Making a Hero
Preview Character Progression in The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth
"'I am glad that you are here with me,' said Frodo. 'Here at the end of all things, Sam.'"
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
Heroes aren't born; they are made, forged in the fires of battle and adventure. Now, with evil stirring across Eriador, Middle-earth needs new heroes more than ever.
With The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth, you have the chance to forge your own hero across immersive campaigns that see you battling powerful foes, discovering lost treasures, and uncovering forgotten lore. Along the way, your heroes will feel the weight of their experiences, honing their skills in six distinct roles and deepening their knowledge of Middle-earth and its people.
Over the course of two previews, we’ve revealed the six heroes that you can embody as you embark on your quest, as well as the six distinct roles these heroes can use. Join us today for a look at how these heroes can grow over the course of your campaigns!
Those who would become heroes of Middle-earth have a long road to travel. Whether they are fleet of foot, possess great wisdom, or have the might to wield powerful weapons, all know that experience is the best teacher. While the heroes that form your Fellowship in Journeys in Middle-earth are experienced in their own right, there’s still plenty more they can learn.
From the armor they wear to the skills they master, almost every aspect of a hero can be upgraded throughout a campaign and you have the final say over how your hero evolves. As we discussed in earlier previews, every hero in Journeys in Middle-earth is represented by a unique deck of skill cards that grants them special abilities and helps them pass skill tests.
Heroes begin a campaign with six basic skill cards and five skill cards unique to that hero, but this is only the beginning. A hero's skills are also determined by the role they choose for a particular adventure and—as your adventures continue—you'll have plenty of opportunities to add new skills to your hero's deck. A camp screen appears in the Journeys in Middle-earth companion app after you complete an adventure, giving you the chance to upgrade your heroes and their items.
Rather than gaining generic experience points during an adventure, heroes earn experience specific to their current role. You’re free to take on a new role with every new adventure and—since purchased skill cards remain in your deck no matter what role you choose next—you can accumulate skill cards from a variety of roles over the course of a campaign, building a hero that reflects your unique adventures.
Whether you choose to become a self-sufficient Burglar or attack for heavy damage as a Hunter, each role can be upgraded in a variety of ways, allowing you to forge a hero that plays exactly the way you want. Gain enough experience as your group’s Pathfinder, for example, and you can learn how to set a Baited Trap for enemies entering a space containing another hero. Similarly, your party’s Musician could add a Song like A Bit of Nonsense to their repertoire, letting them raise the Fellowship’s spirits.
Introducing new skill cards to your deck has benefits beyond simply learning new skills. If you become a Master Tactician by earning experience as a Captain, you add a valuable success icon to your deck, while giving your party the opportunity to prepare new skills if you have this prepared. Finally, you can always remove skill cards you’ve purchased from your deck by selling them for experience, giving you an unprecedented amount of control over the skills in your deck.
A Deeper Understanding
There is more to learn on your adventures than just new skills, of course. Middle-earth is full of secrets to uncover and, as you do, you’re sure to come to a deeper understanding of the world around you. As you complete tests and make new discoveries, you gather valuable information and knowledge in the form of Lore that can help you make better use of the items you carry.
Unlike experience, the Lore you gain cannot be spent or lost. Instead, it is shared amongst all heroes in your Fellowship and—once you've reached certain amounts of Lore—new item upgrades become available. When you earn enough Lore, for example, you become proficient enough to wield better weapons: you may upgrade your Sword to a Númenórean Sword and gain the ability to heal fear or damage when you defeat your enemies.
The knowledge you've gathered extends beyond upgrading your weapons. The more adventures you embark on, the better you'll use the tools you need to navigate the world. We already discussed how a piece of Rope can help you navigate the deep caves and craggy mountains of Middle-earth in an earlier preview. Once you've been on enough adventures, though, you can use your Hobson Rope in even more ways. Similarly, you could learn to decipher more of a battered Tome as your journeys continue, discovering that it is in fact a Tome of Battle that provides useful advice for confrontations with your enemies.
Just like your skills, the more you progress, the more options you have to customize the equipment you carry. While some items can simply be upgraded into better versions, many others give you a choice between two options. Eventually, a hero wielding a Númenórean Sword can upgrade it to one of two superior swords. If they choose a Sun-Silver, they reveal an extra card and can spend a success to add pierce to their attack. Fate-Bender, on the other hand, may not make such powerful attacks, but it can be used in attacks using might or wisdom. Better yet, it becomes even more effective when the hero wielding it has three or more damage. Each presents a powerful alternative and you must choose wisely: item upgrades are permanent and cannot be undone.
Complete Your Quest
The evils that plague Middle-earth cannot be defeated overnight. You must let experience be your guide if you would see the quest through to the end.
Look for The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth (JME01) at your local retailer on April 18. You can pre-order your own copy at your local retailer or online through our website today!