Loaded Keywords are bold one-word labels included in the game text of many cards. Unlike Unloaded Keywords, Loaded Keywords always have some mechanic or other game rule associated with their use.
The Balrog shown to the right has two loaded keywords: Fierce and Damage +1. Fierce indicates that the Free Peoples player must assign it to a skirmish twice per site, and damage +1 adds to the number of wounds it dishes out in a winning skirmish. These two keywords further establish that there are two different kinds of loaded keywords: numeric and non-numeric.
Numeric Loaded Keywords
Numeric keywords are always paired with a positive number and if the keyword is applied multiple times, the numbers are all added up: for example, The Balrog's Sword (2R50) further increases the number of wounds The Balrog delivers by making him a further damage +1, resulting in The Balrog being damage +2 total. Cards that spot the lowest numeric version of a numeric keyword can also spot all higher numbers, meaning Swordarm of the White Tower (1C116) gives 4 strength to a companion that is at least defender +1.
Ambush bonuses however remain separate even though it appears that they could be added together. When a minion with the keyword ambush is given the keyword ambush by another card or special ability, each of those instances of ambush is resolved separately rather at once. (Cards like Three Monstrous Trolls (3C114) or Coif (12R111) would only apply to one of those instances at a time.)
Although toil is a numeric keyword, there is no way to give a card toil or modify the existing toil number of a card. (Úlairë Enquëa, Black Threat (12R175) is as close as it gets.) There is no defined interaction for what would happen if a card had two instances of toil.
Non-numeric Loaded Keywords
Non-numeric loaded keywords work the same regardless of how many "times" a character gains it. In the case of fierce, that minion skirmishes twice per site and that's it; Whip of Many Thongs, Weapon of Flame and Shadow (12R80) will not provide any sort of cumulative fierce benefit to The Balrog above. When such an effect was desirable, Decipher skirted around the keywords to achieve the same result. A few examples: The Witch-king’s Beast, Fell Creature (12U184) allows The Witch-king to enter a third skirmish, Orc Slaughterer (10R95) has a strength bonus from its game text that stacks with enduring, and The Splendor of Their Banners (1R62) allows a single archer to add more than just one to the archery total.
Artifacts and possessions often -- but do not always -- have a special loaded keyword called Item Class. A character may only bear one card of a given item class at a time, but some hand weapons (Hand Axe (2C10) , Flaming Brand (2R32) , Knife of the Galadhrim (9R+17) , and Arwen's Dagger (18R5) ) can be wielded alongside another hand weapon. Box, Bracers, Brooch, Gauntlets, and Phial each only appear on one card. In these cases, the item class effectively acts as "limit one per bearer" text (although the lone Gauntlets and Phial are already unique). Palantir appears on three cards, but they all have the same unique persona anyway. Elven Armaments (18U8) is notable for having two item classes, although in practice this only prevents the use of Aiglos (9R+12) . (No other shields can be played on any Elven characters, and the card prevents all other possessions anyway.)
See the pages at the keywords below for in-depth discussion on each individual keyword's effects, or see Unloaded Keywords for an explanation for all other bolded keywords.
|Numeric||Decipher||Damage + X • Defender + X • Ambush X • Hunter X • Toil X|
|Non-numeric||Decipher||Aid • Archer • Enduring • Fierce • Lurker • Mounted • Muster • Roaming • Sanctuary • Ring-bearer • Unhasty|
|Hobbit Draft Game||Cunning|
|Item Class||Decipher||[Classless] • Support Area • Armor • Brooch • Box • Bracers • Cloak • Gauntlets • Hand Weapon • Helm • Mount • Palantír • Phial • Pipe • Ranged Weapon • Ring • Shield • Staff|