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What it means to learn a Rune Spell


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So I have been thinking for a while what it actually means to learn a rune spell and with all the talk about The Red Book of Magic i thought I would share my thought. This is the way I have chosen to explain it to the players in my game. (YGMV)

"Learning" a rune spell is not so much learning any specific phrases or gestures, as it's about going through the rituals, prayers and sacrifices to set up a "contract" with your deity. "I give you a piece of my soul and you will grant me some of your power when I call for it, letting you act through me in the world of time". Casting a rune spell is then just calling out to your deity and hope for an answer. (After all Rune magic always goes of in SR 1 unless you take time to "charge" it with more mp/rp). If you embody the the values of your deity (their runes) they are more likely to take note of your request (this is the casting roll).

The amount of rune points you have is a measure of the favour you have with your god. Most favour only require regular worship to regain once the initial sacrifice have been made, but some (one-use spells) require that you sacrifice more of your soul to regain.*

Common rune magic, is requests most deities are known to grant without a special "contract" only that the right sacrifices have been made (POW and regular worship to replenish).

*I play that one-use spells just lowers the max RP by the cost of the spell when cast. (because RAW is not very clear on this)

This is just the way I have mapped the rules into the world to make it feel more real. I would love to hear your thoughts about this and what ways you have interpreted the rules. 

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My interpretation is that learning Rune Magic involves gaining a little piece of divine memory, the god's memories of performing the heroic feat that is embodied in the spell. To cast the spell, you lose yourseld in that foreign memory, letting your body and soul contort themselves in remembered motions, mudras and mantras. As you cast it, you become your god for a moment, and then as the spell leaves you, you reassert distance from your god, separating yourself. Rune Points are an abstract measurement of the connection you have to the Otherside, and that connection weakens as you reenact the events of myth in the Middle World, because you reassert identity and make yourself less in touch with the Otherside. You must reconnect with your gods via worship to reinvigorate that Otherside connection.

One-use spells require such a profound transmission of Otherside to Middle World, and a concomitant assault on identity, that their connection is permanently associated with that memory, and each use requires sacrifice and formation of a new connection. 

Edited by Eff
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1 hour ago, OxygenO2 said:

I would love to hear your thoughts about this and what ways you have interpreted the rules. 

For me, you learn Rune spells by performing rites and rituals that enact how your deity gained the power that allows it to teach the Rune spell. This is effectively a very minor and danger-free HeroQuest. Effectively, you are going to Sunday School to learn about what your deity did and, in doing so, learn to replicate using the magic.

1 hour ago, OxygenO2 said:

Learning" a rune spell is not so much learning any specific phrases or gestures, as it's about going through the rituals, prayers and sacrifices to set up a "contract" with your deity. "I give you a piece of my soul and you will grant me some of your power when I call for it, letting you act through me in the world of time".

Interesting take, that you are depositing more and more of your soul with the deity. similar to shamans storing their POW on the Spirit Plane.

27 minutes ago, Nick Brooke said:

I use “mantras, mudras and mandalas” as my Gloranthan equivalent to VSM for spellcasting , and nobody can stop me

Expect the Canon Police to bust down your door any minute.

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1 hour ago, OxygenO2 said:

"Learning" a rune spell is not so much learning any specific phrases or gestures, as it's about going through the rituals, prayers and sacrifices to set up a "contract" with your deity. "I give you a piece of my soul and you will grant me some of your power when I call for it, letting you act through me in the world of time". Casting a rune spell is then just calling out to your deity and hope for an answer.

This is exactly (in other words) what I explained to players in our RQ3 campaign. For Rune spells, you are not the one that is casting the spell, you are requesting your god to perform his magic, in exchange of a part of your self. This explained why the percentage was 95%, gods being gods. Even if the rules have changed (in a good way), the explanation is still what I gave to my players when we tested RQG.

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When you take part in a worship ceremony you take the part of your deity, you re-enact their deeds, you win their victories and suffer their agonies, you become them. You can then call upon this power when you need it. RuneQuest models this by "learning Rune spells" and "gaining Rune points".

Edited by PhilHibbs
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1 hour ago, Kloster said:

This is exactly (in other words) what I explained to players in our RQ3 campaign. For Rune spells, you are not the one that is casting the spell, you are requesting your god to perform his magic, in exchange of a part of your self. This explained why the percentage was 95%, gods being gods. Even if the rules have changed (in a good way), the explanation is still what I gave to my players when we tested RQG.

absolutly

And I go even further : as a GM, I can allow the god to refuse the request (for example killing the holy and innocent ernaldan priest with Orlanth's magic)

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2 hours ago, Kloster said:

For Rune spells, you are not the one that is casting the spell, you are requesting your god to perform his magic, in exchange of a part of your self.

I disagree, I think it is you casting the spell. Unless you consider that by briefly becoming an avatar of the God, you weren't really "you" for that moment. I think the caster would think it was themselves casting the spell.

And the take-away from this is, "opinions vary", both within Glorantha and in our world. And I think that's a good thing.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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6 hours ago, soltakss said:

 

Expect the Canon Police to bust down your door any minute.

I doubt it. While it's very Vedic terminology, the actual meanings will be correct... You chant specific phrases, move your body into specific postures (especially the fingers), and visualize particular symbols.

 

Fits extremely well!

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After a good forum discussion on this a few weeks ago, I implemented the following in my game: Learning a new rune spell requires a week-long ritual at the end of which the player must make a Worship roll in order to learn the spell. Standard worship bonuses apply (temple, holy day, sacrifices), except magic points only give +1% and are limited to 5 (in all uses of Worship, in my game). There are no penalties to a miss or fumble other than not learning the spell, though I will give a few points of Cult Lore on a special or critical.

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