There came a great noise: a rolling Boom that seemed to come from the depths far below, and to tremble in the stone at their feet. They sprang towards the door in alarm. Doom, doom it rolled again, as if huge hands were turning the very caverns of Moria into a vast drum. Then there came an echoing blast: a great horn was blown in the hall, and answering horns and harsh cries were heard further off. There was a hurrying sound of many feet.
    –The Fellowship of the Ring

The Orc hordes of Khazad-dûm are coming! Soon they will swarm the heroes of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game , forcing them to battle in the harrowing halls of the ancient realm of Moria.

A rush of Orcs

The Khazad-dûm Expansion introduces nine encounter sets that combine to form three new scenarios and lay the foundation for the six upcoming scenarios of the Dwarrowdelf cycle of Adventure Packs. While these encounter sets offer a wide variety of locations, treachery, and enemies, one theme runs throughout them–the terrific menace posed by the hordes of Orcs gathering in the Misty Mountains.

The opportunity to design interesting, new scenarios unlike those already available led the developers of Khazad-dûm to experiment with new mechanics for the Orcs of Moria. At the end of the day, each enemy bears the same key features: Engagement Cost, Threat Strength, Attack Strength, Defense Strength, and Hit Points. However, these numbers offer a lot of flexibility, and many of the Orcs in these sets feature low Engagement Costs and moderate Attack Strengths. Still, their game text offers further refinement, fleshing out their personalities, and setting them apart from previous enemies.

Throughout the scenarios of the Core Set and the Shadows of Mirkwood cycle, nearly all the enemies’ most distinguishing text came above the Shadow Effect Icon. The Hill Troll ( Core Set , 82) terrorized fellowships with its ability to convert extra damage to threat. Chieftan Ufthak ( Core Set , 90) grew stronger and more fearsome each time he attacked. The King Spider ( Core Set , 74) trapped characters in its treacherous webs, exhausting them. Among the enemies from the game’s first nine scenarios, only the Wolf Rider ( Core Set , 81) gained the majority of its personality from its Shadow Effect, which allowed it to jump into play as an enemy and make its own attack.

In Tolkien’s fiction, the Orcs of Moria drove the Fellowship before them, attacking in ferocious waves and forcing some of Middle-earth’s greatest heroes–Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, and Gandalf–to flee or perish. Khazad-dûm recreates this peril through various means, including the use of Shadow Effects like that on the Goblin Swordsman ( Khazad-dûm , 61). If your heroes don’t quickly defeat the Orcs with which they’re engaged, additional Shadow Effects may summon additional enemies, and your moment’s hesitation may find your heroes surrounded by a small horde of Orcs. As a result, the Orcs from the nine new encounter sets can harry, pursue, and swarm your heroes in ways that differ the tenor and pace of the game from its previous scenarios. The result is a constantly evolving and refreshing game experience. No two scenarios play exactly alike.

Numbers beyond count

One of the most terrifying aspects of the Fellowship’s journey through Moria was that the greatest dangers remained hidden until the end. Likewise, in the scenarios of Khazad-dûm, even while Orcs flood the staging area and engage you in great numbers, your heroes may be even more concerned by what other dangers lie hidden in the distant dark. It’s impossible to know how many Orcs, Goblins, Trolls, and other beasts await your heroes should they tarry over long, and as the Goblins spill out of their Goblin Tunnels ( Khazad-dûm , 63) the location adds yet another dimension to the Orc threat that pervades the Khazad-dûm Expansion –that dread apprehension of the foes that threaten to overwhelm your heroes.

Strike up a torch, and keep your nerve. The Orcs are coming, and it will take all your skill to survive their onslaught within the darkened chambers of Moria. Head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy of Khazad-dûm today!

The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game is a cooperative card game that puts 1-2 players (or up to four with an additional Core Set) in control of the most powerful characters and artifacts of Middle-earth. Players will select heroes, gather allies, acquire artifacts, and coordinate their efforts to face Middle-earth’s most dangerous fiends. The Living Card Game format allows players to customize their gaming experience with monthly Adventure Pack expansions to the core game.

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