Rangers are woodsmen, skilled warriors and hunters of servants of the Enemy. Archery, stealth, tracking, and close combat are common skills among Rangers, though there are also a number of herbalists, healers, and historians among their number. Rangers can be found among the remains of Arnor in Eriador and in Gondor in the south.
Few can speak with certainty of the "Rangers of the North" – tall, mysterious strangers, occasionally seen in the shadows of a darkened tavern or in the wilds of Eriador. Tales of these grim Men tell of their desire for solitude and their seeming indifference to the affairs of the free peoples of Middle-earth. Few have had direct dealings with the Rangers, and those that do often suggest to others that extreme caution be exercised if conversation must be had with these mysterious men out of the wild. Clad in cloaks of dark green and grey, clasped with a star – the only adornment worn by any of their kind – the Rangers seem to blend into their surroundings whether they are in a town or in the fields and forests of the land.
In truth, the Rangers of Eriador are of the noble line of the Dúnedain of the North and have, since the fall of the mighty kingdoms of Arnor more than a thousand years in the past, pledged to silently protect the lands of Eriador, including the Shire and Bree-land, from the darkness that once again threatens. Seeking neither praise nor thanks, the Rangers are master trackers and woodsmen; adept at concealment. They are also expert in hunting and in combat with both bow and sword.
Few would speak ill of these grim champions if they but knew the service the Rangers have performed for centuries on behalf of all that is good in Middle-earth.
The Rangers of Eriador are far more secretive than their southern counterparts, and guard closely the locations of their strongholds. Esteldín watches over the North Downs, Tinnudir is the outpost of wardens and scholars of the sunken city of Annúminas, the onetime capital of Arnor, and Tornhad in the Angle of Mitheithel is home to many families and young Rangers newly sworn to the service of Aragorn.
Rangers in Gondor primarily roam Ithilien, the 'Garden of Gondor'. Faramir, younger son of Denethor, Steward of Gondor, is their captain. The Rangers of Ithilien patrol the very edge of Gondor, along its shared border with Mordor. Most of Ithilien has been empty since 2954 of the Third Age, with Mordor growing again in strength as Sauron rebuilt his power. The Rangers of Ithilien have supplies cached all through northern and southern Ithilien but relatively few strongholds. By the time of the War of the Ring, many remained at Bâr Húrin in South Ithilien and hidden in the Osgiliath Culverts as the city of Osgiliath itself was overrun before the Siege of Minas Tirith. Henneth Annûn in North Ithilien is their other major remaining refuge.
Following the War of the Ring, the Rangers of Ithilien also make up the bulk of the company seeking to reclaim Minas Morgul.