Magical taxonomy, replies

From: Michael C. Morrison 8-543-4706 (mmorrison@VNET.IBM.COM)
Date: Thu 16 Oct 1997 - 00:42:38 EEST

Rick Meints on stats:
> I think that there are probably already too many, and if
> a new system does come out, it will probably have far fewer.

Perhaps we could go all the way, and reduce down to two stats:
PHY for the physical self, and MAG for the magical self. Then, all
intellectual and emotional traits become skills that one learns (or
forgets ...). I see this as a viable counter proposal to my plethora
of magical stats added to the several physical ones in RQ.

>> 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

> This system sucks.

While you have the right to your opinion, I disagree with your later
comments that suggest that even a newborn could do magic in Glorantha,
with no training or cultural influence at all. Just sack POW and bang!
Or drift off to the spirit plane and gain spirit magic, just like that!
Or _somehow_ do sorcery; it's easy! I say bleah ...

Dave Cake:
> ;Which would seem to preclude the possibility that you can be
> magically intrinsically tough without studying a particular tradition.

Yes, it would.

Gloranthans are born with the _potential_ for magic in a magical world.
My proposed system says that with no training, no help from any sources,
a person would not learn how to increase or use that potential, and so
would not be able to "do" magic. Being raised in a particular culture

gives you the information or spiritual knowledge you need to use your
magical potential. Or being visited by spirits or gods or other beings
from the otherworld can give that information or knowledge. A Gloranthan
in a spiritual and cultural vacuum does no magic, IMHO.

A side effect of this view is that standard creatures (fixed INT) also
have a potential for magic, but never learn to use it. A creature that
can use magic is special, a magical creature, I don't want every rabbit
in the forest casting spells left and right for every possible purpose.
Glorantha is magical, not ridiculous.

David again:
>>In other words, we have _no_ magical strength
>>or ability when we are born. Left in the wild, we would grow up
>>without magic.
>;And in Glorantha, this is not the case - beings have an intrinsic
>non-zero ability to resist magic.

True enough. My proposed system would need to have some way to account
for this. We could bring in yet another stat, but that might be
overkill. Perhaps the two stat system I propose above is for the
best after all? Then we use MAG as the resist-magic stat.

Nikk E:
> The idea of seperate stats, such as PRE, DRA etc.. is interesting -
> but how would it work in practice? Wouldn't it make the magic systems
> very similar, but using a different stat

Current RQ has several different systems of magic all using one stat:
POW. By using different stats, you could make the distinctions between
the systems even greater. And even more bizarre for a user of one
system when he or she encounters a user of a different system -- he or
she wouldn't even have the common stat; the new system would be totally
alien. And from a game POV, you couldn't train in different systems
easily because you'd be an absolute beginner in a new system, with your
stat for that system at or near zero.

On the other hand, I hadn't worked out how the systems would work; I
only came up with the stats. More work would need to be done ...

David also comments on the need for classification of the different
gods and traditions.
> Is Daka Fal 'spiritual' or 'divine'? Which one is the Arkat
> Kingtroll cult? Is a connection to a chaos god chaos or divine? What abou
> a god thats only mildly chaos tainted?

In my proposed system, all gods are divine. Daka Fal's spiritual
connection means that the people who worship DF also follow a shamanic
tradition, and use two stats: DIV and SPR. The god is divine, but his

teachings and cultural background can be spiritual or of any path.

As for chaos, as the Orlanthi are wont to say, any chaos is all chaos.
But I would limit this statement to refer to gods, not cultures ...

>>If you are raised in the Lunar Empire or among chaots, you would learn
>>to use your CHS, your connection to chaos.
>;But then again, presuming everyone in the Lunar Empire is chaotic
>just goes to show that Michael is wildly out of touch....

Did I say everyone in the Lunar Empire was chaotic?! Read my post
carefully before you accuse me of being "wildly out of touch". As any
good Lunar will tell you, chaos is not to be feared (even if some
creatures of chaos are), it is to be used to the greater glory of the
Red Goddess. Not everyone will develop his or her connexion with
chaos, but everyone recognises its usefulness and their potential to use

it. This is one of the reasons Sartarites hate the Lunars. Or am I
so out of touch that the Lunars are not as I remember them? I defer
to Nick ...

> Doing magic consumes VIT: it destroys life.

I disagree that doing magic destroys life. IMG, magic is an integral
part of the world. Using magic is no more detrimental to the person
or the world than breathing air or eating food. Or maybe magic can be

tiring to use, but that is not because magic is bad (a destroyer), but
for other reasons. Below is my theory, some of which is not orthodox:

Lemma 1: Magic (all forms) is endemic to the world of Glorantha.
Corollary: All beings have the potential to use magic. Some creatures
have no training, and thus do not use magic, others do.

Lemma 2: The world of Glorantha is changing, and has changed greatly
over time.

Theorem: Access to magic by nondivine creatures is becoming more
difficult as the world changes. Eventually, the world will be magical
with no one able to use its magic.

Evidence: In the Gods' Age, everyone did magic; practically everyone
was a god. After the Gods' War, Time put a reign on who could do magic
and where. I hypothesise that this is when we first see a split between
the God Plane, Hero Plane, Spirit Plane, and Mundane Plane. This is
also when True Dragons and True Giants make themselves scarce.

In later ages, magic was plentiful, and many incredible things were done.
In the Second Age, the God Learners used the magic to such a degree that
the world was nearly destroyed. The world changed, making God Learner
magic impossible. I hypothesise that other magic became harder too.

In the Third Age, the Hero Wars nearly destroy the world. The world
changes again, making magic for all nearly impossible. See KoS for
further evidence from the Fourth Age.

Therefore, in the Third Age, magic can cause fatigue for a mortal, just
as Sergio and others have suggested. But only because magic is harder
to get to, not because it destroys life.

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Michael C. Morrison Santa Teresa Laboratory Phone (408)463-4706
IMS User Technology IBM Software Solutions Fax (408)463-3696
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