Sunday, 29 October 2017

Introducing the Lore-master: Level 1-20

Lore-master is my favourite class in LOTRO. They have everything - magic spells to cast from a distance, melee attacks if the mobs are close, healing spells, lots of utility, buffs and debuffs and a variety of pets to choose from that can tank, dps or heal. Like Gandalf, they wield a staff and a sword, and also like Gandalf, they are a powerful ally for any group.

Here I'll record my experience levelling a lore-master from level 1 to 20, talking about skills, specs, pets and anything else that might be useful to know.

Level 1 Elf Lore-master

Here's our brand new lore-master and some information about her:
  • Wears light armour
  • Wields a staff (can wield a sword in off-hand at higher levels)
  • Primary stat is Will
  • Starts with a bear as a pet
  • Starting abilities are: Burning Embers (a damage-over-time fire spell that also slows enemies), Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire (an instant-cast damage-over time fire spell that can restore some health if your pet has recently "flanked" the enemy), Gust of Wind (a frost spell that can spread Burning Embers to nearby mobs), Lightning Strike (a lightning spell that deals extra damage if the enemy is affected by Burning Embers), Staff-strike (a melee attack that deals extra damage if your pet has recently "flanked" the enemy) and Friend of Bears (summons your bear pet).
Starting pet is a bear

Your pet has a special skill bar:

  • Attack - tell your pet to attack your selected target
  • Follow - tell your pet to follow you
  • Stay - tell your pet to stay still unless it enters combat
  • Aggressive Mode - your pet will attack anything in range
  • Passive Mode - your pet won't attack anything unless you tell it to
  • Guard Mode - your pet will only attack if you or it is attacked
  • Assist Mode - your pet will attack whichever target you attack
  • Return to Master - your pet will instantly return to you (out of combat only)
The final three abilities are pet specific. Bears start with one ability and unlock the other two abilities at higher levels.
  • Roaring Challenge - your pet will taunt the target

Your pet can provide a special "flanked" debuff to mobs that make them more vulnerable and gives some of your attacks bonus effects - like restoring health or power. A chiming sound will play when the debuff occurs.

The flanked debuff looks like an open mouth

You can also rename your pets. Right click on your pet's portrait/health bar to open the pet menu and select "Rename [Pet name]". There is also an option to "Dismiss [Pet name]" which can be useful sometimes, for example to switch pets or when you level up. Your pet does not automatically level up with you if it is summoned (the "floaty name" over its head may turn blue, showing it is lower level than you), so dismiss pet and re-summon then your pet will level up too.

Right click for pet menu

The first quest in the introduction provides a satchel that contains a better staff. At level 2 you are sent to the Lore-master trainer. They tell you how your bear will aid you with its strength and its ability to draw the attention of the mobs away from you (i.e. it can taunt and tank mobs), and asks you to practise summoning it. Once summoned, you can see your pet on the mini-map as a large blue dot. If it gets too far away from you, your pet will despawn and need to be re-summoned.

At level 4 you get a healing spell, Light of Hope. It can be used on pets or allies, but not yourself.

At level 6 you get Sign of Power: Command. This is a debuff that reduces the enemy's attack speed and chance to parry attacks. It can be used before combat without causing any threat/aggro (won't make the mob attack).

Also at level 6, you can choose a specialisation. The options are:
  • Blue = Keeper of Animals - focuses on the mutually beneficial relationship between the lore-master and their pet. Your pet gets increased health and stats and your spells become instant-cast when your pet delivers a critical strike.
  • Red = Master of Nature's Fury - focuses on your DPS. You do more fire damage and Lightning Strike has a chance to strike twice. Your pet gets a small buff to health and damage.
  • Yellow = The Ancient Master -  focuses on crowd control, debuffing enemies and providing group support buffs. You also gain the skill Test of Will which deals light damage and stuns enemies, and Burning Embers deals extra damage to stunned mobs.
Blue spec is great for soloing and has good survivability. Red spec is most popular in groups because it has the highest DPS. It has particularly good AOE damage. Yellow spec can be useful as support in groups for crowd control and buffs/debuffs, but it lacks DPS and pet synergy.

At level 7 you get your first trait point to put into your chosen specialisation. I normally play Blue spec, so I decided to try Red spec and put my first point in Master of Fire to increase fire damage by 5% (most of our damage will be fire). You get a new trait point every odd level.

After completing the introduction, don't forget to check your mail for the adventurer's gift. It contains several useful items and starts a couple of quests, including one that rewards 5 Tokens of Salutations which can be traded with the Barterer for a pocket item that increases run speed and some health or power potions. The run speed buff can be quite helpful, especially if you don't have a mount.

At level 10 you get Blinding Flash, a crowd control skill which interrupts and dazes a target for up to 30 seconds. You are now eligible for Epic Battles such as Retaking Pelargir, but although you get scaled up to level 100, without all your equipment slots filled and with limited abilities, it may not be a very successful or satisfactory experience.

At level 14 you get an AOE fire skill, Cracked Earth, which also roots mobs in place.

At level 15 you get a new pet: Raven-lore lets you summon a Raven which debuffs enemies. The raven starts with two specialised skills - Benediction of the Raven which makes the target more vulnerable to fire damage, and Distraction which causes a light damage-over-time effect,  decreases a target's ranged damage by 50% and increases the target's miss chance. You can only have one pet active at a time.

The pet raven debuffs enemies

Also at level 15, you should get a quest to visit the Lore-master Trainer in Bree, who wants you to help Dorset Oakes who is near the Yellow Tree to the south of town. His father was a great Lore-master and built a library in a cave in Bree-land, but Dorset needs help finding a book "On the Hardiness of Animals in the Wilderness" before the library is overrun by invading goblins.

Benton Oakes' Library

Completing the class quest earns you the title "the Well-ordered Mind" and new robes.

You get two utility skills at level 16: Knowledge of Cures that removes debuffs such as poison, wounds, fear or disease from you or an ally (very useful!), and Power of Knowledge which is a channeled life-steal skill that reduces the enemy's health and power, and increases your own.

You get two crowd-control skills at level 18. Bane Flare is a short-range AOE skill that will daze up to 5 enemies nearby. Light of the Rising Dawn deals light damage to a single target and stuns them for 3 seconds. I find Light of the Rising Dawn is a very useful skill - it hits hard (especially against Orcs, Goblins, Trolls and Spiders), stuns, has a fast cast time and a reasonably short cooldown (30 seconds).

At level 19, your pets unlock some new skills. The bear gets Shatter Arms which is an armour debuff that increases the melee and ranged damage taken by an enemy by 10%. The raven gets Evasion which increases the raven's chance to avoid damage, especially shadow damage.

Level 20 grants many new passive and active abilities. Knowledge of the Lore-master is a debuff you can use before combat to inspect an enemy and find out more about their strengths and weaknesses, and also reduces their resistances to most types of damage. Wind-lore is a debuff which increases damage taken by the enemy. Clever Escape is a utility skill that frees you from crowd-control effects such as a daze or stun.

Friend of Nature lets you summon a new pet: the Bog-guardian looks rather strange but is quite effective at dealing ranged damage. It has three special abilities on its skill bar: Angry Bees (deals damage over time), Root Strike (a burst of damage that makes the enemy more vulnerable to critical strikes from ranged attacks) and Bursting Root (a burst of damage with a chance to stun the enemy).

The bog-guardian deals ranged damage

You also gain the passive ability to use books of lore in your class slot. A basic book can be purchased from the lore-master class trainer, and better versions can be crafted by scholars. These books reduce the power costs of certain abilities and are later replaced by legendary lore-master books which buff your character and make some abilities more powerful.

At level 20, there are three types of books of lore available:
  • Book of Beasts - decreases power cost of Sign of the Wild skills (these skills are now obsolete so don't get this book!).
  • Book of Nature - decreases power cost of Lore skills (such as Wind-lore and Knowledge of the Lore-master; these are useful debuff skills so this book may be some benefit).
  • Book of the Dúnedain - decreases power cost of Sign of Power/Battle (Sign of Power: Command is a useful debuff skill and Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire is a key damage-over-time skill so this book will give the most benefit).

You can obtain special pet food, either from the class trainer or crafted by cooks:
  • Bears like honey and oats to increase their armour, mitigations and threat (so they're more tanky). 
  • Birds like crumbs to increase their mitigations, melee damage and chance to evade attacks (so they can be agile while they peck their target).
  • Bog-guardians like water to increase their mitigations, ranged damage and power (so they can keep casting).

Jewellers can craft brooches that can be equipped in the ranged slot from level 20 onwards. There are two types of brooches: Brooches of Rage give your active pet offensive bonuses by increasing critical strike rating, while Brooches of Regrowth give your active pet more defensive bonuses by increasing their morale regeneration and chance to evade attacks. Jewellers can also craft talismans which change the look of your pet - for example, instead of a black raven you could have a white frost-raven, or, instead of a brown bear you could have a tundra bear cub.

After reaching level 20, I visited the Skirmish Camp and upgraded my questing gear. Here's how my lore-master looks now:

Level 20 Elf Lore-master

I then went to the training dummies in the Training Hall in Bree and tested each spec's DPS with no consumable buffs active over 3 minutes or until I ran out of power, and took a screenshot at the end to eliminate the effects of DoTs that kept going after I stopped attacking. I repeated this for each test and recorded the best result below. I also compared the DPS of different active pets. For virtues, I had four tiers of Charity and one tier of Compassion. With my 7 trait points, I focused on damage-boosting traits where possible.

Normally I would try to use Sign of Power: Command and Wind-lore debuffs on my target, but for the training dummy I didn't because the Combat Analysis plugin reset if I wasn't dealing damage constantly. My rotation was Burning Embers followed by Wizard's Fire twice (the first Wizard's Fire debuff gets upgraded to a more powerful version called Searing Embers if the Burning Embers debuff is present), Lightning Strike then Wizard's Fire twice (to refresh DoTs and prevent Combat Analysis from resetting), Light of the Rising Dawn then Wizard's Fire twice, then Burning Embers followed by Wizard's Fire twice is repeated several times until Lightning Strike and Light of the Rising Dawn are off cooldown.

Here are my DPS results comparing each pet while in Master of Nature's Fury spec (collected with Combat Analysis plugin; LM = Lore-master):

Pet Damage94101761423334
LM Damage9172953610298
Time3 m 0.3 s3 m 0.4s3 m 0.3 s
Pet DPS52.297.6129.4
LM DPS50.952.957.1
Combined DPS103.1150.5186.5
Minimum Hit121212
Average Hit47.149.951.7
Maximum Hit327314327
Critical Strikes (%)68 (25.9%)51 (20.2%)66 (25.4%)
Power (%)1058/1318 (80.3%)424/1318 (32.2%)924/1318 (70.1%)
Skill Priorities:
  1. Burning Embers
  2. Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire
  3. Lightning Strike
  4. Light of the Rising Dawn
  1. Burning Embers
  2. Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire
  3. Lightning Strike
  4. Light of the Rising Dawn
  1. Burning Embers
  2. Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire
  3. Lightning Strike
  4. Light of the Rising Dawn

I was surprised to see how much my power dropped when using the raven pet. Is it using my power to fuel its attacks? These tests showed that the Lore-master has pretty low dps and the active pet is critical for our damage output.

Blue spec gains access to another pet, the Lesser Giant Eagle at level 17 (requires 6 trait points). The eagle deals melee damage, has a battle rez and provides a Nobility buff that grants both you and the eagle increased in-combat power regeneration. Its special abilities on the pet bar are: Fan the Flames (deals burst damage and has a fear effect), Beak Rend (a life-steal skill that deals damage and restores health to the eagle), and Sacrifice (can resurrect lore-master if eagle is still in combat).

The lesser giant eagle has a battle-rez

Here are my DPS results with the Lesser Giant Eagle in Keeper of Animals (Blue) spec:

StatisticsLesser Giant Eagle
Pet Damage19531
LM Damage6922
Time3 m 0.4 s
Pet DPS108.3
LM DPS38.1
Combined DPS146.4
Minimum Hit9
Average Hit37.2
Maximum Hit232
Critical Strikes (%)62 (24.8%)
Power (%)877/1318 (66.5%)
Skill Priorities:
  1. Burning Embers
  2. Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire
  3. Lightning Strike
  4. Light of the Rising Dawn

DPS with the raven and eagle seems to be similar, so unless you really want the special features the eagle offers, it's not necessary to spend trait points to get it. As expected, combined DPS was highest when paired with the bog-guardian. I then compared each spec with the bog-guardian active:

StatisticsKeeper of Animals (Blue)Master of Nature's Fury (Red)The Ancient Master (Yellow)
Pet Damage217522333414998
LM Damage7473102987028
Time3 m 0.4 s3 m 0.3 s 3 m 0.3 s
Pet DPS120.6129.483.2
LM DPS41.457.139.0
Combined DPS162.0186.5122.2
Minimum Hit9129
Average Hit37.451.736.2
Maximum Hit315327315
Critical Strikes (%)64 (24.4%)66 (25.4%)50 (19.5%)
Power (%)617/1318 (46.8%)924/1318 (70.1%)422/1318 (32.0%)
Skill Priorities:
  1. Burning Embers
  2. Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire
  3. Lightning Strike
  4. Light of the Rising Dawn
  1. Burning Embers
  2. Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire
  3. Lightning Strike
  4. Light of the Rising Dawn
  1. Burning Embers
  2. Sign of Battle: Wizard's Fire
  3. Lightning Strike
  4. Light of the Rising Dawn

Red was clearly the best spec for damage-dealing. At higher levels, several new pets become available such as a lynx (ST melee damage and bleeds), a sabertooth cat (AOE melee frost damage) and spirit of nature (healing). It would be interesting to see how their damage compares to the pets shown above, although I suspect the bog-guardian would still be the winner.

General Observations

Some of your skills cost morale as well as power, so looking after your health is important. Little heals from casting Wizard's Fire on a flanked target, Power of Knowledge, Water-lore, Inner Flame and Wisdom of the Council can all help keep you alive. Increasing your Fate stat can also help with in-combat regeneration and increasing your Morale means you can use more skills with less risk of dying.

Lore-masters were originally the only class to have non-combat pets such as rabbits, sparrows, frogs, and turtles which could be obtained through special class quests, faction vendors or tomes that rarely dropped from mobs in Angmar. Now everyone can get non-combat pets, but some are still only available to lore-masters. 

Lore-masters have a huge toolkit of abilities and there are many more skills to add at higher levels, including AOE abilities, out-of-combat resurrection, more heals (Water-lore is a very useful heal-over-time skill that can be used on yourself or allies, while Inner Flame heals you and your pet and provide a fire damage buff), survival (Wisdom of the Council heals 50% of your morale, reduces damage taken, reflects damage and stuns those who attack you) and utility skills (e.g. slow mobs, detect stealthed mobs, restore power to allies, dispel corruptions, protect an ally from crowd-control or interruptions).

The trait trees also provide some iconic abilities, with Blue having Sic'Em which lets you summon a stampede of pets to attack your target, Red has Ring of Fire which spreads fire over a large area and Lightning Storm which deals a strong burst of AOE lightning damage, while Yellow has Warding Knowledge which places a ward on the ground that causes enemies on it to take more damage and miss more often.


Blue - Keeper of Animals: Look after your pet and your pet will look after you. You can solo a lot of content in Blue spec, especially with the bear tanking and you healing and cleansing debuffs from it, but it can be slow, like you're gradually whittling away at the enemy's morale.  If you're feeling squishy, blue may be a good spec to try because it has great survivability. I have had a lot of fun levelling as blue on other characters, and felt like my pets and I had been through so much together, they're like kin members.

Red - Master of Nature's Fury: I would recommend Red as the default levelling spec for lore-masters. It has more damage and feels faster, more exciting and dramatic, like an elemental mage with fire and lightning bursting all over the place like Gandalf's fireworks! It is also a lot of fun, but be careful not to take on too much because although you have great AOE and a pet, you are not a tank and can't take a beating.

Yellow - The Ancient Master: Buffs and debuffs and crowd control are great, but focussing on them instead of dealing damage makes levelling feel very slow and tedious. It is probably more useful at high levels when your role is supporting a group, or as a secondary spec once you've filled your main spec - i.e. once you reach the bottom of the Red or Blue tree, you might want to spend some trait points in Yellow on Fire-lore (melee damage debuff), Frost-lore (tactical damage debuff) and Mending Lore (increases healing).


  • Will - your main stat that increases damage
  • Morale and Vitality - increases survivability 
  • Fate - increases survivabilty (morale/power regeneration) and damage (critical strike chance and magnitude)
  • Critical Strike rating - increases damage
  • Mitigations and resistances - reduces damage taken

These stats should help make the levelling process a bit easier in the beginning. Look for light armour with will and maybe some jewellery with critical strike rating or fate. Morale is always helpful (vitality also increases morale). The best place to get mitigations and resistances at low level is probably from virtues.

Here are some virtues that may be helpful for Lore-masters and how to get them by level 20:


(physical mitigation, tactical mitigation, resistance)
Complete 75 quests in The ShireLife of a Bounder (Final)(The Shire)

(physical mitigation, tactical mitigation, non-combat power regeneration)
Complete 15 quests in The Shire

Complete 20 quests in Ered Luin
Life of a Bounder (The Shire)

Defender of Ered Luin (Ered Luin)

(will, in-combat power regeneration, resistance)

Explore Elf-ruins in Ered Luin

Explore the Old Forest in Bree-land

Find pages from the Journal of Cardolan in the Barrow-downs
Elf-ruins Exploration (Ered Luin)

The Old Forest (Bree-land)

Lore of the Cardolan Prince (Bree-land)


(will, fate, resistance)
Find relics of the Dúnedain in Bree-land

Find flowers in The Old Forest in Bree-land
The History of the Dúnedain (Bree-land)

Flowers of the Old Forest (Bree-land)

(physical mitigation, resistance, in-combat power regeneration)
Explore Dwarven settlements in Ered Luin

Retrieve spoiled pies in The Shire

Deliver mail between settlements in The Shire

Explore the ruins of Bree-land

Explore the Barrow-downs in Bree-land
Places of the Dwarves (Ered Luin)

No Place for Spoiled Pies (The Shire)

Restoring the Quick Post (The Shire)

The Ruins of Bree-land (Bree-land)

The Barrow-downs (Bree-land)

(morale, physical mitigation, armour)
Defeat 90 goblins in Ered Luin

Defeat 90 spiders in Ered Luin

Defeat 90 Barrow-spiders in Bree-land
Goblin-slayer (Advanced)(Ered Luin)

Spider-slayer (Advanced)(Ered Luin)

Brood-hunter (Advanced)(Bree-land)

(tactical mitigation, vitality, power)
Explore landmarks in The Shire

Explore Dourhand strongholds in Ered Luin
The Sights of the Shire (The Shire)

Scouting the Dourhands (Ered Luin)

Pros of the Lore-master Class

  • Versatile - provides DPS, heals, buffs, debuffs, crowd-control, utility
  • Lots of pets to choose from (different types of pets and appearances)
  • Reasonable ST and AOE damage
  • Has ranged and melee abilities
  • Great at soloing and also very useful in groups

Cons of the Lore-master Class

  • Can be squishy
  • Low DPS without pet active
  • Complex class with lots of situational abilities to master

I hope this has been helpful. Feel free to leave any questions or advice for new lore-masters in the comments below.

Coming soon in the Introducing X Class series: the Minstrel.

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