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Old 02-13-2018, 10:29 AM   #21
The Colonel
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

Also worth noting that the "good guys" in Tolkien appear less powerful because they are using less blatant magic - "good" magic works with the world as Eru made it and often expresses itself as preternatural excellence rather than unnatural performance (think of all the "magic items" the elves make that are more or less just extremely good at doing mundane things). "Evil" magic, on the other hand, follows Morgoth's pattern of meddling with creation and second guessing the creator and so can create more blatant effects.

This also may explain why loyal Maiar like Gandalf were almost indistinguishable from people whilst rebel ones like Gothmog or Durin's Bane were monsters of fire and darkness.
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Old 02-13-2018, 10:52 AM   #22
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

There's nothing unnatural about fire, though it has been subverted by Morgoth because it is his area of expertise. Arien is a spirit of fire who is not a follower of Morgoth.

The main theme of evil magic is dominance. Morgoth invests his very essence into Middle-earth, and especially into his creatures, so that he can mentally control them. Sauron does the same thing in creating the Ring of Power. When Sauron becomes aware of the Ring inside Mount Doom, he stops paying attention to his armies, and they just stop, bereft of any controlling will.

But using one's will to manipulate another is not automatically an evil act in itself: Gandalf uses his own Ring to inspire the wills of those around him. He lends Bilbo the mental support needed to give up the Ring. He pits his will against Denethor's when they meet. Aragorn needs all his strength of will to wrench the Palantir away from Sauron's control. When Bombadil utters any command, he is obeyed. The difference is that evil influence involves enslavement, or at least unrighteous mastery.
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Old 02-14-2018, 06:34 AM   #23
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Mod idea: a bit more Tolkien-y

Wow. I did expect this idea to be a bit on the controversial/radical side, but I didn't expect this much response.

First of all I want to thank everyone for his/her responses. There were many good points made. Especially the suggestion of magic as powers. That is indeed more the kind of feel that I seek.
Also I appreciate Kromm's point that all this is probably more in the realm of GURPS than of DFRPG. Very true, so my apologies for polluting this forum.

A few points on Tolkienian magic.
A lot of stuff is happening that is experienced as magic but is not necessarily that. When Gandalf sets the wargs on fire in The Hobbit, that's a pretty weak effect. The wargs are annoyed, but not killed and not even scared away. Gandalf and the dwarves still have to be rescued by the Eagles. I imagine that what the dwarves experience as magic, might really just be some phosphorus thrown down. Gandalf is quite adept in suggestion. Same with the fireworks. The hobbits experience it as magic, but it could just as well be some clever pyrotechnics. Saruman has a very high level of Voice, but also that is more of a power/advantage than a spell in my book.

Music and song is evidently very powerful in Tolkien-land. But I think that is more like DFRPG bard songs than like magic spells. More a power than a spell. But of course the difference is a bit blurry. When I talk of "spells" I mean the "abracadabra - zap" kind. And the "can't be bothered to search for the key, let's just shape a hole in the wall" kind.

A lot of prophecy and visions are going on, but that is to be expected in a world were the Valar are evidently very real and present. The Valar are relatively hands-off but their presence is very real. Of course it's also a bit of a writer's crutch to allow people to "know" stuff they couldn't know otherwise when it's dramatically necessary that they do know.

But this isn't a Tolkien-scholarship forum either. I suggest we close this issue. I got a lot of great feedback and want to thank everyone for that.
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fantasy, gurps

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