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spirit magic and sorcery "names" used by gloranthan native


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We, terrian, talk about sorcery, spirit magic, etc... but what could say a gloranthan (for my business, it is for esrolian / sartarite people) .

For example, I doubt to hear this sentence in Nochet temple "I would like you to teach my 8 years old nephew sorcery. He is smart, curious,and seems very (too much) open-minded " Or maybe yes, it is "sorcery" for them too ?

 

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10 minutes ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

For example, I doubt to hear this sentence in Nochet temple "I would like you to teach my 8 years old nephew sorcery. He is smart, curious,and seems very (too much) open-minded " Or maybe yes, it is "sorcery" for them too ?

While you could move in the direction of "Gloranthan" terms (and this has been tried for some things in the past), I think most folk find it easiest just to say "sorcery" and assume it is said in the relevant language with the right expression.  (Maybe they'll make the sign of the Death Rune at the thought of teaching them sorcery, though!)

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5 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

While you could move in the direction of "Gloranthan" terms (and this has been tried for some things in the past), I think most folk find it easiest just to say "sorcery" and assume it is said in the relevant language with the right expression.  (Maybe they'll make the sign of the Death Rune at the thought of teaching them sorcery, though!)

for sure in play, I use sorcery. But I find it could add some "colour" to use something else during a story telling part, like using thane and not "noble" for example.

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1 hour ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

We, terrian, talk about sorcery, spirit magic, etc... but what could say a gloranthan (for my business, it is for esrolian / sartarite people) .

For example, I doubt to hear this sentence in Nochet temple "I would like you to teach my 8 years old nephew sorcery. He is smart, curious,and seems very (too much) open-minded " Or maybe yes, it is "sorcery" for them too ?

 

You might hear something like "My nephew has no talent for field work, but has a steady hand and keen eye. I ask that you teach him as a scribe, so that he can prove his worth. It is my hope that when he is a man, he will prove himself able to use the Knowing God's wisdom and the magic of books."

Sorcery is probably a term the Orlanthi would view with suspicion, as it suggests magic without the gods. While Lhankor Mhy's magic is just his blessings, showing people how to use the old magic of the world, and his scribes and sages are sure to remember the gods in what they do.

 

Learning a spirit spell might involve going to your local temple and asking "I wish to make my sword as sharp as Orlanth's, I will give the temple five good cows for the priests." And after making the arrangements for the transfer of cattle to the temple's herds, the priests take you into the sanctuary, conjure up one of Orlanth's spirit winds and create a link with you using a focus. You learn the Bladesharp spell, and now have the focus for casting it.

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1 hour ago, Tindalos said:

Learning a spirit spell might involve going to your local temple and asking "I wish to make my sword as sharp as Orlanth's, I will give the temple five good cows for the priests." And after making the arrangements for the transfer of cattle to the temple's herds, the priests take you into the sanctuary, conjure up one of Orlanth's spirit winds and create a link with you using a focus. You learn the Bladesharp spell, and now have the focus for casting it.

I wish my GM read this... This is just amazing.

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Spirit magic is usually related to a connection to a spirit, right? So it would probably be articulated in terms of those spirits. "I wish to seek the boon of the spirits of this sacred site", etc., or "I, [name], am kin of the spirits, and they come when I call upon them, to aid me in my deeds.", etc.

Rune magic is tied to deities, and are seen as blessings, gifts, etc. "My Lord Orlanth blessed me with his mighty breath, and for this I give thanks by sacrifice and right deed."

Sorcery in and of itself is seen as godless, ie. bad, magic by Orlanthi and most other theists - however there are built-in loopholes, such as accessing it through Lhankor Mhy. This makes it culturally acceptable (at least theoretically), and so for social purposes, sorcery accessed in this manner would probably be spoken about like the Rune magic above. Western Rune magic though, is deeply suspect at best, and outright sacriligeous at worst, so would be given negative terms, whether hateful or fearful. The term "sorcery" is likely a negative one in-universe, much like it has been in the RW for most of history. 

Any kind of organized magic/general skill system might be referred to as "the art" or "craft" or "lore" though. In real life, what we term magic or miracleworking is in many cultures not explicitly separated from what we consider non-supernatural things, and this is probably even more true in Glorantha, so it makes sense that, say, "Gustbran's Craft" encompasses both ordinary bronzesmithing and the spells associated with Gustbran, for example. Same with the Carpenter god's skills and magic, and so on. In many cases, given Glorantha's explicitly magical nature, there's not really any "mundanity" to separate away from magic, for example in terms of healing (illness is a spiritual matter, for example, and so on). This might also work in the opposite. For a Zzaburite, his ability to command elementals and use sorcery is not separate from his function as a reader of texts and as a scribe, rather it generally seems to be an extension of it. So the "sorcerous art" could possibly encompass reading Zzaburite scripts in general, as well as the actual process of spellcasting. (I mean, the word "spell" is a pretty clear indicator that the English language sees command of words and language as inherently powerful as well). 

Point is, Gloranthans all have what in anthropology is called "situatedness". They have a specific angle of view on what goes around, and that colors how they talk about it. No one is going to be exactly the same, though obviously some perspectives and viewpoints are a lot more common that others. Still, a Seshnelan noble and Talastari thrall aren't going to talk about "sorcery" in even remotely the same terms.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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I suspect the antipathy to sorcery in non-sorcerous societies would be based on bogeyman tales of the God Learners. Kids would be frightened of the story of how precocious little Dorash found a book in a musty corner of the attic, read the book, tried one of the forbidden spells, and called down some horrible doom on his entire clan. 

So I suspect Orlanthi would call sorcery "devil magic".

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I think "sorcery" and "spirit magic" are generic enough terms that they would actually be used as-is. I mean, these are not terms unique to this roleplaying game, they're part of the general language, so those would be valid in Theyelan too IMHO. Would it be the exact same words? Well, no. Just like "King" and "Prince" and "Chieftain" are also vague approximations of what the "in-world" term would be (Jeff for instance mused about how many of these titles would be gender-neutral in "reality").

I can imagine these terms are easily replaced by other terms based on regional dialects, cultural groups, biases, etc. So "sorcery" may be "evil magic" or "Lunar trickery" or "Western atheism" or whatever depending on who you are and what you're talking about. "Spirit magic" might be "blessings from the naiad" or "ancestor gifts" and such. Or maybe sometimes generally speaking "forest magic" or "river magic" or something like that.

One thing that might very well not be stated as such in-world is Rune magic though... I imagine it will be called "divine magic" in general, and things like "Orlanth's powers" more specifically.

I do think there will be pseudo-standard regional or cultural terms for some common spells. Spirit magic spells like Bladesharp, Heal, or Countermagic will be so common that a given region and/or cult might have a standard term for it. There are only so many people that can come and ask for "the magics that make my blade cut deep into the flesh of my enemies" until, a few generations later, you realize that the young people come and ask for "the deep cut magics". In another place, maybe a tribal hero from the Second Age was renowned for pouring giant amounts of MPs into Bladesharp, and so the spell there is known as "Bob's amazeballs blade thing". Or it's tied to a cult's tradition and it's called "Humakt's whetstone" or whatever. You get the idea. The point here is that it's short and clear enough that when you ask for it, people in your social group know what you're talking about. For less common spells, there may be less widespread terms, but specific in-groups (like, say, Chalana Arroy initiates talking about poison healing) will have specialist terminology too (just like specialist jargon in real life).

So basically, my recommendation is to place yourself in an NPC's shoes, and figure out where they might know the spell from, how often they might refer to it, etc... and come up with a shorter/longer/specific/vague term. That's what they use. Unless they're an Issaries merchant, in which case they might use the most common term for the region they're trying to sell it in (Customs roll!), or maybe they just enumerate everything they know in the hopes that one of those terms catches a potential buyer's ear. Check out Call of Cthulhu's recommendations on spell names (p242), which is basically what I have in mind.

Of course, also place yourself in the player's shoes... it's fun to make a silly voice and say "ooooh I seeeeee, you want ol' man Harekast to teach you the ancient and dark ways of the silent wind, eh? The one that enguuuulfs you into its deceiving mists, conceaaaaaaling you from your enemies' most persistent stares? The very powers that Orlanth himseeeeelf did..." but then:  "GODDAMMIT Steve, just let me sacrifice one POW to learn Dark Walk already! Is that what this guy's talking about? I have no idea, it's 11:25PM, I'm tired, jeez". 😄 

Edited by lordabdul
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I like the terms "meldekery",  and "meldeking", as well as "arkatry", "Lhanking", and "Chalanatry" as suspect but acceptable in-pantheon practices of sorcery.  I could imagine the Lhankor Mhytes calling their practices "philosophizing", or even "sophistry" for sorcerous illusions, while the Chalana Arroys might call their sorcery use "Western Medicine".  Obviously the Invisible Orlanthi would not call themselves meldeks, and I am inclined to believe they would call their sorcery something along the lines of "Zzabury" if they are using slang, and "reasoned wonders" or "logical miracles" in a more formal sense.  When other sects of the Invisible God are involved, it becomes variously "Rokarlotry", or "a-hresting", or even "Snodalism". Of course the general abuse term of "Krjalking" probably applies to any sorcery associated with chaos, including Lunar Sorcery. 

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On 3/1/2021 at 4:54 PM, French Desperate WindChild said:

for sure in play, I use sorcery. But I find it could add some "colour" to use something else during a story telling part, like using thane and not "noble" for example.

Though "thane" is an old anglo-saxon and/or Scottish term.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thane

https://www.britannica.com/topic/thane-feudal-lord

So... Taking old French, sorcerie, which isn't enough different to care about, in my opinion. Maybe using a western transliteration of the Greek, μαγεία, which gives mageía (or μαγία, magia)

 

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Anglo-Saxon / Old English gives us hægtesse  and drycræft.  Welsh could be hud, swyn, dewindabaeth or dewiniaeth.  Norse, seidhr, or galdr.  Go to Mythic Iceland for other ideas!

There are plenty of sources for terms outside our normal go-to range.

 

 

 

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Suffixes like "-ken" or "-lore" are pseudo-old timey English/Anglo terms that you might or might not want to use. (Malki-ken/Meldek-lore) Not sure what the French equivalent would be. 

Tolkien preserved the wonderfully evocative "sigaldry" from a Middle English (15th century, iirc) text. Meaning something like "conjuration, sorcery, witchcraft" and even "lying" (false speech).

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9 hours ago, Baron Wulfraed said:

So... Taking old French, sorcerie, which isn't enough different to care about, in my opinion. Maybe using a western transliteration of the Greek, μαγεία, which gives mageía (or μαγία, magia)

with my frenchie english, for sure, english readers would probably think that I just misspelled sorcery or magic 😛 , but for a french version why not.

 

5 hours ago, Ali the Helering said:

Anglo-Saxon / Old English gives us hægtesse  and drycræft.  Welsh could be hud, swyn, dewindabaeth or dewiniaeth.  Norse, seidhr, or galdr.  Go to Mythic Iceland for other ideas!

When I will launch (in one or two centuries) my own rpg, I will hire you to define the lexicon, you're the winner

4 hours ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Tolkien preserved the wonderfully evocative "sigaldry" from a Middle English (15th century, iirc) text. Meaning something like "conjuration, sorcery, witchcraft" and even "lying" (false speech).

got it, and the Tolkien reference would be usefull for my actual secret teaser project. So sigaldry will be the Word.

 

Until, another one of course(no, i am not suggestible)

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