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Thread: LOTR vs. D&D

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    LOTR vs. D&D

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    Was reading through the favorite fantasy movie thread and this question popped up in my noggin'.

    If LOTR series are the greatest fantasy books and movies of all time, and inspired D&D, how come all the RPG's associated with the LOTR weren't / aren't more popular than D&D?

    any thought?
    It's as if there are people who play RPGs that don't have computers or something. Seriously, people need to upgrade to 1994 already. - - -TheRedRobedWizard

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    Becuse they have always had bad rules.

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    ...And probably because D&D came first. There's something to be said about being the first horse out the gate.
    HARRY DRESDEN WIZARD
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    Plus there is the whole D&D is American while LOTR is English. Kinda of like the "Who created Punk?" debate.
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    I have never been fond of LotR. So emulating it in games isn't on my agenda. I'd rather play badasses like Elric or Conan.
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    The LOTR rule set seemed even more complicated than D&D. I flicked through the rulebook and from what I can tell they try too hard to make it exactly like the books without leaving enough wiggle room (and that is from someone who likes rules).

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    And well LOTR has been done. and done well. Why try and copy that. I think one of the problems with games from literary sourcest like Tolkien and the Jordan books is that people are either frustrated becasue they feel they can't make it as good or bored because it feels like it's a rehash of things they read 10 times already.

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    Becuse they have always had bad rules.
    A matter of opinion. Not my thing mind you, but I've known people who loved the old MERP rules.

    ...And probably because D&D came first. There's something to be said about being the first horse out the gate.
    Perhaps, but there have been other systems released after MERP (and Deciphers LOTR Coda system) that have done better with consumers.

    Plus there is the whole D&D is American while LOTR is English. Kinda of like the "Who created Punk?" debate.
    I created Punk, the day after I created the "?". Also I feel the need to point out that, while I did not create the Internet, I did create Al Gore, who then created the Internet.

    The LOTR rule set seemed even more complicated than D&D. I flicked through the rulebook and from what I can tell they try too hard to make it exactly like the books without leaving enough wiggle room (and that is from someone who likes rules).
    Yes the old MERP rules are more complicated than D&D. However, Deciphers game, released in 2004 is not unlike 4E D&D. Minus the at-will, encounter, and daily powers and a lot of the munchkinism. Some slightly different game mechanics but overall, very similar.

    And well LOTR has been done. and done well. Why try and copy that. I think one of the problems with games from literary sourcest like Tolkien and the Jordan books is that people are either frustrated becasue they feel they can't make it as good or bored because it feels like it's a rehash of things they read 10 times already.
    This was what I was thinking too. To much background information that everyone already knows, making it to inflexible, and hard to make your own as a GM.
    It's as if there are people who play RPGs that don't have computers or something. Seriously, people need to upgrade to 1994 already. - - -TheRedRobedWizard

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    ice held the license to publish merp for such a long time, because they did a good job of representing the world and everything in it. however, the rolemaster system is considered harder to learn than many other systems, and while it has fans, the system is not growing its fanbase very well. when the new-and-improved movies were to come out, the estate wanted something new-and-improved to tap into the rpg side of the market... and the n-a-i edition of rolemaster/merp wasn't cutting it in their view. so they switched to a new system. ^^ for that matter... the latest edition of rolemaster/merp pretty much split the fanbase in terms of who liked it and who didn't.

    *shrugs*

    i've always been a fan of the system of organization of rules used in rolemaster. no matter how many books they put out, you always know exactly where in the book to look for a given type of rule. it simply become a matter of remembering which book a particular rule was in. unless you convert the books into binders, like some do, in which case it's all pre-organized for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirksmithicus View Post
    This was what I was thinking too. To much background information that everyone already knows, making it to inflexible, and hard to make your own as a GM.
    It's common trait of Star Wars as a game setting. But Star Wars RPGs (arguably) have met more success than LotR RPGs. So is there another factor that explains these differences ?
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    i think it is the genre combined with the rules and a bunch of marketing factors. star wars has been advertised and hyped for a long long time. lotr has not received nearly the attention that star wars has. for example star wars action figures have been around for a really long time. the star wars movies were much better quality than the visual presentations of lotr. sci-fi is slightly more acceptable to non-fiction types than fantasy, or so i've noticed. the comparative list of the difference in marketing goes on and on. lotr is just now receiving similar marketing attention as star wars has had for years now.

    so i think that ultimately, it boils down to marketing and advertising. star wars had it, lotr didn't. and d&d kinda jumped into the fantasy niche. and had advertising, too. ^^
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirksmithicus View Post
    ...To much background information that everyone already knows, making it to inflexible, and hard to make your own as a GM.
    That's one reason I avoided Forgotten Realms like the plague. There are many thousands of people who know far more about FR that I would ever care to fathom and I had no desire to try to live up to those expectations or devote that much energy to memorizing it.

    Somehow, the Star Wars universe does not suffer from this same kind of feeling for me, perhaps because it has been a substantial part of my life for as long as I can remember. I'm pretty much hard-wired with Star Wars by now, so it presents no intimidation or challenge to mold it to my own games. Part of it too may be that it is such a massive setting with so many possibilities and so many established eras, play styles and character types.
    Last edited by Webhead; 09-17-2008 at 12:57 PM.
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    Because theres more than one world, you can plane hop from Dragonlance to Dark Sun or pick a world that is more up your alley.

    With MERPS for along time there was just one setting and that only apeals to a certain crowed.

    A better comparison would be MERPS vs WHFRP or D&D vs Fantasy HERO
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    It's done. LotR is a complete story, the world become "uninteresting" in the fourth age. It's someone else's toy.

    D&D while it has worlds made for you is an open set. You can do with it what you wish.

    Star Wars is a big Galaxy. As one friend put it "You can play anything in star wars. Take a plot, take a story concept and you can frame it in the Star Wars universe, and you can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    It's done. LotR is a complete story, the world become "uninteresting" in the fourth age. It's someone else's toy.

    D&D while it has worlds made for you is an open set. You can do with it what you wish.

    Star Wars is a big Galaxy. As one friend put it "You can play anything in star wars. Take a plot, take a story concept and you can frame it in the Star Wars universe, and you can.
    I agree all around.

    I loved Babylon 5. I don't think I could ever play in the setting within an RPG because it feels entirely too self-contained and the show's "book ends" are very clear.
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