Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE) Middle Earth Role Playing game (MERP) was the very first commercial desktop RPG I played. It was licensed through Tolkien Enterprises and was based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I absolutely loved the campaign and adventure modules, and found most to be of high quality.

That was back more than 30 years ago – in my early years of High School. I hadn’t yet started earning money and my Dad hated the idea of the game, so unfortunately I was never able to buy many of the books.

We moved on to ICE’s Rolemaster and Terry Amthor’s Shadow World / Loremaster environment – another setting I loved. I was able to purchase most of these books over time, but the MERP gear was rarely available.

By the time I had gone through Uni, started my career and set up house with my now wife, ICE was headed into bankruptcy, had lost its Tolkien license and there were no more new books released.

I did buy all the Forgotten Realm Setting books for D&D 3.0 and 3.5 versions when they came out. I’ve rarely played games using them, but loved the format and quality of the books. They are easily good enough just to read for reading sake, and sit on my bookcase in great condition. I still regretted however not being able to collect the MERP books.

For the last five odd years I have taken to looking for the MERP books on Ebay. I have now picked up some 40 of the 100 odd products released, most in as new condition. I’ve paid less than $10 for some, more than $60 for others, but mostly between $20 and $40. I’ve seen some books go for more than $100, although they often get relisted again soon after as the more successful auctions don’t seem to go through reliably. It amazes me that you can receive in the mail a book that is 30 odd years old, yet in as new condition.

In the last year or so however nothing new seems to be put up for auction – aside the same old over priced items relisted month after month after month. There are more options overseas, but I’ve tended to stick to the Australian site. I take the approach that if I get lucky, all good – if not, never mind.


Part of the Collection

My history of role playing games certainly plays a big part in why I’ve liked and spent so long in EVE.  My experience with collecting MERP books also probably explains why I have purchased most of the books and what not related to EVE when they are released.

6 thoughts on “Collecting

  1. We have a group library of all the RP books from over the years. ICE, first edition D&D, Traveller, GURPS, stuff from Palladium. Probably have most of everything if we’re being honest about it. The library has been shifted from place to place, from one residence to another, but currently resides with one of us. There are still periodic get togethers, but rarely to people ‘gress any more. It’s more of an excuse to get together these days. Still, some great memories 🙂

    • We get together online now – initially in EVE, but now in DDO. (Which reminds me, I have to log in shortly for my once a week guild run.) We are just in the process of organising our first desktop game in many years – using the fifth edition of Shadowrun. So far two of the groups teenage kids will be joining us, a first.

      • I have the Northwestern Middle-Earth Map Set – a recent(ish) EBay purchase. It is a nice to have, but a bit of a disappointment. I was thinking it would be more like a street directory, a full map with a square grid overlay, with each page showing one of those squares in detail. It is kind of like that – but the grid overlay is made up of all sorts of shapes and sizes in odd / confusing order. Most seem to be shown at the same resolution – so a smaller grid will show a small map image, while a larger grid will fill up a page. In the end it doesn’t show you the level of detail you would want.

        A UK based seller put up a number of the rarer MERP modules in the last week on EBay – but they are priced between $200 and $600+ each. Sad to think it effectively keeps such things out of the hands of real enthusiasts.

        I liked the map you linked too. I might have to spend some time in Google looking for more.

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