What is the best era to play in Middle Earth?

b9anders

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TOR (The One Ring) and AiME (Adventures in Middle Earth) starts in 2946, five years after the Hobbit. A time of change, but still a recognizeable milieu for everyone. Still, the War of the Ring is an inevitable 70 years away and everyone knows (OOC) that the One Ring is in Bilbo's possession in the Shire.

And MERP, I learned today, takes 1640 in the third age as its starting point. This is when the witch-king of Angmar was still doing his thang up north, the Shire was still only 40 years old and Moria was still a glorious dwarven kingdom. More freedom to do your own thing with plenty going on, but also less recognizable perhaps.

It is the balance between "middle earth as we know and love it" and the constraints of the timeline that everyone knows that is the crucial factor I guess. So, what do you consider the ideal era for RPGing in Middle Earth?
 

GrahamWills

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A lot is tied to the system. I don't think MERP will run 1st age (I might suggest Fate or Everway that), and TOR / AiME is solidly 3rd age in expectations.
 

b9anders

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I know it will be a rich roleplaying experience because the GM is a published Tolkien scholar. Since he's running the campaign I would say that any era is the best era to play in Middle-earth.
Wow! Some play reports would not be amiss. :geek:
 

Rupert

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MERP also used the early 4th age as a standard time for games. Not so far from the 3rd age that there weren't still pockets of nasty things that needed cleaning out, and still magic around, but most or all of the ring-bearers have passed, and there's no set future history.
 

Daz Florp Lebam

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Best? Hmm - I'm reminded of an old joke: "the Golden Age of comic books is 6."

But yeah - most Middle-earth RPGs are set in the late 3rd Age, so in terms of published rpg resources (era-accurate maps, adventures, etc.) that's the best.

I have plans for a game set in the last year of the 2nd Age and first few years of the 3rd, with the PCs as characters serving under Isildur as he comes under the influence of the Ring. Very little if any published rpg material for that age, but it's also an era about which much less has been written and so there's more wiggle room, but still enough like late-3rd-Age M-e to be familiar.
 

wanderduff

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If I was to run a LOTR game I would make it a year or so after the death of Sauron. However I would have the Ringwraiths have been freed by the destruction of the One Ring rather than also being destroyed. Familiar ground, built in villains but freedom to develop
 

SorcererNinja

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I guess I'd misremembered when MERP is set, as I had thought it was some time in the Second Age. My not remembering isn't really surprising, though, since I have basically zero first hand knowledge of MERP. Has there been any Second Age stuff for any of the RPGs?
 

Random Goblin

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TOR (The One Ring) and AiME (Adventures in Middle Earth) starts in 2946, five years after the Hobbit. A time of change, but still a recognizeable milieu for everyone. Still, the War of the Ring is an inevitable 70 years away and everyone knows (OOC) that the One Ring is in Bilbo's possession in the Shire.
This is the kind of thing that seems to bother a lot of people but I just don't get. We're talking about a whole world full of beings and stories and possibilities. The "future timeline" only locks in a relatively tiny number of things, none of which ever even has to brush up against my RPG campaign.
 

Eudaimic

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I've always wanted to run or play in a second age game in the vein of Children of Húrin; a grand tragedy supported by game mechanics akin to Burning Wheel.
 
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