The One Ring

By / September 24, 2012 / Dave

I played The One Ring.

I haven’t played a role playing game in about 5 or 6 years. Not because I didn’t want to, mainly because finding a regular group you can gel with isn’t easy. In my opinion a good role playing game is more about the group then the theme or system. When I was younger, playing mostly D&D and Shadowrun, I had a great group. My friend and roommate, at the time, Rich, had a  brother, Mike,  that worked at FASA as one of the developers of Shadowrun, his wife Sharon was one of the editors. They would host games fairly regularly and it was always a great time. The bonus being we would get to try out thing that might make it into the next expansion.

There are two factors that go into a good role playing session.

First, your GM has to know his stuff and by that, I mean the following: He has to be able to fluidly adjust to unexpected player choices and be able to steer players back on track without letting them know they are being guided. By knowing his stuff the GM can be flexible in the why a game system is setup and adjust the  player experience without being a rules lawyer. He has to be able to weave the scene without giving to much away and be willing to let players figure things out for themselves. He has to be a story teller. Our GM, Will, knows his stuff.

Second, the group must realize everyone is there for the same reason, to have a good time sharing the experience. While we may want our character/avatars to be all they can be, it’s not about them it’s about the group. Good players know how to help other players out and can take a good ribbing. A good sense of humor goes a long way. Good role playing is a lot like good improv.

Will, our GM, had the idea to put together a One Ring campaign that meets roughly twice a month until the release of  The Hobbit. He cleverly structured the game around regular players and drop-ins. Each session would last about 4 hours and would be a self contained chapter that contributes to an overarching storyline. So, if people were busy with other things and couldn’t make it, it was no problem, as well as if others wanted to drop in from time to time, again no problem.

Will gave us the option of having pre-generated characters or crafting our own. I opted for pre-gen, and let the fates decide. Marty and John took the time to truly craft their characters and that added a level of depth to the fellowship that was a bit lacking in my character. I’m still getting to know my character and hopfully will flesh him out over time. Paul and I played Wood Elves and and fate dice were against us for most of the session. I can’t count the number of time we each rolled the Eye of Sauron. Good times, good times… Just kidding, when it counted the Wood Elves  came through.

Will’s relaxed narrative style was excellent for crafting our fist adventure. Randy and Paul, from Quicksilver, brought great energy to their characters, particularly memorable was Randy’s take on his hobbit who’s level headed, down to earth approach was punctuated with moments of truly cinematic humor with bits of nail bitting suspense thrown in for good measure. Nathan’s character dealt out some truly gruesome moments during one of our run-ins with some thieving goblins. We all came through our adventure successfully, a bit worse for wear and bit more seasoned.

All in all, I’m digging the group. The One Ring has an interesting character development system and from what I can tell a fluid, story based, guided narrative, nuanced with dice.

It was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon and I’m looking forward to our next chapter.





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