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Divine Magic in BRP


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OK... This might be a question that has been already addressed, but here I go:

How would one render, in BRP terms, the kind of Magic that was called 'Rune Magic' in RQ2 / 'Divine Magic' in RQ3 and in MRQ? I have re-read Paolo's Glorantha d100 pdf, but my understanding is that he simply suggests to use Divine Magic from the MRQ Companion and to rename it Theist Magic. I would like something more in line with what is available in the core BRP book.

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A quick-and-dirty method would be to use the Magic in the corebook as wizardly magic (powerful, doesn't always work, takes a LOT of learning) and Sorcery as priestly magic (less powerful, but consistent and more instinctual).

I'd then say that Sorcerors have to have an allegiance to their god/cause and that if any other allegiance ends up higher then they lose their Sorcery powers until their god's allegiance is the top one again.

Done.

EDIT:

Looking at it again, this really doesn't answer your question. Too late and done too much re-drafting tonight.

Tywyll might have a better answer, I believe his magic monograph is going into things like this...

Edited by Byron Alexander
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OK... This might be a question that has been already addressed, but here I go:

How would one render, in BRP terms, the kind of Magic that was called 'Rune Magic' in RQ2 / 'Divine Magic' in RQ3 and in MRQ? I have re-read Paolo's Glorantha d100 pdf, but my understanding is that he simply suggests to use Divine Magic from the MRQ Companion and to rename it Theist Magic. I would like something more in line with what is available in the core BRP book.

The way Sorcery works is certainly closer to the way Divine Magic works than Magic is, so it would be a more natural fit. As to cost, you might want to use POW as opposed to PP to restrict the use somewhat. You would also probably want to restrict spells to a certain deity.

Hmmm.... I read something about Invocation somewhere recently that struck me as a good substitute.... let me see if I can find it.

SDLeary

EDIT: Somewhat irritating. I can't find the link now. IIRC, it was basically similar to Divine Intervention from the old days. Gods have aspects, you ask for something within that aspect, roll, loose that many POW.

Edited by SDLeary
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I will assume that the old approach to Divine Spells presented in the Basic Magic monograph (you sacrifice POW and maybe you get your spell back after you cast it) is no longer appealing to anyone.

Sorcery is the closest thing to divine magic presented in BRP. However, it has several limitations that make it unsuitable for divine magic.

- you need POW 16

- many spells are definitely EVIL

- weapon spells are very poor, you cannot make a decent paladin/templar with those spells

So you can use sorcery, but have to rework it.

Merrie England will present revised rules for real world Divine Magic (Christian, Muslim and Jewish magic) that are based on the MRQ Cults, Factions & Guilds book, but try to go a step beyond it. The rules have been intensively discussed by three BRP old timers (Soltakss, Pete Nash and Yours Faithful) so we hope they ended up being both realistic (which means coherent with fiction, in the case of magic) and MGF.

Some people will have to overcome their distaste for MRQ to use that ruleset, of course. But I am a strong believer in the sharing of magic systems between the two incarnations of D100, so I do not think we will make a BRP version of that ruleset, at least not anytime soon.

I do not know how well this system could work with, say, Buddhism, but since it is strongly biased towards monks I suspect it could work fairly well.

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Sorcery is the closest thing to divine magic presented in BRP. However, it has several limitations that make it unsuitable for divine magic.

- you need POW 16

You could always just scrap that rule. On the other hand, the idea that only people of POW 16 or above (especially as that also influences luck) have a close enough link with the gods/God to use divine magic is not an unreasonable one.

- many spells are definitely EVIL

Honestly not seeing this as a problem. If you're using a classic polytheistic pantheon then the gods are not necessarily nice. If you're using a classic fantasy D&Desque world there have been evil gods granting powers in that since year dot as far as I'm aware (though I only go back to 2nd ed AD&D). If you are using a real-world monotheistic religion then in theory God is a nice guy but in history the miracles claimed by the monotheistic religions can take on a dark aspect - especially the stuff God does in the Old Testament.

- weapon spells are very poor, you cannot make a decent paladin/templar with those spells

This is an issue if you want to have the classic fantasy paladins running around. I think inventing new spells is the only way around this one (or possibly using a third powers system and allowing Paladins to have Super Powers).

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You could always just scrap that rule. On the other hand, the idea that only people of POW 16 or above (especially as that also influences luck) have a close enough link with the gods/God to use divine magic is not an unreasonable one.

I'm not sure I would scrap it, but I'd adjust it; say an Allegiance (Deity) of 75 or 80, or perhaps a combination of POW and Allegiance.

SDLeary

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For Paladins, I would go with the Virtues system from Gods of Law. Emulation of the gods sort of thing.

I'm not familiar with that, but if using Personality Traits, then perhaps something based on Religious Bonus from Pendragon. Though instead of a single bonus if all Virtues above 16, perhaps a different bonus for each Virtue above the threshold. This is also assuming something along the lines of meeting an Allegiance requirement.

SDLeary

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For my pseudo-Celtic campaign, I've basically reinstated Divine Magic, having it work like Sorcery but keeping the "sacrifice POW for spells" aspect. You have to have a certain amount of Allegiance points to a god (I'm debating 30 or 40) in order to be able to get Divine Spells from it. I don't really have cults built around individual gods, per se. The Druids, for example, are more like a cult in and of itself that allies to all the gods, with individual members choosing to pursue their own relationships to particular deities.

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The NPCs in the BRP book with a Divine slant are Demi-God and Priest

The Priest has Psychic powers which (s)he believes are a gift from their god (or God or GOD)

The Demi-God has superpowers

<Someone or possibly someones (apologies for forgetting who) suggesting using BRP Sorcery for Divine Magic and replacing minimum Pow requirement with minimum allegiance and changing chance of success from auto to equal to allegiance. Mayhap if gods or Gods are real a Divine character would have a chance of using their Divine Psychic powers equal to their Allegiance score>

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Sorcery is the closest thing to divine magic presented in BRP. However, it has several limitations that make it unsuitable for divine magic.

- you need POW 16

- many spells are definitely EVIL

- weapon spells are very poor, you cannot make a decent paladin/templar with those spells

I don't think any of these present a problem:

POW 16 too high? Drop it to 14, or 12, or whatever floats your boat (or scrap entirely).

EVIL spells? Relagate to EVIL Gods. Make a few good ones, or turn the evil ones on their ear and your good.

Weapon (and armor) spells lame? Drop the 'only bonus up to max damage'. Alternatively, make them work like all the other buff spells in BRP (1 pp=+5%/+1 Damage/1 Armor).

Done. :D

The BRP Sorcery rules are just a setting based alternative version of Battle/Spirit Magic, so tweaking your requirements to fit your setting a bit is not that difficult.

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I'm not sure I would scrap it, but I'd adjust it; say an Allegiance (Deity) of 75 or 80

SDLeary

Seems a little high, unless you want to make priests etc. with magic really rare - bearing in mind you need 100 allegiance points to attain Apotheosis people would know they were getting close by the fact that they could use magic.

There's no problem with that if that's what you want in your setting, of course, but I'd say it's an odd default.

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I will assume that the old approach to Divine Spells presented in the Basic Magic monograph (you sacrifice POW and maybe you get your spell back after you cast it) is no longer appealing to anyone.

I'm puzzled by this. Divine Magic in RQII/III is one of the best magic systems in any game system ever published: you actually sacrifice part of your soul (ie. POW) in exchange for magical powers, and it's represented and supported by the mechanics of the system. What's not to love about that?

For minor powers, I'd just revert to the gift/geas style of the RQ deity writeups.

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The NPCs in the BRP book with a Divine slant are Demi-God and Priest

The Priest has Psychic powers which (s)he believes are a gift from their god (or God or GOD)

The Demi-God has superpowers

<Someone or possibly someones (apologies for forgetting who) suggesting using BRP Sorcery for Divine Magic and replacing minimum Pow requirement with minimum allegiance and changing chance of success from auto to equal to allegiance. Mayhap if gods or Gods are real a Divine character would have a chance of using their Divine Psychic powers equal to their Allegiance score>

I would have an Allegiance minimum to learn the inner workings of the religion to the point where you could learn the spells, but I would not use it as the casting skill. Well... strike that. See below.

The thing with RQ Divine Magic is that it worked... there were no skill requirements for it, like Sorcery does in BRP. What kept it in check was the fact that it cost cold hard POW. So...

Divine Magic

Divine Abilities bestowed on faithful followers. The exact type and nature of Abilities vary from deity to deity. The follower must have an Allegiance (Deity) of at least 60 to be allowed to learn the spells. This is also the starting ability to cast the spell. Spell castings are restricted by the Ability (Day, Week, Month, etc.), and are paid for by POW (not PP).

A vary devout follower, one with an Allegiance (Deity) of 90 or greater gains the ability to automatically cast the spell, and may cast the spell outside the normal calendrical restrictions. Spells are paid for by POW (not PP).

Just a brainstorm... or braindrizzle depending on your pov. :D

SDLeary

Edited by SDLeary
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I'm puzzled by this. Divine Magic in RQII/III is one of the best magic systems in any game system ever published: you actually sacrifice part of your soul (ie. POW) in exchange for magical powers, and it's represented and supported by the mechanics of the system. What's not to love about that?

Maybe a hint would be the fact that every iteration of RuneQuest published after RQ3, including the unpublished RQ4, changed this system, at least by adding limited reusability for initiates. If everyone tries to change a system, then it is likely that the system is flawed.

The "sacrifice your soul" part was definitely not a bad idea. It is how poorly the supposedly all-powerful divine spells rate if compared to common magic that suggests to decrease the cost. If Detect Enemy costs one PP, it makes no sense having Find Enemy cost one permanent POW.

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Maybe a hint would be the fact that every iteration of RuneQuest published after RQ3, including the unpublished RQ4, changed this system, at least by adding limited reusability for initiates. If everyone tries to change a system, then it is likely that the system is flawed.

The "sacrifice your soul" part was definitely not a bad idea. It is how poorly the supposedly all-powerful divine spells rate if compared to common magic that suggests to decrease the cost. If Detect Enemy costs one PP, it makes no sense having Find Enemy cost one permanent POW.

Yeah, but everyone just made Divine Magic reusable with appropriate ceremony in between uses. (Granted the houserule varied a bit, but I've never met anyone who didn't let initiates relearn their spells in some manner.) Completely tossing the system out for something else, due to one extremely minor (and easily houseruled) issue is pretty much the definition of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In general, the divine spells really do completely outclass everything else in the system too. Yes, you picked one of the exceptions, but what about Sever Spirit, Thunderbolt, Arrow Trance, True Sword, and the old defensive (frequent character saving) favorites like Shield and Spirit Block...or minor spells like Resurrect, Heal Body, Regrow Limb. ;)

The point being more that the feel/concept of the system works extremely well in play and is very atmospheric rather than blah MP counting systems: not that I really have anything against good old Battle Magic/Spirit Magic/BRP-Sorcery either. Also, the version presented in Vikings for divine favor would be a very good adaptation in some game worlds. I always liked the concept, though never had a place to use it.

Edited by RMS
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Completely tossing the system out for something else, due to one extremely minor (and easily houseruled) issue is pretty much the definition of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In general, the divine spells really do completely outclass everything else in the system too. Yes, you picked one of the exceptions, but what about Sever Spirit, Thunderbolt, Arrow Trance, True Sword, and the old defensive (frequent character saving) favorites like Shield and Spirit Block...or minor spells like Resurrect, Heal Body, Regrow Limb.

I tend to second this view. One issue I noticed was the occasional inconsistency regarding the power level of some divine spells (usually too weak). However these were often "third party" additions, or from later works.

Edited by dragonewt
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Maybe a hint would be the fact that every iteration of RuneQuest published after RQ3, including the unpublished RQ4, changed this system, at least by adding limited reusability for initiates. If everyone tries to change a system, then it is likely that the system is flawed.

"flawed" however is NOT the same as:

I will assume that the old approach to Divine Spells presented in the Basic Magic monograph (you sacrifice POW and maybe you get your spell back after you cast it) is no longer appealing to anyone.

Besides which, my experience is that far more people retain RQIII Divine Magic very close to the rules as written (with a few trivially easy tweaks re reusable spells etc) than change it wholesale: the RQIII magic system that gets ditched / re-written significantly often in my experience is Sorcery...

...How would one render, in BRP terms, the kind of Magic that was called 'Rune Magic' in RQ2 / 'Divine Magic' in RQ3 and in MRQ? ... I would like something more in line with what is available in the core BRP book.

<shameless self promotion> Have you read the Ulfland article in Uncounted Worlds Issue 1? That's pretty much exactly what the revision of BRP Sorcery I included was intended to do - since I converted Ulfland (and RQIII setting originally) to BRP before the Basic Magic monograph was (re)released, I had to find something that had a similar feel.</shameless self promotion>

The system I use for Ulfland is not exactly the same as RQIII Divine Magic however - and to be honest, I can't see any reason if something like what I did isn't close enough to what you want to NOT just port the RQIII Divine magic system over. Bar tweaking the re-usability rule and adjusting a few specific spells, it will work fine IMO.

Cheers,

Nick

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Just to clarify, the part that is not appealing to anyone is using the magic system as is written in the magic monograph, i.e. initiate spells are one use. This approach is no longer used by anyone AFAIK, and RMS stated that almost everyone houserules some parts of it. When a system is almost always houseruled, then it is no longer appealing to anyone in the form in which it is currently written. This does not mean that it cannot be made workable with some changes, which do not necessarily include rewriting it from scratch. I never stated that this system is bad and should be discarded in favour of a totally different one.

In any case, my preference for divine magic goes to some adaptation of the MRQ version that is in Guilds, rather than tweaking sorcery. You will see what I mean in approximately 40--50 days. Which does not mean that one cannot tweak BRP sorcery, of course: it is just that the philosophy behind it does not "fit" divine magic particularly well.

Also, there are many kinds of religions. Christianity, Orlanthism, Buddhism and the Cult of Chaos in the Young Kingdoms are all religions, but I would not represent them with the exact same ruleset.

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Which does not mean that one cannot tweak BRP sorcery, of course: it is just that the philosophy behind it does not "fit" divine magic particularly well.

There I agree with you - the magic system fits Divine Magic quite well but it isn't written to be Divine Magic and you can tell. That's why I described using Sorcery with few changes as a 'quick and dirty' method.

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Hi,

It's worth thinking a bit about the issue of why divine magic was one use.

Divine Magic was one use for initiates to make priesthood a magical equivalent of rune lordship, creating a system in which priests were a lot better than initiates. In effect, it was assumed that most divine spells would be cast by priests.

Having noticed that this did not work in RQ, in my new system I created multiple levels of divine magic, with some generic divine spells available to initiates and some better divine spells reserved for acolytes and above.

Other people did other things. A lot of other people did nothing at all. Remember that an amazing number of people managed to play Old D&D, although when they got together at conventions, it turned out that they did not agree on what Old D&D was. In my definitely biased view, RuneQuest was much clearer than Old D&D, but there was no shortage of problems with it.

For what it is worth, I tend to think that it is a good idea to try to keep divine magic as mathematically simple as possible. Sorcery is potentially very powerful and works quite well as a system for power gamers who don't mind math. There is no obvious advantage to making Divine Magic more like Sorcery.

People who are interested in my current views on magic systems, etc can download a free copy of Fire and Sword, here, the short version of Fire and Sword, here, or my designer's commentary, here.

Ray,

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I must admit that if I were to use Divine Magic in BRP games I would use the Pact/Dedicated POW mechanic that Loz has developed for MRQ along with, on the whole, the RQ3 divine magic spell list. I find it has more MGF than RQ2/3 Divine Magic because its more useful early on without exploding at higher levels. It also has inbuilt mechanisms for gifts, geas, superstitions, taboos and so on so you could think of it as a self-contained Power system. Probably (though I don't know the allegiance rules well enough) you could replace the Pact Skill with an Allegiance rating and cast magic through a theology skill.

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Ok, so to summarise the various contributions:

a pick-and-mix by various contributors:

  • min POW (13)
  • min allegiance (30-40)
  • RQ Rune/Divine magic-like spells, but using the mechanics from BRP Sorcery, changing chance of success from auto to equal to allegiance

as suggested by SDLeary:

Divine Magic

Divine Abilities bestowed on faithful followers. The exact type and nature of Abilities vary from deity to deity. The follower must have an Allegiance (Deity) of at least 60 to be allowed to learn the spells. This is also the starting ability to cast the spell. Spell castings are restricted by the Ability (Day, Week, Month, etc.), and are paid for by POW (not PP).

A vary devout follower, one with an Allegiance (Deity) of 90 or greater gains the ability to automatically cast the spell, and may cast the spell outside the normal calendrical restrictions. Spells are paid for by POW (not PP).

by Nick:

Ulfland

God, I did read it, when UW came out. Must re-read it!

a lot of contributors:

use Loz' system from Guilds

The problem is that I want to stay as close as possible to just the BRP rule book

also by Paolo:

In any case, my preference for divine magic goes to some adaptation of the MRQ version that is in Guilds, rather than tweaking sorcery. You will see what I mean in approximately 40--50 days.

Sneak peek, maybe? :)

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The problem is that I want to stay as close as possible to just the BRP rule book.

I think that Jason stated in the rules that there are various ways to "do it" for powers and no One True Way. As there is no chance of a reality check when magic is concerned, everything goes. And unfortunately no one of the power systems presented in the core book is really fit for divine magic.

Sneak peek, maybe? :)

Hmmm, now that you say it, the layout process should be advanced enough to build some previews. But better wait till mid September.

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