Join Frodo Baggins (The Land of Shadow, 1) on his desperate journey, and relive some of the greatest adventures from the second half of The Two Towers. Brave the treacherous, trackless expanses of the Dead Marshes and the dead things that lie within their stagnant mires. Travel into the forests of Ithilien, and lend your strength to an ambush sprung against the forces of Mordor. Find your way through dark and foul-smelling tunnels that lead through Shelob’s lair. Then confront the ancient spider at the very edge of Mordor.
The three new scenarios in The Land of Shadow take their inspiration directly from the novel, and they bring you as close to the Morgul Vale as you can come without feeling its rock beneath your feet or hearing the coarse, guttural speech of the Orcs that dwell in Cirith Ungol. All the while, you’ll need to beware of the Dark Lord’s Nazgûl and find some way to deal with that strange, twisted creature known as Gollum (The Land of Shadow, 75).
There’s more to The Land of Shadow, though, than its three scenarios. You’ll also find three new heroes, including a new version of Frodo, and you’ll find three copies each of ten different player cards, which go a long way toward further developing the ways that the Rangers of Ithilien and their Traps are presented within The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game. Finally, The Land of Shadow presents you the opportunity to continue your The Lord of the Rings campaign, carrying forward with the epic task you and Frodo first undertook in The Black Riders. In Campaign Mode, the expansion’s scenarios are even darker and deadlier than in standard play, and the new boons and burdens that it introduces go a long way toward bringing you more fully to the shadowy edges of Mordor.
The Taming of Sméagol
“You’re full of wickedness and mischief, Gollum. You will have to come with us, that’s all, while we keep an eye on you. But you must help us, if you can.”
–Frodo Baggins, The Two Towers
As in the second half of The Two Towers, the wicked creature known as Gollum features prominently in The Land of Shadow, appearing first as an enemy in The Passage of the Marshes. Nonetheless, Gollum isn’t like other enemies. His fate is bound together with yours, and even though his pursuit of Frodo and the Ring is unrelenting, you can’t afford to kill him. Instead, you must show him some mercy when you defeat him. Then, he flips over and becomes the objective ally, Sméagol (The Land of Shadow, 76).
Despite his wickedness, Sméagol can be an extremely helpful part of your fellowship. With his guidance, you can navigate the Haunted Meres (The Land of Shadow, 21) and Stagnant Pools (The Land of Shadow, 22) of the Dead Marshes.
However, there’s always the chance that Sméagol’s “Gollum” persona will rise to the fore, and the creature will turn against you once again. Not only does Sméagol flip back to Gollum anytime you fail to quest successfully, but there’s always a chance that his hatred will get the better of him. We Hates Them! (The Land of Shadow, 55) can provoke Gollum to evil at any time. This ensures, among other things, that your journey toward Mordor is layered with multiple forms of tension. You have the threat from multiple encounter cards building up in the staging area. You have the enemies you must overcome along your way, and you have the constant threat of Gollum’s treachery, even while you need Sméagol and his aid.
One Ring to Bind Them
For a moment it appeared to Sam that his master had grown and Gollum had shrunk: a tall stern shadow, a mighty lord who hid his brightness in grey cloud, and at his feet a little whining dog. Yet the two were in some way akin and not alien: they could reach one another’s minds.
–J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Gollum’s not the only character from The Land of Shadow who has been changed by the One Ring. Frodo Baggins also appears changed by his role as Ring-bearer. No longer is he the same Hobbit that slipped the Ring onto his finger to hide from the Ringwraiths he encountered in The Black Riders.
In The Land of Shadow, Frodo appears as the wisened Hobbit who has accustomed himself to the Ring’s burden and learned how to resist its temptations. Still, the Ring forms a connection with its bearer and changes him, even when he does not wear it. Accordingly, the expansion’s new version of Frodo Baggins comes with an ability that represents his growth:
“Action: Spend 1 Fellowship-sphere resource and exhaust The One Ring to give Frodo Baggins +2 Willpower and +2 Attack Strength until the end of the round.”
This is a Frodo who no longer thinks to don the Ring to hide from the Ringwraiths that hunt him. Instead, he’s more resolute than ever, more fully driven to complete his journey and destroy the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom.
And yet he’s able to use the Ring in his own way. With the Fellowship-sphere event, Speak Your Promise! (The Land of Shadow, 13), Frodo can ready himself and reach the mind of an enemy with which he’s engaged. Of course, if you have the resources, you can use the event in the same phase that you use Frodo’s ability, and you can reduce the Attack and Defense Strengths of any enemy with a Threat Strength less than four. You can even raise Frodo’s Willpower with other cards like Sting (The Road Darkens, 11) and further increase the impact of this event.
However, you have to remember that Frodo isn’t the Ring’s true master, and there’s always a danger in using it. Your journey takes you into the very shadows of Mordor, and here you’ll find that there are Morgul Wraiths (The Land of Shadow, 53), and they are always attentive to the Call of the Ring (The Land of Shadow, 54).
Continue on Your Journey
“It’s heavy on me, Sam lad, very heavy. I wonder how far I can carry it?”
–Frodo Baggins, The Two Towers
Whether you play through its scenarios on their own or add them to your ongoing The Lord of the Rings campaign, The Land of Shadow is your chance to join Frodo Baggins for a series of fantastic adventures pulled straight from the pages of The Two Towers. You’ll encounter terrible enemies, explore dark and dangerous locations, be struck by treachery, and meet the Rangers of Ithilien.