D&D 5E Free League's Lord of the Rings RPG Comes To 5E

Last year, Free League Kickstarted the new version of The One Ring, the official tabletop RPG set in Middle Earth. It made over $2M on Kickstarter, making it the 7th biggest TTRPG Kickstarter in history.

Now it's time for the 5E-powered version. This one won't be hitting Kickstarter, but you will be able to pre-order it this fall for a release in 2023.

As noted by Alex Clippinger on Twitter, this isn't an update of Cubicle 7's Adventures in Middle Earth -- "People asked about the previous 5E adaptation in the showcase and FL clarified that this is a distinct 5E adaptation of their own One Ring system and shouldn’t be thought of as a new adaptation/version of C7’s Adventures in Middle Earth (sorry AiME lovers!)"

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Free League Announces The Lord of the Rings™ Roleplaying For 5E

“This is the Master-ring, the One Ring to rule them all.”

The path to Middle-earth will soon open for new adventurers. We are thrilled to reveal that the acclaimed second edition of The One Ring™ roleplaying game is coming soon in a 5E adaptation, entitled The Lord of the Rings™ Roleplaying.

The new edition of The One Ring™ RPG, set in the world of The Lord of the Rings™ by J.R.R. Tolkien and designed by Francesco Nepitello and Marco Maggi, became the most successful tabletop roleplaying core game ever on Kickstarter when it ended March 4, 2021. Now the time has come to open Middle-earth for even more roleplayers with a brand new 5E adaptation.

The Lord of the Rings™ Roleplaying contains everything you need to create exciting 5E adventures set in the world’s most popular fantasy setting: six original heroic cultures from the land of Eriador, six new classes, a host of terrifying adversaries, and comprehensive rules for journeys, councils, wondrous artefacts, and the subtle magic of Middle-earth.

The Lord of the Rings™ Roleplaying core compendium will enter pre-order this fall, alongside a scenario module entitled Shire Adventures. A pre-order will give you immediate access to a full PDF of the products. The retail release of both is planned for Q1 2023.


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Cubicle 7 did not design The One Ring 1E, they published it in the US for an Italian (I think) designer.

Cubicle 7 got the license and employed Nepitello and his partners to write and publish his vision of Tolkien. They did not outright buy the rights/concepts from them, unlike what a lot of other companies do, so when he jumped ship to Free League, what he and his partners created went with them. But obviously some of what was created for both ToR and AiME still belongs in some way to C7 and others who still work for them. Otherwise, they would not have the right to publish the Journey rules, or other non-Tolkien rules from those games that they have teased.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Cubicle 7 did not design The One Ring 1E, they published it in the US for an Italian (I think) designer.
Yes, the designers of TOR are italian: Nepitello and Maggi. C7 had an agreement with Sophisticated Games. All of this, though, doesn't answer the questions about the copyright status of AiME. I'm curious about them as well.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Cubicle 7 got the license and employed Nepitello and his partners to write and publish his vision of Tolkien. They did not outright buy the rights/concepts from them, unlike what a lot of other companies do, so when he jumped ship to Free League, what he and his partners created went with them. But obviously some of what was created for both ToR and AiME still belongs in some way to C7 and others who still work for them. Otherwise, they would not have the right to publish the Journey rules, or other non-Tolkien rules from those games that they have teased.
No, the license is held by Sophisticated Games, C7 never had it. SG negotiated a deal with C7 do develop and publish the game.
 

No, the license is held by Sophisticated Games, C7 never had it. SG negotiated a deal with C7 do develop and publish the game.

Yes, that is called a sub-license. While C7 had it, Sophisticated could not just have some other company also do a game. And when the two had a falling out over something the public will never know, Sophisticated ended the license deal with C7 and ran off and made the same deal with Free League.
 

Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
Yes, that is called a sub-license. While C7 had it, Sophisticated could not just have some other company also do a game. And when the two had a falling out over something the public will never know, Sophisticated ended the license deal with C7 and ran off and made the same deal with Free League.
Yes, all of this is correct. It seemed to me that your previous post implied that the license from the Tolkien Estate was held by C7 and they had hired Sophisticated Games to develop the game, but I probably simply misread what you had written.
 


Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
C7 would have the copyright on AiMe but not the license to include references to Tolkien within it.

So basically they own it but can’t publish it.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
You can't copyright game rules, just the expression of them.
That's true in the US - is it also true in the UK or the rest of Europe? That's where it would be relevant given the actors involved.

(Serious question BTW - I understand the laws around games in the US to a degree, but I have no idea how the UK or the EU handle similar questions around IP).
 

Reynard

Legend
That's true in the US - is it also true in the UK or the rest of Europe? That's where it would be relevant given the actors involved.

(Serious question BTW - I understand the laws around games in the US to a degree, but I have no idea how the UK or the EU handle similar questions around IP).
No idea. Interesting question.
 

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