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POW farm looking for business partner


Nick Underwood

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5 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

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.

Well, this is the Runequest forum. I think that it's entirely possible for them to exist in Glorantha conceptually, but within the scope of both Runequest fluff and rules they don't exist in any way that player characters can interact with. (As I put it up above, you can perhaps without too much extrapolation conclude that worship ceremonies renew the basal magic of the world's existence and keep it going- but what's relevant for me is that this isn't a thing PCs would be able to interact with or have an effect, positive or negative, on.)

And as I said in a slightly different place up above, I would definitely prefer it if there was some magic associated with communal worship that was distinct from the empowerment of individuals who sacrifice POW. It would give some reason to make material sacrifices beyond boosting an unsteady Worship skill, as a "mechanistic" example alongside the thematic one I outlined.

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

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1 hour ago, Azurefeline said:

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... 😈

 

I'm honoured that you seem to have chosen this thread for your first post. Welcome to the forum! 

I can't answer your questions as I'm barely Glorantha-literate myself. But hopefully others can. 

However I do applaud your entrepreneurial spirit as a fellow questor for bad things to do in-game that the grumpy GMs will find good reasons to ban. 

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1 hour ago, Eff said:

And as I said in a slightly different place up above, I would definitely prefer it if there was some magic associated with communal worship that was distinct from the empowerment of individuals who sacrifice POW. It would give some reason to make material sacrifices beyond boosting an unsteady Worship skill, as a "mechanistic" example alongside the thematic one I outlined.

Putting aside my silly economics hat for a moment... 

I get that worship without visible reward is a gap in the magical economy and overlooks a source of potential plot hooks. But I'm also fond of the idea that worship doesn't contain any reward. It's not transactional, it's just what your character does - like being generous to strangers - or not. 

And this seems closer to what worship should be. Real sacrifice is an investment with no guarantee of a payday. The gap needs to be filled with faith. (And for old atheists like me, an Orlanthi ceremony is as close as l'll ever get.)

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12 minutes ago, Nick Underwood said:

Putting aside my silly economics hat for a moment... 

I get that worship without visible reward is a gap in the magical economy and overlooks a source of potential plot hooks. But I'm also fond of the idea that worship doesn't contain any reward. It's not transactional, it's just what your character does - like being generous to strangers - or not. 

And this seems closer to what worship should be. Real sacrifice is an investment with no guarantee of a payday. The gap needs to be filled with faith. (And for old atheists like me, an Orlanthi ceremony is as close as l'll ever get.)

Sure, I'm taking it in light of Hellenistic traditional religion, which was fairly explicitly transactional- do ut des, "I give, so that you may give." There are of course many other examples that are not quite so explicit and philosophical about it, but that's where I'm coming from with that.

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

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18 minutes ago, Eff said:

Sure, I'm taking it in light of Hellenistic traditional religion, which was fairly explicitly transactional- do ut des, "I give, so that you may give." There are of course many other examples that are not quite so explicit and philosophical about it, but that's where I'm coming from with that.

Thanks. I did not know that. 

And 2 minutes after posting it occurred to me that the personal experience of sacrifice would not be blunted by community-based rewards. The two could co-exist quite happily. 

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Also, I believe mortals feeding magic to the gods is a necessary part of the magical ecology of Glorantha. Power flows in both directions, but it seems to me that the mortal world is much stronger at producing magical power (perhaps this is reflected in the crummy POW gain rolls disembodied spirits get?).

Glorantha isn’t free of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, but it has a workaround - Chaotic energy flows in through the Chaosium, and then yearly the world is ”washed” of accumulating Chaos through the Sacred Time rituals (while during the Darkness no-one knew to do this, resulting in the downward spiral of the Greater Darkness). Presumably some of this magical energy is fed to the gods’ world through worship, keeping it going?

RQ isn’t HeroWars, but HW was careful about describing where gods picked up their necessary worship (including propitiatory and collateral worship).

Edited by Akhôrahil
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It is my understanding that Gloranthan religion is firmly transactional in accord with Real World bronze age models.  The habitual and scheduled MP sacrifice in worship is dues paid to the god so that the god can and will provide Rune magic on a much less frequent and maybe irregular basis.  But expectations do include Earth God fertility for the fields and herds, Storm God rain - things that are provided annually through priests via listed rune spells. 

So I don't agree that the RQ rules lack these things.  It just doesn't usually occur during worship in game.  But there is nothing stopping a GM from having the fields fertilized in game for atmosphere.  A model for this is in Six Seasons in Sartar. The plowing and harvest ceremonies.

The priests as intermediaries thing is also bronze age though it has modern day remnants.  Where RQiG differs is in opening some of this up to mere initiates.

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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What I think is lacking is a kind of sacrifice that was (and is) super-commonly the real world. In Glorantha, you sacrifice as part of cult membership, but there certainly aren’t any rules in RQ for the efficacy of sacrificing to Chalana Arroy (or S:t Xemela) when your child is sick, to Issaries when you’re embarking on road travel or an important trip to the market, or to Magasta when setting sail. Propitiatory Malia-worship comes closest, but this is a deeply suspect activity, mere extortion that strengthens Chaos.

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this morning house rule :

pc can use their pow as they want

npc must succeed a "positive" passion roll  (and sometimes fail a "negative" passion roll) to sacrifice a part of their pow/soul to anything else than devotion to their god (it is not a full loss, as you expect your god to welcome your soul after your death)

 

so you want your slaves or prisoners to sacrifice your pow ?

Do they have "love master" (so few would have it for sure) ; "love freedom" (so few would have it and would not be already killed after an escape attempt ) "fear master" is not a positive passion (sadly, as so many would have it)

oh but maybe you did not kill your fugitive, only few dozen of whiplashes... in addition of the positive passion success, you hope now the guy will fail the "hate master" roll... Don't have slave; it is evil, maybe chaotic

 

and then, will your god accept to enchant some gear only for your money ? Gusbran perhaps, if, in addition, you show all your art of smithing. But do you believe that Orlanth, Yelm, Humakt will accept to do it only for your vile business ? When their own prupose are so high ?!

no, not in my glorantha !

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18 hours ago, g33k said:

I presume those have some benefit beyond "rare, and somewhat creepy" (i.e. +Reputation%) ?

 

They are essentially very durable asbestos gloves.  Beneficial to smiths and other adherents of Gustbran.  Described in Weapons & Equipment book.

Of corse their provenance may bother some people.

 

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11 hours ago, French Desperate WindChild said:

this morning house rule :

pc can use their pow as they want

npc must succeed a "positive" passion roll  (and sometimes fail a "negative" passion roll) to sacrifice a part of their pow/soul to anything else than devotion to their god (it is not a full loss, as you expect your god to welcome your soul after your death)

 

so you want your slaves or prisoners to sacrifice your pow ?

Do they have "love master" (so few would have it for sure) ; "love freedom" (so few would have it and would not be already killed after an escape attempt ) "fear master" is not a positive passion (sadly, as so many would have it)

oh but maybe you did not kill your fugitive, only few dozen of whiplashes... in addition of the positive passion success, you hope now the guy will fail the "hate master" roll... Don't have slave; it is evil, maybe chaotic

 

and then, will your god accept to enchant some gear only for your money ? Gusbran perhaps, if, in addition, you show all your art of smithing. But do you believe that Orlanth, Yelm, Humakt will accept to do it only for your vile business ? When their own prupose are so high ?!

no, not in my glorantha !

In the discussion above we discussed various degrees of voluntariness vs. compulsion applied to donation of POW.  Examples included

(1) Slavery in which POW is extorted by threat of violence, or possibly deprivation (as coercion of a slave may include deprivation of food or of movement).  This includes prisoners of war or captured criminals, as well as the possibility that Nick's trollkin examples are slaves.  This situation is morally objectionable to most of us, though I pount out it is not morally objectionable to chaotic cults.

(2) Destitution in which economic incentives operate.  The destitute party responds to poverty, possibly including hunger and an increased likelihood of childrens' death (per RQiG income effects in sacred time rolls).  If Nick's trollkin are "wild" they would be in this category. Nick points out that this is not morally objectionable to people who follow Milton Friedman, who consider all market interactions just.

(3) Cult membership in a cult whose demands go beyond the standards in RQiG's Cults chapter.  This implies a threat of a spirit of retribution if the member refuses POW donation, but also the incentives of cult membership, which may be both social and magical advantages as well as the ideal of following your god's  archetype.   We haven't really discussed the moral status of extraordinary cult demands, and there are no book examples of cults which make such demands beyond "standard".  But I do consider them possible within the rules.

(4) The original bargaining situation which set off Nick's question, in which bandit  prisoners' situation began as compulsion but now bargaining with offers and counter offers introduces a voluntary element and moral ambiguity.

I see how French Desperate Windchild"s proposed passion rolls may deal with the voluntary POW donation rule for category (1), but not the other categories.  Would category (2) require the GM to make a Hate Being Hungry passion?  Would category (3) imply a roll vs. Loyalty to Cult passion?  Would category (4) imply opposed rolls between a Fear of Death passion and a Love of Freedom  passion, and if so what % would you set those passions at? 

I estimate that anyone who practices banditry must have a fear of death at less than 100%, but there is no book example of considering this a passion  nor of considering love of freedom a passion at all.  Or do we fall back on "No one can make you do anything" and deny the reality of compulsion?

 

While we are at it let's note that the proposed  passion rolls do not make Nick's POW farm uneconomic.  They just reduce its yield while providing an easy calculation of the proportion of slaves who will be flogged, or of the destitute who will be hungry.

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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14 minutes ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

I see how French Desperate Windchild"s proposed passion rolls may deal with the voluntary POW donation rule for category (1), but not the other categories.  Would category (2) require the GM to make a Hate Being Hungry passion?  Would category (3) imply a roll vs. Loyalty to Cult passion?  Would category (4) imply opposed rolls between a Fear of Death passion and a Love of Freedom  passion, and if so what % would you set those passions at? 

Before answering, it is not my irl perspective (I don't say what is good what is wrong in real life), it is what I imagine gloranthan may do facing the different situations

 

I consider category 3 should be splitted:

 --> it is the cult standard to sacrifice POW: no need of roll it is just "normal" to sacrifice your soul, as you will get it back when you join your god in the other world

--> it is clear for everyone that the sacrifice is required, no need of roll  if you will save your god byt this sacrifice

--> it is not really clear for you that the sacrifice is required, then yes loyalty to the temple / priest or devotion.

 

I think categories 2 and 4 should have other options.

In my opinion a large part of gloranthan would not consider soul as a resource. Of course few would be able to sell the eternal part of themselves to solve very temporary issue but very few, and then, yes passions should be required

 

You are not able to feed your family... become mercenary or thief , sell one of your child (of course the new owner parent, will feed better the child, that is for her best), become yourself  semi free or not free at all for a duration, hoping it will help you to pay your debts, etc...

You are prisoner and bargain a ransom ? propose oaths or some treasure hidden somewhere or secret plan you had in mind. Nothing ? you knew when you started your "career " what were the risks. You knew that if catched you will probably be sold. Here you are, by default a large part would accept it, find a way to escape or not, etc..

 

my point is there no business for that because

- the consequences are so huge (eternal loss or soul vs temporal gain of ... cow ?!)

- that is absolutly not aligned with the background and npc official stats Why Leika (one of the most important person in Sartar has so few items ?) It is easy to make an industry of enchantment (few hour for one item) if POW is available.

So why no industry ? Because the gods and because the pow is not abalable.

(except if we consider that gloranthan are so dumb they had not the idea after so many ages and the god don't care at all what they are asked to do) .

that s only my opinion 🙂 don't say it is canon or anything, just my Glorantha

Edited by French Desperate WindChild
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My position is that the POW farm cannot work, except in special circumstances that are outside most character option (Zistorite AIs, brainwashed humans serving the Dwarves, God Learner University departments, Chaotic cults practicing life sacrifices), as we do not see such an exploit in the world, even in the case of purely voluntary enchantments. So I would use some house rules to make it less than ideal.

Within a theist culture I envision several limits.

Enchantments are a cult magic, so I see it as out of the question that anybody who is not an initiate in good standing, and probably ritually purified and prepared, will participate with a part of their soul in such a ritual. In some cases a trusted ally may be allowed to participate, but it will be very rare. .

I will consider sacrificing your soul decreases your options of an afterlife, and it is even worse if you sacrifice it in the service of a different deity, and as afterlife is a given for most people, that makes people more willing to die before acceding to donate power. The ransom/slavery customs are ancient and revered by most of Gloranthans, and they limit what you can require of a prisoner. Their souls, except for Chaos, cannot be taken, as it is a Chaotic act. 

I would also have in multi-people enchantment the limitation that all the donors must be in physical contact with the enchanted object at the same time. You may use many people to enchant a ship, but only a few can enchant a ring. That may limit more clan regalia than POW farms, but it is another reason highly enchanted objects are more likely in the fortification scale than small portable items.

Most importantly, as it involves your soul, each hesitant participant (failing their Passion roll, whether Love, Loyalty, etc.) will substract between POW, POWx2 and POWx5, depending on the failure roll, from the casting roll. So you need well motivated donors. A worship roll could replace the passion roll, but that is voluntary for the donor. In long ceremonies, it becomes possible to just fail some steps and make the whole fail, so they get the secret choice of substracting their own meditate from the success roll, if they are secretly working to make the ceremony fail. I would roll such an enchantment in secret, as it should be almost impossible to say, except in the case of a fumble, what failed. In the case of a failure, no POW is spent, except in case of a fumble, where the caster loses the POW it would have spent.

I would allow sacrifice cultures to get some POW out of sentient sacrifice, but that is clearly Evil and in many cases Chaotic. And probably Rune levels cannot be sacrificed this way, as their gods preserve their souls, but they can still be subject to specialized magics such as Atyar's Create Head. Initiates will supply less POW, as their pantheon psychopomp safeguards part of their soul. So at the end of the day, children and young adults are the best evil sacrifices...

If the negotiated enchantment is made with clan or temple support, and the negotiating bandits are good orlanthi, I would allow it to work, and I suspect such shared enchantments are typical as peace offerings between rival clans. But if they are less than ideal worshippers you may need a few weeks up to several seasons to get them back into either the clan or Orlanth's good graces.

That still leaves shamanistic and sorcerer cultures. though I would use similar limitations, both the requirement of similar culture and magic, and the risk of failure. Although it appears as one spell in the rulebook, the Rokari matrix enchantment will be quite different from the black arkati, and the transfer of soul power is very delicate and requires a strong focus. You will still need a common knowledge and some instruction to coordinate the ceremony.

The afterlife part is also important for me, as people prefer to be a ghost bound for centuries to jeopardizing their afterlife by annihilating part of their soul to make a large enchantment, that probably would be more useful than your own service as a ghost would be. People near death will want to be ready for it, and that means as much POW as possible.

 

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I see the mechanistic POW rules as purely an artefact of the RuneQuest game system, and whilst some are happy to extrapolate Gloranthans reality from the RuneQuest rules, I am not. If a thing that can be extrapolated as a consequence from RQ can't be done in QuestWorlds, and can't be done in 13AIG, then maybe, maybe, it can't be (or isn't usually) done in Glorantha. Maybe it can. If it's awesome and improves your game, then great, have abusive or coercive POW farms!

But I would always start with Glorantha. Is it happening in the world? If so, what mechanics do we use?

Other opinions are available.

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On 9/18/2022 at 8:05 AM, Azurefeline said:

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... 😈

 

The mind boggles!

 

On 9/18/2022 at 9:43 AM, Nick Underwood said:

I'm honoured that you seem to have chosen this thread for your first post. Welcome to the forum! 

 

Hello, and welcome! Good first post.

 

37 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I see the mechanistic POW rules as purely an artefact of the RuneQuest game system, and whilst some are happy to extrapolate Gloranthans reality from the RuneQuest rules, I am not.

Nor I thanks for the eloquent method of stating this Gloranthan (Staffordian?) axiom!

 

37 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

But I would always start with Glorantha. Is it happening in the world? If so, what mechanics do we use?

 

the conclusion is great!
(Although it matches my view of this universe.. we won't hold that against you, good sir!),
😉

 

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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38 minutes ago, PhilHibbs said:

I see the mechanistic POW rules as purely an artefact of the RuneQuest game system, and whilst some are happy to extrapolate Gloranthans reality from the RuneQuest rules, I am not. If a thing that can be extrapolated as a consequence from RQ can't be done in QuestWorlds, and can't be done in 13AIG, then maybe, maybe, it can't be (or isn't usually) done in Glorantha. Maybe it can. If it's awesome and improves your game, then great, have abusive or coercive POW farms!

But I would always start with Glorantha. Is it happening in the world? If so, what mechanics do we use?

Other opinions are available.

I consider the worlds of the respective games subtly different, each an implementation of the the "true" Glorantha with different modelling. But I'm also mostly a rules realist about RuneQuest - healing is trivially available, for instance, in a way it possibly isn't in HQ. The game rules tells the players what their characters can do, and NPCs should be able to do what characters can.

You just need to ask the question "what are Lhankor Mhy's runes?" to see that the settings aren't fully compatible. You can look around in an LM temple and tell which game (or set of games) you're in.

Edited by Akhôrahil
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The entire discussion about the POW farm resembles that about Tapping. Essentially, you force your demand for magical juice on a non-consenting or at best minimally consenting group of victims.

There is one group in Glorantha that voluntarily sacrifices their soul to imbue matter with magic (and stability): the Mostali. This might be their way to deal with defective clay mostali - milk them dry for POW, then recycle the material (Alpha Red) and breed new ones.

Note that that treatment isn't fundamentally different from the way the uz treat the enlo. And an uz enchanter might offer food trollkin a running chance for their contribution, with the alternative being a mangled rest in a stomach.

And then there is the concept of Humakti lottery swords. Rather than POW, the participants sacrifice a gift but keep carrying the corresponding geases.

 

What about systems that don't have a measurement for soul strength? This is still about giving away a portion of one's soul, of one's magic. In Questworld, this might be simulated by lowering a rune ability by a certain amount in order to receive a new ability "magical item" (which might be a break-out ability of that rune while the item rests with the creator), with the item's rank being equal to the points put into the item.

In 13G, the corresponding concept might be level, or giving up a feat (or whatchamacallit).

But in the end, an item that the creator poured their soul in will be magical.

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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10 hours ago, JRE said:

....

Enchantments are a cult magic, so I see it as out of the question that anybody who is not an initiate in good standing, and probably ritually purified and prepared, will participate with a part of their soul in such a ritual. In some cases a trusted ally may be allowed to participate, but it will be very rare. .

I will consider sacrificing your soul decreases your options of an afterlife, .

The "cult magics" part seems very reasonable. And that and the GM's evaluation of voluntariness seems to me to be sufficient to stop a POW farm.  Except, as you say, under special circumstances that basically exclude Adventurers.

I'm pretty sure that the x2 and x3 POW loss part is neither necessary nor supported in the rules.  But what is left is sufficient, and gets us past rolling against suddenly created passions.

Now what's needed is to make that a brief official statement in Q&A.

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On 9/18/2022 at 7:26 PM, Akhôrahil said:

, I believe mortals feeding magic to the gods is a necessary part of the magical ecology of Glorantha. Power flows in both directions, but it seems to me that the mortal world is much stronger at producing magical power

Power flows in both directions but it may not be of equal value on either side. 

On the mortal plane MP are a dime a dozen and RP are scarce. 

Mortals sacrifice a few MP per season and might get back just as many RP. (Ignoring the sunk cost of POW sacrifice) 

So perhaps MP are just as valuable in godtime as RP... Perhaps one MP, ascended to exist in perpetuity in the godtime, is what a RP is. And the initial POW sacrificed for RP is just an account creation fee. 

Actually such accounting would allow for gods that have no native magical power (they cannot run a negative balance). They can only convert the magic that is sacrificed to them and return it to the mortal plane in other forms. 

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5 minutes ago, Nick Underwood said:

And the initial POW sacrificed for RP is just an account creation fee. 

In my mind, sacrificing POW for RP is converting part of your soul into a copy/emulation of the god’s. More Rune Points means less free will as you have literally shifted the balance between your human soul and the presence of the divine within you.

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On 9/18/2022 at 7:36 PM, Squaredeal Sten said:

It is my understanding that Gloranthan religion is firmly transactional in accord with Real World bronze age models.

I was going to ask how a sacrifice-for-magic transaction would work in a world where sacrifice was real but magic wasn't.

But now I don't if the answer is that they were naieve, or I am...

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