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As per the title, as there too many spells in Runequest?

In some cases, certainly in earlier editions, the same spells were in spirit, rune, and sorcery, just written slightly differently. Is this really required?

I am musing this, as thinking of going Savage Worlds approach, and having a core set of spells that can do most of what the players want, with a bit of bespoke wording. Is anyone doing anything similar?

 

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More spells are needed. 

Right now the basics of hand to hand combat are mostly covered, but there are a lot of neat effects that could be added.  The idea that you get spells in Runequest to make your crops bloom and bear extra food, or can cause vines to grow into a useful shape like a bridge, boundry between feuding neighbors, or even an impromptu cattle pen is very Gloranthan.    We don't actually have enough of that just now, with ceremonies, wyters, and powerful spirits filling in those types of effects. 

Are half the spells just copies?  There are some that very similar, truesword, trueaxe, etc.  But those seem a lot fewer than half.

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32 minutes ago, soltakss said:

I like having loads of spells doing different things.

 

It is just bloat.

You can just bespoke as needed.

Dark Wall, Light Wall. 

Light Blade, Dark Blade, Daemon Blade, Eldritch Blade. all do the more-or-less the same thing, just with minor variations. absolutely no point to be honest.

Leap, Jump. 

Lightning Strike, Sun Spear, Sky Bolt

Each of these instances can be one spell, that could easily be bespoked. Damage could easily be a function of shaping, so anything of Intensity 1 could be 1d6 damage, and touch range. Intensity 2 could be 2d6 and twenty metres or so.

Split them into Bolt (lightning or fire etc), Blast (Multiple strikes), and Burst area of effect. Then all you need is a guide to creating bespoke spells from the generic ones - easy peasy.

 

Edited by RogerDee
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1 minute ago, RogerDee said:

It is just bloat.

You can just bespoke as needed.

Dark Wall, Light Wall. 

Light Blade, Dark Blade, Daemon Blade, Eldritch Blade. all do the more-or-less the same thing, just with minor variations. absolutely no point to be honest.

Leap, Jump. 

Lightning Strike, Sun Spear, Sky Bolt

Each of these instances can be one spell, that could easily be bespoked. Damage could easily be a function of shaping, so anything of Intensity 1 could be 1d6 damage, and touch range. Intensity 2 could be 2d6 and twenty metres or so.

At the end of the day all you need is a guide to creating bespoke spells from the generic ones - easy peasy.

 

RQ Classic offers that for Rune Magic - you have Rune Power 1, 2 or 3, using the runes of the cult entity. Each rune point is worth 1D6 in damage. (Sever Spirit being an exception, but it's one use for anybody but Humakti.)

Stackable spells are pretty much unlimited, most of these accept 1 point additions (even when the basic spell costs 3 rune points).

The more points of the same rune, the stronger the limitations - you need at least 50% overcast to call a Thunderbolt, and you need direct sunlight for a Sunspear.

The meta-system is there, feel free to play with it. You can name the various possible variations... which gives you the plethora of spells that there are.

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I think the quirky variety of spells, and the lack of consistency in effect-per-point, is part of RuneQuest's charm. I am aware that it is one of the reasons that RuneQuest, and also Glorantha, is not everyone's cup of tea.

It is also one of the reasons that HW/HQ/QW never really clicked with me, everything was hard coded to be equivalent to everything else.

Edited by PhilHibbs
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2 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think the quirky variety of spells, and the lack of consistency in effect-per-point, is part of RuneQuest's charm. I am aware that it is one of the reasons that RuneQuest, and also Glorantha, is not everyone's cup of tea.

Not really, that is a design flaw, and something it has in common with Exalted, in that charms are not consistant.

Same should be true here.

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10 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

Yes really.

That is an opinion.

Nope, rules need to be consistent.

All my post was a question, and see if people thought there were too many spells and see if anyone had thought of other ways to do it.

15 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think the quirky variety of spells, and the lack of consistency in effect-per-point, is part of RuneQuest's charm. I am aware that it is one of the reasons that RuneQuest, and also Glorantha, is not everyone's cup of tea.

Hell you just admitted that the rules were inconsistent.

 

 

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2 hours ago, RogerDee said:

Each of these instances can be one spell, that could easily be bespoked.

Yes, could, but overall strikes me as boring. 

The variety of spells, differences and nuances between different elements, powers, and magic systems etc. are part of what I enjoy.  And where it is the same spell, e.g. Shield, it's one spell. 

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Just now, jajagappa said:

Yes, could, but overall strikes me as boring. 

The variety of spells, differences and nuances between different elements, powers, and magic systems etc. are part of what I enjoy.  And where it is the same spell, e.g. Shield, it's one spell. 

Shield though could literally be anything. Shield of fire, ice, light, scorpions. Literally anything.

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44 minutes ago, RogerDee said:

All my post was a question, and see if people thought there were too many spells and see if anyone had thought of other ways to do it.

I wrote a supplement with over 600 spells and have brought out another with 20 spells.

For me, you can never have enough spells.

I like more spells.

Some people hate having loads of spells, which is fair enough.

But, you asked for people's opinion.

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Looks to me like different people are talking about different things:

  1. The OP was about different spells doing the same thing but from different magic systems. So yes, there will be a "make your weapon more effective", or "set things on fire", or "get protection from damage" for Spirit Magic, Rune Magic, and Sorcery.
    • I don't think these are "duplication", nor that they should be unified. The whole point of having 3 magic systems is that they all have pros and cons. A spell in Rune Magic will be quick and powerful, but you're limited to what your god(s) give you, and it's hard to replenish your Rune Points. Spirit Magic requires pausing for a few seconds but is overall decently fast, and less limited but still kinda limited. Sorcery is slow and expensive, you have to prepare it in advance, but you can do everything you want and more importantly you can boost the hell out of it if you know how to (something the other two can't do).
    • So unifying similar spells across the 3 magic systems sounds to me like trying to unify the 3 magic systems into one generic magic system. That's not what RuneQuest is about IMHO. But you can play HeroQuest instead, where it's all unified (but maybe too much for some people 😉 ).
  2. Other people (including the OP) are talking about the different similar spells within the same magic system. Like, say, Fanaticism and Berserk maybe? I don't know. People should give examples so we know what they're talking about...
    • Some people like that these variants of the same effect add twists and nuance to Gloranthan magic, and don't mind it adding "imbalance" between spells.
    • Other people don't like that these variants make things "unbalanced", and don't care about the twists and nuance because they could just narrate that instead.
    • I also imagine that yet other people would be simply annoyed at the prospect of having to familiarize themselves with a giant list of spells rather than a simpler list of spell, for purely practical reasons (how does @soltakss holds 600+ spells in his head?? is he a mutant?? 😄 ).

Regardless of whether there are too many spells or not in RQ, I think that trying to group them under a shorter list of spells will only result in "cleaning up", what, maybe a dozen spells at best? (there would be a long tail of "miscellaneous spells" that are identical to RAW). It's going to be tricky to decide what stats these "core spells" would have, too. Sounds like a lot of work for not much benefit.

Edited by lordabdul
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4 hours ago, RogerDee said:

I am musing this, as thinking of going Savage Worlds approach, and having a core set of spells that can do most of what the players want, with a bit of bespoke wording. Is anyone doing anything similar?

Revolution D100 has different magic systems doing basically the same thing but with different approaches. So, you have Powers and then each Magic system uses those Powers in different ways.

When I run HeroQuest, the game, or QuestWorlds now, I have Keywords with Breakouts, so a Keyword might be The Dark Grimoire (Dark Walk, Summon Shadow), or I might have Darkness Rune (Dark Walk, Summon Shadow), Kitori (Dark Walk, Summon Shadow) or Dark Cloud (Dark Walk, Summon Shadow), each gaining the Dark Walk and Summon Shadow from a different magic system but each doing effectively the same thing.

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1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

I think the quirky variety of spells, and the lack of consistency in effect-per-point, is part of RuneQuest's charm. I am aware that it is one of the reasons that RuneQuest, and also Glorantha, is not everyone's cup of tea.

It is also one of the reasons that HW/HQ/QW never really clicked with me, everything was hard coded to be equivalent to everything else.

Agreed.

 

37 minutes ago, RogerDee said:

Shield though could literally be anything. Shield of fire, ice, light, scorpions. Literally anything.

Yeah, eg. my group's humakti uses a Shield of Truth and the orlanthis have Shields of Storm.

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7 hours ago, RogerDee said:

Nope, rules need to be consistent.

Yes, rules need to be consistent - to a point. There can be reasons for variation. These may or may not be obvious.

But let me share a little something from my history of RuneQuest play (I've been playing since 1978).

Back in the early days, a very nice gentleman named John T. Sapienza (who also created many of the character sheets in the early days - some very excellent character sheets by the way) came out with a "unified" table of weapons. He made similar weapons across all types of weapons (sword, mace, spear, axe) that followed some basic patterns. I was like "ooh, this is so cool" and started using his weapons table. Fast forward some time of playing with those. I noticed that all of a sudden the choice of weapon seemed less significant, the charm of the old RQ1 weapons table with its quirks was gone. The new more "unified" weapons table was NOT better. Not for me. And now that I recently did an exhaustive comparison of RQ1 and RQ2 and actually looked at how the weapons changed (RQ2 weapons are more unified that RQ1 but not as unified as John T. Sapienza's), I realized yet another reason to stick with RQ1.

Or another story, this from a different game system, Arcana Unearthed (an alternate "Players Handbook for D&D 3.0). That system has some energy spells that are unified, in fact, you get to decide the energy type at casting time. And guess what happens. Ooh, we're fighting something immune to fire, I'll cast lightning. Heck, don't know if it has immunity and we don't know it has a vulnerability? Cast the energy type least likely to have resistance. No, I didn't really like that. It was annoying (despite how much otherwise I enjoyed the system).

Besides, RQ actually has a lot of symmetry in it's magic. Bladesharp has sister spells for other weapon types. Protection has the same relative effect on damage as Bladesharp. Now yea, the system COULD have had "Enchant Weapon" instead of Bladesharp, but different cults prefer different weapon types (and some even ban some weapon types) and by not having a generic spell, those cult differences can be shown. And it's less confusing to have differently named spells rather than write down "Enchant Weapon, Blade" if you have a unified spell but you have to pick the version to learn.

And Spirit Magic, Rune Magic, and Sorcery all work differently in ways that it doesn't make sense to share spells across them. There may be spells that look the same between these magic types, but they are still different spells and them having slightly different effects may well make sense.

Frank

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1 hour ago, ffilz said:

Or another story, this from a different game system, Arcana Unearthed (an alternate "Players Handbook for D&D 3.0). That system has some energy spells that are unified, in fact, you get to decide the energy type at casting time. And guess what happens. Ooh, we're fighting something immune to fire, I'll cast lightning. Heck, don't know if it has immunity and we don't know it has a vulnerability? Cast the energy type least likely to have resistance. No, I didn't really like that. It was annoying (despite how much otherwise I enjoyed the system).

I know you were trying to clarify, but this misses the point of what I'm saying - and it may be how i was saying it....not sure. If you are casting fire bolt or lightning bolt - they are different spells but under the umbrella of bolt. So you can know one, but may not know both. But if the player knows both, then they can cast either.

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19 minutes ago, RogerDee said:

I know you were trying to clarify, but this misses the point of what I'm saying - and it may be how i was saying it....not sure. If you are casting fire bolt or lightning bolt - they are different spells but under the umbrella of bolt. So you can know one, but may not know both. But if the player knows both, then they can cast either.

OK, so you'd prefer spells to be reduced to what you consider their "essential features" (it is some kind of energy projectile that does damage, it increases a characteristic, it provides some kind of armor, etc.) and consider RuneQuest's focus being how Gloranthans would group spells (rather than you) to be bad design - especially since of some of the spells in your categories are of differing strengths. Proof that different strokes for different folks govern what is labeled "good game design" - as too my tastes, the approach you suggest is uninteresting, "un-Gloranthan", and reduces immersion in the setting.

So what you consider "bad design" I consider good, and you like what I consider bad. Which is perfectly fine - people have different aesthetic sensibilities.

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