Art created by J.R.R. Tolkien about The Hobbit:
|Smaug and Bilbo. One of my personal favorites.|
I was debating whether to talk about system or the setting first. I've decided to tentatively select a system because I believe it will help focus the setting creation. And I can always change the system later if I'm not satisfied with the outcome.
Starting with base SW: FMAG I would make the following changes and additions.
From James Spahn' White Box Omnibus and Compendium I would add:
In this post I want to highlight some specific points about the 1937 version of The Hobbit. For this I'm going to draw on The Hobbit itself, the two blog posts that inspired my series, "The Hobbit 1937" and "1937 Hobbit as a Setting", as well as a couple of forum threads talking about the subject, including "Using 'The Hobbit' as the only canon and starting point" and "D&D: The Hobbit".
The Annotated Hobbit was a big help with this because it has the text of the 1937 edition in parallel with the current edition. Also, many of these items were pointed out in the blog posts and on the forums, so most of this didn't originate with me.
When preparing for a game in Middle Earth, a Game Master must make one decision before all others: The Hobbit, or Lord of the Rings? Basically, the feel of which book would you like to emulate? Both are completely valid choices, but also altogether completely different. Games modeled after The Hobbit are likely to be more lighthearted, silly, and clichéd. Those emulating the trilogy will be more melodramatic and grim, focusing upon the interplay of character’s Passions. And perhaps most importantly, servants of dark forces in Hobbit style games have names like Tom, Bert, and William. In Trilogy like games, they’re more likely to be like Grishnak, and mean something in some dark language or another.