“Their ‘magic’ is Art, delivered from many of its human limitations.”

Although magic is an Extra, it is handled with the normal Fate Core mechanics of Aspects and Stunts.

Magic in Middle-earth is often subtle, and this is where the “fuzzy” nature of Aspects and Stunts is helpful – a beautiful song or powerful oath can be as “magical” as a sorcerous flame or protective enchantment. Mechanically, the only difference between magical and mundane effects is that magical stunts and aspects are more permissive in justifying/explaining effects.

Magic Aspects

Magic is often significant enough to the story to warrant an Aspect tied to the magical character or item.

This Aspect should represent the nature or origin of the magic. Examples include Gandalf’s “Grey Wanderer of the Istari” (indicating his membership in the order of Maiar wizards) or Aragorn’s “Anduril, Flame of the West” (indicating his sword’s unique history as the reforged symbol of hope).

Like other Aspects, Magic Aspects are always true, and only need to be invoked when they provide a mechanical bonus.

Magic Stunts

Magic Stunts represent some effect or spell that the character or item’s magic is known for.

Like other Stunts, this might provide a situational bonus, or it might allow a character to use a Skill to do something they couldn’t normally do with that skill. For example, Gandalf might have “Flame of Anor” that allows him to make attacks with Will, so long as he has a significant light source (the sun, his staff, etc…), while Aragorn might have “Hope Rekindled in the West” that gives him +2 to Rapport rolls to rally allies against fear or despair so long as he is brandishing Anduril.

External Resources

For more information and discussion about magic and how it works in Tolkien’s Middle-earth, see selected external links below:

Magic in Tolkien
Magic in Middle-earth
Magic in Middle-earth


Twilight of the North Basileus Basileus