The One Ring: The Shadow

Welcome back to another #TORsday! 

We have faced much on our adventure through second edition together, from starting out our heroes, meeting others , fighting the Enemy, travelling the wide world and even returning home . But now our tale must turn to darker things — we must speak of the Shadow, the great enemy whose defeat is impossible, unless the most unlikeliest of chances should occur.

Each age of Middle-earth has felt the dominion of a Dark Lord, an evil being relentless in its desire to dominate all the land. Heroes that stand against the Enemy must be especially vigilant, as in their desire to oppose it they may be tempted to make expedient decisions that darken their own hearts and allow the Enemy to corrupt them further.

By simply opposing Sauron, heroes will suffer corruption: whether by experiencing distressing events, adventuring in blighted places, or trying to achieve great ends and failing. Those that become frustrated and seek easier and more violent paths that promise power without bounds become corrupted even more easily: whether by committing despicable misdeeds, taking possession of corrupt treasure or artefacts, or by breaking their vows or manipulating others.

Each of these transgressions earns a hero Shadow points. If they persist, eventually, the hero will have their Shadow points equal or exceed their current Hope score and become Miserable. If a Miserable hero rolls the Eye of Sauron on the Feat Die, they have a bout of madness. Like Boromir trying to take the Ring from Frodo, they temporarily lose control of themselves and the Loremaster has the character perform some action that the hero will later bitterly regret. Once the hero has performed this deed, their Hope Bonus is permanently reduced by 1 and they gain a Flaw based on their Shadow Path, determined by their Calling.

Each Flaw gained is another step down the road that sees the player completely lose control of their character as they are corrupted by the Shadow. Heroes can have up to four Flaws before being completely lost. 

But heroes are not entirely at the mercy of the Shadow. First and foremost, they benefit from the presence of the Company, in the form of Fellowship. The Fellowship Rating is determined by your Company makeup, and some heroes have Virtues or Cultural Blessings that affect the total. At the beginning of a session, you distribute extra Hope points equal to the Fellowship Rating, distributed however the players agree upon. Heroes can also have a Fellowship Focus, a special member of the group that help them recover Hope (or cause them to gain Shadow if they come to harm). And each Calling has an Aspiration that can help recover Hope and a Weakness that can amplify Shadow gain.

Heroes must carefully manage their Hope and Shadow scores, being not too afraid to confront the Enemy but also not too willing to give into its evil ways. The Company may find themselves balanced on the edge of a knife, carefully and cautiously moving forward while being careful not to fall.Our editorial knives are out as we wrap up The One Ring – The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game. We’re very excited to show off the new game to everyone, but we want to make sure it is as perfect as possible. You can pre-order the standard edition or limited edition on the Cubicle 7 store, and will receive the PDF as soon as it is available. 

Keep an eye on our Twitter, and Facebook pages for more updates!

The One Ring, Middle-earth, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks or registered trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises and are used under license by Sophisticated Games Ltd and their respective licensees. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

Art by JG O’Donoghue and Federica Costantini.