Tuesday, October 27, 2009

WotC's Tolkien RPG

So, while I was away, Janice continued working on our long-term project to get everything in the Box Room sorted out and organized.* And among the boxes she opened and sorted through was one with a cluster of roleplaying material most centered around 2001 (give or take a bit) that had long been lost.

Among the goodies unearthed are

--a program book for MonteCon 2001 (the last MonteCon, I think), where I ran BIERCE SPOTS, a 1916 Call-of-Cthulhu scenario in which the Investigators travel to Mexico on the trail of Ambrose Bierce, and a Scooby Doo Cthulhu scenario in which Scooby and the gang come across a spooky old castle called Castle Ravenloft. Now I'll have to look for the notes re. the Bierce scenario, which I thought went really well.

--a program guide for GenCon 2002, the last GenCon in Milwaukee and the last one I went to.

--some early working notes regarding d20 Call of Cthulhu, which I'll put with the rest

--some campaign notes from Shaun Horner's MASKS OF NYARLATHOTEP campaign which he ran the first few months I was in Seattle ("The Friday Night Game"),** the other players being Miranda, Steve Brown ("Stan"), Robert Wiese, and myself; I recall we only got through the first two scenarios (The JuJu Shop and Cairo) and that my private-eye character died spectacularly twice (first by jumping from a train to avoid A Fate Worse Than Death and then, after being sinisterly re-animated, being blown to bits in the Bent Pyramid).

--a page of much older notes from one of the favorite D&D campaigns I ran back in Milwaukee, where at the end of a session I jotted down just what kind of fix the PCs had gotten themselves into and the various ways in which they might get out of it.

But the real prize is a folder containing pretty much all the material generated circa April through October 2000 by those of us in WotC's RPG R&D department for the Tolkien Game we hoped to publish. I've written about this before in connection with my speech at MERP-Con last year ("A Brief Sad History of Tolkien RPGs") but at that time couldn't locate this folder, which has been buried since around 2002. Now it goes on the shelf with the files re. the (similarly abortive) 1992 TSR Tolkien Game. Having now skimmed its contents, I'll be making a new post about that fordoomed project soon, though I won't be able to post the material since it doesn't belong to me.

More soon.


*why yes, the river did rise some today, after yesterday's rain. not that I'm obsessively monitoring it, you understand.

**those first three months, before Janice came out and joined me, I was in three weekly games: the Monday Night Game (which I ran), the Wednesday Night Game (Monte's brave new world campaign), and the Friday Night Game (run by the Horners).


Francesco Nepitello said...

"I'll be making a new post about that fordoomed project soon"

Any news on this item? As a gamer, a game designer and Tolkien enthusiast I am very curious about it.

P.S. Mr. Rateliff, would it be possible to reach you by private messaging? Sorry if I didn't notice the way to do it if it's here somewhere on the blog.

Francesco Nepitello said...

I can be reached at