The One Ring Extended Index

Last week Cubicle 7 announced the release of an extended index for The One Ring RPG. This is not just any index though, this is a 19 page index that was created by a team of volunteers.

One of the complaints frequently levied against The One Ring was that while an index was included it was not entirely useful during game play. This prompted Cubicle 7 to form this volunteer team to create this extended index for The One Ring RPG.

The extended index has been posted in full color version and a printer friendly version and placed on The One Ring downloads page.

Even after a brief look at the extended index it is readily apparent how thorough this index is. The index contains extensive cross-referencing to ease finding the information you seek. It clearly denotes which book the information you seek is in, the Adventurer’s Book or the Loremaster’s Book and it highlights the pages with the most material by underlining the page number.

It is wonderful to see such an index released to such quality post-production. Cubicle 7 and the community support that went into this via volunteers deserve to be applauded for this effort.

RPG publishers should take note of this. Gamers value their indexes! Wizards of the Coast used to take flak for leaving out indexes several years ago from some of their source books. This should have been the indicator smaller publishers needed to realize indexes are needed. Not only are they needed, but they also need to be good indexes that are actually useful.

There are many RPG books that are released with inadequate or even without any index! (DCC RPG, I am looking at you!) While creating a good, useful index can be time consuming, please do not shortcut this area in your book.

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Review: The One Ring

Publisher:   Cubicle 7
Audience:  GM/Players
Price:  Print+PDF – $59.99
Pages:  Slip Cased Set
Tankard Rating:  4.5/5


The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild

The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild is a new roleplaying game published by Cubicle 7 Entertainment and Sophisticated Games and written by Francesco Nepitello. I have made several other posts about The One Ring here at the Iron Tavern. I have written an Initial Look at The One Ring, a handy list of resources for The One Ring and The One Ring Unboxing. With this post I will be providing a comprehensive review of this new game that is based in Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

The One Ring (TOR) comes in a slip covered case and contains the following items:

  • 192 page Adventurer’s Book
  • 144 page Loremaster’s Book
  • Loremaster’s Map
  • Adventurer’s Map
  • Six 6-sided dice and One 12 sided die

The One Ring: Adventures over the Edge of the Wild is the first of three planned core releases for the game with other supplements to become available over time. This portion starts in the year 2946 of the Third Age in Middle-earth. This places it about five years after the Battle of the Five Armies which was at the end of The Hobbit. In addition the areas described all focus on the Wilderlands region which includes Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, the Lonely Mountain and the town of Esgaroth on Long Lake. The future releases will expand the geographical area and cultures available to be played.

Adventurer’s Book

The Adventurer’s Book is geared for the player of The One Ring RPG and provides an intro that does not assume future roleplaying experience, including a short example of play. Next up is the section on character generation where one can choose from one of six cultures – Barding, Beornings, Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain, Elves of Mirkwood, Hobbits of the Shire, or Woodmen of Wilderlands. This section provides information on all the customizations a player can make for their character.

Artist: Jon Hodgson

The following section goes into the mechanics with a more detailed look at the attributes, skills, traits and introduces the endurance and hope mechanics of the system. This section also contains more information on the gear you can select and how encumbrance functions in TOR.


Continuing on in the Adventurer’s Book we reach the Character Development section. Here we learn about valor and wisdom, virtues, rewards and finishes with life and death in the game, states of health and how one gets better if they are injured.

The fifth section provides additional information on action resolution, how tasks are resolved, the dice mechanics and the importance of the journey. Traveling through various areas require a number of checks which can lead to a hazard as you travel. Combat is also addressed in this section of the Adventurer’s Book as well.

The final section of the book talks of the Fellowship Phase which is the opportunity the characters have to recover from their journeys and adventures through the Wilderlands. It covers how the heroes can develop their character further during these phases.

The Adventurer’s Book includes a pre-generated character for each culture and also a blank character sheet for creating your own characters. The book does include an Index.

Loremaster’s Book

Within the Loremaster’s Book we find a section that explains what the Loremaster’s role is in playing the game before moving into the next section on the Game Mechanics.

Artist: Jon Hodgson

The Game Mechanics section takes a much closer look at the structure of running a game including the Adventuring Phase and Fellowship Phase. Dice rolling mechanics are covered, resolving actions, how to run Loremaster characters within the game. How characters advance and how to award them is included as well as more details on the Journey aspect of the adventure and how to plot the character’s journey to determine how many hazard checks they will need to make. Combat finishes off this section with a more detailed look at it from the Loremaster’s perspective.


The third section is most akin to the bestiary section. The ever present Shadow of Middle-earth is covered and the influence of the Shadow leading to corruption. Then the primary threats in the Wilderland region of the Middle-earth are covered which include orcs, trolls, spiders and a few more creatures.

The following section gives the reader more information on creating a campaign within the world of Middle-earth. It tells about the region, the timeline and some of the world events in that region to help provide the Loremaster with enough background information to start their own campaign.

The final section of this book is an adventure called The Marsh Bell to help a Loremaster have something to work with for their first adventure using this rule-set.

Accessories

There are two fold-out maps that come in the slipcover, one for the Loremaster which has hexes on it and keyed to indicate difficulty of passage and whether the land is affected by the Shadow or not. This is to allow for the calculation of journeys the fellowship may embark on.  The Adventurer’s map shows the same geographical area, but without the hexes and difficulty of terrain keyed on it.

The game also comes with its own dice which have some notations specific to TOR mechanics. There are six 6 sided dice with the numbers 1-3 marked in outline and a tengwar rune on the number 6. The d12 has the number 12 replaced with the Gandalf Rune and the 11 replaced with the Sauron eye.

Mechanics Summary

Characters have three main attributes – Body, Heart and Wits. They also have a collection of skills and traits. Instead of hit points the characters have endurance scores which have points removed when they are hit during combat. If you fall below a fatigue score then the character becomes weary which has an effect on the dice rolled during combat. A character also has hope points that come from a limited pool that are primarily spent to allow an attribute score to be added as a bonus to a skill or combat check. 

 A character also tracks their Shadow rating. One accumulates shadow points in several different ways, once the number of hope points falls to less than or equal to their shadow score they become miserable. If a character who is miserable has a Sauron eye show up on the d12 they suffer from madness and temporarily lose control of their character.

Skill resolution is handled by rolling a number of d6 dice, plus the d12 feat die. You roll a number of d6 dice equal to the number of ranks you have in the skill. For example, if you have two ranks in Athletics and need to make a skill check you would roll 2d6 + d12 to try to beat a target number (TN). An average TN is a fourteen. There are varying degrees of success indicated by rolling a 6 (with the Tengwar rune) on the 6 sided dice. One 6 is a great success and two 6’s is an extraordinary success. Rolling a Gandalf rune is an auto success and rolling a Sauron eye most often means the result on the d12 counts as a zero.

Combat resolution works very similar to skill resolution. A character has a number of ranks in their weapon of choice and that indicates the number of 6 sided dice they roll. The TN they roll against is determine by their stance in combat. Which can range from an aggressive stance to defensive to ranged combat. If the roll also exceeds the edge rating of the weapon then the opposing side needs to roll a protection check to avoid being wounded. The armor one wears helps determine how many d6’s are rolled for the protection check.

The Good and the Bad

The One Ring is a very solid offering. The artwork in the books is outstanding and goes far in putting the reader in a Middle-earth mindset. The art really sets the imagination running as you make your way through the books.

Artist: Jon Hodgson

The mechanics also do a very good job of emulating feel of Middle-earth adventuring as well. From the emphasis on the journey itself and not just the destination much like a fair amount of Tolkein’s work. The addition of the Hope and Shadow mechanics also serve to further reinforce that there is this constant Shadow in the world that seeks to drain your strength or corrupt your being. These feelings can be difficult to emulate through rules, but I think The One Ring has done a great job at getting this feeling from the game.


I have play tested the combat several times against varying party sizes and numbers and types of monsters. Once you get used to the combat round it flows very quickly. Since you fight by stance there is less reliance on precise tactical movement allowing you to narrate freely and also greatly reduces the need of a battle mat for play. Battles can range from trying to wear down someone’s endurance to rapid turns due to wounds being scored against your opponent. In one test battle against a troll the heroes barely pulled it off, running it again later and the troll went down quickly.

The largest complaint I have is in regards to the book layout. I find myself frequently hunting for some rule information and the information is often not near the section you would expect it to be. This sometimes gives it a disjointed feel – the rules are all there, they just aren’t always logically grouped together. This is a relatively small complaint and not a game breaker by any means.

The One Ring is a great release. If you have an affinity for Middle-earth gaming with a relatively rules-light rule set and enjoy excellent artwork it is well worth picking this product up. It is sure to provide enjoyment to long time Middle-earth fans or even those new to Middle-earth gaming. 

Tankard Rating

4.5 tankards out of 5 tankards.The One Ring at The Iron Tavern

The One Ring Unboxing

My physical copy of The One Ring from Cubicle 7 arrived on Monday much to my excitement. While I still have a review in the works after a little more playtime with the system, I wanted to post an unboxing of The One Ring for those on the fence about picking up the system or curious about what it looked like.

It was delivered very well protected in an oversized cardboard sleeve with bubble wrap inside. That is a good thing as I knew it had been delivered on Monday by the sound of Ron, my mailman, throwing the package onto the porch from a good six feet away. Ron hates us.

Most folks know by now that The One Ring comes in a slip covered case. Now just what does this slip covered case contain?

  • 192 page Adventurer’s Book
  • 144 page Loremaster’s Book
  • Loremaster’s Map
  • Adventurer’s Map
  • Six 6-sided dice and One 12 sided dice

Initial impressions of The One Ring are great. The artwork in the books just has that Middle-earth feel to them. The books themselves seem of good quality and it is nice to finally have the dice that have the runes on them as they should for use with The One Ring.

My full-length review will be coming in the next few weeks as I mentioned after some more actual play with the system. So with that in mind, let’s move straight into the unboxing photos. I hope you enjoy!

The One Ring Resources

The One Ring was released at Gen Con Indy and many people that were there have their slipcover set, others have received their early bird pre-orders and the rest of us wait with PDFs for our slip-covered sets to arrive. During this time many fans have been busy putting out some excellent fan-created materials for the game. In addition there have been some other gems out there that I felt needed to be consolidated into one place for the moment.

Let’s take a look at some of these gems that are out there!

Cubicle 7 The Video Files

First up is Cubicle 7’s own video series about The One Ring. Likely if you have done any searching for more information about The One Ring you have come across these. But I felt this post would not be complete without some reference to them. These videos include interviews with game designer Francesco Nepitello and art director Jon Hodgson. An excellent series – either for those considering picking up The One Ring or for those waiting for their books!

Jon Hodgson’s Deviant Art Gallery

As mentioned in an earlier post I was very impressed by the artwork in The One Ring books and that was one of the things that drew me into looking at the game closer. Jon Hodgson has been very cool with posting various wallpapers and such to the Cubicle 7 forums. In addition he has a Deviant Art gallery that is well worth checking out if you are looking for inspiration for your Middle-earth game.

Azrapse’s Web Character Builder for The One Ring

One of the more impressive fan created tools for The One Ring is the Web Character Builder written by Azrapse from the Cubicle 7 forums. In a very short period of time he has developed an excellent online character builder TOR characters. The character builder has import and export options, a print option, the ability to export to BBCode for PbP campaigns, a dice roller and he’s recently added an Online Character Server for storing your characters online. In addition he has thus far been very quick at handling feature requests and squashing any bugs. An excellent tool and well worth a look!

Voidstate’s The One Ring Dice Roller

If you are interested in a standalone dice roller for The One Ring, voidstate recently posted just such a thing. It stands to be a great tool if you need to make a quick roll for something. You can choose the type of roll, the number of skill dice, whether you are weary, how to handle the feat dice, whether to spend a Hope point and set the TN if you know it. This is a relatively new creation, but so far voidstate has been updating it to correct for any errors the community has found. Another great tool!

The Rune Generator

This next tool is not specific to The One Ring but one I have already found useful – a rune generator! The rune generator is quite useful for creating handouts and such and can take the text you input and output runes in either Old English runes from The Hobbit or Cirth, Moria Dwarf runes from Lord of the Rings or Elvish Tengwar.

The One Ring Actual Play Post

And the final item I mention is less a resource and more an example of play that might help some people. John Marron over on rpg.net has started an actual play thread of his The One Ring game and includes some of the mechanics behind the action. I found it an interesting read. Be warned though he is running the sample adventure in the game, so there will be spoilers abound. If you might play the adventure it might be best to avoid this last thread to prevent spoiling any fun for you.

The resources highlighted above are just some of the ones that have caught my eye over the past month. Keep an eye on The One Ring Forums at Cubicle 7 and you can find some other fan created resources that might help you with your game as well. Enjoy!

The One Ring at The Iron Tavern

A Look at The One Ring RPG

Like many my initial delve into fantasy worlds began with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Tolkien crafted the wonderful world of Middle-earth and that has allowed many an opportunity to escape into a far away world.

Along the way there have been several role playing systems that have tried to emulate the feel of Middle-earth. Some of the notables include Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE) Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP) which came out around 1984. In 2002 Decipher released The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game. And most recently Cubicle 7 released The One Ring – Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild at Gen Con 2011.

The One Ring (TOR) caught some buzz on twitter over the past few weeks and there have been many threads over at rpg.net on the game and a couple surfacing at EN World. Catching wind of some of this from these sources, I became curious and checked the system out.

Before I venture too far into this post, let me state up front this is not an in-depth review. I fully intend to post a more thorough review, but I need to get more experience with how the combat system actually plays out. Consider this post more of a cursory overview of The One Ring.

The One Ring was written by Francesco Nepitello and artwork was done by John Howe, Jon Hodgson and Tomasz Jedruszek and as noted earlier, put out by Cubicle 7 Entertainment. TOR was released as a box set that includes an Adventurer’s Book and Loremaster’s Book along with maps for each and a set of dice to be used with the game.

One of the very first things that drew my attention was the artwork in the book. The feel and style of it really has a Middle-earth feel to it. Yes, that is difficult to describe, but the art within the books seems to have a soft, earthy tone to them in many cases. The characters depicted in the art also have this feel to them, from the dwarves to the elves to the Beornings.

The artwork drew me in with its Middle-earth feel, but how about the game itself? How does it stack up with the feel of Middle-earth? From my initial read it appears to emulate this feel quite well!

The game includes an emphasis on fellowship and includes a mechanic for “fellowship focus”. Basically a character chooses another member of the fellowship as their focus and certain mechanical rewards occur if this person is not wounded or allows them to more easily recover Hope points in certain situations. Hope represents the perseverance of a character. There is a limited amount of hope, but it can be used as a bonus to boost your chance of success at something like a skill check.

On the flip side, there is the ever present threat of The Shadow, a force of corruption. Think of how the One Ring drove people to madness. This element is represented in TOR via shadow points, a method of tracking ones potential move to madness, at times resulting in temporary loss of control for your character. It certainly seems an interesting mechanic.

The One Ring will be a series of releases and expand in the future. For now this release focuses on starting in the year 2946 of the Third Age about five years after the Battle of Five Armies. It also focuses on the Wilderlands region which includes areas such as the Misty Mountains, Mirkwood, the Lonely Mountain and the town of Esgaroth on Long Lake. Future releases will advance the timeline further and increase the geographical area.

Playable characters can choose from one of several cultures. In this initial release you can choose from the Bardings, Beornings, Dwarves of the Lonely Mountain, Elves of Mirkwood, Hobbits of the Shire and Woodemn of Wilderland. These heroic cultures will be expanded as the geography covered by the game expands.

The game is not based on d20 which in some ways is nice for someone like me who plays a lot of d20 based games. Task/Skill resolution is determined through success dice (d6) and a feat die (d12). You roll a number of success dice equal to your skill level and the feat die. Sixes on your success dice improve your success and the feat die is a bit of a wildcard with a Sauron rune and Gandalf rune that also affect your success.

There is much more to the game, but this is simply an initial look at the game. In my full review I will get into more of the mechanics and such and how they fit into the feel of Middle-earth in this game, including a closer look at combat resolution.

At this point I am quite impressed by The One Ring. It really seems to hit the right chords in getting the feel of Middle-earth just right – at least for me. If you haven’t taken a look at the game yet and you hold a fondness for Middle-earth take a look. And keep checking back here for a more The One Ring coverage.

The One Ring at The Iron Tavern