Middle-Earth Adventures

Campfires, man. Magical.

Last time, I was working on a Landshut hack set in Tolkien’s universe of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. This time, I’m continuing my work after a couple of realizations (and some reading):

  1. The Mirkwood Campaign can only be mined for ideas at best. The “adventures” in there are very one-note or one-dimensional. That said, I’ve never run a campaign (in the traditional sense) out of a book. It seems very constricting for player decisions and GMs. The players in these campaigns are expected to play audience to the NPCs a lot. That’s high on my pet peeves list.
  2. My “countdown clock” mechanic was not getting any support from the book listed above. I was looking for some good “grim portents” like from Dungeon World, but I got jack squat.
  3. There’s a cool set of Region Guides for Rhovanion, Rivendell and The Lonely Mountain that are MUCH better than “campaign books.” These feel a lot more like the sandbox play I’m comfortable with, ala Hot Springs Island. They make for much better resources for me, the GM.

So, I changed the name to account for this “moving on from Mirkwood.” Now, it’s Middle-Earth Adventures. I have Red Ink Adventures, so why not make a habit to slap “adventures” onto everything I make? It’s one of my favorite words, after all. Onward!

This is version 0.2 of the game.

Edit: This is version 0.3 of the game. 🙂


Rolling the dice has changed. On a tie, simply reroll. I was convinced by someone I think is pretty neat to change that.

Gutted the”countdown clock” for a Mirkwood campaign. Reasons listed above.

‘Attribute math’ has changed. 10+ = high, 4- = low. That way, you have a 1-in-6 of a high and low attribute. With six attributes, you have the theoretical probability of getting one of each. That feels nice to me.

“Rations” are changed to “supplies.” Now it’s food and water. More on that next.

Ranged attacks have been differentiated from melee ones. It boils down to the fact that there’s no reason to use melee when ranged attacks are clearly better. If you lose a melee roll, you get whacked back. If you lose a ranged roll… Nothing? So I added a simple ammo system. That system ended up feeding into how dice rolls, supplies, and adventuring gear work: When a player is not the winner [of a dice roll], they may lose one use of a resource, like arrows, supplies, or adventuring gear as a consequence. It might seem obvious, but I like making it an explicit rule in the game. Notice, this partially solves the “keep trying when fail.” Failed to pick the lock? Your pick breaks, lose 1 adventuring gear. Failed that navigation roll? Lose 1 supply as you track your way back to the trail. Failed that ranged attack? Lose 1 arrow.

Bulky items and encumbrance have been changed, making resource management a little more involved, but not much. Adventuring gear and supplies each take up slots now, as do the newly added “arrows.”

Healing. That’s important. It also makes reference to Sanctuaries, of which there are many in Middle-Earth.

Simplified the “rewards” of the game. I mean that in the abstract sense. It’s the thing that answers “What do we get for continued play? What are we aiming for.” Rewards and Virtues from martial and wise cultures, respectively. Less wordy, for sure.

Even with all these changes, the game is still only one page. I’m content with that as a good design goal.

Now I’m going to reread the Battle of the Five Armies and pretend to smoke a pipe. Later!

This is version 0.2 of the game.

Edit: This is version 0.3 of the game. 🙂

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