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Old 12-23-2006, 01:48 PM   #1
Gavynn
 
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Default Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

It is rather ironic that some one posted very recently about the differences between Banestorm and LotR elves, as I have been working on stating out LotR elves myself. I have noticed that we lack a single place online to store GURPS LotR material and I am looking very much forward to running a LotR game with GURPS. As has been mentioned before though, GM prep can be a massive undertaking with GURPS, especially when trying to create as detailed a setting as LotR, so when I get my supplent finished I am going to make it available to the public in .pdf format, but I am going to run my drafts by this board for constructive criticism as this is such a fantastic community.

So here we go, my templates for the Noldor, Sindar, and Sylvan elves. Please note this is just a draft, and not my final form. But I will refrain from saying what I think their short coming are until I have heard other people's comments. Oh, and by they way, I used to play a lot of 3rd ed back in the day and originally was going to make this a 3rd ed supplement, but decided to upgrade to 4th ed and am glad I made the switch. But if you see any mechanical problems, please point those out too. I have the Noldor, Sindar, and Sylvan elves stated out, but all three have the characteristics of 'All Elves' listed at the bottom. Oh, and one more thing. My supplement (and game) will always default to the books - NOT the movies. However, I will be including an appendix covering changes that should be made to represent the movies should a GM desire to run a movies based LotR game, but my defaulr is always the books, so please keep that in mind.

NOLDOR
It costs 392 points to play a Noldor elf.

Attribute Modifiers
+1 Strength [10]
+2 Intelligence [40]
+1 Dexterity [20]
+1 Health [10]

Languages
Sindarian (Native/Fully Literate) [0]
Quenya (Native/Fully Literate) [6]
Westron (Native/Fully Literate) [6]

Racial Advantages
Strong Will (+10) [50] (B.16) NOTE: This replaces the usual strong will for all elves
Fearless (+10) [20] (B.55) NOTE: This replaces the usual strong will for all elves
See Invisible (Spirits) [15]
Ultrahearing (Spirits) [5] (B.94)
True Faith (Turning +65%) [25] (B.94)
Medium [10] (B.68, P.59)
Spirit Empathy [10] (B.88)
Detect (Spirits) [20] (B.48)

Racial Disadvantages
Sense of Duty – Elves [-20] (B.153)

Features
Dying Race [0]
Build – Add three inches to height [0]

Recommendations
Noldor Elves are suitable for the Weapon Master (B.99) advantage and/or Trained by a Master (B.93). Also, the great Noldor Warriors are eligible for weapon skills in the 22 or 23 range. At the discretion of the GM the greatest of all Noldor Warriors may possess weapon skills in the 24-26 range.

SINDAR
It costs 296 points to play a Sindar Elf

Attribute Modifiers
+2 Dexterity [40]
+1 Intelligence [20]

Languages
Sindarian (Native/Fully Literate) [0]
Westron (Native/Fully Literate) [6]

Racial Advantages
Talent (Musical Ability) +2 [10] (B.89)
Voice [10] (B.93)

Features
Dying Race [0]
Build – Add two inches to height [0]


SYLVAN
It costs 270 points to play a Sylvan elf.

Attribute Modifiers
+2 Dexterity [40]

Languages
Bethteur (Native/Fully Literate) [0]
Sindarian (Native/Fully Literate) [6]

Racial Advantages
Talent (Woodcrafty) +2 [10]
Plant Empathy [5] (B.75)

Quirks
Mildly Xenophobic [-1]

Features
Dying Race [0]
Build – Add one inch to height [0]

ALL ELVES

Secondary Characteristics
Increased Perception (+5) [25] (B.16)
Strong Will (+4) [20] (B.16)

Racial Advantages
Magery Level Zero [5] (B.66)
Talent (Animal Friend) Four [20] (B.89)
Temperature Tolerance [10] (B.93)
Appearance (Attractive) [4] (B.21)
Danger Sense [15] (B.47)
Does not sleep [20] (B.50)
Telescopic Vision x5 [25] (B.92)
Fearless + 5 [10] (B.55)
Perfect Balance [15] (B.74)
Rapid Healing [5] (B.79)
Combat Reflexes [15] (B.43)
Unaging [15] (B.95)
Immunity to Sickness [15]
Acute Hearing 4 [8] (B.35)

Racial Disadvantages
Sense of Duty – Nature [-15] (B.15)

Racial Quirks
Distrust of Dwarves [-1]
Sensitive to Black Speech [-1]

Features
Does not grow facial hair (until great age) [0]
Gracefully Pointed Ears [0]
Immune to Fear Caused by the Spirits of Men [0]
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Old 12-23-2006, 02:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

good project! I'll just comment on the first template for now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
Strong Will (+10) [50] (B.16) NOTE: This replaces the usual strong will for all elves
Fearless (+10) [20] (B.55) NOTE: This replaces the usual strong will for all elves
Will adjustments should be listed in Secondary Characteristics, as there's no longer such an advantage as Strong Will. Secondly, +10? It might be overkill. Also, there's no reason to take Fearlessness for 20 points, since Unfazeable costs 15.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
See Invisible (Spirits) [15]
Ultrahearing (Spirits) [5] (B.94)
True Faith (Turning +65%) [25] (B.94)
Medium [10] (B.68, P.59)
Spirit Empathy [10] (B.88)
Detect (Spirits) [20] (B.48)
Ultrahearing? Do spirits whistle? Medium covers hearing them. Also, if elves can see invisible spirits, do they need Detect? Sure, there are some situations where it might matter, but perhaps it complicates matters unduly. Also, are spirits as common as people in Middle-Earth? Because 20 points is a lot.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
Racial Disadvantages
Sense of Duty – Elves [-20] (B.153)
This should be worth -15.
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Old 12-23-2006, 03:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelSammallahti
Will adjustments should be listed in Secondary Characteristics, as there's no longer such an advantage as Strong Will. Secondly, +10? It might be overkill. Also, there's no reason to take Fearlessness for 20 points, since Unfazeable costs 15.
One of my thoughts is that +10 might be overkill. I'll think on that. I would want passing a will test to be almost automatic though. I considered unfazeable, but I just did not think that it felt right. I don't think they should be exempt from making fright checks. I think intimidation should be able to work on them - maybe not easily, but I can't see making them blanketly immune to them, but I might be open to an arguement otherwise. Maybe for Noldor is makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelSammallahti
Ultrahearing? Do spirits whistle? Medium covers hearing them. Also, if elves can see invisible spirits, do they need Detect? Sure, there are some situations where it might matter, but perhaps it complicates matters unduly. Also, are spirits as common as people in Middle-Earth? Because 20 points is a lot.
Ah, so get rid of ultrahearing. Makes sense. Good catch. I'll look over the detect in greater detail. I am not sure how common spirits are in Middle-earth. The source material is a bit vague. I'll consider in further detail


Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelSammallahti
This should be worth -15.
Noted. Thanks
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Old 12-23-2006, 03:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
One of my thoughts is that +10 might be overkill. I'll think on that. I would want passing a will test to be almost automatic though. I considered unfazeable, but I just did not think that it felt right. I don't think they should be exempt from making fright checks. I think intimidation should be able to work on them - maybe not easily, but I can't see making them blanketly immune to them, but I might be open to an arguement otherwise. Maybe for Noldor is makes sense.
You have a point about total immunity. Then again, I doubt anything less than a balrog or dragon could scare one of them, and such creatures might well have Terror with the Cosmic enhancement.

Since Fright Checks always fail on 14+, an elf with Will 21 and 10 levels of Fearlessness will only notice a difference if the Fright Check has a penalty of -19 or worse. That's a penalty that eliminates any ordinary human's - even a really extraordinary one's - chance to resist altogether. And since Fearlessness both subtracts from Intimidate and adds to Will to resist, they'll be on even terms with someone whose Intimidate skill is 41! I think they might do with a bit of downgrading.
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Old 12-23-2006, 05:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

Just FYI, not that your development should stop, but here is how one person did it.
GURPS Rules for Middle Earth Campaigns

RH
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Old 12-23-2006, 05:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

Oh, and since many people misunderstand the relationships between the various Elves, here is The Encyclopedia of Arda . See the entry under 'Elves'.

RH
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Old 01-01-2007, 01:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

A while ago a posted some brief thoughts on how to model elven magic in GURPS
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread...eer#post332041
It seems to capture the spirit of the way elves did things, at any rate.

Luke
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Old 06-28-2007, 12:48 PM   #8
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Default Re: Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

OK... my attempt to post my replies to the entire thread was too long to post! I hope it is not excessive to put it in 3 posts? Is it considered rude to reply this thoroughly? I don't want to hijack the conversation.


Please post the Calaquende lens? I personally suggest giving them bonuses (beyond other elves) to Health, Will, maybe 1 or 2 points to Strength, plus all the "in both worlds" advantages, and the lowest level of the Glowing (quirk level, appearance normal). There's a Pyramid article with Glowing written up as Ads and Disads, I don't know if they were incorporated into 4th Edition. I would give Calaquendi the lowest level, since it seems to be visible mainly in the dark. (Glorfindel seems to glow extra because he was reincarnated). Or it might be mostly visible only in the unseen world. Also, Calaquendi would have some knowledge about the Valar and Maiar that most folks don't get.

There's a lot of good stuff in here that you guys have come up with, even though I mostly post replies to what I disagree with. I've been trying to work out some of this stuff on my own, but my knowledge of Middle-Earth is not matched by equal knowledge of GURPS. It's really nice to see you guys' ideas.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
I had thought about some kind of talent for crafts in the Noldo template, but I was thinking that this might be better represented by high individual skills for those who had learned from Aulë the Smith.
I think it was a cultural, rather than racial thing, that they just tend to spend their centuries of experience acquiring huge skills in crafting. Not necessarily only those who learned directly from Aule, either.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
I was reading up on the way sense checks worked, and now I tend to agree. Boosting per effectively increases the acuteness of all of their senses simultaneously, then I can leave it to individual elves to increase their individual senses as he or she might see fit. I'll have to explain that to my players, though, as I am sure the first thing they will want to know is why elves don't have acute vision. So an increase in per and telescopic vision should cover that. With the acute vision and the per increase I was effectively doubling up, like I was doing with the will and the fearlessness earlier. You're right, point economy is not a particular concern of this template, just modeling the elves. I don't intend to allow elves as a PC race anyway. I think that elves having heightened sense of taste would fit well with the theme. I am thinking particularly in wines here. The elven palette can appreciate far more subtle variations in flavour than that of Men. I see that being a point in the story.
You have a good point here, doubling high Perception with Acute Vision is overkill. Similarly, doubling Fearless with high Will. The Telescopic vision is good though. What about an ability to see into the unseen for the Calaquendi? They would for example, be able to see the "true" form of ringwraiths, or see people who used the One Ring to be invisible. I wonder if in the unseen, they can see things about people that are not obvious in the physical plane.
I don't get any impression that the unseen world has tons of spirits running around in it. It would contain faded elves, and ghosts and lesser wraiths, and maybe give a bonus to detecting the presence of "unclad" Maiar. But I don't know of any spirits that are native to the unseen world. That seems more an animistic sort of thing. Anyway I don't see spirits being as common as people, until the Fifth Age or something when most of the elves are faded.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Celjabba
-i wouldnt get elves any iq racial bonus. they have some great minds, but i don't remenber them being a genius race.
Yeah, the bonus they get from their long lives would be better modeled with Eidetic memory and tons of CP to sink into skills. I don't see them as racially mentally superior to humans.

Quote:
-tolkien world is definitively a low 'mundane magic' world. is there a reason for the racial magery ?
perhaps rather a alchemy variant ?
I agree there. D&D it is not. The most impressive magic belonged to Gandalf anyway, and he was a Maia. I wouldn't consider them a playable race.
The elven "magic" seems to me to be a matter of alchemy, of creating "magical" objects, not of casting spells or lighting fires by magic. It is an extension of the Noldor's amazing skill in crafting. Same with dwarven magic, really.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NineDaysDead
Why not Language Talent [10] (B.65)?
I agree, Noldor seem to have Language Talent. Although be careful here; Finrod's especially impressive talent was a specific psionic thing, probably unique to him. According to the War of the Jewels Finrod "'was renowned among the Eldar for this power which he had, because of the warmth of his heart and his desire to understand others; yet his power was no greater than that of the least of the Maiar.'"

Quote:
I have a vague recollection of some First Age badass elf healing from a vicious wound overnight, that sounds like Regeneration: Regular [25]. If the fastest healing elf ever has Regeneration: Regular [25], then maybe Regeneration: Slow [10] might be right for the average elf; it’s 6 times faster than the average human, 1.5 times faster than the best human.
That was Beleg, I think. However, looking at the passages in Children of Hurin, it only says that he was wounded, not how badly. And only that "he remained perforce in Bar-en-Danwedh until his wounds were healed." but not how long that took.

I don't think they have Regeneration. They do heal more quickly than humans are capable of, but they can't regenerate body parts. I don't know where the relevant passage is written so I can only 'quote' from memory: "The Quendi healed rapidly from injuries that would kill mortals, but their bodies could not replace lost members, such as a hand hewn off."
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Old 06-28-2007, 12:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

OK... continuing with my replies.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen
I agree it's a zero point effect. It's the same 0 point effect that practically any character in a fantasy world where "souls" are real has: "when you die, your soul goes to an afterlife place". The fact that the afterlife location, for Tolkien elves, happens to be in the same physical world, isn't really that relevant.
...If I'm running a fantasy campaign, and one of the characters dies, but I decide that they were so cool that the gods decide to revive them, the character doesn't need Unkillable for that to happen - all it needs is GM fiat. The benefit of Unkillable is guaranteed, quick ressurection - neither of which Tolkien elves have. So, no Unkillable.
I agree 100%. When elves die, they go to the Halls of Mandos, where Mandos judges them to decide whether he will reincarnate them at all. If he decides to reincarnate them, even the virtuous still have to wait for at least a little while:

"Re-birth is not the only fate of the houseless fear. The Shadow upon Arda caused not only misfortune and injury to the body. It could corrupt the mind... Moreover, some fear in grief or weariness relinquished their bodies, even though these might have been healed or were indeed unhurt. Few of these latter desired to be re-born... some never returned. Of the others, the wrong-doers, many were held long in 'waiting', and some were not permitted to take up their lives again.
For there was, for all the fear of the Dead, a time of Waiting, in which, howsoever they had died, they were corrected, instructed, strengthened, or comforted, according to their deserts. ...
Those who were healed could be re-born, if they desired it: none are re-born or sent back into life unwilling. The others remained, by desire or command, fear unbodied..." ~ Morgoth's Ring, pp. 222-223

Fear are the spirits or souls of elves and men. Since reincarnation is neither guaranteed nor quick, I can't see giving them Unkillable.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
I can see something like that. My bottom line is that I don't think that it feels right to force an elf to age on a failed will roll, or something like that. If the elf wants to go on living then he or she does.
I agree with that, I don't see forcing them to will themselves not to age. Everything I've read tells me that they are just naturally unaging. Maybe they grow a beard after a really long time, but their appearance and health are unaffected. Those who were grey-haried, were born that way. The fading was more of them slowly losing physical strength and becoming ethereal, until they were entirely within the unseen world, like a wraith. Except, not unnatural abominations like a wraith, and able to become corporeal and visible at will. At that point they no longer require food or water, and are apparently even Immune to Biological Hazards. They can't even be killed once they are fully faded, because their body is too ethereal to physically damage. This is described... somewhere I forget where. Morgoth's Ring, I think. I'm too lazy to go get my book, but faded elves can still show their form, which exists eventually only in memory. How would we model fading, actually? It takes such a long time (thousands and thousands of years) that it probably wouldn't be any more than a Quirk or Feature. I wrote up templates for faded (and reincarnated) elves, should I post them? They're pathetically incomplete.
I can certainly see elves failing Will rolls against fading, though. The Calaquendi and Exiles in general seem to fade more slowly. But their first "aging" roll in that case would be at the age of, like, 8000 years. Isn't it said "and age diminishes their strength not, unless one grow weary of ten thousand years."


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen
They definitely can: in the story of Eol and Maeglin, Eol tried to poison his son, but ened up poisoning his wife instead, and she died from that later.
Actually, I wouldn't give them immunity to enviromental syndromes, just a high resistance. Remember, during the crossing of the Grinding Ice, many of Fingolfin's Noldor died, so obviously cold is still a danger, even if not as dangerous to them as to humans.
Yep, vulnerable to poison, also hypothermia and other metabolic hazards. But not disease.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
I gave them increased temperature tolerance, although the exact level to which that needs to be given may still need to be worked out. So elves can operate in heat or cold, but could still freeze to death to be sure.
Aye. I think it is written somewhere that even on hard rocks or ice, they only wore very light shoes. Also, in the Tale of Tuor (I forget which version) it is said that those who survived the Helkaraxe had a greater tolerance for cold afterwards.
Those who died, well... I had the impression many of them drowned (Noldor apparently aren't famous for their swimming powess) or died of hypothermia after falling in the water. Or just plain starved/froze; it takes a lot of food and energy to keep warm in extreme cold.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Agemegos
Let me tell you, the Názgűl were right to run from Glorfindel (in Tolkien's revised concept of him). This was an elf who had killed a balrog in hand to hand combat. He was killed in the process, it is true: but after a while he decided that being dead was a waste of time, resurrected himself, and walked back from the afterlife.
Um.. sorry to contradict you here but that isn't what happened. Glorfindel is indeed an uber supergrossity (as I think you said earlier) who killed a Balrog and was generally amazing and badass. But, no elf can reincarnate themselves. Tolkien briefly toyed with the idea, but he rejected it along with the notion that they are reborn as children. His final idea was that the Valar decide who they will allow to leave the Halls of Mandos, and construct for them a new body which looks exactly like their old one (presumably minus any injuries and scars).
Glorfindel returned to Middle-Earth on a Numenorean ship. The Eresseans visited Numenor often enough, and Tar-Minastir was making an expedition to Lindon at that time to help the Eldar against the newly-revealed Sauron. However, Glorfindel was a major exception, and he needed special permission from the Valar to do this. Their general rule was that no elf from Aman or Eressea could go to Middle-Earth after the War of Wrath, even if they had died and the rest of their family lived on the other side of the sea. Glorfindel was sent for the same reason as the Istari, to be an emissary of the Valar and a help to the beleaguered Elves and mortals fighting Sauron. I think Glorfindel and Luthien were probably the only two elves that ever returned to Earth after death (but I don't know how Luthien traveled back).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercator
In the books, they never seem to have problems to hide because of the glow; whole caravans of Elves travelled through the forests of the Middle-Earth to the Grey Havens without anybody seeing or hearing them.

I Interpret the light of Aman as being too faint to see unless you know what to look for, and even the only if the Elf in question wants to be seen. In short, a poetic metaphor; unrealistic but very beautiful and inspiring. I'd wouldn't take it very literally.
I hadn't thought of it that way before, but it is a nice interpretation. Or Gavynn's idea that they glow more mainly when trying to be intimidating or inspiring, or when using their spiritual power. Another possibility is simply that it's too faint to see except close-up in the dark.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen
In any case, if we're using the Silmarillion as canon, Finrod doesn't have any descendants. Or, at least, none that he had before or during the Exile. Of course, he was re-embodied, so I suppose he could have married his Vanyar sweetheart, and had a kid or two
I certainly hope so. :)
I think Gildor is just a guy from the household of those who served the Finarfir in the feudal/medieval sense. He doesn't seem important enough IMHO to be a royal prince. I'd expect him to have a greater part in the War of the Ring.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
I am already usig True Faith to have them be able to turn spirits (those things unseen they have control over) so I think they should use intimidate to "turn" an orc. It feels more intuitive that way, to me at least.
I think it was mostly only Glorfindel who could do that, because he was Calaquendian and an amazingly uber scary warrior, plus he glowed in the dark and had other bonus stuff from being reincarnated. Tolkien wrote that because he sacrificed himself to save the refugees of Gondolin, even more than because he was reincarnated, he had greatly magnified spiritual power compared to other elves. Or maybe his face was recognizable as That Guy Who Kills Balrogs OMGrunaway!!
Maedhros was also scary and orcs ran away from him, "as one who returns from the dead." implying to me that it was mostly a reincarnation thing (and he was something of an exception).
Other than that, the Light of Aman could be a really low level of Turning in the Calaquende template, but I wouldn't make it much more than an Intimidation bonus against orcs and other monsters of darkness.
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Old 06-28-2007, 02:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: Lord of the Rings Elven Racial Template

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vaevictis Asmadi
Glorfindel returned to Middle-Earth on a Numenorean ship. The Eresseans visited Numenor often enough, and Tar-Minastir was making an expedition to Lindon at that time to help the Eldar against the newly-revealed Sauron. However, Glorfindel was a major exception, and he needed special permission from the Valar to do this. Their general rule was that no elf from Aman or Eressea could go to Middle-Earth after the War of Wrath, even if they had died and the rest of their family lived on the other side of the sea. Glorfindel was sent for the same reason as the Istari, to be an emissary of the Valar and a help to the beleaguered Elves and mortals fighting Sauron. I think Glorfindel and Luthien were probably the only two elves that ever returned to Earth after death (but I don't know how Luthien traveled back).
Is this in Morgoth's Ring? I haven't read the canon any deeper than Sil and Unfinished Tales, but I remember from my fascination with ICE's stuff in the 80's that they left it wide open whether FA Glorfindel was the same guy as TA Glorfindel. Morgoth's Ring was published after the ICE stuff, which would explain their not knowing it. At any rate, I'd like to read about it–Glorfindel was one of the characters I always wanted to know more about.
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