Re: +Sever Spirit and undead

From: Sandy Petersen (
Date: Sat 24 Feb 1996 - 22:31:53 EET

Lewis Jardine
>However, I have ALWAYS ruled that it also works on Undead with
>After all they have Spirits and Humakt REALLY has it in for these
        Hard as it comes to disagree with Lew, I do. The only
Undead that _I_ know about with spirits are Ghouls, which are in
effect possessed corpses.
        The classic Zombies and Skeletons are just soulless constructs.
        Vampires and Mummmies have no souls. Their spirits were
destroyed in the rituals that formed them. A Vampire's total
existence is on the mundane plane, and he has no presence in the
otherworld at all (in fact, shamans spot them in my games by seeing
the black hollow place in the spirit plane).
        I do not believe that Sever Spirit works on any undead
except maybe ghouls.

        That said, Humakt _does_ have it in for these guys, because
they violate his laws. That's no doubt where his Turn Undead spell
came from.

        Defending vs. Sever Spirit isn't all that hard. Here are
five ways to do it that don't cost much.
        1) Divine Intervention to restore you back to life. If the
foe is important, maybe he's a Rune Lord anyway. Besides, you're the
GM, NPCs succeed or fail their DI rolls purely at your whim.
        2) Countermagic 5 or Absorption 3, Reflection 3, and Shield
3 all stop an unboosted Sever Spirit. Countermagic 5's hardly
grossly overpowered -- and the defensive Rune spells are actually
more accessible than Sever Spirit.
        3) A high POW (and Magic Points) means that the attacker is
unlikely to overcome the baddy with his attack. I remember in the
early days of RQ, the official Chaosium gaming group was confronted
by a Chimera. It was awful -- the thing had a POW of 40+, among
other problems. Breathing fire was kind of troublesome, too. Since
most of the PCs were Humakti, Sever Spirit was tried quite early. Of
course, not one of us could overcome its MPs. In the end, the
monster was killed by _failed_ Sever Spirits! (We ended up throwing
around 15-20 of the spells, and each one took him down by 1d6 CON!)
        4) Challenge the Humakti to an honorable duel. In such, the
Humakti _cannot_ cast Sever Spirit. Or otherwise display yourself
as honorable, and as such not fit for such an attack.
        5) Stay at least 100m away from the Humakti.
        6) Demoralize, Fanaticize, or Befuddle the Humakti (then he
can't cast spells). Or use magic appropriate to you that also
prevents this.
        7) Be a spirit or an undead, hence immune to Sever Spirit
(see above).
        8) Remember that initiate Humakti are strongly encouraged
NOT to sacrifice for Sever Spirit (or Berserker), because they are
not yet prepared for the responsibility. Initiates in other Sever
Spirit-possessing cults _can't_ learn it, because it's one-use to
them. Thus, only a Runemaster should normally have access to the
spell unless you as GM have chosen to permit it otherwise for a
special occasion. Runemasters ought to be fighting other
Runemasters, who are readily able to handle attacks like Sever
Spirit via a combination of the above techniques.
        9) Get Resurrected.
        10) Trick the Humakti into firing his Sever Spirit before
you show up.

        Remember, everyone in the hill country knows about Sever
Spirit and its prowess. Nobody has to walk into it unprepared.

        Note by the way that the nature of Gloranthan magic means
that someone expecting an attack will react in the classic
storybook/computer game fashion -- you'll use weak troops vs. your
foe first, then stronger ones, finally leading up to yourself. That
way, the enemy has expended his good magic before meeting you (you
hope). In the "real world", it's generally a good idea to put your
best stuff up front, but not Glorantha. At least, not necessarily.
        Example: trolls often launch an ambush with a horde of
screaming trollkin first. The defenders normally power up for the
combat and blast the trollkin, who soon go screaming away as fast as
they had charged, but fewer in numbers. Then, fifteen minutes
later, the trolls attack again.

Sandy P.


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.7 : Fri 13 Jun 2003 - 16:29:44 EEST