Greg, magic, Glorantha and RQ

From: reaper@sound.net
Date: Tue 06 May 1997 - 07:04:03 EEST


Pete N here.

  I enjoyed Greg's take of magic and Glorantha. Some I agree with, some not,
some might lead to better fiction, some better or worse RPG, depends on
your defination of MGF. Remember it's opinion. But it's not wild or silly,
I like a lot of it.

Personally, I don't take it too far. It's one thing to say who the Gods are,
the myths, the history etc... As the creator of Glorantha and it's legal
agent Greg controls commercial publications. Since he has chosen to leave it
(for a while) RPG-less, people will still play, RQ rules for for now, when
another game comes out, things will splinter to RQ and GtheG fans.

   Greg is right. Many RPGs make magic too common, less special. I think it is
easier to maintain that "feel" in fiction or your mind. The translation to an
RPG is hard. You have to create a world through mechanics. The rules are often
inflexible. But Greg has also lost total control. He starting losing the day he
shared it with somebody else.

    With fiction. The interaction is low. The author writes oneway to the
audience.
Fandoms, friends, other professionals gave feedback. RPGs and the community,
they
spawned are more interactive. The author generally works through a intermediary,
the GM and we see more feedback. The Internet and gaming community are
increasing
the level of interaction.

  Over time, enough people will tie into Net publishing of Gloranthan ideas
that Greg
will only be able to control for profit publications. I could name ten
people that
are crucial to Gloranthan development as Greg. BTW, I don't want this to be
taken
as a dump on Greg piece. At times, I'm awed ar Greg as the Visionary,
Author, Businessman and a person able to attract interesting people to him.

  Glorantha and RPGs. RQ fueled a lot of the growth of Glorantha. It helped form
Glorantha as much as Glorantha formed it. But RQ only one way to play in
Glorantha.
We see the rise of freeforms at Glorantha Cons. In the same issue Stephen posted
Greg's article, another listmember said he runs Glorantha in Rolemaster. I've
also heard of GURPS, HERO. Pendragon (or Pendragon Pass) may be the roots to
the
next RPG. I hope to live to see Glorantha the CD-ROM game (along with a CD-ROM
encyclopedia) and later Glorantha VR. I'm surprised there isn't a Gloranthan
MUD.

   I've seen various levels of magic and totally different playstyles in
Glorantha
RQ games. I've not sure I've seen a ressurection in games I played in. But I've
seen what would be called liberal DI. The level of magic access to PCs I'd
say has
gone from high to medium. I don't curently have a group I play with in KC
here but
if I start GMing again I'd change from my last style. Not to make my game
more Greg,
but because I like ideas he and many others have proposed. I've changed
since picked
up RQ II, Greg has changed. I've seen some friends move on to other games
because
they didn't care for the direction of professional development of RQ/Glorantha.
I've had mixed feelings over time my self. Nothing stops any of us from
going their
own path.
            Pete

> 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
>
>
>
>------------------------------
>
>From: Paolo Guccione <p.guccione@geco.it>
>Date: Sun, 04 May 1997 13:50:20 +0200
>Subject: Re: Greg on Magic in Glorantha
>
>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 p.guccione@geco.it
> http://www.geco.it/~guccione

> From: ilium@juno.com (Stephen P Martin)
> Date: Sat, 03 May 1997 19:27:10 EDT
> Subject: Greg on Magic in Glorantha
>
>
>Steve Martin (quoting Greg):
>
> <<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.>>
>
> I'd always assumed this to be the case anyway.
>
> <<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.>>
>
> DI doesn't exist in my campaign. Does this count as 'far less
>accessible'? :-)
>
>
> All hail the Reaching Moon
> Trotsky
>

------------------------------

End of Glorantha Digest V4 #386
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