Saturday, June 16, 2007

Thoughts on MERP & the Barrowlands

Have again been reading Jeffs Game Blog (<----- link is on the sidebar to the left - click here for the post I've just read). Again, he's brought up a topic which strikes a chord with me, the nostalgia of the ICE system of Middle Earth Roleplaying modules. Unlike Jeff, I never ever saw the MERP game rules. I did however pore over a couple of the adventure modules - "Witchking of Angmar" and "Bree and the Barrow Downs" from memory.

I have been a LOTR fan since I was about 13 (read The Hobbit and LOTR trilogy in the one glorious year(along with Willi Heinrich's "Cross of Iron" and Frank Herbert's "Dune") - what a year!). I loved the movies (saw them once each at cinema, and Return of the King once on commercial telly - Cross of Iron only on video). My enjoyment of the modules didn't suffer from not having MERP rules to hand - I experienced my perusal of them as an immersive continuation of the escapist enjoyment I'd derived from the books.

I think that I was breaking away from what I was beginning to see as the homogonisation and routinisation, the complexification and commodification, then occurring with AD&D (around time of release of Fiend Folio). Little did I know how bad that particular trip would become (you'd need a bookshelf just to hold the systems and rules of D&D these days, as well as a tidy bank ballance to buy it)!

Instead, I went down the path less trodden. I recall coming up with a simplified set of rules (which were probably most akin to Call of Cthulhu of the games I now know - though I was only to actually see a copy of CoC nearly a decade later). I then dropped some players in a land recognisably similar to the Barrow Downs and we had a total ball - with total player group annihilation the end result.

I'll revisit this episode in my gaming past sometime later, as I have now to go and enjoy the rest of the day!

[I'm building up quite a list of tasks to type in nearish future, aren't I!]

[Almost all D&D players get a bit upset when they realise how tenuous a grip their characters have on sanity and life when one moves over to CoC type games.]

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