I’ve been a game facilitator for a long time. I’m also rather quick on my feet. This December I chose to start playing The One Ring 📖 using the solo-rules found in Strider Mode 📖.
I play this campaign by writing in Emacs 📖. I have three Portable Document Formats (PDFs 📖) open as reference and to review procedures.
What I’ve found is I really appreciate the format. I write down a conversation, I have with myself, regarding the fiction and thought processes involved in playing the game.
I work on describing the situation, and hopefully practice improving my writing of prose.
And while I miss the table banter, I can’t beat the ease of scheduling. Some mornings I’ll wake up and “play” 30 minutes before I get to the rest of the day. Other times, I have a half hour after work before my wife gets home; just enough time to move forward with Duinhir’s story.
I can quickly wrap up my current moment, then pick back up. Usually reading the prior paragraph to recapture the context I set aside.
I have the following three PDFs open in the background:
The One Ring Core Rule Book
For procedures, I start by referencing Strider Mode but invariably the rules and procedures are found in The One Ring core rule book.
If you want to play the game, this is what you’ll need.
Strider Mode includes the rules for playing in solo-mode. You are your own game’s facilitator and player. And with a little re-imagining, in cooperative mode. There are two primary additions:
There are adjustments to the rules:
- Lowering the default Target Number (TN 📖) by 2; which is something you can do in low powered one shots.
- Replacing the Journey roles with random tables.
- Adding the Distinctive Feature of Strider.
And then there are some oracular tables. The Telling Table can answer your yes/no questions. And the Lore Table provides words to help answer questions that concern Actions, Aspects, and Focuses. In other words the more open-ended questions.
I’ve also considered re-reading the Mythic Game Master Emulator 📖 to see if there’s anything else I might consider bringing to my game.
Ruins of the Lost Realm
The Ruins of the Lost Realm supplement adds some additional details and summary of events that might be in motion in eastern Eriador. This is something I read bits of in between “sessions.”
It’s primary function during play is to have a second book that has the hex map. That way I can quickly see the map while also referencing the rules.
I’ve made some adjustments to my technology: adding functions to my text editor and extending the rendered markup on my site.
I have also added several functions to my Emacs setup
- a snippet that prompts for an open-ended question then rolls a series of dice to provide a few oracular words.
- a snippet that prompts me to provide a question, choose it’s likelihood, and rolls the yes/no answer.
- a snippet that prompts me for a dice roll, with handling either standard, favoured, or ill-favoured Feat die rolls.
There are others that I’m thinking of adding, but thus far I’m not clear what all I want to build out.
Extending the Markup to My Site
Due to the nature of this writing, I added a new bit of markup to my site; you can read more about this in Describing the Semantics of My Site.
In the session blog posts, you might notice the following section:
What I write in this section is an insight into me the player. These are my thoughts and approaches to adding to Duinhir’s fiction.
I introduced the above section in The Travels of Duinhir Tailwind: Session 3. I might prioritize going back and amending the first two sessions.
What’s in a Name
I listened to that voice from my childhood, the one that when I first read The Lord of the Rings 📖 thought “Strider, now that is an amazing name. So evocative.”
I decided that each Ranger has a nickname; Aragorn goes by Strider. And Duinhir’s is Tailwind. Coming up with a nickname is no small task.
I took inspiration from Duinhir’s swift Distinctive Feature and went looking for a name. It didn’t take long to think of Tailwind; it is a delicious beer brewed at and often on tap at Goshen Brewing Company.
Reflecting on the Rules
Thus far, the dice have favored Duinhir Tailwind. But his journeys have been rather simple; He has yet to experience the Weary, Miserable, or Wounded conditions.
As a game facilitator, I am hesitant to call for too many tests, but as I’ve gotten further into the game, I’m starting to call for more of them.
In part to introduce more dice rolls that can potentially trigger the attention of the Enemy. But also to use them as oracles. To help keep me out of potential ruts, or to simply just “write the fiction.”
Yes, I love a game session when the dice don’t hit the table; but in this solo game that sounds like writing a story, which is a different activity than what I’m exploring.
I like then Tengwar Rune mechanic (the 6 on the dice has a Շ). On a success, each of those icons provide additional choices to the test.
I like that the Feat die has several different results: numbers 1 through 10, the Gandalf rune (e.g. ᚠ), and the Eye of Sauron rune (e.g. ⏿).
With the Gandalf rune being an automatic success, that means all tests have an 8% chance of success.
When you are Miserable the Eye of Sauron is an automatic failure. When you aren’t miserable it counts as a 0. In both cases, if you’re playing with The Eye of Mordor recommended rule, then rolling an Eye of Sauron adds to the Enemy’s awareness of your heroes. When there’s too much attention, you face a Revelation Episode.
Thematically, the ⏿ (e.g. Eye of Sauron) does lots of work and helps build the random encounters that the characters will face; these in addition to the procedurally generated encounters during the Journey Phase.
The Strider Mode solo play is a perfect activity for the dark nights of the northern hemisphere’s winter months. I can write, read, and hack away. I can think through my answers, which I’ve found more and more best come through writing; after all my day job involves lots of reading and writing of code and writing up analysis, discussion, and recommendations.