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Nochet + criminal organisations


Agentorange

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On 6/20/2022 at 12:44 AM, Agentorange said:

I don't think it would have to be a cult....but some kind of thieving organistion  with specialist sorcery suited to what they do seems plausible.

YGMV, so you're free to make it so!

Sorcery is such an intellectual/academic pursuit, however... it's very different from the worldly&physical practice of thief-skills.

(that said, I could (hypothetically) envison something like a broken fragment of a Black Arkat cult, on the losing side of some strife, which has lost all but a few of stealth-spells & the bare-minimum Runes for casting... having made survival-deals with thieves to survive, and gradually merging into one group...  Maybe.)

Edited by g33k
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12 minutes ago, g33k said:

YGMV, so you're free to make it so!

Sorcery is such an intellectual/academic pursuit, however... it's very different from the worldly&physical practice of thief-skills.

(that said, I could (hypothetically) envison something like a broken fragment of a Black Arkat cult, on the losing side of some strife, which has lost all but a few of stealth-spells & the bare-minimum Runes for casting... having made survival-deals with thieves to survive, and gradually merging into one group...  Maybe.)

Who knows what lurks in the tangled history of glorantha ?

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4 hours ago, Darius West said:

IDK, I could see something like a sorcerous thief cult occurring in Fonrit.  If you think about it, sorcery is the easiest form of magic to learn, because all you need is a grimoire and the time to puzzle out how to cast spells. 

Sorcery is heavily limited by the requirement for literacy.  Thus a thief would find it easier to know and cast heal 2 or heal wound than to take reading lessons so he can cast mend flesh with a chance greater than 5%.  And if the thief was prepared to endure long periods of study to become a half-decent sorceror, he won't have the mindset of being a thief, would he?

 

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13 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Sorcery is heavily limited by the requirement for literacy.  Thus a thief would find it easier to know and cast heal 2 or heal wound than to take reading lessons so he can cast mend flesh with a chance greater than 5%.  And if the thief was prepared to endure long periods of study to become a half-decent sorceror, he won't have the mindset of being a thief, would he?

People can become thieves for a variety of reasons, but one thing is certain; urban populations are universally more literate than rural ones.  I suspect it would be relatively easy for a literate person to wind up on the wrong side of the law, especially a corrupt bureaucrat who knows how to cook a book.

As for long periods of study, I draw your attention to  all those sympathetic magic bonuses on p387-388 of RQG.  You can boost a low level of competence by using these, and that will get you your seasonal ticks assuming training is not available.  I have seen a player get their Defense stat from RQ2 up to 120% over the course of a campaign and getting better at sorcery seems easy by comparison.

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5 hours ago, Darius West said:

People can become thieves for a variety of reasons, but one thing is certain; urban populations are universally more literate than rural ones.  I suspect it would be relatively easy for a literate person to wind up on the wrong side of the law, especially a corrupt bureaucrat who knows how to cook a book.

As for long periods of study, I draw your attention to  all those sympathetic magic bonuses on p387-388 of RQG.  You can boost a low level of competence by using these, and that will get you your seasonal ticks assuming training is not available.  I have seen a player get their Defense stat from RQ2 up to 120% over the course of a campaign and getting better at sorcery seems easy by comparison.

Again, very unlikely that in Nochet you are likely to have a "thieves cult" that specializes in using sorcery. You might have individual sorcerers that are willing to work with thieves - in fact I am pretty sure of that. Just like you have lawyers and accountants who work with criminals. But even Jimmy McGill learned his lawyering skills from outside of the crime organizations he worked with.

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8 hours ago, metcalph said:

Sorcery is heavily limited by the requirement for literacy.  Thus a thief would find it easier to know and cast heal 2 or heal wound than to take reading lessons so he can cast mend flesh with a chance greater than 5%.  And if the thief was prepared to endure long periods of study to become a half-decent sorceror, he won't have the mindset of being a thief, would he?

 

I have always held the opinion that a man who steals is not intelligent, and it seems you have the same view. Of course the outlier would be the real very stable genius...

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8 hours ago, Darius West said:

People can become thieves for a variety of reasons, but one thing is certain; urban populations are universally more literate than rural ones.  I suspect it would be relatively easy for a literate person to wind up on the wrong side of the law, especially a corrupt bureaucrat who knows how to cook a book.

 

Yes, this is another outlier, a good man gone bad....

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25 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

I have always held the opinion that a man who steals is not intelligent, and it seems you have the same view. Of course the outlier would be the real very stable genius...

That's the "common criminal" image, but there's other routes into dishonesty, & PC's are often "exceptional cases."

And fiction is rife with the "smart thief" trope.
Entire novels & movies follow their careers...

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6 minutes ago, g33k said:

That's the "common criminal" image, but there's other routes into dishonesty, & PC's are often "exceptional cases."

And fiction is rife with the "smart thief" trope.
Entire novels & movies follow their careers...

Please see my above posts.... perfectly willing to accept outliers (even many of them) but I am not at all willing to accept the outliers as the norm!

... remember, with a TARDIS, one is never late for breakfast!

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4 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

I have always held the opinion that a man who steals is not intelligent, and it seems you have the same view. Of course the outlier would be the real very stable genius...

Circumstance is the main determinant of weather one is a (non white-collar) criminal. If you are born into a Lanbril family you are going to be a criminal whether you like it or not. Destitute people without higher resource support infrastructure are forced into crime merely to survive. Both destitution and being without non destitute support infrastructure are primarily determined by circumstance. 

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13 hours ago, Darius West said:

People can become thieves for a variety of reasons, but one thing is certain; urban populations are universally more literate than rural ones.  I suspect it would be relatively easy for a literate person to wind up on the wrong side of the law, especially a corrupt bureaucrat who knows how to cook a book.

What you are describing here is a single person rather than a criminal group.  The group aims to get large sums of money from other people with as little as work as possible (violence may or may not be counted as work depending on the members).   That's contrary to the mentality of a sorcerous society which would be full of people spending large amounts of work for something of little value.  

 

13 hours ago, Darius West said:

As for long periods of study, I draw your attention to  all those sympathetic magic bonuses on p387-388 of RQG. 

Why mess around with sympathetic bonuses when you can easily get spirit and rune magic success rates above 50% for far less effort?  A thief wants good magic right now, not something he has to spend five years to have  a middling chance of success.

 

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39 minutes ago, metcalph said:

The group aims to get large sums of money from other people with as little as work as possible (violence may or may not be counted as work depending on the members).

While I wholeheartedly agree about the unlikeliness of sorcerous thief groups, I would like to point out that criminal groups have a wide variety of goals. While many thief groups will optimize for maximum returns for minimum effort others will optimize for protection from threats. I see a lifecycle where people forced into petty crimes who don’t have a support network form groups for mutual support which evolve into a variety of different kinds of criminal organizations based on a mixture of the current circumstances and the goals and inclination of the members (were the street rats who founded this group more obsessed with living the high life or being protected from the violence that they suffered as petty thieves). Of course there are other origins for criminal organizations such as offshoots of preexisting ones, formerly legitimate organizations that were moved into crime (or at least doing it directly), and groups created by a powerful individual to serve as a tool for their interests. I think a good analogy for criminal organizations (and institutions in general) is an ecosystem where the leaders of groups can influence the development/“evolution” of the organization (organism) they are in charge of.

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5 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

 

Please see my above posts.... perfectly willing to accept outliers (even many of them) but I am not at all willing to accept the outliers as the norm!

In part, it depends on the criminal activity.
Hackers (of the black-hat tribe) are mostly quite intelligent.
Con-artists tend to be at least "cunning," and astute judges of people.

Sure, your average "hold up the corner market" and "pull a knife on somebody in an alleyway" sort of person is generally going to be a poor candidate for a Sorceror (in RQ) or a PhD program (in RL).  And admittedly, the "low end" of the criminal spectrum far outnumbers the "high end."

But I reiterate that "thief" PC's -- and other thieves that PC's interact with -- merit being on the "more-interesting" part of the spectrum, just because boring NPCs tend to make boring games.

 

1 hour ago, FlamingCatOfDeath said:

Circumstance is the main determinant ..

This is also a good point.  In fact, an excellent  point.

We really really want equality and fairness to be a "true" thing; to feel like everybody has an "equal shot a the prize," the "good life," the "American Dream" (if you're American; substitute the phrase&nationality of your own region, as appropriate).

That "fairness" really really isn't a thing that's true.  Even very-bright people can be locked out of academic/intellectual success by their circumstances.

 

Edited by g33k
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14 minutes ago, FlamingCatOfDeath said:

While I wholeheartedly agree about the unlikeliness of sorcerous thief groups, I would like to point out that criminal groups have a wide variety of goals. While many thief groups will optimize for maximum returns for minimum effort others will optimize for protection from threats. I see a lifecycle where people forced into petty crimes who don’t have a support network form groups for mutual support which evolve into a variety of different kinds of criminal organizations based on a mixture of the current circumstances and the goals and inclination of the members (were the street rats who founded this group more obsessed with living the high life or being protected from the violence that they suffered as petty thieves). Of course there are other origins for criminal organizations such as offshoots of preexisting ones, formerly legitimate organizations that were moved into crime (or at least doing it directly), and groups created by a powerful individual to serve as a tool for their interests.

This is where it is useful to take the Great House patron-client relationship into account along with the intense rivalry between the Great Houses of Nochet.

Each Great House has one or multiple client houses who can engage in dirty work (theft, assassination, etc.) for them.  Maybe these started out as independent gangs, but over time many/most will have become key participants in supporting their patron.  Undoubtedly, the influx of Sartarites over the past 30+ years has shifted some of that balance, and perhaps has allowed new thief cults and gangs to emerge who've not yet been incorporated into the larger factional structure (or driven out or destroyed).

1 hour ago, metcalph said:

That's contrary to the mentality of a sorcerous society which would be full of people spending large amounts of work for something of little value.

More likely IMO is that some of the Great Houses support a few sorcerers (perhaps LM, perhaps Aeolian, even a few westerners) and might delegate them to work with one of their client gangs to achieve certain longer-term results against their rivals.  In that case, it's not a sorcerous society, but the existing elite utilizing both together in their ongoing struggles for power.

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6 hours ago, FlamingCatOfDeath said:

While I wholeheartedly agree about the unlikeliness of sorcerous thief groups, I would like to point out that criminal groups have a wide variety of goals.

The subject was a thief group who makes money.  A religious order of assassins may well be criminal but they are hardly thieves, are they?

6 hours ago, FlamingCatOfDeath said:

While many thief groups will optimize for maximum returns for minimum effort others will optimize for protection from threats.

Demanding people pay up in return for nothing bad happening to them *is* a maximum return for minimum effort as the amount of you get far exceeds any work put in to frightening people in paying up.  In any case, the sociological justification for crime is irrelevant to the question of whether such a society can legitimately be sorcerous.  All anybody's ever come up with are Moriatys and Goodmans who are thief-adjacent individuals.

 

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8 hours ago, metcalph said:

What you are describing here is a single person rather than a criminal group.  The group aims to get large sums of money from other people with as little as work as possible (violence may or may not be counted as work depending on the members).   That's contrary to the mentality of a sorcerous society which would be full of people spending large amounts of work for something of little value. 

A group has to start somewhere, so why not with its smallest constituent number? i.e. 1.  Sorcery would potentially provide any group regardless of size with an edge that was not dependent on divine favor.  Sorcery isn't hard to develop to a useable level, and if other people could see the benefits, it might encourage them to support the initial developer with a view to benefitting in the future from their research.  

8 hours ago, metcalph said:

Why mess around with sympathetic bonuses when you can easily get spirit and rune magic success rates above 50% for far less effort?  A thief wants good magic right now, not something he has to spend five years to have  a middling chance of success.

Your position here is interesting, but perhaps the sorcerous group in question don't want to be beholden to a deity and their arbitrary appetites, spirits of retribution and rules, while also lacking access to a shaman who can offer them easy access to spirit spells?   This would be a problem arising in Malkioni areas.  I personally could easily see a situation where a Zzaburi forced into exile turned to crime only to become an "enlightened master" of certain specialist sorcery spells.  It is not entirely impossible that this is the hidden history of the god Lanbril's emergence, given all the mechanisms and alchemy that cult is heir to.  Divination Block smells of a sorcery fix to me, and Lanbril just seems like a sorcery cult pretending to be a religion.

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16 hours ago, Jeff said:

Again, very unlikely that in Nochet you are likely to have a "thieves cult" that specializes in using sorcery. You might have individual sorcerers that are willing to work with thieves - in fact I am pretty sure of that. Just like you have lawyers and accountants who work with criminals. But even Jimmy McGill learned his lawyering skills from outside of the crime organizations he worked with.

 There is no reason why an exiled or discredited zzaburi wouldn't decide to turn to crime, especially if they start with a compliment of illusion magic.  Every sorcerer has the requisite intelligence to become an evil genius, even if there might be some deficits in the charisma department sometimes.  Your exiled zzaburi then decides that they want to move silently and invisibly, overcome locks and barriers, and carry away large quantities of loot, while being magically undetectable.  This sounds like a manageable wish list to me given what sorcery can do.  All that is missing at that point is a few students who want to learn the tricks and you would have a sorcery cult run by an new enlightened master.  The zzaburi just has to use spell creation to add in a lockpicking skill or a divination blocker and the matter is concluded I think.  How will they finance this?  By stealing money.

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1 hour ago, metcalph said:

Demanding people pay up in return for nothing bad happening to them *is* a maximum return for minimum effort…

I am sorry that my wording wasn’t clear enough. Their will be thieves (and groups of them) that do significantly more work than the minimum needed for their lifestyle in order to be at less risk. While a (fairly low end) cloth merchant might be only slightly more difficult to rob than a baker and has far more valuable goods (if you know a fence) the cloth merchant is far more likely to be able to get someone to track you down. A lot of street rats will prefer the baker because they are much lower risk.

2 hours ago, metcalph said:

The subject was a thief group who makes money.  A religious order of assassins may well be criminal but they are hardly thieves, are they?

I was talking about thief groups: thievery is a method not a goal. By different goals I mean the the difference between having the goal of living the high life vs  feeding yourself and securing a safe place to sleep without taking on significant risk. Thief groups consisting of members with one goal will behave very differently than thief groups that consist of members with the other.

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38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

A group has to start somewhere, so why not with its smallest constituent number? i.e. 1.

Developing a sorcerous order is significantly more involved than having one sorcerer turn to a life of crime.  It's like learning how to read and building a university.

 

38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

Your position here is interesting, but perhaps the sorcerous group in question don't want to be beholden to a deity and their arbitrary appetites, spirits of retribution and rules,    

This is a bit too rules-talky IMO to be plausible as a motivation for gloranthans (even Malkioni ones).  Lanbril, for example, isn't known for having arbitrary appetites, spirits of retribution and rules.  

38 minutes ago, Darius West said:

while also lacking access to a shaman who can offer them easy access to spirit spells?  This would be a problem arising in Malkioni areas.

I doubt it.  Shamans would be ready suited to being counter-culture magicians in Malkioni society.  We already have an example of a shamanic criminal group in a civilized lands: Black Fang.  They would be more like hedge magicians

 

 

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@jajagappa I am wondering are their institutions in Nochit that will feed, raise and provide non-criminal job skills to any streetrat* that comes to them? It counts even if they are legally indebted to the group or inducted into a cult. I am trying to figure out if their is a non criminal, non slavery method of survival for unexceptional orphan kids without job skills. If their are no such group(s) than street rats will make up a large percentage of petty thieves.

*kids without adult support network in urban environment

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22 minutes ago, FlamingCatOfDeath said:

@jajagappa I am wondering are their institutions in Nochit that will feed, raise and provide non-criminal job skills to any streetrat* that comes to them? It counts even if they are legally indebted to the group or inducted into a cult. I am trying to figure out if their is a non criminal, non slavery method of survival for unexceptional orphan kids without job skills. If their are no such group(s) than street rats will make up a large percentage of petty thieves.

The Clay Pot and Spoon Shrines (Esrolia: Land of 10K Goddess p56)

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56 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Developing a sorcerous order is significantly more involved than having one sorcerer turn to a life of crime.  It's like learning how to read and building a university.

I think you have a far more grandiose idea of what a sorcerous order is than I do.  And anyhow, as the saying goes "To level a mountain one must first carry away small stones".  You don't need to build a university, you can start with a rural kindergarten and work your way up over generations of thieves.  Seriously, it is easy enough to make new spells, and not that hard to get a decent level of proficiency with a sorcery spell or two, especially if you are being trained.  The more I think about it, the more I think many Zzaburi may well have their own personal cadre of thieves who do their bidding behind the scenes, much like House Tytalus in Ars Magica. 

56 minutes ago, metcalph said:

This is a bit too rules-talky IMO to be plausible as a motivation for gloranthans (even Malkioni ones).  Lanbril, for example, isn't known for having arbitrary appetites, spirits of retribution and rules.  

Lanbril doesn't have arbitrary appetites?  No rules?  read the cult write up in Common Knowledge for Players more carefully.  Sure, Lanbril has no spirit of retribution listed, but break the rules and see what happens.  I would argue that the lack of a spirit of retribution is further proof of Lanbril's likely sorcerous origins in any case.

56 minutes ago, metcalph said:

I doubt it.  Shamans would be ready suited to being counter-culture magicians in Malkioni society.  We already have an example of a shamanic criminal group in a civilized lands: Black Fang.  They would be more like hedge magicians

In Malkioni lands Shamans are burned at the stake.  While I completely concur that shamanic criminal organizations are and should be a thing, I think that denying a similar opportunity to sorcerers is arbitrary and ill-considered.  Organizations that use sorcery for thieving lie well within the purview of what is possible. 

Edited by Darius West
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differents option to have sorcery (with or without sorcerer) among a gang

a customer relationship: the sorcerer gives spells , buffs, etc in exchange of what can provide a gang

a so ambitious LM, not part of the gang, more a customer. "Bring me scrolls, artifacts, etc..." (even from LM rivals, why not)

a zzaburi who needs protection for her little sect. Her people are too weak / too poor to be able to manage their security themselves.

a poor exploited sorcerer (poor customer...) if he doesnt cast what the gang requests, the gang will be ... angry

 

a leadership relationship: the sorcerer has some power (hierarchic, manipulation...)

a lunar agitator  who was sent to bring little chaos. Manipulation or not, some gangs will work for her and obtain spell effects to help the work

a little villain who uses sorcery to lead few thugs

a big villain who manage a secret society, gathering other sorcerers, thieves, assassins, etc...

a bad sorcerer, who works in a gang, as any other member, obey, apply in exchange of any benefits a member may obtain

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On 6/21/2022 at 12:53 AM, metcalph said:

While Atyar may use sorcery and may be in Nochet (a lot depends on what changes if any are in the forthcoming works), they are not a cult of thieves.

I've been trying to find what I thought I remembered as a reference to Atyari Thanatari as "occult thieves," but I'm drawing a blank. Mea culpa.

ROLAND VOLZ

Running: nothing | Playing: Battletech Hero, CoC 7th Edition, Blades in the Dark | Planning: D&D 5E Home Game, Operation: Sprechenhaltestelle, HeroQuest 1E Sartarite Campaign

D&D is an elf from Tolkien, a barbarian from Howard, and a mage from Vance fighting monsters from Lovecraft in a room that looks like it might have been designed by Wells and Giger. - TiaNadiezja

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