Decipher RPGs*

~ Role Playing in Middle-earth ~

Licensing History of Middle-earth Role Playing Games

Although my LOTR Collector Notes site features products based on the Peter Jackson film trilogy of The Lord of the Rings, sometimes background on other sources and systems helps give the context in which these products were released. This is the case with Role Playing Games (RPGs) and Tradeable (or Trading) Card Games (TCG) / Collectible Card Games (CCG). (When the time comes, I’ll delve into other kinds of games/board games based on The Lord of the Rings.)

Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE) developed numerous resources in their Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP) gaming system from 1982-1999. They also published the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game (MECCG), starting in 1995. ICE lost the license to publish LOTR/Middle-earth products in 2000.

Decipher, Inc., was later licensed to create role playing game and CCG products based on The Lord of the Rings. They issued their first RPG components in their series in 2002 and the last one in 2006. The release for the first of Decipher’s CCG series (November 2001) coincided with final publicity for The Fellowship of the Ring, which was in theatres the next month. The last CCG series was released in June 2007. Both RPGs and CCGs from Decipher made extensive use of photography and artwork (such as line-drawing versions of LOTR characters) from the film trilogy.

Decipher’s licensing rights to LOTR expired in 2007, and the last vestiges of their online support for both product lines disappeared within the next few years. For the online version of the CCG, the servers finally shut down in June 2010. The Wikipedia article on Decipher links to the web archive of press release information on Decipher’s “Ending Long Run” with the LOTR TCG.

According to a January 2010 press release from Cubicle 7, the licensing for LOTR role playing games transferred to Cubicle 7 and Sophisticated Games, which are developing The One Ring RPG. It was due to be released in the second half of 2010 and there seem to be no progress reports available as of early 2011. Perhaps there will be more news after filming of “The Hobbit” begins in March 2011 …

More about MERP

From a 1993 Iron Crown Enterprises catalog:

ICE has seen to it that role players have been able to game in the world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth® for over ten years – and what a journey it has been!

With our immensely popular Middle-earth Role Playing™ (MERP™) game, players are able to readventure in the greatest fantasy setting of all time. But MERP is only the beginning of ICE’s legacy in Middle-earth. Over the last decade, ICE has published over 50 adventure sourcebooks detailing specific areas in western and southern Middle-earth, making it the most heavily supported fantasy game universe in the industry. That’s a fact we’re very proud of.

ICE has produced ready-to-run adventures, campaign books, fortress modules, city sourcebooks, tomes of famous peoples, treasures and beasts, maps, and even an art book. Whatever you’re looking for in Middle-earth, ICE is bound to have something on it.

As always, all Middle-earth products are usable with either the MERP rules set, or our acclaimed Rolemaster game.

From a 1997 Iron Crown Enterprises catalog:

ICE’s Middle-earth Series is the best developed role playing world ever produced. Based on the richest environment in fantasy literature, this classic but ever-changing line is fifteen years old and now available in twelve different languages. The vast array of Middle-earth Role Playing™ (MERP™) products provides everything an adventure gamer needs and is also attractive to Tolkien fans and collectors. You can choose from game aids, sourcebooks, campaign aids, maps, and atlases! … Well supported and thoroughly documented by a wide array of products, Middle-earth remains the best choice in fantasy adventure game settings!

Decipher Role Playing Games – Introduction

Forthcoming: images of full contents in game box sets. (In most cases, only photos of the box lid and bottom are shown at this point.)

The official Decipher website was http://lotrrpg.fanhq.com. This link was changed to other Decipher products once the company lost the license for LOTR products. So product descriptions had to be reconstructed from multiple sources to be both as historically accurate as possible for what was on the Decipher website, plus as complete as possible. The Decipher description appears first in each section, and any additional information gleaned from other sources appears in after that.

The catalogue descriptions and list prices below were checked against printouts from approximately late August 2006, so the site was still working with LOTR RPG products at that time. “Member prices” refer to 10% discounts offered to official LOTR Fan Club members. (The Fan Club was also run by Decipher.) ISBNs and release dates added from Amazon.com and other sources.

Here is the categorized list of RPG resources produced by Decipher:

Numbered Sourcebooks

  1. The Lord of the Rings Core Roleplaying Book [and Limited Edition Core Roleplaying Book (with Guide to Hobbits and the Shire)]
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring Sourcebook
  3. Fell Beasts and Wondrous Magic Sourcebook
  4. Moria Boxed Set
  5. The Two Towers Sourcebook
  6. Helm’s Deep Sourcebook

Adventure Game Box Sets

  • The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Adventure Game
  • Moria Boxed Set (This is the same as #4 above.)
  • The Two Towers Roleplaying Adventure Game

Boxed Map Set

  • Maps of Middle-earth 1
  • Maps of Middle-earth 2 – Cities and Strongholds

Other Published Resources

  • Hero’s Journal
  • Quick-start Adventure
  • RPG Narrator’s Screen

Planned but Unpublished Resources

  • Paths of the Wise: The Guide to Magicians & Loremasters
  • Fields of Battle: The Guide to Barbarians & Warriors
  • Isengard Sourcebook
  • Rohan: Among the Horse-Lords

Sell Sheets

  • Roleplaying Adventure Game (single-sided)
  • The Two Towers (single-sided)
  • Core Book (single-sided)
  • Maps of Middle-earth (single-sided)
  • Roleplaying Game – displaying complete system available to date (double-sided)

For some salvages of downloadable PDFs from earlier Decipher sites and LOTR RPG fansites, check the link list on the Old MERP community website. (MERP = Middle-earth Role Playing.) They’ve done some great preservation work on behalf of all fans, and perhaps the first dozen or so links there are the most relevant to news and archived information on the Decipher LOTR RPG. You will also find most official errata information plus some other related official and fan-based Decipher RPG resources at The Steward and the King website.

0. Chronology of Decipher RPG Items and Release Dates

Decipher RPG System Products

  1. The Lord of the Rings RPG Core Roleplaying Book. August 30, 2002. Second printing 2003 (with corrections incorporated).
  2. The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Adventure Game. October 2002.
  3. The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Adventure Game – The Two Towers. October 2002.
  4. Hero’s Journal. October 2002.
  5. Maps of Middle-earth. November 2002.
  6. The Lord of the Rings RPG Narrator’s Screen. February 2003.
  7. LOTR RPG The Fellowship of the Ring Sourcebook. May 2003.
  8. Moria Boxed Set. Release Date: May 2003.
  9. Fell Beasts & Wondrous Magic Sourcebook. June 2003.
  10. Limited Edition Core Book. June 2003.
  11. Roleplaying Game Quick-start Adventure. Summer 2003 (specific date unknown; this was a GenCon promo giveaway).
  12. Maps of Middle-earth: Cities and Strongholds. August 2003.
  13. The Two Towers Sourcebook. August 2003.
  14. Paths of the Wise: The Guide to Magicians & Loremasters [unpublished]. Planned release date: August 2003.
  15. Fields of Battle: The Guide to Barbarians & Warriors [unpublished]. Planned release date: July 2004.
  16. Isengard Sourcebook [unpublished]. Planned release date: July 2004.
  17. Rohan: Among the Horse-Lords [unpublished]. Planned release date: July 2004.
  18. Helm’s Deep Sourcebook. Release Date: 2005.

1. The Lord of the Rings RPG Core Roleplaying Book

Core Book Sourcebook

Decipher Catalogue Description

The Lord of the Rings RPG Core Roleplaying Book.Live out the greatest fantasy adventure of all time! This 304-page full-color Core Roleplaying Book introduces Decipher’s new The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game. Built upon Decipher’s “Coda” System, the Core Book features a magic system that perfectly captures the flavor of Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Beautifully illustrated with images from The Fellowship of the Ring film, the Core Book’s player and narrator sections contain full guidelines for creating player characters, a wealth of background information about the lands and peoples of Middle-earth, and complete gameplay rules. Hardcover, 304 pages. Second printing. Member Price: $35.95. Regular Price: $39.95.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Index
  1. There and Back Again: The Lands and Realms of Middle-earth; Creating a Hero; Archetypes
  2. Might and Majesty: Attributes
  3. The Free Peoples: Races of Middle-earth
  4. Warriors, Wizards and Kings: Orders
  5. Ringing Anvils and rhymes of Lore: Skills
  6. Stern Men and Resolute: Traits
  7. Words of Power and Runes of Might: Magic
  8. Axe and Sword: Weapons and Gear
  9. Good Words and True: The Coda System Rules
  10. Saga and Grandeur: Elements of Epic Fantasy
  11. Storied Heights and Firelit Halls: Creating and Running the Chronicle
  12. The Fear and the Shadow: The Enemy and His Servants

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: August 30, 2002 (first printing). 2003 (second printing). ISBN: 1582369518.

According to RPG gamer Ineti, after the first printing, there was an Errata sheet available. This apparently covered mainly typos and errors in the statistic blocks for the sample archetypes. The second printing (produced in 2003) corrected these errors and also noted that the LOTR RPG received an Origins award for the Best Roleplaying Game 2002. If you come across a copy of the Core Book, the printing number and whether it mentions the Origins award are indicators of whether it has the errors corrected or not.

There was also a Limited Edition of the Core Book available. On very rare occasions, I have seen it listed on eBay. The last time I recall seeing it there (sometime in 2010), or on eBay UK, I believe it was listed for a starting bid of something like $175. Here is the description from Sell Sheet for the Roleplaying Game system:

Limited Edition Core Book. June 2003. Suggested Retail Price $80.00. A premium printing of the core RPG, packaged in a slipcase with a special Limited Edition Guide to Hobbits and the Shire. ISBN: 1-48236-952-6.

2. LOTR RPG The Fellowship of the Ring Sourcebook

The Fellowship of the Ring Sourcebook

“The Company of the Ring shall be Nine; and the Nine Walkers shall be set against the Nine Riders that are evil.” ~ Elrond, The Fellowship of the Ring

Decipher Catalogue Description

LOTR RPG The Fellowship of the Ring Sourcebook.Join the Company of the Ring at the beginning of the greatest quest of all, and follow the paths of its members as they journey ever farther into shadow and peril. Enter Middle-earth and re-live the adventures of the Fellowship in this exhaustive guide to the people, places, and events of The Fellowship of the Ring. From the pastoral hills of the Shire to the majesty of the Argonath and the Falls of Rauros, this book gives players and Tolkien fans alike a comprehensive overview of this beloved tale and its unforgettable characters. Member Price: $22.45. Regular Price: $24.95.

The 128-page full-color hardcover book includes:

  • A detailed timeline and guide to the events of the story, including discussions about how the novel and the film diverge.
  • In-depth writeups of all the important characters from the story.
  • Game statistics for numerous enchanted items and artifacts.
  • Extensive coverage of all of the places visited by the fellowship in their travels, illustrated by over 15 maps.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  1. Following the Journey
  2. People
  3. Places

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: May 2003. ISBN: 1582369550.

3. Fell Beasts &Wondrous Magic Sourcebook

Fell Beasts and Wondrous Magic Sourcebook

“Not all his servants and chattels are wraiths! There are orcs and trolls, there are wargs and werewolves …” ~ Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

Decipher Catalogue Description

Fell Beasts & Wondrous Magic Sourcebook.Explore the creatures, both fair and foul, and the magical places and items found throughout the trilogy. This beautiful full-color tome is the third sourcebook for The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game, and is an essential companion to the game, as well as an exquisite item for collector’s and fans. Hardcover, 96 pages. Member Price: $22.45. Regular Price: $24.95.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Orcs and Trolls, Wars and Werewolves
  1. Fell Beasts
  2. Beasts of the Land
  3. By Your Own Design
  4. Wondrous Magic

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: June 2003. ISBN: 1582369569.

4. Moria Boxed Set

Moria Box Set

Decipher Catalogue Description

Moria Boxed Set.Delve into the Mines. Dare you go there knowing what ancient evil awaits? This boxed set for the award-winning The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game is a worthy addition for players and collectors. Member Price: $31.45. Regular Price: $34.95.

Inside the box you will discover:

  • a 96-page softcover book detailing the Mines of Moria. This expansive look at the Dwarven stronghold details the first through 21st hall of Khazad-Dûm. It includes over half a dozen full-page maps of the various levels and chambers within Moria.
  • a 32-page softcover book detailing the Dwarven people, culture, and history. It includes several new Dwarf races (sub-races based on lineage and descent) and new Dwarf elite professions (based on lineage and/or region).
  • 16 loose map tiles (8.5″ x 11″), for piecing together your own maps of Moria’s lower levels
  • Two double-sided 11″ x 17″ poster maps.

The doors of Moria await! Dare you enter them?

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: May 2003. ISBN: 1582369585.

For a complete list of contents, see the section below on Box Set – Moria.

5. The Two Towers Sourcebook

The Two Towers Sourcebook

“The last host of the Eorlingas has ridden forth. It will not return without battle.” ~ Théoden, The Two Towers

Decipher Catalogue Description

The Two Towers Sourcebook.“The battle for Middle-earth has begun.” Bring your The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying campaign up to date with this latest hardback sourcebook. 128 full-color pages details the characters, places and events found in both the film and the book of The Two Towers. “Following the Journey” details the travels of our companions and the events unfolding around them from the point of view of both the book and the film. “People” includes write-ups for the main characters and evil antagonists, as well as many of the significant items and weapons they carry. “Places” contains detailed write-ups and adventure seeds for the locations visited in the story, from the caverns of Aglarond, to te lofty peak of Zirakzigil. Hardcover, 128 pages. Sourcebook #5. Member Price: $26.95. Regular Price: $29.95.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  1. Following the Journey
  2. People
  3. Places
  • Appendix (pronunciation guide to people and place names in Middle-earth)

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: August 2003. ISBN: 1582369593.

6. Helm’s Deep Sourcebook

Helm’s Deep Sourcebook

“No enemy has yet taken the Hornburg. Depart, and not one of you will be spared … You do not know your peril.” ~ Aragorn, The Two Towers

Decipher Catalogue Description

Helm’s Deep Sourcebook.Pre-order. The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game returns this summer with the 6th book in the series, the Helm’s Deep Sourcebook. Featuring 96 pages of information about the fortress of Helm’s Deep and it surrounding lands, the newest addition to the Lord of the Rings RPG gives players a brand new mass-combat system for conducting warfare in the Middle-earth “chapters” (campaigns). Fan of the Lord of the Rings property will find many familiar images from the films as well as extensive analysis of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fatastic stronghold of Helm’s Deep. Member Price: $20.69. Regular Price: $22.99.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  1. Helm’s Deep
  2. Battle and War

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: 2005. ISBN: 1582369615.

Box Set – LOTR Roleplaying Adventure Game

Roleplaying Adventure Game Box Set

“You shall become the Fellowship of the Ring.” ~ Elrond

Decipher Catalogue Description

The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Adventure Game.Through the Mines of Moria begins at the western doors leading into Moria, taking players through several encounters with servants of the Shadow, and culminates with a climactic battle against the dreaded Balrog. This introductory game contains a 32-page adventure narrative, a 24-page guide to the lands and peoples of Middle-earth, an explanation of the basic principles of role-playing games, full-color character sheets that include pictures and game data describing each character, four full-color tactical maps for use in the major action sequences of the adventure, cut-outs of the characters and monsters in the adventure, and a poster map of Middle-earth. Member Price: $26.95. Regular Price: $29.95.

Complete Content List

  1. Box lid and bottom
  2. 4 yellow d6 dice in ziplock
  3. Book One: Through the Mines of Moria – 8.5″ x 11″booklet – 32 pages + cover
  4. Book Two: Welcome to Middle-earth – 8.5″ x 11″ booklet – 24 pages + cover
  5. What is Roleplaying – 8.5″ x 11″
  6. Fast Play Rules – 11″ x 17″
  7. Moveable characters #1 – cardstock – 8.5″ x 11″
  8. Moveable characters #2 – cardstock – 8.5″ x 11″
  9. Gimli: Dwarf Craftsman/Warrior – character sheet – 8.5″ x 11″
  10. Samwise: Fallohide Hobbit Warrior – character sheet – 8.5″ x 11″
  11. Legolas: Sindar Elf Warrior/Ranger – character sheet – 8.5″ x 11″
  12. Aragorn: Dúnedain Warrior/Ranger – character sheet – 8.5″ x 11″
  13. Boromir: Man of Gondor Warrior/Captain – character sheet – 8.5″ x 11″
  14. Pippin: Fallohide Hobbit Warrior – character sheet – 8.5″ x 11″
  15. Merry: Stoor Hobbit Warrior – character sheet – 8.5″ x 11″
  16. Gandalf: Magician/Wizard – character sheet – 8.5″ x 11″
  17. Frodo: Fallohide Hobbit Warrior – character sheet – 8.5″ x 11″
  18. LOTR Fan Club – promotional postcard
  19. Map T2 Errata
  20. Map of Middle-earth 17″ x 22″ (Map T4 is on reverse)
  21. Map T3 hex map Balin’s Tomb, Mazarbur
  22. Map T1 hex map Watcher 8.5″ x 11″ / Map T2 Moria 8.5″ x 11″ is on other half same side as T1
  23. Map T4 hex map Khazad-dum

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: October 2002. ISBN: 158236950X.

Box Set – Moria (see image above)

“This is the great realm and city of the Dwarrowdelf. And of old it was not darksome, but full of light and splendor …” ~ Gimli, The Fellowship of the Ring

The following material, other than the complete contents list, repeats what appeared in the section above on 4. Moria Boxed Set. I did this to make it easier for readers who might want to analyze the flow of production in the three “Adventure Boxed Sets.”

Decipher Catalogue Description

Moria Boxed Set.Delve into the Mines. Dare you go there knowing what ancient evil awaits? This boxed set for the award-winning The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game is a worthy addition for players and collectors. Member Price: $31.45. Regular Price: $34.95.

Inside the box you will discover:

  • a 96-page softcover book detailing the Mines of Moria. This expansive look at the Dwarven stronghold details the first through 21st hall of Khazad-Dûm. It includes over half a dozen full-page maps of the various levels and chambers within Moria.
  • a 32-page softcover book detailing the Dwarven people, culture, and history. It includes several new Dwarf races (sub-races based on lineage and descent) and new Dwarf elite professions (based on lineage and/or region).
  • 16 loose map tiles (8.5″ x 11″), for piecing together your own maps of Moria’s lower levels
  • Two double-sided 11″ x 17″ poster maps.

The doors of Moria await! Dare you enter them?

Complete Content List

  1. Dwarves of Middle-earth booklet (8.5″ x 11″) – 32 pages + cover (back cover has guide to Runes)
  2. Khazad-dûm booklet (8.5″ x 11″) – 96 pages
    * Introduction: Welcome to Moria
    * Speak, Friend, and Enter
    * Chronicles in Moria
    * The Geography of Moria
    * Building Moria
    * Creatures of Moria
    * Adventures in Moria
  3. Large plastic bag of items:
  • A through P (16) “tile” sheets, one-sided, on cardstock 8.5×11
  • 11″ x 17″ vertical exaggeration of Moria. Reverse: environs of Moria
  • 11″ x 17″ The Western Deep (left); Eastern Axebold (right). Reverse: Second Hall and First Hall (left). Twenty-first Hall and Twentieth Hall.

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: May 2003. ISBN: 1582369585.

Box Set – LOTR Roleplaying Adventure Game

The Two Towers

The Two Towers Box Set

Decipher Catalogue Description

The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Adventure Game – The Two Towers.This is the second in a series of roleplaying adventure games based on the epic trilogy, The Lord of the Rings. Designed to help gaming novices and Lord of the Rings fans become familiar with the world of RPGs, the three-part adventure leads the heroes across the plains of Rohan, into the city of Edoras, and finally to the epic siege of the Hornburg. Member Price: $26.95. Regular Price: $29.95.

The boxed set includes:

  • A 56-page adventure booklet
  • Fast Play rules that allow you to learn the game in minutes
  • Four full-color character sheets detailing the heroes: Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and an Unexpected Ally
  • Three full-color tactical maps, including a 34″ x 22″ map of Helm’s Deep
  • Dice and dozens of color counters representing the forces of good and evil

Complete Content List

  1. 4 blue d6 dice in ziplock
  2. The Battle of Helm’s Deep – booklet 8.5″ x 11″ – 56 pages
  3. What is Roleplaying – 8.5″ x 11″
  4. Fast Play Rules 11″ x 17″
  5. Character “disks” #1 – 8.5″ x 11″ heavy cardstock with “coin-disks” perforated, 6 columns by 8 rows, 7 characters and 41 culture disks
  6. Character “disks” #2 – 8.5″ x 11″ heavy cardstock with “coin-disks” perforated, 6 columns by 8 rows, 48 culture disks
  7. Aragorn: Man (Dúnadan) Warrior/Noble/Ranger/Captain – Character sheet 11″ x 17″
  8. Gandalf: From Across the Sea Magician, Wizard – Character sheet 11″ x 17″
  9. Gimli: Dwarf Warrior – Character sheet 11″ x 17″
  10. Legolas: Elf (Sinda) Warrior, Archer – Character sheet 11″ x 17″
  11. Map of Middle-earth T1 hex map 11″ x 17″ / Map of Middle-earth T2 hex map 11″ x 17″. Reverse side T3A.
  12. Map of Middle-earth T3A hex map 17″ x 22″
  13. Map of Middle-earth 11″ x 22″ / Map of Middle-earth T3B hex map 17″ x 22″

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: October 2002. ISBN: 1582369577.

Boxed Map Set – Maps of Middle-earth [1]

Maps of Middle-earth Box Set

Decipher Catalogue Description

Maps of Middle-earth.Plan your next RPG adventure with maps depicting the lands of western Middle-earth in vibrant and painstaking detail. Drawn by renowned illustrator Daniel Reeve – the official cartographer for The Lord of the Rings films – the six 17″ x 22″ archival quality collector’s maps cover The Shire, West Gondor, East Gondor, Rohan, Eregion, and Mordor. The boxed set includes the six folded maps and a 32-page guide to the lands of Middle-earth, including keys to each of the maps. Member Price: $26.95. Regular Price: $29.95.

Complete Content List

  1. Maps of Middle-earth b00klet 8.5″ x 11″ – 32 pages
  2. Map: The Shire, including the Barrow-downs, Bree, and the Tower Hills
  3. Map: West Gondor, including the White Mountains, Edhellond, and Dol Amroth
  4. Map: East Gondor, including the Anduin delta, Emyrn Arnen, and Minas Tirith
  5. Map: The Realm of Rohan, including Helm’s Deep, Fangorn Forest, and the Falls of Rauros
  6. Map: Eregion, including Rivendell, Moria, and Lothlórien
  7. Map: Mordor, including Ithilien, Orodruin, and Minas Morgul

Notes: The maps are 17″ x 22″, single-sided, but they are folded to 8.5″ x 5.5″.

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: November 2002. ISBN: 1582369607.

Boxed Map Set – Maps of Middle-earth [2]

Cities and Strongholds

Maps of Middle-earth: Cities and Strongholds Box Set

Decipher Catalogue Description

Maps of Middle-earth: Cities and Strongholds.The second set of exquisite Middle-earth maps are finally here. This boxed set features six archival quality 17″ x 22″ folded collector’s maps depicting:

  • Helm’s Deep
  • Minas Tirith
  • Edoras
  • Rivendell
  • Isengard
  • Umbar, haven of the Corsairs.

Additionally, a 32-page guide to the structures, places, cultures, and people of those regions is also provided. See also the exclusive Fan Club numbered and unfolded limited edition, still available! Just enter 104155 into the search box and click “GO”! Member Price: $26.95. Regular Price: $29.95.

Complete Content List

  1. Maps of Middle-earth b00klet 8.5″ x 11″ – 32 pages
  2. Map: Helm’s Deep, mountain fastness of the Rohirrim
  3. Map: Minas Tirith, legacy of the White Tree
  4. Map: Umbar, haven of the Corsairs
  5. Map: Edoras, seat of the Kings of Rohan
  6. Map: Rivendell, home of Elrond and the Last Homely House
  7. Map: Isengard, fortress of the White Hand

Notes: The maps are 17″ x 22″, single-sided, but they are folded to 8.5″ x 11″.

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: August 2003. ISBN: 1582369674.

Other: Hero’s Journal

Hero’s Journal

“Bring back all the news you can, and any old songs and tales you can come by.” ~ Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

Decipher Catalogue Description

Hero’s Journal.Ensure that the abilities and deeds of your Lord of the Rings roleplaying hero do not go unrecorded! This handy 5.5″ x 8.5″ journal contains pages for your character’s attributes and abilities, edges and flaws, skills, spells, weapons and gear. It includes lined pages for notes on background, adventures, and anything else that you feel needs to be chronicled. Also included is a 2-page detailed summary of the character generation process. Softcover, 32 pages. Member Price: $8.95. Regular Price: $9.95.

Table of Contents (items for each bullet are on the same page spread)

  • Character Generation Summary
  • Characteristics, Attributes, Reactions, Weariness, Health
  • Racial Abilities, Order Abilities, Edges
  • Edges, Flaws
  • Skills (3 page spreads)
  • Spell Specialties – Wizardry Spells, Sorcery Spells
  • Weapons, Equipment and Gear, Wealth
  • Notes
  • Character Illustration & Symbol, Character Journal
  • Character Journal (4 page spreads)

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: October 2002. ISBN: 1582369542.

Other: Roleplaying Game Quick-start Adventure

Quick-start Adventure

An eBay sale of a complete set of RPG items in February 2004 included “An exclusive adventure given away at GenCon last summer [2003], never available in stores.” Apparently this is the Quick-start Adventure, which I have only seen on eBay perhaps twice. It has a color cover.

There was a PDF download of this same booklet available from the Decipher website. The 19-PDF includes a black-and-white version of the cover and the following content sections:

  • Introduction: How to use this booklet
  • What is Roleplaying?
  • The Lord of the Rings Dice Runes Key
  • The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game: Quick-start Adventure
  • Fast Play Rules
  • Your Character Sheet
  • Characters
  • Melephin (Elf)
  • Caranor (Man, Middle Man)
  • Galathil (Man, Dúnedan)
  • Adventure: The Road to Henneth Annûn (with 3 encounters)
  • Narrator Map
  • Player Map

Other: LOTR RPG Narrator’s Screen

Narrator’s Screen

Decipher Catalogue Description

The Lord of the Rings RPG Narrator’s Screen.The full-color, four-panel Narrator’s Screen is designed to make your job of Narrator a bit easier. Packed with all of the most important charts, tables, and forms from the RPG, as well as a complete introductory adventure, The House of Margil, this is one product no Narrator should be without! Member Price: $17.05. Regular Price: $18.95.

Additional Details from Other Sources

Release Date: February 2003. ISBN: 1582369534.

Complete List of Contents

  1. Narrator’s Screen booklet 8.5″ x 11″ – 16 pages
  2. Cover sheet 11″ x 17″ single-sided with view of Minas Tirith on the front. Inside are the screen and character sheets
  3. Narrator’s Screen printed in color on heavy cardstock 34″ x 11″, folded into quarter panels that are 8.5″ x 11″ (the screen has a pictorial panorama of Minas Tirith on one side, and summary charts for actions, modifiers, tests, effects, healing, weapons, and weariness.
  4. 6 blank character sheets double-sided 8.5″ x 11″
  5. 2 Grimoire character sheets double-sided 8.5″ x 11″

Planned But Unpublished

Paths of the Wise: The Guide to Magicians & Loremasters

Paths of the Wise: The Guide to Magicians & Loremasters unpublished

Amazon and Decipher Preview PDF.According to Amazon.com and other sources, this volume was planned for release in hardcover in August 2003; 96 pages; ISBN 158236964X. It was not published in book form, but was available for an unknown period of time as a PDF download. The Decipher website also had a 5-page Preview PDF download that included title page (showing the hand of Saruman holding a book open to a drawing of the Ring of Barahir), credits with copyright 2004, table of contents, and the introduction (2 pages). From the Preview table of contents:

  • Introduction: The Road to Isengard 4
  • Chapter One: The History and Life of Isengard 8
  • Chapter Two: The Fortress of Iron 22
  • Chapter Three: Nan Curunír 58
  • Chapter Four: The White Hand 70

Drive Thru RPG. Here are description and pricing details I reconstructed from a now-defunct webpage I had gotten in about 2007 from Drive Thru RPG, which sold PDF downloads of Paths of the Wise and Isengard while they were available. Suggested Retail Price: $24.95. PDF Download Price: $17.49.

“And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.” ~ Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring

Prepare to explore realms of fantastic magic and ancient lore …

The richness of Middle-earth lies in the depth of its histories, the detail of its languages, and the breadth of its cultures. Paths of the Wise: The Guide to Magicians & Loremasters brings the abundance of the land’s magic and lore to your The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game chronicle. It provides everything you need to portray mighty spellcasters and characters of awesome learning and great wisdom. It is a treasure trove of new rules, background material, and game advice for player and Narrator alike.

Paths of the Wise includes:

  • 4 new elite orders, 8 new edges, 12 new flaws, 6 new loremaster order abilities, 3 new magician order abilities, and 3 new wizard order abilities.
  • 50 new spells to expand the Middle-earth Grimoire, and new options that allow the Narrator to customise the way spells are cast.
  • New rules for herb-lore, including a dozen sample herbs that can be found throughout the lands of Middle-earth.
  • New rules for enchanted items, accursed items, familiars, books of lore, libraries, and more.
  • Detailed information on the roles of spellcasters and their place in a chronicle, as well as five sample characters, ready for use as NPCs or player characters.

Fields of Battle: The Guide to Barbarians & Warriors

According to Amazon.com and other sources, this volume was planned for release in hardcover in July 2004; 96 pages; ISBN 1582369623.

Isengard Sourcebook

Isengard Sourcebook unpublished

Amazon and Decipher Preview PDF.According to Amazon.com and other sources, this volume was planned for release in hardcover in July 2004; 96 pages; ISBN 1582369631. It was not published in book form, but was available for an unknown period of time as a PDF download. The Decipher website also had a 7-page Preview PDF download that included the title page (similar to the cover), credits with copyright 2005, table of contents, and the introduction (4 pages). From the Preview table of contents:

  • Introduction: The Affairs of Wizards 4
  • Chapter One: Magical Middle-earth 6
  • Chapter Two: Expanding the Orders 20
  • Chapter Three: An Increase of Dwimmer-Craft 46
  • Chapter Four: Tools of the Trade 62
  • Chapter Five: Storycraft 88

Drive Thru RPG. Here are description and pricing details I reconstructed from a now-defunct webpage I had gotten in about 2007 from Drive Thru RPG, which sold PDF downloads of Paths of the Wise and Isengard while they were available. Suggested Retail Price: $22.99. PDF Download Price: $17.49.

“‘There is evil afoot in Isengard, and the West is no longer safe.” ~ Aragorn, The Two Towers

Stronghold of Dark Designs …

From the White Hand’s lowliest Orc to its mightiest general, from Orthanc’s deepest chamber to its highest pinnacle, from Saruman’s blasting fire to the rings of power crafted by his own hand, the Isengard sourcebook provides everything the Narrator needs to know about this ancient stronghold. Bring this wealth of new challenges to your The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game Chronicle and let your players pit themselves against this fortress of the fallen Wizard!

The Isengard Sourcebook includes:

  • In-depth history stretching back to the days of Isengard’s construction by Gondorian master builder Curugond Lamedon.
  • Detailed physical descriptions of the tower of Orthanc, the Ring-wall of Isengard, the labyrinthine caverns beneath both, and many other locations throughout the Wizard’s Vale, including 9 full-colour maps.
  • Exhaustive statistics of the soldiers, servants, slaves, spies and more in the employ of the White Hand – including Saruman himself and his inner circle.
  • All New information about the spawning tunnels where Uruk-hai, Half-orcs, and other Orc-spawn are created, including new flaws like Orc-ancestry and Ill-made.

Rohan: Among the Horse-Lords

According to Amazon.com and other sources, this volume was planned for release in hardcover in July 2004; 192 pages; ISBN 1582369666.

Sell Sheets

Decipher RPG Retailer “Sell Sheets”

The following descriptions give only the introductory part of the text from the sell sheets themselves. I have listed them in the probable order of their release to retailers to promote forthcoming LOTR RPG system products from Decipher.

Roleplaying Adventure Game (single-sided)

The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Adventure Game is the first of Decipher’s roleplaying game (PRG) products for New Line Cinema’s epic adventure, The Lord of the Rings. This boxed game will premiere in stores December 2001, offering both RPG and movie fans the excitement and exhilaration that Hobbits, Dwarves, and Men face as they journey through the mythic expanses of Middle-earth.

The Two Towers (single-sided)

In The Two Towers Roleplaying Adventure Game, players assume the roles of the members of The Fellowship as they relive the dangerous and legendary adventures. Each game is complete with maps and rules for mass combat. Your adventures begin with the rescue of Merry and Pippin from Saruman’s Orcs and ends at The Battle of Helm’s Deep with the epic siege of the Hornburg.

Core Book (single-sided)

The Lord of the Rings is an epic of good versus evil, extraordinary heroes, wondrous creatures and dark armies of terror – all the things needed for an incredible RPG! The Lord of the Rings Roleplaying Game brings this epic adventure to players and fans the world over. Now you and your friends can enter Middle-earth and take on the roles of any character or hero you can imagine, from a reluctant Hobbit like Frodo to a powerful wizard like Gandalf. This full-color book is packed with images from one of the most visually amazing films ever made.

Maps of Middle-earth (single-sided)

From the deserts and jungles of farthest Harad to the steppes and lakes of Rhûn in the east, Middle-earth is a world of wondrous lands, proud kingdoms, deadly peaks, and dark forests. Maps of Middle-earth bring J.R.R. Tolkien’s world to life for the casual fan and collector alike. Drawn by renowned illustrator Daniel Reeve – the artist responsible for the cartography in the New Line Cinema films – these six collector’s maps depict the lands of the western Middle-earth in vibrant and painstaking detail.

Roleplaying Game - displays complete system to date (double-sided)

The Lord of the Rings Roleplayers have a magical year in store! From Fire-drakes to Dwarven halls, the upcoming Lord of the Rings RPG releases from Decipher transport players deeper into the world of Middle-earth than ever before. Beyond the beautifully crafted Core Book, Narrator’s Screen and The Fellowship of the Ring Sourcebook, Decipher is proud to introduce Fell Beasts and Wondrous Magic, the Moria boxed set, and The Two Towers Sourcebook. Nothing short of legendary, these latest introductions will prove to be must-have content for your loyal Lord of the Rings customers.