Re: Greg on Magic in Glorantha

From: Paolo Guccione (
Date: Sun 04 May 1997 - 14:50:20 EEST

Thanks to Stephen Martin for his Illuminating posting. Is it still
Greg's POV or it has been gregged?

Some speculations of mine, now.

> Using any of those magics causes people to tire.

This suggests that matrices and crystals are far less common than they
are in our RQ games. In fact, I am totally against external MP sources,
which are clearly a game construct.

> Miraculous spells are known by holy folk. Almost anyone who fits within
> the community has something divine which touches them. Most people use it
> only at the appropriate holy days, of course, to link up with their deity
> and empower it with their personal attention.

This supports Nick Brooke's idea of the HHD as the time of the year when
everybody can cast their magic freely.

> Battle Magic: These spells are not always successful, nor simply based on
> some statistic. They work more quickly and efficiently when they are used
> often (thus, a Humakti's Bladesharp is probably more likely to work than
> an Orlanthi's). They require some time to cast. They have visual effects
> to people who can see the magical energies of the world.

I had a discussion with Peter Metcalfe and Erik Sieurin (I believe it
was them) on this digest some time ago about Low Magic in the
Lightbringer cults. Everybody agreed that worshippers had some sort of
means of manipulating their Battle Magic with something similar to
sorcerous Intensity, though we could not agree what skill or stat
determined the degree of manipulation a cultist had access to. Here Greg

seems to confirm that there is some sort of "skill" related to casting
Battle Magic, and that some cults, and some members within the same
cults, are better at casting some spells.

> Rune Spells: These all require some standard environmental settings to
> work. Sunspear cannot work when the sun is down. Thunderbolt (blasting
> down from the clouds) cannot work without dense clouds in the sky. Also,
> ALL Rune Magic requires that the individual conform to cult ideals for
> the spells to work. A gentle, non-lethal Humakti would lose access to his
> divine magic.

Incidentally, this confirms the validity of my Rune Magic system, where
the number of points of RM you can cast depends on Runes that you earn
for good performance during Holy Day rituals and for roleplaying in
accordance to your deity's dictates, not on the number of POW points you
gained from successfully casting Demoralize at stupid trollkin. (OK, OK,
I get to check the Proud trait on my character sheet...)

> Divine Intervention is far less accessible than in the RuneQuest game,
> and cannot be used as a generalized "wish" spell. The gods can only do
> what they do. Transporting folks from a disaster is not what most of them
> can do.

Most of us had already agreed on this one.

> It is not necessary to have specific spells, as in RuneQuest. In general,
> priests ae dedicated to a single deity, whose supernatural feats can be
> reproduced on a minor level by invoking their internal power. Orlanthi
> can then use any of the listed Orlanthi "spells." The relative success
> depends solely upon the dedication of the individual to the deity.
> Someone who has spent years living an exemplary life will access more
> powerful effects than a newcomer who is half-hearted. For instance, an
> old faithful Orlanthi priest can summon up a huge wind, while a part-time
> acolyte can get only a breeze.

This definitely "blesses" RunePower, instead. Note, though, that Greg
hints at some limitation in the effects obtained, related to how "close"
to the deity the worshiper is. Someone suggested a "stacking limit" for
RunePower, which I like. I still think that in game terms, the number of
"spell points" a priest can cast together is roughly equivalent to the
number of times he has ritually performed the HeroQuest related to the
spell. A better intimate knowledge of the deity's myth is necessary to
evoke more powerful effects.

Paolo Guccione


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