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February 2024

History of the WebRings

History of the Rolemaster/MERP

The Rolemaster/MERP WebRing has been around in some form or another since 1996. Alot of changes have occurred since then, included the demise and rebirth of ICE and several ownership changes to the WebRing system itself.

The original WebRing system was designed by Sage Weil using his own cgi-script in May 1994. The idea caught on quickly, and in June 1995, Weil created WebRing, which officially launched around February 1996. Stephen Brent Turner started one of the early rings on this system in 1996, The Rolemaster/MERP Webring.

In 1997, Sage Weil sold WebRing to Starseed, Inc.; in 1998 Starseed was acquired by Geocities, who made no major changes to the system. In early 1999, Yahoo! bought Geocities. Eighteen months after acquiring WebRing, on September 5 2000, Yahoo! unveiled a fully overhauled WebRing, known as Yahoo!WebRing.

At this point, Stephen Turner lost control of the Rolemaster/MERP Webring, and it took him until November 2000 to get back Administrator privileges. This resulted in new applications to join the ring not getting processed, and dead links not getting cleaned up. A WebRing is really only effective if there aren’t any dead links, otherwise the integrity of the ring is compromised and you can’t navigate the ring properly.

Shortly after this, I believe Stephen Turner just gave up and stopped trying to maintain the WebRing at all. More sites went dead, and people started to give up trying to add their sites to the ring. I tried several times to contact him to offer to take over managing the WebRing but failed.

On March 21 2001, I started the ICE RPG WebRing as an alternative to the Rolemaster/MERP WebRing. I recruited about 26 sites fairly quickly.

On April 15th 2001, without any announcement to the WebRing users, Yahoo! pulled their support of WebRing, leaving it in the hands of one technician, an original Tech. This technician was able to acquire WebRing from Yahoo! and on October 12, 2001 he unveiled the improved WebRing, completely free of Yahoo! once again.

On December 17th 2001, after additional attempts to contact Stephen failed, I was allowed to adopt the Rolemaster/MERP WebRing.

It took almost a month to get the WebRing into reasonable shape. There were close to 40 outstanding requests for admission to the ring, about half the sites in the ring didn’t have functional navigation bars, many of the sites listed no longer existed, several sites were duplicated, etc, etc.

By the end of Jan 2002, the sites from my new ICE RPG WebRing had been moved over to the Rolemaster MERP WebRing and I then renamed the combined ring to be the Rolemaster/ICE RPG WebRing. It even had a nice new logo show below:


One thing that hadn’t changed was the content of some of the sites on this ring. There were quite a few sites that still had the old Red Sword logo, haven’t had any content changes in years, and that I had no luck in getting hold of the owners. I really didn’t want to lose these sites but at the same time I felt they might be limiting the usefulness of the Rolemaster/MERP WebRing for other people.

So, I decided to go back to my idea of having a new WebRing, the ICE Roleplaying WebRing, renamed this original WebRing back to the Rolemaster/MERP WebRing and re-implemented the original Red Sword logo for this Ring. I think both Rings serve a purpose and I intend to continue to support and promote both.

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