“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
We all know 2020 has been a disaster, every face to face gaming event cancelled since March. One such event was The One Ring Roadtrip, a gathering of friends who appreciate Tolkien’s work and indulge in a weekend of Middle Earth based gaming. Initially we had planned to muster in a pleasant cottage in the midlands in March, but early lock downs put an end to that. As we moved on through the year and on in to the summer there was a hope that we could run the event face to face in October, but again events conspired against us.
Like most events we decided to take it online and gathered on Roll20 and Meet last weekend. Unlike most online events which feel like a shadow of their analogue parents, The One Ring Roadtrip: Winterfilth 2020 came pretty damned close to the real thing. The quality of gaming was right up there, but of course we missed much of the social side; sitting around chatting between game sessions, eating and drinking out, talking about games until late into the night…
But the games themselves were just fantastic and the whole weekend felt like the big Tolkien fest it was meant to be.
Adventures in Middle Earth: Friday afternoon & evening
Middle Earth Second Age expert @Lintillaz had offered to run Adventures in Middle Earth. We’d played this earlier in the year, when our party of adventurers were chasing an evil Númenórean sorcerer who had kidnapped a friend of ours, intent on taking him back to that haunted isle. The finale coincided with an epic event that reshaped the land.
The adventure for this session, entitled Of Wolves and Wood, was set five years after the fall of Númenór with our party sent on a diplomatic mission. Of course diplomatic missions into the wilds of the White Mountains are never straightforward as this proved. In both adventures @Lintillaz painted a rich landscape of a land in conflict and local tribes with customs and ideals, a very different feel to gaming in the Third Age of Middle Earth, really excellent stuff.
The One Ring: Saturday and Sunday morning
A full day session from 10am to near 8pm, this time GM @OrlanthR took us to late in the Third Age of Middle Earth between the events of The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings. The system of choice was The One Ring, a fantastic system that really makes you feel like you are adventuring in Tolkien’s world.
We played two adventures from the Oaths of the Riddermark book seeing us adventure across the plain of Rohan. @OrlanthR set the scene of a land facing many threats, wild Dunlendings from the west, Orcs from the White Mountains and uncertainty about Saruman in his hold of Isengard. In our adventures covering the breadth of Rohan we found unlikely allies and met unanticipated foes, all in all brilliant stuff.
The weekend wrapped up with a shorter session on the Sunday morning and a plan to continue the campaign. Can’t wait to see how it turns out…
Cons with lots of games to choose from are fantastic and a great way to try out new games or play with different GMs, but in my opinion nothing matches a deeper dive into a single game/setting over a weekend. There is something really satisfying about creating a bigger story, seeing the characters develop. It’s not always easy to arrange, but if you can I’d highly recommend it.
Finally some thanks. First to the brilliant GM’s who put the time and effort to prepare and run the games: @Lintillaz and @OrlanthR. Next of course to the other players who are just brilliant: @oilpainting71 and @TonyLayter. And finally to our very understanding other halves who allowed us to indulge ourselves for a whole weekend…
On to The One Ring Roadtrip 2021
“Arise now, arise, Riders of Théoden!King Théoden
Dire deeds awake, dark it is eastward.
Let horse be bridled, horn be sounded!