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Magic in Shadows of Isildur

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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby tehkory » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:45 am

cfelch wrote:
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.

You're coming across a basic point of theology here, which is why understanding Tolkien requires a fair understanding of basic Christian theological concepts. God/Illuvatar exists outside of time, and the Creation/Conception of the world has little to do with our concept of it. All that was, is, and ever shall be has already been created.

Best to just read the Silmarillion, but there is an argument for the Dwarves having been 'created' 'first,' but that doesn't make them the Firstborn.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Songweaver » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:55 am

Tolkien wrote very few hard rules about magic into his books on Middle Earth. Most beliefs on what is capable stem from inference, which I generally support. However, there are so many hedge cases in Tolkien's lore, so many unique "magical" events that only happen once throughout the course of his recorded history, that I don't believe magic has to be quite as restrictive as its often made out to be.

Nor do I believe it should be.

If we allow ourselves to play within boundaries defined only by what Tolkien has actually written, there is little surprise or innovation or creativity to be had on this game. For too many elements of Middle Earth, Tolkien's simply written too little, and some times as little as a singular sentence.

It is easy to find the very small handful of things that Tolkien says is impossible via magic (teleportation, for example), and stay true to that. I just don't think that limiting magic to only what has been proven to exist in the books serves a robust and living game world, any more than I think limiting anything to purely what exists in canon does.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby cfelch » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:56 am

According to the quote, it falls on men and elves to finish creation.
Ergo, its not finished yet, regardless of if Illuvatar is outside of time.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Brian » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:46 am

cfelch wrote:Was man created second, or at the same time?
By this timeline I would have to assume that dwarves were created first.


Hmmmm, how to explain it exactly...

The music of the Ainur didn't actually create the world, it was more like the conceptualizing of the world. Illuvatar had the whole plan and then he gathered the orchestra and he had them outline it back to him. They got their first look at things, saw how the history of the world would play out, and they were all amazed. Then Illuvatar said something like "What you have just seen I will make happen" and he gave the universe life, or put into motion what would become the universe. He basically made the Big Bang happen. Then the Valar and Maiar went into all of these unformed elements and began creating; first stone, and air and all the primordial type things, continually shaping and perfecting them even as Melkor destroyed them. Plants and animals came close to last. Finally, once all the world was ready the Elves, who had been created by Illuvatar alone, were awakened. A good while after that Men were awakened by Illuvatar as well.

As regards the Dwarves, Aule who had been completely amazed by the music portending the coming of Elves and Men wanted to make his own children. He shaped them and created them but he couldn't give them true life; only Illuvatar could do that. Illuvatar of course saw what he was doing and Aule was prepared to smash them with his hammer, but Illuvatar said that he could work them into the world. Illuvatar told Aule he would give them true life, but they weren't allowed to enter the world before the Firstborn, the Elves. So they were put to sleep and once the Elves were awakened some time after that Illuvatar woke up the Dwarves too.

cfelch wrote: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.


Elves have an unknown destiny in the sense that the Valar and Maiar don't know what they will do in their living. They couldn't predict Feanor creating the Silmarils, the rebellion of the Noldor, Celebrimbor creating the Rings of Power, that kind of thing. The ultimate fate of the Elves is an unknown as well; what is known is that their spirits stay in the world until the end of time, whatever that might entail. When they die their spirits go to the Halls of Mandos and after enough time to recuperate they are reincarnated whereupon they'll live in Valinor until whatever the end of the world is.

However, when Men die, their souls go to the halls of Mandos, and then they leave the world. The Valar don't know what happens to them. It's presumed that they join Illuvatar in heaven.

This is corroborated by the fact that it's said when the world does end Illuvatar will lead the Valar, the Maiar, and the souls of Men in the creation of a new, more beautiful music enriched by everything that transpired in the first world. What isn't mentioned however is the souls of the Elves; there is a fear among them that when the world ends that they will cease to exist as well.

cfelch wrote:According to the quote, it falls on men and elves to finish creation.
Ergo, its not finished yet, regardless of if Illuvatar is outside of time.


That's just so, that's why Elves and Men were created. The final act of creation and perfecting it may be what I mentioned above, the souls of Men (and possibly of the Elves but unknown) joining God and the Angels to create a perfect creation the second time around, one that perhaps wasn't possible without those very souls and what they experienced in the first creation.
Last edited by Brian on Mon Aug 10, 2015 10:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby tehkory » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:57 am

cfelch wrote:According to the quote, it falls on men and elves to finish creation.
Ergo, its not finished yet, regardless of if Illuvatar is outside of time.


Well, yeah, of course a creature constrained by time would view it that way. Note your use of the word -yet-. Illuvatar--God--isn't contained by that. The fullness of his plan means that, for him, the final story's already been designed. The song's been song. It's up to Men and Elves to live it, and Valar will only see glimpses of it.

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.


Illuvatar's not Valar. He's not Maiar. He is God. He is, theologically, That-Which-Nothing-Greater-Than-Can-Be. He has power over all. That's what the Music is, it's literally the whole of Creation sung out by a choir of God and Angels. Melkor--Morgoth--battles God for control of it, and repeatedly God takes the melody over again, winding in Morgoth's attempts into something even more beautiful.

I don't know what the point to 'men/elves need to finish creation themselves' would be, especially when it comes to 'magic,' but Illuvatar's fully aware of what's going to happen next. He laid it out 'already,' which as I've said before is a poor way to describe something--someone--that exists outside of time.

All these questions you're asking really would be answered if you took 5 minutes and read the first chapter of the Silmarillion, and it's honestly a beautiful, poetic read.

Back on topic:
More pretty magic. More magic like our pipes. Less +1 to damage magic. Less meaning none.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Melkor » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:14 am

I would recommend just reading The Silmarillion. It is certainly not light reading, but it will give you a megadose of lore. It's easier to understand the gameworld once you have.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby cfelch » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:22 am

Tehkory

Of course I am going to comment on the 'yet', especially given how you say 'all that shall be, already is'.
It's a temporal paradox...
...mixing tenses, i hate being the grammar police.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby tehkory » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:34 am

cfelch wrote:Tehkory

Of course I am going to comment on the 'yet', especially given how you say 'all that shall be, already is'.
It's a temporal paradox...
...mixing tenses, i hate being the grammar police.


Dune wrote:Think you of the fact that a deaf person cannot hear. Then, what deafness may we not all possess? What senses do we lack that we cannot see and cannot hear another world all around us? What is there around us that we cannot know?


Stranger In A Strange Land wrote:"Don't waste your time, Duke; the cameras are all right. What is exactly ninety degrees from everything else?"
"I'm no good at riddles."
"It's not a riddle and I meant it seriously. I could refer you to Mr. A. Square from Flatland,but I'll answer it myself. What is exactly at right angles to everything else?"


Flatland wrote:“In One Dimensions, did not a moving Point produce a Line with two terminal points?
In two Dimensions, did not a moving Line produce a Square wit four terminal points?
In Three Dimensions, did not a moving Square produce - did not the eyes of mine behold it - that blessed being, a Cube, with eight terminal points?
And in Four Dimensions, shall not a moving Cube - alas, for Analogy, and alas for the Progress of Truth if it be not so - shall not, I say the motion of a divine Cube result in a still more divine organization with sixteen terminal points?


You and I, Cfelch, we're Squares. We look at Illuvatar, who appears to us to be a Square. And to others yet less comprehending than even us, we are Lines, as they too are Lines, as Illuvatar is a Line.

But Illuvatar is neither a Line, as he appears to be to some, as all appear to be, nor a Square, as he appears to be to you and I. He is a Cube, something we've no concept of, as we are merely two-dimensional. And perhaps he is even more beyond us, beyond a Cube, Dimensions beyond what we Squares can understand, Dimensions and Degrees.

God--Illuvatar--Is. He Is That He Is, even. To speak of God on our own terms, terms of linear causality and simple, two-dimensional phrases and concepts is infinitely reductive, a reduction of the Infinite. This is the line where Physics and Theology cross, the place that is ninety degrees from what each one of us comprehends.

ETA:
Flatland wrote:“Upward, not Northward.”

As much to ask how to go North--and never East nor West--if an Immovable Object is in your way. The answer's simple enough, of course, in three dimensions, but impossible in two. Time's a problem for us, but not for Illuvatar. It is happening, has already happened, will happen. Much like Points to Lines, Lines to Squares, Squares to Cubes, we don't have the proper verbatage to describe Illuvatar in Fullness. Man does not, Dwarf does not, Elf does not. Neither do the Maiar nor the Valar.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby EltanimRas » Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:50 pm

Icarus wrote: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.

If I can put one of these teakettles in my backstory and get it accepted, that's news to me. I can deal with more or less any reasonable level of magic, so long as the documentation ('what you know as ...', etc.) is clear.

Ungrateful soul that I am, though, I hate having long-anticipated character development scenes interrupted by outside plot/mysterious echoes/ghosts/etc.

ETA: Also, the less subtle the events on offer, the more important board posts, hobbitmails, forum announcements, and other asynchronous updates become. (It's one thing not to have heard that a dead body turned up in an alleyway, but it's another altogether to be confused about when & how half the town wall got knocked down.)
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby cfelch » Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:41 pm

EltanimRas wrote:long-anticipated character development scenes


Is it just me, or does that sound like date night?
I mean, no offense if it is.. but if character X is so scare in the game world, is it any wonder that staff would try to include them in the bigger plots as well when the opportunity presents itself?
You don't get them all to yourself (or vise-versa if you happen to be a mover and a shaker).
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby tehkory » Mon Aug 10, 2015 9:36 pm

cfelch wrote:
EltanimRas wrote:long-anticipated character development scenes


Is it just me, or does that sound like date night?
I mean, no offense if it is.. but if character X is so scare in the game world, is it any wonder that staff would try to include them in the bigger plots as well when the opportunity presents itself?
You don't get them all to yourself (or vise-versa if you happen to be a mover and a shaker).

I think it's more about interrupting deep and meaningful interaction with 'ooo spooky ghost,' which a lot of ghost plots tend to be.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby EltanimRas » Tue Aug 11, 2015 4:08 am

tehkory wrote:
cfelch wrote:
EltanimRas wrote:long-anticipated character development scenes

Is it just me, or does that sound like date night?

I think it's more about interrupting deep and meaningful interaction with 'ooo spooky ghost,' which a lot of ghost plots tend to be.

A bit of both. :P

Not "date night" in a romantic sense, but in the sense of a small group of 2-4 players holed up together for conspiracies and/or revelations, often in a locked room, often oocly coordinated around work schedules, families, etc., yeah, absolutely.

Even an otherwise well-done "bigger plot" often isn't tailored to mesh with any specific character or characters' individual story or theme, being (for entirely understandable reasons) designed to be accessible to all players.

[Quotations condensed for readability.]
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Nimrod » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:08 am

tehkory wrote:I think it's more about interrupting deep and meaningful interaction with 'ooo spooky ghost,' which a lot of ghost plots tend to be.


I hear you. [A slight derail to comment] This is one of the reasons that we introduced the 'set status' command. My initial thoughts about use of this command would be the 'DND' status - or 'Do Not Disturb', much like you see on your phone at work.

We, as staff, over the past year often times feel the need to provide some type of echo in those situations because some have asked for much more involvement. My overall opinion is 'less is more' when it comes to staff interacting with players.[/derail]

Great discussion so far on magic.

I will interject that the comment about tea kettles that boil water magically is not my idea of magic in middle earth and that is not the direction we are taking.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby Bones » Tue Aug 11, 2015 6:44 am

Honestly, I've always held a fondness for the sort of magic that Elrond of Rivendell used to partially heal Frodo's wounds. Combining herbs and the abilities into such. I mean.. It would certainly help Utterby (for example), as they seem to be grievously overcome with infected wounds and darkness every other thursday, to listen to them.

So.. Basically.. Not outright flashy stuff (Although the rare instance of it would be awesome) But the little things.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby jdidds » Tue Aug 11, 2015 9:45 am

I've not read everything here, and probably won't..but I like the way a former player put it...I don't remember who...Maybe it was you Riv..or Sawdust.

He/she/you said that the NPC's are really the ones that are the every day characters that not much exciting happens to. We play the characters, that are by all means every day characters for the most part, but they are the normal every day characters that something special can happen to..be it magic, adventures or whatever. We play the characters that get mixed up in such malarky, the characters that there is a little bit more to than meets the eye. Much like Bilbo.

So, I think a bit of magic is fine and can be expected. But I really don't want to see most of the players running around shooting fireballs out of their butts or something. Players with magic should be very rare, and they should be players that can be trusted with such powers.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby cfelch » Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:07 am

Trust is an investment, you don't know if it was a good one until it is too late.
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby EltanimRas » Tue Aug 11, 2015 11:46 am

To Nim, off-topic: Thanks for the reminder on 'set status' and the policy statement on teakettles. I'll try to remember not to mention any in my future backgrounds.

On topic:

Brian wrote:"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 Dúnedain (the people that Aragorn is a part of) may have some ability with Art (good magic).

Pretty much every SoI character I've ever rolled (and I think I maxed out around 2-3 rpp, if it matters), has, at the point in their life at which I type "commence" never met an Elf or Dwarf. None of my SoI-Laketown characters has ever met a Dúnadan. Even my old MT pcs, while they would of course have seen Dúnedain around, had never knowingly had a pre-commencement sit-down chat with any.

That being the case, I tend feel as if while this sort of magic (art) isn't at all foreign to Tolkien's world, it should likely be pretty foreign to my pcs. They may, of course, be superstitious. They may have a sense that their world is alive in ways that most humans in a modern, secular society don't - but it's very rare that I feel justified in letting them understand something magical, and it's generally hard for people not to fear what they don't understand.

Brian wrote: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.

Here, on the other hand, there's some fascinating rp potential for even 0rpp humans. Unfortunately, it seems tricky to draw upon in most "good" human spheres, given how little awareness most pcs would have and how secretive those who do know more tend (sensibly, I must say) to be.

I'm open to suggestions!
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Re: Magic in Shadows of Isildur

Postby EltanimRas » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:11 pm

Double-post for teakettle magic & Michael Martinez, sorry.

Link: What Were the Toys of Dale Like?

I'll quote the first few paragraphs here, just for convenience:

Mr. Martinez wrote:The reference in The Hobbit occurs as Thorin recounts the story of his family’s history:

Tolkien wrote:…Altogether those were good days for us, and the poorest of us had money to spend and to lend, and leisure to make beautiful things just for the fun of it, not to speak of the most marvellous and magical toys, the like of which is not to be found in the world now-a-days. So my grandfather’s halls became full of armour and jewels and carvings and cups, and the toy-market of Dale was the wonder of the North.

The first reference in The Lord of the Rings occurs just before Gandalf begins his fireworks display:

Tolkien wrote:On this occasion the presents were unusually good. The hobbit-children were so excited that for a while they almost forgot about eating. There were toys the like of which they had never seen before, all beautiful and some obviously magical. Many of them had indeed been ordered a year before, and had come all the way from the Mountain and from Dale, and were of real dwarf-make.

What the official take on this, since it's in our neck of the woods? Are we in the sad and toyless void between the fall of Erebor + Dale & the events of the hobbit? Are some of these toys still treasured family heirlooms in Laketown, even if they're no longer freely traded? What about the dwarf traders from the Iron Hills - even though they're from a ways further off, we still see some in-game, don't we?
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