At long last, there will be a Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game set in JRR Tolkien’s Middle-earth.
Lord of the Rings is clearly one of the literary ancestors of Dungeons & Dragons. In 1974, D&D creator Gary Gygax included the hobbit as a player character race. Tolkien lawyers were not amused, and threatened to descend like the ents upon Isengard if the hobbits were not excised from the game. Since then, Tolkien’s work has been one of the clear inspirations for D&D, but not a world that D&D fans could play in.
There have been a number of role-playing games set in Tolkien’s worlds, Cubicle 7’s One Ring being one of the most successful. But the barrier set up by Tolkien’s lawyers was most potent. Unless Wizards of the Coast, the company that makes D&D, was willing to pay a dragon’s hoard for the rights to the IP, the twain would remain forevermore separated, like an elf maiden longing for her dead human love.
But then, this past winter, glory of glories! The Open Gaming License was announced for the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons. What that means is that within certain limits, anyone can produce supplements, adventures, and extensions of the D&D rules. Cubicle 7, which owns the Middle-earth IP for role-playing games, set out to at last create a D&D game set in Middle-earth.
The first release will be the Adventures in Middle-Earth Player’s Guide, which will be available in Autumn of this year. The list of what will be in the book is deeply intriguing. It promises new backgrounds, new character classes, rules for journeys, an audience, and something called “The Fellowship phase.” You can read all about it here.
Dominic Mcdowall, CEO of Cubicle 7 said of joining D&D with Tolkien, “It really is a dream come true… my younger self hasn’t stopped screaming excitedly in my head, which can be exhausting. Like many gamers, Middle-earth has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. With that background, working on and publishing a Middle-earth setting for the world’s most popular RPG is a Big Deal for me, and I feel the responsibility for that – it’s an RPG milestone and I hope people like what we’ve done!”
I am as transfixed as a hobbit at the sight of a roasting rabbit by the promised goodies included in the upcoming release. This is the fulfillment of a gamer’s dream!
How excited are you for the upcoming D&D Middle Earth release from Cubicle 7? Let us know below!
All images courtesy Cubicle 7.