Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Horse-Lords of Rohan - A Review

Heya folks!  Welcome to another The One Ring product review!  Today I will be going through the new region guide that covers the the lands of the Rohirrim.  This book is in the same vein as The Heart of the Wild and Rivendell in that it describes the history, people, places and monsters of a specific region.  Horse-lords of Rohan covers the regions of Rohan, Fangorn Forest, Isengard and Dunland.  More after the break!

Horse-lords of Rohan is another beautiful product by the team over at Cubicle7, they continue to produce gorgeous products and this one does not disappoint.  It's a hard cover book that clocks in at 160 pages.  Lets break down what goodies you'll find locked inside!

Surveying the Westfold
The book starts off with a history of Rohan, which covers the first and second line of kings, right up to the current king Thengel, his queen Morwen and their son Theoden.  This section is only a few pages long and and gives some good background information on the people that inhabit the Rohirrim.  Next up is the Regions of Rohan chapter, this covers the inhabitants, notable characters and notable places of each of the described areas.  The regions described are; Edoras, Harrowdale, The Plains of Rohan, Eastfold, Westfold, The Great River and The Gap of Rohan.  Within these sections are character stats, including the king and queen and various personalities of the regions.  There are some new Fellowship Phase undertakings, journey hazards and more detailed descriptions of The Paths of the Dead, Meduseld and Helms Deep, the latter two get full page color maps by Jon Hodgson which are quite nice.  There's lots of useful information in this chapter, its a really nice resource for a Loremaster.

The second chapter focuses on Fangorn Forest, mightiest of all woods.  The history of the forest is described from the first through third ages.  This is followed up with information on the Ents, the Shepherds of the Trees and there are side bars with rules for Ent-draugts, information on the Ent-wives and Old Entish.  Rules for attending Ent Moots are also present, they play out similar to regular Encounters with a chart to help determine the outcome of the Ent Moot.  The Entwood is described next with notable characters Treebear, Skinbark, Quickbeam and others getting some space as well.  The chapter ends with a section on Ents as patrons and Things to Do While in Fanghorn.  Its all really fun stuff, I've always enjoyed the chapters in Lord of the Rings that dealt with Fangorn, its great to read through this stuff, it really captures the feel of the old forest.

The next chapter is only a few pages long and is titled A Folk With No King, it deals with the history of Dunland and the Hill-folk that live there.  A few NPC's are described as well as a few notable places.  Overall a pretty underwhelming chapter, its needed information but there's not much to chew on, it really could have been rolled under the Isengard or Rohan chapter, I'm not sure it warrants its own chapter.

The Tower of Orthanc
Speaking of Isengard, the next chapter is named.......Isengard!  The history of the tower is the first order of business, including the coming of the White Wizard.  The area around the tower, Nan Curunir is detailed as are the Mountains of the Vale and the Ring-wall of Isengard.  Side-bars detail Entering Isengard and Burglars in Isengard though being a thief in the tower of the White Wizard may not be good for your health.  The tower itself gets a full workup with a floor by floor map and descriptions of all the rooms.  There's information on the Palantir of Orthanc and several additional side-bars on Saruman's treachery and his eventual fall.  Saruman the White gets four pages of information with details on how to enter his service.  To close out the chapter there is a list of new Fellowship undertakings for the heroes while they are at Isengard.  This chapter is loaded with information and will provide the Loremaster with lots of detail better enabling him to play the White Wizard and his minions.  Great stuff!

Monsters of Rohan is the next chapter, baddies from all over are described.  They are; Servants of the White Wizard which includes the Guards of Isengard who are generic soldiers that guard the grounds of Orthanc.  Uruk-hai soldiers and captains, big bulky Orcs displaying the White Hand logo, Half-orcs and Goblin-men, mixed breeds of ill repute that do the White Wizards bidding and last but not least Orcish Wolf-riders which are mounted Orcs that plan to oppose the Riders of Rohan.  Gazhur Three-Deaths is next, he's a chief of a band of marauders in the White Mountains, which then leads to the Orcs of the White Mountains.  They are the remnants of the Orcs left over from the Battle of Azanulbizar that fled south into the White Mountains.  The Pale Ones, The Black Warg of Methedras, Fungal Trolls, Stoneclaws the Bear, Huorns and the Dead Men of Dunharrow round out the chapter.

The next chapter is one that I have been looking forward to for some time, its titled The Horse and Rider and includes new rules for integrating horses into your campaign.  What would the Riders of Rohan be if they had nothing to ride?!  This chapter is only eight pages long but adds some background on the Horse-herds and the Eored.  The rules cover how to use horses including on journey's, how to acquire horses, how to use them in combat and the characteristics of different horses.  There are seven types of horses detailed, ranging from a Draught horse all the way up to Royal horses (no they don't wear crowns or wield scepters), all of these horses can be be given different qualities like Fearless or Surefooted, there are nine included in the book.  It all good stuff, much needed for a horse based culture and good overall for all characters as your mounts can now have a little more personality making them more like additional fellowship members.

The last chapter covers two new heroic cultures, the Riders of Rohan and their enemies the Dunlendings.  Special caution is given if you intend to include the two cultures in the same fellowship as they are normally sworn enemies.  A little role-playing can always overcome this though.  A sidebar in this chapter includes rules for playing Shield-maidens of the North and new fellowship undertakings.  More cultures give us more options and finally being able to play the Riders of Rohan makes me geek out!

This is a really nice book, another double thumbs up from me.  More cultures, more history and lands, more monsters and more of everything that makes The One Ring so great.  Buy this book today!

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