The Necromancer may have been cast out of Dol Guldur, but a lingering darkness remains over Mirkwood, a shadow that will grow ever longer as the years draw on – unless a fellowship of heroes step forward and hold back the gloom.
The Darkening of Mirkwood is a complete campaign for The One Ring, set in Mirkwood over the course of three decades. It allows you to tell your own epic saga, following your heroes in their quest as the tale of years unfolds before them.
This supplement includes enough adventure material to keep you playing for months or even years, as well as new rules that give your heroes a real stake in what happens to the world around them. Rules for Holdings allow them to carve out their own corner of Middle-earth, whilst new options for the Fellowship Phase and Undertakings to achieve allow them to chart their own path.
Visit the Parliament of Spiders, do battle with the Nazgûl, meddle in the affairs of Wizards and enter the Halls of King Thranduil. Stand firm against the Shadow and maybe the Darkening of Mirkwood can be averted. Falter for even a moment and all that you know and love will be lost.
The Darkening of Mirkwood is a full colour, 144 page hardcover. Written by Gareth Ryder Hanrahan and Francesco Nepitello, with art by Jon Hodgson, Jason Juta and Jordy Lakiere.
"You guys are truly inspired, and the fruits of your enchantment are tangible. Everything in this line fits so fine and is perfectly appropriate. Your illustrations, narrative of the authors, layout, graphics... You have to "fight" against the visual and narrative archetypes that populated the mind of thousands of gamers who are also fans of a trilogy (almost double trilogy) of massively popular (and cool) movies in order to produce a vision and a product to be called personal, original and of quality. The way you stunningly succeed is proof of your commitment, loyalty to the sources, and individual talent. The One Ring line has its deserved place amongst the most eminent products of art inspired and dedicated to the life and work of Professor Tolkien." - Marco Belletti
This supplement looks to be a treasure hoard of story and campaign material. It's very much in style with the Great Pendragon Campaign, which is a big plus.
One thing I really like with this is that the characters are cast as the main heroes. Their actions really do affect the outcome of things. In the Great Pendragon Campaign, one thing I didn't like too much was that the characters was more "along for the ride". It's epic." -Eirik Bull
"Just downloaded my copy. Wow! Many great tales are here for the telling. The art is very evocative of Middle Earth. I think this is a fantastic way to give the Player Heroes a real stake in the events leading up to the War of the Ring.
I agree that this is like the Great Pendragon Campaign, only better. The players are definitely the heroes of this saga. They may get to rub shoulders with some of the greats of Middle Earth, but it is their actions that will decide the outcomes. In giving it a quick skim I saw Beorn, Gandalf, Radaghast, Saruman, and Nazgul but none seemed to overshadow the players' roles. Very much in keeping with the way these characters appear in Tolkien's novels. They are the Great and Wise but this is not their tale.
With thirty years covered it should set a group up with a campaign to last a very long time. If a Fellowship flies through one year per session it will still take over six months of weekly play to finish Darkenning. Add the Marsh Bell, Tales from Wilderland and Word of the Wise and it stretches to nine months of weekly play if every adventure is completed in a single session! I very much doubt that some of these adventures will be completed in a single session and this time line makes no accounting of any side plots the individual LoreMaster brings into play. Conservatively I would say that there is at least a year (real time) worth of steady play already available from C7.
This supplement is definitely for the LoreMaster though. There are only a handful of pages that should be of direct interest to players, those concerning Holdings and new Fellowship phase options. The rest of The Darkening of Mirkwood consists of the Tale of Years and descriptions of new foes. In my opinion for a player to read this before play would spoil a lot of the enjoyment of the adventures to come.
For those who worry about potential conflicts with Tolkien's novel as a result of player actions, or a railroady straightjacket of a plot, fear not. Both the time and place assure great freedom for original campaigns to develop. Tolkien only hinted at what happened in Mirkwood between the two novels. If the players do nothing to intervene then events will unfold just as Tolkien set forth. If the heroes succeed they can brighten the Shadow over this part of the world, if they fail it may deepen. Either way they can tell a grand tale and help shape the prelude to the Great War of the Ring." - Dave Crowell