24 November 2015 | The Lord of the Rings LCG

Dinner in the Dungeon

A Second Breakfast Article on The Lord of the Rings: The Dread Realm


Recently, The Battle of Carn Dûm Adventure Pack made its way to retailers, and fans of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game everywhere have since battled their way past the evil Wraith Thaurdir and though the fortress gates. Now Middle-earth's heroes stand ready for their final confrontation with the villain behind all of Angmar's recent activities. All they have to do is make their way into Carn Dûm's subterranean catacombs, through hallways laced with ages of dark Sorcery, and past untold numbers of evil Undead

But as difficult as the task before them may be, it's even worse for a Hobbit with hunger pains. Accordingly, the cycle's lead developer Matthew Newman has once again taken a few minutes of his time to throw us a morsel to sustain us through our journeys. Just note that we'll have to eat quickly. The dead approach!

Lead Developer Matthew Newman on the Themes of The Dread Realm

In The Dread Realm, our heroes venture into the fortress of Carn Dûm, the former bastion of the Witch-king himself. Carn Dûm is considered to be the capital of Angmar, though it is more of a stronghold than a city. Because Carn Dûm is so full of history and menace, we decided to focus on a specific area within the fortress, rather than try to define the whole. The scenario's action takes place entirely within the catacombs and tombs beneath Carn Dûm.

This approach allowed us to marry the quest’s mechanics and art style together into a cohesive whole. In particular, it helped strengthen the quest's focus on necromancy and reanimating the dead.

This scenario’s tight focus on the Undead and the catacombs of Carn Dûm pays off in its execution. All of the crypts you’ll explore within Carn Dûm share artistic similarities, grounding players within the adventure’s setting. Similarly, the encounter cards in this scenario strongly synergize with one another.

For example, it’s pretty brutal when the Dwimmerlaik (The Dread Realm, 155) destroys an ally and reanimates it as an enemy you must fight. But if the Dark Halls (The Dread Realm, 160) are in play, your ally will be even stronger when it turns Undead. And if the Unholy Crypt (The Dread Realm, 161) is also in play, it will grow in threat as more Reanimated Dead flood the board!

Another major theme of this scenario is Daechanar’s many Sorcery effects, which are strongest here in the capital of Angmar. Every one of the terrible treachery cards in this adventure pack have the Sorcery trait, many of which attach to other cards – to allies, to heroes, and even to quest cards. The scenario’s final encounter plays around with this mechanic in an interesting way, forcing you to deal with Daechanar’s foul magics before you can deal with the archvillain himself.

Despite all this, the thing that excites me the most about this scenario is that it concludes an epic story we’ve woven through nine challenging scenarios. Hopefully, you will find the resolution of this tale climactic and satisfying. From Rivendell to Fornost to Mount Gram to Carn Dûm, our heroes have faced all manner of evils. Now it is finally time to put this evil to rest. As this scenario brings your quest to a conclusion, it introduces some real twists, and you will likely want to avoid learning about them before you play it.

Thankfully, in the end, you won’t have to face Daechanar’s sorcery alone. You’ll have the aid of the Rangers of the North and the Elves of Rivendell, with a bond that's stronger than ever before. With determination and luck, you may be able to see your heroes through the perils that await them. Then, they may even find some well-deserved rest… That is, before they are whisked away to The Grey Havens for the beginnings of another epic adventure!

The Dead Await

All right, heroes, it's time to wolf down those last bites of cram. Wash them down with a bit of water, and unsheathe your swords. The Dread Realm and all its dangers lie directly before you. The Dread Realm is due to arrive at retailers throughout the United States in just a couple weeks!

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