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Mark Mohrfield

Non-humans in HeroQuest: Glorantha

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8 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Marsh...marsh..goddamit

I'd offer the insulting suggestion "spellcheck is your friend" ('cos random internet insults, yo) but it's clear that -- in fact -- spellcheck is your enemy.

;)

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Just noting in this thread that, as was pointed out in the Guide read through, that Kygor Litor trolls and Aldryami shamans do not normally visit the spirit world, but instead the underworld. Also, both are described (in Gods of Glorantha) as being very limited in their ability to bind spirits to their fetch - KL shamans can bind only Darkness spirits, and Aldrya shamans only plant spirits (though both have access to a decent range of thesis magic too). 

It makes sense to, therefore, that their shamanic magic is via the Plant or Darkness Rune, not the Spirit Rune. Which of course is quite an advantage, as they also use that Rune for other magical purposes. 

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On 27/08/2017 at 2:51 AM, davecake said:

 Also, both are described (in Gods of Glorantha) as being very limited in their ability to bind spirits to their fetch - KL shamans can bind only Darkness spirits, and Aldrya shamans only plant spirits 

I don't think that's much of a limitation in practice though as there can be a huge variety of both darkness and plant spirits. In RQ3 terms there were darkness and plant spirits of all the 'generic' spirit types such as Intelect Spirits, Power Spirits, etc. The kinds of places Troll and Aldryami shamans hang out would have plenty of spirits they could work with. In principle a Human Shaman might have more options, but I think in practice cultural factors such as the spirit societies available would be just as limiting.

Simon Hibbs

Edited by simonh

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24 minutes ago, simonh said:

I don't think that's much of a limitation in practice though as there can be a huge variety of both darkness and plant spirits. In RQ3 terms there were darkness and plant spirits of all the 'generic' spirit types such as Intelect Spirits, Power Spirits, etc. The kinds of places Troll and Aldryami shamans hang out would have plenty of spirits they could work with. In principle a Human Shaman might have more options, but I think in practice cultural factors such as the spirit societies available would be just as limiting.

I think it is a limitation, as these shamans won't be able to capture enemy non-plant or non-darkness spirits easily. I agree that potentially friendly spirits will be abundant in their home turf.

 

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The limit about spirit types makes a different depending on how the game works - I think in games with a rich and interesting spirit menagerie it is a bigger limit. 

Look at the Kolat writeup in the Sartar companion as an example for HeroQuest. In the main Kolat tradition there are 6 types of spirits, only 3 of which are air spirits - but if you look at the range of spirits they have access to via other spirit societies, its much more of an issue - there are 6 in the Chalk man, 4 in Oakfed, 2 in night listener, a wide range in Serkos, multiple different three bow spirits (5 different abilities I think), and none of those additional spirit societies are air spirits. So the shaman has a far, far wider range of options because they are not restricted to air spirits. 

the other thing is, spirits encountered and defeated in play can usually then by bound to the fetch and then used again later in play, and this option is not usually open to them. 

that said, yes, there are a wide range of darkness and plant spirits - its a real limitation, but not a crippling one. 

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8 hours ago, simonh said:

I don't think that's much of a limitation in practice though as there can be a huge variety of both darkness and plant spirits.

I agree. If it were limiting, elf and troll shamanism would have likely died out as a practice. In game terms there would be no limit. HeroQuest Glorantha would expect most of the plant spirits to be tied to the plant rune, however a shaman of elf and troll traditions would have access to a massive range of runes from the spirit societies in the pantheon. The plant rune is a form as is the spirit rune. As long as the origin of the spirit was plant based there would be no problem. There will always be specialist societies that deal with the unusual runes. e.g. illusion spirits from hallucinogenic pollen spirits, mastery spirits from High King Elf, etc. RQG will likely work the same.

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i think that what isn't being taken into account in this comparison is that sure, elf and troll shamans are limited in their animist abilities compared to other shamans, but they are also both part of traditions that also have plenty of access to theist magic, which rather evens things out - neither tradition is in any danger of 'dieing out'. 

i totally disagree that there are no limits in game terms though, i just think those limits are compensated for in other ways. There are plenty of limits. Trolls have no access to other elemental spirits  - that can be a significant limit. You have have no access to most possible captured or foreign spirits - your ability to suborn your enemies spirits, make unusual alliances, etc is quite limited. You are quite limited in your ability to learn new traditions if you travel and need to deal with spirits from an unfamiliar landscape. And being limited in the ability to access the spirit world can also be a real limit. 

but yes, being limited to a single rune is a limit, but not a massive one. In particular, trolls are creatures of darkness, so 'darkness spirits' includes ancestral trolls (and while i haven't heard of ancestor worship among the Aldryami, the same presumably applies. And yes, there will be Aldrya spirits that have the plant form rune but give access to unusual abilities through it. And so on. 

And to be honest, I very sincerely hope David is wrong about RQG - because if the 'spirit menagerie' of spirit types in the game is so limited and undifferentiated that it really makes no difference, then that does not bode well for HQG animism in general. I am hoping that RQG will not aim to be 'RQ2/3 shamanism improved', but something more like trying to implement the rich variety of spirits we see in the Sarter koH Kolat writeup, which currently is my inspiration for how to do gloranthan shamanism right. 

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i took a crack at how the Aldrya cult would work under HQG rules. 

One thing that quickly became obvious to me - most of the Aldrya magic that clearly fitted under the Plant rune was 'a thing that you have', and so was most readily represented in the HQG as a charm. Plant spy is a special plant whose sense you can use, tangle thicket is a special seed that grows into a thicket, a war tree is, well, a large tree that comes alive. Arrow trance, according to the spell description, works by melding your consciousness with your elf bow. 

So, how do people feel about the idea that all Aldrya magic under the Plant rune takes the form of a Charm, making Aldrya a mostly animist religion? This certainly clarifies the role of shamans. 

And i would still be treating magic cast through the Earth or Life runes as affiniities eg theist. Earth magic mostly deals with earth elementals, enchants copper, absorbing magic, etc. Life mostly deals with healing, gives then their resurrection spell, etc. 

Exactly where their camouflage and silence sphere spells fit in here is a good question. Possibly as effects usable  by a select few who can use the Plant rune as an affinity? 

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5 hours ago, davecake said:

i took a crack at how the Aldrya cult would work under HQG rules. 

<snip>

I like it! Consider it nicked!

SDLeary

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