Re: The Glorantha Digest V5 #423

From: allen wallace (
Date: Mon 16 Feb 1998 - 06:30:43 EET

Hi all,

The following is my idea of how Glorantha works, at least from one of my
character's perspective. Does it fit anyone elses views?

Eshaella on Gloranthan Magic

   Magic on Glorantha is varied and sometimes follows apparently
contradictory laws. This is made even more muddled with different groups
fostering untrue beliefs to advance their own causes, or just because they
dont understand and come to fear and hate different magic styles.
Essentially there are two basic approaches to Magic; the Shamanic or
Spirit traditions, and the Sorcery traditions. I include Divine magic with
the Spirit tradition, as they have very similar approaches. Within these

traditions exist a great deal of variety in approaches, but the essential
act of casting a spell is remarkably similar. I have experienced Ritual
magic as a wholly different magic form, but this does not always seem to
be the case. I attribute this to my theory that there are many separate,
but nearly identical Gloranthas.It is my theory that, as an outgrowth of
the hero plane, the real world is altered and new worlds are created with
each and every major heroquest. How an individual travels between these
worlds I do not know, but I have done so on several occasions. I havent
been able to prove this though. I have met a Sword of Humakt who claimed
to have travelled down the River of Cradles with Argrath in a Giant Cradle
not once but three separate times. I have talked to Argrath and he insists

that he has done nothing of the kind, but agrees that it would be a good
thing if he did.

The spirit tradition involves creating attachments with other entities or
fragments of entities. These entities actually perform the magic, not the
spirit mage. The spirit mages generally gain their spells by encountering

a magically entity usually referred to as a spell spirit. The mages will
usually engage these spirits in spirit combat, essentially a battle of
wills, and if victorious take the knowledge of the spell from the spirit.
In actuality the mages are taking a portion of that spirit and attaching
it to their own spirit. In casting a spell the spirit mage provides the
magic energy and commands or coaxes the fragmentary spell spirit to
perform the magic. With divine magic, the magician is making a much more
encompassing bond with their deity. The sacrifice for a divine spell seems
to alter the a part of the spirit of the magician to conformwith a facet
of the deity. It is this altered spirit fragment tat actually performs the
magic. If these spirit fragments are taken from the mage, the mage retains
no knowledge or ability to perform that magic.

The sorcery tradition involves the sorcerer studying magic, particularly
magic spells, to be able to create, with time and mental labor, a magical
pattern and impress it upon the sorcerers own spirit, or a spirit the
sorcerer has significant contact with. It is this pattern that is actually
performing the magic.The sorcerer is performing magic directly when
creating the pattern. As the sorcerer is very familiar with the way these

patterns work , she can use special techniques to modify the patterns in
specific ways. If these patterns are taken from the sorcerer, the sorcerer
is unable to cast spells, just like spirit tradition mages. The primary
difference is that the sorcerer retains the knowledge to create another
spell pattern. Sorcery spells tend to be much more limited in scope than
their spirit magic counterparts, This is mostly due to the limitations of
a created pattern as compared to even a fragmentary spirit.

I have experienced Ritual magic as a totally separate magic form, but it
is not always so. It seems to depend on which Glorantha you are in. Where
it is a truly different form, it is the only time where the mage is
actually performing the magic. In this case, the knowledge of the ritual,
and skills with rituals in general, are all that is required for the
magic. These rituals cannot be gained from spell spirits or the like but
must be learned. The pattern for the ritual cannot be enchanted to allow
someone who has not learned the ritual to perform it. If this is not the
case, then a ritual is a special form of sorcery pattern, or spirit
fragment, that is more difficult to influence.

Let me know what you think


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