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Autor Thema: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?  (Gelesen 7072 mal)

ThaneWulfgharn

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Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« am: 4. Mai 2016, 21:45 »
In the light of the Angmar Faction being released, I have started wondering if its style is or not in coherence with the general Lord of the Rings style. There are many elements who seem borrowed by other fantasy titles such as Warcraft, for example.

Angmar is one the faction with the fewest information (Lorewise speaking). We know of it but not it exactly. Part of it was inhabited by Men, according to the Tolkien Gateway they were thought to be somehow related to the Easterlings (but even that is not sure). Others assume that they were Black Numenoreans. Still, nothing is clear. However, gathering and organising certain points, we might actually come to imagine a much more lore-friendly Angmar.

The first, greatest mistake that the Angmar faction has inherited from its vanilla concept is the usage of Sorcerers. Curious about the role of magic in the Lord of the Rings, I opened Tolkien Gateway which is pretty much the wikipedia of the book and authentic Tolkien sources. I found this rather interesting except from one of Tolkien's Letters(Letter 155):
Zitat
"a difference between the use of 'magic' in this story [The Lord of the Rings] is that it is not to be come by by 'lore' or spells; but it is an inherent power not possessed or attainable by Men as such."
So you do understand why I find Magic as used by Sorcerers quite disturbing, lorewise. The only known magic used by Angmar is the Witch-King's ability to raise the Barrow-Wights (and that is, luckily, quite achieved by your Barrow).

Furthermore, I oppose to the exaggerated use of Snow & Ice. It quite looks as if it were Warcraft. I would imagine Angmar as a faction in a semi-unnaturally dark and gloomy winter - a Mordor of Cold, cold and snowy aswell but more dead rather than truly white covered in snow. Maybe a little like Dunharrow. Something creepy, not Northrendish. Furthermore, Angmar means Home of Iron, so the lots of Iron we've seen in the Mordor style(architecture and units) would be fit for Angmar aswell (see below). (The atmosphere is highly related with unit design and architecture, so a more clear picture will be provided below).

Third - Angmar's Armies. Angmar's armies in vanilla RotWK were made of Thrall Masters who summoned either clansmen either orcs and then there were Black Numenoreans, Snow & Hill Trolls. Your system of Settlements covers perfectly the relation that Angmar forces and Rhudahur Hillmen had. To that, no objection. I wonder, however, whether the appearence of the Men of Carn Dum is quite "Correct". I understand that there is no Movie reference of how they would look like, BUT, an illustrator, John Howe, has some independent illustrations of the Mouth of Sauron, the Witch King of Angmar and the Black Numenoreans. These concept arts are not similiar to the movie depiction of the Witch King and Mouth of Sauron, but as you can notice, they are quite similiar to the Mordor Style in general. Thus they would make an excellent basis for the development of Carn Dum soldiers and Heroes.



Lastly, I would like to cover the topic of Architecture. There is absolutely no trace in Tolkien's works about the Architecture of Angmar, but we can build one. Where from? Well, starting first from its name Ang-mar (Home of Iron). That and the Iron element in Mordor's architecture in the film. Just see Morannon, Minas Morgul or Barad Dur to understand what I mean. Now, it has to be different to that of Mordor obviously, but then again, not too much. Also, the Fortress of Mount Gundabad in the Hobbit could be a reference. Mount Gundabad is, after all, part of Angmar. I expect them to be of dark-gray/black color (as Mordoric architecture is) and with of course some elements of Ice/Snow/Frost, but not too much - just enought to make it look creepier - not Northrend-ish. The other part, of course, I let to decide to the artist's freedom.

Here, I close my discourse, hoping I have transmitted my ideas clearly and made a quite convincing argument! Good luck with the mod!
« Letzte Änderung: 4. Mai 2016, 22:05 von ThaneWulfgharn »

Odysseus

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #1 am: 4. Mai 2016, 22:24 »
Greetings,

I believe the issue is exactly the lack of lore, which forced both EA and the Edain Team to fill all the blanks, gaps and holes for Angmar to become a fully fledged faction.

Since there is so little lore to work with, there is no real general guideline or a rulebook, so to speak. Thus, it comes down more to interpretation than actual lore or concept and people having different interpretations of the given information.

You could see this Angmar as ET's interpretation of the kingdom and what they made of all the bits and bobs that are given about Angmar in the lore.

However, I do agree with you that it is quite revulsing to see mortals casting magic like they are Ainur or Maiar, but alas, this is where Tolkien's lore has to make room for gameplay. Personally, I feel this is the only major inconsistency that is in both EA and ET's Angmar, but Sorcerer's are important to Angmar's gameplay and its concept as a faction. Furthermore, if your quote is to be taken most seriously, it can be said that Tolkien himself was inconsistent with the concept, with entities such as the Army of the Dead, and the Witch-King, whom where once mortals, but are under the influence of magic or able to utilise magic.

You could say that Angmar uses a distorted variant of magic, called sorcery. It's a little different, since ET wrote their own lore to fill in the blanks of Angmar. The concept of sorcery revolves around another crucial theme to Angmar, and that is sacrifice. The only reason sorcerers are able to cast their spells is because they sacrifice the life of human beings, or their essence, which is arguably part of their origin as Children of Illúvatar that has perhaps ''magical'' proportions. All the sorcerers that do not, have been taught sorcery by the Witch-King himself, which has a portion of Sauron's power imbued into him.

I liked your post and found it well written. However, these lore inconsistencies are quite necessary to bring the faction to a proper status comparable to the other factions. I understand where you are coming from, but I would like to say that you are perhaps a bit too critical.

I hope I brought my points across as well.

Kind regards,

Odysseus.
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Fredius

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #2 am: 4. Mai 2016, 23:43 »
Fully agree with Odysseus. We shouldn't always prioritize lore over gameplay; it's important that we leave some room for own interpretations, or else the team might even lose their motivation to mod the game if they MUST follow the lore guidelines and not use their own imagination :D.

As for the sorcerers; I don't like them either, because I agree that magic shouldn't be overused in the LOTR universe, so I myself just choose to never build the sorcerers, and it works out pretty well :).

Walküre

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #3 am: 5. Mai 2016, 02:30 »
I too agree with Odysseus and Fredius.
As 'painful' as it could be for our own lore sensitivity, there are some things that we just have to accept, provided that we have, on the other hand, a suitable concept that meets all the 'requirements' needed to be part of this quality-centred Mod. And, this is exactly the case of Angmar; you could never do without all the fictional elements of the faction so easily, and then hope to find all the answers and proper solutions in the lore (primarily, because the lore itself doesn't give us enough material to speculate on in the first place). Therefore, I appreciate so much all the efforts of the Edain Team that were exactly aimed to fill all the holes and flaws, as Odysseus says, concerning Angmar, while they nonetheless tried to respect lore boundaries as much as they could (especially in their detailed and consistent RPG concepts, I presume).

That said, and considered all the just premises mentioned above, my honest lore-based judgment about Magic and Sorcerers doesn't change: it's all a sort of 'abomination' (I apologise for the loaded word) of Tolkien's vision.
The whole sacrifice motive lying behind Angmar, albeit seeming to be a brilliant solution for the gameplay, is not justified and proven anywhere in the lore. The Witch King did gather in Angmar human beings with knowledge of black arts, and he is very likely to have taught them something more too, but this happened always in the clear limits of Human Magic and dark arts as well; arts that have always existed in Middle Earth, but everytime confined in their human and minor status, compared to the known and mightier Elven and Ainurin (mostly regarding the Istari and Sauron, in the Third Age) Magic. For example, I also think about that very smart scene in AUJ, although it was completely fictional, when Saruman dismisses Gandalf's thoughts about a Necromancer able to summon the dead, and when, at the same time, the very chief of the White Council shows his contempt for human magical dark arts (inferior and just a false reflection of the true Magic).


Not to mention that the very sacrifice theme works a bit in the opposite way in the lore. It often consists of a mighty leading figure, as Morgoth and Sauron, that weakens itself by spreading its own powers in the World and sharing them (sacrificing them) with its foul servants, in order to sustain and empower them (from the most authoritative lieutenant to the ordinary soldier). This is basically the main theme due to which the Nazgûl and the Mouth of Sauron are so bound to Sauron, and Mordor's gameplay and mechanics wonderfully embodies it. On the opposite side, I can't really recall any passage in which some magical beings had to use the vital energy of other weaker beings to cast and use Magic (as it happens in Angmar).

So, akin to Fredius, I almost never recruit Sorcerers if I can. Nevertheless, this was what I think about the strict lore and the current vision, and I obviously and deeply understand the Edain Team's purposes behind it. Thus, I would and could never try to slay or disown their great efforts in conceiving the holistic faction  ;)
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Saeros

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #4 am: 5. Mai 2016, 13:22 »
ThaneWulfgharn I'm with you and agree to everything you posted with the exception of the Angmar architecture, cause I think the Iron and the winter are pretty well interprented...
but I strongly believe too that Angmar is too EA-ish and less Tolkien- ish, while all the rest of the mod is exactly the opposite, and the actual reason it is so good.
I see everyone's point here, but especially the sorcerers are out of place, out of lore, and most importantly out of Middle- Earth, if something MUST change I think it's them.
I like the skins you posted about the Black Numenoreans, but I think that they will look too much like the Nazgul after they get their upgrades.

Odysseus

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #5 am: 5. Mai 2016, 13:59 »
Well, if it was my mod, I would simply remove Gulzar and the sorcerers for lore inconsistencies, but it is not my mod. I'm afraid we'll have to deal with it.
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Adrigabbro

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #6 am: 5. Mai 2016, 14:25 »
I guess I'm the only one who actually likes sorcerers.  :D


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Odysseus

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #7 am: 5. Mai 2016, 15:25 »
@Adri Well for gameplay, they are fantastic. Very diverse and excellent support abilities. However, lore-wise...they are probably the biggest anomaly in the mod.
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d0m0a

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #8 am: 5. Mai 2016, 17:06 »
Well, I know that the sorcerers are very tricky and not lore-wise, but I don't use them very often. I don't see them very useful for battle, because forces you to micromanage them while all the army fights. But you want to not delete the sorcerers, turn them as Drummer Trolls, but instead made a general buff, give them the ability of choose what buff give to the units, as 10% attack or 10 & defense by sorcerer, with no ability of self defend themselves.

Radagast der Musikalische

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #9 am: 5. Mai 2016, 18:52 »
Magic in Middle-Earth is a very complicated topic, because even Tolkien contradicts himself. On the one hand he said that magic isn't something you learn but a power you are born with. He also said that humans aren't born with magic, but on the other hand there were humans in Tolkien's writings who are capable of using magic. Aragorn can use simple magic for healing, the Mouth of Sauron learned sorcery under Sauron and (Black) Númenóreans are said to be able to use magic in some ways. I think you could spend a lifetime with debating whether the sorcerers would exist like this in Tolkien's Middle-Earth, but you can't find a final solution, because in the end we can only interpret as we can't ask Tolkien anymore.

Saeros

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #10 am: 6. Mai 2016, 10:19 »
In general the Angmar faction is not lore- friendly...
There were no Black Numenoreans in the forces of the Witch- King, or they were way too few in order to be -theoretically- considered as part of the Angmar army.
The forces who were used by the Witch- King were Orcs, Trolls and Hillmen (decendants of the Easterlings)
Keeping this in mind I think that the lore is already altered a lot, in order to have a nice gameplay.
That's why I find the use of sorcerers totally wrong and unnecessary.

Concerning the fact of magic, used by anyone else than the Maiar in Middle- Earth is wrong and not lore- wise, even the Elves used their magic based on the powers given to them by using their magic rings.
Aragorn e.g is a healer not a wizard, someone who knows how to use beneficially roots and plants is not a magician (also he has Maiar blood in his veins, so his healing power may be enhanced).

All in all I do not blame the team for how the faction is implemented in the game (since EA chose to alter the lore), but I think that this whole community is made for its members, being moders testers or just fans, to share their ideas and their perspective. Any criticising is done for beneficial purposes and to bring the mod in a higher standard.

Radagast der Musikalische

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #11 am: 6. Mai 2016, 16:33 »
Regarding the not lore-friendly unit distribution:
The fact that Black Númenóreans didn't provide the main part is right, which is why we changed there names to "Soldiers of Carn Dûm". They also serve as Angmars elite whereas the main forces are Orcs and Hillmen led by Thrallmasters. Only the Dark Guard is intended to consist of Black Númenóreans. The only units that may be "invented" are the dire wolves, but in the end, even they are based on Tolkien's writings.

Regarding magic in Middle-Earth:
Due to all inconsistencies, the word "magic" isn't clearly defined which is why we can only assume where it begins and where it ends and how we have to interpret it, but you can't say that magic used by anyone else than the Maiar isn't lore-friendly as even Tolkien said that Elves have magic skills to a certain extent. Their skills might be less apparent and differ from the magic used by the Maiar but an elf is inherently a magic creature. Especially magical singing and camouflaging magic are explicitly mentioned by Tolkien. And like I said Númeróreans are said to be able to learn at least simple magic. The Mouth of Sauron is the best example as he learned sorcery under Sauron. Dwarves are also capable of using magic for their craftsmanship, especially for weapon making.

Walküre

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #12 am: 6. Mai 2016, 18:13 »
I totally agree and it's obvious that the Ainur are clearly not the only ones endowed with such magical capabilities; Radagast has already referred to many examples of other types of Magic, including the renowned Elven one (considered, probably, the subtlest and most pervasive form of Magic).

Only, the focus of my reasoning is rather on how Magic is displayed in Angmar. That prominent sacrifice theme is exactly what I find inconsistent; as I previously wrote, I can't really recall anything about that type of usage of Magic (that is, inferior beings used as sacrificial victims to cast spell or spread dark arts). This is probably what the Community regards as 'alien' to the new consistent spirit of the Edain Mod 4.0. A similar situation, if we can make a comparison, to what we have recently debated about concerning Light Bringers, whose magical display was judged a bit negatively by many people (we thus tried to propose, with some success, more lore accurate concepts).

Furthermore, it's true that Magic is a very vast and multicoloured aspect to deal with; nevertheless, I also think that there some specific guidelines anyway, that exactly define the borders of what is Tolkien-related and what is not so much (I remember there are a lot of topics in the Lore Corner related to this fundamental matter). This doesn't mean, though, that I want to suggest a total overhaul of the faction; it's something I wanted to point out  :)
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Radagast der Musikalische

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #13 am: 6. Mai 2016, 18:35 »
Let me get this straight: My remarks weren't meant as criticism of the original suggestion by Odysseus or further statements. I just wanted to clarify some intentions behind the conception of Angmar and point out some mistakes in previous statements. This is also not to be confused with an excuse or an explanation for the sorcerers. For my part, I am also not a fan of the sorcerers.

Walküre

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Re: Angmar Style - Does it feel right?
« Antwort #14 am: 6. Mai 2016, 23:35 »
I'm sorry if my post seemed to be targeted at you specifically, or to have implied that you were justifying the presence of the sorcerers in the game; it was really not my intention.

It was, instead, aimed to address Magic and the fact that, although Tolkien can't obviously answer our questions anymore (as you wrote), we can always find some consolidated/canonical boundaries in the vast lore, so that we might be more easily guided in the conceiving of concepts. I then picked sorcerers just as an example to prove my point, because I find them very lore contradictory.

Besides, I appreciate all the efforts made to fill the gaps of EA Games and to make Angmar more consistent. I feel this is more of a general lore-centred consideration, rather than a real suggestion (unless sorcerers will actually be removed from the faction, and I presume this is not a very likely scenario)  :)
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