During the period where I was struggling to come up with interesting LotR LCG things to say, I remembered that this blog was originally set up to report on all Lord of the Rings-based games, and with only a small amount of creative improvising, decided there was something I could produce that might be of interest to one or two folk at least.
Our big new discovery this year has been Zombicide: it’s fairly light, very thematic and, above all – fun! It’s miniatures based, so your hero(es) will always be represented by a figure that you move around the board.
It doesn’t take a great leap of the imagination from there to the set of figures I’ve had sitting around the painting room for a while representing the 9 Walkers, the Fellowship of the Ring.
As a bit of a creative exercise then, I sat down and put together some survivor cards for them. Here are the results:
If you’re not familiar with Zombicide Black Plague, at lot of these abilities probably won’t make a lot of sense. In terms of possible suggestions, I’d recommend:
- Get Zombicide: Black Plague, it’s great,
- Check out this link for what the skills do (this will make slightly more sense, although still be a bit hazy if you don’t know how the game works.)
- Check back in a week or two for an LCG-related article.
Frodo needs to be hard to destroy, but realistically, he doesn’t do all that much. I wanted to make him a survivor, without giving him combat abilities which he never really gets to.
Every character has a body slot, typically for holding armour, and a special ability to put something else there. In Frodo’s case this is a shield, not because of any thematic connection, but simply because I can’t figure out how to remove it from the Photoshop template.
My plan had been to present full character card for the fellowship. However, after spending about 2 hours cobbling together a less-than-pristine Frodo, I’ve given up, and will present the rest in text format:
(NB every survivor released so far has “+1 Action” as their Yellow-level action. It seemed pointless to write that again for everybody…)
Spellcaster/+1 to dice roll: Magic
Mana Rain/Regeneration/+1 damage: Magic
Tolkien isn’t all that big on Magic in the way people are used to in Fantasy games, so I didn’t want Gandalf destroying everything from the outset. That said, he IS one of the most powerful folk in Middle Earth, so I started with a lore-y ability, and gave him the big-hitters at red level. Oh, and regeneration for fighting Balrogs.
+1 to dice roll: combat/+1 Combat Action
Hit and Run/ Born leader/Reaper: Combat
As I realised a while ago, Aragorn is a difficult character to capture for most games, because he is so over-powered. He needs to be good at combat of all kinds, and movement. He is a great leader of men – a King, and also the hardiest of wilderness survivors. Tactician allows him a lot of flexibility, from the outset, and the combat boost at orange is deliberately very powerful. At red level, you have to specialise a bit more, either making him a killing machine, or more of a general.
Frenzy: Melee/+1 damage: Melee
+1 Melee action/ Iron Hide /+ 1 to dice roll: combat
Boromir is the man who sets out on a secret mission with a loud blast on his horn, so it seemed only fitting to give him the “loud” ability. Beyond that, he’s also a fierce fighter, and I’ve given him some powerful combat boosts as he goes along, so that he can deal with all the attention he’s drawn his way. There wasn’t really any space for the “Captain of Gondor” aspect of Boromir here, but I think this captures the man who was part of the fellowship.
Legolas and Gimli
+1 to dice roll: ranged/ +1 ranged action/ Iron Rain
+1 to dice roll: Melee/ +1 Melee Action/ Barbarian
I wanted Legolas and Gimli to be parallel, having abilities that would allow them to play out their ongoing rivalry. There was a big question-mark over where to put the +1 to dice roll abilities, as these always feel to me like the real key to unlocking a character’s combat ability. I didn’t want to make them over-powered, but that said, they are meant to be highly skilled combatants. I also didn’t want any ability to be so powerful it was an obvious choice, with no decision to be made.
Merry & Pippin
Scavenger/+1 Move action
Slippery/Roll 6: +1 Damage Combat/Lucky
The last 3 Hobbits were the trickiest to create, as support characters are really playable in this game. For Merry, I mostly went with the Hobbit who wanders in to the Battle of the Pelennor without really having a clue what he’s doing, yet somehow comes out unscathed. Of course there’s always the chance that he gets REALLY lucky and brings down a Nazgul (/Abomination?)
Search: +1 card/Taunt
Roll 6+1 Die combat/Lifesaver/Steady Hand
Pippin is a bit more of a mixed bag. He shouts at Orcs to lure them away from his friend, but he’s also a born survivor, finding mushrooms in the road. Last, but by no means least, he’s there to get Merry out of trouble – a lifesaver who finds his friend on the Battlefield, and pulls him to safety.
Hold Your Nose
Born leader/Bloodlust: Combat/Frenzy: Combat
Sam is also a survivor: He can find things in the wilds, and there’s no way Frodo would have got far without him, reflected by the extra action he give through “Born Leader.” That said, you shouldn’t underestimate his combat prowess- get him riled enough, and he’ll smash his way through every orc in Mordor if he has to, to get back to Frodo.
I don’t know whether we’ll actually get round to playing these characters through Zombicide – it would be nice to, but given the awkwardness of creating the character cards, it may prove a step too far logistically. There’s also the question of whether I’d just use the normal rules for zombies, or try to work out a way to incorporate Goblins etc into the game.
Overall, this is probably a little distraction that’s reached the end of its road, but I thought it was an interesting enough thought exercise that I’d share it with you anyway.