When Free League Publishing announced they would release another Lord of the Rings TTRPG my interest was piqued. I had already reviewed their latest LotR game, The One Ring. Then I found out it would be with the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) 5th Edition rules, I was excited. I have been playing D&D for the last two years so a chance to play it set in my favourite fantasy setting, Middle Earth was too hard to pass up. So let me tell you what Lord of the Rings 5E

The One Ring for Dummies (including myself)

So what are the differences between Lord of the Rings 5E and 2022’s The One Ring I hear you ask? Well other than the rules switch and certain RPG language changes there are not many. If you are familiar with The One Ring then you can really jump into this. On the other hand, if you’re a D&D player you will have to learn certain mechanics like, Fellowship score, Shadow points, and dealing with the all-seeing Eye.

The language changes are small. The Dungeon Master is a Loremaster, the characters are Player-heroes, races are now Cultures, and classes are renamed to Callings. There are also phases called Adventuring and Fellowship. Adventuring is broken up into Combat, Council, and Journey. Combat is, well combat. Council is the interaction you and your party have with NPC etc… And Journey is the traveling aspect of your time. Fellowship is when the heroes have downtime during their adventure. Where they can chat and relax or when the adventure is over.

I see you!

Shadow points and The All-seeing Eye are great mechanics and immerse you further into Tolkien’s world. You or your party member gain these by doing or witnessing evil acts. You can remove your Shadow points by using “Hardened Will” as long as it doesn’t match their Wisdom score. Players who have a Shadow score equal to their Wisdom go a bit crazy. They give into dark urges like betrayal, fear, and rage. If the Shadow takes hold you develop permanent flaws, or even worse get removed from the party altogether, Boromir style.

Adding the All-Seeing Eye into your game takes it up a notch. The Loremaster keeps track of all that you and your party get up to. Depending on what mix of cultures your party has the eye might be more aware of them. The more magic you use or Shadow points you accumulate will all add to the Eye’s awareness, even rolling 1’s brings his glare upon you. If the party finishes the adventuring phase without the Eye becoming aware of them, they remain hidden. If the Eye sees you then your adventuring will get harder. Something might go wrong, you might be betrayed or the enemies get stronger to fight. Basically, be good and stay under the radar.

Pack Old Bill up and away you go

Just like The One Ring, the Lord of the Rings 5E starter is stacked with what you need to jump in. You get the Core Rulebook, Shire Adventures book, and Loremaster’s screen with Rivendell Compendium. All of these are beautifully laid out. The artwork as usual is amazing and would not be out of place in any Tolkien book.

The Core rule book and The Shire Adventures book are the perfect way to get your party on the road. All in all, if you like D&D and Lord of the Rings then this is a no-brainer to pick up. Free League has taken what was done in The One Ring and slimmed it down and made it accessible across the board. I will hopefully in the near future get some people together and get stuck into this. You can check out my One Ring review here

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About The Author

Dec is a married gamer of 4 kids and 3 dogs so how does he get the time to game? only the gods know

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