The passage twisted round a few turns, and then began to descend… In the pale ray of the wizard’s staff, Frodo caught glimpses of stairs and arches, and of other passages and tunnels, sloping up, or running steeply down, or opening blankly dark on either side. It was bewildering beyond hope of remembering.
–The Fellowship of the Ring, “A Journey in the Dark”
After surviving a desperate struggle with The Watcher in the Water, the heroes of Middle-earth pass at last through the Doors of Durin and into the ancient mines of Moria. Within those tunnels, your heroes must conduct their search for the source of the increased Orc activity within the Misty Mountains. But as they journey into The Long Dark of those ominous mines, your heroes press ever deeper into a network of tunnels that carves through rock for leagues and leagues.
In the fourth Adventure Pack of the Dwarrowdelf cycle, the ominous dark hangs heavier and closer around your heroes, and the going is slow. The Long Dark is choked with hazards and foes, and heroes must be careful to keep their way. Should they falter, they may find themselves stumbling into disaster…
Finding Your Way
The Long Dark introduces a new, scenario-specific mechanic known as a Locate Test. As your heroes navigate the massive subterranean realm of Moria, the Locate Test challenges their senses of direction. Will they head true? Or will they wander blindly through ancient and abandoned passageways, losing their way for days as their food supplies dwindle or stumbling at last into a goblin encampment?
When a Locate Test is triggered, the first player discards one card from his hand to discard the top card of the encounter deck. Some of the encounter cards in The Long Dark have a bold PASS printed in the lower-right corner. If the first player discards such a card from the encounter deck, then he succeeds at the Locate Test, the heroes regain their sense of direction, and they may continue deeper into the mines. If the encounter card does not have the bold PASS printed on it, the first player may continue to attempt the test, discarding cards from his hand to discard cards from the top of the encounter deck until he either has no more cards available to discard or chooses to stop attempting the test.
Fellowships that do not PASS their Locate Tests, however, may find their situations growing more and more dire. Many of the cards in the scenario have Lost effects on them that may trigger whenever your heroes lose their way. The more of these effects you accumulate in the staging area, the deadlier they become. At the heart of The Long Dark of Moria, fellowships that get lost may find themselves starved, exhausted, and surrounded by hostile Goblins.
The Long Dark is making its way to a retailer near you. Next week, as we continue moving in the right direction, we’ll take a look at a couple of the reasons the Dwarves do not fear the dark!