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The Lord of the Rings 5e – Role playing in Middle Earth?

I’ve never been a huge Dungeons and Dragons fan, nor have I played many 5e RPG experiences. Why? Honestly, perhaps it is a lack of imagination, or a lack of desire to play something I’m not really familiar with. I’m sure I’m missing out on a great time, but it’s really how I feel. When Free League Publishing reached out and offered us the chance to try out the Lord of the Rings RPG, I was instantly intrigued. I love Lord of the Rings, and from reading everything Tolkien has ever written, and watching the movies and show, I knew this world was something I could get into.


And right from the start, this is true. While some of the starting characters might not be familiar to you, I think that’s actually better than choosing characters you have a good knowledge of. Why? For the creativity I previously said I lacked. See, if you were given the choices to play popular characters from the books or movies, you might be inclined to make choices and do certain things based on the pre-conditioned nature of those characters that you’ve grown to understand. With new characters without a ton of backstory, you can instead create and mold that character, and the impact they will have on Middle Earth.

I love how these books slowly introduce you to the various elements and mechanics in The Lord of the Rings. Simple quests for Bilbo early on will teach you a variety of different game aspects like searching, being clever, figuring out obstacles/puzzles, and so on. It’s a great stepping stone before releasing you upon the vast world of Middle Earth, and everything you will encounter.

While there is plenty of time to be creative and think imaginatively about your character, quests, and surroundings, I do love the familiarity that continues to come up time and time again. Oh look, we are traveling through Bree. Hey, it’s Lothlorean – I know that place!

The familiar worlds and names helped me position myself into a specific time and place in Middle Earth, allowing me to shape my story in an already created and generated world. One that is rich in history, has details regarding maps, locations, races, and more. I love that this is all established in my mind, so that I can play the game within something established and understandable.

With more books coming in this world, there is already a lot of content just in the few books we have looked at so far. As noted above, The Shire Adventures was a fantastic place to start our journey, and really gave players an appreciation for what was to come, and the possibilities available.


There are plenty of reasons to get The Lord of the Rings Role-playing Game, but also one major reason not to – if you don’t have an affinity for Lord of the Rings, there is nothing really here for you.

Unless you want to take another Role-playing game for a spin, doing so in a world you don’t care about doesn’t seem like something that would be fun, or a good use of your time. But if you love Lord of the Rings, or perhaps have a nostalgia for the movies or books and want to try something new, this experience is definitely worth it. I’ve never been more excited to sit at a table with friends and explore a world.


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blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

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