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RQG sorcery & other magics (rant)


icebrand

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So, while converting my old RQ2/3 mashup house rules to RQG i got to the sorcery part, which is literally unplayable for me. 

Can someone explain how are you supposed to adventure with these rules?

They seem pretty much unplayable (and I find them overly complicated and limiting with the runes). 

Did anybody playtest these??? How is it any fun to "cast a spell" for 2+ rounds while the runelords actually do stuff, and then most likely get interrupted?

Like... I feel the best way to play a sorcerer now is "hit stuff with my damage boosted sword" (only damage boosting got nerfed to oblivion AND everyone else is actually better at hitting stuff with their swords).

I feel these rules are only good for NPCs... And even then those NPCs would be better off being shamans or theists.

/Rant

 

 

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1 hour ago, icebrand said:

Can someone explain how are you supposed to adventure with these rules?

Sorcerers don't generally adventure.

I would wait until we get a pack based on the Malkioni.

There are some Jonstown Compendium supplements based in the West, but I don't think they cover sorcery particularly.

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1 hour ago, icebrand said:

So, while converting my old RQ2/3 mashup house rules to RQG i got to the sorcery part, which is literally unplayable for me. 

Can someone explain how are you supposed to adventure with these rules?

I regularly have sorcerers in my games, they always prepare beforehand. Spells like Boon of Kargan Tor are cast weeks before,

1 hour ago, icebrand said:

Did anybody playtest these???

Yes. I had a group go into Snakepipe hollow with half the party being sorcerers.

1 hour ago, icebrand said:

How is it any fun to "cast a spell" for 2+ rounds while the runelords actually do stuff,

Preparation. The Lhankor Mhy sorcerer was really useful at discovering important stuff, no fighting required. We didn't have any runelords.

1 hour ago, icebrand said:

and then most likely get interrupted?

That means they are standing to close 🙂 I've never had one interrupted, they can always make a concentration roll.

1 hour ago, icebrand said:

Like... I feel the best way to play a sorcerer now is "hit stuff with my damage boosted sword" (only damage boosting got nerfed to oblivion AND everyone else is actually better at hitting stuff with their swords).

Depends how your players develop their adventurers. I don't tend to run combat based games, so fighting's never a problem. 

1 hour ago, icebrand said:

I feel these rules are only good for NPCs... And even then those NPCs would be better off being shamans or theists.

I regularly ran demo's of RQG for new players, Sorala (the LM sorcerer) is always a popular choice. Here's a third page for Sorala that goes with her Pregen sheet that I use for demos:

1706004250_RQGPregensSoralapage3.thumb.jpg.00629b152469f34b451e470d2e11e46c.jpg

Once they see Strength + Range + Duration level must be 17 or less, it's straightforward.

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1 hour ago, icebrand said:

So, while converting my old RQ2/3 mashup house rules to RQG i got to the sorcery part, which is literally unplayable for me. 

Can someone explain how are you supposed to adventure with these rules?

You aren't, really. It is fine to have a philosopher sage accompanying a group of adventurers, but a full sorcerer is not really an adventurer exploring hostile territory.

In a way, a sorcerer can be played as a magical gadgeteer. He will have and provide long-duration ensorcelled items created in advance, while being kept on a retainer. He can be a support magician who adds to the "Arming of" rites (which take about as long as casting a sorcery spell).

A sorcerer without a mundane sidekick will be out of place in most conventional adventures. On an archaeological dig in some old ruins, he may shine, though, alongside those bookworm characters.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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What Joerg and David said.

IMHO, Sorcerers are scientists and philosophers and alchemists, and they stay up in their towers and laboratories and libraries for months on end before coming outside. And when they do, they have months of prepared spells at their disposal, stored in trinkets and staffs and amulets and such, plus some minions and sidekicks to accompany them and deal with the mundane affairs of hitting people on the head. Basically: it's Ars Magica in Glorantha. And there's a reason Ars Magica uses troupe play by default.

From a pure game design perspective, though:  there is zero point in adding a third magic system that does what the other two do, which is to be useful in action and combat scenes. If a character wants to be able to cast spells in less than a round in order to buff themselves up or deal damage or control the forces of nature, there's already Spirit and Rune Magic for this. Sorcery (again, IMHO) is for something completely different in terms of gameplay, storytelling, and flavour.

Edited by lordabdul
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6 hours ago, soltakss said:

Sorcerers don't generally adventure.

I would wait until we get a pack based on the Malkioni.

There are some Jonstown Compendium supplements based in the West, but I don't think they cover sorcery particularly.

So, i am to tell my sorcerer PC that has been playing since 1997 that his magus is now useless in combat and "standard" runelords (i.e. not heroes) that he used to destroy now can wipe the floor with him?

I mean, the new sorcery system is a straight downgrade from core rq3 sorcery in every single aspect... 

He is a hrestoli btw, do knights not adventure either? Or maybe they get killed every single time they face a different type of magic user?

"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

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5 hours ago, David Scott said:

I regularly have sorcerers in my games, they always prepare beforehand. Spells like Boon of Kargan Tor are cast weeks before,

Yes. I had a group go into Snakepipe hollow with half the party being sorcerers.

Preparation. The Lhankor Mhy sorcerer was really useful at discovering important stuff, no fighting required. We didn't have any runelords.

That means they are standing to close 🙂 I've never had one interrupted, they can always make a concentration roll.

Depends how your players develop their adventurers. I don't tend to run combat based games, so fighting's never a problem. 

I regularly ran demo's of RQG for new players, Sorala (the LM sorcerer) is always a popular choice. Here's a third page for Sorala that goes with her Pregen sheet that I use for demos:

Once they see Strength + Range + Duration level must be 17 or less, it's straightforward.

Man multiquoting is beyond my forum skill :)

"I regularly have sorcerers in my games, they always prepare beforehand. Spells like Boon of Kargan Tor are cast weeks before,"

Yes, my sorcerers do that too. But they also cast spells. I cant tell a guy who has 210% evoke fire (form/set fire in RQ3) that his favorite spell is completely useless.

"Preparation. The Lhankor Mhy sorcerer was really useful at discovering important stuff, no fighting required. We didn't have any runelords."

But the sorcerer in question does fight. He is a hrestoli, and has a damage boosted greatsword. While we are at it, how are sorcerers supposed to gain POW now, since clearly spellcasting is not an option?

 "That means they are standing to close 🙂 I've never had one interrupted, they can always make a concentration roll."

Yeah, well, theres a whole country (loskalm) of sorcerers that do stand close to fight. I guess that they dont use magic besides buffs anymore... 

 

"It seems I'm destined not to move ahead in time faster than my usual rate of one second per second"

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

You aren't, really. It is fine to have a philosopher sage accompanying a group of adventurers, but a full sorcerer is not really an adventurer exploring hostile territory.

In a way, a sorcerer can be played as a magical gadgeteer. He will have and provide long-duration ensorcelled items created in advance, while being kept on a retainer. He can be a support magician who adds to the "Arming of" rites (which take about as long as casting a sorcery spell).

A sorcerer without a mundane sidekick will be out of place in most conventional adventures. On an archaeological dig in some old ruins, he may shine, though, alongside those bookworm characters.

Yeah the problem is that the main PC sorcerer is a Hrestoli magus. He has been playing the character since 1997 (not on the reg anymore). He always explored hostile territory and fought stuff, he wasnt a magical gadgeteer, sorcerers never were, not in RQ3, not in Gods of Glorantha, and not in HeroWars/HeroQuest. This is a radical departure of what gloranthan sorcery ever was.

My latest personal character was a Black Horse county mercenary. Am i supposed to not use magic again? Do i need mercenary hirelings for my mercenary character?

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2 hours ago, lordabdul said:

What Joerg and David said.

IMHO, Sorcerers are scientists and philosophers and alchemists, and they stay up in their towers and laboratories and libraries for months on end before coming outside. And when they do, they have months of prepared spells at their disposal, stored in trinkets and staffs and amulets and such, plus some minions and sidekicks to accompany them and deal with the mundane affairs of hitting people on the head. Basically: it's Ars Magica in Glorantha. And there's a reason Ars Magica uses troupe play by default.

Hrestoli, Vadeli and the Black horse troop would like to disagree with your "philosopher and alchemist staying in their tower" trope IMHO

"From a pure game design perspective, though:  there is zero point in adding a third magic system that does what the other two do, which is to be useful in action and combat scenes. If a character wants to be able to cast spells in less than a round in order to buff themselves up or deal damage or control the forces of nature, there's already Spirit and Rune Magic for this. Sorcery (again, IMHO) is for something completely different in terms of gameplay, storytelling, and flavour."

But in glorantha there are whole societies (and quite a few of them) that mostly / only use sorcery. This doesn't fly. 

What happens if the lunar army clashes with a western army? They just win no contest? Because published low rank NPCs from every RQ incarnation have access to magic, and now it turns out westerners don't really have a practical alternative. You can argue that the wizards can enchant the knights, but the lunar priests can also enchant their soldiers, faster and spending way less magic power. Or, you know, let the soldiers get a similar boost by themselves and then use all their magic offensively or for healing (since a single wizard having to cast spells for a lot of knights cant just cast high intensity spells on everyone)

Edited by icebrand

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8 minutes ago, icebrand said:

Hrestoli, Vadeli and the Black horse troop would like to disagree with your "philosopher and alchemist staying in their tower" trope IMHO

Hrestoli warriors while being of a philosophical frame of mind do not use sorcery for battle.  They use instead what has been called "practical god-learning", using heroquests to gain access to rune magic.  They cheat on these heroquests by having sorcerors buff them up beforehand.

Black Horse warriors are simple worshippers of Hrestol as a God/Hero rather than philosophers.  Ethilrist is different but too arrogant to explain himself.

The Vadeli would come the closest in using sorcery for most purposes but they have never been strong and only prosper where others are weak or misled.

 

8 minutes ago, icebrand said:

But in glorantha there are whole societies (and quite a few of them) that mostly / only use sorcery. This doesn't fly. \

That is incorrect.  There are whole societies in which sorcery use dominates.  But the battlefield is one area in which they are weak and they make many compromises in order to survive.

8 minutes ago, icebrand said:

What happens if the lunar army clashes with a western army?

They clashed with the Carmanians whose use of magic is similar to that any many western countries and far less heteredox than thought.

 

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19 minutes ago, icebrand said:

Hrestoli, Vadeli and the Black horse troop would like to disagree with your "philosopher and alchemist staying in their tower" trope IMHO

I don't know about the Black Horse troop (I don't know much about them), but I guess our vision of Glorantha differs on the other two. For the sake of clarity, however, I didn't say they don't fight/adventure/etc... just that they do it very infrequently and for better reasons than just murder-hoboing... Feel free to make your Glorantha vary from mine!

It looks like where you're going wrong is by trying to upgrade the game system while continuing the same campaign and keeping the same characters. That sounds like a recipe for a whole bunch problems, regardless of the game system.

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15 minutes ago, metcalph said:

That is incorrect.  There are whole societies in which sorcery use dominates.  But the battlefield is one area in which they are weak and they make many compromises in order to survive.

"The Loskalmi army is one of the best in the world. It is professional, motivated, well equipped and magically powerful."

Glorantha: Genertela, Crucible of the Hero Wars, Genertela book, page 11 (emphasis mine). Has this been Gregged? Do you have a source for their weakness and compromises? Is there a source for the heroquesting stuff?

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I have a Lunar sorcerer player character in the game I run, and the two main applications they've had for their magic was powering up a spell to push their INT up to 26 for a year, and conjuring up the occasional wall or field of fire when the situation calls for it.  He still makes a point of staying behind the fighting line while he casts though.

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13 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

 just that they do it very infrequently and for better reasons than just murder-hoboing... Feel free to make your Glorantha vary from mine!

While my PCs started as murder-hobos (we were 17 back then lol) they arent anymore for at least 15 years. One is a king, one is a self-proclaimed sorcery saint (and of course, banished from the realm) and one is... an old murder hobo (but that's a cult duty so it doesn't count). Of course there are more characters (once i GMed for 12 people... NEVER AGAIN), these are the only surviving "OGs" (well, one of them is like 2 IRL years younger and the other two spent a few IRL years death until they came back but you get my point).

"It looks like where you're going wrong is by trying to upgrade the game system while continuing the same campaign and keeping the same characters. That sounds like a recipe for a whole bunch problems, regardless of the game system."

Well, i disagree. The system is pretty similar to what im running (RQ2+3 aberration). Most new stuff we house ruled strikingly similar. My only real dislikes with the system are rolling dice to cast magic (RQ2 FTW) and the sorcery rules (which are not getting used as they are, i think my sorcerers would literally hit me with a chair if i nerfed them like that LOL) :)

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6 minutes ago, icebrand said:

"The Loskalmi army is one of the best in the world. It is professional, motivated, well equipped and magically powerful."

Doesn't say sorcerously powerful, does it?  What I said is compatible with traditional descriptions of Loskalm. 

6 minutes ago, icebrand said:

Is there a source for the heroquesting stuff?

Jeff's comments here on this site.   Nothing has been published. 

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5 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Doesn't say sorcerously powerful, does it?  What I said is compatible with traditional descriptions of Loskalm. 

"one of best army in the world" and "magically powerful" directly contradict you i think, but english is not my 1st language, i might be mistaken.

Jeff's comments here on this site.   Nothing has been published. 

YGWV (and his) i guess. We tend to take published sources as cannon and go from there, but you do you 😃

EDIT: i find completely out of character for Loskalmi to cheat on heroquests to gain spells from other magic systems. If a PC of mine did that the church would most definitely excomulgate him.

Edited by icebrand

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5 minutes ago, icebrand said:

"one of best army in the world" and "magically powerful" directly contradict you i think, but english is not my 1st language, i might be mistaken.

Just because the Hrestoli use rune magics for the most part does not make them weaker or magically powerful. 

Quote

Jeff's comments here on this site.   Nothing has been published. 

YGWV (and his) i guess. We tend to take published sources as cannon and go from there, but you do you 😃

If you want to snarl and rant, go elsewhere. 

Quote

EDIT: i find completely out of character for Loskalmi to cheat on heroquests to gain spells from other magic systems. If a PC of mine did that the church would most definitely excomulgate him.

The Hrestoli aren't a church but a philosophical school.  There's nothing morally wrong on cheating on other people's heroquests. 

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11 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Just because the Hrestoli use rune magics for the most part does not make them weaker or magically powerful. 

If you want to snarl and rant, go elsewhere. 

The Hrestoli aren't a church but a philosophical school.  There's nothing morally wrong on cheating on other people's heroquests. 

How do they even cheat on heroquests???

By using sorcery? Don't theists use their own, better magic there?

Also isn't heroquests cheating a godlearner thing?

They believe in god, malkion, hrestol, they gather for worship, how are they not a church?

(Again it wasn't my intention to snarl, english isn't my 1st language, im at 30% skill)

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2 hours ago, icebrand said:

So, i am to tell my sorcerer PC that has been playing since 1997 that his magus is now useless in combat and "standard" runelords (i.e. not heroes) that he used to destroy now can wipe the floor with him?

Of course not. Anyone who's been running RQ as long as you have should have no problem adapting RQ3 sorcerers into RQG. At the bare minimum you could just keep using the RQ3 sorcery rules for that character, why not? The RQG core rules are for new adventurers. It claims some compatibility with RQ2, but not RQ3 which was very much a compromise and went in several directions that turned out to be bad ideas. Some great stuff, and I personally love the RQ3 sorcery, but it was never all that popular.

50 minutes ago, icebrand said:

How do they even cheat on heroquests??? By using sorcery? Don't theists use their own, better magic there? Also isn't heroquests cheating a godlearner thing?

The God Learners got it down to a fine art, but anyone can cheat, the Lunars and the Arkati are pretty pro at it. "Better" is relative, there are plenty of tools in the Sorcery box that are unavailable to other magical types. That could make otherwise tricky or impossible parts of a HeroQuest trivial.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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43 minutes ago, metcalph said:

If you want to snarl and rant, go elsewhere.

Think it's you that maybe needs an attitude check to be honest. Icebrand literally is just saying they don't take forum posts as canon - which is a totally fair and, in many ways, correct approach. On top of that, they stated english isn't their first language (although, frankly, nothing they said was worded in a snarly or rude manner - and English IS my first language).

Anyway, yeah I agree that Sorcery kind of sucks currently, it's too slow to be useful as a PC thing typically (except for non combat applications, where it can be EXCELLENT, so long as the sorcerer PC is clever and remembers what they can do). Thing is, Sorcery is still potentially very powerful, it's just it's powerful on a macro scale rather than a micro scale. I asked a similar question on Facebook quite recently and Jeff noted that when it comes to wars, Sorcery is more powerful because its only real limitation is magic points available to put into it and the preparedness of the casters/general that commands them. Spirit magic is the opposite, on a micro level, its very very powerful for anyone that has a decent POW, but it's overall power pales compared to what a battalion of sorcerers could potentially pull off.

That said, it's still really not a good thing for most PCs to go into, at least not without a very very strong grasp of the mechanics and an understanding that they aren't the flashy magic user.

IMO, Sorcery should have its initial preparation reduced to 5SR same as any other magic, but still increase in 2SR incremements for points beyond it, that would help it not feel quite so awkward for PCs, in addition, Starting sorcerers really need more points available to put into their magic skills, spirit magic is all down to your POW, roll well and you'll have silly high TNs, Runes are easy to have at 80%+ in too, but Sorcery? Nope. Which I think is half the issue, it's slow, and not impactful without making it even slower but also significantly more likely to fail than other magics - which means players end up spending a lot of wasted time in encounters, or just not doing the thing they wanted to be good at when encounters do come up (again, I agree that if you emphasise non-combat with sorcery chosen, it can be great, Logician is mental for example). Just look at the example spells above, 55% on the best spell, 15% on the worst, and those % will be at -10% as often as they're at +10% too. Spirit magic might have similar low odds but characters aren't built around spirit magic, everyone just gets it (except Sorcerers who very likely didn't get it so they could have sorcery instead!)

 

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I don't get why some of you say sorcery isn't powerful in the lore, isn't the lunar college of magic a sorcery school? And on the field they are said to be like one of the most terrible military units on all Glorantha, only able to be magically fought when Argrath creates his own sorcery school. Also I think the westerners have pretty powerful field sorcerer units too, Sir Narib was one of them, if I'm not mistaken.

I have always imagined the sorcery as by far the hardest of the 3 magical arts to master, and perhaps the less directly offensive, but in my mind a well learned and disciplined sorcerer is able to do things rune lords or great shamans cannot even imagine, given the freedom and boundless power that sorcery gives. 

Also I too find weird that loskami do that kind of criptogodlearner kinda things, but well, you know what the rokari say, hrestolism was at fault for the creation of that philosophical monster all along. 

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2 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

The God Learners got it down to a fine art, but anyone can cheat, the Lunars and the Arkati are pretty pro at it. "Better" is relative, there are plenty of tools in the Sorcery box that are unavailable to other magical types. That could make otherwise tricky or impossible parts of a HeroQuest trivial.

Anyone can cheat, but cheating is viewed as godlearning and everyone hate you for it, like everyone hates arkati. Lunars don't do that kind of thing, they do another thing (rolls illumination).

"Better" may be relative, but you are giving me an abstract idea that doesnt help. The sorcery in RQG, as it is, is much weaker than in RQ3 (where it was arguably the "worst" magic system at low levels, but at medium-high level started to pick up and gain its own unique advantages, and was able to compete -to some extent-). 

Everything people say here about sorcery, you could do it on the old rules, only better. The sorcery system, RAW, for a player character, as i see it... Is *EXTREMELY* underwhelming.

Yes you can have long-duration buffs. You could before, and the spells were better/easier to master. You can't even get POW gain rolls now, unless you want to spend a round and a half (maybe 2) casting a spell. Acting once every 2 or 3 rounds, is, in my opinion and im confident my players simply boring.

Ive been playing roleplaying games for 25 years. I played AD&D, D&D3e, RQ2, RQ3, many WoD and nWoD games, Fate, Savage Worlds, SWD6, Warhammer 2e, and probably i few more i cant recall. I never, ever saw a wizard class taking 2 turns to perform a single basic (and weak) spell (especially when the counterparts can attack twice per round, or cast support magic + attack). I really can't understand why everyone is cool with it.

If i spend 3 rounds casting a spell, i expect a battle-ending, world shattering spell, not "+2d6 damage" or whatever. In old RQ3 you could cast a 18 point intensity spell in 2 rounds. That was a sight to behold (and a very rare occurence, since no intelligent enemy will let a wizard spellcast for 20+seconds... except maybe in RQG because in 2 rounds you cast a pathetic 5 point spell (and spend up to 15 MP on it to boot).

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5 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

I personally love the RQ3 sorcery, but it was never all that popular.

I think we are a small minority, Phil. But yeah, I had a great time playing rolling and running sorcerers in RQ3. Am awaiting more rules for sorcery before using them heavily and I have not decided which rules to use. I hope the new ones come out before I have to decide.

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I played a Lhankor Mhy Philosopher with our best interpretation of the RAW for 8 or so game years. While I would agree with the sentiment that the RAW don't do enough to show what makes the heart of Malkioni lands work, they do work wonderfully well for the Philosopher/Sage/Librarian. As fasr as I understand that is the current intention with what has been printed so far. 

 

With only Boon of Kargan Tor as his offensive spell he was still relatively capable in a fight. Buffing everyone in the party with +2d6 damage on any/all weapons forever is really freaking awesome. He could also turn his quarterstaff into a freakin lightsaber if he needed to, it did take a bit to get it running but, it is real dramatic when the librarian suddenly sends the hulking monster flying with an extra 5d6 damage on each swing. 

 

I too wish to bring my Hrestoli from RQ3 days back to life in RQG but, they will hopefully get there eventually. 

 

I have an inkling there are much more "Awesome" magics in Sorcery than anything you can do outside a HeroQuest with other magics. I dunno if it is an oversight or what but, there has been plenty of chat on this forum about how bonkers broke Moonfire is. I would just make up a mega awesome 4 rune spell. 

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