View Full Version : Tolkien roleplay (and it's future)

06-30-2009, 08:15 PM
Hey all,

I'm a Tolkien-fanatic, but real fanatics would probably never admit it, so maybe that makes me a poser. Oh well. I have a big, pretty map (http://slipstream.cc/Middle-Earth_map1.jpg) in a very expensive frame sitting on the wall next to me. I'm slowly building my book collection without blowing my wallet. And I'd love to delve into the stories in a tabletop setting, and smoke a pipe in the Prancing Pony, and swap stories of travels on the road, someday.

With that, I came recently to the world of roleplaying and am now hooked. I've looked online and the last RPG that released was Decipher's RPG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_of_the_Rings_Roleplaying_Game) which released along with the Trading Card Game, which I did play back in 2003-04.

I am aware, as I know many of you vets are, of Middle-Earth Roleplaying (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle-earth_Role_Playing). I've seen lots of, I'm guessing all those books, bound together for a few hundred dollars.

What are you getting at with this, Slipstream?

2011, The Hobbit Volume I (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hobbit_films) releases (the second part in 2012) in theaters, under the direction of Guillermo del Toro. It would be a marketing fail if any company misses out on reviving or redoing some type of RPG for this. According to Decipher's wiki, the company still holds the rights, but that particular line of game appears dead to them, as any links on their site are gone... in fact all they are doing now is that Fight Klub TCG ::coughcompanydeathcough::

Hall of Fire, a fan made community seems to dish out regular content for the game and appears to be doing a noteworthy job (http://halloffire.org/). Maybe this is all I'd need.

So... if no publisher were to dish something out in the future... what books from any of the games, besides the source material, could be helpful or must haves? What experiences have you had with the CODA system? Do you have a better system in mind that has worked for your group(s) in the past? Do you think a new company could revitalize the property come Hobbit film-time?

Do what you will with your responses, as I'm leaving it pretty open ended. This has just been something lingering on the back of my mind for some time now.

07-01-2009, 12:14 AM
When thinking of running Middle Earth 5 games come to mind

1. MERPS, the source books are great but the rules are rolemaster light and humans can be wizards :mad:
2. Deciphers much better than MERPS, actually seams alot like an expanded version of MERPS Quest (a much lighter MERPS game to hook kids) while humans can still be wizards :mad: the magic system is much more like tolkiens works than MERPS. However you get waaay to many hit points in my opinion. Amd it has this sorta "I took d20 and moved it to 2d6 removing levels" feel
3. The Riddle of Steel, really gritty, interesting magic system and while not tolkien there are solid reasons elves are better with magic. They handle the side effects to being a spellcaster as you ages as you cast spells. Interesting take.
4. Burning Wheel, very very tolkien inspired but they don't have halfings! Theres a fan made halfing online though. Mouseguard which i a simpler version of Burning Wheel has a fan game around being rangers of the north.
5. Runequest (Mongoose Version) Ok its not great but the character creation is fun and the wiki has all the rules. It really only has the advantages of simple, available, and easy to convert MERPS stuff into.

All in all if I was going with people who can handle complexity I would go with Burning Wheel. If not I would use Dechipers with a house rule to lower the hit points to reasonable.

07-01-2009, 01:01 AM
I have Decipher's version, and I like it, even though most people don't seem to care for it. It has problems for sure, but what game doesn't. I would love to play it, so as to evaluate the play-worthyness first hand, but I could never find enough people who were willing to give it a try. I like that they removed levels, and the d20 roll. :biggrin:

I also have the MERP core book from way back, they produced a lot of good source material, but I hated the rules. I would love to get a copy of TROS, always sounded like a good game. Burning Wheel is also a good game that is highly adaptable to the LOTR setting. I really like the Goblin and Orc stuff.

I think it would probably work best with whatever game you are most familiar with, or If you already have Decipher's game, give it a shot. Run it for a while and see what works and what doesn't, then change it.

It would be nice to see a really good game for LOTR. Then I could use those Games Workshop mini's (which absolutely rock BTW). The problem is that they need to get someone working on it now, not two month before the movie comes out.

07-01-2009, 05:45 AM
Sorry for the tangential post, but since you mentioned Decipher's trading card game, have you seen the earlier Middle Earth Collectible Card Game from the '90s? The game play could produce some really interesting and unique narratives, especially since the plot of any particular game didn't have to revolve around the effort to destroy the One Ring. If you wanted to build a deck that focused on diplomats trying to form a grand alliance between Lothlorien and Mirkwood, for example, you were free to do so. It was a game that freely indulged in what I would call "parallel histories of Middle Earth."

07-02-2009, 06:25 PM
No, Umiushi, I hadn't heard of that game. Interesting.

I decided to order the core Decipher book from a site selling it for $9. I've also began downloading all the Hall of Fire issues. Not sure if I'll want to pick up the rest of the Decipher stuff, like the Fellowship, Moria, and Two Towers sourcebooks. May not be necessary. In any case, it'll be a fun book to just have and look to in comparison from any impending release in the Hobbit film time period we are about to enter. And kirk, I completely agree. a company needs to be working on that right now to make it viable.

Mouse Guard is also on my list of purchases some day in the future.

07-02-2009, 06:30 PM
The only other LOTR thing I would get is fell beasts... oh and if your looking for adventure ideas the LOTRO (yes the MMO) walkthroughs has some pretty good stuff buried in there