Last updated

Venue Spokane, Washington; online
CountryUnited States
Most recent2021
Attendance20–45 in-person, 100–200 online interactive participation
Organized byEä Tolkien Society an official Smial of the U.K. Tolkien Society
Filing statusnon-profit/free

Tolkienmoot is an annual convention run by The Tolkien Society, [1] the Eä Tolkien Society, created for scholars, gamers, and enthusiasts of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. It began under the name of Merpcon (for "Middle-earth Role Playing Conference") in 2005. Always a convention focused on J.R.R. Tolkien scholarly discussion and gaming in Middle-earth, its name was changed in 2009 as the venue expanded. The convention was founded by Hawke Robinson [2] and others.


Tolkienmoot includes scholarly discussions and guest speakers, but also provides an emphasis on role-playing games. It is typically held annually on the third weekend of July in Spokane, Washington, typically for 1 to 5 days. The convention is open and free to the public. In 2022 it moved to a dedicated regular location at the non-profit RPG Research community center. [3]

Event details

The event is focused on J. R. R. Tolkien and his works, with a special emphasis on gaming, especially tabletop paper and dice Role playing games, using any role playing game system adapted or created for play in Middle-earth, as well as video games, wargames, and boardgames. [4] [5] Participation is both in-person and remote. Each event has guest speakers such as Tolkien scholars and published authors. These have included the author John Garth and the Tolkien scholar John D. Rateliff. [6] Each event has a different theme, such as "Elves", "Hobbits", "Dunedain", or "Trees". Events explore new and old game systems such as Iron Crown Enterprises' Middle-Earth Role Playing; a Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 variant known as Ea RPG d20; [7] Harnmaster adapted for use in Middle-earth; Adventures in Middle-earth by Cubicle 7; The One Ring Role-Playing Game 2nd Edition by Free League Publishing; and others. Tolkienmoots feature new Other Minds Magazine issues and have discussed papers such as "Tolkien's Love of Trees and the Environment". [8]

Different approaches to the guest speaker segments have been used. The opening speaking session is typically presented by the convention founder, with a "state of the union" discussion about the current state of Tolkien scholarship, fandom, role-playing gaming community, & industry, and [9] project updates. Other sessions have sometimes been in a format called "Raw Hobbit", hosted by Tolkien essayist and author Michael Martinez as an homage to William Shatner's Raw Nerve talk show. Other sessions have included the interactive "Tolkien Youth Panel", while still other sessions generally include notable guest speakers (see list) with local and online audience participation in follow-up Q&A. The final sessions often overlap with episodes of Middle-earth Talk Radio [10] as a live broadcast from the third day of the event with live audience participation both locally and online.

The founders of Tolkienmoot are also the founders of Other Minds Magazine and an official smial of the U.K. Tolkien Society, the Eä Tolkien Society based in Spokane, Washington, USA. [11]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Smaug</span> Wily dragon in J. R. R. Tolkiens The Hobbit

Smaug is a dragon and the main antagonist in J. R. R. Tolkien's 1937 novel The Hobbit, his treasure and the mountain he lives in being the goal of the quest. Powerful and fearsome, he invaded the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor 171 years prior to the events described in the novel. A group of thirteen dwarves mounted a quest to take the kingdom back, aided by the wizard Gandalf and the hobbit Bilbo Baggins. In The Hobbit, Thorin describes Smaug as "a most specially greedy, strong and wicked worm".

<i>Middle-earth Role Playing</i> 1984 Tabletop fantasy role-playing game

Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP) is a 1984 tabletop role-playing game based on J. R. R. Tolkien'sThe Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit under license from Tolkien Enterprises. Iron Crown Enterprises (I.C.E.) published the game until they lost the license on 22 September 1999.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iron Crown Enterprises</span>

Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE) is a publishing company that has produced role playing, board, miniature, and collectible card games since 1980. Many of ICE's better-known products were related to J. R. R. Tolkien's world of Middle-earth, but the Rolemaster rules system, and its science-fiction equivalent, Space Master, have been the foundation of ICE's business.

Elendor is a free online text-based multi-user game that simulates the environment of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth. Users create characters by determining species, sex, culture, description, history and then role-playing with other users within the setting and atmosphere of Tolkien's world. For the purposes of consistency, the game accepts The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion and to a lesser extent the other works of Tolkien as canonical materials. The time frame is shortly before the onset of the main events of The Lord of the Rings with Bilbo having gone to Rivendell. The game is run on a MUSH server using a variant of PennMUSH.

<i>The Atlas of Middle-earth</i> 1981 book by Karen Wynn Fonstad

The Atlas of Middle-earth by Karen Wynn Fonstad is an atlas of J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional realm of Middle-earth. It was published in 1981, following Tolkien's major works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. It provides many maps at different levels of detail, from whole lands to cities and individual buildings, and of major events like the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The maps are grouped by period, namely the First, Second, and Third Ages of Middle-earth, with chapters on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. A final chapter looks at geographic themes such as climate, vegetation, population, and languages around Middle-earth.

The Red Book of Westmarch is a fictional manuscript written by hobbits, related to the author J. R. R. Tolkien's frame stories. It is an instance of the found manuscript conceit, a literary device to explain the source of his legendarium. In the fiction, it is a collection of writings in which the events of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were recounted by their characters, and from which Tolkien supposedly derived these and other works. The name of the book comes from its red leather binding and casing, and from its having been housed in the Westmarch, a region of Middle-earth next to the Shire.

Trolls are fictional characters in J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, and feature in films and games adapted from his novels. They are portrayed as monstrously large humanoids of great strength and poor intellect. In The Hobbit, like the dwarf Alviss of Norse mythology, they must be below ground before dawn or turn to stone, whereas in The Lord of the Rings they are able to face daylight.

Tolkien fandom is an international, informal community of fans of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, especially of the Middle-earth legendarium which includes The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. The concept of Tolkien fandom as a specific type of fan subculture sprang up in the United States in the 1960s, in the context of the hippie movement, to the dismay of the author, who talked of "my deplorable cultus".

The works of J. R. R. Tolkien have served as the inspiration to painters, musicians, film-makers and writers, to such an extent that he is sometimes seen as the "father" of the entire genre of high fantasy.

Do not laugh! But once upon a time I had a mind to make a body of more or less connected legend, ranging from the large and cosmogonic to the level of romantic fairy-story... The cycles should be linked to a majestic whole, and yet leave scope for other minds and hands, wielding paint and music and drama. Absurd.

Middle-earth Enterprises, formerly known as Tolkien Enterprises, is a subdivision of the Embracer Freemode division of Embracer Group and formerly a trade name for a division of The Saul Zaentz Company. The subdivision owns the worldwide exclusive rights to certain elements of J. R. R. Tolkien's two most famous literary works: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. These elements include the names of characters contained within as well as the names of places, objects and events within them, and certain short phrases and sayings from the works.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Middle-earth in video games</span> Video games inspired by J. R. R. Tolkiens Middle-earth

There are many video games that have been inspired by J. R. R. Tolkien's works set in Middle-earth. Titles have been produced by studios such as Electronic Arts, Vivendi Games, Melbourne House, and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.

J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy books on Middle-earth, especially The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, drew on a wide array of influences including language, Christianity, mythology, archaeology, ancient and modern literature, and personal experience. He was inspired primarily by his profession, philology; his work centred on the study of Old English literature, especially Beowulf, and he acknowledged its importance to his writings.

Mirkwood is a name used for a great dark fictional forest in novels by Sir Walter Scott and William Morris in the 19th century, and by J. R. R. Tolkien in the 20th century. The critic Tom Shippey explains that the name evoked the excitement of the wildness of Europe's ancient North.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Middle-earth</span> Continent in Tolkiens legendarium

Middle-earth is the setting of much of the English writer J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy. The term is equivalent to the Miðgarðr of Norse mythology and Middangeard in Old English works, including Beowulf. Middle-earth is the human-inhabited world, that is, the central continent of the Earth, in Tolkien's imagined mythological past. Tolkien's most widely read works, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, are set entirely in Middle-earth. "Middle-earth" has also become a short-hand term for Tolkien's legendarium, his large body of fantasy writings, and for the entirety of his fictional world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Shire</span> Fictional England-like home region of hobbits in J. R. R. Tolkiens Middle-earth

The Shire is a region of J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional Middle-earth, described in The Lord of the Rings and other works. The Shire is an inland area settled exclusively by hobbits, the Shire-folk, largely sheltered from the goings-on in the rest of Middle-earth. It is in the northwest of the continent, in the region of Eriador and the Kingdom of Arnor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Tolkien Society</span> Educational charity and literary society devoted to the life and works of J. R. R. Tolkien

The Tolkien Society is an educational charity and literary society devoted to the study and promotion of the life and works of the author and academic J. R. R. Tolkien.

The geography of Middle-earth encompasses the physical, political, and moral geography of J. R. R. Tolkien's fictional world of Middle-earth, strictly a continent on the planet of Arda but widely taken to mean the physical world, and , all of creation, as well as all of his writings about it. Arda was created as a flat world, incorporating a Western continent, Aman, which became the home of the godlike Valar, as well as Middle-earth. At the end of the First Age, the Western part of Middle-earth, Beleriand, was drowned in the War of Wrath. In the Second Age, a large island, Númenor, was created in the Great Sea, Belegaer, between Aman and Middle-earth; it was destroyed in a cataclysm near the end of the Second Age, in which Arda was remade as a spherical world, and Aman was removed so that Men could not reach it.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oxonmoot</span> Annual conference and convention in Oxford dedicated to the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien

Oxonmoot is a conference and fan convention organized by The Tolkien Society devoted to celebrate and study the life and works of J.R.R. Tolkien. It takes place every year in Oxford, England, around 22 September, the date of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins's birthdays, also known as Hobbit Day.

Bradford Lee Eden is a librarian and musicologist, best known as a Tolkien scholar.


  1. Smial
  2. Profile page and papers for Hawke Robinson
  3. TolkienMoot XVIII Schedule Adjustment, Special Guest Speaker Announcement: Signum University Teacher Brenton Dickieson, New Dedicated Location
  4. Hobbit enthusiasts converge on Spokane August 13–15 for Tolkien Moot
  5. The Tolkienist mentions Tolkien Moot X
  6. Tolkienmoot Guest Speakers Biographies Page
  7. The Ea Role-Playing Game System
  8. This paper originally presented at Tolkien Moot and revised for U.K. Tolkien Society Seminar 2011
  9. RPG Research
  10. The Middle-earth Radio Talk Show Website Archived August 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  11. The Eä Tolkien Society Smial Website