Welcome to the latest article of the Middle Earth Tour Project, where we showcase some new, ‘nicer’ Locations in Middle Earth that may help, rather than hinder, your Quests within LOTRLCG. This time we head west to Rohan and Isengard to explore some iconic Locations from ‘The Voice of Isengard’ Deluxe set, and then up to Enedwaith as we cover more Tour Locations in ‘The Ring-maker’ cycle. This cycle, released through 2014, saw a continuation of the enhanced narrative approach started with ‘Against the Shadow,’ although it could be split into essentially three trilogies, with the strongest arguably starting in Tharbad to exploring the ruins of the lost Elven city of Ost-in-Edhil.
The Voice of Isengard Quests: The Fords of Isen (Rohan), To Catch An Orc (Isengard); Into Fangorn (Fangorn).
The Ringmaker Quests: The Dunland Trap (Enedwaith); The Three Trials (Enedwaith); Trouble in Tharbad (Tharbad), The Nin-in-Eilph (Enedwaith); Celebrimbor’s Secret (Ost-in-Edhil); The Antlered Crown (Dunland).
Edoras: The start of the Voice of Isengard box set sees the appearance of an iconic Location from Middle Earth – the Golden Hall of Edoras, the seat of Theoden, King of Rohan. As a Haven, Edoras is a safe place of refuge for players, where their heroes can be healed, and they can either recruit Rohan allies or gain Mounts for their Quest. Then when the Riders of Rohan do ride out of the Hall, they do so with full hearts (and added Willpower)! Since there is no Opportunity keyword on Edoras, it makes it a very powerful Location in a Quest where you have a strong Rohan theme.
Orthanc: The Tower and stronghold of Saruman is another iconic Location from Middle Earth. Since The Tour features nicer places, we’re only going to focus on Orthanc before Saruman became corrupted by power, however. This Location is another Saga Location refit, here from ‘The Treachery of Saruman‘, and although it still focuses on the Doomed keyword, it now has some benefits for the player. Again, since there is no Opportunity keyword on Orthanc, players can visit it when they need it most in the Quest – as long as they can handle the threat increase. Naturally, if players control Saruman, there is an extra bonus.
Wellinghall: The set with no less than three iconic Locations! Wellinghall was where Treebeard summoned the Ents for an Ent-moot. Unlike the two above, this Tour Location does have an Opportunity number, albeit a long one, and although the Threat is low, the Quest points needed are higher than on most Tour Locations, reflecting that it takes a little time to rouse those Ents. However, if you are playing Ents in your deck, the detour could be well worth it. Ent allies will cost less to play, and if players already have some Ents in play, they can search their deck for other Ent cards – either more allies or other Ent Event or Attachments.
Lond Daer: This cycle proved really difficult to designing Tour Locations as it’s an area of Middle Earth that’s not explored in great detail. This meant we had to really use our imaginations and come up with some original Locations, but we could also have some free reign in the design. All of this cycle takes place in Enedwaith, too, so that means there can be a fair bit of mixing of Tour Locations in Quests in the cycle. Lond Daer is an ancient ruined harbour at the mouth of the Greyflood river that would take supplies up to Tharbad. It’s a bit out of the way, so it’s like a side-quest to get there, but players could find useful things in the ruins.
Sacred Barrow: ‘The Three Trials’ Quest is highly specialized, so we wanted to add something to it but also make the Tour Location useful to other Quests in the cycle. We imagined that this Sacred Barrow is under a powerful spell of protection. Such that Spirits cannot enter and Dunlendings are afraid of it and also will not enter – hence the lack of engagement checks for those enemies and their return to the staging area if you enter the Barrow whilst already engaged. The Location will also provide some small bonuses if you are playing ‘The Three Trials‘ Quest and collecting Key Objectives but may be useful in other Quests in the cycle as a refuge from marauding Dunland enemies.
Thieves Den: Tharbad is a city of thieves, so it seemed appropriate when playing ‘Trouble in Tharbad’ to give players the chance of meeting a shady dealer who might be able to sell them on the black market (and probably over-priced) supplies or weapons in exchange for resources. This Tour Location has a very short Opportunity window, however, as these traders never stay in the same place for long. It could also be a slightly dangerous venture for the players to linger there as who knows what scum and villainy is watching the area? If a player wanted to bend the rules of The Tour a little, this Tour Location might have a great place in ‘The Steward’s Fear’ Quest too…
Swanfleet Waterfall: One of the joys of completing The Tour project is the research of fairly obscure Tolkien lore. The Nin-in-Eilph was also known as the Swanfleet, and in Sindarin, ‘Nin-in-Eilph’ translates as ‘water land of the Swans’. At the end of the river lies a huge waterfall that eventually leads to the ruins of Ost-in-Edhil, which is the next Quest. Since the waterfall would be on higher ground, players can take a look around, and as we figured that Noldor have an affinity with swans (think of Galadriel’s swan-boats, for example), Noldor characters might get a rise of the heart from looking from the waterfall.
Noldor Forge: More research went into this card as it only gets a very fleeting mention in Lord of the Rings, although it did get a mention and a card in the old MECCG many years ago. Ost-in-Edhil was once an Elven city, ruled firstly by Celeborn and Galadriel and then Celebrimbor. It was also where the Elven Rings were forged. As such, this Tour Location offers something for players with Noldor Craftsman allies and Noldor heroes with an effect that echoes ‘The Long Defeat’ Lore attachment. However, it does have a very short Opportunity window, so your search through the ruins had best be quick.
Boar Village: This Tour Location can be a boon for 2 Quests in the cycle. If playing ‘The Dunland Trap,’ players can visit the village to hopefully barter some safe passage and call off some Boar Clan attackers for a while. However, rather than use resources for the barter, it plays with the Dunland enemy trait that links to card draw and hand size. By ‘The Antlered Crown,’ however, Chief Turch of the Boar Clan has become a vital and powerful ally. If you take time to visit his village, he gains an additional boost to his stats which can mean all the difference in the war with the Raven clan.
Join us next time as we head back to Bree and Arthedain to join forces with the Dunedain Rangers of the North as they protect unsuspecting folk from the unearthly dangers of ‘The Lost Realm’ and the ‘Angmar Awakened’ cycle…