Re: Vorumai color magic and ecology

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Tue 05 Dec 1995 - 01:39:56 EET

Andrew Behan
>Does anyone know anything about Vormaino colour magic and it's
>relation to Kralori Mysticism?
        The going standard for using "Vormain" as an adjective is
"Vorumai" invented (as I recall) by Peter Metcalfe. Also, more
native English speakers spell color "color". Shape up.
        Anyway, the Vorumai color magic has only the vaguest
relationship to Kralori mysticism nowadays. In the Godtime, the East
Isles agree that they were part of the intact continent of Vithela.
The Kralori agree that they were part of Genertela (or, rather,
that Genertela was part of them). It is unclear exactly where
Vormain was located. The East Islanders seem to believe that Vormain
was part of Vithela, too. The Vorumai themselves seem to believe
that they were part of Kralorela (a peninsula, perhaps?), though
their tales can be interpreted a number of ways.
        There is evidence that all three areas once used similar
magic. With the East Isles isolation and the arrival of the
Dreaming, they turned spiritually inward, and transformed the
primeval magic of the East into their own style of dream magic. The

East Islanders recognize this as a major change, and generally agree
that they once were like the Kralori, for whom they still hold a
great deal of respect. The Kralori state that they still use the
same style of magic as at the Dawn, though refined and improved over
the years. Close study of pre- and post-False Dragon Ring practices
do seem to imply some significant differences, however.
        Anyway, the Vorumai, like the East Isles, presumably once
used magic similar to Kralori Mysticism -- or, more accurately,
used a magic system that would someday have evolved into
Kralori-like mysticism. The isolation of the Darkness, and the
struggle for survival significantly altered this original magic
system. The current Vorumai color magic is still a little like
Kralori Mysticism, but a very specialized, restricted form of it. It
is intricately bound up with the various Vorumai religions and
philosophies in a way that even the intricate Kralori magic is not.
        Anyway, that's most of what's known about the relationship
between the Vorumai color magic and the Kralori mysticism.

John Hughes
        This is not a retort to John, but comments and elaborations
on my reaction to his points.
        As an ex-zoologist, I could never live with unrealistically
placing a different large mammal population in every valley.
Maximum Diversity doesn't enhance MGF for me unless it is carefully
crafted. Simply letting every single place be totally new and
unusual makes a campaign seem disjointed and put together in a
slapdash way, rather than creative.
        I love exploring new places, but if everything is
Different, then ultimately that variation becomes dull and
consistent. In the East Isles, I portrayed every island as being
quite different, but the players were able to sense the essential
unity of this region at the same time.
        Huge differences are the stuff that make exploration fun.
But I believe that such variation is normally better displayed as a
series of clines rather than sudden vast alterations. Rather than
having the Orlanthi and the Tarshites be utterly different in every
detail, I find it more fun to display them has having essentially
the same culture and many of the same gods, but perceived from a
slightly different angle. This also adds interest to their

interaction and especially to their mutual contempt, esp. when
viewed by an outsider (as most of my PCs normally are).
        Of course, sometimes there should be sudden jumps in
culture, geography, weather, etc. When these occur, they should seem
unusual to the players, and force them to think about the
alterations, or at least awaken them to the fact that they are in a
radically different situation. For instance, the change from Dragon
Pass to Prax is reasonably swift, and Orlanthi players should be
aware that they are now in a very hostile place -- the rules are
different here, and this is displayed by the fact that almost every
detail of social structure and natural environment is quite
different. The few places they're able to find evidence of home
(such as Pavis) should be treasured oases.
        MGF is compared with Most Fun in the Long Term by John. I
understand the point he is trying to make, but to me MGF means MOST
Game Fun, and necessarily includes taking a longer view. I can't
help but feel that John put up a straw man with exploding Ulerian
hobbits and similar examples.
        For example, I have always contended that MGF implies that
PCs should NOT always be able to succeed in every action, because
this will erode MGF over time. This is clearly applicable only to
the long term, as what the player wants right this second is to

Sandy P.


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