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Middle-earth Basic Roleplaying preview


Fergo113

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I thought it was high time that I gave an update as to where this ‘little’ project of mine is up to... so here goes!

Currently I am about half way through transcribing my numerous notes and ideas into a legible, understandable, and more importantly, playable format. There is a wealth of material for me to draw on thanks to the many excellent Lord of the Rings books and rpg games that have been produced over the years, especially Middle Earth Role Playing (MERP) and Deciphers Lord of the Rings (LotR).

I have been promising on this site for some months now to upload the first chapters of this work. Much to my annoyance :mad: I keep falling behind in meeting up to this promise. So I have decided to give those of you interested a sneak preview into what the first chapter will look like. :thumb:

I plan to post a sneak preview creature each week until I complete the Creatures chapter for posting here. This will be the first of the chapters for my take on a Middle-earth Basic Roleplaying game. The idea is that at the very least, it will push me harder to finish this chapter for posting and to get on with the rest of the project, but at the same time give anyone interested a chance to have a look into what this will eventually look like.

I have opened the sneak peak with two creatures; the terrifying Barrow-wights :eek: and the Barghest :shocked:

So for those of you interested, hope this wets the appetite. :thumb:

You will find them in:

BRP Central > Downloads > Systems & Settings > Other settings

Enjoy!

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I am so looking forward to MEBRP! I am curious as to how you plan to do the PDF layout? Will there be art and coulmns and tables and charts, or will it just be a text document?

EDIT: Guess I should have looked at the samples first! LOL

Edited by PK Games
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I am so looking forward to MEBRP! I am curious as to how you plan to do the PDF layout? Will there be art and coulmns and tables and charts, or will it just be a text document?

EDIT: Guess I should have looked at the samples first! LOL

There will be art and formatting, tables and charts. You can get an idea of this fromt the City of Heroes layout in the downloads section. This is one of the reasons that its become such a big job (and a huge file!). I want to produce as professional a looking document as I can. :thumb:

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Very cool, looking forward to more.

Are "Barghests" actually mentioned anywhere in Tolkein's writings?

FunGuyFromYuggoth is right, no there are no Barghests in the Lord of the Rings mythology, but they are kind of cool and are in the Lord of the Rings Online game. This game has been one great source of inspiration (and screenshots) when doing this chapter. :D

I have been determined to only add creatures that would fit into Tolkien's universe, not just add in fantasy based creatures. The Barghest is a creature from Celtic folklore and Tolkien drew on a lot from Norse and Celtic mythology in his works. So I want to keep in the spirit of his works. As such you will read in the creature descriptions (especially under the creatures powers) references to Spot Rules that will appear in a later chapter. These Spot Rules will help to keep Tolkien's feel and flow to Middle-earth BRP. The chapter on Magic will be especially like this.

But bleeding heck, it's a big job!!! :shocked:

So please be patient. I am about half way through the creatures I need to transcribe, so this chapter will probably be about another month before its completed. Then I have to complete all the rest. :o

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Years ago, I did up some Middle Earth species write ups for RQ3. If you think any of it would help for your BRP Middle Earth project, let me know and I'll dig out the write ups and scan them.

That would be a bit help if you didn't mind Atgxtg. I could do with any help you can give. So far I have the following critters scheduled for the Creatures chapter of ME-BRP:

Aurochs

Balrog

Barghest

Barrow-wights

Bats

Bears

Boar

Crebain

Crawler

Dark-water

Dragon-kind

Cold-drake

Fire-drake

Winged-drake

Drakes

Wryvern

Worm

Wyrm

Dourhand Dwarves (Petty Dwarves)

Eagles, Great

Earth-kin

Ents (Onodrim)

Fallen Maiar

Bandúrhoth

Dindair

Helegrog

Rogmul

Fell-beast

Gaunt-lord

Gauradan

Ghost

Giant

Gorthorog

Great Beast

Griffin

Huorn

Kraken

Losrandir (Caru)

Lynx

Mammoth

Mearas

Mewlip

Morroval

Neekerbreeker

Olphaunts (Mûmakil)

Orcs

Goblin

Half-orc

Orc

Uruk-hai

Orc, Ghoul

Pukul-men

Salamander

Sabre-toothed Cat

Sea Serpent

Shade

Sickle-fly

Skeleton

Spiders, Giant

Shelob’s Spawn

Spirits

Fell Spirit

Spectre

Wraith

Stoorworms

Trolls

Cave Troll

Forest Troll

Hill Troll

Mountain Toll

Snow Troll

Olog-hai

Vampire

Warg

Watcher in the Water

Watch-stone, Ancient

Werewolves

Wight

Wolf

Normal Wolf

Dire Wolf

Zombie

Zombie

Headless Zombie

Severed Arm Zombie

I have notes to one degree or another on all of these and am feverishly typing away nightly once my wife and youngest daughter have gone to bed, but I still have to just under half these critters left to transcribed from my notes into the document.

I would be keen to see what you have mate, so please feel free to post it or pm it to me.

Cheers

Fergo113

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I have a suggestion.

Finish the main rules and PDFs first, include a sampel bestiary of must haves, such as Orcs, Trolls, Wolves, Bandits, Dwarves, Elves and so forth and then release the creatures as a separate PDF.

I say this because it looks like you are going to have 200 pages of monsters or so and that makes a hefty PDF on its own, but added to the rest of the material, yikes!

But great work.

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I plan to post it chapter by chapter, starting with the creatures chapter. This is actually chapter 10 for the whole ME-BRP but I feel that with the BRP rulebook already there as the core rules, by releasing the creatures chapter, anyone who is keen to give it a play can start right away.

I would then move on to finishing the Free Peoples chapter, which has Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Men etc. and would give the racial backgrounds and traits for these races. After doing this, I would release the Magic chapter.

This may seem a weird way to do it but when you think about it, the BRP rulebook already gives stats for Dwarves, Hobbits, Men etc (though the Elves statistics in BRP will be different in ME-BRP), and has a compatible Magic chapter. I am trying to produce a package that people could start using fairly quickly if they are already familiar with the core BRP rules and Tolkien's works.

By releasing ME-BRP chapter by chapter, it should help keep the pdf's to a manageable size. Having said that, the Creatures chapter is currently around 81 pages and 61meg as a Word document :shocked:

Hopefully that all makes sense, but it will be around 10+ chapters (each as a separate pdf) and also some appendices (plus I have a bunch of campaigns and adventures I need to type up and post as well). I know that sounds a lot, but its taking that to produce something faithful to the setting. However, the creatures chapter will be by far the biggest in both number of pages and size of the document.

Thanks for the suggestion though :thumb:

Edited by Fergo113
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With LOTRO, is there an equivalent "Expanded Universe" seal of approval from...well...whomever is in charge of licensing? :confused:

Are you sure you're on safe ground producing these PDFs? IIRC the Tolkien IP holders are not FunGuys ... :shocked:

You're probably ok with most of the critters (except hobbits) as they use generic names, but once you start on the geography you'll be entering copyright territory. These days, the internet fandom is not as free to put up their material for existing settings, e.g. Glorantha and Traveller's Third Imperium.

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Dreamscape Design: My Corner of BRP Central ... Mine, All Mine! 

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Are you sure you're on safe ground producing these PDFs? IIRC the Tolkien IP holders are not FunGuys ... :shocked:

You're probably ok with most of the critters (except hobbits) as they use generic names, but once you start on the geography you'll be entering copyright territory. These days, the internet fandom is not as free to put up their material for existing settings, e.g. Glorantha and Traveller's Third Imperium.

That very thought has been going through my head too Vile. :ohwell:

It does worry me just to how much I can post before someone in a suit starts sniffing around. These days they'll slap a law suit on you just for the fun of it. There are ways around this though. Even if its placing it on a temporary file share service and emailing people directly the link.

I have a lot of material I can use to produce ME-BRP from products like MERP and LotR. And I don't want to be hampered in putting ME-BRP together by fear of lawsuits. These days though, even if a fan makes a product for free and posts it on the web, the Wargs start sniffing around.

In truth I'm not sure how to get around this :confused:

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It does worry me just to how much I can post before someone in a suit starts sniffing around. These days they'll slap a law suit on you just for the fun of it.

...

I have a lot of material I can use to produce ME-BRP from products like MERP and LotR. And I don't want to be hampered in putting ME-BRP together by fear of lawsuits. These days though, even if a fan makes a product for free and posts it on the web, the Wargs start sniffing around.

In truth I'm not sure how to get around this :confused:

Just make it and upload it. We'll deal with the suits later if needed. If you want, I can do the uploading (thus being the distributor). I have no fear of silly lawsuits (living in Norway). The worst thing that can happen if the suits arrive is that we have to find another way to distribute it.

SGL.

Ef plest master, this mighty fine grub!
b1.gif 116/420. High Priest.

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Yeah, my Rifts work Im doing right now is pretty blatant IP infringement. Im using the actual fluff and pics from the book for my PDF, but its for personal use, I did purchase the Rifts books Im basing it on and using for the conversion and I have no intention of distributing it other then with members of my gaming circle so they can read the rules and what not.

But for personal reasons I want it to look as professional and "real" as possible, not just a typed up conversion sheet. Over the next year I plan to do similar things with all my favorite sci-fi fantasy horror gothic RPGs (Mutant Chronicles, Dark Heresy, Dragon Star, Fading Suns).

Maybe even XXVc. It passes the time while I live in a uber expensive foreign nation

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I have no fear of silly lawsuits (living in Norway). The worst thing that can happen if the suits arrive is that we have to find another way to distribute it.

That's the spirit! Luckily the games industry is not the music industry. Erm, on the other hand, better not let the film industry hear of it - I don't think even Norway is safe from their men in suits ... :shocked:

Dreamscape Design: Crafters of the Finest Tabletop Roleplaying Games

Dreamscape Design: My Corner of BRP Central ... Mine, All Mine! 

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Are you sure you're on safe ground producing these PDFs? IIRC the Tolkien IP holders are not FunGuys ... :shocked:

You're probably ok with most of the critters (except hobbits) as they use generic names, but once you start on the geography you'll be entering copyright territory. These days, the internet fandom is not as free to put up their material for existing settings, e.g. Glorantha and Traveller's Third Imperium.

Data about a creature, i.e. it's properties, even if the creature is fictional lacks copyright protection in most jurisdictions. In the US - fictional data might be protected. Data about a landscape would in a similar way be free game in most places. Just make sure you use your own words.

I'm much more worried about the screen shots. If would remove those, as a prudent safety action.

Peter Brink

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Just make it and upload it. We'll deal with the suits later if needed. If you want, I can do the uploading (thus being the distributor). I have no fear of silly lawsuits (living in Norway). The worst thing that can happen if the suits arrive is that we have to find another way to distribute it.

SGL.

Thanks Trifletraxor. I'll keep plodding on then.

The problem is that there is so much good background material I can utilise that the more I think about it, I can hear the howling of the wolves even now. :(

PeterB makes a good point about the screen shots too. I may stop doing the creature of the week preview for now then, finish the first chapter and give it to Trifletraxor to decide how to distribute it. We can work on a plan from there. :thumb:

At least everyone now has a feel for what this is going to look like, which was the reason for me previewing it anyway.

Thanks for the input everybody. I'll keep you posted about where I am up to with the project.

Cheers,

Fergo113

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I suppose the thing to ask yourself is, how happy would you be to have someone doing to your work what you plan to do to Tolkien's? What you are doing would not fall into "fair use" but might be just about defensible under the conventions that generally fall into fan fiction. To be honest I suspect the only thing that would stop Tolkien's estate issuing you with a cease and desist notice is them not noticing you.

From the little bits I've seen so far it looks as if you're basically just assuming the rights to use Tolkien's work and you're melding it with screenshots from the movies along with complete images from artists. Just adding a copyright doesn't cut it because the point of the copyright declaration is to prevent you from doing what you're doing. On top of that you're integrating your interpretations of Tolkien's work with his (and possibly also work appearing in other copyrighted sources) so that you can't see the joins and, implicitly, laying claim to it. You're also extending BRP material without any obvious right to do so and some random Tolkien lawyer might even rattle Chaosium's cage.

What I would do if I were you is to keep the nicely formatted, lavishly illustrated version to yourself. Under general conventions of fan fiction you could do a more basic "here's how I might interpret some elements of Tolkien's work in a game using the BRP mechanics but of course no copyright is challenged" version and put that up here instead.

I'm saying this because fun though it is to do this sort of thing (I've done it myself with B5 stuff) you do have to act responsibly towards the creators of the work you wish to use - whether its the artists whose work you are using or the ideas of those who wrote the texts. It's not just about corporate men in suits seeking to wring every last inch of profit out of something it's also about dealing fairly with authors and artists.

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I usually prefer to ask authors and artists whether they would allow me to

use some of their material for a strictly non-commercial fan project.

Thanks to the Internet this has become quite easy, and with one single ex-

ception (David Weber, who has a zero tolerance policy concerning fan fic-

tion) the reactions have always been very friendly and positive.

And then all you need to do is to mention your sources and their copyrights,

and you are safe from all potential legal problems.

Now, I do not know the "fan fiction policy" of Tolkien Enterprises, and with

some bad luck they could say no if you would ask them, but basically this

would be the right way to go, I think. :)

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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