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Magic Weapons vs. Spirits


Ryan Kent

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I see it in a very similar way to lordabdul - I want spirits not to just be another monster you attack. I want them to be otherworldly and strange. Things difficult to comprehend and to act in unusual ways. But our games can all vary so I don’t see an issue in others seeing it another way. It is not like any of this is real.

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One more question: If you are attacked by a spirit and you choose to use a fight with a (magically enhanced) weapon, does the character weapon skill vs spirit sspirit combat skill roll replace the normal spirit combat vs spirit combat roll, or is it in addition (at a normal SR for this attack)?

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1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

My go-to translator tells me that the anglophones say "white elephant" ? I can't say it conveys exactly the same meaning though... it seems to also carry a "it's a useless thing" meaning that "using a gaz" doesn't have... the French term is only focused on something being needlessly complicated, even though the thing is still useful and in active use.

I didn't come with an expression but white elephant and usine à gaz are clearly not conveying the same message

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

As @Trotsky said, I like having Spirit Combat resolved differently than physical combat. I imagine it's more like a magical/psychic stand-off from CoC where you roll POW vs POW (and CoC probably took it from RQ2 to begin with!). Spirits could still "attack" at specific SRs instead of SR12, but keep the opposed roll instead of an attack/defense. Note that an attack/defense mechanic would double the number of rolls since each entity would get an attack, which may or may not be what you want to do.

I also like that it comes with a different mechanic (quick contest) if only for flavour.

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

If we summarize the problem, I think we get that:

Ok, now I think we might be over thinking this :)

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:
  1. Spirit combat is considered as a "tug of war" (or "contest of psychic energy", as the rules put it) between parties, modelled with a single opposed roll... not some fight where each party tries to find an opening into the other party's defenses.
  2. The Spirit Combat skill has no expectations of a "limit" on how many times it can be used in a round against multiple spirits.
  3. One can also use a physical weapon skill to participate in a spirit combat "exchange".

So far so good

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:
  1. Physical weapon skills have the expectation that they can be used either as attack or defense -- not as an "exchange".

Not sure what you mean by that. Using a weapon in spirit combat is still resolved by a quick contest so from a rule perspective, it is an exchange

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:
  1. Physical weapon skills have the expectation of a "limit" on how many times they can be used in a round. As an attack, they're limited by SR. As a defense, they're limited by the cumulative -20%.

How many time you can use roll your weapon skill and when (SR) in a round is still subject to the normal rules but for spirit combat, I do not believe a -20% on parry would apply. Mechanically, it would not make any sense.

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

Now consider this take on spirit combat:

  1. Spirit combat is not on SR12 because spirits are slow to act... they're on SR12 because both you and the spirit are spending the whole combat round "struggling against the psychic forces of each other". That's why it requires a concentration roll to do anything else during the entire round.

Unless you physically attack the spirit in essence forcing a resolution of the struggle earlier in the round.

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:
  1. Using a physical weapon in spirit combat may not mean that you're physically swinging the sword around at the spirit. It may mean that you're picturing yourself swinging it inside your mind. Your spirit is kind of swinging the "magical shadow" of the sword on the spirit plane (where the combat is really taking place). That's why only parts of the magical aspects of the weapon do any damage.

Nah! I prefer that characters physically attack spirit manifestation by swinging their weapon. 

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:
  1.  That's also why someone else can't help you by swinging their own physical sword at the (visible) spirit that's attacking you... because they would be swinging the physical weapon at some visibly translucent form, going through it without causing damage, instead of using the "magical shadow sword" at the "psychic form" that's not there at all.

Is that the case? Someone else cannot attack a spirit? This is not how I read "Attacking with Weapons and Spells" p.366 (Corporeal entities can attack a spirit that is engaged in spirit combat...). It does not say "engaged with them in spirit combat. The spirit has materialised and is visible, by swinging your sword at him, you are effectively also entering spirit combat with it. The spirit with use its spirit combat normally in a quick contest with you, which does not penalise it for the other contest in play.

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:
  1. Unlike Spirit Combat (the proper "skilled" way of confronting psychic energies), picturing yourself swinging a sword leaves you a victim to your own mental limitations and expectations. That is: you can only swing it a certain number of times (a bit like when you dream that you're running and you're getting tired in your dream). You're using a picture of yourself swinging a sword as a crutch because you don't know how to properly use your mind.

Overthinking this my Lord :) . 

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:

So this interpretation may be translated into a few streamlining house rules:

  1. Count the number of times you can swing a weapon in a round. That's just how many times you can use it to fight spirits. The rules say to resolve these opposed rolls on their respective SRs to keep things simpler but that possibly unintentionally creates edge cases. If you write the swing-count on your character sheet, you can keep all spirit combat stuff on SR12, and roll your sword skill the appropriate number of times. But that requires pre-computing that number, which is something the designers maybe wanted to avoid.

I am not sure what problem you are trying to solve. Why not just engage the spirit with a quick contest when you SR comes?

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:
  1. A possible house rule is to also keep all spirit combat rolls on SR12, but apply a cumulative penalty to each weapon roll. Maybe -20% (like cumulative defenses) or -40% (if you're a mean GM) (read below before you say "...but Sword Trance!")

Again not sure what problem we are trying to solve

1 hour ago, lordabdul said:
  1.  

The rules indeed seem to prevent people from ganging up on spirits (only the other way around). The only way to gang on a spirit is for everybody to be discorporate, I think.

And that may be the root of my misunderstanding. Are the rules preventing people to attack spirits already engaged. That is not my ready. By the way, this is not a really ganging up since the spirit uses its full skill in multiple quick contests. It might actually give it more chance to possess someone depending on the strength of its opponents

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10 hours ago, Trotsky said:

I don't think you can gang up on a spirit unless you are also discorporate. I believe only the corporeal being engaged in spirit combat may use a weapon, 'They may choose to attack the spirit attacking them using enchanted weapons' (p366).

 

I see, but that is not my reading of that section. The sentence you quote is actually not written like this but rather says:

"Corporeal entities may attack a spirit that is engaged in spirit combat with enchanted weapons and spells." It doesn't say it has to be engaged with them.

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Hi Dread, the whole section from page 366-371 is about combating spirits. On page 366 it states, 'Spirit Combat can only be initiated by a discorporate spirit.' I think that is pretty clear - using weapons during spirit combat are resolved using the spirit combat rules not the regular combat rules. I might be misunderstanding this but it seems pretty clear to me.

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3 minutes ago, Trotsky said:

Hi Dread, the whole section from page 366-371 is about combating spirits. On page 366 it states, 'Spirit Combat can only be initiated by a discorporate spirit.' I think that is pretty clear - using weapons during spirit combat are resolved using the spirit combat rules not the regular combat rules. I might be misunderstanding this but it seems pretty clear to me.

Darn, I need to re-read this!

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I read this as that it has to be visible, which it would typically do in order to initiate Spirit combat. Even then, regular characters can’t jump into regular spirit combat with it. A shaman can discorporate and go get it on his own, even when not visible.

The big question is whether other characters with suitable weapons can take swings at the spirit. It’s not obvious from in-game reasoning why they shouldn’t be able to.

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3 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

I know, but it's a pretty personal and wild interpretation, you must agree? I would picture a Humakti simply cutting the ghost, that's manifested there, with his actual sword. Which wouldn't work, except for magics and gifts.

Yes it's a pretty personal and wild (thank you! :) ) interpretation.

And to be honest, I just came up with this interpretation today. Thankfully, I never had a player ask questions about this, but I figured it would be good to have a half-assed in-world interpretation ready in case it happens. I'm open to other interpretations.... that is: once we actually figure out how the rules are supposed to work :D

2 hours ago, Kloster said:

One more question: If you are attacked by a spirit and you choose to use a fight with a (magically enhanced) weapon, does the character weapon skill vs spirit sspirit combat skill roll replace the normal spirit combat vs spirit combat roll, or is it in addition (at a normal SR for this attack)?

I was going to say "it replaces the Spirit Combat roll" but now that I'm re-reading the rules closely... it's not obvious :)   One way to read it could indeed be that attacking with a magical sword is an optional thing. I mostly reject that interpretation because otherwise people with weapons (2 rolls per turn: weapon and Spirit Combat) have the advantage over shamans (1 roll per turn, only Spirit Combat). This doesn't make sense to me... shamans would always carry and use magical daggers if that was the case. Unless there's a 3rd interpretation?

2 hours ago, DreadDomain said:

Ok, now I think we might be over thinking this :)

Yes :)  Isn't the internet a fun place?

Quote

Not sure what you mean by that. Using a weapon in spirit combat is still resolved by a quick contest so from a rule perspective, it is an exchange

I was talking about weapons skills in their "natural" setting, i.e. melee combat. The "normal" way to use a weapon skill is to sometimes roll it as an attack, sometimes as a defense (parry). Not as a general "one roll to resolve it all".

Quote

How many time you can use roll your weapon skill and when (SR) in a round is still subject to the normal rules but for spirit combat, I do not believe a -20% on parry would apply. Mechanically, it would not make any sense.

Same thing, I was talking about the "normal expectations" of the weapon skill. The goal was to see how these "normal mechanics" can be transposed when that skill is used in a spirit combat context.

Quote

Nah! I prefer that characters physically attack spirit manifestation by swinging their weapon. 

Sure! That's cool too. It makes it harder to explain why 5 PCs can't gang up on a single spirit (if that's how you want the rules to work), but it makes it easier to explain if you want that to be possible!

2 hours ago, DreadDomain said:

Are the rules preventing people to attack spirits already engaged. That is not my ready. By the way, this is not a really ganging up since the spirit uses its full skill in multiple quick contests. It might actually give it more chance to possess someone depending on the strength of its opponents

Whether 5 PCs can attack the same spirit is open to interpretation... on p366, under "Combatants", it says "They may choose to attack the spirit attacking them using enchanted weapons (see below) without succeeding at a concentration check". Does that mean that the whole "Attacking With Weapons And Spells" section is hanged upon this statement, meaning that it can't be read on its own and is only about stuff you can do to the spirit attacking you? Or is it just a reminder to check that other section, which can be read on its own, meaning that anybody can attack any visible spirit?

That second reading seems to be the most logical, I agree, but it leads to the "ganging up" problem... and whether it can be considered "ganging up" depends, again, on how you interpret the rules... :)

Consider this: can the spirit get engaged in spirit combat with all 5 PCs swinging their swords at it? Or can it be engaged only with its original target, in which case the other 4 PCs get free swipes at it?  RAW says that "any number of discorporate spirits may attack a single entity at a time", but we don't know if a discorporate spirit can attack multiple corporeal entities at the same time, or if multiple corporeal entities can attack a single spirit at the same time. If the spirit gets to roll Spirit Combat against each of the 5 PCs, this seems to open up a whole new world of combinatorial pain.

My guess is that the first sentence in "Attacking With Weapons And Spells" is missing a "with them" just after "engaged in spirit combat". Obviously, that's wild speculation on my part.

Edited by lordabdul
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On 11/22/2020 at 5:43 PM, Scotty said:

Are there any edge cases where it might not be clear?

  • If an engaged corporeal combatant choses to attack the spirit physically with a magical weapon/ and or magic on their SR, is this intended to replace the spiritual combat that normally happens on SR 12, or is this in addition?
  • When a spirit attacks its required to make...
    Quote

    "...itself visible in the Middle World the melee round prior to its first attack." RQG, p366

    The way that is worded it sounds like the spirit is visible to everyone regardless of who it is engaging. Is that the case? If so, does the spirit continue to remain visible to everyone in the Middle World during the entire encounter, or does it become invisible again during the next melee round to all but the target it is engaging with? Or is it intended that the spirit only becomes visible to the target it is engaging with in the first place? 

  • The section Attacking with Weapons And Spells seems to suggest that a spirit engaged with spirit combat with a corporeal being is visible to others not already engaged, and can be attacked by them using magic weapons and/or spells. Once non-engaged people attack in this way are they all subject to an additional spiritual attack by the spirit on SR12, or is it limited to the initial physical/magical attack?
  • Can a spirit choose to engage more then one corporeal opponent at a time? Or are they only allowed to engage with additional targets if they are Physically/magically attacked by them? Will additional attacks beyond the initial spirit combat, by other corporeal beings be unopposed? 
Edited by Paid a bod yn dwp
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1 minute ago, Paid a bod yn dwp said:
  • The way that is worded it sounds like the spirit is visible to everyone regardless of who it is engaging. Is that the case? If so, does the spirit continue to remain visible to everyone in the Middle World during the entire encounter, or does it become invisible again during the next melee round to all but the target it is engaging with? Or is it intended that the spirit only becomes visible to the target it is engaging with in the first place? 

Further, when a spirit turns visible like this, presumably in order to attack, can you attack it with weapons in the turn it manifests, or do you have to wait for it to start spirit combat? Can you attack it with spells?

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12 hours ago, Trotsky said:

I want spirits not to just be another monster you attack

I would like too, but adding weapons skills in some case breaks this wish

create two characters, one young shaman, one young humakti. Compare who is the best fighter against basic broo, against basic spirit, against young vampire.

Now see how the characters manage the fights. In all case the humakti will use true sword and sword skill 90%, and will destroy the opponent quickly (well except vampire, could take 5 rounds ;) )

 

when the rules are "fight with your spirit combat skill", yes it is another "world" (the best fighter is not the same)

when the rules are "fight with your weapon skill", that the same "world" (the best fighter is one more time the same), the SR12 is not a big difference

 

so for me, in glorantha "spirits as opponent" are monster like other (some difference but same tools to destroy them : big weapons) as soon as you have an humakti, babs or other dedicated warrior. Use true weapon and no game play difference 😢 .

 

Hopefully spirits are not only monster but provides a large opportunities to add colors (shaman visits spirits world, spirits giving help but expeting spiritual services, etc...)

Hopefully Humakti and other dedicated warriors have so many restrictions that other characters could play some cards when the humakti cannot solve the problem (but it depends on gm and players :   do  they follow restrictions ? doe the gm create situation where humakti cannot play ?)

 

but then, my main concern is all the rules needed to manage that :

  • "do your damage, oh not  that, only magical damage",
  • "oh let me confirm this spell makes spiritual damage" ,
  • "oh that is not your turn to attack the spirit, you have to wait for sr12, yes even with your weapon",
  • "oh you already parry with your weapon? but here it is a spiritual contest, so not -20%, well let me check, i'm not sure now you told me", 
  • etc...

Unfortunately my brain is not able to keep in mind all the subtility, so to let it fluid I probably would forget some points.

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11 hours ago, Trotsky said:

Hi Dread, the whole section from page 366-371 is about combating spirits. On page 366 it states, 'Spirit Combat can only be initiated by a discorporate spirit.' I think that is pretty clear - using weapons during spirit combat are resolved using the spirit combat rules not the regular combat rules. I might be misunderstanding this but it seems pretty clear to me.

Ok, I went back and read that section again. I always interpreted it as "Spirit Combat can only be initiated by a discorporate spirit" because it has to become visible and manifest itself but once it is initiated, others could jump in.  Which seems supported by "Corporeal entities may attack a spirit that is engaged in spirit combat with enchanted weapons and spells" which doesn't say it has to be engaged with them.

Now I see there is another potential interpretation.

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12 minutes ago, tnli said:

So, assuming I am in a spirit combat with a spirit, can my buddies Bob (who has True Sword on his broadsword) and Charles (who knows Disruption) help me or not by swinging their sword and blasting with their spell, and how is it all resolved? 

Like this in the case of Disruption:

https://elruneblog.blogspot.com/2020/11/playing-runequest-glorantha-chaotic.html

Sorry I don't have an example for a friend with True Sword helping Balgan, but perhaps I should add one once I have a clear picture of how that should work.

Edited by Runeblogger
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Read my Runeblog about RuneQuest and Glorantha at: http://elruneblog.blogspot.com.es/

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15 hours ago, Kloster said:

One more question: If you are attacked by a spirit and you choose to use a fight with a (magically enhanced) weapon, does the character weapon skill vs spirit combat skill roll replace the normal spirit combat vs spirit combat roll

Yes. Attacking with Weapons and Spells, page 368.

15 hours ago, Kloster said:

or is it in addition (at a normal SR for this attack)?

No:

Weapon vs spirit combat happens at normal weapon SR

spirit combat vs spirit combat roll at SR 12

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13 hours ago, Paid a bod yn dwp said:
  • If an engaged corporeal combatant choses to attack the spirit physically with a magical weapon/ and or magic on their SR, is this intended to replace the spiritual combat that normally happens on SR 12

Yes. Attacking with Weapons and Spells, page 368.

Quote
  • or is this in addition?

No:

Weapon vs spirit combat happens at normal weapon SR

spirit combat vs spirit combat roll at SR 12

Quote
  • When a spirit attacks its required to make...

 

Initiating Spirit Combat, page 366. If a spirit wishes to attack a corporeal being, the spirit makes itself visible in the Middle World the melee round prior to its first attack.

Quote
  • The way that is worded it sounds like the spirit is visible to everyone regardless of who it is engaging. Is that the case? If so, does the spirit continue to remain visible to everyone in the Middle World during the entire encounter, or does it become invisible again during the next melee round to all but the target it is engaging with? Or is it intended that the spirit only becomes visible to the target it is engaging with in the first place?

Visibility is a GM call, depending very much on how you are portraying your spirits. I use the guidelines in the shamanic ability, Show Spirit, page 361. That normally an "Onlooker can see a spirit in some detail with a Search roll." If this is happening is a busy melee, with adventurers engaged in different places with different combatants and they know there are spirits present (an adventurer shouts out that a ghost has appeared), unless unengaged, there's still little chance of seeing the spirit. If it's in a flickering dark chamber, and no one is engaged but the adventurer with the spirit, then a search roll - The adventurer is flailing around in the shadows. Brightly lit area, with no background clutter - you can all see the spirit.

Quote
  • The section Attacking with Weapons And Spells seems to suggest that a spirit engaged with spirit combat with a corporeal being is visible to others not already engaged, and can be attacked by them using magic weapons and/or spells.

see above. So if they can see it they can move in and engage.

Quote
  • Once non-engaged people attack in this way are they all subject to an additional spiritual attack by the spirit on SR12, or is it limited to the initial physical/magical attack?

Spirit combat does not allow spirits to attack multiple targets, unless the spirit has a specific ability to do so (multiple heads, two weapons, etc. ). See Spirit Powers in the Bestiary, page 165 for examples.

Quote
  • Can a spirit choose to engage more then one corporeal opponent at a time? Or are they only allowed to engage with additional targets if they are Physically/magically attacked by them? Will additional attacks beyond the initial spirit combat, by other corporeal beings be unopposed? 

See above.

12 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Further, when a spirit turns visible like this, presumably in order to attack, can you attack it with weapons in the turn it manifests, or do you have to wait for it to start spirit combat? Can you attack it with spells?

A spirit becomes visible in the round prior to its attack. It's unengaged, I normally do this on SR12 in the previous round. It hasn't yet attacked (SR12), so only the target is aware of it, and can initiate spirit combat with a weapon on their weapon SR or Spirit combat on SR12.

No one else will be aware of this, except in the Statement of intent. I normally don't allow people to say things like I look around to see if I see any spirits, as obviously they've got no reason to do so.

Obviously in the statement of intent I allow the target to put up a Spirit Block in SR1 or cast an uprepared Spirit Screen with as many points as they can muster before SR12.

Overall this is a place where the GM should adjudicate on what actions are appropriate for the adventurers in the melee. Normally other adventurers declare can only declare any actions on this kind of situation in the following rounds statement of intent, if they can see the spirit.

Edited by Scotty
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21 minutes ago, Scotty said:

Spirit combat does not allow spirits to attack multiple targets, unless the spirit has a specific ability to do so (multiple heads, two weapons, etc. ). See Spirit Powers in the Bestiary, page 165 for examples.

Ah ok thanks - so extra attacks from other characters not already engaged with the spirit will be unopposed? 

Edited by Paid a bod yn dwp
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1 hour ago, Paid a bod yn dwp said:

Ah ok thanks - so extra attacks from other characters not already engaged with the spirit will be unopposed?

No, the spirit defends with its Spirit combat. Some GMs might consider a -20% per addition "spirit parry" after the first, but I find that just adds a level of detail that doesn't add anything to the game.

The golden rules of spirit combat with non-shaman adventurers:

  • Put up defences asap. Spirit Block is common and will save your adventurer.
  • get the shaman involved asap
  • run
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29 minutes ago, Scotty said:

No, the spirit defends with its Spirit combat.

Unless I’m understanding opposed spirit combat incorrectly doesn’t that effectively mean that the spirit would be having extra attacks against the extra corporeal opponents attacking it? It’s effectively the same as a standard spirit combat, ie not just defensive? 

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I guess the spirit can only harm one target with Spirit Combat, but it can still defend from attacks. So probably, after rolling Spirit Combat against the target it wants to harm, the other rolls are just to avoid harm, it can harm only one target per round.

I guess that also applies to everyone engaged with more than one opponent in Spirit Combat.

Edited by Runeblogger

Read my Runeblog about RuneQuest and Glorantha at: http://elruneblog.blogspot.com.es/

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9 minutes ago, Runeblogger said:

I guess the spirit can only harm one target with Spirit Combat, but it can still defend from attacks. So probably, after rolling Spirit Combat against the target it wants to harm, the other rolls are just to avoid harm, it can harm only one target per round.

I guess that also applies to everyone engaged with more than one opponent in Spirit Combat.

So there’s an exception to the standard rules of opposed sprit combat? The spirit or other combatant  defending an extra attack would not be able to cause damage if they win their opposed roll? 

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