Is there interest in a Middle-Earth 5e campaign?


So there's a Humble Bundle right now with Cubicle 7's 5e Middle-Earth books.

This is actually a pretty incredible Bundle. You can get the Players Guide plus a bunch of other stuff for just $1. Cubicle 7 did an *amazing* job of adapting the 5e engine to role-playing in Middle-Earth. The quality is consistently very high. This may be the best Middle-Earth RPG anyone has ever done, and the best that anyone will do for many years to come. Rumor has it that Cubicle 7 is losing the license. IDK if that's true, but it would explain why they're selling hundreds of dollars worth of stuff for $15 or less.

Anyway! This is making me wonder if there's interest in a 5eME campaign. There's one running on this forum right now. It's a high quality campaign that's been going for a couple of years -- but it's the only one. If we wanted to start another one, there'd be some prerequisites:

1) You'd have to pick up the Players Guide. Right now you can do that for just $1. (Honestly, that whole bundle is a steal.)

2) You'd have to be willing to commit to a fast-paced campaign. I'd be looking for a 90 day commitment, and then we'll see whether we want to continue.

3) It would be a role-playing intensive campaign. Knowledge of Tolkien is not required, but you'd have to be willing to lean into the Middle-Earth aspect -- playing heroes, not murder-hoboes, and like that.

So -- would people be interested in this?

I am indeed. I have a notion for a durinfolk slayer, intent on avenging the many wrongs against his people. I can normally post once per day.

Consider me interested as well. I'm reading through the player's guide right now, and one thing stands out to me: there are no spellcasters.

I am definitely interested! That posting rate shouldn't pose a problem for me.

What might be an issue (and I leave it to DM discretion on this) is my - relative - lack of familiarity with 5e... hopefully, you're not the type to roll your eyes if I have a question and/or misapply a rule from the wrong edition, but I should probably put that out there from the outset in order to avoid issues further down the line.

Liberty's Edge

It sounds like fun...I did pick up the bundle a few days ago!!

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5e is a pretty easy system to pick up, and if you have familiarity with the Pathfinder 1E ruleset, I can explain the major changes below:

5e changes:

*5e doesn't use stacking misc. modifiers; instead, it just uses advantage and disadvantage. Advantage means you roll twice and take the better result, while disadvantage means the opposite.

*5e doesn't really care about giving players the ability to use things like dex to damage; ranged attacks and attacks with weapons with the Finesse trait let you use dex to damage as well as hit (for free)

*Feats are uncommon in 5e, and actually an optional rule altogether (although it doesn't matter for Adventures in Middle Earth as I discovered, since they use "Virtues" instead). Feats (or Virtues) can be gained instead of one of your ability score boosts from levelling (also, all of the Human cultures get a cultural virtue for free at start)

*Skills don't bother with ranks; instead, you have a scaling proficiency bonus for anything you're trained in: saves, attacks, skills, tools. This bonus starts at 2 and scales based on total character level

*ability scores are all capped at 20, with a couple of exceptions from either gear or the level 20 ability from 1 class; you should assume that your ability score cap is 20.

*anyone can attempt any check and, as a result of the lower stats, have at least a chance to succeed (I think I've seen one or maybe 2 checks with a DC above 15 in my entire time playing 5e).

*magic items are not mandatory, and in reality plenty of games do just fine without them.

*there is a saving throw category for each stat, and most charactes will have proficiency in 2 saves (from their first class).

*multiclassing requires having minimum ability score bonuses in the key ability scores of the class they are multiclassing into, and multiclassing is technically a variant rule (but one I've never seen anyone not use)

Those are the major changes between 5e and PAthfinder 1st edition.

@Vrog - that is a fantastically useful summary, thank you!

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Thanks Decimus!

Very interested!

@Wandering Wastrel: you are most welcome!

Aka GM_Therenger from that other campaign with Decimus. Hobwise is ready to go and I can post daily. If you already have a burglar I can roll up something completely different. Would love to play in your adventure!

Vrog Skyreaver wrote:
Consider me interested as well. I'm reading through the player's guide right now, and one thing stands out to me: there are no spellcasters.

No caster classes. But there are a few spells within the cultural virtues.


What do you think of this name and avatar for Veig Fairmane of the Iron Hills?

Definite interest. I'll have to check out the Bundle and the rules.

Any thoughts on the campaign itself? Where? When? What we'll be up to, at least to start with? Helps to get the character ideas flowing.

I do have to quibble though - for my money, The One Ring captures Middle-Earth better than anything based on D&D could do. Doesn't mean the 5E version can't be fun, but the basic engine isn't a good match, imo.
Of course, that's also Cubicle 7, so I doubt they'll mind. :)

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DM_DM wrote:
So -- would people be interested in this?

I would say, 24 hours in, that the answer to your question is a firm, clear and unequivocal "yes."

thejeff wrote:

Any thoughts on the campaign itself? Where? When? What we'll be up to, at least to start with? Helps to get the character ideas flowing.

Right now I'm thinking the Mirkwood Campaign, which starts five years after the events of The Hobbit. It's modular, so we can play it in chunks. It starts in the lands of the Wood-Men, in southwest Mirkwood, near Rhosgobel and Dol Guldur.

Note that I'm not yet committed to doing this! Give me a week or two. I want to gauge interest, and also be sure that I can carry on with it for at least that 90 day trial period.

thejeff wrote:

I do have to quibble though - for my money, The One Ring captures Middle-Earth better than anything based on D&D could do. Doesn't mean the 5E version can't be fun, but the basic engine isn't a good match, imo.

Of course, that's also Cubicle 7, so I doubt they'll mind. :)

TOR is also on sale at Humble Bundle. However, I think an adaptation of 5e will be easier to find players for, and easier for me to run.

Things that may be relevant in a Mirkwood campaign:

-- it's Mirkwood. Spiders, strange beasts. Trees that are half-sentient, and some combination of mad, hostile, and evil. Hunts. Getting lost.
-- Dol Guldur, former home of the Necromancer, is right up the block. It's empty now, but just five years ago it was the home of hideous evil.
-- Radagast the Brown is literally your neighbor
-- Thranduil the Elf-King lives far to the north, but the Wood-Elves travel all through Mirkwood
-- the Wood-Men are Men, and where there are Men there are politics and divided counsels
-- to the north and west live the Beornings
-- due west is the Great River. In the open lands between the Forest and the River live small settlements of Men who were, until quite recently, tributary to the Necromancer.
-- Gondor is far and away down the River to the south, but stories and the occasional traveler do come this far

Hey GM,

This sounds like fun and I am definitely interested.

My knowledge of Middle-Earth is scarce. I read the books way back then and saw the trilogy movie more recently. I have not seen the Hobbit movies though.

As for 5e, I am currently running a couple of games here on these boards so I am more familiar with that.

I'll pick up the Player's Handbook and see what's there.

Game on!

I have beed eyeing the bundle having a game to play pikes my interest more. I would be interested.

Joining the chorus of interested voices. If you do decide to open recruitment it seems there will be lots of competition!

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Here's a useful thread discussing ME5e and how it differs from vanilla 5e. I thought this post was particularly interesting:

"I've been GMing the game for a little while now and it's important to note that, for most official adventures released, combat is a last-resort. Most encounters are best resolved through negotiation, stealth and avoidance... Hence, the PC's ability to chuck a fireball or swing a blade is largely irrelevant.

"By contrast, the critical and deadly part of the rules is Corruption and Journeys.

"A vast number of things can give you Shadow points. Unlike a game like Star Wars, Corruption in AiME is not necessarily related to 'bad choices'. You can gain Shadow points by traveling through hostile terrain... fighting a particularly evil monster... witnessing the death of a friend... or simply being caught in bad weather. Anything that makes you tired and miserable and frightened can give you Shadow points. When your Shadow points exceed your Wisdom, you may gain a point of Permanent Shadow (then your counter re-sets). If this happens once, it's a warning. If it happens twice, you start gaining permanent mechanical penalties to your PC, and if it happens four times... you become an NPC."

an earlier posted noted that the Scholar was underpowered, being more or less a 5e wizard but almost entirely without spells. The reply:

"The Scholar is the only AiME class that has proficiency in Wisdom saves, and this is one of the critical balancing factors for the class. Most Corruption checks allow a Wisdom save to avoid gaining Shadow, so the Scholar is streets ahead of other classes in resisting eventual degradation. Further, during the Fellowship phase, you gain the option to remove some Shadow points - with an Insight check. So, Scholars gain Shadow slower and tend to remove it easier than any other class.

"The second key advantage of the Scholar is that they are masters of healing. No other class, with the exception of the Warden, has much in the way of healing capability. In AiME, long rests are generally only available in Sanctuaries. NOTE: this is a HUGE difference from standard 5e. No long rests until you reach Rivendell or wherever! Most campaigns start with a single Sanctuary (e.g. Laketown) and it takes an action in the Fellowship phase to open a new Sanctuary...

"So, what does that mean? If you get injured, you're in a ton of trouble. You've got your Hit Dice. Once those are burned, there's nothing else. There are no healing potions, no friendly clerics, and no long rests until the Fellowship Phase (i.e. the adventure is complete!). The Scholar and the Warden become force multipliers. Both bring heaps of additional healing to the table, which keeps the rest of the party in the adventure.

"Then there's the Journey phase. Most adventures require Journeys, and they can be savage. Random events occur, and many are very bad for the party. Unless you have strong wilderness skills (Survival, Perception, etc), there's a solid chance you'll run into events that either add Shadow or cause exhaustion levels. Perhaps even multiple exhaustion levels. Why is exhaustion so bad in AiME? See above - you can't just do the D&D thing of taking a day off for a long rest. In a month-long foot-slog across Mirkwood, you might get unlucky and gain 3 levels of exhaustion. None of it can be removed until you get to the other side. And then you run into a pack of orcs...

"Finally, there's the Audience phase. Audiences are where you deal with notable NPCs, and this is the source of 80%+ of all the treasure in AiME. Usually, you get nothing when looting bodies (...except maybe a Shadow point for grave-robbing), and there aren't many dragon hoards around. However, patrons will often reward you. Sometimes, the reward is in gold or land... and sometimes it's in the form of aid to make your next Journey that much easier. Guess what helps in Audiences? Hint - it's not paladin smites, or magic missiles. Once more, the Scholar and the Warden shine.

"The bottom line is that if you are using the AiME player's guidebook to run a low-powered regular D&D campaign, then the classes are going to be unbalanced. If you can long rest at will, and most treasure is gained from chests and bodies, and exhaustion is a minor inconvenience, and you aren't using the AiME Journey and Corruption rules, then the Scholar, Warden and Wanderer classes are all under-powered. This just leaves you with the Slayer (barbarian), Treasure Hunter (rogue) and Warrior (fighter). So, you're not really gaining anything over just playing regular D&D and restricting the class choice.

"However, if you play the full AiME as intended, there is much more balance. My group prioritized the Scholar and Warden classes after learning how the game plays, and they have no regrets."

Liberty's Edge

I was looking at playing a scholar and your discussion was really good...still wanting to give it a try!! Just trying to figure out what culture I want to come from

I'm currently leaning towards playing a Bardling Wanderer archer.

Liberty's Edge

I think I will work on a Woodman of the Wilderland scholar (healer)...she will be modelled on more of a wise-woman/hedge witch-like character. Reading the player's handbook has me very interested in seeing how this game would play out!!

Reading the player's handbook, and DMDM's helpful summary in the spoiler above, makes me realise just how lethal this game is likely to be - a combination of 1st edition/red box D&D crossed with Call of Cthulhu, perhaps (the Shadow Points and Madness rules especially!).

Middle Earth is a dire and deadly place indeed. Sign me up.

Ya, I'm looking forward to it!

I haven't run it yet, but I see three big things that crank up the lethality: Shadow, Exhaustion, and the inability to take long rests outside a Sanctuary. I wouldn't say it's at the level of Call of Cthulhu or (shudder) 1e D&D -- but it's not the 15 Minute Adventuring Day, either.

Grand Lodge

I'm interested as well.

Veig Fairmane is just about ready, should he hear the call to adventure!


4' 10" in height, voluminous hair and flowing beard the colour of flax, ruddy complexion and powerful limbs on a barrel chest.


Determined and confident, this dwarf knows his physical prowess. He lends his strength when and where it is needed, which is often and in many places. He is loathe to back down from a fight or an insult.


Veig, son of Svior, grew up underneath the Iron Hills, earning a reputation as a promising miner. He worked tirelessly and alsways volunteered for the toughest work assignments. When Erebor was reclaimed and ruled by a dwarf of the Iron Hills, his heart swelled with pride. Veig offered his mattock in service to King Dáin and was accepted. For some years, Veig's reputation grew. His lengthy and fair hair earned him a nickname, which he wore as a badge of honour.

Then, the day came. Veig and his band battled an orcish raiding party, led by a strange, cloaked figure. Before the end, the figure spoke in Veig's mind.

"Svior's son shall fall, and the shadows shall darken all. No steel can save thine soul, thus your doom shall be whole."

The figure slipped away in the chaos, and after that, Veig and his companions suffered grave losses. Veig eventually decided that it would be best if he struck out and hunted down the cloaked figure, in the hope of undoing this doom. If not, then he could slay Shadow servants until his demise.


Veig Fairmane
Dwarf of the Lonely Mountain (Iron Hills) Slayer (future foe-hammer) 1
Height: 4' 10", Age 62
Init +2; Passive Perception 12

Inspiration: 0

0 Temporary Shadow Points
0 Permanent Shadow Points

Shadow Weakness
Curse of Vengeance
Individuals who live by the sword are ever tempted to draw it, either literally or f iguratively, when their will is thwarted or when they deem their honour to have been impugned by an insult. As corruption spreads in the hero’s spirit, their behaviour worsens, leading to more extreme violent reactions.
AC: 15 (Corslet of Mail 13+2 Dex)
HP: 15 (1d12+3 = 10)
Speed 25 ft.

Mattock 20s +5 2d6+3 piercing 10 lb. Heavy, two-handed

Spear 3s +5 1d6+3 piercing 3 lb. Thrown (20/60), versatile (1d8)

Hand-Axe 5s +5 1d6+3 slashing 2 lb. Light, thrown (range 20/60)

Spear 3s +4 1d6+2 piercing 3 lb. Thrown (20/60), versatile (1d8)

Hand-Axe 5s +4 1d6+2 slashing 2 lb. Light, thrown (range 20/60)

Iron Hills Dwarf: +2 Str, +2 Con

Str 16 (+3), Dex 14 (+2), Con 16 (+3), Int 10 (+0), Wis 10 (+0, Cha 10 (+0)

Proficiency Bonus +2

Armour: Light armour, medium armour, shields
Weapons: Simple weapons, martial weapons

Saving Throws: Strength, Constitution

Athletics, Intimidation, Perception, Survival

Skills: Acrobatics +2, Animal Handling +0, *Athletics +5, Deception +0, History +0 (+2 stone), Insight +0, *Intimidation +2, Investigation +0, Lore +0, Medicine +0, Nature +0, *Perception +2, Performance +0, Persuasion +0, Riddle +0, Shadow-lore +0, Sleight of Hand +2, Stealth +2, *Survival +2, Traditions +0

Languages: Common Speech, Dalish, Dwarfish

Tools: Miner's Tools, Fiddle


Corslet of mail
Two hand axes

A fur-lined travelling cloak
Travelling gear for the current season
Ornamented walking stick
Comfortable boots
10d6 silver pennies

choose any two: another 2d6 silver pennies,
a gold coin from the hoard of Smaug the Magnificent,
artisan’s tools of your choice, a musical instrument, a f ine
beard comb and mirror, a gold ring, a flask of dwarven

Coin: 00 GP, 1xx SP, 0 CP

Night Vision (Dwarf) - Accustomed to life underground, you have superior vision in dim conditions. You can see in Dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, but you cannot see in the dark.

Dwarven Resilience – You have advantage on saving throws against poison, and you have resistance against poison damage.

Dwarven Combat Training – You have prof iciency with axe, hand axe, great axe, light hammer, and warhammer.

Tool for War – You have proficiency with the mattock.

Tool Proficiency – You gain proficiency with the artisan’s tools of your choice: jeweller’s tools, mason’s tools, miner’s tools, smith’s tools, or woodcarver’s tools. You also gain proficiency in one musical instrument of your choice.

Stonecunning – Whenever you make an Intelligence (History) ability check related to the origin of stonework, you are considered proficient in the History skill and add double your proficiency bonus to the check, instead of your normal proficiency bonus.

Languages – You can speak, read, and write Dalish, which is the tongue of the Bardings, who speak an older version of the Common Tongue. You can also speak, read and wr ite the secret language of your people, which has never been shared with any others.

Battle-fury (2/day)
In battle, you fight with white-hot rage or cold, deadly precision. Whatever the character of your anger, on your turn, you can enter a Battle-fury as a bonus action. While in a Fury, you gain the following benefits if you aren’t wearing heavy armour:
• You have advantage on Strength checks and Strength saving throws.
• When you make a melee weapon attack using Strength, you gain a bonus to the damage roll that increases as you gain levels as a Slayer, as shown in the Fury Damage column of the Slayer table.
• You have resistance to bludgeoning, piercing and slashing damage.

Your Battle-fury lasts for 1 minute. It ends early if you are knocked unconscious or if your turn ends and you haven’t attacked a hostile creature since your last turn or taken damage since then.

You can also end your Battle-fury on your turn as a bonus action. Once you have used this feature the number of times shown for your level in the Furies column of the Slayer table, you must f inish a long rest before you can enter a Battle-fury again.

Unarmoured Defence
While you are not wearing any armour, your Armour Class equals 10 + your Dexterity modifier + your Constitution modifier. You can use a shield (but not a great shield) and still gain this benef it.


BACKGROUND - Doomed to Die

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation

Feature: Dark Foreboding
While they know not the hour or manner of their death, those Doomed to Die often have a sixth sense of sorts when in the presence of Shadow. They may not know exactly what is behind this feeling, but they can sense its presence grow stronger or weaker. The Doomed to Die can usually tell, for example, whether an Orc band is an isolated raiding party or part of a larger force being driven by something more sinister, or whether a nearby ruin is steeped in Shadow.

Distinctive Quality: Determined
Your fate is coming soon and you don’t want to leave anything unfinished. You relentlessly pursue your goals.

Specialty: Smith-craft
If you’re going to meet your doom, you shall do so while wearing good armour and wielding strong steel.

Hope: "The Shadow must be rid of me because I am strong."

Despair: "I know that those who stand beside me are only fated to die beside me."

Guys, I'm still not completely sure I'm going to do this. And if I *do* do this, I won't ask people for a complete character writeup -- a brief background, Hope and Despair and the like should do it. After all, it would be a bit much to ask people to write up a PC for a system that only one other campaign is using...

Anyway: this isn't the recruitment thread. This is the "gauging interest" thread. You're free to post character concepts, I guess, but it's a bit premature.

Ah, fair enough. I'll wait and see. :)

Dotting for interest should you issue a call to Fellowship DM_DM...

Dark Archive

Dotting in for interest!

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I'm seriously hooked, having spent most of the last few days reading several hundred pages of some of the best sourcebooks I have read in a long time. Tempted to say that I will run an adventure irrespective of what DMDM decides. It wouldn't be the Mirkwood campaign as DMDM has chosen that one.

If I decide to go through with this, I will set up a separate recruitment thread.

@WW: Please keep us posted if you do - MERP and RoleMaster were my staples in the late 80s so I'd love to step back onto Middle Earth again :)

Will do! My only real concern (apart from petty things like RL time constraints) is my lack of familiarity with the 5e game engine.

It looks reasonably straightforward from what I can see, but as a DM I like to have a complete handle of the rules and I just don't have that in this case.

Ooooooh, I just got the players guide. It's *dripping* with cool flavor. Looking forward to one (or both?) recruitment threads!

It is done!

(DMDM: sincere apologies for "hijacking" your recruitment thread; I hope it is not too gross a discourtesy.)

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@Wandering Wastrel:

You might be interested in A Grognard's Guide to 5E D&D Rules. Found on a list of useful 5e links.

Wandering Wastrel wrote:

It is done!

(DMDM: sincere apologies for "hijacking" your recruitment thread; I hope it is not too gross a discourtesy.)

Not in the least! This is a great system and I'm happy to see other people playing it.

Go ahead and post a link to your recruiting thread here, no problem.

Are elves from Lothlorian or Rivendel available.

Thanks DMDM!

Recruitment thread for non-Mirkwood campaign

Telerin Quenya wrote:
Are elves from Lothlorian or Rivendel available.

Lorien, no. I *believe* Rivendell elves are covered in one of the splatbooks.

I am going to withdraw my interest. There are more than enough people here for the game to go off. Thanks and good luck!

Okay, we're going to try this. I set up a separate recruiting thread to keep things clear:

It'll be a fast recruit; I'm just looking for 1-2 players now. Still, if you're interested, come on over!

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