Nazgul’s Citadel (1991)

Nazgul’s Citadel (1991) is another entry into MERP’s line of sourcebooks that are endlessly fascinating but of dubious utility. The entirety of this one details the titular citadel, give or take. Worse, it belongs to Akhorahil and is situated far to the south, in Greater Harad. This is the region of Middle Earth that Iron Crown entirely made up — there is pretty much no basis for anything in this book within Tolkien’s writing.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is certainly…alien. Back in the day I had a real hard time with the books detailing the south of Middle Earth, partly because they just seemed so far removed from the central conflict, partly because they took their design inspiration from non-European cultures and that just didn’t jibe with my idea of Middle Earth. It still doesn’t, but I’ve warmed up to this stuff — no one says you have to use it for a Tolkien-inspired campaign. In fact, a large portion of my MERP books were owned by a fellow who heavily annotated them as the basis of a mythic Asian campaign.

Anyway, again, the citadel is not a place players are going to visit in the course of a normal campaign. The book doesn’t even offer the sort of detail on evil machinations that is in Empire of the Witch-King. It is just a highly detailed, largely impregnable citadel of evil. And that is kind of…awesome? Like this place is crazy, a total death trap, but reasonable in the sense that the second most powerful evil sorcerer in the world would totally live in a massive citadel shaped like a dragon and would put his throne room in its open mouth.

It needs more art though. How on earth do you publish a book like this without an exterior view?

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