The One Ring role playing game, Second Edition

370267The One Ring Role-playing in the world of The Lord of the Rings is an impressive and well built volume, featuring a nice mix of rules, lore, and art. Given the venerable nature of the world it is attached to, however, standards are very likely to be high.

As with the starter game and as a general rule for Free League publications, the art is fantastic. There are gorgeous maps used as the endpapers, each full color. The one in the front is strictly an old style map like out of a classic interpretation of the concept, while the one in the back adheres more to a hex grid and includes material reflective of the rules rather than the world alone.

There are a number of wonderful two page color paintings in the style of the illustrations for the cover. Each introduces a new section of the book and is likely to stop a reader for minutes as they simply drink in the image. They include well known scenes from the books, but also typically lend well to the general subject matter of the game. 

The smaller images often feature another interesting element: diversity. While the expressions of ethnicity and skin tone are limited (due to the limited color pallet)  many of the page to page illustrations for individual areas (particularly the Shire) feature more women than one would expect to find adventuring in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. While I will not go so far as to say the numbers are equal they do at the very least add a visual note that may make women players feel more welcomed. 

The text of the book opens more or less with a letter from Gandalf which is quite entertaining all told. There is a playfulness to it and the other comments newly added as by the character which fit with him well enough, and while a purist might bristle at any new words from Gandalf without a Tolkien (J.R.R. or even Christopher) lending their pen the material holds up well.

The game as written uses dice with special symbols, but a note on page 16 makes it quite clear that any proper amount of six and twelve sided dice will work.

This is a detailed yet fairly easy to learn role-playing game, with a wide variety of options.

The One Ring is also a gorgeous volume that works quite as well as an art and lore book as it does for someone enjoying RPGs. Indeed one of its only flaws as a rulebook is that much of the art is distractingly gorgeous. Recommended for consideration by anyone interested in gaming as well as Tolkien fans in general.

(Free League, 2022)

Warner Holme

Warner Holme is a longtime booklover who tends to read anything he can. He has held many positions, ranging from the educational to medical all the way to the mildly usurous. Largely forgotten by those around him, Warner has lived in a number of locations, yet keeps being pulled back to the south. He currently lives there with his pets, and politely asks not to be disturbed.

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