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Old 08-11-2018, 12:48 AM   #1
Jim Kane
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Default TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

A recent discussion on the forum about Dwarves caused me to pull out my file copies of D&D: Monsters and Treasure '74, Holmes Basic '77, and Moldvay Basic '81 so as to compare and contrast our TFT Dwarves to that of their basic D&D counter-parts.

The take-away of that research is that the D&D versions of Dwarves also have the following natural abilities:
  • The rough equivalent of the Dark Vision spell (IQ 9)
  • The rough equivalent of rolling one less d6 vs IQ to detect slanting passages, traps, shifting walls and new construction.
  • The limited equivalent of the Spell Shield spell (IQ 14), but only enhancing resistance, and is not wholly preventative as in the TFT spell.
  • Speaking Goblin and 2 other smaller humanoid-tongues for races TFT does not use.

While I am not endorsing any of these for our TFT Dwarves, I can see the logic behind Dwarves being underground dwellers, that the race - after multiple generations underground - might possibly develop genetics with enhanced vision in the dark.

Also, as dwellers (and one would assume the builders) of underground cities (See TFT:ITL page 50) the detection bonus to spot architectural or structural anomalies in the environment of the underground also seems reasonable to me.

I have no literary reference which I can recall off the top of my head as to why Dwarves should be magically-resistant; however, if this was so in TFT, should one also reasonably expect that Dwarves would also *use* magic at a disadvantage - making the magic-resistance work both ways?

As far as naturally knowing the languages of other races because they are also "small folks", but from a different race and culture, is a bit of a stretch for me; so unless there is some other reason for this natural ability I am unaware of, I can't figure out a rationale for this.

Thoughts?

JK

Last edited by Jim Kane; 08-11-2018 at 12:55 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old 08-11-2018, 01:28 AM   #2
Skarg
 
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Default Re: TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

I really like that TFT races have their own flavor that is distinct from other games (and I especially like that it's not like D&D) and leave a lot of room for GMs to make their own variations.

Magic resistance can be nice (it's a thing in GURPS, where yes it usually keeps you from casting spells... unless you have the kind that doesn't ;-) ), but TFT has so few spells with any kind of resistance. I guess you could have magic resistance as a possible trait (perhaps more common in dwarves, or not), maybe as a random chance of stopping spells like a spell shield... though that'd be quite a valuable trait.

Having all races know certain languages seems like the sort of weird D&D rule that's part of why I balk at D&D (like 40' infravision & so many other things). i.e. Language learning should be up to each individual, and tendencies to learn languages would be cultural & regional and so on, not "all dwarves know goblin".

One thing that I sometimes felt I wanted as a dwarf fan, was an extended lifespan like elves had... although that's also a can of worms.

I just hope TFT dwarves manage to avoid becoming all Scottish- or Yorkshire -accented etc.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:27 AM   #3
JLV
 
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Default Re: TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

I think the "magic resistance" thing was an attempt to account for what Tolkien described as the Dwarves' innate toughness and resistance to domination by the Dark Lord, in D&D terms. I don't think it had much relevance outside of Tolkien.

Of course, I'm no expert on the Edda or Finnish folklore, so perhaps it goes deeper than that.

As far as languages go, I have no idea where that came from, unless Gygax decided that gnomes and Goblins and such were all somehow related?
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:29 AM   #4
zot
 
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Default Re: TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
I have no literary reference which I can recall off the top of my head as to why Dwarves should be magically-resistant; however, if this was so in TFT, should one also reasonably expect that Dwarves would also *use* magic at a disadvantage - making the magic-resistance work both ways?
In Norse mythology, the dwarves are the source of (all?) magic artifacts for the gods. The gods can personally use magic but I'm not sure whether dwarves can.

Also, Norse dwarves turn to stone when exposed to sunlight :).

Tolkien's dwarves are not the same as Norse ones but he was an expert on Norse mythology and it was a huge influence on his works. He took many of his characters' names from it; Gandalf is the name of a Norse dwarf, for instance. Tolkien loved the Prose Edda so much that he made his students learn Old Norse so they could read it in the original language. Definitely worth reading.
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Old 08-11-2018, 11:04 AM   #5
Jim Kane
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Default Re: TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

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Originally Posted by zot View Post
...Also, Norse dwarves turn to stone when exposed to sunlight :). Tolkien's dwarves are not the same as Norse ones but he was an expert on Norse mythology and it was a huge influence on his works.
Wow, talk about a Character Disadvantage; that would be rough on a PC. Perhaps that is were Tolkien got the idea for having Trolls turn to stone in the daylight. Though I must confess, I much prefer the TFT Trolls which regenerate and must be burnt - one of my favorite TFT creatures.

JK
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Old 08-11-2018, 02:14 PM   #6
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

I think in Norse mythology the Dwarves and Trolls were originally the same thing; crafty, diminutive, magical, subterranean, often the source of bad luck. Modern authors such as Tolkien and Poul Anderson played about with the original sources. Tolkien separated Dwarves and Trolls (making the Trolls more like Ogres or Giants). I prefer Poul Andersons conception as described in his novel "The Broken Sword", which I think informed the conception of Trolls in Runequest.

The Trolls in TFT come squarely from the Tolkien to D&D lineage.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:44 PM   #7
ak_aramis
 
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Default Re: TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

I think it would be a great compendium addition to have "racial talents" for use with various non-humans... but bought with points rather than IQ slots

Darkvision (as the spell)
Double ST
Low Light Vision
Weapon Class bonus (+1 with all Swords, or +1 with all bows, or +1 with slings, or +1 with spears and atlatl)
Telepathy - projective only.
Target Bonus - +1 vs specific species or group of species
Racial Toughness +1 saves vs some category of damage source or +1 AV.

There are enough various categories of elven and dwarven variants, plus halfling variants, that a stable method for adapting other games' races in a consistent manner really is needed.

The major fantasy games that don't need a cleric add-on include: Tunnels & Trolls, Fantasy Age, Dragon Age

Several others have no clear distinction between clerical and wizardly magic, but call them different because the cleric can have them turned off: D&D 1-3, D&D 5, AD&D 1-2, Pathfinder, Arrowflight 1-2....
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:10 PM   #8
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

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Originally Posted by Jim Kane View Post
I have no literary reference which I can recall off the top of my head as to why Dwarves should be magically-resistant
When describing the failure of the One Ring to enslave the seven Dwarf Lords, Tolkien writes that "the Dwarves had proved untameable by this means. The only power over them that the Rings wielded was to inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things*, so that if they lacked them all other good things seemed profitless, and they were filled with wrath and desire for vengeance on all who deprived them. But they were made from their beginning of a kind to resist most steadfastly any domination".

--
* so presumably those rings don't turn dwarves invisible, either. Inflicting greed is the "only" power.
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Old 08-11-2018, 04:53 PM   #9
Jim Kane
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Default Re: TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

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Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
When describing the failure of the One Ring to enslave the seven Dwarf Lords, Tolkien writes that "the Dwarves had proved untameable by this means. The only power over them that the Rings wielded was to inflame their hearts with a greed of gold and precious things*, so that if they lacked them all other good things seemed profitless, and they were filled with wrath and desire for vengeance on all who deprived them. But they were made from their beginning of a kind to resist most steadfastly any domination".

--
* so presumably those rings don't turn dwarves invisible, either. Inflicting greed is the "only" power.
Fantastic post Anaraxes. Is this from a commentary outside of the story itself? If so, would you provide the citation, I would like to read more of this; it's great.

Thanks.

JK
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Old 08-11-2018, 05:33 PM   #10
JLV
 
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Default Re: TFT Dwarves vs D&D Dwarves

Wasn't it in one of the appendices at the end of LotR? (I lost my last copy about ten years ago, and have yet to reacquire it, so I'm operating off memory here.)
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