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Old September 23, 2018, 17:41   #21
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Quirk is on a distinguished road
Originally Posted by wobbly View Post
Had the idle thought that flaming arrows could be a song. Not sure I like the idea, just putting it out there
So this is not inconsistent with the only instance I'm aware of in Tolkien's work of flaming arrows in the hands of elves: the Battle of Five Armies:

Originally Posted by The Hobbit
The elves were the first to charge. Their hatred for the goblins is cold and bitter. Their spears and shields shone in the gloom with a gleam of chill flame, so deadly was the wrath of the hands that held them. As soon as the host of their enemies was dense in the valley, they sent against it a shower of arrows, and each flickered as it fled as if with stinging fire.
Now there are various ways to read this. I think the most obvious would be that the weapons were of the same nature as Sting, and glowed in the presence of their enemies - i.e. spears and arrows of Gondolin, in Sil parlance.

However we could also read the line "so deadly was the wrath of the hands that held them" to imply a more immediate cause than the smithing. There's plausibly room here for a Song of Wrath that would grant flame-brand, though probably not to arrows alone but to any held weapon. Flavour wise I think we have room to do this.

However, I'm a bit concerned this is a Throne Room Song. By this I mean that a song at say the 9 spot takes a 5K XP investment to pull off assuming no prerequisites; you can afford this straight out of character generation, but if you don't invest in Song at generation, it's quite late in the game by the time you can afford to build up a 5K buffer. A song that increases damage but not survivability is not a priority until you enter the throne room and need things to die fast. I want to avoid the original-Sil situation where Slaying and Sharpness were seen as close to must haves, and investing in other songs had the potential to weaken your throne room performance because it made them more expensive.

Currently I'm fairly happy with where we are with the lower-ranked songs. Elbereth, Silence, Freedom, Trees, Staying and Lorien are all justifiable choices to carry into the throneroom and have lots of utility outside it. Song of Challenge has some possible throne room merit with Anticipate, but is also just a very cheap way to manipulate archers and other annoying foes. Delvings is perhaps best on the ascent, but it helps smiths and speeds the dive for 50K characters.

Thresholds, Overwhelming and Mastery have more difficulty finding a place. Mastery requires a lot of Song to be effective late game, so it's either a bolt-on to Lorien or a 50K starting choice. Overwhelming is much stronger at ensuring survival in one on one unique combat than Staying when it's in effect - stunning opponents and halving their damage does a lot - but it's less useful against breathers and status effects, and I don't think anyone much is giving it a shot. Thresholds has a warding effect that probably would be useful early on for < 1K XP, along with a slightly tacked on melee/evasion boost that tries to justify its cost higher up the tree and mostly fails.

I'm not sure we have room for two combat songs in the place where nobody's taking songs, so it would probably have to replace Overwhelming. Maybe that's okay. I feel it would still be something people take at 950' instead of 700' though.

I would kind of like to have the Thresholds spot taken by something that provides such a huge early game boost to survival you can take it out of character generation, and fill in the pieces around it, without it being overpowered later; hence my earlier musings on a Song of Shaping.

An alternative approach is to fold the Song tree in half, and have multiple songs at the same point value; other trees largely don't do this, but I think with some kind of internally consistent structure it could be inoffensive (e.g. skills like Woven Themes get the slot to themselves but songs share). This resolves the issue of making expensive songs worth their keep, though there is an underlying issue in the assumption of the Song tree in general that you're going to keep buying more and more Song to scale your effects up, and I think in many cases this isn't really worth it. However, it's not clear how else to handle effects that enemies can resist with Will.
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