 6-part quest from the Orc in front of the War-Tyrant in grams to get a 1-min cooldown map for grams. This quest ("Gift from the War Tyrant") Involves visiting 6 locations (Grothum, Dar-Gazag, Tol Ascarnen, Lugazag, Tirtih Rhaw and Grimwood Lumber camp). You should complete these as soon as possible.


The second type of maps allow you to travel quickly to locations in Ettenmoors. There are maps to Lugazag, Tol Ascarnen, Tirith Rhaw, Isendeep and Grimwood. You can earn them by completing quests given at that specific location. Inspect your quest log to see which quests are listed under which location. Maps will tremendously increase your mobility over the map, since mapping is the only way of swift travel for creeps - there are no mounts available. There is nothing more frustrating if someone calls out in [/ooc]: "Freeps south bridge TA" or "LC under attack" and you have to walk there.



Map Type Total Quests Required Cooldown Type cooldown
Gramsfoot War-Tyrant deed 1 minute single
Crude 10 30 minutes shared
Poor 25 10 minutes shared
Good 50 05 minutes shared



For crude maps (30m shared map cooldown) you need to finish 10 quests; for poor maps (10 min shared map cooldown) you need to finish 25 quests and for good maps (5 min cooldown, shared between the maps (they used to have independent cooldowns, but this was changed with the Isengard release)) you need 50 quests.

A map of Ettenmoors, with the locations of the crude, poor and good map port sites. Be sure to map to grams before you log off - next time you log, the graveyard (respawn circle) might be in enemy hands!


d) Increase your survivability: Get Audacity. Make money to buy potions and charms Audacity is a passive skill that was introduced with RoI U7 and updated with Riders of Rohan. It will reduce incoming damage (up to 30%), the duration of crowd control (up to 50%) and the power usage of skills (up to 20%). There are 13 ranks of Audacity and every creep starts at R1. You can find your current rank of audacity in your War Tab (options > character panel > The War). Audacity is automatically equipped and it does not take an extra skill slot. You can upgrade your audacity by buying an upgrade at your class trainer for commendations. The first 7 ranks will be relatively cheap (100 - 500 commendations), ranks 8-13 will cost you 6,000 commendations per rank. This high price means most players won't be able to afford the higher ranks of audacity until they have their main skills bought at around R6.

You can increase your survivability by using potions (morale and power) and buff pots.There are also pots to break free from crowd control. The easiest way to gain those, is to buy them for silver coins in Gramsfoot at the Quartermaster. You need money, so you need to earn some coin first. Killing Hobbits in Hoarhallow or other NPCs in ettens, and, since the Rise of Isengard update, the completion of daily quests, give you money. You can also sell items you get from NPCs to the Tarkripper Quartermaster.
There are many items dropping from NPCs in Ettenmoors that are used for quests. The ones that are safe to sell are:

  • All bear items except Morningthaw Hides and Haunches
  • All slug items except Slug meat
  • All fellclaw items
  • Untreated and Exceptional Hides
  • All drake items except for Drake Sinew
  • Darktide drops
  • Hoarhollow Ale

The most important potions you can buy are the anti-stun and anti-root pots, and also the morale- and power regeneration food is useful. Freep player characters have a lot of crowd control going on, and using a pot to free you from e.g. a loremaster stun or a hunter trap is a matter of life and death. There are also tracking charms, which allow you to track (stealthed) freeps in the field. Wargs can buy Hobbit tracking charms, Spiders can buy Dwarf tracking charms, Orcs (Reaver and Defiler) can buy Elven tracking charms and Uruks (Blackarrow and Warleader) can buy Men tracking charms.

Improved versions of morale, power and crowd control release pots can be bought at the NPCs Haz and Nadar, the potion traders. Potions will cost 300 commendations for 5 potions. A very effective way of increasing your survivability, is to buy the + resistance rating, + armour rating and + evade rating pots. They have rank requirements to use (R6+ can use the best versions) and they will last 30 minutes.
e) Go and hunt: joining groups and raids Although many players go solo because of the high amount of infamy gain, the nicest way to experience ettenmoors is coordinated group play. There are raids (up to 24 players). Open raids can be found in the social panel --> grouping --> open groups (tab on bottom!). Select an open raids and click the join button. A join request will be sent to the raid leader.
social panel
There are a few things a raid leader expects when you join a raid:

  1. Be sure to have your audio enabled (options > audio > tick the box at "voice enabled")
  2. Have the Raid Assist Window up (options > combat options > show assist window). The Raid Assist window show the target of the Raid Assist Target (RAT) to the whole raid, so the whole raid can attack the same target. The RAT is the person in the raid who decides who is targeted. You can move around items in the UI of LOTRO by pressing "ctrl"+"".
  3. Follow the raid leader and follow the RAT. Warleaders: wait with your AoE rez when more creeps are dead (some raid leaders like to give a signal when to rez) - why waste it on one dead creep, if you can rez up to 5 creeps?
    A special form of raids are Wargpacks (WP) - these are raids exclusively for stealthed wargs, who do surprise attacks on freeps and who are the terror of the moors if you are caught in the middle of it.

f) Settle in: Search for a creeptribe Tribes are the equivalent of kinships on creepside. Sometimes large kinships have a creeptribe counterpart, which is only accessible to members of that kinship. There are various open creeptribes however. Depending on the profile of the creeptribe, they may require you to have a certain rank or have a certain amount of Ettenmoors maps before you can join.
Most players will use the /OOC chat as the main ettenmoors chat. It is possible to give the chat channels different colors in the options > chats tab.

g) Be stronger: Upgrade your corruption traits and get more health, damage or power.

From rank 1 on, you can buy corruption traits at the Monster trainer in Gramsfoot. You have to equip them (like traits on the freepside) at the Monsterplayer Corruptor. These are the rank 1 versions of the corruption traits, like "Health for Power" rank 1 (+5% extra power for -5% morale). You can get the rank 2 versions of these corruption traits (e.g. applying +10% extra power/morale for -5% morale/power) at Krur, the Core Corruptions Trader in Gramsfoot. You will need commendations to buy them.

These advanced traits allow you to e.g. increase your morale pool by 25% (by equipping power for health R2 + damage for health R2 + power for health R1). Please note that you need not to equip the R1 version of the corruption to be able to equip the R2 corruption. You can find examples of corruption builds in class specific guides (below).

h) Additional class information

A guide to the Warleader (updated for RoR U10)


6) Advanced creeping: Useful information

a) Ranks and Infamy

New skills and traits can be bought when you make rank. The ranks are based on the amount of infamy you collect. You earn a new creepside title when you make rank. Below is a list of the amount of infamy needed to rank.


Rank Creep Title  

Total Infamy Required

0 (none)   0
1 Tracker 500
2 Scout 1,250
3 Skirmisher 2,750
4 Fighter 5,750
5 Soldier 14,750
6 Sentry 33,500
7 Chief Guard 71,000
8 Chief Warrior 146,000
9 Taskmaster 258,500
10 Lieutenant 408,500
11 Commander 633,500
12 Chieftain 1,008,500
13 High Chieftain 1,608,500
14 Overlord 2,508,500
15 Tyrant 3,708,500


You can find your rank and the amount of infamy in your War tab in your Character Journal. It also lists the amount of freeps you have killed, how many "Killing Blows" (the final hit that kills a toon) your creep has dealt and how many times your creep has died.

Furthermore, getting certain numbers of killing blows (KBs) will get you specific titles:

KBs required Title
10 Tormentor
500 Black Dog
2,500 Harvester of Sorrow

Slayer of Light

12,500 Hand of Doom
25,000 Bane of the West
50,000? Herald of Darkness


b) Rating

Rating increases for each kill and decreases for each death. The amount it increases/decreases depends on the rating of the freep killed as well as damage done. The rating is only important to determine the amount of infanmy you gain from a freep. In the past, each rating of 200 above 1,000 would grant you a star. This is where the term "Starhugger" comes from: a person that will do anything to keep his rating high. As of Vol II, book 7 stars have been cancelled.


c) Warband Manouvres

Warband manouvres are the equivalent of Fellowship manouvres. Especially Wargs and Spiders have some skills that can trigger warband manouvres ( Tendon shred or Crippling Bite + Pounce or Smothering Webs). The amount of damage you do with WB manouvres depends on your class. Fell Spirit's Terror is the only manouvre which can be cast from range for most classes. However, Blackarrows and Spiders have the ability to cast WB manouvres from range, as opposed to a 2 mtr distance for melee classes.

The icons have the following effect:


purple Fell Spirit's Terror Ranged damage + Morale transfer: Damage 161.7 Morale, Recovers 517.5 Morale
green Spider's Venom Damage + DoT: 40-46 Common, 43 Common every 4s for 20s
red Troll's Brutality Damage: 313-387 Common
yellow Wight's Rot Damage + Power transfer: 40-46 Common, Drains 194 Power. Recovers 323.4 Power, 85 Power every 2s for 10s


Interesting combinations (courtesy of

2 players:


Name Sequence Damage DoT Power Drain Other
Plague Bearer GY 1000 78    
Poisoned Blades YG 1000 60    

3 players:





Power Drain


Burning Terror






Corrupted Blade






Corruptions of the Spirit





Festering Wound





Fevered Wound





Rotting Wound




Restores 152 power every 2s for 10s

Sick with Fear




75% Power and Morale Regen

Wounding Terror







4 players:





Power drain


Festering Strike



Restores 220 Power every 2s for 10s

Venomous Strokes







d) Diminishing returns


Diminishing returns are decreases in efficacy of crowd control spells when applied multiple times in a row. In the past, your creep could be chain-stunned by loremasters and other freep classes with crowd control. To balance this, Turbine introduced "diminishing returns" in PvMP, starting with the release of Siege of Mirkwood (Vol II, book 9). All crowd control effects (fears, roots, (conjunction) stuns, and dazes) are on the same application counter (45 seconds). This means that for purposes of diminishing returns in PvMP (and in PvMP ONLY), each application of any crowd control effect is counted against the duration of the type of crowd control.

  • Roots/Dazes

    • First Application = 50% of the root/daze duration
    • Second Application = 25% of the root/daze duration
    • Third - Ninth Application = 5% of the root/daze duration
    • After the Tenth Application, the root/daze will no longer affect the target
  • Stuns (as of Vol III Book II, conjunction stuns share the same counter as the other stuns).

    • First Application = 100% of the stun's duration
    • Second Application = 50% of the stun's duration
    • Third Application = 25% of the stun's duration
    • Fourth - Ninth Application = 1 second stun duration
    • After the Tenth Application, the stun will no longer affect the target.
  • Fears (please note that this applies only to crowd control fears - this does not apply to debuffs with resistance type: fear)

    • First Application = 100% of the fear's duration
    • Second Application = 50% of the fear's duration
    • Third Application = 25% of the fear's duration
    • Fourth - Ninth Application = 1 second fear duration
    • After the Tenth Application, the fear will no longer affect the target.

7) Further reading