rules, rules, rules

From: David Cake (davidc@cyllene.uwa.edu.au)
Date: Sat 18 Oct 1997 - 06:29:21 EEST


David (me) takes arms against a sea of strange rules suggestions, but first
>>At the Victoria convention, Greg was passing around art from an unreleased
>>computer game.
>>David Dunham <mailto:dunham@pensee.com>
>The above gets my vote for "tease of the year". Anyone have any MORE info
>than this?

        Yes.

- -.and back to the rules discussions... Michael Morrison first..

>>> 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.

        Magical ability, maybe maybe not. But your sustem definately
suggests that we have no magical strength, including strength to resist,
when we are born, or if we are an untrained animal, and we know that this
is simply not true in Glorantha. Animals certainly are able to resist
magic, and various big dumb creatures are also very magic resistant.

>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.

        Unfortunately, your system also suggested that anyone is basically
defenceless against magic unless trained, which is not true. Also, learning
magic does not necessarily consist of knowledge or training in a tradition.
Magic can be a single secret whispered to you by a spirit, or whatever.
Gloranthan magic ability can not be simply summed up by a 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.

        But then all having things based on a single stat would tend to
imply a certain similarity of mechanics that isn't there now. Not to
mention everyone having this OTHER stat (be it the strangely
all-encompassing MAG or something else) that doesn't really seem to have a
lot to do with anything else...

>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.

        So, what is more alien? Meeting someone whose magic works by
completely different methods, or someone who uses pretty similar mechanics
but who has a STAT named differently? The thinking here seems to be pretty
rules centric.

>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.

        I see a few options here, none of which I like
1) all cultists that happen to have shamanic leaders have their magic
ability arbitrarily split between two stats, while other cults just don't?
(I bet one or the other wins hugely out of this, but in any case the
artificial distinction seems pretty unnecessary - and shouldn't the two
stats actually reflect, well, much the same thing?)
or
2) all cultists (as all cults use either spirit magic or low sorcery) have
their magical ability split in two? Seems rather overcomplicated, and
again, don't the two numbers reflect much the same thing
or
3) we try and pretend that most cults use only divine.

>As for chaos, as the Orlanthi are wont to say, any chaos is all chaos.

        Which would reduce the somewhat more sophisticated
chaotic/semi-chaotic cults to somewhat one-dimsionality, not to mention
ignore the fact that chaotic cults often do use the same magic techniques
as other cults. If chaos magic is something somehow completely different,
then it becomes a distressingly simple thing to argue whether something is
chaotic or not, which we know is not always the case.Its more fun to,
rather than having a 'chaos number', just have it all come out in
play.Having a chaos rating makes so many nice story ideas difficult.

>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.

        The vast majority of the people in the Lunar Empire are not Lunars,
and fear chaos as much as anybody else. And most of the good Lunars fear it
too, just admit that it can be sometimes controlled, and the Lunar empire
can use its power. Think nuclear energy - some people admit its usefulness,
but no one wants to be anywhere near it, and the bombs come from the same
source, and everyone is terrified of those. Of course, the Illuminated
position is somewhat more sophisticated, but they are a vanishingly small
%age of the population.
        So, if instead of saying
>>>If you are raised in the Lunar Empire or among chaots, you would learn
>>>to use your CHS, your connection to chaos.
        You had said something like
'If you are raised among chaotics, or one of the very few Lunars who
contact and use chaotic powers'
        I might have been a bit more sympathetic.

        But enough of picking minor holes in the arguments, lets just go
direct to the two things that I see as wrong here
1) There is extra stuff in there that doesn't really need to be there. If
you have a stat that represents your 'innate' magic strength (ability to
resist magic), then you don't need a whole bunch of other stats to
represent other sorts. Considering that a new magic stat doesn't replace
the complex bunch of magic items, myriads of specific spells, collection of
spirits, and so on that are the norm for powerful RQ magicians, another
stat is only going to make things worse.
2) It reinforces the Sorcery/Spirit/Divine neat split, which a good reading
of Gods of Glorantha or similar will show is simply not Gloranthan. Most
shamans use divine magic, and their shamanic initiation is the same as
their rise to priesthood. Stygian heretics, Arkati, and other cults combine
sorcery with a divine cult. Priests of cults without shamans still summon
spirits and teach spirit magic. Cults like the Red Goddess and Godunya
dance on the border between sorcery and spirit magic. A neat split into
magic systems is not how it works.
        So a system that has a neat stat for each 'magic system'
a) discourages a proper Gloranthan approach
b) ends up being pretty messy, with just about everyone having more than
one type of magic anyay.

        I see many many paths to power, that take a wide variety of routes
to the heights of power, a labyrinth of different options, each cult
knowing one path. Whereas the RQ3 Magic book, which inspires the three
distinct paths school of thought, seems to think that there are just three
mountains, and you can only climb one at a time.
- -..grumble... grumble.... bloody RQ3 magic book.... grumble....grumble....

So, what would I propose in its place?
First, one magic STAT. Lets call it POW.
Second, skills reflecting knowledge in each particular magical path. For
example, rather than having SPIR8/DIV12 or whatever, you have Daka Fal 20,
which teaches you about your ancestors, trading with them, communing with
them, learning spells from them, about the lore of Daka Fal, about his
secret places in the spirit world, etc. But doesn't teach you anything that
would be particularly applicable to Humakt worship or contacting fire
spirits. Whether Enchanting, Summoning, Ceremony should remain separate I'm
not sure.

Passo
> I like the idea of having lunar magic available to illuminates only.
> But I do not like the rules interpretation of it, for now.

        I'm not entirely convinced either. But I think the Red Goddess path
is about more than just Illumination, as well. Illumination is an important
step on the path, but I wouldn't want to imply that Lunar magic is ABOUT
Illumination, just that Lunar magic presupposes Illumination. I think the
Lunars are simply able to manipulate deeper secrets, because they have more
insight. I don't mind current Lunar magic because it implies that the
Lunars can really use all sorts of magic, but they have a greater insight
and ability than others, which sounds alright to me.

        Remember, to the Lunars Illumination is the unpredictable seventh
part of the path, but the other 6 are important. You strive to follow the
6th parts of the path, and the 7th sneaks up on you and strikes at any
time. So Lunar magic is about the whole 7 parts - just thinking of it as
'Illumination magic' is not right.

        Cheers

                David

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