Review: Bree - a sourcebook for The One Ring RPG

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Review: Bree - a sourcebook for The One Ring RPG

Postby Otaku-sempai » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:16 am

I wrote this review back in October, 2017 but I wasn't on the TORc forums at that time. I did submit it as an article for the homepage; however, that doesn't look like that is going active again until at least late summer (if then).

The region guide Bree is a bit different from previous sourcebooks for Cubicle 7’s The One Ring Roleplaying Game. For one thing, at 112 pages it is shorter than most of them. For another, it covers a smaller region than any previous volume (with the exception of the 32-page Lake-town Sourcebook that comes bundled with the Loremaster’s Screen): just the region of Bree-land, to the east of the Shire, including Bree-hill and the four villages of Combe, Staddle, Archet, and of course Bree. And still another, Bree is not just a region guide, but also includes three complete adventures set in and around Bree-land.

The book is a lovely, stitch-bound hardcover sporting a beautiful cover painting by Sam Manley that depicts a company of Heroes approaching The Prancing Pony inn. The interior covers and end papers are used to provide color Player’s and Loremaster’s maps of Bree-land. The interior pages include such features as:

    An Introduction with “How to Use this Guide” and “The Tale of Years”.
    A History of the Bree-land.
    Bree-land & Around, detailing the region and villages of Bree-land and a map of Bree itself.
    The Prancing Pony, a guide to the best inn west of Rivendell and east of the Shire, and its owner and staff.
    An Empty Land looks at the outlying parts of Bree-land.
    Adventuring in Bree suggests “Things to do while in Bree” and “New Fellowship Phase Undertakings” for Bree-land.
    Men of Bree allows players to create Heroes (both Tall and Small) originating from Bree and its sibling villages.
    Lastly, the book provides the three adventures: Old Bones and Skin (inspired by a poem attributed to Master Samwise Gamgee); Strange Men, Strange Roads, a mystery that starts at the Forsaken Inn located a day’s travel from Bree; and, Holed up in Staddle in which the Company is enlisted to pursue criminal fugitives who have plagued the region; followed by a comprehensive Index.
The entire volume is lushly illustrated by Andrew Hepworth, Jon Hodgson (also Art Director), the aforementioned Sam Manley, Jan Pospisil and Scott Purdy. Writing credits go to Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, Jon Hodgson (how does this man find time to have a personal life?) and Francesco Nepitello. The whole thing is ably edited by Andrew Kendrick and Francesco Nepitello.

Why should you buy this book? Bree is a quiet place; however, that is only because it is unknowingly under the protection of the Rangers of the North. As a certain Dúnadan once said: ‘What roads would any dare to tread, what safety would there be in quiet lands, or in the homes of simple men at night, if the Dúnedain were asleep, or were all gone into the grave?’ Bree-land is not a place for epic quests, but it has its own dangers and charms if one is observant; and many colorful characters inhabit the region: Hobbit Bounders, opinionated old codgers, a schoolteacher with a mysterious past, the semi-reformed thief in possession of a run-down hostelry. Bree is an excellent headquarters for an adventuring Company that plans to spend a significant amount of time in Eriador. Not only is it reasonably secure, it is also at the crossroads of the Great East Road and the Greenway that leads to the Gap of Rohan. Bree is the last bastion of civilization east of the Shire, or the first west of Rivendell. If you are a fan of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings then Bree is well worth a look.

Bree; hardcover, 112 pages, $34.99 (US), ISBN 978-0-85744-318-2. Recommended.
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