Cubicle 7 No Longer Producing The One Ring and Adventures in Middle Earth

Cubicle 7 has announced that it will cease publishing Tolkien-related games, including The One Ring and Adventures in Middle Earth, in early 2020. The One Ring 2E is cancelled.

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‘I am with you at present,’ said Gandalf, ‘but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire.’


We have some very unfortunate and unexpected news to share. Contractual differences arose recently which we have been unable to resolve, and so we have decided to end our licensing agreement with Sophisticated Games. It is with regret that we have made this very tough decision to withdraw.

This means we will cease publishing The One Ring and Adventures in Middle-earth™ in the first half of 2020. Unfortunately, this doesn’t give us enough time to release the much-anticipated The One Ring – The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game second edition. As many of you know, our first edition of The One Ring is eight years old, and we had high hopes of a full product line to support our second edition. Our team have worked incredibly hard on this new edition; with many of the announced titles already written and edited, so being very close to completion makes this decision even harder.

We fully appreciate how invested so many of you are, both in regards to stock and your love of the game. Especially those who have followed our journey from first edition, or have customers who have pre-ordered the second edition or Rohan Region Guide. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused.

We will continue selling our existing stock over the next few months. We will be offering some discounts on our website for consumers as part of our Black Friday sale this week. We will not be reprinting any of these titles, so if you wish to stock up, we would suggest you contact your preferred distributor soon.
 
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Comments

Laurefindel

Adventurer
Depends what you mean by « champion ».

if by that you mean most content produced and for the longest run, then yes; that is irrefutable.

If you mean best Tolkien RPG; then TOR beats MERP big time. You may not agree, but that is the nature of « not a fact and debatable » :) Same goes for Jon Hodgson’s art. If you give me choice between starting a new game in Middle Earth today, I'll choose TOR over MERP in a heartbeat.

Also, it’s hard to compare publishing between now and then. It’s like saying 2e AD&D is champion of Dungeons and Dragons because it published more material. And while I agree that Middle-Earth is easier to sell "at large" post Peter Jackson, it was already very well known among the RP community. If anything , the slower books' feel of Tolkien (as opposed to PJ's action-movie rhythm) is harder to sell now than ever.

MERP was a remarkable game, but TOR didn’t only live in it’s shadows.
 
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Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
Depends what you mean by « champion ».

if by that you mean most content produced and for the longest run, then yes; that is irrefutable.

If you mean best Tolkien RPG; then TOR beats MERP big time. You may not agree, but that is the nature of « not a fact and debatable » :) Same goes for Jon Hodgson’s art. If you give me choice between starting a new game in Middle Earth today, I'll choose TOR over MERP in a heartbeat.
Hear, hear!

To me, MERP just... never felt like Tolkien. Maybe it was the fact that it was set over a thousand years before the trilogy, in a much... busier... Middle Earth. But in general - too many people, too much spellcasting, too high powered.

Some great materials and ideas to steal for D&D campaigns, though. I especially like the fortress and city maps!
 

Hurin88

Explorer
Hear, hear!

To me, MERP just... never felt like Tolkien. Maybe it was the fact that it was set over a thousand years before the trilogy, in a much... busier... Middle Earth. But in general - too many people, too much spellcasting, too high powered.

Some great materials and ideas to steal for D&D campaigns, though. I especially like the fortress and city maps!
I think those criticisms are fair for the most part, though I would note that many MERP books (especially the later ones) gave guidance for adventures not just in TA 1640, but also later in the Third Age near the War of the Ring.

For my money, the MERP books have never been equalled in sheer number, depth, or density of their lore. They are indeed the champion imho.
 

JeffB

Hero
I actually prefer the timeline the majority of MERP products were set in- Make the PCs the Heroes of that Age, instead of setting it closer to Bilbo's finding of the One Ring and the War for it-where everyone knows the real heroes will be doing the greatest deeds shortly thereafter. Star Wars can also be an issue in this regard, but there is so much more to do in an entire galaxy and the scope is so much larger- vs. ME's persistent and focused theme of Morgoth/Sauron over the ages and occurring basically on one continent.

I think right after the Fall of Angmar and the flight of the Witch King in the Third Age is perfect for actual Middle Earth gaming. Whether you want to do "Dungeon Crawls" or HEXploration, or get into the Politics. At any rate- that 1640-ish to 2000 span is prime RPG adventure time.

EDIT- I should also say- last time I ran a ME game I used Fantasy Age, by Green Ronin. Works quite well.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
TOR 100%, no contest whatsoever, for me.

The feel of play is closer, the art more evocative, I can immediately sit down and pretend to be an elf of Mirkwood leaving home because a darkness is rising and I need to find allies against it.

I love the deep lore of Middle Earth, but I don’t want to play in its “old republic era” equivalent. At that point, I might as well be playing in a homebrew world.
 

Laurefindel

Adventurer
To be clear, it is not the quality of MERP that is questioned here; I’m only refuting the un-debatable fact that it will remain the champion of all Middle Earth rpg to date.
 

Lurker Above

Explorer
For the reasons others have noted, I'd still personally rank MERP at the top, especially considering Middle Earth more broadly. I find both TOR and AiME pretty limited in scope and too slavishly wedded to trying to replicate the "feel" of the books. If that's what you want, fine. But I always preferred just getting into the setting rather than trying to recreate the novels.
 

Skywalker

Explorer
Oh well, another Middle Earth tabletop rpg bites the dust, leaving MERP as the continuing champion of the genre.
You obviously did not read this post before you decided to try and turn into "MERP is the best ME RPG ever" thread. Just above your post is an explanation that the licence remains with SG and SG have said that TOR will continue given how successful and well received it has been. C7 has just decided not to publish TOR and AME books any further.
 

JeffB

Hero
I find both TOR and AiME pretty limited in scope and too slavishly wedded to trying to replicate the "feel" of the books. If that's what you want, fine. But I always preferred just getting into the setting rather than trying to recreate the novels.

This is the headspace I am in as well-

I would say, ToR/AIME do a fine job of emulating the style of adventures/journey that Bilbo & the Dwarves, as well as the Fellowship went through. In emulating the good Professor's work there is no doubt the C7 systems win hands down.

But that's not what I wish to do if I'm going to run a RPG in ME. I'm not terribly interested in emulating those Journeys with more Epic scale/scope or even touching on things like despair/hope, etc. I'm more interested in the other clans of Hobbits. What about those Sackville Baggins? Or the other Dunedain Rangers who fought against the Witch King and Angmar's hordes? Other Elves who fought at the end of the Second Age and survived? What about the other two Wizards (blue and green?) and times when Gandalf was not around and Saruman was the good guy. When Gondor was not in such decline. All the bazillions of people and places and rumors and stories and lore mentioned by The Professor. Lets check that out.

For a RPG I don't want to emulate the books and the heroes. It's not just a ME thing either- Same if I am playing Star Wars or Stormbringer or Lhankmar, or James Bond, or Supers games or other properties where novels/movies are the inspiration and the big massive epic events have already happened. In Dragonlance_- I don't want to run the WotL- There's already a bunch of Heroes who save the day. If I was going to play The Witcher I wouldn't care about Geralt or his "friends" or the current War stuff going on. Whats going on elsewhere with other Witchers, like the one that got killed in the 1st season - What was his story? What other lands are not ravaged at this time and ripe for adventure? Who are all those other Wizards? Where are they from?

I think the TOR and the AIME books are very well done- especially the adventure/region books- . I'm also not terribly smitten with MERP or a Hater. I prefer other systems, but I do prefer the MERP timeline and products that support it.

Different strokes and all that.
 

darjr

I crit!
MERP being like GURPS books? Yea I see that. I have some too, and want more.

TOR is a pure gem. Evocative and compelling and brings to life Middle Earth. The magic in it alone is subtle yet powerful and feels just like it should.

As a game I feel MERP was a poor way to play in Middle Earth. It never quite felt right.

We’ll never get MERP back and that’s OK. But it does look like TOR will live on.
 

GreyLord

Adventurer
I liked MERP, it seemed to get one thing down that many others didn't. Combat was deadly.

Even more deadly than 5e.

When you have Dragons being equivalent of level 150, and Wizards like Saruman being similar...a maximum of level 10 isn't all that great.

You can extrapolate, but it still is a long ways to dealing with many of the more powerful creatures.

Orcs and others are pretty reasonable threats, and in a way far more deadly than what you see in 5e or derivatives. One orc can lay your 3rd or even 5th level character to rest...if played right by the GM.

Magic may be somewhat abundant, but spells are still harder to gain and cast than in 5e (or any version of D&D for that matter).

That doesn't make MERP better than AiME or TOR, just a different flavor for a different feel for the books.

I think it depends on how you view the books and how you view combat. Combat is far easier to survive at low level in the new games, while it was something to avoid at all costs in may ways in the MERPS at low level.

Travel and lands may be better replicated by TOR, while ideas of the rest and recuperation seem to be imitated by it as well in better form.

I think it really boils down to preference. I'd probably prefer MERPS, but that may be simply from not having a good GM run TOR or AiME.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
What sets ME apart, IMO, is that the tone of the adventures, things like hope and despair, weakness and shadow, bolstering eachother's hope and falling to shadow in solitude, these are part of what the setting is. I'd be reluctant to play in any era or region of ME without those dynamics in play.

I also don't want to meet with Aragorn, or whatever, when I play in ME, and I absolutely feel free to mess with canon in any setting, even ME. But there are tonal things that if I didn't want to use, I'd just play in a homebrew.
 
Well, whatever we think of past game systems for Middle-Earth, and I count TOR and AiME in the past, whatever we see as the next game will probably come out around the time the Amazon Prime Middle-Earth series debuts. And since that is set in the 2nd Age, I expect the game, or at least the first supplement, to be the same. Still no real mages, but a lot more magic and magic items floating around in that time period.
 

Crusadius

Explorer
To be clear, it is not the quality of MERP that is questioned here; I’m only refuting the un-debatable fact that it will remain the champion of all Middle Earth rpg to date.
Ahem. For 15 years MERP was the Number One Lord of the Rings roleplaying game*. TOR has a few years to go before it knocks MERP from that perch.... ;)


Ah but I joke. TOR is definitely the better system. I would play TOR over MERP any day. But at the time of MERP, I preferred it over the granddaddy of them all: AD&D.
* It was the only LotR RPG
 

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