This page is as a resource for players and for anyone interested in adventuring in Middle Earth using the SAGA rules system, based on a short-lived game our group played.
In the second year of the Fourth Age our story unfolds. It has been four years since the end of the War of the Rings and the crowning of King Elessar in Gondor. The ancient kingdom of Arnor has been refounded, and Beretar the senior captain of the Rangers has been named Prince-regent of Arnor. Taking the High-Elven name of Veryatar he begins plans for the rebuilding of the kingdom. Although Sauron has been vanquished from the lands of Middle-earth shadow still lies deep across parts of the land, and brave men and women of the free peoples are still needed to battle the darkness that might swallow the light of a new age.
Heroes have 64 points to purchase Status, Quests, Agility, Dexterity, Endurance, Strength, Reason, Perception, Spirit, and Presence. I suggest a minimum value 3 and a maximum value of 9. For starting ability codes characters get one A, two B’s, and one D. Character roles are entirely optional; they give characters some additional advantages, but also have disadvantages to balance them out.
The Fourth age is the age of Men. The premise is that in this age the other races are beginning to withdraw from contact with the rest of the world. For instance the Elves are traveling over the sea and the Dwarves are more concerned with their halls of stone than the outside world.
Elves: The firstborn race, Elves are immortal. Physically they stand a little taller than humans, but have a slighter build. Ability scores: Ag 6 min., Dx. 6 min., En. 8 max., St. 8 max., Pr. 6 max. Ability codes: Ag. C max., Pe. B min.(can see clear as day in even minimal light). Advantages: Trump bonus to endurance for resisting fatigue and illness, heal without scaring, additional starting B code for one attribute. Disadvantages: Bound to prophecy (being so long lived Elves rarely take action without deliberate thought, and seldom involve themselves in the affairs of mortals), Enmity with creatures of the Shadow.
Dwarves: Dwarves stand about four feet in height and are of broad build. Ability scores: Ag. 8 max, Dx. 8 max, En. 6 min., St. 6 min. Ability codes, Re. B max. Advantages: Trump bonus to avoid Sorcery, poison, or fatigue. Disadvantages: No trump bonus for personality related actions with non-dwarves.
Hobbits: Of varying build Hobbits stand two to four feet in height. Ability scores: Ag. 7 min., Dex 7 min., En. 6 max, St. 6 max. Ability Codes: Ag. D max, En. C max, St. C max, Re. C max, Pe. B min. Advantages: Trump bonus for sneaking and hiding actions, may use Ag. to avoid melee attacks. Disadvantages: no trump bonus for dealing with larger races for Pr actions.
Humans: The most common of all the races. Humans come in several varieties, but only the Dunedain have special requirements.
Dunedain: The Dunedain are the descendants of the men of the ancient island of Numenor. They have traces of Elven and Maia blood which has gifted them with greater physical prowess and a longer life span. They are often referred to as “High Men”. They are the people who once founded the kingdoms of Arnor and Gondor. Ability scores: none below five. Ability codes: Pr. C min., may not have any code of X. Advantage:, Long life span (200 years or so), +3 bonus for resisting disease and fatigue, Trump bonus to Pr. when dealing with other humans. Disadvantages: Enmity with The Shadow and the Black (fallen) Numenorians.
Dunlendings: Also called Hillmen. A semi-nomadic culture in the northern parts of Eriador. They have a somewhat Scottish bent to them. No advantages or disadvantages.
Dunmen: The name given to humans of various groups who inhabit southern and south western Eriador. They have a very Celtic flavor. No advantages or disadvantages.
Rohirrim: The horsemen of Rohann. They receive a trump bonus for combat while mounted, but suffer a minus three to combat while unmounted.
Each hero gets five background points at creation to spend among the following options.
There is a multitude of languages spoken in Middle Earth, the most common of which is Westron. All human and halfling characters speak this language for free. Dwarves speak Khuzdul and Elves speak their appropriate language as well. Characters are assumed to be able to read and write all languages with which they are familiar. For a 1/2 point characters gain familiarity with a language. For a full point characters gain fluency with a language. The only exception to this is the Black Speech which costs one point for familiarity and two points for fluency.
- Adunaic: the language of ancient Numenor
- Black Speech: The high language of the Enemy
- Blarm: The language of the Dunlendings
- Haradric: The language of Harad to the south of Gondor
- Khuzdul: The Dwarven language
- Labba: The language of the Lossoth who live to the far north of Arnor
- Orkish: The language of the orks and the common tongue of the enemy
- Quenya: The language of the Noldor Elves, considered High Elven
- Rohirric: The language spoken by the Riders of Rohan
- Sindarin: The language spoken by the Sindar Elves, the most common Elvish tongue
- Silvan: The language of the Silvan Elves
- Westron: The most common Mannish tongue
Before the hero was an adventurer they may have learned a trade or some other useful skill. A character may purchase only one skill, and this costs one background point. You can take a look at the SAGA Companion or make up your own such as Butcher, Blacksmith, Carpenter etc. Just remember that this does not give characters a trump bonus or a combat benefit, but it can open up other abilities besides those granted by the hero’s role.
Ability codes can be improved with background points. A code may be improved from D to C or from C to B for one point. A code may be improved from B to A for two points. This is intended to reflect the fact that the character has devoted extra effort to training for their adventuring career.
Heroes may start with either an additional sphere or school of magic for two points. This option may only be taken once per character.
Starting heroes may begin play with unique items of value no better than +2/-2. These may include any item such as weapons, armor, shields, or any item which gives a bonus to a limited non-magical ability such as boots or a cloak. These items are considered to be nonmagical but are of superior construction (such as Elvish or Dwarvish in nature).
A hero can have one ability score of 10. The only hitch is that you must pay for the attribute out of your starting 64 points and pay two background points at creation as well.