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mikuel

Learning Spirit Magic

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What prevents players, or anyone else of teaching others spirit magic?  It would save a lot of money.  Is it just taboo?  

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If the teacher has the correct connections to their cult, There is nothing to stop them teaching each other. No taboos involved.

So they need to be a god talker, Rune priest, Rune lord or shaman (pages 277, 278, 281 & 358). This gives them access to the week long ritual to teach the magic (and the sanctified ground).

As for the money, this is where the income for the cult comes from Rune levels are supported by their cult, so by not paying each other, the income of the individual will decrease, and in most cases they need to give the money to support their temple.

Page 277 (& 281)

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Spell teaching is an important source of income for the cult. Most temples require that Rune Priests provide a certain amount of spell teaching for free to initiates and other members of the hierarchy. Beyond that, the priest may charge for the service. 

Page 278

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Since priests live to serve their temple and their god, they must give 9/10 of their income to the temple. However, the priest is supported by the temple’s resources, and in many temples the priests treat the temple’s resources (including land, herds, and coin) as their personal property.

Take a look at Adventurer income on page 422 and standards of living.

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Ok, It sounds like it's more than teaching a few magic words to somebody.  It sounds like a big long magical ritual.  Sounds like the student couldn't just teach it to his friends. 

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8 hours ago, mikuel said:

Sounds like the student couldn't just teach it to his friends. 

Like David said, only Rune Priests, Rune Lords, and shamans can teach Spirit Magic (check out the pages David gave).

Since it takes a week to learn, you generally do that between adventures, or during some downtime. If the party has a Rune Priest, some spare time, and everybody gets along, there's no reason they can't teach spells to the others.

Remember that, as mentioned in the rules, teaching spirit magic is a big source of revenue for temples, so it's generally not free. Check p257 for typical prices of spells. But p253 also says a temple typically gives a 50% discount to their initiates. The Rune Priest PC might still charge a bit of money from the other PCs... that's more money to tithe to their temple (and might offset the accounting so they can keep that fancy loot they got on the last adventure). Keep an eye on cult secrets and other cult-specific spirit magic... I'm not sure how your temple would feel about teaching that to anybody (they might need to at least be lay members).

On the plus side, a character's temple would probably be OK teaching a few spells for free in between adventures, especially if the character did something cool that benefits that temple.

Edited by lordabdul

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I don't really know why they got rid of spell spirits; it essentially answers these questions better (IMO) than RQG does. For example, what happens if I decide "nah bugger it, I don't want to be a Runelord any more". Do I forget the spell teaching ritual? Is it possible to bribe/threaten/torture a Rune level or Shaman to force them to teach me how to do it?

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A key point is that spells are not like other "knowledge."

You cannot "learn" them in an ordinary information-transfer sort of way the way you can learn other "knowledge" (e.g. by book-study and/or by watching other people do it).

 

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1 minute ago, GAZZA said:

For example, what happens if I decide "nah bugger it, I don't want to be a Runelord any more"

For example, Spirits of Reprisal.

Ominous dreams.

Other Runelords sent to "remind you of your oaths & obligations..." with extreme measures, if need be.

 

Rune Magic, in the end, belongs to your god... not to you.

 

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Right, but that's not relevant to "do I forget how to teach spirit magic", and Illumination takes care of all of that.

I'm not saying there are no downsides to quitting Rune status - I'm just saying it's clearly possible and tying game mechanics to that status based on "we only teach this to Rune levels" opens up this sort of question. In RQ3, there was a Spell Teaching divine spell that was used to teach cult spirit magic, and if you stopped being a Rune level all your reusable spells became one use: in other words, this was a solved problem in previous editions.

I'm not actually aware of a way to stop being a Shaman, but again it's possible implicitly - just stop giving your time and income to the community. Presumably your fetch leaves at some point. We really could do with a few "what happens if you don't meet these obligations" rules; sure, 99% of Gloranthans would never dream of not meeting them, but PCs often fall into the 1% of at least asking.

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8 hours ago, GAZZA said:

For example, what happens if I decide "nah bugger it, I don't want to be a Runelord any more". Do I forget the spell teaching ritual?

No, you loose access to the results of the ritual. If you aren't a rune lord you don't have the connection to that you once had to your god. When you call for the power to come and teach the spell to the student, nothing happens. You likely can't even do the ritual as you probably don't have access to the sacred space you need (but you can likely use sanctify).

8 hours ago, GAZZA said:

Presumably your fetch leaves at some point.

Seeing as your fetch is actually you and if it leaves you die, it's more likely that you transition into retirement, doing less and less work.

There are guidelines in RQG covering what happens if Rune levels drop below the requirements for their rank.

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31 minutes ago, David Scott said:

No, you lose access to the results of the ritual. If you aren't a rune lord you don't have the connection to that you once had to your god. When you call for the power to come and teach the spell to the student, nothing happens. You likely can't even do the ritual as you probably don't have access to the sacred space you need (but you can likely use sanctify).

(SNIP!)

There are guidelines in RQG covering what happens if Rune levels drop below the requirements for their rank.

To the extent that this is true, it is not particularly useful. For example, it mentions the spirits of reprisal attack you twice, but since we don't have the full cult write ups we don't actually know what that means. It does however explictly say that you get to keep your rune points (though they become one use), so therefore the god doesn't immediately take everything; I have no problem per se with ruling that without that connection to your god you can't teach spirit magic spells, but it does seem slightly strange that (e.g.) Humakt has no problem with letting you keep Sever Spirit but damn you if he'll let you teach someone Bladesharp 1 any more. And it's even weirder that Chalana Arroy would let you keep Resurrection but not let you teach Heal, because you would have thought that Chalana Arroy would be pretty cool with as many people knowing Heal as possible. The previous edition it was a lot clearer - if you'd sacrificed for Spellteaching (and you probably should have, if you were a Priest), you could keep it but it would become one use. In a practical sense there's very little difference between "can use one more time" and "can't use at all", and it looks to me like yet another casualty of the "anything RQ3 did differently to RQ2 will be looked at with extreme prejudice" syndrome that appears to be a guiding principle behind RQG. ;)

Of course I imagine once the gods book is out we'll have the details on the spirits of reprisal, and from a personal perspective I can use my old material to wing the details - I'd also freely admit that leaving a cult, especially once you are Rune level, is probably pretty rare.

Shamans are a different matter, since as you point out the fetch, once awakened, can never be "put back to sleep" (as it were). Which means that, in principle, a shaman could say "bugger the community" and keep all his cool shamanic powers. Once again - I'm not saying that happens very often, and of course as a GM you are free to say that such a PC becomes an NPC (seems a bit heavy handed to me, but I do appreciate the sentiment).

Where it gets especially interesting is with sorcerers, but I presume that the only sorcerers we're supposed to be playing at this point are Lunars or Llankhor Mhy cultists, although I do note that strictly speaking only initiate status is required (so you could be an arbitrarily powerful Llankhor Mhy sorcerer and still only be an initiate with a mere 10% tithe/time requirement). Sorcerers don't really suffer anything from "quitting" (no more familiars, even), though indeed this is not a new problem.

Mind you I've never really been terribly concerned with enforcing the time restrictions for Rune/Shaman/Sorcerer stuff anyway. Tithing is one thing, but telling your players that they can't play their Shaman on the same adventure as their friend's Sword Lord because they're too busy making fetishes for their community, and having to the do the equivalent of checking each other's calendars, is not my idea of MGF.

Edited by GAZZA
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7 hours ago, GAZZA said:

To the extent that this is true, it is not particularly useful. For example, it mentions the spirits of reprisal attack you twice, but since we don't have the full cult write ups we don't actually know what that means.

Where does it say that the spirits of reprisal attack a priest who fails to maintain their POW at 18? The rules you are citing below are for a person leaving their cult, not for failing to maintain the prerequisites.

There is only one way a god would accept more POW than those above 18 from a priest or god talker, and that is through Divine Intervention.

A priest might drop willingly below that level through an enchantment, or through sacrificing POW to a different cult, and that may incur a severe displeasure and a sending of spirits of reprisal.

An involuntary loss of POW e.g. due to Soul Waste, Tapping or equivalent malign magical interaction makes the character unable to use any of the priestly or god talker advantages (including the sweet deal on POW gain rolls).

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It does however explictly say that you get to keep your rune points (though they become one use), so therefore the god doesn't immediately take everything;

That's for apostates. A priest or god talker falls back to being an initiate. Perhaps not in the best standing, but still able to worship the deity and to regain rune points like an initiate.

That should take care of most of your problems you state here:

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I have no problem per se with ruling that without that connection to your god you can't teach spirit magic spells, but it does seem slightly strange that (e.g.) Humakt has no problem with letting you keep Sever Spirit but damn you if he'll let you teach someone Bladesharp 1 any more. And it's even weirder that Chalana Arroy would let you keep Resurrection but not let you teach Heal, because you would have thought that Chalana Arroy would be pretty cool with as many people knowing Heal as possible.

If you become an apostate, you keep those spells and rune points (they are part of your magical being), but there is no way that your original cult will allow you to sacrifice for them and to refresh them. However, a temple say in Fonrit or the East Isles may have little problems with infractions against rules that the temple has never heard about, and may accept the character into the local form of whichever Theyalan deity the character was severed from, and that may re-kindle the rune points.

Spellteaching requires rune level status for some reason - probably because the cult (spell) spirits won't listen to any parvenu initiate's Command to release their Secret.

 

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Where it gets especially interesting is with sorcerers, but I presume that the only sorcerers we're supposed to be playing at this point are Lunars or Llankhor Mhy cultists, although I do note that strictly speaking only initiate status is required (so you could be an arbitrarily powerful Llankhor Mhy sorcerer and still only be an initiate with a mere 10% tithe/time requirement).

You cannot be a Lhankor Mhy apprentice in a library with that time requirement, though - think the amount of time a graduate student is contractually obliged to put in, and how many hours they put in in reality. (In case of doubt, read the "piled higher and deeper" or PHD webcomic.) LM sorcerers may very well make a living as alchemists, perfumers, jewellers and similar knowledge-heavy artisanship, and possibly make enough money to either purchase books for their own use (allowing the temple to make copies thereof, though, possibly financing that as their tithes).

 

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Sorcerers don't really suffer anything from "quitting" (no more familiars, even), though indeed this is not a new problem.

If they were cult members before, they are losing all the health service, dental plan etc. equivalents. Like getting ransomed on credit (once) rather than having to go prepaid.

 

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Mind you I've never really been terribly concerned with enforcing the time restrictions for Rune/Shaman/Sorcerer stuff anyway. Tithing is one thing, but telling your players that they can't play their Shaman on the same adventure as their friend's Sword Lord because they're too busy making fetishes for their community, and having to the do the equivalent of checking each other's calendars, is not my idea of MGF.

If your Sword Lord is on spell-teaching duty for the cult initiates free points of spell-teaching, no cutting off limbs for a week, either.

 

As someone who has never played RQ2 or RQ Classic, I am quite confused why those arbitrary numbers from RQ2 are back in RQG. RQ3 had way more reasonable requirements and needed no arbitrary "god talkers get +20% on their POW Gain rolls" exception from perfectly good rules.

It feels a bit like playing Nethack and suddenly being tossed into a "Rogue" level where nothing works as it should.

So, while I gave you an interpretation of how the POW 18+ rule is written in the rules as far as I can make it out, don't look at this as a defense of that IMO arbitrary design decision. While I agree with many criticisms that have been mentioned at the interaction of RQ3 and Glorantha, RQ2 wasn't any better at it. Just because your moth-ridden and dog-chewed ancient slippers have sentimental value doesn't mean that they are the best footwear.

Edited by Joerg
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16 hours ago, David Scott said:

No, you loose access to the results of the ritual. If you aren't a rune lord you don't have the connection to that you once had to your god. When you call for the power to come and teach the spell to the student, nothing happens.

Seems fine for Rune Magic, but what about Spirit Magic? My understanding is that Spirit Magic is more about tapping into the natural currents of the spirit world, which exists superimposed over the mundane world. So it's like powering magic using the forces of gravity and electromagnetism, only in this case the fundamental forces are actually characters from My Neighbour Totoro. I don't think the Gods have much to do with any of that, so I'm not sure exactly what the in-world reasoning is behind not being able to teach Spirit Magic spells that you already know? You may only learn about gravity by going to school, but once you get kicked out of school, you still know about gravity, and can still tell people about it, no?

Edited by lordabdul

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11 hours ago, Joerg said:

Where does it say that the spirits of reprisal attack a priest who fails to maintain their POW at 18? The rules you are citing below are for a person leaving their cult, not for failing to maintain the prerequisites.

Err... nowhere, but I never mentioned anything about failing to maintain a POW of 18, and in fact I was explicitly talking about apostates.

However as that has somewhat derailed the original question I think it's appropriate that I terminate further discussion here. :)

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Do the variable Spirit Magic Spells have to be learned one point at a time? Say, if you have no Bladesharp, and want to learn Bladesharp 4, does it take four weeks or only one?

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1 hour ago, Brootse said:

Do the variable Spirit Magic Spells have to be learned one point at a time? Say, if you have no Bladesharp, and want to learn Bladesharp 4, does it take four weeks or only one?

We have always played that you learn the new spell. So you spend a week learning Bladesharp 4.

Also, if you have Bladesharp 1 and want Bladesharp 4, that takes a week to upgrade.

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On 4/20/2020 at 11:11 AM, GAZZA said:

...It does however explictly say that you get to keep your rune points (though they become one use), so therefore the god doesn't immediately take everything; I have no problem per se with ruling that without that connection to your god you can't teach spirit magic spells, but it does seem slightly strange that (e.g.) Humakt has no problem with letting you keep Sever Spirit but damn you if he'll let you teach someone Bladesharp 1 any more.

It's not so much a matter of "Humakt has no problem", but that Humakt can't have a say in it. The Cosmic Compromise prevents gods from having an opinion or a direct say in what happens in the world, other than through their mortal representatives. You did the ritual, you went to the otherworld, you gained the power, the power is yours in a very real sense.

On 4/20/2020 at 11:11 AM, GAZZA said:

Mind you I've never really been terribly concerned with enforcing the time restrictions for Rune/Shaman/Sorcerer stuff anyway. Tithing is one thing, but telling your players that they can't play their Shaman on the same adventure as their friend's Sword Lord because they're too busy making fetishes for their community, and having to the do the equivalent of checking each other's calendars, is not my idea of MGF.

I agree completely, I've seen many different groups interpret and impose these constraints in different ways.

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On 4/20/2020 at 6:54 PM, lordabdul said:

Seems fine for Rune Magic, but what about Spirit Magic? My understanding is that Spirit Magic is more about tapping into the natural currents of the spirit world, which exists superimposed over the mundane world. So it's like powering magic using the forces of gravity and electromagnetism, only in this case the fundamental forces are actually characters from My Neighbour Totoro. I don't think the Gods have much to do with any of that, so I'm not sure exactly what the in-world reasoning is behind not being able to teach Spirit Magic spells that you already know? You may only learn about gravity by going to school, but once you get kicked out of school, you still know about gravity, and can still tell people about it, no?

I don't think you "know" spirit-magic the same way you "know" redsmithing, or tracking, or etc.   I don't think it can be mundanely studied & taught.  That's Sorcery -- that can be "known" through study.

No doubt some features of Spirit Magic can be "known" and studied and mundanely-taught, e.g. I expect the exact effects of every known level of every known Spirit Magic spell are catalogued somewhere in a Lhankor Mhy temple-library...  But not the spells themselves, not how to cast those spells.

 

Look at it this way:  if Spirit Magic (the most ubiquitous magic there is) could be taught this way... it already would be.  But it's not.

You cannot find a  Scroll of Bladesharp 3  in the lair of a Thanatari cultist... only a Sword with an inscribed Matrix.

 

In my headcanon, it works like this:  yes, there are "natural" currents of magic in the world, and a semi-mechanistic "Feed MP into the hopper of a Spirit Magic spell ==> Get reliable outcome."  But the thing about Spirit Magic?  It's essentially spiritual, not mechanical.

My Bladesharp 3 may have identical effects to your Bladesharp 3, but my spell (the specific one that I cast) won't be identical to yours (the one you cast) because  I  am not identical to you.  We were each taught by spirits, in a week-long ritual overseen by a priest or a shaman; it's more like a dialogue between ME (my spirit) and the "teaching" Spirit.

Of course you and I will have different experiences, each being different people to begin with!  And then we each had different week-long spirit-to-spirit experiences.

 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, g33k said:

I don't think you "know" spirit-magic the same way you "know" redsmithing, or tracking, or etc. 

[.....]

Everything you say makes sense, but I think you misunderstood my point. Yes, spirit magic is not logical, you're effectively dealing with spirits and you might deal with different spirits than me when we cast a similar spell, because we learned it differently, etc... etc... but my point was that everything you're saying has to do with the Spirit World. Not the Gods. I don't know how your standing with spirits would change if your standing with the Gods change too... I guess it depends on what your explanation is, whether the spirits of the Spirit World are subservient to the Gods (in which case as you lose standing in your cult, they basically tell you "sorry, the boss says we can't deal with you anymore"), or whether the Spirit World is a separate thing from the Gods' Realm (I think that was one of the old origin stories of Glorantha, where it was created by the collision of 3 separate universes). I think that second explanation was abandoned a while ago though, so I guess it all makes sense.

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4 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Everything you say makes sense, but I think you misunderstood my point. Yes, spirit magic is not logical, you're effectively dealing with spirits and you might deal with different spirits than me when we cast a similar spell, because we learned it differently, etc... etc... but my point was that everything you're saying has to do with the Spirit World. Not the Gods. I don't know how your standing with spirits would change if your standing with the Gods change too... I guess it depends on what your explanation is, whether the spirits of the Spirit World are subservient to the Gods (in which case as you lose standing in your cult, they basically tell you "sorry, the boss says we can't deal with you anymore"), or whether the Spirit World is a separate thing from the Gods' Realm (I think that was one of the old origin stories of Glorantha, where it was created by the collision of 3 separate universes). I think that second explanation was abandoned a while ago though, so I guess it all makes sense.

I always presumed that a Priest deals with specific spirits allied with (and/or subservient to) their God (the more general "most spirits, or any spirit" types are the shamans).

No more priestly status, no more access to the allies & servants of that deity.

Shamans tend to be a bit more... eclectic.

Edited by g33k
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6 hours ago, g33k said:

... My Bladesharp 3 may have identical effects to your Bladesharp 3, but my spell (the specific one that I cast) won't be identical to yours (the one you cast) because  I  am not identical to you.  We were each taught by spirits, in a week-long ritual overseen by a priest or a shaman; it's more like a dialogue between ME (my spirit) and the "teaching" Spirit ...

Here's an alternate perspective, FWIW.  Not sure it's "better" ... but ... it's a perspective ...

 

You don't "know" the spell because the spirit didn't "teach" you the spell.

At all, in any way.

To all intents and purposes, the "teaching" spirit inscribed a spell-matrix onto YOUR spirit.

You feed it MP's, and get the effect (just like a matrix).  You are the "magic item."

YGWV

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10 minutes ago, g33k said:

You don't "know" the spell because the spirit didn't "teach" you the spell.

At all, in any way.

To all intents and purposes, the "teaching" spirit inscribed a spell-matrix onto YOUR spirit.

That's certainly an interesting idea.

I realise that the whole "CHA makes more sense for spirit magic because it's not an intellectual exercise" paradigm is now upon us, but ... how then does one justify "forgetting" spirit magic spells? When it was INT based, that was fairly straightforward to justify, but it's harder to explain how you can just decide to chip out bits of your personality. But deciding to exert your personality to erase things that were imposed upon it - like what the teaching spirit does in your example - might be one way.

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59 minutes ago, GAZZA said:

I realise that the whole "CHA makes more sense for spirit magic because it's not an intellectual exercise" paradigm is now upon us, but ... how then does one justify "forgetting" spirit magic spells?

AFAICT it's based on CHA because it has to do with your ability to keep a connection with enough spirits that can lend you the energy and magical fairy dust that actually powers the spells. So it's not so much that you forgot it, it's that you're not in contact with the spirits that powered that spell anymore. It's as if the Spirit World's Facebook had a limit on the number of spirits your can friend... you gain a friend, you lose a friend. They probably should have not used terms like "memorize" and "forgetting" in the rules though... unless of course Jeff and Jason and company actually had some other rationalization in mind.

Edited by lordabdul
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I, personally, think along the lines that the spells taught by a cult Rune level are specifically those tied to the deity itself.

This also means that *only* those spells that are "cult spells" can be taught by those Rune levels.. And, therefore, your friendly PC priest won't be able to teach you anything they want. Given that the spells come from your god's spirits, that should also mean what you'd be allowed to teach would also be limited, largely based on the recipient's relationship with the god... Not even a Lay Member? Be thankful you're allowed the privilege of paying for a maximum of 2 point spells!

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