Welcome to #TORsday, strangers. It’s time for a meeting, a rather important one, about Councils in The One Ring The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game.
In second edition, Councils replace Encounters as the most socially focused of the three primary adventuring activities (the other two being Combat and Journeys). Not every meeting is worthy of a Council — you can meet friendly folk at The Prancing Pony, negotiate with a wily trader, or question a suspicious stranger just by using the core skills and good roleplaying. But when the Company meets with the Great and the Good, their behaviour can influence those lords and ladies, causing them to render greater assistance or shoo away rude troublemakers.
To start a Council, the Company must define an objective: what do they want out of the powerful folks that they are about to meet? Then the Loremaster must determine the Resistance — how hard it will be to convince the targets that the Company’s objective is worthy of serious consideration. Many factors play into a Council’s Resistance, including prejudice, the Wisdom and Valour of the heroes, the preferences of the leader(s) and more.
During these opening moments, the Company can make Insight rolls to earn Company Dice and learn a little more about the current mood of the court. After that, the heroes must be introduced, either as a Company or using individual greetings. Introductory rolls don’t affect Resistance but instead help to determine who is able to speak on behalf of the heroes.
In the interaction phase, the spokesperson or the group deals with their objective and the concerns of the folks that they are meeting with. During this phase, each success reduces Resistance by 1; a Tengwar can be spent to further reduce Resistance but it can also be spent to increase the Quality of Success, meaning that instead of rushing the meeting along, the heroes have done something to impress their target or otherwise influence the course of events.
Should a Player-hero fail a roll, the first failure counts as a Simple Delay — the hero is temporarily ignored or fails to make their point in a convincing manner. The second failure is an Inconvenience — a diplomatic blunder requiring some effort at repair, often meaning that the hero will have to succeed at a skill roll and only then can further rolls be made to reduce Resistance. The third failure represents the end of the Council — the heroes have made a grave error in judgement and pushed too hard, or the leader has made up their mind and no further words will change it.
At the end of the Council, the Loremaster evaluates the Company. Did they fail the Council? Did they succeed but only in the most basic way? Or did they achieve great success and impress the leader into offering additional support? Councils are an important part of playing in Middle-earth, for the Great and the Good have much wisdom and aid to offer, if approached in the right way.
You can order both The Collector’s Edition of The One Ring The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game and the standard edition right now. We continue to be hard at work on the Second Edition and will have even more to show off very soon.
Hope everyone has a fantastic #TORsday,
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