Re: Eshaella on Gloranthan Magic

From: Nick Brooke (
Date: Mon 16 Feb 1998 - 12:16:10 EET

Allen posts a character-POV article on Gloranthan Magic.

It would be useful to know more about this character. He/she seems
to be a sorcerer (denigrating Divine Magic as just another form of
shamanic/spirit magic): the detached POV appears most appropriate
for this, but then it's odd that sorcery is so denigrated ("weaker
than spirit magic"). If OTOH the character is a user of Divine Magic,
it'd be weird for them to have such a contemptuous theory about how
their God's magic works ("just like a bigger form of spell spirit").

> 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. =

Now this sounds bizarre. I can live with "Gloranthas" in which this
does (or doesn't) happen, but running the Cradle as an annual event,
and then crossing between game worlds such that a Humakti who's been
through the Cradle scenario three times can meet Eshaella, who knows
Argrath but has never heard of the Cradle -- that's confusing. What
were the circumstances? Or did this happen in RQ Tournament Limbo?

> 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...

I doubt any worshipper would do so.

> The spirit tradition involves creating attachments with other enti-
> ties or fragments of entities. These entities actually perform the
> magic, not the spirit mage.

That's an interesting model, but I'm not sure it's the status quo.
The shaman or spellcaster steals the relevant knowledge or ability
from the spell spirit (by winning the fight), and can thereafter do
it him/herself. When we were building RQ4 these many years ago, the
discussion included variant models for spirit magic (e.g: the Blade-
sharp spirit who sits on your sword-blade, making it sharp) and the
differences these would make to its use (i.e: having the same spell
active in two or more locations simultaneously becomes tricky; if
the spirit magician has a cloud of dominated spell spirits hanging
around, why can't you detect or take action against them; etc.). I
like the mechanism of Allen's reconciliation (victory in combat is
what warps the caster's own spirit to be able to do what the spell
spirit did before), but I'm not sure it adds much as an explanation.

The difference between spirit spells and divine cult spirit spells
might be a fertile ground for investigation. The author treats spell
spirits as a shamanic feature, divine magics as a "divine" feature,
but doesn't deal with the common overlap between the two: shamans
who obtain divine magics from their (shamanic) deity, and cultists
who receive divinely-approved spirit spells from their temple.

> [in Sorcery] it is this pattern that is actually performing the
> magic. The sorcerer is performing magic directly when creating
> the pattern.

Is the "pattern" a spell-in-being, and the creation of the pattern
a spell-cast? And what sorcery rules is this describing: RQ3 by the
book, or the Petersen Permutation, or something else? Odd that the
author treats sorcery spells as "weaker" than spirit magics, when
this plainly ain't so.

So, kudos to Eshaella (and Allen) for an interesting model; but an
in-character-POV piece that doesn't tell us who the character is
ain't quite as useful as a "What the XXXX Says...", for obvious
reasons. I'd like to know more about the character (and world) to
judge the piece more fairly: please do tell us!



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