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Orlanthi crafting


radmonger

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In my Glorantha, there are a couple of cults heavily involved in craft magic.

Looking at the Orlanthi:

Gustbran, of course, for everything fire-related requiring hotter temperatures than boiling water - baking, pottery, glassworking (beads), smithing and metal casting, lime-burning for mortar or surface chalking, (fired) brick-making, charcoal, mining or tunneling using fires... and all manner of preparatory work for any of these activities.

Lhankor Mhy for everything using or requiring written instructions, or some deeper knowledge. Including some of the crafts mentioned under Gustbran, and alchemy, mills, any lore related work (herbalists, surveyors, architects etc.). Masonry, too ("son of Mostal"). And any kind of guild sorcery.

Ernalda, for spinning, weaving, sewing, basket-making, working with wet clay, cooking, food preservation. Even brewing (Minlister might be a subcult).

Waha for working with animal parts. Perhaps up to cobblers.

Woodcraft has a few specialists, like Diros for boats and ships, but also many generalists. The name Barntar suggests rural carpentry all in itself.

Fletchery is a necessary skill for any archer other than posh nobles, and should be at home with Foundchild, Odayla, Yelmalio and Orlanth (Jorganos the Archer), and others, and what goes for arrows goes for spears and javelins, too, with weapon heads either purchased or DIYed. After all, Humakt has blade-smiths, too.

Ancestors may be involved in hereditary crafter lineages.

 

The Lunars use whatever pre-Lunar substrata there is, like the Orlanthi one above, with Lodril in Dara Happa as the universal workman, called Turos in Pelanda. LM may be called Buserian, or replaced with Irrippi Ontor. Deezola and Jakaleel might contribute rather narrow textile expertise, same as Dendara.

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

IMG there are skill secrets and spell secrets. We know they both exist because they inhabit different zones of the character sheet and rely on different progression mechanics.

That's a very RuneQuest answer...

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

"Guilds" teach skills without direct interaction with a spirit or a god.

Many of the RQ2 guilds are basically trainers' associations.

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

In theory, practical experience makes you better and can even unlock technical innovations that you can then choose whether you want to share with others. Under normal circumstances, your expertise remains with you for life. Because technical skills do not have independent existence outside people's heads, they can be lost (and will need to be rediscovered) if not passed on. 

That's a weird thing to say in a world where you can contact the spirits of ancestors and heroes to pass on their knowledge, both spell knowledge and some of their skills (the latter possibly through dominant possession/heroforming).

Or you can go on a heroquest and challenge some of the mythical masters into duels of craftmanship, or with craftmanship as the price.

Many a technical skill lost to mankind may be the result of successful mostali intervention. With gobblers and gremlins to plague and possibly kill practitioners of unlicensed technologies.

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

"Cults" teach spells that are the property of the tutelary spirit or god. You don't need to practice and you don't need anyone to show you the tricks. All you need is the right relationship with the entity that supports the spell. And finally, casting a craft spell over and over doesn't make you better at the craft. If you leave the cult and lose the spell, the expertise was never yours, so it's gone.

You can learn spirit magic from cults as an occasional lay worshiper. Less so from guilds, who tend to require a "social initiation".

Spirit magic is something you have, something you don't usually lose from slacking or reneging on a cult.

When best to cast a craft spell is a form of expertise, too.

Rune magic for crafting is not sustainable, except for enchantments (which has another bottle-neck in its POW expenditure).

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

In what we like to consider modern Orlanth society, craft "spells" have atrophied since the dawn into a scattered body of specialized augments that make skill use more efficient in some way: faster, reduced material or labor inputs, fewer fumbles, whatever. What they all have in common is that they're "extra" . . .  procedures that someone stacks on top of a skill in order to get incrementally better results. You spend the same day in the workshop either way. Most of the time you shovel charcoal into a furnace and the metal gets hot or the pots get fired or whatever. The next day, you reload the furnace and do it again. Sometimes you really want it to work so you do a special dance when the stars are right and wear your lucky socks. As long as you keep getting appreciably better results, you keep using the spell alongside your skill.

The everyday augments in the form of work-songs don't happen? True, this seems almost mundane, but what mundane thing in Glorantha is not coated in myth? It is hard to defecate without pleasing a trickster entity somewhere...

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

And as the collective library of technical expertise grows, the spells recede further into the background.

So alchemy becomes a mundane skill? Or is surveying and measuring a major building project still an exercise in sorcery, or at least a very closely sorcery-adjacent activity?

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

Maybe once upon a time spells did most of the work and you were largely a passive observer of what the gods and spirits created for you. Now gods and spirits who are only worshipped to provide craft augments get pushed into the background. They become increasingly obscure. Maybe once upon a time everyone who wanted to weave a basket needed to sacrifice to Baskamenta. Now you just keep the rushes moving day by day and once in a great while you bring in a spell to help make sure a wedding or other ceremonial function gets all the special stuff it needs. The higher your skill and the more advanced your physical plant, the less you need the augments.

Interesting - harvesting the reeds or willows remains a sacred activity surrounded by ritual and possibly sacrifice, but processing them is entirely mundane? How does Growing remain surrounded by mystery and Making become completely de-mystified?

Even one of the great 18th century poets in Germany, Friedrich Schiller, provided a five pages long (mostly iambic, with coupled or alternating end rhymes) poem about the founding of a bell.

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

Within modern Sartar, the role of the "cult" shifts from facilitating the material basics that sustain human existence to providing answers to bigger questions: who are we, where do we go when we die, how do we perpetuate the work of creation or not. This is where spells that do things we would truly consider supernatural persist . . . the deep secrets of souls and bodies, powers and elements, energy and matter. Miracles.

How does this manifest for the various deities? Does Gustbran become a mystical society rather than the cult of pyrotechnologies?

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

Once upon a time there was a little goddess of changing diapers and another one who knew about yarn and a third who wove the baskets. Those fragmented situational identities and their specialized techniques converged into a consolidated Ernalda, a way to be a well-rounded adult human who can do a lot of things and can always learn more. Others became a consolidated Orlanth, a different way to live, a different route to consciousness. The process may not be done yet, but for now, these are the two main ways of being human in modern Sartar. You don't need to be a professional fighter to perform the Orlanth mysteries. You can have just about any job. But your soul belongs to a god who supports a catalog of mysteries that go beyond your day-to-day occupation.

I did like the (cult-less) handmaidens of Ernalda with their specialized husbands as fire-siblings of Mahome as the expression of this convergence (or perhaps as undoing of an earlier divergence). This plural nature of a single cult entity shouldn't be that much of a shock for people growing up in a Christian society, which has the concept of Trinity.

But I disagree that you don't need to be a professional fighter to perform the Adventurous mysteries. There is a reason why this cult has rune lords rather than rune priests.

The Rex cult is a very narrow occupational cult, special for two powerful magical options, but these two rune magics won't keep a bad ruler out of trouble for long even if he is fully loaded with rune points.

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

Now the skill-driven "guild" system runs up against both sorcery and the western / mostal caste ideology in obvious ways.

I don't see why the skill-driven guilds accompanied by fully initiated Lhankor Mhy officials in their administration should not have a body of magical knowledge applicable as RQG sorcery.

 

On 1/23/2023 at 6:57 PM, scott-martin said:

Maybe that's the future of Gloranthan humanity and maybe it's the past. I like to think unbundling technical knowledge as the secular skills frees up room in the soul for the important business, but that's just me.

To me all of these notions sound very "Fourth Age", and not at all appropriate for the majority of urban Sartarites.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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48 minutes ago, Joerg said:

[...] harvesting the reeds or willows remains a sacred activity surrounded by ritual and possibly sacrifice [...]

Where's the harvest spell? How many player characters use it every year? The Grain Goddesses teach Bless Crops and Barntar teaches Plow for the sowing but does Ernalda support her own unrecorded version of Food Song on the other end of the cycle?

My Glorantha has evolved as a response to the game as it is played and the world as it is currently described. The "urban Sartarites" aren't professional fighters. They're not farmers either. They rely on Orlanth and Ernalda for the spells and the identity Orlanth and Ernalda support and work a shop or a service occupation between temple days. They buy bread baked in one shop that buys flour milled in a second location and sourced from multiple fields, some of which observe the conventional Bless Crops rites and some of which might have other loyalties.

Up in the hills, life is still older and different. That's okay. I prefer your vision but it requires different play and different description, let's make that happen! Is there a Glorantha that runs everything on spells with no skill checks? Is this . . . animism?

 

 

Edited by scott-martin
urban sartar, alienated bread
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31 minutes ago, scott-martin said:

prefer your vision but it requires different play and different description, let's make that happen! Is there a Glorantha that runs everything on spells with no skill checks? Is this . . . animism?

Now if only we had a universal mechanic that made every task look alike …

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1 minute ago, mfbrandi said:

Now if only we had a universal mechanic that made every task look alike …

Before the communal heroquest (holy day, sacrifice, spell, song, dance) we in the runequest roll our chop wood and carry water skills, grubbing for pants that fit and clacks to pay the bar bill. After the communal heroquest, we roll the skills again. EGWV.

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50 minutes ago, Joerg said:

So alchemy becomes a mundane skill? Or is surveying and measuring a major building project still an exercise in sorcery, or at least a very closely sorcery-adjacent activity … To me all of these notions sound very "Fourth Age", and not at all appropriate for the majority of urban Sartarites.

Didn’t “alchemy” (after a fashion) become a mundane skill, with your Isaac Newtons as transitional figures?

And if we cannot find rôles for all the gods after the transition, don’t even some — all? — IRL polytheisms have their monotheistic tendencies?

The Fourth Age creeps up on you, and looking back you are not quite sure when it began. You cannot find that neat, hard cut-off, but you make up the story of Argrath and the Devil, anyway.

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

grubbing for pants that fit and clacks to pay the bar bill. After the communal heroquest, we roll the skills again. EGWV.

Ah, yes, Eeyore’s Glorantha would vary. From Tigger’s. But it exhibits great self-similarity: it is fractally dull.

We had an expression “cheer up, it may never happen”; unfortunately, it became weaponised, and we had to melt it down and bury it.

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4 hours ago, Brian Duguid said:

325420675_720174896357767_4759123100656437871_n.jpg

So that was Greg’s vision in 1988, but no one would have been able to read that off of the RQ2 battle magic rules:

Quote

Battle magic involves the forceful alteration of the fabric of reality by use of one’s POW. For this reason, battle magic spells, while powerful, are of short duration (usually two minutes) and drain a good deal of energy in the form of POW points from the user. However strong a mortal may be, he lacks the POW to make long lasting changes in the basic stuff of the Universe. — RQ2 Classic, p. 34

Ignite would be fine, and there is an appeal to small household magics that make permanent changes (and to spells with multiple uses/manifestations), but that vision of bladesharp as a knife-grinding magic and glue as a pot-fixing spell didn’t make it to the “first generation” rules. Was that just for wargame reasons, a change of mind, or … ?

[Apologies that this is a bit (old) rulesy, but it would have been mad to move it to another forum — and I think it does bear on the “is crafting spellcasting?” theme.]

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2 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Where's the harvest spell?......
...... They buy bread baked in one shop that buys flour milled in a second location and sourced from multiple fields, ......

Not if it's tbe bronze age.

The harvest Is done by men with Sickles because the labor-saving  scythe has not been invented.   The magic associated with harvest is to placate the gods and spirits so you can get on with your sickle work and not starve.  As the priestess will explain to you, the earth goddess will ruin your life if you don't give her temple a 20% cut. 

The flour is not milled,  because the water mill has not been invented and the wind mill is a science fictional device, a sorcerous thing to enslave air elementals.    Instead in every household and bakery bored women grind grain by hand either with a large mortar and pestle or with a metate, depending on your culture. 

The supply chain is still short.  This is what underlies your heroic story.  This is why your characters want to be heroes: Daily life is hard work and monotonous, inefficient too.  That is why noble status and magic have so much appeal.

 

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

Where's the harvest spell? How many player characters use it every year? The Grain Goddesses teach Bless Crops and Barntar teaches Plow for the sowing but does Ernalda support her own unrecorded version of Food Song on the other end of the cycle?

So a communal worship rite doesn't count as a spell? A propitiatory sacrifice, possibly by the weird person in the clan, is unimportant?

 

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

My Glorantha has evolved as a response to the game as it is played and the world as it is currently described.

Do you mean as your character experiences in games run by others, or as how you run a game for other players?

 

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

The "urban Sartarites" aren't professional fighters. They're not farmers either.

True for a significant portion of the citizens, less significant for all the residents.

Orlanthi farmers or guildpeople aren't professional fighters. Most are trained militiamen, though, and many are active members of warbands, on a time allotment similar to temple service (or included in that allotment). Guilds and temples have an obligation to participate in defense and in policing, which they may do by including professional fighters in their ranks, or as hirees, or by providing sufficient manpower from among the guild members.

 

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

They rely on Orlanth and Ernalda for the spells and the identity Orlanth and Ernalda support and work a shop or a service occupation between temple days.

Much like the rural Orlanthi do, too?

And there will be ritual in the daily tasks, like sharing a meal (breaking the bread etc.), with blessings pronounced. Possibly reinforced by a MP or two by whoever leads "the congregation" in this.

When running a game, I aim to include such everyday interactions with the magic of the setting until they are established, then to zoom out without any further need to establish how much smaller the hobbits are than the rest of the Fellowship. Same with automatic chores like taking care of military equipment, tuning string instruments, keeping a bow string at the right tension, etc., stuff the characters will do as ingrained behavior.

 

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

They buy bread baked in one shop that buys flour milled in a second location and sourced from multiple fields, some of which observe the conventional Bless Crops rites and some of which might have other loyalties.

That's where our Gloranthas differ. See

 

1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

Up in the hills, life is still older and different. That's okay. I prefer your vision but it requires different play and different description, let's make that happen! Is there a Glorantha that runs everything on spells with no skill checks? Is this . . . animism?

There is the Questworlds treatment of the setting (formerly HeroQuest Glorantha) which doesn't make any such distinction. There is as little reason to abandon that system as there is to abandon RQ Classic if that is how your game has played out so far.

There is a school of GMing that says that skill checks are for stressful situations or to determine attrition, but not for ordinary performance. (Otherwise we'd have to roll for "Walk" whenever moving from A to B...)

Applied to production, this kind of roll might determine the overall use and waste of ingredients and the quality of the product. As per the RQG rules you roll once in Sacred Season to determine your player character's household's economic success. Micromanagement doesn't enter this.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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18 minutes ago, Joerg said:

And there will be ritual in the daily tasks, like sharing a meal (breaking the bread etc.), with blessings pronounced. Possibly reinforced by a MP or two by whoever leads "the congregation" in this.

Or — speaking on behalf of the (admittedly tiny) “creeping fourth age” faction — if all the magicians were to drop dead tomorrow, the world would continue to function much as it did before, and only ego says otherwise. Spending magic points while breaking bread is just showing off, and the true function of ritual is moral, educative, social, or political. But of course, this is just crazy talk.

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1 hour ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

The flour is not milled,

Oh Sten, you wound me. This is still my Glorantha:

mills.png.a4478ab7df3770233c2ccb96ed297edc.pngMaybe that's been erased (all I have on hand is the older books) but if so, it runs the risk of being erased again in the ever-evolving pursuit of MGF. I have to look at what the books show me as well as what they tell me. I must be wrong.

I like the harvest feast as sacrificial communal rite, but the scenario you paint strikes me as more of a protection racket than a spell. IMG the priestess casts Worship and all initiates kick in all their magic points but one. The earth mothers also collect their 5% cut as my material sacrifice. We eat. The sickles don't get any better unless they also teach me Bladesharp at the festival (presumably Barntar handles this); I still need to rely on my own householder skills to do the actual reaping. Keeping in mind that there are listed spells that people can sacrifice in order to handle eating plants, butchering meat, extra-fancy feats of craft (ritual enchantments), sowing (if Bless Crops and Bear Fruit happen at the start of the crop year), conception, gestation, couvade and supernaturally effective plowing (as opposed to the baseline for people who don't take the spell), am I missing a spell associated with the reaping? Does Bless Crops come at the end of the crop year and that's what the harvest feast is really all about? 

Can Bless Crops be applied at any time of year? How do people handle this in their Gloranthas? I'm not finding a reference.

Again, I like the vision of the sacred universe, but as I'll pester Jörg about later, what I get from the older books and the newer character sheets is a world where we're told a lot about how everything is numinous (a spectacular animistic vision) and then shown a lot of day-to-day work where no magic points are actually transacted. Adventurers do not burn magic points in the course of their "everyday" lives, do they? I would hope not. But I must be reading the wrong books.

Edited by scott-martin
more on bless crops; high holy day mechanics
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1 hour ago, mfbrandi said:

So that was Greg’s vision in 1988, but no one would have been able to read that off of the RQ2 battle magic rules:

Ignite would be fine, and there is an appeal to small household magics that make permanent changes (and to spells with multiple uses/manifestations), but that vision of bladesharp as a knife-grinding magic and glue as a pot-fixing spell didn’t make it to the “first generation” rules. Was that just for wargame reasons, a change of mind, or … ?

[Apologies that this is a bit (old) rulesy, but it would have been mad to move it to another forum — and I think it does bear on the “is crafting spellcasting?” theme.]

RQ-with-the-lizard-and-lady-on-the-cover has a very specific objective for the game, and a specific intent behind that objective. You play a sword-and-sorcery fucko, who's on a quest to get themselves a Rune or two. Not to mention that the lead on producing RQ was Steve Perrin, with Ray Turney then coming on, and Francis Gregory Stafford taking a less direct role in making the specifics of the game. All of which is to say that there are a couple of reasons why this vision of daily life isn't a part of the Runequest-with-L&L milieu- one, the mode is one where you're playing someone at least partially divorced from everyday life, and two, there are multiple creative voices working here. 

Now, fast forward to the 1990s, when Hero Wars emerges, and it does validate this view of the setting, with the common magic even children might have, but also there the creative voices had changed in makeup- FGS was decades older, and to my understanding the division of responsibilities between FGS, Robin Laws, and other contributors was significantly different. And Hero Wars in turn has a somewhat different intent and objective. 

All of this is to say that there are clear limits to this kind of backward reasoning and picking out the envisioned intent of Gre(at)(g)S(is)t(affo)(e)r(d) from it. 

 

 

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

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

Eight Arms and the Mask

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5 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Is there a Glorantha that runs everything on spells with no skill checks? Is this . . . animism?

Pretty sure I've been to one of those, frequently, and it's nice, you frequently run into Susan Sontag and Christopher Isherwood, and who wouldn't want that in a fantasy roleplaying game, but if there's a serious question up for dispute, things take quite a while to resolve, and it gets really slow if there's more than a bilateral negotiation necessary. Those paired d10s are flawed in some ways, just like those paired d20s and those APs and MPs and HPs and other HPs, but they do have their advantages at times.

Edited by Eff
notes on camp
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Though a Lunar through and through, she is also a human being.

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

Eight Arms and the Mask

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1 hour ago, scott-martin said:

 ......am I missing a spell associated with the reaping? Does Bless Crops come at the end of the crop year and that's what the harvest feast is really all about? 

Can Bless Crops be applied at any time of year? How do people handle this in their Gloranthas? I'm not finding ....

Actually there are considerable overlaps between our Gloranthas. Mine just defaults to bronze age as background.

But as far as Bless Crops, the official material does not specify when it has to be applied.  I know at least one person thinks it has to be early, which would tend to limit its use. 

My own imagination runs differently: The great productivity of Gloranthan agriculture can only be attributed to plentiful application of magic.  And what are the weekly Ernalda holy days for?  They are so the Earth initiates and priestesses can do that magic, not to one field a year but to many fields, orchards etc..  In addition to pregnancy magic as you have noted.  And Heal Body so Chaos raids won't depopulate the village.

Naturally it is better to have your own field blessed first, because if drought or insects get the seedlings before the priestess  comes that's too bad.

Edited by Squaredeal Sten
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2 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Not if it's tbe bronze age.

But is it the bronze age when there is a regularly scheduled Moonboat service from Glamour to Furthest? When Teelo Norri ships grains across the breadth of the empire to feed the poor of Pavis? Where Issaries teaches capitalism is magic, and Lhankhor Mhy runs lending libraries?

My Glorantha has a bronze age material culture, which is little modified by spirit magic. But, specifically,  rune cults and wizards are load-bearing element of the social system. Them existing makes society different from what it would be if they didn't.

Of course, within a generation, all that will destroyed by Argrath, unless the player characters organize to stop him.

6 hours ago, Joerg said:

Or is surveying and measuring a major building project still an exercise in sorcery, or at least a very closely sorcery-adjacent activity?

There is a risk of looking at Glorantha from Earth and saying that the only interesting things are the parts that are different. If you were Edward Said, you could call that Gloranticism. 

In most Polynesian cultures, the guy who knew how to make the best canoes (Hawaiian kālai waʻa) has the same standing and regard as other magical specialists. Before contact with the west, they wouldn't consider him lesser because some people they have never met would agree 'yes, that is a nice canoe'.

In-world, a river that flows uphill is exactly as the same point on the magical to mundane spectrum as one that flows downhill. No Gloranthan is aware that on Earth all rivers flow downhill, and so one is an anomaly that needs explaining. Both rivers exist, both follow their nature. The story of how that nature came to be is myth; it's existence is truth.

If an emperor ordered a canal to be dug, and the maintenance of that canal required annual sacrifice, then that would be a defect in the canal's nature. One the emperor would ideally like to avoid. But as Glorantha is a broken world, probably couldn't.

Of course, within a generation, Argrath will fix that, if the player characters defeat those who would stop him.

 

Edited by radmonger
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having read all the responses here i find myself torn in 2 directions.....

On the one hand I like the notion of a Sacred life, lots of little crafting magics and secrets. To me that feels very gloranthan, it adds flavour and richness.

On the other hand from a actual practical gameplay point of view can it be accurately portrayed or  gamed without everything literally grinding to a halt......

I suspect the answer is that it is there in the background  merrily doing it's thing but is unlikely to be defined in game terms except on very specific occasions.

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I'm still of the opinion that you can represent all that background magic perfectly fine with the regular RQG rules, no need for whole new subsystems or lists of spells. Augments can represent magical activity as well as mundane, especially rune augments. You can also have custom spirits with the appropriate unique power to provide whatever effect you need, all that's needed is a way to get them into the scene, like a simple ritual, or having them bound to the workstation (which I believe is the case with Gustbrani forges).

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6 hours ago, mfbrandi said:

Or — speaking on behalf of the (admittedly tiny) “creeping fourth age” faction — if all the magicians were to drop dead tomorrow, the world would continue to function much as it did before, and only ego says otherwise. Spending magic points while breaking bread is just showing off, and the true function of ritual is moral, educative, social, or political. But of course, this is just crazy talk.

What happens when Orlanth and Ernalda die due to the Lunars shows this is wrong - cut off from the divine magics of Orlanth and Ernalda, starvation and death ensue; society totters on the verge of collapse.  If Argath does end up killing the gods, then the Fourth Age will start with another hideous Glorantha apocalypse even if the destruction of the Red Moon doesn't basically obliterate Peloria.

The current edition of Runequest tells us:

A central theme of Glorantha is the relationship between mortals and the gods, between the mythical and
Mundane Worlds.
Gloranthan religion and magic are basic to existence, and accepted by everyone. The gods are acknowledged, experienced, and exert powerful influence upon the world. The most prevalent religious practice in Glorantha is polytheism  (Page 7)

In Glorantha, magic plays a decisive, even primary, role in warfare  (Page 8 )

Despite its similarities with the Bronze Age, Glorantha is very much a magical and fantastic world. (Page 11)

Magic isn't gravy and showing off.  Intertwined with religion and philosophy, it's part of life all the time.

That being said, arguing from the Runequest rules does have the problem that it's mainly oriented around the adventuring life.  Which is even more blatantly magical than normal life.

5 hours ago, radmonger said:

But is it the bronze age when there is a regularly scheduled Moonboat service from Glamour to Furthest? When Teelo Norri ships grains across the breadth of the empire to feed the poor of Pavis? Where Issaries teaches capitalism is magic, and Lhankhor Mhy runs lending libraries?

My Glorantha has a bronze age material culture, which is little modified by spirit magic. But, specifically,  rune cults and wizards are load-bearing element of the social system. Them existing makes society different from what it would be if they didn't.

Of course, within a generation, all that will destroyed by Argrath, unless the player characters organize to stop him.

Yeah, exactly.  

5 hours ago, Squaredeal Sten said:

Actually there are considerable overlap between our Gloranthas. Mine just defaults to bronze age as background.

But as far as Bless Crops, the official material does not specify when it has to be applied.  I know at least one person thinks it has to be early, which would tend to limit its use. 

My own imagination runs differently: The great productivity of Gloranthan agriculture can only be attributed to plentiful application of magic.  And what are the weekly Ernalda holy days for?  They are so the Earth initiates and priestesses can do that magic, not to one field a year but to many fields, orchards etc..  In addition to pregnancy magic as you have noted.  And Heal Body so Chaos raids won't depopulate the village.

Naturally it is better to have your own field blessed first, because if drought or insects get te seedlings before the restless comes that's too bad.

Given you don't actually roll until harvest time, given how the rules for it work, it seems to me like you could apply it at any point, within the rules of the game.

 

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14 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Where's the harvest spell? How many player characters use it every year? The Grain Goddesses teach Bless Crops and Barntar teaches Plow for the sowing but does Ernalda support her own unrecorded version of Food Song on the other end of the cycle?

Of course mechanically it could also come under the Farm skill, like how it does for butchery and Peaceful Cut, or how Alchemy similarly can cover magic-but-simple-kinds. 

Magic doesn't need to mean spells, although they often go together, and in some rulesets, I believe Peaceful Cut was a spirit/battlemagic spell. Potentially in some rules variants you could have a Harvest spell similar to that, or Food Song. 

 

Of course, when it comes to Crafters, guilds, and faith, certainly IMG I think spirit cults will also be remarkably popular as options, sometimes as "mere" intercessors between them and other gods. One place's cult/guild of potters might worship the local nymph of the clay pits and pray to her for aid in making their region-famous jars. 

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14 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Where's the harvest spell? How many player characters use it every year? The Grain Goddesses teach Bless Crops and Barntar teaches Plow for the sowing but does Ernalda support her own unrecorded version of Food Song on the other end of the cycle?

 

Harvesting the crops, once they have grown, is just hard work. The only magic actually required is that which maintains a community of people willing to do that together. Though if your scythe is a bit sharper on that last long stretch before lunch, that is no bad thing.

Having the crops survive the vulnerable period before they are harvested is where capitalised Magic comes in handy. Cloud Call and Clear Skies are the remedies for different threats to the crops; a community will want to have both available.

 

 

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12 hours ago, radmonger said:

There is a risk of looking at Glorantha from Earth and saying that the only interesting things are the parts that are different. If you were Edward Said, you could call that Gloranticism. 

Exactly!

And it doesn’t just apply to cultural differences. It is the same mindset that thinks that a tyrannosaurus rex is more interesting than a jackdaw. Taller mountains! Bigger explosions! And where does that get us? Nowhere.

(I am not saying, of course, that invented strange things are less interesting than real familiar things just in virtue of being different, but they do tend to be thinner.)

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20 hours ago, scott-martin said:

Where's the harvest spell? How many player characters use it every year? The Grain Goddesses teach Bless Crops and Barntar teaches Plow for the sowing but does Ernalda support her own unrecorded version of Food Song on the other end of the cycle?

I feel like the "Grain Goddesses" probably do teach their own unarticulated version of Food Song, or many such versions, for properly preparing food for consumption. I go back and forth on whether they or Babeester Gor teach the Food Song that stabilizes food for long-term storage. Soaking acorns to make them edible, properly shucking maize ears, tapping rice off of a wild rice plant (though perhaps it's Shargash/Tolat who shows you that specific rhythm), knowing what proportions of wheat to barley to use for what type of flour, and what kinds of either... all of that is, in its own way, arcane knowledge if you're not in a community where it's done regularly. Just look at the question of whether to wash rice or not! 

Is this something that's interestingly gameable? Well... yes, I think so, I've contemplated basic scenarios where it would be relevant, (Ernalda priestess attempts to raise rice for Lunars caught in Handra by the Dragonrise, for one) but it's also better to keep in the background for the kind of play most people are interested in. 

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

"I just read an article in The Economist by a guy who was riding around with the Sartar rebels, I mean Taliban," -Greg Stafford, January 7th, 2010

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3 hours ago, Eff said:

I feel like the "Grain Goddesses" probably do teach their own unarticulated version of Food Song, or many such versions, for properly preparing food for consumption. I go back and forth on whether they or Babeester Gor teach the Food Song that stabilizes food for long-term storage. Soaking acorns to make them edible, properly

Why would Babeester Gor, who is focused on stacking corpses, teach the Food Song?

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