Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Heart of the Wild - A Review

The Heart of the Wild is a resource book for The One Ring Roleplaying game that focuses on the Vales of the Anduin to the west of Mirkwood and also Mirkwood itself.  The One Ring has been releasing a series of resource books that cover different parts of Middle-Earth followed up by an adventure book that focuses on that same area.  The Darkening of Mirkwood is the adventure book that coincides with this book.  I'll cover The Darkening of Mirkwood in a separate review later on.

The Heart of the Wild is a hardcover color book that's 128 pages long.  The cover was done by Jon Hodgson and shows Radagast the Brown facing off against the Children of Shelob.  This is another beautiful book by Cubicle7 in the same style as the core rule-book.  The three main chapters are; The Lands of the River, The Greatest of Forests and Monsters of the Wild.  More after the break!

The first chapter covers the Vales of Gundabad, Grey Mountain Narrows, Gladden Fields and eight other zones around the Anduin River.  The second chapter covers eight regions inside of Mirkwood including the Woodland Realm, Southern Mirkwood and Dol Guldur. Each zone includes a map of the area with points of interest which are discussed in detail.

The Greatest of Forests - Mirkwood
Lets take a look at the Vales of Gundabad section as an example as to what you can expect from this book.  There is an overview followed by sections on the wildlife and inhabitants of that area.  These are followed by a list of notable characters that live in this region, including Gorgol son of Bolg, each of these characters has game stats included.  The last section is dedicated to notable places in the region and includes entries on The City of Eotheod, The Hill of Skulls and others.  Several sidebars include information on Forgotten Treasures, The Hill-men of Gundabad and their sorcery and there is also a new Fellowship Phase undertaking:  Taming the Steed of the Moon.  This is only one of the nineteen zones that are described in this book, its an amazing resource for anyone interested in playing The One Ring , so much so that I would probably consider it a necessary component!  There are characters, new Fellowship options, two new variant cultures, including the Woodmen of the Mountain Hall and the Hobbits of the Vale of Anduin and so much background information and so many adventure hooks it will make your head spin!

Monsters of the Wild features all new enemies to challenge your fellowship.  Included in the book are Basilisks, Forest Goblins, Gorgol son of Bolg, The New Great Goblin, Grim Hawks, the Hill-men of Gundabad, Hunter Spiders, Maghaz Orc Captain, Nagrhaw Chief of the Wargs, Wild Men of Mirkwood, Wood-Wights and my favorites the Children of Shelob.  Three of these beasties are described; Sarquin The Mother of All, also known as Fat Sarquin.  She is the mother of around half of the spiders of Mirkwood and is a huge bloated beast that feeds on her own when no other food is available.  Next is Tauler the Hunter, a patient and nimble hunter the the size of a small Oliphant.  Last but not least is Tyulqin the Weaver, able to weave webs of illusion, she also has a semi humanoid face making her terrible to behold.

There is an appendix at the back and a full map of the area covered by the book.  This is a very handy reference guide to have as a Loremaster.  If you're a player this book will be mostly useless to you with the exception of the new Fellowship Phase actions.  The Heart of the Wild was nominated for the 2014 Origin Award for Best RPG Supplement and for good reason, its packed with information and is full of beautiful art by Jon Hodgson and others.  If you own The One Ring you need this book!

Ruined Watchtower

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