Sorcery, pt.3

From: David Hall (100116.2616@CompuServe.COM)
Date: Fri 18 Jun 1993 - 00:28:40 EEST

Howdy. Back into the fray..

>From Mark S:
>Maybe he was confused by the Glorantha book, which states
>that "Aside form the dwarves and a few minor atheistic cultures,
>the Malkioni are the only practicing sorcerer culture in
>Glorantha." Given that sorcery IS used in other societies, this
>suggests that there is a real difference between merely having
>some sorcery around, and being a sorcerous society.

Yes! As I tried to point out last time, the Malkioni (and dwarves) are the only cultures to use the RQ3 sorcery rules alone. The sorcery rules were originally designed with them in mind. Cultures such as the Kralori, the Eastern isles and the Carmanians have their own unique forms of magic - in Gloranthan terms. In RQ terms these can only be simulated by mixing two or more of the three magic systems to create a unique blend. For these cultures sorcery is used with either spirit or divine magic. This makes for complicated explanations and illustrations - if you want to do it right. As has been said before there are far more than three magic systems on Glorantha, the God Learners were the only people who believed in (and tried to impose) only three. However, in RQ terms we can't make thing so complicated!

This is why I fervently believe that the logical example should be to use a "typical" Malkioni sect, i.e. the White Wyzards of Seshnela. They are far simpler to explain, as you are dealing with just one magic system at a time.

Nick Brooke writes:
>Oliver disagreed, saying that "The rules are meant to give you an idea of
>how to run an unaligned sorcerer". He thought nobody would be interested
>in a bunch of "small esoteric schools" until we had more detail about the
>Lunar Empire (scenario packs, etc.), and that the Carmanian sorcerers were

>more important in Dragon Pass & surrounds than Lunar Magicians.

I completely disagree. In fact I am sitting here at my computer foaming at the mouth. Are we really that close now to the Magic Users of D&D? Is RQ really turning into D&D? I speak from a knowledge of D&D ten years ago and so I may be doing AD&D a disservice - it may be that RQ is regressing. Most of us enjoy Glorantha because of the mythological and cultural detail - take that away and you make all of the same mistakes as RQ3.

I am speechless - but my fingers still function.

I disagree with MOB and Nick about dropping sorcery from RQ4.The RQ4 book should be as complete as possible. It's just not practicable to omit such an important section (especially as it has appeared in RQ3).

I also disagree with Ken Rolston concerning the impression he gives when he says he prefers to "work on the settings where we have the most detail (ie Sartar, Prax and the Lunar Empire)." In general terms I agree with it - but not to the exclusion of all else, and especially not at the cost of sorcery.
Sartar, Prax and the Lunar Empire are enough of a ghetto as it is. They are also Greg Stafford's ghetto - which is probably the reason why we all enjoy playing there. However, because Greg has staked his claim to so much of the area, we should be encouraged to push out into the undiscovered areas - not discouraged. It is there that virtually nothing has been written, and where any decent writer can make their mark without automatically being "Gregged".

By all means concentrate Gloranthan releases on Sartar, Prax and the Lunar Empire, but not exclusively.

Joerg Baumgartner:
>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.

Of course it does! RQ3 was tailored for a non-Gloranthan audience. As such the decision was made to make sorcery the civilised magic system. The magic system of the atheist or unaligned Greek philosophers, and the like. But that is RQ Earth and not Glorantha. The removal of the religious link is at the heart of the problems that many people have with the rules - or more precisely its unrestricted use by PC's and NPC's in games.

>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?

Every mention of the God Learners also cites their destruction. Sorcery could have come from the west of Pamaltela, which has influenced this region - i.e. Sedalpists and Rokari. Or from the Vadeli (and Dormal) who broke the Closing.

It's not exactly obvious that sorcery is worshipped in Fonrit - apart from the City of Sorcerers! There's evidence of Pamalt, sea spirits, Yelm, Zorak Zoran, & Ompalam. But most of all there are the local city gods. These seem by far the most important focuses of worship and I see no evidence that they are all God Learner constructs or some obscure form of atheist sorcery!

The bit I have on the religion of Fonrit says that in Afadjann the most important god is Darleester of the Noose who gives a spell of compulsion to the jann. Elsewhere, "Earth Spirits, fishing spirits, ancestor worship, and city spirits abound." Powerful religions are variously state-supported by particular cities, e.g. Orlanth, Invisible God (in Ebbeshal), Two Brothers.

I don't see referances to any unaligned sorcerers.

Sir Ethilrist:
I have it on good authority that Ethilrist is an Arkati from Ralios, not a Brithini.
The people of God Forgot are the remnants of some Seshnegi God Learners. The God Learners were the only *true* atheist sorcerers. So God Forgot is most likely atheist community.

Oliver Jovanovic:
>The Glorantha book, under Carmania, mentions the use of unaligned sorcery
in Carmania.

Looking this up I saw that the Genertela Book mentions the Invisible God, thus contradicting that cult write-up I have, but not your more recent info. Personally I'd like some more clarification from the Creator God!

However, in this light the reference to "unaligned sorcery" would seem to refer to worship of the Invisible God. Or worship of the Invisible God directly and not aligned to another deity. Not atheism.

Whether that is true or not, it suggests to me that simply using a combination of the basic sorcery rules and standard cults is possibly too simple an approach. The relationship between the cults, and the Invisible God, and the Red Goddess, all under the Carmanian Heresy, needs better explanation and probably more involved mechanics (at the very least descriptions - cult write-ups - of the other deities in the Carmanian Heresy). It is not really the best, or most easily understood, example to use.

>I think there is a role in Glorantha for the solitary independent
researcher or hermetic

Only in a society which is religiously tolerant (very rare in Glorantha), and only when the sorcerer keeps himself to himself and doesn't go around showing off or killing people. So, limited scope for a PC or nasty NPC!

>As for the West, most of the 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.

Yes, but this is down to whether they follow the Law of Malkion or not. Guys who wear white robes and follow the Law of Malkion (Hrestoli, Rokari, Borists, Galvosti, Sedalpists, etc.) are called Wizards. You can be sure you are safe from Tapping with them (unless you're an Ogre, of course). So if you are of a different persuasion you are safe to just insult these guys, or enter into long and agitated theological discussions.

Guys who use showy sorcery but don't wear white robes, or don't have the right sigils and runes, are probably Sorcerers (this includes the Brithini & Vadeli). Now, Sorcerers don't follow the Law of Malkion and they will probably Tap you or do nasty things to your children. Best thing to do then is get your local Knights and Wizards to deal with them.

I recommend burning.

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