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Let's explore all the Middle-Earth games


All out of spoons
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2 gp = 20 sp = 200 bp (bronze) = 2,000 cp = 20,000 tp (tin).
That's bizarre. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, it ought to have an intermediate value between them. And where in Tolkien or anywhere else is the basis for a tin coin?


Designs worlds badly
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This is mildly amusing in retrospect because it becomes clear from subsequently published material that Westron and Adûnaic are actually the same language. In fact the "Adûn" element should have made that clear to us, because "Adûn" is, of course, Adûnaic for "west".
Westron and Adûnaic are the same language in the sense that Ladino and Latin are the same language. Westron is the "modern" form of Adûnaic, but even in Tolkien three thousand years are enough to change a language to the point that Boromir and Ar-Pharazôn wouldn't be able to hold a conversation. Sindarin changes much more slowly, but it is subject to the embalming influences of being a classical language for most speakers and its native speakers being immortal. Boromir and Elros couldn't have held a conversation in Adûnaic/Westron, and might have taken a bit to understand each other's Sindarin.

I saw tin coins in Virtual Verduria, based on a D&D campaign in the early 80s, so the idea might have been floating around in some early RPGs. I don't know enough to make a stab at which.


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There were tin coins in 17th century England. Charles II, James II, and William and Mary (until 1692) all had tin farthings minted. They were unpopular because they corroded quickly. However, my beef with the system is that tin should be more valuable than copper. Copper is 30 times more abundant than tin. For specie currency, copper should be the cheapest coin of the metals listed, with bronze above it and tin above that.


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Boromir and Elros couldn't have held a conversation in Adûnaic/Westron, and might have taken a bit to understand each other's Sindarin.
True. Significant differences can be seen in the Etymologies between First Age and LOTR style Sindarin. Perhaps akin to the differences between Homer's Greek and New Testament Greek. They're still recognizable, but Boromir and Elros would sound quasi-barbarous to each other. :)


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As far as I know, MERP has no adventures set before Second Age 1350 ("Intrigue Among the Merdain" in Lorien), and only Lorien and Gorgoroth have adventures set before the Third Age. Lorien has a handful of paragraphs on the Vanyar, which basically amounts to them being tall, blonde, and with blue or violet eyes, and there's no record of any leaving Aman after the battle against Morgoth. I'm not aware of any other mentions except in passing.
Well I know MERP had a supplement detailing the great powers, with stat blocks for the Valar and some Maiar, and maybe some FA elf lords (I can't remember). So there was at least some support for a FA campaign if not adventure modules.

The character of Celwen in my Legends of Steel game was possibly going to be for a War of the Elves and Sauron game, where her dad was Celwë, a Vanya who fought in the War of Wrath. During that war he fell in love with a Sinda handmaiden of Galadriel and they had a kid. Celwen and mom were sent to Lindon for their safety and Celwë ended up being killed in the war. So Celwen in that setting would've been statted as a Sinda, although a powerful one since she was half-Vanya. Celwë wouldn't have appeared in the game, but could've been statted just for the heck of it. :)


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I think these were taken direct from Rolemaster.
Yes. Clearly, the aim here was to provide a practical and simple monetary system, not something that would feel "tolkienian", realistic or look like any monetary system from middle ages or earlier.


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Ok, it's been a while but hopefully this'll go faster since I've done it once. On the other hand, it's been just long enough to forget.

Here's Ortho Proudfoot, aka Uncle Mathom:

As a reminder, his stats are:

ST 57 -20 (+0 stat, -20 race)
AG 60 +15 (+0 stat, +15 race)S
CO 80 +20 (+5 stat, +15 race)
IG 89 +5 (+5 stat, +0 race)
IT 88 +0 (+5 stat, -5 race)
PR 90 +5 (+10 stat, -5 race)
AP 69
RR vs Essence: +55 (+5 stat, +50 race)
RR vs Channeling: +20 (+0 stat, +20 race)
RR vs Poison: +50 (+20 stat, +30 race)
RR vs Disease: +35 (+20 stat, +15 race)

So we start with:

22.0 Backgrounds and Role Traits

We've got 5 background options to pick. I could raise IG to 90 (plus 2 others by +1 each, which doesn't get much) or IT to 90. It's be nice to mitigate Otho's mediocre stats a bit, but lets keep that on the back burner. The other options are:

Random special ability (enh)
Special item (very appropriate for the keeper of a museum)
Extra money (maybe)
Hobby skills (definitely appropriate)
Extra languages (right, that's a must have)

Let's start with languages: Otho has Westron (Rank 5), and is going to get 3 points later. A background option gets him a language at 5. I'll get 5 points of Kuduk (archaic Hobbit), and spend the 3 on Rohirric (max for a Hobbit is 4).

Second option: an item. Uh. I don't know how this works: the Hobbit background section says that they can't get magic items, only enhanced versions of normal items. But there are no rules for that. The item table only lists magic. Sigh - probably there are rules for item bonuses buried somewhere in the GM section. Let's just say he's "borrowed" 2 finely crafted tools that he thinks will be useful from the Mathom House, and figure out what they are later.

The fourth option will be hobby skills. I'll figure out his regular skills first before coming back and filling this in.

Option 5 will be either more skills, or a stat bonus. I'll wait to see how many extra skill points I need before choosing this.

Man, this is torturous. It was kind of fun doing the first character but now I just look at all the lists of decisions to make and feel despair. I might skip the two Elves and just move on to another game.


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23.0 Adolescence Skill Development

Same hobbit options as for Eriond:

Movement & Maneuver: 1 No Armour
Weapon: 2 Thrown, 2 Missile
General: 2 Climb
Subterfuge: 5 Stalk/Hide, 1 Pick Lock, 1 Disarm Trap
Magical: nothing
Misc: 4 Perception, 2 Body Development

24.0 Apprenticeship Skill Development

2 Weapon - he's not a fighter, I'll transfer these to secondary skills or Perception
2 General - 1 in Track: he's been practicing for his journey. The other I'll transfer.
2 Subterfuge - 1 Pick Lock, 1 Disarm Trap: he works repairing and maintaining curios at the Mathom House
3 Magical - 1 Read Rune, 1 Use Item, transfer the third
1 Body Development - I think I'll transfer this too. Everybody can use BD, but Otho's supposed to be frail
3 Languages - Hey, cool, more languages. I could increase Rohirric to 4 (the max) and increase 2 more to 1 each. But while trying to decide if Dunlending made sense for that, I found out that Stoors stayed in Dunland before migrating to the Shire, so it totally makes sense for Otho to have studied that area a bit. I'll put all 3 points in Dunael (Dunlending) to give it rank 2.
2 Spell Lists - I don't want Otho to actually know any magic, so I'll transfer these away.

That leaves 7 points to spend on Perception or secondary skills. And, helpfully, Lore can transfer from any category.
II'll give him 1 point of Appraisal (transferred from General), 1 to Perception, and 5 Lore skills at 1 each: Hobbit Lore, Goblin Lore (from studying Bullroarer Took's exploits), Anduin Lore (from studying Hobbit history), Eriador Lore (from studying the local area), Dwarf Lore (from talking to Dwarven traders passing through the Shire).

That was a lot less painful than I tought it was going to be. Now lets go back to backgrounds:

I already spent 1 on Language. Looking at how many IG skills I took, that +1 IG will be really useful. (Let's do +1 IT and +1 PR for the others, why not?) I'll choose Hobby to bump up Use Item to a fun level so he doesn't have magic of his own, but he's good at using any that he can find.

And I think I've figured out how items work: two entries in the special items table are magic items that give +10 or +15 to an associated skill (eg. a magic mace giving +10 to Melee OB, or a magic saddle giving +10 to ride). I think hobbits can get the same benefits from "mundane" but finely crafted items. So I'll give Otho a far-seeing glass from the Tower Hills (+10 to Perception), and Bullroarer Took's Shield (+10 to DB, on top of the normal +25 from a shield).

Otho "Uncle Mathom" Proudfoot
Culture/Race: Hobbit (Harfoot)
Profession: Bard

57 ST -20 (stat +0 race -20)
60 AG +15 (stat +0 race +15)
80 CO +20 (stat +5 race +15)
90 IG +10 (stat +10 race +0)
89 IT +0 (stat +5 race -5)
91 PR +5 (stat +10 race -5)
69 AP

Special Abilities

DB +50 (stat AG +15, item +35)
RR vs Essence +60 (stat IG +10, race +50)
RR vs Channeling +20 (stat IT +0, race +20)
RR vs Poison +50 (stat CO +20, race +30)
RR vs Disease +35 (stat CO +20, race +15)

Movement & Maneuver Skills
1 No Armour +20 (rank +5, stat AG +15, special -0)
0 Soft Leather -25 (rank -25, stat AG +15, special -15)
0 Rigid Leather -40 (rank -25, stat AG +15, special -30)
0 Chain -90 (rank -25, stat ST -20, special -45)
0 Plate -105 (rank -25, stat ST -20, special -60)

Weapon Skills
1 1-H Edged -45 (rank -25, stat ST -20)
1 1-H Concussion -45 (rank -25, stat ST -20)
1 2-Handed -45 (rank -25, stat ST -20)
2 Thrown +25 (rank +10, stat AG +15)
2 Missile +25 (rank +10, stat AG +15)
0 Pole-arms -45 (rank -25, stat ST -20)

General Skills
2 Climb +25 (rank +10, stat AG +15)
0 Ride -25 (rank -25, stat IT +0)
0 Swim -10 (rank -25, stat AG +15)
1 Track +15 (rank +5, stat IG +10)

Subterfuge Skills
0 Ambush -25 (rank -25, no stat)
5 Stalk/Hide +30 (rank +25, stat PR +5)
2 Pick Lock +20 (rank +10, stat IG +10)
2 Disarm Trap +10 (rank +10, stat IT +0)

Magical Skills
1 Read Rune +15 (rank +5, stat IG +10)
3 Use Item +15 (rank +15, stat IT +0)
0 Directed Spells -10 (rank -25, stat AG +15)

Miscellaneous Skills
5 Perception +25 (rank +25, stat IT +0) - +35 to see far away (item +10)
2 Body Development +37 (rank +2+10, stat CO +20, special +5)

Secondary Skills
0 Acrobatics -10 (rank -25, stat AG +15)
0 Acting -20 (rank -25, stat PR +5)
0 Animal Handling -20 (rank -25, stat PR +5)
1 Appraisal +15 (rank +5, stat IG +10)
0 Boat Handling -25 (rank -25, stat IT +0)
0 Caving -15 (rank -25, stat IG +10)
0 Contortions -10 (rank -25, stat AG +15)
0 Cookery -25 (rank -25, stat IT +0)
0 First Aid -15 (rank -25, stat IG +10)
0 Foraging -25 (rank -25, stat IT +0)
0 Gambling -25 (rank -25, stat IT +0)
0 Meditation -20 (rank -25, stat PR +5)
0 Rope-Mastery -15 (rank -25, stat IG +10)
0 Signaling -25 (rank -25, stat IG +10)
0 Sky-Watching -25 (rank -25, stat IT +0)
0 Trickery -20 (rank -25, stat PR +5)

Secondary Skill Groups
Artistic Skills -25 (rank -25, stat IT +0)
Athletic Skills -10 (rank -25, stat AG +15)
Craft Skills -10 (rank -25, stat AG +15)
Influence Skills -20 (rank -25, stat PR +5)
Lore Skills -15 (rank -25, stat IG +10)
1 Hobbit Lore +15 (rank +5, stat IG +10)
1 Goblin Lore +15 (rank +5, stat IG +10)
1 Anduin Lore +15 (rank +5, stat IG +10)
1 Eriador Lore +15 (rank +5, stat IG +10)
1 Dwarf Lore +15 (rank +5, stat IG +10)

Westron (Common): 5
Kuduk (Hobbit): 5
Rohirric: 3
Dunael: 2
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