Arranging Adventures -- Adapting ICE's RPGs (LotR Adventure Game, MERP, Tolkien Quest, etc)

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CDavis7M
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I read ICE's "Tolkien Quest - A Spy in Isengard" which is the choose your own adventure style RPG-lite. I wrote "read" and not "play" without thinking and that is a hint at why ICE was sued over this. But anyway, it is a really neat and simple RPG system where you can flip to a random page to pull a random value. You can even create your own characters. And it has tables for converting everything to MERP if you want to play your MERP character.

I looked a bit into MERP too, especially the Northern Waste book as the Dream Card dreamers were finalizing that set. There is a lot of neat lore in there along with a few adventure frameworks. A lot of the names and places in the book were created as Northern Waste dream cards, but not all of course, and not all of the sites from the adventures. I wanted to see whether a scenario would be possible but I found myself a bit far afield.

Later I discovered ICE's "RPG in a box" called Lord of the Rings Adventure Game. You get a box with predesigned characters, maps, cardboard cut outs, hex grids, and a narrative story. It looks like fun and was designed (maybe for parents) as an introduction (or hook) to RPGs. 3 adventures were released with 5 planned, but the last 2 were cut. I read some comments online and I am starting to agree: it seems like Middle-earth CCG might have actually been born from the same idea and sort of superseded the LotR AG as an approachable way to bring roleplaying to the people. It's funny because you'll get very different opinions of MECCG when you read opinions on Card/Board game forums compared to RPG forums -- different breeds of players.

Anyway, the LotR adventure game adventure, mission, quest... thing, was quite simple and quaint in a way that I like so I designed a scenario for it using some solitaire/scenario rules I have been playing around with.
“Gandalf! If you had heard only a quarter of what I have heard about him, and I have only heard very little of all there is to hear, you would be prepared for any sort of remarkable tale. Tales and adventures sprouted up all over the place wherever he went, in the most extraordinary fashion. ”
Tales and adventures indeed!

But most MECCG scenarios have a lack of "push and pull," if you understand my meaning. So instead of playing as the characters, I play as the Wizard arranging the adventure and sending the characters off on it. But I am a very busy Wizard with many other affairs of great importance to attend to. And so I arrange the adventure but can only occasionally guide the company, and only occasionally keep them out of trouble, much like Gandalf. And in my system the characters do indeed try to find trouble for themselves. I am but the Wizard (an "Adventure-master" of sorts) and the company are the "player characters" (though they are not "controlled" by me, like how the GM does not necessarily control the PCs). I adapted MERPs encounter tables. And designed a way for environments to trigger. It causes a bit of drama.

I could just use MECCG characters but I came up with a way to create characters using a "point-buy" system for leveling them up. It's a fun way to piddle around with cards, and to enjoy some of ICE's work which I might never see otherwise. And I have grown fond of the olde RPG art sketches.

A 95% successful play of Dawn Comes Early:
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telengard
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Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:56 am

Very cool... any chance you could post your scenario/leveling rules? I'd like to try them out.
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CDavis7M
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telengard wrote: Thu Apr 20, 2023 6:11 pm Very cool... any chance you could post your scenario/leveling rules? I'd like to try them out.
I've been slowly making notes for months (or years?) but I don't have a complete ruleset in a finished form. There are two halves really, the Rules for Adventure (playing the scenario) and Arrangements for Adventure (the framework for building the encounter tables and deck building requirements). Character creation/improvement is sort of separate as well. I have been throwing ideas in and out. I know MERP fans are also fans of tables but I think I should adapt the various character creation tables into character (record) sheets.

It's nice to see others interested in ICE's other works. I'll see if I can jot down a rules summary and finalize the cards after some more play.
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