Ever since I started playing the game, I have struggled with remembering the Keywords. And every time I need to look up a Keyword, I have to either dig out my rules, which sure, you almost always need to reference anyway, but sometimes I only need to be reminded of the Keyword(s) for the scenario I am playing. Well, que the article! That is exactly why Durin’s Father and I decided to put this article together. It’s a long one! But that’s the idea—all the Keywords in one place, as well as some useful strategies to use against them.
A keyword as defined all the way back in The Core Set, is an attribute which conveys specific rules to its card. The keywords in the core set are Doomed, Guarded, Ranged, Restricted, Sentinel, Surge, and Victory.
Some keywords are followed by reminder text, which is presented in italics. Reminder text is a shorthand explanation of how a keyword works, but it is not rules text and does not replace the rules for that Keyword in this glossary.
If a card gains multiple instances of a numeric keyword, each instance stacks. For example, if a treachery card with Doomed 2 gains Doomed 1 from another source when it is revealed, it will have a total of Doomed 3.
I have included all of the keywords I could find. They are in alphabetical order, and sectioned off by Player Card Keywords, or Encounter Keywords.
Player Card Keywords
(A Long Extended Party: The Children of Eorl) Deeping Bowman
The Devoted Keyword appears on some of the player cards in the Children of Eorl expansion. While each hero you control shares at least one trait with an ally with the Devoted Keyword, that ally does not require a resource match. The trait that is shared does not need to be the same for each hero.
(Core Set) for example: Endless Caverns, Deep Knowledge
If an encounter card with the doomed keyword is revealed, each player must raise their threat by the specified value.
I can’t think of many better solutions to combat this than the tried-and-true Core Set card, The Galadhrim’s Greeting, or perhaps Elrond’s Counsel if you are running a deck with Noldor. On the other hand, you could run a Saruman deck with his Staff and roll with the (Doomed) punches.
Here is a darn good article on the Doomed Keyword: https://visionofthepalantir.com/2019/09/19/doomed/
(The Lost Realm) Ranger of the North
Encounter is a keyword that appears on player cards with an encounter card back, and it has the following rules:
- Player cards with the encounter keyword cannot be included in any player’s deck because they have encounter card backs. Instead, when setting up a scenario, each player may set up to 3 cards with the encounter keyword aside out of play. These cards do not count toward the player’s deck minimum of 50 cards.
- Player cards with the encounter keyword have a dash (-) instead of a cost because they are never played from a player’s hand. Instead, player cards with the encounter keyword are meant to be shuffled into the encounter deck. In order to shuffle one of the set-aside player cards into the encounter deck, a card effect must instruct a player to do so.
- The “when revealed” effect on player cards with the encounter keyword cannot be canceled.
- If a player card with the encounter keyword is dealt as a shadow card to an enemy, it is treated like an encounter card: place it in the encounter discard pile after resolving that enemy’s attack.
- If a player card with the encounter keyword leaves play, it is removed from the game. Do not place it in a player’s discard pile or in the encounter deck discard pile.
(Core Set) Gandalf’s Map
When an objective with the Guarded Keyword is revealed, reveal the next card from the encounter deck and attach the card with the Guarded Keyword to it and place them both in the staging area. If the next card also has the Guarded Keyword, use the next card of the encounter deck to fulfill the original keyword effect, and then resolve the guarded Keyword on the second card. Enemy and location cards attached to guarded objectives do count their Threat while in the staging area. While an objective has one or more encounter cards attached to it, it cannot be claimed. Once all attached encounter cards are dealt with, the objective remains in the staging area until it is claimed. An unguarded objective can be claimed in the manner specified by its card text. An encounter card attached to a guarded objective is dealt with in the following method, depending on its card type:
- Enemy: The enemy leaves play, either by being defeated or as the result of a card effect.
- Location: The location leaves play, either by being explored or as the result of a card effect.
- Treachery: The treachery’s effects resolve or are canceled by the players.
I have a few ideas here, for starters; if you’re playing an enemy-heavy scenario, then a great card to have attached to a hero could be Rivendell Blade which gives enemies -2 Defense, helping you cut through your foes armor a little more easily. Also, having Thalin committed to the quest could help take down some enemies in fewer rounds, getting those guarded cards to you sooner. You could also control encounter decks with scrying like Firyal or Risk Some Light and control progress on locations with cards like Woodmen’s Path or Asfaloth unless the cards you are revealing are immune to player card effects.
(The Black Serpent)
Guarded (X) is a new version of the Guarded Keyword. When a card with Guarded (X) is revealed, instead of revealing the next card from the encounter deck, discard cards from the encounter deck until an encounter card with the matching type is discarded. Then, add it to the staging area and attach the just revealed objective to it. Once attached, an objective with Guarded (X) works just like an objective with the Guarded Keyword.
(The Wilds of Rhovanion)
In this version of the Keyword, it appears on both objective cards and some player card attachments. X is a card type: enemy or location. When a card with Guarded (x) enters play, discard cards from the encounter deck until an encounter card with the matching type is discarded. Then, add that card to the staging area and attach the Guarded (X) card to it as a Guarded objective. Once attached, an objective with guarded (X) works just like an objective with the original Guarded Keyword. If the encounter deck is empty while resolving the Guarded (X) Keyword, shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and finish resolving the Guarded (X) Keyword.
A player card attachment with the Guarded (X) Keyword cannot be attached to a character until it is free of encounters. Once free of encounters, its owner gains control of it and attaches it to an eligible card.
Here is a great article on the Guarded Keyword: https://visionofthepalantir.com/2019/09/16/guarded-cards/
(Core Set) For example: Legolas, Haldir of Lórien
A character with the ranged keyword can be declared by its controller as an attacker against enemies that are engaged with another player. A character can declare ranged attacks against these targets while its owner is declaring attacks, or it can participate in attacks that are declared by other players. In either case, the character must exhaust and meet any other requirements necessary to make the attack.
(Core Set) For example: Horn of Gondor
Each character cannot have more than 2 attachments with the Restricted Keyword. If a third restricted attachment is ever attached to a character, one of the restricted attachments must immediately be moved to its owner’s discard pile. The only exceptions to the 2-Restricted slots per character are when a player uses the Forth! The Three Hunters contract, or the Golden Belt attachment. Attachments can sometimes also fill both Restricted slots on a character, like the Raiment of War.
(Core Set) For example: Aragorn
A character with the sentinel keyword may be declared as a defender during enemy attacks that are made against other players. A character may declare sentinel defense after the player engaged with the enemy making the attack declares no defenders. The defending sentinel character must exhaust and meet any other requirements necessary to defend the attack.
(The Redhorn Gate) Risk Some Light
Secrecy is a keyword introduced on player cards in the Dwarrowdelf Cycle. Secrecy lowers the cost to play the card by the specified value, provided the Threat of the player who is playing the card is 20 or below. Secrecy only applies when the card is played from hand, and never modifies the printed cost of the card.
Shh, here’s an article on the Secrecy Keyword…don’t tell anybody…because it’s a secret…get it? (I know that was terrible, but the article is really good) https://visionofthepalantir.com/2018/06/21/secrecy/
Encounter Card Keywords
(The Grey Havens) White Ship
Aflame represents ships in the Elven fleet and piers in the Grey Havens, which are under attack by Corsairs and are being set on fire. At the end of each round, the players must place 1 damage token on each Aflame location in the staging area. Many encounter card effects can also cause damage tokens to be placed on Aflame locations. If at any point an Aflame location has damage tokens on it equal to its Aflame X value, it is destroyed and must be placed facedown underneath The Havens Burn objective card. Cards facedown underneath The Havens Burn are considered to be out of play. If an Aflame location is explored, it is placed in the discard pile as normal, and all damage tokens on it are also discarded.
Quest! Make a push to get through those locations before they burn away, so questing and location control (on those locations not immune to player card effects), are most important. Consider Thror’s Key, Thror’s Map, Woodmen’s Path, or bring Eowyn and Escort from Edoras for an extra push when you need it.
(Road to Rivendell) For example: Goblin Taskmaster
When an enemy with the Ambush Keyword enters play, each player, starting with the first player and proceeding clockwise, must make an engagement check. The engagement check is only made against the enemy that just entered play and not other enemies that are in the staging area. If the enemy engages a player as the result of this effect, then no further engagement checks are made against it.
Keep your threat low. Run a Hobbit Deck. Keep enemies from being able to engage you, for example, Noiseless Movement (one of my absolute favorites), which is often times a perfect combo for Haldir of Lórien (also one of my favorites).
(Heirs of Númenor) For example: Orc Arbalesters
While a card with the Archery Keyword is in play, players must deal damage to character cards in play equal to the specified archery value at the beginning of each combat phase. This damage can be dealt to characters under any player’s control, and it can be divided among the players as they see fit. If there is disagreement as to where to assign archery damage, the first player makes the final decision. If multiple cards with the Archery Keyword are in play, the effects are cumulative. Remember that your Defense does not block archery damage.
Bring some healing. That’s the simplest advice I can offer. Warden of Healing, a dedicated Healer Deck (for multiplayer games), or chose your favorite healer.
Another effective strategy for a multiplayer game is to build up a strong attack deck to get through those enemies more quickly. Or even a staging area attack deck to get rid of those enemies who like to sit up there and snipe all the characters on the table.
(The Flame of the West: The Battle of the Pelennor Fields) The White City Besieged
Assault represents the army of Mordor’s relentless attack on the city of Minas Tirith. While stage 3B is in play, progress cannot be placed on that stage by player card effects or by questing successfully. However, progress can still be placed on the active location as normal. When the players quest unsuccessfully, each player does not raise his Threat. Instead, the players must deal X damage to Minas Tirith. X is the amount by which the total Threat in the staging area was greater than the total Willpower of each character committed to the quest. (This damage is only calculated once for the group, not per player.)
I feel the most straight forward strategy here is high attack power, to cut through those enemies more effectively and contribute their threat in order to pass through the quest stage.
(Heirs of Numenor) Ambush in Ithilien
If a quest card has the Battle Keyword, when characters are committed to that quest, they count their total Attack instead of their total Willpower when resolving the quest. Enemies and locations in the staging area still use their Threat in opposition to this quest attempt.
Mono Tactics and strong attackers are the best strategies for this. However, if you are like me and mostly playing solo games, you need to be prepared for more than just high Attack stats since most of the quests with the Battle Keyword do not have the Battle Keyword on every quest stage. If you are playing multiplayer by all means run a strong mono tactics deck.
(The Grey Havens) Stormcaller
Boarding is a keyword that appears on many ship‑enemies. When a ship‑enemy with the Boarding Keyword engages a player from the staging area, reveal the top X cards from the Corsair Deck, and put the revealed enemies into play, engaged with that player. Note that the Boarding Keyword does not resolve if the ship‑enemy engages a player from another player’s play area, or from the encounter deck or discard pile.
Defenders and Attackers. In solo I’d recommend at least 1 or 2 defenders and at least 1 or 2 dedicated attackers so you don’t end up with too many enemies. For your defenders, I recommend Beregond (or his Spirit version), with either a Defender of Rammas, or Jubayr. I’d also recommend bringing some action advantage like Desperate Defense, or Unexpected Courage. As for attackers, honestly pick your favorite. Like Legolas with at least 1 Bow of the Galadhrim.
(The Battle of Lake-town) Merchant’s District
The Burn X keyword represents Smaug’s devastating attack against Lake-town. When instructed to resolve Burn damage, total the amount of all Burn X on locations in play and assign it to the Lake-town objective. When assigning Burn damage, each player may exhaust any number of his characters to assign any number of Burn damage to those characters (up to their remaining hit points). Any damage not assigned to characters must be assigned to Lake-town.
(Escape from Mount Gram) Patrol Room
Capture is a keyword that represents locations or enemies that guard one or more captured cards, when an encounter card or quest card with the Capture X Keyword enters play, before resolving that card’s “when revealed” effects, each player takes the top X cards of his or her captured deck and captures them by placing them facedown underneath that card. (If the players are at different stages of the quest, only the players at that stage perform this act.)
Captured Cards & Rescuing Cards
When cards are captured facedown underneath an encounter card, those cards are called “captured cards” and are considered to be out of play, under no player’s control. This can occur from the capture X keyword or from encounter card effects that instruct a player to capture 1 or more cards underneath a specified card. If a card is captured from play, all tokens on that card and attachments on that card are discarded. When an encounter card or quest card with 1 or more captured cards underneath, it leaves play, all of the captured cards underneath it are “rescued” by their owners. Rescued cards are placed in their owners’ hands. If a hero card is rescued, immediately put it into play under its owner’s control.
(The Wilds of Rhovanion) Deep Chasm
Deep is a keyword that appears on some locations in the Wilderland box. After the players travel to a Deep location, they discard it and replace it with the top card of the Caves deck. That location then becomes the active location. If there are no cards remaining in the Caves deck, the Deep Keyword is ignored.
(The Withered Heath) If a Dragon Sign replaces the active location via the Deep Keyword, add the Dragon Sign to the staging area and resolve its Guarded Keyword.
(The Treason of Sauruman: Helm’s Deep) Assult on Helm’s Deep
During quest resolution, if the total Threat in the staging area is greater than the total Willpower of characters committed to the quest, players do not raise their Threat by the difference. Instead, the first player places progress on the current quest equal to the difference. The active location still acts as a buffer to the quest, so progress made by the encounter deck or encounter card effect must be placed on the active location first before it is placed on the quest (unless a card effect bypasses the active location). When a quest has progress equal to its quest points, that stage is defeated, and the players should advance to the next stage as usual.
(The Ghost of Framsburg) Moonlit Passage
The Discover Keyword represents the heroes’ search for Fram’s tomb, as well as the unexpected dangers they encounter as they travel to the different locations in Framsburg. When a location with the discover Keyword becomes the active location, the first player resolves the following steps in order:
- Look at the top X cards of the encounter deck, where X is the active location’s discover value.
- Choose 1 looked at objective with the Loot keyword and attach it to the active location as a guarded objective.
- Randomly select 1 looked at card with the Hazard trait, reveal it and add it to the staging area.
- Place any remaining looked at cards in the encounter discard pile. If there are less than X cards remaining in the encounter deck when resolving the Discover Keyword, shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and continue resolving the Discover Keyword.
(The Mountain of Fire) Embassy from the Dark Tower
The Dire Keyword represents the world-changing endeavors that the heroes of Middle-Earth undertook in the final book of The Lord of the Rings. While the main quest has the Dire Keyword, each player’s threat elimination level is increased to 99, and each player’s Threat cannot be reduced by more than 1 each round by non-boon player card effects. Boon card effects that reduce player’s Threat are not affected by the dire Keyword. Additionally, the threat value for triggering Valour effects is changed from 40 threat to 80.
(Temple of the Deceived) Searching the Island
The Exploration Keyword on the main quest represents the player’s ability to traverse the Island Map prepared during the setup of the scenario. In this scenario, locations are not revealed from the encounter deck, and the entire island is laid out for the players to explore, one location at a time.
Locations in the Island Map cannot leave the Island Map for any reason, nor can they leave their individual positions within the island (for example, an effect that would switch two locations does not work in this scenario). The Island Map is not the same as the staging area and does not function in the same way. Note that there is still a staging area, which is used for enemies and other cards that would be placed into the staging area.
During this scenario, the active location is represented through the use of an “active location marker,” which can be a resource token or a pawn/figurine of the players’ choice. The active location is not moved out of its place in the island map when the players travel to it. The locations adjacent (orthogonally, not diagonally) to the active location are considered to be in the staging area. All of the other locations on the Island Map are not considered to be in the staging area.
When the players quest successfully, progress is still placed on the active location before it is placed on the current quest, up to that location’s quest points, as normal. However, if progress is placed on any location equal to its quest points, it is not immediately explored. Instead, it remains in play.
During the Travel phase, if the active location has progress on it equal to its quest points, the players have the option to travel to a location in the staging area (i.e. an adjacent location). If the active location does not have enough progress on it, they cannot travel from it. If the players travel to another location, all progress is removed from the active location, and their active location marker is moved to the new location. At this point, the formerly active location is considered “explored,” although it is not discarded or flipped over, and remains in place. Because players always travel from one location directly to another in this scenario, there is always an active location at any given moment in time. Remember that flipping an Uncharted location also removes all progress from it.
Players can freely travel around the Island Map using the above rules, and may return to locations they have already explored. Your goal is to find the entrance to the underwater Grotto which is somewhere inside the grand temple–the three locations on the rightmost side of the Island Map. But, in order to enter the Temple, you must find the Gate Key somewhere on the island. Good luck!
(The Thing in the Depths) Crushing Arm
Grapple represents the many tentacles of the sea-beast grasping onto different parts of the Stormcaller, threatening to pull the ship underwater. When an enemy with the Grapple keyword is revealed, or when you are instructed to resolve an enemy’s Grapple keyword, immediately attach that enemy facedown to the location in the staging area specified in parentheses (for example, the location with the highest Threat, or the highest quest points). If more than one location meets the specified criteria, the first player may choose which of those locations the enemy grapples. If there are no locations in the staging area, add the enemy to the staging area without attaching it to any location. While attached to a location by the Grapple keyword, an enemy is “grappled with” that location.
While grappled with a location, an enemy is not considered to be in the staging area, cannot be engaged, and is immune to player card effects. Instead, it adds 2 $ to the $ of the location it is grappled with.
When a location becomes the active location, or when a location in the staging area is explored, any enemies grappled with that location are detached, flipped faceup, and added to the staging area as normal enemies. Thus, by traveling to a location, the players can engage and attack the tentacles grappled with that location, freeing the Stormcaller from the creature’s grasp!
(The Middle Earth Tour Project)
A Haven is clearly a place of rest and sanctuary, if only briefly. Whilst a Haven is the active Location, players skip both the encounter phase and the combat phase for that round.
(The Black Riders) Crawling Towards Him, Bucklebury Ferry
When an encounter card with the Hide X keyword is revealed, the player who revealed the card must make a Hide test. If the encounter card with the Hide X keyword also has a “When Revealed” or “Forced” effect, the Hide test must be resolved before resolving the rest of the card.
Hide Tests (not a keyword, but more info for the Hide Keyword)
When a player is instructed to make a Hide test, that player may exhaust any number of characters he controls to commit those characters to the Hide test. Then, that player discards the top X cards of the encounter deck where X is equal to the Hide X value. Add the total Threat of the discarded cards and compare it to the total Willpower of the characters committed to the Hide test. If the total Threat of the discarded cards is greater than the total Willpower of all characters committed to the Hide test, then that player fails the Hide test. If the total Willpower of the characters committed to the Hide test is greater than or equal to the total Threat of the discarded cards, then the Hide test is successful. After the Hide test resolves, characters are no longer committed to the test.
Player Actions During Hide Tests
Hide tests interrupt the regular turn sequence and create a new action window. After the total Threat of the discarded cards has been determined, players are allowed to take actions. Once the Hide test is resolved, play continues as normal, and player actions are restricted to regular action windows.
(The Voice of Isengard) Angry Huorn
The Hinder Keyword appears on the Huorn enemies in this scenario. While engaged with a player, an enemy with the Hinder keyword is not dealt a shadow card and does not make an attack during the combat phase. Instead of making attacks, enemies with the Hinder Keyword force players to remove progress from the current quest or active location. At the beginning of the combat phase, each player removes one progress from the current quest for each enemy with Hinder engaged with him. When there is no progress remaining on the current quest, players remove progress from the active location instead. If there is no progress on either the quest or active location, there is no effect.
(Shadow and Flame) For example: Durin’s Bane
An enemy with the Indestructible Keyword cannot be destroyed by damage, even when it has damage on it equal to its hit points.
(Murder at the Prancing Pony) Old Warehouse
Investigate is a keyword the represents the heroes’ efforts to solve the crime. When an active location with the Investigate Keyword is explored, the first player shuffles the Investigation deck and looks at the top X cards. Then, he placed those cards back on top of the Investigation deck in the same order.
While the players are at stage 2B, the Investigate keyword on the active location is resolved before the second Forced effect on that stage.
(The Ghost of Framsburg) Sword of Belegost
Objectives with the Loot Keyword are valuable treasures that can only be discovered by exploring the different locations in Framsburg. A loot card can only enter play by resolving the Discover Keyword on a location. If a card with the Loot Keyword is revealed from the encounter deck, discard it and reveal another card from the top of the encounter deck.
(A Long Extended Party: Ambush at Erelas) Pillaging Swordsman
Looter is a keyword that appears on enemies in this quest. After you engage an enemy with the Looter keyword, place a random card from your hand and the top X cards of your deck into that enemy’s loot pile. This is done every time an enemy with the Looter keyword engages a player, even if there are already cards in that enemy’s loot pile.
(The Hunt for the Dreadnaught)
An enemy with the Massive keyword cannot leave the staging area, is considered to be engaged with each player, and attacks each player in turn during the combat phase.
(The Land of Shadow) Haunted Mere
Mire is a keyword that represents the shifting, sinking nature of the Dead Marshes. At the end of the refresh phase, place 1 resource token on each location in the staging area. Resource tokens placed on locations with the Mire Keyword are called “mire tokens.” When a location with the mire keyword has mire tokens equal to its mire X value, it is immediately discarded.
Each location with the Mire Keyword also has a Forced effect that triggers when it is discarded from play by the Mire Keyword. These Forced effects do not trigger when a location is discarded by any other effect or when a location is placed in the discard pile after being explored.
(The Middle Earth Tour Project)
This functions very much like the Time keyword. When a Location with Opportunity is revealed, place X tokens on the Location and remove one token at the end of each round. When there are no tokens remaining and the Location is still in the staging area, discard the Location. This keyword indicates that many beneficial Tour Locations are only available for a short time, and unless a player travels to them promptly, they disappear. This is to stop a player from leaving them in the staging area since they have a low or no Threat total and travelling to them when it is most beneficial…
(The Black Riders) Black Breath
Peril is a keyword introduced in The Lord of the Rings Saga Expansions. When a player reveals an encounter card with the Peril Keyword, he must resolve the staging of that card on his own without conferring with the other players. The other players cannot take any actions or trigger any responses during the resolution of that card’s staging.
(The Black Riders) Valiant Warrior
Permanent is a keyword found on some boons and burdens. Once a boon or burden with the permanent Keyword is earned, it is attached to a hero, and that choice is recorded in the Campaign Log. A card with the permanent Keyword can only be attached to one hero for the duration of a campaign. Attachments with the permanent Keyword cannot be discarded from the attached hero while that hero is in play. If a hero leaves play, attachments with the permanent Keyword attached to that hero are removed from the game.
(The Flame of the West: The Passing of the Grey Company) Army of the Dead
The Phantom Keyword represents the mysterious and terrifying nature of the Undead oathbreakers that the Grey Company encountered on their journey through the Paths of the Dead. During the ‘determine combat damage’ step of an attack made by an enemy with Phantom, if any damage would be dealt by the attack, it is canceled, and the defending player raises his Threat by an equal amount instead.
(The Hunt for the Dreadnaught)
Pillage is a keyword that appears on some enemies. After an enemy with Pillage X attacks a player, that player discards the top X cards of their deck.
(Drúadan Forest) It’s Daan’s favourite! Drúadan Thief
Prowl is a keyword that represents the Woses’ uncanny ability to stalk their prey through the Drúadan Forest. When an encounter card with the Prowl Keyword is revealed from the encounter deck, the players (as a group) must discard the specified number of resources from their heroes’ resource pools. If the players do not have enough resources to match the specified value, then they must discard as many resources as they can.
(Challenge of the Wainriders) Wairider Camp
Race is a Keyword found on quest cards in the Challenge of the Wainriders. It represents the player’s chariot race against the Wainriders. Quest cards with the Race Keyword cannot be defeated outside of the quest phase, and progress cannot be placed on them by player card effects.
When a quest stage with the Race Keyword is defeated, it is not removed from play. Instead, the quest stage remains in play, and all progress is removed from it at the end of the phase.
Racing X Test
(not a keyword but worth including with Race Keyword)
Racing tests represent the heroes’ ability to drive their chariots over difficult and dangerous terrain. Succeeding at these tests will mean the difference between winning and losing the race. Each quest stage has a Forced that initiates a racing X test when that stage is defeated. When this happens, the first player commits a single character to the test by exhausting it. Then, the first player discards the top X cards of the encounter deck, where X is the total value of the character’s indicated attribute (Willpower, Attack, or Defense). Some encounter cards have racing test results printed in their lower-right-hand corners. The results types are STRAIGHT, TURN, and WILD (the WILD result counts as both a STRAIGHT and a TURN result). Each racing test specifies which result and how many of that result the players need to discard in order to pass.
(Watcher in the Water) The Watcher
An enemy with the Regenerate Keyword heals damage from itself equal to the specified amount each round. This takes place immediately following the passing of the first player token during the Refresh Phase and occurs before player actions.
(The Hobbit Saga: Over Hill and Underhill) A Tough Sack
The keyword “Sack X” is a keyword introduced in The Hobbit Saga: Over Hill and Underhill, where players draw cards from the sack deck. When the keyword Sack X is triggered by the encounter deck, the first player draws the top X cards from the sack deck and resolves the “When Sacked” effects on those cards. If players are instructed to draw multiple cards from the sack deck, those cards are drawn and resolved one at a time. If the Sack X Keyword is triggered and no sack cards remain in the sack deck, the Sack X effect is ignored. If a Sack card leaves play for any reason, shuffle it back into the sack deck.
When resolving the “when sacked” text on a sack card, if there are two or more eligible targets for that card, the first player must choose one. If a sack card instructs players to select a target that is not eligible, the first player must choose an eligible target. If there are no eligible targets, shuffle the Sack card back into the sack deck.
(Across the Ettenmoors) Secluded Cave
Safe is a keyword representing havens in which the players can take refuge from the harsh weather and vicious Trolls of the Ettenmoors. When players travel to a location with the Safe Keyword, immediately return all engaged enemies to the staging area.
While a location with the Safe Keyword is the active location, ignore the “when revealed” effects of all treachery cards, treat the printed text box of all encounter side quests as if they were blank, and enemies do not make engagement checks. At the end of the quest phase, if a safe location is the active location, add it to the victory display.
(The Grey Havens) Departure from the Havens
Sailing is a keyword that represents that the players are currently traveling across the sea on their ships. At the beginning of each quest phase (before committing characters to the quest), if the main quest has the Sailing Keyword, the first player must perform a Sailing test.
Sailing tests represent the players’ ability to change their course or alter their sails and riggings in such a way as to adapt to the changing winds. In order to perform a Sailing test, you must first shift your heading off-course. This represents the shifting of the winds and the difficulty of navigating at sea. (If it is already at “off-course,” it does not change.) Then, the player performing the Sailing test exhausts any number of characters he controls, committing them to the Sailing test. After choosing which characters to commit to the Sailing test, that player looks at a number of cards from the top of the encounter deck equal to the total number of characters committed to the Sailing test. If the encounter deck does not contain enough cards to look at, shuffle the encounter discard pile back into the encounter deck first. Some encounter cards have an “on-course” symbol on the bottom left corner of their text box. This symbol represents a success when performing a Sailing test. For each “on-course” symbol found on the looked at encounter cards, you may shift your heading on-course. If no “on-course” symbols are found, your heading stays the same. Then, discard all of the looked at cards. “On-course” symbols have no effect other than representing success during a Sailing test. Players have the opportunity to use Action effects before and after a Sailing test, but not during.
(Celebrimbor’s Secret) Bellach
Scour is a keyword that represents the efforts of Bellach and his minions to discover Celebrimbor’s hidden forge and the heroes who seek it. The scour Keyword does nothing by itself, but when the players are instructed by quest card or encounter card text to trigger a scour effect, they must resolve the effect that follows the scour Keyword on that card. The effect that follows the scour Keyword on a card is called the “scour effect.”
(The Voice of Isengard) Orc Cave
The Searches X Keyword represents the heroes’ search for the Orc captain, Mugash. When a location with the Searches X Keyword leaves play, the player (or players) identified by that location reveals the top X cards of his out-of-play deck. Players who reveal cards this way add each revealed enemy to the staging area, choose 1 player card to take into their hand, and discard the rest.
(Heirs of Numenor) The Defense
If a quest card has the Siege Keyword, when characters are committed to that quest, they count their total Defense instead of their total Willpower when resolving the quest. Enemies and locations in the staging area still use their Threat in opposition to this quest attempt.
(The Stone of Erech) The Lord of the Dead
The Spectral Keyword represents ghostly enemies who cannot be harmed without the courage and force of will to stand up to their horrifying presence. When characters attack an enemy with the Spectral Keyword, they must use their Willpower instead of their Attack to determine their attack strength.
Enemies still substract their Defense from your attack strength to determine how much damage is dealt. Effects that deal direct damage will still affect an enemy with the Spectral Keyword.
(Core Set) Wolf Rider
When an encounter card with the Surge Keyword is revealed, reveal 1 additional encounter card. If an encounter card has more than 1 instance of surge, reveal 1 additional encounter card for each separate instance. Resolve the Surge Keyword immediately after resolving the staging of the encounter card.
(The Voice of Isengard) Down from the Hills
Time X is a keyword that represents the urgency of the heroes’ quest. When a card with the Time X Keyword is revealed, the players put X resource tokens on that card. These tokens are called “time counters.” At the end of each refresh phase, remove 1 time counter from each card with the Time X Keyword, if able. When the last time counter is removed, there will be a triggered effect that resolves on that card. Some encounter cards will also remove time counters, making it more difficult for the players to predict when they will run out of time.
My recommendation for the most part here, is to quest hard. Many of the quest stages with the Time Keyword can be overcome by questing through quickly, or you will be revealing more cards into the staging area, meaning more threat to overcome.
(The Road Darkens) Uruk-hai Captain
An enemy with the Toughness Keyword reduces the amount of damage it takes by X each time it is assigned any amount of damage.
(Beneath the Sands ) Nest of Vermin
Track is a keyword that represents the heroes’ efforts to locate their missing companions somewhere in the spiders’ labyrinth. After the players travel to a location, if they are off track, they discard X cards from the encounter deck, where X is the active location’s Track value. If any of the discarded cards has On Track printed in the lower right corner, then the players flip the Search objective to On Track. If the encounter deck is ever empty while the players are resolving the Track Keyword, shuffle the encounter discard pile into the encounter deck and continue resolving the Track Keyword. When the Search objective is flipped from Off Track to On Track, discard all resources on it.
(The Grey Havens) Shrine to Morgoth
Uncharted locations represent unknown areas of Middle-earth, untouched and unexplored during this age of the world. As such, the players do not know what to expect when traveling to them. These locations are double-sided. One side is called “Lost Island” and has the Uncharted Keyword. Uncharted locations are always added to the staging area with the “Lost Island” side faceup without looking at the other side of the card. Locations with the Uncharted Keyword do not have quest points and cannot be explored by placing progress on them, although progress may still be placed on them (in order to trigger their Action ability).
(The Steward’s Fear) Roots of Mindolluin, Houses of the Dead, The Fourth Star
In the Steward’s Fear, the heroes are striving to uncover an evil conspiracy at work in Minas Tirith. To represent the hidden dangers involved in rooting out such a threat, some locations in this scenario have the Underworld Keyword. When a location with the Underworld Keyword enters play, take cards from the top Underworld Deck equal to the specified value and stack them facedown underneath that location. When a location leaves play, any facedown cards stacked underneath that location are revealed one at a time and added to the staging area. If a card from the Underworld Deck would be discarded, it is placed in the encounter discard pile. If a location with Underworld is revealed from the encounter deck and there are no cards left in the Underworld Deck, then the Underworld Keyword has no effect.
(A Long Extended Party: The Horse-Lord’s Ire) Wild Country
The Vast keyword appears on some locations in this cycle, and represents the large distances the players must travel when journeying from place to place within Rohan. Each location with the Vast keyword is considered to be a “vast location”, with the following additional text:
Travel: Each player must either exhaust a Mount attachment or a hero they control.
Response: After placing progress on this location from questing successfully (even if this location is explored), place an additional progress on any vast location for each Mount attachment the players control.
Venom, Poison, and Poisoned
(Flies and Spiders: The Hobbit Saga) Lazy Lob
Venom is a keyword in the Flies and Spiders scenario that represents the deadly method by which the spiders of Mirkwood Forest incapacitated the dwarves in order to bind them tightly in webs. When an enemy with the Venom keyword damages a character, that character’s controller must give it 1 poison. This is done by taking the top card of his deck and attaching it facedown to that character. Facedown cards attached to characters are considered “poison.” Poison cards are Condition attachments, and characters with any number of poison attached are considered “poisoned.”
Unconscious Characters (Not a Keyword, but a continuation of info for the Venom Keyword)
In this scenario, when a character has a number of poison attached equal to its printed hit points, that character is immediately made unconscious. This is done by rotating the character card 180 degrees. After a character is made unconscious, the attached poison cards are placed in their owner’s discard pile. Each stage of the Flies and Spiders scenario includes the following game text: “Unconscious characters cannot quest, attack, defend, collect resources, trigger abilities, be poisoned, or ready (except by effects that target unconscious characters).” These characters have been incapacitated by the spiders. If any number of poison is removed from a character, or that character leaves play, then those poison cards are placed in their owner’s discard pile.
(Encounter at Amon Dîn) Rescued Villagers, Dead Villagers
The Villagers Keyword creates tokens that represent the people living near to Amon Dîn who need the heroes to rescue them. When a location with the Villagers Keyword enters play or a quest card with Villagers is revealed, place resource tokens on it equal to the specified value. Resource tokens placed on a location or quest this way are Villager tokens. Villager tokens do not count as resources.
Please reach out if there are any Keywords that we missed. We hope that this is helpful to all the players out there, especially the new ones. If you are still having trouble with some of the terminology in this game, see the instruction manuals, or the Urban Dictionary for this game.
24 thoughts on “Keywords”
Any chance to also include ALeP keywords like Looter X?
Thank you! I will update that ASAP
Should be updated now. I couldn’t find images for card examples. But I will update those when I can. Thank you again.
You can find some images here:
Thank you again. I will update it soon.