RE: Greg's Magic Guidelines

From: Trent Smith (tfsmith@POMONA.EDU)
Date: Sun 04 May 1997 - 10:53:23 EEST

     Thanks to Stephen Martin for posting this info. I'd heard about this
a couple years back, but since I'm by no means an "insider" this is the
first time I'd actually seen it in print.

     Putting aside the questionable decision to put such exact
restrictions on what (from my understanding) was to be creative work by a
number of authors, these "rules" raise some interesting points:
     Reading these, it's no wonder that the RQ/Glorantha split has come
about, since what Greg is describing is a fully game-able magic system, it
just isn't RuneQuest. From the way I read it, "battle magic" spells would
be skill-based, improving with use. Magic points would be replaced by
some sort of "fatigue" from spellcasting. Offensive spells (Befuddle,
Disrupt, etc) aren't mentioned, and probably no longer exist. Rather than
actual "spells," these seem much more like "blessings."
     Rune magic has been switched over to a Runepower-like system that
includes the functions of DI. Apparently "one-use" Divine Magic and DI
for initiates no longer exists.

     As a stalwart defender of the RQ mechanics (I've been gaming for a
pretty long time with a lot of different systems, and I maintain that RQ
has the best all-around rules of any rpg I've played) I must point out
that Greg's anti-RQ comments mostly seem to be based upon RQ2 or
simplified readings of RQ3: the rules mention foci for spells and
environmental requirements for Sunspear etc, the combat system has lots of
contingencies to avoid people hitting each other w/o effect until someone
runs out of hp ("pain"="fatigue"), etc. Even so, it seems only a matter
of common sense to realize that different assumptions work in games and in
fiction, and that the former will obviously have a higher level of
abstraction and uniformity to make it fun and playable.

     Anyway, I'm not going to rush out and re-work all of the magic in my
campaign to match this (since, while certainly Different, I don't see
that this new system is necessarily Better), but it's still interesting to
me to see a hint of Greg's vision (and how far it's veered in 15-20 years)
and to possibly get an idea of what magic might look like in the new
Glorantha rpg, if and when we see such a thing.

Trent Smith


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