I know that I've said that previous The One Ring books are amazing and fantastic and blah, blah, blah. I'm here to tell you that THIS book is is a standout among a whole line of rich products. This is an outstanding resource, there is so much history and world content, new rules, new enemies and new cultures that Rivendell stands above its predecessors. Rivendell is the first supplement that takes the players outside of the Wilderland region, you get to head over the Misty Mountains and explore Eastern Eriador which includes the ancient kingdoms of Arnor, Angmar and Eregion. The map covers from the Misty Mountains to the Brandywine Bridge. This opens up a whole new area with new challenges and lots of new ground to explore. Lets get into it, more after the break!
|Vale of Imladris|
The second chapter is called A History of Eriador and goes into great detail on the histories of Angmar and Arnor, how the Dunedain go into hiding, the rise of the Rangers, the Orc Wars, the Long Winter and an update as to what's been happening in recent years.
The Regions of Eastern Eriador chapter follows the same layout as The Heart of the Wild, Eriador is broken down region by region. Each region has wildlife, inhabitants, notable characters and notable locations detailed. There is a TON of information in this chapter, this book is a must buy if your fellowship is interested in crossing west of the Misty Mountains. Are they interested in exploring the Barrow-Downs? Want to trek to Carn Dum? This is the book for you! Though the map covers all the way to the Brandywine Bridge the area of Bree-Land is not covered. I read on the Cubicle7 forums that this would be covered in a future product, so no Men of Bree-Land culture in the Rivendell book. Boo to that!
|Lord of the Nazgul|
As we near the end of the book we next come across the Eye of Mordor rules. This is a mechanic that provides a way to determine the level of hostility the game world presents to the players. Eye Awareness is determined by the number of players in the group and their cultures, it is increased by rolling Eye's if Sauron on the feat die during play or by gaining Shadow points and using magic. It gets reset at the end of the adventuring phase. This number is compared to the Hunt Threshold, which is different depending on the region that the players are currently in, if the Eye Awareness exceeds the Hunt Threshold then the fellowship is Revealed, the Loremaster at this point does a Revelation Episode which changes the heroes predicament for the worst. This may be ill news, temptation, betrayal or some other dastardly event. Once this event is played out the Eye Awareness is reset. I like these rules, they add a small bit of record-keeping but help to keep the players aware that the enemy is always out there and looking to foul their best laid plans.
Both cultures also have other drawbacks, The Rangers of the North have the Allegiance of the Dunedain. Due to their long, solitary dedication to fighting the Shadow they do no easily share their obligation with others. This results in them being unable to use Fellowship points to recover lost Hope. The High Elves of Rivendell can never truly forget the taint of the shadow, they can never choose Heal Corruption during the fellowship phase but they are able to reduce their corruption score by distancing themselves from the world by choosing a common skill and drawing an eye next to it. The higher the skill rating the more corruption they reduce, the problem is when they again use that skill in the future they become overwhelmed with a sense of hopelessness if they roll an Eye of Sauron on the feat die. This results in an automatic gain of one Shadow point. I like these drawbacks, the Ranger of the North suffer from a melancholy that they cannot share with their fellowship due to their long war with the Shadow and the High Elves of Rivendell find themselves slowing retreating from Middle-Earth due to their inability to deal with evil in the world. Cool stuff and very thematic. Both cultures also include new backgrounds, rewards and virtues, skill lists and applicable names.
Overall this book is a must buy for anyone interested in The One Ring, its a great resource with great new rules, background information and new cultures. What more can you ask for! Next up will be a review of Ruins of the North, the adventure companion to this book. I'll leave you all with the beautiful cover piece created by Jon Hodgson. Enjoy!