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September 17, 2018 0 comments

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About Magic

So VsDM is a clone of MERP (and it looks to be a good one) and MERP is Lord of the Rings. One of the issues with MERP was that the magic did not really capture the magic used in LotRs.

Does VsDM magic simulate the magic effects found in LotRs or is it different?

Hi CJ, welcome aboard!

We don't consider VsD to be a proper MERP clone. For us, it's more of a homage or love-letter.

Anyway, magic in Tolkien's work is pretty inconsistent, in the sense that the Professor didn't really develop a "magic system", as many modern fantasy authors like to do. And that's perfectly fine, as he didn't really need one for the stories he was telling (quite the contrary, it would probably have worked against his interest).

Games, however, are quite different, and we needed a more structured approach to magic. Where we could, however, we tried to stay true to the spirit and the feeling fo tolkienesque magic. Many powerful magical effectes common in other fantasy games, like teleportation or resurrection, are completely absent. Healing is deliberately slow adn difficult, even with the aid of magic (there are few "instant" healing effects, and are usually the domain of powerful spellcasters). Summoning effects are rare, and so on.

But Tolkien wasn't our only source of inspiration. In VsD magic system you'll find traces of The Wheel of Time, Earthsea (as I was telling the other day in another topic), and many others. In the end, we tried to give magic a "classic Epic Fantasy" feel (with an eye on playability), rather than slavishly emulate what shown in lotr.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

Thanks for the reply

Have to say I am really looking forward to the main release.

Reason I asked about magic is because I loved MERP, even though the magic did not reflect LotRs, so every time I see VsDM I keep thinking I'd love to use it for a Middle Earth campaign.

I’m using VsD for a Middle-earth campaign right now (well, a Pete Fenlon M-e campaign, set in the far south) and (outside of some of my rules criticisms—you can find them all over this board ?) it’s going quite well. The trick, of course, is to recognize that this is your Middle-earth and not the Professor’s. For that, I suppose, we should be playing The One Ring (which I would like the opportunity to play some time—maybe at a convention).

Magic is weak at low levels.  Just look at the spells- no decent offensive spells at low levels(1-3) not even magic missile.  There is Sleep though.

I'm playing a hobbit in the TOR 'Darkening of Mirkwood' campaign. Been going over 5 years (we don't play every week) and it's going great.

If you like LotRs I can strongly recommend it.

Great!  Im a huge MERP fan- but no longer have most of my books. Luckily I do have pdfs.

Quote from Blood Axe on May 5, 2019, 9:04 pm

Magic is weak at low levels.  Just look at the spells- no decent offensive spells at low levels(1-3) not even magic missile.  There is Sleep though.

Well, yes and no. I mean, yes there aren't many purely offensive spells, but I wouldn't say that magic, even at low levels, is weak. Wizards and Animists can do lots of stuff that no other character can do. The fact is, spellcasters is VsD are more of a toolbox rather than living artillery as in d&d.

Even with the most offensive of Spell Lores, wizards and animist can simply go on blasting their way to victory, because high level spells are expensive, require preparation to be used efficiently, and Resonance is going to hit them hard sooner or later (one of my players learned this the hard way).
OTOH, spell casters have at their disposal a huge variety of answers to a vast number of problems, and often even a well-placed low level spell can turn a situation in the party's favor.

Quote from C J on May 5, 2019, 9:06 pm

I'm playing a hobbit in the TOR 'Darkening of Mirkwood' campaign. Been going over 5 years (we don't play every week) and it's going great.

If you like LotRs I can strongly recommend it.

Cubicle 7 campaigns are fantastic, incredibily evocative and immersive!

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.

MERP & RM magic is offensively weak at low levels. That's just the system.   There really isn't a magic missile, shocking grasp, etc at levels 1 & 2.  Those low levels are very dangerous for a spellcaster.  Players want something to actively do during combat, and not just hide.

If Im wrong- then tell me. What can a level 1 or 2 caster do in combat?

Have a combat example with a spellcaster in the group?

MERP did, and he cast LEVITATE to explore some ruins and then cast a SLEEP spell to take out an Orc.

Can you "over cast" in the game?

Good idea! We'll write a combat tutorial involving some low-level spell casters in a future blog post.

About overcasting, yes there will be rules for overcasting in the full rules. However, it won't be an easy option. It won't be simply a matter of taking some penalties or spending more MPs. There will be a hefty price to pay, because magic in VsD is meant to be powerful, but also dangerous if used indiscriminately.

Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.