Heroes in The Redhorn Gate, Part Two

Fantasy Flight Games - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 16:28
A spotlight on secrecy in The Lord of The Rings: The Card Game

“I think no good of our course from beginning to end, as you know well, Gandalf,” answered Aragorn. “And perils known and unknown will grow as we go on. But we must go on; and it is no good our delaying the passage of the mountains. Further south there are no passes, till one comes to the Gap of Rohan. I do not trust that way since your news of Saruman. Who knows which side now the marshals of the Horse-lords serve?”
“Who knows indeed!” said Gandalf. “But there is another way, and not by the pass of Caradhras: the dark and secret way.”

    –J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The heroes of Middle-earth undertake great and perilous quests in The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, and their threats increase the more fully they come to the Dark Lord’s attention. As in Tolkien’s epic fantasy, the heroes find themselves in the role of the underdogs, a small band setting forth into dangerous wilds and treacherous mines, filled with Orcs, Trolls, and other monstrous enemies.

Among the first choices players must make are which heroes to include in their fellowships. Last week, Nate French explained some of the reasons the rules allow each player to select up to three heroes, and as a rule, it has historically been foolish to choose any fewer. However, this week we explore the development of Secrecy and the impact it may have upon your starting fellowship.

Smart and secret

When we announced The Redhorn Gate back in October, we hinted at the Secrecy mechanic the Dwarrowdelf cycle develops. In January’s article, Boromir’s Guide to Deck Building, Part Two, we defined Secrecy in its simplest terms and we discussed how it can give players a means to accelerate their resources. Players who can keep their threat at 20 or below gain greater card effects at discounted prices.

Still, Secrecy does something more than just accelerate resources. It opens up an entirely different path for deck construction. Because the safest way to ensure you can trigger the discounts of your Secrecy cards is to start with 20 or less threat, Secrecy encourages the design of fellowships with only two heroes (or even just one!).

Today, Lukas Litzsinger, the lead developer of the Dwarrowdelf cycle, discusses how the Secrecy mechanic took shape:

The evolution of Secrecy

While the Secrecy cards introduced in the Dwarrowdelf cycle can be used in any deck, they are easily most useful when you keep your threat at 20 or below. Players can use cards such as The Galadhrim’s Greeting (Core Set, 46) or Gandalf (Core Set, 73) to lower their threat, but in order to take advantage of Secrecy from the very beginning of the game, you need a low starting threat, which may lead players to experiment with decks that play two heroes, or even just one.

However, Secrecy didn’t start in its current format. In fact, the mechanic went through a lot of revisions. Because the game already provides lots of incentives for players to lower their threat, anything that rewarded players for lowering their threat as much as possible had to be carefully implemented. Originally, we developed Secrecy cards that could only be played by players who ran just one hero. That was too restrictive, so we tried with two. Fine-tuning the cards became a major concern. If the Secrecy cards were too good, then players who started with three heroes would sacrifice their heroes just to play them, or they might be even more devious and play a bunch of Secrecy cards before reviving their hero with a Fortune or Fate (Core Set, 54). If the Secrecy cards weren’t extremely powerful, then no one would bother playing without a third hero just to use them. Ultimately, we deemed that restricting the mechanic based on the number of starting heroes (or even the number of characters in play) was too problematic.

Basing their play on a threat restriction felt more thematic. Threat already represents how visible your party is to enemies, so making Secrecy effects playable only by players with extremely low threat worked thematically. Since your heroes also set your starting threat level, running heroes with very low threat, or running fewer than three heroes makes it easier to play Secrecy cards without having to draw a lot of threat reduction. It also makes it easier to keep your threat low while the encounter deck tries to raise it.

The last change the Secrecy mechanic saw was the introduction of the variable cost reduction. At first, Secrecy functioned like an on/off switch, but players were too heavily penalized when their threat skyrocketed, making them completely unable to play a bunch of cards in their decks. So the Secrecy discount allows for a middle-ground, requiring a set threat level, but then giving various discounts to the cards. You can still play Secrecy cards without Secrecy, and building a deck with Secrecy cards that suffers an unforeseen spike in its threat level does not leave you with a bunch of unplayable cards in your hand. 

Secrecy will open up new strategies for players, and make them reconsider the default rule of three heroes to a deck.

Thanks, Lukas!

Next week, join us for a closer look at multiplayer roles and an upcoming hero. Then look for Secrecy to open up new strategies for your games of The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game when the Dwarrowdelf cycle kicks off with The Redhorn Gate.


Categories: Company News

Richelieu's Guide to Fencing Schools 2

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 15:04
Richelieu's Guide to Fencing Schools 2Publisher: Triple Ace Games

Two swordsmen lock blades with their rivals atop the roof of a moving carriage. One, a muscular man, swings a large sword at his opponent’s legs, hoping to trip him and send him tumbling into the roof. The other casually flicks her blouse open another button, distracting her wide-eyed opponent long enough to deftly thrust her rapier between his ribs. Unorthodox tactics, but all is fair in war! This supplement provides details on new fencing schools and their special Talents, and is a companion volume to Richelieu’s Guide to Fencing Schools, requiring use of that supplement.

Inside you'll find notes on simulating swashbuckling movie combat, background on and unique Talents for ten new major fencing academies, four minor academies, new rules for firearms and feinting, two new Talents, and ways of modifying your sword.

Price: $4.49
Categories: Company News

Fantasy Art Bundle 14 [BUNDLE]

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 14:05
Fantasy Art Bundle 14 [BUNDLE]Publisher: Postmortem Studios

Clipart Critters 208 - Wererat Lurker
Regular price: $4.00
Bundle price: $2.00

A piece of 300 dpi .tif clipart (1795 x 2405 pixels) for you to use in your personal and professional projects, subject to the attached license.


Clipart Critters 210 - Studying Wizard
Regular price: $4.00
Bundle price: $2.00

A piece of 300 dpi .tif clipart for you to use in your personal and professional projects, subject to the attached license. (1050 x 2086 pixels)


Clipart Critters 214 - Sinister Wizard
Regular price: $4.00
Bundle price: $2.00

A piece of 300 dpi .tif clipart for you to use in your personal and professional projects, subject to the attached license. (2700 x 3395 pixels).


Clipart Critters 216 - So Many Swords
Regular price: $4.00
Bundle price: $2.00

A piece of 300 dpi .tif clipart for you to use in your personal and professional projects, subject to the attached license. (3375 x 2569 pixels).


Clipart Critters 219 - Hot Green Chi
Regular price: $4.00
Bundle price: $2.00

A piece of 300 dpi .tif clipart for you to use in your personal and professional projects, subject to the attached license. (1656 x 1505 pixels).


Total value:$20.00Special bundle price:$10.00Savings of:$10.00 (50%)Price: $20.00
Categories: Company News

Clipart Critters 219 - Hot Green Chi

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 14:04
Clipart Critters 219 - Hot Green ChiPublisher: Postmortem Studios

A piece of 300 dpi .tif clipart for you to use in your personal and professional projects, subject to the attached license. (1656 x 1505 pixels).

Price: $4.00
Categories: Company News

CG-Textures Man Made & Sci-Fi Vol 3

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 12:45
CG-Textures Man Made & Sci-Fi Vol 3Publisher: Cobra Games

Cobra Games Textures Packs
Man Made & Sci-Fi Vol. 3

Due to popular demand and an idea from a customer, CG now also has the texture packs as downloads on DriveTrhuRPG.com at a small fee in three different sets for personal or commercial use.

Dungeons & Caves
Man Made & Sci-Fi
Nature & Liquids

One pack or update contains in-between 40 - 60 high quality tiles at a resolution of 2048 x 2048 or you can still download them for free from our websites file host, get an FTP subscription or order a DVD from our products page.

We will keep looking into some more ways for you to download them that suit or customers’ needs.

Some facts about CG Textures:
-All of our downloadable Texture packs are at a high resolution of 2048 x 2048 unless stated otherwise.
-All textures are seamless, so there is no work required to make them seamless in other programs like Photoshop.
-All textures can be used for game design due to their high resolution.
-All textures are high quality and have been made with digital software, none have been taken with a camera.
-All texture packs are quite big due to the high resolution and because of this we need to host the files somewhere that is a capable
host without busting ourselves..
-We plan to have at least 10 to 20 new Texture packs each month for download! So check back often!

Note: This download is +- 300MB, contains 40 Textures and uses .Rar instead of .Zip

You can get Winrar to unpack the files here

Price: $1.38
Categories: Company News

Battlemap : F.o.t.P. Encounter 3 : Slave Quarters & Dog Pens

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 11:28
 Slave Quarters & Dog PensPublisher: Christian Hollnbuchner

This full color battlemap is the fifty sixth of a series featuring various terrains. This installment features the third encounter area for an upcoming 4E D&D dungeon crawl ("Forge of the Primordials"), the slave quarters / dog pens.

The description included is slightly more generic than the one provided in the final dungeon crawl to allow use as a generic, system independent dungeon room.

The map is 30 x 28 squares in size, with each 1 inch square scaled to represent 5 feet. It is provided in 12 segments, which need to be assembled, in a single PDF using the letter format.

Price: $1.38
Categories: Company News

Uniting the Editions, Part 3 Addendum

WoTC D&D - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 08:00
We revisit the poll from Uniting the Editions, Part 3.
Categories: D&D

Uniting the Editions, Part 3

WoTC D&D - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 08:00
Over the last couple of weeks, I've written about why we might want to try to unify the editions, and how we might pull it off. This week, read some miscellaneous thoughts about the process that might be worth discussing.
Categories: D&D

Monsters of the Game Mat: Supermetro

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 07:58
 SupermetroPublisher: Cerberus Illustration

Monsters of the Game Mat: Supermetro is a 30mm tabletop paper miniature set with a variety of heroes and villians perfect for any superhero RPG. The set also includes cops, guard dogs, thugs and terrorists.

Assembly required and instructions included.

Thank you for purchasing Cerberus Art Products!

Price: $4.95
Categories: Company News

February 13, 2012: Visit Scenic Hyboria!

Steve Jackson Games - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 07:45

GURPS Classic Conan

Have you been hoping to learn more about exciting Hyboria, home of the world's most famous barbarian? Have you wanted to learn about its geography, history, and religion? Have you dared to catch a glimpse of its exotic wildlife, or encounter its enigmatic magic? Then GURPS Classic: Conan is for you!

Newly released to e23, this supplement is your one-stop guide to the Hyborian Age, including how to run a campaign, generate adventurers, and more. It features GURPS stats for Conan, Bêlit, Thoth-Amon, and others from the Conan saga. It also includes a comprehensive chronological bibliography, for those times when you'd prefer to read rather than roam the realms.

With GURPS Classic: Conan, the world of Conan can now be your world!

--Steven Marsh

Categories: Company News

Mix and Match Template Kit: Vampiric

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 07:39
 VampiricPublisher: Sade
Both for your personal or commercial use.

International A4 size, 300 dpi.

(if you need convert to usletter, please, let me know)

Price: $6.00
Categories: Company News

Bree Orlock Designs: Cute Cthulhu 1

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 06:25
 Cute Cthulhu 1Publisher: Stardust Publications

A 300 dpi .tif image for you to use in your personal or professional projects, subject to the attached license. Art by Bree Orlock.

Price: $6.00
Categories: Company News

Bree Orlock Designs: Cthulhu Cult 3

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 06:16
 Cthulhu Cult 3Publisher: Stardust Publications

A 300 dpi .tif image for you to use in your personal or professional projects, subject to the attached license. Art by Bree Orlock.

Price: $6.00
Categories: Company News

Bree Orlock Designs: Dragon 1

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 06:04
 Dragon 1Publisher: Stardust Publications

A 300 dpi .tif image for you to use in your personal or professional projects, subject to the attached license. Art by Bree Orlock.

Price: $4.00
Categories: Company News

Fiasco-Style Relationships

Sly Flourish - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 06:00

There are few games more different from D&D than the story-focused RPG Fiasco. In Fiasco, a group of players determine backgrounds, relationships, actions, successes, and failures through cooperative storytelling and a few rolls of the dice.

The joining of characters through relationships is an easy component to steal from Fiasco that brings rich connections between D&D characters and the group in which they find themselves.

Establishing these relationships solves one of the most tiresome cliche's of our beloved game: the old "you all meet in a bar" character introduction. Using the chart we can build simple yet rich relationships among the members of the party that can lead to all new adventures, quests, and connections to the world.

How to use this list

During character creation, have each player roll 1d20. The result ties his or her PC to the PC of the player on his or her left. This repeats around the table until each PC has two relationships, one with the player on the left and one with the player on the right.

Let the players discuss the nature of this relationship, choosing a side when applicable and adding some details of their own. Record all of this and reinforce it by sending it in email and having players record it on their character sheets. If one doesn't make sense or is quite displeasing to one or both of the players, let them re-roll it.

Throughout your campaign, tie the plots and adventures to these relationships and backgrounds of the PCs.

The relationship chart
  1. Only two survivors of former adventuring company
  2. Former friends or lovers that fell out
  3. Mentor and apprentice
  4. Boss and hired hand
  5. Siblings
  6. Former prison cell-mates
  7. Former members of a town militia
  8. Former members of a mercenary company
  9. Former members of a thieves guild
  10. Former students of a beloved teacher
  11. Lord and serf
  12. Former veterans of the same war
  13. Ward and protector
  14. Bounty hunter and prisoner
  15. Former members of the same grifter crew
  16. Former members of the same street gang
  17. Former enemies that now work together
  18. Members of the same adopted family
  19. Former slave
  20. Business partners
Tailoring this list

When running a campaign in a specific game world such as Dark Sun, Neverwinter or Gloomwrought, tailor the list to tie characters to the game world you have selected. Replace or add details to the chart above based on specific houses, factions, or locations within your campaign.

If you enjoyed this article, please take a look at Sly Flourish's Dungeon Master Tips or Running Epic Tier D&D Games. You might also take a look at the new Pathfinder Heroes miniatures at Troll and Toad, an official Sly Flourish sponsor.

Categories: Blogs, D&D

Bree Orlock Designs: Ankh 1

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 05:57
 Ankh 1Publisher: Stardust Publications

A 300 dpi .tif image for you to use in your personal or professional projects, subject to the attached license. Art by Bree Orlock.

Price: $4.00
Categories: Company News

Bree Orlock Designs: Sigil Wheel 2

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 05:46
 Sigil Wheel 2Publisher: Stardust Publications

A 300 dpi .tif image for you to use in your personal or professional projects, subject to the attached license. Art by Bree Orlock.

Price: $4.00
Categories: Company News

Fudge Relationships

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 02:55
Fudge RelationshipsPublisher: Darkstar Eclectic Media
The people you know can give you strength.

Love them or hate them, people have an effect on you. Most RPG's define every other thing about your character, from how smart they are to how hard they can hit, and even what kind of effect their personality can have on others. But what about the other people in their life? How are they defined?

Fudge Relationships adds a new dimension to your characters. Define your relationships with other players character or NPC's, and then use them for bonuses on your dice rolls. Let's face it, most of us are motivated by the people around us, the ones who are closest to us. They push us forward, drive us to action and even give us the strength to do things.

Why should our characters be any different?

Price: $0.00
Categories: Company News

Village Snooper: Leather Shop

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 02:41
 Leather ShopPublisher: Fishwife Games

The Village Snooper: Leather Shop

This edition of the Village Snooper provides the basic floor plan for the home & business of a local leather shop

In addition to the map and brief descriptions of numbered areas, this one page file contains a list of possible items sold at the location (with item type and cost) as well as one adventure hook to help steer the adventuring party's interests towards the shop.

"Village Snooper?? What?"

The Village Snooper is a planned series of basic floor plans for common to uncommon shops, homes, general structures, and other places of interest that one might find in a typical fantasy village, town, or city. In addition to a map there is a basic description of the locations on the map. The purpose of this line is to provide handy, one page products that a Game Master can hole punch and tuck away in his or her gaming binder for quick and easy reference when needed. Such a reference page is ideal for handling situations such as burglaries, questioning/interrogation/threatening of suspicious locals, eavesdropping, etc.

The floor plans like the one provided here are system generic, thus supporting a wide variety of fantasy games from this years' current most popular system to that beloved, dog eared rpg of yesterday.

Written By: Dave L. Woodrum Jr.

Product Size: 1 Page

Please keep watching for future Fishwife Games products... including more Village Snooper additions to come!

Price: $1.00
Categories: Company News

One Bookshelf for Calibre

RPGNow - Mon, 02/13/2012 - 01:59
One Bookshelf for CalibrePublisher: Electric Mulch

This is a One Bookshelf Meta data plugin for Calibre. Use this to import Titles, credits, descriptions, etc. for your purchases at any of the One Book Shelf sites.

If you haven't used Calibre it can be found with a quick google for Calibre e-Book software.

To install, select configuration, then plugins, and finally click "Load Plugin from File"

This is the initial release of this plugin.  It is moderately modified from the GoodReads plugin I found on the forums by Grant Drake.

It does its best to query each of the One Bookshelf sites and determine what it can from the available meta data.   


Categories are not currently scrapable without doing a deep dive into the database at the site. As such, the genre to tags part of configuration does nothing at this time. The "Added to Site" date is used as the published date. If the publisher did not list authors, the plugin will return "None Listed by Publisher". System name will be imported as a Tag.


Ampersands (&) and colons (:) seem to give the search engine fits. If the PDF imported title includes them, you may wish to remove them on search.   Sometimes it is necessary to remove the PDF imported Authors as well.

Please report any/all books you have difficulty importing to [email protected] Please provide the title that failed as Calibre imported it along with the title on the OneBookShelf site and the site it is found on.

Price: $0.00
Categories: Company News