What's the Best System for Running LotR?

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  1. #1
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    What's the Best System for Running LotR?

    MERP was the first, by ICE. They later put out a simpler version called LotR Adventure Game.

    Then Decipher put out the LotR RPG.

    Then Cubicle 7 put out The One Ring.

    Which, if any of these, is the best? Maybe none of them? Maybe there's a fan-made LotR-themed game out there that's better?

    Or maybe a pre-existing gaming system, like Savage Worlds, is well suited for LotR.

    I don't know, but I'd like to hear what you have to say about it.

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    I've played MERP (Middle Earth Roleplaying) by ICE and the One Ring.

    In terms of capturing the feel? The One Ring. MERP was Rolemaster junior. Nothing wrong with that if you want to play Rolemaster at a more basic version but it didn't really capture a lot of the feel of the game for me in terms of mechanics.

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    The One Ring reads really well; it would be my choice of the systems.

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    I've only played The One Ring of the games you mentioned, but it was spectacular.
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    How about D&D?

    In the 1990s, I used to run a mix of MERP and Greyhawk adventures for the same campaign AD&D (also known by the retronym "1st Edition") -- my homebrew setting was in the middle between the Plains of Rhun in the east of Middle Earth and the Plains of Paynim in the west of Greyhawk, so the PC's could be from and travel to either direction. (Oh yeah, and Sauron and Iuz? Two incarnations of the same evil godlike creature.) When the PC's found a copy of "There and Back Again" signed to somebody named Balin in the haunted house at Saltmarsh, their interest in the campaign setting perked right up.

    It worked fine, and the MERP modules had interesting NPC's, settings, and plots, which is what I wanted them for. As for converting rules, an orc is an orc, of course of course . . . AD&D or any other rules light D&D version from the Old School Revival (like Castles & Crusades or Hackmaster) would probably also work fine.

    You could also use other editions of D&D, but the technical conversion would be more for 3.5e or Pathfinder, I think, and extreme for 4e, as they are "rules heavy" games, in my experience.
    Last edited by haakon1; Thursday, 11th October, 2012 at 06:00 AM.

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    A while ago I ran a Middle Earth campaign where I combined the races from D&D 3.0 with the classes and magic system from the Wheel of Time RPG. It worked surprisingly well: I think classes such as Wanderer, Noble and Woodsman (without the Algai'd'siswai, obviously) are a closer match to the feel of LotR than the traditional D&D classes, and the magic is less flash-bang (though I did ban certain weaves that didn't feel appropriate to the setting).
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