We’ll be starting the pre-order for Rivendell, the latest supplement for The One Ring Roleplaying Game, in a few weeks. In the intervening weeks, we’ll be taking a much closer look at all aspects of the supplement, starting off with a look at its namesake: the sanctuary of Rivendell itself.
Designer of The One Ring, Francesco Nepitello, starts off by explaining the significance of Rivendell:
“Rivendell is the Camelot of Middle-earth, bundled together with Avalon and Shangri-la. It plays a role in the narration of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings that can be perfectly replicated in every game of The One Ring. It is a refuge to seek in times of trouble, a place of lore, a last outpost before entering the wilds, it’s impossible to summarise the ways it can be engineered into a campaign.”
In both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Rivendell provides the heroes with a sanctuary from the Wild and a haven from where they can plan the next stage of their journey. It is there that Master Elrond heals Frodo, where counsel is sought about what to do with the Ring and where Narsil is reforged.
And so too, will the heroes of your games find similar solace and aid there, as Rivendell introduces a host of new rules for this premier sanctuary. Simply staying at the Last Homely House allows a character to leave his fear and anxiety behind, temporarily removing the burden of the Shadow from him, and allowing him to recover far more swiftly.
There are new Fellowship undertakings too that can only be accomplished in Rivendell; perhaps a hero wants to consult a Lore-master to find out more about the magical blade he found on his last adventure, maybe he desires to relax in the Hall of Fire and compose a song to celebrate his exploits, or it might be that he needs to seek out forgotten lore within Elrond’s libraries.
A company can also rub shoulders with some of the most powerful heroes of Middle-earth: Elrond, Glorfindel and Erestor can all be found within Imladris, as, sometimes, can the fabled White Council. Your characters can seek aid from them also, perhaps even gaining them as a patron, if your heart is true and your cause just.
We asked Francesco what his favourite part of Rivendell was:
“My favourite part of Rivendell might be the description of the valley of Imladris itself, as we worked a lot to make it worth reading even for the most erudite of the Tolkien scholars out there. There’s a lot of playable material in that description, something that will enable players and Loremasters to spend sessions after sessions in the Last Homely House East of the Sea!
As well as the evocative description of Rivendell, Jon Hodgson has drawn a series of beautiful maps, showing not only the interior of the Last Homely House, but also the caverns beneath it and the Valley of Imladris too.
But, before they get to wander the valley, a company’s first challenge will be how to find their way there, for one cannot simply travel there in the Fellowship phase. Imladris is a secret valley, hidden by the power of Elrond and his Elven Ring, Vilya. Unless a company is invited to enter, their guide must first test to find the path; Elves or suitably wise guides may find the way easily enough, but others will find it difficult indeed – a challenge worthy of an adventure, perhaps?
Rivendell is 144-page, hardcover, full-colour supplement written by Francesco Nepitello, with additional contributions from Amado Angulo, Shane Ivey, Andrew Kenrick, Marco Maggi, Thomas Morwinsky and James M. Spahn. It is lavishly illustrated by Jon Hodgson, Jan Pospíšil and Jeremy McHugh, with fantastic maps of Eastern Eriador created by Paul Bourne. Keep an eye on the website for more information and previews over the coming weeks.