Re: Influence Magic

From: Lowell A Francis (
Date: Mon 27 Mar 2000 - 19:32:57 EEST

Cian Dorr writes series of questions regarding the nature, morality and
implications of influence magic. (Massive Snip which is an injustice to
his well presented discussion).

I can only respond in the most general terms to these questions. In
"Cults of Prax" the Journal of Biturian Varosh presents his encounter
with a Lunar Priestess of Eyteries. He speaks with her, she begins to
cast influence magic and eventually he realizes it and attempts to avoid
it. He is angry at this and obviously isn't prepared for it, even though
she is a priestess of a trading cult. That seems odd given that Biturian
is presented as a follower of Issaries and a man of the world. In some

ways it seems that such magic might only be used against more primitive
or foreign cults, but I'm not sure. That would seem to pose its own

I have to take the stand that much of the grand scale influence magic in
KoDP is either an artifact or happens in a way that we don't see in the
actual play of the game. Perhaps visions are granted to the people who
you wish to influence, showing them the benefits of being nice. Perhaps
people whithin the enmey tribe inclined to alliance who had previously
been silent begin to speak up. Perhaps your own people become clearer in
what they mean to say, avoiding misunderstandings. (This would be an
interesting and subtle way to incorporate grand scale influence magic
into a campaign; characters might have to notice such changes and realize
what was happening). In day-to-day RPG play, and I have to confess that I
don't use RQ to run Glorantha, we have a perception roll to spot the use
of influence magic. Most PC's understand that when the duration runs out
that the target is going to realize something is wrong if the influence
is not subtle enough for them to rationalize it.

Your comments about are modern reaction I think hold true. Among the
Orlanthi no one can make you do anything you don't want to, and yet these
quests allow you to. I have a hard time imagining a culture where the use
of influence magic by a foreign or opposing group wouldn't be considered
hostile. I've been thinking about this more as I've been trying to build
a working model of how Glorantha-esque faiths might operate in a modern
setting, hoping to use those analogies to both run a game and show my
players what living in such a society is like.

OK, that was rambling.
Lowell A. Francis

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