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Middle Earth Role Play

Middle Earth Role Play (MERP) was a subset of the Rolemaster role-playing game rules set in Tolkien's Middle-earth and published by Iron Crown Enterprises (I.C.E.).

The system was somewhat like Dungeons & Dragons with classes and levels. Classes available included Animist (Cleric), Bard, Fighter, Mage, Ranger and Thief. The system departed in having a highly detailed combat and magic system.

The MERP game system is percentile based, meaning that skills are rating between 0 and 100%. An attack roll would consist of a percentile roll + skill rating - target's dodge rating. This result was looked up on a table against the victim's armor type (leather/plate). Most hits in combat would cause a 'critical' which would be rolled and looked up on separate tables. For a time these criticals are quite entertaining due to their variety and creativeness. For others the task of adding and subtracting high numbers to then consult a table was the height of roll-playing, not role-playing.

The setting for this game predates the War of the Ring by around 1400 years and as such it represented a version of Middle-earth radically different to that seen in the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Hobbit.

The game had a loyal and strong following.

This was the first licensed role-playing game based on this setting, the second was the Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game from Decipher Inc.[?]

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