Jump to content

Everyday mundane magic


Recommended Posts

As Glorantha is a magically rich world we know that everyone would use magic in their daily lives. I wonder how other GMs and players incorporate this in their games. I realise it is not a central feature but do any of you out there use it to create colour? Such as: entering a stead and seeing colours flickering around the wash tubs of those cleaning the clothes, the magical tinkle of a loom being worked by a weaver. The sparkle of seeds as they are planted. A magical haze from a pot of stew being served. I know the intent of RQ:G is epic in its scale but I do like to have the everyday mundane magic make an appearance. Please share any ways you do this…

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Trotsky said:

Please share any ways you do this…

I don't.

I consider there is no reason to show what is standard. For analogy, I don't say "you are entering the green wood" but "you are entering the wood"

That the same for magic. When the magic in a place is just average I don't talk about. When magic is more powerfull, or less powerfull, then I talk about (a kind of "you are entering a weird pink wood").

That is exactly the same that describing a lunar patrol, is there an interest to talk about their eyes, heir, bears, sandals, colors. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

I describe what is noticeable for the pc, not for the players.

Of course for gloranthan new player, things must be described, to explain glorantha is not like our world. And gloranthan is full of magic everywhere. But once they "feel" gloranthan, they have to see their world as gloranthan.

That is exactly the same when playing vampire the masquerade. You will probably not describe every heartbeat of human preys when a vampire enters a crowded nightclub to discuss with the local boss. The goal is to discuss with the local boss. Of course when our vampire is hungry, then, it is important to describe the preys, because a drama could happen, and the vampire may want to drink and will not be able to see the boss, or be late, or disturb the club, etc... The introduction of new players to the vampire world is very good for that : you play the "transformation" so there, everything is noticeable, colors, smell, heart, sometimes mortal thoughts too. But once the pc is and accept to be vampire, the issue is to see the world like a human, not like an ex human with new supranatural perception.

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting how styles differ...  I wouldn't say, 'You are entering a wood,' I would always be more descriptive than that, trying to make locations more interesting and/or unique, even if it is familiar. I feel it makes a location more dynamic, especially if it is a regular location. I haven't played RPG's for decades until recently and maybe my play style is stuck in the early 1980s. I would do the same with a Lunar Patrol, I would not be generic even if it was just a passing encounter but give a few details, one is taller than the rest, one has a damaged spear, the officer looks disinterested, etc. to bring them to life.

I haven't played many other RPGs and have no experience of Vampire the Masquerade but I understand your point :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Trotsky said:

Such as: entering a stead and seeing colours flickering around the wash tubs of those cleaning the clothes, the magical tinkle of a loom being worked by a weaver. The sparkle of seeds as they are planted. A magical haze from a pot of stew being served.

I agree with your general point, but I'm confused about your examples. How are these things magical? I suppose the seeds sparkle from a Bless Crop spell (I would describe it indeed, the same way I describe a glowing sword if it had Bladesharp cast on it), but I'm not sure what these other examples point at?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I also like the idea of "Folk Magic", like tiny rituals that have specific effects. Bind these seven flowers into your hair to dream of your husband-to-be. Transfer your warts to a toad using this conjuration. Wield fennel at night against the forces of darkness.

  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it is all about style. Magic is Glorantha's technology. If you were to run a modern day game you'd say Ford Mustang, not just car when the detail adds to the games experience. Same in RQ, dropping in the magic adds to the sense of other place that you want to convey. This is often followed by the question, 'is that unusual?' if the answer is no, then as a GM you have highlighted that this isn't Kansas and our rules don't apply. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2021 at 11:30 AM, Trotsky said:

Hi lordabdul, I am thinking that there would be many common spirit magic spells that would be used everyday that are not described in the rules. 

I see, thanks.

I would personally do it in an HQG game because it's easy for the players to see something and say "oh that's cool, can I do that?". The freeform system makes is not only possible but desirable. In an RQG game however it's trickier, you end up describing magic that the players may or may not be able to perform... it depends on your playstyle and how creative you get with the rules. I have a thread on that very topic actually. So IMHO yes if the players can do it (assuming they're in the appropriate cult, etc.), no otherwise.

Edited by lordabdul
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2021 at 8:30 PM, Trotsky said:

Hi lordabdul, I am thinking that there would be many common spirit magic spells that would be used everyday that are not described in the rules. 

Agree. Of course you make the traditional invocation over the sourdough - how else would the magic happen?

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2021 at 8:30 PM, Trotsky said:

Hi lordabdul, I am thinking that there would be many common spirit magic spells that would be used everyday that are not described in the rules. 

 

10 hours ago, lordabdul said:

So IMHO yes if the players can do it (assuming they're in the appropriate cult, etc.), no otherwise.

My opinion is this magic (I agree there is magic in all these cases) is so "folk", so common that it is "included" in the skills. Don't need to burn magic point, don't need to define spells characteristics.

that is a room for narration and description by the players, if they wish

I organize some flowers in my hair to seduce this beautifull unknown, I succeed my roll, the flowers become bright and smell well, drawing attention; I failed, the pollen makes the "target" sneeze, driving him/her away.

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think of the adventurers sheets as just a summary of the characters - there is a lot more to them. I allow characters to add narrative to a game with ‘folk magic’ mainly linked to their profession more than cult. A 1mp cost is reasonable. I also don’t think you need a list of such spells, it is all about flavour and immersion.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of the everyday magic may be animist in nature. You collect the dust mice, or chase them out, possibly with a wind broom. You have little helper spirits, possibly using very minor elemental bodies, doing a very specialized chore, receiving some kind of thanks offering, possibly in a niche on a house altar. Possibly small amounts of food.

And possibly, some of the destitute in the community go around, take those food offerings in exchange for a Magic Point and maybe some burnt hair or drop of blood or whatever offered to those spirits' collective or individual votive images. It is possible to (barely) survive on zero income in Orlanthi society, partially through directed acts of generosity, partially through acting as the penny-priesthood to these minuscule spirits, taking physical offerings and offering personal magic instead.

Other such offerings of comestibles may be taken away by e.g. songbirds, or alynxes, acting as the natural priesthood of such spirits.

There will be blessings carved into the beams upholding the house's rafters, or in the doorposts, and people may trace them or at least touch them when passing by. Some of these may be blessings unto the helpful spirits, or summonings of such spirits.

The magical expenditure on such activities and beings is below the game-relevant thresholds most of the time. Much of that simply rubs off.

There may be more magical places, perhaps (in RQG terms) places that drain one or two MP a day out of their inhabitants/visitors. Most of the time, such drains may go unnoticed.

In some cultures, such spirits may have something like a foreman - like a Viking house tomte. That spirit entity may act as the recipient and distributor of the thanks and the propitiation.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/16/2021 at 10:10 AM, Trotsky said:

As Glorantha is a magically rich world we know that everyone would use magic in their daily lives. I wonder how other GMs and players incorporate this in their games. I realise it is not a central feature but do any of you out there use it to create colour? Such as: entering a stead and seeing colours flickering around the wash tubs of those cleaning the clothes, the magical tinkle of a loom being worked by a weaver. The sparkle of seeds as they are planted. A magical haze from a pot of stew being served. I know the intent of RQ:G is epic in its scale but I do like to have the everyday mundane magic make an appearance. Please share any ways you do this…

I do. Always loved the idea of the grandmothers rising early in a Heortling stead to release healthy and vibrant breezes from magical sacks in the early morning before all have awoken to chase away the foul smells, miasmas and smokes from the nights sleep and hearth fires . From Thunder Rebels, a HW product I believe.

So, I have asked my players to come up with any small magic that can be used around the stead that makes sense mythologically and could be done just as early by using a mundane item. This is for colour, not min/maxing. Nothing yet, but I will keep you informed. 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Trotsky said:

I also don’t think you need a list of such spells, it is all about flavour and immersion.

Sounds good! Just be careful to not turn this into a bad Harry Potter-esque world where some things are done with magic even if doesn't make sense. There's a difference between immersing the world in weird/semi-magical folk traditions (Vaesen is very good for this in terms of 19th century Scandinavian stuff) and actually featuring magic in every day situations all the time. I'm more interested in the former.

Edited by lordabdul
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Joerg said:

In some cultures, such spirits may have something like a foreman - like a Viking house tomte. That spirit entity may act as the recipient and distributor of the thanks and the propitiation.

This is actually a good example of what I mean in my previous post: IMG a house guardian spirit may almost never be seen, but the people in the house would regularly leave food or other offerings out for it, and these offerings may disappear overnight. The people may also do other various related rituals.... the point being that the magical element is more implied than visible, so to speak. The folk traditions are what's visible (leaving food out on Godsday, saying a prayer before cleaning under the bed, whatever). Occasionally, they may get a glimpse of the spirit, when it chooses to become visible or audible for some reason (maybe it's that one time where it actually does defend the house against something!) but it would exceptional... maybe your mother tells you about the one time she saw it when she was a kid, and that's how you know the spirit looks like a blue racoon with feathered ears. Or maybe grampa is a shaman and talks to it all the time, but nobody else in the family does.

Of course, I'm also a big fan of Hilda so if you want to have a nisse show up every morning for a sandwich and help with some chores, I'll also approve :D

Edited by lordabdul
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/17/2021 at 7:40 PM, Psullie said:

For me it is all about style. Magic is Glorantha's technology. If you were to run a modern day game you'd say Ford Mustang, not just car when the detail adds to the games experience. Same in RQ, dropping in the magic adds to the sense of other place that you want to convey. This is often followed by the question, 'is that unusual?' if the answer is no, then as a GM you have highlighted that this isn't Kansas and our rules don't apply. 

Completely agree here. But I think most of this 'technology' is achievable with creative use of the current Spirit magic spells (like disruption for rodents killing, or slow for catching a cow, like we discussed recently). A few others may be needed, but not much. I think the rest is rituals and habits, but not necessarily magical.

Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, Kloster said:

Completely agree here. But I think most of this 'technology' is achievable with creative use of the current Spirit magic spells (like disruption for rodents killing, or slow for catching a cow, like we discussed recently). A few others may be needed, but not much. I think the rest is rituals and habits, but not necessarily magical.

The sacks of winds I mention are simple air elementals (just not sylphs) and a sacred time ceremony/HQ re-upped with holy days should refill their power nicely over a year. Wyters, spells (Rune or Spirit) and befriended spirits of the land should provide a lot of needed colour, maybe too much so apply judiciously like seasoning a stew or accenting a melody, embroidering a tale (although many will say more ir better here)... Otherwise risk a little of the Flintstone's syndrome of parrots being sirens... etc. I feel lordabdul has this correct, the feel is right.
Not sure if cantrips or Folk Magic as the Mytras folk say are needed but I will use them if my table develops needed cool effects that do not add anything to what they can already do in a an uncool mundane way. I also accept that many seemingly mundane things are of a magic/profound/interesting and need I say cool level?

Less is more.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/18/2021 at 9:24 PM, Kloster said:

Completely agree here. But I think most of this 'technology' is achievable with creative use of the current Spirit magic spells (like disruption for rodents killing, or slow for catching a cow, like we discussed recently).

I agree. If I'm playing a modern day role-playing game, I don't care what brand or model of mobile phone my character has. Likewise I don't care if the rat catcher uses the same Disruption spell that the warrior does. I'm sure there are variations, I just don't care. Other players are free to care if it adds to their immersion in the world. And I might care at some point if the mood takes me.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think... One thing adding specific mechanics (as per Folk Magic) to the game is it does make the world seem more magical in a way that the PCs don't come across as quite as special and unique as is often made out to be. Eg, most cultists will increase 1 point of spirit magic per 5 years for free. In a highly magical world, that seems pretty poor. Throw in Folk Magic, and the initiate is getting a boost to magics regularly - just not overly powerful stuff. It would also enhance the community feel. Even though most of a community may be a simple Lay Member of a cult (or 3), they would still have connections with the local priests, with these simple Folk Charms being a significant connecting point.

So, in a way, having Folk Magic (charms etc) means initiation isn't the no-brainer many probably think it is. Why wouldn't someone be an initiate of a few different cults? Oh, because they still get some reasonable benefits anyway from being a Lay Member anyway - benefits more fitting to their role in society. Very few actually need a
Disruption, but many will want a Scare Rodents Away. A Repair is actually a big deal, but a Mending would be everywhere. And Stir the Pot is no longer an Eurmali cult secret spell 😛

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...