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Magic in Shadows of Isildur

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Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Brian » Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:48 am

ThinkTwice wrote:I'd like the amount of magic, mysticism, and mystery to be increased in the game. I don't really care about across the board monster balance, economy changes, or fold baby-clothes crafts; I'm really interested in the plot of this roleplay intensive MUD. The other stuff is nice, I suppose, but if I wanted an interesting economy and a great combat system, I'd go play EVE Online or any of the other knock-offs. Specifically, magic and abilities in player hands.

Also, roles above 2 RPP.


I'm curious to hear what people have to say about what they would like to see in the magic and mystery department here. What kind of specifics are you looking for, do you think that players should be able to utilize magic, etc.?

I certainly have my thoughts and opinions but I'm going to reserve them for a bit to see what others have to say. I also recently wrote a very large amount of stuff about the nature of magic in Tolkien to Seirza, so I may cut and paste parts of that as well.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Icarus » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:32 am

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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:58 am

If I had to pick one single reason why I stopped playing SOI (there were a host of them, but this was the most significant) then the ever-increasingly magical nature of the top level plot was it.

To my mind, the Tolkien world is predominantly a low-magic world, as is SOI in general, as is its current incarnation, if the documentation is to be believed.

Consequently, ALL my SOI PCs gestate in low magic worlds (as do, I think, most people's PCs) - there is nothing magical about their backstories, the struggles that they face are of a more normal variety.

So when my PC is (constantly) faced with supernatural elements of the gameworld (via admin plot, usually) s/he has no idea how to react. This isn't normal, this isn't something that s/he has any idea how to deal with.

And RPing variations on 'Wtf, I have no idea how to deal with this' gets really really boring, at least for me.

Now, theoretically, this could be dealt with by having a more high magic setting than has been advertised, and consequently, PCs would not find supernatural elements to be so wildly beyond their expectations/experience.

But there are other problems with that:

If your game's conflicts are non-magical, if they are political, military, and interpersonal in nature, they can naturally evolve IG through the interaction of PCs. As a PC you can engage in politics, trade, combat, and it is possible that these interactions do not require admin involvement. Some of the best plots of my time in SOI (I'm thinking back to the Burke/Tiernan/Rivaen/Vaedro era) have been of this nature, and they were driven entirely by PC initiative, and sustained entirely by PC ingenuity.

If, on the other hand, your conflicts are magical or supernatural in nature, then, since most PCs are not able to directly affect magic, the need for admin intervention to create/drive/resolve plot becomes much greater. It also further increases the already great divide between low RPP mundane PCs and high RPP magical races.

Ultimately, I think magic used very sparingly can add atmosphere to this setting, but that too liberal a hand with it stifles rather than creates RP, even if it allows RPAs greater freedom to craft stories.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:00 am

Essentially, my primary problem with magic in SOI is that I usually have a PC that's lived several decades of life without ever coming across something magical and then has to deal with magic crawling out of the woodwork at the drop of a hat.

That dissonance between what my PC thinks the world is like (low magic) and what it actually is (high magic) is game breaking for me.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Icarus » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:37 am

I think that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the world of Tolkien. Magic is everywhere, in everything, visible to everyone. Magic is mundain. Coats that button themselves, trolls with magical pockets, dwarves with spells of secret, moon letters, etc.

You literally cannot read 10 pages of the hobbit without encountering magic.

Tolkien is a high magic setting. It is fantastic and wondrous. It is presented differently than modern high fantasy though. It is about your wil, rather than your spell of fireball.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:49 am

Apologies for the triple post, I think this might help the discussion:

Real plot device example 1: There are ghost voices in the Inn.

PC response: Basically, nothing beyond talking about it. Essentially gossip, no inter PC conflict, no plot advancement till the admin feeds the next piece of plot. RPAs are unfolding their story and the PCs are a passive audience.

Real plot device example 2: A series of (NPC and vNPC) murder victims start turning up.

PC response: Increased patrols, conflict between civilian and guard PCs over the guard's inability to keep citizenry safe, attempts to override current order, general conflict involving large sections of the IG community as parties align on this side or the other of the ensuing power struggle - and all this without having thus far expanded into the next step of the plot or making an attempt to resolve it admin side.

This, I think, is the essential difference between a high magic plot, and a non-magic plot. Admittedly, magic plots can be designed to be more interactive, but they will invariably be far more limited in that regard (by virtue of the exclusive nature of magic and PCs able to affect it) than sociopolitical conflicts.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:54 am

Icarus wrote:I think that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the world of Tolkien. Magic is everywhere, in everything, visible to everyone. Magic is mundain. Coats that button themselves, trolls with magical pockets, dwarves with spells of secret, moon letters, etc.


This is highly debatable. The question of whether Tolkien's works are high magic or not does not depend on whether high magic exists in Tolkien - it plainly does.

The question would hinge on whether the average person in that world (ie not someone who is playing a central role in a high fantasy narrative) frequently encounters magic.

From what I have read of Tolkien, the common man, common soldier, etc. does not give me the impression that he or she is in any way accustomed to magical occurrences.

Secondly, while the low/high magic of Tolkien's world can be debated, I think that the SOI canon is much more clear on that, or at least has been, historically.

ETA: The Hobbit is also, I think, an entirely different beast from LOTR and the Silmarillion.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby bjg2k1us » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:07 am

Icarus is right, magic is a fundamental part of Middle-Earth, but I would add that magic in Tolkien is subtle compared to how it has been portrayed in SOI, at least in my experience. I also wouldn't call it mundane - not to humans and hobbits, at least. To the elves (and to some extent, the dwarves), a certain amount of 'magic' is second nature to them when creating their handiwork - but they would not call it that.

But I'd say that magic shouldn't be something that even men and hobbits in Middle-Earth simply can't wrap their heads around. It should be mysterious, even fantastic to them at times, but the constant reaction of 'omg this shouldn't be possible, EVERYTHING I EVER THOUGHT IS A LIE AAAAAAHHHHHH' to the supernatural is probably less 'Tolkien' than much of the magic used in SOI.

Having said that... very often that has been MY reaction to magical plots and PCs, because 'subtle' has very, very rarely been in SOI's playbook when it comes to magic. Nazgul conjuring snakes in people's bellies, teleporting PCs across the gameworld, ghosts who physically torture/murder PCs, time travel portals, sorcerors who make your head asplode, armies of undead/animated claymation orcs/whatever the hell the crowlogs were... that's been a sampling of 'magic' that we've seen. And the damndest thing about magic of this kind is that it reduced all but one or two PCs who had lots of RPP and special powers to bystanders. "Oh no, it's scary spirit 346, someone go get Magical Steve so we can move the scene along!" "He'll be on this Thursday, in the meantime we'll just RP the barracks being turned into the Negative Zone and cry a lot." So much fun.

If Laketown can manage to make magic pervasive, subtle, mysterious, and intriguing without making it a THIS IS REALLY SCARY, YOU ARE ALL SCARED NOW, LETS SEE THE TEARS PEOPLE chore for 98% of the playerbase, then I'm all in for magic.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Icarus » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:14 am

I think that this iteration of SOI has made it quite clear that it is selective on what it picks from the old SOI as canon. For example, orcs in this iteration speak common and orcish, as opposed to the blackspeech of old. I wouldn't rely on anything previously established to mark what is held as true. Though, as Nim & Frigga were part of the old administration, that may be less true than when I ran things.

In regards to common magic. I think that the common man, common soldier, encounters magic so often that it is infact unremarkable and not worth comment continuously in the narrative of Tolkien. The world is /so/ full of magic that the fact that Aunt Pansy has a teakettle that could heat itself up without fire is not so much awe-inspiring as it is mundane. That teakettle might be of some mild interest to folks in gossip and stories, but I don't think anyone would have trouble "dealing with" on a daily basis the fact that there was such a thing possible.

Does the average person have an item of magic? Absolutely! Take a gold coin for example. That alone is imbued with the magic of morgoth, and is a corrupting influence. That's magic. Is it magic in the sense that it casts a fireball? No, but it is understood that there is something quite different within it. Is the average person magical? Take a hobbit, for example. Continuously Tolkien talks about the ability of hobbits to be stealthy, "to not be seen when they don't want to be," and links this more to magic than to some natural ability of stealth. Is there nothing more average in the world than hobbits?

The story of Tolkien is that the mundane are the true heroes. Sam, a 0rpp hobbit, defeats the most powerful evil second only to Morgoth himself. He navigates a world of nuance and magic, where the very wind and fog is magical, where the waters carry the essence of creation, where the lands of great battles are polluted by corruption, where the children of ungoliant roam. The land breathes magic, and the most humble of gardeners is able to navigate it successfully. I think each farm-hand, soldier, and fishwife has some inkling of this facet of the world, that not is all it seems. When brilliant magic occurs, it can be frightening, confusing, and wondrous, but it does not fundamentally change their understanding of the nature of the world.

Also completely agree with bjg.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:17 am

bjg2k1us wrote:But I'd say that magic shouldn't be something that even men and hobbits in Middle-Earth simply can't wrap their heads around. It should be mysterious, even fantastic to them at times, but the constant reaction of 'omg this shouldn't be possible, EVERYTHING I EVER THOUGHT IS A LIE AAAAAAHHHHHH' to the supernatural is probably less 'Tolkien' than much of the magic used in SOI.

Having said that... very often that has been MY reaction to magical plots and PCs, because 'subtle' has very, very rarely been in SOI's playbook when it comes to magic. Nazgul conjuring snakes in people's bellies, teleporting PCs across the gameworld, ghosts who physically torture/murder PCs, time travel portals, sorcerors who make your head asplode, armies of undead/animated claymation orcs/whatever the hell the crowlogs were... that's been a sampling of 'magic' that we've seen. And the damndest thing about magic of this kind is that it reduced all but one or two PCs who had lots of RPP and special powers to bystanders. "Oh no, it's scary spirit 346, someone go get Magical Steve so we can move the scene along!" "He'll be on this Thursday, in the meantime we'll just RP the barracks being turned into the Negative Zone and cry a lot." So much fun.


This bears repeating, so I did.

I think the subtle magic that's being referenced here is less asploding heads and more a pervasive and deep appreciation for the spiritual nature of the world. There's room, of course, for the more dramatic stuff (and some of it does happen in the books as well), but that should be, far and away, the exception, and not the rule.

The 'subtle magic' that we're circling around here is not something I'm objecting to. It's the 'Omg, zombies in the larder again' style of magic that makes my PCs go on a brain fritz.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Tykanis » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:24 am

I personally find it mildly annoying when Oh hey you feel sleepy echo appears and then I got to sleep only to telepathically watch a bunch of orcs talk to their shaman and then speak in tongues directly afterwards with no snarfagling idea what is going on. Then never have that subject touched in any manner again. I even saw the help files whoever I was pretty much spectating was typing in.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Tykanis » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:26 am

Not that I mind the Immteraction but I at least expect something to happen along with it eventually.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Songweaver » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:41 am

This all sounds like less of an inherent issue with magic, and more of an issue with plots. What I'm hearing, as a neutral party:

- Plots aren't nuanced enough. This is a problem that can be just as jarring for your 'murder mystery' plot as it is for 'monstrous baddie' plot.

- There's no strong documentation that's pointing players at how they should see Mirkwood and magic. Personally, I can't imagine why most locals wouldn't be EXTREMELY superstitious given the setting. You have Smaug and the Lonely Mountain (high magic), a Necromancer slowly tainting the forest you live in (high magic), and various other things from canon. In fact, most of the world knows that this region is "cursed", and that's why they've changed its name from Greenwood to Mirkwood. This is probably the most "high magic" setting that SOI's ever set itself in.

- What the game lacks is human-side culture to put the nature of the world around the characters into perspective. Utterby is the modern equivalent of a third world town (living in a literally cursed region), or at the least, a very rural and removed town. Without proper perspective from documentation, it's all too easy to approach it from a more urban/enlightened point-of-view, and in doing so, I can see how Rivaen and others might feel at odds with the setting and its execution. Documentation!

- Plots, frequently, are left hanging and are never resolved.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Rivean » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:47 am

Songweaver wrote:This is probably the most "high magic" setting that SOI's ever set itself in. What it lacks is human-side culture to put the nature of the world around the characters into perspective.


This.

Also, I based my understanding of the IC culture/reality on what documentation was put out by Frigga in the early days, as well as my previous experience with such things from past iterations of SOI - that latter was probably a mistake on my part.

That having been said, as said before, I have no problem with subtle Tolkien-style magic.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Melkor » Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:06 pm

Solution: Send me all the magic documentation you can find. I will compile it and make an entry for the wiki. You're welcome.

Then, players and admins alike can refer to this document when responding to or creating plots.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Bones » Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:57 pm

Solution: Give everyone magic. Everyone. All Magic types. Psionics. Fire. Gandalfness. And One Rings. Of course, I'll have the 1.1 Ring to rule them all, but it's only fitting as it's my solution.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Nimrod » Sun Aug 09, 2015 1:59 pm

There are many people in this thread that feel the need to derail it seems. Let's keep it on topic.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby cfelch » Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:25 pm

I think the issue with magic is... why do things the mundane way after you get it?
The haves and the have nots.
The nots should outnumber the haves, but that leads to cries of favoritism.
When the haves outnumber the nots, there is little reason to have any nots anymore.
If everyone haves, then it takes the magic out of the magic.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Tepes » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:37 pm

Was never enough real magic around. Too many magic swords, but never enough magic trinkets or equipment that wasn't a sword.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Brian » Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:28 am

Here's what I wrote recently about magic and how I see it's functioning in Tolkien's world:

Here's the thing about Magic in Tolkien; Magic as we think about it doesn't work like it does in many other fantasies. "Good" magic, or as I like to refer to it, Art, is a manifestation of the innate strength of the user's spirit, and as such, it is incredibly rare for most people to show overt usage of magic. However, Elves, Dwarves, and to a much lesser extent the Dunedain (the people that Aragorn is a part of) may have some ability with Art (good magic). Yet even for the Elves and Dwarves they wouldn't usually consider it magic.

Let's say an Elf makes a rope that is incredibly light and strong, and also, when tugged just so, will come undone from whatever you had fastened it to such that if you were climbing down a cliff and you reached the bottom you give a tug and you can reclaim your rope. Men might look at that and say "that's a magic rope" but an Elf would be puzzled by this. Instead, they see it as a rope that is made to the utmost possibility of what a rope can be. That is one of the gifts of the Elves; they are essentially humans but with a much greater artistic potential and potential to shape the world. So, when they create something, they have the ability to make it the utmost that that thing could possibly be. If they make a sword it is quite likely that it will be lighter and stronger; if the craftsman has really poured his attention into it, it might glow in the presence of orcs, or never need to be sharpened. These things look like "magic" to the untrained eye, but the Elf would say that they are simply the perfect manifestation of whatever they were trying to create.

This is usually what Art (good magic) is like, and how it is seen. It is most commonly seen in the creation of things like Bilbo's sword Sting, or in the Palantir, the stone that lets you see between the stones or at a distance. It may also manifest in the ability to heal, but even that is usually more of being able to coax the most potency out of medicinal herbs or being extremely skilled, or just being able to inspire the body towards greater recovery. As a rule, Art (good magic) is about healing, beauty, creation, and perfection. It is never about domination or destruction. Because of Art being innately linked to the power of spirit of the wielder it is rare amongst Men and somewhat less rare in Elves and Dwarves.

As far as "bad" magic goes this is something that Men are able to access with tutelage and study, but it always comes with a cost. This is getting really deep into the Tolkien lore but I'll try to explain why this is so.

Way before the events of LoTR Sauron was only the servant of Morgoth who, for all intents and purposes, is/was a god. Morgoth began with good intentions but eventually desired to dominate and control the earth and all that was within it. To this end he extended his godly power into the earth itself, infusing it with his own essence, so that all creation was in some way infused with what we'll call the Morgoth element. Some materials of creation took it on more easily, like gold, and some are barely touched by it, water being the prime example here. However, all that's in the world or of the world (so every living thing, man, plant, rock, etc) has some amount of the Morgoth element present in them.

This Morgoth element is what allows Men to perform magic. It is easier when working with certain materials like gold, which is heavily suffused with the Morgoth element, much much more difficult when trying to do create an effect out of nothing, like conjuring up a spell of domination upon another. With arcane study these things can be learned, but it is inherently evil. It will inherently corrupt anyone who uses it, ultimately giving them power in the short term, but as they continue to use it they will become a slave to the will of Morgoth, or in our case Sauron, as he is more or less the successor to what Morgoth was trying to achieve. A good example of something like this would be Gollum; he wasn't trying to use magic or anything but he was in possession of a potent item of dark magic and ultimately became more and more a slave to its will. The rings given to the Nazgul act in this way as well. At first they were Sorceror's and Kings amongst Men and these rings greatly enhanced their abilities but eventually they became nothing more than thrall's to Sauron's will.

The ability to harness and channel this power will again be relative to the innate strength of the wielder, but ultimately anyone, no matter how pure of heart or intention, who tries to use this power will succumb to it. This is why Gandalf and Galadriel would have nothing to do with the power of the One Ring, because they knew they would be made a tool to the will of Sauron in the end.

There is also a third type of magic which is more like the first kind but to a much greater degree; the power of the beings who are basically the gods and angels of middle-earth. This is where Gandalf's power comes from. Gandalf is an angel sent from the Gods (to use our world terms) but he's had his ability to use his innate power vastly constrained. This is something that no man, elf, or dwarf will ever have.

So that's just touching on the subject, hopefully it wasn't too confusing. Also, all of this is stuff that it is incredibly unlikely that any character in the game would know about, but it can help inform how you interact with the world as a player. Just don't have your character start talking about the Morgoth element or anything; that isn't something that ANY character, even Galadriel or Elrond, would know about :p
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby cfelch » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:09 am

Sounds like you are equating magic to science, more or less.
Superior crafting ability is all about the technological advances.
The material has to be a good conductor for the magic to take hold.
Man, in his stumbling intellect, has to give it some religious bent to make sense of it all.

Perhaps that is over-paraphrasing.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Brian » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:39 am

To some degree you could definitely see it that way, the whole "any technology sufficiently advanced will seem like magic to a less advanced culture," sort of thing, but it isn't precisely like that.

When Illuvatar (God) created the Elves he created them to have the greater skill and ability to finish the creation of the world. They were imbued with a greater connection to the world and a greater ability to shape it, mold it, change it, and enhance it. That is why they are ageless as well; they are much more of the world then Men are, intimately connected to it, and bound to it until the end of time. Men are visitors; they are less intimately connected to the world and thus less able to mold it and sculpt it; their gifts lie in their personal freedom and ability to escape the world at death, not being bound to time.

This is where the Art (good magic) of the Elves comes from. It is innate to the purpose that they were created for by Illuvatar (God). They are apportioned these gifts in greater or lesser degree, with Feanor being the most gifted in history. It is intuitive to them and enhanced as they aquire skill over their long lives. It is all about that shaping and perfecting of creation; hence why the Art of the Elves and other good people is about creation, beauty, enhancement, and healing.

The dwarves are similarly endowed because they were created by Aule the most skilled in creation and shaping things of the Valar (kind of the gods of the World but actually more like really powerful angels). They were designed to fulfill the purpose and intents of their creator who was a master smith and craftsman and the one that the Noldor Elves learned most of their craft from. Illuvatar (God) decided that they would be able to enhance his creation and so he gave them life and allowed them to fill that purpose.

So it's kind of like science, but not really, because Men can't "learn" these innate gifts the same way because that isn't their destiny in the world. They are simply not imbued with it the same way, save for the Dunedain. The Dunedain were specifically blessed by Illuvatar and allowed to live in a hallowed, sacred land, and this imbued them with some measure of this power. Furthermore, the royal line of the Dunedain are enriched by the bloodlines of Elves and even one of the Maiar (lesser angels) which is key to their extraordinary gifts.

However, the Art of the Dunedain has declined a lot by our timeline as they rebelled against Illuvatar (God). Their hallowed land was cast down by him and now the gifts that the survivors had have been on a precipitous decline, most evident by their declining life spans. The end of the Third Age presents a slight boost to the royal line with Aragorn's marriage to Arwen, as their children would be enhanced by Arwen's elven gifts, though they would not be considered half elven as Arwen made the choice to be accounted amongst Men.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby cfelch » Mon Aug 10, 2015 6:47 am

Now you are saying that mankind is alien to middle earth?

Which deity has more power, Illuvatar, Aule or Morgoth? Explain.

If elves and humans and the Maiar can interbreed, doesn't that imply that they are biologically all the same species?

Shouldn't there be some half-orc rape babies around?
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Brian » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:06 am

cfelch wrote:Now you are saying that mankind is alien to middle earth?

Which deity has more power, Illuvatar or Morgoth? Explain.

If elves and humans and the Maiar can interbreed, doesn't that imply that they are biologically all the same species?


Mankind isn't alien to Middle-Earth, per se, but they are not linked to the fate of the world like the Elves are. They are called the second-born, the aftercomers, and also the visitors by the elves. Here's a quote from the Tolkien Gateway (an excellent resource site) that might help clear things up a little.

"It was said among the Elves that after they died, the fëar of Men were gathered in the Halls of Mandos, and then departed from the World for a destination unknown even to the Valar. Whereas all other beings in Arda, including the Valar themselves, were bound to the World and its fate, the Gift freed Men from this destiny, allowing them to shape their own lives as they wished. For this reason, the Elves, who must live as long as Arda exists and become burdened with its sorrows, often envy the Gift given to Men, and it is said that even the Valar shall do so as well."

This necessitates a bit of a breakdown on who this cast of characters is. Bear in mind that there are a lot of tie ins to Christian mythology so I'll break it down in those words.

Illuvatar is God, period. There is only one God and that is Illuvatar. Illuvatar is responsible for all of creation and the fate of the world. Illuvatar created lesser beings to accompany him and heaven; these are the Valar and the Maiar, which in the analogy are the greater and the lesser angels, though they have somewhat more agency than the angels of Christian mythology. Melkor/Morgoth (whose analog is pretty much Lucifer/Satan) was the most powerful of the Valar.

Illuvatar came up with the plan for creation and then had the Valar and Maiar sing it into being. Each Vala and Maia knew only one small part of creation and the destiny of the world, the whole is known only to Illuvatar. Melkor/Morgoth wanted to create things of his own within this broader canvas but everything he did to try and add his own will and design into the creation created discord in the music. Finally Illuvatar halted the music and a final music which was only his own ended the creation, and this final music was the creation of Elves and Men, the children of Illuvatar. It would fall to them to complete creation, and their destinies are unknown to any of the Valar or Maiar.

When the music was finished, time basically began. Illuvatar allowed those Valar and Maiar that wished to to enter the world and begin creation. Many did, including Melkor/Morgoth. Everything the Valar wrought he would undo and destroy and so on and so forth. For this reason the world is not the world that was originally envisioned and has pain, and fear and all these other bad things as an intrinsic part of it, however, Illuvatar proclaimed that ultimately all of the discord sown by Melkor/Morgoth would ultimately lead to a greater beauty than even the original design.

When it comes to the power of Illuvatar and the Valar, Illuvatar is omnipotent, all powerful, able to do anything he wishes at any time. The Valar are not omnipotent but I'm not sure that they could ever be destroyed or killed by any save Illuvatar, even between each other. Of the Valar, Morgoth was originally the most powerful; however, he spread his power into the physical essence of the world, which ultimately weakened him to the point where he lost much of his original power.

The Valar and Mair exist in a spirit form but they can, and do, incarnate themselves into physical form as well. Morgoth, because he spent so much of his power in infusing himself into the physical world, could only exist in a physical form eventually, whereas the other Valar can put their physical form on or off much like clothing. When in this physical form it would appear that they can interbreed with Elves, and probably Men at that. There is only one time this has happened in history though, the marriage between Melian and Thingol, and the child of that union was Luthien.
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Brian
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby cfelch » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:22 am

Finally Illuvatar halted the music and a final music which was only his own ended the creation, and this final music was the creation of Elves and Men, the children of Illuvatar. It would fall to them to complete creation, and their destinies are unknown to any of the Valar or Maiar.


Seems to contradict with:

Mankind isn't alien to Middle-Earth, per se, but they are not linked to the fate of the world like the Elves are. They are called the second-born, the aftercomers, and also the visitors by the elves. Here's a quote from the Tolkien Gateway (an excellent resource site) that might help clear things up a little.

"It was said among the Elves that after they died, the fëar of Men were gathered in the Halls of Mandos, and then departed from the World for a destination unknown even to the Valar. Whereas all other beings in Arda, including the Valar themselves, were bound to the World and its fate, the Gift freed Men from this destiny, allowing them to shape their own lives as they wished. For this reason, the Elves, who must live as long as Arda exists and become burdened with its sorrows, often envy the Gift given to Men, and it is said that even the Valar shall do so as well."


Was man created second, or at the same time?
By this timeline I would have to assume that dwarves were created first.
Elves are supposedly with an unknown destiny as well, yet their destiny seems to be foregone.
The Halls of Mandos exporting the fears of man almost sound like a spaceship analogy.
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