Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Musings from a Man Playing Two Middle Earth Games


Let me lead off by saying I am not a huge Middle Earth fan. I've read the Hobbit a few times and the Lord of the Rings once. Seen the first three movies, but not the hobbit movies. And while not being a fan of Middle Earth I find myself in two very interesting Middle Earth games.

The first one is run by +Rob Conley (he knows his Tolkien). I think we started our game back in May of last year. He's using Adventures in Middle Earth, a 5e system flavored with Tolkien. I think it works. The Fellowship phase is probably the biggest change. 

My experience is that regular game time crawls. You can play a year in real time and only a month has passed in game time. Within that month your character has climbed from 1st to whatever level. Nothing wrong with that. Game time is relative. But with the Fellowship Phase, time in Middle Earth seems to move at a more realistic pace. An adventure doesn't take a few days or a week, it takes a season. In addition, with the affect of the Shadow everywhere, these long breaks are needed. 

Rob has done an excellent job of capturing the feel of Middle Earth. From a guy whose been running City-State of the Invincible Overlord for...shit, nearly 35 or 40 years now, he's switched gears well. I'm not an expert by any means, but it does feel like a different land with different problems.

+Chris C. and myself have been a strange duo, a healer/scholar from Laketown and Ferin a dwarf fighter, I can't remember his homeland. We are not a combat first duo. We can't be. I have very little in the way of combat ability so therefore Ferin takes the brunt of the attacks. The interesting thing is how effective we are. Rob runs it so we can use our brains as much if not more than our brawn. Which I think makes for more interesting situations. 

The second Middle Earth game I started two weeks ago. +Dwayne Gillingham is running this one using his own Crit System, think AGE system with a point buy option. He knows his Tolkien also. I'm still learning the lay of the land. Last night our session stopped in the middle of a fight with a mercenary company of umbar. 

What I need to do so I can put more of an effort to keep the immersion is to get a glossary or something. A lot of terms or names thrown about I don't understand the reference. I need a cheat sheet so I don't have to keep asking who the umbar are and whether they are people we wants to battle or not. 

So coming from someone who found reading Middle Earth just above okay, I'm really enjoying these two games. It's actually making me want to read the books again, or at least learn more about the different people and places in Middle Earth.