Tidings from the Windlord! Today I write the next installment of my Objective Opinions series, which analyzes the last objective-ally to appear in the Ring-maker cycle: Chief Turch himself. He appears in the The Antlered Crown adventure pack on our side, but actually begins as an enemy – rather, the “boss” enemy – in The Dunland Trap. This makes for quite an interesting character arc; let us not delay in dissecting it!
Turch is a leader of men, not far removed in responsibility from the kings of Gondor and Rohan; however, he governs a less dignified people. The Dunlendings were, in short, a displaced people. Their ancestors wandered in the lands of Gondor before it was a kingdom, as they dwelt there before the Nùmenòreans arrived. When the Nùmenòreans claimed land in the Second Age, they drove the Dundlendings into the Westfold. They lived in mild content there for some time before the Rohirrim expelled them to the land of Dunland in the mid Third Age. Soon afterwards, the king of the Dunlendings died, and his three sons warred over kingship and the Antlered Crown. A shaman hid the crown, splitting the people into three clans: Boar, Wolf, and Raven. In the years following they became known as the Wild Men, as they constantly raided and terrorized the straw-heads (many Rohirrim had blonde hair) who had robbed them of their land and held hostilities against the other clans. Indeed, the Dunlendings are often depicted as a lowly and crazed civilization thirsting only for revenge.
Chief Turch, however, stands out from his subjects. Although he leads the attacks on villages and soldiers alike, the king of the Boar Clan is knowledgeable and discerning, if not exactly merciful. When he has the power to slay his foes, our heroes, he takes them prisoner instead after noticing a certain amulet among their possessions. Instead of merely taking the amulet for his own, he considers the situation and explains his thoughts to his prisoners. The amulet belonged to his son, who sought the Antlered Crown by undertaking the three trials; the Orcs of Methedras, exterminated by our heroes in a previous scenario, slew Turch’s son. The chief’s anguish runs deep, but he believes that the spirit of his son is with our heroes and he sends them to complete the trials. Granted, this is by no means as merciful as letting them go and restoring their possessions, but he is fulfilling his duty to his people and the spirit of his son simultaneously. His ultimate goal is to force the other clans to accept the dominance of the Boar Clan, and he feels that the spirit of his son has given the heroes his blessing – and permission – to undertake the trials. Turch defies his clan’s laws and sends the heroes anyway despite the fact that they are not Boars. Upon the heroes’ successful return, he congratulates them on their triumph and makes them honorary members of the Boar Clan. He also promises eternal friendship with Saruman and ensures that the heroes reach Tharbad safely. Although Turch must fight a war for the assurance of his kingship, he emerges victorious in the end, and unites a broken people under one leader.
Chief Turch is no Faramir. His intentions are to gain power for himself and his clan, and he wants what is most beneficial for himself. However, he is a just leader with a tragic past, and he manages to overcome the pain of his son’s death to give rise to a new generation of Dunlendings. He is not bound by the traditions of his society and rises above them to unite the Wild Men, offering more security to his subjects and creating a more powerful army. Chief Turch is yet another example of an FFG-created character with a rich and compelling history.
Theme Relevance: 4 out of 5.
Chief Turch is as powerful as a hero, as befits the leader of the Boar clan. He has one willpower, three attack, two defense, and five hits points. Questing is automatically not a viable option (I feel like this is true for many objective-allies), especially with the tantalizing value of the remaining stats. Before delving into stats, however, I feel I must reveal the contents of his textbox:
“Immune to player card effects. Chief Turch does not exhaust to defend.”
The latter statement opens up a world of possibilities with the former sentence dampening them to a reasonable degree. Turch is going to be a powerful defender/attacker right out of the gate, making it easier to deal with the hordes of Dunlendings swarming the players throughout the scenario. Paired with another three-attack character, Turch can slay five of the nine types of enemies found in The Antlered Crown without any other help – impressive for an objective-ally. He can also defend all of them successfully, sustaining a varying amount of damage. This is where prudence must come in; Turch cannot defend willy-nilly, or the heroes will be responsible for ruining the future of Dunland (and possibly making the future of Middle-earth a little more stable, but that’s a story for another time) and, more importantly, lose the game. Turch’s “unlimited” defenses must be used wisely if he is to be of any use at all; having Turch defend once and take four damage is far less productive than having him defend several two-or-three-attack enemies overall. The line “immune to player card effects” means that he cannot be healed, so once he takes damage, it’s there for the remainder of the game. Turch is an extremely valuable addition to any hero lineup, provided the players use his defenses wisely. It’s hard to go wrong with him; therefore, the king of the Dunlendings gets a high rating for utility.
Utility Rating: 4 out of 5.
There you have it, folks; Chief Turch of Dunland. His is the highest-rated FFG-created objective-ally thus far, and for good reason. His story reveals the human side of the ferocious and misunderstood Wild Men: a man trying to be the best leader for his divided people. He is noble in his own way, starkly independent from the stereotypical heroes in our world, and a hero in his own right. Plus, it never hurts to have him on your side in a tight spot. Check back soon to read about Iârion, the first objective-ally in the Angmar Awakened cycle!