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Old 10-10-2011, 04:48 PM   #1
shawnhcorey
 
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Default GURPS LotR

I know there's an old thread about this but I think it's time for a new one. Has anyone adapted GURPS to the Lord of the Rings, especially magic? I'm thinking of doing a campaign, The Defence of Rhovanion, and I was wondering if anyone could help.

The campaign would start in 2951, just after Sauron retakes Dol Guldur and lasts until the Battle of the Trees, which the PCs can take part in.

Does anyone have anything to help: templates, magic system, artifacts, or comments?
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Old 10-11-2011, 12:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: GURPS LotR

With regard to magic, if you are strictly following Tolkein's ideas, magic (that isn't that of the Vala or Maya) is merely skill elevated to magical proportions. The elves' command of song and art has attained magical levels, as has the craftsmanship of the dwarves. The magic of the Wizards and that of Sauron himself is the magic of the Maya and Vala, and not something mortals really get to play with. The magic offered by the Rings represents power, temptation, and corruption, and may not be particularly suitable for PCs.

You might consider making schools of magic that represent the elvish and dwarvish arts. Each would require high levels of mundane skills, like singing, or smithing. The magic of the Rings might be represented by Spirit Assisted Magic, with the "personality" of each ring being the spirit in question, and granting free access to a range of related spells. The Ring should probably carry an addiction to rival that of heroin and be really, really nasty in general, god forbid you let your players touch that one - I'm thinking corruption and sanity rules from GURPS Horror here.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:05 AM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS LotR

That said, there are at least minor spells available to the merely mortal. For example, Gandalf mentions that he used to know all the opening spells ever created by Men, Elves and Orcs.
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Old 10-11-2011, 01:57 AM   #4
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That said, there are at least minor spells available to the merely mortal. For example, Gandalf mentions that he used to know all the opening spells ever created by Men, Elves and Orcs.
However, Gandalf is no mortal. And the opening spells he refers to seem not to be magical spells used only by mages, but more secret (or not so) key words that anyone could a priori use, only the locking of the doors necessitating such spells is magical. And one could consider it is "simply" highly elevated essential craftmanship that enables such locking.
LotR magics is either:
- godly,
- plane-based (with undead, shades, spirits and elves being double-plane dwellers, the One Ring being a slow addictive killer switching one partly (but increasingly more each time) to the other side - all well rendered in movies I'd say),
- elevated-to-seemingly-magical-level craftman skills.
Additionally, things should not be seen as "magical" or "not-magical", which is a fairly modern dichotomy, some plants can have "magical" effects, forests and trees and birds and other animals have wills and powers, artificers can be thought of as magicians, even Saruman is at least as much an evil smooth-operator* as a powerful mage (if you do not pay attention to staff Harry-Potter-wand-like throws in the movies). It is all a continuum and the world of LotR is magical in itself.

*Can anyone imagine Saruman with Internet access and tvs and mass media in general!!?
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Old 10-11-2011, 07:28 AM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS LotR

Lupo really hit it on the head. Lord of the Rings was intended to be a sort of mythology for England. Everything in the world is magical, and magical stuff is as natural as the clouds in the sky. Just as the Greeks expected to meet a god every time they stepped outside, no one in Middle Earth would think twice about a plant having "magical" properties, because it's natural for them to. It'd be worth reading Grimm's fairytales before running the game; the worldview presented therein also captures the concept of the world as a naturally magical place.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:03 AM   #6
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The magic offered by the Rings represents power, temptation, and corruption, and may not be particularly suitable for PCs.
Sorry, no. The One, the Seven, and the Nine were made by Sauron and would eventually corrupt anyone who wore them. But the rest were made by the elves and as Elrond said,

'The Three were not made by Sauron, nor did he ever touch them. But of them it is not permitted to speak. So much only in this hour of doubt I may now say. They are not idle. But they were not made as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or domination or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained.'

But Gandalf also said,

'In Eregion long ago many Elven-rings were made, magic rings as you call them, and they were, of course, of various kinds: some more potent and some less. The lesser rings were only essays in the craft before it was full-grown, and to the Elven-smiths they were but trifles -- yet still to my mind dangerous for mortals. But the Great Rings, the Rings of Power, the were perilous.'

So, a GM could introduce one of these lesser rings wihout to much disruption to the campaign.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:25 AM   #7
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Do you think elves invented secret caches in rings with LSD in it?!!

...sorry, I'm in such a mood today. I should stop bad jokes.
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:11 AM   #8
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I used BESM, not GURPS, but some of my treatments might be adaptable.

Magic takes the form of mastery of specific effects. Often these effects require knowledge of spells; that is, specific phrases must be spoken, often in Quenya or the Black Speech. Saying the spell or performing the magic can confer the effects of any of the following attributes: Animal Friendship, Art of Distraction, Contamination, Damn Healthy!, Environmental Control, Exorcism, Gun Bunny, Healing, Heightened Awareness, Heightened Senses, Illusion, Invisibility, Kensei, Metamorphosis, Mind Control, Mind Shield, Precognition, Shape Change, Sixth Sense, Spirit Ward, Stealth, Telepathy, or Weapon Attack. Other effects seem to have been known at one time, including Artificial Intelligence and Flight, but are no longer known.

A special case is the effect Energy Bonus. Contrary to the published rules, magic can provide an Energy Bonus, but the bonus can't be used to cast spells; it serves only to increase Stats or Health temporarily.

Dynamic Sorcery is not generally available, but a few extraordinary beings have forms of it; Tom Bombadil is the most noteworthy example.

The attribute Maker can be used to create certain forms of magical effects, even by races who normally don't do magic, such as dwarves.

Maker
Cost: 2 or 3 points/level
Relevant Stat: Soul

Maker works much like Mechanical Genius in standard BESM, but it enhances a crafts skill, such as Architecture, Artisan, Cooking, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, or Writing. It grants bonuses to one skill (for 2 points/level) or all skills (3 points/level). It also permits tasks to be performed far faster or more productively than normal. Finally, it can be used to create Items of Power, though great Items of Power consume some of the power of their makers, as the One Ring consumed much of Sauron's power. (Used with Architecture, it produces Places of Power; used with Performing Arts, it produces Magic, in the form of incantations or magically potent songs.)

Bill Stoddard
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Old 10-11-2011, 10:16 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Humabout View Post
Lupo really hit it on the head. Lord of the Rings was intended to be a sort of mythology for England. Everything in the world is magical, and magical stuff is as natural as the clouds in the sky. Just as the Greeks expected to meet a god every time they stepped outside, no one in Middle Earth would think twice about a plant having "magical" properties, because it's natural for them to. It'd be worth reading Grimm's fairytales before running the game; the worldview presented therein also captures the concept of the world as a naturally magical place.
Benedek Láng's Unlocked Books has a very detailed discussion of medieval scholastic classifications of magic, which seem to correspond very closely to Tolkien's view of the subject. In brief, there were three broad categories: natural magic, based on the inherent virtues of plants and stones and such; image magic, based on runic and other inscriptions that drew the power of celestial bodies into spells or objects; and ritual magic, based on bargaining with spirits, and prohibited.

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Old 10-11-2011, 11:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS LotR

I always liked this S. John Ross approach to craft-related magic
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