Tolkien-based role-playing game system
Adventuring in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth and beyond...
From the introduction:
Many game systems are designed for “generic” campaign settings, intentionally leaving the rules open and broad so that the system can be used in a very wide variety of campaigns. Some systems focus on a specific genre such as fantasy “sword and sorcery”, science fiction, etc, but without being limited to a specific “world” or campaign setting. Others focus on specific campaign/universe settings such as Star Trek, Star Wars, King Arthur-ian, Call of Cthulhu (Horror), Wheel of Time (Fantasy), etc. Eä RPGS fits into the last category, a system designed specifically to fit into a Tolkien-based campaign setting, with rules that attempt to enhance that experience.
There have been other attempts at game systems adapted to J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth since the mid 1970's. The original Dungeons & Dragons was originally heavily based on Tolkien's setting, but also fit any other setting desired. In each case of the commercial Tolkien-based role playing game systems, the commercial ventures were actually just modified versions of their more generic systems roughly adapted to fit into the Tolkien setting. This has ended up a bit like pounding a square peg into a round hole. You can make it fit with enough pounding, but it leaves something to be desired in the fit.
Ea RPGS is designed every step of the way as an attempt to enhance the experience of role playing specifically in J.R.R. Tolkien's imaginary universe in which Middle-earth geographically is but a small (though significant) piece. Every attempt is made to develop the mechanics to improve the “suspension of disbelief” and enhance the Tolkien-ish feel many experience from reading the books. The system is available in three versions to attempt to cover the gamut of gamers and their tastes.
The Eä RPGS is not based on any of the movies' interpretations of Tolkien's works, only his written works published while J.R.R. Tolkien lived, and posthumously by Christopher Tolkien. Every attempt is made to follow these resources in as consistent a manner as possible, though this often presents challenges in some of the many contradictions between different versions of Tolkien's works, though generally it is not an issue in helping to enhance the “feeling” of playing in Middle-earth and the surrounding areas. In areas where “Tolkien canon” (a heavily argued topic unto itself in the Tolkien community) directly conflicts, efforts will be made to offer a “default” approach, but also include an “optional” approach to the same topic (usually in the Eä RPGS Advanced System) for GM's and players who do not prefer the “default” primary approach.
The game system is available in three "flavors" - basic, standard, and advanced. There are some mechanical differences between each version (for example, basic is limited to the use of d6 only; the other versions us d%).