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Old 02-09-2018, 09:03 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

I prefer my fantasy a bit more Tolkien-y and a bit less D&D-ish. I especially don't like mages tramping around fireballing things. Magic has inherent issues:
  • It's very difficult to balance properly: low-level spellcasters tend to be underpowered, while high-level casters tend te be overpowered.
  • It's just too convenient: given enough spells, magic can solve any problem. And if spellcasters are willing to rest a lot, magic is basically unlimited. Not even food is a limiting factor with a "create food" spell.

So, what would I change?
The big one: no spellcasters. In Tolkien (and actually loads of fantasy literature) there's (almost) no actual spellcasting going on. That doesn't mean there's no magic. Magic is just more "built in". There can still be magical items and certain persons or creatures can still have special powers because of who they are: Aragorn has super healing powers because he is the True King. Shadowfax is more than just a horse. Gandalf as a spellcaster would be the laughing stock of the Forgotten Realms, but he clearly has special powers.

And the other one: elves. Tolkienian elves do hunt and they do forage. So sense of duty (nature) should be less limiting and also probably give fewer points.

In detail:
With no spellcasting, there will obviously be no wizards.

Music is powerful, so there's no reason bard songs wouldn't work. But downright spellcasting will not work. Bards will have to concentrate on songs and social skills, for the rest bards can stay unchanged.

There's no reason why chi powers and holy powers wouldn't work. So Holy Warriors and Martial Artists can remain unchanged, maybe under another name for flavour.

Clerics and Druids will come very close to each other without spells. I would merge them and elaborate on herbal healing. Gathering herbs, brewing potions, treating wounds and disease with herbal recipes. That kind of thing. They can also inherit the intellectual aspect of wizards (research, savoir-faire). I would call the result Loremaster. That has a nice Tolkien-y ring to it. Maybe still some split could be made between more urban, priestly types (research, savoir-faire, holy powers) and rural, healer types (healing and animal/plant empathy) but I fear both would turn out a bit limited.

As said, Tolkienian elves do hunt and forage and they can camp without actually lugging tents along. Having an elf around will save on the weight of camping equipment. Of course the elf will have to do the associated rolls. Elves tend to be a bit "my way or the highway" so hunting and foraging will have to be done the elven way (ecologically). Of course for elves that is second nature, but anyone else hunting with an elf in the party will suffer a penalty (-2 seems reasonable). For the rest they should still be nature lovers, just not the soppy kind, so no attacking non-evil creatures except in self-defence.
Elves have magery 0. That becomes a great asset with no spellcasting: it gives them a monopoly on identifying magic artifacts. I would rename it to something like "Elven lore". Some learned non-elven people might know about specific artifacts, but only elves can recognise an unknown artifact on sight (because they are ancient and dad knew Feanor in his youth and all that).

All this makes elves more powerful and should also make their template more expensive. Making sense of duty (nature) give less points can do that. Also magery 0 can be made more expensive. I would say some 10 points all together.

Does this sound kind of reasonable?
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