Finally, a Lord of the Rings RPG setting that interests me.

I am currently re-reading The Lord of the Rings, taking out, for the first time, my pretty red leather-bound edition that my dad got me years ago.

Reading over the Tolkien’s Foreword, I came across the following:

“The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion. If it had inspired or directed the development of the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annhiliated but enslaved, and Barad-dur would not have been destroyed but occupied. Sauraman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth. In that conflict both sides would have held Hobbits in hatred and contempt: they would not long have survived even as slaves.

Other arrangements could be devised according to the tastes or views of those who like allegory or topical reference. But I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I must prefer history, true or feigned…”

I love that line, ‘history, true or feigned.’

The Ring used against Sauron?

Sauraman the White making his own Great Ring?

Mordor occupied by the soldiers of Gondor and Rohan?

Dude, sign me up for that game.

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23 thoughts on “Finally, a Lord of the Rings RPG setting that interests me.

  1. Yeah, “4th Age” stuff never interested me. And playing second fiddle to the Fellowship isn’t that great either (same problem with Star Wars, IMO).

    This, though… obviously a much bleaker, blacker outcome for Middle Earth, where nothing turns out well for anyone.

    This is the Fall of Man, and Man is cool with it. Scary stuff.

  2. The Bag End Shopping Mall

    It is bleak but I am not sure how anything could be bleaker than the original books’ ending. Magic is dead and in a few hundred years, the Shire will look like suburban New Jersey.

    But hell yeah, it is bleak, no doubt.

    Yeah, I had to get ten thousand or so years between us and the original trilogy before we could start to have fun with the Star Wars toys.

  3. So I always had a problem with that bit in the forward. How the crap is LotR not allegory? Dude wrote one long ass allegorical tale wrapped in boring prose about the history of this place and that.

    As far as a game goes, what you describe is a twist on post WWII. The Ring is the bomb and Sauron is Stalin. Gondor and Rohan are the Allies and Mordor is Germany. But with swords…

  4. Hell yes. I’m of the opinion that if you want to game in an existing world, you need to shake it all up and make the players major characters.

    “Okay, so you’re standing over the burnt body of Luke Skywalker, smoking blasters in your hands.”

    “Elminster looks a little funny. Kind of like a lich.”

    “Aragorn’s getting thinner and thinner these days. And he keeps stroking that ring.”

    “You’ve found an elaborate cave. There’s a stuffed dinosaur and an enormouse penny over there. Here, before a huge array of computer screens you find a mummified body in some kind of bat suit.”

    Either that or the “let’s use their toys” option, like with that crazy SW10K setting.

  5. To the degree it’s allegory, look to WWI, not WWII. See John Garth’s book, Tolkien and the Great War. Fascinating to read about Tolkien doing his level best to up the odds in favor of his survival.

  6. Pingback: Ring Worlds « The Githyanki Diaspora

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