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Ufnal

Pentan religion

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So we know that the Pentans worship both gods and great spirits. But I can't seem to find nor figure out how it works in practice. Is it that some beings are treated as spirits and other as gods? Is it that some people practice spiritual and other theistic magic? Or is spirit and theistic worship mixed freely?

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Look at the example of Waha in HeroQuest: Glorantha.  He is a God yet provides both rune magic and spirits.  Ye Olde Hero Wars division between Gods and Great Spirits is gone and not coming back.  

 

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3 minutes ago, metcalph said:

... Ye Olde Hero Wars division between Gods and Great Spirits is gone and not coming back.  

... ???

Is it?  I am almost certain I noticed that division, reading GtG recently.  I'll have to try to remember where.  Of course, maybe I'm misremembering, and it was something from Some Random Website...   :-P

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1 minute ago, g33k said:

... ???

Is it?  I am almost certain I noticed that division, reading GtG recently.  I'll have to try to remember where.  Of course, maybe I'm misremembering, and it was something from Some Random Website...   :-P

Don't waste time with trying to remember where you saw it from.  Have a look at how HeroQuest: Glorantha handles it.

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55 minutes ago, Ufnal said:

So we know that the Pentans worship both gods and great spirits. But I can't seem to find nor figure out how it works in practice. Is it that some beings are treated as spirits and other as gods? Is it that some people practice spiritual and other theistic magic? Or is spirit and theistic worship mixed freely?

@metcalph is correct Waha in HeroQuest Glorantha is currently the best example of it. Within a Pantheon many gods may have a mixed aspect to themselves. There are very few pure spirit pantheons (if any) and likewise very few (if any) theistic pantheons. Most are mixed to some degree, but can of course have different proportions of each. Sorcery can also be added to the mix. In the Orlanth Pantheon, Lhankor Mhy introduces a sorcerous element and in the Praxian Pantheon, Waha has a tiny element. Likewise with Mysticism. As an example have a look at the Praxian Pantheon here:

Great three - Rune and spirit magic

First Friends, Many Friends and Hidden Paths - Spirit magic only

The Other Leaders - Most spirit magic only, but Yelorna, Rune and spirit magic and likely Monkey King and Baba Ulodra too.

Lightbringers - Rune Magic, except Orlanth who has some spirit magic in the Wastes.

The invaders - Rune Magic, except the Seven Mothers completely mixed.

Outsiders - Basmoli - Spirit magic only

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Thanks for the explanation! However, that still leaves me wondering - I always thought that the division between three types of magic is very much a different way of looking at the world. Does that mean that in current Glorantha those worldviews are getting mixed and treated as complimentary? How does it look from the perspective of a member of the culture? Is it that the beings that give rune magic are more beings  you are supposed to emulate, while those that give spirit magic only are the ones that teach about how to interact with the world/give powers (in form of spirits) but are not role models, so to say? 

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The more important distinction of looking at the world is through the lense of your culture. As an Orlanthi, this magic includes both spirit magic and divine magic, and a smattering of sorcery for the learned occupations (mainly through Lhankhor Mhy's alchemy). As a Praxian Beast Rider, your deities are the giants and the ancestral deities, and you perceive the world through the lense of the Covenant. As a Kralori, you have the choice between state-supported acceptable magics, traditional hedge magics from your "officially this never happened" hsunchen or Beast Rider ancestry, or antigod magics, with no distinction along any God Learner categories applying. As a Pelorian, you may continue one of your or more of your ancestors' traditions (which include Western sorcery for Pelanda even before the arrival of Syranthir's refugees from God Learner Fronela) or join the Lunar Way.

Only specialists in one type of magic should have real restrictions - no Shaman should be allowed to use sorcerous manipulation skills (Lunar ones are acceptable), and no adept sorcerer should be allowed to develop a fetch or become a rune lord (by any other means than discovering and wielding Balastor's Axe, an admittedly way too low entry criterion).

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5 minutes ago, Ufnal said:

Thanks for the explanation! However, that still leaves me wondering - I always thought that the division between three types of magic is very much a different way of looking at the world.

The best explanation is from the Guide.

Quote

The God Learners are the ones who organized
all Gloranthan magic into three dominant systems of
divine magic, spirit magic, and wizardry. These systems
were never as separate and neat as the God Learners’
theories concluded
 [...]

Guide to Glorantha: p135

Something that the Hero Wars rules never quite understood.

 

5 minutes ago, Ufnal said:

Does that mean that in current Glorantha those worldviews are getting mixed and treated as complimentary? 

The worldviews have always been mixed.  

 

5 minutes ago, Ufnal said:

 How does it look from the perspective of a member of the culture? Is it that the beings that give rune magic are more beings  you are supposed to emulate, while those that give spirit magic only are the ones that teach about how to interact with the world/give powers (in form of spirits) but are not role models, so to say?  

It depends on the Culture (and most really don't care for God Learner taxonomy).  Rune magics would be seen as the primal magic of the gods while spirit magics will be the followers that the God has sent to aid the followers.  Sometimes a culture may invert the value of magics - the Doraddi believe that having more spirits is better than having more rune magic. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Only specialists in one type of magic should have real restrictions - no Shaman should be allowed to use sorcerous manipulation skills

Not so.  I can think of quite a few shamans who can use sorcery (Mistress Race Trolls for example).  HeroQuest: Glorantha only states they may not use of such magics "unless that is part of your tradition".

3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

 and no adept sorcerer should be allowed to develop a fetch or become a rune lord (by any other means than discovering and wielding Balastor's Axe, an admittedly way too low entry criterion).

The Hrestoli and Arkati would disagree...

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1 minute ago, metcalph said:

The best explanation is from the Guide.

Something that the Hero Wars rules never quite understood.

Or rather that Greg was rather dogmatic about at the time, saying that softening the edges was reserved for the activities of the Hero Wars.

 

1 minute ago, metcalph said:

It depends on the Culture (and most really don't care for God Learner taxonomy).  Rune magics would be seen as the primal magic of the gods while spirit magics will be the followers that the God has sent to aid the followers.  Sometimes a culture may invert the value of magics - the Doraddi believe that having more spirits is better than having more rune magic. 

Basically, the source of Rune Magic matters more to e.g. Pelorians or Orlanthi than the magic system it derives from. Dragon magic is as terrible as Chaos, possibly more so to the descendants of the True Golden Horde warriors than to the descendants of Orlanthi refugees who avoided the Dragonkill, and not terrible at all to devout Kralori. Jagrekriand's (Tolat's, Shargash's) hell magic is way worse than Deloradella's (Kyger Litor's) hell magic.

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11 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Basically, the source of Rune Magic matters more to e.g. Pelorians or Orlanthi than the magic system it derives from. Dragon magic is as terrible as Chaos, possibly more so to the descendants of the True Golden Horde warriors than to the descendants of Orlanthi refugees who avoided the Dragonkill, and not terrible at all to devout Kralori. Jagrekriand's (Tolat's, Shargash's) hell magic is way worse than Deloradella's (Kyger Litor's) hell magic.

I really would avoid categorical statements about historical attitudes towards magic.  There is no statement that Dragon Magic is seen as terrible as Chaos.  There is a Fear of Dragons which is the same regardless of whether the human is Pelorian or Orlanthi which is not quite the same thing as an opinion about their magics.  And I don't see Jagrekriand being any worse than Kyger Litor for that matter.

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2 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Not so.  I can think of quite a few shamans who can use sorcery (Mistress Race Trolls for example).  HeroQuest: Glorantha only states they may not use of such magics "unless that is part of your tradition".

The RQ3 concept of the manipulation skills like Multispell, Duration and Range might better remain exempt from the grasp of someone who has developed a fetch. I don't mind non-adept (and non-apprentice) use of sorcery with intensity only even by shamans, and there are of course rare spell spirits for sorcery spells rather than spirit magic which eminently fall into the realm of shamanic abilities to learn.

 

2 minutes ago, metcalph said:

The Hrestoli and Arkati would disagree...

About _adept_ sorcerers becoming rune lords of theist deities? The New Idealist Hrestoli of Loskalm have their wizard-warriors who are supposed to maintain spiritually purity even in the face of the Kingdom of War (and few will be able to maintain it). Pre- or non-Gaiseron Hrestoli sorcerers are about controlling deities, not becoming them.

Arkat himself never was an adept sorcerer and only had the Man-of-All mastery of sorcery. That is a significant cut above other non-zzaburi Malkioni grasp of sorcery, but at best comparable to apprentice-level sorcery, so yes, here might be a loophole for shamans to get manipulation skills. But then their "magical organ" has already been altered and made mutable through Arkati illumination, much like the learning of Lunar magic manipulation technique requires illumination, too.

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1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Only specialists in one type of magic should have real restrictions - no Shaman should be allowed to use sorcerous manipulation skills (Lunar ones are acceptable), and no adept sorcerer should be allowed to develop a fetch or become a rune lord (by any other means than discovering and wielding Balastor's Axe, an admittedly way too low entry criterion).

As @metcalph said, that's not true for specialists. As Peter says HeroQuest: Glorantha only states they may not use of such magics "unless that is part of your tradition". This was a deliberate and accurate statement. Waha Khans can use spell spirits, there are Eiritha Priestesses at the Paps who know some of Pavis's healing sorcery,

The same statement applies to the other forms of magic and pantheons.

 

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16 hours ago, g33k said:

... ???

Is it?  I am almost certain I noticed that division, reading GtG recently.  I'll have to try to remember where.  Of course, maybe I'm misremembering, and it was something from Some Random Website...   :-P

It is in the Guide, under the description of the Spirit World (pg 160) so it's still canon.

From what can be seen in Sartar: Kingdom of Heroes, in the Cults of Sartar chapter (pgs 105-113) and later in rules and mechanics, the difference comes down to two things. The way you worship them, and the magic they grant.

The magic is the easiest way to view things: deities grant rune magic (e.g. Humakt, Elmal, Heler), while great spirits have ranks of spirits following them who shamans and medicine men put into charms. (eg. Kolat and Telmor)

Equally, the method of worship seems important. While deities are usually sacrificed to, spirits are worshipped using ecstatic adoration (A form of mass celebration involving trance inducing methods.)

Those beings who grant both forms of magic (In SKoH: Odayla and Urox/Storm Bull) are worshipped in both methods.

Of course, even in that book there are outliers. There's non-ecstatic adoration which is used by the Seven Mothers, Red Goddess, Flamal, and Chalanna Arroy.) And then there's Yelmalio, who's listed as a spirit, but grants rune magic, and only accepts sacrifice. And I've never seen him being referred to as a spirit elsewhere.

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3 hours ago, David Scott said:

As @metcalph said, that's not true for specialists. As Peter says HeroQuest: Glorantha only states they may not use of such magics "unless that is part of your tradition". This was a deliberate and accurate statement. Waha Khans can use spell spirits, there are Eiritha Priestesses at the Paps who know some of Pavis's healing sorcery,

The same statement applies to the other forms of magic and pantheons.

 

Are those Eiritha priestesses adepts, or do they use sorcerous manipulation skills (other than Intensity) like they are known by Hrestoli Men of All or apprentice sorcerers? I don't think so.

And I did not consider Waha Khans magical specialists, nor did I suggest that Rune Lords should be forbidden to use spirit magic from whichever source (unless taboo) or even sorcery spells with Intensity (irrelevant for HQ, but possibly relevant for RQG, and definitely relevant for RQ3 or the AIG playtest rules under which I ran a campaign). Possibly even with manipulations like Range or Duration if they aren't among the lucky ones who have 1D10 DI and hence an extraordinary closeness to their deity.

Does the Pavis cult have adept sorcerers? I don't think so. Could it have some? Sure, why not, if an immigrant adept sorcerer feels it worth it to go against his philosophy and join that cult. Even though Pavis provides a grimoire, his cult is still structured like a theist cult, and City Harmony should still be on the table as a divine spell aka Rune Magic.

Does the Eiritha Cult have sorcerers, even just apprentice sorcerers specializing in general sorcery? I sincerely doubt it.

 

Other pantheons...

Lhankor Mhy: initiates (cult rank: apprentice) and sages may have sorcery, spirit magic and divine magic. Lay members may have anything, and might be eligible to training in sorcery if they belong to an affiliated guild.

Orlanth or Ernalda cultists can and will know sorcery if they are in appropriate guilds. They won't become apprentice sorcerers or learn advanced techniques.

Non-Lunar Yelmies or Lodrili may have the same amount of sorcery. Illuminated Lunar Yelmies like Tatius are beyond any reason and might become tentacled chaotic adept sorcerer shamans who still sit at the top of a ziggurat and embody Yelm's justice with their every whim.

 

Traditions and cults change upon contact with new concepts, and may adopt gifted or conquered magics. The change might require a lower case cult hero or two, but it can and will happen. Grimoires may be expanded by heroic effort, too.

Adept sorcerers should be unable to devote to deities regardless whether they provide access to grimoires or not. Shaman devotees to deities better had be demigods in their own right, like Mistress Race uz. Same (btw) to Runepriest Lords of deities like Yelm or Orlanth with distinct cults for either. Any normal mortal cannot fulfil the time requirements, although demigods and heroes able to express multiple incarnations at a time just might.

HQG p.137 states:

Quote

As a shaman, you do not need to renounce magic from divine or sorcerous sources, or from other traditions, but you can’t make use of them while you remain a shaman unless that is part of your tradition.

It doesn't seem to allow acquiring these magics through active pursuit of an apprenticeship.

 

It should be possible to worship both Orlanth or Ernalda and Kyger Litor. It shouldn't be possible to worship both Shargash and Orlanth without illumination, and even with it it should be next to impossible, even though the magic systems are compatible.

I still maintain that even an Arkati or Kralori adept sorcerer cannot have more than an initiate relationship with an appropriate deity of their own pantheon, let alone some other deity. The other way around may be a bit trickyer - there might be ways to attune a grimoire within your religion even if you have developed a fetch or become a devotee. It isn't clear whether there are higher arts to sorcery that can only be learned through attunement to the teacher, as suggested by the RQ3 rules (which had the requirement of the apprentice to establish a link to the master's familiar in order to learn the higher manipulation skills).

HQG makes it "a significant plot obstacle" without giving any suggestions how sorcerous orders would design them. This is vague beyond what is acceptable for RQG. Some form of POW transfer might be involved, as is typical for creating a permanent magical bond (and that's a Gloranthan reality, whether you expend POW or hero points or whichever other such currency a game system might provide).

 

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2 hours ago, Joerg said:

 

 

It should be possible to worship both Orlanth or Ernalda and Kyger Litor. It shouldn't be possible to worship both Shargash and Orlanth without illumination, and even with it it should be next to impossible, even though the magic systems are compatible.

 

This is of course what Hachrat Blowhard is (Orlanth + KL). Shargash / Jagrekriand is an ancient enemy, whereas KL was merely a rival (I suspect the Kitori describe Darkness Woman and Orlanth as lovers in a different spin on the "theft of the Darkness Sandles" story).

Edited by jeffjerwin
typo...
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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Are...

You seem to be conflating the broad understanding of Gloranthan magic with the rules of RQ3, HeroQuest, HQG and RQG. I'm just saying that magical specialists can have access to other magics if already part of their pantheon/tradition/school (order).

Under HQ/RQG Pavis is a school of sorcery, there's a box about it on page 367 of Pavis GtA called "Isn’t this a Wizardry School under the HeroQuest Rules?"

It's about accessing the other form of magics, not pursuing it. Pursuing them is a great game hook and the stuff of adventures.

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4 hours ago, Joerg said:

Any normal mortal cannot fulfil the time requirements, although demigods and heroes able to express multiple incarnations at a time just might.

This is a concept that I've had issues with, and maybe it deserves its own thread.  It's presented as a game rule, but in 'reality' it should be governed by the cult itself.  For instance, I'd expect a cult to waive such time restrictions for a Hero type in that they're nearly always providing great benefit to their cult otherwise.

Edited by Yelm's Light
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26 minutes ago, Yelm's Light said:

It's presented as a game rule, but in 'reality' it should be governed by the cult itself.  For instance, I'd expect a cult to waive such time restrictions for a Hero type in that they're nearly always providing great benefit to their cult otherwise.

At this level, the Hero is the cult - a Hero Cult of their cult. The obvious question is then who is in charge of the cult at this point - likely the hero or if not advisers to the Hero are the High Priests, but more than likely the Hero is. Obvious examples of this are Jar-eel and Argrath. Lesser examples will be the PCs.

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There's lots of really neat technical detail in the topic, but I still find it interesting how those different types of magic and worship interact.

 

For instance, Tindalos says that it's still true that the types of magic are different and the types of worship, too. AFAIK it's still also true that a spell is something you know, a charm is something you have and a rune affiliation is something you are, if I recall the old phrase correctly. 

 

If that's the case then, in my very noobish opinion, there's some very interesting cultural stuff to be done. To show some examples, using Pentmaniac's exceptional Pent blog:

  • A Hyaloring chieftain belonging to the Path of Fire tradition will probably worship Kargzant both in a theistic way and in a spiritual way. But if you think about what different types of magic represent, do you think it'd be proper to say that the power of his spirit magic reflects how much favour he has received from Kargzant the Imperial Sun and his Spirit Herd/how good he is at aquiring the favour of Kargzant's spirits, while his rune magic reflects how closely he imitates and reflects Kargzant's example and holy light? Therefore, a chieftain powerful in rune/theistic magic would be seen as valorous and virtuous, one powerful in spirit magic - as blessed or loved by the Imperial Sun?
  • Would receiving theistic magic from beings in the Path of Hell Tradition be more frowned upon than receiving spirit magic? After all, the charms reflect who you pay homage to, bargain with, receive gifts from - but runic magic reflects your core self and who or what you emulate to receive your powers...
  • Would a being that gives mainly runic and little to no spiritual magic be seen by Pentans as one that demands more personal connection to itself? As miserly or poor, seeing as it gives away little powers to its supplicants? As a loner, not surrounded by a host of lesser spirits? 

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On ‎1‎/‎6‎/‎2018 at 3:49 PM, Ufnal said:

So we know that the Pentans worship both gods and great spirits. But I can't seem to find nor figure out how it works in practice. Is it that some beings are treated as spirits and other as gods? Is it that some people practice spiritual and other theistic magic? Or is spirit and theistic worship mixed freely?

The areas where I see different approaches come into play are:

  • How you worship (i.e. how do you get into contact with your gods/spirits)
  • How you perceive the Otherworld as you approach them
  • How you obtain magic from them once you've approached them

In a theistic practice, you prepare the holy ground, you pray, you conduct the worship service, you make sacrifices.  This brings the Otherworld of the gods close.  In an Ernalda service you may find yourself in Ernalda's Loom House, or in one of her Deep Caves.  In an Orlanth service you find yourself flying to Karulinoran, spiraling in through the Storm Mountains.  You have come to the abode of your god.

In a shamanic practice, the shaman stakes out the Sacred Circle and then your ecstatic dances, perhaps your drug-induced state, allows the Otherworld to overlap.  But here you perceive yourself in the Spirit Plane.  You must follow the shaman as she/he guides you through the shifting and dangerous realm to approach the great spirit you seek.  Perhaps that is the Green Serpent Mother coiled in her cave.  Perhaps it is West King Wind amidst the mighty gale force winds.

In a sorcerous practice, you follow the formulae of your grimoire.  It's a step-by-step approach of marking runes, defining borders, invoking runic powers, forcing the Otherworld to bend to your will until you can command the demon you have called forth to reveal its secrets.

The initial step is different.  The approach seems very different.  But the place you've reached in either route may be coterminous, though you may never realize/recognize that they are.  

Once you're in the locale of your deity/great spirit, you can obtain magic.  To gain magic to Call the Clouds, either Orlanth or West King Wind may require you to sacrifice a piece of your soul/spirit so that you can become or channel him in the mundane world.  To gain magic to Sharpen your Blade, you may simply need to bargain with the being to reveal the focus required and whatever gestures needed to invoke the magic.

From a Pentan point-of-view, 

1 hour ago, Ufnal said:

A Hyaloring chieftain belonging to the Path of Fire tradition will probably worship Kargzant both in a theistic way and in a spiritual way. But if you think about what different types of magic represent, do you think it'd be proper to say that the power of his spirit magic reflects how much favour he has received from Kargzant the Imperial Sun and his Spirit Herd/how good he is at aquiring the favour of Kargzant's spirits, while his rune magic reflects how closely he imitates and reflects Kargzant's example and holy light? Therefore, a chieftain powerful in rune/theistic magic would be seen as valorous and virtuous, one powerful in spirit magic - as blessed or loved by the Imperial Sun?

No, I think the chieftain knows that there is one way to reach Kargzant:  he must follow the Path of Fire.  Maybe this establishes a walkway of fiery embers that run east-west that he must pass along while the initiates (the herd) dance along both sides.  Maybe he must sacrifice a stallion in the east and step in its blood so that he can walk upon the embers successfully.  As he walks west, he finds himself transported onto Kargzant's path.  He must time his action so that he meets Kargzant at the right place in the Otherworld.  Low in the East for the powers of the Rider.  At the Zenith for the powers of Command.  Etc.  Perhaps he can bargain for the Rider's powers and these are basic "spirit" magics.  Perhaps he must give of himself (make further sacrifice) for the powers of Command, and these are "rune" magics where he can "bring Kargzant into himself".  

The Pentan will not have our game perception separating spirit magic from rune magic from sorcery.  He just knows the True Way to get the magic (and how to invoke it).

2 hours ago, Ufnal said:

Would receiving theistic magic from beings in the Path of Hell Tradition be more frowned upon than receiving spirit magic?

I don't think they'd even be aware of this distinction.  What they'd be aware of is the Dara Happan Yelm priest who does everything "wrong".

2 hours ago, Ufnal said:

Would a being that gives mainly runic and little to no spiritual magic be seen by Pentans as one that demands more personal connection to itself?

They might understand that the only way to bargain with West King Wind, or with Kargzant, is to offer up a part of themselves first, and then the god/great spirit will listen to them.  Other deities/spirits may offer up magic easier, maybe just requiring you to take on a taboo in return.

2 hours ago, Ufnal said:

As miserly or poor, seeing as it gives away little powers to its supplicants? As a loner, not surrounded by a host of lesser spirits? 

Great spirits (i.e. gods) are always surrounded by lesser spirits (i.e. companions, heroes, etc.).  Great spirits can offer much.  Lesser spirits can offer little.  Kargzant or West King Wind will always have an array of powers to offer.  But the cost may be high.  

I don't think the Pentans are going to make any judgment based on whether it is "rune" or "spirit" magic.  They will judge on whether the great spirit/god can offer magics that help them become powerful in the world.

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OK, that's all quite well explained, but as far as I know it works better for Runequest (where - as far as I remember, I know very little about it) all the kinds of magic are basically spells. But in Heroquest there is clear difference between being able to use a single spell, being able to command a spirit bound to a charm and being able to emulate a god's powers over a rune - a difference that is visible in how those powers work. Do you think that the Pentans would not differentiate having spirits (which, as far as I understand, are separate beings and not just metaphors for spells) bound to you and releasing them from knowing the proper gestures and words or from performing mythical deeds while basked in godly light? 

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1 hour ago, Ufnal said:

But in Heroquest there is clear difference between being able to use a single spell, being able to command a spirit bound to a charm and being able to emulate a god's powers over a rune - a difference that is visible in how those powers work.

Actually, I've never found a need for any difference in HQG (and I've been running HQG campaigns for nearly 4 years now).  Anything you have is an ability with a rating.

Example:  

Fire Rune 1W

Initiate of Kargzant (under Fire Rune) 1W

  • Torch of Victory +3
  • Arrows of Flame +2

Or another example:

Fire Rune 1W

Golden Bow Tradition (under Fire Rune) 1W

  • Flaming arrows +2
  • Command Flames +1

It's completely immaterial (and indistinguishable) whether these are "divine/rune" magic, "spirit" magic, "charms", gifts of the god, or whatever.
Now, I could have something explicitly broken out and distinct such as a feat, a bound spirit, a charm, or a grimoire.  But there's no particular reason to do so.

Edited by jajagappa

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OK, fair enough, I'm not sure that's precisely how that works in HQG as-written (what with theistic powers having much wider applications than spells and spirits) but you have the benefit of experience. Still, there seems to be (for me) an in-world difference between having a fiery horse spirit in a charm and having an affinity with a deity that lets you do the stuff that spirit does, and I can't convince myself that people of Glorantha wouldn't see the difference or conceptualize it in any way. 

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1 hour ago, Ufnal said:

Do you think that the Pentans would not differentiate having spirits

Anyone could/can have spirits.  Just more abilities.

Bound fire spirit in golden spear point 13

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