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POW farm looking for business partner


Nick Underwood

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This priestly monopoly on enchantments needs enterprising competition. Like all good entrepreneurs, I want to run my business plan by the lawyers. 

"The POW sacrificed for the enchantment does not have to be provided entirely by the enchanter; if the enchanter sacrifices at least 1 point of their own POW, others can voluntarily contribute to the sacrifice, with no limit." 

How "voluntary" does voluntary need to be? ? Is a slave threatened with death a voluntary choice and therefore a voluntary contribution? Or promised his freedom? Well promised... It does say "can contribute to the sacrifice, with no limit."

(Incidentally RAW are unclear about the POW child slaves have available to farm. But I do note that women are cheaper...) 

Can a controlled entity voluntarily contribute POW? If it has no INT can it reasonably be said to withhold its consent? 

How about a possessed sentient creature? Can the ugly smudge of the victim's soul still be sacrificed from its suppressed state? I declare he did not protest m'lord. 

Herd-men breed readily and can be trained to most things. Certainly they could imitate a sacrificial rite as well as any priest drunk on soma. Do Gods really look that closely at the flavor of POW transactions? (Pork-flavour, I have heard.)

What about a bound spirit? Or commanded cult spirit? It seems those things are floating around everywhere contributing little to society. Could we round them up, order them around as usual, and then squeeze out the POW to make Glamour enchantments for all the boys and girls?

I'm rather short on lunars to pay for legal advice, but offer a 2% stake for counsel - to be forfeited in the case of successful prosecution. 

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37 minutes ago, Nick Underwood said:

How "voluntary" does voluntary need to be? ? Is a slave threatened with death a voluntary choice and therefore a voluntary contribution? Or promised his freedom? Well promised... It does say "can contribute to the sacrifice, with no limit."

I think it’s fair to say that threat of murder or mental control voids the ”voluntary” part.

But yes, it seems that you can use arbitrage on how POW is worth equally much as magical energy, but very differently in monetary value to individuals. Contributing some points of POW to buy your freedom as a slave seems like a great deal for everyone involved.

Another way to use this is on a social level. If you can get every adult in the clan to contribute just one point of POW (which isn’t crippling - they have probably spent 4 POW on the Wyter and their Cult anyway, and probably gain one POW per 5-10 years even if you don’t allow them normal POW gain rolls), you could make a 500 point Rune Magic Matrix, which should be utterly devastating if it’s something like Thunderbolt 500 and it’s a permanent treasure of the clan (although it’s probably smarter to make 5 Thunderbolt 100, as this recharges better). I see no reason why a clan couldn’t manage this once per generation, apart from how apparently it doesn’t actually happen.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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For what it's worth - very recently in my campaign via Zoom. the adventurers captured five would be bandits.  Who, unusually for bandits, cried ransom.  They were members of a nearby clan  who acknowledged them.  Not having that amount of cash (see W&E about market size)  the clan offered cattle.  Not wanting to drive a large herd of cattle, the party bargained too.

The compromise solution was the cash on hand plus two pair of walktapus hide gloves, plus POW for a high-end enchanted item.  The five bandits were required to contribute 1 POW each.

Yes there are degrees of "voluntary".

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5 hours ago, Akhôrahil said:

Another way to use this is on a social level. If you can get every adult in the clan to contribute just one point of POW (which isn’t crippling - they have probably spent 4 POW on the Wyter and their Cult anyway, and probably gain one POW per 5-10 years even if you don’t allow them normal POW gain rolls), you could make a 500 point Rune Magic Matrix,

Right. And (although I understand the reasons) it sometimes irks me that Gloranthan societies don't invest in themselves in this way. A 100 point Bless Pregnancy Matrix would pretty much ensure perfect stats for every new child and would reap huge rewards to the community.

The magical economy of Glorantha is underexploited and underexploitative. In Glorantha, Magic is more potent and more plentiful than money. But initiates are tithed on income, not Rune Points. A real magical economy would be full of exploits and munchkinnery like the above. These are really no more than the magical equivalents of such economic exploits as the lever (you can go build a pyramid) or a water mill (horse team working forever!).

Okay, so the Godlearners tried it, broke the game and got sent to the naughty step. Good reasons not to do the above.  But it never quite quells the irking.

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6 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

The compromise solution was the cash on hand plus two pair of walktapus hide gloves, plus POW for a high-end enchanted item.  The five bandits were required to contribute 1 POW each

And, IIRC, the compromise was partly motivated out of player concern that a 12 point Matrix would be unreasonable. Which inspired the above musings on what a total lack of reasonableness could look like.

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9 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

Right. And (although I understand the reasons) it sometimes irks me that Gloranthan societies don't invest in themselves in this way. A 100 point Bless Pregnancy Matrix would pretty much ensure perfect stats for every new child and would reap huge rewards to the community.

The magical economy of Glorantha is underexploited and underexploitative. In Glorantha, Magic is more potent and more plentiful than money. But initiates are tithed on income, not Rune Points.

Indeed. Income alone (whether in cash money or in kind) works under the assumption that sacrifices of things other than POW have direct magical effects, as opposed to expediting the restoration of divine connections/RP. But without that connection, which might be assumed but certainly isn't present, it's rather fascinating that cults don't directly engage with magical power, and only focus on controlling time and money, rather than requiring PCs to earmark a certain chunk of their magic/RPs for cult use, which of course they can be tempted to break and thus have to do penance and further the cycle of plot points. 

Perhaps this would be a good basis for an RQ hack...

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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

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17 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

Can a controlled entity voluntarily contribute POW? If it has no INT can it reasonably be said to withhold its consent? 

How about a possessed sentient creature? Can the ugly smudge of the victim's soul still be sacrificed from its suppressed state? I declare he did not protest m'lord. 

So you want to play the bad guy? Sure, but expect the GM to send adventuring parties to end your reign if terror.

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18 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

This priestly monopoly on enchantments needs enterprising competition. Like all good entrepreneurs, I want to run my business plan by the lawyers. 

If you have to run something by rules-lawyers it is probably suspect to begin with.

18 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

The POW sacrificed for the enchantment does not have to be provided entirely by the enchanter; if the enchanter sacrifices at least 1 point of their own POW, others can voluntarily contribute to the sacrifice, with no limit." 

How "voluntary" does voluntary need to be? ? Is a slave threatened with death a voluntary choice and therefore a voluntary contribution? Or promised his freedom? Well promised... It does say "can contribute to the sacrifice, with no limit."

(Incidentally RAW are unclear about the POW child slaves have available to farm. But I do note that women are cheaper...) 

It is entirely up to you.

However, I would play that someone coerced cannot make the appropriate mental connection to donate POW. 

As to what that means in practice, it is up to the GM.

18 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

Can a controlled entity voluntarily contribute POW? If it has no INT can it reasonably be said to withhold its consent? 

Controlled entities are fine, as the Shaman has already made a bargain with them. Reducing their POW might make them renegotiate the bargain though.

18 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

How about a possessed sentient creature? Can the ugly smudge of the victim's soul still be sacrificed from its suppressed state? I declare he did not protest m'lord. 

Sure, the dominant Spirit can consent to donate POW. The possessed being, however, cannot.

Donating POW is an active thing and a possessed being cannot do those things.

18 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

Herd-men breed readily and can be trained to most things. Certainly they could imitate a sacrificial rite as well as any priest drunk on soma. Do Gods really look that closely at the flavor of POW transactions? (Pork-flavour, I have heard.)

Unintelligent creatures do not have the mental capabilities to donate POW.

18 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

What about a bound spirit? Or commanded cult spirit? It seems those things are floating around everywhere contributing little to society. Could we round them up, order them around as usual, and then squeeze out the POW to make Glamour enchantments for all the boys and girls?

Possibly, it depends on the GM.

I probably wouldn't allow it, as the conditions of the Binding Enchantment do not specifically state POW Donation as one of the things the spirit has to do.

18 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

I'm rather short on lunars to pay for legal advice, but offer a 2% stake for counsel - to be forfeited in the case of successful prosecution. 

My liability for free legal advice given cannot exceed what you paid me for it.

All answers in my opinion, for what that is worth.

Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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17 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

The compromise solution was the cash on hand plus two pair of walktapus hide gloves, plus POW for a high-end enchanted item.  The five bandits were required to contribute 1 POW each.

Yes there are degrees of "voluntary".

That sounds fair enough to me. It was the result of a negotiation.

11 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

Okay, so the Godlearners tried it, broke the game and got sent to the naughty step. Good reasons not to do the above. 

Good reasons not to do it in the evil way that they did it.

However, if you have a good way of doing it, then go for it.

In my Glorantha, Vampires get False POW through a blood-drinking ritual. When they need lots of False POW, they round up all the local Lay Members and Initiates and bring them in for a nice Drink.

1 hour ago, PhilHibbs said:

So you want to play the bad guy? Sure, but expect the GM to send adventuring parties to end your reign if terror.

Not a massive bad guy, to honest.

But, yes, if enough people complain about such activities, some people are sure to come along and stop them. The reward would be a lot of matrices!

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Simon Phipp - Caldmore Chameleon - Wallowing in my elitism since 1982. Many Systems, One Family. Just a fanboy. 

www.soltakss.com/index.html

Jonstown Compendium author. Find my contributions here

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9 hours ago, Eff said:

......it's rather fascinating that cults don't directly engage with magical power, and only focus on controlling time and money, rather than requiring PCs to earmark a certain chunk of their magic/RPs for cult use, which of course they can be tempted to break and thus have to do penance and further the cycle of plot points. 

Perhaps this would be a good basis for an RQ hack...

If you think about it. It is a standard thing for cults to require a proportion of members' magic points and ( on an irregular basis) a proportion of their POW.   

That's what is going on when members sacrifice MPs on holy days.  That's what is going on when initiates sacrifice POW , though they do get rune points for it.  And implicitly that is what is going on when clans or tribes or temples or military units have wyters to whom POW is sacrificed.

The only issue, which Nick has pointed out, is: Under what circumstances do these requirements become so unreasonable as to be forbidden by the rules as written?

But every cult is a gods POW farm.  And maybe the high priest's POW farm.

 

 

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19 hours ago, Eff said:

it's rather fascinating that cults don't directly engage with magical power, and only focus on controlling time and money, rather than requiring PCs to earmark a certain chunk of their magic/RPs for cult use, which of course they can be tempted to break and thus have to do penance and further the cycle of plot points. 

Perhaps this would be a good basis for an RQ hack...

Yes. And it would set up some nice antagonisms between players and cult in a struggle over magical resources which would encourage players to see the moral ambiguity in these power-hungry institutions that defend of the status quo and impoverish the lower classes. In Glorantha the devil really does walk on hob nails while the preacher rides a mount.

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On 9/17/2022 at 4:54 PM, soltakss said:

If you have to run something by rules-lawyers it is probably suspect to begin with.

Highly suspect. Probably heretical. Outrageously immoral. But lucrative! 

 

On 9/17/2022 at 4:54 PM, soltakss said:

However, I would play that someone coerced cannot make the appropriate mental connection to donate POW

A good rule of thumb that, along with your other good points suggest POW sacrificed at enchantment needs to come from a creature with INT acting under their own volition and not under any form of coercion at the point of sacrifice.

...I think I can get 3 points or POW out of Trollkin children for 15 L and a toffe apple.

Edited by Nick Underwood
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On 9/17/2022 at 10:18 AM, Akhôrahil said:
On 9/17/2022 at 8:03 AM, Mugen said:

"You will have eternal life, all you need is give me your soul !".

Gark the Calm ftw!

@AkhôrahilI saw you made an excellent contribution in another thread (relevant here) about the price of a point of POW (200L), and how that would be a significant fortune for the poorer members of society who could use it in times of need - like selling a kidney! 

That this doesn't seem to be widespread, is surely due to the pernicious monopolistic practices of the priesthood!

I propose to liberalise the market in order to ameliorate the disposition of the disposessed. Reducing the poor to 5 POW (and especially the old, infirm, or very young who have meagre need of it) each pauper would generate approximately 4.8 POW per year on average (at 80% POW gain rolls). Even after raising their living standards most considerably to 20 L per year, this would establish a market price of 4 L and 2 C per point of POW. (My corporation will of course exercise an option to purchase all POW at said rate in the territories under its benevolent oversight.)

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3 minutes ago, Nick Underwood said:

I propose to liberalise the market in order to ameliorate the disposition of the disposessed. Reducing the poor to 5 POW (and especially the old, infirm, or very young who have meagre need of it) each pauper would generate approximately 4.8 POW per year on average (at 80% POW gain rolls). Even after raising their living standards most considerably to 20 L per year, this would establish a market price of 4 L and 2 C per point of POW. (My corporation will of course exercise an option to purchase all POW at said rate in the territories under its benevolent oversight.)

I mean, this is so much more powerful than mere tapping! POW >>> MP.

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2 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

@AkhôrahilI saw you made an excellent contribution in another thread (relevant here) about the price of a point of POW (200L), and how that would be a significant fortune for the poorer members of society who could use it in times of need - like selling a kidney! 

.......9

I propose to liberalise the market in order to ameliorate the disposition of the disposessed. Reducing the poor to 5 POW (and especially the old, infirm, or very young who have meagre need of it) each pauper would generate approximately 4.8 POW per year on average (at 80% POW gain rolls). ....

You really are channeling Milton Friedman!  

However they won't get 5-6 POW gain rolls a year unless they succeed with POW vs POW in a stress situation, and at 5 POW this is unlikely.  One per year at Sacrwd Time is a better estimate.  This reduces the productivity but does not change the general principle.

 

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13 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

If you think about it. It is a standard thing for cults to require a proportion of members' magic points and ( on an irregular basis) a proportion of their POW.   

That's what is going on when members sacrifice MPs on holy days.  That's what is going on when initiates sacrifice POW , though they do get rune points for it.  And implicitly that is what is going on when clans or tribes or temples or military units have wyters to whom POW is sacrificed.

The only issue, which Nick has pointed out, is: Under what circumstances do these requirements become so unreasonable as to be forbidden by the rules as written?

But every cult is a gods POW farm.  And maybe the high priest's POW farm.

 

 

Ehhhh... sure, but I'm thinking more in terms of magic as a kind of action that can be performed. The MP offered at worship ceremonies doesn't translate to any magic that has representation in either the rules or the background "fluff". Even if it does "keep the world together" or operate the basal social level of keeping Harvest rolls good or whatever, as an embedded assumption within the writing, PCs are incapable of engaging with that by the rules. (With the specific exception of the Worship Invisible God spell, which does turn those MPs into a resource that the wizard/zzabur can use... but Malkioni zzaburi are explicitly intended to be unplayable. And because this is held up as a peculiarly Malkioni thing, we can assume that the MP used in other worship ceremonies essentially does nothing from the mortal perspective.)

And cultic POW sacrifices aren't mandatory past the first required for initiation, and what they produce is magic in the hands of the sacrificing individual, rather than a repository of power that the priest can direct. Wyter POW sacrifices are abstracted out of the rules as presented by the core book, and would presumably only become relevant if you were making your own community from scratch.

So if we're talking about divine worship as producing material effects that benefit the community, in RQ rules the only magic that emerges from this is the Rune Magic PCs have and the Rune Points they add, and it would make sense on a story level for the members of the cult to owe some of that magic back to the cult to use it in the cult's service (which for OrlanthanandErnalda would be directly back on the clan, etc.) and there being a tension between divine worship granting the worshiper individualized power and divine worship being for the benefit of the whole of the people. RQ also isn't balanced or fair or whatever, so if you really want to brush aside the objection that it's not all that fun to have to use your sweet badass magic in the service of others, there's that, but I think it's pretty easy to slide that into a standard gameplay loop.

Maybe you owe X number of RP-equivalent per year. A starting PC can be assumed (given the assumption that RPs refill between adventures, adventures are once per season, etc.) to have 18 RP available per year, so perhaps they owe 2-3 RP annually, 1/6-1/9th ("All of your magic is yours to use" in an Orlanthi All sense) and if you just keep track of how much is used, that's only violated if they use more than 15-16 RP over the course of a year's worth of play, and if that's the case, then perhaps they just need a brief little scenario, like a Pendragon Winter Phase one, to play through to make it all good, which can be as bucolic and quaint as feels appropriate. Or perhaps this means they go into "debt" which can be made up for by injecting a new plot point involving the cult offering a chance to reduce that debt. (And if they don't go into debt, they get some free stuff from the cult so that there's reasons not to go immediately into RP-debt.) Keep it a source of plot or character momentum, etc.

(Now, if I had my druthers, I would make it so that there are direct magical effects from worship ceremonies and other forms of communal religious activity, and reshape the tension into "divine worship benefits the community but also empowers the individual to act against the community, what happens next?" But that's me, and I'm not writing EffyQuest or Effyworlds.)

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3 hours ago, Nick Underwood said:

 ⁹......

...I think I can get 3 points or POW out of Trollkin children for 15 L and a toffe apple.

But will children know how to sacrifice POW?  You may have to use trollkin adults, 200 bolgs and a roast rabbit.  This reduces the profitability from "unheard of" to merely "unmatched in our current economic climate".   

How do I buy into this venture?

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33 minutes ago, Eff said:

Ehhhh... sure, but I'm thinking more in terms of magic as a kind of action that can be performed. The MP offered at worship ceremonies doesn't translate to any magic that has representation......

And cultic POW sacrifices aren't mandatory past the first required for initiation, and what they produce is magic in the hands of the sacrificing individual, rather than a repository of power that the priest can direct. ......

At priest level you can do enchantments, and leading Worship ceremonies has  POW gain payoff.  So the presiding priest is essentially channeling MPs to the god. Taking a payoff in both personal POW gain and his or her ex officio ability to Enchant. Yes Enchant requires additional investment of POW, which does not change the principle.

The enchanted item is a repository of small-p power that the priest can direct, either selling it for cash benefits, using it personally, trading it, or using it for the community.

Benefit to the community should also be benefit to the individual if we take the community involvement part of RQG seriously and GM that way.  The adventurer who casts Bless Crops gets gratitude from the community.   So does the adventurer who casts Lightning and kills the Walktapus that was destroying the crops.   

Among  other ways the individual benefits are by being allocated hides of land which translate to income.   And using personal magic fior cult business is implicit in the book where we are told that at Rune level the adventurer must devote 90% of time to cult business.  That really is compulsory by the book, even though the GM has to enact it.  So we see both positive and negative incentives from the cult.  The negatives are the compulsory part, sure.  But the positive also act powerfully.

 

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What about the four following beings:

A True Mostali,

A Great or Shanasse Tree of the Aldryami, 

A Mistress Race troll/Uz and

An Inhuman King or Dragonet of the Dragonewts

How much POW or MP would they have and can give out, individually and together? Imagine a budding Vadeli sorcerer who can strap them to a contraption that Taps them, with a little help from some Chaotic beings! Think of the possibilities... 😈

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

At priest level you can do enchantments, and leading Worship ceremonies has  POW gain payoff.  So the presiding priest is essentially channeling MPs to the god. Taking a payoff in both personal POW gain and his or her ex officio ability to Enchant. Yes Enchant requires additional investment of POW, which does not change the principle.

The enchanted item is a repository of small-p power that the priest can direct, either selling it for cash benefits, using it personally, trading it, or using it for the community.

Benefit to the community should also be benefit to the individual if we take the community involvement part of RQG seriously and GM that way.  The adventurer who casts Bless Crops gets gratitude from the community.   So does the adventurer who casts Lightning and kills the Walktapus that was destroying the crops.   

Among  other ways the individual benefits are by being allocated hides if land which translate to income.   And using personal magic fior cult business is implicit in the book where we are told that at Rune level the adventurer must devote 90% of time to cult business.  That really is compulsory by the book, even though the GM has to enact it.

And the MP does nothing. It vanishes into nowhere. Perhaps it's food for the gods, but I don't think that that's the case. Rune levels can get POW gain chances simply by staying at home without going adventuring, but this offsets the whole "must devote 90% of their time to their cult" aspect- the number of adventures that these PCs should be able to go on by the book/RAW is simply more limited, which gives them fewer opportunities to gain POW normally. But that's subsidiary. 

My point is that worship ceremonies do not produce magical effects, they, even if we take it as given that enchantment magic is an effect of worship ceremonies, empower individuals to produce magical effects later, on their own time. Worship in RQG is a means for personal self-aggrandizement that can be directed towards community benefit, but there's a missing link there where the effects of worship ceremonies- the fabulous secret powers- are not part of that direction, even by implication. There's no interaction between "you must give 10% of your money to the cult" and the magic you get from the cult, and there's no way to turn money into divine magic directly. That 90% of time on cult business- it does not detract from your RP in any fashion, it's so abstract it might as well just be mundane physical service.

(Given the changes to divine magic between RQ2 and RQG, it's likely it was originally intended to be mundane physical service because magic was much harder to replenish and so demanding it be assigned to particular uses would be genuinely cruel. But now it's a renewable resource.)

So my thoughts are aimed at bringing the magic back into the loop there where the whole divine immanence means that the gods are a very real presence and Glorantha is intrinsically magical schtick is carried forward to the social life of PCs as the corebook lays it out, and the notions about community involvement get some concrete relationship with the particulars of your character.

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33 minutes ago, Eff said:

And the MP does nothing. It vanishes into nowhere... 

My point is that worship ceremonies do not produce magical effects, 

We don't know that. They aren't explicitly laid out in the RuneQuest rules, but that doesn't mean that they don't exist in Glorantha.

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