While Middle-earth has lots of battles and glory, one thing that distinguishes it from many other fantasy settings is the amount of treachery and

Gloom # Hazard # Short-event
Environment. Playable only on a company that is moving this turn. One character (attacker's choice) in that company suffers -1 to his prowess until the end of the turn. Alternatively, if Doors of Night is in play, treat one Border-land as a Wilderness or one Border-hold as a Ruins & Lairs until the end of the turn. Cannot be duplicated.

This card surprisingly doesn't get hardly any use from what I've seen. Like Weariness of the Heart, it has two abilities, one quite a bit more useful than the other.

The first ability, while decent, is nothing sterling. You can give any moving character a -1 prowess until the end of the turn. This can be useful if you're planning on creating several strikes against that character this turn, but on its own for one attack it rarely makes a difference, and probably isn't worth a hazard. When combined with other cards like Weariness of the Heart and Pierced by Many Wounds, you can do significant work to put a character out of commisison. On its own, though, I'd rather use Weariness of the Heart which has a more playable second ability and isn't cancellable. But the second ability is pretty nice.

With Doors of Night out, which happens pretty frequently, you can make a lot more creatures keyable. The uses of this ability are almost limitless. A company travelling through a wilderness and a border-land is suddenly going through two wilderness and are now subject to being hit by Cave-drakes and the like. Alternatively, even a company heading from Dol Amroth to Vale of Erech can be hit by a Cave-drake at the new-found Ruins & Lairs. This can be useful in a Drake deck, or a Spider deck, or a deck with Morgul-night or Choking Shadows, making the playing field even more dangerous.

This second ability isn't just for creature decks, either. It can be used effectively with or against a roadblock deck. If, say, Long Winter is out and a company wants to move from Lorien to Gladden Fields, why not make Anduin Vales all Gloomy, forcing the company to suffer the effects. Or you can use Gloom and Choking Shadows to force a company going through Gap of Isen to be forced back (and have the site tapped) due to the awful stench.

Aside from Twilight, which almost eveyone has multiples of in all decks, the only disadvantage of Gloom is the fact that it has been pretty much surpassed by the abilities of the Dragons common Withered Lands. Withered Lands can make two wildernesses out of a border-land (or wilderness or shadow-land). Gloom is sill (to my memory) the only hazard which can make a Ruins & Lairs, so it can be helpful with cards like Chill Douser and some other nasty stuff, but for most creature decks, Withered Lands will be a better choice than Gloom unless you anticipate a LOT of border-lands travel or you really want the -1 prowess penalty.

Ratings for Gloom:
Isildur: 6.3
Bandobras Took: 7.0
Farmer Maggot: 8.0
Samwise: 6.1
Strider: 5.0
Fingolfin: 6.5
Beorn: 6.9
Frodo: 8.0
Average: 6.7

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Card names and text copyright 1996 by Iron Crown Enterprises, all rights reserved. This document copyright 1997 by Trevor Stone. Permission given to duplicate so long as no profit is made and the copyright notice is kept in tact, blah, blah, blah.