Quest 25: Trouble at Tharbad

Lord of the Rings LCG Campaign

The 25th Quest: Trouble in Tharbad

The next task for those on the quest was to obtain information from Nalir, a dwarf to be found in Tharbad. They located him in a dingy inn, the Empty Mug.  He had already made a deal with an agent of Mordor, Ballach, but they offered a more profitable arrangement.  Barely had he agreed to co-operate when Ballach, with a gang of orcs, intervened.

Starting Threat:

Party One     Théoden (12), Mablung (10), Théodred (8) = 30

Party Two    Indraen (11), Beravor(10), Dúnhere (8) = 29

Opening draw

Party One: Rohan Warhorse, Heir to Marsil, Gathering Strength, Snowbourn Scout, Guthlaf, Support of Eagles

Party Two: Lore of Imladris, Westfold Horse-Breaker x 2, West Road Traveller, A Test of Will, Protector of Lórien

 1 - 1 double-dealings

 

Turn 1

Draw: Party One    Warden of Helm’s Deep   Party Two:   Radagast’s Cunning

Safe for the moment but knowing that two Spies from Mordor were searching, Théoden spent some time Gathering Strength and assuming the role of Heir to Marsil. A Snowbourn Scout volunteered to help them leave and they were off, anxious to avoid the penalty for Double Dealings.  Radagast’s Cunning helped overcome the presence of an Orc Hound and an Orc Hunter (though the Hunter reduced the time they had available), and they escaped the confines of The Empty Mug, reduced a little tension and headed for a Seedy Inn.  That provoked the interest of a third Spy of Mord0r, but it could not be helped: time was pressing.

3 - 1 ffg_the-empty-mug-trouble-in-tharbad-69  4 - 1 ffg_seedy-in-trouble-in-tharbad-77 2 -1 ffg_spy-from-mordor-trouble-in-tharbad-72

The Orc Hound caught up with them, leaving the Scout exhausted, and it leapt at Nalir. He avoided any damage, but Hound had a trick up its sleeve and made another attack.  Nobody else was prepared to step forward and Mablung was bitten before Théoden slew the beast.  Beravor, having nothing better to do, found a Westfold Horsebreaker nearby, and rumours of a Good Harvest.

Having Nalir with them badly affected Théoden’s group: the relaxation in tension earlier was undone and exceeded.

Threat 32/29

The Seedy Inn         Travel: Nil

Double Dealings:    Time = 2

Turn 2

Draw: Party 1         Winged Guardian  Party 2         Secret Paths          

Théoden benefited from the Strength of Eagles, especially as a Winged Guardian landed in the centre of his group. Two  passers-by from Westfold, one a horse breeder and one a horse breaker, joined Idraen, bringing a Steed of Rohan with them.

6 - 1 ffg_decrepit-rooftops-trouble-in-tharbad-79    7 - 1 ffg_hidden-alleyway-trouble-in-tharbad-78  5 - ffg_tharbad-hideout-trouble-in-tharbad-75

No less than eight scouts set out and consequently they made it to the Seedy Inn, despite the distractions of a Tharbad Hideout, Decrepit Rooftops and a Hidden Alleyway. (Idraen’s knowledge of Secret Paths allowed them to avoid the Hidden Alleyway for now.)   That done, they decided to meet at the Tharbad Hideout: that would buy some time.

Before that, Théoden wanted to remove one of the spies trailing them. He challenged the orc which immediately charged them, killing the Snowbourn Scout.  Théoden could only wound the enemy, but Dùnhere was able to lunge and hit the Orc Hunter twice, even though it thought itself safe.

They had all felt a little more settled after the results of the day’s scouting, but this time it was Idraen’s group that was concerned about Nalir. There was not much overall increase in confidence, even if the nearby Hideout meant that the time was not so much of a problem.

Threat 33/32

Thorbad Hideout:  Travel = 0

Double Dealings:    Time = 2

Turn 3

 Draw: Party 1        Landroval     Party 2          Lore of Imladris

Two doughty warriors joined Théoden: Landroval, a massive eagle and a Warden of Helm’s Deep. The West-road Traveller was not as well armed, but she revealed how to quietly leave the Hide-out and make it to the Hidden Alleyways, which was probably just as useful.  Idraen took it upon herself to become a Protector of Lórien and 10 scouts set off.  It was not enough: with so many enemy following (increased by one of Bellach’s Marauders) and so many locations nearby (including newly discovered Streets of Tharbad) it needed Idraen to use her new powers to just make it to the Hidden Alleyways and turn once again for the Tharbad Hideout.

8 - 1 ffg_nalir-trouble-in-tharbad-68  10 - 1 ffg_bellach-s-marauder-trouble-in-tharbad-73  9 - 1 ffg_landroval-ajtr

Only the Marauder could close with them and with some sleight of hand it slew the Winged Guardian. The Warden was safe behind his shield as the Mordor Spy flailed at him, and was then cut down by Théoden, enthused by Landroval.  The Orc Hunter’s cowardice in holding back did not save it from Dúnhere.

Tension was growing however, instead of going down. Would they ever evade their pursuers and be able to calm down and move on to the next stage?

Threat           36/33

Thorbad Hideout:  Travel = 0

Double Dealings:    Time = 2

Turn 4

Draw: Party 1         Guthlaf          Party 2          Ithilien Archer

Guthlaf, a tried and true Rider of Rohan, signed up, as did yet another Westfold Horse-breaker. Unfortunately they were forced to leave the Hide-out before they could reconnoitre the neighbourhood, but they could not complain.  It had bought them valuable time.  After finding a second Tharbad Hideout, they found another Hidden Alleyway.  They then thought they were Cornered but after a quick Test of Will the end result was that their suspicions were sharply reduced.  Time to head back to the hide-out!

It was not quite that easy.   The Marauder was too much for the Warden, killing him outright before going down in its turn to Théoden.  One of the horse breakers set off for home, but that did allow Beravor time to locate another horse breeder and another mount.  Still, they could settle down comfortably for the night, only the presence of Nalir a constant worry.

12 - 1 Cornered

Threat           30/29

Thorbad Hideout:  Travel = 0

Double Dealings:    Time = 2

Turn 5

Draw: Party 1         Gandalf         Party 2          Ride to Ruin

Gandalf brought good news when he turned up (“Not for long!” he said). He had run into a Spy of Mordor on the way and had taken the liberty to dispose of it.  The Horse breeder Beravor had noticed earlier arrived, and an order Mustering the Rohirrim identified a Rider of the Mark close by.

Once again they had to leave their Hideout earlier than desired, but with Gandalf leading a large number of explorers, expectations were high. The explorers were not disappointed.  A passing Orc Hunting Party alerted the trailing Spy of Mordor to their presence, and the Constant Tail reduced the time to leave town before the enemy level of alertness was raised.  But overall the anxiety of the travellers dropped considerably, even if entering a Hidden Alleyway raised it again slightly.  That did buy more time though.  Théoden and Landroval between them killed the Spy, but not before it had fatally wounded Guthlaf.

With the parties gathering breath, Grima worked out a plan to deal an Unseen Strike, and Beravor thought she could help the explorers develop Extraordinary Speed. She also felt she could encourage her companions to Stand and Fight.  Their work would be needed soon, as alarms signalled that the enemy was disturbed and the parties were more likely to be attacked by those following.

Threat           26/23

Hidden Alleyway:   Travel = Nil

Double Dealings:    Time = 4

Turn 6

Draw: Party 1         Descendant of Thorondor           Party 2          West-Road Traveller        

Guthlaf was apparently not dead, or not yet. He again took his place, while a West Road Traveller and an Ithilien Archer arrived fresh.  The scouts had just spread out when one of Bellach’s Marauders appeared and a shout was heard: “Get That Dwarf!”.  Seeing that citizens of Gondor were at risk, Guthlaf flung himself in front of Nalir who was at the time in Idraen’s party.  His action saved the dwarf from harm, but Guthlaf was again struck down, this time for good.  Another Hidden Alleyway stretched ahead, and they aimed for that while preparing for combat.

14 - 1 ffg_orc-hunting-party-voi  15 - 1 ffg_constant-tail-trouble-in-tharbad-80  16 - 1 ffg_get-that-dwarf-trouble-in-tharbad-83

The Marauder leapt at Idraen’s party, but Théoden volunteered to take the attack. Even with the Support of Eagles he could not avoid taking two wounds.  The cunning of the orc allowed it to make another attack and the parties were aghast when it was realised nobody was prepared to face the onslaught.  Only the departure of Horse-breaker gave Beravor a chance to step forward, a decision that lead to her being wounded three times.  The combined strenght of Idraen, Grima, Nalir and the Ithilien Archer were not enough to kill the Orc, but the Archer did drive it off.

There was now plenty of time, and nobody was trailing them. Could the leaders calm their followers and escape from Tharbad?

Threat           20/19

Hidden Alleyway:   Travel = Nil

Double Dealings:    Time = 4

Turn 7

Draw: Party 1         Unseen Strike          Party 2          Steed of the Mark

On its way to joining Théoden, a Descendant of Thorondor finished off the Marauder, the only creature still in pursuit. A Westfold Horse-breeder left, declaring they were on a Ride to Ruin, but providing enough information to remove the need to travel to the Decrepit Ruins.  No new enemy were found and though the heroes’ allies were a Conspicuous Lot, making everyone a little more nervous, as nothing was revealed more worrying than more Streets of Tharbad, some degree of confidence returned.

17 - 1 ffg_westfold-horse-breeder-voi  18 - 1 ffg_conspicous-lot-trouble-in-tharbad-81  19 - 1 ffg_ride-to-ruin-thoem

In fact, they not only set off down the Streets, but had time to determine that Gandalf was approaching and that they would soon be Mustering the Rohirrim again, and could be more certain of Astonishing Speed.

Threat                       21/17

Streets of Tharbad:           Travel = Nil

Turn 8

Draw: Party 1         Gwathir        Party 2          Thror’s Key

Pausing only to heal Beravor with the Lore of Imladris, they pushed on. That they had a Constant Tail was no real worry anymore and an Orc Skirmisher was too far away to be off much concern.   They raced through the Streets of Tharbad, picking up knowledge of an Ithilien Tracker and a Steed of the Mark, as well as another intimation they were on a Road to Ruin.  Idraen tried Mustering the Rohirrim, but had no luck.

Threat                       11/9

Double Dealings:      Time = 2

Turn 9

Draw: Party 1         Sneak Attack           Party 2          Protector of Lórien

Gwaihir, another strong warrior Eagle arrived with an escort, a Winged Guardian. As the scouts set out, Gandalf appeared just long enough to get rid of the Skirmisher and give the scouts a hand before vanishing as quickly as he had arrived.

21 - 1 Escape-from-Tharbad-2A

No more enemies were discovered, just some Ruins of the Second Age and more Decrepit Rooftops. It seemed the Double Dealings were over: time to Escape From Tharbad!

They would need to exit via The Crossing at Tharbad, guarded by Bellach himself with one of his Marauders and an Orc Skirmisher.

ffg_ruins-of-the-second-age-trouble-in-tharbad-76  22 - 1 ffg_MEC30_124  23 - 1 ffg_the-crossing-at-tharbad-trouble-in-tharbad-71

Deciding to approach by means of the Decrepit Rooftops, it was the turn of a West-Road Traveller to take the Road to Ruin, removing the need to visit the Ruins of the Second Age. Idraen was refreshed by the news, and a passing Snowbourn Scout responded to her call to Stand and Fight, making their travel a little easier.

Théoden made his party the target for Bellach, and the Marauder joined the attack. The Winged Guardian helped Théoden resist Bellach, but it fell at the hand of the Marauder, raising the anxiety of the Théoden’s group.  Twice delivering Unseen Strikes, Landroval eliminated the Marauder.  Bellach was surrounded by the heroes’ allies, but the best they could do was to drive him away, after wounding him three times. Dúnhere, the only hero to make an offensive action, hit the Berserker which was hanging back.  He might be more effective in future: Grima located a Spear of the Mark.  Beravor was not idle – she found a loitering Ithilien Archer and some Unexpected Courage.

Threat 5/1

Decrepit Rooftops:                        Travel = 1

Turn 10

Draw: Party 1         Rohan Warhorse   Party 2          Ithilien Tracker

A whispered discussion between Théoden and Idraen led to the decision to rush the Crossing.   Gandalf was called, and he removed Bellach from consideration as he arrived.  Théoden assumed the role of Protector of Lórien, in case help was needed in exploration or defence.  Then virtually all the adventurers raced forward.  Ignoring a Tharbad Hideout and the Constant Trail, they had a moment’s danger when the Skirmisher shouted “Get that Dwarf!”.  The Descendant of Thorondor stepping in front of Valir, dying to save the dwarf.  It’s sacrifice was not enough.  From the shadows leapt an Orc Hunter.  This time it was Gwahir who saved the dwarf, though at the cost of three wounds.  They ignored the attackers, relying instead on their Astonishing Speed.

Bursting through the enemy cordon, they swarmed over the Crossing at Tharbad, completing their Escape from Tharbad.

Results

Party One Final Threat:    7

Party Two Final Threat:    1

Heroes Dead                        Nil

Heroes Wounded               Théoden                               2 wounds

Mablung                               1 wound

Unique Ally Dead               Guthlaf

 

Cemetery                              Kili, Fili, Gléowine, Eomund, Guthlaf

 

Victory Points

The Empty Mug:     4

Spending Victory Points

Heal all heroes:       3

Wasted:                    1

Overall Score

Party One                             7

Party Two                             1

Less VPs                                – 4

Plus 10 x 9 Rounds             90

Total                                       94

 

Comments

Another fairly straightforward run with a final sprint. My two decks seemed made for this sort of quest: ability to fight to clear some nasty creatures in the staging area, speed up travel a bit (especially the ability to keep the Hide-outs in play with the West Road Traveller) and to put on a large amount of Willpower when needed (Protector of Lórien, Astonishing Speed).

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Quest 24: The Three Trials

Lord of the Rings LCG Campaign

The 24th Quest: The Three Trials

Before any more progress can be made in the search for Celebrimbor’s Forge, the travellers must prove themselves worthy in the eyes of the Dunlendings. They must pass the Three Trials, or die.

1 - 1 The-Trials-Begin-1A

Starting Threat:

Party One     Théoden (12), Mablung (10), Théodred (8) = 30

Party Two    Indraen (11), Beravor(10), Dúnhere (8) = 29

Opening draw

Party One: Feint, Gandalf, Gaining Strength, Warden of Helm’s Deep, Descendant of Thorondor, Sneak Attack

Party Two: Lore of Imladris, Wingfoot x 2, Westfold Horse-Breaker x 2, West Road Traveller

Turn 1

The two leaders agree that first they will undertake the Trial of Perseverance

2 - 1 The-Trial-of-Perseverance-2B

Draw: Party One    The Eagles Are Coming    Party Two:   Ithilien Archer

 

The parties are pointed to the Hill Barrow, not far away, and told that within it is the Key of the Boar. To obtain the key, however, they must defeat the Boar Guardian.  They did not have long to wait – barely had they moved than the Guardian was onto Théoden’s group.  Having heard that The Eagles Are Coming, Mablung convinced a Vassal of the Winglord to assist.  Beravor announced that for now she would use her skills as Wingfoot, and a Westfold Horse-Breaker arrived.

 

With the first party already facing a fierce foe and the objective directly ahead, not much scouting was necessary, just enough to stave off disaster. As it was, when Théoden, Théodred, Breavor and Idraen discovered they were near the Ancient Forest and that a Spirit of the Wild was approaching, their sense of apprehension increased slightly.  Not enough to stop them heading for the Hill Barrow however.

3 - 1 Hill-Barrow

Théoden and his companions had their hands full with the Boar Guardian, so Idraen taunted the Spirit her way. As it was, even though the Guardian had several tricks available, a Feint made it waste its attack.  The Spirit was no more successful, unable to penetrate the defence of the Horse-Breaker.

5 - 1 boars-guardian   5 - 1 spirit-of-the-wild

It had been thought that Gandalf could make a Sneak Attack on the Guardian and that with the help of Mablung, the Vassal and Grima that they could kill it before it could do any damage. To the horror of all it was realised that the Guardian was invulnerable!  Despite the power available, it would remain attacking them!  At least Idraen and her team could defeat the Spirit: the Horse-breaker, having had enough of adventure, took off, but not before giving enough encouragement to Idraen to revitalise her.  With her fighting ability, and that of Dúnhere and Beravor, the Spirit was dispelled.

Threat 31/30

Hill Barrow:             Travel = Nil

Boar Guardian:      Time = 1

Turn 2

Draw: Party 1         Eagles of the Misty Mountain    Party 2         Lore of Imladris

Théodred was Gaining Strength which allowed him to summon a Warden of Helm’s Deep, and between them Mablung and Théoden were able to attract the attention of some Eagles of the Misty Mountains. Strangely, another Horse-Breaker turned up to replace the one who had had enough of danger

It was important for progress to be made, most of those who had any scouting skill were sent out to reconnoitre. Another Spirit of the Wild was located, but what depressed both parties was the looming Grim Foothills.  Not only did the discovery lower morale, but it meant they must detour there before they could reach the Barrow and the key.  All the effort to reach the Barrow before nightfall was in vain: they had to first reach the Foothills, then continue part of the way to the Barrow before making camp.

6 - 1 Grim-Foothills

In a way, the gloom that had descended on the two groups made Théoden’s decision easier: he urged Gandalf to make a Sneak Attack and used his arrival to boost the confidence of his men.  He then caught the attention of the Spirit and sat back to await their attacks.  The Guardian’s strength was wasted on the wizard, who, as was his habit, vanished as soon as the clash was over.  The Warden did his job as a defender, the Spirit’s blows easily blocked.

Unfortunately, having the Guardian present for so long affected the Vassal of the Windlord, who quietly flew off, but Grima and Beravor did some hunting around and felt sure that soon Idraen would have not only Strength of Will, but also be able to rely on two Protectors of Lorién.

Threat 31/34

Hill Barrow:             Travel = 4

Boar Guardian:      Time = 2

Turn 3

 Draw: Party 1        Heir of Marsil          Party 2          Steed of the Mark

It was time for Théoden to take on his role as Heir of Marsil and to gain the Support of the Eagles, and for Beravor to assume her position as a Protector of Lorién. There was likely to be heavy fighting ahead, and the Barrow was not too far away, so only five scouts were sent out.  It was found that the Ancient Forest was twice as big as first thought, and the Curse of the Wild Men weakened both the Warden and the Eagles of the Misty Mountains, and killed the Westfold Horse-breaker outright.

The barrow was looted though, and Idrean took command of the Key. There was no time to celebrate: the Trial of Strength had started.

8 - 1 The-Trial-of-Strength-2A

The Raven’s Guardian was already advancing on Théoden, the Key hanging from its waist. In the distance, the Stone Barrow could be seen. They ignored that and set off for the Ancient Forest – Dúnhere showed Strength of Will to give them a head start.  They could not escape the Guardian, and even though the Warden fended off its attack, he could not prevent the sense of doom that the assault cast over all the adventurers.  The Spirit was ignored, and took that opportunity to wound Théodred twice.  The forbearance shown was short-lived.  Théoden (with the Support of the Eagles) and the Eagles of the Misty Mountains sent the Spirit back to the underworld.

 7 - 1 Raven's-Guardian

Threat           35/38

Raven Guardian:    Time = 3

Ancient Forest:       Travel = 2

Turn 4

Draw: Party 1         Westfold Outrider  Party 2          Steed of the Mark

Gandalf re-appeared, again just in time. Théodred gratefully accepted a Steed of the Mark from Idraen, and so was able to be ready for combat even when he was part of the exploration party.    Théoden of course was able to do both thanks to the ability he owned as Heir of Marsil.  They faced some Tangled Woods  and then the Raven’s Guardian showed Wild Tenacity which made it more likely that it might inflict wounds on the party, even if it allowed Beravor to prepare for combat.  Having passed through the Ancient Forest Idraen too was free of other duties but was then absorbed in setting the path for the Tangled Woods.

10 - 1 Tangled-Woods

She was not needed. The Warden was called upon once more, and once more did his job in absorbing the enemy’s fury, though morale plummeted.  Then Théoden and Gandalf led Mablung and Théodred in a mass attack, with the Support of the Eagles, and vanquished the Guardian.  Idraen picked up the Key from the lifeless body.  It was time for the Trial of Intuition.

The-Trial-of-Intuition-2A

The Wolf’s Guardian appeared in front of Idraen’s Group, having emerged from the Cave Barrow. The confined space ahead meant that only five companions could accompany the heroes, which could prevent allies joining the fight were any to show up.  Not an issue at the moment, as Beravor had scoured the area for more help and found that A Good Harvest would only bring a Strength of Will.

Threat           39/42

Wolf’s Guardian:    Time = 2

Tangled Wood:       Travel = Nil

Turn 5

Draw: Party 1         Heir of Marsil          Party 2          Mustering the Rohirrim

There was room for both a Westfold Outrider and, after Mustering the Rohirrim, a Westfold Horse-breeder. (Sadly, the Horse-breeder did not bring any mounts).  Deciding how many scouts to send out was difficult: with tension high it was essential that progress be made, but caution had to be shown.  The number sent was enough, with Beravor’s powers as Protector of Lórien, to complete travel through the Tangled Woods – the parties were Turned Around but persisted, though the Guardian became more threatening.  Before them the Ancient Forest stretched out even further.  Disregarding that, they plunged into the Cave Barrow.

12 - 1 Cave-Barrow

In seconds the Westfold Horse-Breeder was dead, slain by the Guardian. The rest of Idraen’s party was able to wound the Guardian no less than four times, but that was not enough.  That was the signal for the Westfold Outrider.  He rode off and led the Guardian from Idraen’s group over to Théoden’s, before suddenly disappearing.  There would be no combat that day but the Guardian’s ominous power led to the death of the indomitable Warden of Helm’s Deep.  He would be missed, his death not offset by Grima’s location of a Rohan Warhorse.

Wolf's-Guardian

Threat           40/43

Cave Barrow:          Travel = Nil

Wolf Guardian:      Time = 3

Turn 6

Draw: Party 1         Forth Eorlingas!     Party 2          Ithilien Archer        

Sad though the deaths of the Warden and the Horse-Breeder were, they did make enough room in the Cave Barrow for an Ithilien Archer and a Rider of the Mark. The presence of the Archer changed Théoden’s plans.  He ordered a large group to spread out and search the Barrow, relying on some of them being able to return in time to deal with any attacks.

The strategy worked, at least to the extent that the Barrow was completely explored. A Spirit of the Wild was released, and the Guardian’s Wild Tenacity again led to concern.  Once more the adventurers plunged into the Ancient Forest and turned to face the Guardian and the Spirit.  The Rider of the Mark sprinted over to Théoden’s party, reducing the enemy’s opportunity to decieve the defenders, and Beravor took the Spirit’s attack, suffering a slight injury.  Théoden, with the Support of the Eagles, weather the Guardian’s onslaught, though he too was wounded.

Wild-Tenacity

Idraen and Dúnhere brought the Spirit to its knees but could not finish it off. There was no real attempt to kill the Guardian.  Instead the Eagles of the Misty Mountain and Théodred attacked while the Ithilien Archer shot from a distance.  Together they were able to wound the Guardian three times and, more importantly, force it to withdraw, just before it could wound more allies.

15 - 1 ffg_ithilien-archer-eaad  16 - 1 ffg_descendant-of-thorondor-thoem  13 - 1 ffg_westfold-outrider-voi

Threat           41/44

Wolf Guardian:       Time = 3

Ancient Forest         Travel = Nil

Turn 7

Draw: Party 1         Unseen Strike          Party 2          Strength of Will

A Descendant of Thorondor reported that it had hit the Guardian twice on its way to join Théoden, and a West Road Traveller wandered into Idraen’s camp. Théoden was named a Protector of Lórien and ordered an effort be made to push through the Ancient Forest.  Once more the sight of Grim Foothills cast the company into despair, and it took the combined efforts of both the Protectors of Lórien, Théoden and Beravor, to drive the parties over the Foothills and past the Forest, as well as to search for the last Key.  More Ancient Forest lay ahead, but Théoden showed some Strength of Will to give them a good start.

The Spirit of the Wild was still following, so Théoden acted as a sentinel to distract it while Idraen and the Ithilien Archer finished it off. Beravor, having anticipated that the enemy would try some treachery, was able to discover some Unexpected Courage and evidence of another Good Harvest, and Grima rounded up another Rowan War Horse.  The parties were in good shape to complete the last trial.

Threat                       44/47

Wolf Guardian:      Time = 3

Ancient Forest:       Travel = 2

Turn 8

Draw: Party 1         The Eagles are Coming     Party 2          Radagast’s Cunning

Another Descendant of Thorondor landed, bearing the wonderful news that it had delivered the killing blow to the Wolf Guardian. That led to the bestowal of Unexpected Courage on Théoden.

There was not much need for exploration, or so it was thought. to the annoyance of all, they were Turned Around and made no progress on the Ancient Forest.  Not only that, but a Tangled Wood was found to be in their way.  They put aside their disappointment and Dùnhere showed more Strength of Will to locate a path through most of the Wood.  Grima and Beravor, not needed for either exploring or fighting, looked for anything that might help and came up with a Steed of the Mark, a Rider of the Mark and a possible third Protector of Lórien.

They would need to hurry now: morale was getting very low.

Threat                       45/48

Tangled Wood:       Travel 2

Ancient Forest:       Travel 2

Turn 9

Draw: Party 1         Warden of Helm’s Deep   Party 2          Stand and Fight

The-Antlered-Crown-3A

Another Warden of Helm’s Deep pledged to serve Théoden, with a Winged Guardian. Yet another Rider of the Mark arrived and the two groups now posed as potent a fighting force as they had ever mustered.  There would probably be some heavy fighting ahead, as they knew the last Key must be close by.  The reconnaissance group set out, and immediately found the Key, grabbed quickly Mablung.  Unfortunately they also became the targets of the Guardian’s Fury, which brought the Wolf Guardian back to attack Théoden’s group.    That was only the start: the other two Guardians reappeared attacking Idraen and her followers.

The-Guardian's-Fury

They had time to complete the Tangled Wood and to move onto the Hallowed Circle. No sooner had they started towards that site than the three Guardians flung themselves at the adventurers.  Idraen barely had time to issue a command to Stand and Fight, recalling the Vassal of the Windlord before the enemy were onto them.  Théoden took a wound from the Wolf Guardian, and the Warden was struck once by the Boar Guardian.  The newly arrived Winged Guardian died at the hands of the Raven Guardian and then, by trickery, launched another attack at Beravor, wounding her.

Then, without giving the companions time to recover, the three Guardians swept in again. A Descendant of Thorondor and the Vassal of the Winglord died and Idraen was hurt slightly. All was not lost, not while Théoden was still standing.  Boosted greatly by the Support of Eagles (relying on the now immensely strong Eagles of the Misty Mountains) as well as using an Unseen Strike, he and four allies slew the Wolf Guardian.  Meanwhile Dúnhere, Grima and the Ithilien Archer teamed up to wound the Boar Guardian, driving it away.

17 - 1 Hallowed-Circle

Plagued with doubts and apprehension, the weary band had to make on last effort to reach the Hallowed Circle or they would certainly break and run.

Threat 46/49

Hallowed Circle:     Travel Nil

Turn 10

Draw: Party 1         Unseen Strike          Party 2          Escort from Edoras

The arrival of an Escort from Edoras could not have been better timed. Possibly they would have made it to the Circle without him, but with his presence it was made certain.  All available members of the both groups were gathered and they rushed forward.  Tangled Woods did not slow them, nor the threat of another Spirit of the Wild.  Bloodied and exhausted, they staggered into the centre of the Hallowed Circle, the Three Trials completed.

Results

Party One Final Threat:    46

Party Two Final Threat:    49

Heroes Dead                        Nil

Heroes Wounded               Théoden                               2 wounds

Théodred, Idraen               1 wound each

Victory Points

Wolf Guardian:       3

Hill Barrow:              2

Cave Barrow:          2

Stone Barrow:         2

 

Total                           9

Spending Victory Points

Heal all heroes:       4

Extra Resource:       3

Wasted:                    2

Overall Score

Party One                             46

Party Two                             49

Less VPs                                – 9

Plus 10 x 9 Rounds             90

Total                                       186

Comments

I found this scenario surprisingly easy – the outcome was never really in doubt, though the Threat level got a bit close. I would like to claim it was good play or brilliant deck design but I really think it was just luck.  The various Guardians, Barrows and Keys just turned up in a convenient order, and I drew the cards I wanted.  Drawing three Protectors of Lórien, and being able to refresh several of my heroes, made Questing and Defence much easier.  Théoden, with the Support of the Eagles, was a stout fighter, and Gandalf, although I thought I had wasted him when I realised after playing him that I could not damage the Guardian because of the Quest card, saved the day by reducing Théoden’s group’s threat level.

A keen reader may have noticed a mistake: I put the first Key on Idraen when it should have gone to Group 1. How I did this I have no idea.  I don’t think it made a lot of difference.  By the time the Guardians reappeared, I had a lot of options available.

Quest 23: The Dunland Trap

Lord of the Rings LCG Campaign

The 23nd Quest: The Dunland Trap

After a short but welcome rest at Orthanc the rangers and Rohirrim must set off again, this time in search of knowledge of the Celebrimbor’s Forge and the making of the Rings of Power. As they make their way down the Old South Road from Isengard to Tharbad, the Wild Men of Dunland spring a deadly trap.

 

Starting Threat:

Party One     Théoden (12), Mablung (10), Théodred (8) = 30

Party Two    Indraen (11), Beravor(10), Dúnhere (8) = 29

Both Théodred and Beravor have a resource at the beginning of the scenario as a result of the victory point expenditure from the previous scenario

Opening draw

Party One: Feint, Guthlaf, 2 x Gaining Strength, Heir of Marsil, The Eagles Are Coming

Party Two: Lore of Imladris, Protection of Lorien, Secret Paths, Mustering the Rohirrim, A Test of Will, Thror’s Key

Active Location: Old South Road

Each party has a Boar Clan Stalker already engaged

1 - 1 ffg_boar-clan-stalker_the-dunland-trap_17    2 - 1 ffg_the-road-to-tharbad_the-dunland-trap_11  3 - 1 ffg_old-south-road_the-dunland-trap_16

Turn 1

Draw: Party One    Sneak Attack           Party Two:   Ithilien Archer

(+1 Resource on each engaged Boar Clan Stalker)

Under attack already, the leaders of both parties did their best to react positively. Shouting “The Eagles are Coming”, Théoden gained foreknowledge of the arrival of some Eagles of the Misty Mountains, and after Gaining Strength twice in a row, Théodred named Théoden as the Heir to Marsil.  Idraen was named a Protector of Loríen and by Mustering the Rohirrim a West Road Traveller was found nearby.

Théodred, Théoden, Grima and idraen were ordered to search for a way out, though Théoden was of course ready to defend against attack due to his use of his title when given assistance by Théodred. There was a thought that the parties were In Need of Rest, but that danger was removed by a Test of Will.  That they were Low on Provisions could not be avoided: all members of Théoden’s group were weakened, while Idraen was close to death.

4 - 1 ffg_in-need-of-rest-voi   5 - 1 ffg_westfold-horse-breeder-voi   6 - 1 ffg_low-on-provisions-voi

Nevertheless, the lack of fresh enemies allowed them to move off the Old South Road which was a great relief. They made it a short way towards Thorbad before being forced to fight the Stalkers.  The first was deceived by a Feint, but the second, which attacked Berevor, although it did no damage, was able to move out of range of counter-attack.  Although that was annoying, a Sneak Attack by the Eagles of the Misty Mountains, together with Théoden and Mablung, killed the first Stalker.

Having survived the initial impact, both parties braced for the onslaught to come.

Threat 31/30

Road to Tharbad:              Travel 6, Time 1

Turn 2

Draw: Party 1         Rohirrim Warhorse           Party 2          Westfold Horsebreeder

(+1 Resource to Boar Clan Stalker engaged with Party Two)

Reinforced by the Eagles of the Misty Mountains and a Westfold Horsebreeder, (who brought news of a Steed of the Mark) the parties were a little better prepared than before. The Lore of Imladris was used to heal Idraen and four scouts set out.

They soon found the way blocked by a Dunland Chieftain and Tribesman. The latter lead to the discovery of a nearby Vassal of the Windlord and a hint of Radagast’s Cunning, but it also boosted the strength of the Stalker.  Still, by using her power as a Protector of Loríen, Idraen made sure a lot of progress was made.

Neither of the newly discovered enemies could force combat, and neither of the parties were willing to choose a fight with them just yet. The Stalker attacked, killing the Westfold Horsebreeder, but it fell to the combined arms of Idraen, Dunhére and Grima.  Unfortunately time was running out, and all the accumulated knowledge the parties had gathered off nearby allies and advantages was rendered useless.  Théoden did hear of the Support of Eagles and that Gwahir was not far away, and Idraen became aware of a Westfold Horsebreaker and found that Radagast’s Cunning was still available.

With that they would have to be satisfied.

Threat           32/31             

Road to Tharbad:             Travel 12, Time 2

Turn 3

Draw: Party 1        Westfold Outrider  Party 2          Steed of the Mark

Théoden was assured of the Support of the Eagles, but Idraen’s party had to make do with the arrival of a Westfold Horsebreaker. It was not a lot, not with the enemy threatening.  Six members were send out to explore.

7 - 1 ffg_off-track-voi   9 - 1 ffg_westfold-horse-breaker-thfg   8 - 1 ffg_hills-of-dunland_the-dunland-trap_20

That was not enough scouts to ensure success: the Hills of Dunland loomed up ahead, they found they were Off Track and a Dunland Ambush was sprung. That last event had no effect, but the surge that followed did allow a Frenzied Attack.  In the ensuing confusion, the Westfold Outrider was left behind, but a Rohan Warhorse was located and Idraen’s group recovered their Test of Will.

Radagast’s Cunning fooled the Dunland Chieftain, and the parties forced their way down past the waiting enemy. They might have made to the end of The Road to Tharbad, but it would have fatal to Grima to keep going so they did not take advantage of the Idraen’s power as Protector of Loríen.

They did however head for the Hills of Dunland, which not only revealed a Snowbourn Scout and a Westfold Horsebreeder, but also a Dunland Berserker which immediately drew close to Idraen’s party. Théoden, deciding that the Dunland Chieftain must be removed, engaged it, but that triggered the arrival of a Boar Clan Stalker.  The Chieftain attacked the Eagles of the Misty Mountains who would have survived had the enemy not used a nasty trick to increase its strength.  Nobody bothered with the attack of the Stalker as it was powerless, but Dunhére volunteered to block the Berserker, getting slightly wounded in the process.

Théoden and Mablun between them accounted for the Stalker, but Idraen could only hit the Berserker twice and the Chieftain was unharmed.

The effect of being Off Track led to the loss of all information again, but this time Théoden found how to deal an Unseen Strike not once but twice, and Idraen again recovered the Test of Will and added some Unexpected Courage. That boost for Idraen’s party came at cost: the Berserker attacked again, wounding Idraen with a skilful blow.

Threat           33/32

Hills of Dunland:                 Travel Nil

Road to Tharbad:              Travel 17, Time 2

Turn 4

Draw: Party 1         Winged Guardian  Party 2          Wingfoot

Another attack by the Berserker was defended by Beravor: no damage was taken. A Winged Guardian joined the first party, but that was all the help received.  Only four scouts could be spared  but with A Test of Will countering being Low on Provisions, the only new challenge to be faced was the Hithaeglir Stream.  As a result, the Hills of Dunland were scaled and the end of the Road to Tharbad reached.  That meant that they had to proceed down the Munun Dun Ravine where there was only room for one ally per party.  In fact, all their hard won assets had to be left behind as they found themselves in A Well Laid Trap, each party faced with a Boar Clan Warrior.  The only consolation was that the emblem of the Heir of Marsil was relocated as was the way to the Secret Paths.  (Though that caused yet another attack by the Berserker, who wounded Dunhere twice.)

The subsequent fighting was ferocious. Grima was wounded by a Berserker and Idraen by a Warrior. The Winged Guardian died at the hands of the Dunland Chieftain and Mablung was badly hurt by the other Warrior.  In the only retaliatory attack, Théoden slew the Chieftain with two Unseen Strikes.

10 - 1 ffg_munuv-duv-ravine_the-dunland-trap_15   11 - 1 ffg_a-well-laid-trap_the-dunlad-trap_12  12 - 1 ffg_chief-turch_the-dunland-trap_14

After that bloody battle, the adventurers found themselves out of the trap but there seemed No Way Out. They must outlast their attackers, now led by the dread Chief Turch who engaged Idraen’s party.

Threat           34/33

No Way Out:                       Time 8

Munun Dun Ravine           Travel Nil

Turn 5

Draw: Party 1         Gandalf         Party 2          Test of Will

Once more Idraen’s party had to face the Berserker, but this time Idraen turned it away without suffering any harm. She was then given some Unexpected Courage while Beravor was granted Wingfoot.  Théoden was again recognised as Heir of Marsil but the great news was the arrival of Gandalf, who killed the Warrior that was engaged with Idraen’s party as he reached the beleaguered heroes.

It was essential to get out of the Ravine as it gave the attackers far too great an advantage. Idraen used her Unexpected Courage to lead the way forward and they did escape the dangerous terrain, to find themselves in front of the Plains of Enedwaith.  (Another Frenzied Attack was halted by A Test of Will).

13 - 1 ffg_plains-of-enedwaith_the-dunland-trap_21   14 - 1 ffg_no-way-out_the-dunland-trap_13   15 - 1 ffg_hithaeglir-stream_the-dunland-trap_22

They ignored the Plains, preferring to follow the Hithaeglir Stream. Chief Turch changed his target but in the fighting he was matched by Gandalf.  The Warrior concentrated on Théoden, wounding him twice.  Beravor took a wound from the Berserker, but that was the last damage it would do, as Idraen and Dunhere were finally able to destroy him.  Mablung could only manage one wound on the Warrior.

Threat           35/34

No Way Out                         Time 6

Hithaeglir Stream              Travel Nil 

Turn 6

Draw: Party 1         Winged Guardian, Eagles of the Misty Mountains

            Party 2          Ithilien Tracker, West Road Traveller

(No shadow cards available for Boar Clan Warrior)

Hoping the worst had passed, Théoden called on some Eagles of the Misty Mountains and a Winged Guardian, while Idraen was fortunate to encounter an Ithilien Tracker and a West Road Traveller. The latter pointed out a way to change from the Hithaeglir Stream to the Plains of Enedwaith, an opportunity gladly taken.

Not many travellers could be spared for reconnaissance. It did not matter: the main danger was not enemies but a recurrence of being Low on Provisions.  Absorbing the damage caused by hunger was difficult and it was fortunate that only the West Road Traveller died from its effects.  The only new foe discovered was a solitary Boar Clan Warrior, so they were able to cross the Plains of Enedwaith and regain the Hithaeglir Stream.

Chief Turch switched back to Idraen’s party and killed the Ithilien Tracker, and Théoden lured the Warrior to his group. One Warrior then attacked the Winged Guardian which easily held if off, while the other hit the Eagles of the Misty Mountains which was caught off-guard by a stratagem and died.  Dunhère was able to hit the Dunland Tribesman who was still hanging back and the team of Théoden and Mablung killed the previously unwounded Warrior.

16 - 1 ffg_ithilien-tracker-hon   17 - 1 ffg_boar-clan-warrior_the-dunland-trap_18   18 - 1 ffg_west-road-traveller-rtm

At that time Beravor searched around for help, finding A Good Harvest and remembering the Lore of Imladris. (That gave the remaining Warrior a chance for a more effective attack, but it was considered worth the risk).

Threat           36/35

No Way Out                         Time  3

Hithaeglir Stream              Travel Nil

Turn 7

Draw: Party 1         Feint, Landroval     Party 2          Mustering the Rohirrim, Protector of Lorien

Only those party members who could also defend the camp were allowed to leave: the defence of the camps was the priority and all that could be done to strengthen it was for Théoden to be healed by the Lore of Imladris and to be named as Protector of Lorien.

Even so, they did advance a short way, only to find the Plains of Enedwaith again, and to undergo another Frenzied Attack. That actually served to improve their chances, as they learned of a way to make a Sneak Attack.  They also learned of nearby Ithalien Tracker, but he was found to have left almost as soon as they heard of his existence.

They were not satisfied with that, asking Grima to see what he could find. He claimed The Eagles Are Coming, and that a Winged Guardian and a Descendant of Thorondor could be expected at any moment.

That was in the future. Right now, Chief Turch moved back to the first group and cut down the Winged Guardian.  The last remaining Warrior, with at least four combat tricks up its sleeve, was thwarted by a Feint.  Dunhère weakened the Tribesman a little more and Théoden and Mablung, now used to fighting together, had no trouble eliminating the Warrior.

Beravor was again asked to look for help, but this time for the other party. She did locate the old battle cry, “Forth Eorlingas” but that was not much use at the moment.  The presence of Gwaihir was not much more helpful.

Threat                       37/36

No Way Out                         Time  1

Hithaeglir Stream              Travel 2

Turn 8

Draw: Party 1         The Eagles Are Coming    Party 2          Éomund

Rumours that The Eagles Are Coming were welcome, as was the word that Éomund was close. As it was, the Descendant of Thorondor made a Sneak Attack, finishing off the Tribesman who died just before he was ready to engage Théoden’s group.  With the help of a Good Harvest, Éomund joined Idraen.  This would be the final clash, the last attempt by Chief Turch to slaughter the expedition.  Nobody could be spared to scout, all were required to stem the assault.

A Frenzied Attack followed by the sight of a Boar Clan Warrior provided a slight increase in the sense of danger. The lack of exploration made everyone more concerned but that could wait.  Chief Turch again altered his direction of attack which signalled this would be the last offensive.  He slew Éomund, but the Warrior could not damage anyone.

The enemy withdrew, unaware that another attack would have found the adventurers virtually defenceless. Supporting each other as they went, the two groups made their way to safety.

Results

Party One Final Threat:    42

Party Two Final Threat:    41

Heroes Dead                        Nil

Heroes Wounded               Mablung, Idraen                                        3 wounds each

Théodred, Dunhère                                   2 wounds each

Beravor                                                         1 wound

Victory Points

Old South Road                  1

Munuv Duv Ravine                        3

Normal difficulty                The Ring Maker: 2 x 4 points

Total VPs                               12

Spending Victory Points

11points to heal all characters, one point wasted

Overall Score

Party One                             42

Party Two                             41

Less VPs                                – 12

Plus 10 x 7 Rounds             70

Total                                       139

Comments

I must admit that I had to play this scenario several times to win: the requirement that no heroes die on the final stage was incredibly hard to meet. Not because of the enemies so much as the events.  For some reason I kept getting hit with multiple copies of the same treachery which always killed someone or left the parties unable to meet the next combat round.

I would have accepted the deaths were it not for the fact that by losing I would have to repeat the quest, with less chance of success than originally.

So a very tough quest, at least for these parties. The enemies are not easy to kill outright and can deliver heavy blows.  Some of the treacheries are hard to take and the scenario rules make it difficult to prepare for what is to come.

No doubt in my mind that it has been by far the most difficult to date.

Deck contents

 

With the death of Éomund, the two copies of that card were removed and replaced with 2 x Rider of the Mark

Quest 22: Into Fangorn

Lord of the Rings LCG Campaign 

The 22nd Quest: Into Fangorn

With Mugash captured, it was thought the mission was over. The orc leader escaped however, and fled into Fangorn Forest.  In pursuit the two groups found the trees themselves oppose their intrusion

Starting Threat

Party One     Théoden (12), Mablung (10), Théodred (8)

Party Two    Indraen (11), Beravor(10), Dúnhere (8)

Opening draw

Party One: Unseen Strike, Sneak Attack, Winged Guardian, Warden of Helm’s Deep, Hail of Stones, Vassal of the Windlord

Party Two: Westfold Horsebreeder, Éomund, Stand and Fight, Westfold Traveller, Westfold Horsebreaker, Ithilien Archer

Staging Area

Edge of Fangorn (guarding Mugash), Heart of Fangorn

 

1 - 1 ffg_edge-of-fangorn-voi   2 - 2 ffg_into-the-woods-voi   3 - 1 ffg_heart-of-fangorn-voi

Turn 1

Draw: Party One    Descendent of Thorondor                       Party Two:   Mustering the Rohirrim

Before entering the forbidding forest, Théoden called on a Winged Guardian to help defend his group while Idraen had to make do with a Westfold Horse-breeder. The pursuit did not begin well.  With seven scouts ahead, both groups found themselves short of provisions which had the effect of weakening Mablung, Théodred, Grima, Beravor and Dúnhere and badly hurting the two leaders,Théoden and Idraen.  The nearby presence of a Dark-hearted Huorn somewhere nearby was the only danger detected as they set off for the Heart of Fangorn.

That danger was easily handled. Before the enemy could move up to engage either party a Descendent of Thorondor made a Sneak Attack, darting in and out before the Huorn could react.  A Hail of Stones from the Winged Guardian finished it off.

As the end of the day approached, Beravor took advantage of the lack of fighting to search around and found signs that the titles of Wingfoot and Protector of Lórien could be available. Then everyone rested in preparation for the second day.

Threat 31/30

Heart of Fangorn:                         Travel Nil

Into the Woods:                 Travel 5, Time 3

Turn 2

Draw: Party 1         Support of the Eagles       Party 2          Ride to Ruin

A Vassal of the Windlord joined his fellow eagle and Éomund arrived to support Idraen’s group, already strengthened by Beravor’s nomination to be Wingfoot. The added members allowed the exploring party to be larger.  Another Dark-Hearted Huorn was found, as well as a path into the Tangled Woods.  These could not prevent them from reaching the Heart of Fangorn and making good progress Into the Woods, allowing a detour to the Tangled Woods.

4 - 1 Dark-Hearted-Huorn  5 - 1 ffg_hail-of-stones-rtr6 - 1 ffg_tangled-woods-voi

The Dark-Hearted Huorn came close to Théoden’s group but did not attack, instead intending to slow the party down and create concern. There was little that could be done, but Beravor found more promises of future assistance.  She already was known as Wingfoot, so that would not help, but a hint that a call of Stand and Fight was possible was definitely worth knowing.

-1 Travel from Into the Woods (Dark-Hearted Huorn)

Threat           32/31           

Tangled Woods:                 Travel Nil

Into the Woods:                 Travel 10, Time 2 

Turn 3

+1 Threat to Party 1 (now 34) from Dark-Hearted Huorn

 Draw: Party 1        The Eagles are Coming     Party 2          Stand and Fight

A cry that “The Eagles are Coming” told everyone that another Winged Guardian was on the way as well provoking a repeat of the call that promised another Descendent of Thorondor could be expected. They would have to wait, as Théoden claimed the Support of the Eagles.  While all this was happening, Beravor was declared a Protector of Lórien and a Steed of the Mark was provided to Théoden.

The number of scouts increased to nine so although another Dark-Hearted Huorn and a Deadly Huorn loomed into sight the adventurers still reached the Tangled Woods and the pursuit of Mugash continued.   In fact they closed in on the escapee, entering into the Edge of Fangorn.  This alerted an Angry Huorn, but it could be ignored for now.

7 - 1 ffg_deadly-huorn-voi  8 - 1 ffg_support-of-the-eagles-rtm  9 - 1 ffg_angry-huorn-voi

With both parties being tailed by a Dark-Hearted Huorn a steady loss of progress could be noted, even if no combat took place with these creatures. The Deadly Huorn had no such fear of getting close but the Winged Guardian countered its attack without taking any damage.  That creature would have to be dealt with later.   It was more pressing to destroy the Dark-Hearted Huorn that was sapping the courage of the group: Théoden, armed with the Support of the Eagles, together with the Vassal of the Windlord, cut it to pieces.  The Vassal, its job done, left immediately.

-2 Travel from Into the Woods (2 x Dark-Hearted Huorn)

Once more Beravor was not needed and could look for anything useful nearby. Another Westfold Horsebreeder was not far away, and there was a rumour that Astonishing Speed could reached in the future.

Threat           35/32

Edge of Fangorn:               Travel Nil

Into the Woods:                 Travel 16, Time 1

Turn 4

+1 Threat to Party 2 (now 33)

Draw: Party 1         Vassal of the Windlord     Party 2          Ride to Ruin

The presence of the Angry Huorn, even at some distance, caused the Winged Guardian to flee, but its loss was more than compensated by the arrival of a Vassal of the Windlord, a Warden of Helm’s Deep and a Descendent of Thorondor. The last to arrive dealt the Angry Huorn a couple of wounds as it passed it.  Idraen could only greet a solitary Westfold Horsebreaker.

The number of scouts had to be sharply reduced because of the need to defend against the surrounding Huorns, but no amount of reconnaissance could have prevented the parties being Turned Around. Instead of closing in on Mugash at the Edge of Fangorn, they had the heartbreaking sight of the orc escaping into The Angry Forest.  To add to the confusion, a track to the Tangled Woods was found.

10 - 1 ffg_descendant-of-thorondor-thoem 11 - 2 ffg_the-angry-forest-voi12 - 1 ffg_MEC31_138

Even so, they made it to the Edge of Fangorn and penetrated a short way into The Angry Forest. Unfortunately even that small amount of progress was reduced by the lurking Dark-Hearted Huorn and there was nobody to spare to examine the path to the Tangled Woods.  Worse was to come: the Deadly Huorn slaughtered the Descendent of Thorondor.  (Though it did deliver a couple of additional wounds to the Angry Huorn before it expired).

Idraen called a Vassal of the Windlord to Stand and Fight and with its assistance she and the rest of her group slew the Dark-Hearted Huorn that was holding them back and causing anxiety. Straightaway Théoden used the Strength of the Eagles to boost his power and with another Vassal and the Warden finally has his revenge on the Deadly Huorn.  Both Vassals then departed.

Threat           36/34

The Angry Forest:              Travel 3, Time 2

Turn 5

Draw: Party 1         Rohan Warhorse   Party 2          A Good Harvest

Another Winged Guardian gave Théoden’s group some much needed defence capability and Idraen would have the benefit of an Ithilien Archer. A small number of scouts were sent out, which was a fortunate decision.  The Forest’s Malice was revealed, as an Angry Huorn attacked Théoden’s party and yet another Dark-Hearted Huorn attached itself to Idraen’s group.  The only other discovery was a second path to the Tangled Woods.

Again nobody could be spared to travel down either path to the Tangled Woods and then the Dark-Hearted Huorn forced them back a short way out of the Angry Forest.

In the fighting that followed, the Warden of Helm’s Deep fell to the onslaught of the Angry Huorn that was engaged with Théoden’s party. By using an Unseen Strike that Angry Huorn was cut down, and the one that still held back was damaged further when Idraen called a Descendent of Thorondor to Stand and Fight.  That eagle also lent its talons to the attack on the Dark-Hearted Huorn that saw that tree tumble to the ground.

Threat           37/35

The Angry Forest               Travel 6, Time 1

Turn 6

Draw: Party 1         Warden of Helm’s Deep   Party 2          A Test of Will

Neither group could find any assistance in the form of additional members or equipment, but there was little opposition ahead so seven scouts were sent ahead. As if it had been waiting for the chance, the Forest’s Malice struck again.  A Deadly Huorn attacked the second party and a fourth Dark-Hearted Huorn came close to the Théoden’s group.  As the leaders considered how to deal with these new enemies, once more the Forest’s Malice was revealed as the Deadly Huorn charged the Descendent of Thorondor, killing it with a single blow.  That blow, however, also brought about the end of the Angry Huorn that had been wounded earlier.  It died without ever closing with the pursuers.

Théoden led the groups into the Tangled Woods as the Dark-Hearted Huorn delayed them and the Deadly Huorn attempted without success to defeat the Winged Guardian. Idraen and her companions made short work of the Deadly Huorn and then sent the Westfold Horsebreaker away on a Ride to Ruin, allowing considerable progress to be made into the Tangled Woods.  Grima, who had done nothing that day, was able to provide the chance of an Unseen Strike.

Time had run out for the expedition however, and they were forced to restart their search of The Angry Forest, attracting the attention of two more Deadly Huorns. Gritting their teeth, the adventurers forged on.

Threat           38/36

Tangled Woods                  Travel 3

The Angry Forest               Travel 15, Time 3

Turn 7

+1 threat to Party 1 (now 39)

Draw: Party 1         Westfold Outrider  Party 2          Lore of Imladris

Despite the steady loss of companions, new recruits could still be found. A Westfold Outrider was accompanied by another Warden of Helm’s Deep and another shout to Stand and Fight attracted one more Descendent of Thorondor, who followed the practice of his predecessors by delivering several blows to a waiting Deadly Huorn.  Mustering the Rohirrim (only possible with a Good Harvest) however did not locate any more prospective members.

13 - 1 ffg_ithilien-archer-eaad  14 - 1 ffg_the-forests-malice-voi  15 - 1 ffg_westfold-outrider-voi

For once no more sentient trees were found, just a sidetrack to the Heart of Fangorn. That good news was offset by the discovery that Idraen was In Need of Rest: she had to return to camp and warned that her health was declining.  The lack of opposition did mean that they cleared the Tangled Wood and thanks to an effort by Mablung could move into the Heart of Fangorn.

The wounded Deadly Huorn attacked the first party, the other closed on the second. (The Dark-hearted Huorn still trailed Théoden’s group, slowing them down).  Between them the Winged Guardian and the Warden of Helm’s Deep held off the two trees without suffering any injury and concerted attacks by both parties ended the threat they posed.

That was all well and good, but time was passing and that caused Idraen to tell her companions that her life was ebbing away.

Threat                       40/37 

Heart of Fangorn               Travel Nil

The Angry Forest               Travel 18, Time 2 (+1 Wound Idraen)

Turn 8

+1 Threat to Party 1 (now 41)

Draw: Party 1         Vassal of the Windlord     Party 2          Astonishing Speed

Another Vassal of the Windlord showed up, and a West Road Traveller showed them the way to change their path away from the Heart of Fangorn into the Tangled Wood. A rumour that they were Low on Provisions was only quashed by a Test of Will, which was fortunate as it could have ended the quest there and then.  Again none of the trees that had caused so much pain and delay were located, and they pushed through the Tangled Woods with ease.  Idraen took the time to use the Lore of Imladris to heal herself completely, but she warned she was still In Need of Rest, though she was ready to push on to the Heart of Fangorn.

16 - 1 ffg_in-need-of-rest-voi  17 - 1 ffg_lore-of-imladris-core  18 - 1 ffg_low-on-provisions-voi

All that remained to be done was get rid of the annoying Black-Hearted Huorn: with the Support of the Eagles and the some help from the Warden and a shot or two from the Ithilien Archer it was left behind, its delaying tactics ended. Grima had tried to get more assistance, but all he could find was a Rohan Warhorse.

Threat                       42/38

Heart of Fangorn               Travel Nil

The Angry Forest               Travel 20, Time 1 (+1 Wound Idraen)

Turn 9

Draw: Party 1         Heir of Marsil          Party 2          Steed of the Mark

Mablung was declared to be the Heir of Marsil (though it was found later that as he was not of Noble birth, he was ineligible for the honour). The battered parties had no other reinforcement or repair: they must continue despite their wounds and growing unease.

The situation was already grim but it got worse. First they found that they were Off Track, which they could have dealt with (they expected to reach the Heart of Fangorn within the hour) were it not immediately followed by the discovery that they had been Turned Around.  Suddenly the track to the Heart of Fangorn disappeared and the loss of a lot of time threatened the life of Idraen.  Then a burst of hope: Mugash was sighted!  That hope was almost destroyed when it was found that both groups were Low on Provisions.  It was a disaster.  The Warden, Outrider and Westfold Horsebreaker died, and virtually every other member of the parties was weakened, some badly.

19 - 1 ffg_off-track-voi20 - 1 ffg_escape-from-fangorn-voi21 - 1

They stumbled on, regaining the path to the Heart of Fangorn, but time was running out fast. Grima and Beravor used their remaining energy to look for anything that could help, finding some Secret Paths, knowledge of Radagast’s Cunning and word of an approaching Ithilien Tracker.  Dunhere made an effort to seize the now unguarded Mugash, as they began the Escape From Fangorn.  The road would not be easy: it was a long way to travel and two Dark-Hearted Huorns were already barring the way.  The dire effects of having wandered Off Track were still being felt as half the time available to make that journey evaporated and Idraen again grew close to death.

Threat 43/39

Heart of Fangorn               Travel Nil

Escape From Fangorn       Travel Nil      Time 2

Turn 10

Draw: Party 1         Support of the Eagles       Party 2          Astonishing Speed

It was time for one last surge to break free of the grip of the forest. They could not survive more combat against the trees.  A Descendent of Thorondor and and a Westfold Horsebreeder were welcome additions, but they could would not last long against the power of the Huorns.  Everyone was encouraged to search for a quick way out.  The Forest’s Malice brought two Angry Huorns and another Deadly Huorn lurched toward them, ready to kill and maim.

Speed was essential. Radagast’s Cunning deceived the Deadly Huorn for now, but it was the use of Astonishing Speed that was critical.  Each of the Rohirrim present had their enthusiasm boosted and with that huge increase in the ability of the scouts to find a safe path, the parties burst past the Heart of Fangorn and escaped the forest.  It was a very close thing, and it was fortunate that now all would have time to recuperate before their next quest.

Results

Party One Final Threat:    43

Party Two Final Threat:    39

Heroes Dead                        Nil

Heroes Wounded               Théoden, Idraen, Dúnhere, Beravor    3 wounds each

Mablung, Théodred                                  2 wounds each

Victory Points 

Edge of Fangorn                 1

Normal difficulty                The Ring Maker: 2 x 4 points

Total VPs                               9

Spending Victory Points

3 x 2                                       One extra resource for Théodred and Beravor

3                                              One extra mulligan for Party 1

Overall Score

Party One                             43

Party Two                             39

Less VPs                                – 9

Plus 10 x 9 Rounds             90

Total                                       163

Comments

One of the toughest quests to date. Had I not had a Lore of Imladris I would have lost my first hero.  The key, as with all these “time’ quests, is to use the time allowed to build up strength.  That includes allowing the time to expire if the negative effects are bearable – there is no point in leaping into the next stage when you are in no shape to deal with the new threats.

Killing Huorns is not easy, even with the Support of the Eagles turning one hero into a superhero. You must try to keep their numbers down, although I accept that is easier to say than to do.  In this quest I found that the amount of questing power needed was relatively low and it is possible to keep a sizeable force for fighting, though this is made much easier if you have some way to revitalise your best damage dealers.   Having combat pumpers is always a good idea, but against Huorns it is essential.

Deck contents

With the death of Gléowine, the two copies of that card were removed and replaced with 2 x Ithilien Archer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quest 21: To Catch an Orc

Lord of the Rings LCG Campaign

 The 21st Quest: To Catch an Orc

The source of the orc troubles is a Mugash, the orc leader who is hiding in the mountains. The two groups have been given the dangerous task of seeking him out and capturing him.

 Starting Threat

 Party One     Théoden (12), Mablung (10), Théodred (8)

Party Two    Indraen (11), Beravor(10), Dúnhere (8)

Opening draw

 Party One: 2 x Spear of the Mark, Snowbourn Scout, Sneak Attack, Feint, Forth Eorlingas

Party Two: A Test of Will, Secret Paths, A Good Harvest, Gléowine, Escort from Edoras, Westfold Horse-Breeder

 Staging Area

 Methedras, Mugash’s Lair

 1-ffg_methedras-voi  2-2-ffg_orders-from-orthanc-voi  3-ffg_mugashs-lair-voi

Turn 1

 Draw: Party One    Rohan Warhorse               Party Two:   Wingfoot

 Preparations for the trek into the mountains were frantic as both parties equipped members for the journey ahead, with Methedras and Mugash’s Lair not far away.   Théoden mounted his Rohan Warhorse and handed a Spear of the Mark to Dúnhere while greeting a Snowbourn Scout who brought some information about Methedras.  Idraen’s group was increased by the arrival of a Westfold Horse-Breeder who brought word of a nearby Steed of the Mark.  Beravor was given the title “Wingfoot”, an indication of her ability to recover from tiredness after scouting trips.  As they were about to leave, Grima showed up, ready to help wherever needed.  That assistance was welcome, but they could wait no longer.  They needed to hurry, as the time available for Searching for Mugash was short.

Six scouts set out, stumbling over a Prowling Wolf and a pathway to an Orc Cave. Théoden, with the help of Théodred and his Warhorse, was ready for action, as was Beravor, who had anticipated enemies ahead.  The success in exploration bought them a little time as well.

4-ffg_prowling-wolf-voi  5-5-ffg_searching-for-mugash-voi  6-ffg_methedras-orc-voi

Methedras was set as the next objective and, as they prepared for the encounter, the adventurers carried out a minimal search of their surroundings for signs of Mugash, but without success. Then the Wolf was on them.  The Snowbourn Scout went down to its attack, and the threat of a Methedras Orc led to an unfortunate loss of some of the time available for the first stage of the quest.  To add to their problems, Théoden could not kill the beast, though he came close.  Beravor offered some hope for the future however, providing Théoden’s group with two opportunities to make a Feint in future combat.  (Before you ask, yes, I had shuffled thoroughly).

Threat 31/30 

Methedras: Travel 1

Searching for Mugash: Time 1

Turn 2

Draw: Party 1         Vassal of the Windlord     Party 2          Stand and Fight

Idraen could not do anything to improve her group but Dúnhere received another Spear of the Mark from the other group, making him a potent attacker. Théoden will benefit from the arrival of a Vassal of the Windlord.

Exploration was by the same individuals as the previous day, with similar results: a new pathway (another to Methedras) and a nearby enemy (a Methedras Orc). Their questing may have been in vain, had it not been for the use of Secret Paths to negate the effect of Mugash’s Lair.  As it was, they explored Methedras and searched again for Mugash.  This search was more thorough, and while no trace of Mugash or of his Guards was found, they did learn of a new method of making a Sneak Attack and to become a Protector of Lórien.

Mugash’s Lair was the next goal and Idraen’s group braced for the attack of the Methedras Orc. That brief moment allowed for a quick search of the surroundings, and one of Mugash’s Guard was found not far away.

A Feint took care of the Orc, at least for now, but the Wolf, strengthened by the presence of nearby enemy held locations, killed the Vassal. That led to the downfall of the Orc, as a cry to “Stand and Fight” lifted the eagle from the ground for another effort.  With Dúnhere and Beravor it slew the Methedras Orc and Théoden finished off the wolf.

Threat           32/31

Mugash’s Lair:                    Travel Nil

Searching for Mugash:    Time 1

Turn 3

 Draw: Party 1        Gandalf         Party 2          Eomund

It was Théoden’s turn to sit and watch as Idraen grew her party with Eomund arriving and Berevor being made a Protector of Lórien. With numbers growing, it was felt that eight scouts could be sent out, particularly as no enemies were in sight.  It turned out to be a rash decision.  An Orc Hunter was only the first enemy to be discovered and with time short there was no option but to press on.  Advised to Take Cover, it took a Test of Will to avoid attracting more foes.  It was not much use.  A Prowling Wolf appeared, and then another call to Take Cover caused consternation.  The Westfold Horse-Breeder fled and Grima, Mablung, Théoden, Idraen and Eomund all took damage.  A Methedras Orc showed up to hammer home the point: the adventurers faced a bitter fight to capture the orc leader.

Only one person could help the beleagued expedition and Gandalf did not let them down, making a Sneak Attack to kill the Wolf. That allowed the parties to make for Methedras, having explored Mugash’s Lair.  Sadly Gandalf then left, leaving them to prepare for the assault.

7-ffg_feint-core  8-ffg_mugashs-guard-voi  9-ffg_eomund-catc

The enemy were split, with the Orc Hunter taken by Théoden and the Methedras Orc being enticed to attack Idraen’s party. Things looked grim: both orcs were not only powerful but heavily armoured.  Another Sneak Attack by Gandalf solved the problem.  The Methedras Orc was badly hurt and a Feint nullified his attack.  The other orc wounded Théoden before being slain by Gandalf, moments after Idraen and Beravor ended the life of the Methedras Orc.  To make the result of the battle even better, Dúnhere used his spear to good effect, surging forward to wound Mugash’s Guard four times.

Threat           33/32

Methedras: Nil

Searching for Mugash:    Time 1

Turn 4

Draw: Party 1         Winged Guardian  Party 2          Ride to Ruin

Gandalf made yet another appearance, promising that this time he would stay a little longer than his last two appearances. To celebrate his arrival, he showed the corpse of Mugash’s Guard.

The number of scouts was sharply reduced in light of the number of enemies encountered: the memory of the narrow escape the previous day was still sharp. With some regret, it was decided that the wounded Eomund would be more useful leaving Idraen’s group and making a Ride to Ruin which not only completed the exploration of Methedras but also allowed Idraen, Grima, Théoden and Théodred to prepare for combat.

No enemies were found but the caution was not wasted as once more the explorers were forced to Take Cover. Mablung and Beravor were wounded, but the others were fresh enough to do so without damage.  An Orc Cave lay ahead and another area of Methedras needed to be mapped.  With no enemy present, it was a good time to venture to the Orc Cave, and it was found to be empty.  Gandalf’s visit and Eomund’s departure were not really exploited but no-one really minded the lack of combat.

Threat           34/33

Orc Cave:                              Travel: 1

Searching for Mugash:    Time 1

Turn 5

Draw: Party 1         Gandalf         Party 2          Stand and Fight

While Eomund was missed, he was soon replaced. A Winged Guardian, a Westfold Horse-Breaker and the bard Gléowine were recruited.

10-ffg_ride-to-ruin-thoem  11-ffg_orc-cave-voi  12-ffg_gleowine-core

Only an Orc Skimisher was located, boosted by the presence of an Orc Hunting Party. That did not prevent the Orc Cave being thoroughly searched and although no trace of Mugash was found, rumours of a Winged Guardian close by almost made up for that.  Traipsing off towards Methedras again, Idraen’s party came under attack by the Skirmisher.  The Winged Guardian was an effective sentinel and blocked the attack, but the effect of the Hunting Party meant that the Skirmisher made another assault.  Unprepared for this, Gléowine fell, mortally wounded.  The combined force of Idraen and Dúnhere eliminated any future threat from the orc and Beravor indicated that she would soon be able to provide some Unexpected Courage and Thror’s Key, which was some consolation for the loss of another companion.

Threat           35/34

Methedras: Travel Nil

Searching for Mugash:    Time 1

Turn 6 

Draw: Party 1         Descendant of Thorondor           Party 2          A Good Harvest

Idraen gave Unexpected Courage to Mablung and another Winged Guardian landed close to Théoden. A limited number of scouts were sent out, both leaders wary of the power of the orcs and their ability to mass quickly.  That caution was well founded, as a passing Orc Hunting Party attracted an Orc Hound which them brought an Orc Hunter and a Prowling Wolf.  As if that were not enough, the successful search of Methedras revealed Mugash himself.  Luckily the search also alerted them that the Eagles Are Coming and to Stand and Fight.

13-ffg_orc-skirmisher-voi  14-fg_orc-hunting-party-voi  15-ffg_orc-hunter-voi

That lucky break encouraged a Warden of Helm’s Deep to Stand and Fight, as A Good Harvest let Beravor and Idraen combine to gain his support. Then the onslaught began.

Idraen lured the Hound towards her, though it left her exhausted, while Théoden attracted the attention of Mugash. The Wolf followed the Hound and the Hunter followed his leader.

16-ffg_orc-hound-voi  17-ffg_mec31_138  18-ffg_mugash-voi

The six heroes and their allies were well prepared however. The Warden was impervious to the Wolf as was the Winged Guardian to the Hound, though a ploy by the beast saw Théoden lose his Rohan Warhorse.  Mugash was too powerful to face and had to be deceived by a Feint, and the other Winged Guardian kept the Hunter at bay.  Dúnhere could deal with the Wolf by himself but to kill the Hunter Mablung had to call upon Unexpected Courage to join Théoden in the attack.  Mugash and the Hound would have to wait.

As she could not damage the Hound by herself, Beravor was content to search around for more Strength of Will and news of A Good Harvest.

Threat           36/35

The Wizard’s Prize: Travel Nil, Time 2

Turn 7

Draw: Party 1         Heir of Mardil Party 2      Astonishing Speed

Before dawn someone shouted “The Eagles are Coming” and there was a rumour of Support of the Eagles. Another shout went up and word spread that a Vassal of the Windlord and the Eagles of the Misty Mountains were on their way.  The Vassal was soon at the camp though its arrival was overshone by Gandalf turning up again, taking the opportunity to do some damage to Mugash.  At the same time Théoden was named Heir of Mardil, which would give him a chance of defending the camp as well as exploring.  An Escort from Edoras would also assist in reconnaissance, though any help would be brief so he would be held in reserve for now.

The scouts did well but in the absence of Mugash no progress was made: the parties could go no further until he was located. In the meantime an Orc Hunter and Skirmisher approached, and all the Orcs in sight were strengthened by a nearby Orc Hunting Party.  But that was not all: as they made their way towards an Orc Cave they roused another Methedras Orc.  The Escort used Strength of Will to force some way along the path to the Cave, but there were many foes waiting for them before they could reach that goal.  That would be dangerous, as Dúnhere discovered.  As the Skirmisher approached Idraen’s party, it slashed him three times, bringing him near death.  The Hunter and the Methedras Orc joined Mugash in attacking Théoden’s group.

Both Winged Guardians fell to Mugash and the Methedras Orc, although the Warden of Helm’s Deep parried the blows of the Hunter. Beravor took two wounds from the Skirmisher, only saved by tossing away Thror’s Key to abosrb one sword stroke.  Being a Protector of Lórien has its benefits outside scouting.  Idraen had no such protection and the Orc Hound gained an advantage by a ploy and hit her once.

Suffering so much pain did have its reward. Théoden and Gandalf managed to bring down and capture Mugash (Theodred took charge of the prisoner) and Dúnhere slew the Hound.

There were many enemies ready to attack but the adventurers now had a chance to break free. It may, however, be their last chance.

Threat                       37/36

Orc Cave                   Travel 2

The Wizard’s Prize Travel Nil, Time 1

Turn 8

Draw: Party 1         Unseen Strike          Party 2          A Test of Will

A quick scan of the neighbourhood confirmed that the enemy strength was such that, even before the inevitable reinforcements arrived, many deaths could be expected. The expedition could fail at the last hurdle.

19-ffg_vassal-of-the-windlord-tdm  20-20-ffg_the-wizards-prize-voi  21-escort-from-edoras

As a result, all energy was to be reserved for the breakout and every member of the two groups left camp to scout a way out of the encircling orcs. It turned out that no new enemy were found but another Orc Cave made the task harder and the sighting of a third Orc Hunting Party made facing the existing foes even more dangerous.  Even with the extraordinary efforts of the Escort from Edoras, not enough progress was made to escape.

It was time to make a last desperate effort. By using the benefits of A Good Harvest all the Rohan heroes and allies acquired Astonishing Speed.  With that advantage, the parties shot past the Orc Cave and, bearing their prisoner, left the enraged orcs behind them.

Results

Party One Final Threat:    37

Party Two Final Threat:    36

Heroes Dead                        Nil

Heroes Wounded               Dúnhere and Beravor 3 wounds each

Mablung and Idraen 2 wounds each

Théoden and Théodred 1 wound each

Unique Allies Dead             Gléowine

Victory Points

 Mugash’s Guard                 3

Normal difficulty                The Ring Maker: 2 x 4 points

Total VPs                               11

Spending Victory Points

Heal wounds                       11

Overall Score

Party One                             37

Party Two                             36

Less VPs                                – 11

Plus 10 x 7 Rounds             70

Total                                       132

Comments

I have played this scenario with friends before and have been comprehensively smashed every time. So I was a bit nervous about attempting it with these two decks which, as I stated last time, basically rely on Player 1 to do the heavy work.

When playing however, there was only one point where I thought I might lose, and even then it was more a fear that a hero or two would die rather than being wiped out. I will admit that getting all three of my “Feint” cards was a huge assistance but they were not critical: I could have planned things differently has I not held them.   (And again, I really do shuffle well).

I still think this scenario can be very tough. If you do not get Mugash until late you can build up a lot of damage on your characters.  And if you get him too early, you may not be able to deal with him and the powerful orcs.

As with the previous scenario, I think the key to success is timing: prepare to use all the time you have on each stage, but to not need any extra. Easy to say, harder to perform.

Quest 20: The Fords of Isen

Lord of the Rings LCG Campaign 

The 20th Quest: The Fords of Isen

It is some years after the dwarves found the terrible truth of the fate of Balin’s colony, and two groups of rangers and riders of Rohan have been sent to patrol the plains to the north of the Gap of Rohan. They come across a small party of Rohirrim, including Grima, who have been trapped by hordes of Dunlendings on an island in the Isen.  They need to act swiftly to drive off the Dunlendings

 1-theoden   2-mablung-small   3-ffg_theodred-core

Starting Threat

Party One     Théoden (12), Mablung (10), Théodred (8)

Party Two    Indraen (11), Beravor(10), Dúnhere (8)

4-ffg_idraen-the-three-trials-25   5-ffg_beravor-core   6-ffg_dunhere-core

Opening draw

Party One: Sneak Attack, 2 x Gandalf, Eagle of the Misty Mountains, Feint, Snowborne Scout

Party Two: A Good Harvest, Gléowine, Stand and Fight, Mustering the Rohirrim, Steed of the Mark, Westfold Horse Breaker

Staging Area

The Islet (Grima), Dunland Tribesman, Dunland Berserker

 7-ffg_grima-objective-voi   8-2-ffg_fight-at-the-fords-voi  9-ffg_the-islet-voi

Turn 1

Draw: Party One    Feint               Party Two:   Strength of Will

The two parties were well prepared for a fight and at a word from their leaders they moved to relieve their beleaguered comrades. The arrival of a Snowbourn Scout proved a great help, giving them enough knowledge of The Isle to free Grima, and a Steed of the Mark would give Théoden some extra energy.  Idraen also called upon the Mustering of the Rohirrim and received word that a Westfold Horsebreeder was on the way.

Some members stayed behind as Théoden, Théodred, Idraen and Dúnhere set out to explore, assisted by Grima.  As they scouted the enemy positions, Théoden stayed ready for combat thanks to his mount and the boost given to his enthusiasm by the presence of Théodred in the reconnaissance expedition.  The rangers and Rohirrim already knew of that a Dunlending Tribesman and Berserker were close, but they also discovered information about the route to the Gap of Rohan and the neighbourhood of the Ford of Isen.  No progress was made on the Fight at the Fords and it was thought best to travel via the Ford of Isen.

10-ffg_gap-of-rohan-voi   11-ffg_dunland-berserker-voi   12-fords-of-isen

It was also thought best to leave the Tribesman for now, and concentrate on the Berserker. He presented a danger, as his swift butchery of the Snowbourn Scout displayed, but he could not withstand the combined power of Théoden and Mablung.  Not being needed for combat, Beravor sought out more help, and was able to confirm that the title of Wingfoot would be awarded to a member of the party and that a Ride to Ruin had been announced.

Threat 31/30

Ford of Isen: Travel Nil

Fight at the Ford: Travel Nil, Time 4

Turn 2

Draw: Party 1         Spear of the Mark Party 2          Astonishing Speed

As promised, Beravor is to be known as “Wingfoot” which should help her recover from any tiredness caused by reconnaissance, and the Westfold Horsebreeder arrived. A call to Stand and Fight gave the Snowborne Scout the incentive to return to action and to share a little information about the Ford of Isen.  Some Eagles of the Misty Mountains gave Théoden’s group extra power in attack and defence, as well as a welcome boost to scouting ability.   Just as useful was the discovery of a Spear of the Mark which was given to Dúnhere.  It would be difficult for the enemy to hold back from his probing attacks.

13-ffg_mec29_92   14-ffg_eagles-of-the-misty-mountains-rtm   15-ffg_spear-of-the-mark-tmv

Dúnhere did not join the scouting party, his place taken by the Horsebreeder. Despite locating a Dunlending Chieftain and another route to the Ford of Isen, the parties were able to advance a short way.  Again caution ruled as the Chieftain was ignored and the Tribesman lured into combat.  Not that the Chieftain was safe from attack: Dúnhere wounded him twice even as he lurked at some distance.  A Feint distracted the Tribesman who perished at the hands of Théoden and the Eagles.  Beravor was again free to seek more help and reported of another Horsebreeder on the way and that her party could withstand a Test of Will.

Threat           32/31

Ford of Isen:            Travel 3

Fight at the Ford:   Travel Nil, Time 3

Turn 3

 Draw: Party 1        The Eagles are Coming     Party 2          Unexpected Courage

Théoden declared “The Eagles are Coming” and later confirmed that the Descendant of Thorondor was on the way while the Winged Guardian was to join them immediately.  As a result of a Good Harvest Idraen could give Unexpected Courage to Mablung.

Seven scouts set out and completed checking the route to the Fords of Isen, and grew closer to the Fight at the Ford. Even though Ill Tidings and Old Hatreds would make their task harder and a Dunland Prowler and Raider approached, spirits remained high.  They set out to eliminate the other way to the Fords of Isen and the Westfold Horsebreeder exhausted herself to show part of the way before she left for good having pledged to clear the road to Gap of Rohan.

16-dunland-prowler   17-ffg_a-good-harvest-tsf   18-dunland-raider

Only the Prowler would be fought at this time, though Gandalf made a Sneak Attack and dealt the Raider no less than four wounds on his way to join Théoden. The Prowler could not harm the Winged Guardian but a rumour of another Raider caused Théoden to lose control of the Steed of the Mark.  Gandalf and Mablung made sure that the Prowler would not be a threat again and a sudden dash by Dúnhere finished off the Raider.  Unfortunately Gandalf left as swiftly as he had arrived.

Threat           33/32 

Ford of Isen: Travel 2

Fight at the Ford: Travel 4, Time 2

Turn 4

Draw: Party 1         Unseen Strike          Party 2          A Test of Will

Old Hatreds increased concern as preparations were made for the day. A Westfold Horsebreaker turned up, but otherwise there was no improvement to the strength of the group, and time to get to the Fight at the Ford was running out.   That should not be a worry with only the Chieftain blocking the way.  Once more seven scouts left the camp and having avoided some disastrous Pillaging and Burning through a Test of Will and alerting of the risk of some Wild Men of Dunland they finished the second track to the Fords of Isen and with ease reached the Fight at the Ford.

19-dunlending-chieftain   20-2-ffg_dunlending-attack-voi   21-ffg_pillaging-and-burning-voi

There they faced a Dunlending Attack, led by a Dunlending Tribesman and Bandit. Both were engaged and straightaway the Snowbourn Scout fell at the hands of the Bandit, who thanks to the trickery of the shadow tried to attack again, only thwarted by a Feint.  Meanwhile the Tribesman was unsuccessfully attacking the Winged Guardian before Mablung, enthused by Unexpected Courage, made an Unseen Strike to kill him.  The Bandit did not last much longer, a concerted push by Idraen, Beravor and Dúnhere taking care of him.

Threat           35/34

Dunlending Attack: Travel Nil, Time 1

Turn 5

Draw: Party 1         Gaining Strength   Party 2          Stand and Fight

By Gaining Strength, Théoden was able to call back Gandalf who finished off the Chieftain on his way through to the groups. Idraen had to make do with the bard Gléowine.  Only six scouts were to be used despite there not being much time to fend off the Dunlending Attack.  Idraen had a surprise though, and when the scouts reported only a Prowler ahead, together with yet another path to the Gap of Rohan, she was able to use Astonishing Speed to overcome the Dunlending Attack.  (Ill Tidings had no effect other than to irritate Théoden).

22-ffg_astonishing-speed-rtm   20-2-ffg_dunlending-attack-voi   24-ffg_winged-guardian-thfg

The task now, however, was to Hold the Ford and another Prowler and Tribesman would make that task difficult. It was a hard decision but the way to the Gap of Rohan would have to be reconnoitred, even as both Prowlers moved on Théoden’s party.  They were held off by Winged Guardian and the Eagles of the Misty Mountains, but even with Gandalf’s help only one of the attackers could be killed.

Threat           36/35

Gap of Rohan: Travel Nil

Hold the Ford: Travel Nil, Time 2

Turn 6 

Draw: Party 1         Rohan Warhorse   Party 2          Protector of Lorién

As a Descendant of Thorodor alighted it told the adventurers that it had inflicted two wounds on the Tribesman waiting ahead.   Again Idraen struggled to find help, having to resort to a call to Stand and Fight to revive the apparently lifeless corpse of the Sunborne Scout.  Another Chieftain came into sight, as well as yet another possible route to the Gap of Rohan.  Thankfully they had explored the last route so were able to take on the additional scouting required to cover the latest discovery.

Although the Winged Guardian had survived two attacks, it was outclassed by the Chieftain and perished. Its death did enthuse the Eagles of the Misty Mountains allowing them to link with Mablung to cut down the Prowler after it had hit the Descendant of Thorondor.  The Chieftain had to be left alone, there being nobody left to attack him, though Dúnhere did his dash again to put an end to the Tribesman who had thought himself out of range.

Beravor, facing no threats, was able to gather information about an nearby Ithilien Tracker and how to repeat the burst of Astonishing Speed. Both might be needed in the near future.

Threat           37/36

Gap of Rohan: Travel Nil

Hold the Fords: Travel 2, Time 1

Turn 7

Draw: Party 1         Feint   Party 2          Westfold Horsebreaker

If the two groups could not Hold the Fords and eliminate all known enemies, there might be a flood of fresh foes to deal with.  Little time remained to avoid this.  Once more Gandalf was called upon, and he did not fail those in need of his assistance, badly hurting the Chieftain on the way through.  Beravor relied on being known as a Protector of Lórien, Théoden put his trust in a Rohan Warhorse but both congratulated a newly arrived Westfold Horsebreaker.

While it was important to explore, every man and woman would be needed to fight if the enemy were to be vanquished in one hit. Dúnhere, the Westfold Horsebreaker, the Snowbourn Scout and Beravor were the lead scouts, backed by Mablung, Théodred, Grima and Gandalf.  The King’s Road lay ahead, with a Prowler and a Berserker blocking the way.  Another burst of Amazing Speed and Beravor’s use of her title gave them more than enough willpower to not only remove the Gap of Rohan from their list of things to do but also to Hold the Ford.  Now it just remained to face the Dunlendings and remove them.

Mablung used his Unexpected Courage to get ready for battle and Beravor had been refreshed by the appearance of an enemy, thanks to her reputation as a Wingfoot. A Feint deceived the dangerous Chieftain, and the other two foes were not blocked, Théoden and Beravor each taking two wounds.

25-ffg_descendant-of-thorondor-thoem   26-ffg_the-kings-road-voi   27-ffg_rohan-warhorse-voi

Between them, Mablung and Théoden brought down the crippled Chieftain, and the Rohan Warhorse was enough to allow its rider to challenge the Prowler, with the help of the Eagles of the Misty Mountains and the Descendant of Thorondor. With its demise, it only remained for Idraen and Beravor to combine to defeat the Prowler, a task they fulfilled with efficiency.  Grima was rescued and the Ford was secure: the assignment was over.

Results

Party One Final Threat:    37

Party Two Final Threat:    36

Heroes Dead                        Nil

Heroes Wounded               Théoden and Beravor 2 wounds each

Unique Allies Dead             Nil

Victory Points

The Islet                                1

Normal difficulty                The Ring Maker: 2 x  points

Total VPs                               9

Spending Victory Points

+1 resource Théoden        3

+1 resource Idraen            3

Unused                                  3

Overall Score

Party One                             37

Party Two                             36

Less VPs                                – 9

Plus 10 x 3 Rounds             60

Total                                       124

Comments

This can be a very tough scenario if things go badly for you. I have played it in multiplayer and solo and been defeated more times than I have won.  when designing the decks to take into this cycle the strength and toughness of the Dunlendings was in my mind.  (See deck composition and comments below).

Having said that, the main thing about the “time” quests is to use the time you have. With 5 turns allowed for the First Stage, you must use this time to build your parties and save cards for use in the Second and Third, particularly the Second.  You really don’t want to have to spread out a large number of wounds (2nd) or face a large number of enemy (3rd).

Having said that, failing the time test is not fatal. Just have a plan and try to stick to it.  And keep your fingers crossed.

Apology: I have just realised I made a mistake, and right at the beginning. When I played the Snowbourn Scout I placed a travel counter on “The Islet”, completing it and freeing Grima.  That location, however, is “Immune to player card effects”.  I don’t think it had a lot of impact: I would just have done things a little differently on Turn 1.

 

Deck Lists (for those that can be bothered)

Warning: I am not claiming to be or ever have been a top deck designer. I make decks that I find fun to play that have a decent chance of winning.  Do not think that this deck will give you anything but fun.

When selecting cards for the Ring Maker cycle, I set a couple of restrictions. Only cards from sets used to date in the Tale of Years, only Rohan or Rangers for heroes and as much as possible for individual allies.  The one exception is the eagles, as I have always wanted to include them and they gave the Rohan warriors a boost.

It can be seen that Party One is the workhorse and Party Two the support. Both are essential, and I have found the split works well as long as everything goes as planned. Disaster otherwise.

Party One (51)

Tactics (37)

Heroes: Théoden, Théodred

Allies (17)

Gwahir x 1

Landroval x 1

Descendant of Thorondor x 2

Eagles of the Misty Mountains x 2

Guthlaf x 2

Winged Guardian x 3

Westfold Outrider x 3

Vassal of the Windlord x 3

Attachments (8)

Support of the Eagles x 3

Rohan Warhorse x 3

Spear of the Mark x 2

Events (12)

Forth Eorlingas! x 1

Feint x 3

Hail of Stones x 2

Unseen Strike x 3

The Eagle are Coming x 3

Leadership (11)

Hero: Mablung

Allies (4)

Warden of Helm’s Deep x 2

Snowbourn Scout x 2

Attachment (2)

Heir of Marbil x 2

Events (5)

Gaining Strength x 2

Sneak Attack x 3

Neutral (3)

Allies (3)

Gandalf x 3

 

Party Two

Spirit (32)

Heroes: Idraén, Dúnhere

Allies (10)

Éomund x 2

Escort from Edoras x 1

West Road Traveller x 2

Westfold Horse-Breaker x 3

Westfold Horse-Breeder x 2

Attachments (6)

Unexpected Courage x 1

Steed of the Mark x 3

Thror’s Key x 2

Events (16)

Stand and Fight x 3

Astonishing Speed x 3

A Test of Will x 3

Ride to Ruin x 2

Mustering the Rohirrim x 2

Strength of Will x 3

Lore (15)

Hero: Beravor

Allies (4)

Ithilien Tracker x 2

Gléowine x 2

Attachments (5)

Wingfoot x 2

Protector of Lórien x 3

Events (6)

Lore of Imladris x 3

Radagast’s Cunning x 2

Secret Paths x 1

Neutral (3)

Events (3)

A Good Harvest x 3

 

The 19th Quest: Shadow and Flame

Lord of the Rings LCG Campaign

 The 19th Quest: Shadow and Flame

At last the adventurers reached the heart of Moria and although the sense of doom was all around, somehow all concerns and worries were removed. They were replaced however with the realisation that the Balrog, Durin’s Bane, was nearby.  Not only that, but a Goblin Scout was on the prowl.  Gimli put on Durin’s Helm: every bit of assistance would be needed.

 1-ffg_durins-helm-fos   2-ffg_nearing-the-gate-saf  3-ffg_durins-bane-saf

Starting Threat

Party One     Legolas, Gimli and             Bifur (Nil)

Party Two    Glorfindel, Nori and Dáin Ironfoot (Nil)

Opening draw

 Party One: Hands upon the Bow, Great Yew Bow, Feint, Gandalf, Erebor Record-keeper, Dwarrowdelf Axe

Party Two: Glóin, Elrond’s Counsel, Stand and Fight, Cram, Dwalin, Snowbourn Scout

Turn 1

 Draw: Party One    Gondorian Spearman      Stand and Fight

 Allies would be needed for the challenges ahead and Legolas was very fortunate to be able to call on an Erebor Record-keeper and a Gondorian Spearman. Glorfindel was less happy, only a piece of Cram available, and he gave that to Gimli.  The strength of that dwarf would be essential to victory and it was worthwhile to give him a chance to recover that strength as often as possible.

For once Glorfindel did not lead the exploration party. His absence would upset his group and the Balrog was alert to any sense of fear and would attack any group with even the faintest sign of concern.  Gimli, Bifur and the record-keeper, together with Nori, would have to scout the route ahead.

It would not be easy. Already Bifur felt Watchful Eyes on him, as the Mountains’ Roots appeared ahead.  Not much progress was made in Nearing the Gate, but even so it was agreed to make for the Mountain’s Roots.  To make the next day’s scouting a bit more effective, Glorfindel enticed the Goblin Scout to attack Dáin.  After the goblin was held at arm’s length by the dwarf king, he was easily despatched.  His death gave Legolas the necessary information to complete the trip to the Mountains’ Roots.

The Watchful Eyes could not exploit Bifur’s exhaustion, and it was with relief that the adventurers settled down to regain their energy for the next day.

Threat 1/1

 Nearing the Gate: Travel 2

Turn 2

 Draw: Party 1         Veteran Axehand   Party 2          We Are Not Idle

Gimli again benefitted from the morning’s review of party assets, being presented with a Dwarrowdelf Axe. It was likely Durin’s Bane would strike the party as some nervousness returned.  Glorfindel’s party was in no danger as morale was lifted by the arrival of Dwalin but then the leader alarmed his companions by choosing to join the reconnaissance group.

4-ffg_dwarrowdelf-axe-kd  5-ffg_the-rear-guard-saf  6-ffg_ranging-goblin-saf

They found that Durin’s Bane was inspired by an Inner Flame, and both Gimli and Nori were wounded by a Ranging Goblin. With the help of Elrond’s Counsel, Nearing the Gate was no longer a priority.  They had passed the Mountain’s Roots and reached the gate.  Now the mission was to leave the area, relying on The Rearguard to hold off the Balrog.

The creature was drawing near, its target Legolas’ party. Glorfindel could not help, other than luring the Ranging Goblin his way.  As on the previous day, that goblin also ineffectually targeted Dáin before its death at the hands of Legolas.  (It did manage to attract the attention of a Goblin Swordsman, though that enemy took no part in the combat).  No effort was made to harm the Balrog, which contemptuously slaughtered the Gondorian Spearman, shrugging off a spear wound.

To deceive the Watchful Eyes, the record-keeper revitalised Bifur, and Dwalin, singing “We Are Not Idle” located the promise of a Late Adventurer and gave Dáin some extra hope of finding help the following day.

Threat           2/1

 The Rearguard: Travel 6

 Turn 3

 Draw: Party 1        Thror’s Map Party 2          Zigil Miner

A Veteran Axehand took the place of the missing Gondorian Spearman who, it turned out, had merely pretended to be dead and responded to a call of “Stand and Fight” by joining Glorfindel’s group. That group was also cheered by Glóin turning up, and they felt safe from Durin’s Bane.

Three dwarf heroes and Glóin formed the scouting group, the presence of the heroes giving The Rearguard additional support. An Inner Shadow could be ignored, and the location of the Second Deep was not too upsetting.  Even the realisation that Watchful eyes were on Legolas did not prevent The Rearguard from completing their task and the Dark Pit being revealed.

That provoked the Balrog to attack, and Gimli bravely took three more wounds, wounds that enraged him and greatly increased his thirst for revenge. To obtain that revenge, they hurried towards the Dark Pit, the key to success against the Last Lord of Moria, which they could never kill by weapons alone.

Glorfindel could not only help Legolas and his party by dealing with the Goblin Swordsman (which by trickery was able to hit Dáin once before its demise) but also to provide the Gondorian Spearman to sacrifice himself to the Balrog.

Gimli bolted down his portion of Cram and led the assault on Durin’s Bane. The Spearman had inflicted one desperate spear wound, and the Dwarrowdelf Axe guaranteed that no matter the armour, it would deliver at least one more.  With Legolas and the Veteran Axehand lending all the help they could, Gimli left the Balrog badly hurt, blood seeping from no less than thirteen wounds.

7-ffg_dark-pit-saf  8-ffg_last-lord-of-moria-saf  9-ffg_chance-encounter-kd

Both Bifur and Legolas were unable to do any more and the Watchful Eyes were productive. A Chance Encounter saw another Goblin Swordsman attach itself to Legolas’ group and an Orc Drummer started its incessant beat nearby, hoping to increase the impact of the enemy’s presence.  That was the least of their concerns: to the horror of all, they saw three of the gaping wounds on the Balrog miraculously heal.

 Threat 3/1

 Dark Lord of Moria: Nil

 Durin’s Bane: 10 wounds.

Turn 4

 Draw: Party 1         Unseen Strike          Party 2          Hardy Leadership

Just at the right moment Gandalf appeared, marking his appearance with a volley of wounds on the Balrog. While the wizard of course was the centre of attention, the adventurers did not forget to welcome a Snowbourn Scout and yet another Gondorian Spearman responded to a call for warriors to Stand and Fight.

Nobody was sent out to explore: this would be the final contest. Alarm might reach dizzying heights (or depths) but the success or failure of the mission would be decided at the Dark Pit by a clash with Durin’s Bane.

The lack of scouts did not mean that new information was not available. Another route to the Second Deep was found and noises of Massing in the Deep.  That brought out another Stray Goblin and the Ranging Goblin re-appeared to wound Gimli and Dwalin.

10-ffg_orc-drummer-kd  11-ffg_massing-in-the-deep-kd  12-ffg_counter-spell-saf

The combination of all these events pushed morale well over the halfway mark to despair, but it would not be lack of morale that led to defeat: it would be death. More immediate was the fact that the aura of fear drew the Stray Goblin to attack Glorfindel’s group which had already elected to fight the Drummer.

First to face the wrath of the Dark Lord of Moria was the Snowbourn Scout, whose suffering was thankfully shortlived. (With his death the Ranging Goblin vanished).  The Stray Goblin wounded Glóin and the Drummer not only wounded Nori but also called a Goblin Swordsman into view.  Then with a roar the Balrog leapt at Legolas’ party.  The Gondorian knew his duty however and leapt in the way, his spear in front of him.  He died quickly, though the monster armed itself with a Counter-spell.  The Goblin Swordsman which had appeared the previous day by virtue of the Watchful Eyes was also effective, deceiving Bifur into believing another Close Encounter was about to take place and wounding him twice.

It was time for everyone to contribute. Unable to attack himself, the recordkeeper rallied Bifur.  Legolas and his party had to wait for Glorfindel, Nori and Dwalin to do make their attack.  Those three, although all worthy warriors, could only hit the Balrog four times.  That did bring the total wounds on the beast to nineteen: could Legolas and his allies weaken it enough to tip it into the Dark Pit?  Gandalf led the charge, with Gimli right next to him and Bifur and the Veteran Axehand not far behind.  The elf hero pumped in shaft after shaft while the axes and staff inflicted grievous wounds.   Altogether another nineteen wounds were dealt, enough to have easily killed the Last Lord of Moria, were it mortal.

As Durin’s Bane staggered at the edge of the Dark Pit, the Watchful eyes placed another Counterspell on it, and another Goblin Swordsman was summonsed. It was too late: even though three of the wounds healed the Dark Lord of Moria did not have the strength to resist the power of the refreshed heroes and their companions, and slowly toppled into the depths.

The quest was over.

Results

Party One Final Threat:    3

Party Two Final Threat:    1

Heroes Dead                        Nil

Heroes Wounded               Gimli 5 wounds, Bifur and Nori 2 wounds

Unique Allies Dead             Nil

Unique Allies Wounded    Glóin and Dwalin 2 wounds

Victory Points

Normal difficulty                The Dwarrowdelf: 2 x 3 points

Total VPs                               6

Spending Victory Points

There will be new parties for the next set of quests

Overall Score

Party One                             3

Party Two                             1

Less VPs                                – 6

Plus 10 x 3 Rounds             30

Total                                       28

Comments

I must admit that I had to play this scenario twice.   (I am pretty sure the campaign games allow me the occasional replay).  The first playthrough saw Durin’s Bane get a Counterspell at the start and a Fiery Sword on Turn 1.  When an attempted Feint on the Balrog was foiled by the Counterspell, Party 1 lost all cards in hand and Gimli was down to just one life point.  From then on it was all downhill.  Bifur was killed on Turn 3 and by Turn 4 although I had reached the final stage I had several enemies plus the Balrog, guaranteeing at least three more deaths.

As can be seen from the second replay, with a bit of luck and way of dealing a lot of damage quickly, this quest is winnable without too many problems. Well, if you can get through the first two stages without losing anyone important.  I have played it however with friends and lost comprehensively: the treachery cards can cripple any party early on.  My advice is to have some decent questing (Dáin turned all my dwarves into good scouts) and attack (a wounded Gimli is a fierce warrior which was good as none of my attack pumpers turned up).

That ends the Dwarrowdelf cycle: the next quest will be with completely different groups more suited to the time and area.