A magic taxonomy, rebuttal

From: Michael C. Morrison 8-543-4706 (mmorrison@vnet.IBM.COM)
Date: Thu 09 Oct 1997 - 00:47:42 EEST

Sergio presents his views of how magic ought to work, both within
Glorantha and from a game point of view. I disagree with using CON
as the primary stat for magic. It's not clear to me whether CON
no longer applies to physical exertion (and disease and poison) or
only to magical exertion and connectedness.

As written, your use of CON makes divine magic users the most
powerful in all Glorantha! You sacrifice CON to the god, but do not
lose any of it ... Either you can sacrifice indefinitely, becoming
very closely tied to the god, and supremely powerful, or the player
must keep track of "real CON" and "sacrificed CON" in order to
maintain balance. Just like POW vs MPs.

If you're going to redesign the magic system, and not be tied to an
existing system (like RQ), why not go all out? Here's my (soon to
be flamed, no doubt) suggestion:

We are all born with physical and magical characteristics. The
physical include one's Size, Strength, Constitution (I like this stat),
Dexterity, Intelligence, and Charisma or Appearance. These stats all
have base values, and some can be trained to higher values. Just like
the RQ system.

Our magical characteristics include one stat for each of the five major
magical systems (as I see them): DIV = divine connection, SPR =
spiritual connection, PRE = presence, DRA = draconic connection, CHS =
chaos connection. Together, these new stats replace what we now know
as POW. We all are all born with these stats, and they all have a

base value of 0 (zero). In other words, we have _no_ magical strength
or ability when we are born. Left in the wild, we would grow up

without magic. Our parents and our society help us learn to use our
innate potential, and train our magical stats up from 0 to some
species-max limit.

So, if you are raised in a Theyalan society, you learn to raise your
DIV, and you gain a connection to one (or possibly more) gods, and
can use divine magic. You might also be taught the rudiments of
a spiritual tradition (the shamanic path), and increase your SPR.
In this tradition, you can cast spirit magic.

True shamans have a high SPR, and can use spirit magic well. Depending
on the culture they're part of, they might also have non-zero values
for some of the other magic stats.

If you are raised in a Malkioni or Mostali society, you would learn to
use your PRE to cast sorcery. I'm using Sandy's sorcery rules update
as the basis for the PRE stat. Because of the beliefs of these societies,
you would be unlikely to learn to use any of your other magical stats.

If you are raised in Kralorela, you would probably learn to use your
DRA to increase your connection to draconic magics. You might also
learn to use your SPR and PRE, and maybe even your DIV. A very
powerful combination, to be sure.

Of course, if you're a Dragonewt, you'll learn DRA only, unless you
go renegade ...

If you are raised in the Lunar Empire or among chaots, you would learn
to use your CHS, your connection to chaos. Some chaos beings have a

non-zero CHS stat from birth! A Lunar would learn to use CHS, DIV, SPR
(maybe), and probably PRE too. Another very powerful combination.

Note that Urox (Storm Bull) and other anti-chaos types deny that we are
born with any CHS. However, having the potential for CHS does explain
how an unwilling being can become tainted with chaos ... Perhaps this
can also explain the rape/chaos connection we've been flogging lately?
Rape adds a tick to your CHS stat, which can be increased ...

Just as RQ had limits for the combination of STR, SIZ, and CON, perhaps
we could add a limitation for DIV, SPR, PRE, and DRA, so that pure
users of one stat have higher limits than those who use more than one
stat. CHS would, of course, be unlimited. Or maybe this would be
simply a game mechanic to keep power gamers at bay? Maybe "real world"
Gloranthans don't have such limits, except those given by their

I realise that everything I've said has a very Genertelan slant to it,
but I'm not too familiar with the magical traditions of Pameltela.

I also know that all of this applies to individual magic, not (the
much needed) communal magic.

Finally, I propose that Lunar Illumination allows us to discover yet
_another_ stat that combines the magic stats with the physical ones
to define our seventh part. In this state, you lose your other stats
and have only the one, ILL. Everything you knew is gone, but now you

know so much more ... You new ILL starts at the value of your highest
other stat (before it goes away...).

Now, I know that many folks are opposed to games with many types of
stat, so I don't mind if you don't like my system. In practice,
a PC would likely only have one or two of these new stats, so you
wouldn't have to track them all.

Waiting for flames,

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Michael C. Morrison Santa Teresa Laboratory Phone (408)463-4706
IMS User Technology IBM Software Solutions Fax (408)463-3696
X.400 Address: G=mcmgm; S=morrison; P=ibmmail; A=ibmx400; C=us
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