Monday, April 14, 2014

Building a Game for First Age Middle-earth -- iii -- Race Qualities


Elves, the very centre of First Age Middle-earth role-playing are characterised by:

Understanding (passive)
Subtlety (creative)
Valour
Skill
Strength
Endurance (mind and body)
Beauty

Each is represented not by 3d6 as in D&D but by six ordered categories: none, weak, common, high, great & beyond. Characters do not know where they stand within a category relative to other characters before contesting.

There is no 'experience' measure separate from these qualities which are not entirely static. Wisdom in Middle-earth is 'Blessedness', reverence for the Valar or harmony with the music of Ainur and needs no measurement.

A Typical Sindar of Doriath:

Understanding (passive) -- common
Subtlety (creative) -- common
Valour -- common
Skill -- high
Strength -- common
Endurance (mind and body) -- common
Beauty -- high

A Typical Noldor of the North:

Understanding (passive) -- common
Subtlety (creative) -- high
Valour -- high
Skill -- common
Strength -- high
Endurance (mind and body) -- high
Beauty -- common

--==--
--==--

Considering the other Races now relative to the Elven qualities above I can provisionally note:

Maiar, have at least one quality and not more than three Elven qualities in the Beyond category. The lowest category for a Maiar is Common excepting Beauty which may belong to any category.

Valar, have all Elven qualities in the Great or Beyond categories, with three or more in Beyond, excepting Beauty which may belong to any category.

Maiar & Valar, have three further qualities:

Radiance (Visible Sublime Majesty)
Fire (Spiritual Intensity)
Shape-strong (Protean Nature) 

--==--
--==--

The qualities of Dwarves & First Men are vague in my mind until I have read all the Tolkien material I want to again, but provisionally:

Dwarves and First Men do not have the quality of Beauty. Further, Men do not have the quality of Subtlety.

A Typical Dwarf of the Blue Mountains:

Understanding (passive) -- common
Subtlety (creative) -- high
Valour -- common
Skill -- common
Strength -- common
Endurance (mind and body) -- great

A Typical Man of Dor-Lomin:

Understanding (passive) -- weak
Valour -- high
Skill -- common
Strength -- high
Endurance (mind and body) -- common

A Typical Orc from Angband:


Cruelty -- common
Valour -- weak
Skill -- common
Strength -- common
Endurance (mind and body) -- common

--==--
--==--

Dwarves and Men will have one non-Elven quality too when I can make up my mind what exactly they are.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Building a Game for First Age Middle-earth -- ii

I have a thread - middle-earth-judges-guild-wilderlands - running in parallel on the odd74 forum, focusing more on the First Age map creation. At the moment Im wondering how to use as much as possible of the Lord of the Rings Third Age map in a First Age setting.

For as long as I sustain interest in making notes for such a game as I reread NiCH & The Silmarillion & a couple of stories from the HoME I will present notes here, though I am primarily putting down ideas in a notebook where I can also sketch appalling portraits of the characters.

For those interested in those brief passages of text which were cut from Narn i Hîn Húrin in Unfinished Tales when Chris Tolkien came to edit The Children of Hûrin here they are. The pdf should be the correct size with some border cropping to insert into your copy of The Children of Hûrin by fixing it with double sided tape to one of the blank pages at the back near the map.

Then on page 79 put 'I' in the margin, on page 82 put a 'II' in the margin and perhaps on page 178 put a 'III' in the margin, I'll reconsider the placement of 'III' when Ive read the book again.

Here is a pdf of the page.


==
Building a Game for First Age Middle-earth -- i
==
=

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Building a Game for First Age Middle-earth -- i




I took some license with the coastline moving northwards, giving it the appearance of the rugged fjords of Norway and Iceland. Unlike my previous LotR map I will be filling this map with placenames and peoples with reference to the standard Beleriand map and those in HoME iv & vi.



Comparing territory sizes I am essentially using 20 mile edge to edge hexes for Beleriand map compared with 40 mile hexes for the Eriador/LotR map.







=
==

1-- The Tale Narn i Chin Hurin, The Children of Hurin, is the centre of my interest in Tolkien's work and my focus in the First Age. This tale is a tragedy and leans more towards the epic than his other stories which could more fairly be called romances.

2-- Men, humans, do not look as we do. Elves have human looks, film-star looks, but men, particularly in the crucial ancestral houses, have what to us would be a faintly horrific appearance. That is the Elven perception of Men. In the image above to left of Thingol, Melian & Luthien is Beleg with a typical Sindarin face, a more rugged Paul Newman, and to the right is Turin with a face burnt, vampiric yet noble.

==
=

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Journey Through Witchland





From Oeffe Mund's essay A Journey Through Witchland,

The Witch House
In Winter on the borders of Witchland, each tribe raids his neighbour's villages for children with which to appease the Witches. The Witches keep bound in iron a Giant from mount Zumzun  within a fissure on the slopes of Brazztforqnas and this Giant grinds the children with boulders in a vast stone bowl from which channels, carved in the stone and greased with blood, feed this slag of flesh and bone, into cauldrons of black iron. When they can resist the eating of it, the Witches add lime and sand to these cauldrons for the making of a mortar, for they make ceremony of the building of a house, with singing, chanting and dancing of great violence  The house of a Witch is an evil place. It was Pazuzu who taught the Witches this sacrament.

We Encounter a Witch
In Witchland one can always see a forest. Having hidden our boat within a choke of rushes, our small band struck out from the shore of Lake Nyangwe south towards Brazztforqnas, which at a distance of thirty leagues resembled a temple bell, so round and smooth she sat. We came through a belt of marsh which hugged the shore to a plain of brittle blue grass which filled the land between forest, lesser wood and grove. We crept from wood to wood and rested out of sight among the trees of Witchland. Her tall black trees shine like beetles' backs, her sprawling grey trees are clothed in mould and among thorn thickets that hog the ground are flowers so flaming with orange that they glimmer softly in the night.

It was by a lone grey tree we spied a Witch for the first time. She was plucking from it white berries which were more like eggs. Scarcely had I turned to Joed to whisper when her head cocked in our direction and she leaped, bounded and hopped the gap between us. The men were stunned to stiffness. The Witch was upon us like a leopard who jumps like a flea. A man-and-a-half high she wore a black cape and a queer high hat over lank copper hair but was naked below the waist. Her legs and feet were huge with rope-like muscle writhing beneath translucent skin. Her arms were very long and very thin, with hands as large as her feet.

The Witch grabbed two spearmen by their heads and flung their bodies high above the trees while holding fast to their heads, which she hurled at two more spearmen crushing the skull of one and the ribs of the other. The remaining spearmen blinked, gulped, sweated and defecated. However the Witch had never yet met warriors of the stature of Joed and Jale. Instinctively they made to skewer her under armpit from both right and left with bright halberds. So immensely strong were my old friends in their prime that they lifted the Witch for a moment off her feet. As she snapped the shaft of Jale's halberd with her elbow breaking his arm, I stepped in and aimed my trumpet at her face blasting her head with Involutions of Swift Leprosy. While her eyes, nose and mouth swelled over with ghastly tumours she flailed blindly and began to suffocate so I signalled to the men to stand aside and pressed my hand on the flesh over her heart and uttered Vance's Malproportioned Innards and Limbs and watched as one leg shot out like a python while the other became a stump, her stomach exploded and one giant tooth burst through the vegetable mass of her face.

We returned quietly in the dark to our boat as I reflected on the risk in approaching Brazztforqnas through this land of Witches without exquisite preparations.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sketch Notes for The Sorcerer - MU 1.1.1.



Pictured above is an introductory note on The Sorcerer which I use to explain to a prospective player what kind of Magic User the 1.1.1. might be. It is enough of a sketch to give the player ideas for the creation of some initial spells, which is his responsibility (pleasure?), with further higher level spells expected to be inspired by the pressures of the campaign.

As a DM my attitude is that I don't really need to explicitly develop MU classes for my NPCs before I create them because I tend to think like a writer about characters and imagine what they can do without reference to game rules first and in this way let individuals define the class instance by instance. I suppose this is the reverse of the norm but it means I don't waste time being needlessly exhaustive inventing rules without having a concrete character in mind. On the other hand I must be more explicit for the players not just so they can make informed choices but to inspire them to run with classes making them their own.

The notes may appear cryptic (if you can read them at all). For example, Magical 'Inheritance' refers to the notion that the MU must claim body parts in a specific sequence from dead Sorcerers to advance, beginning at first level with the left hand which must be amputated and replaced, the surgery performed by another Sorcerer at first level but personally afterwards. Each surgery requires a system shock to survive. Magical effects will be inherited from the dead Sorcerer, character traits possibly too. The player may devise a plan for the incorporation of other body parts I have not listed. He may also wish to solve the puzzle of inevitably diminishing numbers of Sorcerers over time.

Where it says "Pure Magic Users have more at-will powers" at the top of left hand page I mean by 'pure' 000 or 111 or eee or iii etc., and the sense is that purity encourages fewer but more potent spells and the more disorganized general practitioner, e.0.1 etc., has not just a wider, shallower capability but is more reliant on spell books for magic effects while the more intense pure Magic Users make sacrifices of the body, spirit or mind for more direct innate immediate sensational effect.

The cropped line at the top of the right hand page reads, "Can run at 12" x lvl for lvl number of rounds." The normal pace for an adventurer with his gear is 120yds per minute, 120yds in 40 secs when running, and so for example at 4th level the Sorcerer can sprint carrying his adventuring gear at the pace of an Olympic sprinter and do so for 4 minutes.  Note too that he can collide at the end of his sprint as if he were one of the beasts named.




====
====

The mini-campaign Im building towards will see a player party of Magic Users travel inland from Zanzibar to BRAZZTFORQNAS (see Witchland map) which is the site of a moon fallen from the eon cluster.

====
====

http://somekingskent.blogspot.ie/2011/07/using-mathematicians-dice-to-determine.html
http://somekingskent.blogspot.ie/2013/07/revisiting-concept-of-magic.html

http://somekingskent.blogspot.ie/2011/07/metaphysical-acuity-important-stat-in.html

====
==

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Map of Witchland, the West



This hex is one of three important hexes in East Affryqq as it accommodates both the newest moon of the Eon Cluster, Pazujuju, and the vast pinnacle BRAZZTFORQNAS, the site of a moon fallen in an unaccounted age. The Eon Cluster is a pattern of miniscule moons five miles above the plains of Affryqq. To an observer on the ground one appears as a giant round window in the sky with part of a smiling face peering down, another may be leapt up onto from a mountain top in a spirit of wild optimism, the most recent node is Pazujuju, the void travelling abode of Pazuzu. I used the Sacrelume on Pazujuj as the background to The Masque of the Red Death in the previous post.

I have been trying to design adequate and distinct representations of both hilly and mountainous regions for my map and am now finished and content. Next, I want to make lake regions more obvious at a glance altering the shoreline only.

====
==

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Masque of the Red Death -- On the Wall

If there is a more potent brief tale of fantasy then I have not read it. 








====
==

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Revisiting the Concept of Magic

I am presenting the core magical concept again because I hope to go further soon with an example of a non player character from the campaign, probably a general magic user. I am not fully sure how to provide insight into an idea which is integrated into the campaign but I'll try something. The symbols for the kinds of magic user are new, I expect you can see what Ive done and how I can quickly create a representative symbol for as yet undetermined professions and that these might even be identifiable by a player with some thought. The third page is also new.

As an exercise, if you conceive of different pattern for the broad concept of priest, let's hear it. Or, what magical classes can you conceive of using the symbols? Warlock?



====
==
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...