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Guise of the Necromancer

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:00 pm
by Darksatin
Guise of the Necromancer

A Solitaire Scenario by Jason O. Hawkins

«I myself dared to pass the doors of the Necromancer in Dol Guldur, and secretly explored his ways, and found thus our fears were true : he was none other than Sauron, our Enemy of old at length taking shape and power again».
–The Fellowship of the Ring

A thousand years after The One Ring was cut from Sauron’s hand, banishing the Dark Lord from the Circles of the World, a shadow fell upon Greenwood the Great. Men renamed the forest Mirkwood and feared its interior. The Wise (the Wizards and the chief Eldar) discovered a stronghold had been built at Dol Guldur. A Nazgûl was thought to have survived the defeat of Sauron and to have come to the fortress. Dol Guldur grew in power, and many dark things stirred in Middle Earth that had been sleeping since the Last Alliance of Men and Elves. The Wise could only guess that the Dark Lord himself had returned. Yet without proof, the White Council will not act. Someone must go to Dol Guldur and investigate. If Sauron has returned, he must certainly be looking for his One Ring. With it, he would rule all of Middle-earth. Now is the time to foil his plans !

Your Wizard must form a company and enter Dol Guldur. He must also gather the other Wizards and convince them that the Necromancer is Sauron. Yet even if Sauron is driven out, he may return and grow again. If you can call together the White Council and attack Dol Guldur before Sauron finds The One Ring, you will have won a significant victory for the Free Peoples.

As a solitaire scenario, Guise of the Necromancer requires one player, who will be referred to as «you» hereafter. You will construct two decks from your collection of Middle-earth cards : a deck of hazards and a deck of resources and characters. Several cards are called for that you may not have in your collection. Please do not let this keep you from playing. Instead, use cards you do have to represent those cards you do not have. Of course, you will need to determine the text of any unavailable cards. If any rule is not addressed in the text below, standard rules are assumed to be in effect as given in the Middle-earth : The Wizards rulebook. For example, no more than three copies of a non-unique card may be included in your decks.

This scenario takes you on two very dangerous journeys into Sauron’s stronghold of Dol Guldur. In fact, it is very difficult to defeat the scenario the first few times you play. Tough decisions will need to be made as you play and construct the decks. The initial challenge will be simply surviving the scenario and reaching your final goal before the minions of the Dark Lord find The One Ring. After you have played several times and have devised tuning strategies and play tactics to defeat the scenario, you will be challenged with attaining higher degrees of success as given by the total marshalling points you gather. A table is included in the Victory Conditions section that lists different plateaus of success whereby you can gauge your achievement. Construct both the resource/character deck and hazard deck to maximize your success with the scenario.

The game is driven by a time-keeping mechanism, which is the hazard deck. You lose the game immediatly when the last card from the hazard deck is drawn.

Scenario set-up :

You are free too choose the identity of any Wizard other than Saruman for yourself. Any Wizards other than yourself are called allied Wizards. Allied Wizards do not require general or direct influence to be brought into play or controlled. For this scenario, the general and direct influence of all allied Wizards is zero. Additionnaly, all abilities and effects given in the text box of allied Wizards are ignored. However, their home sites are recognized. Allied Wizards other than Saruman may only be brought into play at their home sites as listed on their cards.

Saruman is placed off to the side. He will not enter play until after the first journey to Dol Guldur is completed and The One Ring appears.

To start the scenario, your Wizard character (which cannot be Saruman) and up to three other non-Wizard characters are placed in Lorien. You may start with two non-unique minor items. You have only 5 general influence at this point, but you do have the normal 10 direct influence as given on your card. You may use this direct influence to control characters in the starting company. Once the first journey to Dol Guldur is completed, your pool of 20 general influence will be restored.

Both the resource/character deck and the hazard deck are constructed and played in two stages. You will construct a resource/character deck and resource/character sideboard, a hazard starting deck, and a hazard sideboard. Sideboards are second smaller sets of cards set off to the side out of play when you start the scenario. You begin the scenario playing with the starting decks only. As play advances, specifically when your company as completed its first journey to Dol Guldur, you will shuffle the sideboards into the starting decks. Sideboards are not accessed normally as written in the rulesbook.

Additionally, a location deck will need to be constructed. This must contain Lorien, Dol Guldur, Isengard, and any number of other non-haven sites up to a maximum of six that you desire (only one copy of each non-haven site may be included). You may also include any number of havens and regions that you like. Note : the sites you include will dictate part of the construction of your hazard deck.

Game stages :

You must take two journeys to Dol Guldur to complete the scenario. The first journey is called The Investigation ; during The Investigation you cause Sauron to flee his fortress temporarily. The Investigation is concluded when you return to Lorien after playing Rescue Prisoners at Dol Guldur. The rest of the game following The Investigation is called The Watchful Peace, which is more dangerous than The Investigation. The game can end with little warning to you during this second phase.

Once The Investigation is concluded, shuffle both sideboards into their respective starting decks. Discard piles are not shuffled into the decks. Return any sites from the resource discard pile to the location deck.

Once The Investigation is concluded, you, as a Wizard, have your 20 general influence restored.

The Resource/character Starting Deck and Sideboard :

The resource/character starting deck must be comprised of a minimum of 30 resources and characters ; the resource/character sideboard must be comprised of a minimum of five resources and characters (no maximum). No Gold Ring items or rings of any sort may be included in your resource/character starting deck or sideboard.
You may include up to two allied Wizards other than Saruman in your resource/character starting deck. No duplicates of any Wizard may be used for this scenario.

In your resource/character sideboard you must include at least one Wizard who is neither yourself nor Saruman and at least one Elf Lord (Cirdan, Elrond, Galadriel, Thranduil, or Glorfindel II).

None of the Elf Lords may be included with your starting characters or in your resource/character starting deck.

Among your starting deck and your sideboard, you must include at least two Rescue Prisoners. You may want to include three, though, which is the maximum number of any non-unique card that may be included.

Otherwise, any resources or characters of your choice may be included in the resource/character starting deck and sideboard. Any effect that causes your opponent to reveal cards from his hand is ignored.

The Hazard Starting Deck and Sideboard :

The hazard starting deck must be comprised of 30 cards exactly and its sideboard of five cards exactly.

Two creatures must be included in the hazard deck playable at and for each non-haven site in your location deck. For example, if you include Sarn Goriwing, a shadow-hold, in your location deck, you must then include two hazard creatures that can be played keyed to a shadow-hold or to Sarn Goriwing in particular (Silent Watcher and Giant Spiders would work). These two creatures may not be used to satisfy this requirement for another site in your location deck.

Include three Nazgûls in addition to the creatures in the hazard starting deck keyed to sites.

Include 10 hazard events in the hazard starting deck, of which at least four must be corruption cards. No hazard permanent-events may be included except for corruption cards and Nazgûl. No environment cards or hazard long-events may be included.

With these conditions met, the remainder of the hazard starting deck may be comprised of any hazards you choose. The total number of hazards is 30.

In the hazard sideboard, include two copies of The One Ring. The actual text of The One Ring card is not used for this scenario. When these come into play, they represent the reappearence of The One Ring in Middle-earth. Though they come from the hazard deck, they are considered resource permanent-events. Feel free to substitute these with copies of Gold Ring items.

Play :

Play proceeds normally with the following exceptions :

* There is no opponent’s turn, only your turn.

* Your base hand has five cards. If The One Ring is in play as a resource permanent-event, your hand size is increased by one.

* All rules of the Hazard Hand and Hazard Play (see below) are implemented during your movement/hazard phase (and could affect your site phase).

* Dol Guldur has three automatic-attacks that replace those given on its site card :
Orcs --- 4 strikes with 8 prowess
Undead --- 3 strikes with 9 prowess (each character wounded must make a corruption check)
and Trolls --- 2 strikes with 11 prowess

* Spells are removed from the game instead of discarded.

* If you exhaust your resource/character deck, reshuffle the resource/character discard pile, and it becomes the new deck.

Hazard Hand and Hazard Play :

The hazard hand is a row of cards drawn from your hazard deck facing your companies. The details on how cards are drawn from the hazard deck and placed in the hazard hand are described on the following page. At least two cards must be drawn from the hazard deck and placed in the hazard hand for each company, whether they are moving or not. Keep in mind that the hazard hand is one row of cards with a left end and a right end. At the start of the game, there are no cards in the hazard hand. Each company, regardless of its size, faces a number of hazards from the hazard hand as outlined below. There is no hazard limit for this scenario. Any effects that modify the hazard limit are ignored and considered to have no effect on play. This means the card that generated such an effect will be a « dud » unless it generated an additional effect that did directly affect play. Dud cards are described below.

To start each company’s movement/hazard phase, place the maximum number of cards that an opponent could draw from the hazard deck (minimum two) face down starting at the left end of the hazard hand. All cards in the hazard hand should be face down at this point. Following hazard placement, turn all cards in the hazard hand face up. The company now potentially faces all the hazards face up in front of you.

Any immediately playable corruption cards (not The Pale Sword, for example, which requires a Nazgûl attack) are played first (before creature attacks). These are played from their revealed position in the hazard hand from right to left.

Any creatures now attack from their revealed position in the hazard hand from right to left. Any events needed to make a creature able to attack may be played with the creatures’s attack. If a creature could legally attack the company without the aid of a short-event, then the play of the short-event with the creature is considered to have no effect on play (and the short-event is a dud). Short-events that affect combat may also be played. If a short-event affects a character’s prowess, the character must be assigned to face a strike or else the short-event is considered to have no effect on play.

Any short-events not used with a creature attack are now played from their revealed position in the hazard hand from right to left. If possible, such a hazard short-event must be made to directly affect play. Cards that modify an automatic-attack are considered to directly affect play (e.g. Awaken Denizens).

At this point, it must be determined if any cards played or remaining in the face up hazard hand are duds. Any duds are discarded into the hazard discard pile and are immediately replaced in the hazard hand with a face down card from the hazard deck. Since duds are immediately replaced, they cause you to exhaust the hazard deck sooner, which could lose you the game. Generally, duds are cards that have no effect on play.

A hazard short-event or a corruption card is a dud if it had no possible target face up in the hazard hand or in play upon which it has a mechanical effect. The One Ring and Nazgûl are never duds. A hazard creature is a dud if it cannot attack the company either keyed to the company’s site path or to its new site (if company is moving) or to its site of origin (if company is not moving). A hazard creature that otherwise cannot attack a company might be made to attack the company if the proper hazard event is face up. This does not make the creature a dud, but it may be the only means of insuring the event is not a dud.

Any effect that causes manipulation of the hazard deck is ignored and considered to no affect play. An example is the short-event function of Mouth of Sauron. However, you can attack with this card as a hazard creature.

If it is required that an opponent choose a character to take a strike or otherwise to be a target (e.g., when placing corruption cards), select the character with the highest mind stat first (Wizards are considered to have a 12 mind stat for this purpose). If there is a tie, select the character with the most direct influence. If there is still a tie, select the character with the lowest body. Then, if there is still a tie, select the character with the lowest prowess. Finally, if the tie remains, randomly select the character.

If The One Ring is revealed and is not already in play, it becomes a resource permanent-event and increases your hand size by one while in play. If already in play, a revealed copy of The One Ring is shuffled back into the hazard deck. Once per game a Hobbit can be discarded to the resource/character discard pile to discard The One Ring to the hazard discard pile.

Whenever the first copy of The One Ring is revealed from the hazard hand, immediately place Saruman at Isengard from his out-of-play position. He will be in play and form a company at the start of the next turn. He is an allied Wizard – all rules of allied Wizards given previously apply to him. At this time, randomly select nine cards from the hazard discard pile (if available) and shuffle these into the hazard deck.

If a Nazgûl is revealed, it will attack the company if possible. If it cannot attack, it becomes a guardian of Dol Guldur. This means the Nazgûl is put into play as a hazard Nazgûl permanent-event, and Dol Guldur receives an additionnal automatic-attack using the Nazgûl’s creature stats, which is to be faced after Dol Guldur’s listed. Nazgûl do not have their normal permanent-event abilities as given on their cards for this scenario. If The One Ring is in play at the end of the same turn a Nazgûl guardian is in play, and if both were in play at the start of the same turn, you lose the game. This means the Nazgûl has found the ring and is taking it to its master. If a Nazgûl is designated to be discarded for any reason, it is instead shuffled back into the hazard deck. Of course, a defeated Nazgûl is placed into your marshalling point pile.

Victory conditions :

You win immediately if a company containing yourself, Saruman, another allied Wizard, and one of the Elf-Lords moves to Dol Guldur, faces any automatic-attacks, and successfully plays Rescue Prisoners. This means Sauron has been driven out of Dol Guldur. The group is called The White Council.

You lose if one of the following happens before you have achieved victory :
- the hazard deck is exhausted
- you are eliminated (or Saruman is eliminated, thus preventing the formation of The White Council)
- The One Ring and a Nazgûl guardian are both in play at the end of any turn at the start of which both were also in play

If you win, note the degree of your victory. No more than one-half of your final marshalling point total can come from any one type of marshalling points.
With 0 to 19 marshalling points, the Necromancer slips away with his resources intact.
With 20 to 29 marshalling points, the Shadow is still on the land.
With 30 to 39 marshalling points, Sauron’s servants are scattered.
With 40 to 49 marshalling points, the Shadow is gone and Mirkwood will grow wholesome again
With 50 or more marshalling points, Dol Guldur is in ruin and the eaves of Mirkwood will be green in the Spring.

From Scrye Magazine #14 (May 1996), pp.58-60

Thanks to YeGor, from the BGG forum

Re: Guise of the Necromancer

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:01 pm
by Darksatin
Guise of the Necromancer : a sample deck

Starting Characters :

1 Pallando
1 Elrohir
1 Elladan
1 Gimli
2 Cram

Resources and Characters (30) :

1 Radagast
1 Gandalf
2 Rescue Prisoners
1 Gwaihir
1 The Great Eagles
2 Sword of Gondolin
1 Glamdring
1 Orcrist
1 Durin's Axe
1 Wormsbane
3 Dark Quarrels
2 Gates of Morning
1 Twilight
3 The Cock Crows
3 Many Turns and Doublings
1 Quiet Lands
2 Praise to Elbereth
2 Block
1 Haldir

Hazards (30) :
1 Silent Watcher
1 Khamûl the Easterling
1 Akhôrahil
1 Indûr Dawndeath
2 Lure of Nature
2 Lure of Expedience
2 Assassin
2 Cave Drake
2 Wild Trolls
2 Giant Spiders
2 Ghosts
2 Olog Warlords
1 Arouse Denizens
1 Arouse Minions
1 Dragon Sickness
1 Greed
1 Incite Denizens
1 Incite Minions
1 River
1 Tidings of Bold Spies
1 Unabated in Malice
1 Twilight

Resources and Characters Sideboard (5) :

1 Glorfindel
1 Thranduil
1 Rescue Prisoners
1 Wizard's River-horses
1 Praise to Elbereth

Hazards Sideboard (5) :
2 The One Ring
1 Incite Denizens
1 Incite Minions
1 Tidings of Bold Spies

Off to the side :
1 Saruman

Sites :
1 Lorien
1 Rivendell
1 Dol Guldur
1 Isengard
1 Dead Marshes
1 Buhr Widu
1 Sarn Goriwing
1 Moria
1 Eagle's Eyrie
1 Rhosgobel

Re: Guise of the Necromancer

Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:03 pm
by Darksatin
Dol Guldur for this scenario :


Re: Guise of the Necromancer

Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 2:30 pm
by chrisbogert
Thanks for posting all of these.
I just started playing this game again after ten or so years.. I had them sitting in my parent's house in a box someplace.
I will be playing almost entirely solo games, so these are fantastic.
I actually have a copy of "A Long-Expected Party" from way back when...
I will try to upload the other scenarios in it sometime soonish.
Thanks again

Re: Guise of the Necromancer

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:21 pm
by Khamul the Easterling
Anyone ever tried out this scenario? To me it looks that at least the set-up is seriously flawed. By any means you'll have to move at least twice to Dol Guldur and back to Lorien to fulfill the task. That is at least 16 cards (opponent draws 4 x 4 cards in a move to/from Dol Guldur). So, 15 hazard cards remaining for the rest of the game (going for MPs, gathering items/factions). That seems impossible to me.

Re: Guise of the Necromancer

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:24 am
by Darksatin
I played this scenario 8 years ago. I remember it was not easy, but I had a success 1 or 2 times.
It is written in the victory conditions :
"You win immediately if a company containing yourself, Saruman, another allied Wizard, and one of the Elf-Lords moves to Dol Guldur, faces any automatic-attacks, and successfully plays Rescue Prisoners."
So there is no need to return to Lorien at the end of the game (4 hazard cards spared)...

Re: Guise of the Necromancer

Posted: Tue Jul 14, 2020 4:42 am
by Khamul the Easterling
I had overlooked one of the special rules last time, the one saying that you shuffle back 9 cards from your hazard discard pile into the hazard deck when Saruman comes into play. Without doing that, of course the scenario will become ultra-hard. But if you do, it's fine. Played it again a couple of times again and quite enjoyed it.

Here's another sample deck based only on cards from the first edition:

Starting Characters:
Beorn (with Black Arrow)
Elladan (with Potion of Prowess)

Characters/Resources (30):
A Friend or Three (x2)
Dark Quarrels (x3)
Gates of Morning (x2)
Great-Shield of Rohan
Lapse of Will (x3)
Praise to Elbereth
Rescue Prisoners (x2)
Risky Blow (x2)
Sword of Gondolin (x2)
The Cock Crows (x2)
True Fana (x2)
Vanishment (x2)
Wizard's Flame (x2)

Hazards (30):
Arouse Denizens
Arouse Minions (x2)
Cave-drake (x2)
Giant Spiders (x2)
Half-trolls of Far-Harad
Khamûl the Easterling
Lure of Creation
Lure of Expedience
Lure of Nature
Lure of the Senses
Olog-hai (x2)
River (x2)
Thief (x2)

Off to the Side:

Sideboard Characters/Resources (4+5):
Kindling of the Spirit
Rescue Prisoners
Risky Blow
Wizard's Flame

Sideboard Hazards (5):
Arouse Minions
The One Ring (x2)

Sites (3+6):
Dol Guldur
Dead Marshes
Mount Gundabad
Sarn Goriwing
The Wind Throne