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Author Topic: Minions of unusual Culture/Race combinations.  (Read 109 times)
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menace64
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« on: November 06, 2019, 01:55:39 AM »

Here's one for each of the OG Shadow cultures. I didn't bother with the post-MD Shadow cultures since they're thematically split by race, but I'm sure there are plenty of other atypical Culture/Race combinations out there to explore.

I'd love to see more if you've got any ideas!

------
0 •Regiment of Crows Dunland
Minion • Creature
Strength: 3
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 4
To play, spot no minions in play. Discard Regiment of Crows if at a dwelling or underground site.
At the start of the maneuver phase, the Free Peoples player reveals his or her hand. He or she may exert a ranger companion or add 4 to prevent this.
"As they passed overhead, in so dense a throng that their shadow followed them darkly over the ground below, one harsh croak was heard."

Of limited but potent use, the crebain of Dunland make for excellent spies, especially if the Company is moving without the expertise of a ranger.
I don't think "To play, spot no minions in play." is the correct wording to make it work right since I don't believe you can spot nothing.

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2 Lagging Goblin Gollum
Minion • Orc
Strength: 4
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 7
Lurker.
Response: If Gollum is about to take a wound, wound or discard this minion to prevent that wound.
"Goblin he thought good, when he could get it; but he took care they never found him out."

I've often written Gollum Orcs with the intent of synergizing them with Web. This one is slightly different from what I've done in the past, and I've tried to push the 'lagginess' of him pretty hard. Overcosted for his stats, roaming late into the game, and last to skirmish, all he can really do is wound himself to death for the sake of a hungry Gollum. In this instance it's a rare stroke of luck when he survives into the Regroup phase (he ain't being played to survive!) but he's still fully-playable with Web, which makes me happy.

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2 Elder Bark Isengard
Minion • Tree
Strength: 6
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 5
Damage +1. Lurker. To play, exert an Isengard minion (or spot an Ent).
This minion is strength +1 for each wound on a companion or ally it is skirmishing.
"'But there are hollow dales in this land where the Darkness has never been lifted, and the trees are older than I am.'"

All I wanted to do here was write a Dark Huorn card, but I think I've accidentally stumbled into an interesting design space - and not based on what you see here. I envision additional Isengard Tree minions designed to 'fuel' Isengard's industry, maybe building a connection between Trees and pulling Machines out of your draw deck? I'd love to see what somebody else comes up with but I might circle back around and write a card or two for such a purpose.

------
2 •Gollum, Wandering the Long Dark Moria
Minion
Strength: 5
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 3
Lurker. When you play Gollum, replace the fellowship's current site with an underground site.
Gollum is always roaming.
At the end of each phase, exert Gollum to add 2.
"...like the faint fall of soft bare feet... but it was not an echo, for when they halted it pattered on for a little all by itself, and then grew still."

Okay, so Gollum doesn't actually have a Race and is thus ineligible for this series of cards, but whaaaaaatever Whistle
I kept this Gollum simple and direct: Play him, and you're underground. End a phase, exert for 2. Not optional, for Gollum is wandering against his will. (Edit - I spontaneously added the always roaming bit. Figured it made sense.)
Also, yes, this Gollum can bear Goblin Spear. That might bust him, so he might need a "Gollum may not bear possessions" clause to keep additional shenanigans in-check.

------
4 •Alatar, The Blue Wizard Raider
Minion • Wizard
Strength: 8
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 9
Easterling. Alatar may not take wounds during the archery phase and may not be assigned to a skirmish.
Skirmish: Exert Alatar and cancel a skirmish involving an Easterling to draw a card.
Sent long ago into the hostile East, few tales have returned to tell of the success - or failure - of his vital mission.

I've smashed Saruman and Gandalf together into a single card. I wanted to boost Easterlings without giving them any additional firepower, since that's not what Alatar is about: he may be a minion, but his mission is to deescalate cultural tensions, and to that end I've made him a skirmish-cancelling machine. Is your Easterling about to lose a skirmish? Think again - Daddy Alatar is here to make things all better.
Of course Alatar costs more than your average Wizard, since he'll drop for 6 right up until the very end due to that absolute blemish of a site number.
I was worried about Alatar becoming busted by bearing Raider possessions, but the only one he can bear is Easterling Polearm, which does nothing for him. There's also Staff of Saruman, Fallen Istar's Stave, but there's no way I'd add a clause preventing Alatar from bearing a Staff.

------
2 •Frodo Baggins, Succumbing to The Ring Wraith
Minion • Hobbit
Strength: 3
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 1
To play, spot a Nazgûl (or 6 burdens).
Frodo Baggins is strength +1 for each burden you can spot.
The Ring-bearer may not be assigned to a skirmish. The Free Peoples player may not assign a character to skirmish Frodo Baggins.
"'Don't you know your Sam?'"

The SWCCG dork in me will never die - long live split-personas!
Frodo Baggins is half Bill Ferny, SSF and half Stinker, conferring full protection to the Free Peoples player's Ring-bearer in exchange for (potentially) a significant strength boost. This is possibly the most busted card of the lot.

------
6 •Shelob, Keeper of Ancient Paths Sauron
Minion • Spider
Strength: 8
Vitality: 8
Site Number: 8
Enduring. Lurker.
While the fellowship is at a mountain site, your conditions may not be discarded by Free Peoples cards.
While the fellowship is at an underground site, Shelob is damage +1.
"...swollen till the mountains could no longer hold her up and the darkness could not contain her."

Nothing too complicated to be seen here - just a Sauron Spider that'll eighthandedly protect all of your conditions from meddling, provided you can get the fellowship to a mountain site.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2019, 12:34:18 PM by menace64 » Logged


Phallen Cassidy
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 11:39:46 AM »

Hmm... Interesting ideas, but I'm not sure what you're hoping to get out of them. I think there's a lot I'm not understanding.

0 •Regiment of Crows Dunland
Minion • Creature
Strength: 3
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 4
To play, spot no minions in play. Discard Regiment of Crows if at a dwelling or underground site.
At the start of the maneuver phase, the Free Peoples player reveals his or her hand. He or she may exert a ranger companion or add 4 to prevent this.
"As they passed overhead, in so dense a throng that their shadow followed them darkly over the ground below, one harsh croak was heard."

The wording is somewhat awkward because you can't spot a minion that isn't in play anyway, but other than that I don't see a problem with it. "To play, spot no minions." You can spot nothing, in fact Held has essentially the same wording. But what's the point of that first sentence, to ensure it's not used with Leaping Blaze? It's unique, and the extra 3 strength wouldn't matter so terribly, would it? Might make Dunland Swarm attractive for once, haha.

2 Lagging Goblin Gollum
Minion • Orc
Strength: 4
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 7
Lurker.
Response: If Gollum is about to take a wound, wound or discard this minion to prevent that wound.
"Goblin he thought good, when he could get it; but he took care they never found him out."
I think you'll have to add some more to this deal: I wouldn't pay 4 to use Sweeter Meats twice. There's some interesting synergy with a few cards that reference Gollum minions, but overall it's just not worth it I'm afraid.

2 Elder Bark Isengard
Minion • Tree
Strength: 6
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 5
Damage +1. Lurker. To play, exert an Isengard minion (or spot an Ent).
This minion is strength +1 for each wound on a companion or ally it is skirmishing.
"'But there are hollow dales in this land where the Darkness has never been lifted, and the trees are older than I am.'"

All I wanted to do here was write a Dark Huorn card, but I think I've accidentally stumbled into an interesting design space - and not based on what you see here. I envision additional Isengard Tree minions designed to 'fuel' Isengard's industry, maybe building a connection between Trees and pulling Machines out of your draw deck? I'd love to see what somebody else comes up with but I might circle back around and write a card or two for such a purpose.
This card is going to depend on the strategy you mentioned. Currently, it's a smaller Uruk-hai Berserker with access to fewer tools but I like the potential connection with Machines. Site number might want to drop as well, Fangorn Forest is 2T.

2 •Gollum, Wandering the Long Dark Moria
Minion
Strength: 5
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 3
Lurker. When you play Gollum, replace the fellowship's current site with an underground site.
Gollum is always roaming.
At the end of each phase, exert Gollum to add 2.
"...like the faint fall of soft bare feet... but it was not an echo, for when they halted it pattered on for a little all by itself, and then grew still."

Okay, so Gollum doesn't actually have a Race and is thus ineligible for this series of cards, but whaaaaaatever Whistle
I kept this Gollum simple and direct: Play him, and you're underground. End a phase, exert for 2. Not optional, for Gollum is wandering against his will. (Edit - I spontaneously added the always roaming bit. Figured it made sense.)
Also, yes, this Gollum can bear Goblin Spear. That might bust him, so he might need a "Gollum may not bear possessions" clause to keep additional shenanigans in-check.
I, for one, am all in favor of shenanigans. That's one of the reasons cultures are separated the way they are, to limit access of certain minions to certain tools. Shouldn't opening those tools up be the purpose of having an unusual race in a culture (e.g., Sauron Uruk-hai)?

So this guy will add somewhere between 2 and 6 between the end of the Shadow phase and the end of the Archery phase. What's Moria gonna do with all that twilight? Making the sites underground is a nice feature, though. MIght be worth two Gollums: one for Moria and one for Sauron.

4 •Alatar, The Blue Wizard Raider
Minion • Wizard
Strength: 8
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 9
Easterling. Alatar may not take wounds during the archery phase and may not be assigned to a skirmish.
Skirmish: Exert Alatar and cancel a skirmish involving an Easterling to draw a card.
Sent long ago into the hostile East, few tales have returned to tell of the success - or failure - of his vital mission.

I've smashed Saruman and Gandalf together into a single card. I wanted to boost Easterlings without giving them any additional firepower, since that's not what Alatar is about: he may be a minion, but his mission is to deescalate cultural tensions, and to that end I've made him a skirmish-cancelling machine. Is your Easterling about to lose a skirmish? Think again - Daddy Alatar is here to make things all better.
Of course Alatar costs more than your average Wizard, since he'll drop for 6 right up until the very end due to that absolute blemish of a site number.
I was worried about Alatar becoming busted by bearing Raider possessions, but the only one he can bear is Easterling Polearm, which does nothing for him. There's also Staff of Saruman, Fallen Istar's Stave, but there's no way I'd add a clause preventing Alatar from bearing a Staff.

Maybe drop the twilight cost to 2? I'm not totally sure what the benefit to using him is, though, except to make double moving a potentially terrible idea. I guess saving a fierce fellow from Cirdan?

2 •Frodo Baggins, Succumbing to The Ring Wraith
Minion • Hobbit
Strength: 3
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 1
To play, spot a Nazgûl (or 6 burdens).
Frodo Baggins is strength +1 for each burden you can spot.
The Ring-bearer may not be assigned to a skirmish. The Free Peoples player may not assign a character to skirmish Frodo Baggins.
"'Don't you know your Sam?'"

The SWCCG dork in me will never die - long live split-personas!
Frodo Baggins is half Bill Ferny, SSF and half Stinker, conferring full protection to the Free Peoples player's Ring-bearer in exchange for (potentially) a significant strength boost. This is possibly the most busted card of the lot.
This is a strange one. There are a good number of cards to support generic Wraith minions, but it's hard to say how much good they'd do since he won't be taking anyone down on his own (except perhaps a Hobbit, humorously enough), and any tools he can use would also be usable by whatever minion he's fighting with. I might allow the Free Peoples to assign Frodo Baggins in favor of something along the lines of "Each time Frodo Baggins is about to take a wound in a skirmish, wound the Ring-bearer." Unless you can overwhelm him, you're darned if you do and darned if you don't.

6 •Shelob, Keeper of Ancient Paths Sauron
Minion • Spider
Strength: 8
Vitality: 8
Site Number: 8
Enduring. Lurker.
While the fellowship is at a mountain site, your conditions may not be discarded by Free Peoples cards.
While the fellowship is at an underground site, Shelob is damage +1.
"...swollen till the mountains could no longer hold her up and the darkness could not contain her."

Nothing too complicated to be seen here - just a Sauron Spider that'll eighthandedly protect all of your conditions from meddling, provided you can get the fellowship to a mountain site.
Mordor Enraged. This is probably the card I'd most want to use, since Sauron has so many cards for any minion and no shortage of ways to take advantage of the Enduring keyword. Still, she costs enough to make using her a meaningful choice. The site conditions are cool, but secondary -- it only works on effects after the Fellowship phase and the Free Peoples can always wait until next turn for the rest (unless you can time it just right), and the damage bonus doesn't mean much to me unless combined with one of the Advance orcs from set 1 (but having a fierce, damage +2 minion with 18 strength sounded neat until I realized I was describing a 3-card Demon of Might).

Overall, I think once you can say what you're trying to accomplish by adding unusual races to the cultures there will be more space to see the uses for them.
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 03:16:25 PM »

Here's one for each of the OG Shadow cultures. I didn't bother with the post-MD Shadow cultures since they're thematically split by race, but I'm sure there are plenty of other atypical Culture/Race combinations out there to explore.

I'd love to see more if you've got any ideas!

------
0 •Regiment of Crows Dunland
Minion • Creature
Strength: 3
Vitality: 2
Site Number: 4
To play, spot no minions in play. Discard Regiment of Crows if at a dwelling or underground site.
At the start of the maneuver phase, the Free Peoples player reveals his or her hand. He or she may exert a ranger companion or add 4 to prevent this.
"As they passed overhead, in so dense a throng that their shadow followed them darkly over the ground below, one harsh croak was heard."

I like. Make it: When you play Regiment of Crows, discard all other minions from play.
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menace64
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2019, 02:51:46 PM »

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
Hmm... Interesting ideas, but I'm not sure what you're hoping to get out of them. I think there's a lot I'm not understanding.

There's no greater context or intent than what has been presented. I sat down wanting to write a handful of atypical minion cards.

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
Regiment of Crows
---
But what's the point of that first sentence, to ensure it's not used with Leaping Blaze?

Entirely flavor-based. The crows are 'first responders', the first sign of trouble for the fellowship. I wanted to push that theme. Leaping Blaze wouldn't work on the Crows, nor would any of the other skirmish-based Dunland minions from sets 5/6.

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
Lagging Goblin
---
I think you'll have to add some more to this deal: I wouldn't pay 4 to use Sweeter Meats twice. There's some interesting synergy with a few cards that reference Gollum minions, but overall it's just not worth it I'm afraid.

Would it be beneficial to have another avenue for a Gollum player to absorb archery wounds, even directed archery? When paired with Web, Lagging Goblin is a recurring source of wound-prevention. But I'm not petitioning for this being a good card - I rarely write cards to be Good over Flavorful, since generally I feel a card game is at its best when lots of quirky cards are available for experimentation. Too much of a good thing gives you cavities.

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
Elder Bark
---
This card is going to depend on the strategy you mentioned. Currently, it's a smaller Uruk-hai Berserker with access to fewer tools but I like the potential connection with Machines. Site number might want to drop as well, Fangorn Forest is 2T.

It's also immune to every Uruk-hai-targeting card in the game, which is certainly worth something. I love the idea of dropping the site number to 2T - excellent point.

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
•Gollum, Wandering the Long Dark
---
What's Moria gonna do with all that twilight?

No idea! That'd be up to the Moria player to determine, should they choose to include Gollum. There might be a hypothetical version of the meta where splashing a Gollum into your deck is a good idea (maybe there's a really powerful Gollum-centric site?) and in that instance having a Moria Gollum in your deck could be a boon, especially one that turns sites underground and nets you twilight.

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
Might be worth two Gollums: one for Moria and one for Sauron.

I'll need to give that a shot.

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
•Alatar, The Blue Wizard
---
Maybe drop the twilight cost to 2? I'm not totally sure what the benefit to using him is, though, except to make double moving a potentially terrible idea. I guess saving a fierce fellow from Cirdan?

The point is having a Raider Wizard! LOL! But surely you see the potential benefit to saving your Easterling from a skirmish he may be about to lose? Let's say you're playing against Dwarves and you've got 3 Easterlings about to eat it hard. Alatar can save each of them, making it incredibly scary for that Dwarf player to move again. Alatar is a minion-saving, card-drawing engine when used properly.

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
•Frodo Baggins, Succumbing to The Ring
---
This is a strange one. There are a good number of cards to support generic Wraith minions, but it's hard to say how much good they'd do since he won't be taking anyone down on his own (except perhaps a Hobbit, humorously enough), and any tools he can use would also be usable by whatever minion he's fighting with. I might allow the Free Peoples to assign Frodo Baggins in favor of something along the lines of "Each time Frodo Baggins is about to take a wound in a skirmish, wound the Ring-bearer." Unless you can overwhelm him, you're darned if you do and darned if you don't.

Frodo would function as a splash-pump, similar to how Bill Ferny used to work back in the day but slightly accelerated and more suitable towards the endgame. I really like your idea for an alternate Ring-bearer effect; I'll re-examine what I wrote and give it a whirl.

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
•Shelob, Keeper of Ancient Paths
---
Mordor Enraged. This is probably the card I'd most want to use, since Sauron has so many cards for any minion and no shortage of ways to take advantage of the Enduring keyword. Still, she costs enough to make using her a meaningful choice. The site conditions are cool, but secondary -- it only works on effects after the Fellowship phase and the Free Peoples can always wait until next turn for the rest (unless you can time it just right), and the damage bonus doesn't mean much to me unless combined with one of the Advance orcs from set 1 (but having a fierce, damage +2 minion with 18 strength sounded neat until I realized I was describing a 3-card Demon of Might).

Yup. I didn't want to make Shelob too technical, knowing that 8 vitality would always be her strongest selling point as a Sauron minion. Owing to that I kept her site-relevant text flavorful but simple and only of a secondary advantage. I really like how she'd pair with Mordor Enraged, a card I totally forgot about when writing her card.

Quote from: Phallen Cassidy
Overall, I think once you can say what you're trying to accomplish by adding unusual races to the cultures there will be more space to see the uses for them.

I accomplished everything I set out to do: write an off-race card for each Shadow culture.

Now, about that Sauron Gollum...

2 •Gollum, Prisoner of Barad-dur Sauron
Minion
Strength: 5
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 3
Each time the fellowship moves, if this card is in your discard pile, you may discard 2 Free Peoples cards (or 1 tale) from hand to draw a card. If the card you draw is a Sauron card, you may reveal it to take a Sauron minion into hand from your discard pile.
"'Yess. Yess. No!' shrieked Gollum. 'Once, by accident it was, wasn't it, precious? Yes, by accident. But we won't go back, no, no!'"

I have no idea how this Gollum would interact with other cards, but I'm not particularly thrilled with how it would function once you have several copies of it in your discard pile. I do like the flavor of the card, independent of how broken it might be.
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menace64
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 02:52:52 PM »

Quote from: Not a Zombie
•Regiment of Crows
---
I like. Make it: When you play Regiment of Crows, discard all other minions from play.

That could work, but might read a bit too similar to The Balrog, which is a bit of subtle flavor I wouldn't really want to push.
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 05:22:20 PM »

Gollum, Wandering the Long Dark seems better for Raider or Evil Men with all that post-shadow phase twilight.
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menace64
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 07:29:03 PM »

Gollum, Wandering the Long Dark seems better for Raider or Evil Men with all that post-shadow phase twilight.

2 •Gollum, Skulking Spy Raider
Minion
Strength: 5
Vitality: 4
Site Number: 3
Lurker.
Each time you play a minion with ambush, add 1.
Assignment: Exert Gollum and spot X Raider minions with ambush to add X.
"'We're not in decent places. Time's running short, yes, running fast. No time to lose. We must go.'"
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