Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2012/04/27/tabletop-review-the-one-ring-tales-from-wilderland/
Tales from Wilderland is the first supplement for Cubicle 7 Entertainment’s recent RPG release The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild and contains 7 adventures that can be played separately or as a series. As of now the PDF is available, but the hard copy should be available in May or June. You can pre-order it at Cubicle 7′s online store.
I like to leave out the exact details of adventures because I think discovery is part of the fun. In case any players read this, don’t worry too much about spoilers.
“Don’t Leave the Path”
The players are traveling around Long Lake when they are stopped by a frantic boy who tells them that his father needs help in the nearby wood. The ensuing meeting is just the beginning of a journey that will take the group through parts of Mirkwood, encountering various characters and dangers as they go. Should they survive, they’ll end up at the Northwest edge of Mirkwood, near the land of the Beornings.
“Of Leaves & Stewed Hobbit”
Despite the basic premise of this story, that a renowned Hobbit chef goes missing, this adventure is action-packed. Goblins, undead, sticky situations, maybe even some cooking, all may lie in wait for the party that goes through this one. In the continued effort to rescue and return Dinodas, a lot can go wrong!
“Kinstrife & Dark Tidings”
The party makes an ominous find along the banks of the river, and seek the aid of Beorn himself to find out how to proceed. It involves a murder, and the party must seek the guilty. In their quest, they come across some twists and turns that may be deadly, and perhaps justice will be served in one way or another.
“Those Who Tarry No Longer”
The group is asked to escort an elven noble, and it would be unwise to decline. The noble is a mysterious, ancient female elf who manages to attract some unwanted attention that the party may have to deal with in…unusual ways.
“A Darkness in the Marshes”
This one is suggested to be played as a sequel to the “Those Who Tarry No Longer”. The companions are tasked with finding the source of an evil that has escaped its bounds. Their journey brings them to a secluded mountain hall and further to an ominous obstacle housing dreadful enemies.
“The Crossings of Celduin”
This scenario starts with a festival, games, and all kinds of merriment. Then something goes wrong, and the one responsible is not to be seen. It’s not as simple as one man doing a misdeed…there is much more evil to come should the party seek him.
“The Watch on the Heath”
This adventure is recommended immediately after “The Crossings of Celduin”, and there are some characters in common. The party is looking for someone, and continues to scour the land for the one responsible for much evil. In their search, they may find some strange things, and some downright terrifying things.
What Do I Think?
This is another great piece of work from Cubicle 7. I wouldn’t expect anything less, especially since The One Ring is a highly visible product and was just released mere months ago. This book of adventures should make any group happy to have plenty of material to run. The adventures are excellent: nuanced, exciting, having variety, etc. Characters will face all kinds of obstacles, using all the skills they can. There are key social encounters, and even more battle.
While I generally lament the over-prominence of combat in RPGs, I also know that it is fun and somehow necessary. I can put on a costume any day and go role-play out in a field somewhere if I wanted, but I can’t kill orcs and cast spells (of course, in The One Ring you can’t cast spells either). My one complaint about the combat scenes is that the primary foes are pretty much orcs and goblins. This is mostly due to the The Lord of the Rings lore, but I do wish there was more variety. There are definitely some special encounters though with some great enemies and neutral parties, but prepare to see your share of orcs.
Each part inside of the adventures is well-written and often contains paragraphs about the different outcomes that can occur, not leaving it up to the GM to make it up on the spot. The feeling of continuity of story is very strong, with some outcome paragraphs describing the long-term effects of the party succeeding or failing. The GM is given options for how to play an NPC, or whether or not to add a twist, or when to introduce an NPC to the party. The book itself (at least, what I see in the PDF) is gorgeous, sharing the style of the core books. The artwork is great, and scattered throughout, sometimes really adding to the visual aspect of understanding locations or people in the adventure.
There is so much to be excited for here, and as long as you like The One Ring in general there is no reason why you wouldn’t like Tales from Wilderland, it’s just excellent, excellent stuff.