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War of the Ring (First Edition)» Forums » Variants

Subject: Stalwart Companions rss

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Dave J McWeasely
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Some games you have to fight because you just can't move the fellowship for beans. You want to kill Gandalf, but you just can't, because you can't get the bloody sword to move FSP or seperate him. You're drowning in an unending stream of muster and palantir action die results.

At the same time, its very frustrating to my inner D&D player that the Fellowship of the Ring, the archtypical party of adventurers, at the apex of its strength is no more capable of moving than three dazed and disoriented hobbits lost in Ithilien without a map.

Therefore, Boromir and Legolas get the following property added to their character cards:
Stalwart Companion: When in the fellowship the Free player may allocate one of his dice as a 'sword' during the Fellowship phase.

This is cumulative and works just like the way the Shadow allocates eye dice. Since the fellowship phase happens before the hunt allocation phase, the Shadow can react by placing more eye tiles in the pool.

It would be natural to add the property to Gimli as well, since he's the mirror of Legolas, but a careful reading of the novels shows him to be something of a font of ill-advised stupidity. Whenever Tolkein wants his heros to consider and discard a bad option, it is voiced through Gimli. The movies took this and ran with it, making him something of a laughing-stock. Book-Gimli at least can be persuaded to sit down and shut up. But anyway, no stalwart-companion for you, Gimli!

On the flip side, Legolas walks above new-fallen snow, has eagle eyes, and invaluable high ranged weapons skill. Stalwart companion for the elf!

Like Gimli, Boromir is certainly no stranger to making bad decisions to show off the wisdom of other characters, but at least he's a human snow plow and can single-handedly check an entire platoon of Uruk Hai while fighting surrounded! Stalwart companion for you!
 
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Sean McCarthy
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This is a very bad idea, in my opinion, for two reasons.

1. Giving the FP a higher propertion of character dice than they already have leads to extremely boring games.

2. Giving an extra bonus to keeping Legolas and Boromir in the Fellowship is also strategically uninteresting.
 
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Dave J McWeasely
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Well, I gave it a shot, Strider Sprint versus WK-cycler. Fellowship attempts to squirt into Mordor before the WK got his corruption mojo working were foiled by a steady trickle of hunt damage between Moria and Morannon.

Assume 5 free dice. As SP, allocating two eyes isn't as scary as the 50/50 prospect of facing four swords with just one eye. So Sauron drops two eyes in the pool!

Had there been a dangerous army in Pelargir or Carrock, that would have given him pause, since swords are great results when the FP kicks it over into "Military" gear. In contrast a big mountain of eyes doesn't help the defense of Mount Gundabad nearly at all!

The military game did seem bleached out and flat, as you predict. But I should have slowed down. I should have allocated 2 swords on turn 1, and one thereafter, or 0 on early turns where I need a Will of the West.

Quote:
Giving an extra bonus to keeping Legolas and Boromir in the Fellowship is also strategically uninteresting.
I'd argue that there's already a huge incentive to keep them there, and this is already uninteresting! I'm trying to make things more interesting by having them sitting around horking all the lembas seem like its somehow providing a service, and just maybe giving the FSP some pause before throwing them to the wolves.

I don't recall hearing loud cries to engage in military adventurism with the level-2s from your corner in quite some time, if ever, though we both feel this is the most fun part of the game. (right?) You wanna give Boromir some big advantage while at the head of an offensive Gondor army? I'd be game for that too, there was something "Alexander the Great"ish about him...but companions become weighed down with special rules.

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Giving the FP a higher propertion of character dice than they already have leads to extremely boring games.
Spoken like someone who believes ring-victory is achievable under the current rules. There's nothing quite as boring as feeling victory is unachievable except on a good stroke of luck.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Well, if you're going to use a house rule, there are much better possibilities which don't make games more boring.
 
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