The Shadow Returns

At the end of the Third Age of Arda, Sauron, the hated Dark Lord, was destroyed along with the One Ring--some say forever. Most of the evil beings of Middle-Earth fled and hid themselves at the roots of the world, in deep, dark caves and forgotten forests. The Free Peoples of Arda once again found happiness and travelled the world; and all was joyous for many a year.

The world hath grown old since then, and the Valar have grown old with it. It was therefore a surprise to all in Valinor when a dark cloud, misshapen and blocking all light, began to form over the land of Middle-Earth. What could be happening? What evil from past times could be troubling Arda once again?

Spirits and shadows are once again multiplying within the confines of Middle-Earth, wandering in dark places. Orcs are breeding again in the dark caves and recesses of Mirkwood, muttering evil curses, and staining the land with their foulness. The prophecies of the Istari foretell that the Valar will no longer interfere with the dealings of the lands of Men; most of the High Elves hath sailed to the Western lands.

And the Shadow continues to grow...


Welcome to the official Return of the Shadow website. Return of the Shadow (RotS) is a Tolkien-themed online gaming experience which opened to players in 1997 and is still being played today. In the Return of the Shadow MUD, players are able to create characters from a choice of races and classes to explore the world of the Fourth Age.

In our rendition of the Fourth Age, Gondor leads the free peoples under the rule of Aragorn's successors. Gondor's outposts, however, are now being threatened by a new evil; a shadow lurking again over the tree-tops of southern Mirkwood and the jagged mountains in the East. Reports tell of a new evil power festering in the depths of Dol-Guldur, and it is your job to either aid or destroy this new, unknown threat to the Free Peoples' way of life.

If you choose to subdue the Shadow's influence over Middle-earth, you may choose to play as a Hobbit, Human, Wood elf or Dwarf; if you choose to revel in its evil, you may play the brutal Uruk-Hai, the numerous but weak common Orc or the rebel Uruk-Lhuth. Our class system is completely flexible and customizable; but for players new to the MUD we have designed a host of default classes which promise to be strong contenders in your struggle for or against evil.

We look forward to seeing you at, port 3791; and we hope you enjoy our vision of the Fourth Age of Tolkien's Middle-earth!