Ambarquenta is the Heren Turambarion's homemade Middle-earth roleplaying game. In the long run, we hope that it will become an enjoyable and well-balanced alternative to the other great games featured on this site. Yet, such an endeavour brings with it a tremendous workload, and therefore we must ask you for a little patience, and to return to this site every now and then to see whether a new chapter has been added to the core rulebook we're currently writing.
At the time being, the second beta version (2012.2) of the core rulebook is available for download here. The PDF book comes as a password-protected ZIP-archive sized 6.0 MB (Mac users may have to drag-and-drop the file to Stuffit Expander). See below for a short synopsis of what's changed since the last major release. In addition, gamemasters who wish to run their roleplaying adventures using the Ambarquenta rules are kindly invited to download the six-pages Turambar's Screen.firstname.lastname@example.org. The reason why we must ask you to do so is that we have, for simplicity's sake, copied the wording of large parts of the rulebook from various other roleplaying games (which are all listed in the 'Credits' section of the book). While primarily generic play rules have actually been plagiarized by doing so, this course of action allowed us to speed up the work on Ambarquenta a lot.
The current version of Ambarquenta features a brief Introduction to the game's mechanics, as well as detailed chapters on Your Character's Tale (1), Attributes (2), Races and Cultures (3), Skills (4), Abilities and Flaws (5), Weapons and Gear (6), Finishing Touches (7), Character Improvement (8), Adventuring (9), Combat (10), and – though still incomplete – Magic (11). In addition, Appendix A presents the (optional) concept of everyday Occupations, and Appendix B introduces yout to the herbs and poisons of Middle-earth.
Expect further appendices introducing prominent and ordinary NPCs, a bestiary, and guidelines for creating your own NPCs and fell beasts in future
versions of Ambarquenta. However, with the cast of sample characters available for download in the character repository, there's no
reason to wait any longer before playtesting Ambarquenta! Just download the character sheet (version 4.8, in Microsoft
Excel and PDF format, package file size: 570 KB), find an experienced group of gamers, and create
some brave characters that you and friends can pit against the hosts of
Playtesting and other ways to contribute
We'd greatly appreciate to learn what you think about the preview
version, and, of course, about your ideas for improving the game's
existing and completing its missing chapters. We also kindly invite you
and your gaming group to become playtesters of Ambarquenta,
or to contribute in any other way you'd like to (for example, by creating NPCs
or preparing creature write-ups). Probably the best way to get in touch with us
and our friends who are involved in the design process of Ambarquenta is to discuss your ideas and suggestions in the Heren Turambarion's forum. Of course you can also direct any comments or inquires to email@example.com.
Please also note that a playtesting feedback form is part of the download of the character sheet.
While you are waiting for the Heren Turambarion to get back to you with the e-mail containing your password, you might be interested to learn a little more about our design principles: First, Ambarquenta is a fairly 'realistic' game. Of course there are magic spells (as well as other forms of magic) and everything else a good Middle-earth RPG requires, but certain conditions of real world physics are still represented by the system. Hence, it isn't the kind of game in which you can create ridiculously overpowered starting characters, or ever hope to become a cinematic superhero.
The second principle is playability, and this frequently
overrules realism. The most accurate combat system isn't worth a penny
if it makes a simple encounter last for hours, or (and this was even
more important to us when we decided to write an RPG ourselves) if the
Turambar has to keep too many details in mind. Thus, realism governs the
character creation and improvement process (which is helped quite a lot by the character sheet),
while intuitive playability dominates the actual game play. Yet, a comprehensive set of modular optional rules allows extremely detailed combat resolution - simply use the amount of options you deem appropriate for a given encounter. So prepare for
fast-moving play-rules that are far more realistic (and lethal) than
those you may know from many other major roleplaying games.
Another important element is flexibility. A character has the
opportunity to learn or practise any skill or ability he has access to,
without the usual limitations by abstract concepts such as levels,
character classes, or character points. Nevertheless, by the system's
inherent mechanics, your character will show a unique pattern from the
beginning on, a personal aptitude towards being whatever you want him to
First, there is a new option on determining action allowance and initiative. Instead of making an Insight test (as was offered as an option in previous editions), you may roll the dice at the beginning of each new action round to reflect the imponderables and fortuities of combat, and each character’s reactions to them.
Second, and even more important, all damage codes (of weapons, natural attacks, and spells alike) have been revised. Instead of differentiating between LoS +0 and any additional LoS, each LoS contributes the same amount of damage. And instead of the damage cap (which told you how many LoS to count at most when attacking with a given damage aspect), damage aspects now simply dictate how many wound points of damage you inflict with each LoS when using a particular aspect. A broadsword, for example, has a damage code of 1.5B/4E/2P. An attack which scores LoS +4 could deal 7.5 points of blunt damage, 20 points of edged damage, or 10 points of pointed damage. Depending on the type and make of armour the target wears, it may still be a good idea to choose the sword’s blunt or pointed damage aspect. The attacker must decide which aspect to use before rolling his attack skill test.
There are also some major rules revisions which are all based on playtesting observations. Most importantly, injury thresholds have been increased (by +3 each, on average); shock tests & treatment have been mitigated (unconsciousness doesn’t occur before LoF -3); the damage aspect caps of most blunt weapons have been reduced so that they now deal one or two LoS less maximum damage than before (the advantage of the blunt damage aspect is still that it’s generally hard to protect oneself against it, but its disadvantage is emphasized: blunt weapons are generally less dangerous than edged or pointed ones when scoring high LoS); finally, the threshold at which Ambar refreshes has been raised from 5 to 7 (which might allow to use it a bit more freely); and of course there are again too many smaller clarifications and amendments to mention.
The number of extra picks a character can at most obtain from flaws has also been reduced by approximately 20 points. On the other hand, the rank limits for youth skill development, as well as those for hobby and lore skills, have been increased. Some minor changes have also been made to the pick costs of some abilities. Lastly, the optional guidelines for “experience levels” (primarily intended for NPC creation) have been refined and moved to Chapter Four (where they can now be found under ‘Later Life’ skill development).
Please note that this is the first time we release the core rulebook as a self-extracting archive. This offers the considerable advantage that you won’t be asked for a password when opening the PDF once you have extracted the file. Just in case this shouldn’t work on a non-Windows platform, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Another major change affects the way how extended tests are resolved. Finally, some minor revisions streamline horse chase rules and movement tests (including the movement percentage results of Table 9.10: Levels of Success and Failure).Release 7.2:
The most important change is that attributes are grouped together for skill development purposes, as known from ability development. "Acquiring Skills" on page 70 describes the new mechanic. Consequently, there's neither a need to transfer development picks from one attribute to another, nor a rule that allows you to do so anymore.
Veteran character development has also been revised (cf. page 73). The Grace-based activity level factor is replaced by a Turambar's arbitrary ruling (and he should be very conservative with the multiplier he applies). This allows much more flexibility and control of a veteran character's power level. Also, the Will divisor has been increased from 20 to 30 to further reduce the available number of veteran development picks.
I'd still consider any non-veteran character created under the old rules as rules-legal, although they are discriminated compared to those created according to the new pick-class rule. "Old school" veteran characters are generally overpowered; hence, all steps concerning veteran development should be repeated from scratch (youth and apprenticeship development do not necessarily have to be repeated).
Overall, these changes are supposed to make skill development a little easier (in terms of bookkeeping) while maintaining the idea that skills are proportional to one's natural aptitudes (i.e., attribute scores).
Having three sets of development picks (physical, mental, general) in two stages of character creation (youth, apprenticeship) is of course still a bit tricky, but Ambarquenta doesn't aim at casual gamers anyway!
Ambarquenta - Tales of Fate in Middle-earth © 2001-2012 The Heren Turambarion. All rights on original contents reserved. For commercial purposes, no parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission of The Heren Turambarion. Permission granted to distribute this publication in any form, but exclusively, among the members of your playing group, provided that you have notified The Heren Turambarion by e-mailing to email@example.com and obtained the reading password by no third party. Please note that some of the contents of this publication have been copied and modified from the books listed under 'sources of inspiration' in the 'Credits' section and are not subject to the copyright of The Heren Turambarion.
Last edited 2012-January-18