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Gallowglass

How to play a pure sorcerer

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The discussion in this thread has touched on what I see as a problem in the current rule system. If I wanted to set a campaign in the West of Glorantha, including Loskalm, Seshnela, or Ralios, I feel like I should be able to make a character who only uses sorcery as their main form of magic. I feel like the Guide implies that this is how many Westerners practice magic, including zzaburi wizards, Loskalmi Men-of-All, and definitely the Brithini (although I don't think they would make good PC's). I could accept that not all Westerners exclusively use sorcery as their main source of magic. Commoners and soldiers probably practice spirit magic. But the idea of a true blue Malkioni using Rune magic doesn't feel right to me.

Here's the problem though. A character using only spirit magic or sorcery would be very unbalanced against an enemy with access to Rune magic. Rune spells are generally more powerful, and much faster. A sorcerer takes at least a full round to get one of their spells off, and if the spell is actually going to do anything impressive, it would probably take 2 or 3 rounds. When I first read the sorcery rules months ago, I didn't think much of this. But now that I've been running an RQG game for a while, I've found that most fights tend to be over in less than 5 rounds. Not much fun for a sorcerer. It seems where sorcery really shines is when you have plenty of time to pull off a big ritual, before the fight begins. But that doesn't seem... very fun somehow? 

Imagine your players are a group of Loskalmi Men-of-All, they've given up spirit magic for sorcery. They're about to go fight some raiders from the Kingdom of War, so they spend a whole day casting big spells on each other, then ride off to battle. They're probably buffed enough to stand up to the KoW guys, who have Rune magic from gods like Humak,t, Storm Bull, whatever. But what if they miscalculate, and didn't cast strong enough spells? Or what if the raiders know they're coming, and just go hide until the spells wear off? A system of magic that isn't usable during combat just doesn't click for me. 

I'm curious to hear other people's thoughts on this, especially people who have played sorcerers before, or run games with them. Also, how could the rules be tweaked to make a pure sorcerer more feasible? I could see changing the rules to make sorcery spells go off faster, like spirit magic. Or maybe using a system where you can sacrifice POW to make "quickened" spells or spell matrices that could go off faster.

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35 minutes ago, Gallowglass said:

The discussion in this thread has touched on what I see as a problem in the current rule system. If I wanted to set a campaign in the West of Glorantha, including Loskalm, Seshnela, or Ralios, I feel like I should be able to make a character who only uses sorcery as their main form of magic.

The only "problem" in the current rule system is the fact that it doesn't cover the West of Glorantha.
To say RQG has a problem is not really fair, because RQG Core to date is for Dragon Pass characters.
Your question will be answered in the supplement for western Glorantha.

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To summarize my own thinking.

Based on what I've seen on the Sorcery rules, if you are a Malkioni fighter then you'll make use of spirit and rune magics for combat.  The sorcerer only works in combat if there are fighters providing protection until the Big Spell can be cast.

The Men-of-all are split into two groups: the First Brothers who are fighters and the Wizards.  I do not believe the First Brothers are magical purists: they will have big sorcery spells cast before battle (not as powerful as a wizard's but still powerful) but also make use of spirit and rune magics during battle.

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4 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Based on what I've seen on the Sorcery rules, if you are a Malkioni fighter then you'll make use of spirit and rune magics for combat.  The sorcerer only works in combat if there are fighters providing protection until the Big Spell can be cast.

What is the source of their rune magic? The Ascended Masters? And do you envision something similar for the Rokari in Seshnela?

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26 minutes ago, prinz.slasar said:

The only "problem" in the current rule system is the fact that it doesn't cover the West of Glorantha.
To say RQG has a problem is not really fair, because RQG Core to date is for Dragon Pass characters.
Your question will be answered in the supplement for western Glorantha.

I wouldn't say that RQG's sorcery rules are incomplete, they just don't have as many spells compared to spirit and rune magic. I would think the basics, including the long casting times, will still carry over into any other supplements. What I imagine we would be getting rules-wise is character creation rules, maybe some of this Westerner spirit or rune magic Mr. Metcalph is talking about. 

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20 minutes ago, Gallowglass said:

What is the source of their rune magic?

I don't know and am waiting on Jeff for further hints. 

Quote

The Ascended Masters?

My understanding is they don't provide rune magic. 

Quote

And do you envision something similar for the Rokari in Seshnela?

That's easy.  The warrior orders are secret Hsunchen cults.  What the nobles do is still unclear. 

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It's my understanding that RQ sorcerors have always been a bit about, "yeah, if you have time to cast your spells beforehand..."  Otherwise, cast as fast as possible and hope your other party-members can screen/protect you.  I haven't played with any Sorcerors in previous editions, so I may be mistaken.

I understand adventuring Sorcerors often pre-cast long-duration buff spells, so when combat began they had their initial casting done... a week ahead of time.

But I'm... kind of OK with this limitation.  They have the potential to go REALLY powerful, but without any of the characteristic Gloranthan cult-and-culture expectations to limit them.  And honestly, I don't want to see that.  The God Learners lost.  The Goddess Switch failed, demonstrating a fundamental flaw in their understanding.

So a wizardy-guy (or -gal) whose abstruse, theoretical, "foundation-of-the-universe" style of magic leaves them extra-vulnerable to the practical "bladesharp-6" soldier with a gladius?

Well... in a word:  yes

Edited by g33k
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Making even the two Malkioni religions who claim orthodoxy rather than syncretism for their schools effectively henotheist, with standard spirit and rune magic dominating their lands, sort of cheapens the expectation everybody had from the Malkioni.

 

One way to accelerate sorcerous casting might be a spell that needs to be multispelled with the target spell allowing delayed targeting and release of the magic, with duration applicable only to this multispelled component, defining its "best before" date. This would result in sorcerous magic that would be about as quick to release as theist rune magic, and with the same amount of time-intensive preparation. The Technique of such a spell would have to be Combine, and the other rune might be variable (Magic) or Stasis.

There might be a desire for a limit how many points of spell can be held in such a way, but one might shamelessly steal that mechanic from the way Mythras deals with theist magic, although that makes this solution a lot less likely to become canonical.

What name could such a spell have? Delayed Release, for starters. Good enough for a house rule, I think.

The problem is to keep such a spell from spilling into the Dragon Pass region as common magic, especially with the presence of Sir Narib, Sir Mularik, Sir Ethilrist, and possibly the Army of Tomorrow that operated in the region during the Lunar occupation.

 

What follows is my usual waffling about causes and history. Read (and comment) at risk of your sanity.

18 minutes ago, Gallowglass said:

What is the source of their rune magic? The Ascended Masters? And do you envision something similar for the Rokari in Seshnela?

Ascended Masters don't grant rune magic. And any form of worship other than that of the New Idealist Hrestoli is prohibited in Loskalm. Now I won't exclude the notion that while all animals are equal, some animals are more equal than others, but that doesn't rhyme with the New Idealist concept at all.

Svenlos was a barbarian companion of both Snodal and Siglat, and notable in the fights against the barbarians both of the White Bear Empire under Black Hralf the Weasel and inside the area enclosed by the Ban. He certainly kept using and renewing barbarian magics while aiding Siglat, but then those laws may not have been empowered that early in Siglat's reign. But even as a hero cult, access to his magics would involve some form of worship, which is a big no-no in Loskalm.

The Rokari of the originally Ralian land of Tanisor came to power with the aid of degenerate Fornoari, culturally appropriating Old Seshnela. Their hostility to the Arkati and henotheists of the rest of Ralios may be more of a political struggle than anything else.

The warrior societies of the Bailifide kingdom are generally headquarted in the Ralian parts of the country - there are none headquartered in Nolos or the Quinpolic League, or in former Pendali lands in the south that were counted as part of Old Seshnela even though they survived un-drowned. IMO they are a sanctioned remnant of the Autarchy, or worse, the autarchy's old foes of the Serpent Brotherhood. While most of the beasts of these warrior societies appear in the Ylream picture in the Guide, there is not a single mention for these societies prior to the Bailifide take-over of "Seshnela". I have the impression that the societies are restricted to the soldier caste of the Rokari - there is no mention of the warrior society membership of any of the nobles, even though at least Mullium of Nolos is an accomplished military man.

I have been told that my cynical view of the Rokari doesn't allow for true faith in their school. I don't doubt for a moment that there are individuals among the Rokari and even their watchers who act only from deep faith in their Rightness. Unlike the New Idealist Hrestoli, IMO the Rokari doctrine doesn't allow for self-reflection, their philosophy is one of externalizing and demonizing their foes. This approach has precedents in Seshnegi religious history. It doesn't make the Rokari any more likeable.

Ironically, the inhabitants of "modern Seshnela" who are the most spiritually pure Malkioni are the Pithdaran of Pamaltelan descent, and possibly preserving some Pamaltelan magic that enables them to fight Gbaji. The Castle Coast inhabitants also are concerned with the purity of their religion. But then, purity is a poisoned term in Malkioni religious context. much like the swastika symbol is in European history.

 

There is a purely sorcerous culture with fairly effective combat sorcery, or at least sorcery capable of mass destruction - the Brown Vadeli, whose magic (used by the Hrestoli king of Old Seshnela) destroyed Hrelar Amali. They aren't designed as player characters, though.

Vadeli magics might include sorcerous spells immediately useful in battle (other than Tapping). They probably corrupt the users of such magic.

 

 

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Canonically, RQ sorcerers aren't the D&D style 'flinging fireballs Archmage Tim" type.  Never have been.

Then again, I haven't exhaustively read the RQG Sorcery but I think Jeff/Jason would fully agree that what's in there is absolutely minimal, according to what's needed to only support the (new) Lankhor Mhy adjunct sorcery thing, ie both fairly narrow and shallow.  

Full sorcery rules will follow in the indefinite future, if/when we get an expansion focused on the West, be it Ralios or Loskalm.  

In the meanwhile, http://www.hibbs.me.uk/snarks/sandysorcery.html has Sandy Petersen's sorcery rules, making RQ3's sorcery EMINENTLY more playable (albeit with some bugs of its own).  

But to get back to your main point, IIRC someone characterized powerful sorcerers as "Killing their enemies day by day, from 15 miles away".  Simply put, with vast resources of mp and time, sorcerers obliterate Rune magic casters, hands down.  Certainly,. Rune magicians have been amply buffed in RQG (RQ3 Divine Extension simply doubled the duration per point, so 15min (default) spell became 30min with Ext I, 1h with ExII, 2h with ExIII, etc.so 5 points is 8 hours.  In RQG 5 points is A YEAR) but  AFAIK no Runic ability exists to blast someone from beyond the horizon, where sorcery did (at least it used to).  EDIT: I just checked, it seems RQG not only ridiculously buffed Rune spells, they massively gimped Sorcery - formerly 10 points of range manipulation in RQ3 would give a range of 10km, RQG is ONE km.  

Apparently sorcery in RQG *has* been gimped severely.  I wonder why? 

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2 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

Imagine your players are a group of Loskalmi Men-of-All, they've given up spirit magic for sorcery. They're about to go fight some raiders from the Kingdom of War, so they spend a whole day casting big spells on each other, then ride off to battle. They're probably buffed enough to stand up to the KoW guys, who have Rune magic from gods like Humak,t, Storm Bull, whatever. But what if they miscalculate, and didn't cast strong enough spells? Or what if the raiders know they're coming, and just go hide until the spells wear off? A system of magic that isn't usable during combat just doesn't click for me. 

One outside-the-box approach people have explored in the past is lavish use of (sorcerously) enchanted iron to really mess up enemy offensive magic and, depending on what emerges in the Game Master's Guide, cleave through magical defenses as well. Think of it as a balancing factor: if you're better warriors and they're potentially better magicians, bring iron to the party and eliminate their edge.

Some people have also fiddled around with giving the fighting caste(s) inherent sense magic and dispel magic capabilities. A little too obviously a game balance mechanic, but it's out there. Maybe for especially pure MOA types.

In general my fighters maintain a lot of personal spirit-based "battle" magic as long as they're in the field a lot (the law of Malkion I'm familiar with explicitly allows this) and if MOA adopt more sedentary lifestyles the slots get repurposed for sorcery. Other horalites never switch. Either way, the main playbook is probably a lot of shock and awe given the notorious cataphract tactics . . . load up on massive everything in advance, hit super hard, keep hitting until nobody hits back. They are some of the most fearsome warriors on the lozenge. If the other team is still around in five rounds, your sorcerers can send up the bomb.

And if the other team runs away, you have a choice to chase or rearm so you can try again later. With the right spell support, the other team gets tired first. Of course if someone gets the drop on them they need dedicated sorcerers watching their back and shooting off a little something special so there's time to get the armor back on, but that can happen to anyone.

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39 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

One outside-the-box approach people have explored in the past is lavish use of (sorcerously) enchanted iron to really mess up enemy offensive magic and, depending on what emerges in the Game Master's Guide, cleave through magical defenses as well.

Shouldn't that be un-enchanted iron? Enchanted iron is used by Rune Lords without any negative effect on their magic.

39 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

In general my fighters maintain a lot of personal spirit-based "battle" magic as long as they're in the field a lot (the law of Malkion I'm familiar with explicitly allows this) and if MOA adopt more sedentary lifestyles the slots get repurposed for sorcery.

A more "Malkioni"-feeling approach would be to have bound spirits cast these spells at the command of their owners. Commanding demons to do their bad stuff to designated targets is a well-honored tradition of Brithini and Malkioni.

Brithini war sorcerers are champions at buffing their grunts sent into harm's way to a point where they don't have to resurrect them that often. Summoners have an array of elementals, demons and spirits to send against foes without stooping so low as to worship them. The mightier ones may be negotiated with (and may receive some form of sacrifice out of it), but that's no worship, not even propitiative, guv.

There have been a number of conflicts that pitted mortal Malkioni magic and men-of-all against Brithini magic and horali, usually in and around Arolanit. In most cases, sufficient attrition made the Brithini waver enough to capitulate. Whenever the home island of Brithos was in danger, the Brithini magics proved to be disastrously effective.

Ethical Malkioni sorcerers pale against sorcerers that tap more or less freely. Neither the Galvosti nor the Boristi gain as much clout out of their limited ranges of tapping targets when comparing to Vadeli or Brithini sorcerers who may walk around practically glowing from all the (possibly ongoing) tapping of basically everything. I don't quite understand the need to Tap people if you can tap impersonal forces of nature or their personifications at decent chances to overcome resistance.

With one of several possible combinations of runes and techniques there are few Rune Spells that cannot be replicated by sorcery and enough magic points. The main problem is casting time. Narratively, there appears to be a great penalty if your magic interrupts a sorcerer's magical build-up, but the RQG rules don't quite account for such an occasion.

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I think...  there isn't a problem here unless you're continually running hack'n'slash adventures.

Sure, sorcery takes a back step to the others in sudden, sort of unexpected melee with only a couple of enemies to take down.

But outside of that situation, sorcery reigns supreme (if you have the right spells, of course). Look at the list of Common Rune Spells and see how many are particularly useful a lot of the time. Even look at each cults special spells and consider when they'd be used. Now compare those to the sorcery selection of Lhankor Mhy... 

 

And going back to my first point, LOTS of combat situations will actually have a lot of time to finish, and lots of preparation time. Especially if it's more than a handful of troops. And also if they're preferring ranged combat over melee.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Making even the two Malkioni religions who claim orthodoxy rather than syncretism for their schools effectively henotheist, with standard spirit and rune magic dominating their lands, sort of cheapens the expectation everybody had from the Malkioni.

 

Kind of how I feel actually. If the official word is mixed spirit and rune magic, so be it. But I think it would be interesting to see new things done with the sorcery rules. 

8 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

I think...  there isn't a problem here unless you're continually running hack'n'slash adventures.

 

The idea I've put the most thought into is running a Loskalm campaign in the style of King Arthur Pendragon, stretching over many years. While such a campaign wouldn't be all about hack'n'slash, the main antagonists would be the rune-magic using Kingdom of War, which is why I've spent so much time thinking about sorcerers vs. theists. 

3 hours ago, scott-martin said:

One outside-the-box approach people have explored in the past is lavish use of (sorcerously) enchanted iron to really mess up enemy offensive magic and, depending on what emerges in the Game Master's Guide, cleave through magical defenses as well. Think of it as a balancing factor: if you're better warriors and they're potentially better magicians, bring iron to the party and eliminate their edge.

 

That's an interesting idea. I remember reading somewhere that the Jrusteli had lots of iron weapons and armor for their soldiers, which I guess could partially explain their success against gods-fearing folk. 

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5 hours ago, g33k said:

It's my understanding that RQ sorcerors have always been a bit about, "yeah, if you have time to cast your spells beforehand..."  Otherwise, cast as fast as possible and hope your other party-members can screen/protect you.  I haven't played with any Sorcerors in previous editions, so I may be mistaken.

I understand adventuring Sorcerors often pre-cast long-duration buff spells, so when combat began they had their initial casting done... a week ahead of time.

But I'm... kind of OK with this limitation.  They have the potential to go REALLY powerful, but without any of the characteristic Gloranthan cult-and-culture expectations to limit them.  And honestly, I don't want to see that.  The God Learners lost.  The Goddess Switch failed, demonstrating a fundamental flaw in their understanding.

So a wizardy-guy (or -gal) whose abstruse, theoretical, "foundation-of-the-universe" style of magic leaves them extra-vulnerable to the practical "bladesharp-6" soldier with a gladius?

Well... in a word:  yes

The problem wast that the God Learners lost or failed.  The problem was they were very successful but didnt have a complete understanding.  Everything they did worked, they were just kind of sloppy with thier experiments or failed to forsee an unknown variable. The God Learners still exist just not as a giant civilization, Aragrath, Arkat, and Sartar were very educated in God Learner methadology.  Think of them as the scientists of Glorantha, and those works were the big Manhattan Project.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

The warrior societies of the Bailifide kingdom are generally headquarted in the Ralian parts of the country - there are none headquartered in Nolos or the Quinpolic League, or in former Pendali lands in the south that were counted as part of Old Seshnela even though they survived un-drowned. IMO they are a sanctioned remnant of the Autarchy, or worse, the autarchy's old foes of the Serpent Brotherhood. While most of the beasts of these warrior societies appear in the Ylream picture in the Guide, there is not a single mention for these societies prior to the Bailifide take-over of "Seshnela". I have the impression that the societies are restricted to the soldier caste of the Rokari - there is no mention of the warrior society membership of any of the nobles, even though at least Mullium of Nolos is an accomplished military man.

The colour plate in the guide was set in Noloswal according to the art direction (which I think was posted on G+, and am very glad to have saved a copy), and depicts the warrior as a member of a beast society (specifically appearing to be the peacock, given the feathers and the picture decorating the horse's head)

It's also worth noting that according to the Nochet map, the Quinpolic exclave seems to contain buildings devoted to two beast societies as well (Stag and Boar)

 

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6 hours ago, styopa said:

In the meanwhile, http://www.hibbs.me.uk/snarks/sandysorcery.html has Sandy Petersen's sorcery rules, making RQ3's sorcery EMINENTLY more playable (albeit with some bugs of its own).  

But to get back to your main point, IIRC someone characterized powerful sorcerers as "Killing their enemies day by day, from 15 miles away".  Simply put, with vast resources of mp and time, sorcerers obliterate Rune magic casters, hands down.  Certainly,. Rune magicians have been amply buffed in RQG (RQ3 Divine Extension simply doubled the duration per point, so 15min (default) spell became 30min with Ext I, 1h with ExII, 2h with ExIII, etc.so 5 points is 8 hours.  In RQG 5 points is A YEAR) but  AFAIK no Runic ability exists to blast someone from beyond the horizon, where sorcery did (at least it used to).  EDIT: I just checked, it seems RQG not only ridiculously buffed Rune spells, they massively gimped Sorcery - formerly 10 points of range manipulation in RQ3 would give a range of 10km, RQG is ONE km.  

Apparently sorcery in RQG *has* been gimped severely.  I wonder why? 

If someone wants to pump up a sorcerer's power beyond RQ3 (and doesn't mind too much about being lore-friendly) toss in the spells from Petersen's Tekumel writeup  Be warned, though: many are crazy powerful. Using RQG's charts for range and duration (though I think Sandy's sorcery by default removes duration in its Presence system? I played a homebrew/clusterfuck derived from it, not the actual system) if you want to bring the power down a little.

@styopa as far as I can tell, the gimping of the charts is because they start from a lower base than RQ3 (5min instead of 10, though now that I flick back to RQ3's chart it starts at 10m range too...) and has odd roundings, giving whole numbers instead of partials. Ex. going from 160min to 6 hours for duration intensity 6 to 7 (RQG 386).

Generally, I believe the biggest challenge with RQG's sorcery for players is the Free INT system. I feel like the core's system works for Lhankor Mhy Indiana Jones types but yeah, is tough for playing other sorts of wizardy folks. Unless you're willing to bypass it with enormous POW expenditures on an inscription of a single spell.

9 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

A sorcerer takes at least a full round to get one of their spells off, and if the spell is actually going to do anything impressive, it would probably take 2 or 3 rounds.

As I read it, it's more like minimum two rounds. One full melee round, then DEX SR +2 per MP spent. So if you're casting spell above 6 points, you're probably casting at the top of the third round.

In hindsight, I played a Men-of-All style character for a couple years (although our game was quite Glorantha-lite, but still a sorcery-using warrior) and by the end I didn't cast much in combat. Even with access to some cool, wild stuff it was still most efficient for me to just run in and stab a guy. I made use of long-term buffs (particularly a combat buff spell called Excellence from Petersen's Tekumel and RQ3's Resist Damage spell), then combat'd mostly as a warrior. I didn't have tons of realistic magic options in combat, but I still had a lot of fun playing the character. And in a way, good sorcery's faster than Rune magic--they're casting that first turn, but you're already running in and attacking.

I haven't tried it out in a game yet, but one idea I had was to let sorcerers develop cantrips based on a spell they knew, using the spell research rules. A cantrip would be a set formula for a sorcery spell, that they can't manipulate. Casts at spirit magic speed on INTx5 (instead of POW like spirit magic--just gotta remember the damn thing as quick as you can), fills one Free INT, and always costs its exact MP. So you don't have to wait three rounds to cast Finger of Fire strength 5 (7MP, 3 base + 4 levels of intensity in strength) and be ready to go when the fight's already over. A sorcerer would probably have to have mastered all associated techniques/Runes to develop a cantrip, and maybe a max casting% of their % in the base spell (otherwise you'd just develop a bunch of cantrips to cast at INTx5 and never bother working on spell improvement).

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2 hours ago, Tindalos said:

The colour plate in the guide was set in Noloswal according to the art direction (which I think was posted on G+, and am very glad to have saved a copy), and depicts the warrior as a member of a beast society (specifically appearing to be the peacock, given the feathers and the picture decorating the horse's head)

Yes, the scene is set in Noloswal and in the only sub-tropical region of all of Seshnela).

There are beast-society horali everywhere, as some non-Malkioni magic significantly beats no magic at all. The headquarters of these societies (at least the published ones) are all in the north, though.

2 hours ago, Tindalos said:

It's also worth noting that according to the Nochet map, the Quinpolic exclave seems to contain buildings devoted to two beast societies as well (Stag and Boar)

Good catch.

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7 hours ago, Tindalos said:

It's also worth noting that according to the Nochet map, the Quinpolic exclave seems to contain buildings devoted to two beast societies as well (Stag and Boar)

These are the soldiers who followed their nobles into "exile".

House of the Stag.  The warrior society of the Stag meets here to learn and practice its skills.  They are known for their speed and maneuverability and serve the Caprati family.  Horali of the Stag regiment never sport beards or mustaches and keep their hair cropped.

House of the Boar.  The warrior society of the Boar is housed here.  Known for their tenacious and ferocious attacks, as well as their thick and bristly mustaches, they are sworn to the du Tumerine family.

 

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31 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

These are the soldiers who followed their nobles into "exile".

House of the Stag.  The warrior society of the Stag meets here to learn and practice its skills.  They are known for their speed and maneuverability and serve the Caprati family.  Horali of the Stag regiment never sport beards or mustaches and keep their hair cropped.

Are these the same as the Deer Society headquartered in Finval, or is this suppose to be a different society?


I am not sure I like the concept of entire warrior societies pledging loyalty to a single family.

My original impression of warrior societies is that they remain outside of the affairs of the nobles, and that their members serve many different noble houses in their martial speciality. That is the role that the warrior societies of Prax play - they unite warriors from different tribes and clans, even if their loyalty belongs to their chiefs. A different degree of networking inside the culture.

Each horali society would provide different tactical doctrines and magical options for detachments made up mainly by members of that society.

My impression was that each noble would recruit warriors from different societies into his service, much like an Orlanthi chief or king would have Humakti, Orlanthi, Storm Bull and Elmali/Yelmalian housecarls, only in patrol strength or greater.

Some warrior societies would provide cavalry (more than just the Horse society, they simply happen to have the best horse magics), and others (like the lion society) would provide infantry. IIRC the Basmoli had a mythical problem with horses and riding, although that didn't keep them from allying with horse-riding Enerali from Fornoar against the expanding Malkioni in the Dawn Age.

From the description you give for the two societies, I would guess that the boar horali have an advantage when serving as heavy infantry on the attack, whereas the stag society sounds like they excel as skirmishers or scouts, possibly mounted.

This doesn't mean that a boar society horali couldn't serve as cavalrist or that a stag society horali cannot fight in a shield wall. They just don't receive as many benefits from their society's magics compared to situations when they are employed in a role that fits their society's specialities.

 

On a side note, I am happy and sort of amused to see the Capratis and Du Tumerine families from How the West Was One survive into this project. My How The West Was One character (castle coast bishop of "Neleoswal") was written as an opponent of Alex Ferguson's Capratis bishop of "Neleoswal", so this makes it somewhat personal.

Edited by Joerg
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Outside of the Rakori and Brithini, are there any True Sorcerers? I.e. people who just use Sorcery and not Spirit or Rune Magic?

I can see it for the Brithini, as that is all they can cast, due to their caste restrictions. Similarly for the Rakori, who have done a Back to Basics revision, similar to what the God Learners did.

But, for other types of Sorcerers? I am not sure.

Arkati use other types of magic, almost by definition of Arkat's journey.

The Seshnegi used to have some form of non-Sorcerous worship, the Serpent Kings are descendants of Seshna and their worship was allowed. The Jrusteli definitely allowed multiple types of magic, despite the original intent of the God Learners. My feeling is that Hrestoli also do, but I have nothing to back that up with.

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9 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I am not sure I like the concept of entire warrior societies pledging loyalty to a single family.

My original impression of warrior societies is that they remain outside of the affairs of the nobles, and that their members serve many different noble houses in their martial speciality. That is the role that the warrior societies of Prax play - they unite warriors from different tribes and clans, even if their loyalty belongs to their chiefs. A different degree of networking inside the culture.

Page 408 of the guide explains it as regiments swearing, rather than whole societies. So the Capratis would pay a regiment of the Stag society to come with them to Nochet, set up their house and shrine, and act as sworn soldiers for them. Basically saying "you don't need to be mercenaries, as we'll pay whatever you need to keep serving us."

 

2 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Outside of the Rakori and Brithini, are there any True Sorcerers? I.e. people who just use Sorcery and not Spirit or Rune Magic?

I can see it for the Brithini, as that is all they can cast, due to their caste restrictions. Similarly for the Rakori, who have done a Back to Basics revision, similar to what the God Learners did.

But, for other types of Sorcerers? I am not sure.

Arkati use other types of magic, almost by definition of Arkat's journey.

The Seshnegi used to have some form of non-Sorcerous worship, the Serpent Kings are descendants of Seshna and their worship was allowed. The Jrusteli definitely allowed multiple types of magic, despite the original intent of the God Learners. My feeling is that Hrestoli also do, but I have nothing to back that up with.

As an entire society? Probably just the Brithini. Even the Rokari likely allow some spirit magic amongst the non-wizard castes. Soldiers almost certainly would get spirit magic based on their totem animal, while I'm betting many Cataphractoi will learn Fireblade to replicate the great hero Gerlant.

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6 hours ago, Crel said:

I haven't tried it out in a game yet, but one idea I had was to let sorcerers develop cantrips based on a spell they knew, using the spell research rules. A cantrip would be a set formula for a sorcery spell, that they can't manipulate. Casts at spirit magic speed on INTx5 (instead of POW like spirit magic--just gotta remember the damn thing as quick as you can), fills one Free INT, and always costs its exact MP. So you don't have to wait three rounds to cast Finger of Fire strength 5 (7MP, 3 base + 4 levels of intensity in strength) and be ready to go when the fight's already over. A sorcerer would probably have to have mastered all associated techniques/Runes to develop a cantrip, and maybe a max casting% of their % in the base spell (otherwise you'd just develop a bunch of cantrips to cast at INTx5 and never bother working on spell improvement).

This seems like an elegant solution. There are some sorcery spells that would be very useful even at their lowest intensity, like Mend Flesh or Finger of Fire. 

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1 hour ago, soltakss said:

Outside of the Rakori and Brithini, are there any True Sorcerers? I.e. people who just use Sorcery and not Spirit or Rune Magic?

Yes, I think that there are pure sorcerers among most Malkioni variants. The canonical description of the .Esvulari has their zzaburi use only sorcery while the talar caste and the commoner caste use Orlanthi magics through somewhat modified worship, for instance.

Sorcerers have indirect access to the magic of spirits and deities - they can command those weak enough (or whose specific weaknesses they know to exploit), and they can form contracts with others. Clear quit pro quo, no afterlife options or other claims on your soul involved.

The Vadeli are pretty much true sorcerers, with a wide array of (often blasphemously) enslaved deities and monsters at their beck for additional forms of magic.

Not quite Brithini, but in all likelihood pure sorcerers are the sorcerers from God Forgot, like Carvak Zirian, the blue-skinned, centuries-old guy in Prince of Sartar.

 

I don't really see the Loskalmi upper ranks having access to spirit and divine magics via theist means. Already guardianship should ask for spiritual purity. There should be the possibility to acquire such powers through (this world) heroquest gifts and heroquest challenges, though.

Although then there is a danger similar to all halfway powerful Orlanthi heroquesters having a skybull or two as their flying steeds. That shouldn't be the case, at least not on the mundane plane.

 

1 hour ago, soltakss said:

I can see it for the Brithini, as that is all they can cast, due to their caste restrictions. Similarly for the Rakori, who have done a Back to Basics revision, similar to what the God Learners did.

Do you mean the Rokari as a culture, or just the Rokari-trained sorcerers of their (non-reproducing) zzabur caste? From the history of Seshnela and the Middle Sea Empire, I think there was a strong non-theist period between 180 ST and about 800 ST. Yes, this includes the Battle of Tanian's Victory, a piece of sorcerous domination of deities. Pretty obscure ones, too.
 

The burning of Vralos was done purely by sorcery, exploiting hitherto unknown possibilities discovered reading the Abiding Book.

It isn't quite clear whether these new possibilities were reusable, though. The next magical elf forest fires we hear about in Gloranthan history are those of Erigia and Rist, long after the God Learner period, using different methods.

But then, there is another possibility - that these spells consumed their casters. Few ambitious sorcerers would accept a deal like that.

 

I have been thinking about other forms of sorcery than the systematic sorcery presented in the RQG rules.

But nothing of the deeper understanding of the sorcerous techniques and the runic manipulations is required to use the Open Seas ritual for non-sorcerers, with exactly the same results as the sorcerous spell presented in the RQG rules. This Dormal cult ritual is common magic and can be used by anybody willing to learn it. The rules tell us that it is sorcerous in origin and nature, but that doesn't keep non-sorcerers from casting it for their ships.

 

Is Open Seas the only example of sorcery taken from the systematic brilliance of sorcerers and worked into a clumy but still functional common magic?

And if there is more of the same, would use of such sorcerous by nature magics satisfy our desire for an "untainted" culture of sorcerers?

 

(Which is a bit strange to say from someone who initially argued for mixed users of sorcery and theist magics. Now we have them, we want the other thing...)

 

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2 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Is Open Seas the only example of sorcery taken from the systematic brilliance of sorcerers and worked into a clumy but still functional common magic?

And if there is more of the same, would use of such sorcerous by nature magics satisfy our desire for an "untainted" culture of sorcerers?

 

(Which is a bit strange to say from someone who initially argued for mixed users of sorcery and theist magics. Now we have them, we want the other thing...)

 

8 hours ago, Crel said:

I haven't tried it out in a game yet, but one idea I had was to let sorcerers develop cantrips based on a spell they knew, using the spell research rules. A cantrip would be a set formula for a sorcery spell, that they can't manipulate. Casts at spirit magic speed on INTx5 (instead of POW like spirit magic--just gotta remember the damn thing as quick as you can), fills one Free INT, and always costs its exact MP. So you don't have to wait three rounds to cast Finger of Fire strength 5 (7MP, 3 base + 4 levels of intensity in strength) and be ready to go when the fight's already over. A sorcerer would probably have to have mastered all associated techniques/Runes to develop a cantrip, and maybe a max casting% of their % in the base spell (otherwise you'd just develop a bunch of cantrips to cast at INTx5 and never bother working on spell improvement).

Sounds like these may be similar concepts, with Open Seas as a cantrip.

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7 hours ago, Crel said:

Generally, I believe the biggest challenge with RQG's sorcery for players is the Free INT system. I feel like the core's system works for Lhankor Mhy Indiana Jones types but yeah, is tough for playing other sorts of wizardy folks. Unless you're willing to bypass it with enormous POW expenditures on an inscription of a single spell.

Yeah, that was identified early on as a major flaw in RQ3 mechanics*, and oddly it was imported into RQG.  RAW then an apprentice with 1 spell (meaning maximum Free Int) can technically cast a more inherently powerful spell than Tim the archmage?  Pardon me but that's simply goofy.  

*and relatively easily addressed mechanically in Sandy's version, although I too disliked his trading of duration for a hold-as-long-as-you-have-Presence.  Shrug.  Thus lieth the slippery path toward "clusterfuck" homebrew rules....

7 hours ago, Crel said:

I haven't tried it out in a game yet, but one idea I had was to let sorcerers develop cantrips based on a spell they knew, using the spell research rules. A cantrip would be a set formula for a sorcery spell, that they can't manipulate. Casts at spirit magic speed on INTx5 (instead of POW like spirit magic--just gotta remember the damn thing as quick as you can), fills one Free INT, and always costs its exact MP. So you don't have to wait three rounds to cast Finger of Fire strength 5 (7MP, 3 base + 4 levels of intensity in strength) and be ready to go when the fight's already over. A sorcerer would probably have to have mastered all associated techniques/Runes to develop a cantrip, and maybe a max casting% of their % in the base spell (otherwise you'd just develop a bunch of cantrips to cast at INTx5 and never bother working on spell improvement).

IMO far too powerful.  Essentially you're allowing them to trade spell flexibility in that instance with castability - that's too little cost for what's a (in utility) a massive reward. 

Sandy's Sorcery Rules already has a mechanic is inherently simple, consistent, and that I think works just fine - the Art of Speed which allows you to reduce the SR spent to cast a spell by -1sr/+1 mp *BUT* it has to be used in conjunction with the same system's intrinsic caps on manipulation-according-to-skill.  In that case then you a) are costing a sorcerer both fuel from their gas tank (mp), and b.) lowering their ability to empower the spell in other ways because of that manipulation cap tradeoff.    I don't think the MP cost alone is enough, the mechanical the-faster-you-cast-it-the-simpler-it-has-to-be (effectively) is a nice balancing technique.

Unfortunately the RQG sorcery rules are kludgy because RQGs authors were faced with a conundrum: sorcery wasn't even faintly a part of RQ2, and yet it's since been canonized in lore.  All they had to go by was an RQ3 system, great swathes if not most of which they fundamentally disliked.   (Don't misunderstand me, there were large bits of RQ3 sorcery that did suck.) And the inclusions of Runes into the rules system was a fantastic opportunity specifically for sorcery.  Sadly they HAD good examples all over the place - Nick Effingham, Sandy Petersen, etc all had addressed components  -  but chose not to farm afield for material.   

The whole thing feels very bolted-on to me, from its very inclusion in the RQG rules in the first place.  RQ3 was meant to be a more objective "rule system" independent of setting it belonged in that rule set; RQG is about Dragon Pass, full stop.  That's great, that's meant to be RQGs design intent, and it pulls it off.  So why include a magic system more-or-less antithetical to the Deistic culture of the area in the first place (to say nothing of retconning decades of lore to justify it...are we really saying LM doesn't provide adequate resources to worshipers himself)?    

That the gears don't quite mesh is disappointing but shouldn't be a huge surprise.

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