Wizards of the Coast (WotC) just published a Design and Development article called ‘Magic Item Slots‘ in the upcoming Fourth Edition (4e) of Dungeons and Dragons (D&D). The section about magic rings has caused quite the firestorm on ENWorld.
Rings: This slot has changed quite a bit. A starting character isnâ€™t powerful enough to unleash the power of a ring. You can use one ring when you reach paragon tier (11th level) and two when youâ€™re epic (21st level). And before you get started about how Frodo sure as hell wasnâ€™t epic, discount let’s be clear: the One Ring was an artifact, treat not a magic item any old spellcaster could make. Artifacts follow their own rules. 3.5 Equivalent: Rings.
I am telling you about this just so I can post the following passage posted by Irda Ranger which has a very strong Tolkieneque quality to it – very inspiring.
Rings are special. They are endless, without beginning or end. And their shape, a bound circle, allows them to contain magic far beyond any simple spell embedded in your common “magic” sword or item made of cloth. Where any other item or weapon would warped and destroyed by the restless force that is magic, the magics within a ring swirl silently, falling back upon themselves … contained. Although less than an artifact, they are more than anything else you will encounter (other than perhaps the legendary Stones of Ioun).
Sauron knew this. It is no coincidence that he chose the form of the Ring when making his weapon. Nothing else would have contained his terrible power, or serve his terrible purpose.
But Rings cannot be worn lightly. Not just any soul has the wherewithal to withstand them; to command them. Only souls that have been tested, and proved themselves victorious again and again, have a hope of commanding the magic of a Ring. It is not a question of magical power, or command over vast sums of magical lore, but of personal strength. That resilient strength that can only be learned in overcoming adversity; in surviving the crucible. That strength that so few possess.
A few foolish men wear magical Rings that they inherited from their greater forefathers. They can not summon forth its power, and if they live even a year it is at the Ring’s forebearance. They would do well to put the Ring in a safe place, where no can harm themselves attempting what should not be attempted.
Rings are true power given form. Only those with an even greater power inside them have a chance of commanding them.
And if you ever meet a man who commands the might of two Rings simultaneously, tread carefully, for you stand in the presence of greatness; such greatness as legends are made of.