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Gallowglass

How to play a pure sorcerer

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53 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Given that the sorcerer can effectively mimic (to some degree) *any* Rune or Spirit magic spell, plus create others that the theists (and definitely shamans) can't, I'm baffled by this "lack of flexibility" argument (overall... Not specifically in the heat of the moment options you've said).

In the heat of the moment is literally the point of the argument. I believe sorcerers can always effectively counter any threat, given a few years to prepare. If you think that ‘already having the solution available’ isn’t a lot better than ‘I just need a few years’, I don’t know what to say. 

Sorcery has some useful flexibility as a cultural system of magic. As an individual practitioner, it’s extraordinarily less flexible. 

Land as a player character, it’s terrible. Literally the few spells you choose at character creation might end up being the only ones you are ever able to cast reliably. 

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Just now, davecake said:

In the heat of the moment is literally the point of the argument. I believe sorcerers can always effectively counter any threat, given a few years to prepare. If you think that ‘already having the solution available’ isn’t a lot better than ‘I just need a few years’, I don’t know what to say. 

Sorcery has some useful flexibility as a cultural system of magic. As an individual practitioner, it’s extraordinarily less flexible. 

Land as a player character, it’s terrible. Literally the few spells you choose at character creation might end up being the only ones you are ever able to cast reliably. 

Again, that all seems right for me. At least for any sorcerers likely to be made in Dragon Pass or the Holy Country. Which of course is the setting for RQG.

At this point, we don't even have a proper write-up of the Invisible God (I have the contours of it, but a full write-up will await its own book). We don't have anything that details Western characters for RQG. Which means at this time playing a Western (aka a "pure sorcerer") is akin to playing a malfunctioning dwarf or a rootless elf - you certainly can, but you should be aware you are definitely playing a peripheral character and your work is going to be cut out for you.

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18 minutes ago, davecake said:

And I think your arguments are essentially terrible ones based on wishful thinking rather than the actual rules. That whole point about spells starting out at a tiny percentage , and being very hard to improve, ruins your optimistic version unless you presume a very very friendly GM. 

Those louse percentages in beginners' spell casting haunted RQ3 sorcery, too. Unless you put in Apprentice Sorcerer previous experience, your spell percentages would be in the very low two digit range. Enough years as apprentice upped these to around 50%.

Once you got to use these in play, skill checks would up the skill score, provided you managed to succeed in a roll in a sufficiently stressful situation. But then, I didn't really use this definition niggardly.

 

18 minutes ago, davecake said:

Though we don’t really disagree that much. Just change ‘unexpected immediate combat’ to ‘any situation that requires a flexible response, including all adventuring’, then I only think sorcerers are several years behind their theistic counterparts... 

Doing some sorcery in hiding on a crucial door or trap allowed for minimal preparation (RQ3 Ceremony, RQG Meditate) to get somewhat reliable success chances, as did lying in ambush. Both are sufficiently stressful environments in my book to allow a skill check, but that comes down to GMing style. As a rule, I try not to punish intelligent solutions, while I am fairly merciless in cases of brute force approaches.

 

15 minutes ago, davecake said:

Of course they can. And every single spirit magic spell makes them a worse sorcerer. If they are going to be significantly competent spirit magicians, why bother with the sorcery at all? 

That's where POW and spell matrices come into play. The sorcerer might even buy them from a friendly temple, individual priest, or shaman.

Spirit magic is something you have. This is especially true for sorcerers.

 

15 minutes ago, davecake said:

You’d be ignoring that spirit magic vs sorcery trade off, so using more spirit magic jus5 means your sorcery is mediocre, and it is difficult to cast the long duration powerful spells that are the best thing about sorcery.

Only if you make the mistake to keep all those spells memorized, rather than relegating them to external storage. (Which goes for sorcerous spells and inscribing them, too.)

15 minutes ago, davecake said:

And of course, if you try to bypass it with Matrices or Inscription, then you become weaker at Rune magic, because you are spending POW on something other than Rune magic.

Other people's POW bought for part of the treasure or perhaps services can lighten that burden. Call it community support if you are a prodigy for your temple/clan/whatever.

One point of personal POW may create a multi-spirit-spell item if you read the rules with the eyes of a rules lawyer, as long as you have enough volunteers to contribute a point of POW or two. And that's only if you create the item yourself.

 

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1 hour ago, davecake said:

In the heat of the moment is literally the point of the argument.

Personally, if that's the only type of game you're playing - all hack'n'slash, no RP or out of combat situations, then why play RQ? One of the overriding reasons for this game is the world, community, alliances, etc involved... Personally, I don't like just grinding.

I think you also missed (ignored) the point about being out of Rune Spells by the third fight. If you're out "adventuring" for a few weeks, you really have to limit your casting. 

1 hour ago, davecake said:

Literally the few spells you choose at character creation might end up being the only ones you are ever able to cast reliably.

Again, reliability is only required in a heat of the moment situation (see above). 

 

Re: Spirit Magic - do what all good devoted sorcerers do - trap a couple of spirits and force them to cast as needed!

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

Only if he carries enough MP generators (or uses the "indirect tapping" of having his team-mates fill up phis MP matrices) to return to five to six time the human racial max in available magic points. Your average full manipulation spell takes about 30 MP if you infer only a single rune or technique.

Or binds enough spirits.

Familiar spirits are indispensable for sorcerers.

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2 hours ago, davecake said:

Though we don’t really disagree that much. Just change ‘unexpected immediate combat’ to ‘any situation that requires a flexible response, including all adventuring’, then I only think sorcerers are several years behind their theistic counterparts... 

I am actually shocked you think Divine magic is actually more "flexible"... 

 

I'm obviously not stupid, and therefore I'm not talking about 1 RP = 10+ spell choices. I'm talking about the overall situations in which Rune Magic from any one cult is going to be appropriate for any (and all) given situations. 

I've said before, sorcery has the ability to create spells that no theist is ever going to have. 

So, I can only presume we have a different standard for what constitutes "flexibility". 

(Q: when you create a character, are you allowing the Philosopher to put their ppersonal skill allotments (+25/+10%) into sorcery spells??? Philosopher - 20/10/10. Lhankor Mhy - 25/10/10. Plus Magic Modifier (INT???) of probably 5-15% (CHA is the easiest stat to increase... Just add bling) plus Glamour (or its sorcerous equivalent) for +10% or more). Plus personal selection. If you super specialise, that's one spell around 85%, and two others at around 60%. So, what's your definition of "reliably"??  

If you don't specialise, you could have half a dozen or more spells at 25% or higher.

Then, every season, cult/occupation experience check... 

And that's only using the LM/Philosopher combination. I'm sure when we see a devoted western write-up, we'll see devoted sorcerers with higher starting percentages (if not, something is seriously wrong!! If a character can get numerous skills at 66% or higher for a few weapons plus others, the devoted sorcerer should get the same in their most used occupational skills!)

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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

Personally, if that's the only type of game you're playing - all hack'n'slash, no RP or out of combat situations, then why play RQ?

Why would you think combat is the only situation where “in the heat of the moment” counts? For any situation that is a bit surprising - I need to travel across a barrier, I need to defend against spirits, i need to camp in enemy territory and not get captured, I need to catch a thief, I need to enhance my ability to seduce someone, etc, the sorcerous answer is going to usually be the same - “ I can definitely solve your problem , just give me a year” - which you continue, for some reason, to confuse with being able to achieve anything interesting in a game. 

abd what in the least does any of this have to do RP or it’s lack? Being a divine magic user is a role playing opportunity cornucopia! Complex cult likes and dislikes to manage, cult duties, temple hierarchies, etc - literally not an exaggeration to say that the core appeal of RuneQuest is that playing a devoted divine magic user is rich in role playing opportunities and fun. 

While the vision of sorcery you seem to advocating seems to provide mostly the role playing experience of constantly explaining how you are unable to do anything useful now, but definitely something by next Dark season. 

Your defences of sorcery are looking increasingly like very flammable straw men. 

(Not that I actually dislike the idea of sorcerers whose activities are to slowly do innovative focussed magical projects over a period of years, but RuneQuest ain’t Ars Magica, and RQ sorcerers are less interesting than ARS Magica magi, in large part because the are not the core focus of the game like magi are, and so nowhere near as developed, and probably never will be)

36 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

So, I can only presume we have a different standard for what constitutes "flexibility". 

I’ve been clear all along it is about 1) the number of different magical effects a character can perform (implicitly with some reliability) and 2) the ease of gaining new effects. It seems as if you didn’t read that, and have been arguing against an entirely different theoretical concept, and what you might potentially do given infinite time and resources to achieve it. Generally speaking a character in a major cult won’t run out of new spells to learn for quite awhile, and can probably join an associated cult if they do. 

So, divine magic has about 15 different spells they can cast as a beginning initiate, and that goes up with every RP,  which requires them only to donate POW to learn more. So steadily goes up, presuming they choose to use their POW gains for that, but a point a year isn’t unreasonable- and that’s not ‘grinding’, it’s being a normal adventurer who mostly focuses on doing adventurous and professional things. 

A sorcerer gets roughly enough points to have 3 spells at a reasonable chance at character creation. If they Really work at it, and literally do grind, spend seasons on nothing but sorcerous work, they can maybe average a spell or two a year, but still have them at terribly low percentages, plus they need to increase other skills. But most likely, for being able to cast ‘reliably’, they might never get much more than those three spells. Learning a new spell, and raising it to a reasonable level, takes an average of far more than a year. 

So in terms of flexibility of any given single sorcerer, sorcerers start at a disadvantage, and stay behind. Now sure, the sorcerer has more flexibility of parameters, and a few advantages. Duration is the big one. A few disadvantages too - the mechanics of their spells often are a bit less powerful or reliable per point, and their effects are often (but not always) narrower. But in terms of their ability to flexibly respond to an unplanned situation? The number of magical effects an individual can call on?  Clearly, they start far behind and stay there. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

Q: when you create a character, are you allowing the Philosopher to put their ppersonal skill allotments (+25/+10%) into sorcery spells??? Philosopher - 20/10/10. Lhankor Mhy - 25/10/10. Plus Magic Modifier (INT???) of probably 5-15% (CHA is the easiest stat to increase... Just add bling) plus Glamour (or its sorcerous equivalent) for +10% or more).

Of course. A Lhankor Mhy is going to really regret using all those points on sorcery spells when they realise how far behind it puts them in trying to become a Sage. As the lore skills they need are not in readable by experience, so every pint is hard won. 

1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

Then, every season, cult/occupation experience check...

Sure, but not for your Sage skills. A LM who focuses on sorcery has effectively chosen not to try to progress beyond initiate. 

Honestly the rules are kind of brutal for LM. In practice PC sages are going to hope they get lots of cool books using those new book rules, and other GM given opportunities for advancement, and NPCs are just going to become full Sages quite late in life. 

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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

And that's only using the LM/Philosopher combination. I'm sure when we see a devoted western write-up, we'll see devoted sorcerers with higher starting percentages

I certainly hope so. They still are unlikely to improve much beyond their starting levels unless the rules are radically different.

i think they may have to be quite radically different to make Loskalmi Men-of-All work under the rules, and they aren’t fun to play under the rules that will be a deep disappointment. 

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26 minutes ago, davecake said:

Of course. A Lhankor Mhy is going to really regret using all those points on sorcery spells when they realise how far behind it puts them in trying to become a Sage. As the lore skills they need are not in readable by experience, so every pint is hard won. 

Sure, but not for your Sage skills. A LM who focuses on sorcery has effectively chosen not to try to progress beyond initiate. 

Honestly the rules are kind of brutal for LM. In practice PC sages are going to hope they get lots of cool books using those new book rules, and other GM given opportunities for advancement, and NPCs are just going to become full Sages quite late in life. 

Just use Logician before you confront the examiners. "Yes yes, I've got 90% in those lores, now can we hurry it up a little?"

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1 hour ago, Tindalos said:

Or binds enough spirits.

Bound spirits come under the general category of ‘magic point generators’. But someone has to know Binding Enchantment, and to summon and bind the spirit, which is a lot of work. It is clearly a good idea, but it’s also a big investment of resources. The spirit magicians probably have a bit of advantage here - I wonder if there are penalties for sorcerers using magic items from other traditions? 

Of course, in Malkioni society, someone else learns those spells and keeps churning them out for the common good, and there are probably a few lying around from previous generations. I assume sorcerous societies give out such magic items to new magi the way divine cults give out Allied Spirits and iron armour and such to their priests and Rune lords.

1 hour ago, Tindalos said:

Familiar spirits are indispensable for sorcerers.

 They sure are, though I suspect most are in objects not animals.

Allied spirits are really super handy for sorcerers though, as the memorise spells for you! 

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5 minutes ago, Tindalos said:

Just use Logician before you confront the examiners. "Yes yes, I've got 90% in those lores, now can we hurry it up a little?"

I think they might have seen that trick before. 

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5 minutes ago, davecake said:

I think they might have seen that trick before. 

Now, this raises the question. Is using your god given sorcery a trick?

Would using glamour to increase your Charisma for the check a trick?

Why are these tricks, when donating money and goods as offerings not a trick?

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2 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

Re: Spirit Magic - do what all good devoted sorcerers do - trap a couple of spirits and force them to cast as needed!

I agree. I’m actually really curious as to whether this is an intended or unintended aspect of the rules design, but the rules really encourage sorcerers who want to be able to mitigate some of the problems of sorcery to have a lot of spirits, and particularly to cast spirit magic ‘second hand’ by having spirits that can cast it for them. 

I’m not sure whether this makes sorcerers more or less ‘sorcerous’ feeling. Sorcerers may even differ in their opinions. 

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9 hours ago, Jeff said:

So basically David's complaint is that Gloranthan sorcerers make lousy adventurers. I agree for the most part. LM sorcerers work (I've now seen enough in play) because they are using their sorcery to enhance their information gathering abilities. Same thing with Irrippi Ontor sorcerers - they are largely using it to enhance their core abilities (and that Discern Lightfore spell can be surprisingly useful). But these cults aren't pure sorcerers - they are just replacing their (rather lame) spirit magic with sorcery.

Pure sorcerers - by that I assume you mean Rokari or Loskalmi wizard - aren't intended to be adventurers (especially given that the Invisible God is not even detailed at this point). Its RuneQuest, so yes, you can play them (just like you can play a malfunctioning dwarf or a rootless elf) but you are swimming upriver. That's not that the RQG sorcery rules are problematic, but that you seem to have a different view of what sorcerers are than the writers of the setting and the game.  

My original post touched on the idea of (someday) running a campaign in the West, specifically Loskalm. This sort of campaign is what I had in mind when I raised the topic. I feel like sorcery is part of what makes the Western culture unique, so it's a little disappointing to hear the official line that "pure" sorcerers aren't supposed to be playable as adventurers. Lots of folks have shared great ideas about creating homebrew sorcery rules, (thank you!) and I think that's the direction I'm moving in. My Glorantha may have to vary in this case.

I am still curious if Jeff has any insight about what kind of magic a Loskalmi Man-of-All uses in battle. If the Seshnelan horali and talars potentially have access to Rune magic, and supportive spells from their zzaburi, that would balance them very well against their enemies (Ralians I guess). Do the Loskalmi have Rune magic as well? 

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8 minutes ago, Gallowglass said:

My original post touched on the idea of (someday) running a campaign in the West, specifically Loskalm. This sort of campaign is what I had in mind when I raised the topic. I feel like sorcery is part of what makes the Western culture unique, so it's a little disappointing to hear the official line that "pure" sorcerers aren't supposed to be playable as adventurers. Lots of folks have shared great ideas about creating homebrew sorcery rules, (thank you!) and I think that's the direction I'm moving in. My Glorantha may have to vary in this case.

I am still curious if Jeff has any insight about what kind of magic a Loskalmi Man-of-All uses in battle. If the Seshnelan horali and talars potentially have access to Rune magic, and supportive spells from their zzaburi, that would balance them very well against their enemies (Ralians I guess). Do the Loskalmi have Rune magic as well? 

The official line is that "pure" sorcerers aren't intended as adventurers in Dragon Pass or the Holy Country, let alone Prax. But nor are Ompalam cultists, Godunya cultists, Daruda cultists, or Garangordos cultists for that matter. You can include them in your game, but their magical ecology is going to be very different from those belonging to cults like Orlanth, Humakt, Seven Mothers, or Storm Bull. Or even Lhankor Mhy or Irrippi Ontor, both of who are tightly connected to more traditional "adventurer" cults.

 My personal thoughts about running sorcerers in the West is more along the lines of Ars Magica, which would close that circle as Jonathan holds that Ars Magica was supposed to be about doing RQ3 sorcery right in the first place. 

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11 minutes ago, Jeff said:

The official line is that "pure" sorcerers aren't intended as adventurers in Dragon Pass or the Holy Country, let alone Prax. But nor are Ompalam cultists, Godunya cultists, Daruda cultists, or Garangordos cultists for that matter. You can include them in your game, but their magical ecology is going to be very different from those belonging to cults like Orlanth, Humakt, Seven Mothers, or Storm Bull. Or even Lhankor Mhy or Irrippi Ontor, both of who are tightly connected to more traditional "adventurer" cults.

 

Fair enough. I don't expect my players will meet any Malkioni sorcerers in our current game in Dragon Pass, unless they decide to go down to the Holy Country. Lunar sorcerers on the other hand...

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2 minutes ago, soltakss said:

It's always fun to watch three people with differing views banging heads until one of them is knocked unconscious

I think I follow your twitter account

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4 minutes ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

I think I follow your twitter account

You'd be dead bored, then, as I never ever post on twitter. I set the account up to find out which footballer took out a super injunction to stop papers revealing that he had slept with his sister-in-law, but once I found that out, I have not used it since, to my knowledge.

Unless you know different, of course.

I am on Facebook, though.

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Just now, soltakss said:

You'd be dead bored, then, as I never ever post on twitter.

I was mostly joking, it was just such a twitteresque burn

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4 hours ago, Jeff said:

The official line is that "pure" sorcerers aren't intended as adventurers in Dragon Pass or the Holy Country, let alone Prax. But nor are Ompalam cultists, Godunya cultists, Daruda cultists, or Garangordos cultists for that matter. ...

 My personal thoughts about running sorcerers in the West is more along the lines of Ars Magica, which would close that circle as Jonathan holds that Ars Magica was supposed to be about doing RQ3 sorcery right in the first place. 

August 24, 2019:  I completely agreed with Jeff 2x in the same day.

https://tenor.com/view/whats-going-on-the-office-jim-what-is-going-on-wtf-gif-3926604

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13 hours ago, davecake said:

Why would you think combat is the only situation where “in the heat of the moment” counts? For any situation that is a bit surprising - I need to travel across a barrier, I need to defend against spirits, i need to camp in enemy territory and not get captured, I need to catch a thief, I need to enhance my ability to seduce someone, etc, the sorcerous answer is going to usually be the same - “ I can definitely solve your problem , just give me a year” - which you continue, for some reason, to confuse with being able to achieve anything interesting in a game. 

I am seriously wondering precisely which cult your theist belongs to such that they have the type ability to respond to each of those situations equally.... 

Sure, some cults have some ability to answer those, and some spirit magicians can do the same to some limited extent. 

So, please... Give me the theist examples for each of the above...

I don't know of anyone who can reliably respond to each random situation given. So, taking out on the poor old sorcerer is is unfair. Especially since we're talking about a *pure* sorcerer... Do *pure* theists or Spirit magicians have the same flexibility?

 

13 hours ago, davecake said:

Your defences of sorcery are looking increasingly like very flammable straw men. 

I think you don't understand the straw man fallacy... Especially since you don't actually address specific points I make.

 

13 hours ago, davecake said:

While the vision of sorcery you seem to advocating seems to provide mostly the role playing experience of constantly explaining how you are unable to do anything useful now, but definitely something by next Dark season. 

This! This alone (although I'd been thinking it for a while) tells me you just have some sort of problem with sorcery in general. Maybe the RQ3 introduction left a sour taste in your mouth? But there's definitely something that says you'll never ever say a positive word about it.... 

 

13 hours ago, davecake said:

A Lhankor Mhy is going to really regret using all those points on sorcery spells when they realise how far behind it puts them in trying to become a Sage

Until, of course, there's a new scroll that needs translation* and interpretation, and you're the only one with Logician to translate it, and then to add to the extra knowledge skills to understand what it all means... So, sure, you won't have all your Sage skills super high to advance up the cult ranks... But you *can* have *EVERY* knowledge skill over 100%... Al(most) all Lore skills (don't understand why Spirit Lore is different...), every R/W, Battle, Bureaucracy, even herd and farm... And one presumes a similar spell for Communication skills can be created as well.

(*Translation Rune spell gives you only 15 minutes...)

To me, that screams flexibility far more than extra (fairly similar) effects from additional RPs spent.

 

 

13 hours ago, davecake said:

So in terms of flexibility of any given single sorcerer, sorcerers start at a disadvantage, and stay behind. Now sure, the sorcerer has more flexibility of parameters, and a few advantages. Duration is the big one. A few disadvantages too - the mechanics of their spells often are a bit less powerful or reliable per point, and their effects are often (but not always) narrower. But in terms of their ability to flexibly respond to an unplanned situation? The number of magical effects an individual can call on?  Clearly, they start far behind and stay there. 

OMGs.... qualified slightly positive words...

Yes, for many similar spells, the sorcery is going to be about half as powerful per point as Rune Spells - that's always been the case, along with spirit magic! MP vs POW... of course! (However, they can stack to higher than most theists would be willing to spend their RPs on...if that was even an option). Some individual spell effects, as written with the small amount we have currently available, are narrower... but again, you can create your own spells (even if they are at low starting values... but, average 10-15% magic modifier, add 25% or more from ritual practices, and you can attempt a casting with reasonable success fairly regularly (for a long duration spell). Law of averages, that spell will be cast! Add someone in the background who is chanting or singing (or, more likely, telling everyone around to shut up) for another 20% or more... 60% ain't bad! (add in the effects of sympathetic magic - season, time, magical objects etc... and it's looking at 100% or more... yes, I grant the rare circumstances of those all coinciding... although Day and Components aren't too hard to get right).

Re: number of magical effects - which theist can access magics to ALL Elements? And to ALL Forms? Without having to slowly up-skill? Sure, it takes time, but this is where I consider sorcery much more flexible than theistic or spirit magic!

Can they react as effectively to unplanned situations as well as theists or spirit magicians? Depends entirely upon the situation and the magician... Fundamental fact - no one individual is going to be able to handle every and all situations effectively by themselves (until they've hit real hero level)...

So your "Clearly, they start far behind and stay there. " I disagree with! Especially if you take into account a party with 2 theists vs 2 sorcerers... if the theists have 3 RPs, then between them they have... 16 spells (12 of which are identical). The sorcerers can have 12 (or more) between them - all of them unique. What's more, those 2 sorcerers could (potentially) teach each other their unique spells - something the theists will never be able to do! (this is the definition of 'flexibility that I go with!)

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