Maïa Sub-Groups

Eru conceived of the Maïar as a varied lot, as diverse as the spirits found in any race. Their souls manifested themselves in many ways. Some were embodiments of aspects of the World they helped shape and tend, the spiritual essence of the elements which compose the foundation of Arda. Others were akin to less tangible aspects of Eru’s conception, such as manifestations of feelings or other features of character or mind. Many represented general themes found in nature

The General Powers of Maïa Characters

With the exception of the Valar, the Maïar are the greatest living powers in Ea. Their strength reflects their Ainu origin.

While each Maïa is unique, of course, certain common elements bind the Maïar. They are all naturally incorporeal spirits with enchanted qualities, beings with awesome in-dividual power. As shown in the tale of the Balrog of Moria, even a lesser Maïa is considerably stronger than an individual from the ranks of Middle-earth’s Free Peoples. Sauron, one of the greatest Maïar, nearly dominated the whole of Endor.

The following are guidelines which provide a breakdown of general powers or attributes common to all Maïar. We suggest that a GM use them when employing Maïa characters in an FRP game.

Critical strikes
Unless otherwise noted, critical strikes against a Maïa are rolled on the Large Creature Critical Strike Tables. This applies to both physical attacks and spells. (Use MERP CT-10 and CT-11 or Arms Law 8.14 and Spell Law 10.85.)
Death of form
When a Maïa is killed,” only his form is slain. In such case, the Maïa’s soul immediately departs from Middle-earth and either (i) returns to Aman or, (ii) as in the case of Fallen Maïar (e.g., Balrogs), dissipates. Maïar returning to Aman may take a new form, but they will not return to Endor without specific leave of the Valar. If granted, this might take some time (say 1 – 1000 years); however, a Maïa with a specific mission (e.g., Gandalf) might return very quickly (say in 1 – 10 days). Fallen Maïar do not enjoy Eru’s support, and their death might signal the permanent depar¬ture of their presence from Middle-earth. Saruman suffered this fate. Sauron’s Ruling Ring tied him to Endor and enabl¬ed the Dark Lord to reassume form despite his status as a renegade Maïa (see 7.2).
Vitality of form
The Maïar, despite being saddled with an adopted body, can utilize their form to its uppermost limits. For instance, even though the five Wizards shrouded themselves as old Men, their vigor and physical aptitude rivaled those of the stoutest and most youthful Warriors of the Mannish races. Maïar do not suffer from penalties associated with age, nor do they weary easily. They require no sleep per se, only a minimum amount of meditative rest (e.g., 4 hrs for Maïa in Mannish form, 2 hrs in Elvish form, 3 hrs in Dwarvish form, 5 hrs in Hobbitish form, etc.).
Form and mind
With the adoption of form, a Maïa also takes on the thoughts and emotions associated with the body. The Wizards, for instance, suffered from the desires and fears of Men, for they guised themselves as Men. They also understood the concept of mortality and the emotions associated with aging, even though they themselves were im¬mortal. A Maïa taking Dwarvish form, then, might suffer from a more materialistic and more conservative outlook.
Unless otherwise stated, the ranges, ef¬fect radii, and effect diameters of spells cast by Maïar are doubled. A spell that normally has a touch” range has a range of 5’ in the hands of a Maïa. These rules do not, however, apply to spells imbedded in an item and cast by a Maïa.
Power Points
References to Maïa power points in Sec¬tion 5.2 do not include the effect of their spell enhancing items (e.g., PP multipliers). These include only inherent capabilities based on the Maïa’s relevant stats, which are calculated differently than those of Eru’s Children. Where the Maïa’s stat is 102 or more, the PPs per level equal 3 + (stat — 101). For instance, a Maïa with a relevant stat of 107 would have 9 PPs/​lvl, while an Elf or Man with a 107 stat would only have 6 PPs/​lvl

The Elemental Maïar

The elemental Maïar incarnated fire, water, earth, light, and air. Arien and the Balrogs were the most famous of the Fire-spirits, while Ossë, Uinen, the River-woman, and Goldberry were the best known of the Water-spirits. Ilmarë embodied light and Iarwain Ben-adar — Tom Bombadil — was an Earth-spirit tied to the heart of Middle-earth.

Like all Maïar, each Elemental Maïa served a Vala of like spirit. Those of the air owed allegiance to Manwë, just as those of light looked to Varda as their patron and high mistress. Water-spirits paid homage to Ulmo, the Earth-spirits to Yavanna or Aulë, and the Fire spirits to Varda or Morgoth.

The Thematic Maïar

A less clear association holds true for most of the Maïar, since the elements are better defined and easier to distinguish than the more elusive natural themes. Maïar like Sauron and Saruman represented crafts and often focused on the development of inanimate objects. The incarnation of the servants of the Smith Aulë (who embodied the non-living earth) are intertwined in the relationship between material objects and the living. Those who serve Aulë’s wife Yavan¬na tend the Olvar: the flora, the living earth.

The other Maïar are associated with similarly general themes col¬ored by their fealty. Oromë’s vassals — particularly Tilion — ex¬emplify their master’s essence and concern themselves with the rela¬tionship between Eru’s Children and the other Kelvar (living things that move). Their concerns revolve around herding, hunting, and animal-taming, as well as forestry.

The servants of Oromë’s spouse, Vána the Ever-young, deal with the affairs of youth and renewal — the spring of life. The Maïar pledg¬ed to Mandos dwell on death and the twilight of life. Those Maïar who follow Oromë’s sister, Nessa the Dancer, are incarnations of wildness. Nessa’s husband, Tulkas, rules over a group of Maïar associated with the strength of body and spirit, and most notably the bonds between individuals, such as loyalty. Estë’s gentle people heal things, while the Maïar of Vairë (wife of Mandos) maintain the fabric of Fate. Pity, hope, and forgiveness, and the related emotions of despair and suffering are the province of Nienna’s Maïar.

Sub-groups of the Maïar societies lie within, or cross, the boun¬daries of these exalted groupings. Of these orders, the most renowned is that of the Heren Istarion, the Order of Wizards. Except for the enemies, members of this Maïa sub-society had the most direct in¬fluence on the events that shaped the later history of Middle-earth.


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