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The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
 
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Average Rating:4.8 / 5
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The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
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The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 03/08/2016 08:09:37

This sourcebook expands on material in the Loremaster's Guide, providing a wealth of detail about the lands of the River and the Forest - the Vales of Anduin along the banks of the Great River and the trackless forest of Mirkwood to the east. Its main purpose is to serve as a gazetteer, whether you are running a campaign based on The Darkening of Mirkwood or one of your own devising in this part of Middle Earth. If you are using The Darkning of Mirkwood this work will greatly enhance your game and is highly recommended on those grounds alone. Timewise, material herein is set at 2946, but the Loremaster should take into account the passage of time between then and whatever the date is when the company arrives at any given location. Oh, and this is primarily a book for Loremasters. Players have no business reading about places their characters have not visited yet!

The first chapter traces the course of the River Anduin all the way from the Misty Mountains to the southern edge of the wild, using the same regions as depicted on the Loremaster's Map in the core rules. For each region, we read about its general geography, interesting flora and fauna to be found there, notes on the inhabitants (if any) then lists of notable individuals and locations that may be encountered there. Sometimes there are ideas for things to do in either the Adventuring or the Fellowship Phase.

The history of this area is one of migration, and that mainly of Men rather than any other race. Much of it is uninhabited, but those who have passed through have left their traces. Even where there are not overt suggestions, just reading through these details spawns plenty of ideas for adventure!

Next, following the same pattern of contents, there's a look at the forest of Mirkwood itself, running from the thickets of Northern Mirkwood to the very gates of Dol Guldur. Mirkwood is indeed an enormous forest - its northern border faces the steep slopes of the Grey Mountains and its southern edge is near the Brown Lands, a distance of more than four hundred miles, whilst it is about two hundred miles wide. The elves were the first to live here, but their time is now long past although some still remain. A few men have wandered here, but generally only on the fringes, while darker souls such as orcs are found within. It's dark in there, and airless... hunting and foraging are a chancy business and not everything you find is fit to eat or drink even once you've got it. And it is very easy to get lost! Tread warily if you must go there at all.

Finally, there's an extensive Bestiary. This covers a lot of critters that you probably don't want to meet, complete with all the information the Loremaster needs to run them when you do... and illustrations, which unfortunately are not arranged in such a way as to facilitate showing them to your players. An appendix provides a detailed overview map to supplement the individual regional ones scattered throughout the text.

Overall, the wealth of detail here really makes the place come to life, and should help you provide the same service to your players as their characters travels take them through these parts. And if anyone wants to come from here, there are a few appropriate Heroic Cultures from which to choose. Highly recommended, especially if you are running The Darkening of Mirkwood campaign arc.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Gary I. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/12/2014 01:10:52

An outstanding sourcebook packed with enough information to bring every region of the Wild to life and build the atmosphere of awe. sadness and tension that marks the Tolkein setting. Maps are helpful, lots and lots of locations are presented from the merely interesting to the highly significant. I love the additional activities for the Fellowship phase.

This is probably essential to own if you want to get the most of TOR and is an important companion to playing the Darkening of Mirkwood campaign.

Very well written, nice artwork and obviously exhaustive research combine into a very compelling release.

For 5 stars, the material would have included one or two items of note - I know that magic is rare and different in Middle Earth, but that makes it perhaps more important to have the odd item available.

Thoroughly recommend this is you are going to play a TOR campaign, or even if you're just a huge Tolkein fan.

I thought this was excellent value as a PDF, certainly, and the amount of information in here is a lot more than I was expecting for the price.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Andrew L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/02/2013 17:14:23

THE HEART OF THE WILD finally began shipping in the U.S. from the warehouse by the end of September. I received my copy on Tuesday, October 1, and I've been looking it over ever since. I received the PDF file a couple of weeks ago, so I knew that the product was a beautiful and well-organized resource for THE ONE RING rpg. The physical book is a gorgeous 128-page hardcover, nicely bound that should stand up to many gaming sessions. Some entries have been deliberately left a bit sketchy, to be filled in later in the yet-to-be-published The Darkening of Mirkwood campaign book. What is here is valuable information on Mirkwood Forest and the Vales of Anduin for any TOR Loremaster.

The book is well-designed. The cover and interior art is both lovely and atmospheric, conveying well the tone of the regions and peoples covered. Recommended to all TOR Loremasters.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Peter C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/18/2013 15:16:32

I have bought every supplement for every LOTR game ever produced in the RPG world - yes really. In my opinion, ICE set the standard with their many supplements, but I have to say that this product really has opened up an exciting new prospect for LOTR RPG fans. It's well written, full of great ideas and great background material. It doesn't matter what system you play, if you love middle-earth you'll love this book. I really liked the ideas, the depth and the production. It's a great read, I enjoyed it immensely.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Thomas A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2013 12:25:26

This is a great product. The entire body of work is incredibly well done, and we're kicking off our first full campaign tomorrow in fact. Heart of the Wild is an indispensable part of the material, and you'll want to have it for your campaign.

In preparation, I've re-read The Hobbit (twice), and am re-reading LOTR now, and its great when you can point to various points in the plot and relate them to specific game mechanics, and everything makes sense.

I got hooked on LOTR in 1976, and have been a huge fan ever since. I've always tried every LOTR game that's been published, and while each one has had it's strong points, and each one was a genuine attempt to allow role-playing in Middle Earth, this one really hits it.

There are some fantastic fan-generated material out there, as well as some free supplemental aids from the publisher that will help as well, including charts, indices, etc.

Heart of the Wild is what brought me to RPGNow, because I purchased all the hardcopy editions, but Heart of the Wild was not in stock, and I was not able to find it anywhere. I don't know why I didn't think of this site first, but in any case, I've purchased all the hardcopy editions I could, plus the softcopies, so I can have both the books (which have their advantages) plus the ability to keep the files on my laptop as well while we're playing.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Shane I. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2013 12:20:38

"The Heart of the Wild" is a beautiful and immensely useful supplement. It's packed with characters, locations, subcultures and monsters that flesh out and make sense of what otherwise look like great empty expanses of Wilderland. And like "The One Ring," it hews diligently to the themes and tones of Tolkien's writing and ideas. Nothing here feels out of place, or like a generic fantasy monster or trapping; everything feels exactly right for Middle-earth. "The Heart of the Wild" is a gorgeous and essential resource for "One Ring" campaigns.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Bryan B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/26/2013 13:23:59

C7 continues to impress with this stunning region book detailing the area East of the Misty Mountains, including the Anduin Vales and Mirkwood. The book is beautiful; the artwork is gorgeous (like all of the art for The One Ring). The book is well organized, comprised of an Introduction, a section of the lands surrounding the river, a section on Mirkwood, and a section detailing new monsters to use in your campaign.

The sections on the River lands and the Forest are subdivided into smaller sections, each including details surrounding the history, folk, wildlife and notable personalities and places of these lands. These sections are also peppered with detailed LM maps, new Fellowship Phase Undertakings, variant Backgrounds, and new Cultural Blessings and Virtues. You'll also find dozens (nay, HUNDREDS) of adventure seeds as well as a detailed map and description of Dol Guldur.

The new monsters are great. They fit well with the source material and some even expand upon what has come before. My favorite are some of the named, unique creatures, including Bolg's son, Gorgol, and Nagrhaw, Chief of the Wargs. And, of course, the art is LOVELY!

I found the book to be a delight to read and only after the first few minutes my mind was being filled with many new and exciting adventure ideas. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was how well much of the content from Tales from Wilderland was integrated into and expanded upon in Heart of the Wild (the abandoned town of Haycombe and "Elendil's Camp" for example). The writing style is consistent with the other TOR books, as is the presentation. A DETAILED index and an updated LM's map (split over two pages at the end of the book) round out the book.

This is an amazing sourcebook for an even more amazing RPG. Kudos to C7 and crew for continuing to surpass my expectations!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The One Ring - The Heart of the Wild
Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment Ltd.
by Alexander L. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 07/23/2013 06:52:53

Originally published at: http://diehardgamefan.com/2013/07/23/tabletop-review-the-one-ring-the-heart-of-the-wild/

First off : I need to clarify that I am doing a review of the PDF version of the product rather than the physical copy. Now, products for The One Ring have been slower than anticipated so far, with Adventures Over The Edge Of The Wild (Main Rules), Tales From The Wilderland, and the combined Loremaster’s Screen/Lake Town combo preceding it. This makes The Heart of the Wild the fourth release.

For those that are not aware, The One Ring is the latest in a series of roleplaying games that have directly allowed players to explore Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. The previous games (Middle Earth Role Playing by Iron Crown Enterprises and Deciphers’ short lived Lord Of The Rings) each had their own take on the setting, and were met with some acclaim by fans of the books. Unfortunately, the edition released by Decipher never really got off the ground, but did show some promise. After the lapse of the license, Cubicle 7 picked up the reins and released the new rules set back in August 2011, with a tentative release schedule that was very ambitious considering the size of the company, and one that it couldn’t both maintain and keep the quality of. For myself though, I really would prefer one excellent release to several poorer ones.

So, how does this stack up and what is it all about ?

Well, The Heart of the Wild is a sourcebook rather than a campaign or series of adventures. It details the area of Middle-Earth known as Mirkwood and its immediate surrounding area in some considerable depth. It offers new options to players and introduces some fresh Fellowship Phase actions for the environ as well. It is intended as a companion to The Darkening of Mirkwood, a forthcoming Campaign, but is usable in its own right.

First impressions : Like all the other releases, The Heart of the Wild looks gorgeous. Cubicle 7 really excels with presentation and layout. Most other companies should look to them and use them as a benchmark for their own products. The background texture to the pages enhances rather than detracts from the content. The colours used are easy on the eyes, as is the font, and the art fits the setting perfectly. On PDF, it is truly a very attractive looking book, and I am sure the hardcopy with the high grade paper that Cubicle 7 uses for this product line will push the production standard up even higher.

Heading more in-depth now : The book consists of 128 pages, including covers, which is split into the obligatory Introduction, two gazetteers: The Lands of the River and The Greatest of the Forests; a bestiary entitled Monsters of the Wild and, finally, an Appendix. I will cover each of these separately.

The Introduction is just that. It consists of two pages and explains how to use the book. I must say, though, that the accompanying artwork below the text really does set the scene in itself. It depicts an Adventuring Party looking out over Mirkwood itself.

The two gazetteers break each larger area down into more sizable chunks and provide a general overview of the terrain, then go into more detail about the locale, giving information about the features, flora and fauna to be found, notable NPC’s that may be encountered as well as specific locations.

The first of the the two gazetteers, The Lands of the River, covers the area to the west of Mirkwood: The valley of the river Anduin. After the overview and history of the area, it is separated into eleven separate regions, each laid out in the format previously stated. The text is crisp and to the point, yet entertaining. You can certainly see Gareth Hanrahan’s style of writing coming to the fore. In addition to the standard content, there are several sidebars that present adventure ideas in the form of snippets of additional information, such as one entitled “Forgotten Treasures” and another called “A Campfire Tale”. As well as these, a “new” set of player options are presented, including the option to play Woodmen of Mountain Hall and Wild Hobbits. Add into this a nice map of Beorn’s Hall and more background on the Eagles and you begin to realize the ambitious scope of what is a 128 page book.

From the river, it moves into Mirkwood itself: The Greatest of Forests. This section consists of eight geographic regions within the borders of the the forest, again following the same layout as that found in the preceding chapter. The history section here is very well researched and has taken Tolkien’s works and notes for the area and expanded on it in such a way to keep the flavour, and more importantly, the essence of Mirkwood intact. Side bars here cover the Elves of Mirkwood, presenting more options for them but not overpowering them, making them a “must play” race (which other game companies are wont to do with a new release), more adventure ideas and further background. The sections that really jumped out concerned the Elf Realm, Rhosgobel and Dol Guldur. I do need to say here that, although the maps for Rhosgobel and Dol Guldur are excellent, I found the map for the Elf City to be less so, and not to the same standard of the rest of the illustrations.

Next comes the Monsters of the Wild. These are excellent and worthy additions to the bestiary. Each is well written up, statted and illustrated, with a personal favourite of mine being the Wood-Wights. I will say there are enough variations on spiders here to give even the most stout-hearted fly nightmares.

Finally The Appendix, which is basically the map from the core rules but with the locations mentioned in the gazetters added on there, making life a bit easier for the Loremaster.

So, there we have it. To sum up: This is a lovely product and a great aid for Loremasters in running a game in the Mirkwood area. Players will find it less useful and reading it will remove a lot of the mystery for them, making their travels here less fun. The only part I can find fault with is the aforementioned map of the Elf City but even that is not bad by any stretch. Well done to the authors, artists, layout people and Cubicle 7. A superb release and well worth the wait.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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