If like me, you find it hard to get a group of friends together for a games night then you are in luck. Free League Publishing has released a solo version of The One Ring RPG called The One Ring: Strider Mode.
Now I knew solo board games existed but I had never heard of solo TTRPGs (Tabletop Roleplaying games). So I was very interested to see how it all comes together as there is no GM to set the tone and story. Let us see how my brain got on trying to figure this out.
Who needs a Fellowship?
Straight off the bat, Strider Mode gives you a rundown on what it is all about and how solo roleplaying works. This was a great start as I was a complete novice. Going into this and needed all the help I could get.
In Strider Mode there is no Loremaster, you choose who and what you do by a series of tables and dice rolls. In this game, there are three tables, the telling table, the lore table, and The Fortune and Ill-fortune tables. Each table helps you get the answers you will need to further your adventures.
Just like in the core game itself you have the Adventuring phase and Fellowship phase. Obviously, these differ in Strider Mode and the rules are modified to reflect that you are alone and not in a group. In the Adventuring phase for example there are no roles assigned during journeys instead you react to situations as they happen. The Fellowship phase is relatively the same, you will use this time to rest, heal or talk with your Patron.
Aragon… Get the tables
The hardest thing I found about Strider mode was all the tables involved. It took me a couple of re-reads and a Youtube video or two to finally get my head around things. It’s not that I am a slow learner I think it was more of the concept of solo playing a TTRPG that was stunting me.
I found the tables to be oracle-like and later found out that in the solo-RPG world that is what they are called. They do different things and really impact the story you are on. The Telling table is the broadest and is for mainly yes or no questions. Roll 6 or higher for a yes etc… The lore table is a bit more complex. It has twelve tables with three columns (Action, Aspect, and Focus) that all add to your scene. The Fortune and Ill-Fortune Tables are used to push the events around you in different directions. If you roll either the Gandalf Rune or the Eye of Sauron when resolving a skill check, you can reference these tables to see what else contributed to your positive or negative luck.
If you really think about it, it is strange. You pretty much just sit there with a pen, paper, some dice, and your imagination and that’s it. I don’t know why it seemed alien to me. In my teens, I was really into “Choose your own adventure” books. I would spend hours reading and adventuring especially in the world Joe Denver created in his Lone Wolf series. So don’t let all the tables put you off trying this out.
Off we go
Strider Mode is another beautiful piece to have in your Lord of the Rings collection, especially if you already have the One Ring 2nd edition. Just as with One Ring the layout and artwork are top-notch. The whole thing screams Tolkien. At twenty-seven pages it’s well worth the €5.00. I think they missed a trick with only selling it digitally on PDF, I would have loved a physical copy to go with the complete One Ring box. If you want to see what The One Ring is like, please check out my review here.