It is spring in the year of 2946 of the Third Age, and the snows have just begun to thaw. As the rivers swell and the greenery returns to the land, there is a promise of peace in the air. For the five years that have passed since the Battle of the Five Armies and the end to the Desolation, there has been a relative peace in Rhovanion, and the Wilderland stirs only quietly. Prosperity has come with the riches of the Lonely Mountain, and already the cities and towns of Erebor, Dale, and Esgaroth have risen to heights anew.

Yet life in the Wilderland is ever like that on the edge of a knife, especially in the borderlands. A restless evil still lurks in the cold windswept Narrows of the Grey Mountains, and though the Orc and Goblin folk there were greatly lessened, they are not gone. The ambitions of Men and other folk as well drive them to seek to reach outwards, and tame the North for their own.

This is an Actual Play of a The One Ring tabletop game. While not as ambitious as my last attempt, I wanted to use this as an aid for tracking my own narrative, as it was one of the first tabletop games I’d been able to enjoy running for some time, having previously relied on online mediums, and it’s hard to imagine ever going back after all the love I put in and have got back with this game.

We run biweekly on Wednesday evenings, and I intend to update about one episode lagging behind each time.

TOR was actually an eye-opener for me: I never had much interest in Tolkien beyond the Hobbit which I loved as a child. Through it I’ve become much more involved and interested in the legendarium. I chose TOR for a medium because I wanted to run a game about small stories with big hearts, and folk heroes. My sensibilities coming into this game are deeply inspired by The Banner Saga, The 13th Warrior, and Legend.

It’s a game on the frontier_, about the sorrows and travails_ of the folk who live there, and the hope and beauty of Middle-Earth that thrives in the Wild even still. It’s a dark story, like the great stories, the ones that really mattered. Full of shadow and danger, and sometimes you don’t want to know the end because how could the end be happy?

How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? In the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.

Folk in these stories have lots of chances of turning back, only they don’t; they keep going. Because they are holding onto something: Home.

The Journey Home