Tales from the Wilderlands
- ACTION – RESOLUTION
“Of the various burglarious proceedings
he had heard of, picking the trolls’ pockets
seemed the least difficult…”
When heroes leave their homes to become adventurers,
they leave behind much more than their usual abodes.
They abandon the day-to-day tasks, crafts and routines
to face new challenges with every new dawn. With time,
some actions become second nature to the seasoned
adventurer, especially those necessary to survive in
foreign lands or while traversing the empty wilderness.
But surprising trials await even the most prepared of
This chapter provides players with a detailed
explanation of the fundamental mechanics underlying
the game. Armed with such knowledge, players will not
only be able to make their die rolls and interpret the
results, but will know how to enhance their character’s
performance, by taking advantage of their abilities at
the right moment.
HOW ACTIONS WORK
The One Ring roleplaying game unfolds around a
continuous interaction between the Loremaster and his
players: the Loremaster sets the scene, the characters
explore the world and he describes the consequences of
their actions, the new situations they find themselves in
and any obstacles to their progress. The players steer
the story their own way by relating how their characters
resolve their hurdles.
Of course, this interaction sometimes leads to situations
that can’t be resolved simply through roleplaying or
common sense, as they challenge the talent and the
abilities of their characters. When this happens, the
Loremaster and his players turn to the rules of the
There are three common types of actions:
The majority of the actions taken by players during a
game are automatic actions that do not require die
rolling. Heroes who are attempting to open a normal,
unlocked door, or who are trying to convince someone
of something he already believes, or who are wading
across the waters of a shallow forest stream, should be
allowed to succeed automatically.
An action is called a TASK when it is called for by a player,
whose character is trying to achieve something.
An action is a TEST when it is required by the Loremaster.
While automatic actions do not require any game
mechanic to be resolved, tasks and tests both involve
rolling dice, and are resolved in slightly differing ways
(how tests are resolved is detailed in the Loremaster’s
A player may initiate a task when he wants something
and already knows that he has to make a roll to get it, or
when a player is describing what his character is going
to do and the Loremaster informs him that to pull it off
he has to make a roll. Most actions attempted by players
are resolved as tasks.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
When he initiates a task, the acting player states clearly
clear statement of intent includes a description of
the task being attempted, the name of the ability that
the character is going to use to accomplish it (usually
a Common skill), and the general objective that the
character is trying to achieve.
It is Yule-tide, and Trotter is celebrating with the
other adventurers and many villagers in the main
hall of Rhosgobel. For his own secret motives, the
Hobbit’s player says that Trotter is leaving the
feast-hall unnoticed. The Loremaster asks how
Trotter will achieve this, as the hall is crowded,
and Trotter’s player announces that the Hobbit is
going to sneak out using his Stealth skill, trying to
avoid attracting any attention to himself.
Beli’s player is of a different mind: a few moments
earlier at the same feast, Beli noticed that a
Woodman chieftain is wearing an intricatelywrought
mail coat and dropped a few casual
remarks to inquire about it. Met with a wary look,
Beli’s player declares that the Dwarf starts to chat
with the chieftain using his Courtesy skill, with
the intention of slowly steering the conversation
back towards his excellent suit of armour.
As the examples above show, it is up to the acting player
to pick the ability that his character is going to use.
Players are trusted to choose the ability most appropriate
to their purpose (the description of skills and their use
is found starting from page 85, and a series of examples
can be found below) but, as is the case with the use of
Traits, their judgement is subject to the approval of the
other players; in case of any objection, the Loremaster
will be called upon to select the ability he deems to be
|Choose location to set up camp||Explore|
|Find food in the Wild||Explore or Hunting|
|Find solution to an enigma||Riddle|
|Negotiate a deal||Insight or Persuade|
|Obtain an audience with an important person||Awe or Courtesy|
|Speak with a live Dragon||Riddle|
|Start a fire||Craft|
Selecting a pertinent ability for the task is important, but
setting a proper objective is even more so: what the acting
player chooses as his hero’s goal for the task is what will
happen if the ensuing roll is successful. Players should
propose tasks only when they actually want something
particular to happen: it must be an action with definite
consequences, something that will have a clear impact
on the game.
Trotter wants to leave the party without attracting
attention, because he wants to find the wizard
Radagast for a private conversation. If the player
simply wanted Trotter to leave the hall for a breath
of fresh air, he probably wouldn’t mind if his
character’s actions were noticed or not.
Beli is curious about the chieftain’s armour as he
knows that in the past there were Northmen who
claimed the hoard of a Dragon. Beli wants to know if
this suit of armour came from a similar treasure hoard.
SETTING THE DIFFICULTY
As soon as a player has stated his intent clearly, the
Loremaster rates the difficulty of the action by assigning
it a Target Number.
Tasks are normally assumed to be set at TN 14 (moderate
difficulty), unless the Loremaster has good reasons to
make the action harder or easier (the Loremaster’s Book
contains a set of guidelines aimed to help the Loremaster
rate his players’ tasks).
In the example above, nobody objects to Trotter’s
intention to sneak out using his Stealth skill. The
Loremaster asks the player to continue with his
narration, making it a task with TN 14.
The chieftain that Beli is talking to is an elder who
remembers many traditional rhymes warning Men
of the double-dealing of Dwarves. The Loremaster
decides that the chieftain is wary of Beli’s inquiries,
and sets the difficulty at TN 16 (hard).
BEFORE THE ROLL
When the Loremaster has set the difficulty of the task,
the acting player may announce that he is going to use
a special ability that applies to the situation at hand (a
Trait or a Virtue, for example, to possibly improve his
chances to succeed).
Trotter’s player is afraid that it is going to be
difficult for the Hobbit to exit the hall unnoticed.
He decides to try a clever ruse: he invokes Trotter’s
‘smoking’ Trait, saying that the Hobbit pretends to
reach a torch by the door, as if he needed to light
his pipe. The other players cheer at his idea and let
him run with it: the Loremaster determines that
the action is an automatic success.
AFTER THE ROLL
When a die roll results in a failure, the acting player may
invoke an Attribute bonus and add to the result a value
equal to the Attribute linked to the skill used for the
attempt. If the modified result now matches or exceeds
the action’s TN, then the failure is turned into a success
and the player spends a point of Hope.
Beli is not the most graceful of speakers and his die
roll testifies it: a result of 13, a failure! The acting
player invokes an Attribute bonus, adding 3 to the
result – Beli’s Heart rating. The new result is equal
to 16, a success. Beli’s player happily spends a
point of Hope.
When the player and the Loremaster have decided on the
factors affecting the task, the dice are rolled and their
result is evaluated. There are two possible outcomes: the
task was either successful or it failed. In any case, the
story will be affected for better or worse.
The Task was a Success
When the acting player rolls the dice for his task and
scores a success, he gets what he aimed for and briefly
narrates how his stated objective has been achieved. On
an ordinary success, the player must limit his narration
to what he defined when he announced the task in the
first place (the objective). If the roll produced a great or
extraordinary success, then the player may suggest how
his achievements outstripped his expectations.
Beli’s roll resulted in a great success. His player
describes how the Dwarf successfully introduces
himself to the chieftain. Since the player obtained
a great success, he proposes that Beli was so
courteous that it is the chieftain himself that
wants to talk about his mail coat, probably taking
the chance to brag about his prized possession.
When describing the consequences of a successful roll,
players must remember not to invent details that are in
the Loremaster’s hands, or that isn’t pertinent to the task
For example, Beli’s player cannot determine what
the chieftain will say about his mail coat, as these
details are part of the Loremaster’s planned story.
The Task Failed
If the acting player fails his roll, he doesn’t accomplish his
objective. When this happens, the Loremaster narrates
the consequences of the missed task. This usually follows
intuitively from what the player was trying to do.
Whatever the case, the Loremaster must make sure that
the task has a definite impact and produces consequences
that cannot be ignored.
If Beli failed his Courtesy, the chieftain might
have taken Beli’s curiousity as an insult, seeing
an implicit accusation of theft in the words of the
Dwarf, and reacted accordingly!
DETAILED DIE-ROLL SEQUENCE
A dice roll is required when any action might reasonably
result in failure. All actions in the game are resolved
using the following rules:
1. First, determine the ability to be used for the roll.
If the action is a task, the ability is selected by the
acting player; if the action is a test, the ability is
chosen by the Loremaster.
2. The difficulty for the action is set by default at
moderate (TN 14), unless the Loremaster or a
specific rule indicates otherwise.
3. Depending on the circumstances a character
possessing a pertinent Trait may be granted an
automatic success by the Loremaster.
4. If the action is not automatic, the acting player
rolls one Feat die, and a number of Success dice
equal to his rating in the appropriate skill or other
Special abilities. A hero’s special abilities (Blessing,
Virtue, Reward, etc.) might allow a player to roll
the Feat die twice and keep the best result (players
might find it handy to roll two Feat dice together, if
they have them).
5. All numerical dice results are added up, to find the
a. Weariness. If the acting character is Weary,
all Success dice results in outline are ignored
(i.e.: they are considered to have given a
result of zero).
b. Attribute bonus. A player may invoke an
Attribute bonus and add the pertinent
Attribute score (or favoured Attribute, if
appropriate) to the rolled total.
6. If the total action result is equal or superior to the
Target Number, the action is a success. If the result
is lower than the Target Number, the test has been
7. If the action was successful, the degree of success is
found by counting how many ñ icons were produced
by the roll: one (Tenwar rune) icon indicates a great success, two
or more (Tengwar rune) icons an extraordinary success.
Players who do not use all the options available to
them to affect the outcome of their actions might
find themselves depending all too often on a sizeable
element of chance. Fortunately for their characters,
players can always limit the randomness of an action
test by invoking an Attribute bonus.
Talented heroes tend to fare better than less capable
individuals, often overcoming with ease challenges that
may appear very difficult at first. Whenever they fail at a
die roll, players may capitalise on their innate aptitudes
and reverse the outcome of the action.
As explained previously, players involking an Attribute
bonus add a value equal to the rating of the character’s
relevant Attribute to the roll total.
When the action is being resolved using a skill, the
Attribute for the bonus depends on the skill’s category
(see Chapter Three: Skills). If the action attempt does not
require the use of a skill, then the relevant Attribute is
probably defined by the action type.
Tests relying on Wisdom or Valour, for example,
can be made easier by invoking a Heart Attribute
Players always take into consideration the basic value
of an Attribute, unless the action is making use of a
favoured skill. When this is the case, the bonus is equal
to the favoured Attribute rating instead.
Players usually trigger an Attribute bonus by spending
a Hope point.