We’re gearing up for the release of a new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game, and until that day we’re publishing a series of articles that each take a look at a different aspect of the game. Today’s article is all about what’s inside the covers of the roleplaying game itself.
The One Ring Roleplaying Game is your gateway into the world of J.R.R. Tolkien, the means by which you and your friends can tell your own stories set in Middle-earth. For some, the thought of playing in such a rich and detailed setting as Middle-earth might seem off-putting, but The One Ring Roleplaying Game helps readers see this not as an obstacle but as an asset to the game, offering loads of advice on how best to evoke the feeling of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings on the tabletop.
The game’s designer, Francesco Nepitello, explains his thinking on starting a Middle-earth game: "Middle-earth is possibly the most detailed fantastic world ever invented. It is really hard for me to see this as a limitation! But if you happen to consider the adventures of Bilbo and Frodo as an obstacle to your imagination, or feel overwhelmed by the amount of 'Tolkien lore' available out there, you could just choose one very defined area away from the most famous places, and start with a 'small beginning' - a series of adventures of limited scope and ambition. This is what we tried to do with The One Ring, after all - just create a company that met for the first time in Lake-town, for example, a place well-known from The Hobbit, but ready to be filled with your own invented events and even historical details. No one is going to tell you that you're wrong if you create an adventure dealing with the lost testament of Girion, Lord of Dale, or the foiling of an Easterling plan to enter the Lonely Mountain and steal the Arkenstone..."
The hardback volume contains all the rules, background and advice you need to play – just grab a set of dice and sit down with your friends to start having your own adventures. For players, it contains rules for making up your own heroes (as well as six ready-made characters if you just want to pick one of those and start right away), all the rules of play and rules for advancing your character as they gain experience.
For Loremasters (who are responsible for starting off the stories and running the game) it contains all manner of advice for running a game set in Middle-earth, including invaluable advice on how to handle the lore and canon of the setting. There’s also rules for the agents of the Shadow, including a bestiary of monsters. The setting of Wilderland is also detailed, as is a timeline of events up to the start of the campaign. There’s also a ready-made adventure, and an overview of the Darkening of Mirkwood campaign, so you can get started right away if you like.
Already Own The One Ring?
One of the biggest changes we’ve made to the new edition is its physical format – where once there was a slipcase containing two paperback guides, now there is a single, hardback volume. Not only is this format far more durable to wear and tear, but it’s allowed us to put all the various rules in one place.
We’ve taken the opportunity of a revised edition to thoroughly re-edit the text, incorporating our own feedback as well as the feedback from dozens of playtesters and countless gaming sessions over the past 3 years. Francesco Nepitello, the game’s designer, and Andrew Kenrick, Cubicle 7’s managing editor, pored over every line, clarifying and changing text where necessary, and reformatting it into a seamless whole.
The One Ring designer Francesco Nepitello, on what we changed and why: “When we started to work on the revision, we thought that the major change would involve the presentation. Two guides had to be merged into one, and the main criticism the game received since its publication concerned its usability as a rules manual. So, this responsibility fell squarely on the shoulders of Andrew Kenrick, who did a marvelous job of cutting, pasting and polishing.
Then, I was asked if I wanted to take this chance to fix anything, and I embarked on the task of bringing into focus the things that the fans already flagged as 'broken' or unwieldy in the past. As soon as I got back into the mood of considering the basic mechanics of the game, I could not help myself, and with the help of Andrew, Marco Maggi and Amado Angulo I tried to modify everything that we felt was perfectible always keeping in mind that we had a limited time and that this was not going to be a second edition. So, you might see it as a supplementary round of development of the basic mechanics, made after a good number of years of 'field testing'. “
The One Ring Roleplaying Game now comprises nine parts, each logically arranged for ease of use in play. By far the biggest change in this regard is Part Four: The Adventuring Phase. This is where all the core mechanics to the game are found, as well as the various sub-sets of mechanics used in play: rules for combat, journeys and encounters.
As well as reformatting the text, countless tables and charts have been added into the game too, many of them taken from the Loremaster’s Screen. These allow readers to easily find information when they’re in a hurry, such as when a question crops up around the gaming table. By taking this information from the Loremaster’s Screen and putting it in the game itself, it allows every player to have the necessary rules within easy reach, not just the Loremaster.
Together with the index, which is more thorough and exhaustive than ever before, The One Ring Roleplaying Game is easy to navigate and simple to use at the gaming table.
We've noticed many of the same questions about this new edition cropping up time and time again, so we've put together this handy FAQ:
I already have The One Ring. Do I have to buy it again?
Not at all, although we’re confident that you’ll want to. We’ll make a free PDF available, which will list all of the changes, clarifications and errata.
What’s changed in the revised edition?
We’ve made lots of changes to the rules and layout, both big and small. Keep an eye on the website over the coming weeks and we’ll be discussing just some of the changes. We’ll be adding to this FAQ as we discuss the updates and features of the new edition.
Is it just the Adventurer’s Guide and Loremaster’s Guide bound together?
No, we’ve taken this opportunity to thoroughly edit the text, to reformat and recompile it into a single, coherent volume.
I’m new to The One Ring. Where should I start?
Check out the various posts on the C7 website where we discuss the various aspects of the game. Then, pick up the new edition of The One Ring Roleplaying Game when it’s released in a few short weeks. It’s the best place to get started, as it contains all the rules and background you need to play.
Do I need special dice to play?
Yes and no. The One Ring Roleplaying Game uses a set of special dice to play, which you can buy from all good games stores or direct from the Cubicle 7 webstore here. You can also use a d12 and a handful of d6s just as readily, however.
Are my supplements all still compatible?
There are a number of fantastic supplements available already for The One Ring and they’re still completely compatible with the new edition.
What’s coming next?
We have loads more supplements planned for The One Ring, starting with Rivendell later in the summer. Check out this page to see our latest release schedule.