The most numerous and diverse of the Free Peoples in the Third Age, but also among the most numerous and powerful of the Dark Lord's servants, Men (or the Edain in Sindarin) live throughout Middle-earth, from the farthest East to western Eriador, from Harad to the northern wastes. Some are short and ill-favoured, others tall and broad shouldered. Some speak in harsh dialects, others with Fair words. Some honour the spirit of the Valar, while others heed only Sauron.
By the reckoning of the Men of Gondor in the late Third Age, there are several types of Men:
These are the Men descended from the Edain who were given the island of Numenor, but who later returned to Middle-earth, either during the days of the rule of Westernesse there, or with Elendil and his sons after the Downfall. They founded the realms of Arnor and Gondor, and rule Gondor still. Though a mingling with lesser Men has much diminished their blood, a few of pure heritage, or in whom the qualities of the Numenéreans live again, still remain, such as the Rangers of Eriador, or Faramir of‘ Gondor. Some Dunedain, known as the Black Numenoreans, long ago went to live in the East and South, where they Founded realms among the lesser Men and became Followers of Sauron.
THE MIDDLE PEOPLES
These Men are descended from the same peoples from whom the Dunedain came, but who did not go to Numenor—and perhaps not even into Beleriand—in the First Age. The vast majority of Gondorians also Fall into this category, due to centuries of intermarriage with the pre-Nummenorean peoples of the region.
The Rohirrim, most Men of Gondor and Eriador, and the Beornings and other Men of the North are all Middle Men. So, too, are the Dunlendings, descendants of Men who once lived in the White Mountains, though the Gondorians refer to them as ‘wild.’
MEN OF DARKNESS
The Easterlings are Men who came late to Beleriand, did not belong to one of the Three Houses, and who for the most part fell under the dominion of Morgoth and, later, Sauron. As the
name records, they came from the East (and South), and live there still in the Third Age, having many realms, kingdoms, and tribes. The Wainriders and the Balchoth are of this stock, as are
the Haradrim (Southrons) and the Variags of Khand. Compared to the Dunedain and Middle Men, they are shorter, broader, darker haired and darker eyed, and they usually have swart or sallow skin, from the duskier shades of the Men of Rhﬁn to the black of the Haradrim. The Men of Gondor refer to these Men, too, as 'wild.' Most Easterlings, having lived long under the sway of the Shadow, bear no love for the Men of the West and war against them frequently. Thus, this type of Man makes a poor choice for a player character. Only the Men of Dorwinion trade peacefully with the West. (In the Fourth Age, King Elessar makes peace with many, but not all, Easterling and Southron realms.)
THE WILD MEN
A few races of Men, also called by the Gondorians 'wild', truly fit that term. Short, squat, and ugly, living rudely in the wilds with strange customs and equally strange speech, they nevertheless posses a certain nobility and powers of their own. They include the Druedain (Woses) who live in the forests of Anorien and Druwaith Iaur, and the Lossoth Snowmen of Forochel) who inhabit the Northern Waste.
If not slain in battle, taken by illness, or laid low by mischance, most Men live about 60 years. During the Second Age, the Numenéreans lived much longer, sometimes to more than two hundred years. Their descendants likewise have longer lifespans and greater vigour than lesser Men, but even those benefits have dwindled, so that one such as Aragorn Elessar, who dies at 210, is unique.
Each group or realm of Men has its own naming customs. The Dunedain use Sindarin names whereas others, such as the Rohirrim and Beornings, take names in their own tongues. What strange names the Easterlings, Haradrim, and Wild Men have, and how they get them, is not known in the West.
The records of Arnor and Gondor chronicle the deeds of many wise and bold Men, but none, perhaps, so wise and bold as Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and Faramir, son of Denethor. Aragorn ascended to the chieftain ship of the Dunedain of the North whiles still a child. For nearly a century, he worked and struggled endlessly against the Shadow, not only because it had to be defeated but because doing so was the only way he could win his kingdom and the hand of Arwen Undomiel.
Faramir, the second son of the last Ruling Steward of Gondor, embodied the highest qualities and beliefs of the Dunedain with his honour, valour, and willingness to sacrifice his own good for that of his people. After nearly dying during the War of the Ring, he was made Prince of Ithilien by King Elessar.
The Dúnedain are descendants of the Men of Arnor. Bereft of a kingdom, they dwell in the wilds, seeking out and slaying Orcs and other foul creatures before they can wreak havoc on the villages of Bree-land and the Shire. This is a general guide to painting these rangers.