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DrDave

More than one foci for the same spell

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The rules give, as a typical place for a focus, is an engraving on the weapon that you touch.  But some characters use more than one weapon, etc.  Now this is just an example, but it brought up the question of whether you can have more than one foci for the same spell.

Also, as an aside, if you have a tatoo, is there any advantage to having it visible, vs. under clothing?

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9 minutes ago, DrDave said:

The rules give, as a typical place for a focus, is an engraving on the weapon that you touch.

There was always an implication that you could have only one focus for the spell so that foes might reduce your chance of casting by marring/breaking it.  However, I don't know that it particularly matters, and given the chance of weapons breaking, etc. you might potentially have it etched/carved in multiple locations.  Or you could just have it tattoo'd on your hand so that it doesn't matter (until your hand is lopped off).

12 minutes ago, DrDave said:

if you have a tatoo, is there any advantage to having it visible, vs. under clothing?

Yes, and yes. Most Orlanthi want you to know what clan/tribe they are from.  And not only will they have the clan tattoo'd on body, will likely have pendants, pins, or even design on clothes to indicate their loyalty and allegiance. Of course, if you are trying to raid some rival clan, and want to blame someone else then you don't want it visible.  Likewise if you are attacking a Lunar patrol, you probably don't want them coming down on your clan.

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Yep good questions... I'm not really sure whether the RQG designers intended the magic foci rules to be followed seriously, or if it was mostly "worldbuilding fluff". I very much play it as the latter, mentioning to my players how this is the way people cast spells in Glorantha, but then we mostly forget about it (although it comes up again when I describe NPCs, as they would have sigils and tattoos and whatnot that the players can guess are foci).  It's just that, otherwise, it's annoying to track which spell has what focus, and then if the players lose or sell the item, they have to remake the focus. It's like battlemat minis or encumbrance rules, in a way: a group might love tracking that kind of stuff, while another one hates it. I can see myself taking foci more seriously with a different group.

But anyway yes, if the spell focus is on a weapon, then if the character uses another weapon, they wouldn't have the focus at hand. I really depends:

  • If the character has a mace and a broadsword, putting the Bladesharp focus on the sword's hilt makes sense -- you don't need it when using the mace.
  • Putting the focus inside the shield can be useful. This way, you can look at it regardless of whether you're using the sword or the mace.
  • Having the focus be some bracelet/necklace/etc. allows you to have it on you as opposed to your weapon. If you want you can wrap it around the weapon instead of your arm.
  • Tattoos are popular probably because you can't lose them or have them stolen. In a culture like the Sartarites, everybody has tattoos. You don't have to hide it because whether this or that tattoo is your focus for Bladesharp is really a personal thing, so people wouldn't know (the tattoos are however typically used to identify your bloodline/clan/tribe). When in doubt, maybe the Lunar soldiers would scar their prisoners' tattoos to make it more difficult to cast magic? Mmmmh.
Edited by lordabdul

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OK, so it seems, rules wise, anything that makes sense.

And there are cultural implications.  Though I think most people might want to hide what combat magic they have.  On the other hand, a sage might want to advertise.

 

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13 hours ago, DrDave said:

The rules give, as a typical place for a focus, is an engraving on the weapon that you touch.  But some characters use more than one weapon, etc.  Now this is just an example, but it brought up the question of whether you can have more than one foci for the same spell.

My experience is that adventurers stick with a set of weapons that rarely changes. Sword and shield (bladesharp & Parry), bow (multimissile). Weapons that are thrown obviously don't have the focus on them. The focus could be anything in that case.

13 hours ago, DrDave said:

Also, as an aside, if you have a tatoo, is there any advantage to having it visible, vs. under clothing?

RQG page 254 says

Quote

The focus serves as a reminder and token of the spell. Contact with the focus, whether visual, tactile, or through another sense, triggers the release and formation of the individual’s magical energies and makes the spell work.

Under clothes isn't visual or tactile unless you reveal it. If human you are limited to touch and sight, Trolls could use darksense.

As for second focus of the same spell, I'm not so sure about this. It's created in the week long spell teaching ritual. In theory you could create a second one at the same time, but i'd more likely say it's a ring, glove, bracelet. 

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1 hour ago, David Scott said:

Under clothes isn't visual or tactile unless you reveal it.

So, you couldn't rub/press on a tattoo on your chest, through clothing to use a focus? That would be tactile for me. If it touches your skin it is probably enough?

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5 minutes ago, soltakss said:

So, you couldn't rub/press on a tattoo on your chest, through clothing to use a focus? That would be tactile for me. If it touches your skin it is probably enough?

Same way, any piece of jewelry in contact with the body is automatically touched, so should count, even if not seen.

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12 hours ago, soltakss said:

So, you couldn't rub/press on a tattoo on your chest, through clothing to use a focus? That would be tactile for me.

Yeah but you wouldn't be able to see the tattoo so I'm not sure it would be very different from touching a non-tattooed part of your body. I have no idea if you can feel a tattoo since I don't have tattoos (we should ask Ian Cooper maybe :D ).  Maybe if it's got scarification?

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15 hours ago, David Scott said:

... As for second focus of the same spell, I'm not so sure about this. It's created in the week long spell teaching ritual. In theory you could create a second one at the same time, but i'd more likely say it's a ring, glove, bracelet. 

Glorantha's vary.   Whatchagonnado, amiright?

I've always ruled that you could take another week to meditate & craft, and re-create your focus; on another weapon, as another tattoo, etc.  I don't recall there ever being "canon" on this point; but then, my memory ain't what it used to be...

A focus is -- IMHO/IMG -- always a particular spell/caster combo, chosen at the time of learning the spell; the character is usually free to specify any particular medium for the focus (jewelry, tattoo, carving, knot-string, etc), but once they've committed to a medium, that's the focus they have learned, as an integral part of learning the spell.

 

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On 4/20/2020 at 2:34 PM, lordabdul said:

maybe the Lunar soldiers would scar their prisoners' tattoos to make it more difficult to cast magic? Mmmmh.

This is a very interesting thread and i dont know how i missed it. Anyway, great comment which brings up a good point. If i capture someone, I can just destroy their foci to prevent them from casting spells that would help them escape. Which means i wouldn't need expensive slave collars... i think that's what they were called. And if someone wants to be very mean, they can burn off, or scar off, any tattoo foci... really causing an immediate challenge for the victim. I need to ponder this some, great comment, thanks.

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Thanks! :)

4 hours ago, 10baseT said:

Which means i wouldn't need expensive slave collars...

We briefly talked about those in Episode 3 of Wind Words (during @Joerg's segment), and how Jeff has said recently that slave collars weren't a thing anymore as far as Chaosium's Glorantha is concerned. It's unclear what their replacement is, however. I could imagine an Orlanthi thrall to keep the little honour they have and naturally behave as is expected of their unfortunate position, but when talking about Lunars, I think all bets are off, and they probably have some way of make sure their slaves don't try to escape or rise up. Burning/scarring tattoos seems worse than slave collars, and doesn't even solve the slave holder's problem (I think that without a focus, you are merely slower at casting, unlike the collars which were supposed to dampen your magic).

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

It's unclear what their replacement is, however.

There's always the more mundane means of herbs to dull the mind, dampen the magic, and drain their strength.  Brew in a tea, mix into their gruel, add to their ale.  From a game PoV, such might reduce Free INT so it becomes difficult to hold/remember spells, reduce MP's substantially, and temporarily lower hit points.  All assuming regular daily ingestion (or at whatever rate the herbs work).

Bronze shackles to hinder movement beyond what it needed.

The remaining challenge is Rune Points, particularly for more powerful leaders.  Perhaps you figure you either kill or ransom them.  Or perhaps you command a cult spirit to possess them.  Or if they used a lot of magic before being taken prisoner, you keep them from worship ceremonies so they can't restore the Rune Points.

 

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18 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

There's always the more mundane means of herbs to dull the mind, dampen the magic, and drain their strength. 

Sure, if you want prisoners.... but you want slaves. They must still have their full strength and, arguably, most, if not all, of their intellectual faculties in order to accomplish all the labour you bought them for in the first place.

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2 hours ago, lordabdul said:

We briefly talked about those in Episode 3 of Wind Words

Hot damn, i actually just downloaded this yesterday and planning to listen today when i run... thanks man.

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21 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Sure, if you want prisoners.... but you want slaves. They must still have their full strength and, arguably, most, if not all, of their intellectual faculties in order to accomplish all the labour you bought them for in the first place.

Then the goal is to dampen the magic.  Brand them and mar the foci - that will slow their use of spirit magic.  Just use some herbs/drugs to keep their magic points low.  (If you've read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series then a Glorantha equivalent of forkroot is what I have in mind.)

Limit the mobility with shackles depending on their task.  And keep them from worship.

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On 4/22/2020 at 9:37 AM, lordabdul said:

Yeah but you wouldn't be able to see the tattoo so I'm not sure it would be very different from touching a non-tattooed part of your body. I have no idea if you can feel a tattoo since I don't have tattoos (we should ask Ian Cooper maybe :D ).  Maybe if it's got scarification?

I'd be inclined to say that touching where the tattoo is brings it sharply to mind - ie, into focus.

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11 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Then the goal is to dampen the magic.  Brand them and mar the foci - that will slow their use of spirit magic.  Just use some herbs/drugs to keep their magic points low.  (If you've read Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series then a Glorantha equivalent of forkroot is what I have in mind.)

This seems to be a fantasy staple - in Robin Hobb's Farseer series the drug is called "Elfbark" and comes in varying intensities.

 

11 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Limit the mobility with shackles depending on their task.  And keep them from worship.

A covert possession might do the trick - e.g. spirits of madness, or pain. Possibly cult spirits for the Danfive Charon cult. Reach for your magic, and your watchdog will activate.

Ideally you want your slaves to worship your wyter, to sustain their enslavement magic with their innate magic. The Fonritians have mastered this Vadeli technique, and I suspect the magic of slave collars and bracelets as described by Biturian to be such magic, possibly sorcerous creations using the Tap technique and the Magic rune. Possibly distributed more or less freely as DIY scrolls.

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On 5/5/2020 at 9:59 PM, Shiningbrow said:

I'd be inclined to say that touching where the tattoo is brings it sharply to mind - ie, into focus.

YGWV.

I think the rules are clear that you need more than a memory or visualization...  You need to SEE it or FEEL it by touch.  It needs to engage the senses, for whatever reason.

Just "visualizing" a focus?  Use the "cast without a focus" rules, i.e. a round slower.  Otherwise, you get into arguments like, "they only cut across my tattoo 2 days ago, and I ALWAYS cast by touching it through my clothes and visualizing it, anyhow!  I can totally cast this!!!!"

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5 hours ago, g33k said:

YGWV.

I think the rules are clear that you need more than a memory or visualization...  You need to SEE it or FEEL it by touch.  It needs to engage the senses, for whatever reason.

Just "visualizing" a focus?  Use the "cast without a focus" rules, i.e. a round slower.  Otherwise, you get into arguments like, "they only cut across my tattoo 2 days ago, and I ALWAYS cast by touching it through my clothes and visualizing it, anyhow!  I can totally cast this!!!!"

And, I'm suggesting it's 'feel'' - with the skin at the location of the tattoo, not with the fingers...

It's a "focus". It's job is to help.you "focus"... 

But, yeah, Glorantha varies...

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12 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

And, I'm suggesting it's 'feel'' - with the skin at the location of the tattoo, not with the fingers...

Once the tat has fully healed, you don't  'feel'  it anymore.

If it was some sort of scarification, instead, then I'd agree it could be cast by touching the focus.

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Would connecting prisoners with lengths of unenchanted iron provide enough antimagic potential to keep them relatively seperated from their magical resources? At least applicable to Mostali prisoner keeping. 

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6 hours ago, HreshtIronBorne said:

Would connecting prisoners with lengths of unenchanted iron provide enough antimagic potential to keep them relatively seperated from their magical resources? At least applicable to Mostali prisoner keeping. 

It could work, but would be very expensive, if you can even find enough iron.

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