Robert & Jeanna

Adventures in Middle-Earth Players Guide Review

Arguably the best part of Dungeons and Dragons Third Edition was the Open Game License. By allowing other parties to make games inspired by the base Dungeons and Dragons rules, we, the gaming public, ended up with a ton of fun new games that ran the gamut in terms of style and substance. However, when Fourth Edition came around, Wizards of the Coast reversed this course and made the Game System License very restrictive. As a consequence, very few third-party products were published. When Fifth Edition was released, however, there was talk of the return of the Open Game License. However, it was not in sight for over a year, and during that time, I’ll admit I was worried it would never appear. But finally, the OGL for 5th Edition was revealed to the world, and we are starting to see the fruits of this license.

And what fruit there is! Cubicle 7, the current producers of The One Ring RPG (based on the works of Tolkien), decided to convert their existing role-playing game to Fifth Edition D&D. In short, the results are marvelous. It brings a ton of new ideas to the D&D Fifth Edition system, and for the first time ever, Dungeons and Dragons exists in the world of Middle Earth!

For this review, I’m going to assume you are familiar with D&D Fifth Edition (we did start as a 5th Ed blog, after all), so I will focus mainly on additions and changes to the core D&D5E rules.


Like The One Ring RPG, Adventures in Middle Earth is set in the Wilderlands in 2946 of the Third Age. For the layman, that is the time between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, geographically in the area that the majority of The Hobbit takes place (Mirkwood, the Lonely Mountain, the Dale, etc.) This is a smart decision on the developer’s part, since this area has a lot of details from The Hobbit, but the events that occurred there are not part of the main story of The Lord of the Rings. That way, you can run your campaign freely without worrying about interfering with canon (unless, of course, you or a player have read The Lord of the Rings appendices in detail).

Middle Earth Cultures

Instead of character races, Adventures in Middle Earth offers cultures, which is a better fit for the fluff of Middle Earth. Much like the books, they give very different traits to the various human cultures (as well as the different elf cultures). Thus, the humans from Bree/Rohan/Minas Tirith/etc act like a variant human race, which doesn’t match the traditional gaming definition of race. However, describing that the differences between each human type is due to the culture of where they’re from makes a lot more sense, and it takes advantage of the rich history of each region to give reason for these differences.

The other major change from normal 5th Edition D&D is they have removed feats and replaced them with cultural virtues. Basically, they split the feats up among all the various cultures. I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad idea since that results in each culture only having access to four or five feats. That means if two players both choose to make characters from the same culture, they will end up making very similar characters. On the other hand, the characteristics of the various Middle Earth cultures are very defined, so this may not be a bad thing as it will force the player to truly embody that culture. That means you can’t create a character from a culture that would otherwise be too different from the norm. Personally, I have a few reservations about how this would work out game-wise, but I’m willing to give it a try.

Middle Earth Classes

Adventures in Middle Earth scraps most of the classes from 5th Edition and brings us six new classes (well, six classes that are derived from the ones in the PHB). One of the first things you notice is the lack of spellcasters, which isn’t surprising based on the lore. For instance, while Gandalf is a “wizard” (technically a maiar), he is one of the only five that exist in Middle Earth. They do mention in the introduction, however, that if you want to throw canon to the wind and let a player be a caster, just take one from the PHB or any 5th edition compatible game and toss it in.

The classes in Adventures in Middle Earth are as follows: the Scholar, which is the healer or the “skill monkey”; the Slayer, which are almost exactly like 5th Edition Barbarians with a few minor tweaks; the Treasure Hunter, which share many class abilities with 5th Edition Rogues; the Wanderer, which is the Ranger class without any spells; the Warden, which share a lot of abilities with Bards but also without any spells; and lastly, the Warrior, which is similar to the standard PHB Fighters.

Each class also comes with two archetypes/expressions/subclasses like every other class in the 5th Edition PHB. I think there are enough roles so each class could have more than two, so time will tell if we will get more later.


In the Lord of the Rings movies, a few of the characters give into despair that affects their actions and decisions, the best example of which is the “dragon sickness” Thorin develops in The Hobbit trilogy. The Corruption system in Adventures in Middle Earth emulates that concept. The idea reminds me of the 90’s White Wolf system or even the sanity mechanic in The Call of Cthulhu Role-Playing Game. Since the game doesn’t have character alignments, this system best represents how each character should behave in a given situation.

There are a few things can raise your Corruption, such as Anguish, Blighted Places, Misdeeds, and Tainted Treasure. If your Corruption points ever go above your Wisdom score, your character gets the Miserable condition, which will make game play rather rough by causing you to fail Charisma checks and forcing disadvantage on all attack rolls. In addition, while you’re Miserable, whenever you roll an ability check, attack roll or a save and the number is the difference between your Wisdom and your current Corruption score (or lower), your character has a bout of madness. For example, if you have a Wisdom score of 10 and a Corruption score of 15, if you then roll a 5 or less for an applicable roll, your character experiences a bout of madness which will cause your character to do something they will later regret. You also start degenerating into a specific flaw, of which there are four levels. Once you’ve hit all four, you “succumb to the Shadow” and your character permanently goes mad (or if you’re an elf, you drop whatever you’re doing and head to Valinor).

Fellowship Phase

I found this chapter to be the most interesting addition in Adventures in Middle Earth. To summarize, the game assumes that player characters can only go on one adventure per year. It has fairly complex traveling rules, so you end up spending a lot of time just getting from one place to another. This makes sense given that majority of the plot of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are the respective shenanigans the Dwarves get into while walking to Erebor and the Fellowship gets into while walking to Mount Doom.

So a large amount of your characters’ time is traveling from point A to point B, going through the purpose of the adventure, and then returning home for the winter. What this means is that in the time span of each adventure from beginning to end, your character is assumed to age a year, which is a change from standard D&D assumptions. When I was running the Shackled City adventure path (Would you like to know more?), the timeline of the campaign was a bit less than two years. In that time, my players went from level 1 to 20. Other 5th Edition adventures similarly take place in a fairly short period of time.

However, in Adventures in Middle Earth, there is a definite possibility of your character getting so old that they cannot continue adventuring. Your character is also encouraged to have a life outside of the adventuring party and get married and raise a family. So your children can very well take up your mantle and take your place in the party after you retire. Who will be your Frodo when you decide to stay in Rivendell to write your memoir? There are no set rules for creating your heir, but the game makes you consider playing multiple characters during the course of the campaign. That definitely shakes up gameplay, and you can use that idea to shake up other D&D settings.

Final Thoughts

While the game does have a few hiccups and odd design choices, I’m a fan of Adventures in Middle Earth. It’s far from a complete game system (for that you need to pick up a copy of the Adventures in Middle-Earth Loremaster’s Guide), but there’s certainly enough there to fire up a Middle Earth campaign. My favorite features are the classes since they capture the feel of the original books and movies. And since none of them are spell casters, this is a great low magic D&D 5th Edition variant. I’ve even had a few game ideas using the classes from this book while keeping the races and feats from the PHB. So even if you don’t have any desire to run a campaign set in Middle Earth, I heartily recommend this book to add to your D&D 5th Edition arsenal. And, to paraphrase Tolkien, have something Tookish wake up inside you, and then go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick!

The Adventures in Middle-Earth Players Guide is available now from Drive Thru RPG!

Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @


  1. […] Intro – 0:00:36 Our Guest Rob Weiland Dept of Corrections – Grand Melee Hero System Review of Adventures in Middle Earth […]

  2. levitra dosage

    levitra 10mg or 20mg moderators – comments by users of levitra – levitra and alcohol interaction login

  3. female viagra

    viagra lawyer ohio – on line viagra – kamagra

  4. buy cialis online without script

    cialis cheapest online prices no registered users and – best cialis – cialis 20mg side effects board index

  5. tadalafil 20 mg

    cialis pills for men all times are utc – cialis 20mg side effects jump to – cialis online reviews

  6. buy tadalafil 20mg online

    awp for cialis – cialis with propranolol – cialis or viagra

  7. viagra without prescription

    buy viagra viagra or levitra – viagra benefit – canadian pharmacy viagra professional search

  8. generic viagra pills

    buy cheap viagra – viagra coupon cvs board topics – compare viagra levitra viagra

  9. cialis at walmart

    cialis generic cheap version 3.8.7 – cialis injury attorney columbus – cialis pills wiki skin by

  10. generic cialis at walmart

    order cialis soft visit your doctor online – cialis 10mg registered users – cialis tadalafil 20mg uk

  11. cialis pills

    cialis patent – guestbook.php?action= – unterschied viagra levitra buy cialis online

  12. tadalafil

    cialis pills forum rules – viagra, cialis, genuine – cialis generic canada static pages

  13. viagra over the counter

    buy cialis online profile – cialis cost at cvs search – cialis generic canada search

  14. levitra dosage

    long term effects of levitra – levitra from canada cheap categories – generic levitra pills online usa

  15. pure cbd oil

    cbd high – cbd insomnia – cbd oil for pain dosage

  16. cannabis oil

    1000mg cbd oil dosage – cbd without thc – cbd australia

  17. cialis over the counter at walmart

    buy cialis online total posts – cialis effect – trimix for ed

  18. buy cialis generic tadalafil without prescription

    cialis free sample – cialis how it works – cialis dosing options skin by

  19. no prescription cialis

    cialis to buy new zealand – cialis how to use – why would cialis 5mg stop working

  20. viagra no prescription

    viagra generic name show the last – viagra tablets – how quickly does viagra work

  21. viagra 100 mg

    cialis no prescription – trial of cialis women – cialis you cannot delete your posts in this forum

  22. cialis vs viagra

    buy cialis 20 mg

  23. nizagara vs viagra australia

    nizagara vs viagra australia

  24. prices buy cialis amazing online

    prices buy cialis amazing online

  25. brother viagra problem mom fixes

    brother viagra problem mom fixes

  26. viagra on steroids singapore

    viagra on steroids singapore

  27. buy cialis price

    buy cialis price

  28. sildenafil for sale canada

    sildenafil for sale canada

  29. does amoxicillin make you tired

    does amoxicillin make you tired

  30. missed dose of amoxicillin

    missed dose of amoxicillin

  31. azithromycin and nyquil

    azithromycin and nyquil

  32. celecoxib price

    celecoxib price

  33. celebrex effects on kidneys

    celebrex effects on kidneys

  34. cephalexin and dairy

    cephalexin and dairy

  35. survival keflex

    survival keflex

  36. cymbalta side effects men

    cymbalta side effects men

  37. duloxetine is what

    duloxetine is what

  38. can i buy cialis over the counter canada

    can i buy cialis over the counter canada

  39. tadalafil pills for sale

    tadalafil pills for sale

  40. 100mg viagra pill

    100mg viagra pill

  41. cialis online fast shipping

    cialis online fast shipping

  42. cheap cialis 5mg australia

    cheap cialis 5mg australia

  43. buy cialis 20mg australia

    buy cialis 20mg australia

  44. comprar sildenafilo 100 mg teva

    comprar sildenafilo 100 mg teva

  45. best way to buy cialis online

    best way to buy cialis online

  46. sildenafil 20 mg discount coupon

    sildenafil 20 mg discount coupon

  47. buy cialis online next day delivery

    buy cialis online next day delivery

  48. generic cialis 2018 canada

    generic cialis 2018 canada

  49. how to get cialis discount

    how to get cialis discount

  50. viagra achat sildenafil

    viagra achat sildenafil

  51. cialis actress australia

    cialis actress australia

  52. generic viagra online 25mg

    generic viagra online 25mg

  53. 25 mg viagra price in india

    25 mg viagra price in india

  54. cialis availability in philippines

    cialis availability in philippines

  55. cialis online purchase in india

    cialis online purchase in india

  56. cheapest sildenafil tablets in india

    cheapest sildenafil tablets in india

  57. cialis for sale on amazon australia

    cialis for sale on amazon australia

  58. generic tadalafil cheap

    generic tadalafil cheap

  59. sildenafil precio walmart

    sildenafil precio walmart

  60. viagra cost per pill 100mg

    viagra cost per pill 100mg

  61. price of viagra 2018

    price of viagra 2018

  62. where can i buy cialis pills

    where can i buy cialis pills

  63. generic viagra 50mg price

    generic viagra 50mg price

  64. cheapest generic levitra

    cheapest generic levitra

  65. cost of 100mg viagra

    cost of 100mg viagra

Comments are closed.