The One Index
I recently reviewed The One Ring core set on RPG Geek, as part of the Iron Reviewer Challenge for 2013. What I found in reading the game for the first time was a system that seemed to be great, but failed big time in organisation. The core set looks fantastic. Two softcover books in a slipcase, with two maps and dice, the books filled to the brim with sumptuous artwork. You can’t fail the game on the looks. However the organisation and indexes fail to hit the mark.
Attempting to facilitate character generation and a few initial moments of an adventure last night I experienced this disorganisation for real. Instead of smoothly admitting I couldn’t recall a rule and finding it, I spent too much time flipping back and forth from page to page, section to section.
For example, Damage Bonus. Is it in the Index of the Adventurer’s Book under D. No. It’s under C – Combat Rating, Damage. Obviously.
Another example, Tasks and Tests. If a player wants her character to do something, and the Loremaster reckons there’s a chance of failure, the player rolls a Task check. If a Loremaster wants to challenge a character to do something, the player rolls a Test. If you check the index for Tasks, you’ll find them under T – (Resolving) Tasks. However, if you want to check the index in the Loremaster book for the LM instigated Test, check under T and you’ll find nothing other than Trolls and Tolkien’s Canon. No, if you want the equivalent section on Test resolution, you need to check under R, for Resolving Tests. Yes… seriously.
I personally hope for a better edition some time in the future, but having already shelled out for a copy, I’m unlikely to buy it without some great incentive. In the meantime, a fan of the game compiled a Master Index, that stretches to something like 16-pages. Impressive and useful. I think the game would have benefited from a single book and a single, well-prepared index. Or, with two books, a single Master Index in the Loremaster’s Book.
We’ll see how the game goes, as most of the first session just covered character generation. On the plus side, character generation has come pretty incredible support, notably the Online Character Generator by David Esparza-Guerrero.
We just managed to kick off a tale of lost treasure and a journey toward the Iron Mountains, then time came to close the sessions.
For next week, I have another read through and collate my thoughts and notes on key necessities of the game. Perhaps a few sticky notes and index markers in the books will ease the pain.
As per my review, I am impressed – just a little disappointed, too.