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The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood $39.99 $22.99
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The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
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The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Ryan P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/26/2018 16:15:34

The Darkening of Mirkwood sets out to complete the mandate Cubicle 7 gave itself in the original Core-rule book for The One Ring, telling the story of the Darkening of Mirkwood, the 30 year time of troubles from the expulsion of the Necromancer from Dol Goldur by the White Council to the Death of King Bard. The Darkening of Mirkwood completes the goal given in the Fellowship Phase and the end product exceeds it overall but not without some hitches.

First and foremost Cubicle 7 must be commended for their commitment to both Tolkien's world, its lore, and their attempt to make their own stories within it and facilitate the same for the rest of us. The atmospherics of the book its prose, wordsmithing and voice are phenomenal especially in the early sections beautifully titled "The Last Good Years". The authors did an excellent job of casting a pall of foreboding doom over the adventures within the text, something that you can always feel at your back, leering over you but never, ever see when you look behind. The Mirkwood campaign says right from the start your quest is doomed but the fate of your characters over this 30 year period and those of the people they love is mutable. You are given the prospect of Hope in the authentic Tolkien context, and you may yet steel or preserve a place of light in the Great Forest where the Enemy does not hold sway.

It is here that I come to the campaign book's most defining and excellent feature, the integration of player characters their personalities, backstories, and expanded selves into the campaign's events. Dozens of sidebars and parenthetical texts are devoted to giving you the option to put one of your Fellowship's characters in a prominent place in the campaign, usually for the native Woodmen culture but also for Elves and Beornings and some for the Dwarves and Men of Lake-Town, Dale and Erebor. There's no planet of the hats here either, the divisions in these cultures and realms, already present with the Enemy defeated and potentially stoked by his agents for the benefit of Evil, are expertly written into the game's narrative, allowing the opportunity for your own breaking of your fellowship as the goals of each faction change and diverge with the Darkening of Greenwood the Great. Glimpses of characters and events from Heart of the Wild and Adventures in the Wilderland also help to provide a sense of continuity, that these events do not exist in a vacuum. The actions your characters took during these adventures provide unique rewards especially for those who are looking for some version of a happy ending to this story.

Since it's a 30-year campaign, the development of relationships, specifically familial ones, is encouraged and while we all know these lands are fated to fall into Darkness, your characters do not and especially in the early years, building something new, something better now that Darkness has obstensibly retreated, seems like an excellent idea. Build a bigger settlement next to Dol Goldur, let the wayward kin of the Woodsmen join the Folk-Moot, and everyone is getting married, shacking up and getting busy, and your characters are encouraged to do the same. This adds an element of dramatic potency to this game that is explicitly outlined in the introductory pages and advocated throughout the campaign: that of passing the torch to the next generation, of reluctantly or enthusiastically letting your successors take up your burdens in the fight against evil. This concept of "Heroic Heritage" is actually even codified into a game mechanic and other opportunities to add some family history that is relevant to your quest are added as well.

You are given the broad opportunities to reshape Mirkwood and forge its destiny in the face of ther return of the Enemy, giving the Mirkwood Campaign a strategic or city/colony building element rarely seen in tabletop rpgs. You can devote resources to restoring the Dwarven Road, building those new settlements I mentioned, reclaiming various old haunts of evil and in keeping with the campaign's narrative, some of these choices become more desparate and reckless as darkness starts to close in again. While in the begining restoring that Dwarven Road seems like an easy and obvious choice with wide support from personalities and characters within the campaign setting, the decision to retake the Grey Delve, the old Dwarven holdfast in the Mountains north of Mirkwood, seems like a risky prospect at best. The leaders of the different realms are now indifferent after 20-odd years of struggle against the returned Enemy and while giving the Dwarves another mountain seems like a good idea, the Campaign makes this out to be both a monumental task given the sparse resources you yourself will have to gather and not necessarily a worthwhile one once you've got your expedition assembled.

Once again, in this way, the reputation, standing and legacy of different characters interacts heavily with the course of the Campaign and in the end it really does make it or break it. Your efforts and accomplishments really do have consequences and Cubicle 7 did not leave it in the hands and heads of the players to invent them. How expertly they did this really goes to show how much they know their customers in the Tolkien Fandom or at least the world they love, or probably both.

As you might by now understand I'm a sucker for atmospherics and the Darkening of Mirkwood delivers this in spades especially in the early chapters. In the middle though, it starts to get a little lazy and several choices or narrative paths are just hand waived away while others are given beautifully thoughtful resolutions that depend entirely on which of the many permutations of endings you've decided upon. They start skipping years, like amateur fiction writers that started out with an idea but never really carefully plotted it out and realized they might have set their goals a little too high. This is the campaign's only failing. While marketed as an "Epic 30 Year Campaign" it falls just a little short of that goal. While chock-full of moments both grand and subtle, beautiful and dark, Cubicle 7 starts to rely on the quality of their prose by the last days of the campaign rather than adding more content and the book is a bit shorter than one might imagine. Now some people might say "great! no filler!" but none of the missions contained within this book could ever be considered anything of the kind. Generic and banal are not words ascribed to the Mirkwood Campaign and is not something it aspires to even when it attempts a rare moment of levity (to their credit Cubicle 7 leaves the tone of the campaign entirely in the hands of the players) to break the weight of despair that might overcome player and character alike.

The Darkening of Mirkwood campaign is a superb addition to what is already widely considered the most faithful adaptation of Tolkien's Legendarium for tabletop roleplaying and you can tell it was written by a bunch of Tolkienites with the hearts of fangirls, the minds of scholars and deft hands of weavers who spin stories that border on literature in the quality, authenticity and atmospheric synthaesia of the final product.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/22/2017 23:41:18

Been reading through this and about to run it for some friends! I would recommend this book for any Loremaster as many of the adventures in this book can be done independantly from the campaign and are a blast!

10/10 every time!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/04/2016 11:51:37

In the original Loremaster's Book an epic campaign called The Darkening of Mirkwood was outline: here it is presented with a wealth of detail, year by year events to enable you to have a coherent time-line of events running irrespective if you want your campaign plot to interact with them or not - a fine way to ensure that your players feel that their characters exist within a living, breathing, real alternate reality!

The Introduction provides a lot of useful material, including notes on how news travels across Middle Earth (slowly...), and how this timeline has been established to set the scene for the events in The Lord of the Rings - remember, this game is set between events in The Hobbit and those of The Lord of the Rings. The focus here is on how the sweep of events affects those caught up in them, in particular the player-characters and those they care about, putting a human (or hobbit, dwarven, elven...) face on world-shaping events. Yet it may be that the histories are wrong. Maybe things didn't quite happen as it is said that they did. Perhaps some heroes stood up and by their actions changed things. Don't be afraid to alter the course of history as appropriate to the actions of your company of adventurers or indeed the needs of the stories you want to tell. The company are, after all, the heroes of your game, the stars at centre stage whatever else might be going on in the world.

There are rules for establishing and running a holding - something many character might wish to do... and this also provides them a place to defend when darkness comes a-knocking. For those living in the Wilderland, it's a real and present threat that is only going to get worse as time progresses. So encourage the characters to embed themselves in the community, build up networks of friends and relatives, trading partners and associates... all the more will they feel the threat as events unfold.

And then we move on to the tale of years, which is broken down into five phases beginning with the last good years. The timeline runs from the year 2947 for a full thirty years. For each year you get a selection of events, noteworthy things that happen in Mirkwood and the lands immediately surrounding it... or even further away, but which influence life there or at least will have been heard about by those living there. It's up to you whether or not you want to incorporate them into your plotline or use them as side-adventures, or merely leave them as topics to be discussed over a pot of ale.

Next there's a complete sample adventure. As the years progress, it is likely that these adventures will need to be customised, as things your company has done in the past may be already altering the timeline from that published here. There's also information that may influence the course of the year-end Fellowship Phase, although this gets harder to predict as time passes and adventurers' actions affect the timeline, for better or for worse.

The overall idea is that you and your company will build a solid history of your own, one that encompasses the feel of a real life being led, a life that has adventure in it to be sure, but one which is rooted in its surroundings and the ordinary lives led by most of the people who live there. As such this work is an admirable resource and should help you build a lasting campaign that will be fun to play and memorable for years after.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Neal W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/04/2015 16:01:43

I would recommend this booklet, but only if you also get The Heart of the Wild. THOTW is the setting book and explains many of the people, places, and particular pieces of info you'll need if sticking close to the adventures in The Darkening of Mirkwood. Furthermore it gives details on some non-pertinent characters and places that don't directly affect the DOM adventures, but may get pulled into use depending on the players' actions. I'd highly recommend them as a paired set.

So far as an actual campaign goes, this one intrigued me since it's set up to span years, in-game, whereas I haven't really gamed with long-term ideas like that previously. I'm not sure if this is the norm for campaigns using The One Ring or not, since I use a home brewed system, but in any case it is a cool novelty and one which necessitates players thinking for the long haul. So far in our playing, that's working out.

The adventures herein are also pretty malleable for custom use. For example, I'm running these for two groups - one of them being good guys playing during the set up as told by The One Ring narrative, the other being bad guys playing the same adventures but after the One Ring is destroyed. The adventures are easy enough to flip or manipulate as needed, and can also be used for generic fantasy adventures - all you need to do is remove the specific Tolkien tags - Radagast is just some powerful wizard in the area, Sauron is just some nondescript dark power at play, etc. Nothing in here is VITAL to be in Middle Earth, which is nice.

Overall, solid and well-thought out adventures with plenty of space for GM and player creativity, and few typos or unanswered questions - so long as you have the accompanying settings book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Gilles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/13/2014 04:47:56

This product a must for it provide a frame of events within Mirkwood through 30 years. It has a desperate tone as years advance and it's really rare for campaign to have this kind of feel, and just for that it is worth the money. I have read comparison from The Grand Campaign for Pendragon and there are many common point for this two product, in my mind this is a compliment. Art is beautiful, really impressive like all painting (yes) of the TOR book. Satisfaying is the feeling that the player choice really alter the path of event for the best or worst. Cubicle7 has really catch the feeling of Middle-Earth and i'm really fond of their product. Hope this will continue.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by joe w. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/31/2014 04:39:23

Pre-ordered this item from the publisher, the PDF was fine and I suggest no one orders anything other then PDFs from cubicle 7. This book is severely lack luster and nothing inside it is 'needed' to run a campaign set around mirkwood. It does not provide any new helpful information more a selection of tried and tested plots from any fantasy.

The book came several months late, long after I had finished my campaign, it also arrived scuffed and battered.

Stick with the PDF's because that is all you will get from cubicle 7



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Creator Reply:
Hi Cubicle 7 runs a program of replacing damaged product where it has been received in such a condition. Please contact us using info@cubicle7.co.uk and we will advise on how to get your replacement.
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/24/2014 03:38:50

Eine gesamte Systemvorstellung findet sich unter: http://www.teilzeithelden.de/2014/03/24/zurueck-in-mittelerde-der-eine-ring-eine-einfuehrung/

Bis­her nur auf Eng­lisch erschie­nen, beschreibt das Buch die Ereig­nisse im gro­ßen Düs­ter­wald und den sich aus­brei­ten­den Schat­ten. Statt eines engen klas­si­schen Aben­teu­ers mit aus­ge­ar­bei­te­ten Details gibt der Band einen roten Faden durch über 30 Jahre Hand­lung, die den wach­sen­den Ein­fluss der Naz­gul von Dol Gul­dur zum Hin­ter­grund hat, des im Grund­re­gel­werk ange­deu­te­ten regio­na­len Metaplots von Wil­der­land zu die­ser Zeit.

Für Spiel­lei­ter setzt die­ser Band das Kapi­tel „Kam­pa­gne“ und die Jah­res­be­schrei­bun­gen des Grund­re­gel­werks fort und ist eine Fund­grube für span­nende und zuneh­mend bedrü­cken­dere Plots. Abge­run­det wird der Band von einer Beschrei­bung neuer Ant­ago­nis­ten, voran den Ring­geis­tern. Dass sich das hier prä­sen­tierte Mate­rial naht­los in Tol­kiens Uni­ver­sum ein­fügt und auch ohne Spiel­an­wen­dung ein Ver­gnü­gen zum Lesen ist, beweist ein­mal mehr die Hin­gabe der Auto­ren.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Mark E. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/23/2014 13:48:46

In addition, The Heart of the Wild offers you multiple towns and villages for your heroes to develop as sanctuaries. The Darkening of Mirkwood is an incredible book, filled with plots for your adventures - and best of all, accurate to Middle-earth. IMHO (I have gamed for more than 30 years), this is the best game to ever bring Tolkien's work to the table top, and I highly recommend it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Mike A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/08/2014 20:45:42

Henry A. is obviously one of those Gm's with little imagination and completely dependent on products to drive every aspect of his campaign. I feel for his players. Darkening is a gem. It has a plethora of imaginative storylines, all completely tailoring to Tolkien canon. This RPG continues to impress and provide one of the most exciting campaigns my players have ever experienced-Mike



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Henry A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/05/2014 11:41:30

WHERE'S THE MEAT??? This is not a campaign. It's a story with some plot twists. But I could get that from a novel. A cheap novel. No location is detailed, so you have no town or settlement for your heroes.
No major NPCs are provided, so you are still tasked with creating the people to move the story along. No special foes are added, so there is nothing special about this story versus another. No special weapons or treasures are added, so there is no accomplishments for the PCs to obtain. There is one positive though, at least you have a storyline that fits the game. But that is all you have.

This is a nicely formatted creative writing assignment with pictures. It's not a sourcebook for gaming.

I recommend a forty page errata with all the locations, NPCs, items and villains. Oh yeah, the sourcebook!!



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Andrew L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/01/2014 06:50:44

The Darkening of Mirkwood - pdf review

This is going to be a gorgeous book. Adventure seeds cover 30 years, bringing the game up to the year TA 2977. Those 30 years are broken down into three distinct periods: The Last Good Years: 2947-2950; The Return of the Shadow: 2951-2960; and The Darkening of Mirkwood: 2961-2977. There are a few pages near the end of the book that largely duplicates information from the companion sourcebook The Heart of the Wild, this is the Appendix, which covers the Nazgul of Dol Guldur and other Characters and Creatures specific to the campaign. However, the duplication is probably worthwhile for ease of reference.

This is definitely a book for Loremasters/GMs as opposed to Adventurers but well-worth getting. The physical product is expected to be in stores in April. Recommended.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by mike m. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/31/2014 12:26:01

Tons of material to use in months if not years of gaming. add that to the amazing system cubicle 7 has created and it makes this book an absolute must have for any Tolkien fan or any story driven RPG fan.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Istvan F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/31/2014 12:22:56

A really excellent publication. Very easy to read, and full of adventure ideas. And the grand campaign itself is just great, recommended for every GM.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Daniel F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2014 12:03:50

Maybe the most enjoyable and immersive RPG reading that I ever had. Read it in one evening. I think the professor himself would be pleased by the narrative.

The campaign is full of moving parts that are sure to give the players a highly customizable experience centered around them, their investments and their choices. Yet all of those parts are presented in a comfortable and unconfusing way.

The one thing I would change is adding a possibility for a more optimistic finale, one that is not nesseceraly serving as a tie-in to the canonical history of the middle earth, for those of us who are less bothered with it. A possibility for a true reclamation of the forest.

It also must be stated that this supplement requires "The Heart of the Wild" to use properly.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Darkening of Mirkwood
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Ian K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/19/2014 04:40:17

Sophisticated Games and Cubicle 7 have done it again. A great book with plenty of adventure ideas - one per year for thirty years in the Middle-earth setting. In addition, events happening in Rhovanion during that time (2947 to 2977 TA).

The production quality is what we've come to expect from this line, very high. The writing and rules presented evoke Tolkien's world. The artwork, stunning.

A welcome addition to The One Ring game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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