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Old 10-09-2009, 05:50 PM   #1
Rhugga II
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Sting Middle Earth Roleplaying (MERP)

I am new to the forum. I have recently discovered ICE's Middle Earth Roleplaying and I was wondering about downers' thoughts on it. I have heard most of the complaints already and am curious to discuss it with people who are/were into it.
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Old 10-10-2009, 01:19 PM   #2
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If you mean that MERP -system as such - and not the ICE's ready-made adventures - I'd say it served it's purpose and provided hours after hours of fun.

It was our first actual step into roleplaying and we played many memorable sessions with it - changing into the Rolemaster rules little by little.

One could make complaints about the characters and abilities etc. not being true to a Tolkien universe, but then again who says you have to use all the possibilities a game might offer you? And I think that goes to any game: use them as you wish or see fit to what you think is reasonable (no, I'm not suggesting you come up with new rules as how a Rook moves in Chess but I think you get what I mean ).

Haven't played it in ages but I remember it with warmth, whatever the shortcomings were.

The question of how much should roleplaying be throwing dices and looking for the results from tables and how much it should be more free'er interaction is another topic and I'm not commenting on that here.
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Old 10-10-2009, 02:26 PM   #3
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I used to run games using the MERP system as a basis. I agree that some of the details are a tad off for well-known characters, but that's easily adjustable. What we found most troubling was how long it took to set up original characters, due to the amount of detail and choices that have to be made. I finally wound up asking the players what they wanted their characters to be like, generally speaking, and I did the setting up for them. Turned out that worked very well, as I was able to tweak the characters for the planned campaign, so that nobody would wind up feeling left out because they'd accidentally designed a character that was just not well suited for the situations. Of course, I've never stuck to the rules as a GM; I always adjusted things on the fly to account for problems the group was having, or situations I just couldn't resist tossing them into. It turned out to be fun for all involved.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:30 PM   #4
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Ah good old MERP,

lovely maps, not canonical, due to them not having the licence for anything apart from LoTR.

Left leg wounds,

Parachuting hippo,

Happy days!
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Old 10-11-2009, 04:27 AM   #5
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Left leg wounds,
Minor calf wound!
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Old 10-11-2009, 11:08 AM   #6
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Well - I think MERP is rather uncanonical, but if you take the racial descriptions and such with a pinch of salt, I think it's very enjoyable. And after a while you might get bored with the system because (unlike Ibrin implies ) it is very simple, maybe even too simple. Anyway, I think it's very nice, especially for tabletop RPG novices.
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Old 10-11-2009, 12:12 PM   #7
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skip spence is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.skip spence is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Was that the one with the dices that went from 1-100 and all those accompanying lists? You attack an Orc with a mace, roll a 04 and he gets a bruised pinky toe...?
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Old 10-11-2009, 12:20 PM   #8
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Was that the one with the dices that went from 1-100 and all those accompanying lists? You attack an Orc with a mace, roll a 04 and he gets a bruised pinky toe...?
Haha, probably the one. Does this look any familiar?
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:04 PM   #9
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skip spence is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.skip spence is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
No really. Thing is, the game we played was in Swedish and was called Sagan Om Ringen - Rollspelet. Think it might have been a translation/adaptation of MERP.

To be honest, we never really played it properly, mostly just rolling the dices again and again to slay Dragons or Balrogs and gain a heap of experience-points, so that the characters could reach the next level. Always wanted to play with a good Gamemaster though but none of my friends had the inclination.
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:21 PM   #10
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Well - I think MERP is rather uncanonical, but if you take the racial descriptions and such with a pinch of salt, I think it's very enjoyable. And after a while you might get bored with the system because (unlike Ibrin implies ) it is very simple, maybe even too simple. Anyway, I think it's very nice, especially for tabletop RPG novices.
I agree that MERP was quite uncanonical (a lot of invented stuff in there, and not all very sensible), and the game was easy enough to play, but the players I worked with took FOREVER to do the character set-up, very likely because it required them to make too many choices and they just didn't want to decide (you might get the idea that I was working with a bunch of idiots. All too many were, alas. More interested in just rolling dice than in using their brains). I should point out that this was with the last available version of the system, which may not have been the same as earlier versions. Don't know, frankly. I never use pre-made scenarios, nor have I ever used a game playing system as I got it (and I go back to the very first version of D&D, in a little cardboard box, printed by mimeo). I always change things. Just my way.
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:07 PM   #11
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Thanks so much for your insights, guys. Just curious if any of you modified the order of actions in battles - as someone who comes from an initiative-type background, it is really hard for me to conform to their system.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:46 PM   #12
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Minor calf wound!
That's a Rolemaster joke!
(For the record, people kept getting minor calf wounds all the time in a campaign that was played in a Downer get-together a year ago.)

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Always wanted to play with a good Gamemaster though but none of my friends had the inclination.
Aww you must come to Finland again and we'll arrange something!

But yeah I did some googling and according to Wikipedia, Sagan om Ringen Rollspelet (huh almost continued from there in Swedish) is a MERP translation so they're basically the same.

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Originally Posted by Ibrīnišilpathānezel View Post
I never use pre-made scenarios
Sometimes they can be great fun. After having roleplayed for some six years (first with MERP and then with Rolemaster) we switched back to basics - The Lord of the Rings Adventure Game, which is a really simplified version of the former two, and played a couple of pre-made scenarios. It was very uncanonical and absolutely silly, but I don't think I've ever laughed so much when roleplaying. Recently we gave our GM some pre-made MERP campaigns as a birthday present since we want to continue playing with the same characters, but ironically enough it means we must start using MERP again.

In any case, I started roleplaying with MERP and quite enjoyed it until we switched to Rolemaster, which is a far more complex system and, despite having almost too much content, better in my opinion.

I don't think we've been tampering with the battle stuff much, but one of us does medieval fencing and always complains about the illogicalities of the system. However RPGs are RPGs and can never be as realistic as we'd like them to be, and if we tried to take into account every single thing, it wouldn't be so fun anymore. Good modification suggestions are always welcome, though. Have you been doing it yourself, Rhugga?
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Old 10-15-2009, 04:50 PM   #13
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MERP is a little bit before my time, but I've had a lot of fun running Middle-Earth with Burning Wheel. That's one of the few games I've seen that really *got* the Elven mindset.
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aganzir
Sometimes they can be great fun. After having roleplayed for some six years (first with MERP and then with Rolemaster) we switched back to basics - The Lord of the Rings Adventure Game, which is a really simplified version of the former two, and played a couple of pre-made scenarios. It was very uncanonical and absolutely silly, but I don't think I've ever laughed so much when roleplaying. Recently we gave our GM some pre-made MERP campaigns as a birthday present since we want to continue playing with the same characters, but ironically enough it means we must start using MERP again.
My warning - don't try to change the RPG a bit and make it more interesting by changing the genders of the player characters (and accordingly making minor changes to their biographies) because if/when the players find out how their characters have been created, they will take the whole game as a joke... Although, I can't say it wasn't funny when they tried to attract a troll with a freshly baked blueberry pie or kill the trolls by blowing up the bridge under which they lived with fireworks!
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