Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Brief Sad History, Revisited

So, I found out yesterday that my MERP.Con IV guest of honor talk, "A Brief, Sad History of Tolkien Roleplaying Games", is now available online in the form of a one-hour video (actually 67 minute, 58 seconds):

While the text of this has been available online for a long time -- I posted it here in the early days of this blog* -- the actual delivery included many asides and back-and-forths answering questions from the audience. Plus, of course, here you can see something of my show-and-tell, a part of my talk that didn't translate well into the text-only format.

Be warned that there are some technical glitches in the tape, as in a few places where the audio and visual tracks get out of sync, or a few words drop out of the audio track, but these shdn't affect anyone's watching the piece.
Just to clarify one such place: early on there's a place where I talk about Arneson and Gygax that doesn't quite come across: what I said was along the lines that Dave Arneson came up with the idea (for D&D) and then Gary Gygax figured out how to make a game out of it, in the sense of writing rules so that other people could figure out how to play: some skips in the audio track at that point make the sentence a little hard to follow.

Now that we're four years closer to the event of the next Tolkien-based movie, I was interested to see how close my predictions nr the end turned out; close, but not altogether on the mark.

Other than that, I had a great time attending the con, and thoroughly enjoyed writing up the piece; I'm glad to see it made available for those who cdn't be there in Spokane on that hot summer day in 2008.

. . . .

*Here the essay itself, broken into four pieces for easier posting:

Also available is the question and answer


Steve Miller said...

I will assume blame for the death of Decipher's LotR RPG. I seem to have contributed to a number of "final releases" in game lines. Not to mention a host of "never released" books. :)

Bill said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your talk. It confirmed much that I knew or suspected and taught me many new things. The story of the aborted TSR Tolkien game was new to me. Thanks for sharing.

John D. Rateliff said...

Hi Bill
Glad you enjoyed it. If I were writing it today, I'd have to update it by mention of the most recent LotR rpg from Cubical 7; still haven't played this, but they got a lot of things right.

Hi Steve
I had forgotten you worked on that line. My contributions were a chapter to the rpg rulebook, roughly half of a Rohan sourcebook that was never finished or released, and the outline for a trilogy of adventures (the first of which I ran for the first time at that MerpCon). Which ones did you work on, and which of them made it out?