D&D 5E Free League's 5E-Powered Lord of the Rings Game Is Now Available

Core rules, The Shire adventure book, and Rivendell sourcebook

Now available in both hardcover and PDF, you can buy The D&D 5E version of Free League's Middle Earth-set TTRPG (of course, you can also get The One Ring,which is the version with its own ruleset).


The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying %E, Shire Adventures, and Loremaster’s Screen & Rivendell Compendium are all available from Free League's online store. Also available is a bundle containing the whole set.
  • The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying 5E is the 236-page core rulebook and contains 6 cultures, 6 classses, journey rules, monsters, and more.
  • Shire Adventures contains a full description of The Shire, along with five adventures.
  • Loremaster’s Screen & Rivendell Compendium contains inforamation about Rivendell, rules for High Elf characters, and a screen for use by the Loremaster.

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Jacob Rodgers
Not a fan of trying squeeze 5th ed into everything.
We play TOR 2nd every Monday so lots LOTR goodness already.

Experience shows that interest in 5e Middle-earth increase interest in bespoke rules systems, not reduces it.

And, not to harp on one of my mainstays, but the 5e system is not D&D. The SRD has little to say about how you gain Experience, nothing about Inspiration, and precious little about how to challenge the players and make it feel like travel or fighting is difficult or dangerous. All of this can be tweaked.

Having read it, it is Adventures in Middle Earth with some shinier toys, such as the Eye Awareness system, and some better integration of One Ring concepts, as well as expanded patrons.

IMO, this is the most OSR 5E game of all time. You can play this just like an OSR game with absolutely no deviation, and could use these rules and everything to play pretty much any OSR adventure, only modifying enemy hit points to match. I like it.

The Lore Scholar, starting at level 7, can get a Magical Success on anything so long as it has resources, which makes Lore Scholars super super super super super super super cool. Like, they can open magical doors with lockpicks, or do some legolas naughty word, or and basically do magical naughty word with ability checks so long as they have Lore dice to spend. That's probably the greatest innovation in the book imo, and makes the scholar a 10/10 wizard replacement, thematically at least...and post level 7.

For some reason the Captain has a dead level at 9? Weird. I think overall Free League is too conservative in their class design, but the Virtues, the huge magical item generator, and the new rule additions do their job of making the game feel exciting.


What are the main differences between The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying 5E and Adventures in Middle-Earth?
Recapping my observations from an earlier thread:

Both AiME and LotRR are clearly adapated from similar sources (TOR 1e and 2e): they share many of the same concepts, often by the same names. But that doesn't make them compatible, any more than they're directly compatible with D&D; the travel rules are different, the social interaction rules are different, the extra skills, the classes, etc. are all reimagined to some extent.

You might get LotRR and prefer that over AiME, or vice versa, but you'll pretty much have to choose one or the other. I have all of the AiME material, and I liked how AiME did things overall, so I'll stick with it, but I'll buy LotRR products for more adventure ideas. As a general comment, I'll say that LotRR seems a bit more streamlined and simple than AiME to me; whether you think that's better is a personal choice.

Beyond 10th level, there's an optional system to acquire a new feature (equivalent to a feat, but those don't exist by that name in either AiME or LotRR) with every 10,000 XP gained. However, the game as a whole is pitched at lower levels. For instance, while AiME has several creature or NPC stat blocks of CR 6, with others going up to CR 9 (olog-hai captain) or even 21 (for an ancient dragon), the highest CR so far in LotRR is 6 (for a great cave-troll), not counting the Nameless Thing pseudo-template. Of course, LotRR only has two books out so far, with one focused on the low-CR environment of the Shire.

As for the Journey rules, they clearly share a common heritage: same Journey roles, similar Journey Event tables, etc. Some differences in LotRR compared to AiME:
  • There are three new skills of specific use on Journeys: Wis (Explore), Wis (Hunting), and Wis (Travel).
    • As an aside, LotRR does not add the Int (Shadow-lore) and Int (Traditions) skills, and has Int (Old Lore) instead of Int (Lore).
  • No terrain types (e.g. Daunting, Severe), but some regions have a Peril Rating. The effects of this are applied during travel through the Perilous Area, rather than to the Journey as a whole as in AiME.
  • No Embarkation check, just Pathfinding checks along the way, typically using Wis (Travel).
  • Checks for Journey Events are determined by who encounters the Events (Wis (Hunting) for Hunters, Wis (Perception) for Look-outs, Wis (Explore) for Scouts) rather than by the nature of the Events.
  • Journey Events seem more negative, on average, than in AiME.
  • Journey Events are simpler to execute, but less interesting, IMO.
    • As an example, I like how The Wonders of Middle-earth event in AiME can be interpreted either negatively or positively by a Player-hero (leading to gaining or recovering exhaustion), representing how the character's mood can impact their reaction to a common experience. The equivalent Joyful Sight event in LotRR sees either everyone in the Company gain inspiration, or have no effect.
  • It doesn't have the multitude of region-specific Journey Event tables that AiME had, at least not yet.
  • No Arrival check. One fatigue saving throw is made at the end of the Journey to see if a level of exhaustion is gained.

Three of the classes/callings are nominally the same between the two:
  • Scholar: Pretty similar in concept, and LotRR's traditions (Healing and Lore) line up with AiME's specialities (Master Healer and Master Scholar). Without getting into the details, the AiME scholar has more distinct class abilities, while the LotRR scholar has a bard-like Rhymes of Lore ability that lets them hand out bonus dice.
  • Treasure Hunter: Again, as Middle-earth's rogues they have similar concepts, and the LotRR specialities (Burglar and Spy) are sort of like the AiME archetypes (Burglar and Agent), although Agent and Spy are executed very differently.
  • Warden: They may have the same name, but the classes/callings are quite different between the two games. The AiME warden is essentially a bard, while the LotRR version is more like a ranger, and equivalent to the AiME wanderer. Features include Shadow-lore, Warded Lands, Fighting Style, Rumour of the Earth, and Long Stride, to give you the flavor of it. Warden oaths are Forayer and Hunter, similar in concept to the Hunter of Shadows and Hunter of Beasts wanderer archetypes in AiME.
The three newly named callings in LotRR are:
  • Captain: This is Middle-earth's paladin, and also recalls the spirit of the 4e warlord. Instead of laying on hands, their Leadership feature provides temp hp, and they also get Fighting Style, a bonus to non-proficient saves, Aura of Valour, and Aura of Courage. There's no equivalent in AiME.
  • Champion: This is the fighter, like AiME's warrior. Not a whole lot to say. The champion ways include Sharp-shooter (ranged specialist) and Slayer (essentially a barbarian, as in AiME).
  • Messenger: This is an odd hybrid of rogue, ranger, and bard, and is LotRR's version of AiME's warden, with the messenger paths of Counsellor and Herald matching two of AiME's warden expressions.

It occurred to me that what folks might be looking for is guidance on whether to purchase any of the new material, so I'll provide my views on it. First of all, if you don't have the earlier Adventures in Middle-earth (AiME) material and are interested in Middle-earth roleplay using something like the D&D 5e rules, then The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying (LotRR) will fit the bill. The artwork is top-notch, and the rules seem pretty well-considered.

If you already have AiME and are happy with it, then here's what I'd recommend:
  • The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying: This won't give you much you don't already have. Anything that is somewhat new (like the Captain calling, or the Elves of Lindon culture) will require some work to make compatible. Unless you're a rules collector, you could safely skip this.
  • Loremaster's Screen and Rivendell Compendium: If you aren't using these rules, you don't need the screen. And if you have the Rivendell Region Guide, you've already got all the Rivendell lore from this product, and then some.
  • Shire Adventures: If you want a bunch of background lore on the Shire, or would enjoy a series of low-level adventures involving almost completely non-lethal hobbity hijinx suitable for new and younger players where you get to meet Bilbo(!) and Balin(!) and Farmer Maggot and Tom Bombadil and Goldberry and others and maybe get invited to Bilbo's birthdays and get mentioned in the Red Book(!), then you should get this. If you're already in the midst of a Very Serious Quest and have no time for hobbity nonsense, then you could do without.

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