The One Ring: Best Practices and Pregens

I’m looking through all the premade adventure material that’s available (I’m all-in at this point so yeah, I’ve got Tales, Ruins, and Darkening). And I’m looking at Callings and, to a lesser degree, the Company formation rules. I’m wondering how to square those things! Hey treasure hunter, you’re needed to collect these lost dwarves. 

It’s the oldest problem in RPGs. Other than all the other problems.

Do you folks use the adventures at all? Has anyone actually attempted Darkening of Mirkwood? The same impulses that pushed me into The Great Pendragon Campaign are drawing me toward Darkening but lordy that’s a big bite to take.

Also: any opinions about using Hobbit Tales for Hazards generation? I think it’s mentioned as a meta-tool for other procedurally generated content in the game but I can’t remember where else I saw it. 

0 thoughts on “The One Ring: Best Practices and Pregens”

  1. I’d say 90% of my interest is that my pal Gareth Hanrahan wrote it, and he’s really good at this kind of thing. Even if he’s an eight foot tall Celtic monster.

  2. I’d recommend just playing thru Tales from Wilderland, which is a complete campaign arc in 7 adventures. There’s even a couple of adventures which aren’t that great and you might even skip…  Keeps it short and entertaining.

     I agree with the temptation to go Full Pendragon on it… I even found a document online on how to link Tales, Words of the Wise, Darkening of Mirkwood and then add Ruins of the North… for a Mega-super-duper long saga… Yeah, my ADHD won’t let me get even a third of the way thru that, but one can dream… 😛

  3. At the moment I’m running a game based on Tales from Wilderland and Darkening, with my own take on it. I mean almost literally at the moment; I want to run some stuff this evening.

    It says in Darkening that the key is to have player characters people who care about the cultures in Mirkwood. I’d actually go further; the key is to have players who go out to do stuff for the Woodsmen. Things like Treasure Hunter or Slayer are more like an approach to what they do, rather than the types of adventures they go on. That’s working for me quite nicely and things are going rather sandbox (and there’s such a number of scenarios and seeds where I can pull out bits from different sources).

    I’ll probably reach a conclusion of the game with a finale similar to Tales from Wilderland, rather than getting all the way to the end of Darkening.

    Oh, and Gareth Hanrahan is probably the best scenario writer in the RPG business.

  4. I’m on my twelfth session or so, and yes — most of the sub-systems have at least made an appearance so far, but I don’t think we’ve begun to plumb the depths of the game yet.

    Most of the published adventures and campaigns are very high in quality. I haven’t run any of them (because I changed the era of the game) but they’re great for ideas and the “Grand Campaign” that Eloy Cintron mentions is a huge temptation.

  5. We played about five sessions of Darkening of Mirkwood, with the Hobbit Tales for hazards. It was fun, but my main takeaway from it was that our group was way too free-roaming and improv-y for pre-written adventures to ever be our thing.

  6. I ran most of Tales from Wilderland, but I found that the best way to do it was to summarize the entire adventure onto notecards and improv a lot more. Trying to run it from the book made me feel boxed-in. Sometimes that meant a lot of details were left out, or that I made up details that didn’t agree with what came later, and that was just fine by me.

  7. I ran through Wilderland, after starting with The Marsh Bell. I went through it, organized it into Fronts, and made a campaign out of it rather than unlinked scenarios.

    There’s a dark force in one that I turned into a big bad prelude to the Darkening style. I turned the Mewlips into an invasion force that infiltrated the lake and built a lair in the sunken corpse of Smaug, and I dumped the final dragon scenario, and replaced it with an upgraded battle that I relocated from one of the earlier scenarios.

    I also dumped the dream elf sequence, and replaced it with their convention scenario.

  8. Excellent ideas, Ralph Mazza ! I might have to do that too… I hate having to prep premade stuff… There are some great adventure ideas there and in Darkening, but running the railroad is both too much work and too boring in play.

  9. I’ve been running DoM monthly for the past two years, but we’ve used Burning Wheel instead of ToR. And one of the main reasons was I felt ToR characters lacked clear connections and motivations within the situation. BiTs have filled that gap nicely. I’ve encouraged the group to be responsive to the ever changing situation by reassessing their beliefs every one to two sessions.

    DoM itself is a really excellent framework that allows a bit more flexibility than, say, Tales of the Wilderlands. We’ve managed to make it very character driven, but have also maintained tie ins to most of the main events of the campaign.

    Sorry, I don’t have much to say about ToR itself. I’ve only played it once. Beatiful books. In glad to own the ones I do 😊

  10. Michael Harrel​ not bad! I think making them a third kind of Trait, mechanically speaking, is smart and not disruptive.

    EDIT but not if you can use it to gain an ordinary success. Hm.

    I like that company goals are tied to XP, and that it’s a motivation for the company to cooperate. I saw some BIG talk in that thread but I’m skeptical that everyone needs a personal one in TOR.

  11. Hmm… I’m tempted to just replace one of the two sets of Traits with Beliefs (with the exact same mechanics). A Belief is much more interesting to me than distinctive features such as “bold” and “energetic”.

  12. Tales before ramping up Darkening? Why not concurrent?

    I just reread Darkening and I confess I’m less enamored with it now. I initially thought it was pretty much The Great Pendragon Campaign. That framework worked well for us because we always had new input about the lives of the knights and time to act on those inputs, and then specific orders from a patron they were obligated to deal with. Campaign and sandbox intermingled really nicely. I’m not seeing any of the elements that made GPC work present in Darkening: no patron, no obligations, no procedurally generated inputs to keep things moving through time. Instead, it’s like…if you just happen to be near southern Mirkwood, you get to meet some new asshole.

    Honestly I’m unimpressed now. I might refer to big picture events from year to year because I do like the shape of the future history (the return of the nazghul and all that).

  13. I’m running Tales and Darkening concurrently. I started off with Don’t Leave the Path (linear, of course, but useful for learning system and setting). I’ll be going back to the Gibbet King elements of Tales, but I’ve used Darkening to introduce Mogdred, and the PCs chosen quest to reclaim the Dwarf road gives me a seed to build from (and importantly they wanted to do that), so I’ve used seeds from later in Darkening to build it.

  14. I’m part way through Darkening, with some experienced characters who had played some home brewed and a few of the other published adventures (mainly the Gibbet King sequence) thrown in. We’ve finished “The Last Good Years” and after we are done with our Night Witches game in a few weeks, we’ll be diving back in.

    I’ve found that the Darkening adventure seeds work pretty well – when they hear about something happening, or some event occurs where they are, our companions have usually got involved. I’ve definitely let the characters drive a few adventures on their own, too, which has come up now and again.

    One thing that has helped, I think, is that some of the companions are now really quite powerful, so they seem to have naturally come to accept that they are the ones people come to when heroes are needed 🙂

  15. And I’m looking at Callings and, to a lesser degree, the Company formation rules. I’m wondering how to square those things!

    I can only speak as an armchair quarterback, but I think Paul Mitchener has it right when he writes: Things like Treasure Hunter or Slayer are more like an approach to what they do, rather than the types of adventures they go on.

    So, it’s like when Thorin goes on an adventure to reclaim the Lonely Mountain from Smaug, but his greed for the Arkenstone nearly botches it all and gets him into a war. Bilbo is one the same adventure, but is not a Treasure Hunter, and so his reaction is totally different. (If I had the book in front of me I could maybe use more specific mechanical examples, but I think I’m making my point.)

    I think the default assumption about all characters in TOR is that they want to go on adventures, so, in BW terms, every single one of them has a belief along the lines of, “I want to go on adventures like those Bilbo wrote about so I can help stem the tide of darkness, so I will ____________________.”

  16. Mark Delsing yeah, I understand. And I think my players do too! But boy are they accustomed to having clear and personal drives.

    First sesh is tomorrow. I’ll have a better grasp of how they’re taking to it after that.

  17. Nailed it. Callings are less “go here do that” active features and more “given that you are here, what experience are you looking to take away” passive flavor.

    Also, how does shadow sickness manifest for you.

  18. Paul Beakley Sorry I’m coming in late to the thread. I’ve been neck-deep in Gameday and then “You were at Gameday yesterday so now you’re gonna focus on the kid”.

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