My Pendragon guide was very popular. One of my top three blog posts! So I’m doing more for other RPGs I love.
Thus, I present to you, Alan’s Unofficial (& Totally Biased) Essential The One Ring RPG Book Guide!
I adore The One Ring (also called TOR.) My love of Tolkien runs deep and nostalgic, and TOR captures everything I adore about Tolkien into a game that I consider near perfect. Cubicle 7 crushed it. Their team has made an amazing game that I’m always excited to buy and play.
I’ve divided these into categories, start with Must Buy, and getting all the way to Optionals. You can click on the titles or the pictures for links to the purchase site (all of them on Cubicle 7’s website). I’ll primarily focus on The One Ring Edition (not Adventures in Middle-Earth, but AEM is amazing!) because it’s both readily available in PDF and Print and because I’m wildly biased (again, my favorite Tolkien RPG ever).
Note, just because something isn’t “Must Buy” doesn’t mean I think it’s bad or don’t use it. Often the opposite! But if I am coming into the game, or recommending purchasing orders to folks, this is how I would recommend it.
The Core Rulebook: You have to always start with the corebook! Luckily, this scorebook is a 336 page tome full of gorgeous full-color art, easy to read and learn rules, and everything you need to play!
Bestiary, pregens, a small adventure, storytelling advice. It’s pretty much spot on and perfect!
The Dice Set: While the dice set is not officially required, I really like having the official dice for this game. They make play much smoother, it’s easier to teach, and it generally improves the experience.
I consider them a must buy if you’re going to play TOR. You won’t go wrong.
The Adventurer’s Companion: Us roleplaying fanatics love our options, and The Adventurer’s Guide gives us so many more options. A useful book if you want to expand outside of the core options, this book is a must have at any table.
It also includes some unique Fellowship Phase options, and some extra rules to add a bit more crunch and character development to the very streamlined ruleset.
It also has a catalog of all the Fellowship options up to that point, and it adds Generational Play (a favorite of mine design-wise.) Yes please.
BEST OPTIONS TO BUY FOR MORE AWESOME
If you want to add more awesome to your already awesome The One Ring game nights, these books will serve you nicely. I have all of them and regularly use them all.
Journeys & Maps: I love this product. Big, folded maps that I can lay on the table and teach folks with, or show their travels and journeys? Yeah, this is a win.
With the beautifully thought-out travel rules in the core, I consider this product just below Must Have, and it’s an absolutely valuable resource at my table.
The only real issue is that future & new maps aren’t/won’t be in it. Here’s hoping for a Journeys & Maps II or similar product.
The Loremaster’s Screen: Well, how are you going to go wrong with a Loremaster’s Screen for TOR? The back end of it is fantastic, with tons of useful rules information and guides to playing.
Plus as a bonus, you get the Lake-Town rules (for playing Men of the Lake) and some new Fellowship options.
Unfortunately (kinda?), those are reprinted in The Adventurer’s Companion, so if you aren’t the sort of LM who wants a screen, you might not find full value in this. It’s still beautiful, and I still consider it useful, but I don’t consider it a must have.
The Heart of the Wild: This book introduces River Hobbits, so it’s pretty much perfect from the get-go!
However, it also adds a lot more detail to the Wilderland (the default locale in the corebook), more enemies, more Cultures, and lots more excellent options, like those above.
However, lots of this book (new cultures, added Fellowship phase options) is repeated in The Adventurer’s Guide, so it’s hard to justify on the table at times (for me.)
MORE AWESOME OPTIONS (BUT LESS ESSENTIAL THAN ABOVE!)
So, this is where it gets weird. These options are pretty great! And I love and use them all, but they’re a bit more…precise in what you might want or need.
The books below expand the core experience out of the Wilderlands (the area around The Lonely Mountain) and add new cultures and locales to the game.
However, if you’re not planning to travel to these locations in the game, nor play a culture from there, they are relatively superfluous in your game.
Instead of going over which is in each of these in particular, I’m going to simply show you what they are, and give you a brief overview of how these are all set up.
- They generally introduce a new culture or two.
- They introduce specific rules for that culture (such as Horses for Rohan, Dragons & Dwarven Artifacts for Erebor, etc.)
- They add a new map and new pregenerated characters.
The One Ring has oodles of adventures. Just so many. And they’re all great. But if you don’t do premade adventures, they’re less useful.
So, mileage might vary! Most of the adventure books are tied to one of the locale expansions above (Tales from the Wilderland being tied to the Corebook, and The Darkening of Mirkwood being stand alone.)