ECL Questions

Omeganian

Explorer
Gandalf the White is Level 33 but much, much tougher than Gandalf the Grey.

That said, I feel it's pretty clear that the Witch-king was at least the equal of Gandalf the White if not more powerful by a significant margin.

The book gives no such indication. Gandalf was sent back specifically to fight the Nazgul and was quite confident about the possibility of facing the Witch-King... it's just that there was little opportunity.
 

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historian

First Post
The book gives no such indication. Gandalf was sent back specifically to fight the Nazgul and was quite confident about the possibility of facing the Witch-King... it's just that there was little opportunity.

In the RPG it makes clear thst all of the Istari's levels apply to their relatively limited abilities in Middle Earth and were they to visit Aman or the like then there levels would rise by as much as a factor of six.
 

Belzamus

First Post
I suppose what it really comes down is whether, in his fight with Durin's Bane, was Gandalf still restrained by the Valar, or was he fighting it Maia to Maia? It would seem to be that he was going all out, but we'll never really know for certain.

I think it's safe to say that the Witch-King would lose to Olorin without much of a fight, even backed by Sauron as he was. The true question is whether Gandalf would be permitted to unleash his true power against such a foe. And again, sadly, we'll never know.
 

historian

First Post
I suppose what it really comes down is whether, in his fight with Durin's Bane, was Gandalf still restrained by the Valar, or was he fighting it Maia to Maia? It would seem to be that he was going all out, but we'll never really know for certain.

I think it's safe to say that the Witch-King would lose to Olorin without much of a fight, even backed by Sauron as he was. The true question is whether Gandalf would be permitted to unleash his true power against such a foe. And again, sadly, we'll never know.

Well said. In many ways the Witch-king and Gandalf are merely avatars or more likely aspects of greater beings.
 

historian said:
All of the following levels and hit dice are reported in 1st Ed. AD&D terms.

Its difficult to get proper divine levels for 1st Ed. But eyeballing it...

Gandalf the Grey - Level 27 Wizard = Quasi-deity

The Nazgul

The Witch-king - Level 40 Wizard = Lesser Deity
Khamul - Level 33 Ranger = Demi-deity
Dwar - Level 26 Mage = Quasi-deity
Indur - Level 25 Mage = Quasi-deity
Akhorahil - Level 24 Sorcerer = Quasi-deity
Hoarmurath - Level 22 Animist = Quasi-deity
Adunaphel - Level 21 Bard = Quasi-deity
Ren - Level 21 Illusionist = Quasi-deity
Uvatha - Level 21 Fighter = Quasi-deity

The Forces of Darkness

Melkor/Morgoth - Level 333 Mage/Alchemist = Demiurge
Ungoliant - 300 Hit Dice (333 after draining the Wells of Varda) = First One/Demiurge
Sauron - Level 80 Mage/Sorcerer (in hiding w/o The One Ring) = Greater Deity (Pantheon Head)
Sauron - Level 120 Mage/Sorcerer (as Necromancer of Mirkwood) = Elder One
Sauron - Level 160 Mage/Sorcerer (before the One Ring was made) = Old One
Sauron - Level 240 Mage Sorcerer (with the One Ring) = First One
The Balrog of Moria - 24 Hit Dice = Quasi-deity
The Balrog Gothmog - 67 Hit Dice = Greater Deity (technically Intermediate Deity but that term didn't exist in 1st Ed.)
Saruman the Many Colored - Level 33 Mage/Alchemist = Demigod

I don't know enough about Middle Earth to know if the above divine designations are accurate.
 

historian

First Post
Hey U_K!:)

Its difficult to get proper divine levels for 1st Ed. But eyeballing it...

Gandalf the Grey - Level 27 Wizard = Quasi-deity

The Nazgul

The Witch-king - Level 40 Wizard = Lesser Deity
Khamul - Level 33 Ranger = Demi-deity
Dwar - Level 26 Mage = Quasi-deity
Indur - Level 25 Mage = Quasi-deity
Akhorahil - Level 24 Sorcerer = Quasi-deity
Hoarmurath - Level 22 Animist = Quasi-deity
Adunaphel - Level 21 Bard = Quasi-deity
Ren - Level 21 Illusionist = Quasi-deity
Uvatha - Level 21 Fighter = Quasi-deity

The Forces of Darkness

Melkor/Morgoth - Level 333 Mage/Alchemist = Demiurge
Ungoliant - 300 Hit Dice (333 after draining the Wells of Varda) = First One/Demiurge
Sauron - Level 80 Mage/Sorcerer (in hiding w/o The One Ring) = Greater Deity (Pantheon Head)
Sauron - Level 120 Mage/Sorcerer (as Necromancer of Mirkwood) = Elder One
Sauron - Level 160 Mage/Sorcerer (before the One Ring was made) = Old One
Sauron - Level 240 Mage Sorcerer (with the One Ring) = First One
The Balrog of Moria - 24 Hit Dice = Quasi-deity
The Balrog Gothmog - 67 Hit Dice = Greater Deity (technically Intermediate Deity but that term didn't exist in 1st Ed.)
Saruman the Many Colored - Level 33 Mage/Alchemist = Demigod

I don't know enough about Middle Earth to know if the above divine designations are accurate.

I can abide by all of the foregoing although I am no Tolkien scholar.

BTW, I am kind of surprised that no one has asked about the high elves, dragons, vampires, or werewolves.:p
 

Why are Morgoth, Sauron, etc. listed as so high-powered? Why not treat the Ainur as a standard pantheon (with Melkor and Manwe as Greater Powers/Deities, and everybody else figured down from there)?

I wouldn't have thought the gap between a Balrog and Sauron was nearly so vast - I can see Sauron (w/o Ring) as having twice the average Balrog's hit dice (with Gothmog, lord of Balrogs, being about halfway between) - but not much more. Even with Ring I don't think he should be above Lesser Deity. In the First Age Sauron is not that overwhelming or globally dominant; and I don't think the First Age's heroes were ECL 100+ characters. If he were really Sidereal-level, IMO his mere presence in the mortal world would have massive effects, and it doesn't.

Sauron is overwhelmingly powerful, even without Ring, in the late Third Age - but that's an age of decline, the Free Peoples are really not numerous at all, and I doubt they include many really high level characters. Personally, I'd figure there to be hardly any epic characters left in Middle-Earth proper in the era of LotR - probably only Sauron, Galadriel, the Balrog, the Istari 'unveiled' (in their 'normal' mode they wouldn't be really all that powerful, IMO), probably Tom Bombadil, possibly Cirdan, possibly the Witch-King. I don't think Aragorn is (maybe low teens...), and I'd put most of the Nazgul in the low-teens range too.
 
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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
The issue here is that the 1st Edition conversions from the official LotR RPG set (what were, in my opinion) ridiculously high levels for various characters. U_K just assigned them corresponding divinities based on their Hit Dice/levels.

Personally, I'd just say that the initial conversions are way off base. The contemporary thought on this issue (which has actually been around for quite a while, as I remember there was an old issue of Dragon with an article titled "Gandalf Was a 6th-Level Magic-User") is that, in D&D terms, most of the Fellowship was in the low-to-mid single-digit levels, with everyone else statted correspondingly. You don't have to look too hard to find various blog posts talking about this exact point.

Simply put, the LotR RPG really seems to have inflated expectations of its characters, at least in terms of 1E AD&D.
 

Belzamus

First Post
I love that first article, but I feel like the second is seriously, seriously downplaying Gandalf and the Balrog. 8th level wizards do not fight for 8 days straight, nor do they survive effortlessly falling down a miles-deep chasm, nor do they create bursts of flame and lightning that are so bright as to turn day to night as a result of their battling. And Balrog's are certainly expressly magical in nature within the books, I don't really know what that fellow is talking about.

I see no problem having Durin's Bane as a level 20 monster and Gandalf in that moment (channeling as much of his Maiar spirit as his mortal frame can withstand) as likewise around 20th level.

Scaling off of that, I'd put the Witch-King at possibly 12th level, perhaps 18th when proxied during the siege.

Sauron at his height I'd peg around 40th, 50th after making the Ring. Gothmog also I'd put in that range.

Eonwe I'd probably put at 60th, he being the strongest of the Maiar.

Valar would scale up from there. Morgoth (not Melkor) would probably be around 70th. Ancalagon I can't really see as less than 80th, and I'd peg the greatest of the Valar at 100th or so.

All 3.5 levels. But that's just my take on it.
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
8th level wizards do not fight for 8 days straight, nor do they survive effortlessly falling down a miles-deep chasm, nor do they create bursts of flame and lightning that are so bright as to turn day to night as a result of their battling. And Balrog's are certainly expressly magical in nature within the books, I don't really know what that fellow is talking about.

Besides saying "so bright as to turn day to night" when I think you meant the opposite, there are some points that can be debated here.

In the 3.5 rules, there are no particular penalties for fighting endlessly; battle-fatigue doesn't exist in D&D. You might extrapolate something out of the rules for requiring a full night of rest (though that's usually to regain spells), but that's iffy.

Surviving a fall down a chasm is as easy as casting feather fall a few hundred feet from the bottom.

When it's night (or really dark, like when you're underground), any burst of fire or lightning larger than a spark or a candle will make it seem as bright as day.

Likewise, the balrogs are expressly magical in that they are spirits, and have some clearly non-biological supernatural abilities, but the author doesn't seem to be saying otherwise that I can tell. In the article I cited above, which also links to this one, he's pretty methodical in his points.
 


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