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Thalaba

RQ3/Basic Magic - Sorcery

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All of the above discussion is why I moved over to using Sandy Petersons sorcery. In some respects it was a bit more cumbersome but the notion of ' presence' did limit the amount of spells in play, especially if you went for a more low scale campaign where schools or guilds of sorcery were quite rare.

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I think Pete's idea of "locking up the magic points" while the spell is up would help. At least until you factor in POW storage devices and apprentices who can replenish them.

You can always say that sustainable spells can only be maintained by the sorcerer's own MPs. Then you could be really evil and say sorcery spells powered by external storage only last a single round - which would make their tactical use rather interesting, but still capable of being useful. :)

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1. It took a very, very long time to get competent. Many skills, which could only improve through study.

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Very, very true.

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2. Sorcerers tended to turtle up every few weeks (see 3), and spend all their Magic Points to throw all their best boost[X]+intensity+duration+multispell, and then have nothing worth casting during an actual adventure (see 4)

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True for 1st part, but magic point being recovered quite rapidly in RQ III, sorcerers can be active while adventuring (though not often during the days following their spell renewal.

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3. The only limit to spell casting was free INT, which lead to some very powerful spells (see 2)

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True, but only after quite a time (about 1 or 2 years of play). At that point, other characters are also powerful, so not a problem.

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4. Sorcery was almost useless in combat.

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Although few spells have direct effect on combat and spell casting is usually long, false. You forget enchantments with conditions (casting time becomes instant), spirits that can throw spells for you, and the effect of even small intensity spells (smother comes to mind), not speaking of ambushes.

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FWIW - I loved RQ3 sorcery, but even I got frustrated with it, and ended up making some strange Sorcerer/Spirit Magician hybrids: dominating magic spirits or ghosts into enchantments, and only using sorcery to command those spirits or boost my stats/armor (as in step 2).

I also loved them and played quite a lot. Player inventivity with magic usage removes some of the disadvantages. And most of my sorcerers were also using spirit magic (and in some cases divine).

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

Edited by Kloster

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This is gamer hyperbole. there is nothing broken about RQIII Sorcery, RAW. It is, however, a magic system whose exact features and effects on the game are not immediately obvious, or intuitive, and many people never managed to comfortably reconcile their preconceptions of the system with how it actually works in play.

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Completely true.

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It's really not a system for an adventuring mage. It mechanically reinforces the mage as sedentary, spending long periods of time preparing and casting spells: it thus is excellent at producing "evil wizzard in tower with minions", and in the right campaign can work very well. The GM does need to be on top of their time keeping however, as PC or NPC mages who spend a week casting season long spells need careful time keeping.

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Basically true. To use interestingly an adventuring sorcerer needs a lot of creativity and inventivity, or a lot of downtime and timekeeping (which is not interesting).

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Specific mechanical stumbling blocks vary with personal taste. My biggest bug bear was free INT: it is fiddly to administer and I prefer to use skill levels to govern casting and manipulation, as it seems more sensible that a skilled caster of Palsy (85%) can manipulate their spell MORE than a less skilled caster who knows fewer spells.

Cheers,

Nick

Matter of preferences. Both system are working.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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Harshax: It's interesting that you say that Free Int is the only limit. I have heard it argued that it is TOO limiting, and this makes me wonder how much campaign style factors into it all.

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It is not, as long as you can produce enchantments.

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This 'turtling' you describe - was this due in part to the use of Ceremony to boost spell casting chances? Is this only possible if the sorcerer has access to magic point storage? If you had neither, would this still be the way sorcerers would work? Would a few more combat-oriented spells help this? Are the durations too long - leading to this effect?

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For me (=my characters), the reason was more the high magic point cost, more than the usage of ceremony. Renewing my long (=2 to 4 weeks duration spells) took me 3 days.

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wbcreighton: I have done, thanks. It's not really a good match for my campaign, though. The various schools of sorcery is not the effect I'm going for, and I'm not sure I want all the minor manipulations. Does he discuss the RAW sorcery in his pre-amble? - I can't remember. For the record, I've also looked at RQ4:AIG, David Cake's version, Pete Maranci's modifications, and at least one or two other versions of sorcery. These are, in part, what alerted me to the idea that people think sorcery needs 'fixing' - because so many have tried. All these revised sorceries make assumptions about setting and play style that might not be appropriate for me, which is why I wanted to step back from those and begin the discussion at the beginning. Before I adopt a variation on sorcery (or make up my own), I want to know why I'm doing it, or even if I need to.

Nick: Thanks for your input. Your last point is quite interesting and especially worth considering.

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Totally agree on both points.

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Did sorcery only work this way because the setting provided access to intellect spirits and magic point matrices? If these (and the Ceremony skill) did not exist in the setting, would this situation still exist?

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Those points are effectively importants.

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As an aside, the text of the sample of play from the RQ3 deluxe box has the sorceror, Nikolos, casting 8 and 12 point spells. Do these sound very powerful to you, or normally powerful. He is portrayed (in that bit of text) as a combat mage, which is interesting.

Thanks,

Thalaba

For me, this power level is normal (in Glorantha), and yes, it is interesting.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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I've been in a couple of campaigns where the Wizards were very effective adventurers, and were not bad in combat, though were certainly not the mobile artillery from that other game. I think it has more to spells chosen and creativity on the part of the player than anything else. Palsy or Venom in combat can do wonders. Also, in one campaign we ignored the restrictions weapons training by magic types, so in that game the Wizard could defend themselves if nessesary.

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Total agreement here. Spells chosen and creativity are the key.

Also agreed on the effects of Palsy and Venom.

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This was always our groups biggest issue. While Free-INT should be used to limit what a Wizard has available at hand, its somewhat odd as a limiter to manipulation. The usual fix seems to be Spell Skill /10 for manipulation ability, though I have also heard of Spell Skill /5. The 85% Palsy Nick mentioned above could be manipulated by 9 points. I would also suggest that in BRP we might suggest this could be manipulated further, but at a Difficult chance.

SDLeary

We have used Free INT and lower %age used/10. Both are working (and requires different spells and tactics to be efficient).

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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And this got incredibly ugly once you had a sorcery professional who either rolled well or had progressed considerably; Damage Resistance was somewhat tolerable when cast on everyone because of the way it worked, but moderate levels of damage boost running on everyone for weeks was really problematic.

Not more tat a Bladesharp enchantment, with a condition that launches it automatically when, says, the owner of the sword draws it by calling Humakt help (same for Strength or coordination).

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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All of the above discussion is why I moved over to using Sandy Petersons sorcery. In some respects it was a bit more cumbersome but the notion of ' presence' did limit the amount of spells in play, especially if you went for a more low scale campaign where schools or guilds of sorcery were quite rare.

But Sandy's rules are limited to Glorantha, and are bringing other problems: Some Saints blessing combined are easy to obtain and are giving effects whose powers are game shattering.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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But Sandy's rules are limited to Glorantha, and are bringing other problems: Some Saints blessing combined are easy to obtain and are giving effects whose powers are game shattering.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

Certainly the saints rules are specifically designed for Glorantha, though a friend of mine did run a crusades era campaign with saints style blessings being used for the Knights Templar and Hospitaller, Thing is you can use the sorcery rules without having to use the saints rules

I don't see that the rest of the rules have to be limited to Glorantha though, ok there are some Gloranthan references but they can be easily ignored. the actual mechanics are setting neutral most of the time.

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I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who posted in answer to my question. This has been very informative for me and quite helpful for my campaign.

Cheers!

Thalaba

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That is the problem with doubling durations. The 12 magic point in duration is essentially as good as the preceding 11. So from a player's perspective, if you are going to blow 20 magic points for a long term spell, why not spend another point and have it last twice as long? Especially since the MP replenish much faster than the spell wears off.

I think Pete's idea of "locking up the magic points" while the spell is up would help. At least until you factor in POW storage devices and apprentices who can replenish them.

Well, honestly, the "locking up" business doesn't really fit with much else in the game, and only is consistent if it "locks up" the capacity of the apprentice and the storage device too. But as you note, once you have enough of that, it only slows the process down.

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Not more tat a Bladesharp enchantment, with a condition that launches it automatically when, says, the owner of the sword draws it by calling Humakt help (same for Strength or coordination).

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

Yeah, actually it was, for two reasons:

1. It was painless. Enchantments require investment of Power, and were expensive to produce at higher levels; in standard RQ there really wasn't much way to have them not have a magic point cost associated with them, too. So they were self-limiting in how frequent they could be used. The long duration Damage Boost was in every fight.

2. It was pandemic; you could end up doing it to the whole party. So it was much less of an issue to get it on everyone.

That doesn't even get into the issue that in standard RQ3, there was nothing stopping it from _stacking_ with the above Bladesharp.

Really, the situations weren't terribly comparable.

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Yeah, actually it was, for two reasons:

1. It was painless. Enchantments require investment of Power, and were expensive to produce at higher levels; in standard RQ there really wasn't much way to have them not have a magic point cost associated with them, too. So they were self-limiting in how frequent they could be used. The long duration Damage Boost was in every fight.

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Being able to manipulate to such a level of intensity and duration requires a huge free int, which also requires POW. Cost is not automatically the same, but is similar. And the MP are provided by a linked matrix or power spirit (mandatory, by the rules), so no change in the MP cost.

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2. It was pandemic; you could end up doing it to the whole party. So it was much less of an issue to get it on everyone.

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If your players are not too bad, I wouldn't take the risk of casting a sorcery spell on an Uroxi or an Orlanthi. If your group is composed of Lunars, of course, ... . But ruleswise, you are right.

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That doesn't even get into the issue that in standard RQ3, there was nothing stopping it from _stacking_ with the above Bladesharp.

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True. And VERY efficient. It can also be stacked with Truesword, of course, to be complete.

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Really, the situations weren't terribly comparable.

I am not saying that the situations are comparable, I told that it was not more problematic. I should have added 'in our games', though.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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Hi folks,

Regarding the issue of whole groups of people running around with long-duration spells applied to them, we once had a problem with that in another game I played (different game system). The GM quite naturally reasoned that if it is not unusual to encounter groups of people who are boosted to the gills with various spells, the natural strategy is to have foes start encounters by using a very powerful "dispell magic" to wash off that nasty protection & boosting magic.

If one is relying on those long-duration spells then suddenly lose them, it can really turn an encounter around.

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Being able to manipulate to such a level of intensity and duration requires a huge free int, which also requires POW. Cost is not automatically the same, but is similar. And the MP are provided by a linked matrix or power spirit (mandatory, by the rules), so no change in the MP cost.

It didn't have to be a huge Intensity to be a problem. And the cheap way to end run Free Int was to stash the majority of your spells in Intellect Spirits; yeah, that did have a little overhead on it, but nothing close to what a decent sized spell matrix did, and you only neeeded one person to have those, as compared to the whole party.

And what I meant by the magic point cost was that you'd have to have that on the Bladesharp every time it went up, not the one day a month the sorcerer actually spent putting up buffs.

If your players are not too bad, I wouldn't take the risk of casting a sorcery spell on an Uroxi or an Orlanthi. If your group is composed of Lunars, of course, ... . But ruleswise, you are right.

Not all RQ3 games were run in Glorantha, you know. In fact, none of the local ones were.

True. And VERY efficient. It can also be stacked with Truesword, of course, to be complete.

At least that required someone to have divine magic, and of the right religion.

I am not saying that the situations are comparable, I told that it was not more problematic. I should have added 'in our games', though.

I'd politely suggest that's because no one pushed on it quite as hard in yours, and you may well have (if you were running Glorantha) some social constraints on process that aren't in the rules and aren't universal.

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Hi folks,

Regarding the issue of whole groups of people running around with long-duration spells applied to them, we once had a problem with that in another game I played (different game system). The GM quite naturally reasoned that if it is not unusual to encounter groups of people who are boosted to the gills with various spells, the natural strategy is to have foes start encounters by using a very powerful "dispell magic" to wash off that nasty protection & boosting magic.

The problem was you'd need to have a pretty huge one, and do it multiple times.

Example in point: You have someone who's got Damage Boost 4's with a 4 week duration up on everyone (likely through a combination of keeping most of his Int Free by using Intellect Spirits, and having the actual spell on a Matrix, but it isn't impossible by any means to simply have the full Free Int with most of your spells fobbed off on Int Spirits) totalling out to a 16 point spell. There are three ways this can be Dispelled:

1. Dispel Magic (spirit magic): Almost no one is going to have a Dispel Magic 16; its just massively huge and expensive, assuming you can even find it.

2. Dismiss Magic (divine magic): More doable, but still requires 8 points of divine magic for each target you want to dispel it off of. Not likely to even have that many, and you're sure not going to have enough to do it on a whole 4-6 player group.

3. Nullify Magic (sorcery): The most practical, because of the way Intensity works and the fact its a resistance value roll, but to have a significant chance you still have to crank it up to 12 or more, and that's time consuming and doesn't have some of the tricks you can play with the long duration buffs because you have to do it in combat.

One of the side effects of these long durations is that these spells are very hard to knock down.

If one is relying on those long-duration spells then suddenly lose them, it can really turn an encounter around.

The problem is, that's a massive "if".

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One of the side effects of these long durations is that these spells are very hard to knock down.
So the most effective tactic is for the bad guys to have their own buffs up, and the whole arms race resets again with combat being deadly for both sides...not necessarily a bad spot.

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s.

Example in point: You have someone who's got Damage Boost 4's with a 4 week duration up on everyone (likely through a combination of keeping most of his Int Free by using Intellect Spirits, and having the actual spell on a Matrix, but it isn't impossible by any means to simply have the full Free Int with most of your spells fobbed off on Int Spirits) totalling out to a 16 point spell. There are three ways this can be Dispelled:

1. Dispel Magic (spirit magic): Almost no one is going to have a Dispel Magic 16; its just massively huge and expensive, assuming you can even find it.

2. Dismiss Magic (divine magic): More doable, but still requires 8 points of divine magic for each target you want to dispel it off of. Not likely to even have that many, and you're sure not going to have enough to do it on a whole 4-6 player group.

3. Nullify Magic (sorcery): The most practical, because of the way Intensity works and the fact its a resistance value roll, but to have a significant chance you still have to crank it up to 12 or more, and that's time consuming and doesn't have some of the tricks you can play with the long duration buffs because you have to do it in combat.

One of the side effects of these long durations is that these spells are very hard to knock down.

I don't believe so. If I recall correctly, all the counter/dispel/etc. spells work against the spells intensity rather than total MPs. So long term spells were kind of fragile.

The problem is, that's a massive "if".

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Atgxtg is right with regards to Dispel Magic and Dismiss Magic - you only need to overcome the Intensity of the spell.

The sorcery spell Neutralize Magic attacks the total MP of the spell on the Resistance Table.

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That's what happens when you're trying to talk about a game you haven't run for more than a decade; the details get fuzzy. :o

That said, it doesn't address the problem of needing a lot of opponents with at least moderate Dispels, and having them take the time to do them to every PC. And of course the fact that there's no promise that you've really got easy to deal with PCs even after all that. After all, this whole process has tied up resources on only one of the PCs; the rest are just as capable as they'd have been if the sorcerer wasn't a member of the party.

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Of course there is the other option... which is you don't bother trying to dispel the magic at all. You just get big swords, run at the other side and hack them to pieces :D

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So the most effective tactic is for the bad guys to have their own buffs up, and the whole arms race resets again with combat being deadly for both sides...not necessarily a bad spot.

That's only workable as long as the PCs are normative, however; its not a given that every single set of opponents will have a sorcerer of their particular configuration available to them (or even a sorcerer at all; after all, if you're fighting opponents who are from the barbarian, nomad or primitive groups, sorcerers are thin on the ground). Nor does it help with nonintelligent opponents.

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Of course there is the other option... which is you don't bother trying to dispel the magic at all. You just get big swords, run at the other side and hack them to pieces :D

That's the issue, though; once you get this sort of process going, to say that's less likely to be successful is an understatement.

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It didn't have to be a huge Intensity to be a problem. And the cheap way to end run Free Int was to stash the majority of your spells in Intellect Spirits; yeah, that did have a little overhead on it, but nothing close to what a decent sized spell matrix did, and you only neeeded one person to have those, as compared to the whole party.

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It was never a problem for us (pehaps because of player style), but I understand what you mean.

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And what I meant by the magic point cost was that you'd have to have that on the Bladesharp every time it went up, not the one day a month the sorcerer actually spent putting up buffs.

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As it was (the exemple I gave is taken from one of our game) rare to have more than 2 to 3 combats per day, the linked power spirit was sufficient not to bother, and the resulting magic point cost was the same.

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Not all RQ3 games were run in Glorantha, you know. In fact, none of the local ones were.

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Agreed on that. This was just examples, but you are right.

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At least that required someone to have divine magic, and of the right religion.

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Also true, but this spell can also be cast by another member of the team (anc can, with lot of extension), have the same effect.

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I'd politely suggest that's because no one pushed on it quite as hard in yours, and you may well have (if you were running Glorantha) some social constraints on process that aren't in the rules and aren't universal.

I think we pushed quite hard: the bladesharp matrix I was refering was a bladesharp 8. We were not always playing in Glorantha, but were in most of the RQ campaign I took place.

And yes, in all our campaigns, social and religious constraints (not part of the rules, but of the world) were taken in account.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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Hi folks,

Regarding the issue of whole groups of people running around with long-duration spells applied to them, we once had a problem with that in another game I played (different game system). The GM quite naturally reasoned that if it is not unusual to encounter groups of people who are boosted to the gills with various spells, the natural strategy is to have foes start encounters by using a very powerful "dispell magic" to wash off that nasty protection & boosting magic.

If one is relying on those long-duration spells then suddenly lose them, it can really turn an encounter around.

Quite logical behaviour.

Runequestement votre,

Kloster

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