A magical taxonomy (cont.)

From: Sergio Mascarenhas (sermasalmeida@mail.telepac.pt)
Date: Thu 09 Oct 1997 - 00:05:31 EEST


 Andrew Barton:
<< Sergio: 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. Andrew: This doesn't seem to work well in Glorantha. >>
I would say: 'this doesn't seem to work well in RQ.' I was very clear when
I said I was thinking about a new magic system created from scratch. We
don't need to base it in RQ. Of course, RQ is a stable and tested game
system that is a great inspiration. But the new Gloranthan game can change
things a lot.

<< What about spirits, which have no CON and porbably no fatigue? >>
These are RQ characteristics. In my proposal spirits have VITality this
substitutes for CON. But you are right, there is much in my proposal that
must be perfected. I didn't sort out yet the fatigue part of the equation.

Beyke, Maurice:
<< BTW, I am not all that enamored with my title of Native magic >>
My proposal is to call it 'traditional magic'. Does this seem right to you?

<< What about the family magics my father teaches me, or the mason's magic
I learned the summer I got a job in town with my uncle the builder?
Ordinary people should be able to pass on ordinary magic. >>
I agree with this. I will return to this point in a future GD.

<< One of the main reasons I don't like Spirit magic as is that it's
unclear what it's supposed to be. You can't study it or train in it, so
it's not like traditional magic spells, or any other skills. >>
That's why I call it traditional magic...

<< I don't much care for getting rid of POW (...) but getting rid of it
and basing magic on physical abilities I think is inaccurate and will have
unfortunate side effects. >>
I base magic on VIT which I proposed as a combination of POW and CON on a
single stat. VIT is not physical. It is the force that makes possible life
to steam from physical matter. It's the other way round: physical abilities
are based on magic through VIT.

 Trotsky asks lots of interesting questions:
 << 'Sergio: When you sacrificed all your CON, you commited yourself fully
to the service of the god.'
Trotsky: So you're putting a limit on the number of divine spells you can
learn? Not so bad, I suppose, but I still don't like the idea of that limit
being CON. This allows fit, outdoors types with high CON to have a greater
range of magic than the more scholastic type. While that has a certain
logic to it with many cults (Orlanth, Humakt, Yara Aranis) it still doesn't
feel right for cults such as Lhankor Mhy or Malkion. >>
Good question. I had to change my approach, so here it goes: First a
question I didn't raise before, but it is time to share it: I don't like
spells in cults. I mean, worshipers shouldn't learn and use spells. They
ask for the grace of the god and its intervention. That intervention is a
particular divine deed - a 'miracle'. The so-called 'divine spells' are
only the description of the deeds that the god is reported to have done in
the past for his followers. You study the miracles of your god AND the
holly person that called for it. If you are a good worshiper, you know
about these myths of your cult. When asking for the intervention of the god
you would do something like this: 'remember oh mighty Humakt what you did
for Arkat and fill me with his spirit and grace me with his strengh bla,
bla, bla.'. You don't learn spells, you learn the myths of the cult. This
doesn't require VIT (maybe INT ?). That way it 'feels right' for the
Lhankor Mhy priest: he can have a wider choice of divine magic because a
scholar is supposed to have high INT...
If you are a realy good worshiper, you will heroquest, join the hall of
heroes and introduce a new myth in the cult.

 << me: 'From the point of view of the 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.' Trotsky: But if you have a
higher CON to start with, then you can sacrifice more, and thus get a wider
range of spells. The person with a CON of 7 is always at a disadvantage
compared to the person with a CON of 15, and where magic is concerned, I
still don't think they should be.>>
I wasn't clear about this point. What I ment was the relative commitment,
not the absolute commitment. A person with 7 VIT that sacrificed 7 to the
god made a 100% commitment to the god. A person with 15 VIT that sacrificed
9 to the god made a 60% commitment. From the god's point of view (if gods
do have a point of view...) the first reveals that he his a more dedicated
worshiper then the second.

<< Trotsky: But it sure as heck *helps* to have a high CON under your
system. Two people with equal commitment, but with widely varying CONs will
not succeed equally (...) >>
This is true but there is another point I didn't make before: from the
cult's perspective, a priest's contribution is not only his personnal VIT
but also the VIT of the cult members he brings to the cult. So, in
assessing the contribution of the priest, we must account for the dimension
of the community of worshipers he leads and how much dedicated to the god
this community is. This as to do with what I call Collective Magic. I will
send my musings on this issue in the near future.

<< Me: '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).' Trotsky: But surely we need some kind of mechanic to know
how effective the spell is and whether or not it works? There's a limit to
how far I'm prepared to wing it... >>
Yes, I agree with this comment. I'm sorting out the answer. All I can say
for the time beeing is that it may envolve all or some of the next
components: charisma (when RQ 3 was designed someone took the unfortunate
decision of substituting charisma with appearance); personnality traits;
magic points; a skill like myth lore; a new attribute called 'holiness';
collective magic.

<< Me: 'c) Runes: you don't resist spells that are based on runes you are
connected with.' Trotsky: Surely the runic basis of disruption is
'death' though? This means Humakti can't resist disruption, which puts them
at a distinct disadvantage in a fight. >>

The word 'connected' is misleading in this context. What I ment when I
spoke about runes you are connected to is the runes that define what you
are NOW as a creature. Man is connected to the man rune. Trolls are
connected to the darkness and the man rune. Elfs to the plant and man rune.
And so on. These runes define what you are. You don't resist magic that
involves those runes.
What about your cult runes? These runes don't define what you are but what
you are trying to become! A sword lord dedicated his life to the Humakt
way; he expects to become one of the heroes of Humakt figting by his god's
side for eternity in the afterlife; the sword lord his working hard to
achieve that status but he is not there yet; until the moment Humakt calls
him to is side (thati is, until he dies) he his not fully connected to
death he his not a manifestation of death.

Best,

Sergio Mascarenhas

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