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Adventures in Middle-earth 5e

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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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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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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Players Ignore the Plot Hook – The Untold Story of My Campaign

Thinking about the plot hook that the players ignore could be frustrating. But you could find your way to take advantage of it .
Thinking about the plot hook that the players ignore could be frustrating. But you could find your way to take advantage of it and add a twist to the story. | Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

An eerie fog rises around as a little hamlet somewhere in the Noman-lands holds breath, preparing to defend against bandit raiders. From the mist, only one person emerges, speaking riddles. The tension is high, and everyone wonders what to make out of this. Or I supposed they would because the players seem not interested in the puzzles at all. What should GM do when the players ignore the plot hook?

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Do all roads lead to an inn? – cliché in RPG

Can using cliché such as meeting in an inn be beneficial in RPG?
Can using cliché such as meeting in an inn be beneficial in RPG? Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

Even at the world’s lowest backwater, there’s an inn, a bar or other gathering place of some sort. And in it, you will almost certainly find rumours, mysterious strangers and, most importantly, the main plot. It sounds irritatingly obvious or overused, isn’t it? Well, maybe. But I also disagree about using cliché themes in RPG.

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