From: Olof Nergard (
Date: Fri 10 Oct 1997 - 18:08:25 EEST

     My 2 cents on magic systems.
     According to my view of systems there can be two different approaches
     to designs of magic systems.
- Magical grammar which can explain the magic in detail.
- Storytelling approach which could be described as learning by
     The first is best represented by Fantasy Hero/ Champions role playing
     game. Where everything about a spells, characteristics and skills
     costs character points and thus balances the whole.

     This approach have the advantage of just defining the effect of the
     spells and then by the magical rules design the power-level of the
     spell. It's then up to the GM to give flavors to the players.
     The second leaves the designing of spells and game balance entirely up
     to the game master and if he is weak leaves the inconsistent rules
     open for abuse. This could work very well if the characters don't
     insist on knowing how the magic works and to know the exact number of
     dice to roll for damage each time. But even the best game master would
     have enormous problems of devising new spells and effects at game time
     and still keep the game balance.
     Thus there are two separate discussions hidden in this discussion.
     These are which base system should one use and second how do the
     magical Glorantha work. For question number one I think one could use
     either Gurps, FH/ Champions or Ars Magicka to implement ANY magic
     systems so I think the discussion should concentrate on the magics of
     Glorantha regardless of stats.
     Thus are Spirit Magic learned from spirits and used as sorcery or do
     the spirits perform the magic for a small exchange of gift (drop of
     blood, spiritual force)
     What gifts do the gods require to perform the acts the characters
     want? Do the hero powers come as knowledge or as a mystical ability?

     Do the sorcerers manipulate the universe with their own will power
     (not the one discussed on hero quests) or do they have demons which
     acts like personal assistants.
     These are the questions I want answered.
     To illustrate the difference. If a sorcerer casts a spell and loses
     CON we are limited to the unbalanced language of RQ-rules. If a
     sorcerer casts a spell and is aged 5 years we are talking about how
     the magic affects our characters in Glorantha.
     /Olof Nergard - Uppsala Sweden


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