Friday, September 27, 2019

A Brief History of Tolkien RPGs by John Rateliff

John Rateliff showing off the prototype cover art for TSR's canceled Middle-Earth game

It's once again Tolkien Week, the week containing Hobbit Day (Sep 22nd, Bilbo & Frodo's birthday). Recently there's been some talk on EnWorld and the Piazza about TSR's failed attempt to license Middle-Earth in 1992. A post on the Piazza thread by Falconer led me back to where this was originally revealed: a very interesting talk entitled "The Brief History of Tolkien RPGs" by John Rateliff, given as his guest-of-honor speech at MERPcon in August 2008. Rateliff is the author of the History of the Hobbit and also a former TSR editor and author, where his works included the excellent Return to the Keep on the Borderlands.

His talk is available in two formats: 

(1) A series of posts of the same name on his blog, Sacnoth's Scriptorium. I've been following this for years (since ~2012), but this series is even older (2008) and I'd never come across it before. 

Part IV

(2) A video/audio recording posted on YT. It's over an hour long and is interrupted by many audience questions & comments, but is an enjoyable watch/listen (but if you just listen you'll miss out on some of his exhibits, like the prototype cover for TSR's canceled ME game).

Tolkien Moot 2008 MerpCon IV John D. Rateliff solo speech History of the Hobbit author

http://tolkienmoot.org John D. Rateliff, author of The History of the Hobbit at MerpCon 4 Tolkien Moot 2008. Tolkien Moot is an annual Tolkien convention sponsored by the Inland Empire Tolkien Society for fans and scholars, enthusiasts, and Tolkien role-playing gaming gamers of J.R.R.


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Earlier Tolkien posts on this blog that you may have missed:

Green Dragon Miniature (Mythical Earth Minifig)
Gygaxian Orc Tribes (originally derived from Tolkien)
The Endless Caverns of Tu (D&D in Middle-Earth campaign idea)

1 comment:

  1. And now we have The One Ring RPG and Adventures in Middle Earth both excellent Middle Earth RPGs. And AiME returns D&D full circle to its Tolkien Roots.

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