Many years ago, the dark lord Sauron forged the One Ring to control the races of the Middle Earth. He was defeated by the human prince Isildur, who took the ring to himself. But such was the evil power of the ring that it brought misfortune to whoever dared to bear it, corrupting their souls. Eventually, the ring ended up by Frodo Baggins, a peaceful hobbit who was unaware of his possession's true nature. Realizing that the only way to be free of the ring's power would be to destroy it, the wizard Gandalf tells Frodo to carry it to Sauron's land, Mordor, and throw it into the lava rivers of the Orodruin volcano, thus saving Middle Earth from destruction.
J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Vol. I is a fantasy role-playing game based on The Fellowship of the Ring, the first volume of the Lord of the Rings book trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. The events of the game follow those depicted in the book rather closely, though a few characters and occurrences are not present, and many quests have been added. Characters belonging to various races and nations join Frodo on his quest; these include key figures from the book as well as several characters unique to the game.
The game is rather open-ended, allowing the player to roam vast top-down environments and undertake side missions in addition to the main storyline, which must be followed in order to complete the game. Combat takes place in the same area as exploration, and is turn-based. The player has full control over the actions of the characters in the party. These characters can also be swapped, equipped with weapons and armor, and use various skills (individual and shared), such as sneaking, perception (to find hidden items), unique "words of power", and others.
Unlike the vast majority of role-playing games, there are no experience points or character levels in the game. Player-controlled party becomes stronger by obtaining better equipment and items, learning new abilities, and recruiting stronger characters that would help the weak hobbits to survive encounters with Nazguls and other dangerous creatures. There are optional ways to access major locations, and much of the combat in the game can be avoided.