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How to play a pure sorcerer

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2 hours ago, Tindalos said:

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."

Pretty much my thought. A talar/noble has a retinue of zzaburi, horali, etc. The horali will be associated with one society - that creates unity, which is what a good talar will seek to achieve in his little miniature society. 

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1 minute ago, jajagappa said:

Pretty much my thought. A talar/noble has a retinue of zzaburi, horali, etc. The horali will be associated with one society - that creates unity, which is what a good talar will seek to achieve in his little miniature society. 

And presumably a powerful/rich enough house may have several regiments for when they go to war. For example cavalry for the lord to ride with, and infantry to back them up.

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

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

It does not imply an entire warrior society pledging loyalty to one family. It simply says that a noble's retinue will have the most unity if their warriors are drawn from one society. And that you will have more loyalty if your warriors are not part of a society whose members are pledged to your hated rivals.

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Just now, Tindalos said:

And presumably a powerful/rich enough house may have several regiments for when they go to war.

Which I'm sure is the case with the King of Seshnela.

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

My impression was that each noble would recruit warriors from different societies into his service

If the noble commands that much, they might, but in Nochet, we're talking about two very small noble houses in exile. That is not necessarily representative of Seshnegi society as a whole. However, I also don't think that if a noble can afford 100 warriors, that they are going to randomly select/recruit warriors from 5 or 10 different societies. They might have a cavalry unit and an infantry unit, thus drawing from one or two societies, but you want unity and cohesion, not an attempt to build an "all-star" team.

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I'm no rules maven but consider: perhaps the fact that sorcery requires a protective screen of warriors is why their society developed separate wizard/warrior castes, instead of the Rune Lord warrior-mages common in theist societies?

Edited by Ladygolem
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6 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

It does not imply an entire warrior society pledging loyalty to one family. It simply says that a noble's retinue will have the most unity if their warriors are drawn from one society. And that you will have more loyalty if your warriors are not part of a society whose members are pledged to your hated rivals.

I am fine with that.

Yes, you will have less internal rivalry by putting all your eggs into one basket. But it might make it easier for the entire regiment to abandon you at some future point, when a more mixed contingent of warriors with a little inter-service rivalry might have a slightly higher hurdle for mass desertion/breach of contract (not necessarily only caused by the regiment, but also by actions of the patron).

6 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

If the noble commands that much, they might, but in Nochet, we're talking about two very small noble houses in exile. That is not necessarily representative of Seshnegi society as a whole. However, I also don't think that if a noble can afford 100 warriors, that they are going to randomly select/recruit warriors from 5 or 10 different societies. They might have a cavalry unit and an infantry unit, thus drawing from one or two societies, but you want unity and cohesion, not an attempt to build an "all-star" team.

Sure. You take what you can get, especially when it comes to relocating the regiment away from their homes and their kin. Did the Horali bring their wives and children, or is this a conflict assignement?

How many warriors are in those regiments? 100? And how many horal caste dependents and dronar caste service specialists?

 

The Du Tumerines and Capratis that came up in my games weren't so much nobles in exile but the Nochet factors for their talar caste trade houses, but if they have a different role in this edition of Nochet, fine with me. Once I start nagging for details, there is no stopping me.

 

A few more general questions, unrelated to the Nochet situation:

When in his career does a Rokari Horali join a warrior society? Does sponsoring by kin mean that horali from a single family will usually all be part of the same warrior society? Will brothers/uncles/inlaws end up in different societies?

How do these regiments recruit replacements, or do they have rather a surplus of youths approaching adulthood?

Do the societies play a role in horali marriage arrangements?

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6 minutes ago, Joerg said:

A few more general questions, unrelated to the Nochet situation:

When in his career does a Rokari Horali join a warrior society? Does sponsoring by kin mean that horali from a single family will usually all be part of the same warrior society? Will brothers/uncles/inlaws end up in different societies?

How do these regiments recruit replacements, or do they have rather a surplus of youths approaching adulthood?

Do the societies play a role in horali marriage arrangements?

Regiments are described as "groups of extended families headed by a Captain," so it's likely that the sons of a wolf-society member will join their father's regiment. Some may go out to seek their fortunes, or to join other ones. Which would probably also be the case with marriage.

Which would potentially lead to the Boars and the Stags intermarrying in Nochet, as although they're rivals, they're also the best place to look for brides and husbands of proper status.

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17 hours ago, styopa said:

Thus lieth the slippery path toward "clusterfuck" homebrew rules....

I think a big part of the problem in our game was that we changed the universe two or three times as Anton brought different rules to the table as we progressed and they became relevant. Going from "only manipulation matters" to "Well Presence matters too, but you gotta have duration too" ended up putting some weird layers of complexity onto the ruleset. Ultimately, I think the flaw was trying to staple duration onto Presence, because that warped how instant spells worked and we ended up with some really strange rules on how Hold worked and how much Presence any given spell would actually fill.

I tried codifying it once, and eventually gave up while still writing the spells because I finally parsed enough versions of Sandy's sorcery to hit this "oh, that's why everything's screwy" stage and kinda gave up in frustration when I realized I should be revising and developing, not just editing and synthesizing the documents together.

17 hours ago, styopa said:

IMO far too powerful.

Oh, probably. I don't typically have a great feel for how something will play until I either do math (which I haven't), see math, or see it at the table. And as I cautioned, I haven't actually played with that cantrip rule. Still, my gut says the basic idea of "create INTx5 cantrips" is a solid one, but the execution probably needs a few iterations of tweaking.

To think "aloud": Maybe each point of the cantrip fills a point of free INT. So, you're getting something useful, but totally crippling your "real" casting ability. It'll really vary so much on the power of the spell, too. Like there's some spells which at base values I can't imagine as a GM letting someone cantrip (lookin' at you, Moonfire). So maybe only simple spells can get cantripped, one Rune + one Technique. ... but Steal Breath. Urgh.

One of those things on my Visiting-Magical-Christmas-Land list would be sorcery rules using RQG's Runes & techniques, but with a manipulation system instead of Free INT. Real trick then would be to determine how to limit (or if to limit) how many long-duration spells can be supported at once. Maybe spells in effect=Runes+Techniques mastered, or something to that effect.

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18 hours ago, styopa said:

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....

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.

S. Petersen also had the Art of Hold, which allowed you to prepare a ready-to-cast version of a spell. Basically D&D magic. But it would need re-work to fit in RQG system.

Sorcery would also benefit from having less skills, even though RQG already removed range, duration, intensity and multi-spell.

I would love something similar to a mix between S. Petersen's rules, OpenQuest and Mythras. The first is just too complicated, and the second too simple. And, as much as I like the latter, I'm definitely not sold on the way it handles shaping and MP costs.

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On 8/18/2019 at 5:13 AM, Gallowglass said:

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.

They are literally incomplete - they discuss how 

“Maintaining the caste restrictions provides bonuses to the use of sorcery (the restrictions depend upon the school of Malkionism); once the restriction is violated, the bonus is forever lost.”

but do not provide those bonuses, or any hints at the mechanics, thus clearly not providing the complete rules for any school of Malkionism, the majority of sorcerers in Glorantha. 

FWIW, I think the current rules were more or less intentionally designed to be inflexible, awkward, and so not much fun to play. 

On 8/18/2019 at 10:01 AM, Shiningbrow said:

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... 

A divine magic user in a relatively major cult that has access to all common rune magic after a reasonable amount of play (say, 8-10 rune points) has a really pretty wide range of magic. A bunch of useful utility stuff (such as heal wound, spirit block) and a few cool specialty things, and can flexibly use their Rune Points to care it all. Sorcery gives you some interesting options basically at character creation, but essentially after character creation it is prohibitively expensive and impractical to raise a spell skill to the point where you can reliably cast it in play (rather than taking hours to days to push your casting chance up). In practice, the interesting possibilities of sorcery are illusory - you pick some good spells at character creation, and mostly stick with them. There is a good reason why the cultures that have master sorcerers are mostly immortal, it’s the only way to have a broad selection of spells under the rules! 

it is no secret that I found the sorcery rules incredibly disappointing. They seem to have kept many of the worst parts of RQ3 sorcery, or even made them worse (it is still very much ‘spells and spreadsheets’ to work out how many long duration spells are up etc, still restricts sorcerers to a narrow range of spells), and added a few more. They made sorcery more fun in HQG - and then immediately removed most of the appeal of that system for RQG, and removed a lot of the Gloranthan lore as well. They more or less grabbed Sandy’s old shaman rules, and now shamanism is great, why that route wasn’t taken with sorcery I don’t know. 

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9 hours ago, Crel said:

I tried codifying it once, and eventually gave up while still writing the spells because I finally parsed enough versions of Sandy's sorcery to hit this "oh, that's why everything's screwy" stage and kinda gave up in frustration when I realized I should be revising and developing, not just editing and synthesizing the documents together.

Ha ha, would you be surprised that I totally agree with you?  Honestly, Colin's pretty much the only one I think that completely understands it (math major /surprise; which meta-conceptually fits "how" I think a western sorcerer should be anyway...) and if I didn't implicitly trust him I'd probably have tried to do the same thing you did with about as much success.

On a tangential note, the exact note of frustration you end with is PRECISELY the same #$&^#$(#*....sigh I end up with whenever I try to decide once and for all if I'm going to like RQG (and thus feel it's worth the time to really filter out the frustrating bits) or just keep using RQ3.9 that we use because we're all comfortable with that anyway.

I'm still sitting on that bloody fence. Just about every week I change my mind.  😐

5 hours ago, davecake said:

it is no secret that I found the sorcery rules incredibly disappointing. They seem to have kept many of the worst parts of RQ3 sorcery, or even made them worse (it is still very much ‘spells and spreadsheets’ to work out how many long duration spells are up etc, still restricts sorcerers to a narrow range of spells), and added a few more. 

Yeah, whiffed opportunity.  Even though I liked RQ3 conceptually more than most, even I admit it was a version 1.0 (or maybe 0.9), and needed LOTS of work to make it playable and - like you mention - even working it ends up being practically throwing spreadsheets around. 

I'd hoped RQG would really take a step up and try a new approach, the implementation of runes screamed to create something like the (video game) Magicka magic system (where spells are essentially just combinations of runes...more runes = more powerful stuff, with different combinations resulting in different effects):

Why everyone should be stealing Magicka's spell system and https://magicka.gamepedia.com/Spell_Combinations

or I understand Ars Magicka has a similar approach (will be looking into that today, in fact)

https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/6458/any-games-with-a-magicka-like-experimental-combination-based-magic-system

But as I mentioned above, I suspect what we have is the result of someone holding their nose about a system they deeply disliked but felt obligated to include.  That's never going to great.

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On the topic of cantrips, my opinion is spirit magics exist and are used for that purpose.  Rune Quest Sorcery is not intended to be a valid alternative to other magics in all circumstances but an act of mini-creation like solving a partial differential equation or composing a legal argument. It's intentionally slow, cumbersome and potent. 

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On 8/18/2019 at 10:31 AM, styopa said:

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.

So, should I then consider the current Sorcery rules as a placeholder until the official rules come out? Or, use Mr. Peterson's rules in preference?  Not sure if I will have any Sorcerers in the campaign I am gearing up to, but want to make sure I understand the rules first and knowing which system is better will be a huge step in that direction.

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1 hour ago, styopa said:

Ha ha, would you be surprised that I totally agree with you?  Honestly, Colin's pretty much the only one I think that completely understands it (math major /surprise; which meta-conceptually fits "how" I think a western sorcerer should be anyway...) and if I didn't implicitly trust him I'd probably have tried to do the same thing you did with about as much success.

On a tangential note, the exact note of frustration you end with is PRECISELY the same #$&^#$(#*....sigh I end up with whenever I try to decide once and for all if I'm going to like RQG (and thus feel it's worth the time to really filter out the frustrating bits) or just keep using RQ3.9 that we use because we're all comfortable with that anyway.

I'm still sitting on that bloody fence. Just about every week I change my mind.  😐

Yeah, whiffed opportunity.  Even though I liked RQ3 conceptually more than most, even I admit it was a version 1.0 (or maybe 0.9), and needed LOTS of work to make it playable and - like you mention - even working it ends up being practically throwing spreadsheets around. 

I'd hoped RQG would really take a step up and try a new approach, the implementation of runes screamed to create something like the (video game) Magicka magic system (where spells are essentially just combinations of runes...more runes = more powerful stuff, with different combinations resulting in different effects):

Why everyone should be stealing Magicka's spell system and https://magicka.gamepedia.com/Spell_Combinations

or I understand Ars Magicka has a similar approach (will be looking into that today, in fact)

https://rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/6458/any-games-with-a-magicka-like-experimental-combination-based-magic-system

But as I mentioned above, I suspect what we have is the result of someone holding their nose about a system they deeply disliked but felt obligated to include.  That's never going to great.

Now that's a fun game!

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1 hour ago, Hzark10 said:

So, should I then consider the current Sorcery rules as a placeholder until the official rules come out? Or, use Mr. Peterson's rules in preference?  Not sure if I will have any Sorcerers in the campaign I am gearing up to, but want to make sure I understand the rules first and knowing which system is better will be a huge step in that direction.

Oh absolutely.  In RQG it says explicitly: "This chapter provides a bare bones overview of sorcery, a subject to be expanded upon in future RuneQuest supplements."

Bare bones, unfortunately, implies that this is the actual structure (presented in simple form) to be elaborated on later.  "Placeholder" would give me more optimism that the future rules might be significantly revamped.  It's not impossible (IIRC for example the 2-weapon rules evolved into something significantly different in the errata thread(s)), in fact, I sincerely hope that they DON'T feel too much of a need to hew to the structure so far presented.  

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3 hours ago, metcalph said:

On the topic of cantrips, my opinion is spirit magics exist and are used for that purpose.  Rune Quest Sorcery is not intended to be a valid alternative to other magics in all circumstances but an act of mini-creation like solving a partial differential equation or composing a legal argument. It's intentionally slow, cumbersome and potent. 

IMO that's sort of where Sandy was going with his Tekumel implementation of RQ Sorcery (note, this is DISTINCT from Sandy's Sorcery rules).  RQ3 presented less "spells" than generic spell effects.  They were utterly banal and somehow managed to make spell casting a dull affair.  Sandy's Tekumel enlivened RQ3 sorcery by using it only as a magical platform from which he built MAR Barker-flavored incantations. Compare RQ3:

Quote

Palsy

Ranged, Passive, Temporal

This spell affects the nervous system of the target if the caster overcomes the target's Magic Points with his own.  Each casting of the spell will immobilize one random hit location of the target if the intensity of the spell is greater than the location's hit points.  If the chest, head, or abdomen is affected, the results are the same as if those locations had been reduced to zero hit points, though there is no actual reduction of hit points.

to Sandy's Tekumel:

Quote

Labyrinth Of Elongated Shadows (5)

(Grugánu)

If the target fails to resist, he is transported to Ksárul's horrid Citadel of the Twelve Pylons of Ta'lar, a mighty fortress established on the Forty-Fifth Plane, ruled by the Demon Lord Qu'u.  This is a place of utter darkness; no light can exist here. The wretched victim wanders through this tenebrous edifice for the Duration. Each minute spent here, he has a 10% chance of meeting one of Qu'u's hideous insectoid servitors. These servitors often won't harm a minion of Grugánu or Ksárul, but attack outsiders, as simulated by a 1d100 roll. The target also rolls 1d100, adding his Special Success chance in his highest weapon or sorcery skill. High roll lives. A dead victim's corpse reappears on Glorantha naked and wrapped in a silky cocoon.

Unfortunately, the taste of flesh might draw one of these servitors to the caster.  If the target is slain, the target’s POW% is the chance for a servitor to hunt down the caster at some future date. 

(Which sounds intrinsically more fun?)  Note the latter is a straight 5mp to cast, then manipulatable as to range, etc..

To your point, and to Crel's a lot of these spells were either not really boostable in the generic, flavorless RQ3 way but actually gave different effects when different intensities were reached.   As glorified versions of the cantrips that Crel was talking about, I saw them as more 'assemblages of effects' whose results were more than the sum of their parts in a straight-sort-of-magics-as-physics approach, but likewise were far less flexible.

And yeah, they were in many cases crazy overpowered.  But one has to ask oneself if 'balance' as a metagame structure isn't the polar opposite of realism, in some ways. 

As a Gm that prefers sandbox over dramatic narrative, my concern about balance has more to do with looking at the societies as competitive entities: if a person in society A can do 1d3 damage with 1mp, and someone in society B can do 2d6 with that same 1mp without some countervailing cost/constraint, how is it that society B isn't running amok?  But that's probably another thread.

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8 hours ago, styopa said:

... or I understand Ars Magicka has a similar approach (will be looking into that today, in fact) ...

Ars Magica (ArM) geek here!  Quick overview:

5e (ArM5) is the current edition. 

The line is "quiescent," with the publisher having no plans to expand it.  Barring a major revamp (e.g. to the Gumshoe mystery-RPG engine (it has been discussed)), they feel the rules are as "iterated" and as polished as is practical.  Supplements likewise -- the line has everything they deem appropriate to publish (n.b. they have intentionally left Blank (well... at least semi-blank) Lands un-detailed.

The publisher, Atlas Games (www.atlas-games.com) has a free-to-browse forum, free registration needed to post.

The complete 4e rulebook is a freebie in PDF, and the magic system is about 90% the same.  So if you want a "free sample" in a 100%-legal way, there ya go!

You can sometimes find 3e books still on the shelves of some shops that don't purge old stock, or DO buy used for resale; but that's getting pretty rare (if you find the 3e core rulebook for cheap, it has a nice color fold-out map of Mythic Europe; I kinda-sorta wish I had bought a few back when I found a store purging stock at $3/book).

===

ArM uses a verb/noun magic system, 15 Arts comprised of 5 "Techniques" (the "verbs," what you magically do) and 10 "Forms" (the "nouns," what you do it to or with).  Combine at least one of each to describe the sort of magic you are doing.  You add your score in your Technique&Form (plus a die roll, & maybe other stuff depending; but I won't go deep into the mechanical weeds, here).

The Arts use their Latin names; e.g. Creo is "create" and Ignem is "Fire" so all sorts of fire/heat/light creation spells are "Creo Ignem," whether you are creating a small light to see a map on a cloudy night, or incinerating the razor-taloned monster coming to eviscerate you.

With 5 (Te)chniques X 10 (Fo)rms, there are 50 basic TeFo combinations; but further elaboration comes with what are called "requisite" arts, where more than 2 Arts are needed.  The classic exemplar here is shapeshifting -- Muto is the art of Change, and Corpus is the art governing human bodies.  Muto Corpus lets you change your body... but only within human & human-like parameters.  If you wish to become a wolf, or a bat, or any other (normal, non-magical) animal, you also need the art of Animal (the Latin is identical, here!), and so Animal is called a Requisite Art, written Muto Corpus (Animal) & commonly abbreviated MuCo(An).

As this is not the atlas-games.com website, nor an Ars Magica forum, I'll leave it there and not delve further into "Spontaneous" and "Formulaic" magic, the setting of Mythic Europe, the Virtue/Flaw system, etc etc etc.  PM me if you like, or grab the free PDF, or consult the AG forum, etc...  Another good resource I haven't mentioned is the Project Redcap wiki at redcap.org.

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The Sorcery rules in RQ3 turned out to be......very long term.....the most powerful thing going in a 4+ year running Griffin Island Campaign.  The sorcerer PC needed tons of early help from the fighter and Rune magic types, starting out as an interesting supporting character much like the Wizard in Conan the Barbarian/1981played by Mako.   As time went by though, he started acquiring Glorantha levels of stored PoW, which enabled the PC's to have spurts of massively enhanced pre-planned combat.  This was stunningly good for things like attacking a stronghold, or lair of some evil creatures, given about 2 days to prepare or so.  

At this point he went from interesting role playing opportunity (the civilized man in the company of Barbarians), to a serious tool for the PC's to wield.  He was still terrible at impromptu conflict, and was generally happy just to get away unscathed and participate in some way in the warrior-centric melees of the genre. 

However that changed again when he started creating significant enchanted objects to cast ever larger spells.  This mainly was to push duration of a few staples into the "I always have it on me, but this POW crystal is always drained to do it." status.  After a while he got into hit point enchantment, which pushed things into a whole another level.  Remember those wizards that Conan would gut with four feet of Aquilonian steel, but then would still be able to leap around and would often survive?  He was like that.

Eventually the player dropped out, and the character ultimately became so powerful as to serve as the big bad at the very end of the campaign, when the players would strive to save the island for the next nexus of the Gods at the end of the Age.  This one character was able to single handedly challenge all of the warriors and Priests -- even the High Priest in the group.

Now this took playing weekly for years (ah, the college days), and the current sorcery rules.........need work.  But there is nothing stopping a GM from filling in a few blanks, or simply allowing a character to learn sorcery, much like the Lhankor Mhy cultists can pick up specific spells. 

I also had a Glorantha campaign using RQ2 & then 3 rules, and I allowed the sorcerer there to learn Magic World spells.  Big mistake!  He was a miniature Cragspider spewing Geometric fire around and achieved Hero status, in the Dragon Pass board game terms. 

So yeah, as is, the rules are not what I was hoping that they would be.  I like the concepts laid out, but running one right now would require a lot of cooperation between an ambitious and flexible player and the GM.  Certainly doable, but not what I wanted from the "definitive" edition of Glorantha centric Runequest.

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12 hours ago, styopa said:

or I understand Ars Magicka has a similar approach (will be looking into that today, in fact)

Ars Magica has a fairly pure system, as it has the advantage that it could create its equivalent of ‘runes’ and techniques just for the rules. It has 5 verbs and 10 nouns, and most things clearly fit into one combination (and making it a little more complex in those cases is fine). I once tried, long ago, to do this for RQ3 sorcery, and it wasn’t unworkable, though some things had to be forced a little. RQG trues harder to make it adhere to the runes, and also mixes in techniques, and so it is all a bit conceptually incoherent. 

translating from the Latin, Ars Magica has Create, Destroy, Change, Control, Perceive, and Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Perceptions, Mind, Flesh, Animal, Plant, Magic. RQG sort of sticks together a system of Runes not designed for this purpose with a set of techniques that sort of overlaps, sometimes doesn’t, and leaves us in a confusion as to whether Powers or techniques are the ‘verb’ in any given spell, and also such questions as do you Summon a Rune or Dispel its opposite to get a given effect. 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

and also such questions as do you Summon a Rune or Dispel its opposite to get a given effect. 

Yes.

 

There's absolutely no reason why the same effect can't be gotten from multiple approaches. Take for example the spell "Tap Body." Although using the Tap technique and Man rune, the same effect could be gotten from tapping the Darkness rune (as Size is associated with the Darkness rune.)

This is also why you can get different effects from combining the same techniques and runes (Total Recall and Logician, Call Light and Conflagration.)

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20 hours ago, davecake said:

They seem to have kept many of the worst parts of RQ3 sorcery, or even made them worse (it is still very much ‘spells and spreadsheets’ to work out how many long duration spells are up etc, still restricts sorcerers to a narrow range of spells), and added a few more.

FWIW I actually kind of enjoyed that aspect of RQ3 sorcery (which survived into our chimeric nightmare homebrew game). It added a bit of a feel of the arcane to me; like "ooh what the heck is Crel up to now, he's got the calculator out again!" as I puzzled out if I could cast the big crazy spell. There was kind of this sense of "I'm doing magic!" subjectively. Also gave me something to do while other players were taking turns, talking, investigating things, etc.

I think your critique's very much valid, just wanted to share that for me, it actually enhanced my play experience (and I think it did so for my fellow sorcerer as well; "hurts so good" y'know?).

12 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

So, should I then consider the current Sorcery rules as a placeholder until the official rules come out? Or, use Mr. Peterson's rules in preference?  Not sure if I will have any Sorcerers in the campaign I am gearing up to, but want to make sure I understand the rules first and knowing which system is better will be a huge step in that direction.

My opinion is don't bring up Malkioni sorcerers and hope players aren't aware of them. RQG does a good enough job for playing worshipers of Lhankor Mhy. Go ahead and take a look at Tekumel for spell inspirations if you want to build more spells. I feel like an LM adventurer ("Sword Sage" in old stuff) is very Indiana Jones-ish, except learning to read old books lets them cast cool magic. So use the RQG rules as a core, and let the LM find a scroll with a new spell on it occasionally while adventuring to build out the play options.

AKA, avoid pure sorcerers.

Alternately, Petersen's default rules (sans Tekumel) are pretty solid, even if quirky. I... don't know that I'd use them for a Lhankoring. They rely pretty heavily on attuning to Malkioni saints for your magic otherwise things get awkward and complex quickly.

(Basically just like how RQG has you attune to a Rune or Technique they attune to a Saint. Saccing POW to the saint lets you do stuff, but most importantly invoking Saint Malkion is how the sorcerer gets their Arts, and you either do or don't have them. Otherwise you can study to get the Arts and whoo-boy that adds math. It's way easier to just "have" Intensity than to know Intensity 76% and be able to manipulate eight levels of Intensity in your spells. The Malkioni model means the only mathy manipulation you really have to care about is from the spell itself. And then when you acquire multiple Arts, and use them all at once... 😐)

13 hours ago, styopa said:

I'd hoped RQG would really take a step up and try a new approach, the implementation of runes screamed to create something like the (video game) Magicka magic system (where spells are essentially just combinations of runes...more runes = more powerful stuff, with different combinations resulting in different effects)

Yeah, that's 100% what I'd had in mind as how RQG's sorcery would work best. IDK how you'd do it smoothly without tables and garbage in a more grindy and bits-and-bobs system like RQ. When I was trying to homebrew up some rules for WoT channeling D100 one of the ideas that arose was a weak progression for just "do a thing with fire" and then more powerful effects with explicitly defined weaves. That doesn't work as well here, because Gloranthan sorcery doesn't feel as spontaneous as WoT channeling can be. I totally forgot about Magicka, but it's the perfect example.

One of the places I'd start, for homebrewing a beta 2.0 of my sorcery rulesdoc would be to map RQG's Runes & Techniques onto the Tekumel spells. For example, Blade of Inexorable Disjunction's a four-point spell. So that's something like Magic, Death, Death, Summon (no fire because, although it's a blade of energy it's not really fire energy--more raw magic). The really big question I'd have to contemplate would be if I'd keep RQG's strength progression. I remember Anton noting that as one of his major complaints (and I think passing that on from Collin as well), which is probably in part because we're so used to the Tekumel-Glorantha hybrid with its insanely powerful spells.

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2 hours ago, Dissolv said:

 

The Sorcery rules in RQ3 turned out to be......very long term.....the most powerful thing going in a 4+ year running Griffin Island Campaign

The general consensus of the many discussions around ‘how to fix sorcery’ back in the 1990s was that the fundamental maths of sorcery was different. Both priests and shamans became more powerful more or less linearly based on POW sacrificed. 

Sorcerers, on the other hand, grew more powerful roughly exponentially based on skill and Free INT. When they did use POW to boost themselves, they often used it to create items that added to the manipulation of their spells - meaning it was also boosting them exponentially, but in a way they could pass on to their descendants. 

The relative power of sorcerers was often cited as the big problem with sorcerers in RQ3. I don’t think this was actually the case in most games - you had to spend a LOT of time and resources for a PC to approach the insane level of published NPCs like the Griffin Island version of Halcyon Var Enkorth (so crazily different to the Griffon Mountain NPC of the same name it is surprising they even reused the name). It was true that sorcerers started with weak, unreliable magic that was hard to improve - but if they kept at it, shortly after they relatively caught up with their peers, they then outpaced them. Sorcery was really the worst of both worlds for game balance - because it ran on different rules, it was either too weak or too powerful, only sometimes about the same. 

It also had the effect that optimum play of your sorcerer meant a lot of dull calculations (‘spells and spreadsheets’) to work out how many long duration spells could be maintained. 

Sandys sorcery cut this Gordian knot by keeping the general concepts - slow to cast spells but that could be prepared in advance for relatively permanent defences and enhancements - through various means, but particularly with his concept of ‘Presence’, which scaled linearly with POW dedicated to it, thus keeping it distinctive but scaling loosely the same way. And the calculation of your sorcerers maintained spells etc was similarly simplified. 

The other issue is flexibility aspect of sorcery. 

RQ3 sorcery had a lot of flexibility is size/application of effect - and this meant sorcery radically changing the duration (to give effectively permanently in effect spells especially) and multispell (to effect many targets) radically changed how magic worked in practice, and especially when at high power and combined with other magic was seen as potentially unbalancing, or at least ‘game-changing’. But it had very little flexibility in type of effect. It was so hard in practice to get a spell (that started very low, and could only be pushed up by training) up to a reliable level that in practice, you wouldn’t much. Quite likely if you started with one good combat attack, you’d end your career with the same one good combat spell. 

HQG flipped this -spells were supposed to be strictly defined, but it was easy to learn a new one and, as long as it was in the same ‘grimoire’ it was useful from the start. 

RQG flipped it back - once again sorcerers are flexible in application (Duration, tange, intensity, etc, though without Multispell), but very constrained in their ability to gain new abilities (learning a new spell to a reliable castable level is extremely hard, more restrictive than almost any previous edition due to training rules). I tend to think this is the wrong way around - manipulating can make game balance weird rapidly, and pushes your sorcerer character into a niche, and a niche in which the most important things you do (long term casting) is done mostly ‘off screen’. Flexibility of effect (ie having more useful spells), on the other hand, gives your character more things to do ‘on screen’, thus making everyone’s game more fun.

HQG and Mythras did the flexibility of effect issue well, by making a new spell in the same ‘grimoire’ cheap. I was surprised and disappointed that this idea largely disappeared. It also disappointed me from a Gloranthan lore point of view, previously most discussion of sorcery in sources about the West had separated sorcery into schools or grimoires, and there wasn’t much evidence of this idea (indeed, it seemed a bit discouraged or obscured). The idea of sorcerers easily learning a few spells in such a conceptual/Runic cluster seems like a good one, I wish it was in RQG. It also gives the impression that RQG and HQG are somewhat in quite different Gloranthas. 

Anyway, that’s enough sorcery rant for now. I have plenty more for later though!

 

 

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13 hours ago, Hzark10 said:

So, should I then consider the current Sorcery rules as a placeholder until the official rules come out? Or, use Mr. Peterson's rules in preference?  Not sure if I will have any Sorcerers in the campaign I am gearing up to, but want to make sure I understand the rules first and knowing which system is better will be a huge step in that direction.

They are the official rules. 

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2 minutes ago, davecake said:

HQG and Mythras did the flexibility of effect issue well, by making a new spell in the same ‘grimoire’ cheap. I was surprised and disappointed that this idea largely disappeared. It also disappointed me from a Gloranthan lore point of view, previously most discussion of sorcery in sources about the West had separated sorcery into schools or grimoires, and there wasn’t much evidence of this idea (indeed, it seemed a bit discouraged or obscured). The idea of sorcerers easily learning a few spells in such a conceptual/Runic cluster seems like a good one, I wish it was in RQG. It also gives the impression that RQG and HQG are somewhat in quite different Gloranthas. 

Since I wrote the sorcery rules in HQG and in RQG, it could well be that I think I got it wrong in HQG. 

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