The One Ring (Free League edition), hardback roleplaying game
Almost six years have passed already since the last time you were here. I remember very well everything you and Gandalf said when we met. You were alarmed, and I took your warnings at heart, but I don’t think you would find it surprising to know that news of a nameless threat is hard to believe here in the dear old Shire. Gandalf came to see me again, on several occasions. He seems to care about our friendship, and he says I should indeed be worried, but his vague words of warning hardly make even less of a dent in the general sense of peace and protection that we enjoy here, away in the north-west.
But don’t think that I am completely clueless! All I need to know is to have a look at… the stuff I collected in my adventures to remember that there is a wide and dangerous world out there. Sometimes I even miss it, the road, the thrill, the narrow escapes. It’s my Tookish side. But then I look at my beautiful garden, my snapdragons and sunflowers, my trailing nasturtians… how they glow, red and golden, more beautiful than any Dragon-hoard that ever was, and I am back to being a Baggins.
I hope that what I say won’t be too much of a disappointment to you. You haven’t asked yet, but I know that you mean to invite me to join you in that Moria adventure you are always talking about. I am afraid that I have spent enough time crawling in the dark under the Misty Mountains not to wish to do that ever again! But there’s a good bunch of eager lads and lasses here that you might find to your liking. Why, they are just waiting for no more than a nod in their direction from me or from our Grey friend to go off into the blue for mad adventures! Theirs is an age that is more appropriate to that type of business, believe me, and I have taught them a thing or two. I suspect that Gandalf has too…
From a letter from Bilbo Baggins, Esq. to Balin son of Fundin”
The One Ring™ is a roleplaying game based on The Hobbit™ and The Lord of the Rings™, two extraordinary works of fiction by the beloved author and respected academic, John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, published in partnership with Sophisticated Games.
First released in 2011, its award-winning design was hailed as the best attempt at bringing Middle-earth to the gaming table to date, thanks to its thematic rules and painstaking attention to detail. For 10 years, players of the game have traveled far and wide across Middle-earth, adventuring for multiple decades of game time.
Today, it is time for the game to enter a new era – this new edition of The One Ring brings players further into the Twilight of the Third Age with a new hardbound volume, presenting:
- A set of updated and streamlined rules, developed thanks to years of players’ feedback and raising the game to the standards of quality that have made Free League so popular.
- A new setting to experience – the Lone-lands of Eriador in the year is 2965 of the Third Age. This is a vast land that once saw the glory of the North Kingdom of the Dúnedain.
- A complete visual redesign of art and graphics, offering a view of Middle-earth that is fresh and familiar at the same time.
“The Enemy still lacks one thing to give him strength and knowledge to beat down all resistance, break the last defences, and cover all the lands in a second darkness. He lacks the One Ring.”
The One Ring is set in the Twilight of the Third Age, a time-frame comprising the events narrated in The Hobbit™ and the start of The Lord of the Rings™. Encompassing more than six decades, this period is ushered in when Bilbo the Hobbit finds the Ruling Ring, and culminates with the war fought by the Free Peoples against the Dark Lord Sauron, and the destruction of the Ring.
The year is 2965 of the Third Age, and the players create a Company of heroes, Hobbits, Dwarves, Elves and Men seeking adventure in the Lone-lands of Eriador. It is a desolate country, a vast land that once saw the glory of the North Kingdom of the Dúnedain, the Men of the West. Here, many wars were fought, and countless ruins dot its landscape. Shadows move along its paths, and not all of them belong to the living. It is here that the One Ring lies, a seed of the past that will one day lead the world to open war against the returning Shadow.
This edition of The One Ring moves the focus of the game to the lands of Old Arnor, with a full description of the town of Bree and the surrounding areas, including famous locales like Weathertop, Fornost and Annuminas, providing the players with a new starting point for their adventures.
The Enemy is moving, and smoke issues once more from Mount Doom, in the land of Mordor…
In The One Ring, players create individuals who led an ordinary life until something made them realize that they were simply pretending that shadows weren’t growing nearer and nearer every year. They are not soldiers or mercenaries, nor are they subtle Wizards trying to weave the threads spun by fate: they are adventurous souls representing the various Free Peoples opposing the return of the Shadow.
The core gameplay of The One Ring revolves around two alternate phases — the Adventuring Phase and the Fellowship Phase. This structure follows the deeds of the players not only geographically, as they explore the land in pursuit of their goals, but also chronologically, as time passes and the Twilight of the Third Age enfolds.
The game mechanics have been created from the ground up to match the source material and emulate the action as depicted in The Lord of the Rings™ and The Hobbit™. They feature a set of custom dice, but the game can also be played using a standard set including a 12-sided die and at least six 6-sided dice. The accessibility and elegance of the system fits in perfectly with other games by Free League.
This new edition of the game further reinforces the connection between its mechanics and the stories that inspired them. The rules for things like hero creation or the use of Hope have been tweaked to make the game run smoothly without sacrificing their faithfulness to the sources, while those for Journeys and Councils, for example, have been completely redesigned. New rules, like those for Magical die results, have been added to evoke elements that are vital to the theme of the game, like the subtle magic of Middle-earth.
The new edition will be compatible with modules for the first edition, requiring only minor tweaking.”