Cubicle 7’s history, as is the often the case with RPG publishers who base significant chunks of their portfolio on licensed settings, has had its share of ups and downs. They decided to not renew their licence with Chaosium, leading to the end of their Call of Cthulhu-compatible lines like The Laundry and Cthulhu Britannica and prompting them to provide partial refunds to backers of the World War Cthulhu: Cold War Kickstarter due to them being unable to complete one of the books. Then they lucked out and picked up the licence to the new Warhammer 40,000 RPG, Wrath & Glory, after Ulisses North America dropped it, which would see them put out a revised core rulebook which significantly improved the game after Ulisses’ rather muddled original rollout.
Perhaps the most dramatic twist when it comes to Cubicle 7-related IP news of late, however, has been the end of their licence for The One Ring, the Middle-Earth RPG penned by Francesco Nepitello for Sophisticated Games. In its original version, The One Ring did a masterful job of presenting a system for Middle-Earth gaming which felt true to Tolkien’s distinctive themes and atmosphere, especially compared to previous official Middle-Earth RPGs. (Whilst MERP still has its advocates, I still feel that it feels more like diet Rolemaster than it does a distinctly Tolkien-ish fantasy RPG.) It also inspired Adventures In Middle-Earth, a conversion of the material to 5E D&D which you’d have thought would be a licence to print money.
One would think that Cubicle 7 would have done whatever it took to keep the licence, especially since I know for a fact they had more products planned – I’d heard from them at Dragonmeet back in the pre-pandemic age that they’d been developing a lavish boxed set detailing Moria, and they’d also been previewing a second edition of the game. The licence would eventually make its way to Free League, publishers of recent hit games like Mutant: Year Zero, Tales From the Loop, and the Alien RPG, and after a blockbuster Kickstarter hard copies of their second edition of The One Ring have begun issuing forth.
This hasn’t been without hiccups. One of the dice used in The One Ring is the Feat Die: a D12 with 1-10 numbered, the Eye of Sauron on the 11 spot, and a G-for-Gandalf rune on the 12. You can, of course, perfectly easily just use a normal D12, of course, but dice sets were part of the Kickstarter stretch goals and of course made sense to put in the new starter set for the game. Unfortunately, the initial run of dice for 2nd edition has been misprinted – instead of being numbered 1-10, they’re numbered 2-11, with the Eye of Sauron replacing the 1, not the 11. A simple mistake easy to adjust for (simply read the 11 as 1, or get a permanent marker of the right colour and colour the die in), but it’s still an embarrassing and unfortunate error. Free League have done what they can to fix it – they’re going to offer either replacement dice or store credit – and they are revising their quality control processes to stop it happening in future. Were the other components similarly botched, or has The One Ring risen again to bring us all and in the darkness bind us?Continue reading “The Ring Reforged”