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Let's explore all the Middle-Earth games

Derrick Kapchinsky

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The Burning Wheel. I've played one demo of this game which was interesting but seemed like had a lot of complexity to learn. I've had the Revised Edition sitting on my shelf mostly unread for ages, just because it looks good. I've heard that the lifepath character creation system can make very Tolkien-esque characters, so this seems like a good opportunity to learn at least how character creation works.

Mouse Guard. A simplified variant of Burning Wheel, based on comic book about medieval anthropomorphic mice. Since this is about very small creatures defending their community in a very large world, it seems like it would work well to resign it as being about Hobbits defending the Shire. Maybe a bit specialized for Middle-Earth in general, though.

There are other Burning Wheel variants, like Torchbearer. I don't know much about them - do any of them have a particularly Middle-Earth flavour?
I haven't played Torchbearer, so salt to taste, but I do know that it's about resource management in a dungeon crawl. So my guess would be that it isn't Tolkien flavoured at all. Likewise, I never really found Mouseguard to be all that Tolkien inspired either. If I wanted to play hobbits, I'd probably just try to work out a custom 'Hobbit' stock in BW. You can probably get away with selectively using the Human stock and search the trait list for stuff you'd want to use as common traits. So it shouldn't be that much work.
 

Two Hours to Doom

Strangelove'n
Validated User
Unofficial games, I’m not sure how many were finished. Here are some more I dug up:

Song of Arda—if you can find it. Had some similar aspects to Pendragon if I recall.
Ambarquenta—looked very detailed https://sites.google.com/site/ambarquenta/home/ambarquenta-1
Hither Lands—there appears to have been a least two versions of the game. A ton of potential, but never fully completed as far as I know.
Realm Guard: Rangers of the North. This is a hack of Mouse Guard and looks to still be going.
Ea RPG—I believe is a d20 version for LOTR/ME.
 

Theo Axner

Likes dressing up, yes
Validated User
The Midnight setting for D&D 3E was pretty much "Middle-Earth with the serial numbers filed off, after Sauron (or Morgoth, strictly speaking) won". Though it had enough distinctive touches that it would be an odd choice for a straight Middle-Earth game.
 

JoeNotCharles

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There's a game called Balrogs & Bagginses (sp?) that's an OSR B/X thing, sort of.
Do you know where I can find it? My searches only find reviews, no links to the game itself.

There's also There and Back Again, a game based on only the original edition of The Hobbit.
Huh, that one looks interesting. I don't think the characters I have in mind will work in it, but finding out will be part of the fun!

Unofficial games, I’m not sure how many were finished. Here are some more I dug up:
Woah, that's a lot. Fortunately for my sanity I can barely use any of them.

Song of Arda—if you can find it. Had some similar aspects to Pendragon if I recall.
Can't find it, and the references I had said it was unfinished.

I have to mail the author to get a zip password to read that, because they admit that large chunks of the game were plagiarized to speed up development. Not willing to do that.

Hither Lands—there appears to have been a least two versions of the game. A ton of potential, but never fully completed as far as I know.
Since you say it's unfinished and the first couple of links I found were to the "old defunct site" I stopped trying to figure out what's going on with this.

Realm Guard: Rangers of the North. This is a hack of Mouse Guard and looks to still be going.
I think I saw some references to this, and misremembering them is why I thought Mouse Guard had been reskinned for Middle-Earth. I'll take a look at it.

Ea RPG—I believe is a d20 version for LOTR/ME.
Skipping this one: between AiME and the OSR games, I have enough d20 variants. (That goes for Midnight, too.)
 

JoeNotCharles

Registered User
Validated User
Ok, I've updated the OP with all the games I might be doing. I won't force myself to be complete if I get too overwhelmed. So here are the characters I'm going to make with each:

There are four, two hobbits and two elves. The idea is to see if the game can handle a couple of specifically Tolkien characters, and also handle variations within each character type.

Eriond Took
An athletic young hobbit who, unlike many of his peers, enjoyed boating up and down the streams from the Shirebourn to the Brandywine. His friends thought him a bit mad, especially when he became captivated by Bilbo's stories and began openly wishing to see the Long Lake and the river running down from the mountain. A fine swimmer with a keen eye for nature.

Ortho "Uncle Mathom" Proudfoot
A stout, middle-aged hobbit, slow-moving and a little clumsy but with a keen mind. He was keeper of the Mathom-house (the Shire's museum) and his interests went beyond the normal hobbit love of genealogy to encompass a detailed study of the Shire's history. He's uncovered hints that hobbits originally came to the Shire from the east, and from old documents he's traced some of the development of hobbit language suggesting kinship to peoples from far away. But he's taken as research as far as he can with the records of the Shire, and he's decided that despite his sedentary nature, the only way to learn more is to venture into the East himself and see if he can find any trace that wandering hobbits left there.

Maeglar, March-Warden of Imladris
A Noldor of Elrond's court. Not so illustrious as Glorfindel or the sons of Elrond, but a mighty warrior nonetheless. Maeglar's task is to range beyond the bounds of the Rivendell, making sure that fell creatures come not too near and that the paths to the Hidden Valley remain hidden.

Lebenniel
A Wood Elf of Mirkwood. Although she appears young, she is old enough to remember her family's home in the central part of Mirkwood, before the Shadow spread north from the Mountains of Mirkwood and pushed Thranduil's court to its current location (just the latest in a long line of displacements). Lebenniel often wanders the woods alone, ranging southwards into dangerous regions, searching for remnants and memories of elves' former holdings.

The two hobbits are obviously quite different - one athletic, the other a sendentary scholar. The two elves, on the other hand, are similar on the surface - both rangers or hunters - and are meant to see if the system distinguishes between High Elves and Wood Elves.
 
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