Favorite Tolkien RPG system and why?
Favorite Tolkien RPG system and why?Posted by Hawke at May 31. 2012
So, folks have their various favorite RPG systems for using in a Tolkien setting. What is your favorite, and Why?
I first started with AD&D 1st adapted to Middle-earth (loosely). Then came MERP, with several groups per week end for years, slowly adding in more and more Rolemaster 2 rules and further tweaking MERP. Then MERP 2nd edition.
Tried Decipher LotR but it always felt incomplete and the TOC of the core book is non-existent/useless. It never caugt on with anyone I know.
Modified d20 3.x Ea RPG: http://earpg.com has been the most popular in this area, it is the easiest to bridge newer gamers from D&D into Tolkien, then over time as they get "hooked" on Tolkien-based campaigns, they are willing to try more "true" systems.
Then of course the 3 variants on the dedicated Tolkien RPG Ea RPGS (not the d20 adaptation). Also at http://www.earpg.com
Then last year began using The One Ring RPG by Cuble7 (TOR RPG). It has a lot of nice approaches that I want to do more with, but I have had a lot of trouble getting folks willing to learn and play the system. Not to mention the dearth of availability at stores. The largest store I talked into keeping it in stock has not really sold any after I stopped doing demos at the store. Maybe that will pick up when The Hobbit movies being playing at the end of the year.
I've looked at Hither-lands and Ambarquenta and Arda Marred http://ardamarred.merp.com/
but have been unable to find anyone willing to even try them. I have also repeatedly invited the creators of these systems to attend our annual Tolkien RPGing convention, Tolkien Moot http://www.tolkienmoot.org because they are so far away (other countries), nor could they find anyone in the area who knew the system that was wiling to come run a game.
So, what has happened at the convention each year since 2005 is the following games played (in order of popularity (number of tables using):
2005 -> ICE MERP 2nd Edition
2006 -> ICE MERP 2nd Edition
2007 -> ICE MERP 2, Rolemaster, ICE HARP, Decipher LotR, Ea d20 3.5, Ea RPGS,
2008 -> ICE MERP 2 (adult), Ea d20 3.5 (youth), ICE Rolemaster (adult)
2009 -> Ea d20 3.5 (mixed), ICE MERP 2 (adult)
2010 -> Ea d20 3.5 (youth), ICE MERP 2 (mixed)
2011 -> Ea d20 3.5 (youth), Ea d20 2 (AD&D2) (adults), ICE MERP 2 (mixed)
2012 -> (planned): Ea d20 3.5 (youth), The One Ring RPG (adults), Ea RPGS (mixed).
This seems some interesting trending, though of course on a very small scale.
Hope that was useful information.
-- Inland Empire Tolkien and Gaming Society