“The First Amendment does not cover MERPing”

I’ve previously mentioned that over the years I’ve lost an awful lot of my gaming books. I’ve misplaced at least half of my ADnD books somewhere and of all my other systems only my Rolemaster books seem to be in any fit state and that was only because I bought new copies on Ebay a few years ago.

Anyway I was intent on rebuilding my old collection any way that I could and whilst hunting down the Dark Sun campaign books that I’d misplaced over the years I remembered a system that I bought when I was 15 years old. It was quite famous at the time but if I were to ask almost any of my fellow gamers in my home town about it they wouldn’t have a clue. That game is of course MERP or Middle Earth Role Playing to those that don’t like acronyms. A lot was said at the time about how it was a handicapped version of Rolemaster or that it was too complex for beginners but we loved it. I was never a fan of the books when I was younger purely because of the size of them but I loved the setting and the half finished movie by Ralph Bakshi.

Over the years I picked up a few modules for it but it was never a game we could get much material for what with it being in the days before the internet and online shopping. We would spend whole weekends just working through complex back stories for our characters before we even thought about starting game but we’d always hit the level limit and want to go further. As time went on we ended up moving all our characters over to rolemaster anyway and keeping the campaign setting but to this day I miss the MERP books. There was so much history in the rulebooks that was not easily digestable from the novels that even after we moved systems we still used the MERP books as our number one resource for the campaign.

I miss those books. I’m really beginning to wish I.C.E. didn’t lose the rights to make LotR games in 1999 now.

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5 Comments

  1. Bonemaster says:

    I still own a copy of MERP somewhere in my collection. The MERP products were something that ICE actually did pretty well. Sadly, they never could get their act together when it came to Rolemaster. While Rolemaster will always generate fond memories, the RMSS was pretty much a mess with some good ideas. Ideas that influenced DnD 3ed and beyond. I know that ICE is still around, but I actually surprised. I don’t know anyone that even owns the HARP system and all the people that used to play Rolemaster, no longer have a desire to do so.

    Bonemasters last blog post..Thoughts for the New Year

  2. Mad Brew says:

    Have you checked out http://www.merp.com? It has a ton of MERP downloads, could be right up your alley.

    Mad Brews last blog post..RPP-099: Gamer Elitism

  3. Bob says:

    @Bonemaster – I really liked the system for Rolemaster but where they seemed to fall flat on their face was campaign settings. I wouldn’t say that RMSS was a mess but it could have been easier to follow. As for no one wanting to play Rolemaster any more I think I’m one of the few that still does.

    @Mad Brew – I’ve seen that site before but kept forgetting how simple the URL was. In fact I’m sure I’ve got a few of the downloads in my roleplay folder somewhere on my home server. It was the look and feel of the books I loved. They were an almost perfect extension of what I thought of the novels that I had read.

  4. Bonemaster says:

    Bob, I should have clarified, none of the people I know that used to play Rolemaster still do and I’m sure that are plenty of RMSS people still out there, I’m just no longer one of them. I hate to say it but the RMSS skill system was a mess. At first glance, it looked good. After a while though, the whole need to develop both the category and skill started to grate on most of the players I knew. Not to mention that the number of skills was staggering and maybe to many.

    Bonemasters last blog post..Not so Random , Random Encounters

  5. Bob says:

    It was that huge range of skills that won me over in the beginning. Sure you could do anyone of them with general skills in other games but it made character sheets look better in my eyes :)


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