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Blogging, bookshops and beauty. 26 April 2012

Posted by Dr Moose in Faith, Life, Ponderings, Role-Playing Games.
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I know my blogging has been less than fluent over the last few months (although I actually blogged quite a lot on my Lent Blog, elsewhere). Nevertheless, for a combination of reasons such as time, inclination, news and opportunity all arising together, I feel the need, or desire to write…. and don’t know what to write!

There are some things I cannot write as they are either personal or confidential (even though I might wish to do so very much indeed). There are others that might take too long, and there’s also the stuff that isn’t blogging, the RPG creativity that’s sort of “there”, but not quite “here” yet.

So I’ll have to simply throw out a couple of observations. (And more, if the inspiration flows).

Firstly, I’m a little miffed at Waterstones. I have £50 of gift cards, and know exactly what I want, Mongoose’s 2300AD, except I got a “no, we can’t do that” earlier this week which I suspect was actually more of an “I can’t be bothered”. I know the book is not on Waterstones online site, but some Mongoose Traveller stuff is, which I suspect was specially ordered. I shall have to try again, either online or with a different member of staff. The point is that they have already been paid, and that’s what I want!

So I shall have to briefly comment instead on a different recent acquisition, the rather wonderful One Ring RPG from Cubicle 7. I’ve actually had it a few months, but it was “hands off” until the birthday, so I’m only just getting to look at it. Given the name it should come as no surprise it’s set in Tolkien’s Middle Earth, in the period after The Death of Smaug the Golden and The Battle of The Five Armies. Initial impressions are very favourable. The production standard is high. Artwork is good and evocative, and even though I’m generally not a fan of new systems, which can sometimes feel like they are simply there for the sake of it, this looks good. Perhaps I missed the point, but the wonderful A|State RPG, which I’ve just noticed is rather older than I care to admit now, has a D100 system when the Classic BRP system would work perfectly well. (Of course, that would mean licensing and so forth, which might explain things, but I am heavily biased towards settings). Anyway, back to the point, the system for the One Ring, at first read through at least, seems to mesh very well with the setting as told in the original Tolkien works, with some rather elegant mechanics to deal with injuries and wounds without using hit points, the influence of The Shadow and the power and sustaining strength of Hope. I also hadn’t realised that the current material, well-presented in a slip case and with custom dice, is planned as the first in a set of three, each gradually expanding to cover ever-wider areas of Middle Earth as the power of The Shadow grows. I hope it does well, especially with the timing of the forthcoming Peter Jackson films of The Hobbit. (I just hope he doesn’t re-write the original too much; I don’t like the sound of some of the rumours…)

Meanwhile, on the subject of dislike, here are a few negative, or at least contrary, observations on The One Ring.

The Adventurer’s Book, at least, could do with a few outworked examples of how the mechanics work. I haven’t finished reading it yet, so they could be yet to come, but there have been a number of occasions where examples with numbers would help. Likewise they might be in The Loremaster’s Book, which I have yet to devour.

Also I’ve noticed a couple of spelling errors. I know they can be hard to catch, as I’ve done a fair amount of proof-reading in my time, both of my own work, and of others, but with spell checkers non-specialist words in a professional publication shouldn’t be a problem.

Finally, price and presentation. £40 or so isn’t cheap, but it’s fair to say that the whole is beautifully presented and good value. Nevertheless, from a purely personal level I’d rather have hardback books with somewhat plainer interiors and maybe slightly smaller text over glossy pages with marbled/parchment-effect background. That said, it is a thing of beauty, and I’m most pleased to own it. The biggest question of all really remains the same as for most of my RPG collection – will I ever get to play it?

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