Magic in Aggar

From: David Millians (
Date: Thu 30 Oct 1997 - 23:35:14 EET

>The Glorantha Digest Tuesday, October 28 1997 Volume 05 : Number 195

        In my game, set in Aggar, there are many types of magic - some
minor, some very potent, some varied - and they have a number of different
applications and practitioners.

        As an example, all of the mainstream Aggari Orlanthi know dozens of
little spells from childhood and young adulthood. They are used to bless
basic activities like waking, crafting, traveling short distances,
sleeping, dreaming, and so forth. Some add a point to a skill being used,
and some are thought to make any use of that skill possible. Many of them,
especially the crafting spells, allow the character to repeat a mnemonic
that makes the skill easier or more structured and successful. They are so
automatic in use that every character has spent a few magic points by the
time he or she sets out for the day, and more than once hidden groups have
given away their position because someone needed to begin an activity that
required a little song-spell.

        Certain cults, clans, and secret socities teach more powerful
versions of these kinds of magics, and many, of course, teach the several
types of more divine magic that are available. Sorceries and various forms
of shamanism are something else still.

        Occasionally one of those simple little spells from childhood to
find a lost lamb or open young ears to the windblown wisdom of the
ancestors has proven surprisingly helpful.

>From: Pasanen Panu <>
> I have thought of farming magic as a sort of
> communal magic, so that no-one in particular would cast any spells.
> They just went to the temple and did their thing, the spells come
> as a bonus for pious worship, without casting. Sort of a blessing.

        Yes, we use lots of magic like this too, but some households or
individuals must perform their own local version, and again there are
spell-songs and spell-chants for most activities and periods of the day.
The Aggari wouldn't even think of them as particularly magical; it's just
how they do things or make the day more pleasant.

> It seems ridiculous to me, that
> while plowing, Farmer Joe would mumble some plowsharpening spell every
> five minutes! It propably would not be needed so often, but still.

        For the Aggari, they are a useful reminder of how to best do the
job, both physically and spiritually, and they remind the spirits of the
surrounding wilderness that this is steadland.

> Warriors are always needed in orlanthi communities. They are almost
> always very highly respected houscarls, not some killer loonies.
> I think their personal magical power would be higher than average
> farmers.

        In Aggar, almost every warrior is also a farmer, and they know
magics in all of the aspects of their life.

>From: "Neil Smith" <>
>Rune magic
>Learning spells:
>Joe Initiate goes to his priest and spends a week learning to
>re-enact 'The Arming of Orlanth' myth. Re-enacting this myth allows
>Joe to give his mail shirt aspects of Orlanth's own magical armour,
>Turnspear. Joe can learn as many myths as the godar is willing to
>teach him.

        Yes, in most versions of divine magic available in my game,
characters can seek as much magic as they want. If the gothi is your
father, a prominant carl, it's usually easier to learn the spell. My
players eagerly spent POW for the benefits of spells, blessings, and bonds.
That's real POWer.

>Casting spells:

        Use of mighty magics is relatively rare in my game these days.
Some players have a number of spells, but they know that using them usually
raises the ante farther than they want to go.

>We've a new PC starting as a Kolating. Does anyone have any hints,
>tips, or points to add flavour to this character? There seems to be
>remarkably little about the Father of Winds.

        The Kolating of the Rockwood Mountain Tribes of Aggar are
considered odd and barbaric by the more mainstream barbarians. Some are
madmen, and some are shapechangers. They are heirs to an earlier, less
predictable magic. Their knowledge is eclectic and varied, depending on
with whom they've studied. Their magic tends to be Sympathetic, drawing on
sites and paths of power lying among these trans-Himalayan peaks.

        For inspiration, I draw on the classic shamanism of the Finnish,
Uralic, and Siberian peoples. It's wonderfully otherworldly.

        We have fun.

        David Millians


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