8Aug/14Off

the-darkening-of-mirkwood-cover300With The Darkening of Mirkwood in US Stores now, and being sighted in some UK and European stores, we thought the time was right to share an extract from this fabulous supplement.

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.

In this free extract we present the first two years of the campaign:

TheLastGoodYearsThumb

Click to download the free PDF

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30Jul/14Off

Hitting the shelves of US gaming stores today – The Fourth Doctor Sourcebook for Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space and The Darkening of Mirkwood for The One Ring Roleplaying Game.

4th doc mirkwood banner

Stores elsewhere in the world should be receiving their copies soon. We’re also pleased to confirm that all UK pre-orders of The Darkening of Mirkwood and The Fourth Doctor Sourcebook have now been dispatched, with pre-orders to the rest of the world well on their way too.

About The Fourth Doctor Sourcebook

The-Fourth-Doctor-Pyramids-of-Mars-Cover-400

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, this Sourcebook explores the Fourth Doctor’s adventures on Earth and beyond. With detailed information on all the allies, enemies, aliens and gadgets that he encounters, as well as examining each of his adventures, the book contains a wealth of material for the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space RPG, and is also a fact-packed resource for fans of the show!

Freed from his exile on Earth, the Doctor returned to his wandering ways, drawn to some of the great battles of the cosmos. Team up with a fellow Time Lord and a robot dog, explore E-Space, search for the Key to Time and return to Gallifrey as its saviour. Uncover the secrets of the Pyramids of Mars, change the destiny of the Daleks and thwart the machinations of the Master’s final incarnation.

But first things first... would you like a jelly baby?

This 256-page book contains:

  • Character sheets for the Fourth Doctor and his companions, including Sarah Jane Smith and both incarnations of Romana.
  • How to run games that feel like they belong in the Fourth Doctor’s era.
  • New character traits and gadgets.
  • A detailed guide to each of the Fourth Doctor’s adventures, including a synopsis of the episode, stats for both monsters and NPCs, advice for running it as an adventure and a selection of plot hooks.
  • An appendix detailing the unbroadcasted episode Shada.

You can download a free sample of the book here, the write-up of the episode Pyramids of Mars.

256 pages, hardcover, full-colour interior.

The Fourth Doctor Sourcebook – also available now in PDF!

About The Darkening of Mirkwood

Darkening of Mirkwood

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.

This 144-page supplement includes:

  • A campaign spanning 30 years worth of game time, including complete adventures and plot hooks in abundance.
  • Stats for the Nazgûl for the first time.
  • New Fellowship phase undertakings.
  • Rules for Holdings, allowing heroes to carve out their own corner of Middle-earth.

144 pages, hardcover, full-colour interior.

The Darkening of Mirkwood – also available in PDF now!

 

29Jul/14Off

C7ENnies2014

Voting for the 2014 ENnie Awards closes tomorrow, so if you've not voted yet you've still got time! We're delighted to have been nominated for three awards – as well as best publisher:

Best Family Game: Hobbit Tales

Best Writing: The Third Doctor Sourcebook, for Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space

Best Free Product: Lost City of the Ancients, for Rocket Age

We’re also over the moon to have received a Judges’ Spotlight Award for the Rocket Age Roleplaying Game: thank you to Stacy Muth for picking us for it!

The ENnies are an annual set of awards voted on by you, the gaming public. Voting is open from now until tomorrow, July 30th, and we’d really appreciate both your vote and your help spreading the word! The results will be announced at GenCon in August.

You can vote here http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/ until tomorrow, July 30th.

And, until the end of voting tomorrow we're pleased to announce a sale knocking 25% off the price of each of our ENnie Award nominees over at our webstore.

Links

About Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space
About Hobbit Tales
About Rocket Age
The ENnie Awards
Judges' Spotlight Winners

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23Jul/14Off

TOR_Rivendell_cover400

Cubicle 7 and Sophisticated Games are pleased to announce that Rivendell, the latest supplement for The One Ring Roleplaying Game is available in PDF now (and in print later this year.)

This setting supplement will take 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.

Rivendell is 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.

This 144-page, full-colour PDF includes:

  • Background for the Last Homely House, the sanctuary of Rivendell itself.
  • Write-ups of the characters that might be encountered in Imladris, from Elrond and Arwen to Glorfindel and the White Council.
  • New Fellowship undertakings, including rules for composing your own songs.
  • A history of Arnor, Angmar and the Dúnedain.
  • A region guide to Eastern Eriador, including the Barrow-downs, the Trollshaws and Angmar.
  • New adversaries to face, including Ettins, Hill-men of Rhudaur and the toughest Troll of them all, the Queen of Castle Hill.
  • A bestiary of different types of undead creatures, from Bog Soldiers and Barrow-wights to the Lord of the Nazgûl himself, the Witch-king of Angmar.
  • Rules for powerful adversaries, allowing you to customise any monster to provide a challenge for even the most heroic of adventurers.
  • A set of optional rules, the Eye of Mordor, to track how much attention the Enemy reserves for the company.
  • Rules for adding Magical Treasure to your campaign, including dozens of ready-made artefacts, some famous, others less so.
  • Two new playable Heroic Cultures: the Rangers of the North and the High Elves of Rivendell.
  • 2 additional PDF maps of Eastern Eriador - the Players' Map and the Loremaster's Map.

    EasternEriadormaps

The PDF version of Rivendell is available right now here.

To find out more about Rivendell, check out our series of previews here.

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23Jul/14Off

C7ENnies2014

Voting for the 2014 ENnies Awards is now open, and we’re delighted to have been nominated for three awards – as well as best publisher:

We’re also over the moon to have received a Judges’ Spotlight Award for the Rocket Age Roleplaying Game: thank you to Stacy Muth for picking us for it!

Today we're casting a little light on one of our nominated games - Hobbit Tales.

Hobbit Tales - Nominated for Best Family Game

In Hobbit Tales players are Hobbits telling tales in front of a mug of beer at their favourite inn in the Shire. Silent woods and remote mountains, Elves, Goblins and Giants populate their stories.

During the game, players take turns as the Narrator and improvise a story using a hand of illustrated cards. The other players try to twist the tale, playing hazards and fearsome monsters. Drinks are served, smoke-rings are blown, and the best narrator is cheered by everyone present.

Hobbit Tales is a game for 2 to 5 Hobbits, authored by the award-winning designers Marco Maggi and Francesco Nepitello, creators of the Tolkien-themed War of the Ring strategy game and The One Ring role-playing game.

The game contains a set of rules, 1 board, 75 Adventure cards, 40 Hazard cards, 5 coasters, a set of cardboard tokens and a twelve-sided The One Ring Feat die.
HobbitTalesPackshot2contents

Includes rules to use Hobbit Tales in conjunction with the The One Ring, Cubicle 7’s role-playing game set in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Hobbit Tales Booklet-1cover300

Click to download the rules booklet pdf

About the ENnies

The ENnies are an annual set of awards voted on by you, the gaming public. Voting is open from now until July 30th, and we’d really appreciate both your vote and your help spreading the word! The results will be announced at GenCon in August.

You can vote here: http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/ until July 30th.

And, for the duration of the ENnies voting, we're pleased to announce a sale knocking 25% off the price of each of our ENnie Award nominees over at our webstore.

Links

About Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space
About Hobbit Tales
About Rocket Age
The ENnie Awards
Judges' Spotlight Winners

22Jul/14Off

TOR_Rivendell_cover400

Cubicle 7 and Sophisticated Games are pleased to announce that pre-orders are now open for Rivendell, the latest supplement for The One Ring Roleplaying Game. It's available in PDF now and in print later this year.

This setting supplement will take 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.

Rivendell is 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.

This hardcover, 144-page, full-colour supplement includes:

  • Background for the Last Homely House, the sanctuary of Rivendell itself.
  • Write-ups of the characters that might be encountered in Imladris, from Elrond and Arwen to Glorfindel and the White Council.
  • New Fellowship undertakings, including rules for composing your own songs.
  • A history of Arnor, Angmar and the Dúnedain.
  • A region guide to Eastern Eriador, including the Barrow-downs, the Trollshaws and Angmar.
  • New adversaries to face, including Ettins, Hill-men of Rhudaur and the toughest Troll of them all, the Queen of Castle Hill.
  • A bestiary of different types of undead creatures, from Bog Soldiers and Barrow-wights to the Lord of the Nazgûl himself, the Witch-king of Angmar.
  • Rules for powerful adversaries, allowing you to customise any monster to provide a challenge for even the most heroic of adventurers.
  • A set of optional rules, the Eye of Mordor, to track how much attention the Enemy reserves for the company.
  • Rules for adding Magical Treasure to your campaign, including dozens of ready-made artefacts, some famous, others less so.
  • Two new playable Heroic Cultures: the Rangers of the North and the High Elves of Rivendell.

All pre-orders of Rivendell come with a complimentary copy of the PDF, due June 2014. Pre-orders via participating retail stores come with a voucher for a PDF from the Bits and Mortar programme.

If you just want the PDF version of Rivendell it is available right now here.

To find out more about Rivendell, check out our series of previews here.

21Jul/14Off

We’ll be starting the pre-order for Rivendell, the latest supplement for The One Ring Roleplaying Game, tomorrow. In the meantime, we’ll be taking a much closer look at the various aspects of the supplement. In this preview we showcase the rules for Magical Treasure.

CB71006TreasureHorde550

We started out by asking the designer of The One Ring, Francesco Nepitello, to explain how magic items fit into Tolkien’s works:

Magical items are among the fundamental elements of the works of Tolkien… just think about the title – and subject – of The Lord of the Rings! So, it was a natural step to find a way to introduce them into the game. But they constitute a tricky subject matter, as prone to abuse in games as they are in fantasy books: you can’t rely on magical items too much, or they quickly become clichéd. That’s why we took our time in developing game mechanics that were appropriate to the gameplay style of The One Ring.”

While The One Ring Roleplaying Game includes rules for treasure, up until now it has been treasure of the decidedly mundane variety. Well, no more, for Rivendell includes a whole chapter on introducing Magical Treasure into your campaigns, from Elven swords and Mithril armour to magic rings…

Magical Treasure in The One Ring takes the form of one of three types: Precious Objects, which are jewels and gems of extraordinary quality (and value); Wondrous Artefacts, which are objects enchanted so as to enhance the use of a particular skill in a magical way; and Famous Weapons and Armour, which are potent artefacts from a bygone age.

Precious Objects are items of such rare craftsmanship or magical beauty that they are worth far more than regular treasure, offering the finder a greatly enhanced Treasure rating. Often they are items of sentimental value to the cultures of Middle-earth too, granting them double the value when used as part of the Raise Standing undertaking.

Wondrous Artefacts are indisputably magical in nature, from cloaks that can hide their wearers from sight to war-horns capable of setting fear into the hearts of enemies and joy in the hearts of friends. Each Wondrous Artefact is possessed by one or more Blessings, each affecting a specific skill. When the bearer uses that skill, he adds his Wisdom to the roll. In addition, the bearer can spend a point of Hope to turn a success into a magical success, allowing the player to narrate the outcome beyond even the limits for a great or extraordinary success.

Finally, Famous Weapons and Armour are magical artefacts with a long and proud lineage, destined to be found by the hero. Much like a Cultural Reward might, a Famous Weapon or piece of armour has a number of qualities; unlike a mundane reward, however, these qualities might be enchanted qualities. There are a score of such qualities described, ranging from Runes of Victory (which score an automatic hit on both an Eye and a Gandalf rune) or Sure Shot (which allows the wielder to ignore any negative modifiers to hit) to Flame of Hope (which increases the Endurance gained from the Rally Comrades action) and Luminescence (which causes the weapon to shine with a pale, cold light when a specific creature approaches).

CB71006 - 06 - 01swordhelmet

But, explains Francesco, the discovery of Magical Treasure should be far from random…

Magical treasure must serve a purpose. Their introduction in a game of The One Ring should never be left entirely in the hands of pure chance. ‘I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring…’ says Gandalf.

To maintain this sense of predestination in The One Ring, we developed a system that tackles the issue, yielding a double-sided result: the mechanics leave the discovery of Magical Treasure partly to chance as far as the timing of the discovery is concerned, while at the same time giving the Loremaster the possibility of controlling almost completely what it is that the companions find. The set of rules is extremely customisable, as it’s been designed to conform to the campaign being played. Do you want your characters to be equipped with Beleriand-forged steel, as they will face the wrath of a Dragon? That’s possible. Do you want to keep your magical items to the level of walking staves blessed with spells of ‘finding and returning’? Your campaign, your choice.”

The way this is translated into the game takes the form of two sets of mechanics: Magical Treasure rolls and the Magical Treasure index. The former determines when an item is found; the latter what is found.

A Magical Treasure roll can be made by a player when their hero discovers a Treasure Hoard (which includes most treasure encountered in caverns, lairs and old ruins). They roll the Feat die, and if either a Gandalf rune or Eye of Sauron is rolled they discover a magical object (of course, on the roll of an Eye, the item may be cursed…). If either was rolled, the player can then choose to roll a number of Success die up to the number of unspent Experience points they have and adds up the number of 6s rolled. The type of treasure discovered depends on how many 6s have been rolled, and this also dictates how many of those Experience points it will cost to acquire the item.

Some Hoards are better than others, of course, and so might allow a player to re-roll the Feat dice once or even twice.

The Magical Treasure index is the Loremaster’s custom-made list of magical items that exist in his campaign, tailored for his specific group of players, taking into account the skills they possess and the weapons they use. This way, when a hero finds a magical weapon in the game, the Loremaster has already a suitable weapon in mind that the hero was not only meant to discover, but that they are proficient in the use of. It is the tool by which the Loremaster can control how much magic he introduces into his game, as well as the means by which magical objects remain unique and precious to each hero.

One of the great joys of the Magical Treasure index is making them in the first place. Although Rivendell contains three complete, sample indexes (including one detailing the magical artefacts found by Thorin’s Company in their quest for Erebor), these are meant to be just sources of inspiration for your own indexes.

Finally, we asked Francesco about the burning question on everyone’s lips… can my players acquire the One Ring for themselves…?

They could, if it didn’t rest in the deep pockets of a certain Hobbit, guarded by Wizards and Rangers! Jokes aside, if your game runs well beyond the boundaries of canon and, for example, Bilbo lost the riddle-game with Gollum, then the Ruling Ring could well be inserted in the Magical Treasure index of your campaign. We go as far as to speculate how you might stat it up according to the rules provided in the chapter…”

TOR_RivendellPackshot400

Rivendell is a 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 tomorrow for more information about the preorder.

Links

Pre-order The One Ring Roleplaying Game here.
Buy The One Ring Roleplaying Game PDF here.
See the rest of the Rivendell preview here.
Find out more about The One Ring Roleplaying Game here.

21Jul/14Off

C7ENnies2014

Voting for the 2014 ENnies Awards is now open, and we’re delighted to have been nominated for three awards – as well as best publisher:

Best Family Game: Hobbit Tales

Best Writing: The Third Doctor Sourcebook, for Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space

Best Free Product: Lost City of the Ancients, for Rocket Age

We’re also over the moon to have received a Judges’ Spotlight Award for the Rocket Age Roleplaying Game: thank you to Stacy Muth for picking us for it!

The ENnies are an annual set of awards voted on by you, the gaming public. Voting is open from now until July 30th, and we’d really appreciate both your vote and your help spreading the word! The results will be announced at GenCon in August.

You can vote here http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/ until July 30th.

And, for the duration of the ENnies voting, we're pleased to announce a sale knocking 25% off the price of each of our ENnie Award nominees over at our webstore.

Links

About Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space
About Hobbit Tales
About Rocket Age
The ENnie Awards
Judges' Spotlight Winners

Tagged as: Comments Off
18Jul/14Off

We’ll be starting the pre-order for Rivendell, the latest supplement for The One Ring Roleplaying Game, in the next week. In the meantime, we’ll be taking a much closer look at the various aspects of the supplement. In this preview we showcase a new optional set of rules: The Eye of Mordor.

CB71006 - 04 - 18 Angmar

The Eye of Mordor are a set of optional rules for the Loremaster to use, reflecting the growing influence of the Shadow upon the lands of Middle-earth. Not only do these rules measure the amount of attention Sauron and his minions are paying to the company, but also the growing hostility of the landscape itself, as The One Ring designer Francesco Nepitello explains:

It is not as simple as Sauron literally watching the heroes. These rules can be considered to represent one of the many manifestations of the ‘subtle magic’ of Middle-earth. In the words of Aragorn: ‘There are many evil and unfriendly things in the world that have little love for those that go on two legs, and yet are not in league with Sauron, but have purposes of their own.’ The Eye of Mordor represent the worsening of the ‘unfriendliness’ of such things, as they are stirred by the growth of the power in the Black Land.”

In game terms, the possibility that a company catches the Eye of the Enemy – whether literally or otherwise – is expressed by two rules: Eye Awareness and the Hunt. Eye Awareness is a numerical value tracked from session to session (using glass beads or tokens), measuring the hostility of the world towards the heroes and the level of attention that the Enemy reserves for them. The higher the score becomes, the higher the likelihood that the company will be revealed and a hunt began.

The starting level for Eye Awareness depends on the composition of the company: a company containing just Hobbits won’t have any Eye Awareness at all, whereas a company containing Rangers or High Elves will be much, much higher. Most companies will be somewhere in between. Heroes with a high Wisdom or Valour, or who carry a famous magical weapon, will increase it further.

The Eye Awareness increases during an Adventuring phase too, most commonly when an Eye is rolled on the Feat die outside of combat. Heroes who gain Shadow or openly use magical power also increase Eye Awareness too (such as Broken Spells, Wood-elf Magic or several of the High Elves’ more powerful virtues). It may decrease too, resetting at the start of an Adventuring phase or being lowered if a company spends a Fellowship phase in Rivendell.

A company remains hidden from the Eye so long as the Eye Awareness does not exceed a target number called the Hunt Threshold, which is determined by the type of region the company are in, whether the company are taking steps to conceal their presence or identities or are being actively searched out by the Enemy’s agents. But, should the Eye Awareness ever reach the Hunt Threshold, the company will be revealed and a Revelation episode occurs…

CB71006 - 07 - 01Eye of Mordor

 

We asked Francesco where the inspiration for Revelation episodes came from:

There are almost too many to mention! From the purpose that seems to guide the searching tentacles of the Watcher in the Water, to the misfortune that plagues the fellowship when Boromir attempts to seize the ring and the others are ambushed by the Uruk-hai at the same time, or the hostility of Caradhras the Cruel…”

Revelation episodes reflect the actions of an increasingly hostile world towards the heroes. Much like a Hazard episode during a journey, the Loremaster decides the exact circumstances Revelation episode based on what the company are up to at the time, but will always suggest the presence of strange forces; a distinctive aura, a baleful glow, unusual behaviour amongst men and beasts, and the faint trace of sorcery.

We’ve included a whole host of sample Revelation episodes, from Lathspell, where the arrival of the company is interpreted as an ill omen, lowering the Tolerance of an encounter, to Do Not Tempt Me! where a hero must make a Wisdom test or suffer from a sudden bout of madness. Perhaps the deadliest is We Come to Kill, where the next enemy faced by the company gain the No Quarter special ability.

Suffice it to say, a Revelation episode is the last thing a company should desire, especially if it should have the severe misfortune to coincide with a Hazard episode or a bout of madness…

Finally, Francesco has this to say on choosing to use the rules in your games:

The rules serves many purposes, from giving a reason to the players to refrain from rolling the dice for the most trivial reasons, to taking away from the Loremaster the responsibility of ‘being mean’ to his players, or ’timing’ the worsening of the risks of adventuring as the Twilight of the Third Age deepens. But the main reason for them is especially to add thrill and excitement to the game – certainly not to make the players’ life impossible!”

TOR_RivendellPackshot400

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 next week.

Links

Pre-order The One Ring Roleplaying Game here.
Buy The One Ring Roleplaying Game PDF here.
See the rest of the Rivendell preview here.
Find out more about The One Ring Roleplaying Game here.

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16Jul/14Off

We’ll be starting the pre-order for Rivendell, the latest supplement for The One Ring Roleplaying Game, in the next couple of weeks. In the intervening weeks, we’ll be taking a much closer look at all aspects of the supplement. In this preview we showcase the two new playable Heroic Cultures: the Rangers of the North and High Elves of Rivendell.

Rivendell Rangersactivity

Ever since we first launched The One Ring, there’s been one question we’ve been asked more than any other: can I play a Ranger? Well, with the upcoming release of Rivendell, players will get their wish, along with the ability to play a High Elf of Rivendell too.

Both these cultures are unique in many ways, for they can be considered more powerful than those presented so far, as Francesco Nepitello, designer of The One Ring, explains:

Rangers and High Elves do not conform to the standards we defined with the core rules, as a hero belonging to either cultures certainly cannot be described as the typical ‘first-time adventurer’. With their definition as ‘unique’, we want to highlight the exception that their inclusion in a company will represent.

We’re quite explicit in the text in this regard, suggesting to Loremasters that they not allow a Ranger or High Elf to join a brand-new company, nor to allow more than one or two such characters in a group. This both preserves the themes and feel presented in The One Ring Roleplaying Game, and stops these characters overshadowing heroes from other Cultures.

Both Heroic Cultures are exceptional in many regards; they possess higher basic attribute levels, as well as a wider spread of Weapon Skills. So too do they receive more points to define their previous experiences, reflecting their greater prowess. On the other hand, it costs considerably more experience points for a Ranger or a High Elf to increase their Valour, Wisdom or Weapon Skills.

We asked Francesco what prompted him to make the new cultures more powerful:

The Rangers are the last members of a bloodline of kings, and the High Elves are members of the Firstborn, among the most powerful beings who ever inhabited Middle-earth. They are amongst the greatest enemies of the Shadow, and are blessed with abilities proportioned to the task. The rules for The One Ring were not made to represent their stature, so we had to adapt them accordingly.”

Both Heroic Cultures have a thematic selection of Virtues and Rewards too, similarly powerful to represent their unique status. As with those found in The One Ring Roleplaying Game, each encapsulates a different aspect of the lore, reinforcing what it is that makes that culture special.

Thus the Rangers’ Virtues and Rewards evoke their ancient bloodline and their long years spent in the Wild. Ways of the Wild, for example, grants a Ranger a free Combat advantage die when fighting in the wilderness, and allows him to fill all vacant travelling roles while on a journey. Royalty Revealed, on the other hand, allows a Ranger to reveal his noble heritage at a dramatic point, allowing him to Intimidate Foe as well as attacking, but at the cost of making all foes Hate him. So too might a Ranger possess the Star of the Dúnedain, granting him not only his veteran status amongst the Dúnedain but also knowledge of the refuges hidden in Arnor, where he might take his companions to find much-needed shelter on an otherwise perilous journey.

Rivendell - Vale of Imladris

The High Elves’ Virtues and Rewards represent their ancient tradition and superlative prowess. A High Elf of Rivendell might wield a Spear of the Last Alliance, a potent weapon that allows the wielder to attack multiple opponents when he rolls a great or extraordinary success, as he might have done against the servants of Sauron in the Second Age. The Might of the Firstborn Reward allows a High Elf to cancel out an enemy’s special ability, whilst Skill of the Eldar adds a Tengwar rune to any roll of a Gandalf, elevating his level of success. Finally, a High Elf might have learned to invoke the name of Elbereth, the Queen of the Stars, if one of their companions is Wounded or Miserable, adding Success dice not only to the High Elf’s next roll but also to every other Elf or Elf-friend in the company too.

But, as Francesco explains, playing a Ranger or a High Elf might not be for everyone:

Who said ‘with great power comes great responsibility’? Rangers and High Elves are no exception. The Rangers are bound by duty and the Elves suffer badly to see Arda marred, and both limitations have definite gameplay mechanics to enforce them... Not every player will want to play with such strictures, and will thus choose to play a different character type.”

Certainly both Heroic Cultures have a number of limitations, going some way to off-set their potency. The Rangers, for example, are obligated to their ancient bloodline and as a result do not easily share their burden with others; therefore Rangers cannot use the Fellowship pool to restore Hope. Instead they must rely on other means of restoring Hope, such as the new There and Back Again undertaking or the Ranger-specific undertaking, Honouring the Fallen.

High Elves, on the other hand, cannot easily forget the taint of the Shadow upon the world and cannot heal corruption as another character might. Instead they reduce the effects of corruption by distancing themselves from the world, reducing their Shadow but at the cost of ‘marking’ a skill. Whenever they try to use that skill and they are not in a sanctuary, a roll of an Eye of Sauron results in them being overcome by sadness and failing the task automatically.

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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 next week.

Links

Pre-order The One Ring Roleplaying Game here.
Buy The One Ring Roleplaying Game PDF here.
See the rest of the Rivendell preview here.
Find out more about The One Ring Roleplaying Game here.