roncarpino
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More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Fri 20 Aug 2021, 08:07

Team,

I love that the game is magical... but could it be a tad more magical with more actual magic (spells)?

Maybe an advanced race related or descendant of the Istari or the Valar...? Something that can cast spells?

Or maybe a "spell weaver/caster" calling?

Or maybe something similar or expanded for other races as well... For example, I love the virtue of "broken spells" for the dwarfs... I think each of the races should have four to six of these.

I am just spit-balling here... maybe not in this first book, but a future book.

Input?

Thanks,
Ron
 
coniunctio
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Fri 20 Aug 2021, 09:07

...Interesting you raise the possibility...

I'm just working on a possible campaign in the mid TA14-1600s. I'm intending to include more magic that wanes as the various temples and old religion is destroyed and forsaken in the Northern Wars. Concerning magic, in reading some of the background canon and what others have done there is a very notable Tolkien quote that Hobbits are distinctly 'not magical in any way' but are very good at being unnoticed/unremarkable. It's only really Elves, Dwarves (to a lesser and distinctly Dwarvish manner) and the Dunedain - but to a much lesser degree than Elves having learnt from the latter. It doesn't strike me that any Eriadorian man or Northman is likely to be magical - certainly not in the pre-WotR setting but I think that would be helpful for the awe factor where other cultures are. But in the mid TA we have reference to Rhudaur being taken over by evil sorcerous men...

Mythic Britain RPG campaign has a good comparison between Christian 'magic' (I use the word in a generalised way to avoid any offence) and pagan magic in that it influences characters attitude to magic use and those using different forms of it culturally.

I've come across two fan made supplements about magic and spell lists for TOR 1e and there's another supplement by Other Hands/Minds I think. Will let you know what they are if you want (and if I can find my reference)
 
Themadviolinist
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Fri 20 Aug 2021, 15:09

I'd be extremely wary about introducing overt magic into TOR as it would be very easy to D&D-ify a setting that really doesn't lend itself to that treatment. SAm's comment about magic in Lorien is instructive here, and anyway, it seems that magic is more an element of craft than of people waving wands and chanting expeliarmus.
I think that if I were to contemplate adding magic, I'd encumber it with high shadow costs, as this seems to be the sort of power that Tolkien regards as a path to at best folly, and at worst evil. Even the Elves use of magic comes at a cost, and certainly any human using magic does so at their extreme peril; (see Nazgul.)
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Fri 20 Aug 2021, 16:32

Magical abilities can be added to TOR without introducing new (problematic?) races. Beorn and many of his descendants were mortal Men who were Skin-changers. And Tolkien called Beorn "something of a magician. The Men who became the Nazgûl became kings, heroes and sorcerers. The Mouth of Sauron was a Black Númenórean who was trained in sorcery. The Dúnedain of the North forged weapons that were enchanted to be baneful to the Ringwraiths (and other such beings?).

Magic does tend to be more subtle in Middle-earth and we see few flashy spells being cast, but we do see some effects that could be described as magical spells (such as Gandalf seemingly slaying goblins with lightning in a cave in the Misty Mountains). Its just that such spells would have to be added with careful consideration as to whether they really are appropriate to the setting and not game-breaking.
#FideltyToTolkien
 
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Harlath
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Fri 20 Aug 2021, 16:41

Less need for Magical Elven Cultural Virtues in 2e as their Cultural Blessing achieves Magical results via spending hope? The idea being that many of the 1e magical things an elf could do via a Virtue (flashing lights! lulling people to sleep! etc) can be replicated with Magical results in 2e.
 
gyrovague
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Fri 20 Aug 2021, 18:00

Less need for Magical Elven Cultural Virtues in 2e as their Cultural Blessing achieves Magical results via spending hope? The idea being that many of the 1e magical things an elf could do via a Virtue (flashing lights! lulling people to sleep! etc) can be replicated with Magical results in 2e.
Agreed. Magical results meet any desire I have for magic in TOR, at least as used by player-heroes. More than that would not be in the spirit of this particular game.

However, as with 1st edition I fully expect there to be a plethora of creative home brews, for those who want more.
 
coniunctio
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Fri 20 Aug 2021, 19:43

...There are all sorts of overt and subtle references to magic being used and referenced across the source material and/or available...'I once knew every spell...' as Gandalf tries to open the door to Moria. For me this would add lots of interesting nuances to the game without having to become a game breaker. Certainly the overt use of more powerful magic would attract the eye or shadow or fatigue. Magic being bound into objects seems the least 'flashy.' Innate, animistic magic also not readily announcing itself to everyone in a 100 mile radius because it doesn't disturb the balance of nature for those that already in some harmony with the land and environment (q' The Golden Bough and the study of magic in human ritual).
 
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William
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Sun 22 Aug 2021, 11:06

Magic is such a delicate thing when it comes to roleplaying in Middle-Earth.

I'm happy with many of the changes done to magic in 2e. The Cultural Blessing of the elves is a nice way to represent the subtle magic of the Eldar.

Be careful with magic in Middle Earth and powerful beings as player characters. Let magic be something working in the background, something mystical that slowly fades from the world. Make nature magical. Your adventures will feel much more magical if you do!

"If there’s any magic about, it’s right down deep, where I can’t lay my hands on it, in a manner of speaking.’
‘You can see and feel it everywhere,’ said Frodo.
‘Well,’ said Sam, ‘you can’t see nobody working it. No fireworks like poor old Gandalf used to show."
 
roncarpino
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Sun 22 Aug 2021, 22:34

Wow, all good responses... very appreciated.

I guess I should bound my input/request a little further. When I wrote this, I was originally thinking of what first edition referred to with respect to Advanced Cultures, specifically (as quoted from the book):
"Experienced players and Loremasters will notice how several characteristics of both the Rangers of the North and the High Elves of Rivendell break some of the limits to character creation set by the core rules."

And it continues

"Now, neither a Ranger nor a High Elf fits the definition of ‘first-time adventurer’. The Dúnedain of the North roam the land of Eriador hunting for their enemies, and may
travel much farther if their duty requires them to do so. If there is anything close to full-time heroes in Middle-earth it’s the Rangers. Similarly, even the younger High Elves have witnessed hundreds of years of history and possess superior powers."

In other words, framing it in this light, a few additional/expanded spells or spell casting ability, via... new advanced culture(s), or new calling, or new reward(S), or new virtue(s) could be (and should be) given the same reverence.

So continuing to wax philosophical... some examples:
1) Under the guise of experienced play that can be handled appropriately verses right out of the gate (e.g. deeper into a campaign when more "horsepower" is required).
2) Maybe access to something like an advanced virtue or reward that only actives when a specific prerequisite is met (e.g. at a certain advancement milestone or wisdom/virtue level).

I do not claim to have the silver bullet of what it would look like - but in all cases:
1) I would like something that does not "break the game" anymore than the Rangers and High Elves did (refer to the above), yet, offers the scratch for the "a few more spells" itch
2) I would not want to D&D-ify the game (although I think it would take far far more than a few more spells to accomplish that)

Just some expanded thoughts.

Thanks and Take Care,
Ron
 
coniunctio
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Sun 22 Aug 2021, 23:26

If you haven't already seen them Ron there are a couple of fan made supplements

1) The Ways of Magic - Jacob 'Zed' Rogers.

2) Magic for the One Ring - 2012 theIwhowas

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