Re: RuneQuest Daily, Tue, Sorcery, and little else

From: Joerg Baumgartner (
Date: Wed 16 Jun 1993 - 11:59:41 EEST

We got our headload of sorcery, and we even got some compromises, I like to think.

Carl Fink in X-RQ-ID: 1058
>>Larger - I dont know. More homogenous - well, there are the unified
>>cultures of Vormain and Kralorela, but the East Isles hardly are unified.
>>Why should their sorcery be so?

> Because all of these are fragments of the Empire of Vithaela, which
> has withdrawn to Heaven. In origin, they're the same culture.

Yes, in origin. But that lies more than 1600 years back, I reckon.

>>...The closest Brithini
>>settlements are on the God Forgot Isles, Refuge and Casino Town are
>>especially mentioned.

> Yes, but remember Ethilrist entered Hell in one place and left in
> another.

What do you mean by that answer?

Peter Wake in X-RQ-ID: 1059

> On Runic Sorcery:

> It has been said by Greg that the runes as we know them are a god
> learner construct. It follows that they invented them as a basis for
> *their* magic system. This sytsem was destroyed methodically along
> with the god-learners (though the runes remain). For this reason I
> wouldn't expect to see any living Malkioni, Bithini or other Western
> god-hating scum using runic sorcery. If you see someone who looks
> like they're using runic sorcery then they're a god learner. Kill
> them quick before you're tainted with their soul destroying knowledge.
> - All Hail the Reaching Moon -

How do I recognize runic sorcery? Does it smell different? Does it register to detect chaos? Are the users illuminated? Isn't all the lunar magic runic sorcery? Small chaos becomes big chaos! Kill chaos! Kill the Lunars!

(Our storm bull scholar on runic sorcery.)

David Hall in X-RQ-ID: 1062

> Unfortunately I suspect we'll never really understand the nuances of
> Eastern Isles and Kralori sorcery until there is an essay/special pack that
> explains just how the sorcery rules interact with the divine magic rules in
> their culture. Otherwise there is the danger of hundreds of powerful
> sorcerers running around on each island frustrating the PC's.

I'd say the same probem applies to all henotheist sorcery.

> I seem to be Malkioni-centric because I believe that the original RQ3
> sorcery rules came from Malkioni roots - initially from Charlie Krank's
> Wizards of the West campaign. And not from the dwarves, or the Kralori, or
> the Eastern Isles. I reckon that the sorcery rules, in combination with the
> other two magic systems, have since been used to try and explain the unique
> Dragon magic of Kralorela, the magic of East Isles, Dwarven mechanics, and
> Carmanian Lunar magic. But I think the roots still lie with Malkionism, and
> that the sorcery rules alone still work best in a Malkioni environment.

Well, I cannot see how RQ3 sorcery fits into Malkioni society without major fixes. The system as it stands does advocate unaligned sorcerers rather than Western parochial tied sorcerers.

> I'm of the opinion that the example sect in the RQ4 book (because I admit
> that we can't have the Sects of Malkion book in RQ4) should be the White
> Wyzards of Seshnela. To me they are the closest to pure Malkionism, and so
> the pure sorcery rules work best for them.

That's Rokari Malkionism?

> Brithini:

> Their atheism isn't liberating, in fact it is the opposite. They are the
> most conservative people in Glorantha - probably because they've got the
> most to lose if they change their ways. Their worship is based around
> archaic and inefficient rituals and laws that they dare not break for fear
> of mortality.

I agree. In my eyes the 1621 Arolanit Brithini are less free than the human inhabitants of Slon.

> I therefore don't see them like I do unaligned sorcerers, since they are
> part of a large group that acts to all intents and purposes like a
> religious sect.

Atheism and scepticism can be a religion. What I deny is that they act as a Malkioni sect.

> Joerg Baumgartner:

>>Fonrit does have sorcery, but that seems to have been imported by the God 
>>Learners. After these were wiped out, their lesser disciples seem to have 
>>remained, and are now unaligned - sorry, David.

> Don't apologise, just quote us your source!

Ok. I read the Fonrit stuff in Heroes 1.6, and I carefully looked for Seshnegi evidence. There wasn't any, but there were a lot of mentions of Jrusteli occupation. I don't know wether the Seshnegi followed the Jrusteli everywhere, but I found no evidence for that anywhere. So we get a situation where the only sorcerers who visited Fonrit were of God Learner fame. The God Learners were wiped out by the united anti God Learner forces, but still there remain some sorcerers. Who are they? I'd expect they are pupils of the God Learners who didn't learn the secrets of Heroquesting or whatever was the reason for their extermination, but whatever the reason, these sorcerers were spared from extermination, and anything they could have been aligned to was. What do we get? Unaligned sorcerers, in my book.
Of course this is no definite evidence that this is so, but is there any evidence against my line of reasoning?

>>Well, there are the Mostal-worshipping humans of Slon who ought to be real 
>>fun to play. Then there's that dwarf band from ES some people might want 
>>to encounter. And Slon seems to be very large.

> Wow! Real fun playing a slave. Are you into bondage?

I'm mostly GM, and yes, in that position I definitely am into bondage. And then, do you think playing a band of Slon humans is worse than playing a band of trollkin? Their situation is similar, only that they are not openly used as food (but what was this alpha red stuff you were taling about?).

> Ah hah, Slon only *seems* to be very large! ... I'm getting more pathetic,
> yes?

Yes <G>.

>>Why exclude the Carmanians?

> Because in my book they are not Malkioni. The rituals have been screwed
> around by the Red Goddess so that she now sits in the Invisible God's
> place. In the rituals you no longer just need faith, you can actually see
> the Goddess if you are lucky one holy day.

So what? Just because they are not primarily Malkioni, they still are sorcerers, and a quite powerful culture, too. And if they are included into the Lunar College of Magic, a description of their powers is bitterly needed for any Sartarite campaign.

> The Invisible God cannot exist side-by-side with the Red Goddess because
> she is supreme. Another source of power, or source of discontent, cannot be
> countenanced. The Red Goddess binds people to her by their worship of her,
> or their worship of other gods bound to her or her son. E.g. the Red
> Emperor binds the Dara Happans by being the the rightful Emperor of Dara
> Happa through his completion of the Ten Tests of Empire set down by Yelm.

So that's the reason the Yelmites are fully behind the Lunar cause!

Could you detail these ten tests?

Oliver Jovanovic in X-RQ-ID: 1063

> The cults of the East Isles grant divine magic but use
> sorcery instead of cult spirit magic (the Kralori
> may function in a similar fashion).

I don't quite agree. The cults tolerate sorcery, but I doubt they actively teach it. It's similar to divine cults which leave the teaching of spirit magic to the shamans (which most do except for those spells most fitting into their mythology).

> With respect to Pamaltela, the human portions of Umathela
> are dominated by Malkioni, but Fonrit and the human portions
> of the Maslo peninsula seem to be dominated by non-Malkioni
> sorcerers (the Fonritians sorcerers appear to be either
> unaligned or also worship the local cults, the humans of
> Maslo distrust gods and avoid worshipping them as much as
> possible).

You see, David, I don't stand alone.

> Unaligned sorcerers - here I have to disagree - a number
> of human cultures exist that use unaligned sorcery (God Forgot
> and Fonrit come to mind), and I think there is a role in

God Forgot: There are some Brithini colonies (Refuge), but the name and history propose some remnants of God Learner teachings.

> Glorantha for the solitary independent researcher or hermetic
> mage. Of course they won't be welcome in barbaric cultures
> such as Sartar, but even so I suspect an unaligned sorcerer
> that kept his (or her) mouth shut would do better in Sartar
> than a Seven Mothers or Malkioni missionary. The witch hunting

Well, it's hard to be in worse regard than chaos tainted Lunar scum - provided you are a true and steadfast Orlanthi. But then some people come to terms with anything - King Sartar made the tribes accept even the chikdren-eating Telmori scum- it would need some extraordinary person like Sartar to make them universally tolerated, though. But what's the difference between those believing in a God which isn't really there, and those who don't believe in a God which isn't really there? Both are lost and misguided, aren't they? (This from an Orlanthi point of view.)

> analog suggested by Jeorg strikes me as apt. However, I think
> they could manage fairly well in a number of cultures -
> the Lunar Empire strikes me as an open, accepting and
> civilized culture - if they accept broo and tentacled
> gladiators, I sincerly doubt they would have much trouble
> with an unaligned sorcerer. As for the West, most of the

As long as they don't interfere negatively with the Lunar way, those chaos buggers (excuse a slight bias) would accept anything, but let them issue a single thought not sanctioned by the Red Emperor, and your sorcerer becomes Bat fodder.

> Malkioni sects seem to consider each other heretics, and
> yet they manage to coexist - I doubt an unaligned sorcerer
> would be considered much worse than another heretic (or
> a Brithini) there. The Glorantha book, under Carmania,
> mentions the use of unaligned sorcery in Carmania.

How do heretics fare e.g. in peaceful Loskalm? Do they make it to religious court, or are they lynched before that? Any culture that calls anti-chaos uz krjalki ids xenophobic enough to do quite unpleasant things...

> Jeorg -

It's Joerg, pronounced something like "Yirk". Georg is only my second name.

> You're quite correct - I think the different sects of
> sorcery should vary in spell selection and availability,
> manipulations used, and form of familiars used, not to
> mention the role their sorcery plays in the society the
> sect belongs to.

So what the basic rules will need is one example and general outlines for all possible rules, or we end up with D&D-like sales tactics.

> With respect to the origin of humanity according to the
> Brithini, what I've heard is that the Brithini claim
> that they are the only true humans, other races of
> humanity are degenerates that interbred with beasts
> or the descendants of beasts that tried to assume human
> form (the Hsunchen).

That's what I heard, too. Somebody suggested that they believe that men were the children of Kolatings and merwives, but that sounds false to me - the Kolatings are members of the Orlanthi pantheon, so this would mean that the Westerners were originally Orlanthi or Merfolk. I think Orlanthi as well as Brithini wil not agree with that statement, neither do I. It fits for the Waertagi, though.They're still the most enigmatic group of sorcery users, along with Zabdamar females. Why did the Brithini Zzaburs bother to teach this inhuman people sorcery?

> I assume you meant to say Umathelan sorcery was Rokari
> dominated, correct?

It seemed so in the Umathela description Greg published in one Australian mag (sorry that I forgot the name, but it's quite unavailable in Germany, and I stumbed across the Umathela und Oceans issue by mere lucky chance).

> With respect to Kralori sorcery being unified, that's why
> I specifically only referred to Kralorela and the Kingdom
> of Ignorance - I think you'll see far more variation in
> the East Isles in terms of what sorts of sorcery they use.
> I actually think the Vormain have diverged even further,
> as each priestly caste appears to use a unique color magic
> seen nowhere else in Glorantha.

Well, let the Vormain inhabitants call it colours, I'd expect our God Learnerish theoreticians to call it runes, or elements. And the colors of magic were defined in the RQ4 draft, weren't they? :)

> Sir Ethelrist a Brithini - this is based on comments by
> Sandy Peterson (which may or may not be correct). My
> understanding was that Sir Ethelrist and the Black Horse
> Troop were Brithini (or very close), but that Muse Roost
> was built on an Arkati holy spot, and has Arkati living
> there and Arkati visitors as a consequence. Also, an

Brithini of post-dawn cut (i.e. strictly cast bound immortals, who either fight or cast spells - at least Ethilrist seems to do both), or pre-dark Brithini who somehow made it into time? And is it impossible to join his troops? (It would if all were Brithini!) Maybe Ethilrist is a Brithini turned Arkati?

> interesting side note - anyone think that Sir Ethelrist
> may have originally come from Pamaltela? The reference
> to his West Jungle origins might make sense if he originally
> came from a Brithini (or Malkioni) colony in Umathela.

Now where did you hear that?

> I believe there is a good chance that the Invisible
> God was a fairly recent development (in the Godtime
> scale of things) - possibly a replacement for the
> World Machine, which was broken when its main pillar
> was shattered by Chaos.

Now there are few humans outside of Slon who would know of that concept, let alone believe in it.

Nick Brooke in X-RQ-ID: 1064
>> I assume they are from Pithdaros mentioned on p.83 of Glorantha 
>> Book 2 (Seshnela); the knights bit might be a Nick Brooke legend. 
>> What about it, Nick?

> Yup. My fault again. Think about it, guys: we have a unique colony of
> dark-skinned Agimori from the south, settling in a feudal region of the
> West -- of course they're going to be called "Black Knights".

> (I can't be the only person who explores Glorantha through puns).

At least you seem to be the only one to do so systematicaly.

[Comparing Agimori settlers in Seshnela to sarazene knights of Arthur] >From the description in RoC I got the impression that there were native Agimori in Prax when Waha made the survival contract. They are presented as "men of Lodril", and as such they could appear/originate in any region with geothermic activity. And David Hall gave me some hints that the fiery desert in southern Pamaltela may be in part a recent phenomenon.

> (What's the proper literary form for Jar-eel's exploits? Any ideas?)

Maybe some graphic novel with lots of pink ink in it?

-- Joerg Baumgartner

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