AC: Wayward Elves more thematic Virtues and Rewards

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Falenthal
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AC: Wayward Elves more thematic Virtues and Rewards

Post by Falenthal » Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:27 pm

This are Rewards and Virtues redesigned to give them options in combat other than fighting with weapons, as any Mirkwood Elf would do.

Next are the last ideas I've had regarding them, although if you're interested in the process and discussion that lead to them (thanks to Scrollreader and Deadmanwalking), you might want to start reading below the ********** line.


REWARDS

Harp of the Woods [replaces Spearman's Shield]
There was the sound, too, of elven-harps and of sweet music; and as it echoed up towards them it seemed that the chill of the air was warmed, and they caught faintly the fragrance of woodland flowers blossoming in spring.
--The Gathering of Clouds, The Hobbit

The instruments of the elves not only produce music and sound, they also emit feelings and sensations that soothe those who hear it.

When using Song during an Adventuring phase, roll the Feat die twice and keep the best result [this leaves the Song use for Heal Corruption outside of the benefit].
Additionally, if you spend a point of Hope, you (not the LM) may decide how to allocate the Hate loss among the enemies when using Intimidate Foes, even focusing it all in a single adversary.

Wine of the Dark Mountains [replaces the Adventurer's Companion's Wine of the Dark Mountains]
"...I shall be hard at work tonight clearing the cellars of the empty wood, so let us have a drink first to help the labour.” -Barrels out of Bond, The Hobbit

While other races rapidly get a false feeling of sharpness, quickly turned into drowsiness, elves dont' get drunk that easily. This strong wine that they nurture themselves keens their senses when facing any duty.

When rolling a Preliminary Test, roll 1 additional Success die, up to a maximum of 6.

VIRTUES

Stinging Arrow will be deleted in my version of the WE, making Elf-lights the first tier in the Wood-elf Magic Virtue. Enchanted Sleep will be the second, and the third will be:

Songs from Elder days
…and their faces and their songs were filled with mirth. Loud and clear and fair were those songs…
-Flies and Spiders, The Hobbit

You may use the Intimidate Foes from Open Stance in Combat, but using the Song skill instead of Awe or Battle. [credits to Scrollreader!]

Feast Clearing [replaces Deadly Archery]
There was a fire in their midst and there were torches fastened to some of the trees round about; but most splendid sight of all: they were eating and drinking and laughing merrily. –Flies and Spiders, The Hobbit

Once per Adventuring phase, when travelling through a Border Land or Wild Land in Mirkwood, the fellowship can rest for a night as if they were taking a prolongued rest in a safe place, thus using the improved recovery rates for Endurance, Fatigue and Wounds.

The fellowship can decide to stay for more days and continue to recover at the increased rate, but each hero will gain 1 point of Shadow for each day above the first.

Eerie Laughter
At times they heard disquieting laughter. Sometimes there was singing in the distance too. The laughter was the laughter of fair voices not of goblins, and the singing was beautiful, but it sounded eerie and strange, and they were not comforted, rather they hurried on from those parts with what strength they had left.
--Flies and Spiders, The Hobbit

While a Wayward Elf detaches himself from the living world, his voice and joy acquires a disturbing beauty, and becomes strange, even sinister, to mortal's ears.

When a Wayward Elf can be heard by a Mortal (elves, undead and maia are excluded, along with other special creatures as the Lore Master sees fit), he can call for a Task rolling the Feat die and as many Success die as his Shadow score (up to a maximum of 6 dice). According to the level of success, a number of creatures can be affected by the Elf's eerie laughter and strange songs, and be considered Spent (see Revised Book, page 129). Several Mortal creatures can be affected, as long as the sum of their Attribute levels (or Wisdom rating, if heroes are involved) is equal or less to the following total:
Ordinary success - 2
Great success - 4
Extraordinary success - 6

If any of the affected Mortals has an Attribute level (or a Wisdom score) equal or lower than the Permanent Shadow score of the Wayward Elf, then it is considered Temporary Miserable instead of Spent, as long as it is within hearing range of the Wayward Elf (with the danger of having a Bout of Madness).

Additionally, if an Eye was rolled by the Wayward Elf (wether the Task was succesful or not), every Mortal within hearing range -including the heroes- has to compare his Wisdom or Attribute Level with the number of 6s rolled with the Success die. Those with lower Wisdom or Attribute Level become instantly Temporary Miserable.

Adversaries and Loremaster's Characters are roleplayed by the Loremaster as indicated for heroes in page 129 of the Revised Book regarding their behaviour when Spent, Temporary Miserable or affected by a Bout of Madness, which is triggered by a Gandalf rune in their case, instead of by an Eye.

*********************************************************************

When I read the enhanced description of the Wayward Elves in the Adventurer's Companion, I began to feel excited about them. They were described more like the typical mischievous faery from child's tales, and I liked how they didn't avoid facing the Shadow (as it seemed from their description in HotW), but fought it with alternative weapons:
They deem that the greatest victory
against the darkness can be achieved by the Firstborn with
celebration, song and mirth.
Long story short, I was disappointed that their Virtues and Rewards didn't exactly match this description.
I think that, basically, their Virtues and Rewards should include ways to avoid and/or enter fights in a different way that firing arrows or piercing with spears.

This are basic ideas, to begin with:

VIRTUES

Wood-elf Magic
[Delete Stinging Arrow]
Wayward Elves learn Elf-lights when they first learn Wood-elf Magic. After spending 1 Experience point and an undertaking during a Fellowship phase, they can learn Enchanted Sleep. During a later Fellowship phase, they can spend another Experience point and another undertaking to learn Songs from Elder days.

-Songs from Elder days-
Then suddenly she eluded his sight, and out of the shadows began a song of such surpassing loveliness, and of such blinding power, that he listened perforce; and a blindness came upon him, as his eyes roamed to and fro, seeking her.
All his court were cast down in slumber, and all the fires faded and were quenched;

--Of Beren and Lúthien, The Silmarillion

The voices and the songs of the Wayward Elves can pierce through the Shadow and evil sharper than some arrow tips. Some of their songs tell tales from when the first Elves faced the Enemy as equals.

The Wayward Elf can select a target with an Attribute level as high as the sum of of his Valour and Wisdom. By spending a point of Hope, the target is blinded (count as Severly Hindered) for as many rounds as the Wayward Elf's Wisdom rating. Additionaly, consider all targets within hearing range of the song, and with an Attribute level lower than 6, as affected by Enchanted Sleep.

Dancer Against the Dark [substitutes Deadly Archery]
You may use Song instead of Awe during the Introduction phase in Encounters, and for the Intimidate Foe Combat Task. If doing the later, add half the number of your Athletics skill ranks to your Parry rating (rounding up).

REWARDS
Wine of the Dark Mountains
“Now come with me,” he said, “and taste the new wine that has just come in. I shall be hard at work tonight clearing the cellars of the empty wood, so let us have a drink first to help the labour."
-Barrels out of Bond, The Hobbit

Wayward Elves, as most elves, don't get drowsy easily. Instead, a taste of their strong wines helps them think clearer before any great task.

If a Wayward Elf spends his Fellowship phase in the Woodland Realm, for the next Adventure phase he will have a bottle of Wine of the Dark Mountains at his disposition. The bottle will have as many sips as the Wayward Elf's Valour rating. Each sip allows the drinker to enjoy a free Attribute bonus to a Preliminary roll. The Wine of the Dark Mountains can't be drunk by a character not belonging to the Wayward Elves or the Elves of Mirkwood culture.

****

This are just first ideas, and might be tweaked a lot.
I would like to allow Wayward Elves also to use Riddle to jest on humans and thing like that, but that would probably imply too much modding of the RAW culture.
Also, a way to use Song and Athletics to sing and dance during Combats, hindering the enemies or luring them away from you comrades, could be a pretty option for them.

I still have no ideas for this, but might get there at some point. :D
Last edited by Falenthal on Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:29 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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Re: AC: Wayward Elves variation

Post by Scrollreader » Tue Dec 27, 2016 1:37 pm

The wayward elves are wayward because they are rejecting Eru Allfather, though. They love middle earth more than anything, including the Creator. This is why they are less wise, not more than normal elves. More merry, perhaps. But if one is staying true to the Legendarium, they should be more likely to attack others (sometimes with tricks, and sometimes with arrows, as DoM shows us ...) Not less. They are fey and dangerous, and ... Careless of themselves and others.

If you want the feel of trickster fairies, and care less about the 'canon' of Tolkien, of course, your mileage may vary.

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Re: AC: Wayward Elves variation

Post by Falenthal » Tue Dec 27, 2016 2:12 pm

AFAIK, the Wayward Elves are an invention by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan (or maybe Nepitello) that were included in the Heart of the Wild and the Darkening of Mirkwood supplements. As the rules for creating Changeling characters, in my opinion they are a way of stretching what we know about Wilderland to include some aspects of English myths and its faeric world. In other words: nothing about the Wayward Elves is canonical.

That said, I find that Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream or Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell books can give us more ideas on how to play and introduce the Wayward Elves in our games than anything Tolkien wrote.

That's my vision of them, of course. In fact, we all know that the Wayward Elves just pick some of the most merry and careless aspects of the Mirkwood elves depicted in The Hobbit and artificially construct a subculture out of them. If we were to be true to the canon, everything said about the WE should be a part of the Mirkwood elves culture.
Last edited by Falenthal on Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AC: Wayward Elves variation

Post by Scrollreader » Tue Dec 27, 2016 6:11 pm

The Doom of Mandos wrote: And those that endure in Middle-Earth and come not to Mandos shall grow weary of the world as with a great burden, and shall wane, and become as shadows of regret before the younger race that cometh after.
Morgoth's Ring wrote: As ages passed the dominace of their fear ever increased, ’consuming’ their bodies (as has been noted. The end of this process is their ’fading’, as Men have called it; for the body becomes at last, as it were, a mere memory held by the fea; and that end has already been achieved in many regions of Middle-earth
While the Wayward Elves, as a subculture, are an invention of the game designers, there is plenty of backing in Tolkien's work for what happens to the Elves who forswear the Uttermost West. They are supposed to be the 'truth' behind the faerie stories of English and Celtic myth, in the same way that the modern world is supposed to be middle earth after more ages have passed.

That being said, I won't drag this further off topic, and will try to provide feedback on the virtues instead.

Rejigging the order of Wood Elf Magic doesn't bother me, but much like Hobbits have combat virtues, be careful removing too much combat capability from a culture.

The new added virtue option is a bit clunky. I'd base something like this on the High Elf anti-shadow virtue, and/or make the blinded effect the same as other uses of Wood Elf Magic (Wearied).
I definitely wouldn't make it /also/ a much, much better version of the slumber effect. It makes the previous effect feel smaller, and more like a prerequisite, than a useful ability in its own right.


Dancer Against the Dark - You are replacing a (despite debate) pretty weak virtue with a relatively strong one. Also a bit inelegant of a solution. I see what you are trying to do with using song and athletics for dancing, but it feels a bit like a kludge. I do like any and all encouragement not to be in defensive, but it might be more thematic to allow them to use intimidate from open stance. (Since that's where you normally use song in combat anyway), and the math is nearly the same, at the top end.

The first half of this is already a solid virtue, as you have replaced almost all uses of Awe with Song, which is already a strong common ability, with the ability to heal Corruption, restore Endurance, and benefit from Company Songs (per Rivendell). I would probably only replace the combat use, so as to leave some reason for Awe to exist, even if it is a lesser one.

As for the Wine, I'm not even certain what the objective here is. In my experience, very soon into play success at preliminary rolls is not really the issue, it is the number of Tengwars rolled. As such, this is a virtue that becomes /less/ useful as characters gain AP. While it may still have some use if a PC is ignoring a particular prep skill, it's not a very strong virtue, and again, you're reducing combat ability of the Wayward Elves (with either Shadow-Bane or the current Wine).

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Re: AC: Wayward Elves variation

Post by Falenthal » Tue Dec 27, 2016 8:01 pm

Those are great and very helpful comments, Scrollreader!

After a first reading, I have to say my first impression is that I have to agree with all you say. :D

But I'd like to take a little bit more time to reflect upon them, also because I consider that some of the tweakings I've made do, in fact, improve the performance (or intend to) of a Wayward Elf in Combat. Only that the improvement is not based on a bonus to hit or damage with a weapon. But, for example, I'd rather spend a Hope point to Severly Hinder a big boss a few rounds, and sleep all his minions, than to add my Heart Attribute to a Bow shot.

As said, I want to re-read your comments and give them some thoughts, but they look really cool.

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Re: AC: Wayward Elves variation

Post by Otaku-sempai » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:40 pm

Middle-earth Dance Off! Reading 'Dancer Against the Dark', I suddenly flashed back to the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Re: AC: Wayward Elves variation

Post by Falenthal » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:46 pm

Otaku-sempai wrote:Middle-earth Dance Off! Reading 'Dancer Against the Dark', I suddenly flashed back to the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy.
I wrote the name in a rush, without any idea how to call it! :lol:
Just remembered the film Dancer in the Dark, the one with the main character played by the singer Björk, and probably mixed it up with the High Elf's Blessing Against the Unseen.

I gladly accept suggestions for a better name. ;)

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Re: AC: Wayward Elves variation

Post by Deadmanwalking » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:21 am

I must say, I prefer the current Wine reward to the replacement, not caring about getting hurt seems more in-theme for the Wayward than being better at everything after taking a drink.

I also think the standard version of the Wood-Elf Magic is solid, as even the Wayward should have something in the way of an archery Virtue, especially if removing Deadly Archery. Speaking of which, replacing Deadly Archery (the only purely combat-oriented Virtue they have left) is definitely the most thematically appropriate element of this adaptation...but as others have noted, the replacement is a bit higher powered, and also combat oriented (which doesn't seem right).

Personally, if I was replacing Deadly Archery with something for the Wayward Elves, I'd go with something either trickery-based or something that actually recovers or otherwise interacts with Hope. A Song-based Virtue that regains you 1 Hope when you use it to reduce Shadow, or something like that, maybe. Or a Virtue allowing them to erase memories like the High Elf 'Beauty of the Stars' (but possibly more controllably and without some of the other effects).

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Re: AC: Wayward Elves variation

Post by Scrollreader » Wed Dec 28, 2016 2:01 pm

If we make Dancer Against The Dark work like so:

When you use the Rally Comrades task with Song, you may choose to reduce enemy hate as if Intimidating Foes or restore Endurance normally

It does solve a couple problems. First, although a combat virtue, it does reinforce the primacy of song. Secondly, it is a /defensive/ virtue. It doesn't make you any better at killing things, but it gives you a slightly better parry when intimidating.

I'd give it a little bit of a bump, since while that is solid, it is a little ... Plain. Something like allowing the Elf to spend a hope to add his heart to the hate or endurance from Song. This is good, since Deadly Archery has a hope spend, and helps reinforce the balance of Hope spending virtues.

I'd also slightly spice up Wine, though I like the current form. Shadow Bane is a /really/ good virtue. Maybe keep it in the AC form, and add the Merry trait to the PC. (Like Hobbit Small Folk).

As for Wood Elf Magic ... The more I think about it, the more I think I'd leave the current virtue alone, and add new variants to it in a similar way to the ones from DoM. Probably mutually exclusive with those, but definitely Wayward Elf only.

I do still think sleeping /everyone/ is way too strong, however. It completely invalidates the previous Slumber, and that's never a good thing.

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Re: AC: Wayward Elves variation

Post by Falenthal » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:58 pm

On a phone now, so sorry for the short answer.
I apologize for not answering to your ideas (which I tend to like), but my whole family's got the flu and I'm the one tending to them all! :cry:
But I will answer as soon as possible.
Thank you for your ideas, folks.

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