Dan, Derek, Ian and special guest Sierra continue the book club. We made it to Mordor! Chapters include, the Tower of Cirith Ungol, The Land of Shadow, and Mount Doom.
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- Sam’s Song in the Orc-Tower
Awesome custom cards by Philip B, with commentary:
“For the first three chapters of Book 6, I came up with three player cards related to Sam, since we’re mostly following his point of view. That’s why I had them all be Leadership, although some of the effects might fit more naturally in Spirit. I also designed the cards so that they would work well for the Mount Doom quest.
“The biggest moment for me in The Tower of Cirith Ungol is Sam’s song in the tower, which is already represented by Song of Hope. There are two big moments in The Land of Shadow, however, which don’t really have cards yet. Shortly after escaping the tower, Sam says that if he could see Galadriel he would ask her for light and water. Soon afterwards, the perpetual darkness over Mordor gives way to faint daylight, and Frodo and Sam find a streamlet. I chose readying to represent the light and a resource to represent the water. The name comes from Frodo saying to Sam, after they find the water, “I think we’ll trust our luck together, Sam; or our blessing.”
“The other big moment for me in The Land of Shadow is the star that shines on Sam. Sam is weary, and the night “seemed full of creaking and cracking and sly noises.” In the midst of desolation, however, Sam sees the beauty of a star (Eärendil?), and perceives that the Shadow does not have the last word. This enables him to put aside all fear and sleep untroubled. I wanted an effect that responded to the Shadow of a treachery: not by canceling it, but by inspiring a hero to see the Shadow as “a small and passing thing.” (The effect is similar to Elrond’s Counsel, but it has a different trigger and is more focused on willpower.)
“The Land of Shadow and Mount Doom are largely focused on overcoming weariness and despair to travel through a hostile land, so I wanted a card related to locations. Frodo and Sam are eating only lembas, which is not tasty, but it “fed the will, and it gave strength to endure.” Sam’s hardened will cannot be subdued by endless barren miles: he and Frodo keep pressing on. Strength to Endure boosts a hobbit hero’s willpower, like Dúnedain Quest, but it’s also similar to a repeatable Strider’s Path combined with Asfaloth. On the other hand, using its ability requires the attached hero to exhaust (or else you can lose it in a final effort), so you may well have to choose between using the willpower boost or keeping the hero ready so that you can use the ability if a location is revealed. The art for this card, Ted Nasmith’s Across Gorgoroth, is the art for my avatar on Discord: Frodo and Sam on their final via crucis are the hope for all free men, Estel Edain.”