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MERP - Other Hands Issue 03

MERP - Other Hands Issue 03

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The International Journal for Middle-earth Gaming
 
Issue 3: October 1993
 
I
N THIS ISSUE
 
E
DITORIAL
:
THREEIS COMPANY
 
Editorial..........................................1Communications.............................2Frontlines........................................3Thoughts on the population of Gondor and Arnor..........................4Response to "Thoughts on thepopulation of Gondor and Arnor"........................................................8Developing a magic system forMiddle-earth Role Playing...........11A journey in the dark...................13The forgotten race of the Drughu.....................................................18A reply to ICE’s "open letter" .... 22Scandinavian influences on Orkish.....................................................24Product Review...........................26A bibliography of Middle-earthgaming: 1982-1993.........................28
 
n the editorial for July, I expressed myhope that our next issue would be big-ger, and it seems that I have gotten mywish. Although we are still by no meansover the financial hurdle yet,
Other Hands
has been picking up speed during the summer, bothin terms of writers and subscribers. Welcometo
OH 
3!Besides offering all of our usual fare, thereare two ways in which this issue represents sig-nificant progress toward our goals as a gaming journal. From its conception,
Other Hands
hasaimed to provide a forum of communication between the authors, audience, and publishersof Tolkien-related role-playing games. Three of the many contributions to the present issue haveadvanced us in this direction. James Owen of the Oxford Tolkien Societyhas offered an engaging response to PeteFenlon’s open letter (written on behalf of ICEto our readers — sec
OH 
1: 3—6). James’comments are those of a long-time
Rolemaster 
player, and we are hoping to see more from himin future issues. His extensive training in thefield of metallurgy makes him well qualified tosay a thing or two about forging technology inMiddle-earth.Moving across the English Channel, we re-ceived a letter of great interest from EduardoMartinez Santamaria (sec pg. 2), who has an-nounced the formation of a “rolcplaying gamecommission” within the Sociedad Tolkien Espa-nola. This group seeks to establish contactthrough
Other Hands
with individuals or groupswho are interested in Middle-earth gaming.They are also involved in customizing the
MERP 
rule system to suit their tastes, and I have en-couraged them to submit any of their ideas toour journal.Finally, as the module-writing process con-tinues apace for
The Kin-strife, Umbar,
and
South-ern Gondor,
collaborative dialogue between therespective authors of these forthcoming IronCrown publications has led Gunnar Brolin topresent his view on population levels for theDunadan rcalms-in-exile. Gunnar is a man of many talents (one of these being demographics),and he is a contributing author to both the
Kin-strife
and
Southern Gondor 
projects. Jason Beres-ford, author-to-be of the revised
Umbar 
module,has written a brief response to Gunnar’s views,especially as they relate to the region of Umbar.Because both of these authors offer popula-tion statistics which are at variance with thosefound in the recently published
NorthwesternMiddle-earth Gazetteer 
(see review on pgs. 26— 27), we have decided to present their respectivearguments in these pages for further considera-tion and discussion by both you, the reader, and Jessica Ney of Iron Crown, who is responsiblefor the development of the
MEKP 
line. Thepurpose of this deliberation process is to cometo some degree of consensus on this matter, sothat these and future modules will not containconflicting figures. In this way, we hope that
Other Hands
will
 
Contributors:
Gunnar Brolin, JasonBeresford, Andrew McMurry,Tim “the Gothic Writer”Innes,Anders Blixt, ChrisSeeman, James Owen
 
Editing:
Chris Seeman
Layout and Design:
Lisa Disterheft-Solberg, NicolasSolberg
Artwork:
 Jeff Hatch,Tom Loback,Lisa Disterheft-Solberg,Edith Crowe
Submission Deadlinefor next issue:
 
December 7,1993
 
 
I
 
OTHER HANDS
 
 be able to help facilitate constructive dia-logue on topics of relevance to Middle-earthgamers.The second way in which the present is-sue represents progress toward our statedgoals is in our aim to offer
 practical 
materialsfor the Middle-earth player or referee. Muchof the stuff in
OH 
1 and 2, while no doubt of interest to many of our readers, was lessdirectly applicable to the contingencies of role-playing. There
is
a place in
Other Hands
for these more general Middlc-carth-relatedtopics; but we want to balance this out withmore “immediately usable” materials.Our ultimate goal is, of course, to publishactual adventure scenarios within these pages.Although we have not achieved that goal inthis issue, we read Tolkien Enterprises’ con-tinued silence on this matter as tacit consentto proceed with our plans to include at leastone adventure in each issue of 
Other Hands,
 beginning with issue four in January (see
OH 
2: 1 for the context of this discussion). Wehope that this announcement will encouragesome of you to send us you unpublishedadventures.
OH 
3 nevertheless contains a few pieceswhich are of practical interest. Tim Innes,one of the
Southern Gondor 
authors, has givenus an extensive essay on the Drughu (i.e.,Drúedain, Woses), which includes
RuneQuest
stats for both the Drughu themselves and theinfamous “Pûkel-mcn.” Finally, in preparationfor an adventure which may appear in a futureissue, I have written an interpretive article onthe enigmatic Queen Berúthiel and her mys-terious cats.To wind things up, we have a program-matic essay by Andrew McMurry (also of theOxford Tolkien Society) on the principlesgoverning the use of magic in Middle-earth,which follows closely on the heels of ChrisPheby’s contribution to
OH 1
. And we haveanother short piece from Anders on — of allthings — Scandinavian influences on theOrkish-English dictionary in the
Empire of theWitch-king
module. Finally, we have added anew feature, “Frontlines,” which will bringtogether all of the latest gossip and newsabout Middle-earth gaming which fails to getinto the letters column or this editorial. Any-one with information about anything is en-couraged to give report for our fellow read-ers.Before closing, I should bring everyone upto date on the problem of European distribu-tion. We are still working with the possibilityof arranging for
Other Hands
to be producedand distributed independently in the EEC, soas to reduce the overseas mailing — and,hence, subscription — cost for our readersoutside the USA. For the present, however, itwill be possible to purchase individual issues of our journal through Myth of Adventures:Verlag fur phantastische Medien, Berner Weg24, D— 67069 Ludwigshafen, Germany. Weare also hoping to get Bilbo’s Bookshop Bath tostock us, but have not yet received a replyfrom them.A final matter before signing off. I am con-templating including an address roster of 
Other Hands
subscribers in the upcoming Januaryissue, so as to facilitate communication be-tween our readers. Please let me know if forany reason you would
not
care to be includedin this list. Well, that’s all for now— talk toyou in three months!
Chris Seeman, 15 October, 1993
C
OMMUNICATIONS
 
This letters column is intended to function as a  forum of communication between subscribers of 
Other
 
Hands.
It can also serve as a place for readers tocomment on various topics of interest mtliout ivritingajull article. This is not, in fact, a new feature of 
Other Hands — 
we have simply not received any letters until now. So start writing!
 
Dear friend 
:
 
My name is Eduardo MartinezSantamaria, and I am a member of theroleplaying game commission of theSociedad Tolkien Espanola.... I writeto you regarding your announcement of 
Other Hands
in our society bulletin some months ago.Our commission intends to offer revisions of the
Middle-earth Role Playing
system in order to bringit into greater fidelity with Tolkien’s books. Weare therefore very interested in exchanging ideaswith other groups who have similar interests.As Iron Crown Enterprises is also located inthe USA, we believe that
Other Hands
will bevery useful to Tolkien fans and gamers all overthe world as a vehicle for keeping people like usin contact. Congratulations for the idea!We would be grateful if you could send usfurther information about subscription prices,methods of payment, etc., as well as reportsabout other interested groups. And, of course,if there is something we can do, just tell us.
Eduardo Martinez Santamaríac/Marqués de la Ensenada 11, 7°H,26003 Lograño, España
 
[Ed.
 — 
One of the principal functions
of OtherHands
is to provide an opportunity for one’s rulesuggestions to be published; so we welcome and en-courage your group to submit these ideas for opendiscussion among Middle-earth gamers.
We
also hopethat other individuals or groups involved in projectssuch as your own throughout the world will send usreports on their progress to this letters column, so thatwe can develop an active network of interested gamers.Those wishing to communicate their ideas to IronCrown directly should address their inquiries to PeteFenlon: ICE, PO Box 1605, Charlottesville, VA22902, USA.]
 
Hello Chris
 ,
 
...When you review the
NWME Gazetteer 
inOH #3, you may point out that Gondor hasreceived unrealistically low population figures,especially when compared with the army sizessupplied for Mordor in
Gorgoroth.
With thesefigures, Sauron would likely have little problemoverrunning Gondor.
Anders Blixt
 
Hägervägen 16, S-122 39Enskede, Sweden
 
2
 
ISSUE
 
3
 
OCTOBER 
 
1993
 
3
So what is the latest news on the modules?
The Kin-strife
(now subtitled
The Usurper’s Reign
)
 
is still going through the editing process; but itis also acquiring some additional adventures(which, we anticipate, will bring the grand total
 
to twenty-one). The current focus is on bring-ing Gunnar Brolin’s Umbar chapter into accordwith some of the major revisions in thecity/haven layout currently proposed by JasonBeresford. The many adventures in this cam-paign module are now being playtested bymembers of Taruithorn (the Oxford TolkienSociety), who will be sending us their reactionsand suggestions in the near future [Liz, thismeans you!].The
Southern Gondor 
“realm” module, whichwill be covering everything north of Umbar andsouth of the Ered Nimrais, is beginning to takeshape. The first draft of the Lamedon chapterhas been received, and collaborative work onthree campaign-length adventures is now un-derway. One of these adventures, entitled“Silmarien’s Crown,” was recently playtested(in much abridged form) a few weeks ago at thewest-coast gaming convention, Pacificon,where it was a great success. The other twocampaigns will be treating the Gondor-Corsairconflict and Wainridcr wars respectively.The general intention of the
Kin-strife
and
South-ern Gondor 
modules is to cover the periods of 
 
1437-1448 and 1448-2050, whereas JasonBeresford’s
Umbar 
realm module will be cover-ing the entire history of that haven (although itwill still be focusing on the years of the 17
th
 century as did the original 1982 publication). Iknow less about the current status of Jason’swork, but have read some very impressive seg-ments of it in progress. He, Gunnar, and AndersBlixt are engaged in an ongoing discussion notonly about population levels, but about navalorganization and ship design (both of which areunderstandably overlapping concerns).A final bit of general news. When the ideaof 
Other Hands
was first conceived last August atthe Tolkien Centenary conference in Oxford,there was much talk about the formation of special interest groups within the Tolkien Soci-ety of England. Thus far, no role-playing specialinterest group has emerged (though, I believe,there are many gamers in the TS who might beinterested in forming one). Once word of our journal gets out among them, perhaps they will be encouraged to form one. In fact, even as wespeak,
OH 
1 and 2 are being sold at this year’sOxonmoot by James Owen and AndrewMcMurry. Let’s wish them good luck in findingnew subscribers!
R
EPORTER
: C
HRIS
S
EEMAN
 

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