A magic taxonomy (continued)

From: Sergio Mascarenhas (sermasalmeida@mail.telepac.pt)
Date: Tue 07 Oct 1997 - 13:29:51 EEST

I said
<<My major question is: do we really need power and magic points? IMO be =
don't. Instead of Power we should use Constitution and instead of MP we =
should use Hit Points or Fatigue. Magic is a natural act for mundane =3D
beeings in Glorantha that should be done based on the same =3D
characteristics of any other mundane action.>>

<< Personally, I rather like the image of a person who is physically =
but has great magical power, say an elderly Malkioni wizard or Lhankor =
scholar. If magic is based on CON/hit points you can't do this >>

Whe have to distinguish here how magic works in different magic systems:

1. Sorcery (your physically frail elderly Malkioni wizard)
When I talked about 'magic components' I missed one: skill. As I said, =
basic sorcery spells require a HP sacrifice to be learned and no =
sacrifice to be used. If you want to boost the spell or manipulate it to =
powerful efects, you have two choices: a) sacrifice HP or CON ('I want =
him dead and I will pay whichever I have to'); b) You developed the =
skill that allows you to boost it without a greater sacrifice. Your =
frail wizard is powerful, not because he has greater magical resources =
then anybody else (in other words, HP and CON) but because he KNOWS how =
- - he as the skill - to use his very limited resources in an incredible =
effective way. A wyzard can make a world out of nothing! The choice a) =
also allows an unskilled but very ambitious or passionate sorceror to do =
powerful wizardry if his ambition or passion leads him to pay the price =
(in HP or CON).

2. Cultists
I said:
<<The most powerful magic would require the sacrifice of constitution or
other characteristics (the RQ example would be divine spells).>>
<<Unless you have 'CON gain rolls' somebody with lots of divine spells
would actually have a lot less magical strength than a lower level =
(albeit more he could do with that strength). Neither of these options =
right to me.>>
a) In RQ rules, if you sacrifice for a divine spell you loose the =
corresponding CON. Why? My proposal is: you don't. The CON sacrificed =
for the spell is not lost. So if you have 15 CON and sacrificed 12 for =
Lhankor Mhy spells, you still have your 15 CON. Look at it this way: =
your CON is a circle. The god's CON is another cirlce. Before your =
initiation, these two cyrlces don't intersect. When you start =
sacrificing, they will intersect meaning you became to a certain extent =
part of the god. When you sacrificed all your CON, you commited yourself =
fully to the service of the god. From the point of view of thr cult, =
what is more important is not how much CON you have but how much you =
sacrificed since this measures how much you commited yourself to the =
cult. If you are a cultist of more then a cult, you will never be able =
to commit yourself fully to any of them what expains why you can't =
achieve an high status in any of them...
b) The 'power' of the spell should not be based only on the CON you =
sacrificed (like it happens in RQ). It should also refflect the god's =
will and how well the character behaved according to the comandments of =
the cult (two issues to be dealt by the GM as the result of =
role-playing, not game mechanics). Suppose you are a healer: Chalana =
Arroy graced you with the power to ressurect but this power is to be =
used wisely. Does the recipient of ressurection deserves a second =
chance? Was he a respected person in the community or his he needed by =
the community? Do his gods aprove the ressurection? Whould he want to =
ressurect? All such factors should matter when determining if the =
ressurection worked out.
c) An issue that I am going to adress in a future issue of GD: there =
should be some way of doing collective magic in cults (I plainly agree =
with Boris in this). The most important activity of priests is =
conducting cult activities and ensuring people are faithful followers of =
the god. Most of these activities don't require CON (or POW).
Conclusion: You don't need to have a very high CON to be a powerful =
priest. All you need is a strong commitment, a daily respect of your =
god's commandments, and to be a good leader of the community.

3. Shamans
a) The power of a shaman results from his ability to atract and 'use' =
spirits and otherworld creatures. The shaman is a 'polititian' of the =
spirit plane. This means that the spirit plane should be better =
described than it has been in the past (unlike the god's plane and the =
mundane plane). This is uncharted and unexplored terrain in Glorantha. =
Spirits shouldn't be looked at like tools. Plenty of work t be done =
b) As I said, spirit magic is (in my words) 'personnal magic' like =
sorcery. The main difference is that sorcery resulted from a rational =
research while spirit magic resulted from tradition. Like a sorceror, a =
shaman should have some skills that he would develop in order to boost =
the power of his spells.
c) The third point I will not address now and it's called FETCH. IMO the =
fetch is one of the most intriguing and underused elements in RQ's magic =
rules. It has a lot of potential but was never explored fully. (Why? Ask =
tho the people that developed RQ.) Of course, in my approach the fetch =
would have CON instead of POW.

4. Magic items
I see two possibility here:
a) Items that change the characteristics of magic. Some like iron - =
metals? - make magic more difficult to perform so that you need a =
greater sacrifice to atain the effect you want. Others allow to boost =
the power of magic with a smaller sacrifice (that would be the case of =
POW storing artifacts or crystals: they wouldn't store nothing).
b) Others would acquire CON.

5. Resisting magic
a) It depends on the type of spell or magic. If the spell generates =
physical manifestations - like bladesharp or disruption - it should work =
only at the physical level according to mundane rules (nothing new =
here). A lot of spells would work this way.
b) The general principle would be: You resist magic with the stat that =
the spell affects. His he trying to heal you? resit him with CON. His he =
trying to beffudle you? Resist him with INT. Notice that many of the =
spells that can be resisted deal with the 'mind' and would be resisted =
with INT. Since most magicians have high INT, they have a better =
resistance then the common creature.
c) Runes: you don't resist spells that are based on runes you are =
connected with. A dragonewt can't resist spells that are based on the =
dragonewt rune, a troll doesn't resist spells that work with the =
darkness rune, and so on (that requires all spells to have their runic =
basis described. IMO this is a good thing from a role playing point of =

6. Gaining CON
I suppose that using magic could allow you to gain CON but I don't know =

A final comment: Sacrificing CON or HP should be painful and could =
require some level of WILLPOWER...


Sergio Mascarenhas


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