The One Ring

The One Ring
Walking Something Back

Okay, so I went through and re-read The One Ring’s core rulebook from start to finish. This thing about everything fitting inside a journey, combat or encounter has been sitting weird with me so I wanted to confirm that.

I cannot confirm that. I was wrong. But let’s talk about it a minute.

I think my observation on this — that literally everything in The One Ring is constrained to a journey, an encounter, or a combat — came from reading the Preliminary Rolls box (p151 in revised). And they’re called the “three main heroic ventures” there. I think main is what both caught my eye and sent me down the wrong path. 

That’s close reading, I know! But I’m also, you know, a close reader of these things. I hate assuming anything at all about how a game works these days, so I do my level best to come into every game without any assumptions.

It seems obvious now that there’s a whole range of stuff you do — tasks and tests — that fall outside those three “main ventures.” All those scenes where you play TOR “like an RPG.” 

That said, I do think the heavy emphasis on the three “main ventures” is still important to pay attention to! But they shouldn’t be treated as exclusive. I mean, otherwise, many of those skills will never see use. 

Things this doesn’t change:

* I still think Journeys are exactly as mechanical and constrained as written: that is, when you’re just grinding out the miles, you dress up Hazards with a little narrative but the Hazards just exist to wear down Endurance/Fatigue and Hope/Shadow. And, of course, there will be just plain old scenes of whatever happening along the way (that aren’t Hazards).

So Ara Kooser, my thinking on this (since you’re talking about pulling your Journeys back to RAW) is that this mandates more prep, you know? Like, obviously stuff can be programmed to happen and that’s “just roleplaying,” and between those scenes you’re also maybe generating Hazards. But in my mind, at least, there’s a bright line between these scenes and procedurally generated Hazards. What do you think? Should Hazards in fact lead to full-blown scenes? Seems like a trivial hack/drift that maybe only impacts the Endurance and Hope economies.

* I still think Encounters are as weird as I originally described, especially if you’re just grinding out Encounters like you would a Journey. Best practice feels like you need context for it to make sense, and it’s probably a weird fictional/procedural stretch to keep rolling until Tolerance is met just for the purpose of tallying up successes. So I’m not actually sure what to do with that. Since we set intent before rolling, that seems to logically contradict the “add up successes” thing (other than a means of further dressing up the intent, just like rolling great/extraordinary successes do under normal circumstances).

Also I’m not sure if non-interactive rolls happening during an encounter should be counted against the encounter’s Tolerance. How literal are we to be about Tolerance? Is it representative of the NPC’s actual Tolerance or is it more abstract than that? Kind of like uh…how you tally up successes in InSpectres before you can move on.

0 thoughts on “The One Ring”

  1. Encounters are presented as if they’re of the same rigorous procedural material that make up journeys and combat, but they’re a pretty different animal. I’m struggling with how to approach encounters a little bit (although seeing what Ara does gave me much more direction than if I went in cold).

  2. For my part, I refuse to to assume anything about the way a game works. If a game isn’t clear about its procedures my inclination is to give up on it. I’m only willing to house rule grumpily when other people insist.

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