lovecraftfan
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New to Free League - TOR questions

Tue 24 Jan 2023, 15:15

Hi Everyone,

Long time role-player (35 years), mostly game master actually. My group is very much into story telling and mystery, investigation-driven games. To put it in perspective, I ran a year-long Call of Cthulhu campaign a few years back and there were only 4 combats in total, over 25+ games. With that in mind, from what I've seen, it seems that TOR 2nd edition would suit my needs more than the upcoming LOTR 5e adaptation. My questions are -

1. Now that there is a LOTR 5e game incoming, will the company continue releasing adventure books and source material for TOR 2nd edition, or will it get pushed aside in favour of the newer 5e title, or, is there an intention to support both games? Not sure if this has been addressed yet.

2. Assuming I go with TOR (leaning that way), I was going to buy the 2nd edition Core Rulebook and Ruins of the Lost Realm. But where does the starter set fit in? I think it focuses on players running hobbit characters in and around the Shire, and there's a map, but how much redundancy is there (if any) between this boxed set and the two hardcover books?

3. Finally, I've never played a game by Free League before. How "crunchy" are the rules? I like rules with lots of skills and background (mostly for flavour) but also because I like focusing the players on solving problems and exploring, travelling, experiencing their surroundings. A lot of rpgs (for obvious reasons) really put combat front and centre, whereas I'm looking for a ruleset that makes activities like trying to understand an ancient tome or finding one's way through the wilderness just as exciting as being in a fight. If that made any sense lol.

Thanks in advance for any clarification. Have to say, this game seems to really be the LOTR game I was looking for.
 
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Fenhorn
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Re: New to Free League - TOR questions

Tue 24 Jan 2023, 15:44

1. Now that there is a LOTR 5e game incoming, will the company continue releasing adventure books and source material for TOR 2nd edition, or will it get pushed aside in favour of the newer 5e title, or, is there an intention to support both games? Not sure if this has been addressed yet.
Books and supplements will be written for TOR 2E first and then they are converted to the 5E version (also I don't know how or if the 5E will be affected by the WotC decisions regarding a new OGL).

2. Assuming I go with TOR (leaning that way), I was going to buy the 2nd edition Core Rulebook and Ruins of the Lost Realm. But where does the starter set fit in? I think it focuses on players running hobbit characters in and around the Shire, and there's a map, but how much redundancy is there (if any) between this boxed set and the two hardcover books?
The starter set includes maps, dice and cards so it may be a good buy for that reason besides that it includes scenarios, pregens and the Shire setting.

3. Finally, I've never played a game by Free League before. How "crunchy" are the rules? I like rules with lots of skills and background (mostly for flavour) but also because I like focusing the players on solving problems and exploring, travelling, experiencing their surroundings. A lot of rpgs (for obvious reasons) really put combat front and centre, whereas I'm looking for a ruleset that makes activities like trying to understand an ancient tome or finding one's way through the wilderness just as exciting as being in a fight. If that made any sense lol.
TOR 2E is not related to any other gamer that FL have done. It is made by Sophisticated Games (that made TOR 1E) and published by FL. I know to little to judge if it is crunchy or not (since I don't own the game myself, I have only seen some YT streams of it).
“Thanks for noticin' me.” - Eeyore
 
Dunheved
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Re: New to Free League - TOR questions

Tue 24 Jan 2023, 16:52

Me: Long term TOR1e Player and Loremaster (LM = GM of course). I did a little face to face stuff a long time ago, and then much more online in PBP games in recent years.
I went all in for TOR2e when the original publisher (Cubicle7) who worked with the designers at Sophicated Games for many years, was then switched to Free League in the past two years.

1. TOR1e was always published first, and that material was then ported across into the old AiME game set - which was using Dungeons& Dragons 5e/ WoTC rules set (the OGL thing) . TOR1e was produced about 6 to 8 months in advance of the AiME (at least). (AiME is Adventures in Middle Earth.) I got the Rule set for these, and some pdfs of the material. Never really did it, as it confirmed that DnD stuff was not my thing.
It's a leap of faith to say that TOR2e will follow the same pattern - but one based on a lot of experience of that pattern in TOR1e. Its the same great design team at Sophisticated Games, and everything that they have said they would do: they have. (Well, within reason.. Moria is still in the pipeline from way back in TOR1e; Gondor in 1e was coming until it suffered in the events that ended that range, and 2e has mentioned nothing firm about this region.) I have no reasonable doubt that TOR2e will be the front runner again and that LOTRRPG stuff will follow along a little while later. If TOR2e doesn't make it first, LOTRRPG beat it to the punch.

2. The Starter Set (yes I have that too - completist collector, me)? Well, it is a little soft. In years to come I hope it gets an upgrade to include introductory rules for Journeys and a few other things that were left out, and some harder adventures too. It is a bit cute - and seems ideal for younger players. The resources (maps etc) are very nice, and you do get a set of dice: by now they are probably not the misprinted ones. But you really don't need the Starter Set, unless you want a nice background book on the Shire and its localities. It's not redundant to my mind. But not that relevant either: real Adventure is OUTSIDE the Shire.

3. TOR2e was sold as being a streamlined version of TOR1e. (which means that old material - if you can get it is very easy to customise into TOR2e). One of the tenets here is that rolling dice is expected to be only done if absolutely needed, and if there is Risk of trouble with any Fail. My personal opinion is that the streamlining ethic has been a little too heavily applied. I don't mind dice rolling. I enjoy the nuances in TOR1e that many of the forumites say TOR2e has improved on: for me TOR2e is merely a different, but familiar, game (rather than better). But there have been improvements as well. Travel in TOR1e was tedious really, and uninspiring.
Crunchy Rules? I think most would suggest that is not the direction of TOR2e. "Rules - lite" is the perceived intention.
But, How Crunchy is this for you?
There are 18 Common Skills for out of Combat gameing (some can double up in Combat tasks as well); Characters seem to pick up two or three of the five Weapon type skills to use in Combat; and two further features are Valour & Wisdom for emotional game play. Anything not covered by these options.. well you are either going to Narrate it or House Rule it.
A significant Fight comes along approximately every other adventuring session, so you can reasonably expect less than half the narrative to be spent describing actual combat. Combat Skills slowly build in your career: and there is a very real threat of character death in play no matter how high a level you get too. This seems mainly because a character does not really change their Endurance (Hit Points) much as they develop. Only their Skills improve. Just about everything is a trade off - e.g. Choose great Armour, yes. But get Weary because of its load and perform worse. e.g. fight aggressively to hit your foe? But, oh dear, the foe hits you for often too! The rules LOOK simple and short, but the application of these choices/trade offs will probably surprise you as you play. Picking Virtues and Rewards is an early instance of this. The Rules aren't very crunchy really - there are only the really necessary tables printed up. But they certainly allow you to have detailed and intricate gameplay.


And one final thing - for me - there is nothing else even remotely close to gaming in Middle earth than TOR. The feel is as perfect as you can wish for. It has a great pedigree from TOR1e, and the TOR2e materials are absolutely top notch. These products are produced with love and care for Tolkien's world: and also sympathetic to the demands of its fan base. I will be buying it as long as it continues. I think it HAS to be the game that any Tolkien RPGer would want.
 
lovecraftfan
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Re: New to Free League - TOR questions

Tue 24 Jan 2023, 21:01

Thanks for the helpful responses. I just bought both books and the starter set.
 
rmagruder
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Re: New to Free League - TOR questions

Wed 25 Jan 2023, 19:53

I just got the bundle delivered yesterday which included the LM Screen, Starter Set and Core Rules. Quite happy I did.

The Starter set is excellent for young ones and beginners. It even 'turns off' the dying/death mechanic for the players so you can explore the Shire and ruleset without getting yourself killed (unless your LM decides to ignore those guidelines). Very innocent Hobbit-ey stuff in the starter set, but still worth getting because:

1) Not one, but TWO sets of the dice. Go price the One Ring dice sets online - the dice alone almost pay for the starter set!
2) GORGEOUS fold out 2-sided map...and unlike many systems these maps are BIG. The Shire map alone is frame-worthy.
3) The Shire booklet. 50 pages of all you could want to know about the Shire. Unless you just don't give a rip about the Shire, this is awesome.
4) The item and combat stance cards - VERY convenenient and helpful to use not only in the starter set but core rules (in fact 2 of the stances on the combat stance cards aren't even USED in the beginner rules, but they are on those cards with the intention of this helping you play the full game).

The LM screen is gorgeous and useful, and comes with a rather skimpy Rivendell pamphlet, but that's okay.

My almost 9 year old son is getting into DnD a bit, but thanks to WotC being....evil....I'm steering him here to The One Ring and he's loving his hobbity adventures, even when it's just me LM'ing for just him. (Nice to have a game that seems totally okay with just one LM and one player, but we're going to pull mom in!)

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