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Teenage Spirit Magic


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I'm considering how, in my Glorantha, young people in some cultures (like Sartarites and Praxians) might learn Spirit Magic a few years before becoming adults and going into a cult. Kinda like learning to drive you parents' car when you're 16, basically. Is there any precedent for this in published material? Can anybody foresee any problems? Can anybody think of cool things coming from it? Thanks

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11 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

This is a good reason to introduce Folk or Petty Magic..  

I think if you introduce an even lower level of magic than Spirit magic and Rune augments (the latter of which can probably be used to describe "petty" magic already) it starts to get ridiculous. The last thing we need is another spell list, especially one that would probably have little appreciable difference mechanically to Spirit Magic.

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20 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Is there any precedent for this in published material?

I think the precedent is that they do not learn spirit magic until they are adults in published material.  (That is roughly the 15-16 coming of age point.  Then they learn more of this while they prepare for cult initiation at some point in the next couple years.

21 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

Can anybody foresee any problems?

Depends on the spell, but yes, use of magic might attract attention of things (spirits, demons, etc.) that can detect magic use.

 

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17 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

This is a good reason to introduce Folk or Petty Magic..

I would simply use Rune and Passion inspirations - that gets augments to skills, skill categories, etc. and seems to fit in well with the idea of petty magic.  You can describe the "inspiration"/augment as almost any sort of magic ("I try to summon up my Fireeye to help see through the mists"). 

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One problem with this is that I now have Nirvana stuck in my head...

The world is full of magic. Little prayers and signs to a variety of deities are made every day, some with and some without tangible results. Every hovel and field is inhabited by spirits, helpful and otherwise, who must be appeased. Many of these can work and act like the kind of cantrips that Shiningbrow is suggesting.

Most kids would be helping their parents out in their professions, household, farms, etc. before age 10. Until very, very recently that was their school. Teaching them a spell that is helpful for their work could make sense. Healing, slow, ignite, extinguish, repair, glue, farsee, silence, or even strength could be useful for particular chores.

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2 hours ago, Richard S. said:

I think if you introduce an even lower level of magic than Spirit magic and Rune augments (the latter of which can probably be used to describe "petty" magic already) it starts to get ridiculous. The last thing we need is another spell list, especially one that would probably have little appreciable difference mechanically to Spirit Magic.

I disagree with the 'ridiculous' part (obviously)**, and yes, I was thinking basically the same mechanics as Spirit Magic - except they don't last long (unless, say, the singing, chant or whatever is continued), has a small effect, don't take up CHA or INT, and thus, are unlikely to be something that most players are going to even worry about - but does add flavour to the world.

1 hour ago, Scorus said:

Healing, slow, ignite, extinguish, repair, glue, farsee, silence, or even strength could be useful for particular chores.

True, but really I think those are far more Adventurer type magic than simple petty/folk magic or charms.

I envisage not a Healing (Var), but Stop Bleeding (1pt - doesn't actually 'heal', and takes away the sting of minor (1pt damage) cuts, scrapes, bruises). Instead of Ignite, there'd be "Spark" (which replaces a flint, and only works to get the kindling to catch alight). Instead of Repair there'd be Mending (fixes small tears in cloth type materials, and therefore only 1-2pts). Instead of Strength (+8 to STR), there'd be Heave (+1-2 STR for 10 seconds).

So, similar, but obviously lesser effect. Probably POWx5% still... Do they cost MPs?? Dunno! But would probably only cost a few L (or a chicken) to learn in an hour or 2. Players would be welcome to come up with their own charms if they wish

After the initiation rites into adulthood, perhaps then they may have access to the more powerful magics we're all used to.

 

2 hours ago, jajagappa said:

I would simply use Rune and Passion inspirations - that gets augments to skills, skill categories, etc. and seems to fit in well with the idea of petty magic.  You can describe the "inspiration"/augment as almost any sort of magic ("I try to summon up my Fireeye to help see through the mists"). 

Personally, I disagree. Mostly because I don't see that as magical (although, we could say something about Runic inspiration, but even then...). Why? Because we all have such Passions in RL. I presume most footballers will have Loyalty (Club), Loyalty (Fans), Loyalty (Teammates). When the crowd is cheering them on, they call upon their Passion to work harder, get that ball, score that goal...  Definitely not the same thing as magically fixing that small tear in your shirt in 2 seconds...  (of course, this is merely my vision of Glorantha).

 

 

(** - Given that there are a couple of texts floating around that are specifically about such magics, obviously it's not as ridiculous as you suggest).

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4 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

(** - Given that there are a couple of texts floating around that are specifically about such magics, obviously it's not as ridiculous as you suggest).

I didn't mean to imply that minor magic like that doesn't exist at all, I just feel it's unnecessary to try and codify it within the rules of Runequest. If you really need to show it, it can just be a purely narrative thing: farmers say a prayer over their plows before going out to the fields, weavers sing to help guide the threads together, potters feed their fire some scraps of meat to appease it. They don't need spells, or even a POW cost, they're just things that people do normally.

Edited by Richard S.
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17 minutes ago, Richard S. said:

I didn't mean to imply that minor magic like that doesn't exist at all, I just feel it's unnecessary to try and codify it within the rules of Runequest. If you really need to show it, it can just be a purely narrative thing: farmers say a prayer over their plows before going out to the fields, weavers sing to help guide the threads together, potters feed their fire some scraps of meat to appease it. They don't need spells, they're just things that people do normally.

To follow up, if you do feel like these have to have some mechanical significance, these can all be represented with Rune augments. Or just assume they're what people do normally, and instead of giving bonuses for doing them apply penalties if it's specifically stated that they're not. Any other bonuses come from higher magic beyond the common magic that people use to get by day to day.

Edited by Richard S.
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I agree this doesn’t need codifying (although everyone is free to do what they want – it is a game after all). I am increasingly coming around to allowing characters the opportunity to expend a magic point for a petty/folk magic effect. This is below the level that has a mechanical effect but does enhance the narrative.

Say for instance Drenharl wants to impress Helet, a woman in the village he likes. He might pick a bunch of flowers for her and cast a ‘folk’ spell to make their scent sweeter. This would have no game effect but could add something to a narrative…

Edited by Trotsky
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In the way that 11 & 12 year old learn to hunt, shoot and drive oxen/farm machinery in some cultures here I don’t see any issue with teenagers (which is a modern concept anyway) learning magic from their parents. Not to mention the possibility of young people defeating spirits and learning their magic 

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One way of handling it is to give less than the 5 points of spirit Magic gained from membership of a cult, as they would be Lay Members at best. So, you might get 3 points of Spirit Magic, for example. assuming Initiation at 15, you might get 1 point at 7 and a second point at 14, with the rest on initiation.

However, for PCs, if you are playing a child character then it is an Adventurer and should get the full 5 points.

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On 1/30/2021 at 6:09 AM, Richard S. said:

To follow up, if you do feel like these have to have some mechanical significance, these can all be represented with Rune augments. Or just assume they're what people do normally...

On 1/30/2021 at 9:26 AM, Trotsky said:

... I am increasingly coming around to allowing characters the opportunity to expend a magic point for a petty/folk magic effect. This is below the level that has a mechanical effect but does enhance the narrative...

Both entirely reasonable approaches. Maybe combine them, and have a sort of rune-augment-common-magic, where you spend 1 MP, roll an appropriate rune, and you get the minor effect without the chance of backlash on a failure.

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On 1/30/2021 at 10:26 AM, Trotsky said:

I agree this doesn’t need codifying (although everyone is free to do what they want – it is a game after all). I am increasingly coming around to allowing characters the opportunity to expend a magic point for a petty/folk magic effect. This is below the level that has a mechanical effect but does enhance the narrative.

Say for instance Drenharl wants to impress Helet, a woman in the village he likes. He might pick a bunch of flowers for her and cast a ‘folk’ spell to make their scent sweeter. This would have no game effect but could add something to a narrative…

You could even call for a Rune roll here in order to succeed. In game terms, it would work as an explanation for a Rune Augment.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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On 1/29/2021 at 7:06 PM, jajagappa said:

I would simply use Rune and Passion inspirations - that gets augments to skills, skill categories, etc. and seems to fit in well with the idea of petty magic.

That wouldn't be possible with Runes since non-adults haven't had the Runes "awoken" yet AFAIK. They do have Passions though, and I also am mulling over a "Personality Traits" house rule that represents, basically, "proto-Rune affinities" (i.e. stats that let you augment like Runes, but that lack the spiritual/magical aspect of Runes... they then would transfer over to Rune scores at adulthood).

On 1/29/2021 at 8:02 PM, Scorus said:

Most kids would be helping their parents out in their professions, household, farms, etc. before age 10. Until very, very recently that was their school. Teaching them a spell that is helpful for their work could make sense. Healing, slow, ignite, extinguish, repair, glue, farsee, silence, or even strength could be useful for particular chores.

Even *after* age 10 I think they continue helping out, no? They probably help their parents/family/immediate community until age 15 or 16 when they become adults and move on to being apprentices of someone to learn an occupation, all the while keeping an eye out for a cult to initiate into.

After some thinking and some ideas provided by people over on the Facebook group, I think that kids and teenagers may not *learn* Spirit Magic, but may *use* it. For instance, their parents might give them enchanted items and charms that contain these useful spells (healing, repair, speedart, etc.). Possibly their own old items, kinda like when you give your old cellphone to your teenager after a lengthy speech about responsibility and taking care of your stuff.

On 1/29/2021 at 9:35 PM, Shiningbrow said:

I disagree with the 'ridiculous' part (obviously)**, and yes, I was thinking basically the same mechanics as Spirit Magic - except they don't last long (unless, say, the singing, chant or whatever is continued), has a small effect, don't take up CHA or INT, and thus, are unlikely to be something that most players are going to even worry about - but does add flavour to the world.

That still sounds like custom rules for "kids' Spirit Magic" :)   Even if it's only a couple rules, I'd like to avoid that altogether -- we have already way enough magic rules in RQG!

On 1/30/2021 at 1:26 AM, Trotsky said:

I agree this doesn’t need codifying (although everyone is free to do what they want – it is a game after all). I am increasingly coming around to allowing characters the opportunity to expend a magic point for a petty/folk magic effect. This is below the level that has a mechanical effect but does enhance the narrative.

I agree that adding a bit of "narrative magic" in the game is a fun thing and help sell the setting as overly magical. However I don't think I would mix mechanical effects with non-mechanical effects. If you spend 1 MP (mechanical effect), it should give you a mechanical effect (+10% in Charm, or whatever). This is effectively a spell. If the outcome is only narrative, the expenditure should also be narrative (i.e. no MP spend).

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By the way, my conclusions so far are that:

  • Up to age 15 or 16 (adulthood), kids may get increasing access to magic via magical items and friendly spirits (ancestors, already-bound spirits, etc.). They do not cast magic themselves however.
  • After adulthood, they learn their first Spirit Magic, as they start apprenticeship in whatever occupation they fancy.
  • A year or two later, after having been lay-member of a cult, they initiate into the cult and learn their first Rune Magic.

This lets me introduce magic types one by one (instead of learning Spirit *and* Rune magic at the same time, which would be very busy and confusing for a young adult!), while also preserving the "kids don't do magic" trope.

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1 minute ago, lordabdul said:

That wouldn't be possible with Runes since non-adults haven't had the Runes "awoken" yet AFAIK.

I tend to think of the Runes as always being there and part of their innate personality vs. only occurring upon initiation.  You can't use Runes for Rune magic until you are in a cult so I don't see that as an issue.  And minor augments seem a perfect aspect to utilize for non-adults IMO.

 

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