Inquisitor196
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Fri 27 Aug 2021, 18:09

Perhaps a simplistic approach, but what about the Tabletop Wargame about Middle Earth? (Middle Earth SBG) most of the armies have some casters, and they don't feel out of place... you might want to check there for simple but lore-friendly magic to include as skills
 
Nicklongshanks
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Sun 29 Aug 2021, 15:46

I also am in favor of some more specificity in terms of 'spell' options, both for gamemaster characters like Saruman and possible PC options. Like if the PCs have Saruman or Gandalf as a patron, I would prefer to not just handwave things but have guidance on what kind of spells they would use. Rather than rules for what dice to roll or something, I think a list of 5-6 specific 'powers/spells' per Wizard or powerful magic users (Elrond) would be extremely helpful: Gandalf's setting of fires as shown in Hobbit and the wolf scene in Fellowship, talking to birds, summoning lightning, the frightening of the Nazgul in Return of the King, etc. Basically, effects that are different than magical successes for skills (which I love BTW as a brilliant way to do elves and dwarves). Then with such a list, each spell could be a virtue that could be acquired by PCs for GMs that are amenable to their game including it. Care would need to be taken to ensure these spells are subtle, with notes of when using them would incur Shadow.

I think this would be an extremely helpful supplement to any TOR game that is totally in keeping with both Tolkien and the way of the game.

PS: While I respect Zed's efforts, I found his rules over complicated and therefore hard to use. A refinement perhaps more in line with the above would be worth undertaking.
 
Nicklongshanks
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Sun 29 Aug 2021, 15:46

Inquisitor, is this the Middle Earth game from Games Workshop?
 
Sebastian
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Sun 29 Aug 2021, 22:31

I'm really not sure about spellcasting in Middle-earth. The Istari are extremely powerful beings, not to be compared with neither Elves, Dwarves nor Men. You could define some spells for them, but to what end? How often do you go on adventure with Saruman, Gandalf or Radagast?

Tolkien explicitly states, that Men are not able to cast spells. If they've learned magic, it's some sort of sorcery, derived from Morgoth's taint of the creation and influenced by Sauron. The Numenoreans created powerful magical swords and build things, that lasted. Elves create beautiful things, that have some sort of magic, which is just art for them. Dwarves have some form of magic to open and shut passways, or to create weapons, armour or fortifications, that last the ages.

But non of those things are comparable to D&D-like flashy magic, that could be learned by player heroes. And for me that is a good thing. There are other RPGs out there, that do a better job with that. Why should TOR go the same way? We already have that in other games and it doesn't really fit to Middle-earth.
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Mon 30 Aug 2021, 00:15

Tolkien explicitly states, that Men are not able to cast spells. If they've learned magic, it's some sort of sorcery, derived from Morgoth's taint of the creation and influenced by Sauron. The Numenoreans created powerful magical swords and build things, that lasted. Elves create beautiful things, that have some sort of magic, which is just art for them. Dwarves have some form of magic to open and shut passways, or to create weapons, armour or fortifications, that last the ages.
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Tolkien did ascribe some magical abilities to mortal Men who were not servants of evil. Beorn was said to be something of a magician (and he had descendants who were also gifted with his skin-changing ability). Bard and his ancestors could understand the speech of birds. The Dúnedain were capable of crafting weapons that were baneful to Wraiths. Granted, none of this was the equivalent of casting fireballs or magic missiles.
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But non of those things are comparable to D&D-like flashy magic, that could be learned by player heroes. And for me that is a good thing. There are other RPGs out there, that do a better job with that. Why should TOR go the same way? We already have that in other games and it doesn't really fit to Middle-earth.
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The Elves seem most capable among the Children of Ilúvatar of casting what we might call "flashy magic"; and those are mostly Elves and Half-elves of the First Age such as Lúthien and Galadriel (both of whom brought down fortresses of the Enemy with their power).
#FideltyToTolkien
 
AegirLifstan43
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Mon 30 Aug 2021, 06:49

However, the magic of Beorn, is something innate to the person. Magic in the legendarium is bound up with the person. Take for instance the weaving of the robe by Tinuviel, this was due to the power she had within her as a descendant of Melian. She didn't invoke an external magical law to do so.
The same goes for the servants of evil. They're invoking something innate (Morgoth's essence diffused throughout all of Arda) to work their spells.
The case of Beorn would likely be due to him having a Maiar ancestor of some sort.
So then, on the whole the picture is quite a bit different than D&D. In this world, you could have the Arthedain forging swords with special properties, but only due to innate powers within themselves.

(Of course, it is possible that the 3 Great Rings were susceptible due to being made out of the corrupted hroa of Arda, despite not being forged by Tevil-Sauron, but that's another topic entirely)
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Mon 30 Aug 2021, 16:16

However, the magic of Beorn, is something innate to the person. Magic in the legendarium is bound up with the person. Take for instance the weaving of the robe by Tinuviel, this was due to the power she had within her as a descendant of Melian. She didn't invoke an external magical law to do so.
The same goes for the servants of evil. They're invoking something innate (Morgoth's essence diffused throughout all of Arda) to work their spells.
The case of Beorn would likely be due to him having a Maiar ancestor of some sort.
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Completely speculative concerning Beorn's ancestry. We could just as easily say that he might have been a pupil of Radagast the Brown (described as a master of shape and hue). Tolkien's exact quote regarding Beorn in his 1954 letter to Naomi Mitchison (Letter 144) is: "Beorn is dead; see vol. 1 p. 241. He appeared in The Hobbit. It was then the year Third Age 2940 (Shire-reckoning 1340). We are now in the years 3018-19 (1418-19). Though a skin-changer and no doubt a bit of a magician, Beorn was a Man."

Yes, Tolkien gave the wrong year for the events of The Hobbit (2941/1341); and he does not provide any further context or explanation for Beorn's skin-changing ability other than what we are told in-story: that he is under no enchantment but his own. It might be an innate gift. It might have been learned. It might even be a form of (self-imposed?) geas or curse.
#FideltyToTolkien
 
AegirLifstan43
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Mon 30 Aug 2021, 17:59

However, the magic of Beorn, is something innate to the person. Magic in the legendarium is bound up with the person. Take for instance the weaving of the robe by Tinuviel, this was due to the power she had within her as a descendant of Melian. She didn't invoke an external magical law to do so.
The same goes for the servants of evil. They're invoking something innate (Morgoth's essence diffused throughout all of Arda) to work their spells.
The case of Beorn would likely be due to him having a Maiar ancestor of some sort.
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Completely speculative concerning Beorn's ancestry. We could just as easily say that he might have been a pupil of Radagast the Brown (described as a master of shape and hue). Tolkien's exact quote regarding Beorn in his 1954 letter to Naomi Mitchison (Letter 144) is: "Beorn is dead; see vol. 1 p. 241. He appeared in The Hobbit. It was then the year Third Age 2940 (Shire-reckoning 1340). We are now in the years 3018-19 (1418-19). Though a skin-changer and no doubt a bit of a magician, Beorn was a Man."

Yes, Tolkien gave the wrong year for the events of The Hobbit (2941/1341); and he does not provide any further context or explanation for Beorn's skin-changing ability other than what we are told in-story: that he is under no enchantment but his own. It might be an innate gift. It might have been learned. It might even be a form of (self-imposed?) geas or curse.
My gratitude for the note.

Again it does seem though, that Beorn is doing this through something wrapped up with himself, per se.
 
Otaku-sempai
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Mon 30 Aug 2021, 21:59

My gratitude for the note.

Again it does seem though, that Beorn is doing this through something wrapped up with himself, per se.
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Well, there is also Beorn's ability to communicate with animals in general. We don't know where that comes from and how (if at all) it is bound up with his ability to become a bear.
#FideltyToTolkien
 
Sebastian
Posts: 65
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Re: More Spellcasting Ability - New Advanced Race (Istari or Valar Kin) OR New Calling OR Virtues

Tue 31 Aug 2021, 08:53

Completely speculative concerning Beorn's ancestry. We could just as easily say that he might have been a pupil of Radagast the Brown (described as a master of shape and hue). Tolkien's exact quote regarding Beorn in his 1954 letter to Naomi Mitchison (Letter 144) is: "Beorn is dead; see vol. 1 p. 241. He appeared in The Hobbit. It was then the year Third Age 2940 (Shire-reckoning 1340). We are now in the years 3018-19 (1418-19). Though a skin-changer and no doubt a bit of a magician, Beorn was a Man."

Yes, Tolkien gave the wrong year for the events of The Hobbit (2941/1341); and he does not provide any further context or explanation for Beorn's skin-changing ability other than what we are told in-story: that he is under no enchantment but his own. It might be an innate gift. It might have been learned. It might even be a form of (self-imposed?) geas or curse.
Tolkiens quote "...a bit of a magician..." doesn't imply, that there is the possibility to just learn magic spells for humans. In this thread the topic is to develop more Spellcasting Abilities, a new Race or a new calling. And that kind of contradicts Tolkiens spirit of Middle-earth.

I'm not saying, there is no magic to be fond in Men. The Numenorians and later the Dunedain were able achieve great works, but it didn't had to do anything with Wizard-like spells. If you look at Aragorn's abilities to heal, the gift of foresight and his "Ways of the Wild", you could simply assume, that this is due to the fact, that his ancestry includes powerful Elves, Men and Maiar.

There were already two Middle-earth games before TOR: MERP and the Lord of the Rings RPG. Both handled Magic differently than TOR. The first mentioned had D&D-like Spell lists, the second was more on spot, but also gave the possibility to play Magicians, and now TOR goes the "puristic" way.

If you want to include Magic in the Form of Spells, do so, it is your game. You just need to take the Spells from the LotR RPG, and let them be learn via a Mastery (Virtue). The first Spell grants access to the generell "Class", like Nature, Fire etc. The next Spells could just cost 1 AP, similar to the Wood Elf Magic in 1e. You could make up new Callings like Magician, Witch or Sorcerer and grand them access to specific spells. A Spell could cost 1 Hope, grant a Magical Success (what else?) and would need a Skill Roll. If nothing fits, use Lore, Wisdom or Valour.

For me personally that would be too much, but if people have fun with it, why not?

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