Phillip Gladney posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 12:37 am
I agree with you about the spell vrs. skill in most Ranger traits, however, my point was just that Aragorn himself used a spell (which actually had nothing to do with his being a Ranger). Also, you referred to the Wizards using spells and how Elves might have just used it innately. In answer to that (I have read more of the Fellowship since my last post, halfway through Moria right now...) I would like to quote Gandalf when he was frustrated at the Gates of Moria. After some time not being able to figure out the opening spell he says,"I once knew every spell in all of the tongues of Elves or Men or Orcs, that was ever used for such a purpose. I can still remember ten score of them without searching in my mind." This is pretty conclusive to me. He is literally saying that not only Elves, but Men AND ORCS used spells! Spells involving the use of language it seems. The amount of different spells (ten score!?!) just to open a door is astounding to me. These two sentences really change the entire discussion and make it almost definitive that there were active users of powers other than the Istari. The discussion could then go to how many? what requirements would they require? was this something that happened less and less over the millenia (I think it did and Tolkien alluded to it many times...). Of course, discussion is always healthy, I just believe, and even more so now that I read those two sentences, that there were spell users other than the Istari who had access to a variety of spells and not inherent abilities. I'm not sure the magic was all that "subtle". Rare? Yes, but not necessarily subtle.
Just my $.02
Osric posted on Friday, February 01, 2002 - 7:35 pm
In response to shnar: > For example, when he dropped to the ground and > listened to the Riders of Rohan [...] he wasn't > casting a "ranger" spell to figure out how many > horses, but rather using a ranger skill, > listening to the earth's vibrations, etc.
Except that he was expressly described as being "grey and drawn" (IIRC) after his efforts, which sounds to me like he'd been burning PP, not just pressing his ear to the turf and listening, but achieving something that required a considerable exertion of will.
I don't broadly disagree with you, but when Galadriel and co. go out of their way to point out that there are many things that are possible which other people might "call 'magic'", I think it works better to call them magic and require them to cost Will to use. If we don't offer these sorts of truly Tolkieny things, defined as magic, our players -- who will always want magic -- will just start expecting less appropriate stuff. Os.
lann posted on Monday, February 04, 2002 - 5:40 am
In my Middle Earth campaign I've been using my own version of corruption points for years. Basically players recieve them for any dark actions that they do. Obviously dark actions differ between different races. For example what may seem to be just to a northman warrior would be different for a Dunadain Knight. Common sense in cases has to prevail.
I also give them for casting 'selfish' spells ie. spells that are not for the good of 'things' (I'm sure you tolkien heads will follow my meaning). A point per level of spell is the norm.
Basically I work it where if you corruption reaches your SD then basically you fall into darkness. Now before you judge too harshly just be aware that a character if he is getting these points will probably be heading towards that way anyway by his actions so it's really just a terminology. He will still play his character but he will be acutely aware that he's working for 'them' (if you get my meaning).
Corruption points also come off your RR when resisiting evil mentilism spells especially 'suggestion' spells. They will also be taken off your will when resisting items (who have a will of their own).
This will also mean that the 'wise' will be able to look into your heart and decern your nature although a non-detect spell may be able to hide this.
Atonement is possible but this is difficult and I have quiet specific guidelines for doing this.
Also it is possible for my players to go into negative corruption for truly heroic deeds. This will have the opposite effect to corruption on their RR's etc.
All in all I have found that by introducing this I have given my players a feel for middle earth and a responsibility for their actions.
I did see that Merp2 had corruption points posted in it but as you can see these were quiet different from mine.
My players have urged me for years to write to ICE and put some suggestions to them. Unfortunately now it's too late (for Middle Earth at least).
shnar posted on Monday, February 04, 2002 - 10:03 am
Osric, I never read that description of Aragorn as relation to his listening to the earth (i.e. casting a spell), but more as a general description of the anguish that Aragorn had been going to up to this point. You have a good friend die in your arms, be forced to make a decision of letting two other good friends die in torment or following a different two friends on a quest you were sworn to, then run 3 days straight and tell me if you wouldn't look worn and thin.
My point is there's no doubt Aragorn had some magical abilities, but I attest these abilities to his heritage, not to his being a Ranger. Do you thing Halbarad had the same magical abilities? My main point though is RM's magic is much more geared for "High Fantasy", but I feel Tolkien's magic is much more subtle and rare, a lot more difficult to replicate in a roleplaying system (i.e. wouldn't be as fun to play).
Iann, that's an interesting take on Corruption points, particularly their negative mod. vs. evil-mental spells. And how they can be gauged by others trying to determine if the player is evil or not. Since MERP is gone, why not write it up as an article for the Guild Companion?
Anonymous posted on Thursday, February 21, 2002 - 11:40 am
Have any of you considered that the era of the 3rd age in which you are playing should make a difference as to how common or powerful magic is? There will neccessarily be some more powerful stuff going on around 1640 than there will be in 3018. With the elves leaving in droves and the Dunedain waining throughout the 3rd age, there will naturally be a decline. Our GM chalks it up to these factors as well as the Witch-King's ability to sense powerful magic, track it down, and crush it. You use it at your own risk.
shnar posted on Thursday, February 21, 2002 - 12:05 pm
I personally like playing in the late Third Age, "Book Era" as I call it, usually between the years of The Hobbit and Fellowship Of The Ring (i.e. 2950 and 3018 T.A.). It gives my players, at least those who've read the books, a bit more of a reference, and I always like to bring in characters from the books. Adds a little excitement when OOCly they know who they're dealing with.
lann posted on Friday, February 22, 2002 - 4:18 am
I do actually think that the time in the third age when the book is set is comparibly a very poor time to roleplay. Now, before we all get heated up just think about this for a moment.
Unless your heavely in killing orcs there's not really that much to do. Everywhere is on it's knees and huge parts of Middle Earth remain desolated and empty.
The blood of Numenor is all but spent and Gondors huge Empire is nothing more than a frontier city.
Journeys into real places of danger are completely out of the question unless your extreamly powerful so it leaves not too many avenues to explore.
A good GM can always come up with something but there is really not that much PC's can do to effectivley change the outcome of anything (if you follow me). Saurons arm has grown too long and his plans are almost at fruition.
Journey out of NW Middle Earth is pointless as just about everywhere else is under the dark lords yoke. In a word there is no hope.
Taking ME at an earlier point gives the PC's a chance (at least in their eyes) of making a difference. Powerfull allies still exist and there is always the scope for much more adventure than just trying to stay the stem of an ever growing tide of orcs from all directions.
This is one of the reasons that I have a few reservations about when Deciphers game is set. ICE got it just about right in my opinion - a time when there is at least still some hope as well as an ever growing 'feeling' of the return of the shadow.
shnar posted on Friday, February 22, 2002 - 10:30 am
Eh, depends on how you run your campaigns. There's still plenty of opportunity for adventuring in late 3rd Age, and in fact I'd say there's a lot more non-combat adventuring to be had. If you're in Gondor, all sorts of political troubles in the different cities. Rohan has their orc raids to content with (nothing that requires huge-leveled adventures), Mirkwood is "cleansed" but being "re-eviled", plenty of adventure for Man/Dwarf/Elf based campaigns, and then there's the Shire, if you like hobbit-based campaigns. The only place that's rather dry is Arnor, being basically the WitchKing's backyard. Unless you're running a Dunadan campaign, that'd be probably a hard place to run.
The nice thing about late TA campaigns is when events or characters from the books leak into the game. My players have always liked seeing them happen, and there's no such thing as an "impossability" in my games. If something happens and they're there, they can change it (help the story along, or even alter it to their own devices).
lann posted on Friday, February 22, 2002 - 11:13 am
I take your point Shnar, but you could run all of the above earlier and with just as much depth. As for introducing characters from the book, well most of them with exception to a few are around for much of the third age anyway.
The real problem comes with the fact that things have got to such a low bad point by the LOTR as that it makes it all a bit grim, things have passed and gone stale and only enemy has grown strong.
I know you love your purism and I have to applaud you for it but it may tie your hands slightly. seeing it earlier gives the GM more scope I feel.
J.A.L. posted on Friday, February 22, 2002 - 3:52 pm
I don't see why you couldn't adventure outside the NW of ME in the late 3rd age. Just because the Haradrim are Sauron's allies doesn't mean that the area is "evil". Seems to me that it would still be a dynamic, vibrant area with all sorts of factions vying for control, as it usually seems to be there. And everywhere else outside of the NW part is totally open to whatever the GM wants to make up.
Now I personally would prefer to campaign at a different time, but I think any time period has potential.