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blacksabre
2007-05-04, 09:11 AM
..At least thats what I think the Dragon article was named..
Not to date my age, but I believe it was around Dragon#30

The article basically ran down the list of spells Gandalf had performed in the books..

SO with the Movie series, what was the minimum level Gandalf had to be in order to cast the spells he did.
Caveat..For the excersize sake, lets assume the spells he cast were not from his staff, otherwise gandlaf could be very low level indeed..

I'm thinking level 10
The highest level spell I can remember would probably be Telekinesis, level 5 spell,, when he was battling Saruman.

Khantalas
2007-05-04, 09:12 AM
Of course, Gandalf is a demigod, in a world where a god is much, much more powerful than a D&D god. His magic using capabilities don't matter that much.

elliott20
2007-05-04, 09:17 AM
I thought he probably took a couple levels of fighter as well.

Yuki Akuma
2007-05-04, 09:22 AM
I thought he probably took a couple levels of fighter as well.

He has Outsider hit die with a natural ability to cast spells as a twentieth level druid. He also has a few Divine Ranks.

Draz74
2007-05-04, 09:51 AM
I say Aasimar Paladin/Sorcerer/Eldritch Knight. Final ECL about 12 or 13. (Effective Sorcerer level 6 or so.)

Just because he was a demigod in his backstory doesn't mean he has to have outsider RHD, or be a Solar with class levels, or be epic-powerful. That's his backstory. That kind of power got taken away when they turned him into an old man. :smalltongue:

Ceres
2007-05-04, 10:09 AM
Of course, Gandalf is a demigod, in a world where a god is much, much more powerful than a D&D god. His magic using capabilities don't matter that much.

I disagree. The Istari in LOTR aren't as powerful as D&D gods by a longshot. I would think wiz6/ftr3 or something like that. Most D&D-settings are very high-power and high-magic compared to LOTR.

SpiderBrigade
2007-05-04, 10:19 AM
He has Outsider hit die with a natural ability to cast spells as a twentieth level druid. He also has a few Divine Ranks....and then doesn't use any of the amazing powers a Druid-20-casting outsider with divine ranks would be tossing around to in your standard mid-to-high-magic D&D setting.

LOTR is really not very high magic at all. The magic weapons are essentially masterwork blades that glow. Even the world-impacting artifact Rings of Power don't do all that much. The One Ring itself is basically a Phylactery that can turn you invisible, with some curse effects on it.

What Gandalf mostly does, in the books and the new movies, is inspire people. This is very much in keeping with his role as a divine messenger. He does also fight his opposite number, the Balrog, but that's more of a spiritual battle of wills than slinging spells. Gandalf's "weather battle" with Saruman is similar in nature. The few instances of actual spell-like effects are all pyrotechnic, and it is heavily suggested that this is due to Gandalf's possession of the Elven Ring of Fire.

Does this mean Gandalf is weak? Not at all, he's still one of the major powers in the setting. But in terms of spellcasting, a level 1 wizard could concievably cast more spells in a day than Gandalf does in the whole story. LOTR isn't about powerful wizards in the D&D sense of the term.

Zeta Kai
2007-05-04, 10:33 AM
SpiderBrigade, I agree with everything that you said EXCEPT about the One Ring. It is a major artifact, plain & simple; it is probably the best known example of one in fiction. It's right up there with the Arc of the Covenant & the Holy Grail as a quintessential artifact.

I would dare you to use the One Ring in your game as just "a Phylactery that can turn you invisible, with some curse effects on it." As written, it has the power to break the game. Remember, like Sauron himself, we never really saw it at it's full might. But the mere threat of its potential power was enough to motivate every single character in the books (with the exception of a certain Tom Bombadil).

Shadow of the Sun
2007-05-04, 10:35 AM
And Tom Bombadil is essentially god in any case.

Seffbasilisk
2007-05-04, 10:48 AM
And Tom Bombadil is essentially god in any case.

He's like Shalm, only cooler.

Vyker
2007-05-04, 10:53 AM
SpiderBrigade, I agree with everything that you said EXCEPT about the One Ring. It is a major artifact, plain & simple; it is probably the best known example of one in fiction. It's right up there with the Arc of the Covenant & the Holy Grail as a quintessential artifact.

Being a major artifact doesn't necessarily mean that it must have all manner of stat and ability bonuses, or grant you Real Ultimate Power. I agree with Spider -- the Ring, for all its hype, doesn't do much. Its power is subtle, and most of its power is available only to Sauron anyhow. Even exceptional characters can only utilize it to a lesser degree than its real master.

As for world breaking, that army of undead which Aragorn so casually chucks aside was "more powerful" than the One Ring.

"Hi, my name is Sauron, and I'm awesome 'cause I've got nine wraiths as my personal bullyboys!"
"Howdy, I'm Aragorn, and I'd like you to meet my thousand ghost warriors from hell."
"But... I've got the Ring of Power!"
"That's cool, that's cool... nice bling, by the way. Hey, while I'm here, mind if my boys kill all your minions, shatter your tower, and steal your lunch money? Oh, and they're bound entirely to my service, so your mind powers won't work on them."
"Oh. Crap."

Also, the One Ring couldn't melt Nazis. The Ark of the Covenant wins.

elliott20
2007-05-04, 11:12 AM
I never really understood why Harrison Ford and the girl actually managed to survive by simply closing their eyes... or rather, if that is all it took, why the other nazis who had done the same thing not survived.

Matthew
2007-05-04, 11:32 AM
Bleh. This again? Gandalf, in D&D terms, is an Outsider. Any number of Base Class combinations could represent his other abilities, but he evidently has access to Lightning Bolt in The Hobbit, which suggests Level 5 Spell Caster at the least. Prior to his death he tries to keep his power hidden, for fear of revealing himself to Sauron or other enemies. His Ring appears to be instrumental in driving off the Nazgul, as the white light tends to issue from that hand, but his other 'pyrotechnic' powers appear to be his own (something to do with that whole 'servant of the secret fire' deal, maybe).

The One Ring never reveals the full extent of its power, as that is determined by the user as much as anything else. However, the effects of its destruction provide some hints as to how truly powerful it might be, as well as Sauron's fear that Aragorn may actually be using it.

Dark
2007-05-04, 11:42 AM
The One Ring granted immortality to its wearer, that's major enough in my book :)

Umarth
2007-05-04, 12:14 PM
From the books the powers we know are:

Invisibility
Alignment change
Domination of other rings of power and those who wear them.
Limited mind reading/domination of others (probably more of this but Frodo wasn't intrested in it).
Imortality to any who wore it even for a second. (Don't forget Sam doesn't die, since he wore the ring, in the end he sails into the West to be with Frodo and Bilbo)
Enhance the abilities of anyone who wears it.

I'd say the explicit abilities it has push it to artifact status.

Jayabalard
2007-05-04, 12:19 PM
it seems a silly question... the LOTR is from the Hobbit's perspective, and they have no metagame knowledge... we really have no idea how often Gandalf casts spells or otherwise uses magic when he's "on-camera", let alone when he's "off-camera"

silentknight
2007-05-04, 12:25 PM
The One Ring would seem to have certain aspects of a Legacy Item. The more powerful the user, the more powerful the item. And only those who know how to unlock its powers can use them.

Zeta Kai
2007-05-04, 12:32 PM
From the books the powers we know are:

Invisibility
Alignment change
Domination of other rings of power and those who wear them.
Limited mind reading/domination of others (probably more of this but Frodo wasn't intrested in it).
Imortality to any who wore it even for a second. (Don't forget Sam doesn't die, since he wore the ring, in the end he sails into the West to be with Frodo and Bilbo)
Enhance the abilities of anyone who wears it.

I'd say the explicit abilities it has push it to artifact status.

First off, sailing into the West isn't the same as immortality. Frodo, Bilbo, Sam & Gimli are all assumed to have died after a life of bliss & peaceful contemplation in Valinor. They were still mortal, & the Ring had no permanent effect in that regard.

The One Ring does NOT grant any form of true immortality, like what the elves have. It only prolongs life, "stretches it thin" in exchange for everything that makes life worth living.

Bilbo wore the ring for 60 years, & 20 years after he took it off for the final time, he was senile & had a foot in the grave. I'd be surprised if he made the journey to Aman without succumbing to old age. He was after all 131 at the time he took the White Ship into the West.

Gollum wore the One Ring for somewhere around 500 years, & it twisted him into a monstrous, wretched shadow of a hobbit, unrecognizable as such. After 80 years of skulking & hunting for his Precious, he may not have had much longer before time caught up to him & the "Gift of Men" would claim his pathetic life.

The ring has unparalleled power to corrupt, & the more power a being intrinsically has, the more likely they are to be corrupted. Gandalf & Galadriel were well aware that they risked their very souls to be within its presense, & they were among the mightiest beings in Middle Earth during the Third Age.

"Phylactery" indeed.

Dausuul
2007-05-04, 12:38 PM
..At least thats what I think the Dragon article was named..
Not to date my age, but I believe it was around Dragon#30

The article basically ran down the list of spells Gandalf had performed in the books..

SO with the Movie series, what was the minimum level Gandalf had to be in order to cast the spells he did.
Caveat..For the excersize sake, lets assume the spells he cast were not from his staff, otherwise gandlaf could be very low level indeed..

I'm thinking level 10
The highest level spell I can remember would probably be Telekinesis, level 5 spell,, when he was battling Saruman.

Oh? How about the end of Fellowship, where Frodo is caught between "the Voice [Gandalf]" and "the Eye [Sauron]?" Can a 10th-level wizard counterspell from miles away? What kind of metamagic feat is that?

Also consider that Gandalf can solo a balor. Bit of a tall order for 10th level.

D&D mechanics just don't apply to Lord of the Rings. Magic in LotR is actually much more powerful than D&D magic, but it's also much more subtle and less localized. Middle-Earth wizards can cast spells with AoEs measured in tens of miles; when it comes to one-on-one combat, though, they frequently just pull out swords and start whacking things just like anybody else.

TheElfLord
2007-05-04, 01:15 PM
As for world breaking, that army of undead which Aragorn so casually chucks aside was "more powerful" than the One Ring.

"Hi, my name is Sauron, and I'm awesome 'cause I've got nine wraiths as my personal bullyboys!"
"Howdy, I'm Aragorn, and I'd like you to meet my thousand ghost warriors from hell."
"But... I've got the Ring of Power!"
"That's cool, that's cool... nice bling, by the way. Hey, while I'm here, mind if my boys kill all your minions, shatter your tower, and steal your lunch money? Oh, and they're bound entirely to my service, so your mind powers won't work on them."
"Oh. Crap."

Also, the One Ring couldn't melt Nazis. The Ark of the Covenant wins.

Its important to note that in the books, the army of the dead doesn't actually kill anyone. All they do is terrify their enemies to the point that they lose the will to fight. Peter Jackson simplified a section of the book by turning them into massive killing machines.

Along with that, it is noted several times in the books, that if Saron regains the ring, he wins. He will be unstoppable and nothing in Middle Earth can defeat him. Even if you account for the effectiveness of the army of the dead at defeating the corsars, to qutoe Denathor, "To this dying city only the first fingers of his hand have yet been streched" The victories at the Pelenor Fields and over the Black Fleet were meaningless in the grand scheme of things. So no, the army of the dead is not more powerful than the One Ring.

Dausuul
2007-05-04, 01:29 PM
Its important to note that in the books, the army of the dead doesn't actually kill anyone. All they do is terrify their enemies to the point that they lose the will to fight. Peter Jackson simplified a section of the book by turning them into massive killing machines.

Along with that, it is noted several times in the books, that if Saron regains the ring, he wins. He will be unstoppable and nothing in Middle Earth can defeat him. Even if you account for the effectiveness of the army of the dead at defeating the corsars, to qutoe Denathor, "To this dying city only the first fingers of his hand have yet been streched" The victories at the Pelenor Fields and over the Black Fleet were meaningless in the grand scheme of things. So no, the army of the dead is not more powerful than the One Ring.

Indeed. My guess is that the scenario would have gone more like this:

"Hi, my name is Sauron, and I'm awesome 'cause I've got nine wraiths as my personal bullyboys!"
"Howdy, I'm Aragorn, and I'd like you to meet my thousand ghost warriors from hell."
"Nice to meet you, Aragorn and ghost warriors. Incidentally, I've got the Ruling Ring."
"That's cool, that's cool... nice bling, by the way. Hey, while I'm here, mind if my boys kill all your minions, shatter your tower, and steal your lunch money? Oh, and they're bound entirely to my service, so your mind powers won't work on them."
"If that's how you want to be, no skin off my burning eyeball. I should point out three factors that I think you failed to fully consider, though. Factor One: I know a lot more about undead than you do. Factor Two: The whole purpose of the Ring is to let me enslave others to my will. Factor Three: Sic him, boys."

Ever Phasm
2007-05-04, 03:10 PM
The way I view the 1 ring is this.

It does not turn you invisible but takes you to a LOTR version of the plane of Shadow.

It allows you to read the minds of others who have rings of power.

Sympathy: anything evil.

Sympathy: humans, elves and dwarves

DR 1X 10^3600/flames of Mount Doom

Energy Immunity: everything except the flames of Mount Doom

Highly Inteligent and Lawful Evil

It can decide to bestow the following powers as well

Increase your effective HD and can grant you any corrupting desire you want. (For reference on this see The Return of the King when Sam has the ring).

weight=x
x= whatever it wants to be

size to fit any finger.

Indon
2007-05-04, 03:15 PM
The Ring is clearly thought to grant significant power to spellcasters, considering how Gandalf speaks of being able to essentially solo Sauron (who probably is a demigod on the D&D standard, disciple as he was of Melkor) if he were to take it.

Of course, being Sauron's phylactery, it'd probably pull a Soulstone thing on him and then you'd end up with Sauron the UsedtobeGandalf (Gandalf notes similarly, that he would just become another Sauron with the ring).

Fax Celestis
2007-05-04, 03:18 PM
Oh? How about the end of Fellowship, where Frodo is caught between "the Voice [Gandalf]" and "the Eye [Sauron]?" Can a 10th-level wizard counterspell from miles away? What kind of metamagic feat is that?

Actually, it's core. Enlarge Spell (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#enlargeSpell) plus a countering spell with a range of Large (400' + 40'/level) cast by a 10th level caster will hit 1600' away. Not a mile, but a quarter mile.

Ulzgoroth
2007-05-04, 03:20 PM
weight=x
x= whatever it wants to be

'"And in the moment before the Ring of power touched the lava, there was a rippling in the air...and so ended the world."

...as it sets it's weight high enough to form an event horizon enclosing the entire planet.

Dausuul
2007-05-04, 03:27 PM
Actually, it's core. Enlarge Spell (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#enlargeSpell) plus a countering spell with a range of Large (400' + 40'/level) cast by a 10th level caster will hit 1600' away. Not a mile, but a quarter mile.

Oh, well, in that case, a spell with 5' range has a range of miles. 0.001 miles, specifically.

Miles. Plural, not fractional. In fact, a couple hundred miles, since the enemy caster was in Barad-dur and Gandalf was someplace west of Anduin.

Vyker
2007-05-04, 03:33 PM
"If that's how you want to be, no skin off my burning eyeball. I should point out three factors that I think you failed to fully consider, though. Factor One: I know a lot more about undead than you do. Factor Two: The whole purpose of the Ring is to let me enslave others to my will. Factor Three: Sic him, boys."

If we accept that in LotR, there are magical abilities tied to singular people (i.e., the One Ring is an "I Win" button for Sauron, a cursed ring of invisibility for most folks, and a cursed ring of undisclosed modestly effective subtle coolness for already exceptional individuals), then I highly doubt that an army of the dead whose souls are bound to a singular bloodline can be somehow subverted.



Its important to note that in the books, the army of the dead doesn't actually kill anyone. All they do is terrify their enemies to the point that they lose the will to fight. Peter Jackson simplified a section of the book by turning them into massive killing machines.

Along with that, it is noted several times in the books, that if Saron regains the ring, he wins. He will be unstoppable and nothing in Middle Earth can defeat him. Even if you account for the effectiveness of the army of the dead at defeating the corsars, to qutoe Denathor, "To this dying city only the first fingers of his hand have yet been streched" The victories at the Pelenor Fields and over the Black Fleet were meaningless in the grand scheme of things. So no, the army of the dead is not more powerful than the One Ring.

So, you can have one of two things. One of them is a ring which will never be as powerful in your hands as it is in your enemy's, yet still grants subtle manipulation. The other is an army of the dead which terrifies other armies such that they cease to be armies.

Given that I've already got claim to Gondor, and the Horselords follow my lead, I'll take the undead guys who make that army invincible. All the subtle manipulation in the world won't stop you when everyone around you is dead or fleeing.

That, and we already know that the One Ring is not actually enough to save Sauron from an army. I seem to remember him losing even while wearing the thing.


--

Partily back to the OP, I'm gonna agree that you can't really quantify LotR in D&D terms. I mean, so much of it is based on willpower and ideals and virtues and foggy stuff that D&D just breezes right on by (or hacks up in grotesque fashion, like alignments).

The One Ring is powerful to Sauron. It is implied (people outright say this, but never how, so I consider that a downgrade to implication) that the One Ring could be powerful to other people as well, but it's so very subtle in that power that trying to give it mechanics or claim that it automatically wins is sorta missing the point.

Or, to put it another way, why didn't Elrond just push Isildur into Mount Doom when he refused to chuck in the One Ring?

'cause the whole vibe of LotR is one of morality. It's foggy and vague and not something you can box up nicely by assigning it stats.

Innis Cabal
2007-05-04, 03:44 PM
actually...he dosnt have class levels, his race allows him to use magic

Jayabalard
2007-05-04, 03:47 PM
That, and we already know that the One Ring is not actually enough to save Sauron from an army. I seem to remember him losing even while wearing the thing.Actually, the army was pretty insignificant... he fell to a bunch of heroes.

perhaps another hero could duplicate that.... but I doubt it.

Dausuul
2007-05-04, 03:54 PM
If we accept that in LotR, there are magical abilities tied to singular people (i.e., the One Ring is an "I Win" button for Sauron, a cursed ring of invisibility for most folks, and a cursed ring of modestly effective subtle coolness for already exceptional individuals), then I highly doubt that an army of the dead whose souls are bound to a singular bloodline can be somehow subverted.

They are bound against their will to carry out a particular task: Fight for Isildur's heir. They're hardly incorruptible--in fact, the task was given them as punishment for having betrayed Isildur to Sauron. Not only that, but they still retain free will; they just don't get to rest until they fulfill their oath. They can turn on Aragorn any time they feel like it.

I can think of any number of ways Sauron could disperse them or turn them against Aragorn. Some don't even require the Ring.

#1. He convinces them that he can restore them to life if they serve him.
#2. He points out that they've fulfilled their oath (as they have, after the battle with the Corsairs) and are free to go. If Aragorn doesn't release them now, he's obviously never going to, so why should they serve him? If they're going to spend eternity in torment anyhow, Sauron can at least offer them the cold comfort of making everyone else suffer for it too.
#3. With the full power of the Ring, he just blasts them into the abyss. What makes you think a pack of ghosts can stand up to a Maiar?


So, you can have one of two things. One of them is a ring which will never be as powerful in your hands as it is in your enemy's, yet still grants subtle manipulation. The other is an army of the dead which terrifies other armies such that they cease to be armies.

Eh, terrorizing enemy armies isn't that hard. Until you demonstrate the ability of the dead to defeat Sauron and his Nazgul--not to mention why they would stay loyal to Aragorn if he reneged on his promise to free them--this is hardly a guarantee of victory.

The way the books describe things, the chief weapon of the dead was fear, and somehow I don't think the Nazgul would be spooked by undead. Since they, y'know, are undead.


That, and we already know that the One Ring is not actually enough to save Sauron from an army. I seem to remember him losing even while wearing the thing.

It wasn't enough to save him from Elendil, Isildur, and Gil-galad. He was tearing their army to shreds before they engaged him.

The Ring is not, in fact, a universal Win Button, even for Sauron. But neither are the Dead.

Matthew
2007-05-04, 04:12 PM
Oh, well, in that case, a spell with 5' range has a range of miles. 0.001 miles, specifically.

Miles. Plural, not fractional. In fact, a couple hundred miles, since the enemy caster was in Barad-dur and Gandalf was someplace west of Anduin.
Don't forget that a D&D Mile appears to be 6,000 Feet...

Caelestion
2007-05-04, 08:30 PM
Well, 5280 feet = 1 mile. 6000 is pretty close, but of course not as close as 5000.

ZeroNumerous
2007-05-04, 08:55 PM
Interesting thought.. The Nazgul are literally indestructable unless Barad-Dur is destroyed, correct? The only reason the Nazgul had taken so long to appear was because Sauron's strength was weakened from the loss of his ring and his second physical form. (Remember, he's died twice!)

So, what would happen to the Nazgul assuming that Sauron regains his ring? Instanteous reformation even when they've been destroyed? True invincibility? Oh, and don't forget that Sauron, as a Maiar, is equal to Gandalf. Assuming Sauron has his ring, he could just Mind Crush(TM) Gandalf because Gandalf wears one of the elven rings.

As for fighting Aragorn.. Remember what it took to kill Sauron the first time. Direct, divine intervention. The second time? All the heroes of the East and potentially millions of elves, humans, and dwarves. The third time? Not nearly enough living beings to do so.

Caelestion
2007-05-04, 08:58 PM
Well, technically the Elven rings were forged in secret and are untainted by the power of the One Ring. The reason the Elven Ring-wearers (Gandalf, Galadriel and maybe Elrond or Celebrim) hid that fact was to avoid drawing undue attention to themselves.

Matthew
2007-05-04, 09:48 PM
Well, 5280 feet = 1 mile. 6000 is pretty close, but of course not as close as 5000.
Indeed, but D&D uses 6000 Feet to judge by the Speed calculations for overland travel, which is actually much closer to the Nautical Mile...

Puck
2007-05-04, 10:01 PM
Actually, the article was Bruce Seligman's "Gandalf Was Only A Fifth Level Magic-User." And the system was OD&D, which preceeded even 1st Edition AD&D.

If anyone would like to explain to me how a fifth level magic user went toe-to-toe with a balrog, and won with a masterwork sword that simply glowed, I'm all ears.

No imaginative work ever translates perfectly into a game. The game has rules that the author had no need of following. Fiction is a different beast from an RPG, though they have tremendous areas of influence and overlap

But if you want to see some good stats for Gandalf, then put your hands on a copy of Iron Crown Enterprises (MERP) Lords of Middle Earth, Volume 1.

Seligman was full of crap, by the way.

bosssmiley
2007-05-04, 10:18 PM
And Tom Bombadil is essentially god in any case.

There is no Tom Bombadil (just as there is only *one* Matrix movie, no more!). :smallannoyed:

No fashion-challenged nature demigod based on Chris Tolkien's childhood toy exists. Even Tolkien regretted writing the non-existent one into LOTR and wished to write him out in subsequent editions. He doesn't exactly move the story along, does he?

"Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!/ Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!/ Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!"
^-- Come oh my Lord Sauron, and extend thy comforting darkness over all the lands of Middle Earth in preference to the glossolalic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossolalia) babblings of this damnable proto-hippy. :smallwink:

Yahzi
2007-05-04, 10:37 PM
we never really saw it (the One Ring) at it's full might.
Apparently hobbits need to work on their UMD skill.

:smallbiggrin:

jlousivy
2007-05-04, 11:05 PM
Nazgul aren't immortal, they just have DR infinity/women or westerneseswords.

I agree with someone earlier, gandalf's race/ring/staff gave magic, not class levels. Did you ever see gandalf with a spellbook? <3

As for the One Ring, definitely an intelligent major artifact. The only artifact that is truely more powerful than it in tolkien's world was--- the silmarils.

Tom Bombadil>all.

Fishy
2007-05-04, 11:06 PM
Gandalf was a Bard.

He himself doesn't do much of anything, but he sends people on quests, he inspires courage in his allies and terror in his enemies, and he amuses small Hobbits with prestidigitation and illusions.

When he fights another wizard, it's not pyrotechnics but a battle of the mind: these guys are forcing will saves agains Fascination and Suggestion at each other. When he needs to actually do damage, he goes for his longsword or quarterstaff. Throw in a little divination and the ability to charm animals as well as people, and I'm pretty sure you're there.

argentsaber
2007-05-04, 11:41 PM
Gandalf would be best expressed in dnd terms as a split class bard (with perform/oratory, and craft alchemy)/druid (remember he "learned much" from his good friend rhadagast the brown". I assume istari would be roughly analagous to aasimar, definately outsider, but barely moreso than some of the elves.... espeically the celeborns of the bunch. The ring of power should be an exceptional legacy item, allowing for more powers from higher level folks. While we are at it... gandalf uses quite a lot of magic in a pinch... the 5th level MU is from the hobbit, not lotr. in lotr, he dazzles an entire battlefield 9likely a druid epic spell with dawn as a pre req), has a defensive shield that can stop the equivalent of a balor (lets be real here kids... he is one), and can shatter stone. Please tell me you don't think he is strong enough without magic to shatter that bridge. As though there is still doubt that gandalf is epic, i present the number of hp lost from his fall. unless gandalf the white is a saint, or risen martyr... both fun ideas.

To sum up... gandalf NEEDS bardic knowledge (or a huge base of know/x skills, he NEEDS proficiency with a martial weapon, and he NEEDS to be cool as hell. beyond that, its in your imagination.

Caelestion
2007-05-05, 05:49 AM
You give him two levels of Outsider and call it Istari. Then you indicate that his sword (either Orcrist or Glamdring) is +1 Elf-forged (it glows near goblinoids) and then give him purely enough powers to speed the splot. Dah dah!

Lolth
2007-05-05, 12:42 PM
Well, technically the Elven rings were forged in secret and are untainted by the power of the One Ring. The reason the Elven Ring-wearers (Gandalf, Galadriel and maybe Elrond or Celebrim) hid that fact was to avoid drawing undue attention to themselves.

Not quite. Sauron never touched them, but they were forged using secrets he imparted to the Elven smiths, and thus they too would fall under his sway. When the One Ring was forged, the Elves perceived his trap and took off their rings so as not to be enslaved.

They didn't wear them so long as Sauron had his Ring.

Matthew
2007-05-05, 01:00 PM
Huh? No, they do wear them. The point was that the rings were never corrupted. Galadriel and Gandalf are both depicted wearing their rings during the war.

ZeroNumerous
2007-05-05, 01:21 PM
Well, technically the Elven rings were forged in secret and are untainted by the power of the One Ring. The reason the Elven Ring-wearers (Gandalf, Galadriel and maybe Elrond or Celebrim) hid that fact was to avoid drawing undue attention to themselves.

The point remains, however, that should Sauron regain his ring he just uses Mind Crush(TM) on anyone wearing a ring then moves on with his day.

And yes, Galadriel, Gandalf, and the Ship-Wright(God I can't remember his name..) had their rings on during the Third Age. But Sauron was lacking his ring the entire time. Had he been wearing the One Ring, they'd have ditched their rings faster than a squirrel can run in front of a passing car.

Lolth
2007-05-05, 01:41 PM
Galadriel, Gandalf and Crdan.

And yes, as posted, they used them during the war, after the One Ring was lost to Sauron.

I can't remember if in the movie Jackson took some liberties with that in the "Sauron vs. Heroes" scene with Elrond and such, but if he did it was contra-source.

Yakk
2007-05-05, 01:52 PM
The corruption from the One Ring wasn't instant, I thought.

The elves just held off longer...

Draz74
2007-05-05, 01:54 PM
OK, since there seems to be some confusion about who bore the 3 Elven Rings over time, and that's one fragment of this complicated storyline that I'm pretty confident about, I'll clear that part up:

Celebrimbor forged the three rings.

Nenya, the Ring of Water, was given to Galadriel, and she kept it ever after. (Why her? becomes clear if you read the Silmarillion.)

Narya, the Ring of Fire, was given to Cirdan the Shipwright, the oldest known living elf. After a while, though, he decided that he (camping out at the Grey Havens for centuries) wasn't using it to its full potential enough, and that it could accomplish more good if it traveled about the land. Therefore he entrusted it to Gandalf.

Vilya, the Ring of Air, Mightiest of the Three, was given to King Gil-gilad. When Gil-gilad died in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men (in the same battle where Isildur cut off Sauron's finger and took the ring), his second-in-command Elrond inherited his ring. He used it thereafter to make Rivendell what it was.

* * *

The notion that Gandalf could have been a Bard is intriguing. However, while he had great ability to inspire others' morale, he didn't do so much in battle. Hmmm ... I'm rethinking my idea for Gandalf's build:

Aasimar Bard 7 / Paladin 5 / Eldritch Knight 2

That gives him ECL 15, which seems about right to me.

Bard explains his ability to inspire others, though he knows that using a standard action on such Perform (Oratory) actions once combat has already started is a waste.
Bard also explains his more innate spellcasting abilities (without a book!), including the duels of will that he has with Saruman and other lone BBEGs (Charm Monster spells?).
Bard also explains his good array of skills: His checks for Concentration, Craft (Alchemy), Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Handle Animal, Intimidate, Knowledge (History), Knowledge (Nobility & Royalty), Listen, Perform (Oratory), Ride, Sense Motive, Spellcraft, and Use Magic Device seem to be decent. Most of those are Bard skills (or Paladin skills).
Bardic Knowledge also really helps his general knowledge of everything.

Paladin explains his decent fighting abilities (even TWF, according to the move for RotK). It also explains Shadowfax.

Eldritch Knight ... just because it seems like a better build than just Bard/Paladin.

So how can an ECL 15 character beat a Balor? Well, first of all, even though the Balor was clearly based on a Balrog, the Balors of Middle-Earth could be weaker than Balors elsewhere. But another answer is that Gandalf has a couple powerful magic items that put him WAY beyond WBL guidelines.

Namely, a Ring of Elemental Command (Fire) and a Staff of the Magi (minor artifact).

Caelestion
2007-05-05, 02:34 PM
Well, the Balrog wasn't a balor - it was a Balrog (stats unknown).

For all we know, the wizards' staves are simply their focussing mechanisms for using magic in Midgard and might not be magical at all.

Also, it's entirely possible that the contest between Gandalf and the Balrog was entirely spiritual - a mental battle between two potent forces.

Fishy
2007-05-05, 02:35 PM
Well, Gandalf didn't fight a DnD Balor: Pull up the stat block, and you see a ton of things that the demon Just Can't Do. Gandalf's Balrog doesn't have the summon monster ability, doesn't have a fly speed or greater teleport at will, and probably doesn't have any of the Balor's spell-like abilities. Since we don't have any frame of reference for how much damage 1HP corresponds to in the books, there's no reason why we couldn't take the resulting Balor Lite (tm), divide all of his numbers by 10, and end up with something that has CL: Whatever we like.

Second, Gandalf and the demon are falling down an infinite shaft, and again, the battle was described as more of a contest of minds. Maybe they're not even hitting each other with swords- maybe Gandalf the 6th level Bard is just hammering him with Fascinates until he rolls a natural 20, and then another 20 for the Suggestion "hey, I bet if you twisted your body *this* way, you'd be able to hit me, and totally not crush your skull on the wall of the pit, there."

ZeroNumerous
2007-05-05, 03:33 PM
The corruption from the One Ring wasn't instant, I thought.

The elves just held off longer...

I didn't mean the corruption ability, I meant the patented Sauron move of: Hey you! You're mine now. 'Cause you're wearing a ring.(TM).

Inyssius Tor
2007-05-05, 03:53 PM
Well, Gandalf didn't fight a DnD Balor: Pull up the stat block, and you see a ton of things that the demon Just Can't Do. Gandalf's Balrog doesn't have the summon monster ability, doesn't have a fly speed or greater teleport at will, and probably doesn't have any of the Balor's spell-like abilities. Since we don't have any frame of reference for how much damage 1HP corresponds to in the books, there's no reason why we couldn't take the resulting Balor Lite (tm), divide all of his numbers by 10, and end up with something that has CL: Whatever we like.

Quoted. For. Mega-Truth.

Balors may be based off of the Balrog, but whoever converted them had a preconception that Gandalf was Level 20, and so anything that could kill him just had to be Level 20+ as well. To quote the author of the Alexandrian,


Finally, youll get into an arms race of expectations which just reinforces the whole thing: Aragorn must be 20th level. So the orcs who posed such a challenge to him must be 15th level or higher. And since those were elite 15th level orcs, Aragorn must have been 20th level in order to face them.

Puck
2007-05-05, 04:08 PM
In one sense, a couple of you are right. Gandalf didn't fight a balor. He fought something substantially more powerful that the balor was only BASED on. And if you look in the OD&D books, back before someone informed the writers of a little thing called copyright violation, Gygax just lifted words like hobbit and ent and balrog wholesale out of Tolkien's texts.

Hmm, let's see: Balrog - g, and rearrange the r and o = balor. Success! Nobody will ever notice!

The balrogs were the fire spirits of Morgoth, and among the most powerful of his army. One of them was sufficient to wipe out an entire colony of dwarves. When Morgoth almost fell before Ungoliant in the Simarillion, it was the balrogs that drove her away. In the Book of Lost Tales Vol. 2, the fact that one of the mightiest remaining elven armies in Gondolin killed a couple dozen of these beings (including Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs) was enough to drive back the armies of orcs who didn't even believe they could be killed.

So please don't feed me this line about "Maybe Gandalf pushed him into the wall a few times on the way down." Under any edition of OD&D/AD&D/D&D, a fall like that would have killed ANY 5th level being. And the later recount of the battle by Gandalf himself describes him hewing the creature with his sword. He sundered the balrog's sword with "masterwork sword that glowed in the dark" (ha ha) on the bridge.

So no, it was not merely a spiritual battle, and the text in no way indicates that.

Like I said, MERP does a MUCH better job of translating Gandalf into game statistics than the earlier referenced Dragon magazine article about OD&D. In 3rd Edition, Gandalf would certainly be an epic being in a lower magic world where certain spells and magic types found in a typical D&D game simply wouldn't be available.

Magic was only "subtle" in Lord of the Rings. Anyone reading the Silmarillion will see magic and levels of power that could only be emulated, badly, in epic rules.

Caelestion
2007-05-05, 04:59 PM
At the risk of being a party pooper, a 6th- or 7th-level character can wipe out a whole colony of 1st- or 2nd-level people too.

Puck
2007-05-05, 05:14 PM
At the risk of being a party pooper, a 6th- or 7th-level character can wipe out a whole colony of 1st- or 2nd-level people too.

And driven away a being that challenged the mightiest of the Valar? Slaughtered the firstborn Noldor?

Balrogs were Maiar. So was Gandalf, whose name in the West was Olorin. These were roughly equivalent to angelic beings, or solar. In Tolkien's cosmology, the sun and moon are both Maiar, as well. In the armies of Morgoth, two things were truly feared: dragons, and balrogs.

You're not being a party pooper. Because that's only one example, and a colony would be built of beings higher than 1st or 2nd level.

My point still stands.

Zeta Kai
2007-05-05, 05:58 PM
The One Ring is powerful to Sauron. It is implied (people outright say this, but never how, so I consider that a downgrade to implication) that the One Ring could be powerful to other people as well, but it's so very subtle in that power that trying to give it mechanics or claim that it automatically wins is sorta missing the point.

Actually, Galadriel is very specific on what she would do with the One Ring:

"And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!"

She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illuminated her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.

So, essentially she admits that if given the ring, she would be twisted by its corruptive force in an inhuman (inelven) form of terrifying beauty, & would rape the world as surely as Sauron would.


That, and we already know that the One Ring is not actually enough to save Sauron from an army. I seem to remember him losing even while wearing the thing.

Sauron lost because of the combined might of the Numenoreans & the Elves in the Last Alliance. The Elves have mostly given up the fight, sailing off into the West. The Numenoreans have mingled their blood with "lesser men" (oh Tolkien, you delightful racist!) & now are shorter, weaker, have less righteousness & short lifespans (with the rare exception, such as Aragorn). The forces of men stand no chance against a Sauron wearing the Ring, which is state by Gandalf & others throughout the book & the movie many times. Sauron has had ~3,000 years to plot his revenge & rise to power, & with the ring, he'd be unstoppable. QED.

Zeta Kai
2007-05-05, 06:01 PM
BTW, I found this in the Homebrew section a few months back, so I copied it. NOTE: I did not write this. I do think that it is a nice write-up of the One Ring's powers, though:


Powers of the One Ring
First, wearing the Ring, even for a brief time, greatly extends ones lifespan. The Ring cannot impart immortality, but wearing it extends ones lifespan by 7d6 years

The Ring, while worn, turns the user invisible, except to Sauron and a select few of his lieutenants

The Ring grants the power to control non divine creatures (in effect, free use of Dominate Monster); however, one must make an Intelligence or Wisdom check to learn how to use this power (DC 30)

The Ring also amplifies any power the user possesses (+5 to skill checks, +2 to attack rolls)

The Ring also has a large ego (Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 18, 29 ego) and always attempts to return to Sauron, and has the ability to slip out of ones possession easily

The bearer of the Ring must make a Will save to discard the Ring (DC 15, increases by one each week in the characters possession) unless the Ring wants to be discarded. The character must also make a Will Save every two weeks to avoid becoming Evil (DC 10, rises by one each two weeks). Hobbits/Halflings have +5 on both checks

Caelestion
2007-05-05, 06:06 PM
Well, Aragorn is one of the Dunedain, the direct descendants of the Numenoreans who haven't fallen prey to inbreeding and degeneration.

Puck, you are of course assuming an epic feel to Middle Earth, not that there's anything wrong with that. It is however stated specifically that the Istari surrendered their power to go into the world with only the power of mortal men. I also got the impression that only Gothmog was a Maia and the other Balrogs were just pale imitations.

Besides which, if the Nazgl were so weak and the Witch-King was only a powerful mortal wearing one of the least of the Rings ("Nine rings for mortal Men doomed to die"), why was Gandalf scared of him? By your reasoning, he wasn't subject to the Macbeth clause.


Edit: White Dwarf 32 did a write-up for 1st Edition about the Rings of Power. They were fairly powerful, but only the One Ring was a true epic-style artefact by their reckoning.

Beleriphon
2007-05-05, 06:56 PM
Galadriel, Gandalf and Crdan.

And yes, as posted, they used them during the war, after the One Ring was lost to Sauron.

I can't remember if in the movie Jackson took some liberties with that in the "Sauron vs. Heroes" scene with Elrond and such, but if he did it was contra-source.

Correction.

Gandalf, Elrond and Galadriel all have rings as of the War of the Ring. Cirdan gave his ring to Gandalf when the wizard shows up at the beginning of the Third Arge.

Puck
2007-05-05, 07:41 PM
Puck, you are of course assuming an epic feel to Middle Earth, not that there's anything wrong with that. It is however stated specifically that the Istari surrendered their power to go into the world with only the power of mortal men.

You are mistaken. That is stated nowhere in the books. The West decided not to become directly involved against Sauron, and the Maiar did not descend in their full power. The Istari were veiled in their power. But they were mightier than mortal men by far, as evidenced by Gandalf taking on a balrog single-handed. That was a feat equalled only by the mightiest of heroes, mostly elves like Ecthelion, Captain of the Guard in Gondolin.

I'm not assuming anything about the feel of the First and Second Ages of the Sun, nor the Age of Stars, nor the power of the beings therein. But just as Smaug was more than a 2 HD flying lizard, Gandalf was more than a 5th level wizard, and the balrog was more than an orc with a cigarette lighter and wings.


I also got the impression that only Gothmog was a Maia and the other Balrogs were just pale imitations.

Then you need to reread the Silmarillion. The balrogs were spirits of fire, and Maiar. They were in no way different in nature from Gothmog. He was simply the most powerful among them. They lost their ability to change shape as they fell into evil - like Morgoth, like Sauron himself, eventually.


Besides which, if the Nazgl were so weak and the Witch-King was only a powerful mortal wearing one of the least of the Rings ("Nine rings for mortal Men doomed to die"), why was Gandalf scared of him? By your reasoning, he wasn't subject to the Macbeth clause.

For that, you'll have to ask Peter Jackson.

The scene you are doubtless referring to doesn't appear in the books. They confront each other, and Gandalf is not "scared" of the Witch King. In fact, it is the Witch King who withdraws from the confrontation.

Dark
2007-05-05, 08:06 PM
I don't think you can really compare power levels across the Ages. We know that Sauron was considerably weakened by various events, that the most powerful beings went West long ago, and that various bloodlines had been diluted over time. Galadriel is the only one who might still represent the full glory of the First Age -- but consider that elves are known to wither away if they despair, and Galadriel has had plenty of reason for that.

Also, I don't think you can use balrogs as a gauge of power, since there was considerable variation among them. Gothmog was of legendary power, while other balrogs were clearly mooks. The Noldor even defeated a "horde of balrogs" early on. There's no reason to suppose the balrog in Moria was a particularly powerful one. In fact, since it apparently escaped destruction by hiding, it was probably fairly weak for a balrog. It just seemed impressive in the context of the Third Age.

Then there's the possibility that Gandalf didn't win against the balrog. As a Maia, he was bound to the world. If his physical form died fighting the balrog, the gods could have given him a new one and sent him back. His death and rebirth could have been literal instead of symbolic.

So, I think the whole Gandalf vs. balrog thing is overrated as a measure of his power.

TheElfLord
2007-05-05, 08:32 PM
Also, I don't think you can use balrogs as a gauge of power, since there was considerable variation among them. Gothmog was of legendary power, while other balrogs were clearly mooks. The Noldor even defeated a "horde of balrogs" early on. There's no reason to suppose the balrog in Moria was a particularly powerful one. In fact, since it apparently escaped destruction by hiding, it was probably fairly weak for a balrog. It just seemed impressive in the context of the Third Age.


Balrogs as mooks? Are you serious? They are Miar, the demigods of Middle Earth. They are so powerful that the first time one was killed was during the fall of Gondolin (according to the Book of Lost Tales Pt 2). And the only way they ever do die is if their killer dies with them, (as in the case of the 3 one on one fights described by Tolkien) or it takes a horde of warriors who all die as well. (again the BoLT II)

Puck
2007-05-05, 09:18 PM
Also, I don't think you can use balrogs as a gauge of power, since there was considerable variation among them. Gothmog was of legendary power, while other balrogs were clearly mooks. The Noldor even defeated a "horde of balrogs" early on. There's no reason to suppose the balrog in Moria was a particularly powerful one. In fact, since it apparently escaped destruction by hiding, it was probably fairly weak for a balrog. It just seemed impressive in the context of the Third Age.

Yeah, the balrog was probably hiding down in Moria because any stray elven arrow would have killed him. Merry and Pippin probably could have killed him with a sharp stick. Good point.

The Noldor defeated about a couple dozen balrogs during the seige of Gondolin, including Gothmog. It was considered extraordinary because none of them had ever been killed before. It's recorded in the Book of Lost Tales Vol. 2.

BardicDuelist
2007-05-06, 12:03 AM
I would just like to say this: Many of the things in D&D are based of Tolkein's works, or at least inspired by them, but they do not translate well into D&D. D&D is generally higher power, etc.

Also, Gandalf was afriad of a large number of goblins in the Hobbit, but could solo a Balrog in Fellowship, and has been described as of the same divine rank as Sauron (though it is hinted at the Sauron ascended to a higher rank when he forged the rings). These inconsistancies, among with others, are why it doesn't translate well.

jlousivy
2007-05-06, 02:16 AM
There are only two beings in the tolkien world to ever be able to solo a balrog, both died in the process-- Glorfindel, and Gandalf. The only non-valar to ever walk the earth that showed enough skill in battle to accomplish the feat and come away alive, was Fingolfin who was able to fight toe-to-toe with a valar(morgoth) and give him painful injuries before he himself fell.

The Itsari's were merely people to help guide middle earth, they were numbered among the maiar, who were second only to the Valar.

Sauron was numbered one of the mightiest(possibly the strongest) among the maiar.

Balrogs were also beings created by Morgoth in the height of his power, not true maiar, but effective enough to contest against them.

Hordes of balrogs were destroyed by the Noldor, who were the strongest of the elves, and their power was stronger than than in the times of LoTR as they had seen the light of the two trees. Also, compare pre-battle population of the silmarillion against what it is in LoTR, it is apparent that they suffered many losses. While yes, I'm sure there were varying degrees among them, just as there are with 'elves(fingolfin>legolas)' or 'nazgul(witch-king>the others)' or 'maiar(sauron>most others)'

As for the discussion about the rings, i believe in the book it said that they elves 'hid the rings' from him, namely they removed them to prevent sauron from being able to corrupt them.

Gandalf wasn't neccesarily afraid for himself with a large number of goblins, but rather the Itsari's were not to interfere with the goings on in the world, so it could be expected that he did not wish to 'mess with fate' so much. He may have been afraid for the dwarves/hobbit's sake, not for himself.---but you are right, it doesn't translate well because it's a novel that did not have to have any mechanics save literary ones.

That and personally if i had to stat it out, I see the 'heros' in LoTR to have massive numbers of action points with little limit on how many you can use in a single 'turn'.

TheElfLord
2007-05-06, 02:57 AM
There are only two beings in the tolkien world to ever be able to solo a balrog, both died in the process-- Glorfindel, and Gandalf. The only non-valar to ever walk the earth that showed enough skill in battle to accomplish the feat and come away alive, was Fingolfin who was able to fight toe-to-toe with a valar(morgoth) and give him painful injuries before he himself fell.
You're forgetting Ecthelion, who killed Gothmog during the fall of Gondolin



Balrogs were also beings created by Morgoth in the height of his power, not true maiar, but effective enough to contest against them.

No, Balrogs were the Maiar that joined Morgoth in his revolt against the Valar, excepting the two most powerful, Saron, and possibly Thuringwethil


Hordes of balrogs were destroyed by the Noldor

I don't know if i would say hordes. Some were destroyed in the siege of Gondolin, but that was the first time elves ever slew Balrogs


who were the strongest of the elves, and their power was stronger than than in the times of LoTR as they had seen the light of the two trees. Also, compare pre-battle population of the silmarillion against what it is in LoTR, it is apparent that they suffered many losses.

Agree with you completly


As for the discussion about the rings, i believe in the book it said that they elves 'hid the rings' from him, namely they removed them to prevent sauron from being able to corrupt them.

Mostly agree with. If the 3 were used when Saron weilded the One Ring, then the wearers could be found and corrupted. Thats why they were only used before the Ring was forged and after it was lost.


Gandalf wasn't neccesarily afraid for himself with a large number of goblins, but rather the Itsari's were not to interfere with the goings on in the world, so it could be expected that he did not wish to 'mess with fate' so much. He may have been afraid for the dwarves/hobbit's sake, not for himself.---but you are right, it doesn't translate well because it's a novel that did not have to have any mechanics save literary ones.

While this seems logical it might also be that he was only suposed to use power in proportion. So he had to fight as a normal, yet skilled man when faced with a horde of goblins, but he could jazz things up a little when facing another mair.

jlousivy
2007-05-06, 03:02 AM
still don't know how to do quotes, but yeah

"I don't know if i would say hordes. Some were destroyed in the siege of Gondolin, but that was the first time elves ever slew Balrogs"

i was just using someone else's terminology of 'hordes'

"Mostly agree with. If the 3 were used when Saron weilded the One Ring, then the wearers could be found and corrupted. Thats why they were only used before the Ring was forged and after it was lost."

i thought that's what i was saying :-)

true true, i forgot about Ecthelion /= i haven't read the silmarillion in a couple years. i'll probably read it again after i finish this 'the children of hurin' :-)

brian c
2007-05-06, 05:17 AM
still don't know how to do quotes, but yeah

Click the QUOTE button on the bottom right of the post that you want to quote.


I would get into the LOTR discussion more, but I don't have any of the books with me at school, they're all at home :smallfrown: I'll be home in a week though and I'll look up Balrogs in the Tolkien Bestiary to inform myself enough to make an opinion.

My (slightly) uninformed opinion: Gandalf is pretty high level, but not epic, maybe around 15. Remember, level 10 PCs (and lower) are superhuman by any standards, magic aside. I don't think he was ever afraid of goblins, but he could never reveal how powerful he truly was to the hobbits (or to the goblins for that matter)

LOTR Balrogs are the basis for D&D Balors, but they don't have the same stats obviously. Just because Gandalf killed a Balrog doesn't mean that the D&D-statted Gandalf could solo a Balor, it means that D&D-Gandalf could solo a D&D-statted Balrog. Also, I always got the impression that Gandalf actually did die fighting the Balrog, but he was resurrected.

Caelestion
2007-05-06, 06:06 AM
Well, if it was one demigod taking on another, their levels and statistics are completely irrelevant. It devolves instantly into "plot-device" and the conversation should end there.

For the record, I think that the comment about proportional power is probably the most accurate. After all, he becomes super-powerful vs. the Balrog, uses magic to counter Saruman's magic and still acts like a feeble but wise man in The Hobbit.

Dark
2007-05-06, 06:40 AM
When I said the balrog had hid to escape destruction, I meant during the War of Wrath at the hands of the host of the Valar. "The Balrogs were destroyed, save some few that hid themselves in caverns inaccessible at the roots of the earth". So this was one that ran away.

jlousivy
2007-05-06, 11:39 AM
yeah, it wasn't afraid of 'an elven arrow' but rather thousands of elven arrows and tulkas and orome.

Puck
2007-05-06, 12:51 PM
yeah, it wasn't afraid of 'an elven arrow' but rather thousands of elven arrows and tulkas and orome.

Most of the balrogs were destroyed during the War of Wrath when the Valar themselves descended in power. The ONLY ones that survived were the ones that dug themselves into the bowels of the earth. When the gods themselves come hunting for you, then you run far, far away because the only beings who treat the balrogs as mooks are the Valar. Part of the reason the Valar withdrew and did not invade the world again was because they destroyed large parts of the world during the War of Wrath. Nothing - not dragons, not balrogs, not even Morgoth himself - survived a direct encounter with the Valar in that war.

The balrog of Moria didn't survive because it was weak. It survived because it was smart, and ran away and hid when the gods came knocking.

Maroon
2007-05-06, 01:39 PM
Balrogs as mooks? Are you serious? They are Miar, the demigods of Middle Earth. They are so powerful that the first time one was killed was during the fall of Gondolin (according to the Book of Lost Tales Pt 2). And the only way they ever do die is if their killer dies with them, (as in the case of the 3 one on one fights described by Tolkien) or it takes a horde of warriors who all die as well. (again the BoLT II)
Doesn't stop them from failing their balance checks once in a while.

Gandalf was a DMPC either way so it's not like his character shields weren't at infinity percent.

Indon
2007-05-06, 06:13 PM
There are only two beings in the tolkien world to ever be able to solo a balrog, both died in the process-- Glorfindel, and Gandalf. The only non-valar to ever walk the earth that showed enough skill in battle to accomplish the feat and come away alive, was Fingolfin who was able to fight toe-to-toe with a valar(morgoth) and give him painful injuries before he himself fell.


Regarding this specific point; I'm pretty sure Morgoth, at least, was an epic character. After all, didn't he destroy one of the suns?

jlousivy
2007-05-06, 06:47 PM
yes,
morgoth=valar, valar = epic/divine (i assumed we excluded valar from the solo a balrog)
And he didn't destroy a 'sun' but rather he brought the ungoliant to attack/destroy/defile the two trees in the west during a festival(both of them)

Jayabalard
2007-05-06, 07:27 PM
Melkor (Morgoth) was an Ainu; the Valar are also Ainur. So he was similar divine rank, but not a Vala...

Turcano
2007-05-06, 11:45 PM
Melkor (Morgoth) was an Ainu; the Valar are also Ainu. So he was similar divine rank, but not a Valar...

Ainu is an umbrella term that encompasses both the Valar and the Maiar (the difference between the two is relative power, not kind).

And -r is a plural marker, just so you know.

Anyway, Yuki Akuma's representation of Gandalf is how I would do it; specifically, he would be a solar with a combined cleric/druid spell list and at least one divine rank (probably two), polymorphed into an old geezer. If memory serves me correctly, the lack of overt manifestation of power is due more to an oath not to directly interfere in affairs than a lack of power.

Puck
2007-05-07, 12:20 AM
If memory serves me correctly, the lack of overt manifestation of power is due more to an oath not to directly interfere in affairs than a lack of power.

That's correct.

Gandalf doesn't pop his cork except when he's fighting the balrog, or Saruman, or the Nazgul on Weathertop. Gandalf sunders the Balrog's sword with a stab of white fire, then smites the bridge with his staff and destroys it. He breaks Saruman's staff, and sneaks into Dol Guldur when Sauron is merely known as the "Necromancer." Unless you want to tell me Gandalf is a high-level ninja, that required more continuous power than a 5th level D&D wizard possesses. They also see bright lights on Weathertop from a distance when Gandalf is supposed to meet them there. Them's battle lights, but his larger displays of power take place offstage. When Gandalf the Grey becomes Gandalf the White, he can dispel the honeyed words of Saruman who even talks his way past Treebeard even after his staff is broken. The whole "5th level wizard" thing requires me to ignore a lot of material in the texts.

One gains the sense, throughout the LotR books, that large displays of power attract the attention of other powerful beings. That's one of the reason the hobbits are the ideal solution for sneaking the One Ring into Mordor. Sauron, like Saruman, never did pay much attention to hobbits.

Caelestion
2007-05-07, 04:40 AM
The whole "5th level wizard" thing requires me to ignore a lot of material in the texts.

Only if you assume that everyone else is high-level. That link to said article about low-level people was quite persuasive in that regard.

Anyhow, if we go with the theme that all the Istari still have all their demigod powers, as do the Balrogs, Gwaihr the Windlord and so forth, it (a) gets brong very fast and (b) is utterly pointless assigning stats to everyone.

Jayabalard
2007-05-07, 07:26 AM
Ainu is an umbrella term that encompasses both the Valar and the Maiar (the difference between the two is relative power, not kind).That seems to be pretty similar to part of what I was saying; I was just pointing out that, from my recollection, not all of the greater Ainur were Valar (but all of the Valar were Ainur), and Melkor is not generally referred to as one of the Valar (similar to how Lucifer is not generally referred to as an archangel)...




And -r is a plural marker, just so you know.Not sure how I switched that, thanks.

Dausuul
2007-05-07, 08:21 AM
BTW, I found this in the Homebrew section a few months back, so I copied it. NOTE: I did not write this. I do think that it is a nice write-up of the One Ring's powers, though:

Powers of the One Ring
• First, wearing the Ring, even for a brief time, greatly extends ones lifespan. The Ring cannot impart immortality, but wearing it extends ones lifespan by 7d6 years

This explains Gollum living for 500 years while wearing it, and decades longer even after he lost it? A better rule would be, "While you possess the Ring, you suffer no penalties from aging and do not die even if you live beyond your normal maximum lifespan. If you lose possession of the Ring, this effect persists another 1d20 years for every 50 years you possessed the Ring. After that, you are subject to all normal aging penalties, and you die if you have lived longer than your maximum lifespan."

Still not perfect, but a better approximation of what actually happened.


• The Ring, while worn, turns the user invisible, except to Sauron and a select few of his lieutenants

Reasonable enough.


• The Ring grants the power to control non divine creatures (in effect, free use of Dominate Monster); however, one must make an Intelligence or Wisdom check to learn how to use this power (DC 30)

Errrrm... not exactly. That particular effect is much harder to replicate under the D&D rules, because it encompasses a couple of aspects. One is the ability to both strengthen and more powerfully dominate one's minions (e.g., Sauron and the orcs). Another is the ability to control the wearers of the other Rings of Power. Not sure exactly how to handle these, offhand. Also note that you need to be exceptionally strong-willed to use this ability.


• The Ring also amplifies any power the user possesses (+5 to skill checks, +2 to attack rolls)

I'd probably model this as giving the wearer 1 or 2 free levels, as a better approximation of the Ring "giving power according to [one's] stature."


• The Ring also has a large ego (Int 18, Wis 18, Cha 18, 29 ego) and always attempts to return to Sauron, and has the ability to slip out of ones possession easily

No argument here, though it's worth noting that the Ring's efforts to return to Sauron are not really that strenuous. It seems to devote much more of its effort toward twisting its bearer to the Dark Side.


• The bearer of the Ring must make a Will save to discard the Ring (DC 15, increases by one each week in the characters possession) unless the Ring wants to be discarded. The character must also make a Will Save every two weeks to avoid becoming Evil (DC 10, rises by one each two weeks). Hobbits/Halflings have +5 on both checks

What? Bilbo carried the thing for sixty-one years. By this rule, he'd have had to make over 1,400 Will saves at DC 100+ to avoid becoming Evil, which is ridiculous. Discarding it is a little more believable, since he could have rolled a natural 20 on that, but even so...

Puck
2007-05-07, 11:16 AM
Only if you assume that everyone else is high-level.

I'm not making any assumptions. I'm simply quoting from Tolkien's texts themselves, and providing evidence for my interpretation from the books. In fact, I've provided the most direct quotes and references to buttress my statements of anyone in this discussion.


That link to said article about low-level people was quite persuasive in that regard.

Hogwash. If it's so persuasive, then show me how it persuaded you.


Anyhow, if we go with the theme that all the Istari still have all their demigod powers, as do the Balrogs, Gwaihr the Windlord and so forth, it (a) gets brong very fast and (b) is utterly pointless assigning stats to everyone.

The balrogs didn't retain ALL of their power. In fact, they lost their ability to walk "unclad in the raiment of the world."

But the tendency to stat out powerful beings, while it may not be your particular cup of tea, has always fascinated gamers. That's why we have the 1st Edition AD&D Deities and Demigods, the 3rd Edition D&D Deities and Demigods and MERP's Lords of Middle Earth Volumes 1, 2 and 3. The latter actually statted out an impressive number of beings who get barely any stage time, even in the Silmarillion.

valadil
2007-05-07, 11:25 AM
Gandalf didn't cast impressive spells because the point of his and the other Istari's existence was to motivate the free people of middle earth to save themselves. He was not some sort of parent or guardian who would do anything in his power to help out. In terms of power, there's no doubt Gandalf was epic level. He just wasn't in a position where blasting his way through mordor was going to help everyone in the long run.

Dausuul
2007-05-07, 11:25 AM
Only if you assume that everyone else is high-level. That link to said article about low-level people was quite persuasive in that regard.

My counterargument: Hurin, from the Silmarillion.

Hurin killed seventy trolls and God only knows how many orcs, in a single battle, fighting alone. Now, I recognize that Middle-Earth trolls are different from D&D trolls and might be weaker... but say we stat them as ogres, a D&D fighter who can kill seventy ogres in melee is a hell of a lot higher than 5th level. That sets a substantial bar.

Lapak
2007-05-07, 12:17 PM
That seems to be pretty similar to part of what I was saying; I was just pointing out that, from my recollection, not all of the greater Ainur were Valar (but all of the Valar were Ainur), and Melkor is not generally referred to as one of the Valar (similar to how Lucifer is not generally referred to as an archangel)...
I'm reasonably certain that Melkor is not only explicitly mentioned as one of the Valar, but pointed out as the mightiest of them.

As for Hurin, and Fingolfin, and others from the earlier Ages - one of the basic themes of the books is the gradual diminishment of the world from its mighty beginnings, the withering and shrinking of, well, pretty much everything. I think it's safe to assume that the 3rd Age is on a different, lower scale of power than the previous Ages. So Hurin could certainly be a much higher-level fighter, and Fingolfin - capable of confronting the mightiest being short of the Creator and making a fight of it - would almost certainly be Epic. But they don't have much bearing on what level Aragorn might be.

It's a reasonable point in favor of both the Balrog and Gandalf having much higher strength, though.

Caelestion
2007-05-08, 12:31 PM
My counterargument: Hurin, from the Silmarillion.

Hurin killed seventy trolls and God only knows how many orcs, in a single battle, fighting alone. Now, I recognize that Middle-Earth trolls are different from D&D trolls and might be weaker... but say we stat them as ogres, a D&D fighter who can kill seventy ogres in melee is a hell of a lot higher than 5th level. That sets a substantial bar.
For the record, that is almost certainly hyperbole. As soon as you assign any D&D stats to a fight like that, 70 ogres could defeat even a high-level fighter, provided that they used grappling and their vastly superior numbers appropriately.

As regards the article I mentioned, name something that Aragorn did that required him to be even mid-level, let alone high-level. The writer was simply mentioning some of the things that the mortals did (not Elves, Istari, Balors etc.) and pointing out that with reasonable skills and suchlike, it was still possible, even at low to mid levels.

Draz74
2007-05-08, 12:59 PM
As regards the article I mentioned, name something that Aragorn did that required him to be even mid-level, let alone high-level. The writer was simply mentioning some of the things that the mortals did (not Elves, Istari, Balors etc.) and pointing out that with reasonable skills and suchlike, it was still possible, even at low to mid levels.

Well, Aragorn's ability to move at a normal overland traveling rate and track the Uruks at the same time (while trying to rescue Merry and Pippin) is certainly the inspiration behind the Swift Tracker ability, so that puts him at Ranger level 8 at the least.

But other than that, it's not so much any one thing Aragorn does as it is the variety of things he's good at that makes it impossible to model him as, say, a Level 5 character. For example, he has enough Knowledge (History) to impress everyone except Gandalf ... even though that skill is cross-class for rangers. And ... well, I don't know, he's just all-around impressive. To the point where some people argue he should have Paladin levels, and others say Fighter levels, and others say Horizon Walker ...

So I'm pretty convinced he should be at least about Level 10. And yes, I've read the article in question, and thought that it was a very good explanation of some fantasy worlds.*

And yes, I remember its argument that just because a character has a special ability (e.g. Swift Tracker) that requires them to be high level in D&D, that doesn't mean they are a high-level ninja (in their example, which involved a character going ethereal without a spell); it just means they have some unique houseruled class feature or racial ability or something. Frankly, I thought that part of the article was a cop-out. Just because some settings can't be modeled well in D&D doesn't mean you need to restrict all settings to the "5th level is the legendary person who comes along once in a generation" scale.

*For example, some friends and I are (re-)reading the Chronicles of Prydain right now. It's an excellent example of the scale that the Alexandrian talks about -- where Level 3(ish) Bards and Fighters and even Warriors are already considered the more desirable heroes of the world to recruit in order to mount a surgical strike against the Dark Lord's capital, and Prince Gwydion (the "greatest hero in all the land," that everyone respects deeply) could be a Level 5 or 6 Ranger much more believably than Aragorn.

Draz74
2007-05-08, 01:03 PM
This space intentionally left blank :smallwink:

Draz74
2007-05-08, 01:09 PM
Doesn't everyone love it when their internet connection does things like this?

Caelestion
2007-05-08, 04:17 PM
Holy triple post, Batman! :)

Nowhere Girl
2007-05-08, 06:20 PM
The balrogs were the fire spirits of Morgoth, and among the most powerful of his army, making them almost strong enough to be a BBEG in a low- to mid-level standard D&D campaign. One of them was sufficient to wipe out an entire colony of 1st-level and 0-level dwarves.

Fixed. ;)

Hurlbut
2007-05-08, 07:12 PM
Erm, can't have 0 level characters, even NPCs. unless the dwarves have their own racial HDs :P

Felius
2007-05-08, 07:43 PM
And why do you say they are 1st level and 0th level?

Caelestion
2007-05-08, 07:45 PM
You could have 0-level characters in 2nd Edition.

Edit: And a colony would be made up of normal people and guard soldiers and the like. The heroes are off doing other things :)

Hurlbut
2007-05-08, 08:44 PM
You could have 0-level characters in 2nd Edition.

Edit: And a colony would be made up of normal people and guard soldiers and the like. The heroes are off doing other things :)
Actually it was a military expedition of a sort, they were attempting to reclaim the ancestral home by force.

Puck
2007-05-08, 09:39 PM
Fixed. ;)

Or rather, marred by misinformation by someone who hasn't read the books.

The balrog of Moria was known as Durin's Bane because it slew Durin VI.

Khazad-dm was one of the great dwarven cities. Their finest smiths. The guards of the dwarven king. Durin VI, himself.

That's almost as silly as proposing that Gondolin was full of 1st level elves.

Hurlbut
2007-05-08, 09:49 PM
Or rather, marred by misinformation by someone who hasn't read the books.

The balrog of Moria was known as Durin's Bane because it slew Durin VI.

Khazad-dm was one of the great dwarven cities. Their finest smiths. The guards of the dwarven king. Durin VI, himself.

That's almost as silly as proposing that Gondolin was full of 1st level elves.
It wasn't one of the great dwarven cities, it was the greatest of them all.

brian c
2007-05-08, 09:49 PM
Technically, a level 1 NPC might as well be a 0-level character, they'd only have a CR of 1/2 or so. But yeah, Khazad-Dum definitely had some strong people in there, that Balrog was no joke.

Hurlbut
2007-05-08, 09:51 PM
Oh yeah we forgot one thing; the goblins. They worshiped that balrog like a Fire God.

Hyrael
2007-05-08, 10:30 PM
I think gandalf would be a Native Outsider. His class doesnt really exist, and someone would have to throw together a "wise man" class to accomodate it. Some large, subtle supernatural abilities, probably a whole new spell-system needed to represent it, cantrips/orisons, modest martial prowess, good skills, that sort of thing. Or, just simplify things by making him a 10 HD native outsider with an array of spell-like abilities and a +1 longsword & Imbued quarterstaff

Note NATIVE outsider. Thus, he is still an other worldly being, but still needs to eat/drink.

TheElfLord
2007-05-08, 11:34 PM
Oh yeah we forgot one thing; the goblins. They worshiped that balrog like a Fire God.

There weren't any goblins the first time. I don't know if you've read the books or not, but when the Balrog first appeared, Moria was a prosperous Dwarven city. The capital city of the Dwarves of Durin's family, the Longbeards. They were mining and unearthed the Balrog's resting place. The single Balrog killed multiple kings and enough soldiers to convince the dwarves to abandon the city. Goblins came to the demon after it set up its own place, but it was strong enough itself to defeat an entire city of dwarves.

Evil_Socrates
2007-05-09, 02:34 AM
While I am impressed (and perhaps a little alarmed) at the knowledge of LOTR some (Puck) are displaying, I thought I would chip in in defense of low powered Middle Earth. Because, hey, it's the internet! I can say whatever I want.

As far as the Balrog killing all the dwarves and Gandolf taking him go here is how I read it. The Balrog is a freaking fire demon. You pretty much aren’t going to be able to take him down with Axes and beards. He would have stomped all over a city full of Aragorns as easily as dwarves. Gandalf could take him down because 1) he has magic, apparently the requisite tool for killing beings of flame and shadow and 2) he cleverly used his magic to take the Balrog for a highdive off of an infinite (or whatever it was chasm).

By way of analogy, if I am driving a heavy tank (with unlimited ammo let's say) I can pretty much take out as many knights, rifle infantry, crossbow users, what have you as I want. The Balrog was a tank, and Gandalf had a rpg (magic).

None-the-less, magic is pretty lame in LOTR and is only really useful for countering other magic stuff.

"Behold, for I am the lord of despair Sauron! Tremble as I make it cloudy! Run in fear as my Nazgul make unpleasant noises! Oh no, my chief Nazgul just got killed by a woman...and a midget."

LOTR was all about courage and virtue and resisting the corrupting influence of power and describing trees. Gandalf inspired people to fight, and to die if necessary in the face of a power that dwarfs your own. The Balrog scene was one of those times.

Turcano
2007-05-09, 02:40 AM
None-the-less, magic is pretty lame in LOTOR and is only really useful for countering other magic stuff.

Someone's been playing too much Knights of the Old Republic. :smalltongue:

Evil_Socrates
2007-05-09, 02:52 AM
I always do that, I thought I caught them all in my post when I previewed. Alas. For the record, a Jedi would stomp all over Gandalf's face, but probably still get cooked by a Balrog.

Caelestion
2007-05-09, 05:32 AM
The Jedi might stomp over Gandalf the Grey but remember no weapon could touch Gandalf the White :)

So, Khazad-Dm was a big city, but if I send in a custom outsider with Fast Healing 2 and DR 10/magic into a city with no magic weapons or spell-casters, he is going to pretty much mosh through everything in sight too.

Besides, "the greatest smith in the world" could easily be 5th or 6th-level only. After all, how high-level do you need to be to regularly and quickly create masterwork equipment without the aid of tools or apprentices?

Evil_Socrates
2007-05-09, 05:53 AM
It's like level 1 for a dwarf and 3 for a non-dwarf or some such. And yes, that was my point, the balrog didn't have to be that unstoppable; he just had to be unstoppable by mundane dwarf offensive capabilities.

Also, suprise, I stopped your heart with force! Nice knowing ya Gandy.

Puck
2007-05-12, 04:48 AM
And yes, that was my point, the balrog didn't have to be that unstoppable; he just had to be unstoppable by mundane dwarf offensive capabilities.

So throughout Tolkien's history of his world, only immortal beings - elves, Maiar, Valar - have ever been able to stand up to these beings of awesome power, and it took Gandalf a battle of days to kill one of them, but ... maybe this was just a weak one?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Peak#Battle_of_the_Peak

After Gandalf and the Balrog fell into the abyss in Moria on January 15, 3019, they fought long underground and then climbed the Endless Stair to the peak of the Silvertine where Durin's Tower stood. There on a narrow eyrie they fought the Battle of the Peak from January 23 to January 25. The Balrog, whose fire had been quenched in a subterranean lake, burst into renewed flame. The sun shone at first, but as the combatants struggled thunder boomed and lightning flashed, vapour and steam rose, and ice fell. From a distance it appeared that a storm was raging over the Silvertine. At last, Gandalf defeated the Balrog; he threw the Balrog down from the peak, and the mountainside broke where the Balrog landed.

Felius
2007-05-12, 08:11 PM
So throughout Tolkien's history of his world, only immortal beings - elves, Maiar, Valar - have ever been able to stand up to these beings of awesome power, and it took Gandalf a battle of days to kill one of them, but ... maybe this was just a weak one?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Peak#Battle_of_the_Peak

After Gandalf and the Balrog fell into the abyss in Moria on January 15, 3019, they fought long underground and then climbed the Endless Stair to the peak of the Silvertine where Durin's Tower stood. There on a narrow eyrie they fought the Battle of the Peak from January 23 to January 25. The Balrog, whose fire had been quenched in a subterranean lake, burst into renewed flame. The sun shone at first, but as the combatants struggled thunder boomed and lightning flashed, vapour and steam rose, and ice fell. From a distance it appeared that a storm was raging over the Silvertine. At last, Gandalf defeated the Balrog; he threw the Balrog down from the peak, and the mountainside broke where the Balrog landed.

See?! Here is the proof that Gandalf is only level 4 and the Balrog is a weakling!!!

Well, now seriously, look at the description of the battle. Beings powerful enough to make it look like a storm raging over aren't only level 4.

Beren One-Hand
2007-05-14, 07:59 PM
I have a hard time believing that Middle Earth could accurately be represented as a low level DnD campaign. Take Beorn - the minimum level for a natural were-bear is 10 (1 class + 6 bear + 3 LA). Even if you use the black bear as his shifted form, instead of the temperamental brown bear which matches his personality and description better, his minimum level is 7 (1 class + 3 bear + 3 LA) which is still over the level 5 threshold.