Re: Combined Magics, Aeolians in my campaign

From: Joerg Baumgartner (
Date: Tue 31 Aug 1999 - 03:20:18 EEST

A bit delayed, I'm afraid.

Whatever I write about the Aeolians is my personal impression (i.e.
based on old and partially unpublished and unplayed campaign material)
and not the regional expert observation right now, hence some of the
delay in my reactions. I might suffer from some sort of expert
schizophrenia until this gets sorted out, also a reason why the promised
Tradetalk article has been delayed again and again.

For length reasons, I'll put my ideas and observations on Aeolians into
a separate message.

Simon Hibbs:

Re : Combining Magical Practices

> If you are an Orlanthi Thunder Priest, you know for a fact
> that the air around all of us is a living thing, part of
> the immortal body of Umath, and is thus sacred. Sorcerors
> believe that air is simply inert matter, to be manipulated
> and dominated using materialist arts. In fact, the workings
> of their magic prove this to them. To an orlanthi, such
> an attitude is vile sacrilege. Thus the very concepts
> necessary to sorcerous manipulation of the air are abhorent
> to them. The world views of the two systems of magic are
> fundamentaly incompatible.

> Henotheism blurs the boundaries, but I think it looses out as
> a result.

I agree somewhat. A henotheist Orlanthi-Malkioni blend would use his
materialist magic on the spiritual body of Umath, not on the dead matter
air, and by this admission weaken his sorcerous hold on reality.

However, his intuition of the spiritual body of air may cancel out the
disadvantage - on his home turf.

This means that outside his home turf, the henotheist sorcerer knows to
doubt the purely materialist approach, but lacks the spiritual intimacy
with the matter involved. A henotheist Sandals of Darkness equivalent
would be a lot weaker or more demanding than the pure Orlanthi version.
While neither has any significant understanding of Darkness, the
Orlanthi approach doesn't require one because the power is described in
terms of Storm's conquest of enemy magic.

I know I should have delivered a rulesy description of Aeolian magic
some while ago. My problem is that don't think in terms of RQ3 sorcery
any more (or, for that matter, RQ3 spirit magic from the cults).

> Initiates might learn lay sorcery instead of spirit
> magic, but their priests use divine spells rather than being
> sorcerers. As a result the priesthood do not have a deep
> understanding of sorcery and are less well equiped to teach
> the propper spells to their flock. I believe that the spells
> available to them are more limited as only those parts of
> the two philosophies that can be made compatible are
> incorporated into the faith. Any magical lore that would
> contradict other parts of their beliefs are excised, drasticaly
> limiting the powers available to them.

When I was still applying the RQ3 rules terms, I defined the Aeolian
priests as mostly theist with apprentice sorcerer skills and status
_mostly_. There was the reverse case of adepts with acolyte status in
charge of maintaining the sorcerous abilities of the clergy, a minority
(10-20%) of the priesthood.

> This is different to the situation with theists such as the
> Orlanthi. The Orlanth cult teaches only selected spirit magic
> to it's worshipers, but there's nothing to stop them
> learning almost any other spirit magic from a shaman or from
> a friendly cult.

I have come to doubt that this kind of Orlanth cult exists outside of
Orlanthi cities. Whatever magic a non-urban Orlanthi learns, he will
learn from his clan priests and magicians first and foremost. A
secondary source for rarer magic are tribal priests (i.e. priests from
friendly clans met at the tribal moot) or pilgrimage/questing shrines.
Extratribal temples do exist, in the cities or at special holy sites,
but they fulfill a role similar to the shrine teaching a single magic.

To the average Orlanthi, it wouldn't matter whether a spell is of this
god's cult or that, but whether it is a clan spell or a more exotic
spell. There might be a clan which is blase about spells like fireblade
because a clan temple readily provides it, but which might regard
Shimmer as highly exotic because not even the friendly clans within the
tribe have access to that spell.

> On the other hand an Aeolian initiate
> learning proscribed sorcery spells is potentialy dabbling in
> magical philosophies that are heretical to their church.

There is of course a difference between proscribed sorcery and spells
taught by the church. I've assumed that in Henotheist cultures there are
acceptable sources for magic not taught by the church itself, e.g.
special craft magics taught through the guilds. I haven't quite worked
out whether this means that the guild magicians are crafters which
become clergy by definition, or whether some of the clergy join the
guilds - this part of Western culture hasn't been expounded yet.

However, no serious Henotheist church can damnate knowledge of the
secret trade magics (or regimental magics) outright. Most blatant
example is Dormal's Opening ritual IMO.

Learning proscribed sorcery - for a Heortland Aeolian for instance a
Black Arkat spell - would be a different matter. Possibly even learning
a church-sanctioned spell from such a source would be tainting/tainted.
The friendly, if unusual, ancient God Forgot wizard next street in a
Kethaelan port city might be spiritually safer. An outright Brithini
would be different, again...

IMO there are such things as church-independent wizard guilds in the
Kethaelan port cities (even more so in western Maniria or Safelster),
safe-houses for sorcerers or other magicians of various traditions
without much cultural backing, practicing their arts for a price. They
wouldn't exist in places with a single dominant church, but would form
where several traditions are present and where there are power-groups
interested in having an independent source of magic services. The same
places would see hiring houses for mercenary bands.

In Safelster, mercenary bands will include some magicians (I cite
Mularik's pet sorcerers as proof), which might result in wizards from
different traditions cooperating. These attached mercenary magicians

would be among the customers of the sedentary guild houses. Magicians
associated to craft guilds might, too.

> They are at a likely to cause them doubts about the doctrines
> of their faith and lead them into error. They walk a very fine
> theological line.

IMO magic falls into four categories to henotheists: church-taught,
church-approved, proscribed, and unmentioned. The latter category
usually will be either approved or proscribed as soon as the church gets
notice of it.

> Lunars and other mystics bypass many of these strictures.
> They see beyond the intellectual artifices of doctrine
> and the emotional crutch of faith, at a heavy price.

Do you include the Arkati in this observation?

IMO both Orlanthi and Arkati traditions accept personally acquired
magics as a way to greatness. Few Orlanthi will frown upon an individual
who befriends an acceptable spirit outside of the normal "cult". Take
for instance the Great Newt spirit from Apple Lane. An individual who
has the magic of some less obscure hero cult wouldn't be regarded as
straying in either Stygian or Orlanthi society, unless the hero has
"dangerous associations" (e.g. Drolgard or Ingolf among dragon-haters,
or a Lunar regimental spirit to Sartarite moon-haters).

A henotheist church often is in the process of declaring the boundaries
(e.g. the Heortland Aeolians vs. both the Rokari Seshnegi and the
Orlanthi traditionalists during and after Richard's reign, or Surantyr's
Henotheist Church vs. the barbarians of Lankst), and might be more
restrictive in the acceptance of non-church magics. I don't think this
applies to long-standing co-existance, though.


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