In every game of The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-earth, you and your friends become heroes of the Free Peoples of Middle-earth, preparing your skills and testing your might and wisdom in combat against the encroaching darkness. Each of the iconic characters you can choose to embody have their own special abilities to contribute to your Fellowship, giving each one a distinct identity for your campaign.
A hero like Aragorn, for example, is a born leader, helping the entire party prepare for any situation. The leader of the Dúnedain of the North and a descendant of Isildur himself, Aragorn is a Man destined for greatness. But his lineage cannot stop a foe’s blade, nor can it feed his people. To survive the trials ahead, every hero must muster all their strength and make effective use of all their abilities.
In addition to their special ability and the items they claim at the beginning of a campaign, every hero sets off on their journey with a unique deck of skill cards that they use to ward off dangers and make progress in their adventures. These cards represent a character’s accumulated knowledge from their days exploring Middle-earth, including tactics, innate abilities, and even songs they can draw on in the heat of battle. Whether you’re playing as Legolas or Beravor, however, you must carefully choose how to apply your skills.
Every skill card in Journeys in Middle-earth can serve two functions. You could prepare a skill at the end of each round, allowing you to use its ability. On the other hand, you could put cards with useful success icons on the top of your deck in preparation for future tests. Only by carefully manipulating your deck and balancing prepared skills against the need to succeed at skill tests can you hope to succeed at your quest.
While the foundation of every hero’s skill deck is their unique set of skill cards, you still have a the freedom to choose how you approach each new adventure. Before beginning a game, every player takes on a different role in their Fellowship, adding the skill cards for that role to their deck. You might become your party’s Guardian, protecting others with your strong defenses. Or, you could become a tricky Burglar, easily evading enemies. You’re free to develop your hero’s skills throughout a campaign, even switching roles between adventure as you weave together your story with each game.