USH'S LORD OF THE RINGS GAME- Spells and Spell lists

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Here are the rules for Magic use and the spells lists in my LOTR game. This is a work in progress- as of yet, only the Channelling and Animist spells are available.


Please note the following:

1. The Development Points category 'Spells' has now been put into character creation. Mages and Animists get plenty, Rangers get a tad, no-one else gets any. Like all Dvelopment, you can put points into Spells if you wish by transferring from others- in this way, even Warriors an learn spells, but if you are not an Elf or Dunadan I'll want to know how (it's not actually illegal though). Note the old Magical Skills category has disappeared- not worth the hassle. The only skills you need to support your powers are the Animist choices Herbalism and Animal Ken (both secondaries)

2. Magic is very rare on Middle Earth and not to be taken lightly- the 'Shock and Awe' rules partially account for that, but good play is needed as well. Don't just sling it around casually- it is arcane and rare and odd.

3. Elves don't call it Magic- a term they do not understand and which certainly confuses them when also used in connection to the dark arts of the Enemy- but functionally it is all the same, so I call it Magic for convenience.

4. Some license has been taken- more blasting spells are available than Tolkien ever really refers to. They are not plentiful, but they are there. That's a dramatic license I ask you to forgive in the name of gameplay.

5. The spell list names are in Sindarin. Blame my brother.


1. Essence vs. Channelling

Two different types of magic here- the control of Essence and the Chanelling of powers. On a really basic level, Animists do the latter and Mages the former; Chanelling is more physical, Essence more arcane.

Actually, anyone who uses Magic splits down these lines. Rangers and Animists are Chanelling and Mages Essence. Anyone else, should they delve, can choose, but are unlikely to choose Essence due to the armour mess-up it causes.

Talking of which, the full rules are complex, but to simplify- you can't cast Chanelling spells in metal armour, and you cannot cast Essence spells in any armour at all.

2. Power points

These are damn important, and dictate how many spells you can cast. Spells cost power points- it is also a great physical strain to cast them. Power points refresh each day, and are very sparse.

Power points are gained from having a high magical stat, and going up in levels.

The important stat for Chanelling is Intuition.

The important stat for Essence is Intelligence

If your relevant stat is 0 or less... you have bugger all power points!

At +5 to +10, you get one power point a level

At +15 to +20, two a level

+25 to +30, three a level.

And anything beyond that is four a level.

3. Combat

Offensive spells have their own built-in attack bonuses and roll on their own attack tables, and have their own criticals. Note that Magic attacks cannot be parried under any circumstances! Shields work against some spells but not others.

4. Levels

Note that knowing spells and being able to cast them are two different things. Spend your Spell development points as you like, but in general you may not cast any spell with a level higher than your character level.

Shock and Awe

Magic is rare in Middle Earth. When something is rare and as spectacular as magic, it tends to produce a reaction of fear. Scaring the locals is sometimes an inevitable consequence of being a magic user. These rules covers this. The GM decides if and when to use the rules; generally rather than rolling lots of times he just rolls once for all the bystanders to judge the general reaction. He can also decide to ignore the reaction - its just a general guideline.

Shock spells
Spells that cause shock are marked with a S. Any one who sees a Shock spell and who is less than sixth level must immediately make a Reaction Roll against a first level spell. If this roll fails, people become fearful of the user and will try to keep their distance from him and his friends. All Leadership and Influence rolls will be at a penalty of 30 from now on. If the roll fails by more than 30, then their fear will trigger a hostile reaction. Any Leadership and Influence roll will fail, and they may demand the caster leaves the area. It may even incite a mob to attack the caster.

The chance of passing the Reaction Roll is decreased if the people are particular insular or distrustful of outsiders (check the race descriptions). Note that Shock will never stop someone from attacking the caster if that is their intention.

Spell casters and Elves, being generally more used to seeing magic, always pass Shock rolls. For Half-Elves it depends if they have brought up as a man or elf, but even one raised as a man will get a bonus of 30 to pass the roll.

Dunedain get no bonuses. While it is fair to say they would be more familiar with magic, it is the familiarity of books and stories. This is quite different to seeing it for real. (it is like the difference between seeing an attack helicopter on TV to an attack helicopter shooting at you for real).

It is generally assumed that these rules only apply to "white hat" spell casters. For creatures such as the Nazgul Shock may actually increase their leadership over races like Orcs which are controlled by fear rather than inspired by valour.

Spells that cause awe are marked with an A. Any one who sees an Awe spell must make a Reaction Roll against Fear. If they fail, they will fear the caster. In combat with the caster they will take 20 off their OB and invest this in DB whenever possible. In general they will prefer not to be in combat with the caster. If they fail by more than 50 they will flee in terror. The level of the Fear is level 3, BUT may be modified in the following way.

If the spell was target on that person increase the level by one
If the spell was a "bolt" spell increase the level by one
If the spell was a "ball" spell increase the level by two

Again it is down to the GM to use this rule as he sees fit. Some creatures are too stupid (like trolls) to recognise fear. Orcs do, but if they are lead by something like the Witch King or Nazgul they would probably fear that more. In this case a failure would still mean they'd re-invest their OB into DB but but you could probably ignore the rule over fleeing.

Anyone who fails an Awe test can be considered as having failed a Shock test by 30 as well (just in case that becomes relevent). Unlike Shock rolls there are no modifications for Awe rolls. Elves may be used to magic, but magic like this is so rare even they will be awed by such spells.

On the flip side, anyone who passes an Awe roll is almost certain to target the spell caster as the most significant threat within the group.

Once someone has made an Awe roll and passed, you don't need to make another Awe roll UNLESS the Fear level of the Awe spell is higher than the one you past. (If an Orc sees a bolt spell and passes his 4th level Awe roll, he will not have to make another one unless it is a 5th level or higher - such as a bolt spell directed at him or witnessing a ball spell).


Essence spells to follow

Ok folks, all feel free to start choosing Spells now- remember, anyoen can use these so long as they have Power Points and Development points in Spells.

Do note that a lot of these 'spells' are more intuitive powers than Mahgic in the standard fantasy sense, so they make appropriate compliments to any Elf or Dunadan- for that matter, to anyone who has Intuition/Intelligence enough and wants to put the effort in.

If you want Essence spells, lay off spending for no and do it later. Note that some Essence spell lists will be for Mages only in the same way some of those Chanelling ones are Animist only.

Also note that Rangers will likely get a Chanelling spell list of their own, to represent their famed powers of tracking and wilderness lore.

waiting for essence....

Just an update- the Essence list will be ready soon, as will some special Chanelling paths for Rangers.

I get to do stuff!

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