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Old 11-10-2023, 01:33 PM   #31
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Tolkien magic and game applications

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But they don't know that, and neither do we. In some of Tolkien's writings, the Elves don't end, but they transform into memories. In the conversation between Finrod and Andreth that Tolkien wrote, they seem to come to the conclusion that the job of Men is to take their experiences of the heaven of the Elves (Arda) and build the new Arda Remade (as opposed to a distinct conception, Arda Unmarred), which the Elves may be able to enter and serve as the link back to Arda Marred.

But again, Tolkien never absolutely settled on this.
The whole thing sounds strangely like apocatastasis, which I think is a heresy, though Tolkien might have said that it was at any rate not beyond the power of God to do such a thing.
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Old 11-10-2023, 01:51 PM   #32
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The whole thing sounds strangely like apocatastasis, which I think is a heresy, though Tolkien might have said that it was at any rate not beyond the power of God to do such a thing.
Very much like it. But Tolkien's world also does not include any metaphysical equivalent of Hell, and God (Eru) is not known to assign souls to eternal torment. (Maybe he does it to Men when their spirits leave, but we have no way of knowing, and no one in Middle-earth ever suggested such a thing.) But the idea that Arda will be remade or repaired is an old one reaching all the way back to the beginning of his writings. In the Book of Lost Tales, dead Tķrin will return to the world to battle and kill Morgoth. The "Magic Sun" (i.e., the Two Trees) will be rekindled and Arda will be made Unmarred. The exact mechanism of this is never settled: sometimes Eru does it himself, sometimes the whole point of Men's spirits leaving is to go make a new Arda using the memory of the Elves as the blueprint, sometimes it's just flatly said to be unknown.
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Old 11-10-2023, 02:33 PM   #33
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The whole thing sounds strangely like apocatastasis, which I think is a heresy, though Tolkien might have said that it was at any rate not beyond the power of God to do such a thing.
It feels like it has some similarities with what I understand of the "Harrowing of Hell" concept. Briefly, prior to the coming of the messiah, even the most righteous of men go to sheol - Hell (although I've seen many interpretations of such individuals going to either a minor level of Hell or technically outside it, like Limbo in Dante's Inferno) - when they die, because their sins are still in play. The Harrowing of Hell refers to Jesus, upon his death on the cross (wherein he atoned for the sins of all humanity, past and present), descending into Hell and pulling all of the more righteous people from the past out of that place and taking them to Heaven with him (following the Harrowing, anyone who believed in him during life as messiah gets to go to Heaven). In this case, the elves are the righteous Jews stuck away from Heaven, while Man takes on a Christ-like role, dying to make for them a path into Heaven.
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Old 11-10-2023, 05:44 PM   #34
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Elves visibly age, .
Only in the eyes of someone of comparable lifespan (or longer). That Elves do not visibly age in the eyes of Men allows Men to believe they are ageless. A full century for a common Man is like a single year to an Elf and even on that basis Elves don't seem to visibly age proportionately. Galadriel was born in the first Age but doesn't look 60 or 70 by any human standard.
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Old 11-10-2023, 06:19 PM   #35
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Only in the eyes of someone of comparable lifespan (or longer).
Sure. But if you look at CŪrdan you see an old-looking (and bearded!) Elf, and he is the earliest-named Elf still around at the end of the Third Age. If you look at Arwen you see someone who looks "young," with no gray in her hair and smooth, flawless skin, but whose long years shown in her glance.

Mortals won't see Elves aging, but they will surely see some sign of their age.










Galadriel was born in the first Age but doesn't look 60 or 70 by any human standard.[/QUOTE]
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Old 11-10-2023, 09:04 PM   #36
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I figured I would come up with a list of "supernatural phenomena" from The Hobbit and LotR so I can get a better idea how to portray it in a game. Add to the list if you think of anything. You can include The Silmarillion if you feel up to it.

>Troll's purses can have a "magic mouth" spell on them.

>Some humans can transform into animals.

>An enchanted river can put you into a magical sleep


I'll add more later. Post anything you can think of.
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Old 11-11-2023, 09:33 AM   #37
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Consider Tolkien's middle-earth. What forms of supernatural power are portrayed in his writing? What is going on? How does it work? What is the "true nature" of it?
One element of magical power that runs through the Middle Earth stories is music. Luthien and Sauron have a duel of sorcerous songs, the music of the sea calls to the Elves, the sound of Sarumanís voice lends it power over minds, Bombadil knows just the right song to counter Old Man Willow, the terrifying shriek of the Nazgul that freezes the hearts of the brave, etc. This all harmonizes, if you will, with the Great Music of the Ainur which is both the story and substance of the Cosmos. And one can think of various parts of the stories as the enactment of leitmotifs: three Silmarils and the three Elven Rings; the union of Thingol and Melian echoed in marriages of Elves and Men; the falls of the Balrog from the walls of Gondolin and the bridge in Moria, etc.; Fingonís and Samís songs that aid in their searches; the severing of the Ring from Sauronís and Frodoís hands.

Treating this satisfactorily in an RPG might prove difficult.
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Old 11-11-2023, 12:22 PM   #38
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I'll add more later. Post anything you can think of.
Tons and tons of instances, depending on what you mean by "supernatural." (Tolkien would argue that Elves and magic and so on are very natural, and it's things like machines that are supernatural.) Swords that shine in the presence of orcs. Trees that can whisper you to sleep. Trees that can walk about when you're not looking. Stones that let you view and communicate over vast distances. Rings that let you control the wills of others. Rings that prevent time from causing decay and change. The "Other Side" and rings that can drag you into them. Rope that comes untied when desired. Curses that cause men's spirits to linger as ghosts as long as their oaths are unfulfilled. Gems that shine in their own light. Paths that prevent evil creatures from crossing them. Statues that put out a wall of force of will, preventing you from passing unauthorized. Diamond studs that only unfasten when commanded. Telepathy. Prophetic visions. Clairvoyancy. Wearing animal pelts to become those animals.
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Old 11-11-2023, 02:08 PM   #39
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You can point out quibbles and problems all you like. Tolkien never settled on anything precisely because he could never quite get the math to work out. He wasn't imagining that Arda ended in the Fourth Age, but neither was he imagining that it was the scientifically plausible nine billion or so years
Although he was gradually moving in that overall direction over time, in successive rewrites and revisions. His powers were failing with age, but I suspect if he had lived longer and retained his energy more he would have kept going in that direction.

There is a 'round Earth Silmarillion' and a 'flat-Earth Silmarillion', Christopher drew mostly on the first when he published 'the' Silmarillion because it was more extensive and easier to put together a (mostly) coherent narrative. At one point, JRRT posited that it might be best to see the Silmarillion has having passed through multiple generations of Men and thus being somewhat distorted and not necessaily perfectly accurate about the Ancient World, but not purely fictional either.

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Elves spririts (fŽar) tended to, over time, consume their bodies (hrŲar), which is why the Elves have faded. They literally become invisible because the stuff of their bodies is replaced with the stuff of their spirits.' This fading is faster in Middle-earth than in Aman, as are all other things, so the Elves eventually leave Middle-earth to go to Aman, in part, to prevent themselves from fading, or at least postpone the fading.
Though even that was not consistent.

In his earlier versions, it was held that Elves who died of violence or other mischance would reincarnate, literally being reborn as babies to new parents and growing up again. This he later dropped as being inconsistant with the rest of the metaphysics of the setting.

In his oldest stuff, Dwarves were literally soulless, and the number of Elven souls was fixed. This was back when it was more specifically an 'artificial nordic' storyline.
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Old 11-11-2023, 02:16 PM   #40
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Tons and tons of instances, depending on what you mean by "supernatural." (Tolkien would argue that Elves and magic and so on are very natural, and it's things like machines that are supernatural.)
Actually, I think Tolkien would regard machinery as natural. Morally tricky, but natural. It's Men that are supernatural, while Elves are natural. I think Tolkien would see that as a key distinction.
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