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Thinking Out Loud

Friday, February 03, 2006

Caught Off Guard >> Humor from a Fellow Geek

I was just reading a GeekList from fellow BGGer Eric Mowrer (ejmowrer) about Tired Old Themes for boardgames. Most are pretty much what you'd expect... Too many games about the Renaissance and princes vying for influence. Too many wargames focused on WWII instead of other conflicts. A zillion-and-one Catan's and -opoly games.

But I was a bit surprised to see Lord of the Rings/Middle Earth as an overdone theme. Mostly because I'm surprised someone else agrees with me that LotR is getting long in the tooth. It wouldn't be so bad if there were more great LotR games -- but with so many mediocre games bearing that license (LotR: The Search, I'm talking to you), it cheapens the overall theme.

But Eric Mowrer's comment about it cracked me up. In fact, I'm still chuckling about it now as I re-read this:

Ok, Frodo took the One Ring to Mt. Doom and destroyed it. It was very very hard. There were elves. I get it.

Thanks Eric, for the best out-loud laugh I've had in a loooong time. I needed that. :)


  • LoTR? My god, how it's been abused!
    John Ronald Reuel Tolkien's (1892-1973) writing was great, though no-where near what would be termed "correct english". He found it amusing that Teachers would refure to his writings, and then wonder why the students were confused afterwards.

    The thing about LoTR is that it was based on two things:
    (1) World War Two
    (2) The Bible.

    First, War: Is war Evil? No. War istelf is the confict between Good and Evil, and mis-translated by politics. Those that seek to dominate others at any cost are Evil, those that seek to oppose these people are Good, if not exacltl perfect.

    War happens when these two groups of people meet.

    Another thing about the War: Little things matter. Not everything about the war focuses on the big battles: The armies clashing and the charging of gun nests. Don't get me wrong, those things are still needed. But other things also happened that were just as important: Like the fact that one man managed to break the code the Germans were using, after another man managed to get the device; or the fact that a dead British Officer's body was used to deliver dis-information on D-Day's Time and Location, and thus was a great help in the actual landing. These things saved lots of lives.

    The second thing was the moral issues inside each person. The movies and Games rarely focus on the real issue that Frodo had to contend with: Resisting the Temptation to use the Power of the Ring to solve his problems, or to help the armies. Doing this would have caused him to become nothing more then another tool for Sauron. Perhaps not at once, but it would have happened. This was shown when Gandolf refused the Ring when Frodo offered it to him.

    Where is the Bible located?
    Mostly in The Silmarillion and The Latter Silmarillion. Of which I have only been able to read a part. Want a bigger clue? UR = "I AM", from the person's point of view. "You Are".

    One of the main things in the LoTR books was that Evil was obvious: Orcs and Goblins and Trolls and such were hidious and usually the corupted version of another Race: Orcs to Elves; Trolls to Ents; and Goblins to Hobits - though never really stated as such, that's what they seemed to be to me. Humans were the only Race that could be either and not show it. Good and Evil are never as obvious In Real Life.

    Moving on.

    The RPGs that did most of the LoTR were Runemaster and Middle Earth Games. Both of these were heavy on Percentile Dice and the use of Charts. Too many additional books made it extremely hard for me as a Player to keep track of, and I would not have wanted to run it as the GM.
    What Game System would I suggest?
    Arg! If LoTR were not so over abused, I might suggest D20 Systems. This is level based and not always accepted by Players and GameMasters, but has the most flexablity and Balence built it. True, one can make Powerful Characters. But a Smart DM simply uses the rule "Anything the Players can do, so can their foes."

    But the flood of D20 Games that have come out also are making it to where there are way too many Books to keep track of for this System as well.

    For those that prefure Skill-Based Games, the Unisystem is fairly good, but would have to be adapted to fit within the context of the LoTR.
    I have run LoTR style Games, and for the most part I tell the Players what some of the things to expect in the Game. Then I choose who the Chosen One will be, and never tell any of the Players. All the other PCs are just as important, sinse they have to help defeat the Enemy as well. Plus, any of the other Player's Character can become the Chosen One under the right conditions.

    I keep only the main elements of LoTR: The Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Humans, Orcs, Goblins, The Ringwraiths, and Sauron. Other things are added as I beleive they would add interest to the Game, or would make sense.

    The NPCs follow the main Plot from LoTR and the Players have to deal with these elements (Like the various Battles) and also figure out how to defeat the evil minions, and then finally the Enemy himself.

    By Blogger DragonDM, at 9:09 AM  

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