A Brief History of Tolkien RPGs - Page 3
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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drowbane View Post
    Smaug? Really? He got one-shotted... by an NPC!!!
    I've never seen it as one shotted as much as he got nailed by an arrow of slaying. That would make a big difference in getting hit once.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by darjr View Post
    The pig snouted orc came from TSR trying to get out from under? From claiming that it was an Irish term for pig? Not a word coined by Tolkien?

    Is this true?
    As far as I can tell, the Pig-Snouted Orc originated from the Brothers Hildebrandt and the 1976 Tolkien Calendar...

    http://www.timefold.com/brosimages/captured.jpg

    ...and was subsequently copied by Sutherland for use in the AD&D monster manual (1977).

  3. #23
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    For me, Middle Earth is a boring setting, because it is cosmologically simplistic.


    Theres Sauron and co.

    And theres the Good Guys.

    And thats it.


    No mystery.
    No gray areas
    No moral triage.


    And, because Tolkein was so erudite and thorough, any new idea feels like an abomination.

    If I was playing a game set in, say, Newhon, id quite happily invent fantastical new cultures or races for adventure. It seems entirely plausible that theres vast realsm of weird stuff Fafhrd and Grey Mouser never found.

    For Middle Earth, itd feel like cheating. Id feel a lot better porting over bits of Middle Earth into a "D&D-world" than vice versa.

  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by NN View Post
    For me, Middle Earth is a boring setting, because it is cosmologically simplistic.


    Theres Sauron and co.

    And theres the Good Guys.

    And thats it.


    No mystery.
    No gray areas
    No moral triage.
    I've never read it that the Easterlings or the Southrons were all evil, rather they were allied with Sauron who was considered evil. Further, Denethor was on the "side of the angels," as was Saruman for some time.

    I think there's room for moral ambiguity in ME, but only if one moves away from the central story and seeing it with "Westron" eyes. I wish I had a link for the article that postulated that Sauron was actually an anti-imperialist revolutionary and Gondor and its allies were imperialist powers attempting to reassert authority. That puts a whole different spin on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by NN View Post
    And, because Tolkein was so erudite and thorough, any new idea feels like an abomination.
    To each their own, but I have had no problem grafting on whatever elements I felt were necessary when playing in ME care of the ICE modules back in the day. Granted, we played 100 years after Aragorn's death, so things were a bit different.

    Quote Originally Posted by NN View Post
    If I was playing a game set in, say, Newhon, id quite happily invent fantastical new cultures or races for adventure. It seems entirely plausible that theres vast realsm of weird stuff Fafhrd and Grey Mouser never found.

    For Middle Earth, itd feel like cheating. Id feel a lot better porting over bits of Middle Earth into a "D&D-world" than vice versa.
    I got the ME map poster from ICE that showed the area involved in the LotR to be a very small section of the continent. We had a LOT of fun filling in the blanks!

    I think there are a few ways to approach an ME game. You can play in one of the pre-LotR eras where lots of stuff must have been happened that couldn't be recorded, you can play during the Hobbit or LotR, either in another area that faced different challenges OR as the troops on the ground--maybe a group of Rohirrim that fight the good fight from Helm's Deep to the Black Gate, and end up both in famous moments and perhaps not so famous ones.

    I don't know, my co-DMs and I found lots of fodder both during the LotR era and our "Many Years Later" campaign.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by dm4hire View Post

    As for LotR I think most of the problem with any IP is that they tend to focus on the events of the story instead of mining the world. There is so much that could be mined from the stories to flush out and create an effective RPG surrounding the world of Middle Earth. I think another flaw in the past has been the systems used. I think the best system would actually be a modified M&M in that the heroes in LotR really don't advance in power as much as they develop in personality and character.
    Good point, dm4hire. I'm probably thinking in too much of a D&D-centric mode, where character advancement is dependent on a kind of Nietzschean power-acquisition- this doesn't go well with Lord of the Rings. A Middle Earth RPG would probably have to take a different tack than level-ups, gaining loot and power, and running roughshod over the countryside; while this is my favorite kind of gaming, doing it in Middle Earth just feels wrong.

  6. #26
    Having worked for a licensee, I generally think licenses are predisposed towards not creating quality products. Id generally rather pick a close-enough system and do the adaption myself.

    That said, although the Decipher game has lots of problems, it worked fairly well for my group. Im debating whether to switch systems whenever we pick the campaign back up, however.

    Quote Originally Posted by NN View Post
    The elephant in the room, is that while Lotr and the Hobbit are brilliant fantasy stories, Middle Earth is not a very suitable setting for any kind of roleplaying game.
    I think the campaign Im most proud of is the one I ran set in Middle-earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tyler Do'Urden View Post
    Middle Earth suffers from the same problem of all literary fantasy settings (Wheel of Time and Dragonlance included)- there just isn't enough room for the PC's to do anything very interesting- they're completely overshadowed by the plot of the main stories.
    Well, I did set my campaign in the fourth age. Sure, my bad guys dont really rival Sauron. (But then, I would assume that Sauron didnt really rival Melkor.) Theyre still the biggest threats of their age. Just as the second age was different from the first age and the third age was different from the second age, my fourth age was different from the third age. But I did my best to continue the themes only slightly altered based on the current state of the world.

    Im proud (and a bit surprised) to say that the biggest Tolkien fan in the group did say that my campaign felt like Middle-earth.

    That said, I think there are plenty of possibilities for third age (or even first or second age) tales between those that JRRT told.

    Quote Originally Posted by NN View Post
    For me, Middle Earth is a boring setting, because it is cosmologically simplistic.
    I dont know. He did stick Bombadil in there in order to have at least one enigma. You have characterseven angelic characterswho fall. (Sauron, Saruman, and the Balrogs were all Maia.) You have characters who get too caught up in mundane matters. You have characters whose greed or fear or short-sightedness or pride cause problems.

  7. #27
    I'm surprised that the license that went to Games Workshop doesn't factor into any of this as well...

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFisher View Post
    You have characters whose greed or fear or short-sightedness or pride cause problems.

    Sometimes known as a Butterburism.

  9. #29
    I'd have more respect for this article if I felt the guy didn't have his own prejudices. Since he's a die-hard Tolkien fan, he's very dismissive of other opinions, particular Gygax's. (The "brain addled by drugs" comment was pretty damn unfair). I also think it was kind of smart for TSR/WoTC to stay focused on D&D and not licensing. No matter how much of a fan you are, licensed works are always harder than stuff you own outright.

    I do think there's an undeniable influence of JRRT on the genre, especially a few of the races. However, I also believe that a lot of ideas also came from elsewhere--the other influences. I think in many cases the perceptions of the fans have added to this since LoTR was the most popular fantasy book at the time and colored influences, which affected all subsequent authors.

    The great irony here is that D&D, as the pastiche of all the fantasy authors of the past, has now surpassed and become the primary influence on fantasy culture. Even Tolkien's influence has waned, despite the movies.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnRTroy View Post
    The great irony here is that D&D, as the pastiche of all the fantasy authors of the past, has now surpassed and become the primary influence on fantasy culture. Even Tolkien's influence has waned, despite the movies.
    Interesting theory. What facts and/or figures is it based on?

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