Cubicle 7 make a handful of interesting games, such as the RPG based on The Laundry Files, the Doctor Who RPG, Victoriana and, relevant to this post, The Lord of the Rings RPG. One of the current offers over at Humble Bundle is for a selection of LOTR RPG books.
The bundle gives you loads of material to play with in Middle Earth. Like, really, loads of it. As per usual, this wealth of material is broken down into a few tiers, the first of which is detailed below:
For one, crisp dollar you get the core rules and some maps. This is a fantastic price for the core material you will need to take part in a game as a player.
At the next tier, you’ll be expected to shell out $8, but will get the following in exchange:
This builds on the basic materials of the first tier. The Adventurer’s Companion looks to add a lot of extra options for player characters, whilst In the Heart of the Wild offers a bestiary. Bestiary books are generally must-haves for many systems, so this tier will be worth a look for that alone. The other books offer further background material on other areas of Middle Earth.
The third tier is another big selection of books and maps. Each of the maps seems paired to the included books, giving you a great resource to use with your players as you explore the settings described in the source books:
Oaths of the Riddermark and Ruins of the North each contain 6 adventures and the Darkening of Mirkwood contains a full, ready to play campaign. This is a great tier for the GM of the group to pick up, giving them lots of content to run with their players. There are also further sourcebooks, further fleshing out yet more of the world.
I hesitate to admit this, but I’m not really much of a Tolkien fan. I don’t mind his books. I can appreciate them. I just find that I like other things a lot more, and that his writing doesn’t really excite me. I do enjoy his world-building, though. He created a setting that is incredibly detailed and fully realised. This selection of books gives you the chance to play in that sandbox, and it’s worth considering. The cultural resonance of Tolkien’s work might mean that this is also a good jumping-on point for new players who have yet to try out RPGs.