First Age Update
Almost a year ago, I posted about the beginning of a brand new custom project, a fan expansion for this game created by yours truly entitled “First Age”. The idea behind this expansion is that it would take LOTR LCG back to the First Age, covering the events of the Silmarillion, and including characters and foes from that time period. It’s hard to believe that so much time has elapsed since my first announcement, but juggling many different projects, as well as the usual demands of life, has meant that the project has taken longer than anticipated. However, I’m happy to report that I’m getting close to completion, helped by several others who have contributed card and design ideas. So the first order of business is to ask you fine readers for help. Even though this is a fan expansion, actually especially because this is a fan expansion, I would like to get people to playtest it, so that it is as balanced and fun as possible. If you are interested in helping to playtest, comment below!
The second order of business is to share a bit of what will actually be in the release of First Age. There will be around 100 new player cards, reflecting the unique characters, items, and events of the First Age. In many ways, this is designed to be a new “Core Set” for a different age, as it didn’t make sense to me to have players take Aragorn or Thorin Oakenshield adventuring through Beleriand thousands of years before they were born! However, in order to make sure that there are still many deck building options, some existing player cards will be compatible with First Age, namely those that fit thematically. A Test of Will for example, makes sense in any age, as does something like Feint. Thus, I will release a list of existing player cards that fit thematically with the First Age. Of course, this is a fan expansion, and players can do whatever they like. If you want to see how Legolas would have fared against Glaurung the dragon, be my guest!
While every sphere will get some love in the new player cards, there is also a brand new fifth sphere: the Mastery sphere. Anyone who’s read The Silmarillion knows that the lines between good and evil are a bit more blurred than they are in The Lord of the Rings, and those who are supposed to be good often engage in questionable acts in pursuit of their goals. The Mastery sphere represents those in Middle-earth who sought to use their considerable power, skill, ambition, and craft against Morgoth. Someone like Fëanor is a perfect example. Mastery cards will be quite strong, but they come with a cost, and I don’t mean just resources, but Corruption. Corruption is a brand new mechanic in First Age that can both be inflicted by player cards, through the use of abilities, or by the encounter cards themselves, as Morgoth seeks to sow disunion amongst his foes. If a character takes too much Corruption, he may even turn against his comrades, just as the Noldor slayed their kin at Alqualondë. There will be more details on the Mastery sphere and Corruption soon.
The final tidbit for today is revealing what the three quests in the First Age release will be: the Quest for the Silmaril! You will have the opportunity to recreate the epic journey of Beren and Lúthien as you seek to recover a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth himself. In The Isle of Werewolves, you must rescue some of your fellows who have been captured by Sauron, during this time a lieutenant of Morgoth, and imprisoned in Tol-in-Gaurhoth. In The Seat of Morgoth, you will sneak into the depths of Angband, coming face to face with perhaps the most powerful force of evil that has ever been, one that makes Sauron look like a member of the Lollipop Guild: Morgoth himself. Finally, in Hunting of the Wolf, you will hunt down the monstrous wolf, Carcharoth, seeking the Silmaril that he has swallowed. Do you think you can do better than Beren and Lúthien? Will you fall to temptation like a Son of Fëanor? Will you seek the aid of the Valar? Or will you rely on the strength of Men? Find out soon!