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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirhaen View Post
    Hence lore wise, both are a stretch, and yet I never spoke against it, having in mind that the game is one of the adaptations and I want people to have fun and enjoy it, hopefully in a reasonable manner, which is subjective as we know already.
    It's an adaptation but it's not generic fantasy (it leans that way, but not the whole way) and so there's always going to be typical FRPG 'stuff' that doesn't play here. You shouldn't equate Half-elves and Beornings in this context. Beornings are a thing, they're part of the background of the book, they shouldn't be running around all over the place but then neither should hobbits so that sort of precedent has already been set. But the book doesn't feature or imply any more Half-elves, not even in the background, not even in the relatively small numbers that are implied for skin-changers and Tolkien was never, ever casual about the likelihood of Elves and Men intermarrying. The two are just not the same: playable Beornings are a stretch, playable Half-elves would be a clear break.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirhaen View Post
    I wish you read all my comments. Both exist and I never said otherwise. My point was that both are in very small numbers, and both very particular blood lines. Rest is addressed elsewhere in this thread...

    Hence lore wise, both are a stretch, and yet I never spoke against it, having in mind that the game is one of the adaptations and I want people to have fun and enjoy it, hopefully in a reasonable manner, which is subjective as we know already.
    Hum, no, Half-elves don't exist. There are Elves and not-Elves. "Half-elven" is a moniker for a single elf (Elrond), who is probabyly a fully-fledged elf nonetheless (and part Maia from his descendance from Lùthien, to add complexity to the mix). Other offspring of mixed heritage become one or the other, never a mix of both in the sense that a "Half-elf" race would be.

    Also, where do your data on the "limited number" of Beornings come from? They're not a populous race by all means but likely still more than enough to justify a playable race; one might surmise them being about as numerous as Woodsmen, or slightly less so. More importantly, they do are recognized as a race, with a territory, a leader and distinct interests, alliances and enmities. So what would be the "stretch" in allowing them to be player characters?

    Offspring of mortals and elves, on the other hand, are nothing such; especially, they never develop a sense of racial identity, but assume whichever culture they're either born into or deliberately choose (in very rare cases; most mixed offspring's fate to become one or the other is sealed at birth). I'd stop drawing parallels between half-elves and Beornings here.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damrod_Freason View Post
    Hum, no, Half-elves don't exist. There are Elves and not-Elves. "Half-elven" is a moniker for a single elf (Elrond), who is probabyly a fully-fledged elf nonetheless (and part Maia from his descendance from Lùthien, to add complexity to the mix). Other offspring of mixed heritage become one or the other, never a mix of both in the sense that a "Half-elf" race would be.
    Not so - Tolkien refers to 'the Half-elven' as a collective term as well. Elrond was part Edain, and only appears as an Elf because he'd chosen to be counted among them. His brother Elros had chosen to become mortal instead. Before a Half-elf made their choice, they existed in an Elf-like indeterminate state - like Arwen did until she chose to become mortal.

    Also, where do your data on the "limited number" of Beornings come from?
    Because the skin-changers were the men of just that one family, those directly descended from Beorn. Says so in The Hobbit. And given that only three generations of Men had passed since the time of the events of The Hobbit, it would be highly unlikely for there to be any substantial number of them. And I mean, seriously, anyone who thinks Tolkien imagined a whole army of guys who could turn into bears has very much got the wrong idea and is looking at it from the point of view of other fantasy where shape-changing is less of a big deal. And it's a stretch for them to be playable because (in case you hadn't noticed) Tolkien left them firmly in the background and they weren't involved in the main action of the book, because they were having to defend their own lands against Orcs and evil beasts and weren't having an easy time of it. And the fact that it sounds like they were having a tough time strongly implies there weren't many skin-changers.

    one might surmise them being about as numerous as Woodsmen
    Grimbeorn's followers, quite possibly. Grimbeorn's kin who could skin-change, no.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Not so - Tolkien refers to 'the Half-elven' as a collective term as well. Elrond was part Edain, and only appears as an Elf because he'd chosen to be counted among them. His brother Elros had chosen to become mortal instead. Before a Half-elf made their choice, they existed in an Elf-like indeterminate state - like Arwen did until she chose to become mortal.
    My statement rests. We're talking about what, 7 people tops? All of which had to choose which to be. To create a playable race out of those few would be preoposterous, that would mean to create an entire race made out of rare snowflakes that are for all intents comparable to prepubescent children.

    EDIT: Yes, as far as we know this chart relates about the genealogy of all characters that might be referred to as "Half-Elven". There's no further evidence that more than these ever existed, and if they did, they would be an EXTREMELY extraordinay occurrence.

    http://tolkiengateway.net/w/images/t...Half-elven.png


    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Because the skin-changers were the men of just that one family, those directly descended from Beorn. Says so in The Hobbit. And given that only three generations of Men had passed since the time of the events of The Hobbit, it would be highly unlikely for there to be any substantial number of them. And I mean, seriously, anyone who thinks Tolkien imagined a whole army of guys who could turn into bears has very much got the wrong idea and is looking at it from the point of view of other fantasy where shape-changing is less of a big deal. And it's a stretch for them to be playable because (in case you hadn't noticed) Tolkien left them firmly in the background and they weren't involved in the main action of the book, because they were having to defend their own lands against Orcs and evil beasts and weren't having an easy time of it. And the fact that it sounds like they were having a tough time strongly implies there weren't many skin-changers.
    And your numbers come from what exactly? We have no data on how many paramours Beorn might have had, nor if they were all human or bear as well. For a comparison, pharaoh Ramses II had around 100 children during his lifetime, and we're talking a SINGLE generation, AND hypothezising Beornings have similar gestation periods as Men - if they were more bear-like there might be even more, a single couple of bears can grow to a population of 15 in a span of 10 years, and we're talking about a single couple; if it was a polygamic union they would be much more.

    As far as we know Beornings were enough to have a common culture, organization and loose hyerarchy of sorts (at least some form of patriarchal leadership in the person of Grimbeorn). We can talk until the end of days about how many Beornings were skinchangers or not as we don't have conclusive data, but we DO know the Beornings were depicted as one of the factions in the North during the war, alongside Dwarves of Erebor, Elves of Felegoth and Dale-Men. Maybe not as numerous as those, but if we really have to crack numbers, Hobbits themselves aren't so many compared to, say, the Rohirrim or the Gondorians. Case in point: they were able to exact tolls on the merchants travelling through their territories. Thus meaning they had at least numbers enough to enforce and back up that claim: a single toll collector wouldn't be enough if there wasn't a sizeable force behind him, able to retaliate against those who would refuse to pay.

    So, please, PLEASE, can we stop repeating Beornings aren't in the lore? It's been so much time now.
    Last edited by Damrod_Freason; Apr 11 2020 at 04:47 AM.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damrod_Freason View Post
    My statement rests.
    You overstated your case by trying to pretend Half-elves weren't a thing. I don't need you to tell me that there were hardly any of them, nor that that makes the idea of them as a playable race a complete non-starter - I've already said that on this thread, but going to the opposite extreme and saying there weren't any was a mistake.

    And your numbers come from what exactly? We have no data on how many paramours Beorn might have had, nor if they were all human or bear as well. For a comparison, pharaoh Ramses II had around 100 children during his lifetime, and we're talking a SINGLE generation, AND hypothezising Beornings have similar gestation periods as Men - if they were more bear-like there might be even more, a single couple of bears can grow to a population of 15 in a span of 10 years, and we're talking about a single couple; if it was a polygamic union they would be much more.
    Common sense. The Beornings were Men - Tolkien tells us that - not bears, and successive generations of Beorn's descendants were *less* bear-like in size and strength than he had been, not more. And it'd be markedly out of keeping with the way Tolkien wrote to suggest there might be a whole army of skin-changers running around. He kept stuff like that rare and special, and he had no need or use for umpteen skin-changers in the story. Don't treat this like it's the sort of modern fantasy that's casual about magical powers. - the books are vastly more conservative about that than the game is, to the point that Men 'as such' have no native magical abilities whatsoever. By contrast Beorn was 'a bit of a magician', and to see that in a Man is unusual enough that nobody should expect to see that multiplied by much.

    The Beornings weren't all skin-changers, we're told that Beorn and Grimbeorn had 'many sturdy men' as followers (note followers, not family). That's where the numbers come in, that's the common (Northman) culture. The faction you see would be a sizeable bunch of Northmen led by a clan of skin-changers, with Grimbeorn as chief. That's quite extraordinary in itself by Middle-earth standards, if you think about it. Look at the Dale-folk, the Woodmen and the Rohirrim - whole peoples of perfectly ordinary Men, with no magical abilities at all.

    Please, PLEASE, can we stop repeating Beornings aren't in the lore? It's been so much time now.
    Err... I'm not? But equally please stop overstating your case (again!) by trying to conjure up a whole army of skin-changers.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    You overstated your case by trying to pretend Half-elves weren't a thing. I don't need you to tell me that there were hardly any of them, nor that that makes the idea of them as a playable race a complete non-starter - I've already said that on this thread, but going to the opposite extreme and saying there weren't any was a mistake.
    IF the mistake inficiates the conclusions then it is relevant; IF the mistake doesn't inficiate the conclusions, it gets corrected and the conclusions stand. Moreover, I don't remember anyone but Elrond being defined as "Half-Elven" in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings that are the only books of the saga that were published during Tolkien's life; references in the Silmarillion or any other unpublished materials have their reliability reduced in proportion. But anyway, if a mistake was made, it was irrelevant to my statement that there is no basis in lore for a whole race of Half-Elves, as there being a single one of them, two, five or seven doesn't change their exceptionality nor make them a "race" in the common sense of the term.

    (Please now let's not start arguing about the lore reliability of the Silmarillion and other writs. I am willing to concede their relative reliability if you're willing to concede that having more than one Half-Elf in the lore doesn't make a Half-Elf race any more believable)


    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Common sense. The Beornings were Men - Tolkien tells us that - not bears, and successive generations of Beorn's descendants were *less* bear-like in size and strength than he had been, not more. And it'd be markedly out of keeping with the way Tolkien wrote to suggest there might be a whole army of skin-changers running around. He kept stuff like that rare and special, and he had no need or use for umpteen skin-changers in the story. Don't treat this like it's the sort of modern fantasy that's casual about magical powers. - the books are vastly more conservative about that than the game is, to the point that Men 'as such' have no native magical abilities whatsoever. By contrast Beorn was 'a bit of a magician', and to see that in a Man is unusual enough that nobody should expect to see that multiplied by much.

    The Beornings weren't all skin-changers, we're told that Beorn and Grimbeorn had 'many sturdy men' as followers (note followers, not family). That's where the numbers come in, that's the common (Northman) culture. The faction you see would be a sizeable bunch of Northmen led by a clan of skin-changers, with Grimbeorn as chief. That's quite extraordinary in itself by Middle-earth standards, if you think about it. Look at the Dale-folk, the Woodmen and the Rohirrim - whole peoples of perfectly ordinary Men, with no magical abilities at all.
    All this is your own speculation entirely. For all we know Beorn might have had 100 wives and thousands of descendants, and that is speculation also. What we DO know for certain is that Beorning are a recognised organized force in official lore (Fellowship of the Ring being a published book during Tolkien's lifetime), while Half-Elves were not. Mind you, it says BEORNINGS, not North-Men. That it was a strong force of North-Men led by Beorn's family is speculation - and pretty unreliable too; if that was the case why not just talk about North-Men?

    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Err... I'm not? But equally please stop overstating your case (again!) by trying to conjure up a whole army of skin-changers.
    Sure you weren't, and in fact I didn't start answering in this thread in reply to any of your posts. It is you who quoted me and argued my conclusions. Therefore, your request has been duly considered and rejected. Please redirect your complaints to J. R. R. Tolkien himself as he is the person responsible for mentioning the Beornings being a player in the War of the Ring, and for calling them explicitly Beornings instead of North-Men.
    Last edited by Damrod_Freason; Apr 11 2020 at 06:38 AM.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damrod_Freason View Post
    IF the mistake inficiates the conclusions then it is relevant; IF the mistake doesn't inficiate the conclusions, it gets corrected and the conclusions stand. Moreover, I don't remember anyone but Elrond being defined as "Half-Elven" in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings that are the only books of the saga that were published during Tolkien's life; references in the Silmarillion or any other unpublished materials have their reliability reduced in proportion. But anyway, if a mistake was made, it was irrelevant to my statement that there is no basis in lore for a whole race of Half-Elves, as there being a single one of them, two, five or seven doesn't change their exceptionality nor make them a "race" in the common sense of the term.
    Whatever, trying to pretend something doesn't exist when everyone knows it does doesn't do your argument any good at all, it just makes you look like someone who's trying too hard. As does trying to pretend that what it says in the Silmarillion etc. is somehow unreliable just because it doesn't suit you (and never mind that Tolkien was consistent about the existence of Half-elves as a concept, to the extent of including no fewer than four of them in LOTR alone).

    (Please now let's not start arguing about the lore reliability of the Silmarillion and other writs. I am willing to concede their relative reliability if you're willing to concede that having more than one Half-Elf in the lore doesn't make a Half-Elf race any more believable)
    Haven't you read a word I've said? I've never once said that a Half-elf race is even remotely believable!

    All this is your own speculation entirely. For all we know Beorn might have had 100 wives and thousands of descendants, and that is speculation also. What we DO know for certain is that Beorning are a recognised organized force in official lore (Fellowship of the Ring being a published book during Tolkien's lifetime), while Half-Elves were not. Mind you, it says BEORNINGS, not North-Men. That it was a strong force of North-Men led by Beorn's family is speculation - and pretty unreliable too; if that was the case why not just talk about North-Men?
    You wish; this is far from being something I've made up myself. We're told that Beorn had become a great chief, rather than him having spawned a legion of offspring (e.g. we're not told he had many sons or anything like that), and that Grimbeorn was the lord of 'many sturdy men' with no suggestion that he'd fathered them. And the Beornings were Northmen, you can tell by the name (both by where Tolkien took the name 'Beorn' from - it's Old English - and that -ing on the end).

    You're desperate to conjure up a whole army of skin-changers when there's not one thing in the text to back that up, when that would make them entirely unlike any other people Tolkien ever described. Look at the context, man - it's fairly 'low fantasy' with people with powerfully magical abilities being rare exceptions, and Men in particular being overwhelmingly mundane - and just because you need it to be otherwise to suit yourself, that doesn't make it any more likely given that Tolkien had no use for such a thing. He certainly didn't need it as a would-be excuse for something being playable in a game.

    Sure you weren't, and in fact I didn't start answering in this thread in reply to any of your posts. It is you who quoted me and argued my conclusions. Therefore, your request has been duly considered and rejected. Please redirect your complaints to J. R. R. Tolkien himself as he is the person responsible for mentioning the Beornings being a player in the War of the Ring, and for calling them explicitly Beornings instead of North-Men.
    No, this is all on you. "Beornings" doesn't just mean Beorn's family any more than "Bardings" (another name for the Men of Dale) meant those guys were all related to Bard, or that "Eorlings" / "Eorlingas" meant that the Rohirrim were all descended from Eorl. So the Beornings being a player in the War of the Ring doesn't mean there's an army of skin-changers.

  8. #33
    One thing to comment on about this Elf-man offspring. Generally, when this discussion comes up both in forums AND the book, we are talking about MAN and ELDAR (or High Elf) having children. This was indeed rare as all the posts mention above. However, there is reason to believe that breeding between Men and lower elves did occur. In the Book, when Legolas first meets Prince Imrahil, he comments on being able to see Elf ancestry in the lineage of his people ( although I suppose this also could have come from Elros, since lineage charts just trace rulers and not the non-ruling offspring).

    If you read Tolkien's material on Elf marriage, pregnancy, development of an elf fetus and why elves didn't have children during war, it actually doesn't make sense that elves and men could have offspring at all. Source: HOME series, vol X, - Of the Laws and Customs among the Eldar Pertaining to Marriage and other matters related.

  9. #34
    @Damrod_Freason

    The first bond between Elves and Men was the marriage of Beren Erchamion (man) and Lúthien Tinúviel (elf), from which a single son, Dior Eluchíl, was born. I am mentioning this because the tale of Beren and Lúthien was regarded as the central part of Tolkin's legendarium by Tolkien himself. It was also very personal tale because it was based and inspired by the love of Tolkien and his wife Edith, to extent that the names Baren and Luthien are even engraved on their graves.

    Tolkien writes after his wife’s passing: "I have at last got busy about Mummy's grave. .... The inscription I should like is:

    EDITH MARY TOLKIEN
    1889-1971
    Lúthien

    brief and jejune, except for Lúthien, which says for me more than a multitude of words: for she was (and knew she was) my Lúthien.

    Say what you feel, without reservation, about this addition. I began this under the stress of great emotion and regret – and in any case I am afflicted from time to time (increasingly) with an overwhelming sense of bereavement. I need advice. Yet I hope none of my children will feel that the use of this name is a sentimental fancy. It is at any rate not comparable to the quoting of pet names in obituaries. I never called Edith Lúthien – but she was the source of the story that in time became the chief pan of the Silmarillion. It was first conceived in a small woodland glade filled with hemlocks at Roos in Yorkshire (where I was for a brief time in command of an outpost of the Humber Garrison in 1917, and she was able to live with me for a while). In those days her hair was raven, her skin clear, her eyes brighter than you have seen them, and she could sing – and dance. But the story has gone crooked, and I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.

    I will say no more now. But I should like ere long to have a long talk with you. For if as seems probable I shall never write any ordered biography – it is against my nature, which expresses itself about things deepest felt in tales and myths — someone close in heart to me should know something about things that records do not record: the dreadful sufferings of our childhoods, from which we rescued one another, but could not wholly heal the wounds that later often proved disabling; the sufferings that we endured after our love began – all of which (over and above our personal weaknesses) might help to make pardonable, or understandable, the lapses and darknesses which at times marred our lives — and to explain how these never touched our depths nor dimmed our memories of our youthful love. For ever (especially when alone) we still met in the woodland glade, and went hand in hand many times to escape the shadow of imminent death before our last parting."

    Therefor I have to conclud that entire concept of intermarriage and offsprings from such marriages were of the utmost importance for the author. Dior later on had three children and we do know couple of other similar stories, like Tuor and Idril, Eärendil and Elwing, etc.

    There is also so called Kinship of the Half-elven (a manuscript by J.R.R. Tolkien), where he wrote the following: "The Half-elven (Pereldar) were thus all closely akin, being descended on the mortal side from the House of Hador, and the House of Bëor: the two chief houses of the Elf-friends (Dúnedain) from whom most of the Numenoreans came; and on the elvish side from the House of Finwe (the greatest of the Kings of the High-elves who went to the Blessed Realm) and from the House of Elwë (Elu-thingol) who remained in the west of Middle-earth. But since Melian, wife of Thingol and mother of Lúthien came of the people of the Valar a strain of the 'race divine' was also possessed by them."

    Really many, many stories and references for us to think otherwise, but it would take me a long time to go through all writings and quote each one for you, so I hope this will be enough

  10. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Beornings are a thing, they're part of the background of the book...
    Well yes Radhruin, but I do not know what you wanted to say with this particular part I quoted above. Beornings are a thing, yes, but Half-elven also. They play some of the most crucial parts in the history. And yes I do know that you are more rigid when it comes to lore, but hobbits were not homebodies always either. I remember reading, I think it was in the Preface in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and other verses from The Red Book, about their wanderings. There is a talk of another traditions and tales concerning hobbits. They became more home bound at the end of the third age.

    Edit: Managed to find one quote fast enough, it says: "The thought of the Sea was ever present in the background of hobbit imagination, but fear of it and distrust of all Elvish lore was the prevailing mood in the Shire and the end of the Third Age, and that mood was certainly not entirely dispelled by the events and changes with which that Age ended."

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Galadh View Post
    One thing to comment on about this Elf-man offspring. Generally, when this discussion comes up both in forums AND the book, we are talking about MAN and ELDAR (or High Elf) having children. This was indeed rare as all the posts mention above. However, there is reason to believe that breeding between Men and lower elves did occur. In the Book, when Legolas first meets Prince Imrahil, he comments on being able to see Elf ancestry in the lineage of his people ( although I suppose this also could have come from Elros, since lineage charts just trace rulers and not the non-ruling offspring).
    We have one example (which is described as 'according to legend') from more than a thousand years before the War of the Ring, between a particularly notable Dunedain lord (of the top rank of their nobility, second only to the royal family) and a Silvan Elf. Imrazor was a sterling example of the Dunedain nobility of his day back when they still had a lot more of the 'air of Numenor' about them (particularly in his case, it seems)s So we're not talking about an Elf marrying just anybody and even then the children were evidently mortal, not "Half-elves" as everyone understands the term, just more Men. On top of that, since Elves and Men had become more and more distant from each other over the years it had become if anything an even less likely thing to happen and to have any relevance at all to the topic of this thread it would have to have happened very recently, relatively speaking. That all adds up to it being madly unlikely even if it were just one single solitary NPC we were talking about, let alone player-characters.

    If you read Tolkien's material on Elf marriage, pregnancy, development of an elf fetus and why elves didn't have children during war, it actually doesn't make sense that elves and men could have offspring at all. Source: HOME series, vol X, - Of the Laws and Customs among the Eldar Pertaining to Marriage and other matters related.
    But obviously it could, the thing was that almost invariably it was fated not to. It wasn't ''meant' to happen unless it somehow served some higher purpose.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirhaen View Post
    Well yes Radhruin, but I do not know what you wanted to say with this particular part I quoted above. Beornings are a thing, yes, but Half-elven also. They play some of the most crucial parts in the history. And yes I do know that you are more rigid when it comes to lore, but hobbits were not homebodies always either. I remember reading, I think it was in the Preface in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and other verses from The Red Book, about their wanderings. There is a talk of another traditions and tales concerning hobbits. They became more home bound at the end of the third age.
    You've taken it out of the context in which I said it:

    "Beornings are a thing, they're part of the background of the book, they shouldn't be running around all over the place but then neither should hobbits so that sort of precedent has already been set. But the book doesn't feature or imply any more Half-elves, not even in the background, not even in the relatively small numbers that are implied for skin-changers and Tolkien was never, ever casual about the likelihood of Elves and Men intermarrying."

    In other words, the Beornings are right there in the text of the book, although off in the background. By contrast, there are no additional Half-elves noted or implied to be in the background. So with Beornings we have a thing you can point to and say they're definitely there, but extra Half-elves aren't there to point at. The best anyone can do is vaguely theorise about them.

    Much as with the hobbits, we know what the Beornings should be doing during the war. But the game's set a precedent for hobbits turning up in places they shouldn't, so we can hardly complain if it does the same for Beornings. Don't forget there were lots of places where hobbits hadn't been seen in living memory and were just folk-tales, so whatever adventures hobbits might have got up to in the past in Gandalf's company, there were evidently plenty of places they hadn't been. By contrast, if a Beorning had just wandered about then to everyone else they'd just look like a particularly burly Northman, and not stand out that much unless they actually turned into a bear right in front of somebody. So in that sense, Beornings could have wandered all over the place unnoticed and unremarked except as large strangers, but everyone would remember if they'd seen a hobbit.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Whatever, trying to pretend something doesn't exist when everyone knows it does doesn't do your argument any good at all, it just makes you look like someone who's trying too hard. As does trying to pretend that what it says in the Silmarillion etc. is somehow unreliable just because it doesn't suit you (and never mind that Tolkien was consistent about the existence of Half-elves as a concept, to the extent of including no fewer than four of them in LOTR alone).


    Haven't you read a word I've said? I've never once said that a Half-elf race is even remotely believable!


    You wish; this is far from being something I've made up myself. We're told that Beorn had become a great chief, rather than him having spawned a legion of offspring (e.g. we're not told he had many sons or anything like that), and that Grimbeorn was the lord of 'many sturdy men' with no suggestion that he'd fathered them. And the Beornings were Northmen, you can tell by the name (both by where Tolkien took the name 'Beorn' from - it's Old English - and that -ing on the end).

    You're desperate to conjure up a whole army of skin-changers when there's not one thing in the text to back that up, when that would make them entirely unlike any other people Tolkien ever described. Look at the context, man - it's fairly 'low fantasy' with people with powerfully magical abilities being rare exceptions, and Men in particular being overwhelmingly mundane - and just because you need it to be otherwise to suit yourself, that doesn't make it any more likely given that Tolkien had no use for such a thing. He certainly didn't need it as a would-be excuse for something being playable in a game.


    No, this is all on you. "Beornings" doesn't just mean Beorn's family any more than "Bardings" (another name for the Men of Dale) meant those guys were all related to Bard, or that "Eorlings" / "Eorlingas" meant that the Rohirrim were all descended from Eorl. So the Beornings being a player in the War of the Ring doesn't mean there's an army of skin-changers.
    Uhm, of course Beorn would have ruled over Men. He was a Man himself and skin-changing never changed his mortality nor his nature of Man. Now you're surmising that there was a small nucleus of "actual" skin-changing Beornings ruling over common, not-skin-changing Men, but I can see no trace of it anywhere; if anything, I always read "Beorning" and "bear skin-changer" as inetrchangeable terms. But what can I say, evidently my knowledge of Tolkien legendarium isn't comparable to yours nor you seem prone to accept any point of yours that isn't your one, so I'm happy to concede victory and let you walk home with your pride. You're right; I was wrong. End of question. Are you happy now?
    Last edited by Damrod_Freason; Apr 11 2020 at 06:26 PM.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirhaen View Post
    @Damrod_Freason

    The first bond between Elves and Men was the marriage of Beren Erchamion (man) and Lúthien Tinúviel (elf), from which a single son, Dior Eluchíl, was born. I am mentioning this because the tale of Beren and Lúthien was regarded as the central part of Tolkin's legendarium by Tolkien himself. It was also very personal tale because it was based and inspired by the love of Tolkien and his wife Edith, to extent that the names Baren and Luthien are even engraved on their graves.

    Tolkien writes after his wife’s passing: "I have at last got busy about Mummy's grave. .... The inscription I should like is:

    EDITH MARY TOLKIEN
    1889-1971
    Lúthien

    brief and jejune, except for Lúthien, which says for me more than a multitude of words: for she was (and knew she was) my Lúthien.

    Say what you feel, without reservation, about this addition. I began this under the stress of great emotion and regret – and in any case I am afflicted from time to time (increasingly) with an overwhelming sense of bereavement. I need advice. Yet I hope none of my children will feel that the use of this name is a sentimental fancy. It is at any rate not comparable to the quoting of pet names in obituaries. I never called Edith Lúthien – but she was the source of the story that in time became the chief pan of the Silmarillion. It was first conceived in a small woodland glade filled with hemlocks at Roos in Yorkshire (where I was for a brief time in command of an outpost of the Humber Garrison in 1917, and she was able to live with me for a while). In those days her hair was raven, her skin clear, her eyes brighter than you have seen them, and she could sing – and dance. But the story has gone crooked, and I am left, and I cannot plead before the inexorable Mandos.

    I will say no more now. But I should like ere long to have a long talk with you. For if as seems probable I shall never write any ordered biography – it is against my nature, which expresses itself about things deepest felt in tales and myths — someone close in heart to me should know something about things that records do not record: the dreadful sufferings of our childhoods, from which we rescued one another, but could not wholly heal the wounds that later often proved disabling; the sufferings that we endured after our love began – all of which (over and above our personal weaknesses) might help to make pardonable, or understandable, the lapses and darknesses which at times marred our lives — and to explain how these never touched our depths nor dimmed our memories of our youthful love. For ever (especially when alone) we still met in the woodland glade, and went hand in hand many times to escape the shadow of imminent death before our last parting."

    Therefor I have to conclud that entire concept of intermarriage and offsprings from such marriages were of the utmost importance for the author. Dior later on had three children and we do know couple of other similar stories, like Tuor and Idril, Eärendil and Elwing, etc.

    There is also so called Kinship of the Half-elven (a manuscript by J.R.R. Tolkien), where he wrote the following: "The Half-elven (Pereldar) were thus all closely akin, being descended on the mortal side from the House of Hador, and the House of Bëor: the two chief houses of the Elf-friends (Dúnedain) from whom most of the Numenoreans came; and on the elvish side from the House of Finwe (the greatest of the Kings of the High-elves who went to the Blessed Realm) and from the House of Elwë (Elu-thingol) who remained in the west of Middle-earth. But since Melian, wife of Thingol and mother of Lúthien came of the people of the Valar a strain of the 'race divine' was also possessed by them."

    Really many, many stories and references for us to think otherwise, but it would take me a long time to go through all writings and quote each one for you, so I hope this will be enough
    You hope right, with this thread I had enough Tolkien lore for a lifetime. My knowledge evidently isnn't up to the debate, have all the Half-Elves you want if so you please.

  15. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    You've taken it out of the context in which I said it:

    "Beornings are a thing, they're part of the background of the book, they shouldn't be running around all over the place but then neither should hobbits so that sort of precedent has already been set. But the book doesn't feature or imply any more Half-elves, not even in the background, not even in the relatively small numbers that are implied for skin-changers and Tolkien was never, ever casual about the likelihood of Elves and Men intermarrying."

    In other words, the Beornings are right there in the text of the book, although off in the background. By contrast, there are no additional Half-elves noted or implied to be in the background. So with Beornings we have a thing you can point to and say they're definitely there, but extra Half-elves aren't there to point at. The best anyone can do is vaguely theorise about them.

    Much as with the hobbits, we know what the Beornings should be doing during the war. But the game's set a precedent for hobbits turning up in places they shouldn't, so we can hardly complain if it does the same for Beornings. Don't forget there were lots of places where hobbits hadn't been seen in living memory and were just folk-tales, so whatever adventures hobbits might have got up to in the past in Gandalf's company, there were evidently plenty of places they hadn't been. By contrast, if a Beorning had just wandered about then to everyone else they'd just look like a particularly burly Northman, and not stand out that much unless they actually turned into a bear right in front of somebody. So in that sense, Beornings could have wandered all over the place unnoticed and unremarked except as large strangers, but everyone would remember if they'd seen a hobbit.
    I didn't mean to take it out of context, just wasn't clear on what you wanted to emphasize by saying they are a thing. But all is clear to me now, thank you for explaining.

  16. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Damrod_Freason View Post
    You hope right, with this thread I had enough Tolkien lore for a lifetime. My knowledge evidently isnn't up to the debate, have all the Half-Elves you want if so you please.
    Sounds like you didn't enjoy it and I'm really sorry about it. I do have some lore knowledge but is far from being perfect and far from know it all... The world is so vast, it is hard to know and remember everything.

    Tolkin himself was also changing things. He didn't believe in absolute good nor absolute evil either. He had doubts about some concepts he created. Until the end of his life he was perfecting his work, and didn't manage all. I often think that he was more kind and inclusive that those who study his work today... In the light of it I also try to support fellow players with their wishes in the game, as far as I can (subjectively) imagine something to be possible, and yet for this to still remain the Middle Earth.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    It's not 'policing' to just talk generally about RP here, and it's certainly not policing to point out that a Half-elf character is vanishingly unlikely and that dragging the Avari into it wouldn't make the least difference to that. Way to dole out bad and lazy advice.
    To bash my head against this particular brick wall a bit more, the point wasn't to give generic roleplay advice. In any event, I shouldn't have said anything, not because it was "bad and lazy" according to your arbitration, but because it wasn't asked for nor needed.

    If anyone asked me on the subject, I'd freely suggest the same thing.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starsmith View Post
    To bash my head against this particular brick wall a bit more, the point wasn't to give generic roleplay advice. In any event, I shouldn't have said anything, not because it was "bad and lazy" according to your arbitration, but because it wasn't asked for nor needed.

    If anyone asked me on the subject, I'd freely suggest the same thing.
    Still without saying how bringing the Avari into it helps at all...

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damrod_Freason View Post
    Uhm, of course Beorn would have ruled over Men. He was a Man himself and skin-changing never changed his mortality nor his nature of Man. Now you're surmising that there was a small nucleus of "actual" skin-changing Beornings ruling over common, not-skin-changing Men, but I can see no trace of it anywhere; if anything, I always read "Beorning" and "bear skin-changer" as inetrchangeable terms.
    Just like you thought Half-elves weren't really a thing. Just like you thought the Beornings weren't Northmen.

    Your supposed army of were-bears is just an assumption on your part and on the face of it, when compared to everything else in LOTR, a highly unlikely one. All the plot needs is for the Beornings to lead the ordinary local Men to victory, not for them to be so many that they could munch and crunch their way through all the Orcs in person.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    Just like you thought Half-elves weren't really a thing. Just like you thought the Beornings weren't Northmen.

    Your supposed army of were-bears is just an assumption on your part and on the face of it, when compared to everything else in LOTR, a highly unlikely one. All the plot needs is for the Beornings to lead the ordinary local Men to victory, not for them to be so many that they could munch and crunch their way through all the Orcs in person.
    Well apparently the meaning of "end of question" fails you. OK then let's continue this futile attempt.

    Where did I say Beornings were NOT North-Men? They ARE North-Men in the same way that Dale-Men are North-Men and all Rohirrim are North-Men. They were a distinct race of North-Men at least some of which, for some ultimately unexplained reason (Gandalf mentions a special "magic" to Beorn but it's never explained if it was some sort of magic spell only known to him, something he was taught, or an innate abilty, possibly tied to his bloodline so his descendants might have inherited it, or he might have taught it to them) were able to shapechange into bears. What we DO know is that they were a distinct faction, they had their own territory, and they were numerous enough to play a role in a war, ultimately settling in Mirkwood for decree of Thranduil. Lore isn't explicit about all of them being shapechangers, but then again neither it is about Beorn being the only one alive at the time of the Hobbit (I won't consider the movies a reliable source on that). Nor anything specific is said about how many descendants he had, nor exactly how many inherited is gift, except for a vague "many". Nor, again, if that was a gift specific to Beorn only or if it was a common trait of his kin living in the Misty mountains.

    Is that enough to base a player character race on it? In my opinion it is; in yours, evidently, it is not. There is no way you'll change your mind nor is there any way you'll change mine, so for the last time, stop kicking the dead horse, keep your opinions and if you really REALLY need me to admit your lore knowledge is wider than mine I'll be happy to oblige, if just to stop wasting time answering you. Have a good day, sir.
    Last edited by Damrod_Freason; Apr 12 2020 at 06:01 AM.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirhaen View Post
    Sounds like you didn't enjoy it and I'm really sorry about it. I do have some lore knowledge but is far from being perfect and far from know it all... The world is so vast, it is hard to know and remember everything.

    Tolkin himself was also changing things. He didn't believe in absolute good nor absolute evil either. He had doubts about some concepts he created. Until the end of his life he was perfecting his work, and didn't manage all. I often think that he was more kind and inclusive that those who study his work today... In the light of it I also try to support fellow players with their wishes in the game, as far as I can (subjectively) imagine something to be possible, and yet for this to still remain the Middle Earth.
    Believe me if I say I do appreciate your contribution to the conversation, but just to manufacture a viable answer I'd have to go and sift through dozens of pages, given my base knowledge is limited to a casual reading of the core books and some of the unfinished works. I thought I might add something to the conversation but really it was presumptuous of me, I'd rather leave this topic to people who have actually studied the subject matter.

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damrod_Freason View Post
    Where did I say Beornings were NOT North-Men?
    By arguing as if Beornings were somehow completely distinct from Northmen, "Mind you, it says BEORNINGS, not North-Men" as if the two are mutually exclusive and their followers wouldn't get tagged with the same label by association, just as not all "Bardings" were Bard's descendants, nor were all "Eorlings" Eorl's descendants. So if they're Northmen in the same way the Men of Dale and the Rohirrim were, then equally not everyone in the "Beorning" faction need be descended from Beorn. And you don't have to posit umpteen skin-changers in order to get the numbers, just for them to have a following. Much simpler.

    The skin-changing thing was implied to be an innate ability because it was passed down to the men of Beorn's line but didn't last forever, only for "many generations" (of which there'd only been time for three thus far) and his descendants weren't as big or strong as he had been. And there is zero evidence of there having been more skin-changers than Beorn to begin with, so that one won't fly. It's all about him.

    Is that enough to base a player character race on it? In my opinion it is; in yours, evidently, it is not.
    Sorry, WHAT? Don't you ever read what people say? I didn't say that, only that the limited numbers make it a bit of a stretch (as does having them running around all over the place rather than having to fight to defend their land) but then an awful lot of this game is a bit of a stretch, to put it mildly, so it's not a big deal. Unlike Half-elves, which would be a heck of a lot more than just a stretch.

  23. #48
    Who remembers when the entire Mines of Moria expansion was impossible because dwarves do not reclaim Khazad-dum until after the Ring gets destroyed? Do you remember the bitter arguments against Rune-Keepers? We cannot possibly fight Saruman in his tower. Only the Rohirrim ride Mearas. Only one elf, one dwarf, and two hobbits were at The Battle of Helm's Deep so we can only experience it as a session play. Beorn had a few offspring, at best, so they cannot possibly form the basis of a player character race.

    Suggestions like this one always trigger arguments over the background material. They do not matter. If half-elves fit the vision of the story writers, enough players want them, and profit awaits, no forum arguments will detour Darth Severlin. On the other hand, if the story writers dislike the idea, it will never happen.

    I would consider purchasing a half-elf race if a) they look pleasing, b) they feature nice sound effects, and c) race changes exist. Even if they failed on all criteria I would probably purchase them on discount for role play purposes. I would probably not role play any such character as an actual half-elf, instead using them to vary the appearances of my existing characters. Frankly, new appearances matter more to me than anything else.

    Hey. Developers. Can you please import Tiefling hair styles for women and elf maids?
    Sophie the Enchantress - Creator, Dreamer, Explorer - Happy yet Sad - Seeker of Beauty and Wonder

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Radhruin_EU View Post
    By arguing as if Beornings were somehow completely distinct from Northmen, "Mind you, it says BEORNINGS, not North-Men" as if the two are mutually exclusive and their followers wouldn't get tagged with the same label by association, just as not all "Bardings" were Bard's descendants, nor were all "Eorlings" Eorl's descendants. So if they're Northmen in the same way the Men of Dale and the Rohirrim were, then equally not everyone in the "Beorning" faction need be descended from Beorn. And you don't have to posit umpteen skin-changers in order to get the numbers, just for them to have a following. Much simpler.

    The skin-changing thing was implied to be an innate ability because it was passed down to the men of Beorn's line but didn't last forever, only for "many generations" (of which there'd only been time for three thus far) and his descendants weren't as big or strong as he had been. And there is zero evidence of there having been more skin-changers than Beorn to begin with, so that one won't fly. It's all about him.

    Sorry, WHAT? Don't you ever read what people say? I didn't say that, only that the limited numbers make it a bit of a stretch (as does having them running around all over the place rather than having to fight to defend their land) but then an awful lot of this game is a bit of a stretch, to put it mildly, so it's not a big deal. Unlike Half-elves, which would be a heck of a lot more than just a stretch.
    You know, I'm growing real tired of multiquoting thus having to multipaste all my replies. From now on I'll format my answers in a single quote and I'd prefer you'd do the same.

    About the subject matter: seeing as Dale-Men, Rohirrim and Beornings are all SPECIFICATIONS of the wider "North-men" people, it implies that all Beornings are North-Men, but not all North-Men are Beornings. That's what I meant when I pointed out that Beornings and North-Men were different concepts. Now you can surely hypothesize Beornings being used as a term like "Bardings", including both Beorn's own progeny AND various North-Men, but that's pure speculation. As far as we know, Beornings are always called so individuating a specific subrace of North-Men, living in a definite area. Beorn was one of them but we have no sure knowledge of their numbers so we can't know if the people who joined him after the Battle of the Five Armies were generic North-Men or more people of the Beorning race. Similarly, we have no definite data on their skin-changing abilities nor we exactly know ho those were bestowed, so both the hypothesis that it was a racial trait and that it was a trait unique to Beorn are viable, BUT it's likely it had some kind of racial origin seeing as it was transmitted to his offspring or at least to "many" of them according to lore. Another possibility is that it wasn't a genetic trait at all, but it was some kind of magic privy to either the Beornings as a whole or Beorn only, and he taught it to "many" of his children; at this point though, it wouldn't be a stretch to think that he might have taught it also to people that were NOT his biological offspring but were his "children" as in "pertaining to his tribe", even through marriage or simple declarations of fealty.

    Side note: I disagree entirely with the assumption that his progeny being the ones who inherited the trait "implies" a genetic origin of the shapechanging gift. That surely is possible but again, Gandalf himself says Beorn is "a bit of a magician" implying there was some kind of spell involved. That is perfectly compatible with the gift being only present in his offsprimg - it's well possible that he taught that magic only to his own children, because he wanted to. There's no conclusive evidence on the matter and I won't take position on either.

    So, all of the above possibilities are possible. If you have any concludsive fact about which is more likely I'm not really interested in evaluating it; what we do know is that MANY of his children were skin-changers but we don't know how many they were. So, how many? Well, we might postulate Beorn living a long life and having, say, 100 children, like Ramses II had in his lifetime. If all these children had 100 children each, in the span of three generations we could count a total of 1.000.000 units.

    Is that a likely number? Of course not, that was hyperbole. I think a likely number would be much smaller, maybe around 2.000 to 5.000 people TOPS, of which a sizeable part would be shapeshifters. But even if his progeny was much smaller, whether or not they were increased by North-Men of different descent, counting a total of about 500 or so shapechangers from gen 2 and 3 is far from a stretch, it's the very minimum population I deem reasonable. Now I have no reliable data on server population as of now and I don't know for certain how many of them have a Beorning character, but I'm not keen on thinking there might be more than a thousand in the server, probably much less... Really not a stretch at all.

    Now of course my number crunching is extremely approximative but we're talking about a successful tribal chieftain. We may not know exactly how many children he had but compare it with other famous tribal leaders - Attila the Hun, or Genghis Khan - many of which left hundreds of children and grandchildren. Chances are his offspring were many, and many of those had the gift; that is even without taking into account the chance of OTHER Beornings having it (Beornings existed before Beorn and we can't know if they had the gift or not), nor the chance that Beorn's gift also bestowed him other similar traits than bears (like increased fertility compared to other Man who had no such gift). Again, we know that Beornings are Men but that doesn't mean they cannot possess unusual qualities; like Edain with Numenorean blood could have vastly long lifespans, or Men of the lineage of Girion could talk to birds.

    Now we DO know that birdspeak was linked to appartenence to Girion's lineage but no such clear statement is spoken about Beorn's gift - we don't know if others had it, and we don't know if he was able to teach it; it IS possible, and not necessarily unlikely, that it was some kind of magic he knew and he only taught to the ones he considered his "progeny" - possibly in the carnal sense but maybe in a wider, tribal sense.

    Now before you start nitpicking this too, I'm not saying it HAS to be so, though it doesn't seem more or less unlikely than the other options. But even in the worst possible scenario, of Beorn being the only one having it, and only transmitting it to many of his carnal children, and speculating a normal, human procreation rate, as long as we don't know how many wives he had we can say a grat number of descendants, enough to justify the Beorning player population in a sever, is more than likely in my opinion, as far as tribal chieftains go.

    P.S. The more I write about this and the more I'm becoming welcoming to the idea of introducing Half-Elves as a playable race. You're swaying my opinion - in the OPPOSITE direction!
    Last edited by Damrod_Freason; Apr 12 2020 at 09:08 AM.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Damrod_Freason View Post
    About the subject matter: seeing as Dale-Men, Rohirrim and Beornings are all SPECIFICATIONS of the wider "North-men" people, it implies that all Beornings are North-Men, but not all North-Men are Beornings. That's what I meant when I pointed out that Beornings and North-Men were different concepts. Now you can surely hypothesize Beornings being used as a term like "Bardings", including both Beorn's own progeny AND various North-Men, but that's pure speculation.
    Based on analogy to not just one but two other bunches of Northmen, whereas you're simply assuming the Beornings are different without being able to say why. And your would-be bear army is not only pure speculation, but way wilder speculation at that. The story doesn't need that, it doesn't sit well with any other people in anything Tolkien ever wrote, and it doesn't sit well with how Tolkien can be seen to limit overt magical powers to rare individuals.

    As far as we know, Beornings are always called so individuating a specific subrace of North-Men, living in a definite area. Beorn was one of them but we have no sure knowledge of their numbers so we can't know if the people who joined him after the Battle of the Five Armies were generic North-Men or more people of the Beorning race.
    Nope. We're told that the men of his line retained the ability to take bear's-shape, not anyone else. If there were more like him beforehand then that wouldn't apply. They're called Beornings for a reason, they didn't have a name before because the line starts with Beorn.

    If the skin-changing thing was simply magic, why does it fade away after 'many generations'? Why are we specifically told it was the men of his line who had the ability? And stop misusing that word 'many', nowhere does it say Beorn had many children. As for making up the idea of him calling other people his 'children', it doesn't say 'children' at all, it says "the men of his line" specifically.

    I'm not even going to start in on those ridiculous numbers you've pulled out of nowhere. Again, we do NOT know he had many children. We aren't told that at all.

    Again, we know that Beornings are Men but that doesn't mean they cannot possess unusual qualities; like Edain with Numenorean blood could have vastly long lifespans, or Men of the lineage of Girion could talk to birds.
    And it evidently hasn't occurred to you that:

    - Girion's lineage was a royal line, there weren't umpteen of them;

    - there's a huge difference in kind between being able to understand the speech of birds and being able to turn into a bear;

    - the Dunedain were no longer that different from any other Men, on the whole, and again there's a huge difference in kind between the mental abilities that, say, Denethor was said to have (something that had in itself become extremely rare by the end of the Third Age) and being able to turn into a bear! Shapechanging is a big deal, especially here.

    And against this background of even limited special abilities being extremely scarce among Men, you imagine whole armies of skin-changers. That sticks out like a sore thumb, it's like something from a different fantasy altogether.

 

 
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