Adventures In Middle Earth - Game Concepts.   Posted by Gandalf The Grey.Group: 0
Gandalf The Grey
 GM, 6 posts
 The Grey Pilgrim
Mon 30 Oct 2017
at 04:05
Adventures In Middle Earth - Game Concepts
An Overview

Middle-earth is a setting with enormous depth, rich in history. It has its own atmosphere, its own set of influences and its own internal logic. To help bring this world to life Adventures In Middle Earth (AIME) uses additional rules to the standard D&D5E ones which highlight and reinforce the themes found in the books.

A Middle-earth adventure should not feel the same as any other run-of-the-mill fantasy adventure. Players are invited to embrace those things which make Middle-earth so wondrous a place in which to adventure, and discover a way to play that creates stories that satisfyingly evoke a Middle-earth feel.

Game Rules

AIME by and large uses D&D5E rules, but has the following additional elements:


"They went on again, always on and on with only brief halts."

Long quests and journeys over many leagues are a vital component of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and so journeys are an important aspect of Adventures in Middle-earth. Where many fantasy adventures may start at the dungeon door, in Middle-earth the journey itself can often be the adventure.

The journey rules specific to AIME (we’ll come to these quite quickly in the game and I’ll take your through them in detail then) describe how to plan an expedition across Middle-earth, and give you tools to create the evocative stories that happen along the way. These journey rules are designed to reflect the significance of travel in stories set in Middle-earth.


"It is by our own folly that the Enemy will defeat us!" cried Boromir.

Adventures in Middle-earth does not use the alignment system. All Player-heroes are assumed to be heroes – perhaps reluctant, perhaps ill-favoured and foul-looking, perhaps suspicious or haughty but heroes all the same. Heroes try to do good, but must contend with their own fears and failings. Therefore, all Player-heroes in Adventures in Middle-earth have a Shadow Weakness – a failing in their character that the Shadow seeks to exploit.

A character’s Shadow Weakness is determined by their starting character class. Player-heroes accumulate Shadow Points against their Wisdom ability score. Shadow Points directly represent the heavy burden of the fight against the Great Enemy. They are acquired by witnessing too much sorrow, travelling through blighted areas, claiming tainted treasure, and worst of all, openly embracing the ways of the Shadow by committing Misdeeds.

When a hero’s Shadow Points exceed their Wisdom, they become subject to the Miserable condition and are in danger of falling into madness for a time, which causes the worst aspects of the character, according to their Shadow Weakness, to come out. If they cannot overcome their darker impulses, their Shadow Weakness determines the ruinous path into corruption they take as they fall deeper into shadow.


"You will meet many foes, some open, and some disguised; and you will find friends upon your way, when you least look for it."

In Middle-earth, strangers are often mistrusted, and the various Free Folk are divided by suspicion as well as the long miles between them.

Adventurers are not free to simply come and go as they please, taking whatever they wish, or treating with kings as equals. They may well be treated as outsiders – or worse, brigands – if they arrive unannounced at a king’s hall. So it is that AIME has rules that are used to adjudicate such encounters. Audiences are designed to evoke the structured societies of Middle-earth.

Fellowship Phase

"Well, I’m back," he said."

Most games of Adventures in Middle-earth presume one or two adventures a year – “The Adventuring Phase”. When the adventuring is done, characters are given time between their travels to recover for a while, spending time with loved ones, looking after a business, or pursing their own interests. This time between adventures is referred to as the Fellowship phase, and characters may perform various undertakings during it – learning new abilities, removing Corruption, or establishing powerful patrons as allies.

The Fellowship phase is designed to evoke the storybook atmosphere of Middle-earth.

The Shadow

What your characters know:

The darkest legends of all folks living in the Northwest of Middle-earth speak of an evil power, an age-old Enemy whose greatest desire is to cover all the lands in darkness. Ancient beyond reckoning, this Shadow has taken many shapes, always in the attempt to conquer and consume all who opposed it. It suffered many defeats at the hands of valiant kings and the Powers of the world themselves, only to rise again in a new guise.

Almost two-thousand years ago, this Shadow entered Greenwood the Great, the forest of Wilderland. It secretly crept around a naked hill in the south, and built Dol Guldur, the Hill of Sorcery. From there, the darkness spread under the eaves of the forest, slowly turning it into a place of horror and dread. Many animals fled, leaving behind them an eerie silence, while other creatures crept in, as though heeding the call of a dark master: Orcs and giant spiders began to multiply, threatening all who entered or lived near the Forest.

The folks who called the wild wood their home suffered greatly, and soon forgot the beauty of Greenwood the Great, renaming it Mirkwood. Among them, the Silvan Elves and the Woodmen living along its western borders endured to this day, but not without much strife. The Elves retreated to their fortress underground beyond the mountain range that crosses the forest in the north, while the Woodmen learnt to survive in small groups to escape the Shadow’s notice. They started to refer to the dark presence occupying Dol Guldur as the Necromancer, failing to recognise it as the ancient Enemy.

Some years ago, a council of the Wise resolved to chase away the Shadow in the Forest once and for all. Powerful lords gathered their strength, and the Shadow fled to the East. The Forest finally knew a moment of respite, but the darkness of Mirkwood is now centuries old, and its hold on the forest’s deepest recesses is still strong. It will take many years for the Free Folks of the North to reclaim and cleanse the wood in its entirety, and only if the Shadow is kept away.
Gandalf The Grey
 GM, 7 posts
 The Grey Pilgrim
Mon 30 Oct 2017
at 04:08
Adventures In Middle Earth - Game Concepts
Magic In Middle Earth

There is little in the way of blatant, showy magic in Middle-earth, nor do the divine powers who watch over the world grant spells or blessings to their adherents as a matter of course.

While there is a supernatural component to Middle-earth, it is much more subtle and hidden than in other fantasy settings.

Any magic you character may have (either as an ability or in an item, etc) is listed on your character sheets. More items or abilities may follow as the game progresses and Player-heroes see an advance in their level, but regularly casting fireballs, etc is never going to happen!
Gandalf The Grey
 GM, 8 posts
 The Grey Pilgrim
Mon 30 Oct 2017
at 04:10
Adventures In Middle Earth - Game Concepts

In the North, for many years barter was the rule. Small settlements traded their labour and the goods they produced for whatever they needed from their neighbours, with what small coins they had going to the occasional travelling pedlar for what they could not make themselves. The only coins in circulation in Wilderland came then almost entirely from the Kingdom under the Mountain before the coming of Smaug.

With the re-emergence of Dale and Erebor, along with the rebuilt Lake-town, commerce has returned in earnest and new currency has begun to circulate once more, especially along the most used trade routes. The coins most often exchanged generally fall into three (broad) categories: gold pieces, silver pennies and copper coins.

Gold pieces are very valuable and relatively rare. The majority found in the North come from the Lonely Mountain. Indeed, older coins near invariably come from the Dragon’s treasure and many people have shown some propensity to hoard them and secret them away. King Dáin ordered portions of Smaug’s hoard smelted and minted anew, meaning there are new gold pieces about bearing the Ironfoot’s grim visage, but so vast was the wealth of Erebor that it simply wasn’t practical to try to render the entire hoard down.

Silver pennies are the most common currency of the North, in use from the streets of Dale to the inns of the Shire. Silver coins from Erebor and Dale of old were used throughout the Anduin Vales and in Esgaroth throughout the Dragon’s ‘reign’, and new silver pennies flow from the Lonely Mountain regularly now. Indeed, most other folk say (quietly, out of the earshot of Dwarves) that Durin’s folk are far more willing to part with silver, than gold.

Copper coins have the least worth. Many aren’t even properly struck coins, just bits of vaguely circular copper. A decent meal and a mug of ale can be had for a few coppers.

1 gold piece = 20 silver pennies
1 silver penny = 12 copper coins
1 gold piece = 240 copper coins

In the following equipment sections, the various coins are abbreviated so:

gold piece = (g), silver penny = (s), copper coin = (c).

While coins are how most monetary transactions take place, gem stones of various size and type are frequently used if particularly large sums are involved. The jewelry smiths of the North have long produced beautiful work and with the new wealth arising in parts of Wilderland, they are hard at work once more.