Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

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MrHemlocks
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Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

Post by MrHemlocks » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:45 am

I am looking for some advice on games systems (rpgs) best portray The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Dungeon Crawl Classics does not fit the bill. It is too weird, in a good way, and 'different' to use as a base for a Hobbit or LotR game. The only reason I started playing rpgs was on account of the Hobbit and LotR. So, now I am returning to my roots...

I found a couple of games that might work. Have any of you played them or know some 'stuff' you like to share about them, or other similar rpgs, that might help my with this quest?

The One Ring... http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-one-ring/

Balrogs and Bagginsess...

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Re: Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

Post by Maxwell Luther » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:11 am

MrHemlocks wrote:I am looking for some advice on games systems (rpgs) best portray The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Dungeon Crawl Classics does not fit the bill. It is too weird, in a good way, and 'different' to use as a base for a Hobbit or LotR game. The only reason I started playing rpgs was on account of the Hobbit and LotR. So, now I am returning to my roots...

I found a couple of games that might work. Have any of you played them or know some 'stuff' you like to share about them, or other similar rpgs, that might help my with this quest?

The One Ring... http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-one-ring/

Balrogs and Bagginsess...
My friend Francesco Nepitello wrote The One Ring and he is a Tolkien scholar in the same way that I am a Doctor Who scholar (you may or may not have seen my work on the Doctor Who RPG line). I have run numerous demos of the game.

Every mechanical element reinforces the feel and flavor of JRR's works and there are even rules for Journies that reflect the narrative nature of that aspect of his books. The combat system is unique and relies on abstract positioning and the use of Battle Rolls, to give you all the advantages of tactical fighting with creative use of the environment and story elements to recreate the conflicts in those books, the social combat system is brilliant and can be applied to many different situations outside of negotiation and threats, and the system of Hope & Shadow captures the effects of fellowship and ennui on the characters. It is, in my mind, pretty much the best possible interpretation of the Tolkien in RPG form.

All that said, it is so spot on Tolkien, that it really doesn't work unless the group works within those narrative bounds during play. I ran a group more accustomed to DCC style gaming through it and it all went pants pretty quickly, as that style of play accomplishes nothing in TOR. So, use it to play the Hobbit (the book, not the movies), not D&D, or you will be disappointed...

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MrHemlocks
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Re: Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

Post by MrHemlocks » Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:48 am

Maxwell Luther wrote:
MrHemlocks wrote:I am looking for some advice on games systems (rpgs) best portray The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Dungeon Crawl Classics does not fit the bill. It is too weird, in a good way, and 'different' to use as a base for a Hobbit or LotR game. The only reason I started playing rpgs was on account of the Hobbit and LotR. So, now I am returning to my roots...

I found a couple of games that might work. Have any of you played them or know some 'stuff' you like to share about them, or other similar rpgs, that might help my with this quest?

The One Ring... http://www.cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-one-ring/

Balrogs and Bagginsess...
My friend Francesco Nepitello wrote The One Ring and he is a Tolkien scholar in the same way that I am a Doctor Who scholar (you may or may not have seen my work on the Doctor Who RPG line). I have run numerous demos of the game.

Every mechanical element reinforces the feel and flavor of JRR's works and there are even rules for Journies that reflect the narrative nature of that aspect of his books. The combat system is unique and relies on abstract positioning and the use of Battle Rolls, to give you all the advantages of tactical fighting with creative use of the environment and story elements to recreate the conflicts in those books, the social combat system is brilliant and can be applied to many different situations outside of negotiation and threats, and the system of Hope & Shadow captures the effects of fellowship and ennui on the characters. It is, in my mind, pretty much the best possible interpretation of the Tolkien in RPG form.

All that said, it is so spot on Tolkien, that it really doesn't work unless the group works within those narrative bounds during play. I ran a group more accustomed to DCC style gaming through it and it all went pants pretty quickly, as that style of play accomplishes nothing in TOR. So, use it to play the Hobbit (the book, not the movies), not D&D, or you will be disappointed...

I have to admit, The One Ring RPG, looks like a beautiful game. Waiting to se what others have to say before making my choice.

As for myself and my group of players... most are die hard role players. We can sit and role play for hours, usually on the first page of the adventure, and love ever minute of it. I ran a Call of Cthulhu adventure last weekend and we did not get past page five of the adventure. The group role played for hours :D

One game I will be getting for sure is Hobbit Tales. It combines all the fun...hours of role playing and based off Tolkiens' works.

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Re: Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

Post by Machpants » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:55 pm

Maxwell Luther has it right, if you want to play The Hobbit and the LotR books, cleaving close to the feel of Tolkien's world and ideas, then there is no better ruleset than TOR. However you can't play a Wizard and you can't play a Ranger (at least in the base rules) - things like this annoy the heck out of many people who want to play in Middle Earth, more cos they want to play a fantasy RPG with ME trappings. If you want to do that chose MERP or just adjust your favourite ruleset to ME.

But if you want to play 'as Tolkien intended' :p and can work through the poorly organised core book, TOR is awesome.
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James Harrison
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Re: Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

Post by James Harrison » Sun Jan 26, 2014 4:18 am

I also heartily endorce the one ring game - it is simply excellent.

It's biggest downsides are the lack of a good index (rectified if you want to download an very excellent full index), slow rate of supplements (due to working with Tolkien estates, but what other books exist are very high quality; this is not really an issue), and a chance your core books will have poor bindings (effecting <1% of stock, if this is the case contact cubicle 7 with adequate proof and they will send additional core book set free of charge).

However I think it is my favourite system. It knows what it wants to do (simulate middle earth in a narrative fashion), and it does that wonderfully. It is wonderful, and I heartily recommend playing it with Roleplayers.

I'm in an online campaign here, come and check it out! http://m.rpol.net/game.cgi?gi=52255&date=1390692653

It is low magic, and in that sense very Tolkien, but every culture has magical seeming options - and it works wonders for a mysterious magic style; from a Dwarven Scholar who can talk to Ravens and seal portals with ancient runes to a Dalish wanderer who has woeful visions of dark futures he wishes to avoid.

The book is centred around Mirkwood - from the misty mountains, to Erebor... if you are wanting Rohirim / Gondor etc. this book does not provide. The setting is wonderful, and there are may campaigns to be had here. And more will be produced, slowly, and very high quality (by slowly I mean it wouldn't surprise me if Gondor was covered 10 years hence... then again it could be covered 3 years from now)

If you do get into it, (which I 100% recommend) there is an excellent fanbase at the cubicle 7 forums, and some wonderful fan based options have been made that you can take or leave as you will. I think there has never been a better system for roleplaying in middle earth.

Just my thoughts, but go for it!

God bless,
james

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Re: Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

Post by boneguard » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:14 am

Basically there is 3 RPG out there that focus on Middle-Earth: MERP (RoleMaster and Lord of the Ring Adventure included) (I.C.E.), Lord of the Rings (Decipher) and The one Ring (Cubicle 7). Unfortunately, the first 2 are out-of-print.

Each has their Strength and weakness and each cater to a different style.

Personally, I'm incline to say that MERP is the most "High" fantasy of the lot and like most I.C.E. games, it requires a lot of dice roll and uses a lot of tables (quite simplified in MERP though as oppose to the RoleMaster ones.). This system is set for early-mid 3rd Age (well before the Hobbit), but it can easily be ported to any Age including Stats for Bilbo, the 13 Dwarves and the Fellowship of the Ring.

I'm still playing it and it can be quite fun and if the GM is willing to "bypass" more mundane occasion where a skill check is required, it can flow more easily.

Decipher's LotR uses the CODA system -I never played it beyond a quickly aborted game that pewter shortly after character creation- It came out after the LotR movies and it is heavily influence by it. The setting is set during the War of the Ring.

As for The One Ring, There's not much more to add to what was said before, but reiterate that it really focuses on the Narrative (or ROLE-play). And yes, it is not magic heavy and no Ranger, unless you go for Fanon material. The setting is set a few years after the Hobbit.

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James Harrison
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Re: Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

Post by James Harrison » Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:32 am

I think I may be incorrect on one point.

The release pace is slow, but Cubicle 7 is one release away from haveing released all they have so far anounced for the game. That is they announced a product line when the game first surfaced, and that line is one product (Rivendell) away from completion. I beleive they legally cannot talk of future products till vairous legal issues are worked though...

However I've just read a thread where John Hodgson (Cubicle 7 Art Director... it's a small company so he's one in the know) has stressed twice, in a thread mumbling about release schedule, that an announcement of there plans for 2014 will hopefully be made by the end of this month.

The implication is that new products for the line are shortly going to be announced! Huzzah... anyway, possibly rangers and the east of the misty mountains coming up... oh and as for being wrong: well 2014 may see Rohan and Gondor! :)

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Re: Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

Post by boneguard » Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:17 am

James Harrison wrote: The implication is that new products for the line are shortly going to be announced! Huzzah... anyway, possibly rangers and the east of the misty mountains coming up... oh and as for being wrong: well 2014 may see Rohan and Gondor! :)
I doubt it.

The reason why I doubt it, is that TOR "focus" on the Hobbit -in which Moria, Lorien, Gondor and Rohan were not players so to speak. Personally I expect to see supplements that cover:

- The Lonely Mountain and the Dwarves that Resides there;
- Bree/Eriador/The Shire;
- The Misty Mountain with a focus on Goblin Gates and Eagles Eyrie;
- Iron Mountain and Dain's people;
- The Anduin Valley;
- The Dale;
- Dol Guldur.

But That's my 2 copper pieces here.

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James Harrison
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Re: Good rule system for a Hobbit/LotR Campaign

Post by James Harrison » Sun Jan 26, 2014 10:34 am

Probably, it's just got more likely they will start exploring more of the world soon. But I would expect west of the Misty Mountains before south of the Brownlands. :)

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