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Old 02-06-2008, 07:20 PM   #11
Gavynn
 
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by LemmingLord
Wow, you mean LOTR uses spell colleges like GURPS Magic suggests? Weird.
I don't think that it is weird at all. The Hobbit tells us:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hobbit
“…Gandalf had made a special study of bewitchments of fire and lights…”
Sounds to me like a great excuse for some kind of magical colleges, or at least grouping spelling in some kind of specialization tree. Combine that with the nature focus given to The Brown Wizard and Saruman's specialization in the Arts of the Enemy, I have always thought it kinda fit right in.
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

Middle-earth is an inherently magical place, but it's not exactly GURPS-standard. What follows are my thoughts on the subject, though I have not refined them.

Each race is in touch with the magic of Middle-earth in various ways and to various degrees. What hobbits consider magic, elves consider natural, or made with skill. What dwarves make with cunning, men consider magic. The very meaning of the word magic depends on who says it.

There's another form of magic that appears in Middle-earth: spells. Spells are literally magic words. Using language is itself a form of creation, and words have power. Ilúvatar created Arda by saying Éa, "Let it be." One opens the West-gate of Moria by saying mellon, "friend." And Tolkien's primary interest in his stories of Middle-earth is the languages he created.

Anyone who knows the magic words can cast a spell, though the knowledge of the words is rare and passing from the world in the Third Age. Even orcs have their share of spells. Only hobbits seem to be ignorant of them, at least as far as we ever hear. I'm willing to bet that even hobbits have some, buried deep in some forgotten family tome.

In GURPS terms, magic in Middle-earth takes two forms: spells and advantages. The GURPS magic rules can be used almost without adjustment, provided it's understood that the magic rules are only used for actual spells—magic words. Middle-earth has high mana. The spell lists must be scrutinzed and categorized according to who knows what, however: elves do not know necromantic spells and orcs do not know light spells.

The other forms of magic that will appear in Middle-earth are powered by advantages. Both people and items can have special advantages that are "magical" to one person while being perfectly natural to others. Hobbits have some levels of Silence; elves can create cloaks with levels of Chameleon; Elrond and Galadriel obviously possess some sort of Telecommunication; and even the orc-draft might bestow Recovery. The task of the GM is to decide which advantages make sense for which races or people, or objects created by them.

By carefully organizing the selections of traits, skills, and spells, GURPS could be used for Middle-earth admirably.
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

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Originally Posted by Stormcrow
There's another form of magic that appears in Middle-earth: spells. Spells are literally magic words. Using language is itself a form of creation, and words have power. Ilúvatar created Arda by saying Éa, "Let it be." One opens the West-gate of Moria by saying mellon, "friend." And Tolkien's primary interest in his stories of Middle-earth is the languages he created.

Anyone who knows the magic words can cast a spell, though the knowledge of the words is rare and passing from the world in the Third Age. Even orcs have their share of spells. Only hobbits seem to be ignorant of them, at least as far as we ever hear. I'm willing to bet that even hobbits have some, buried deep in some forgotten family tome.
Yes, words are powerful, but I disagree that anyone who knows the words can cast spells. I have been going under the idea that spells are words plus "something else".

Quote:
The spell lists must be scrutinzed and categorized according to who knows what, however: elves do not know necromantic spells and orcs do not know light spells.
I agree and it is a major task, and the GURPS spells do not translate one to one. Plus, then I add some spells as powers. There is more than one way to produce a magical effect in Middle-earth.
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Old 02-06-2008, 11:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

Here are a few spells I'd like to be able to represent as Powers, and so thought the Power Gurus on the board might be willing to help out. How would you stat these powers:

Burning Sparks

“…the great fire went off poof! into a tower of blue glowing smoke, right up to the roof, that scattered piercing white sparks all among the goblins.”

- Over Hill and Under Hill

Caster needs an existing fire to cast this spell, and the size of the fire might determine the diameter or the intensity of the sparks that can be created with this area effect spell. Might be nice to have this as a Power AND as a more typical spell.

Calling

Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadilo!
By water, wood, and hill, by reed and willow,
By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!
Come Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!

- In the House of Tom Bombadil

This spell allows the caster to grant another person the ability to call upon him or her, even over long distances, and seek his or her aid. The caster casts the spell by explaining to the other person how to call him. This at least takes a minute.

The call has to involve speech or sound of some sort, but it could be a simple rhyme or song, or the caster's name uttered with a particular inflection and force, or a complex incantation.

The person taught ths call remebers it forever. When he or she uses it, the caster hears it, knows who is calling him, and knows the person is in peril - and roughly what kind of peril - regardless of distance (although I'd like to have a coulple of options here to give some different ranges). Of course, this spell grants no ability to travel quickly, so geography may inhibit aid.

Flaming Missile


The last arrow of Legolas kindled in the air as it flew, and plunged burning into the heart of a great wolf-chieftain.”

-
A Journey in the Dark

When the caster calls upon this evocation, a missile weapon is so enchated so that missiles shot from it ignite in flight dealing plus some number of burning damage to the target. Altenatively, we could look at this from an enchanting the missile perspective and not the missile weapon. Why not have both version?

Flash III


“…there was a terrific flash like lightning in the cave, a smell like gunpowder , and several of them fell dead.”
- Over Hill and Under Hill

Obviously an area effect deal. Bright flash, gunpowder smell. The ability to distinquish friend from foe in the area. Enough power to drop goblins dead, but not all of them.

Paralyze Limb


“ ‘Put away that bow, Master Elf!’ The bow and arrow fell from Legolas’ hands, and his arms hung loose at his sides.”

- The White Rider
Obviously the caster can paralyze limbs of the target. Various ranged from touch to some distance would be nice.

Voice of Command


“ ‘Come back, Saruman!’ said Gandalf in a commanding voice. To the amazement of the others, Saruman turned again, and as if dragged against his will, he came slowly back to the iron rail, leaning on it, breathing hard.”


- The Voice of Saruman

Should cause the caster and target to have to engage in some dual of wills to compell the target to do as told - simple commands only.

-----

So what say the powers experts?
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:33 AM   #15
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

Okay, I could not sleep and realized I have no idea how to build innate attacks. Is this anywhere near right?

Flash III

“…there was a terrific flash like lightning in the cave, a smell like gunpowder , and several of them fell dead.”
- Over Hill and Under Hill

EDITED VERSION:

Flash III Level Five: Burning Attack 5 d (Area effect, 8 yard radius +150%; Selective Area +20%; Emanation -20%; Magical -10%) [60 points]

Does this do a 5d attack to each person in the radius the caster would like, or just to one person? How would you limit the the number of people the wizard could get with it? Likely this should ignore DR, or at least be an option.

Last edited by Gavynn; 02-07-2008 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:15 AM   #16
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

We need to remember that the Istari (Wizards) Gandalf, Saruman, Readagast, and so on are embodied Maiar. This means that, at least in theory, they may follow their own rules. Sauron and the Balrog are the same class of being, so that applies to them as well. For my part, I will generally stay away from commenting on this class of characters unless they are clearly following the same set of rules as elves, men, or dwarves.

I've been taking some notes as I go through the Silmarillion (didn't start taking notes till mid-way, so I'll definitely need to go back). So far the following strikes me as definitely magical:

The dark elf Eol set enchantments to cause Aredhel to get lost and then be lured to him, so he could marry her. The details are very vague, so I'm not sure what this would come down to in GURPS terms.

Aredhel and Eol's son Maeglin's "...thought could read the secrets of hearts beyond the mist of words." Eol also had this power. Aradhel is described as guarding her mind against it. This sounds to me like Telepathy Power and Mind Reading. Aradhel is probably using Mind Block skill to resist.

When Finrod Felagund, king of the elves, meets a group of men led by Beor he sings a song that seems to impart knowledge and have a strong emotional effect that transcends language. This might be something like the Bard-Song Power in Dungeon Fantasy: Adventurers with one or more of the Enthrallment skills.

Beren is described as a "...friend of birds and beast, who aided him and did not betray him..." This might be a Beast Master or Beast Friend Power modeled on aspects of the Life Power in Powers.

Celegorm and Curufin seem to use Enthrallment on their fellow elves on Nargothrond.

Finrod disguises himself, Beren, and their companions as orcs. This might be an illusion or an actual transformation. Illusion Power would probably do the trick.

Sauron and Finrod engage in a battle with songs of power, which Sauron wins. At the end Finrod is left unconscious at Sauron's feet. This might be Bard-Song Power with Rapier Wit plus the Words of Power and Affliction/Incapacitation enhancements.

Luthien is aware when Beren is imprisoned. Possibly, Mindlink.

Luthien is able, by enchantment, to cause her hair to grow out to great length. She then makes a cloak out of it laden with a spell of sleep. Could this be modeled with Powers, or do we need to bring Magic into play?

When a werewolf comes to devour Beren, Finrod is able to put forth a burst of strength and break his bonds. Not sure how to approach this one off the top of my head.

Shortly thereafter, Luthien arrives and "...declared her power and the spell was loosed that bound stone to stone, and the gates were cast down, iand the walls opened, and the pits laid bare..." Also not sure on this one.

Luthien later does a similar disguise bit to the one Finrod did earlier. In this case she and Beren clearly also take on the powers of the werewolf and vampire they are disguised as. Maybe Body Alteration Power with Morph.

When Beren and Luthien are stealing the Silmaril from Morgoth's throne room she uses a song to blind him, put his minions to sleep, and then incapacitates him with a vision of the Outer Void. I think this could also be Bard-Song using Rapier Wit w/ Words of Power and Affliction.

That's what I have so far. It looks like something akin to the Bard-Song power was pretty common among the more powerful Norldor at least. To fully simulate what we get in the book we need to ramp up Rapier Wit with both Word of Power and Affliction. Something like Telepathy Power and at least some aspects of the Body Alteration Power also seems to have been available for some elves.

As noted above, I'm not immediatelly sure how to deal with everything I have found. It looks like a lot of things can be modeled with Powers. Whether or not to use the sample Powers in the book in full or in part will be another question to address.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:36 AM   #17
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow
Anyone who knows the magic words can cast a spell, though the knowledge of the words is rare and passing from the world in the Third Age. Even orcs have their share of spells. Only hobbits seem to be ignorant of them, at least as far as we ever hear. I'm willing to bet that even hobbits have some, buried deep in some forgotten family tome.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
Yes, words are powerful, but I disagree that anyone who knows the words can cast spells. I have been going under the idea that spells are words plus "something else".
You could steal the idea David Drake used in the Lord of the Isles series (which I think is based on authentic ... ?Sumerian? magical theory). The words are the whole of the spell, but because they are magic words they are mystically hard to say, if you don't have the discipline and power to cast the spell you simply can't force the words out. He explains it better.

So words = spell but you still need the skill.
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Old 02-07-2008, 11:57 AM   #18
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by macphersonrants
We need to remember that the Istari (Wizards) Gandalf, Saruman, Readagast, and so on are embodied Maiar. This means that, at least in theory, they may follow their own rules. Sauron and the Balrog are the same class of being, so that applies to them as well. For my part, I will generally stay away from commenting on this class of characters unless they are clearly following the same set of rules as elves, men, or dwarves.
I think it is sometimes hard to determine exactly what set of rules the characters are using to cast magic spells. Especially when you are trying to combine The Silmarillion with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. For example, several of your examples are from Luthian who is no less than 50% Maiar and appears to have inherited many of her mother's magical abilities. In several cases it is unclear if she is using Maiar magic rules or something else. But I agree with the division of course. That is why I’d like most everything to representable as a power and where appropriate a more traditional spell.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macphersonrants
Aredhel and Eol's son Maeglin's "...thought could read the secrets of hearts beyond the mist of words." Eol also had this power. Aradhel is described as guarding her mind against it. This sounds to me like Telepathy Power and Mind Reading. Aradhel is probably using Mind Block skill to resist.
Sounds like psi to me as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macphersonrants
When Finrod Felagund, king of the elves, meets a group of men led by Beor he sings a song that seems to impart knowledge and have a strong emotional effect that transcends language. This might be something like the Bard-Song Power in Dungeon Fantasy: Adventurers with one or more of the Enthrallment skills.
Felagund is quite the magic user. While I am generally hesitant to bring things from GURPS: DF into Middle-earth, I was also looking at the bard song stuff as a possible exception. It does appear to replicate his powers at least a couple of times during the story. If Finrod does use “standard magic” spells then he certainly would be a good candidate for “song only” limited magery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macphersonrants
Finrod disguises himself, Beren, and their companions as orcs. This might be an illusion or an actual transformation. Illusion Power would probably do the trick.
I think you could go either way with this power of his. This was the basis for my Wizard’s Guise I and Wizard’s Guise II spells. I thought I’d follow the GURPS spell list with Wizard’s Guise I just transforming the face and Wizard’s Guise II doing a full body transformation. I was going to proceed under the idea that it was a cosmetic morph. More than just an illusion, but not anything that gives you any abilities from another race. It is just a really good disguise. I am not sure how to write up the power so that the caster can confer this ability onto another person. Finrod appears to be a master of “Esoteric Musical Ability”

Quote:
Originally Posted by macphersonrants
Sauron and Finrod engage in a battle with songs of power, which Sauron wins. At the end Finrod is left unconscious at Sauron's feet. This might be Bard-Song Power with Rapier Wit plus the Words of Power and Affliction/Incapacitation enhancements.
The song duel is one of the stranger instances of magic in Middle-earth, especially since Sauron is singing. I’ll check into your interpretations. But again here, Sauron, a Maiar is doing this as well. So the boundary of he “rules” is vague.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macphersonrants
Luthien is able, by enchantment, to cause her hair to grow out to great length. She then makes a cloak out of it laden with a spell of sleep. Could this be modeled with Powers, or do we need to bring Magic into play?
Well, this was the reason I put “Hair Growth” in my Middle-earth list of spells. I’d like to be able to model it as a power though. As for turning the hair into a robe, I think that I would use my craftsmanship rules on that since it is creating a special item.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macphersonrants
When a werewolf comes to devour Beren, Finrod is able to put forth a burst of strength and break his bonds. Not sure how to approach this one off the top of my head.
I am not sure if this was supposed to be a magical surge of strength or a very mighty surge, but one caused my more mundane causes. Being Finrod, I am more inclined to say magic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macphersonrants
Shortly thereafter, Luthien arrives and "...declared her power and the spell was loosed that bound stone to stone, and the gates were cast down, iand the walls opened, and the pits laid bare..." Also not sure on this one.
I was thinking this was two different spells. The text specifically says that “the spell was loosed the bound the stone” which implies that Sauron’s tower is not 100% constructed out of traditional means. I can run with this. Then we need a spell by which a wizard can magically create, or at least strengthen the walls of his fortifications. Appears natural to me. I would think the fortresses of Morgoth would be suitably strengthened. So the first thing she did was use a Counter Spell to undo that spell. This might have caused some or a great deal of loss of structural integrity on its own, but then I’d say she used a Sunder spell, which we have multiple accounts of being used to destroy fortifications and inanimate objects. I would say Dol Guldur is thrown down in a similar fashion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by macphersonrants
When Beren and Luthien are stealing the Silmaril from Morgoth's throne room she uses a song to blind him, put his minions to sleep, and then incapacitates him with a vision of the Outer Void. I think this could also be Bard-Song using Rapier Wit w/ Words of Power and Affliction.
I put Slumber I and Slumber II on the spell list for this. Slumber II being an area effect. I don’t think she sings when she puts the first guard to sleep. I think she just makes a statement.
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Old 02-07-2008, 12:01 PM   #19
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

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Originally Posted by Puppetminion
You could steal the idea David Drake used in the Lord of the Isles series (which I think is based on authentic ... ?Sumerian? magical theory). The words are the whole of the spell, but because they are magic words they are mystically hard to say, if you don't have the discipline and power to cast the spell you simply can't force the words out. He explains it better.

So words = spell but you still need the skill.
I could go with that, but I think Gandalf uses Sindarian to cast his fire spells. The Witch-king does use words in a long forgotten language to break apart the gates of Middle-earth though.
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Old 02-07-2008, 02:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: GURPS LOTR Magic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavynn
Yes, words are powerful, but I disagree that anyone who knows the words can cast spells. I have been going under the idea that spells are words plus "something else".
I agree totally, there isn't going to be a functioning 'power word kill' left on my answering machine.

Likely as well there is the need to 'hear' the magic of the words as well as be able to 'say' them, in some metaphysical harmonization like approach which again is different than reading a scroll. This gives more 'craft' and 'art' to spell casting versus belching spells out.

Herein is a nice place for Magery and the pseudo and proto-magical beings and races which are likely more apt to be 'harmonized'.
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