Jump to content

Too Many Spells?


Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, Jeff said:

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

On the grounds I never said it was bad design - way to go taking the wrong end of context. What I did say was a design flaw was in there was no consistency in the rules of how the magic spells seem to be put together. And need I point out that this was a flaw pointed out out by another D100 Game Designer - not by me. My original premise was about consolidating the magic system.

1 hour ago, Jeff said:

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

Keeping core parts of the spells would be better, yes. Then include full rules of how to best bespoke say a protection spell, such that players can really make it sing in their game. If someone wants a shield of fire, great; or one of rose, fine; or one composed of writhing snakes. Brilliant!

But to my knowledge, the rules do not go into enough detail on this, unless I have missed something?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, RogerDee said:

On the grounds I never said it was bad design - way to go taking the wrong end of context. What I did say was a design flaw was in there was no consistency in the rules of how the magic spells seem to be put together. And need I point out that this was a flaw pointed out out by another D100 Game Designer - not by me. My original premise was about consolidating the magic system.

Keeping core parts of the spells would be better, yes. Then include full rules of how to best bespoke say a protection spell, such that players can really make it sing in their game. If someone wants a shield of fire, great; or one of rose, fine; or one composed of writhing snakes. Brilliant!

But to my knowledge, the rules do not go into enough detail on this, unless I have missed something?

 

I am quoting you - you called it bloat and bad design. As far as I can see there are no other game designers of note on this thread. I see nothing to gain by "consolidating the magic system" or having generic spells that you can then "bespoke". My opinion on mechanical consistency for magic is pretty much the same as my opinion of mechanical "game balance" for cults. I care about "setting balance" - does one cult have accessible power that doesn't work with how it is presented in the setting. But whether one cult has a spell similar (but not identical) to another spell is simply not a "problem" that requires a fix.

Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, Jeff said:

I am quoting you - you called it bloat and bad design. As far as I can see there are no other game designers of note on this thread. I see nothing to gain by "consolidating the magic system" or having generic spells that you can then "bespoke". My opinion on mechanical consistency for magic is pretty much the same as my opinion of mechanical "game balance" for cults. I care about "setting balance" - does one cult have accessible power that doesn't work with how it is presented in the setting. But whether one cult has a spell similar (but not identical) to another spell is simply not a "problem" that requires a fix.

No Jeff, what you are saying is somewhat disingenuous here. I did call it bloat, absolutely right; but the lack of consolidation I did not call that a design flaw.

11 hours 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.

This is the D100 designer that said pointed out the lack of consistency, and they have never written any kind of D100 game in his life.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php?author=Simon Phipp

Oh....wait....it appears that he might have.

11 hours ago, RogerDee said:

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.

And this was my response is above.  Which if true, in that spells design and mechanics are inconsistent I did absolutely say was a design flaw. The two points  are not the same thing, never have been, never will be.

 

 

 

 

Edited by RogerDee
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, RogerDee said:

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

what you are describing here has a name in glorantha. It is called sorcery.

Now we can have another magic in

  • do closed dammages
  • do ranged dammage
  • heal
  • detect

and.. well the rest is boring, don't care crops, don't care feeling, don't care passion, don't care .... blablabla

hey why  have spell doing dammage and weapon doing dammage ? that the same in fact, it does dammage. So we need only 6 characteristics for a consistent rpg :

HP / AP / cDmg / rDmg / Heal / Detect . And some people could have fun with that. And there are game design with that

That is just a question of cursor.

 

I want to know what cult is able to give me what coloured spell to paint a wall, and what cult is able to give me another spell to paint a paint, and don't forget the cult to make statues. It could be the same, it could be different . What I love in gorantha rpg is the colours. That is why I burn all my mp in 'translate in bad english my so smart opinion' spell

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

You will have to forgive us if it's tricky to pick apart what you are saying is bloat and what you are saying is a design flaw. You say the lack of consolidation is bloat, and the lack of power level consistency is a design flaw. The implication is that bloat is not a design flaw. Have I got it?

To be honest it makes little difference, and I disagree on both anyway. Well, I guess I can't disagree that it is bloat, that's pretty much objective, but really, there are only a small number of spells that are functionally identical with different flavour. Bladesharp & Bludgeon, Sword Trance & Axe Trance & Arrow Trance, I really can't think of any others. I think that, as Jeff said, giving the magic system a more in-world flavour is worth that.

And Bladesharp and Bludgeon have been in every edition of the game for over 40 years, it's a bit late to change that now. In every game group I ever played in, I don't remember anyone complaining.

Edited by PhilHibbs
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Some say bloat.  Some say quirky charm.   If the game was streamlined to make everything and everybody equal, it would be astonishingly boring.  Also, this is a RPG, not a computer game.  Balance is neither necessary, nor appropriate, nor possible. 

My Yelmalio player attends every meeting, actively role plays at every opportunity, takes "good" risks during the game and winds up rewarded with the Spear of Sunshine.  He is now the butt-kicking bad@$$ of the party. 

My Humakt player attends most of the meetings, plays very risk averse, avoids dangerous things like heroquesting, and relies mainly on the power of the cult Runespells to be "powerful". 

(Note: Not real players, just examples)

Where is the balance here?  What does that mean in the context of the night of gaming?  Can the Humakt player slay more things than the very successful Yelmalio player?  Quite possibly, but not necessarily.  How do they stack up against the trickster player with Puppeteer troupe powers?  How do you measure that -- some meetings are completely free of combat.  Others may be skullduggery, cloak and dagger missions.  How does the glowing Yelmalian player deal with that -- is it imbalance? or a fun and likely comedic evening of roleplaying?  Clearly the trickster player will "have an advantage" in this specific situation, but what will she do -- steal it straight or subvert the mission at the expense of the other players?   How does her power in this sort of scenario "balance" against raw hack and slashery?

Some campaigns have a natural slant towards one type of gaming mechanic.  Combat is very popular because it is exciting. Everyone loves a good action movie.  RPG's are the same way.  But too much hacking and slashing makes Johnny a dull boy, and once out of pure combat the "balance" is totally lost.  Which is good, because balance is really only a good concept for multiplayer video games, or competitive board games. 

Some of my players' most powerful characters were some of the crappiest (objectively speaking) roll ups, but were played well, and went from zero to hero.   One of my closer friends (sadly now passed) specialized in doing this, and looked for oddball character concepts to champion.   Anything he played would be actively improved as he went, while many other players just sort of passively waited for rewards from the adventure.  His characters always wound up better in the end, the longer the campaign went, the more pronounced this was.

Balance is an illusion.

Edited by Dissolv
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not seeing this apparent inconsistency with the rules... I see differences.

However, as a general question - do  you also think all spells should be available? If we keep the 3 systems, should there be an equivalent to each spell in each system? This 'consolidation' idea sounds like it should be a 'yes'...

As I've reacted above, I think that not only do we need more spells (with different and interesting quirks - which is what this consolidation would remove), but even more systems... I like the idea of shamanic charms and talismans, and covert possessions giving different powers and abilities.

(Of course, that's all just my opinion)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

If we keep the 3 systems, should there be an equivalent to each spell in each system? This 'consolidation' idea sounds like it should be a 'yes'...

And I say 'no'. There should not be three different ways to get the exact same thing. Similar yes,  equivalent  no. Bladesharp should be different from Damage Boosting and different from Truesword. That is what makes things fun.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Captain Obvious here: hobby forums are a bad place for making bold statements purporting to be objective truth (give me some credit: I am aware of the irony of me just making a bold statement of objective truth on a hobby forum stating that ...... but work with me).

Readers and posters on rpg forums (fora?) tend to be opinionated, bright and calling upon their (our) experience of the rule or setting under discussion. The likelihood of those experiences and opinions aligning and there being agreement seems pretty low. That doesn't IMO mean that anyone is wrong though.

 

One of the best bits of advice that I received on said subject was: just read every post as if it begins with the words 'In My Opinion' because;

a) typing that in front of every statement would be boring and expecting anyone to do that would be unreasonable

b) reading that in front of every statement would get dull quickly and expecting anyone to do that would be unreasonable

c) of course we're all stating our personal opinions, it's not like there's some controlling intelligence telling us what to type

d) it makes it much easier to assume that fellow posters are going out of their way to say something hurtful or hateful if one just assumes that they are stating their personal opinion and are acknowledging it as such.

 

That said in response to OP:

I love all of the names for RQ/Glorantha/d100 spells

Although I tinker with game mechanics I'm a bit crap at them (mine and others) TBH

I've long since given up trying to keep on top of the multitude of cult spells and have no chance of working out which is the optimum choice in any encounter

 

So:

When I play in someone else's game I just pick a Cult that I think understand and like the look of and hence some Cult spells which seem interesting to me and marvel at a GM who can keep a track of what all the spells that their NPCs and our PCs are using

When I run a game I use a more freeform/stripped down set of magic rules (think 'roll table' from Elric! and you're 90% of the way there) but insist that the players give the spell/charm/enchantment they're using a suitable name; most of the time the name chosen will either come directly from or sound very similar to an RQ spellname.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, David Scott said:

The too many spells "problem" also applies other areas of RuneQuest Glorantha. My players have already said too many kinds of weapons and armour, they want more spells though. 

and the opposite way, there is a lot of "too many" problems and a lot of "not enough" problems

and these too many and not enough vary even in time for a same person

Years ago I considered Rolemaster as the "too many" (but there were / are people who like this system,for sure) and D&D as the "not enough" (but there were / are people who like this system, I believe...)

But now I m not so convinced about D&D system, after seeing some youtube episod with a french team of professional actor who show me a nice narrative approach (well I dislike the system however).

 

And here is my point (not for you @David Scott , a general point) don't say the design sucks because you like something else or dislike a point. If it sucks for you, don't use it and... that's all. No need to demonstrate designers are pityfull because it is only a personal opinion (thanks @Al. of the key word) And if you are right, well.. in few months the company or the product will closed down.

After half a century, runquest still exists (and evolve) that sounds like the design is not too bad (yes I know, it is perfectible, of course)

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

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

In "My RuneQuest" games, no. I like lots of spells; my players like lots of spells.

Quote

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

Possibly not required in some cases. That said, it doesn't bother me if there is overlap in spell description and functionality.

Quote

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?

"Your RuneQuest" is "Your RuneQuest" and if you have the time to do the legwork of simplification or consolidation for your game, more power to you! The game rules are there to be modified to whatever you feel meets your personal requirements. What pleases you and your players may be antithetical to a different group's style. Personally, I don't have the time that I used to have to tinker (life speeds up) so "am not doing anything similar" in answer to your question.

By all means, however, should you do the work for "Your RuneQuest" and feel you want to share it in the Downloads section of these forums (subject to the important Intellectual Property do's and don'ts, of course!), I'm sure there are people here who would love to see what you come up. Alternatively, by all means come up with some examples of what you are musing over and post them for discussion.

Edited by Anunnaki
Clarification
  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately lower case l (elle) and upper case I (eye) are the same in the font that most forums use.

So there I was thinking that I'd chosen the simplest user name possible (my name) and it's caused confusion ever since.

There must be a lesson there somewhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Runequest is more role-play focused than 5e, perhaps partly because it is so deadly otherwise. Because of this, balancing should be considered more in terms of fun rather than just power. If almost no players enjoy or very rarely choose to play one of the suggested cults in the core book, then that should be taken into consideration as a “balancing issue”. Could it be designed so it feels more exciting to roleplay? Is it lacking anything in spells, feel or abilities? This so that the parties in RQ truly look to have different compositions. That gives variety.

Balancing is important in this sense, if there are three similar cults for players, say warrior based cults. Humakt followers “cannot “ be resurrected, thus it logically is more powerful to compensate. A much more interesting question to me here is if a viable player warrior cult that lack in fighting provide enough creative juice in other situations to make it feel unique. Once upon a time, Starcraft's three races were truly unbalanced. For a long time Blizzard said it was okay - after all, humans were “fun” to play, even if vastly inferior. But when 75% of the players played Zerg, and at the top 90% were Zerg players, they started to realize that there were a huge number of players who enjoyed feeling good about themselves after a game. So they started balancing to the benefit and variety of the game. Winning mattered. But triumphs can come in different forms in tabletop - oratory, sneakiness, battle, helping someone, or simply role-playing awesomeness of an odd character - all depending on a player’s motivation. So it works differently, but it goes to show that one cannot completely disregard balance with factions that are designed to have comparable strength. Why else did we have the heated Yelmalio Shield discussion? Because some players wanted to play a warrior of such a god for the feel, but not at the cost of always feeling inferior. It seemed just more fun for a lot of players that way, they wanted to feel like they too had a competitive edge. But in tabletop we also have players that feel this kind of balancing is secondary, that doesn’t mean it should be completely disregarded for many of the player cults, or a lot of RQ parties will have the same usual suspects. But I agree that this fun can come from a variety of skills, spells, lore, and benefits.

When it comes to spells, making cults feel unique is everything. So I will rather wait for that Gods book to come out before I decide if the spells are too few or too many. In general, I think games that provide enough variety and unique feel to every faction is better than just serving a ton of spells covering every situation. In that sense less can truly be more (though is that less?).

5e has too many spells, because too many of them were useless as the few classes, say Wizard, get access to a massive number, so many of them were never used. Sure, there are the odd utility ones for once in a blue moon. But mostly they are useless options without enough charm to compensate for wanting to use them. Some of the player-avoid-ones are useful for powering down opponents, perhaps. Pathfinder has the same problem. That game, first edition, certainly had way too many feats - the more the better as a designing principle - it was one reason why I gave it up. Too many options can be exhausting if most options are designed without any regard for balance (or fun), and you have to wade through 100s of dull ones. Runequest works quite differently here. Lots of spells, but a smaller selection for each player. The uniqueness comes from how the cult “feels” and if it provides relevant opportunities in play to feel unique and contribute uniquely. That doesn’t mean some powers can’t be similar. So for me the too few or too many discussion will be about if the cults manage to feel worthwhile playing for a player that has opted for them, and if they will play out well up to Rune levels in terms of fun and roleplaying potential. Or if enough NPC cults provide that variety and depth with spells at both low and high levels. Also, is there enough opportunity for a players of the same cult to feel quite different due to alternate and valid paths within the same cult? Probably not in RQ. But I think here we need to consider this from the opportunity of being initiate in more than one cult, even though this doesn’t seem to be used much in RQ. Also, with so many cults, there will be much to explore anyway.

I think it is going to be much easier to judge balancing issues of fun and power when we have the big picture of Gods of Glorantha, if favorite cults feel too inferior to other comparable cults. The full descriptions will give a better picture. Then discussions will pop up from passionate cultists here..

I am hoping for NPC cults that adds both story and conflict in an interesting way. The spells here would serve the function of also strengthening the story of the cult in a dramatic and applicable way to adventures. In a visual and useful RQ-specific way. RQ has too few creatures and races imo (and would benefit from another Bestiary at some point for long time players, and a suitable update Guide to Glorantha), and thus the cults has to provide a lot of truly colorful variety to the game. I’m hoping that some options are provided for nearly all races due to this. A creature with more than one cult option becomes more than one creature. Cults, not creatures, are the strength of RQ. I am hoping for some really odd cults that could be amazing for players to try. That spell of lightning that was weaker than the other may serve a perfect compliment to the right cult, when I see what skills they have, what other abilities, and how they behave and what they believe. Role-play first. If they are weak without enough charm then that may be an issue to look into for future editions.

Too many spells? Too few? To me it can only be answered by asking: What’s the depth and long term feel and variety of the cults - and all the texture that comes with them? If a cult is relatively bland and just completist, covering a territory without a clear function for inspiring seeds of adventures/situations, then their too similar, or unique but pointless and never used, spells will naturally add little. But if the spells mostly feel like we have seen them, with an exception or two, but it combines fantastically well with what the cult is, and the feel of the cult is wicked, the storytelling of it is interesting, the culture of it is specific, the visuals it brings are specific and memorable, and I can see a unique character personality with enough uitility or a scenario idea come from it, then I’m game anyway.

It’s not only about the number of spells. It’s that compared to how the cults are designed. Do they give a rich enough experience through the lens of their storytelling and drama potential? Are there enough quirkier cults that add color with its spell selection? Does the overall design pull me in and give me a vast array of ideas and inspire me enough to make me feel Glorantha, with its supporting ruleset, see a place with an almost endless variety of stories to explore without betraying its core world-building premises? 5e offers many worlds, RQ offers one. Make it rich, make many options exciting - spells are just one part of that puzzle.

Edited by Runeblade
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2021 at 8:33 PM, Al. said:

Unfortunately lower case l (elle) and upper case I (eye) are the same in the font that most forums use.

So there I was thinking that I'd chosen the simplest user name possible (my name) and it's caused confusion ever since.

There must be a lesson there somewhere.

😄 😄  😄 Sorry....  Blame the inventors of our current alphabet!

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/22/2021 at 10:50 AM, RogerDee said:

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?

It's possible you want to look at a game like GURPS, or Hero/Champions.  They work more like you are describing...

Neither that way, nor RQ's way, is "better" (in any objective/absolute sense).

Some people prefer dark chocolate, some prefer milk chocolate, and a few benighted souls don't even like chocolate (do not trust such people, they are obviously possessed by demons who cannot abide the Food of the Gods).
 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Shiningbrow said:

😄 😄  😄 Sorry....  Blame the inventors of our current alphabet!

No apology required

Clearly we need to go to an easier system of numbers and smells 😜

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...