Magic Rules

From: Luc Lavergne (
Date: Sun 12 Oct 1997 - 00:15:18 EEST

There was a lot of discussion about what could be the next magic
system to play in glorantha in the last digests. Instead of just
shooting ideas through the WWW, i would like digesters to put on the
digest what they particularly dislike about the current magic system
so that a new system could be structured with these critics in mind.

Also, since AH took back the RQ system in their lair, don't you think
that the next Game For Glorantha is gonna be totally different from
the one we're using ? Is there any trouble in view if the next system
is to close to RQ ?

Here is what I dislike about the current system :

The spirit plane is so important in Glorantha that it should be
described a lot more and be a world where something more than "you
encounter a Spell Spirit with POW 15" or "you must defeat the Man Man"
can happen.

By splitting magic in three systems, it's becoming hard to establish
new forms of magic. Just take Lunar magic, which is based on a mix of
sorcery and spirit magic, but which looks just like a mix of those two
and not a school of magic of its own.

I suggest that we make just two systems : the Effect System and the
Power System. So, we could have a list of the effects possibly made by

any magic in glorantha and a list of ways to acquire the Power to cast
those spells.

This way, you would have a description of Healing Effects, with all
the possibles options like duration, number of HP gained, chances to
heal disease, different ranges, limitations, etc., and a cost related
to each of these parameters.

In the other half of the system, you would identify the source of this
Power. There you would find a description of the ways to acquire
spells, like what is available from your family, from local animistic
spirits, from the temple, from sorcery books research, from spirits
you summonded, etc.

I suggest this because effects don't seem to be so different from one
magic system to the other two, each having its version of healing, of
extra weapon damage, of anything, but with very few flexibility to
them, apart from sorcery, but this is far from perfect. Also, with
this list of effect, it would be easy to make improvised spells, one
of the MAJOR lacks of the RQ rules. Not that I think that everybody
can cast every spell the way he like it but that an Orlanth priest

shoulb be able to raise wind and call clouds in single spell without
having to learn it beforehand. Also, by separating POWER and EFFECT,
you can create new ways to acquire spells, or use the same way to
acquire a different but similar spell, all this preventing the system
to make Glorantha a generic world.

The hard work to do to achieve this is to establish a well balanced
system, with a lot of variables, which isn't time consuming during
play. Maybe most of those little NPCs could just have a list of
effect with variables indicating the powers and limitaions of their
spells, thus, once you know the generic effects of the generic spells,
you don't have to remember the difference between divine healing and
spirit healing and sorcery healing and ritual healing, you just have
to focus on the cost and effect, leaving the POWER part of the magic
rules to the PC's trying to acquire new powers.

On the POW vs CON vs VIT topic :
I don't think any of the suggestion made to replace POW would be any
better during play nor to explain the nature of magic in Glorantha.
But I do like the idea of sacrificing health or fatigue to cast
spells, but this would be for particular forms of magic.

Also, shouldn't we first talk about which characteristics would make
the next system ? Are they gonna be the same, will they be on the same

range, how sould they relate to skills ? These are all preliminary
questions to be answered before going any further in creating
mathematic rules for the next system.

Luc Lavergne
National Animation an Design Centre
Montreal, Canada
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