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RQG sorcery & other magics (rant)


icebrand

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17 minutes ago, Jeff said:

I really don't get why long casting times should be a hard pill to swallow. It just is what it is. Like complaining that Rune Points require sacrifices of points of POW.

Because your adventurer gets one action every 2 or even 3 rounds and everyone else in the table is acting every round (some several times). People usually find more fun to do stuff every round and not multi-round actions, especially if those multi round actions are not more impactful than everyone else's (or even less one could argue).

"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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25 minutes ago, icebrand said:

Because your adventurer gets one action every 2 or even 3 rounds and everyone else in the table is acting every round (some several times). People usually find more fun to do stuff every round and not multi-round actions, especially if those multi round actions are not more impactful than everyone else's (or even less one could argue).

Well I can't really help you there. Greg has a few descriptions of sorcery in his stories and it is ceremonial or "demonology" (summon and commanding entities) or usually both - not fast stuff that gives you something to do every round. If you want an action every round, sorcery is probably not the right choice. 

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8 hours ago, David Scott said:

Allowing precasting into an object, so evoke fire (just keep the name) could be stored ready to use in a ring for example and cast on DEXSR plus the usual (RQG and RQ3) plus magic points per SR. Keep it simple Perhaps limit the number of precasts by some factor, and make it a ritual that costs the amount of Free Int in ours so the adventurer has to spend down time doing wizardly things.

So this would be sort of an intermediate casting mode between fully improvised casting, and inscribing spells?  I like that.  It also gives out vibes of D&D-ish magic, where you prepare your spells in the evening, and these are your "ready-to-go" spells for the day... only at least you can still then improvise spells after you've run out of pre-cast ones.

Do you make it just a magic ritual that costs the same amount of MPs as it would as improvised casting? No other changes?

6 hours ago, Runeblogger said:

I also think precasting is a great idea. Sorcerers could enchant talismans by sacrificing POW to hold precast spells the same way they can inscribe spells. These precast spells could go off at SR-DEX, but once you have cast them, you need to precast them again into the item to recharge it.

I don't think I would like POW sacrifice for this, since that's already how inscribing spells work... that would be a big thing to give up for a one-time stored spell when you can make it permanent for a similar (identical?) cost. The idea would be that you can pre-cast spells every evening if you can.

6 hours ago, Jape_Vicho said:

By "powerful" I meant combat powerful, that is what I understood from some comments, that sorcerers weren't as combat powerful as priests or shamans.

Yep, "combat powerful" is also what I meant.  They're not very powerful when improvising things on the fly, but they're very powerful when they have things prepared.

Think about, say, a "gadgeteer fighter" type dude. He has many gadgets to save the day: poisoned caltrops, explosives, dart-launchers in his sleeves, and so on. When these things are prepared ahead of time, he can blow up and kill dozens of people in a few rounds. But when he runs out of ammo, or if he loses his gadgets, he's just a dude who can barely swing a punch. Just because you have to prepare your ammunition, reload your weapons, and so on, doesn't mean you suck in combat.

It occurs to me that some sorcerers might be a good subject for "flashback mechanics", like those featured in Gumshoe or Forged In The Dark systems.... it goes a bit like this:

  1. You figure out how much free time you had between last adventure and this adventure.
  2. You declare "I spent that free time working on my wizardly things"
  3. A couple sessions later, when combat is looming, or even in the middle of it, you say "OK, flashback time: it turns out I spent last 2 weeks working on a water-control device that I attached to my staff". Figure out the ritual bonuses you got, retroactively spend some stuff (including POW... don't sweat too much how it might have changed recent rolls), and boom, it just turns out that you had a water thingie that's super useful right now.

Of course, you have to be comfortable with these kinds of story-editing mechanics. You should try them, they're really useful if you have players who always spend wayyy to long preparing something. Check out Trail of Cthulhu or Night's Black Agents or Blades in the Dark or Scum and Villainy for more info.

3 hours ago, David Scott said:

For example, in my games casting bladesharp before entering combat isn't dramatic , but casting heal on a dying adventurer is. It's really easy to cut back on trivial rolls especially with magic. I've never got my player to roll for repair spells.

Even just for Bladesharp, I don't make them roll if they cast it before combat. I do make them roll if they cast it during combat.

3 hours ago, Jeff said:

Group One: One sorcerer casts the biggest Enhance INT spell possible on the primary spell caster, several others release the magic points in Magic Point Enchantments (loaded up with magic points from the last Invisible God worship ceremony using the Use Worship spell) to be available to the primary spell caster, who has inscribed Summon Tanian (a Fire/Water elemental of enormous size).

That's pretty useful!   I figured I would do a bit of math, and my conclusion was that the MPs released by the support sorcerers need to be split between the INT-enhancing sorcerer and the primary caster, no? Otherwise, the amount of MPs from multiple people, crystals, and enchantments can very quickly go over whatever one person can provide with Enhance INT.

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48 minutes ago, icebrand said:

Because your adventurer gets one action every 2 or even 3 rounds and everyone else in the table is acting every round (some several times).

AFAICT RQ3 doesn't have spell inscriptions. If you really want to use RQG sorcery (it doesn't sound like you do but if you did...) then retcon the character so that they have their 10 years' worth of inscribed spells in various trinkets on them. These are "pre-manipulated" so you can fire all kinds of powerful spells in minimum time. Boom!

And if you want to get a bit munchkin-y, you could say that you can fire those almost every rounds... you lose the first round, but then you can concentrate on the next spell as soon as the previous one is off. So second round the spell goes off on DEX SR, third round the spell goes off on 2*(DEX SR), fourth round the spell goes off on 3*(DEX SR), and so on. Boom boom boom!

Btw, question to the RQG people: do you allow inscribed spells to be "updated" incrementally? That is: create, say, a 3-point spell by spending 3 POW. Then, a season later, spend another 2 POW to increase the inscribed spell to 5?   It's not specified whether this is allowed or not, but if we don't allow that, I'm not sure what this sentence means: "This enables the sorcerer to create spells with a greater intensity than their Free INT would allow"... since you can't really spend much more POW in one go than you would have Free INT...

(edit: unless it means that you can have an inscribed spell of, say, power 3, which, upon casting, you can further manipulate up? That doesn't give a lot of pre-manipulation IMHO but I guess it's better than nothing)

Edited by lordabdul
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1 hour ago, Jeff said:

I really don't get why long casting times should be a hard pill to swallow. It just is what it is. Like complaining that Rune Points require sacrifices of points of POW.

I think it just comes down to immersion vs. what’s fun for the average player, especially if they’re coming into Runequest from D&D, like many new players are (and me). In general, I like how the design of RQG provides a deep simulation of how things work in Glorantha. Paying POW for rune points is fine for me, because magical power should have a cost. I just think a lot of people have trouble with the cost being time, meaning in-game time and the players’ actual time. 

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15 minutes ago, Gallowglass said:

I think it just comes down to immersion vs. what’s fun for the average player, especially if they’re coming into Runequest from D&D, like many new players are (and me). In general, I like how the design of RQG provides a deep simulation of how things work in Glorantha. Paying POW for rune points is fine for me, because magical power should have a cost. I just think a lot of people have trouble with the cost being time, meaning in-game time and the players’ actual time. 

Which is why sorcery in the core rules is linked with Lhankor Mhy - the god of scribes and knowledge. Sorcery, regardless how slow, is a big boost up from Lhankor Mhy's spirit battle.

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

I really don't get why long casting times should be a hard pill to swallow. It just is what it is. Like complaining that Rune Points require sacrifices of points of POW.

IMO, it's because not only is it slow, its comparatively unlikely to be successful compared to Rune Magic or quite possibly spirit magic.

If a character wants to be good at spirit magic, they need a good POW, how likely that is depends on the tables character generation rules, but it's also a lot easier to increase POW than any other attribute. It's not unlikely that a character made to be good at spirit magic will have a good POW at creation

If a character wants to be good at their rune spells, they need one really good rune, maybe a couple. Which is easy to have at creation.

If a character wants to have similarly good chances of success on their Sorcery... they pretty much cant. You can put a few points into a few spells (20,10,10 specifically) if you're a philosopher, and likewise Lhankor Mhy cult gives a few more (25, 10, 10). The character has personal experience they can possibly put in as well. (+25 or +10 per spell). Which means a sorcerer probably opts to know 3 or 4 sorcery spells at creation. They can possibly get a solid 70% on one spell, and 45 on two others (assuming all three spells they know were Lhankor Mhy spells as well). Sorcery requires a high INT, which means the character probably wasn't as easily able to allocate points toward POW and CHA, so they're unlikely to have +15 from category modifier, they might have +5 or +10 though. So Generously they may know one spell at around 80% and two at 55% (assuming they hugely neglected other skills with personal experience in a way that other characters do not need to). The above assumption that all the spells were Lhankor Mhy ones actually means the speed of casting doesn't matter as Lhankor Mhy spells aren't really battle spells (Logician might be for a general though!), if a character wants an offensive spell like create wall of flame or Finger of fire, their best likely starting % is 55.... the equivalent to a barely above average Rune or a POW of 11...

The above isn't taking into account the fact you can either make the spell even slower by using singing, dancing, meditating to get a bonus on the casting, it also isn't taking into account the fact you might have the ability to use bird hearts etc as a material component, or the fact the particular season, week or day can also positively or negatively impact the casting, but that's because the former compounds the issue further (lets make it even slower, now the encounter is over by the time the sorcerer does their thing)

Which is the problem I've watched the sorcerer player at my table have, not only does his spells take longer than the other characters magic, but he's typically much less likely to pass. Which just isn't... fun. I get the desire to stick close to notes you found, its commendable, but the rules still need to be fun.

 

For the Sorcerer PC in my game, I'm considering either giving a blanket bonus to all his spell skills to make them a bit more reliable, or reducing the preparation time (which, IMO is the best route), if prep time was 5 SR same as any other action, but then actually bumping MP into Sorcerery still increased the SR by 2 each time, I feel like it'd help a lot, now they're slower than Spirit magic if doing anything beyond the most basic intensity 1 sorcery, but they can still do a bit more.

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12 minutes ago, coffeemancer said:

could I ask a question tangentially related?

One of the PCs in my group might end up as apprentice to Urvantan. how does learning sorcery from another sorcerer work?

Learning a spell from a teacher takes a season of teaching and study, learning is automatic, and you start with your magic category mod + 1d6%. 

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

Well I can't really help you there. Greg has a few descriptions of sorcery in his stories and it is ceremonial or "demonology" (summon and commanding entities) or usually both - not fast stuff that gives you something to do every round. If you want an action every round, sorcery is probably not the right choice. 

I would argue that that was ritual magic, and having a few descriptions of sorcerers performing rituals doesn't mean they can't cast spells in combat in an effective way compared to the other magic systems. Sorcerers in RQ and other brp fantasy settings have been working similarly since the OG magic world and through every iteration of BRP and HW/HQ.

I understand wanting another twist on the established canon (this is a new edition after all), i just find it... Not my Glorantha, sorcerers have been promimently featured as NPC and PCs since 1997, if I change how they work this much that wouldn't be *our* (my PCs and fellow GMs and mine) Glorantha anymore.

The other systems fit perfectly in our canon and sound solid, we decided we will keep playing our RQ2/3 hybrid (it rocks) with added stuff from RQM -

So far we adding passions, runes, reputation and still didn't get to magic but we have to check shamans carefully, shaman nerfs are a *very* touchy subject, and will probably use RQM rune magic system with RQ2 cults.

Spirit magic we will keep using RQ2 battle magic and sorcery RQ3 sorcery.

"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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23 minutes ago, coffeemancer said:

One of the PCs in my group might end up as apprentice to Urvantan. how does learning sorcery from another sorcerer work?

Sounds fun! Check p389 in RQG ("Learning New Spells"). Don't forget that you can't know a spell better than your Read/Write skill (p388).

The character will have to learn new Runes and Techniques too. This is limited by your INT, which isn't upgradeable per RAW, but I think that's super lame (especially compared to CHA for shamans, which you can upgrade... doesn't seem fair) and possibly a holdout of antiquated opinions on IQ and such... So in preparation of a player becoming a sorcerer, I have pre-ruled that you can get a chance to increase INT by studying hard during a season.

Edited by lordabdul
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1 hour ago, Kloster said:

It had. Magic book p58 (it was not called Inscribing, but part of the spell matrix enchantments, but the rules and effects are essentially the same).

Ah indeed thanks.... then I don't understand why people complain. Maybe RQ3 made improvised sorcery so powerful that nobody ever needed inscribing spells? Even though that's supposed to be how it works in the setting? Because it sure sounds like improvised casting is how most RQ3 grognards are doing it all the time (I have no idea myself, I never ran RQ3). And like I said before, I'm not interested in "another magic system that does the same thing the same way". If sorcery isn't "broken" only when it does similar things to Spirit Magic in the same amount of time and for the same amount of MPs, then... what's the point?

2 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Btw, question to the RQG people: do you allow inscribed spells to be "updated" incrementally?

Interestingly, the RQ3 text answers my question here: "Once a spell has been Enchanted into an item it may not be changed, though more spells could be later added". I wonder if that's still valid in RQG? I'm really tempted to allow upgrades, maybe at some extra cost.

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14 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

I wonder if that's still valid in RQG? I'm really tempted to allow upgrades, maybe at some extra cost.

For me, yes, the rule is the same. RQG p390: "For each point of POW added to the inscription, the base strength, range, or duration of the spell is increased by 1, without requiring any manipulation by the sorcerer."

Nothing says that is must be in one shot. In fact, the only difference I have noticed is that by default, the RQ3 sorcery spell matrix could be used by anybody, as the RQG inscribed spell can only be used by it's creator.

18 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Maybe RQ3 made improvised sorcery so powerful that nobody ever needed inscribing spells?

I was doing it, just because it was the only way to obtain the long duration needed to have all your spells up when you need them.

19 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Because it sure sounds like improvised casting is how most RQ3 grognards are doing it all the time

Whatever the case, RQ3 sorcery were longer to cast than other spells just because of the sheer number of MP needed. It is just longer now. Note that it does not bother me, because I was already using my sorcerous characters that way, and when you cast a 1 season duration protection spell, you don't care if casting it takes 4 or 5 rounds.

The casting duration is only important for direct, personal attack spells. For those, I use spirit magic spells (in matrixes), a bow and a broadsword, wether RQ3 or RQG.

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8 hours ago, Anunnaki said:

Slight Tangent:
RQ2 Battle Magic requires a roll to cast if there is no resistance roll required (see p.33 in the original "DID THE SPELL WORK" section and p.36 in Classic) but only fails on 96-00. RQ2 Rune Magic doesn't require a casting roll.

Hmm, when I was doing my RQ1/2 comparison, I didn't read this as suddenly requiring a roll on every spell cast, so I didn't note that as a difference. I read that as reminding that when a spell is opposed it always fails on a 96-00, but I see this reading that it requires a roll for every spell cast to check for failure. Difference duly noted...

Little details like this I rarely note because I have always played RQ1 with a few things borrowed from RQ2 (more since I've done my comparison).

When changing editions of a game system for an ongoing campaign, one will have to deal with how the changes impact the existing characters. For me it's easy... Stick with RQ1... 🙂 Ok, I'll borrow things here and there from RQ2, RQ3, and maybe even RQG... Or I might use the pre-RQ3 Sorcery write-up from Gregg Stafford that he published in The Wild Hunt...

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22 minutes ago, Kloster said:

For me, yes, the rule is the same. [...]

Nothing says that is must be in one shot.

Wait I'm confused... you said you consider the rule being the same (i.e. you can't change the spell once it's been inscribed) but then you say that it doesn't have to be done in one shot (i.e. you can change the spell afterwards?). How do you do it at your table?

Edited by lordabdul
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9 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Wait I'm confused... you said you consider the rule being the same (i.e. you can't change the spell once it's been inscribed) but then you say that it doesn't have to be done in one shot (i.e. you can change the spell afterwards?). How do you do it at your table?

You don't change the spell, you add points to it, like in RQ3's enchant. Similarly, you could, and still can, add conditions, or transform a bladesharp 2 matrix to a bladesharp 3 by spending 1 POW and casting the enchanting spell.

Edited by Kloster
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3 hours ago, lordabdul said:

So this would be sort of an intermediate casting mode between fully improvised casting, and inscribing spells? 

That may be one of the main differences between Ars Magica and Gloranthan sorcery: Gloranthan sorcerers don't improvise, ever. The only thing they can do in the field is to take a spell of theirs and adapt targeting parameters and point allocation.

 

A sorcerer wanting to do something new or sufficiently different from one of the rote spells needs to do research, pretty much similar to acquiring a new skill from research.

 

A sorcery spell is pretty much a magical entity of its own, attacking its target only with the virtues of the magic poured into it.

In the (largely debunked) strict Three Worlds dogma, sorcery spells are a presence on the spell plane, a specific way to handle energies and to distribute them in a logical way between action parameters and targeting parameters. Action includes techniques used and - if present - the rune for the medium used, like Death for inflicting damage, or Fertility either for implying Death, or for tapping or separating it from the target. The target rune helps the spell to interact in an energy-economic way with the intended target. The worse the actual target and the optimum targeting conditions coincide, the harder and more expensive the casting will be.

Take a look at RQG's "Dominate <humanoid>" variants (p.394). If the target of the spell is exactly the species in the spell name, one MP will affect 2 points of the affected characteristic (MP), while a target only resembling the species in the spell will affect the MP only in a 1:1 ratio. The spell still has to win a MP vs MP roll to actually dominate the target, but for the right species underpaying and rolling well is an option, while for a nearby species the sorcerer will need to expend MP at least equal to the target's MP.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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4 hours ago, lordabdul said:

Btw, question to the RQG people: do you allow inscribed spells to be "updated" incrementally? That is: create, say, a 3-point spell by spending 3 POW. Then, a season later, spend another 2 POW to increase the inscribed spell to 5?   It's not specified whether this is allowed or not, but if we don't allow that, I'm not sure what this sentence means: "This enables the sorcerer to create spells with a greater intensity than their Free INT would allow"... since you can't really spend much more POW in one go than you would have Free INT...

In our campaign my LM Sage was allowed to incrementally increase his spell inscriptions. By the end of year 8 he had Boon of KT +several points of duration, Enhance INT +several points of duration. 

 

He could buff his INT by 3 for a year and could buff it by something like 5 or 6 for "ritual" casting. Everyone in the party had +3d6 damage on everything for a year duration minimum, with enough MP storages/spirits to make sur even ammo was covered. In an emergency he could throw up a +5/6d6 Boon of KT for like 40 minutes or something. 

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11 hours ago, Blindhamster said:

IMO, it's because not only is it slow, its comparatively unlikely to be successful compared to Rune Magic or quite possibly spirit magic.

See, I would disagree. There is plenty of lore establishing that sorcerers with proper preperation can do things that are nigh on unimaginable, literally splitting the world maybe?

Just look at how a sorcerer interacts with spirits using the RAW. With proper application of knowledge gathering spells you can harness a spirit that is WAY too strong for any regular Rune-Lord or non-Blueface Shaman to do much about other than flee. 

Summon (species)

...If the spell succeeds, the result depends on whether the caster knows the true name of the entity (typically by having successfully summoned that specific entity before, or using sorcery like Identify Otherworld Entity, or consulting old sorcerous records that might list the true name of some entities). If the caster knows the true name, the entity appears and obeys the caster for the duration of the spell...

No one else has anything NEAR that OP. You could have a pet fireberg for years! Several of them! Why research and collect a whole family of a type of element! In the lore genealogy is really important to sorcerous powers. 

A properly prepared sorcerer is the only PC I can imagine capable of Directly Confronting something like Granny Keeneyes and winning. Without McGuffins or plot hooks or anything. Just use some spells and learns some stuff and boom 200 POW mega-ghostygoo. Sorry, my Munchkin might be showing.

Edited by HreshtIronBorne
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19 hours ago, Blindhamster said:

IMO, it's because not only is it slow, its comparatively unlikely to be successful compared to Rune Magic or quite possibly spirit magic.

If you go back to some of the early source material, not only was casting spells relatively slow, but aborting a sorcery spell that you had already started to cast was a really dangerous thing to try and do.

Of course this old material is not publicly available and nearly all of it is no longer considered canonical, so this should not be taken as anything more than a curio and is not a strong argument one way or another on Gloranthan rule systems. Just thought it might be interesting.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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On 11/12/2020 at 8:57 PM, Jeff said:

Which is why sorcery in the core rules is linked with Lhankor Mhy - the god of scribes and knowledge. Sorcery, regardless how slow, is a big boost up from Lhankor Mhy's spirit battle.

Now from what is in the rules, it is pretty easy to come up with a few additional spells, including something that lets a sorcerer take some portion of all the magic points offered by the worshipers in a Worship Invisible God ceremony presided over by said sorcerer and store them somehow; some spells that let you summon specific very powerful entities; spells that let you command said specific very powerful entities; and some wards against specific elements, etc. Take that and you have the core of Malkioni magic.

The various sects are on a continuum, from purely materialist Brithini and Vadeli who use NO magic except sorcery, to folk like the Black Horse Troop who receive Rune Magic (!) by worshiping various demigods and heroes almost in a form of ancestor worship. The latter was common among the God Learners who would would establish connections to entities - or even create conjectural entities that logically should work, create cults so those entities could be worshiped, and then siphon off some percentage of the magic and wield the power of that "artificial god" for themselves.

 

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