[Middle Earth] Published Systems

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Falconer
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Re: [Middle Earth] Published Systems

Post by Falconer » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:22 pm

Did you read the next post after he asked the question?
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Re: [Middle Earth] Published Systems

Post by Tolwen » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:41 pm

Ouch - obviously not. I'll edit accordingly. Thanks for that ;)
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Re: [Middle Earth] Published Systems

Post by Jayce » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:34 pm

I've never played MERP or any of the other Iron Crown games, but I remember being fascinated by the books when I was little and my older brother collected them (this was the early to mid 90s).

The only official Middle-Earth roleplaying game I have ever played was the one that used the CODA system, published by Decipher in the early 00s. The books were gorgeous, and had (for the time) very high production values. The game itself played somewhat like a much, much lighter version of D20 (it uses 2d6 in place of d20s, but the basic mechanic of rolling vs. TN is very similar), albeit with much less of a focus on classes ("Orders", as the game called them - these were fairly freeform, and at times it almost feels like a classless game, even though it isn't), and a much less tactical and more narrative bent.

The system was pretty well adapted to the source material. Magic was handled especially well: it was subtle enough to feel like it belonged in Middle-Earth, but still definitely useful, and the way magic tied into fatigue (a pretty significant thing in the game in general, which itself really evoked the feel of Lord of the Rings) ensured that it wasn't easily abused by players. Spellcasters are never the omnipotent artillery they tend to become in D&D.

The game's main weakness was its tie-in to the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. The game's core book features little in the way of original art, relying mostly on movie stills from The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers; likewise, in terms of lore, the core book has a strong (although not exclusive) focus on the movies. Later products, such as the excellent Moria boxed set, shifted away from this, featuring original art, as well as lore not related to the movies.

It's a shame that, due to mismanagement and even fraudulent practices at Decipher Inc., this line was nipped in the bud. The turmoil at Decipher Inc., combined with financial struggles caused by the fizzling of several of the company's TCG lines, slowed down the RPG release schedule to an absolute crawl, as the company shifted its remaining manpower to the LOTR and Star Trek TCGs. The physical product line consists of the core book, guides to TFOTR and TTT (ROTK was planned, but never released), a bestiary, an absolutely gorgeous boxed set detailing Moria, and two horribly overpriced boxed sets containing rather miniscule poster maps and brief 32-page black-and-white gazetteers of the lands detailed in the maps. In addition, several digital products were released: a guide to Isengard, a guide to magic in Middle-Earth, and a guide to Helm's Deep. The digital products were originally intended for physical release, but were postponed time and again until Decipher decided to sell them as PDFs exclusively, shortly before their license expired. Consequently these are now impossible to get your hands on legally (and a shining example of why I hate digital products :roll: ).

Really, even if you absolutely detest D20, don't let my comparison to it discourage you from giving CODA a try: it's an elegant, simple system, that I think really suits Middle-Earth.

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Re: [Middle Earth] Published Systems

Post by Falconer » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:54 am

Great post, Jayce. Thanks! It’s so hard to find people who have experience with the Decipher game. I have to say of all the published systems it is the most attractive to me as a system. I think it’s well known to be the definitive take on Middle-earth magic for a RPG. Where it falls short is in the dearth of support products. I think the Hall of Fire fanzine tried to convert a lot of MERP material over, but even in its long run it probably barely scratched the surface.
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Re: [Middle Earth] Published Systems

Post by Coronoides » Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:21 am

Much of this thread is a few years old now. THe situation with TOR has changed a little. Yes the core book is limited to a small portion of the setting but in the years since its release there has been a satisfying stream of releases expanding the areas covered and advancing the timeline toward the LOTR era. Notably, the “Adventurers’ Companion” collects together all the player character cultures (not in the core book) in one book including: Dunlendings, Blue Mountain Dwarves, Grey Mountain Dwarves, Dwarves of the Iron Hills, Elves of Lorien, Men of Bree, Men of the Lake, Men of Mina’s Tirith, Riders of Rohan, Wayward Elves of Mirkwood, Wild Hobbits of Anduin Vales, High elves of Rivendell, and Rangers of the North.
With the core set and the “Adventurer’s Companion” (two books) you have what you need to play in most major regions of the novels if you are willing to write the adventures you want using the lore you know. Of coarse having the others books is nice especially if you are time poor.
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Re: [Middle Earth] Published Systems

Post by Tolwen » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:33 pm

Coronoides wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:21 am
Much of this thread is a few years old now. THe situation with TOR has changed a little. Yes the core book is limited to a small portion of the setting but in the years since its release there has been a satisfying stream of releases expanding the areas covered and advancing the timeline toward the LOTR era. Notably, the “Adventurers’ Companion” collects together all the player character cultures (not in the core book) in one book including: Dunlendings, Blue Mountain Dwarves, Grey Mountain Dwarves, Dwarves of the Iron Hills, Elves of Lorien, Men of Bree, Men of the Lake, Men of Mina’s Tirith, Riders of Rohan, Wayward Elves of Mirkwood, Wild Hobbits of Anduin Vales, High elves of Rivendell, and Rangers of the North.
With the core set and the “Adventurer’s Companion” (two books) you have what you need to play in most major regions of the novels if you are willing to write the adventures you want using the lore you know. Of coarse having the others books is nice especially if you are time poor.
The AC is up-to-date only until the next release with yet more culture stats...
This distribution of the full set of rules (in terms of playable cultures and their options) over a wide range of supplements is one of the things that personally disturbs me the most with TOR. Now with the AC it's a bit better, but for the regions you need the supplementary books and will get the same stuff (or part of it) again. This spread of rules over a lot of supplements reminds me of trading card practices to entice customers into buying expansions to get the full rule options. And the substantial rules part (mostly 20-30% of the supplements) occupies valuable space in supplemental regional publications that could be used to - IMHO - much better effect for fluff and background info (IMHO the primary purpose of a regional module/supplement).
Others may welcome this constant expansion of the rules, but for me it is a big downside of the TOR concept.

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Re: [Middle Earth] Published Systems

Post by Coronoides » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:27 pm

Tolwen wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:33 pm
Coronoides wrote:
Mon Aug 20, 2018 8:21 am
Much of this thread is a few years old now. THe situation with TOR has changed a little. Yes the core book is limited to a small portion of the setting but in the years since its release there has been a satisfying stream of releases expanding the areas covered and advancing the timeline toward the LOTR era. Notably, the “Adventurers’ Companion” collects together all the player character cultures (not in the core book) in one book including: Dunlendings, Blue Mountain Dwarves, Grey Mountain Dwarves, Dwarves of the Iron Hills, Elves of Lorien, Men of Bree, Men of the Lake, Men of Mina’s Tirith, Riders of Rohan, Wayward Elves of Mirkwood, Wild Hobbits of Anduin Vales, High elves of Rivendell, and Rangers of the North.
With the core set and the “Adventurer’s Companion” (two books) you have what you need to play in most major regions of the novels if you are willing to write the adventures you want using the lore you know. Of coarse having the others books is nice especially if you are time poor.
The AC is up-to-date only until the next release with yet more culture stats...
This distribution of the full set of rules (in terms of playable cultures and their options) over a wide range of supplements is one of the things that personally disturbs me the most with TOR. Now with the AC it's a bit better, but for the regions you need the supplementary books and will get the same stuff (or part of it) again. This spread of rules over a lot of supplements reminds me of trading card practices to entice customers into buying expansions to get the full rule options. And the substantial rules part (mostly 20-30% of the supplements) occupies valuable space in supplemental regional publications that could be used to - IMHO - much better effect for fluff and background info (IMHO the primary purpose of a regional module/supplement).
Others may welcome this constant expansion of the rules, but for me it is a big downside of the TOR concept.

Best
Tolwen
For the record I agree with all of the above.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/fz4zql2yhlyut ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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Re: [Middle Earth] Published Systems

Post by Tolwen » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:06 pm

Coronoides wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:27 pm
For the record I agree with all of the above.
If my posting above sounded too critical or harsh - this was not intended. I enjoy the atmosphere here where it is more the world that is the focus rather than a specific game system :)

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Tolwen
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Re: [Middle Earth] Published Systems

Post by Coronoides » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:28 pm

Tolwen wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:06 pm
Coronoides wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:27 pm
For the record I agree with all of the above.
If my posting above sounded too critical or harsh - this was not intended. I enjoy the atmosphere here where it is more the world that is the focus rather than a specific game system :)

Best
Tolwen
No problem. I was actually just highlighting my defence of TOR has caveats.
Need to convert races to D&D 5e? mathematical analysis of canon races and design rules: http://www.dmsguild.com/product/232813/ ... rs-Toolkit

Conversion & Review of Council of Wryms with dragon PCs compatible with other 5e settings (at level 5+). DRAFT: Book 1 https://www.dropbox.com/s/fz4zql2yhlyut ... 8.pdf?dl=0 and Book 2 https://www.dropbox.com/s/0n3i5bki6svae ... 0.pdf?dl=0

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