Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.5)

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Realm Guard: Rangers of the North (v1.5)

What are the updates?

  • Dragon was added, description text to follow.
  • Scale of Might (Natural Order) chart was added, as well as info on how Lore Master and Tokens of Power affect the chart and placement on it.
  • Lore Master was added as a skill following the Scale of Might.
  • Student of the Wise trait was added.
  • Tokens of Power items were expanded upon, including how to turn an item into a Token of Power in play in thematically (and group-approved) times: having the last Attack action that drops a balrog might turn your sword into a level 1 trait Token of Power; an insignia ring shown during a low-disposition loss negotiation with a hill tribe set on razing Bree becomes a level 1 trait Token of Power; etc.

Aw crap. I didn’t update the Recruitment section to include Student of the Wise… Hmmm… Will have to fix that. For now, assume Student of the Wise is included in the trait charts under the following headings: Innate Quality, and Life On the Road (but not under Inherited or Learned).

edit: Changes needed for v1.6: full text for Dragon; paper doll style images for Scale of Might (if possible); update Recruitment to include Student of the Wise.

Something I’m still toying with is the idea of assigning a Nature rating to some terrain regions, specifically Lothlorien, Fangorn, Dead Marshes, Ettenmoors, Dol Guldur, Barrow-downs, Old Forest, the “Ungols” and Minas Morgul. All of those introduce their own issues/evils/enchantments which can be obstacles for players moving through them.

Very cool, man.

Why not set up the territories like the Territories and describe obstacles and encounters possible (and mandatory) when journeying through them?


Yeah, I was thinking about that when I first started describing various territories and regions: including possible twist opportunities as offered by the territory. It’ll add about 2-3 more pages, but I think I’ll do that. For instance, Barrow-downs and Dead Marshes… an obvious twist would be to introduce Wights. In Fangorn Forest, an Ent may appear and require a negotiation to proceed through the forest. In the Old Forest, the trail may strangely become confused as the trees subtly rearrange themselves and offer openings deeper into the wood, or try to expel the ranger band.

Also, some areas may have specific effects. For example, anyone within Lothlorien or Imladris can roll to remove Tired (ie, it counts as a Friend or Family member does in MG); you don’t have to seek special NPCs out or even inns or anything. The region itself is a comfort to the Tired or Strained.

Anyway, you’ve definitely given me incentive to follow up on my original musings. Let’s see what I can come up with over the next few days, and I’ll post the territories section as a separate PDF so people can give feedback on those specific additions.

Awesome awesome. Much better than dumping everything into one bland roll.


Moved from the RG 1.4 thread…

Here’s a link to the post with the Realm Guard session. Character creation is a separate audio file, since I felt its appeal was more limited. Even if you don’t listen to the whole thing, please listen to a few minutes in the middle. I will say that we had a lot more in the way of connection and technical problems than is my typical experience. If you could give me notes on sound quality, I would appreciate it.

Even more appreciated are notes on rules knowledge/problems/clarifications. I think I talked and tried to explain too much too soon. I will just let things happen more organically in the future.

Realm Guard session audio

Realm Guard character creation

Link to podcast feed

Approximate time table for session audio:

00s to 1m40s: Introduction

06m: Party arrives at the throne room of the King

13m: Party has received mission, and starts choosing Beliefs, Goals, Instincts, and Gear.

39m30s: Story resumes.

48m30s: Baby cries.

49m30s: Party encounters boatmen.

53m30s: Trolls appear.

55m30s: Chase conflict begins. I over-explain the scripting mechanic.

01h21m: I make an interesting mistake. A player comes up with a good idea, and I realize now that I should have said “Yes” to his suggestion.

01h46m: Conflict ends. Both sides reduced to zero disposition in the same action!

01h51m: PCs meet Harnbad.

02h01m: GM’s turn ends.

02h26m: Session ends, Artha awards.

02h31m: Artha ends, rules discussion begins.

Salvagebar: Based on the character creation recording, you guys were using the MG character sheets, right? For the future, damiller made an awesome RG character sheet hack.

Hopefully that can help you in future games!

Speaking of which, I just added the link to that sheet in the main PDF (the in-progress v1.6), and gave credit. damiller, if you’re reading this, what’s your name? PM me that if you aren’t comfortable posting, but I’d like to give you proper credit. :slight_smile: Doycet… ditto. PM me your actual name for credit for all the help with Natural Order chart, lore master stuff, etc.

In terms of Goals, I actually really liked “I will keep party members from getting in over their heads.” That’s a great goal! Also, Goals can be personal, relating to Family, Friends, etc, or made to contrast another character’s Belief or Instinct. If someone had the Instinct “I always act first, and think about the consequences later,” the Goal above would be especially wicked. A good way to ask for Goals is to say, “What is your character’s aim within the scope of the mission? The mission is a given. What do you want to accomplish beyond that?”

Overall, I thought it went great, especially for their first go with the system, and the session being over Skype. It’s tough when you can’t see people directly. At least, I find it is. Great stuff!

“If we get hungry, we can have scroll soup.” Ha!

edit: Still listening to the podcast, and in the Disposition roll for the chase conflict, it couldn’t be added to Nature. That’s my fault – I totally forgot to check all the conflict actions, and disposition rolls and bases when adapting RG. Nature can’t be a base, since “fleeing” is only Nature for mice… not Rangers. :slight_smile: I’ll need to add a few pages on clarifying all those for Realm Guard. My bad! Thanks for drawing that to my attention, though! I’ll be sure to fix that. Funny enough, the compromise (or rather, the double-win) from the troll chase was exactly what I’d have done.

Realm Guard is teh awesome sauce. Keep it up Rafe, this is shaping up to be quality.

Find below the blurb for the game I’m running at Concrete Cow 9-1/2 in England next month.

The Open Veins of Middle Earth - A Realm Guard scenario for 3-4 players

“It wasn’t meant to be like this. The Third Age that ended with the fall of Sauron was supposed to usher in the Age of Men. Instead, the Men of Middle Earth must suffer under the same ages-old Elven subjugation. The ranger Aragorn, raised by Elves to be their pawn, has ascended to the throne with the ‘blessing’ of Elrond the Elf. (Elrond makes much of the moniker ‘Half Elven’, but notice how his actions always favour the accursed Elves.) This is not change you can believe in. Heed not the fey lies of the official history: the supposed reforging of the shards of Narsil as ‘Anduril’ - too long have the Elves looted our lands of artefacts; and the convenient ‘suicide’ of our noble liege Denethor - in truth cruelly slain by the Elven wizard Mithrandir. Elessar and his sorcerous Elven wife are bent on refashioning Gondor such that it rivals the glory of ancient Numenor. Faramir, rightful Steward of Gondor, asks all true men of Gondor to join him! Let us together unseat the foul usurper Aragorn and throw off the yoke of Elven dominion once and for all!”

Realm Guard is a hack of the Mouse Guard RPG, set in the Fourth Age of Middle Earth. Players play Rangers of Ithilien in the service of Faramir, Steward of Gondor, in his valiant struggle against the usurper Aragorn.

Does Realm Guard have a website? Even just a one-pager effort? I always like to link to the games I offer, so for RG I just used a link to this forum thread.


Interesting twist to the RG hack!

Ha! Agreed. So the characters will be Rangers of Ithilien? Cool hack-of-a-hack idea!

No website. I’m not good with web stuff (at all). Also, while Saint&Sinner and I love to see news of people playing/mentioning it, I don’t think we want to attract too much attention. It comes down to legality, I guess.

Listening back, I think my main mistakes were:

[li]I forgot “Say ‘yes’ or roll dice”. I shot down a couple workable ideas from the players that I should have let fly, and caused needless frustration.
[/li][li]I let the GM’s Turn go on too long. This was a problem in the last Mouse Guard session I ran, too. As a GM, I am shooting for the ideal of getting in a skill challenge or two, intitiating a conflict, and then immediately letting the players take their turns.

Also, I am still looking for players to fill out the group.

My experience, contrary to the book, has been that the GM’s Turn is 3/4 of the session with the Players’ Turn taking up the rest. That’s my experience both as a GM (3 sessions) and as a player (six or seven sessions). I wouldn’t worry too much. If the players want to do more in the PT, they just need to use their traits against themselves more often. You were great at reminding and recommending them to do so and it seemed to pay off.

I think a big issue for your group was not having damiller’s RG character sheet to use. That said, another big issue was me completely forgetting that changing Nature descriptors changes conflict options. Rangers can’t use Nature for defensive actions in a chase conflict because “fleeing” isn’t in Dúnadan Nature. That was my bad. I’ll need to go through every conflict type, make changes and have them peer reviewed.

Are you interested in making a ‘safe for printing’ version, so no one sues us for using their images, etc without permission? If so, I’d eventually like to print out a version to hand around at cons (and pay back Luke, et al for all their awesome help). I know Gencon’s too close to worry about this but the project has legs. I could definitely see handing these things out for a while…

Yeah, I could probably do that. It definitely wouldn’t be before GenCon, though. : /

Link to second Realm Guard session

I have a few personal notes, which I put in an introduction at the start of the audio. Nick, who played in session one, came back, and two new players join: Richard, who plays Reggie/Ronnie in the Necessary Evil game, and Shawn, who runs a game of Mutants and Masterminds that I joined two weeks ago. I ran a test conflict to introduce players to the central mechanic. At that point, the party chose to go through character generation and start a new story with notes I had prepared, rather than pick up from the end of the first session.

Time table -

1m30s: Introduction ends

47m45s: Test conflict with players ends.

54m: Character Generation begins.

1h25m50s: Character generation ends.

1h32m30s: GM’s turn begins.

1h40m: Party has received mission goal; choosing Beliefs, Goals, Instincts, and Gear.

1h50m30s: First skill challenge.

1h58m30s: Fight conflict begins.

2h13m: GM’s turn ends. Players’ turns begin.

3h10m: 2nd GM’s turn. King Thranduil of Mirkwood initiates a very high-stakes speech conflict.

4h12m: Conflict ends, with surprising results. Compromises negotiated, session ends, then artha awards.

4h27m: Rules talk, notes from players, and session aftermath. Everyone staggers off in exhaustion.

Notes for next time: Insist on writing everything down. Everything. Mission Goal, personal Goals, Beliefs, Instincts, and each Conflict Goal. I overlooked these things, and paid the price with confusion later. The exact wording should be stated, put down in black and white, and posted in the chat. These statements are all a kind of contract, and imprecision invites frustration.

Have you thought about asking the Hunt For Gollum and Born of Hope for movie images, concept art, etc? We could also hit up LotR boards to see if artist would like to contribute anything.

Have you worked out the Type factors for the replaced skills?

Can you tell me where to get a map with the 4th Age names on everything?