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RPG Handouts in My Brown Lands Campaign & How to Make Them

In various ways and in different media, I prepared engaging handouts to flesh out my Middle-earth RPG campaign. | Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash
In various ways and in different media, I prepared engaging handouts to flesh out my Middle-earth RPG campaign. | Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash

What I love about running an RPG in Middle-earth is, among dozens of others, delving into its fascinating lore – and preparing handouts for sessions requires amiably a lot of that. Luckily, I had a lot of free time for both when I ran the Ghosts of the Noman-lands. Last time, the companions finally got on the trail of one of the intertwining threads. The Gondorian ruins were one piece of a puzzle. Solving it was the whole point of the campaign, so I was more than eager to drive it home. And right when I write this post, The One Ring RPG 2nd ed. Kickstarter fulfillment is taking place, so there’ll be no better time for discussing physical props in Middle-earth. See my three ways of making those – with some great tools!

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RPG Weather Generator – Harsh Summer in the Forbidden Lands

 Thanks to my custom weather generator for the Forbidden Lands RPG, the times when someone went missing while going off to look for water proved to be fun and challenging. And a threat of too much thirst adding a thrill to the game.
Thanks to my custom weather generator for the Forbidden Lands RPG, the times when someone went missing while going off to look for water proved to be fun and challenging. And a threat of too much thirst adding a thrill to the game. | Photo by Noe Araujo on Unsplash

When Mara, Bruni, and Hrod set out with Grulf into the Thynde Range, they were probably readying themselves to meet deadly monsters or hostile characters like warriors or sorcerers. B t I suppose that they didn’t expect who their primary opponent would be for a good part of the campaign. Harsh weather can be as let al and fearsome for RPG characters as demons and warlocks – and fun, too, if you’ve got a sound generator for it! Mine is a single thing that I’m most proud of.

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Shadow/Corruption mechanic in RPG – What is it and what it’s not? Foreshadowing in Emyn Muil

Corruption mechanic helps players role-play in RPG. Describe in just a handful of words what the characters feel as they see a terrible sight or regret a misdeed and you'll see how they flesh it out.
Corruption mechanic helps players role-play in RPG. Describe in just a handful of words what the characters feel as they see a terrible sight or regret a misdeed, and you’ll see how they flesh it out. | Photo by Claudia Ramírez on Unsplash

When I was running my first RPG in Middle-earth, I only vaguely understood the importance of the Corruption (or Shadow) mechanic. Along the way, I’ve learned how to use it and what shouldn’t I confuse it with. Though it was a bit bumpy way, the experience I gained in the session you’ll read about below helps me to GM almost every game I run now.

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Exploration in Sandbox – Following The Legend of Long-lost Fire Wyrm’s Arrows

I show efficient and engaging way to handle map exploration in my Forbidden Lands sandbox. Though the party haven't discovered a large part of Ravenland, the travel and survival were the main parts of our game.
I show the efficient and engaging way to handle map exploration in my Forbidden Lands sandbox. Though the party hasn’t discovered a large part of Ravenland, travel and survival were the main parts of our game.

The company of aspiring ruin pillagers sets out under Grulf the Ailander. The challenging mountains of the Thynde Range are closing in above the horizon. Thus, the central part of most sandbox games begins — the exploration. I love how the Forbidden Lands mechanics really bring that out. And with just a few additions of my own, it quickly became the primary plot-driver.

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Awesome Notes I Wrote for RPG Session – Scouting in the Dreary Hills

I wrote notes to make a tension-rising intro and make the party run from confrontation. While on the run, they were going to finally find a series of clues for the bigger picture. | Photo by Alejandro Luengo on Unsplash

The bodies lying on the ground, the groove around you, the long evening shades… – this whole situation suddenly seemed familiar to you. For a few heartbeats, you’re standing motionless, your thoughts whirling in an elusive feeling of danger. Something is… Caw! Caw! – the rook’s cry above reminds you of your dream. You turn to the way you’ve come, feeling icy sweat at the recollection of that scene. Soon, in just an instant, from around the creek’s turn, a hooded rider will burst out. In the falling silence, you subconsciously wait to hear the sound of hooves.
I had learned the hard lesson on mingling physical dangers to the characters with puzzles and hints for the players. For the start of our next RPG session, I wrote one of my best notes ever. The above is the first excerpt.

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How and Why Integrate Pre-made Module into Sandbox RPG – Arrival at the Hollows

While exploring a pre-made village or region, GM and players have a chance to interact with the game world, developing characters, plot, and integrating various parts of the sandbox for a satisfying campaign.
While exploring a pre-made village or region, GM and players have a chance to interact with the game world, developing characters, plot, and integrating various parts of the sandbox for a satisfying campaign. | Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

When Mara, Hrod, and Bruni descended from the foothills of Thynde Range, they saw a welcoming sight of a more civilized region. In the distance, smoke from the chimneys rose, and crop fields and pastures appeared after a short while. They were nearing the Hollows – a pre-made module I was about to integrate into my sandbox RPG campaign. However, I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t approach this creatively.

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