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Old June 13, 2020, 15:50   #34
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Originally Posted by Infinitum View Post
Mainly a gameplay concern since mithril anything is just strictly better, and it'd be nice to have some late alternatives to sword/greatsword.
This is not at all true with weapons though. Weight is crucial to the damage calculation, and mithril is light. In general, greatswords are still among the least favoured endgame weapons; mithril ones may be competitive now they have the extra damage side, but I see more greataxes killing Morgoth. I expected longswords to gain somewhat from Song of Whetting, but fine/smithed handaxes seem to have benefited at least as much.

Originally Posted by Infinitum View Post
If going with rare metals though, Dwarfen Steel is mentioned in the story of Eöl, and Grond (the third age battering ram) was supposedly created out of black steel. Could be the basis for heavier quality items maybe.
Axes don't need the help. They're winning plenty already.

Originally Posted by Infinitum View Post
Would the focus points be inherent to the items or the player? Mentioned wands since I recall them recharging over time in ZangbandTk, but that's the only 'band variant I've spent any time with (and over a decade ago at that). If going with words of power style spells, any chance of working in voice usage instead of focus as a limiting factor? There seems to be quite the bit of overlap between the two conceptually.
Ah, rods in Angband.

No, I'm not looking to connect this at all to Voice. Focus would be built up by the player spending time with the item, and limited potentially by both player Will and the item.

My motivation here is not to add words of power. I view "words of power" as very much on the fringe of Tolkien magic, with no real existence in First Age writings; Beleg's spoken whetting spell has much more resonance with Luthien's song to grow her hair into the material of her enchanted cloak than Gandalf's spells of opening and closing. Gandalf himself doesn't seem to need "words of power" to set things on fire or make Gimli's axe leap from his hand or indeed any of a vast number of other things he does gripping his staff.

However, we currently have an assortment of very unTolkienish consumables. I would like to make this less gamey, but reducing the variety of items to be found in Sil from its already spartan state does not seem to be an option. The question is what I can do to ensure that things that are necessary from a gameplay perspective, to make the game interesting, do not sit too jarringly with the source material.

The source material does at least provide us with rings that turn the wearer invisible and orbs that let the user see far places. The concept that the wielder of a wizard's staff might be able to use some portion of the wizard's powers is not a great stretch, though a little anachronistic in a First Age context. I'm prepared to put up with this as a lesser evil than our current limited use staffs that sit in the inventory as multi-use potions.

How to present this portion of wizardry? "Words of power" may be on the fringe, but it's not completely uncanonical, and it is close to the portion of canon where staffs are actually mentioned.

Originally Posted by Infinitum View Post
It wouldn't be that much of a stretch to have high perception characters casting scrying spells or having powers of foresight, or really stealthy characters working shadows and illusions and so on and so forth.
I think this would be a stretch. Scrying in Tolkien is as far as I am aware always done with the assistance of a magical item or pool. Gandalf works illusions, but elves do not - with the possible exception of Finrod's "song of changing and shifting shape", but that's very evidently under Songs. Elven magic in general is either based on songs or magical items - Beleg's whetting spell being an exception, but it is structured much like Finrod and Luthien's songs are.

Song is well represented in Sil, but the use of magical items is arguably crude. Staffs could be seen as a bit of a lazy shortcut, used as they are in the source material strictly by wizards, but it saves combing through the assortment of magical objects in Tolkien to answer questions like: what would a magical item that acted like the Phial of Galadriel look like in the First Age?

I am planning to introduce some sort of scrying based on orbs also, but I haven't delved into the design as deeply.

I don't believe, canonically, that most of these magical abilities belong on any part of the skill tree save for Songs, since characters are not wizards. Magical items in Tolkien do grant abililties in ways separate from Songs, but are not limited in use.

Staffs are probably not ideal as First Age magical items from a canon perspective, but creating a suite of items that are both canon-plausible and balanced for good gameplay will be extremely challenging, and this reduces some of that challenge.

Originally Posted by Infinitum View Post
No reason that flavor of staffs couldn't grant actual abilites though? The not-Gandalf's staff could grant, say, song of the trees for an instance. But I digress.
Having a lot of experience now of making items that grant abilities, I would say this is something that has to be done very very sparingly. If the item is common and has no drawback, it can leave little reason to get the ability. I would never put a song ability on a non-artifact item.

Originally Posted by Infinitum View Post
So at least some sorcerers then?
Yes, there's a strong implication that while men are not innately magical, they can learn dark arts, and Sauron is said to have taught the Black Numenoreans lore. The Witch-King of Angmar was another such sorcerer, though it's unclear how much of the powers he had were learned and how much drawn from the Ring he wore.

I'm not sure that sorcery is mentioned much in a First Age context outside Gorthaur / Thu / Sauron, Lord of Wizard's Isle. Men of the First Age are mostly Edain or Easterlings, and while the latter do Morgoth's bidding there's little suggestion of any supernatural powers. Shame, I'd love to be able to jam scary human sorcerers in at 950'. An orc unique might fit, but I'd have to jettison a canonical orc unique to make it fit, which feels bad. All the orc colours are used up.
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