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.

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