The One Ring RPG: Starting the campaign

Those stance/travel cards are great coasters!

Some days ago we had the “Session 0” of our upcoming The One Ring RPG campaign. Our game group consists of me (aka Loremaster) and three of my long time friends.

I want to run the game as “sandboxy” as possible, so for the 0 session I only had:

1. Bunch of Very Important Questions for the player-heroes to answer. The questions being: Why do you abandon your normal life and start adventuring together? What do you want to achieve as a group and as an individual? Where do you start your adventures? I wanted the player-heroes to have a total freedom on what they want to do, and what they want to achieve. There is also no patron to start with, but there might be one later in the campaign, if the player-heroes find one.

2. A list of eight rumors and story hooks, 1-3 sentences each. These gave the player-heroes some direction and ideas on how to start their adventures and where to go. The list included rumors about elves and orcs fighting near the Grey Havens, weird disappearances near the Rivendell and High Pass, shady tomb raiders in Fornost ruins, etc. Maximum length: one sheet of paper! Example here, but only in Finnish.

3. A map, of course. The One Ring Starter Set has a great super-sized map of Eriador. Player-heroes planned their adventures with the map, decided where they’d start, where to go, what to do, and so on.

4. “Campaign Brief” for the players. I prepared couple of visual slides to communicate the style and themes of the upcoming campaign. For this campaign I wanted to follow the vision of “post-apocalyptic” Middle-Earth, and the themes of forgetting, ruin and glories of the past. Example here, but this one is also only in Finnish.

The road goes ever on…

So, where did we land after session 0? Simply put, we made the characters, and the players made some preliminary choices about where the story will lead.

Meet the fellowship:

  • Svangerd, an 18-year old daughter of the Dale. She has seen the bitterness and grudges wars and destruction can create, so she wants to preach the gospel of unity between the free races of Middle-Earth.
  • Hafrar, a young dwarf from the Misty Mountains. Hafrar is looking for an ancient family heirloom that he knows will restore the glory days of both his family and the dwarfs of Misty Mountains.
  • Merilinor, a young Mirkwood elf with a broken heart. Merilinor listens to the wind, and he can hear the whispers about the increasing power of The Shadow all over Middle-Earth. He has left Mirkwood to gain information on how he can protect his home.

And how it will start? It’s early spring, 2965 TA, and our fellowship starts from Bree. They have all rested there during the longs months of the winter. All three have noticed that the others are good and likeminded folk, and they have decided to act against the Shadow together when the Spring finally dawns.

The goal of the fellowship: The fellowship has heard rumors that an orc commander called Kruz is gathering legions of orcs and other vile creatures under his banner on the slopes of Mt. Garm. Our valiant player-heroes have decided to head for the North and find out what is happening there. And maybe at the same time they can make some progress with their personal goals?

Let’s see how it goes! The first proper session is happening in four weeks.