Rules and Mechanics
The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild is abroad! This section gives some insight into the meat of the game – the rules, game mechanics and the components of a character.
The aim of The One Ring is to provide an authentic Tolkien gaming experience. We want the game to give you the flavour and feel of Middle-earth, and this underpins the approach to every aspect. From the importance of courage and heroism to the bonds of friendship that inspire great deeds, we have tried to channel the essence of the setting into the way the game works.
At the core of the game is the dice mechanic. This has been designed to be relatively simple while still giving a range of information from a single roll. The game uses a twelve-sided die and a number of six-sided dice.
The twelve-sided Feat die represents your natural efforts to succeed – the ‘unskilled’ factor in many other roleplaying games. To this, you add a number of six-sided Success dice equal to your character’s skill level. You roll to equal or exceed a difficulty target number, which is higher for difficult tasks and lower for easier tasks. Each six you roll on a Success die makes for a better quality of success.
The Feat die features numbers one to ten, a Gandalf rune and an Eye of Sauron. The Gandalf rune signifies an automatic success. The Eye of Sauron usually counts as zero, but sometimes triggers a special event or result.
Attributes and Skills
Characters have three Attributes: Body, Heart and Wits. This is based on Gandalf’s observations on the essential qualities of a hero (from The Lord of the Rings). The 18 skills are divided into three sets of six, with each group falling under one of the Attributes. The skills are also grouped into six sets of three related skills (for example, Awe, Inspire and Pursuade make up the Personality skill group).
This represents the character’s spiritual vigour, optimism and will to continue. Amongst other things, Hope can be used to get a bonus to a dice roll (it lets you add your relevant Attribute rating to the roll), but you need to be careful not to let your Hope score fall too low, or you risk succumbing to the Shadow.
The taint of the Shadow – characters gain Shadow points through experiencing distressing events, travelling in blighted places and committing misdeeds. Gaining too much corruption can ultimately lead to the character being lost to the Shadow.
A character’s Endurance represents their physical reserves. You can lose Endurance through arduous journeys and in combat. If your endurance drops to under your fatigue (determined by the amount of gear you carry) you are Weary, which affects your performance – you stop counting Success die scores of one, two and three.
Valour and Wisdom
Valour describes the character’s courage and status as a doer of great deeds. Wisdom reflects their understanding, judgement and awareness. In addition to their mechanical uses in the game, Valour and Wisdom indicate the character’s renown, and what they are renowned for. As characters gain a level in Valour, they get a Reward – items of superior war gear gifted in recognition of their standing. Each level of Wisdom gained gives them a Virtue – unique abilities and special talents, some of a magical nature.
Traits are used to personalise characters, building a picture of their specialities, strengths and weaknesses, for example: Elven-lore, Fierce, Wary.
Companies of Heroes have a pool of Fellowship points they can use to replenish their Hope scores. Characters can also have a Fellowship focus – a particularly strong bond with another character that can be a source of Hope and inspiration.
Journeys are an important part of Tolkien’s tales, and so too of The One Ring. The two maps provided with the game are used – the Adventurer’s map is used by the players to plan their journey, and the Loremaster’s map is used to determine its difficulty, length and duration. Characters risk weariness as a result of journeys. Each character plays a role, either as a Guide, Scout, Huntsman or Look-out. Each must succeed in their role or risk leading the company into a hazardous situation.
The One Ring features an elegant and innovative combat system, but we’ll have to come back to that in a future update, or we’ll run out of space here. Watch this space!
Middle-earth features a wide range of cultures, all of which have different relationships with each other. In The One Ring, important social interactions are underpinned by the Encounter rules. These provide a structure that underlies the roleplaying interaction, that lets the characters influence events as well as the players.
Between adventures, characters rest and recuperate, regaining their strength and reflecting on what has happened to them. During a Fellowship phase, characters can stick together or return to their homelands. There are a number of actions that can be taken during a Fellowship phase, for example spending Experience and Advancement points to improve abilities, healing corruption and raising their standing in society. Finally, the Loremaster brings everyone up to date on new s of events happening in the wider world – events the characters can intervene in if they are nearby and have the social standing to be taken seriously.