Cubicle Seven has announced the core releases for the first phase of its The One Ring RPG based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic Lord of the Rings fantasy trilogy. The first release, The One Ring : Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild debuts in August, and will consist initially of two core books, a Loremaster’s Guide for GMs and an Adventurers Book for players. They will be followed by a full line of supplementary products with early releases including a Rivendell sourcebook and campaign guide.
But Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild is just the first part of an RPG trilogy that mirrors the structure of Tolkien’s classic fantasy. Cubicle Seven will publish similar core releases tentatively titled The Errantries of the King, and The War of the Ring in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The idea is to let players experience all the aspects of Tolkien’s marvelously complex worlds in games that build toward an ultimate climax.
The gaming adventure in Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild begins five years after the events of The Hobbit. The defeat of the dragon, the ousting of the Necromancer, and the victory of the Battle of Five Armies has made the land a much safer place, but evil still lurks and the seeds of a vastly greater future conflict are growing. Adventures Over the Edge of the World focuses on the region of the Wilderland—from the east of the Misty Mountains through Mirkwood to the Lonely Mountain. The game covers the geography of the region and its major cultures—immersion in the setting is at the heart of the game.
Players create their characters from the cultures of the region integrating them with the setting and giving them a personal stake in the unfolding events. Players can choose from the wood elves of Mirkwood, the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain, the Woodmen of western Mirkwood, the Bardings of Dale, shape-shifting Beornings, or hobbits who have ventured into the region after Bilbo’s return to the shire.
Cubicle Seven’s Director of RPG Development Dominic McDowall-Thomas explained The One Ring’s immersive approach: “We have a huge setting to explore, and this let’s us approach it in stages, covering each element in detail instead of trying to stuff an encyclopedia of information into the initial release. It also helps players build their campaigns in a dramatic fashion. With Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild asthe starting point, the grand story of The Lord of the Rings is starting out in the background, but players start at a point where they can influence events instead of just being along for the ride.”
This approach allows The One Ring RPG to take on an epic, multi-generational character. Some of the long-lived characters that players can choose will be able to span the game’s different setting periods, while others can pass the torch to their heirs (spiritual or ancestral) in later periods.
The illustration accompanying this article is a painting by Tomaz Jedruszek that shows the attack on a camp of Beornings, and is typical of the kind of top-tier fantasy art that will be used to illustrate The One Ring volumes. A number of fantasy artists are contributing to this massive project include renowned Tolkien illustrator John Howe. Additional details concerning Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild will be released in the month’s leading up to the release of the game’s first core volumes in August.