24Sep/14Off

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The revised edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game is in gaming stores in both the US and the UK today, so make sure you take a look!

In the run up to the release of The One Ring, we shared some insights into the design and look of the game in this series of previews. If you’re interested in a particular aspect of the game, want to find out why we’ve designed the game the way we have done or just want to find more out about the game before you buy, this is the best place to start.

We also have an FAQ about the revised edition here  and a series of downloads for the game, including the new character sheet, here. We also shared a new extract from the game’s introduction yesterday, which you can find here.
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About The One Ring Roleplaying Game

Smaug has been defeated, the Battle of Five Armies has been won, and Bilbo has returned to the Shire. But much danger still remains, and from the Orc-holds of the mountains to the dark and corrupt depths of Mirkwood a darkness waits, recovering its strength, laying its plans, and slowly extending its shadow…

The One Ring Roleplaying Game is based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Chock full of incredible artwork by leading artists, including John Howe and Jon Hodgson, and with evocative rules designed by award-winning games designer Francesco Nepitello, there has never been a Lord of the Rings game that’s more evocative of Tolkien’s unique vision. Along with rich and detailed background information, rules that focus on Tolkien’s themes, character types unique to the world and a setting that changes as the Tale of Years progresses, when you play The One Ring Roleplaying Game you really feel like you are playing in Middle-earth.

This game contains:

• A complete set of rules for roleplaying in Middle-earth.

• How to create characters and make your own fellowship.

• A bestiary of enemies to face, from Giant Spiders and Orcs to Stone-trolls and Wargs.

• Advice for telling stories that evoke the spirit of The Hobbit ™ and The Lord of the Rings ™.

• Six ready-made characters and a complete adventure to get started right away.

You just need a group of players, a 12-sided dice and a handful of 6-sided dice to play!

336 pages - full colour - hard cover

The One Ring Roleplaying GamePDF also available!

23Sep/14Off

NEW TOR packshotThe revised edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game will be in gaming stores in both the US and the UK tomorrow, so make sure you check it out!

One of the biggest changes we’ve made to the new edition is that it has been re-ordered, re-organised and re-laid out for added clarity and usability – take a look at the extract below, which includes the new contents pages and the introduction, and will give you a flavour as to how the game is structured.

Introduction to The One Ring Roleplaying Game

Click to download

Find out more about the new edition of The One Ring in our series of preview articles.

18Jun/14Off

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Ahead of the release of the new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game, we’ve been talking a lot about the game. Well, ahead of the pre-order starting next week, we thought we’d share what a few of our fans have said about the current edition, so don’t just take our word for it!

A stunningly presented and produced game that details an original rules system emphasising roleplaying and character over tactics and power gaming. It should be a delight to all fans of Middle Earth.”

Neil Lennon, RPG.net

“The One Ring is a lovingly crafted, beautifully executed RPG set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Anyone who is a fan of both Middle-Earth and RPGs should find the game compelling, and it’s a good gateway from one love to the other, especially for Tolkien fans who aren’t already gamers.” 

Christopher H, RPGNow

The best Middle-earth RPG ever is a triumph of fidelity to and understanding of the source material.”

Bill Edmunds, RPG.net

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As well as critical acclaim, The One Ring has also garnered a whole spread of awards, and it was both a privilege and an honour to for it to be so well recognised by the gaming community.

So, now you’ve read what we’ve got to say on The One Ring, as well as what others think too. But what do you think? Well, check back next week, when we’ll be launching the pre-order of The One Ring Roleplaying Game, and you can see it for yourself.

Already Own The One Ring?

As well as launching the new pre-order next week, we'll also be putting up a PDF listing the major clarifications and changes to the previous edition, so you can see just what we've changed in its entirety!

11Jun/14Off

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We’re gearing up for the release of a new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game, and prior to it going on pre-order next week we’re publishing a series of articles that each take a look at a different aspect of the game. Today’s article looks at the other supplements available for The One Ring.

The One Ring Roleplaying Game is already supported by a fantastic line of award-winning supplements, all of which are compatible with the new revised edition.

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Tales from Wilderland contains seven ready-to-play adventures that can either be played on their own, or together to form an epic campaign. From a failed robbery to kidnapped Hobbits, a blood feud to a malignant threat, these adventures will keep the company busy for many a session.

The Heart of the Wild describes the setting of Wilderland in greater depth than ever before, from the banks of the Anduin and the foothills of the Misty Mountains to the dark heart of Mirkwood. Not only is the book packed with setting information, including adventure hooks aplenty, but also a bestiary of horrible monsters to give your players nightmares!

The Darkening of Mirkwood builds upon the setting information of The Heart of the Wild with a truly epic campaign spanning thirty years of game-time, in which the fate of Mirkwood and all its denizens hang in the balance. Enough adventures not just for a company, but quite possibly for their descendants too.

There are two must-have accessories for Loremasters running The One Ring: The One Ring Dice Set, and The Loremaster’s Screen & Lake-town Guide. The first of these accessories contains a complete set of dice specially made for game, complete with Gandalf and Eye of Sauron runes. The second accessory not only contains a handy screen, complete with reference tables and Jon Hodgson’s stunning depiction of Lake-town, but also a complete Lake-town supplement, including a new heroic culture.

Rivendell takes your adventures west across the Misty Mountains to the Last Homely House, expanding play into eastern Eriador, covering not only Rivendell itself, but Angmar, Fornost, Mount Gram, Tharbad and everywhere in between. There are also rules for creating your own Magical Treasure; playing Rangers of the North and High Elves of Rivendell; turning the baleful Eye of Mordor on your company; and facing more powerful adversaries than ever before.

Ruins of the North contains six standalone adventures West of the Misty Mountains, which can be run together as an epic campaign across Eriador spanning many years. Children kidnapped in the night, unusually cunning Trolls, a mysterious caravan, the fate of a company of Hobbits, the legacy of the Dúnedain and an evil awakening beneath the barrows – six new stories set in the ancient land of Eriador.

Finally, Hobbit Tales is a standalone card game that sees players competing to tell stories of their (Hobbit-sized) adventures. What makes it of particular interest to players of The One Ring is that it includes a set of rules for using the cards to generate Hazard episodes in the roleplaying game.

And, if that’s whet your appetite for The One Ring supplements, make sure you check out our preview of what other supplements are in the works here.

9Jun/14Off

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We’re gearing up for the release of a new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game, and prior to it going on pre-order next week we’re publishing a series of articles that each take a look at a different aspect of the game. Today’s article is about the passage of time in The One Ring campaign.

As we mentioned a few weeks back, games of The One Ring are split into two parts: the Adventuring phase and the Fellowship phase. While an Adventuring phase is packed with dangerous battles and perilous journeys, Fellowship phases provide heroes with the opportunity to rest and recuperate, to practise their skills or pursuing a noble undertaking.

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Designer Francesco Nepitello explains how the Fellowship phase came about:

One of my primary design focuses was to make the passage of time a central feature of playing The One Ring. I feel that it is the unfolding of history what really turns the deeds of a character into an epic worthy of song. So, making the passing of the years a mechanic of the game was a must. I’ve played a lot of King Arthur Pendragon in my time, an excellent game that successfully tackles the issue, and I have seen other games inspired by the same principle (Mouse Guard among the foremost of these). So, the division in two distinct gaming phases was a natural choice.”

Whereas in an Adventuring phase, where the players are largely reacting to the Loremaster’s plots and story, in the Fellowship phase it is the players who get to set the agenda. At the start of a Fellowship phase, the heroes all retire to a location of their choice, whether to their home or to a sanctuary, a special location they have established as their own. Each player then decides upon an undertaking, an endeavour concerning the bigger picture, such as meeting with a patron or healing themselves of corruption.

In so doing, we get to see what a hero gets up to when not out adventuring, making them well-rounded characters not merely defined by their heroics, as well as making them feel a part of Middle-earth itself.

We asked Francesco where his characters like to retire to in the Fellowship phase, and the undertakings they like to perform.

Lake-town is my favourite haunt (at least until we reveal Rivendell… ). My favourite Undertaking may be the Receive Title undertaking, as it is very important for the life of a character and has very tangible consequences from the point of view of the mechanics, allowing a character’s heroic to be recognised by a culture other than their own.”

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As well as undertaking larger-scale tasks, heroes can take advantage of the Fellowship phase to practise their skills and hone their abilities. In The One Ring, this character development takes the form of Advancement and Experience points, both of which are gained during the Adventuring phase, as Francesco explains:

Character development is a major mechanical issue in any roleplaying game. Advancement must give a reward to a player, to satisfy his need for achievement, but balance must be preserved in the long run. To do this, I decided to split advancement into two separate fields, and have players accumulate Advancement points in one way, and Experience points in another. Advancement points replicate the learning process that comes from exercise and application, and Experience points simulate the exceptional potential for change derived from adventuring.”

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A Fellowship phase takes place between Adventuring phases, signalling the end of a company’s adventure for a number of weeks or even months. It also helps mark the passage of time, especially at the end of year, as the Loremaster relates events from the wider world to the players, events that they will eventually help shape.

Francesco discusses the invaluable role of the wider chronology of Middle-earth:

The tale of years is an invaluable resource for a Loremaster and his group of players. Not for the amount of material that can be exploited to create new adventures (and that’s useful too), but for its potential to make a campaign a saga that is completely focused on the players as the protagonists of the tale. While it is not really apparent from the beginning, as soon as the players have a number of adventures under their belt, the Loremaster will find it extremely easy to just look at his characters’ ‘curricula’ and pick the right ‘loose ends’ and weave them in new personalized adventure hooks.

And the heroes definitely have the chance to change the timeline too! At first by simply putting a name and a face to otherwise-unnamed heroes responsible for some recorded deed (did someone spy upon the return of the Ringwraiths to Mirkwood and report to the Wise?), but later on by having their names sung in the major halls of Middle-earth, if their deeds deserve it (did a war-duke emerge to lead the Woodmen of Wilderland against the Shadow over Mirkwood?).”

Already Own The One Ring?

As a central part of The One Ring, the rules for the Fellowship phase have received a number of important changes and clarifications, most notably where Advancement and Experience points are explained. We’ve thoroughly revised and reworded these sections, giving Loremasters far more advice as to how many Advancement and Experience points to hand out. We’ve also reduced the cost for advancing a skill if it is Favoured.

We’ve added an option for Loremasters to allow two undertakings in a suitably long Fellowship phase (such as that at the year’s end). We’ve also tweaked a couple of Fellowship undertakings too, adding the aforementioned Receive Title undertaking, which builds on the option seen in a couple of the supplements, and expanding the Gain New Distinctive Feature undertaking to allow a player to change their Specialities too.

6Jun/14Off

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We’re gearing up for the release of a new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game, and until it goes on pre-order in a fortnight we’re publishing a series of articles that each take a look at a different aspect of the game (you can find them all here). Today’s article takes a look at one of the most important parts of the game: the maps.

As we discussed the other day, long and perilous journeys are at the very heart of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, so they similarly form the heart of The One Ring Roleplaying Game. The journey rules give the players the feeling that their characters are embarking on an epic trek across Mirkwood or the Misty Mountains or down the Anduin. The part of the journey rules that captures this the most is when the players first plot their route, huddling over the map of Middle-earth and arguing over whether the best way to get from Beorn’s house to Lake-town is by going around the top of Mirkwood, or straight through the middle.*

The new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game features two distinct maps: the Adventurer’s Map and the Loremaster’s Map. Not only are these included in the game as pages in their own right, but also incorporated into the end-papers, a neat solution that makes them instantly referable without the risk of coming loose or being lost.

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Cubicle 7’s layout artist and graphic designer Paul Bourne designed both maps:

The initial challenge of making the maps was presenting them in the style that people are so familiar with. I did quite a bit of research, looking at existing maps of Middle-earth, to get a handle on paper texture and drawing style. I wanted to make a nice feature of the borders, so I made some new diamond and Celtic elements that tied the maps in with the design of the rest of The One Ring, as well as expanding on the woodcut design I’d created previously for the Hobbit culture. The only way to get the proper ‘look’ for the main body of the map was not to work digitally but to draw it all by hand then scan the drawing.”

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The Adventurer’s Map is designed to look like an in-world artefact; rare, possibly incomplete and only somewhat accurate. Players use this map to plot their routes, and must use their judgement (and their character’s Lore skill) to work out which route poses the least danger.

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The Loremaster’s Map, on the other hand, spells out exactly where that danger lies. It’s overlaid with a hex grid, so that the Loremaster can calculate how far the journey will be (each hex is 10 miles, making you realise just how big even this small corner of Middle-earth is). It’s also colour coded, with each colour representing the difficulty of the terrain to cross (green being moderate, all the way up to the daunting of red), and marked with symbols to show whether a land is free, wild or under the Shadow.

All of these aspects allow the Loremaster to take the company’s proposed route and quickly work out how long the journey will take, how difficult it will be and what potential dangers they might encounter.

We asked Paul what his favourite feature of the map was:

My favourite feature is the Hobbit travelling song written in runes around the edge of the map, which ties in nicely with the journeys aspect of the game.”

*Hint: The writers of The One Ring cannot be held responsible for any danger – including spider-poisoning – that befalls characters wandering into Mirkwood without a suitable guide.

Already Own The One Ring?

If you already own The One Ring, then you’ll already have poster-sized versions of these maps – the versions incorporated into the endpapers of the new edition feature the same maps. But, for those of you looking for additional copies of these posters or, say, wondering whether you’ll be able to get similar maps of the rest of Middle-earth, stay tuned…

4Jun/14Off

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We’re gearing up for the release of a new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game, and until it goes on pre-order in a couple of weeks we’re publishing a series of articles that each take a look at a different aspect of the game (you can find them all here). Today’s article takes a look at the threat facing all of Middle-earth: the Shadow.

TORDolguldurSmaug may be dead and the Necromancer driven from his fastness in Dol Guldur, but Sauron is not defeated and his taint still lies heavy upon Mirkwood and his many agents and spies still roam Wilderland. It is these dark forces that the heroes of The One Ring must face, whether in the guise of physical foes such as Orcs and Wargs, or against the more insidious threat of the corruption of spirit and the destruction of hope.

In The One Ring Roleplaying Game, this latter threat is represented by a set of mechanics called Shadow points. We asked games designer Francesco Nepitello to explain more about them.

In my opinion, Shadow points are both a measure of the loss of reason and corruption. They represent fear and doubt, gnawing away at the capability of an individual to trust in a brighter future. So, they represent self-doubt, insecurity, resignation and the result of giving in to our darkest urges. But in a world were evil is incarnate, Shadow represents also an outside threat, a corrupting force that can taint the spirit and twist the mind of a hero.”

A hero will inevitably accumulate Shadow points as he adventures, gaining them for venturing into blighted lands (which sap his spirit) or experiencing harrowing events (such as being haunted by a Wight or seeing a Nazgûl). They’re also gained when a hero does something decidedly unheroic, such as stealing from a villager or bullying others.

A few Shadow points is nothing to worry about, so long as a hero has more Hope. But, as soon as a character has more Shadow than Hope, he becomes Miserable as his spirit is weakened by grief and sorrow. From this point on, the next time he rolls an Eye of Sauron he experiences a bout of madness as he gives in to his darker emotions (as set out during character creation by his Calling – see here), be that his rage, his cowardice or his lust for treasure. Once the bout of madness has passed, a character is himself again and his Shadow score is reset – but now he has a permanent point of Shadow that can never be removed, and a flaw representing his degeneration into madness. The more he succumbs to the Shadow, the greater his degeneration until he is lost to the company forever…
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But it is not just insidious corruption that threatens the heroes of Middle-earth, for there is also the more visible threat of the servants of the Shadow: Orcs, Trolls, Spiders, Wargs and darker things besides. Francesco explains how he approached these monsters:

The monsters of Middle-earth are among the things that set this world apart from other fantasy world. The creatures that Tolkien created appear as if they were taken out of an ancient song, so everything we introduce in The One Ring must have that quality of authenticity. My favourite monsters might well be the Marsh-dwellers, as I based them on the beautiful ‘Mewlips’ poem by JRRT himself. There is a certain Lovecraftian quality to them, a mood that is very well suited to the dead bogs and marshes of Middle-earth.”

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It is these adversaries that the heroes must face in combat and, just as heroes have Hope, so too do their foes have a mechanic called Hate. Francesco again:

Hate is very much the opposite of Hope, and well represents the driving force behind the actions of many servants of the Shadow. From the point of view of the mechanics, Hate is a resource for the Loremaster to manage to apply his strategy in a battle, and also something the players may try to reduce, to force their enemies to flee.”

Hate points can be spent by the Loremaster to power a monster’s special abilities, giving it horrible strength or allowing it to cast dreadful spells, for example. While even combat against lesser foes such as Goblins and Attercops can be deadly when faced with sufficient numbers or judicious use of special abilities, no hero in Middle-earth would do battle with a Troll and not be rightfully afraid – as any long-standing player of The One Ring will tell you!

We asked Francesco if he had any tips for fighting such terrifying creatures.

How to best a Troll? Ready your spears!”
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Already Own The One Ring?

While Loremasters of The One Ring will doubtlessly benefit from the clarifications made elsewhere in the rules, they’ll also find that we’ve made a few adjustments to the rules for Shadow too, including adding a new section on Tainted Treasure as a source of corruption.

We’ve also tinkered a little with the rules for adversaries, including Great Size, so that a monster with such a rule becomes Weary when reduced to 0 Endurance but keeps fighting, as well as spelling out exactly how a victim escapes a monster that has seized him.

Finally, we’ve brought the rules for how an adversary applies damage in line with heroes, so they now apply an attribute as a damage bonus on a great success, or twice on an extraordinary success. Be warned, heroes!

2Jun/14Off

NEW TOR packshot

We’re gearing up for the release of a new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game, and until it goes on pre-order in a couple of weeks we’re publishing a series of articles that each take a look at a different aspect of the game. Today’s article is the second of a two-part article about the core mechanics of the game (you can find part one here).

Last week we described how The One Ring is divided into two discrete phases – the Adventuring phase and the Fellowship phase – and went into some detail about how the core mechanics work. Within an Adventuring phase, adventurers are most often engaging in one of three distinct activities: travelling across perilous lands, interacting with wary or suspicious characters, and drawing swords to battle dangerous adversaries. Each of these activities is handled with its own mechanics.

Journeys

Journeys to far-away lands are perhaps the most iconic parts of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and The One Ring has a special set of rules to handle them too, helping the players evoke the feeling of setting off on such perilous voyages. When embarking on such a journey, players pore over a map and plan their route, while the Loremaster uses the rules to determine how long it will take and how dangerous it is. The players then decide how they will proceed, taking on the role of the company’s guide, perhaps, or acting as its look-out, before rolling dice to see how the journey unfolds.
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Sometimes, the journey will pass without event, and days and weeks of travel are narrated without complication. More often, however, one of the players will have rolled an Eye of Sauron, and this means one thing: a Hazard episode is triggered! Such an event might be as simple as the guide having lost his way, causing the party to become tired, or perhaps their provisions have run out. More deadly is when a Hazard leads to the company crossing paths with a monster, such as an Orc raiding party. And that is when swords are drawn and combat is joined…

Combat

Battles in The One Ring are fast, heroic and deadly. After determining whether it is the company or the enemy who have the initiative (and hence who goes first and who goes second), players pick a stance for their character. Each stance is a measure of the hero’s approach to the oncoming battle, determining not only the order in which they fight, but also how easily they can hit the foe (and how easily the foe can hit them) as well as offering up different non-combat options to them too.

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For example, a hero in the Forward stance is right in the thick of the battle, and so goes first in the round and can strike the enemy relatively easily with a roll of a 6 (plus the enemy’s Parry score) and he also has the option to Intimidate the Foe, perhaps forcing the enemy to reconsider his attack and run away or back down. However, fighting at the front means a hero will also be hit on a roll of a 6 (plus their own Parry), and that’s where rules for endurance and wounds come in, as games designer Francesco Nepitello explains:

The combat rules have their roots in Tolkien. Reading the books you definitely get the impression that a traditional ‘hit points’ mechanic cannot work if you want the game to feel ‘Tolkienesque’; heroes either survive combat relatively unscathed, or are ‘wounded’. Getting wounded sounds relatively innocuous – all you need is to protect yourself after all – but this idea lasts until you receive your first Wound - suddenly you wake up and feel vulnerable, exactly as I guess it must feel when you get smitten by a sword in the heat of a battle!”

Encounters

The final of rules in The One Ring are used for encounters, which might be used to resolve riddling with a Goblin king in a dark tunnel, persuading Beorn to lend you his might in a coming battle or even to bargain with a Dragon to let you leave its lair unscathed. These rules describe how the heroes interact with other characters or creatures, typically when their opponent is wary, suspicious or downright hostile towards them, or when the company is asking for something in return, be it assistance, information or treasure.
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Each encounter begins with the heroes introducing themselves, telling tales of their adventures or singing songs of their deeds, to impress their adversary. It then proceeds to a series of interaction tests, wherein the characters try to extract information or persuade their opponent of their good intentions. Once the heroes have failed a number of tests greater than the Tolerance rating of the encounter, they have done as well as they are going to and the number of successes are totted up and used to assess the outcome.

Does the Goblin king believe your lies, will Beorn march by your side and will you escape the Dragon’s lair? Well, that’s for you to roll the dice and find out… 

Already Own the One Ring?

Perhaps the most immediate change you’ll notice to the rules for the Adventuring phase is that they can now all be found in one place, so you won’t need to flip between the two guides to find what you need to play through an encounter or a journey.

Once again, we’ve made a multitude of tweaks and changes to improve the clarity of the rules, but we’ve also made a number of revisions too. Most notable of these are a completely new set of rules for Hazards. Now, a Hazard episode is triggered whenever an Eye of Sauron is rolled on a Travel test, its target and effects determined by a couple of rolls on a new pair of tables. It makes for much faster play, and is far more intuitive too.

This was the change Francesco was most pleased with:

The old system was well and good, but to my eyes it felt incomplete. You had the rules to trigger dangerous episodes during travel, but eventually were left to your own devices to determine what the consequences were in game terms. The fans liked the old system, and filled the gap providing lots of pre-generated Hazard episodes, but the system was not truly complete.

Now, we have integrated a mechanic tested in our Hobbit Tales storytelling card game, giving the Loremaster a quick way to set up Hazard episodes from start to finish, leaving him free to improvise the storytelling details without worrying about the minutiae.”

While the rules for combat haven’t changed substantially, they’ve benefited the most from being consolidated in one place, especially with the addition of a plethora of handy reference charts. We’ve also tweaked some of the combat actions too, so Intimidate Foe now causes more Hate loss (and Rally Comrades more Endurance gain), and we’ve clarified exactly how Escape Combat and Protect Companion work too.
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Finally, we’ve not only added rules for preliminary rolls for encounters (as mentioned last week), but we’ve also incorporated the optional rules for assessing the outcome of an encounter that were first published in Tales from Wilderland. Many players – including us! – used these rules as standard, so it made sense to bring them into the core rules too.

30May/14Off

We’ll be starting the pre-order for the revised edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game in June. In the intervening weeks, we’ll be taking a much closer look at all aspects of the roleplaying game, and today we’re focusing on the graphics of the game.
NEW TOR packshot2The One Ring is a beautiful game, and we’ve heard a lot about the illustrations.  An often overlooked, but integral part of building that stunning appearance is the graphic design.  Cubicle 7’s graphic designer Paul Bourne is responsible for all the intricate and beautiful graphics that populate the rules.

Paul had this to say about creating graphics for The One Ring: “Before starting on The One Ring I did 3 or 4 days of research, not only looking at the various cultures of Middle-earth, but at anything that would be useful. Viking and Anglo-Saxon design were particularly useful in getting a handle of things thematically. We presented six Middle-earth cultures in The One Ring, so I researched each one to see how they could be represented graphically, not only with the culture's 'icon', but with the page borders.”

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These emblems and others feature in the headers that top each page:
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“I really enjoyed creating the Cultural icons, but my favourite piece of graphic design are the maps, although at the time they were quite a challenge.”
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These have numerous little touches that bring extra flavour and atmosphere to The One Ring:
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“I think graphic design matters a great deal. I suppose the most important factor is that they both help present the information in a clear and interesting way. But in regards to The One Ring, Tolkien's work has a huge fanbase, so to work on a game based on his writings demanded a really worthy and considered approach. I felt that is was really important, not only represent the 'feel' of Middle-earth accurately, but to do something that would compliment the art.”

Every One Ring cover features the frame that Paul created with that famous piece of poetry:
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Paul also revisited the main logo of the game for the new edition.  Beautiful stuff!
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Jon Hodgson, Cubicle 7 Art Director: “We’re absolutely blessed to have a designer as talented as Paul working on The One Ring. His attention to detail and grasp of atmosphere are unrivalled.  We’re a really tight team and I think that shows in the outstanding level of atmosphere the visuals create in concert with the game text. It’s all about evoking that Tolkien feel.”.

The One Ring won an Ennie Award for Best Production Values in 2012.

28May/14Off

NEW TOR packshot
We’re gearing up for the release of a new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game, and until it goes on pre-order in June we’re publishing a series of articles that each take a look at a different aspect of the game. Today’s article is the first of a two-part article about the core mechanics of the game.

Games of The One Ring are split into two phases: the Adventuring phase and the Fellowship phase. We’ll cover the Fellowship phase in more detail another time, for today we will look at the Adventuring phase. In an Adventuring phase, a company of adventurers heads off from their homes and into the Wild, in search of adventure. Its in this phase where the principle action of the game takes place; where epic journeys across Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains are embarked upon, where Orcs and Spiders and Wargs are fought in combat, and where wits are matched with the Great Goblin and the Elvenking, Thranduil.

The One Ring Roleplaying Game uses a special set of dice: the twelve-sided Feat die, which is marked with numbers 1-10, as well as two special symbols, Gandalf’s rune and the Eye of Sauron, and a six-sided Success die, which is numbered 1-6, with a Tengwar rune on the 6.
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These dice are available to buy separately in all good stores where The One Ring is sold or from our web store, or you can just use a regular d12 and some d6s.

Francesco Nepitello, designer of The One Ring: “I love custom dice, this must be said, but for The One Ring the choice goes beyond the simple aesthetics. I wanted a game mechanic that was easy to read and felt completely built around the theme of the game. I think our dice serve the purpose, make for a very quick determination of rolls, and feels 'right', with their flavourful icons.”

When you make a roll, you roll the Feat die plus a number of Success dice equal to the skill you’re using, add up all the numbers shown and compare it to the Target Number of the action (typically 14).
TORSpecialsymbolsBut what about those special symbols? Well, if you roll a Gandalf Rune, the roll is considered an automatic success (and a cheer is likely to go up around the table!). An Eye of Sauron, on the other hand, is not only considered a 0 on the Feat die, but sometimes means something bad has happened to you too (the enemy might get to make a special attack against you in combat, a hazard might befall you on a journey and so on). If you are a player of The One Ring, you will learn to fear the roll of an Eye of Sauron!

As for the symbols on the Success dice, for every Tengwar rolled, any success is made that much better: roll one and its a great success, roll two and its an extraordinary success, and so on. Note also that the numbers 1-3 are hollowed out. This means that, when your character is Weary (the most common – albeit temporary – detrimental effect, caused by losing too much Endurance in combat or gaining too much Fatigue on a journey), you ignore these dice results when adding up your total.

There are a few more twists too, such as carefully preparing for an action beforehand or cooperating with your companions, but perhaps the most evocative thing a player can do is to spend a point of Hope, allowing them to potentially turn a failure into a success.

Francesco: “Hope might be one of the words that recur more often in The Lord of the Rings, and I combed its lines and pages very carefully when I was designing the game. Tolkien didn't choose his wording lightly, and a careful analysis of the text left me with a number of terms I knew had to go into the game, words like Wisdom, Valour, and of course Hope. And the concept of Hope strikes me also as a good meeting point of Tolkien's own thoughts about the meaning of Christianity and the spiritual attitude of his 'pagan' characters.

In game terms, Hope is a very powerful 'game-changing' mechanic that limits randomness, but is a scarce resource the players need to manage, a fact that teaches them to carefully choose when it is the moment for their hero to shine.”

The core mechanics to the game are that simple, and all of the game’s various other mechanics are based on them. We’ll cover those in far more detail next week!

Already Own The One Ring?

The most immediate change you’ll find when you come to the revised edition is that all the rules concerning the Adventuring phase are now found in one chapter, aptly titled Adventuring Phase. This chapter contains the core rules used for most actions, detailing tasks and tests and the various mechanics associated with them.
TORAdventuring Phase

We’ve clarified loads of things here too, such as whether a character with no Shadow points still becomes miserable when he runs out of Hope (he doesn’t) and exactly what ‘harming a Fellowship focus’ means.

We’ve also introduced something called ‘Preliminary Rolls’, which existed before in different guises in both the combat and journey mechanics, but they’ve now been consolidated into one place and joined by similar rules for use with encounters too.