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  1. #11
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    I've moved this discussion to its own thread. Go nuts!


    FG Product Development status: Pathfinder Playtest Ruleset and add-ons: In development. Pathfinder Bestiary, Pathfinder Bestiary 2, Pathfinder Bestiary 3 (in store).

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  2. #12
    So it looks like it may still be a while before Tolkien's work is available in the public domain. And probably an even longer wait for MERP to be available in the same way (as it will contain ICE copyright material).

    Would there be any hope of SmiteWorks being able to weave some of their magical ability to get licenses to both, so we can get MERP onto FG? Surely, ICE wouldn't give up a chance to make some money in royalties given that they seem to be taking forever to deliver RMU; and wouldn't MEE want to make as much $ as possible before PD date? (even though MEE and ICE may not be the best of friends any more). What's more, FG's RMC could really benefit from this as there is a severe lack of adventure modules for an excellent ruleset.

  3. #13
    We have pursued several license of a license type RPG products over the years; and we have not had any luck. Usually, the RPG publisher is interested; but the IP holder has already licensed the "electronic rights" to a video game studio, or has no interest.

    Maybe the fans can convince the publishers and IP holders to come to us?

    Regards,
    JPG

  4. #14
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    Tolkien licenses are overly protective and notoriously byzantine. Back when I was at Electronic Arts, the studio was developing Battle for Middle-Earth. The license was for a video game based on the Peter Jackson movie adaptation, not the original source material. This dictated not only the visuals of the game, but also precluded using any Tolkien IP that was not specifically referenced in the movie. The video game rights for the literary work was held by someone else. Similarly, at the time, I was working on Golden-Eye 2 and everything had to be approved by MGM and the Broccoli family. Barbara Broccoli vetoed every "new" idea.

    As John points out, while the RPG developer has acquired the rights to develop a pen-and-paper role-playing game, the rights to electronic games are usually held elsewhere. While we can all agree that a VTT version of an RPG is significantly different from a video game, the army of lawyers that negotiates the rights would disagree.

    Warner Brothers currently has the video game license, so from the electronic side you'd have to negotiate with WB and then MEE. Cubicle 7 has the RPG license, so you'd have to negotiate with them first, the MEE. Even if ICE was on board, MERP would compete with Cubicle 7's The One-Ring, so...yeah, I think MERP will likely remain in the dustbin of history along side WEG's Ghostbusters and Star Wars, as well as FASA's Star Trek.

  5. #15
    I'm a bit deflated now. I was hoping by now there would be some way of getting MERP onto FG to complement the RMC ruleset (MERP existed some 20-35 years ago and was dumped). Cubicle7 managed to get licenses for The One Ring - I noticed that they also have 'Sophisticated Games' as a licensee on their books, but not sure exactly what their role is.

    Unfortunately, 'The One Ring' just doesn't float my boat. The game mechanics are just too abstract/generic/simplistic and, bizarre, in some areas.

    If all else fails, would it be allowable to convert MERP modules for FG and make them available to the FG community totally free of charge? (non-commercial) - I notice that Valarian has a community developed version of The One Ring linked on the FG Wiki Main Page. Could this be done for MERP (noting that it would be using the RMC ruleset)?

  6. #16
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCultist View Post
    I'm a bit deflated now. I was hoping by now there would be some way of getting MERP onto FG to complement the RMC ruleset (MERP existed some 20-35 years ago and was dumped). Cubicle7 managed to get licenses for The One Ring - I noticed that they also have 'Sophisticated Games' as a licensee on their books, but not sure exactly what their role is.
    As has been mentioned above, licenses of licenses are different - to get MERP on FG there would need to be agreements with ICE and MEE. Additionally, as also mentioned, putting any of this on FG would be classed as a computer game - and that needs a whole new license as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCultist View Post
    If all else fails, would it be allowable to convert MERP modules for FG and make them available to the FG community totally free of charge? (non-commercial)
    Not unless you get permission from the copyright holders. Copyright holds even if distributed for free.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCultist View Post
    I notice that Valarian has a community developed version of The One Ring linked on the FG Wiki Main Page. Could this be done for MERP (noting that it would be using the RMC ruleset)?
    Valarian doesn't include any of the data from ToR - just the mechanics. Under US copyright laws, the mechanics of a game can't be copyright. But any of the written word/prose/graphics/names from a game are copyright. So, in theory, someone could write a MERP extension for RMC - but all it could do is reflect the mechanics of the MERP RPG (essentially dumbing down RMC) and the very, very basic numerical values of base data records - the mechanics of the game.

    I know you're disappointed that you won't see MERP on FG. It's just not going to happen I'm afraid.


    FG Product Development status: Pathfinder Playtest Ruleset and add-ons: In development. Pathfinder Bestiary, Pathfinder Bestiary 2, Pathfinder Bestiary 3 (in store).

    Private Messages: My inbox is forever filling up with PMs. Please don't send me PMs unless they are actually private/personal messages. General FG questions should be asked in the forums - don't be afraid, the FG community don't bite and you're giving everyone the chance to respond and learn!

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Trenloe View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCultist View Post
    If all else fails, would it be allowable to convert MERP modules for FG and make them available to the FG community totally free of charge? (non-commercial)
    Not unless you get permission from the copyright holders. Copyright holds even if distributed for free.
    So Trenloe, I know it's a long shot, but, if permission was granted from MEE and ICE, would it be possible to produce MERP modules for the RMC ruleset for FG?

    p.s. It looks like you're currently located in my home city! Hope you're having fun over there.

  8. #18
    Trenloe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCultist View Post
    So Trenloe, I know it's a long shot, but, if permission was granted from MEE and ICE, would it be possible to produce MERP modules for the RMC ruleset for FG?
    I'm sure it would.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCultist View Post
    p.s. It looks like you're currently located in my home city! Hope you're having fun over there.
    It's my home city too! Currently surviving...


    FG Product Development status: Pathfinder Playtest Ruleset and add-ons: In development. Pathfinder Bestiary, Pathfinder Bestiary 2, Pathfinder Bestiary 3 (in store).

    Private Messages: My inbox is forever filling up with PMs. Please don't send me PMs unless they are actually private/personal messages. General FG questions should be asked in the forums - don't be afraid, the FG community don't bite and you're giving everyone the chance to respond and learn!

  9. #19
    All that being said, you could still port your MERP adventures into RMC and run/play them yourself without distributing it. It really depends on your personal desire to play the material vs. share the material.

    Indeed if you were to port the maps and modules to your own personal RMC server you could sort of share it by running it as a GM for people. You can't distribute your modules to the community but you could run them for the community.

    My personal recollection of both versions of MERP was version 1 was better for Middle Earth feel than version 2, but version 2 was closer to the more unified RPG system that ICE was slowly lurching towards (aka Rolemaster). Prior to MERP most people just used Arms Law and Spell Law for critical tables in D&D, the early version of character law was sort of a interesting read but not worth the effort.

  10. #20
    Um, one other bit of information. The rights are actually split between the family and MEE. Material from the Hobbit and Trilogy are held by MEE while the pre-1st age, 1st age, 2nd age, and most of 3rd age (and I think the 4th age) are still held by Tolkien Estate. In order to produce a product that covers both you would need rights from both. MEE has proven that they don't mind multiple similar products within their holdings (LOTRO + new in development MMO being an example). The Tolkien Estate on the other hand has proven they really don't like anyone doing anything with their holdings that isn't them.

    I remember thinking when MERP production was shuttered that ICE seemed way off the reservation with their early era sourcebooks based on my understanding of the licensing at the time and that might be why it all imploded. I don't know if this is what happened but I've always thought it might be a factor.

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