Based on information from a dying Goblin, the heroes have made their way to the Seventh Level of Moria, still searching for any signs of Balin’s colony. The Seventh Level holds the Chamber of Records, and it is there that the Goblin said they would find Balin. An ancient tome also seems to hold clues as to the where-abouts of the colony.
Setup: Search the encounter deck for Book of Mazarbul, and have the first player attach it to a hero of his choice. Shuffle the encounter deck.
Search For The Chamber
When Revealed: Reveal 1 encounter card per player, and add it to the staging area.
First up, let’s talk about the Book of Mazabul. This is a great attachment which reads “Attached hero cannot attack and does not exhaust to commit to a quest.” At first the “cannot attack” part seems like a drawback until you realise you can attach this to your defender and if your defender also has an excellent Willpower score so much the better.
The first stage of this quest is simple, you just need to quest for 15 Quest Points. Two thirds of the deck is comprised of enemies, most of which are relatively harmless goblins but there are also some nasty looking Trolls.
The Cave Trolls don’t allow for sacrificial allies. If they kill a character, any excess damage must be applied to another character you control. They are also hard to hit and annoying to quest past.
We also have a couple of hard hitting Chieftain of the Pit’s. These guys hit for 8 the round they spawn so you need an ally to feed them or a way to keep them in the staging area for the first round they are in the game.
Watchful Eyes makes an unwelcome return but mostly the other treachery cards and locations are not too horrendous.
The Fate of Balin
When Revealed: Remove Book of Mazarbul from the game.
Forced: At the end of the staging step, reveal the top X cards of the encounter deck, adding all enemies to the staging area. Discard the other revealed cards without resolving them. X is the number of players.
If the players defeat this stage, they win the game.
Stage 2 requires 17 Quest Points and will more often than not spawn additional enemies during each staging step. This stage requires you to plan for how many enemies you’ll need to fight, until you are confident you can just run for the end. Again, we have the same Goblin enemies in here. Swordsmen and Spearmen who power up on undefended attack are hero killers if you don’t have a defender. They also both spawn into the staging area if drawn as shadow cards.
We also have two enemies that cannot be engaged in the Goblin Scout and the Goblin Archer. The Archer can be attacked by characters with Ranged while it is in the staging area, while the Scout cannot be engaged if your threat is over 25, meaning it will sit in the staging area adding 3 Threat until it engages you when your threat is 37 or higher.
Legolas is a good call here for this quest, there’s plenty of things for him to kill, he can attack the archers and every kill he makes adds progress. Also, almost all the enemies are “Orcs” so arming him with twin Blades of Gondolin makes him a progress machine with 5 attack!
The difficulty of this quest will depend entirely on your card draw. In solo play I snuck through The Seventh Level without meeting any Cave Trolls and only running afoul of the Chieftain on the last turn, when I promptly ran away from him. Having the ability to attack into the staging area or deal small amounts of direct damage (for example Swift Strike or Quick Strike) will dispatch all but the hardiest of goblins.
Having a good defender, with some readying capabilities would be handy. The shadow cards in the set are sparse but the ones that are in there can be quite nasty. Mostly what you want though is plenty of quest. You only need to make 32 progress to finish both stages so just get out quick before the Cave Trolls show up!