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The Court of Ardor (ICE 1983) -- anybody else remember this gem?

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Akrasia:
I have a strange fondness for this campaign module.  Has anyone else heard of it?

The Court of Ardor was written by Terry K. Amthor for ICE in 1983 as part of their ‘Middle-earth’ line.  It was one of the first campaign modules written for that series --before ‘MERP’ (Middle-earth Role-playing) was published, in fact.

The campaign module was set in the far southern region of Middle-earth (a region not detailed by Tolkien).

Unfortunately (for Tolkien-fans), the campaign module is exceedingly ‘un-Tolkienesque’ in nature.  

Examples:
(a.) It includes ‘evil’ Elves who supported Morgoth in the First Age (completely impossible according to Tolkien).
(b.) It uses the ‘Rolemaster’ magic system (completely un-Tolkien in nature).
(c.) It uses magic items from Zelazny’s ‘Amber’ novels (sets of cards that enable communication & teleportation, etc.), and is very ‘high magic’ in general.

And so forth.

Yet it is a beautiful campaign module.

Why?  Four reasons.

1.  The plot is brilliant.  It has a great hook for a campaign.  The adventures that follow are truly epic in nature.  
2.  The maps are bloody beautiful.  Pete Fenlon is a great artist.
3.  It is wonderfully self-contained.  Four cultures are fleshed-out in little space. It is succinct and vibrant.
4.  The villains are full-blooded and interesting.

I don’t think this campaign module belongs in Middle-earth.  Indeed, it is better as its own setting.

But it is great.  Does anyone else remember this gem?

I'm tempted to run a campaign in Ardor ... :)

David R:

--- Quote from: Akrasia ---  Does anyone else remember this gem?
--- End quote ---


A friend of mine has every ME source book published by ICE. He swears by them. Well some supplements more then others. I wouldn't be surprised if he had this one and felt the same way about it as you. He was planning to run a Middle Earth campaign and had all these modules arranged in the study of his house. Most of them I remember thinking, looked like works of art.

Regards,
David R

SHARK:
Greetings!

I own a Court of Ardor module. Indeed, it's a great module, bursting with excellent ideas and vision! I love it!:)

Semper Fidelis,

SHARK

ColonelHardisson:
It was the only MERP module that I never got my hands on. It goes for big bucks on eBay, and I'm not all that interested in getting it. But from what I've read about it, you're right. As with many MERP sourcebooks and modules, it isn't very Tolkienesque, but it seems interesting in its own right.

The Dunland sourcebook is another example of this kind of MERP book. It has some good fantasy RPG concepts, but which aren't very much like anything Tolkien ever conceived of. Example: A flying castle built by Noldor elves, one of who performs Dr. Moreau-style experiments by grafting animals and men (and elves) together.

jrients:

--- Quote from: ColonelHardisson ---The Dunland sourcebook is another example of this kind of MERP book. It has some good fantasy RPG concepts, but which aren't very much like anything Tolkien ever conceived of. Example: A flying castle built by Noldor elves, one of who performs Dr. Moreau-style experiments by grafting animals and men (and elves) together.
--- End quote ---


That sounds fabulous!  I like the old MERP stuff for the non-Tolkien things ICE injected into the setting.  As kids my gang played MERP pretty much as D&D with crit-charts that just happened to be set in Middle Earth.  I still remember the fun my players had looting the Barrow Downs.

I've never seen the inside of Court of Ardor, but if I ever find one cheap I intend to snap it up.

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