Rolemaster

First Edition

Arms Law (1st edition, 1st print)Product: Arms Law (1st Edition)

Stock #: AL 1100

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Coleman Charlton, Pete Fenlon, Kurt Fischer and Bruce Shelley.

Release date: 1980

Category: Rolemaster System

Format: Set in a plastic bag which contains the Arms Law rules (Saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 26 pages), Charts for 30 weapons (30 heavy individual sheets of blue-grey paper ANSI A, print on one side only), Maneuver Chart and Critical Stike Tables (Five heavy individual sheets on yellow paper ANSI A, double sided).

Comments: This first edition of ICE’s Arms Law came in five different prints (three of them confusingly being referred to as ”editions”) between 1980-82, as the first the Rolemaster Systems. The first printing (referred to as the ”First Edition”) had 24 pages of text and contained a blue and white cover, with a diagonally cut orange half sheet covering. It grew out originally from being a set of house rules created by Coleman Charlton and Pete Fenlon when Arms Law covering (1st print)they were playing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) at collage, but eventually developed into a unique and much more advanced game system. The lineage back to AD&D are clearly traceable though. However, the influence from RuneQuest (D&D’s greatest competitor) is also seen in the use of a percentile dice system, i.e. the use of two D10 dice to generate results between 01-100. One of the innovations of Arms Law, and which later became canon in Rolemaster (RM) and MERP, is the use of ”open-eded rolls”, i.e. that results higher than 95 gives the opportonity to make a series of repreated rolls wich pushes the result above 100. The converse is also true, that particularly bad results generates a second roll to create negative results. When resolving action, such as combat or maneuvers, a bonus is added to the roll which represents the skill of the Player Character (PC). Each weapon (30 in total) has its own resolution chart and the open-ended roll is indexed against the armor type worn. The result is referenced on the chart which describes the damage done to the victim (or the success of the maneuver). Certain high results generates critical hits, which requires a second roll against a critical strike table which presents quite vivid and violent (and sometimes amusing) effects which is described by the Gamemaster (GM).

Broadsword Chart - Critical Strikes Table

The real genius of the combat system is that each weapon chart is divided into 20 columns, one for each armor type ranging from bare skin to a full plate armor suit, classed into four category bases, i.e. Soft Leather, Rigid Leather, Chain Mail and Plate. The design and realistic game logics of these tables makes it easier to hit a heavy armored opponent while making it more difficult to damage him. (See sample Weapons Chart for Broadsword and Critical Strikes Table below; click for lager resolution.) This seemingly simple design betrays the fact that the game system is quite comprehensive and requires a lot of time to handle in game play; simple skirmishes can take hours to resolve if there are many characters involved when Arms Law are handled by an inexperienced GM. Thus, the Arms Law is definitely not for beginners.

Spell Law (1st ed. 1 printing)Product: Spell Law (1st Edition)

Stock #: SL 1400

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Coleman Charlton, Pete Fenlon, Steven Moffatt and Terry Amthor.

Release date: 1981

Category: Rolemaster System

Format: Boxed set containing the Spell Law rules (White saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 24 pages), Spell Lists of Mentalism (Green saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 24 pages), Spell Lists of the Essence (Yellow saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 24 pages), Spell Lists of Channeling (Blue saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 24 pages), Charts with spell attack, critical strikes and failure tables (8 heavy loose cardstock sheets ANSI A).

Comments: This box contains the first edition or printing of the Spell Laws rules, being the second of the Rolemaster ”laws” or systems. These explain in detail the three realms of magical power, i.e. Mentalism, Essence and Channeling, being represented in each booklet with a color code, together comprising over 2000 spell descriptions! In other words, quite comprehensive rules on magic. But not only that, the white rules booklet on Spell Law describe 15 character classes of a more or less magical type, such as the Magician, Illusionist, Alchemist, Cleric, Animist, Healer, Mentalist, Seer, Sorcerer, etc., as well as rules on spell points, alchemy and spell research rules, the use of magic items, and also fatal channeling spells. The spell attack tables cover armor, large creatures, range, spell failures and critical strikes. It also adds more spell natured phases to the battle round. The Spell Law system is a logical and natural progression from Arms Law, covering magical combat in the same manner using charts to resolve open-ended rolls for bolt and ball attacks, as well as different critical strikes tables and spell failure tables.

Spell Law 1981 box set

Arms Law (2nd print)Product: Arms Law (2st Edition, 1st & 2nd Printing)

Stock #: AL 1100

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Coleman Charlton, Pete Fenlon, Kurt Fischer and Bruce Shelley.

Release date: 1982

Category: Rolemaster System

Format: Shrink wrapped set containing the Arms Law rules (Saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 12 pages), Charts for 30 weapons (15 heavy loose sheets ANSI A of blue-grey paper, double sided), Maneuver Chart and Critical Strike Tables (Four heavy individual sheets on tan paper ANSI A, double sided). A second printing came with a colored slip cover sheet.

Comments: This is the second edition (or rather the second printing) of RM Arms Law, which had the same monochrone cover as in the first edition/printing but in black and white inking instead, reducing the number of printed pages of the rules text from 24 to 10 written in a smaller font size to fit the same information as in the first printing, plus some more. Very little of the original contents has been reedited or amended for this later edition, other than streamling the volume. However, there has been one section added at the end (section 9) which describes mounted attacks, pole arms options, thrown weapons and missiles, two weapon combinations, bow preparation time, as well as notes on changes and conversion rules for AD&D. The previous eight sections från the first printing contain an Introduction, Definitions, and the Tactical Combat Sequence which breaks down the 10 second round into nine phases. The fourth section covers Defense, including armor types, shields, defensive bonus and parry, while fifth sections covers attacks, such as weapon combinations and offensive bonuses. The sixth section covers combat resolution, including swing and missile attacks, involving the instructions on how to use attack charts and critical strikes tables, while the seventh covers movement, maneuvers and orientation. The eight section comprises all of the attack charts and critical tables, etc. This second edition soon came in a second printing (making it the third actural printing in total) having its shrink wrapping bound together with a color slip covering; the only difference between the prints was that the maneuver chart had its earlier hand written type font changed into a type scripted. Arms Law was also soon to be released together with the new Claw Law rules book in a boxed set that same year.

Claw Law (1st ed.)Product: Claw Law (1st Edition & 2nd Edition)

Stock #: CL 1500

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Coleman Charlton, Bruce Neidlinger, Terry Amthor, Leonard Cook and Pete Fenlon.

Release date: 1982

Category: Rolemaster System

Format: The first print is set in a plastic bag with yellow cover, containing the Claw Law rules with important statistics chart (Loose sheets of blue paper ANSI A, 3 pages), 12 natural weapons Charts (Heavy loose sheets of yellow paper ANSI A), Critical Strike Tables (on tan paper ANSI A, double sided). The second print had evertying shrink wrapped, with a colored slip cover sheet, containing all of the above in a saddle stitched book with perforated pages.

Comments: This first edition of ICE’s Claw Law, being the third of the Rolemaster Systems, initially came in two similar printings using the same paper quality. The first printing had everyting in loose sheets set in a plastic bag while the second printing had a shrink wrapping containing a saddle stitched booklet with perforated pages that allowed each page to be removed, everything covered with a colored slip cover. It contained no more than three pages of additional rules, at it clearly was supposed to be a complement and follow up to the Arms Law rules. These also contained some important statistics charts for animals, monsters, martial arts, and additional weapons conversions. All other charts followed the game system more or less from Arms Law; the supposition is that those two Laws are supposed to be used in tandem. In later editions these would merge into Arms & Claw Law.

Claw Law (1st ed. 1st print)

Arms & Claw Law box 1982Product: Claw Law (1st Edition) / Arms Law (2nd Edition, 1st or 2nd Printings)

Stock #: CA 1600

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Coleman Charlton, Bruce Neidlinger, Terry Amthor, Leonard Cook, Pete Fenlon, Kurt Fischer and Bruce Shelley.

Release date: 1982

Category: Rolemaster System

Format: Boxed set containing the Arms Law rules (Saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 12 pages), the Claw Law rules with important statistics chart (Blue paper ANSI A, 3 sheets), Charts for 30 weapons (Heavy loose sheets ANSI A of blue-grey paper, 15 double sided sheets), 12 natural weapons Charts (Heavy tan paper ANSI A, six sheets), Maneuver Chart (on beige paper ANSI A, one double sided sheet), Critical Stike Tables (on tan paper ANSI A, seven double sided sheets).

Comments: This boxed set contains the previous monochrone Arms Law (”2nd Edition”) module, either in its first or second printings. The box also contains the monochrone Claw Law (”1st Edition”) module. It only has one booklet containing the standard Arms Law rules, while the Claw Law and all of the charts and tables are presented as individual heavy sheets in different shades of color. All in all it presents dozens of attacks against 20 armor types, 42 attack charts, 10 critical strikes tables, one fumble and one maneuver chart; an entire combat system covering all aspects of melee and missile attacks, etc. This box shurely must have been presented as a companion to the previously published Spell Law box, which uses the same type of artwork designed by Matthew Jorgensen, as recognized from the slip cover sheets from the individually published editions. This was due to the fact that Claw Law from the very start has been heavily integrated with and a companion to the Arms Law from which it grew out. In successive editions these two Laws would naturally merge into one volume – designated as the Arms Law & Claw Law.

claw Law Arms Law box set

Product: Character Law (1st Edition/Printing)

Stock #: CL 1700

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Coleman Charlton and Pete Fenlon

Release date: 1982

Category: Rolemaster System

Format: Book with Character Law rules (Saddle-stapled softcover ANSI A, 52 pages).

Comments: This book is the first in the ICE line of products which has a color cover bound to it, designed by Matthew Jorgensen. With these rules on character generation, which includes character sheets of various types, the ICE standard game took the next natural and major step from simply being a more complex appendix to AD&D into being a fully independent game known as Rolemaster, each Law constituting one system of RM and Character Law being the fourth following Claw Law. With this first edition (or more properly first printing) of Character Law the Gamemaster (GM) now could generate 19 different character classes, categorized into six realms, viz. the Realm of Arms (Fighter, Character Law (1st ed. back)Thief, Rouge and Warrior Monk), the Realm of Essence (Magicia, Illusionist and Alchemist), the Realm of Channeling (Cleric, Animist and Healer), the Realm of Mentalism (Mentalist, Lay Healer and Seer), Combinations of Two Realms of Magic (Sorcerer, Mystic and Astrologer), and Combinations of Arms and Magic (Monk, Ranger and Bard). Each player would generate temporary statistics (stats), which could be developed (or raised) during play, as well as determine the potential stats, or static statistic representing the maximum level to which a temporary stat could be raised; the statistics are groped into development stats, viz. Constitution (Co), Agility (Ag), Self Discipline (SD), Memory (Me) and Reasoning (Re), as well as the primary stats Strength (St), Quickness (Qu), Presence (Pr), Intuition (In), and and Empathy (EM), which gives a total of ten statistics, which is more than enough and superior to any other RPG that I have played. Each stat gives a bonus that is added to the different skills that have been generated through character development. Each skill has a rank which determines its bonus added to the open-ended percentile roll, and each is also catergorized into either Maneuvering in Armor Skills, Weapon Skills, General Skills (such as Climbing, Swimming, Riding, etc.), Magic Skills, or Special Skills, such as Linguistics, Adrenal Moves, Ambush, etc., these being primary skills; there are also 40 more secondary skills, such as Acrobatics, Caving, Dance, Gambling, Navigation, Rowing, Trading, etc. There are also rules on how to develop background skills through adolescence and apprenticeship. There are also rules presented for Character Levels, how to handle experience and advancing levels, and thus raising stats and developing skills through play, as well as rules on races and culture, and how they affect character generation. The nice thing about ICE’s Character Law, on this last account, is that the races and cultures very much reflect that which later would develop into MERP, i.e. all of the non human races described are existent in Middle-earth, which makes Rolemaster even more compatible with MERP.

Rolemaster BoxProduct: Rolemaster (1st Edition)

Stock #: RM 1000

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Coleman Charlton, Bruce Neidlinger, Terry Amthor, Leonard Cook, Pete Fenlon, Kurt Fischer, Bruce Shelley and Steven Moffatt.

Release date: 1982

Category: Rolemaster System

Format: Boxed set containing the Book of the Character Law rules (Saddle-stapled softcover ANSI A, 52 pages), the Arms Law rules (Saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 12 pages), the Claw Law rules with important statistics chart (Blue paper ANSI A, 3 sheets), Spell Law rules (White saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 24 pages), Spell Lists of Mentalism (Green saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 24 pages), Spell Lists of the Essence (Yellow saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 24 pages), Spell Lists of Channeling (Blue saddle-stapled softcover booklet ANSI A, 24 pages), Charts for 30 weapons (Heavy loose sheets ANSI A of blue-grey paper, 15 double sided sheets), 12 natural weapons Charts (Heavy tan paper ANSI A, six sheets), Charts with spell attack, critical strikes and failure tables (8 heavy loose cardstock sheets ANSI A), Maneuver Chart (on beige paper ANSI A, one double sided sheet), Critical Stike Tables (on tan paper ANSI A, 7 double sided sheets).

Comments: This boxed set contains the previous monochrone Arms Law (”2nd Edition”), Claw Law (”1st Edition”) and Spell Law (”1st Edition”) modules, as well as the new colored book of the Character Law rules, lumped together for the first time in history to present a full fantasy role playing game known under its moniker Rolemaster (abbreviated as RM). Each of the ”Laws” is considered (and has been from the start) to be a part or system of a greater Rolemaster Series. The box pictures new cover artwork by Matthew Jorgensen associated with the early renditions of the Rolemaster Series.

Rolemaster box 1982 (1st print)

Middle-earth MapProduct: Middle-earth Poster/Map

Stock #: ME 2100

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designer: Peter Fenlon

Release date: 1982

Category: Middle- earth Series

Format: Poster (Full-color 24″ x 36″ map) either delivered in a tube (Stock # ME 2100) or folded face-out and shrink-wrapped (Stock # ME 2100-A)

Comments: This poster-map of Middle-earth is the first product coming out from ICE of the newly launched Middle-earth Series. It came either unfolded in a mailing tube or folded in a shrink-wrapping. This was a quite large map, sized 24″ x 36″ (60 x 90 cm), beautifully colored to be able to determine height (on land), or mountain ranges, and depth (at sea), and beteween temperate and arid areas, from dark green, through yellow-green to sand colored. It also had all of the important names written out for the different lands, areas and parts of Middle-earth. Although giving a very good general feeling and sense of location to Middle-earth (probably hitherto unparalleled), the scale is to large for any campaigning in smaller areas, such as in Eriador or one of the smaller kingdoms. No cities are marked, neither small areas and lands, such as the Shire, etc. ICE would later compensate this lack by even more detalied maps in smaller scales, useful for campaigns in limited areas. One intersting detail is that the map has been decorated at the corners with images or stills taken from Ralph Bakshi’s animated movie The Lord of the Rings, which clearly shows where the ICE designers draw their inspiration from.

Guidebook for Middle-earthProduct: A Campaign and Adventure Guidebook for Middle-earth

Stock #: ME 2200

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Peter Fenlon and Terry Amthor

Release date: 1982

Category: Middle-earth Series Campaign Module

Format: Shrink-wrapped set with Poster (Full-color 24″ x 36″ folded map with reference grid; Stock # ME 2100), Guidebook (Saddle-stapled softcover ANSI A, 16 pages; Stock # ME 2200).

Comments: This source book, being the first game module in the new Middle-earth Series, is a companion to the Middle-earth poster-map published simultaneously by ICE, and actually contains it as well in the wrapped package but presented in a referenced and gridded version for easier orientation. The contents of the book refer to the poster-map, outlining or mapping out the different parts of Middle-earth and giving suggestions Guidebook for Middle-earth (back)to the more uncharted territories. It also presents a definition of terms and gives a broad outline of Middle-earth, its different landscapes, forests, the plains, the great desert, the seas, as well as giving a breif descriptions of all the races indigenous to Middle-earth, i.e. the Balrogs, Dwarves, Elves, Ents, Hobbits, Humans, Orcs, and the Trolls. It also has a good section on the different languages (spoken and written) and cultures, including the lineage of the languages, which is quite illuminating. It also has a discussion on the use of (magical) power in a Middle-earth campaign, as well as some general guidelines for staging a campaign, plus substantial source references. The cover is actually another still shot taken from Ralph Bakshi’s movie The Lord of the Rings, again alluding to that animated movie as a great source of inspiration for the original designers.

Product: Rolemaster (2st Edition)

Stock #: RM 1800

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Coleman Charlton, Bruce Neidlinger, Terry Amthor, Leonard Cook, Pete Fenlon, Kurt Fischer, Bruce Shelley and Steven Moffatt.

Release date: 1982

Category: Rolemaster System

Format: Boxed set containing the Book of the Character Law rules (Saddle-stapled softcover ANSI A, 52 pages), the Arms Law rules (Saddle-stapled softcover booklet with white cover ANSI A, 50 pages containing 10 pages of instruction, plus 30 perforated pages of blue-grey paper with charts for each weapon class, and eight perforated sides with tan or beige colored paper with maneuver charts and critical strikes tables), the Claw Law rules (Saddle-stapled booklet with blue cover ANSI A, 23 pages containing six perforated pages of blue paper with important statistics chart, 12 perforated pages of heavy yellow paper with attack charts, five perforated blue pages containing critical strike tables), Spell Law rules (Saddle-stapled softcover booklet with white cover ANSI A, 24 pages), Spell Lists of Mentalism (Saddle-stapled softcover booklet with green cover ANSI A, 24 pages), Spell Lists of the Essence (Saddle-stapled softcover booklet with yellow cover ANSI A, 24 pages), Spell Lists of Channeling (Saddle-stapled softcover booklet with blue cover ANSI A, 24 pages), Charts with spell attack tables, critical strikes and failure tables (8 heavy loose cardstock sheets ANSI A).

Comments: This boxed set is the second print of the foregoing Rolemaster box, housing the same cover artwork by Matthew Jorgensen, but with somewhat upgraded game modules. It contains the 3rd editon of the Arms Law, which basically is a somewhat re-edited version of the 2nd edition, with some additional sections on healing, slaying weapons and armor bonuses. It also has all of the eights tables and 30 charts saddle-stapled to the rules booklet and perforated so that the 19 leafs may be disattached from the binding and handed out to the players as individual sheets. The 3rd edition of Arms Claw also came in two different printings (making them the 4th and 5th printing in total), the difference being that the 2nd (or rather 5th) printing had some of its sections printed on a glossier paper. The Claw Law booklet is also presented in its 3rd edition/printing, again with all of the charts and tables saddle-staped as in the 2nd edition, but with a blue cover instead of yellow, and yellow pages for the attack charts and blue for the other tables, and with some of the charts rearranged. That same year saw a second printing of the 3rd edition (making it the 4th printing in total) which retracted the use of a yellow cover, otherwise no differences between the printings. Spell Law is still presented in its 1st edition/printing, as well as the colored Character Law book. There is also one ad for the ”Fellowship of the Ring membership” thrown into the box in which one could order a special kit consisting of two maps of the Shire and Moria, as well as stickers, dekals, key rings, etc., and also T-shirts, playing cards, posters, etc., and also a catalogue on general tolkeniana and subscription to a quarterly news letter. There was also an ad for the new Middle-earth Series in which one could order the modules published (presented above) and pre-order some upcoming modules. (Click below on each game module or ad to view each component of the Rolemaster Series in detail.)

Rolemaster SeriesCharacter Law (1st ed.)Arms Law (3rd print.)Claw Law (3rd ed.)Spell Law (1st ed.)ChannelingEssenceMentalismThe FellowshipMiddle-earth series

Angmar Land of the Witch KingProduct: Angmar Land of the Witch King

Stock #: ME 2300

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Heike Kubasch and Peter Fenlon

Release date: 1982

Category: Middle-earth Series Campaign Module

Format: Shrink-wrapped set containing Sourcebook (Saddle-stapled softcover ANSI A, 48 pages; Stock # ME 2300) with Map on the northen Misty Mountains (front) and Carn Dûm (reverse) (Full-color 16″ x 20″ double sided detachable fold-out map sheet).

Comments: This is the first campaign module of ICE’s Middle-earth Series which maps a detail of the overall picture of the continent that was covered in general terms with A Campaign and Adventure Guidebook for Middle-earth, a series originally designed for Rolemaster which would contine in this format until 1990 and by then serve both the RM and Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP) game systems. As a Angmar Land of the Witch King (back)campaign module it doesn’t present any ready-to-play adventures but instead provides detailed information about Angmar and all of the interesting places there that the Gamemaster may used to create his own campaigns, set anytime between T.A. 1600 and 1700. This module breaks up its presentation into describing the land and climate, and water, the flora and fauna (such as Trolls, Dragons and Giants, etc.), the peoples, culture, language, society, economy and government of Angmar, as well as its politics and power, with an emphasis on the Witch King of Angmar and his war campaigns waged against Arnor (which is launched full force in  T.A. 1640, the generic game year of most ICE Middle-earth Series modules), and a host of important personalies (Non Playing Characters). The places of note described in detail are Carn Dûm, the stronghold of the Witch King, the sample Dunadan border castle Morkai and the fortified village Kuska, as well as the Kargash keep and ancient Nûmenórean Eldanar Castle set in no man’s land. This major section contains seven major floorplans and four lesser, as well as five important illustrations, and two major and five smaller black & white maps. The final segment of the book gives guidelines for the GM how to implement all of this information, and how to design outposts and castles, how to generate NPC’s of different classes, how to use siege equiment, and some suggestions for adventures. The book also provides aids for the GM in Dúnedain herblore with a full list of herbs and drugs. It also contains conversion guidelines to make this module usable with most of the then common role playing systems, such as AD&D and RuneQuest, etc. Attached to the book is also a beautiful folded out 16″ x 20″ (40 x 50 cm) map in full color and with two sides, one side showing Angmar and the other the stronghold Carn Dûm.

Umbar the Haven of the CorsairsProduct: Umbar Haven of the Corsairs

Stock #: ME 2400

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Brenda Spielman and Peter Fenlon

Release date: 1982

Category: Middle-earth Series Campaign Module

Format: Shrink-wrapped set containing Sourcebook (Saddle-stapled softcover ANSI A, 52 pages; Stock # ME 2400) with Map on the Bay of Umbar (front) and the City of Umbar (reverse) (Full-color 16″ x 20″ double sided detachable fold-out map sheet).

Comments: This is the second of a total of 19 campaign modules of ICE’s Middle-earth Series. This time the City of Umbar and the Corsairs are mapped in greater detail, filled to the brim with interesting information that the Gamemaster may used to create his own campaigns set in T.A. 1607. This module breaks up its presentation into outlining a general history, the geography, ecology, people and culture, politics describing a host Umbar the Haven of the Corsairs (back)of important lords and chief captains (Non Playing Characters). The places described in detail are the city Umbar itself, including the different tower holdings of the oligarc captains (Minas Mor, Minas Naro, Minas Gaerna, Minas Caran, Minas Thalion, and Minas Numen). There are also detailed descriptions of all of the important organizations of Umbar (such a the Wizards Guild, Thieves Guild, the City Guard, etc.), peoples and some important NPC’s attached to these, as well as explanations of the dark religion of the Black Nûmenóreans. There is also a section on the castles of Umbar, such as Caldur, Isigir, Maros, Pellardur, and Ardumir, as well as a descripion of a typical Umbarian village. One segment of the book provides charts of necessary information, such as typical animals, prices, drugs and items, as well as NPC charts, etc. The final chapers gives a outline of the peoples of Umbar and how to generate Umbarite Player Characters, as well as some suggestions for adventures, and also how to use Umbar as a setting for campaigns in different times than T.A. 1607. In total, the book contains two major and 20 lesser floorplans, as well as one major and four smaller black & white maps. Attached to the book is also a folded out and impressive 16″ x 20″ (40 x 50 cm) color map with two sides, showing either the Bay or the City of Umbar.

The Court of ArdorProduct: The Court of Ardor in Southern Middle-earth

Stock #: ME 2500

Producer: Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)

Designers: Terry Amthor and Peter Fenlon

Release date: 1983

Category: Middle-earth Series Campaign Module

Format: Shrink-wrapped set containing Sourcebook (Saddle-stapled softcover ANSI A, 52 pages; Stock # ME 2500) with Map on the Mûmakan area (front) and the Cities of Tanith, Gaven, Sarûl, Korlan (reverse) (Full-color 16″ x 20″ double sided detachable fold-out map sheet).

Comments: This campaign module revolves around the area known as Mûmakan in the south of Middle-earth. It also revolves around that sect of dark religion known as the Court of Ardor. The time is set in T.A. 1703. The module follows the same structure and order of segment as the previous ones, starting with guidelines of converting the Rolemaster rules into any other RPG, as well as aids and keys in interpreting all of the maps contained herein. The introductory chapter covers Ardor history and presents a detailed timeline through the three Ages. The Court of Ardor (back)The following two chapters present the topology, flora and fauna of Mûmakan, as well as its climate. Then follows a couple of sections on the peoples of Mûmakan, the Elves, Dwarves and all of the mannish races, and all of the countries and politics involved with an emphasis on the Court of Ardor and its 19 Lords. These are further divided into that of Darkness, Fire (Staves), Water (Helms), Earth (Orbs), Air (Swords), i.e. as a  evil or dark form of the five elements, as well as a legion of lesser Lords known as the Suit of Staves, Orbs, Helms and Swords, reminecent of the suits of the Tarot deck of cards, in the game referred to as ”Cards of Arna” (supposedly originally drawn by the evil Morgoth himself) whose 22 Trumps are described in detail. This section also deals with the evil magic of the Lords and Suits, divided into the RM realms of Essence (Staves), Mentalism (Orbs), Channeling (Helms), and Arms (Swords), and its magical items. The remnants of the Elvish folks are also described, as well as their Guild of Elements and five Lords, making a opposite and good form of the alchemical elements. Then the economy and Sauronic influence of the Mûmakan is described briefly. A brief descripion of the Capitals of Mûmakan then follows, Tanith of the Hathorians, Sarûl of the Tantûrakians, Korlan of the Koronandanians, and the ruined city of Gaven, after which an entire chapter is devoted to the nine Holds of Ardor, two each of the elemental realms, and the mysterious pyramidical complex or artefact of Ty-Ar-Rana. The closing chapters present aids for the Gamemaster to create adventures from the information in the book, including a Master Military Chart, charts on herbs and poisons, and indigenous beasts, as well as implementing the information at other times other than T.A. 1703. In total, the book contains seven major and nine lesser floorplans, as well as two major black & white maps. Attached to the book is also a another beautiful folded out 16″ x 20″ (40 x 50 cm) color map with two sides, one showing the Mûmakan area and the other the Cities of Tanith, Gaven, Sarûl and Korlan.

The Court of Ardor with Map

This particular campaign module is probably the one of the ICE’s Middle-earth Series who divert the most from J.R.R. Tolkien’s own world conceptions. However, this is to be expected as he virtually left the southern parts of Middle-earth largely uncharted, with free reign for anyone game designer to unleash his own creative impulse. Such is the case with The Court of Ardor. It is amusing to see that the designers has been quite obviously inspired by actual magical traditions of the Occident – the hermetic occult philosophy – in its dealination of elemental magic and the use of a very close approximation of the Tarot. In this module, it is given a rather sinister approach through Morgoths supposed intervention and manipulation of Elvish magic. However, it is clear from this module that Mûmakan is the rough equivalent of historical Chaldea, the mythic land of astrology, magic and alchemy. It might even be the spiritual anscestor to the earthly equivalent and the Elven magic and alchemy might even serve to be the actual mythical source behind the occult Occidental tradition. The fallen Elves named it Ardor (S: ‘Exalted land’). As such it provides as fascinating account of a realm of great mystery, magic and peril. An ideal place for a campaign who dares to venture into more frightening magical possibilities.

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