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Folk Magic!


Alex Greene

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Just read Folk Magic in the Core Rulebook. Best implementation of the discipline I have ever seen!

I love the picture of Anathaym on p. 124. If that isn't taking pride in casting a cherished spell, I don't know what is.

I just get a warm feeling from just reading that whole section.

Edited by Alex Greene

Author of Fioracitta for Mythras and the 2d6 SFRPG setting of Castrobancla.

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Folk magic is actually quite an important thing for my tastes, and I prefer to have ubiquitous magic. 

For me, Folk magic adds a similar impact to what Feats used to do in D&D (and are still essentially there in terms of Class effects). They just give an element of magic that adds colour to any character and helps make them fun to play. Big serious magics, like Sorcery and Theism all do impressive things, but folk magic allows ordinary folk who aren't spell casters by trade to do a little too. 

 

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2 hours ago, umbraldragon said:

As a relative newcomer to RQ6/Mythras I just took Folk Magic as is.  Magic for the common folk.  Doesn't make them warriors or spellcasters per say.  And maybe you only have one or two elders who know a few FM spells, but there is a usefulness to them. 

Well... if they can cast spells, that makes them "spellcasters."  IMHO/YMMV.

But it's an interesting dial to be able to tweak:  how many Folk Magic wielders are there, and how much can they cast?  1-2 people (with 1-2 spells each) in a small town of 1000?  Or half a dozen people (with 3-5 spells each; and a few of the spells unusually potent and/or high-POW) in a hamlet of 80?

 

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One of the best things that Mythras did to improve on Common Magic in MRQII / Legend was to eliminate the various spells that gave a flat bonus to skills. I understand the original intention of these spells, but in practice they resulted in a situation where adventurers wouldn't make any significant skill roll without buffing themselves first. The idea of using folk magic to improve the outcome of mundane skills is not a bad one, but the implementation was poor. I've fooled around with various ways of "fixing" this type of spell, but none of the solutions I've come up with have been entirely satisfactory. (One approach I considered was  allowing spellcasters to add the critical range for their Common Magic skill to the critical range of the target skill. Under this approach, Common Magic / Folk Magic doesn't improve your chances of success, but does boost your chances of an exceptional result if you DO succeed...)

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4 hours ago, umbraldragon said:

As a relative newcomer to RQ6/Mythras I just took Folk Magic as is.  Magic for the common folk.  Doesn't make them warriors or spellcasters per say.  And maybe you only have one or two elders who know a few FM spells, but there is a usefulness to them. 

Although some folk magic is indeed magic for the common folk - the kind of spells cast by hedge wizards and village wise women - it also includes spells taught by specific professions. Most artisan guilds will teach certain spells to members as they move up through the ranks. Some spells are closely guarded trade secrets only taught to insiders within a faction. Access to these secrets can an important benefit of membership in the faction. For example, I often restrict access to combat oriented spells such as bladesharp to members of specific mercenary companies or militaristic cults. I even refer to these spells as "battle magic" on occasion ?

As an aside, I also treat Folk Magic as the distant ancestor of Sorcery and Theism. In this approach, it dates back to a time before the higher forms of magic developed. In particular, it pre-dates the clear distinction between religion and "magic" in the instrumental sense. Under this scheme, folk magic is a remnant of an earlier stage of development when the categories weren't so clear-cut.

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I like to think of it as the first stirrings of Sorcery, in the same way as Astronomy comes from Astrology and Chemistry emerges from the ashes of Alchemy.

As much as they are seekers after power, sorcerers also quest after knowledge, understanding and wisdom. The sorcerous equivalents of historians and archaeologists look for clues to the origins of their arts in the oldest forms of early magic - and when they dig deeply enough, they find traces of Folk Magic in the arcane words they whisper and the gestures they make.

I like to think that when sorcerers cast sorcery at the lowest levels - default values for Range, Duration, targets, no Combined spells, Magnitude 1 and Intensity turned right down to 1, like a Glow spell at its lowest setting - they look uncomfortably like ordinary people casting Folk Magic. And the wisest sorcerers make a point of keeping a few Folk Magic spells on standby, It might give them an edge where everybody's looking for them to do something sorcerous and they need to surprise onlookers; and sometimes, using Folk Magic is a way of honouring the first faltering steps of those who went before.

Author of Fioracitta for Mythras and the 2d6 SFRPG setting of Castrobancla.

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