House Rules-Magic

Home

Current Tasks

Library

Geography

Denizens

House Rules

Miscellany





Magic in Arda

The magic witnessed in Arda is vastly different from the magic in the standard D&D world. The source of the magic is slightly different, but for game purposes that can be ignored. The biggest difference comes in both power and scope. Although there is magic in Arda, the frequency and power are much smaller than that seen in D&D. Although classes do not experience a decrease in the number of spells that they can cast, they do have a decrease in the variety that they can cast. Many spells are either unavailable due to their subject(such as spells that deal with outsiders), or are simply not cast by those wishing to remain in the grace of Eru Illuvatar.

Spellcaster availability.

The healer, druid, mage, and sorcerer are all limited in availability. These classes are partially limited to Valar, Maiar, Elves, or those with blood of those races in their heritage. This includes the exceedingly rare Half-Elves and the Numenoreans/Dunedain (who have traces of both Maia and Elf in their bloodlines). Characters with these races in their heritage can take levels in these classes each time that they level up. Characters without these races in their heritage can only alternate one of these spellcasting classes with a non spellcasting class, a class with minor spellcasting abilities(Bard and some prestige), or a spellcasting class of the opposite type(arcane v divine). The adept NPC class can be taken without multiclassing as well. Necromancer specialists would always be evil; the Numenoreans prior to the destruction of Numenor produced a number of Necromancers, and it can be surmised that the Black Numenoreans from Umbar also favored this class.

Rune Magic

Rune magic as detailed on pp. 58-59 of the Forgotten Realms Campaign Sourcebook, is available in Middle Earth. Dwarves, in particular, have an affinity for Rune Magic, and most Dwarven spellcasters almost exclusively use Rune Magic.

Dwarves

Dwarves rarely use magic except for the purposes of creating magical items. Even taking that into account, Dwarves rarely produce actual magical items, but concentrate more on Masterwork items.

Spells Prohibited In Middle Earth

  • Spells that create something from nothing, or which fundamentally alter the nature of something, go against Eru’s will. Such spells are either unavailable, or are used only by those who either directly carry out the will of Eru (the Valar and Maiar) or who directly flout Eru’s will (the renegade Vala Melkor, later named Morgoth, or renegade Maiar such as Sauron).
  • Spells that access other planes (except the Ethereal Plane, called the “Spirit World” or “the other side” in Middle Earth) do not function, since Middle Earth is not directly connected to any other planes of existence. Aman, or The Undying Lands, is not accessible because it was closed off from any except for those whom the Valar allow to find it. Aman is not exactly another plane; it was once physically part of the same plane as Middle Earth, but was cordoned off millennia ago.
  • Spells that have effects against Outsiders are either eliminated or rendered powerless, because there are technically no Outsiders in Middle Earth. The Balrog, for example, is a Maia, one of the spirits that initially carried out the will of Eru and helped create Middle Earth – so, while he is now a twisted, demonic figure, he is still considered a native of the world he played a part in creating.
  • Spells such as “Fireball” or “Wall of Stone” use surrounding matter or energy to create their effects. In the case of “Fireball,” the effect is created by superheating the oxygen in the surrounding air (DMs should determine on their own whether this would suck all the oxygen out of an enclosed area, suffocating all those in that area). Regardless, such spells are rarely used, because they skirt along the edges of going against the will of Eru.
  • Spells such as “Bull’s Strength” or “Cat’s Grace” simply enhance what is already in existence and which the recipient of the spell already possesses and so are NOT excluded.

Most of the spells on the list found below were chosen for exclusion based on the perception that they either create something from nothing or fundamentally warp the nature of something physically or spiritually, as discussed above.

  • Some few spells were chosen for exclusion a bit arbitrarily, mostly due to the perception that they seem too “flashy” for Middle Earth – “Helping Hand,” for example.
  • Some spells were not excluded that may seem too “flashy” because there is either evidence in the books of their existence, or a spell that was similar in description to a D&D spell was actually used in the books. For example, “Fireball” was not excluded because the assumption was made that since Gandalf used a number of fire-based effects in the books (a “Fire Seeds” spell in The Hobbit, his fireworks, the sheet of flame which broke the bridge in Moria, etc.), he may well have had access to this spell. Even if he had access to it through his wearing of the Elven Ring Narya, the Ring of Fire, the spell still seems possible in Middle Earth, so it was not excluded. It would be rarely used, however.
  • Animate Dead
  • Astral Projection
  • Banishment
  • “Bigby’s Hand” spells
  • Blade Barrier
  • “Chaos” spells – all
  • Clone
  • Contact Other Plane
  • Dimensional Anchor
  • Dismissal
  • Drawmij’s Instant Summons
  • Elemental Swarm
  • Enlarge
  • Flesh to Stone
  • Gaseous Form
  • Gate
  • Greater Planar Ally
  • Greater Planar Binding
  • Helping Hand
  • “Law” spells – all
  • “Leomund’s” spells
  • Lesser Planar Ally
  • Lesser Planar Binding
  • Levitate
  • Limited Wish
  • Magic Jar
  • Major Creation
  • Mark of Justice
  • Maze
  • Meld Into Stone
  • Melf’s Acid Arrow
  • Minor Creation
  • Miracle
  • “Mordenkainen’s” spells
  • “Otiluke’s” spells
  • Otto’s Irresistible Dance
  • Planar Ally
  • “Polymorph” spells – all
  • Raise Dead
  • Reduce
  • Refuge
  • Regenerate
  • Reincarnate
  • Resurrection
  • Reverse Gravity
  • Righteous Might
  • Rope Trick
  • Sepia Snake Sigil
  • Shadow Walk
  • Shapechange
  • Shrink Item
  • Soul Bind
  • Spectral Hand
  • Spider Climb
  • Statue
  • Stone to Flesh
  • “Summon Monster” spells – all
  • Tasha’s Hideous Laughter
  • Telekinesis
  • “Teleport” spells – all
  • Time Stop
  • “Transmute” spells – all
  • Trap the Soul
  • True Resurrection
  • Unseen Servant
  • Vanish
  • Wall of Iron
  • Wind Walk
  • Wish
  • Word of Recall

Spells With Restrictions In Middle Earth

Blasphemy – basically the same, but there are no extraplanar creatures in Middle Earth. Those creatures that would be considered extraplanar in D&D – such as the Balrog – are, in fact, considered to be native to Middle Earth. Create Undead and Create Greater Undead – these spells are available only to Sauron. Dictum – see the explanation for Blasphemy

Changes

If there are any changes that you think should be made to this list then feel free to talk to me about it. I copied and pasted this list from a post discussing magic in Middle-earth and I personally haven’t looked through it completely. There may also be some other spells that may be added as well through the course of the campaign.

Return to House Rules Main

House Rules-Magic

Adventures in Arda wolma