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Looking for peoples' experiences with Adventures in Middle Earth for 5e

Eric V

Hero
Just as the title reads: What have been the experiences people have had playing in Middle-Earth using 5e rules?

I have the core books, the Rhovanion Guide, the Mirkwood Campaign, and Wilderland Adventures. It all looks great, and it looks like it will address some of the desires for a (very) low-magic campaign.

I'd love to hear how people have or haven't enjoyed the setting-system marriage here.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Supporter
I’m an experienced player about five sessions into the Mirkwood campaign. I’m not sure if you’re planning on DMing or playing so I won’t add spoilers.

Positives

A very evocative setting with some really original roleplay concepts (I mean really original - like this is the setting where some of these tropes were first explored) pipe-smoking contests, spider haunted ruins, goblin holes, halfling feasts et al.

Some nifty mechanics that I enjoy a lot. Journeys, restrictions on long rests, flaws, cultural virtues, to name a few.

The martial characters are fun to play, even with the magic stripped out. Our party has a Dunedein wanderer, an elf rogue and a barding warrior. They feel balanced and powerful, even without magic in their party. 5e’s mechanics around healing and short rest powers really support this in a way that other systems struggle.

Cons

Shadow points can be a bit wearing at times. I think it is important that there be chances to remove these - through good deeds or particularly beautiful or peaceful locations. (Stannis Baratheon would be turning in his grave lol)

The warden and scholar classes are just poor. While the martials stand up against their PHB counterparts, these two equivalents for bards and I guess spell casters are worse in every way. They remove major class abilities without offering anything meaningful in exchange. Cubicle 7 should definitely consider revising them in future products. I’m really not a fan of making things a player should be able to attempt through the normal course of events into class abilities. For instance the ability to scout an enemy camp should not be a class ability, neither should trying to persuade an NPC to agree with you. Any PC that invests that effort into skills and roleplaying should be able to do these things. Unfortunately the scholar and warden classes are choc full of these types of abilities.

The adventure can seem quite linear. As best as I can tell but that may be just the stage we are at. The positives are definitely enough to make me want to keep playing in the campaign.

Overall summary 8/10. Be sensitive with shadow points, scrap scholar and warden and give players options and it is an awesome campaign system. You should definitely give it at least a try.
 

Enendill

Villager
I've presented it to my regular group.

Problem is that they did not -surprisingly- like to adventure at the same sites the Fellowship was adventuring.

Also, they find the D&D 5e rules really tied up with magic, so stripping away magic, happens to weaken all of the experience. I'm not in favor of this view, but this is how they see it.

So, we haven't gotten around in playing with this yet. We might (hopefully) run an one-shot from Wilderland Adventures at some point and if this happens I might turn them around, as I happen to like C7 material.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
One thing with AiME is that it requires a very specific group with a very specific mindset and clear expectations. Dm's dont want to sell AiME as low-magic D&D, that would deceive the players: there's no magic, at best a high level scholar can use make a level 1 spell effect per short rest. The game is also quite punitive, there's little place for ''lolz random'' action or morally questionable actions without the risk of having the players gain Shadow Point. Also the rules to implement such restriction are a little complex and feels like you lose many things and gain very little by playing AiME. I would describe it like this: Instead of just removing elements that did not fit the setting, AiME add a lot of rules to circumvent those elements.

The campaign are really good, but there's a lot of Deux Ex Machina and un-winnable fights, some players might not like that. The Mirkwood campaign is also a long, unwinnable fight against encroaching darkness: even if the players would ''win'' every encounters in the campaign, they would only delay the Darkening and lose anyway in the end. This could be hard on some players enjoyment.

That said, the rules really help the narrative and respect the lore. This is really a rule set for people who have an interest in playing in a unforgiving world without magic. I love those books, but I need to choice my players carefully when planning, because not everyone would enjoy the adventures.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
@Morrus talked about it his experiences DMing it recently. To paraphrase what I recall, his players were finding little to look forward in leveling up compared to their base 5e expectations, and a dedicated system like The One Ring might handle those expectations better. I believe they were 3rd level.
 
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BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I've run it with my group, starting with the eaves of Mirkwood, and transitioning into Wilderland Adventures. Mirkwood campaign is next for me as soon as we wrap up WA.

i highly recommend the Eaves of Mirkwood/Loremasters screen product. For one the Loremaster screen is chock full of useful stuff I don't want to flip through books for. For another the adventure itself is a very good introduction to the system designed to show off a simple Journey and Audience. Lastly it contains alternate rules for the Scholar and Warden that, while I don't think it completely brings them in line with the other classes, does go a long way to beefing up their offensive abilities.

Alternatively I have considered giving Wardens Manouvers from the 5e Battlemaster and Powering them with their Warden's Gift dice, and letting Scholars take Cultural Virtues from any Culture, which would allow them to grab more Magic abilities, or just giving them a limited spell list.

Expectations are important however. It isn't D&D even if it is using 5e skeleton. TOR is probably better at a more Tolkienish experience, but I find AiME is good enough for our table.

Tl:dr much fun was had.
 
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