Sunday, October 2, 2016

Blog Zeitgiest Roundup: Pulp Middle-Earth

Perhaps it was the release of the Players Guide for Cubicle 7's official 5E Dungeons & Dragons Middle-Earth adaption* at the end of August, but it seems to me that in the last month or so there's been a lot of good discussion in the vein of playing Tolkien's masterpiece with a decided Howardian bent.

While some had explored similar ideas earlier this year, it was really Trey at From the Sorcerer's Skull that really kicked things off, with his post "Middle Earth with More Pulp":

"Know, O prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Númenor and the gleaming cities, and the years of the Fourth Age, there was an Age undreamed of, when realms of Elf, Man, and Dwarf lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars. . . Hither came Aragorn of the Dúnedain, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a ranger, a wander, a chieftain, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the thrones of Arda under his feet." 
The Red Book of Westmarch
Pitch-perfect bit of writing, that. And I'm not the only one who thought so, as Joshua Dyal at Dark*Heritage was inspired enough to not only dig up some of the most perfect artwork for a project like this, but to brainstorm some of Middle-Earth's pulpiest bits of history.

Frank Frazetta's Gollum
As the month went on, both Josh and Trey revisited the idea specifically to address what to do about the non-humans - Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs (Hobbits being lumped in with the Big People) - and come up with some pretty neat ideas.

Finally, at Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque CJK points out something very familiar in what's supposed to be a Lovecraftian symbol:

Oh, Ftghan.

Which brings up, at least to my mind, a whole other point - Howardian Tolkien is one thing, but Lovecraftian Tolkien? Quite another. From a slightly different perspective Gollum seems very ghoulish, for example, and just what is up with that thing Watching the Doors of Durin, anyway?

*Disclaimer: This, as well as most if not all other links to DriveThruRPG on this blog, go through an affiliate link that pays me if you click it and then buy something.

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