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I am planning on using the standard new World of Darkness corebook as a baseline for running a Middle Earth game. Nobody in my game group is happy with MERP or the newer Decipher system.

What do people think about this? My only concern is developing magical items for characters. There are already rules for medieval type weapons and armor.

Has anyone done something similar to this?

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It's not what you asked, but I tried the newer "The One Ring" and it reminded a little to the WoD system. Simple rules, few dots in skills and some narrative devices. I didn't play combat, though. –  Flamma Dec 17 '12 at 12:32

6 Answers 6

up vote 13 down vote accepted

If you don't mind getting another book, the recent World of Darkness: Mirrors has rules for just this sort of thing, including systems for fantasy folk, heroic skills, and magic.

As for "has anyone done something similar," noted game author and designer John Snead has. You can find his ideas here.

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I was just about to recommend Mirrors! Yeah, pick that up and you'll be in good shape. –  Bryant Sep 4 '10 at 23:03
    
Great, I'll check it out, thanks! –  zombor Sep 4 '10 at 23:35
    
Do you have any idea why it's currently retailing at ~$150 on amazon? –  Pureferret Dec 30 '11 at 15:05
    
An artifact of the way Amazon handles books it can't easily find. White Wolf has moved from traditional books-on-shelves publishing to a combination of electronic and print-on-demand manufacturing. The highly inflated price reflects that the book isn't in the distribution chain anywhere, which makes Amazon think print copies are rare. You can get one sent to you at a reasonable price through DriveThruRPG, here. drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=82477 –  Jadasc Dec 30 '11 at 15:25

I could easily see using morality paths for corrupting items, such as the rings of power. You could have a "morality path" for the item itself that applies to the weilder. Every time you use it, or use it for certain things you have to roll against whatever level in the corruption you are at, etc.

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Mage, Changeling, Geist and World of Darkness: Reliquary should all have potential objects - in that order of greater to weaker powers.

Mage offers some ideas for just swords and weapons that are slightly better than average but have no particular magical aspect to them and I think that might work well with your setting if you're looking for a more low-fantasy feel. Obviously it also has some super powerful things and you can of course use the different spells to attribute them to objects as it suggests for artifacts.

Changeling and Geist are nice because there's a strong low magic tit-for-tat feel to how a lot of things work and a lot of history to delve into. I'd use it more for objects rather than weapons but a lot of things have a really cool history that you can adapt.

The weakest in many cases or the more mundanely-awesome is Reliquary which was a book about all of the odd sorts of things that mortals can find in their world. Its really a lot of storyhook ideas but I've been able to adapt a lot of those for many games that I've done - haunted mirrors, rings that incite people to kill and all of that... seems right up your alley.

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Middle Earth is pretty sparse on magical items. They're so rare that you can probably just define each item on a case by case basis, and don't need to rely on any rules to do it. ST as a system is a pretty straightforward and comprehensive system. Nothing mindblowing about it, but nothing to dislike other than being a bit bland by itself (which is made up for by the setting).

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You'd be better off with the old World of Darkness for this but as the others have said, it can be done. Some of the books for the new Changeling: the Lost might also help alongside Mirrors given that they have thematically suitable critters in and a style of magic suitable to the setting but are far from essential.

Keep mostly to the basic human rules of the core book for characters, most Middle earth races don't have the vast power lists that either WoD is built around. You can do a lot with simple modifiers to the basic stats (+1 appearance and a higher maximum dexterity for elves etc, +1 to horse riding for the men of Rohan ...). Have some skills restricted to give flavour to the races (Hobbits are not well traveled, Dwarves are good at mining etc). Then tweak your merits to fit the setting.

Most kewl powerz in the hands of the player characters won't be from actual supernatural or magical skills but from fixed objects; swords that glow when a certain critter is near, rings that turn you invisible, daggers that break and slowly poison the victim. You should be able to stat these up before play and steal ideas and examples from the variety of powers in the various books. Steal a vampires power and attach it to a sword, use the Prometheans power as the effect of an elven potion etc.

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Most systems set for generic rules can be used for different things. The problems you'll probably come across is that nWoD is built for a Horror style game, while Middle Earth is meant to feel more epic. Not that it can't be done, but you need to understand you are looking to apply the mechanics in a way that is counter to the core theme that made them.

As was said above, grab Mirrors, as there are a lot of ways to do things like that. Also, keep in mind that you'll be doing a lot of home brewing of your own for the game. Racial bonuses, magic abilities, the fact that the system was made for a modern game (more range based combat) as opposed to a fantasy game (more melee based combat).

Other than that, have fun. nWoD is a good system.

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