Settings fascinate me and you can’t really admire settings without turning your eyes towards Tolkien’s quaint little home for all of his fictional elf languages. I always wondered how to get my game on in Middle-earth. The Rangers hack of Mouse Guard comes really close to hitting the nail on the head for me.
In an old Sons of Kryos episode, I talked with Jeff about how I’d game Middle-Earth, changing it to Middle-earths. The players would be charged with going to alternate Middle-Earths and seeking out various bearers of the One Ring. It is like a Tolkien issue of What if? in campaign form.
It is fun to think about the various characters who cam into contact with the ring and what a Middle-earth would look like with the One Ring in their clutches:
- The Beast Outside Moriah
- Bill the Pony
- The Balrog
What wonderful villains each of them could be (all except Bill the Pony; we know that Bill is above the Ring’s lure).
Then I came across this, from the forward of the Lord of the Rings:
The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion. If it had, then certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated by enslaved, and Barad-dur would not have been destroyed by occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth. In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits in hatred and contempt: they would not long have survived even as slaves.
Man, that is a setting I’d play a campaign in. Flesh out the wizards of different colors. Play out some wizarding politics. Suss out some more about the Southrons and ride us some oliphants.
I love the bittersweet end of the Lord of the Rings with the ring-bearers diminishing into the west and magic fading from Middle-earth but it would be nice to game in a place where the Shire doesn’t turn into strip malls and parking lots quite so fast.
EDIT: This is kind of embarassing. I have blogged about this before. Huh.