[QUOTE=maradakia;5123697]NEW CLASS: BEORNING
A Beorning Class would be so awesome!
This would be very exciting and tons of fun. Of course many people will naturally be skeptical, so I've provided source material to show where in the lore having a whole class of Beornings would be founded. Thankfully there is ample primary source material which I was able to find with bibliographical notes. These demonstrate that there were many Beornings, with the ability to take bear's form, who were present and combating Sauron's forces in allegiance with the other Free Peoples of Middle Earth.
After sharing my research, I've added some suggestions and thoughts regarding details of what this class might be about. However, these are just a draft of ideas, and Turbine could obviously go many different ways with this, to make it balanced, complementary with existing classes, and suitable however they see fit. If you have concerns about what might not work, please share those, along with your creative ideas about sollutions that might work : )
Source Quotes From Tolkien's Works Regarding Beorn and the Beornings
"Standing near was a huge man with a thick black beard and hair, and great bare arms and legs with knotted muscles. He was clothed in a tunic of wool down to his knees, and was leaning on a large axe. The horses were standing by him with their noses at his shoulder." (The Hobbit)
"He was towering tall above Gandalf. As for Bilbo he could have easily trotted through his legs without ducking his head to miss the fringe of the mans brown tunic." (The Hobbit, Chapter 7; Queer Lodgings, pg. 108)
"Some say that he is a bear descended from the great and ancient bears of the mountains that lived there before the giants came. Others say that he is a man descended from the first men who lived before Smaug or the other dragons came into this part of the world, and before the goblins came into the hills out of the North. I cannot say, though I fancy the last is the true tale." (said by Gandalf, The Hobbit: Queer Lodgings)
And also, Gandalf preferring the latter suggestion, believed that Beorn once lived in the mountains himself and was probably forced to leave due to the numerous Orcs who moved in, for Beorn was overheard as saying by Gandalf while he was in his bear form on the Carrock, "The day will come when they will perish and I shall go back" (The Hobbit 119).
"Beorn did not show it more than he could help, but really he had begun to get very interested. You see, in the old days he had known the very part of the mountains Gandalf was describing." (The Hobbit: Ch. 7)
In the Hobbit, Beorn participated in a bear's meeting at his house the nights the dwarves were staying with him. As Gandalf reports: "I have been picking out bear tracks," he said at last. "There must have been a regular bears' meeting outside here last night. I soon saw that Beorn could not have made them all: there were far too many of them, and they were of various sizes too. I should say there were little bears, large bears, ordinary bears, and gigantic big bears, all dancing outside from dark to nearly dawn." (The Hobbit: Queer Lodgings)
These certainly aren't normal bears as we know them. They could be a variety of unusual bears, like other of the highly unusual, intelligent animals Beorn was surrounded by, or they may be Beornings, gathered in a meeting prior to heading to battle the Goblins and Wargs. These are both legitimate possibilities.
"Throughout the rest of the meal they talked together, but Frodo listened more than he spoke; for the news of the Shire, apart from the Ring, seemed small and far-away and unimportant, while Gloin had much to tell of events in the northern regions of Wilderland. Frodo learned that Grimbeorn the Old, son of Beorn, was now the lord of many sturdy men, and to their land between the Mountains and Mirkwood neither orc nor wolf dared to go. 'lndeed,' said Gloin, `if it were not for the Beornings, the passage from Dale to Rivendell would long ago have become impossible." (The Fellowship of The Ring: Many Meetings)
"The goblins of the Misty Mountains were now few and terrified, and hidden in the deepest holes they could find; and the Wargs had vanished from the woods, so that men went abroad without fear. Beorn indeed became a great chief afterwards in those regions and ruled a wide land between the mountains and the wood; and it is said that for many generations the men of his line had the power of taking bear's shape, and some were grim men and bad, but most were in heart like Beorn, if less in size and strength. In their day the last goblins were hunted from the Misty Mountains and a new peace came over the edge of the Wild." (The Hobbit: Ch.18 The Return Journey)
Tolkien does not tell us how many Beornings there are except to say there are "many generations" of them, and that they are a distinct people, with their own language, heritage, vast lands, attitudes, and culinary preferences. We know they were numerous enough to keep the passage from Dale to Rivendell open in time of war, and to wipe out the goblin population from the Misty Mountains.
It has been brought up that perhaps the Beornings were an aggregate of other peoples called by this name only as followers of Beorn's kin, and not of them. While this is perhaps also a plausible interpretation, it is nowhere stated by Tolkien in any of his works, and remains speculative conjecture. On the other hand Tolkien does repeatedly discuss the Beornings explicitly as a people and a bloodline, sharing kinship with the Rohirrim, Men of Dale, and the Woodmen, yet separate from them, and distinct. (see: Beornings - Race of Man)
The Beornings at the time of the War of The Ring are also described as sharing specific traits in common with Beorn that strongly suggest their being his kinsmen, and not just his subjects. "...like Beorn of old they are not over fond of dwarves. Still, they are trusty, and that is much in these days." (The Fellowship of The Ring: Many Meetings) Also, the "honey-cakes of the Beornings" that Gimli mentions as famously good are cearly connected to Beorn's love of cream and honey, which in turn is connected to his changing into a bear.
In any case, there is ample cause, reasonable and solidly founded, to understand the term Beorning to mean Beorn's kinfolk, and a sizable population, certainly more than large enough to base a character type on for our game.
"And I was explaining very carefully, answered the wizard crossly. If you must know more, his name is Beorn. He is very strong, and he is a skin-changer... He changes his skin: sometimes he is a huge black bear, sometimes he is a great strong black-haired man with huge arms and a great beard." (The Hobbit: Queer Lodgings)
"Beorn indeed became a great chief afterwards in those regions and ruled a wide land between the mountains and the wood; and it is said that for many generations the men of his line had the power of taking bear's shape, and some were grim men and bad, but most were in heart like Beorn, if less in size and strength." (The Hobbit: Ch.18 The Return Journey)
It is worth noting here that Beornings are explicitly stated to be smaller and weaker than Beorn himself - an important source since Beorn himself would be an overpowered character to play, but the Beornings need not be.
Beornings - Race of Man:
Tolkien emphatically states in his April 25, 1954 letter to Naomi Mitchison that "Beorn was a Man" (Letters 178).
'Though a skin-changer and no doubt a bit of a magician, Beorn was a Man' (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien No 144, dated 1954)
From the LOTRO Lorebook Official Lore entry on Beornings: The heirs of Beorn. The Men who dwelt in the Vales of Anduin between Mirkwood and the Great River. The were led by the descendants of Beorn, who for many generations retained their ancestor's ability to take the shape of a bear. (http://lorebook.lotro.com/wiki/Lore:Beornings)
Gimli asks about the Rohirrim, "What do you know of these horsemen, Aragorn?" And he answers, "...It was in forgotten years long ago that Eorl the Young brought them out of the North, and their kinship is rather with the Bardings of Dale, and with the Beornings of the Wood, among whom may still be seen many men tall and fair, as are the Riders of Rohan. At least they will not love the Orcs."." (The Two Towers: The Riders of Rohan)
"Most of the Men of the northern regions of the West-lands were descended from the Edain of the First Age, or from their close kin. Their languages were, therefore, related to the Adunaic, and some still preserved a likeness to the Common Speech. Of this kind were the peoples of the upper vales of Anduin: the Beornings, and the Woodmen of Western Mirkwood; and further north and east the Men of the Long Lake and of Dale. From the lands between the Gladden and the Carrock came the folk that were known in Gondor as the Rohirrim, Masters of Horses." (The Return of The King: Appendix F)
"The Eotheod had moved to those regions in the days of King Earnil II from the lands in the vales of Anduin between the Carrock and the Gladden, and they were in origin close akin to the Beornings and the men of the west-eaves of the forest." ( The Return of The King: Appendix A)
"These Northmen were descendants of the same race of Men as those who in the First Age passed into the West of Middle-earth and became the allies of the Eldar..." (Unfinished Tales: Cirion and Eorl)
"The Northmen appear to have been most nearly akin to the third and greatest of the peoples of the Elf-friends, ruled by the House of Hador." (ibid. Author's note.)
"Eorl the Young was lord of the Men of Eotheod. This land lay near the sources of the Anduin, between the upper ranges of the Misty Mountains and the northernmost parts of Mirkwood. Thither the Eotheod had removed some hundreds of years before from lands further south in the vale of Anduin. They were originally close kin of the Beornings and the men of the west-eaves of the forest; but they loved best the plains and wide fields, and they delighted in horses and in all feats of horsemanship. In the days of Garman father of Eorl they had grown to a numerous people somewhat straitened in the land of their home." (The Peoples of Middle-earth)
"East of the Misty Mountains, even far to the north, the Common Speech was known; though there, as in Esgaroth, or in Dale, or among the Beornings and the Woodmen of the west-eaves of Mirkwood, Men also retained their own tongues in daily use. The Eorlings, or the Rohirrim as they were called in Gondor, still used their own northern tongue; for the Riders of Rohan had come out of Eotheod near the sources of Anduin only some five hundred years before the days here spoken of. Yet all but their humbler folk spoke also the Common Speech after the manner of Gondor." (The Book of Lost Tales vol.12)
Why a Class
The Beornings are a branch of the race of Man, related to the Rohirrim, the Men of Dale, and the Woodmen, as quoted above. Why then did I propose this as a Class? Because for all intents and purposes the suggestion I was making would be treated as a Class. I imagined all Racial Traits to be those of the Race of Man, and the Skills and Trait Lines to be based upon being a Beorning (i.e. taking bear's form, fighting with bite attacks and claw rends, calling upon their great bees, instilling fear with roars etc, as detailed below). I imagined this would be the simplest and most straightforward way to implement, however there are various alternative approaches to this issues that may be preferable.
Alternatives - In character creation, among the Race choices of Man, Elf, Hobbit, and Dwarf, Beorning could be added as a sub-race of Man. The Class name could then be Skin-changer. Or, in character creation, if you select Race of Man, one of the options in the Class box could be Beornings, but say (sub-race) next to it. This is my preference. In the little Class Info blurb box describing what they are, the heritage of the Beornings as a sub-race of Man who are skin-changers, able to take bear's form, could be briefly explained. In the following screen to Select Origin, Vales of Anduin might be the only option as a Beorning, though their lands as described in the books are near Dale and not far from Rohan, so those might also be options.
Beornings and The Free Peoples:
Beorn, having been skeptical of the tale the Dwarves told him, investigated and found they spoke true. "As it is, I can only say that I have hurried home as fast as I could to see that you are safe, and to offer you any help I can. I shall think more kindly of dwarves after this" (The Hobbit, Chapter 7; Queer Lodgings, pg 120-121) Beorn provided the Dwarves, Gandalf, and the Hobbit lodging in his home, hearty meals, provisions for their journey ahead, and special mounts which were dear to him to help them on their way.
During The Battle of Five Armies, Beorn comes to the aid of the Elves, Dwarves, and Men who allied against the Goblins, and Wargs. "Then Beorn stooped and lifted Thorin, who had fallen pierced with spears, and bore him out of the fray." (The Hobbit: chapter 18)
The Beornings fight alongside Elves and Woodmen in the aid of King Thranduil of Mirkwood. They are victorious, and are granted wide lands as a gift in thanks: "And on the day of the New Year of the Elves, Celeborn and Thranduil met in the midst of the forest; and they renamed Mirkwood Eryn Lasgalen, The Wood of Greenleaves. Thranduil took all the northern region as far as the mountains that rise in the forest for his realm; and Celeborn took the southern wood below the Narrows, and named it East Lórien; all the wide forest between was given to the Beornings and the Woodmen." (The Return of The King; Appendix B)
"According to Aragorn Gollum was taken at nightfall on February 1st. Hoping to escape detection by any of Sauron's spies he drove Gollum through the north end of the Emyn Muil... and then on, avoiding Moria and Dimril Dale, over Gladden until he came near the Carrock. There he crossed Anduin again, with the help of the Beornings, and passed into the Forest. The whole journey, on foot, was not much short of nine hundred miles, and this Aragorn accomplished with weariness in fifty days, reaching Thranduil on the twenty-first of March." (Unfinished Tales: The Hunt for the Ring)
Beornings - Enemies of Sauron:
Frodo, on Amon Hen sees a vision of Sauron's plans to attack the Beornings: "The Ring was upon him. Then here and there the mist gave way and he saw many visions... everywhere he looked he saw signs of war. The Misty Mountains were crawling like anthills: orcs were issuing out of a thousand holes. Under the boughs of Mirkwood there was deadly strife of Elves and Men and fell beasts. The land of the Beornings was aflame; a cloud was over Moria; smoke rose on the borders of Lórien." (The Fellowship of The Ring; The Breaking of The Fellowship)
"A goblin's head was stuck outside the gate, and a warg skin was nailed to a tree just beyond. Beorn was a fierce enemy. But now he was their friend..." (H ch.7)
"...and to their land between the Mountains and Mirkwood neither orc nor wolf dared to go. 'lndeed,' said Gloin, `if it were not for the Beornings, the passage from Dale to Rivendell would long ago have become impossible." (The Fellowship of The Ring: Many Meetings)
"The goblins of the Misty Mountains were now few and terrified, and hidden in the deepest holes they could find; and the Wargs had vanished from the woods, so that men went abroad without fear. ... In their day the last goblins were hunted from the Misty Mountains and a new peace came over the edge of the Wild." (The Hobbit: Ch.18 The Return Journey)
The Beornings come to the aid of King Thranduil in defending Mirkwood against Sauron's onslaught there, as quoted above from The Return of The King.
On March 15, T.A. 3019, an army of Sauron from Dol Guldur, tasked with destroying the Woodland Realm, attacked Mirkwood. There was a long battle under the trees and the woods were set on fire. But in the end Thranduil defeated the invaders. On April 6, Thranduil met Celeborn, the Lord of Lórien, in the midst of Mirkwood. Celeborn's forces had crossed the Anduin and had stormed Dol Guldur. Galadriel, the Lady of Lórien, had come after them, throwing down the walls of Dol Guldur and laying bare its pits. Thranduil had cleared all the orcs and foul beings from North Mirkwood, so that the forest was cleansed and Sauron's empire in the North was destroyed.
Because the Shadow over Mirkwood was lifted, Thranduil and Celeborn renamed it Eryn Lasgalen, the Wood of Greenleaves. They divided it up, so that Thranduil received the northern part as far as the Mountains, and Celeborn took the southern part below the Narrows, naming it East Lórien. The wide forest inbetween was given to the Beornings and the Woodmen.
A Sketch of Ideas On Beornings as a Class:
As Berserker type melee class
This class would do excellent melee damage. Like it's written about Beorn during the Batlle of 5 Armies: "Swiftly he returned and his wrath was redoubled, so that nothing could withstand him, and no weapon seemed to bite upon him." (The Hobbit" Ch. 18)
Perhaps in order to differentiate from Champions in combat, the Beorning would primarily do single target attacks and not AOEs. However, they would be able to deal out top tier melee damage to a single target.
They could have a frenzy/berserker state that can be built up, which increases damage dealt and at the same time vulnerability to damage received.
It goes without saying that Beornings as a class would not be nearly as powerful as Beorn. As mentioned above, they would be balanced appropriately with our existing classes. This is supported by the lore, as it says: "...most were in heart like Beorn, if less in size and strength."(The Hobbit: Ch.18 The Return Journey)
In association with the derivation of the term Berserker:
"A man capable of frenzied rage, or running amok. Berserks were said to fight without corselets, raging like wolves with the strength of bears, and might be regarded almost as shape changers, who acquired the strength and ferocity of beast. During pagan times, berserks were highly prized as warriors, but under Christian law those who ’went berserk’ were liable to heavy penalties. The word berserker, ’bear-shirted’, implies perhaps that the berserks sometimes disguised themselves as bears. (CT, The Saga of King Heidrek the Wise, p.93)
"Berserkers (or Berserks) were Norse warriors who are reported in the Old Norse literature to have fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury, a characteristic which later gave rise to the English word berserk. The name berserker arose from their reputed habit of wearing a kind of shirt or coat (Old Norse: serkr) made from the pelt of a bear (Old Norse: ber-) during battle."
In literature: Bjorn (pronounced Beorn) - or Bjarni - was a man in the Norse legend "The Saga of Hrolf Kraki" who was cursed to become a bear by day and man by night. Bjorn's son Bothvarr Bjarki was able to send a bear-form into battle. Bjarki means "little bear."
In human form Beornings might wear medium armour. However their Armour Rating would receive -%, as would Might, Agility, Vitality, and Morale, reducing those to no more than the average for a Minstrel perhaps.
In Bear form any armour worn would be hidden, and they would appear as a powerful upright bear. They would receive a +% to Armour Rating, Might, Agility, Vitality, and Morale such that on average it will be on par with Champions.
In human form Beornings would use any one-handed or two-handed weapon, but with a -% to damage.
In Bear form any weapon held would be hidden. The stats of the weapons held would apply, but the bear would appear to attack only with paw blows, teeth, and claw cuts.
In human form Beornings could be squishy assist healers. Actually, Beornings appear in the video game The Lord of the Rings: War of the Ring, and in this game they can turn into a bear at will and when in human form can heal other units.
Perhaps a small side roll for this class would be to buff their fellows morale regen out of combat. This could be based upon the honey-cakes for which the Beornings are well known.
"He keeps hives and hives of great fierce bees, and lives most on cream and honey... And such bees! Bilbo had never seen anything like them... The drones were bigger than your thumb, a good deal, and the bands of yellow on their deep black bodies shone like fiery gold." (The Hobbit: Ch.7)
"Gimli mentions "the honey-cakes of the Beornings", gives them great praise, and says "the Beornings are the best bakers that I know of". (The Fellowship of The Ring: Ch.8)
"...red earthenware pots of honey, and twice-baked cakes that would keep good a long time, and on a little of which they could march far." (Queer Lodgings)
The descriptions Tolkien provides for the appearance of Beorn and the Beornings is not some sort of monster-movie style werewolf. In Man form they look like normal men, if somewhat taller than average. Tolkien states plainly that Beorn was a Man, and describes the Beornings as "tall and fair" (see: Beornings - Race of Man). In bear's form they would look like normal bears.
Gandalf says, Beorn loves his animals as his children; Beorn may be your friend, but he loves his animals as his children. You do not guess what kindness he has shown you in letting dwarves ride them so far and so fast, nor what would happen to you, if you tried to take them into the forest. (The Hobbit, Chapter 7; Queer Lodgings, pg 124-125)
Beorn could speak with, is very protective of, and kind to a variety of animals: great bees, intelligent horses, ponies, sheep, rams, and long-bodied grey dogs. These would "work for him and talk to him" (The Hobbit Ch.7), serve him, stand watch and report messages.
Perhaps Beornings could call animals to their aid in combat. Maybe as pets, or maybe just as momentary assists - i.e. They could have a skill that calls a little group of birds that descend on an enemy, rooting them for 3 seconds. Or maybe a skill that calls bees to distract a mob, or interrupt an induction, or cause a bleed DoT. Maybe they'd have a long cooldown skill on a 30 minute timer which calls a group of bears down on a target : )
Perhaps in Bear form this class could debuff enemies with a fear type effect via roar attacks.
They might do armour rends and bleeds, or things similar to Warg Stalker attacks.
They could have a run buff based on this qoute: "...nor did they have to wonder long where he had been or why he was so nice to them, for he told them himself. He had been over the river and right back up into the mountains - from which you could guess that he could travel quickly, in bear's shape at any rate." (Queer Lodgings)
Beornings would start in Archet. The home lands of the Beornings are the Vales of Anduin, as quoted above (see: Beornings - Race of Man). This is between Mirkwood and the Misty Mountains. The options for Man in Select Origin include Dale, Rohan, and Gondor. Dale is farther east along the same road, and their passage to the west is only open because of the Beornings. Rohan and Gondor are both farther from Archet than the land of the Beornings. And keep in mind, the Beornings are Men. They are even repeatedly mentioned by Tolkien to be kinsmen of both the Men of Dale and Rohan, so there is no reason they would be less likely to find in Archet than a Man of Rohan, Gondor, or Dale.
No Shirt, No Shoes, No Bears
Some people have mentioned that for them having bears all over town, talking to NPCs etc would be innapropriate. Agreed. First of all, keep in mind we have LM bears already and it isn't an issue, not to mention their lynx, eagles, sabre-toothed tigers, and bog lurkers. Nonetheless there is no need to have additional bears in town because of Beornings, since there are various ways this could be quite easily addressed. One option would be to make it that you can only take bear's form while in combat. Another option would be to bar the ability to take bear's form when in a town, the same as Sparring is blocked. Certainly you couldn't interact with any NPCs.
Radagast as Class Guide/NPC
Radagast the Brown, was noted for his beast-lore, herb-lore, and friendship with animals. In fact, Beorn's suspicion over Gandalf's arrival with Bilbo and the Dwarves was in part overcome by his love of animals and nature, and his recognition of a kindred spirit in Radagast and thus, seeing Gandlaf as a cousin of Radagast, he extended respect to Gandalf and his entourage (H 121; FR 336-7; S 300).
"I am a wizard," continued Gandalf. "I have heard of you, if you have not heard of me; but perhaps you have heard of my good cousin Radagast who lives near the Southern borders of Mirkwood?" "Yes; not a bad fellow as wizards go, I believe. I used to see him now and again," said Beorn. (The Hobbit, Chapter 7; Queer Lodgings, pg 109)
"For Radagast, the fourth, became enamoured of the many beasts and birds that dwelt in Middle-earth, and forsook Elves and Men, and spent his days among the wild creatures. Thus he got his name (which is in the tongue of Numenor of old, and signifies, it is said, tender of beasts." (Unfinished Tales, Part IV, Chapter 2 ;The Istari, pg. 390)
Turbine rights to Hobbit
"WESTWOOD, MA -- February 20, 2008 - Turbine, Inc. announced today that in the wake of the global success of The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, named the 2007 PC Game of the Year*, it has reached an agreement with Tolkien Enterprises to extend it's license to develop Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPG) based on The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien to 2014 with additional options to extend the rights until 2017."
this idea sounds fun it would be nice to have another class to play this sounds so cool