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Subject: A Tide of Darkness rss

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Henri Huttunen
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(Our sixth or seventh game of War of the Ring was yesterday, and I thought its about time I write a session report about one of the few games I truly love and rate a full 10. I hope you enjoy it!)

***

A tide of darkness was going to drown Middle-earth.

In their hundreds, orcs were pouring out of the dark lands of Mordor, the kingdom of the Lord of Barad-Dûr, Sauron. Smoke was rising from the forges of Isengard, and a great host of shadowy beasts was gathering along the fords of Isen. Yet no ruler was ready to take action just yet, for there was too much at stake. Were could you find an army that could take the offensive against the Dark Lord? And who would dare to suggest that the White Wizard, Saruman, could have betrayed the rest of men?

As a last hope, a council held at the elven city of Rivendell decided to forge the fellowship of the ring, a small group entrusted with a mission to travel all the way to Mordor and drop into the fiery depths of Mount Doom the Ruling Ring of the Dark Lord, defeating him.

At the same time the nine determined heroes of Middle-Earth set out from Rivendell, the lands of men were facing a dire situation. At the borders of Gondor, a horde of orcs and evil men from the east, Far Harad and Near Harad alike, gathered, preparing not only to crush the city of the white tree, Minas Tirith, but also to cut it off from the other main cities and forts of Gondor. At the Vale of Carnen, near the northern city of Dale and the old dwarven stronghold of Erebor, A Host From the East was massing, with reinforcements joining from North Rhun. Everywhere, shadows were moving.

By the time the fellowship had, without being found out by the agents of the Dark Lord, made it to the still safe forest of Lórien, the voice of Saruman had raised an army of Uruk-hai who were marching with blood thirst in their eyes towards the city of Elrond, Rivendell. The goblins of Moria stayed clear of the Uruks and hid in their mines - the weak were not welcome to the ranks of the beasts of white hand.

Alarmed by the dark omens now clearly visible everywhere, Gandalf left the fellowship, taking Strider with him and leaving Boromir to lead the ring bearer on. They arrived to Minas Tirith just in time to see Faramirs - Boromirs brothers - rangers flee from Osgiliath as the orcish horde from the mountais descended upon them. At the same time a messenger arrived with great haste over the fields - the providences of Pelargir and Lamedon had fallen to the evil men of the east supporting the Dark Lords orcs. Only at this point did Denethor II, the steward of Gondor, agree to stand down for Strider, now crowned Aragorn, the king of Gondor, and admit that they were truly at war.

At the same time Gondor was facing almost unbeatable odds, the fords of Isen ran red as the orc folk of Orthanc crossed the borders of Rohan, butchering every last man who stood in their way. Éomer, Chief Marshal of the Riddermark, tried to route his men to save even a few of them to fight another day, but dark magic, now wielded by the former wizard of light, stopped them from fleeing, and even the foster child of Lord of the Mark was brought down to the ground by the Uruks. The carnage did not stop there, for without stopping, the Uruk-hai kept going until they reached and pilaged the fortress of Helms Deep, manned but by a few defenders as the king of Rohirrim, Théoden, was under Sarumans curse.

The fellowship made slow progress through the lands of Middle-Earth - they were going to follow Gandalf and Strider to the white city, where, according to Boromir, they would be safer than anywhere, when the news of the troubles at Gondor caught up with them. As they changed their plans and agreed to head straight towards the Black Gate of Morannon, Boromir, enraged by their decision not to aid his people, became bitter, and, in the end, his anger and the Lure of the Ring of Power were too much for him. While wrestling the ring bearer and the other members of the fellowship for the rings ownership, he fell to his demise from a cliff. Frodo the hobbit, the aforementioned ring bearer, felt the ring heavier and heavier as they aproached closer to the borders of Mordor, and the death of one of his companions weighted heavy on him.

As the forces of Sauron closed in on Minas Tirith, Denethor, driven to the borders of insanity by the apparent fate of his people and the dark signs that suggested that his elder son, Boromir, was dead, took his rage on Faramir, calling him incompetent for not being able to delay the enemy longer in Osgiliath. Forced by his sense of honor, Faramir, the captain of the rangers of Ithilien, took to the field out of the gates of Minas Tirith alone with his few remaining men. Gandalf the wizard hurried after him, trying to bring him back, but sadly to all of Middle-earth, both were lost as the Nazgûl and their orc underlings descended upon them.

Aragorn, while devastaded over the loss of his friend, stayed calm in the face of the enemy. They had the numbers, true, but Minas Tirith had it's sturdy walls and the enemy did not have many competent leaders among them. Orcs were orcs after all, and a few ringwraiths weren't enough to command on army of this size. They were on about even terms - maybe the situation even favored the defenders a bit. Then Aragorns blood froze as the skies turned dark and a great shadow fell upon the city. Three new fell beasts could be seen on the darknening skies, closing in from the east.

The Witch-King of Angmar, Lord of the Nine Riders and master of Minas Morgul, took his place in the head of the army of orcs and trolls. The Black Captain Commands his armies to lay siege on Minas Tirith, for he had arrived to finish the war once and for all.

As the ring bearer finally saw his destination, the mount Doom, situation was grim everywhere. Elrond and his heirs were dead and beautiful Rivendell had been burned to ashes, orcs marching from Dol Guldur were closing in on Lórien, Woodland Realm was under easterling control along with Dale and smoke from pyres was blackening the skies. The dwarves had decided not to see the outcome of the war and holed up in Erebor, hoping for the best and fearing the worst. Only places left untouched were the far-away harbor of Grey Havens and the peaceful Shire, mostly because the forces of evil were afraid of the Power of Tom Bombadil. A little ray of hope pierced trough the shroud of darkness as Gandalf the Grey, thought lost forever on the fields of Gondor, emerged again, reborn as Gandalf the White. He and the ent Treebeard assaulted Orthanc, hoping to rid the world of Sarumans taint, but as the ents failed to end the evil wizard, Gandalf returned to the forest of Lórien to offer his coucil to lord Celeborn.

It all boiled down to a race between the Witch-King and the ring bearer. If Minas Tirith would fall, there would be no one to challenge the Dark Lord. Aragorn and his few remaining men fought valiantly off attack after attack while the ring bearers few remaining companions one by one fell or had to stay behind to keep the orcish pursuers off from the little hobbit. The Desperate Battle between the king of Gondor and the Wraith-King ended in tragedy as Aragorn fell in combat against the ringwraith and the white city went down with him, but at the very same moment he drew his last breath, the ring of power, lifeline of Sauron the Deceiver, went down to the pits of mount Doom.

So, the evil has been fought back once again, but for what purpose, as the whole Middle-earth now lies in ruins, its greatests cities under the control of the masterless orc horders and its nations shattered?

***

(In the end, it was a NOT a military victory for the Shadow/Me, but a close fought ring victory for the forces of Light/MJ. The game was really close and at the second to last turn, you really could not tell which way it would go! If he only had rolled one less character movement... Well, it would have been a different story. Next time... sauron )
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Paul
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Excellent session report---you write very well! Your incorporation of the cards' names was seamless and well thought out. It makes me want to break out the game (It is being saved for my birthday -- still in storage---the Ring is calling me!)
 
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Iwan Tomlow
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Icing wrote:
the ring of power, lifeline of Sauron the Deceiver, went down to the pits of mount Doom.

(In the end, it was a a military victory for the Shadow/Me.)


Great story/session, but I don't understand these last bits.
If the ring was actually destroyed, a Ring victory takes precedence over the Shadow Military victory condition, so the Free People's player has won the game.
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Henri Huttunen
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Gilead wrote:
Icing wrote:
the ring of power, lifeline of Sauron the Deceiver, went down to the pits of mount Doom.

(In the end, it was a a military victory for the Shadow/Me.)


Great story/session, but I don't understand these last bits.
If the ring was actually destroyed, a Ring victory takes precedence over the Shadow Military victory condition, so the Free People's player has won the game.


Oh...

It can't be...

Oh but it is.

Right you are, good sir. Thanks for calling me on for that one. I had misread the rules, reading something along the lines "the LOWER victory conditions..." when it should be "the LOWER NUMBERED victory conditions...", and since the military victory conditions had been printed below the ring victory, I just... Rats. shake

Quess I'll have to inform my opponent that it's time to pop open the champagne!

And for me, it's back to the caves from being the ruler of the world. zombie

(PS: I'll edit the story accordingly, thank you.)
 
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Ira Fay
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Great session report - wonderful flavor.

Icing wrote:
Alarmed by the dark omens now clearly visible everywhere, Gandalf left the fellowship, taking Strider with him and leaving Boromir to lead the ring bearer on.

Does this mean the Free People's player intentionally separated Gandalf from the Fellowship? In most cases, it's better to let Gandalf die to some corruption.

Icing wrote:
Forced by his sense of honor, Faramir, the captain of the rangers of Ithilien, took to the field out of the gates of Minas Tirith alone with his few remaining men. Gandalf the wizard hurried after him, trying to bring him back, but sadly to all of Middle-earth, both were lost as the Nazgûl and their orc underlings descended upon them.

Was this a Heroic Death on Gandalf? I was confused how Gandalf could have died in this situation while Aragorn lived.

Ira
 
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