20 October 2015 | Runebound

The Ascendence of Margath

Preview a Runebound Scenario

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Enter the realm of Terrinoth as a bold hero, questing for adventure wherever you can find it. Yet behind all of your thrilling journeys and adventures, there lies a deeper threat. The land is in peril as an evil presence from the past begins to gather power once more. In Runebound, your ultimate goal is nothing less than the destruction of this threat and the salvation of Terrinoth. 

Runebound is a board game of desperate quests and high fantasy adventure for two to four players. In previous previews, we’ve explored the distinct aspects of the game, beginning with the adventures you undertake and the actions you can spend, continuing through the heroes you play and the ways you can customize your hero to ensure that every game is completely different. Most recently, we delved into the combat tokens you’ll use in Runebound, and we gave a detailed example of a combat round to illustrate the tactical decisions you make in each battle. 

Today, we turn our attention to one of the two scenarios included in Runebound: the Ascendence of Margath!

The Dragonlord Returns

In the darkness of Terrinoth’s past, tyrannical dragonlords once conquered vast swaths of land. These dragonlords were defeated in the Dragon Wars, and High Lord Margath was cast down into the earth with a terrible wound. Margath’s body was never recovered, however, and certain signs now suggest that Margath has begun to rise again.

When you choose to play The Ascendence of Margath scenario, you’ll begin by taking the scenario’s special scenario card. This card is the heart of any Runebound scenario—it describes the special rules associated with that scenario including how you can win and lose. In The Ascendence of Margath , you and your fellow heroes must strive to collect ancient dragonlore to gain an edge in your inevitable showdown with Margath. After the first half of the game ends, Margath is spawned in Skydown, and any hero may enter his hex and spend an action to engage Margath in combat. The first hero to defeat Margath in battle wins the game!

However, if you and the other heroes delay too long before daring to face Margath, his plans to conquer Terrinoth advance faster and faster. As players take their turns throughout the game, you will advance the time track at the end of each round, triggering set events like refreshing adventure gems and drawing story cards, which we’ll explain below. When the time track reaches its end, the first half of the game—Act 1—is complete. Act 2 then begins with all monsters gaining a dangerous new combat token and the time track returning to its beginning.  

When the time track reaches the end of Act 2 in The Ascendence of Margath, the game does not immediately end. Instead, the heroes roll five terrain dice whenever the time track would normally advance. For each wild result that you roll on these terrain dice, Margath advances one space closer to Tamalir, and if he ever reaches Tamalir, Terrinoth is cast into darkness and all players lose the game together.

To stop High Lord Margath from destroying the city of Tamalir, you must face him in battle, but Margath is no easy target. He begins the fight with fifteen health, and though his health is lowered for each lore token that you have, this can never reduce his health below eight. In addition to all of the enemy combat tokens, Margath features his own combat token that either allows him to deal large amounts of damage or provides a surge to trigger his powerful abilities. 

Margath also boasts a variety of powerful abilities. He can spend a single surge to trigger Taunt, flipping one of your combat tokens and weakening your attack. Alternatively, if your hero has already landed a good hit, Margath can spend two surges to trigger Will of Margath and heal three damage. Finally, Margath can spend three surges on Empower, which doubles all enemy damage that he deals for the rest of the combat round! An appropriately timed Empower could defeat even the hardiest hero. Under normal circumstances, a defeated hero needs only to rest and recover before he can join the fight again, but if a hero is defeated while fighting Margath, he is devoured and eliminated from the game.

Join an Unfolding Story

More than unique rules for winning and losing the game, each scenario dramatically changes your gameplay experience with additional adventure cards and a unique deck of story cards. Before the game begins, you will separate the scenario’s unique adventure cards—ten for each of the three adventure decks. By adding these cards to the standard adventure cards, you ensure that you face different enemies and challenges in every game of Runebound.

For example, in The Ascendence of Margath you may face a Dragon Hybrid , a powerful enemy who gains health from your lore and who is extraordinarily resistant to magical damage. Alternatively, you may find yourself locked in combat with a Dreadbringer , one of the most powerful Dragons you can face. You may wander through the Tanglewood in search of the treasure of Dragonlord Levirax , or bathe in the Weeping Basin to heal your wounds. You may even encounter the Dread, a splinter cult devoted to worshipping the dragons as the true incarnation of Kellos’s divine fire. The Dread Prophets are known for their uncanny prophesies and doom-mongering, making them dangerous enemies in a fight.

Even more than the added adventure cards, each scenario’s deck of story cards creates a unique atmosphere and a place for your adventures to thrive. These story cards are very different than adventure cards—each scenario’s deck of story cards is completely different from another scenario’s story cards. As the time track advances each round, certain spaces reveal the top story card and put it into play. Many of these story cards are essentially shared objectives, representing both threats and opportunities surrounding the rise of Margath. What's more, the story cards for this scenario are your principal means of claiming lore tokens, and the number of these story cards means you'll never see all of them in a single game! 


When Dragon Cave is drawn, a story quest token is placed on the Broken Crags, and two lore tokens are placed on the card for the heroes to claim!

For instance, when the time track advances to a story card space, you may reveal Dragon Cave . When this card is revealed, two lore tokens are placed on the card, and a story quest token is placed in the indicated mountains. As an action, a hero in that space can explore, rolling a number of terrain dice equal to his speed—if you roll two mountains, you can take a lore from the card. Because lore is so useful for battling Margath, a story card like Dragon Cave may trigger a mass race to the mountains. Only the fastest and most quick-witted heroes will come away with lore tokens. 

Other story cards pertain to events surrounding the rise of Margath. The Dragon Cult forces each hero to flip an adventure gem facedown, letting you deny other heroes the opportunity to pursue nearby adventures. Alternatively, you may experience Panic in the Free Cities as Margath draws nearer. This story card gives the heroes the chance to trade their goods for a higher price as they sell them to travelers. However, you must also spend one gold or become delayed as hundreds of people flee to the countryside of Terrinoth. Between the story cards, adventure cards, the special rules of the scenario, and the unique dangers of the villain you face, each scenario included in Runebound offers a completely unique play experience with plenty of replayability.

Battle High Lord Margath

Adventure lies before you in Runebound, yet a deadly threat is also rising. As Dragonlord Margath begins his second rise to power, only a few of Terrinoth’s bravest heroes have a chance of stopping him. Gather your strength, cast down Margath once more, and become the savior of Terrinoth!

In our next preview, we’ll take a closer look at the second scenario in Runebound, The Corpse King. For now, pre-order your copy of Runebound at your local retailer today.

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