Roll for Ragnarok

Roll for Ragnarok

Thrilling tales from the gaming table!

The One Ring — A Tale of Years

The One RingThe One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild is a tabletop roleplaying game published by Cubicle 7 Entertainment. It features J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth in the years just after the fall of Smaug and the adventures of The Hobbit, decades before the War of the Ring. The designer, Francesco Nepitello, very deliberately crafted a set of rules that evoke the character of Tolkien’s tales and the cultures and characters that he described. It produces well-rounded characters and adventures that feel as though they perfectly belong in Middle-earth. My friends and I adore this game. We dabble in all kinds of games, usually for short stretches, but we’ve come back to The One Ring more than any other.

This Tale of Years follows the adventures of Gismund of Dale, the elf Caranthir of the Woodland Realm, the hobbit brothers Kester and Falco Proudfoot, and (later) the dwarves Beli and Frerin of the Lonely Mountain. I had a joyous time playing the hobbit Kester Proudfoot; when I ran adventures as game master (or rather as Lore Master), Kester stayed home or stayed in the background.

2941 — The Fall of Smaug

Bilbo Baggins of the Shire joined Gandalf the Grey, Thorin Oakenshield and a dozen other dwarves in a quest to drive the dragon Smaug from the dwarves’ home in the Lonely Mountain. Bard the Bowman of Laketown, of the line of Girion, slew the dragon and was proclaimed king of the renewed land of Dale. Bard and Thranduil, king of the elves, nearly came to battle with the dwarves over the grim costs of the dragon’s depradations, but an attack by goblins and wargs forced them to form an alliance which lasted beyond the Battle of the Five Armies.

2946 — Bilbo’s Cousins

Gismund, a young smith and soldier of Dale, and Caranthir, an elf of the Woodland Realm, befriended Falco and Kester Proudfoot, young hobbit brothers from the Shire. The Proudfeet had journeyed to Esgaroth with dwarven merchants after hearing Bilbo Baggins’ tales of adventure and being gripped by wanderlust.

Summer — The Marsh Bell
The inquisitive Proudfoot brothers heard a rumor that Glóin the dwarf needed explorers for a difficult errand and they volunteered themselves and their new friends. They rescued Balin the dwarf and his Glóin’s brother Óin from monster-infested swamp ruins.

2947 — Across the Wild and Across Again

The companions made two long treks across the breadth of Rhovanion, from Esgaroth to the Misty Mountains and back, and then all over again, encountering dangerous adventures along the way.

Spring-Summer — The Mountain Shade
The company of adventurers went on an expedition for Snorri the royal archivist of Dale. After befriending Beorn on their journey they uncovered the haunted tomb of a long-forgotten mountain chief. They traveled across Wilderland to consult with Radagast the Brown and went into the Misty Mountains to meet the Woodmen of Mountain Hall. They bestowed the ghost’s legacy upon a young Woodman named Wulfred, and finally returned to Dale with what they’d learned, bringing Wulfred along to meet King Bard.

Summer-Fall — The Wood-Witch and the Wolf-King
The company traveled with Wulfred back to Mountain Hall. Along the way they were hunted by goblins and wolves who had begun to gather in force around northern Woodman villages. Taking word of the incursions north they fought to defend Woodman Town, defeated a creature of the Necromancer who was commanding the wolves and goblins, and faced a deadly crone from the black depths of the forest.

Fall — Of Leaves and Stewed Hobbit
Returning from the mountains, the adventurers were surprised to discover a hobbit family had established a little inn on the north-south road north of the Old Forest Road. The hobbits had recently lost a great deal of money and goods to goblin bandits, not to mention their cousin who was bringing the goods from the Shire. The adventurers recovered the loot from the goblins and brought the cousin home safe. Finally they returned to Esgaroth.

2948 — To the Mountains and Back

The brothers Falco and Kester convinced their friends Caranthir and Gismund — recently made a King’s Man by Bard — to journey with them to the Shire to buy goods, particularly their beloved pipeweed, and bring them back to Esgaroth to trade. They joined with a company of dwarves and headed west.

Spring — Kinstrife and Dark Tidings
The company made its way to the land of the Beornings, where they helped a struggling village defeat an ambitious bandit gang and thus strengthened their friendship with Beorn and his people.

Spring — Throne of Stone
Traveling west across the Misty Mountains, the company encountered a great eagle, a tribe of goblin bandits, and a wounded elf of Rivendell, who had been accosted by stone giants who had seized two of his brethren. The adventurers rescued the missing elves — actually an elf and a young man who traveled with the two elf twin brothers — and escorted them back to Rivendell safely.

Summer — In the Shire
The company made their way across Eriador through Bree to the Shire — slaying a pair of stone-trolls along the way — and visited the hobbits’ homeland. Kester and Falco were rather scandalous, returning home from adventures with a pair of great warriors for company, but their free ways with the great deal of treasure that they had accumulated over the past couple of years made up for that in most eyes. Kester and Falco began building an expansive hobbit-hole of their very own and Falco began casting his eyes on potential mates for courting. They befriended the Master of Buckland, made a trade arrangement with the mayor at Michel Delving, and Kester and Falco brought their cousin Bilbo in as an investor in their venture.

Fall — The Brother Grim
Accompanied by dwarf traders the company returned eastward with wagons laden with goods. In the Misty Mountains they encountered a battered, bedraggled dwarf named Borin Grimbeard, the sole survivor of a clan who had been attacked by goblins. They helped him recover some of the stolen goods and the body of one of his brothers in exchange for part of the loot, fighting dozens of goblins in an abandoned dwarf fortress.

Fall-Winter — The Yule Hunt
As the Proudfoot brothers prepared to host a Yule feast at their house in Esgaroth, a friend went missing in an ill-advised hunting expedition. The adventurers and one of their dwarf friends went into Mirkwood on a rescue mission and fought their way out of a nest of terrifying spiders.

2949 — Shades of Wood and Stone

Kester and Falco became more and more busy with their trading, selling pipeweed from the Shire to the men of Dale and Esgaroth and to the dwarves Under the Mountain while Gismund enjoyed the status he had acquired in his heroics of the last few years.

Spring — The Hare and the Hill-Giant
Gismund was appointed marshal and defender of a section of farmland in the lands surrounding Dale. He took up residence and began working with his family and friends to repair the traditional manor and they joined the farmers in a celebratory hare-hunt. They encountered a hill-troll family that had moved into the area to prey on the Dale-landers, and killed the trolls in battles at the village and at the trolls’ lair.

Spring — Letters Home
Gandalf the Grey and Balin the Dwarf departed Esgaroth to visit Bilbo Baggins in the Shire, carrying letters from Kester and Falco to their cousin Bilbo and their other many friends and relations back home.

Summer — Don’t Leave the Path!
Theodore Took, cousin to Kester and Falco Proudfoot, unexpectedly arrived from the Shire. While the Proudfeet ran the Old Road Trading Company, Theodore accompanied Gismund and Caranthir on an expedition escorting a trader west on the Elf-path through Mirkwood. They passed through the Elvenking’s halls, where Gismund delivered greetings from King Bard to King Thranduil without too much embarrassment. On the hazardous trek through Mirkwood they eluded spiders and narrowly escaped the grasping vines and roots of a grove of black-hearted trees. The company at last arrived at the Elf Gate and then came to the hobbit-run Easterly Inn and the lands of the Beornings.

Autumn — Those Who Tarry No Longer
Caranthir of the Woodland Realm, Gismund of Dale, and Theodore Took of the Shire parted ways with their trader friend and rested a while at the Easterly Inn, near the Elf Gate of Mirkwood, and longer at the house of Beorn. Under the eaves of Mirkwood, following the tracks of an orc band, they met an expedition of elves. The companions agreed to escort to the High Pass a great Noldorin lady of Thranduil’s court while the other elves pursued the orcs. The great lady was making her last journey across Middle-earth to seek the Grey Havens. Over the next week or so she and the companions crossed the Anduin and approached the Misty Mountains, but they were pursued by other orc bands. One dauntingly large band cornered them in the rocks and hills and fought desperately to overwhelm the companions and seize the lady. The companions held them off heroically long into the night until wounds and exhaustion threatened to extinguish their hopes — but  unexpected allies brought them away to safety on the High Pass where they were to meet the lady’s kin. There a ranging Woodmen warrior called the Red Stag joined them and aided them. Overnight, an evil spirit assailed the party and the companions suffered a dream of ancient tragedies while the lady strove with the spirit in the waking world. Their hearts remained strong, and that helped the lady overcome the spirit and send it wailing in retreat as the sun rose over the mountains. The sons of Elrond came to guide the noble lady onward, and the companions departed with the blessings of the elves. They made their way to Mountain Hall to rest and heal over the winter.

2950 — The Gibbet King

The woodman called the Red Stag remained with Gismund of Dale, Caranthir of the Woodland Realm, and Theodore Took of the Shire over the winter in Mountain Hall. They planned to embark east for Esgaroth with the spring but events delayed them.

Spring — A Darkness In the Marshes
Before dawn on the first day of spring, Radagast the Brown found the companions in their guest house at Mountain Hall. He had tidings of growing evil across Wilderland — orcs and wolves and evil men at large in numbers not seen since the short-lived rise of the Wolf-king. The rumors pointed to a tower of ill repute called the Dwimmerhorn in the Gladden Fields. He asked the companions to investigate and bring word back to him or to Hartfast, the chief elder of Mountain Hall, who would send word to him. The company traveled south with a guide named Magric, a friendly trapper. In the Gladden swamps they were betrayed by Magric, fought off a patrol of orcs and wargs, and rescued a Woodman named Walar who had been enslaved in the Dwimmerhorn for months after being betrayed himself. The company brought Walar out of the swamps, pursued along the way, and reached Mountain Hall safely. Radagast returned and questioned the unhappy Woodman, who gave word of an evil spirit called the Gibbet King who ruled the Dwimmerhorn, and who possessed an artifact that he had yet to master, an enormous length of barbed chain that glowed with evil power. From the description, Caranthir and Radagast suspected it to be the long-lost Chain of Thangorodrim, forged by the dark powers of old to enslave dragons. Radagast departed again, thanking the companions and saying he might call on them again soon in Esgaroth. Before they departed, the companions fought off an incursion of powerful, stealthy orcs of the Dwimmerhorn sent to silence Walar. They nearly felled both Caranthir and the Red Stag, but courage and stout mail saved them and the companions killed all the orcs. A few quiet weeks later they set out for Esgaroth at last.

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