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The Magic Book


tooley1chris

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So awhile back I ordered this to add some new casting systems and possibly pizazz to my MW game. I'm flipping pages and digging what I'm reading, then get to divine magic and the priests who use it. This system doesn't call for PP to cast spells but requires a priest to sacrifice a permanent point of POW to learn the spell. I'm thinking "That's different but kinda neat."

Then a little further on I read some spells are not reusable and cost an additional sacrafice of POW to relearn. OUCH. 

OK. They ARE pretty potent spells, like Resurrection, so I guess I can sorta see that. But THEN I read that once you cast even a "reusable" spell, the priest must return to his temple and study/pray for an entire day per PP of the spell to relearn it. All of the sudden the priest is totally useless as a character who EVER leaves the temple. 

Am I missing something? I'm hoping someone who uses this can explain it in terms a simpleton  (like me) can understand or maybe some insight from the author? (Mr Stafford, I see your name on the cover... :)  )

Edited by tooley1chris
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The Magic Book is basically the RuneQuest 3rd edition magic book with anything Gloranthan removed or made generic. A lot of campaigns basically didn't follow that exact rule (mine didn't). We just played it where you got them back if you were taking a substantial break, and were close enough to a temple to get to one. I suppose it all depends on how you want to play it. I always thought that one day per point was a bit much, since we had rune priests with 10-15 points of re-usable rune spells. Comparatively, in 2nd Edition D&D the rule to relearn spells was 15 minutes per point of spell. A 15th level Magic User would have 28 points of spells. Assuming an 8 hour day, they could "read up" on all their spells in a single day.

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Rick Meints - Chaosium, Inc.

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The idea was simple really. Priests, of all stripes, are supposed to be managing their flocks not galavanting around the landscape killing and pillaging. For a god, it's more important for the temples to be properly cared for and the worshippers led in prayer then a priest to be chasing glory. That's what RuneLords are for.  Praying for a day per pt. of expended RuneMagic is, in my mind, reasonable considering the amount of divine power spent to power those miracles.  It's best to think of Rune/Divine Magic as directed miracles then just a source of codified power. That's sorcery.

 

If it takes more than 5 minutes to understand, it's not basic.

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43 minutes ago, charlesvajr said:

The idea was simple really. Priests, of all stripes, are supposed to be managing their flocks not galavanting around the landscape killing and pillaging. For a god, it's more important for the temples to be properly cared for and the worshippers led in prayer then a priest to be chasing glory. That's what RuneLords are for.  Praying for a day per pt. of expended RuneMagic is, in my mind, reasonable considering the amount of divine power spent to power those miracles.  It's best to think of Rune/Divine Magic as directed miracles then just a source of codified power. That's sorcery.

This. 

And if you think this is restrictive, just wait till you get to Sorcery!! :D

The idea really was the Priest in his Holy Place, and the Sorcerer in the Tower stereotypes.

SDLeary

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44 minutes ago, charlesvajr said:

The idea was simple really. Priests, of all stripes, are supposed to be managing their flocks not galavanting around the landscape killing and pillaging. For a god, it's more important for the temples to be properly cared for and the worshippers led in prayer then a priest to be chasing glory. That's what RuneLords are for.  Praying for a day per pt. of expended RuneMagic is, in my mind, reasonable considering the amount of divine power spent to power those miracles.  It's best to think of Rune/Divine Magic as directed miracles then just a source of codified power. That's sorcery.

 

That version of Divine Magic is one of the reasons I contemplated doing my own game. I do understand your point and its a valid one, but I think the system suffers from a certain incoherent approach as if those making it were not exactly sure how they wanted to do it. (Which happens in many games). Also I really have found Divine Magic powerful enough to jump through those hoops, with a few exceptions of course.

Its 2300hrs, do you know where your super dreadnoughts are?

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Priests were also responsible for converting others to their faith. Spreading the faith by acts of charity. Converting heathens. Spreading their religion to other areas. Missionaries.

These are good rules for a priest as Charlesvajr defines it, perhaps an NPC? But the other systems listed in the book are much more flexible leading the reader to believe, perhaps falsly, that the book was designed with PLAYERS in mind and not NPCs.

"Divine Magic users believe in the existence of great powers, personalities, and archetypes which dominate the world. Through the agency of an entity, energies are drawn from the god plane and placed in the hands of priests and priestesses. "

That's a "source of codified power" that is granted through the deity, not through a temple.

OK. So I was understanding it correctly. That was my concern. I apologize for my lack of familiarity with RuneQuest or Glorantha. You really threw me with the RuneLords reference. :) But tell me:

In Magic World POW is gained through successful contests and then experience gain rolls at the end of a chapter/adventure/ect...

Is POW(not Power Points) gained quicker in RuneQuest? Seems a priest would burn through quite a bit in a short time.

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It's worth remembering that a lot of early more interested in modelling a fictional reality than making reality bend to what works best for a group of adventuring PCs. Glorantha existed before Runequest, so I expect that it works that way because that is the way that Greg saw Glorantha working. Fortunately, Your Glorantha May Vary.

If you want a middle ground, Runequest 6 completely does away with burning Power points in Theism, its equivalent of Divine Magic. It does require priests to go to sacred ground to charge up, but it also has optional rules for being able to set up shrines on the go. 

34 minutes ago, tooley1chris said:

"Divine Magic users believe in the existence of great powers, personalities, and archetypes which dominate the world. Through the agency of an entity, energies are drawn from the god plane and placed in the hands of priests and priestesses. "

That's a "source of codified power" that is granted through the deity, not through a temple.

You could argue it either way. The temple can be seen as a necessary part of the ritual to channel that power from the god plane. 

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4 hours ago, tooley1chris said:

Is POW(not Power Points) gained quicker in RuneQuest? Seems a priest would burn through quite a bit in a short time.

in RQ2, priests gain POW the same way than others with an experience roll but with a +20% bonus ([25-POW]x5% instead of [21-POW]x5%). I don't know how it is in RQ3. You can see rune spells as powerfull wild cards in the hand of a priest, who does not unconcernedly deplete them and who anyway knows a lot of additonal standard magic spells. Well, in RQ2 at least.

But I'd also be more flexible with regaining them. A couple of days in a temple or a local shrine could be enough to get all them back again, without computing days and points.

Wind on the Steppes, role playing among the steppe Nomads. The  running campaign and the blog

 

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5 hours ago, tooley1chris said:

OK. So I was understanding it correctly. That was my concern. I apologize for my lack of familiarity with RuneQuest or Glorantha. You really threw me with the RuneLords reference. :) But tell me:

In Magic World POW is gained through successful contests and then experience gain rolls at the end of a chapter/adventure/ect...

Is POW(not Power Points) gained quicker in RuneQuest? Seems a priest would burn through quite a bit in a short time.

Chris, you're basically reliving the RQ3-based discussions on the RQ Daily some 20+ years ago. Lots of amends were suggested to get the priest out of his temple at least part of the time. I'll suggest a couple of those time-tested amendments:

While the priest (or advanced other Divine Magic User) has to stay a full day in the temple, performing a series of rites at the right time at the right shrines, there is lots of other time during which he will do the priest's other jobs.

Participating in high holy day sermons will regain a point of reusable divine/rune magic for any cult member. Leading a holy day service will give your priest a POW gain roll (and enough time to regain a point of that magic). Holding services with a sufficiently large audience (all of whom channel magic to the god through the service of the priest) will do so outside of holy days, too.

Performing the Spell Teaching requires the priest to overcome the spell spirit's MP to initiate spirit combat with the supplicant - POW gain roll opportunity.

There is a "down side" here, too - assume that a lot of that divine magic is cast on behalf of the cult, in the temple, not for personal gain. It is nice that the priest can shave off the spell regaining from his cult obligation time (which may have been 60 or 90% of his available time IIRC).

 

And while I am expounding on the RQ3 improvement discussions of those years, let me introduce you to the concept of a pool of divine magic points that can be applied to any spell the priest has sacrificed POW for.

 

But you are right - successful POW gain rolls were rare in my RQ3 campaign. Probably because we didn't use that much offensive magic where you had to overcome a target's magic points.

Edited by Joerg
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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

Chris, you're basically reliving the RQ3-based discussions on the RQ Daily some 20+ years ago.

What Joerg said.

All the observations you made are founded, and you would rarely find a campaign where some parts of Divine Magic were not houseruled. The point is that when everyone (or almost everyone) feels the urge to houserule a particular aspect of a rule, I call that rule broken. This is my personal definition, of course, and someone might still like that rule, but the fact that the majority of players finds that it detracts from MGF instead of adding is a big hint that the rule needs changing.

I suggest that you adopt one of the approaches Rick or Joerg suggested if you want to play RQ3 Divine Magic in your game. If you play the rules as written you will find yourself creating your own houserules, sooner or later, so better save you the pain and go directly for the gain by adopting a solution already experimented by someone who has hundred of RQ2/3 gaming hours in his resume. Unfortunately there is no "Official" alternate ruleset for this nor any errata, as the more viable RQ4 ruleset was never published and the subsequent iteration of the rules (MRQ1) already had a different approach.

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As alway, this community has the answers. Its nice having a think tank of generous people who have played these rules since the 70s/80s. Thanks for your input! 

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Personally I always prefered a method of gaining "Divine Influence". Like Elan in the old Stormbringer game. It's where, as you do things, you gain divine favor or disfavor for that particular deity and can trade these for uses of formulaic magic similar to Rune Magic (Divine).  My players acted in ways they normally wouldn't just to gain that divine favor and it really added a bit of spice to our games. 

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If it takes more than 5 minutes to understand, it's not basic.

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I always liked the POW burning with Divine Magic, made it seem much more the providence of a god that you were asking to use. In addition, I don't ever remember a Priestly character that did not have a good chunk of Spirit/Battle magic to support them in day to day activities; reserving their Divine stuff for those really important occasions. Also, in the games I can remember, adventuring when we had a full priest (as opposed to those that were trying to meet requirements to become one) was local (Pavis, Britain, Rome), so getting back to ones temple, or a temple took a bit of travel time, but wasn't outrageously difficult. 

The only campaign that I played where a Priest would have been seriously out of their element was one that ranged into Pamaltela; though magical support slack was taken up by a Shaman and a Wizard (and sometimes two). My characters did go for long long stretches without Divine magic.

SDLeary 

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I can't help but notice that we are discussing a RuneQuest mechanic under a BRP topic. That's the beauty of the underlying mechanics. RQ was where it started, and even though the "Magic Book" is a BRP title this a RuneQuest book, and a RuneQuest discussion. I say that with all respect.

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Hope that Helps,
Rick Meints - Chaosium, Inc.

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Well in its most recent published form, The Magic Book is a BRP product, but in its previous published form it was the Magic Chapter of RuneQuest 3rd edition, so take your pick where it belongs. But its game mechanics are certainly RQ3.

By the time this book was republished as a BRP book it had already been surpassed in many ways by the more recent magic systems in BGB, MW, MRQ, MRQ2, Legend, and RQ6. I understand it was historically good, and I could see why it was put into monograph form, but when it was brought back as a printed book it was an unusual thing to do from my point of view. A reprint of the entire RQ3 would have caught my eye out of nostalgia, but this book by itself didn't float the boat

So not sure where you discuss this one mate, but I almost guarantee that the Divine Magic rules will need to be house ruled in some fashion to meet your troupe's style of play; its almost a given. 

For what its worth, I incorporated the Allegiance rules from Stormbringer (which are now in the BGB). Many people did something like this, it was pretty much the next step to do.

I used Allegiance to represent Faith to a particular deity, and allowed for a daily recharge based on that, but only after a period of contemplation, prayer, appeasement, etc ( approx an hour or so). The amount recharged depended upon the location. If in a mundane location, for every 20% of Faith I allowed 1 POW of Divine Magic recharge. This rate was more potent on holy ground, so for every 10% of Faith you regained 1 POW in a Shrine or sanctified ground; 2 POW in a Small Temple; 3 POW in a Medium Temple; and 4 POW in a Large Temple, etc. Any 'excess' points regained I allowed to be put into items as blessings, so these items were one-use magic items so to speak. I even allowed Priests to bless others with these excess points, which allowed them to have a less potent version of the spell at one-use (half POW spent on blessing). It worked okay for our troupe from memory. 

Most RQ3 GMs came up with some kind of quick fix in order to make RQ3 Divine Magic more playable.

Edited by Mankcam
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" Sure it's fun, but it is also well known that a D20 roll and an AC is no match against a hefty swing of a D100% and a D20 Hit Location Table!"

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8 hours ago, Rick Meints said:

I can't help but notice that we are discussing a RuneQuest mechanic under a BRP topic. That's the beauty of the underlying mechanics. RQ was where it started, and even though the "Magic Book" is a BRP title this a RuneQuest book, and a RuneQuest discussion. I say that with all respect.

Mr. President,

RuneQuest is the mother of all BRP. No doubt about that. RQ was a rules design masterpiece. Full stop.

Now, a great mechanic that I'd love to see back in future incarnations of RQ is the experience system based on skill use (or characteristic stress). It was and is brilliant.

I'd love to see a version of it in RQ Glorantha. At least as an optional rule.

It was great to tick all those boxes on the character sheet!

;)

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Gaming in Glorantha, I didn't mod the system but made additions to it. Using RQ in non-Gloranthan backgrounds left open the differences in approach. Consider, since RQ was originally written to be tied to Glorantha with WOW/BRP as the generic gaming system.

If it takes more than 5 minutes to understand, it's not basic.

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7 hours ago, smiorgan said:

Now, a great mechanic that I'd love to see back in future incarnations of RQ is the experience system based on skill use (or characteristic stress). It was and is brilliant.

Yeah, it's always been one of the defining elements of BRP for me... so I'll just keep on using it.

 

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