Advice for a new TOR Campaign

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bigsteveuk
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Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by bigsteveuk » Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:48 am

Hi Guys,
After a bit of a sabbatical away from the RPG scene, thinking of starting a new TOR campaign and just looking for some advice.

Tales of Wilderland & The Darkening of Mirkwood
I have both these products and I can’t decide whether to run them merged or separately. I am tempted to run TOW and then if that is successful move onto Darkening?

Modification of existing systems
Have people used the systems like travel and that as is, or found success tweaking it a bit or using one of the home rules version I have seen on here. I love the concept of the travel system, but don’t want it to become a chore.

Starting Races
I have a player who would love to play a Gondorian (loves Boromir), but I am keen to stick with the races local to the area. Any thoughts?

General Advice
Lastly any other issues or pitfalls I need to avoid, that you guys may have encountered or any tips for running a successful TOR campaign?

Any feedback would be gratefully received.

Steve

Elmoth
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Re: Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by Elmoth » Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:23 pm

Combined seems to work better, but that is up to you really :) Tales can be played alone, without darkening, but the environment would be less rich.

Your player can play a Barding and reskin him as a Gondorian envoy (or whatever) to Dale easily.

Butterfingers
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Re: Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by Butterfingers » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:17 pm

I don't see any reason to run them separately? Just use Darkening as the framework for the campaign, and insert the various adventures from ToW in suitable spots, depending on where the companions are at a given time. I assume that's how they were intended to be used, more or less?

If the companions are in Rhosgobel, don't try to railroad them into adventures which start in Laketown, etc. Unless of course, they have a reason to travel there which then can be made into an adventure on itself.

Also note that Darkening is really a campaign timeline with events, and that the adventures in them would benefit from fleshing out a bit, they're more like adventure ideas or synopses really (but can be run as is of course).

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Falenthal
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Re: Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by Falenthal » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:39 pm

bigsteveuk wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:48 am
Modification of existing systems
Have people used the systems like travel and that as is, or found success tweaking it a bit or using one of the home rules version I have seen on here. I love the concept of the travel system, but don’t want it to become a chore.
I think you should begin with the RAW for Travels, but give a look at the different house-rules for them that you'll find in the subforum. If, at some point, you feel that the RAW has some issues for you or your group, go to the different house-rules and see if they seem to address them. Of course, I use the rules that myself posted there, but I'm sure Yepesnopes' ones could serve you as well. Regarding Rich's, the only forewarning is that (last I know) they need some tables from Adventures in Middle-earth.

As for other house-rules that I consider an improvement, James R Brown's "Flipped Tolerance" for encounters is a must, IMO.

Myself, I use other house-rules, but they're motivated more by flavour or personal likings than by needs of the system.

Travel rules:
Falenthal's - viewtopic.php?f=56&t=7110
Yepesnopes' - viewtopic.php?f=56&t=9191
Rich H's - viewtopic.php?f=56&t=6970

Encounters:
James R Brown's - viewtopic.php?f=56&t=4500&hilit=flipped+tolerance

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Robin Smallburrow
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Re: Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by Robin Smallburrow » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:16 am

Welcome to the forum Steve, and best of luck with your campaign!

ToW & DoM: It makes sense to interweave both, because you can't predict what your players are going to do in regards to Fellowship Phases - you may have a great adventure planned starting in Lake-town, but the players decided to winter in Rhosgobel (this happened to me!). So I introduced 'Words of the Wise' at this point because the players were 'there'.

Modifications: Every LM I know makes their own house rules. I recommend that you run with the RAW, let your players know about the main rules, and discuss with them after playing to see if tinkering is required.

Starting races: Of course said player can run a Gondorian, if they give you a convincing enough reason & backstory for why they are in Wilderland! You can easily convert the Man of Minas Tirith from Adventures in Middle-earth, or use the existing Dunedain as a template for the character.

General Advice: The #1 rule is to have fun - this includes you! So have regular discussions with your players about what is/isn't working, etc. From a LM POV I also recommend that you run the Adventures that you want to do!

Robin S.
To access all my links for my TOR Resources - please click on this link >> http://bit.ly/1gjXkCo

bigsteveuk
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Re: Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by bigsteveuk » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:23 pm

Cheers guy for the feedback and thanks for all the advice.

One quick clarification and maybe wrong thread for this,. but with regards to the flipped tolerance.

Say they meet Gloin in the the scenario out of the core book. In theory the starting tolerance will be 2, as that the highest any starting character could get in either valor or wisdom. The elf in the party will reduce this to 1, and only a Dwarf with standing can increase this. No player starts with any standing. So basically the player have one failure to play with?

How did you manage it if the introduction fails, does Gloin begrudgingly still allow them to attempt the mission or does he shoe them out.

With regards to my players Boromir character I think we have compromised on a Lordling, Lakeman with the merchant prince reward. We did also discuss maybe swapping the favored sword for favored longsword, as I was feeling generous. He had a good back story of a merchant try to carving new caravan routes through Mirkwood, I may even use that as a plot link for the first scenario in ToW.

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Rich H
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Re: Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by Rich H » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:50 pm

bigsteveuk wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:23 pm
One quick clarification and maybe wrong thread for this,. but with regards to the flipped tolerance.
That's why the Flipped Tolerance house rule needs to really be tested properly rather than just employed later in a campaign; in some instances a Tolerance of 1 means you have one action (introduction) within an Encounter and that's your lot. Seems a little strange.
bigsteveuk wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:23 pm
Say they meet Gloin in the the scenario out of the core book. In theory the starting tolerance will be 2, as that the highest any starting character could get in either valor or wisdom. The elf in the party will reduce this to 1, and only a Dwarf with standing can increase this. No player starts with any standing. So basically the player have one failure to play with?
Yes, using the RAW. However with the house rule (Flipped Tolerance) it'd be one action, successful or not, and then you're done.
bigsteveuk wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:23 pm
How did you manage it if the introduction fails, does Gloin begrudgingly still allow them to attempt the mission or does he shoe them out.
I didn't use the Encounter rules for this. Gloin effectively needs their help and the PCs want to help, and you as LM want them to take up the adventure, so there's nothing really at stake in the encounter and so it's a pointless use of the rules. The Marsh Bell predates the rules for measuring and counting the number of successes in an Encounter so I'd personally just go with each success the players obtain providing them with specific background notes/elements/information as to the adventure and if/when you run out of Tolerance before you've given them everything you can think of then that's all the info Gloin is able to give them. Assuming you want to use the rules; personally, I wouldn't for this interaction.
TOR resources thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=62
TOR miniatures thread: viewtopic.php?t=885

Fellowship of the Free Tale of Years: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8318

Lifstan
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Re: Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by Lifstan » Fri Feb 09, 2018 9:11 am

bigsteveuk wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:48 am
Tales of Wilderland & The Darkening of Mirkwood
I have both these products and I can’t decide whether to run them merged or separately. I am tempted to run TOW and then if that is successful move onto Darkening?
I merged both myself, to preserve the... darkenning. It should be a process from good times to bad times. If you play TOW first and set them in the years just after the first Gathering, as suggested by the book, things will get bad pretty fast and then you'll move on to Darkening where things are suppose to be nice first and dark latter. Thematically, it doesn't work well...

Stormcrow
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Re: Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by Stormcrow » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:32 pm

bigsteveuk wrote:
Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:23 pm
How did you manage it if the introduction fails, does Gloin begrudgingly still allow them to attempt the mission or does he shoe them out.
Here's something that most people don't realize: "The Marsh-bell" doesn't assume that the player-heroes have been hired by Glóin, or that they've even been to see him. It's most likely, and it showcases the encounter rules, but the adventure goes out of its way to explain other sources of information the player-heroes might use.

So if the player-heroes do go to see Glóin and fail the encounter, they can still go on the quest. They have to get information some other way, and there is no promise of a reward. When you think about it, Glóin doesn't actually have all that much information to impart anyway.
I didn't use the Encounter rules for this. Gloin effectively needs their help and the PCs want to help, and you as LM want them to take up the adventure, so there's nothing really at stake in the encounter and so it's a pointless use of the rules.
That assumes the player-heroes have to be hired by Glóin. The player-heroes will go into an encounter with Glóin with the goal of securing as much information and reward as possible. How well they do during the encounter determines how much information and reward they get.
The Marsh Bell predates the rules for measuring and counting the number of successes in an Encounter so I'd personally just go with each success the players obtain providing them with specific background notes/elements/information as to the adventure and if/when you run out of Tolerance before you've given them everything you can think of then that's all the info Gloin is able to give them.
Encounters are not a zero-sum game. You don't either win or lose an encounter. Tolerance is there to determine when the encounter stops. The optional success rule determines side-benefits for the characters, not the primary achievement of the encounter goal. If you were to apply the optional success rule to the encounter with Glóin, it would be to determine the size of his promised reward. Player-heroes don't learn information from making successes; they learn information from asking the right questions and making the right rolls. You might impress Glóin with your ability to sing, but that's not going to lead him to reveal more information, though it might cause him to increase your reward.

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Rich H
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Re: Advice for a new TOR Campaign

Post by Rich H » Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:56 pm

Stormcrow wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:32 pm
That assumes the player-heroes have to be hired by Glóin.
Yep, I'm fine with that.
Stormcrow wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:32 pm
The player-heroes will go into an encounter with Glóin with the goal of securing as much information and reward as possible. How well they do during the encounter determines how much information and reward they get.
Yep, that's what I did in mine.
Stormcrow wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:32 pm
Encounters are not a zero-sum game. You don't either win or lose an encounter. Tolerance is there to determine when the encounter stops.
Yep, agreed. Well, except when you use up Tolerance and Raenar then tries to eat you in Watch on the Heath if you have a dwarf and/or elf in your fellowship.
Stormcrow wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 2:32 pm
The optional success rule determines side-benefits for the characters, not the primary achievement of the encounter goal. If you were to apply the optional success rule to the encounter with Glóin, it would be to determine the size of his promised reward. Player-heroes don't learn information from making successes; they learn information from asking the right questions and making the right rolls. You might impress Glóin with your ability to sing, but that's not going to lead him to reveal more information, though it might cause him to increase your reward.
Yep, they're flexible enough to use them for that though without the thought police arresting you for playing the game wrong. And I'm pretty sure the example encounters within published adventures provide such options. What's great about the Encounter rules is they can be tweaked and used in different ways and the game doesn't break.
TOR resources thread: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=62
TOR miniatures thread: viewtopic.php?t=885

Fellowship of the Free Tale of Years: viewtopic.php?f=7&t=8318

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