The Steward's Fear is the first Adventure Pack (AP) from the Against the Shadow cycle, and introduces players to a new hero, a host of player cards, and a quest that is the start of what looks to be a sweeping narrative through the land of Gondor. The new hero in this AP is Hirluin the Fair, who has the Outlands trait (what I would call a generic term for the smaller fiefdoms in outer Gondor), and whose ability enables him to play any Outlands ally of any sphere from his resource pool. Statistically he is very weak, but when the Outlands allies come into play, of which there are 4 in this AP, he and them gain strength. Each ally has the ability to increase attack, willpower, defense, and hit points to all Outlands characters you control, and are a fairly inexpensive. If you are interested in learning more about these allies, there are videos on boardgamegeek that show how powerful this new trait is. The rest of the player cards almost pale in comparison to the power of the Outlands, but there are still some interesting cards included.
The quest itself is somewhat of a mixed bag, in my opinion. At the beginning of the game, you randomly choose one Plot and one Villain (of which there are three of each to choose), and separate the enemy and Clue cards into a separate deck (called the Underworld deck) from the encounter deck, which has all of the treacheries and locations in the quest. You then try to uncover the Plot and Villain by exploring locations, some with the Underworld keyword, which puts a specified number of cards from the Underworld deck facedown. When an Underworld location is explored, that facedown card is then added to the staging area. Most cards are enemies, but if you are lucky, you uncover a Clue, which helps you add progress to locations and the quest. Once you make enough progress, you eventually uncover the Plot, which makes the game even more challenging by increasing your threat, adding more cards during staging, or discarding cards from your deck, and the Villain. What I have found impressive with this quest and with the Heirs of Numenor expansion is how well the encounter deck cards synergize with each other. However, this quest was a bit frustrating, as I found that going from location to location a bit monotonous. I also found that the final showdown with the Villain can be a bit underwhelming.
Overall, this gets four stars because of the powerful new player cards. This has been described by some as almost a complete deck in an AP, and a powerful deck at that.
NOTE: You need the Heirs of Numenor deluxe expansion to play this quest.