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  • Writer's pictureG R Matthews

The One Ring - The School Group

So, I spoke about my school DnD group in the last post. They've played DnD and Star Trek now - completing adventures/missions in both.

The Star Trek game was really, from my perspective, good. Using a simplified version of the rules, really just the single player rules with some additions, I watched the children come together as a functioning team in a way they never managed in DnD. Star Trek is, I suppose, all about the teams and working together towards a common goal. The meeting they held, on the starship, to decide what to do and who was doing what was just one epic piece of growth for them all and a marvelous channeling of the TV show.

DnD is, at its heart, less about the team - in my opinion. At least for younger players who tend to see the wealth, the power gains of leveling up, and become very much caricatures of heroes - all out for themselves. Well, okay, not all of them but it only takes one or two in a group to dominate and derail the campaign. It becomes about them as individuals, not about the team. And RPGs should always be about the team; a rag-tag bunch of heroes succeeding against all the odds by working together.

So, after the success of Star Trek, we are going to try The One Ring 2e. I backed the Kickstarter and have the full packs with The Shire and everything. However, I didn't want to begin as Hobbits and have them follow a more social adventure; it just isn't them as players. Also, though I've played the 1st Edition I've never run a game of The One Ring. So a game which dipped into a few more of the rules and a little more combat (which they like) seemed a better idea. It would also give me a chance to learn the rules as we played.

In character creation, which is actually quite easy for an RPG, we managed to get one Dwarf, three Elves, and a Dunedain ranger. We did watch, I should say, a little of the Mines of Moria segment of Fellowship of the Ring to get them in the mood and have a better idea of the world. So, there's little surprise in their character choices. No hobbits though which is a bit of a shame.

We began in Bree, at the Prancing Pony, with the characters all arriving there for different reasons which they themselves came up with. There were some good ideas; my brother is a blacksmith in Bree and I've come to visit, I am here to meet a trader who has something I want to buy. I liked the normality of their thinking here - they were making themselves part of the world already and that was brilliant.

Meetng Gandalf, they are given a task to venture a short way south to investigate a strange light that has been shining over a long abandoned tower. In return, Gandalf promises to use his connections here to ease a few of their troubles and trades. Heading out, they walk the roads and bump into a lone traveler who stops to greet them.

We did roll the journey roll - which was a success and pushed this event back a little on their journey

And this is where it went wrong for a moment, and the children learned an important rule of social gameplay and one of my favourite mechanics; Shadow Points.

One of the Elves, who wants to be called Legolas but isn't, decided to loose an arrow as a warning - I am not sure what the warning was for and it lead to an, in character, argument as it is revealed the stranger is one of the Rangers and knows who Gandalf is, and is also a player. The Elf gets a shadow point and I explain the rules.

Shadow Points are lot easier to earn in 2e than they are in AiME. This should make it very interesting as we move forward. In the AiME game I gm for my group, only one player has so far gained enough Shadow Points to have a bought of madness.

Moving on, they found a place to camp, the scout failing his check and finding himself picking a bad spot and earning some Shadow Points, Fatigue, and with a feeling of dread. Still, they made camp but are ambushed in the night by four wolves. There are enough players that one can Rearward stance and use their bow.

Now, combat is very different to DnD, and use of Stances is important. We get the hang of it by the third round and, because the wolves are quite weak, the players learn about Piercing Blows, wounds, and one hit kills. They also started to discuss who was going to do what, what stances to take to make it work and got excited by who would kill the last wolf.

They really enjoyed the combat system, even in this simple fight which I wanted to have so that we could all get used to the system before they tackle the larger threats later on. We also managed to get some other skills to be used.

There's still a lot to learn as we play, but we've made a good start and they're buying into the world. Some of them have even started learning Elvish and speaking in it during the game (I do not speak Elvish...).

What will they face next?

If you want to try the system, the link his here:

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