Jump to content
metcalph

RQ Sorcery

Recommended Posts

8 hours ago, scott-martin said:

There's probably a mystery cult in Ralios right now that equates her to X[iola] Umbar and maybe they're not 100% wrong.

And the Chalana/Xemela similarity is pretty obvious too. Chalana Arroy could just adds the name of that Northern elf god, later considered her son, onto the end. 

The idea that Xemela had to obtain healing powers from non-humans would be a very interesting twist on the story. 

FWIW, though, I always saw her sacrifice as a heroquest type effect rather than a really big spell - I don't think the question of how she obtained her sorcerous knowledge is one that needs solving

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, davecake said:

pretty much the exact opposite of the New Hrestoli mindset

This is one of many reasons I'm not completely on the New Idealist bus . . . would rather be in the forest as treasure house of images even if that means operating out of some brokedown keep on the Castle Coast struggling against the idiots out of Leplain.

 I have a feeling even the New Idealists' manichaean thrust is more nuanced than the standard definitions suggest. For one thing, we know they celebrate the (idealized) human form in ways that are now at best abstracted elsewhere in the West with the Man Rune, seal of zzabur, etc. If the body is worth depicting in devotional art then it has lessons to teach. Maybe the body is unique in a fallen world . . . everything ("all") made to the measure of Man, Man made to the measure of all. 

I suppose a lot depends on who the northern devil is. For me zzabur is already the devil we know so there's not a lot of point cultivating new ones.

As for talar practice, I still can't help but notice that only in Loskalm is the "ultimate rite" of kings still mentioned, even on a nominally volunteer or meritocratic basis. They might have the last legitimate talars left outside immortal enclaves, even if the caste powers are now transmitted outside the old hereditary systems.

Either way I like the north as a warehouse of material that died out elsewhere . . . Talarite magic, Dronarite, Menenites [sic], Horalites. One of these days we'll be able to chart the original colonies and play the strings like a harp.

Edited by scott-martin
clarifying a "they" so while we're here, why not dronar on about archaic talarite magic?
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, davecake said:

Again, I would have thought that this was more or less the exact opposite of what they do. They explicitly reject hereditary leadership. 

(of course, there is that core hint of hypocrisy in that the doctrine of rejecting hereditary leadership was set forth by a hereditary leader who still leads them...) 

Very Periclean of them, wouldn't you say?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, drablak said:

Man! Threads like this one make me wonder if I'll ever catch up! 😧

The West in particular is a little like Kate Bush fandom. There's only ten studio albums we all share and then endless alternate mixes to die on. 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm starting to get a potential idea of where all of these problems are coming from, which I think is twofold in origin, but could be redefined from 2(+1) into 1 in RQ:G.

Using the opposed Runes as Passions in RuneQuest is an inspired idea, and one of the babies not to be thrown out with the bathwater -- and whilst that works well with most of the potentially rules-describable magical Traditions and Practices of Glorantha, it pretty much can't help but contradict Sorcery as well as any potential depiction of Mysticism in RuneQuest, and even possibly the "low" forms of the "common magic" and the "folk magic" or "local magic" if these were ever to be described in that rules system ...

Thing is, here, though, these opposed Runic Passion rules were taken from a game system that had established these opposites as being extremes of behaviour, with a huge area of mitigation in-between from the opposed D20s rules system, whereas RuneQuest's percentile system seems to suggest a lot less wiggle room.

I think that the opposed Runes % values need to be detached from each other, so that their totals could add up to both less than and more than 100% -- but I'd suggest that the decimals and units of each of these opposed values could never exceed the opposed hundreds minus that figure, so that for example a Humakti with Death 134% could never have Fertility/Life higher than 66% (resolving into an opposed roll 100% vs 32% in the most extreme case) ; and a Sorcerer with a very exaggerated Disorder 218% could not exceed 182% in Harmony magic (100% to Harmony% -118) (though this second % would most likely be far lower in such extreme circumstances).

Mastery in this case anyway could still be defined as 90% + without having to prevent Sorcerers or Lunars/Illuminates from gaining Mastery in an opposed Rune.

The second thing that bothers me is more particular to sorcery ; namely that not only does the "Rune Mastery" mechanic seem to detach its ability to use these Runes from the underlying D100 game system ; not only does it also IMO hinder these and those fun "incompetent sorcerer's apprentice" scenarios ; but also, it seems to be avoiding the general relationship between Sorcery and a player character's personal Runes, and this is the least well-integrated of all.

As an aside, this "Rune Mastery" also looks to me like being a mechanic more suitable to a Mysticism write-up than a Sorcery one ... the sorts of New Age perspectives that try and promulgate these sorts of things do seem to be focused on some antagonism between the cognition and the intuition, but from this perspective, if Sorcery is to be cognitive, then it should not have an intuitive event at the heart of its rules description -- I'd say "roll special or critical success on the Rune to achieve deep understanding of it", 

The +1 is that not only is it very pleasing to see, over the long run, the successive Sorcery rules systems slowly coalescing around the core concepts in a more and more useful and pleasing manner ; but also that some very abstract ideas are being formulated into practical gaming rules more and more successfully.

There shouldn't, anyway, IMO be any fundamental difference between Runes in Sorcery and Runes in the rest of the magic system, even though of course this is something VERY hard to get a perfect design for ...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/2/2018 at 2:46 AM, Julian Lord said:

Using the opposed Runes as Passions in RuneQuest is an inspired idea, and one of the babies not to be thrown out with the bathwater -- and whilst that works well with most of the potentially rules-describable magical Traditions and Practices of Glorantha, it pretty much can't help but contradict Sorcery as well as any potential depiction of Mysticism in RuneQuest, and even possibly the "low" forms of the "common magic" and the "folk magic" or "local magic" if these were ever to be described in that rules system ...

Runes in Sorcery have not been treated the same as Runes as Passions in HeroQuest prior either. Sorcery treats Runes as (albeit a very deep level of) knowledge, not a part of the personality. 

On 12/2/2018 at 2:46 AM, Julian Lord said:

it seems to be avoiding the general relationship between Sorcery and a player character's personal Runes, and this is the least well-integrated of all.

I believe that is an intentional separation - it is a feature, not a bug. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, davecake said:

Runes in Sorcery have not been treated the same as Runes as Passions in HeroQuest prior either. Sorcery treats Runes as (albeit a very deep level of) knowledge, not a part of the personality. 

I believe that is an intentional separation - it is a feature, not a bug. 

This is correct. Sorcery allows someone who does not have a strong innate connection with a Rune to be able to cast sorcerous magic. After all, spirit magic is something you have, rune magic is something you are, and sorcery is something you know.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sorcerous mastery of runes is the intellectual mastery over the magical possibilities of a rune, distancing the practitioner from the direct exposure of the runic experience. Those sorcerers who did not maintain this distance are committing the mistake of (or are seduced by) the False Gods, the Erasanchula (original core runes) that made mankind undergo their experiences in worship.

Sorcery is about being able to ride and steer a rune, whereas theistic rune magic is to act as the rune.

 

I know this thread is about RQ sorcery, and has been discussing RQG sorcery, but the sorcery in HQG uses the same six basic techniques as does the RQG system. However, HQ still uses the concept of grimoires that we discovered in Hero Wars and HQ1 and the contemporary Stafford library works Revealed Mythologies and Middle Sea Empire, still the backbone of the published Malkioni information.

All that stuff is awfully "churchy" and "chivalrous" compared to the de-mediaevalized version of Western history in the Guide. Part of the fault probably lies in Mallory's Morte d'Arthur which combines the author's contemporary experiences (and possibly feedback) with the historical myths, creating all the possible wrong identifications with late mediaeval armor and courts and ignoring the period-appropriate post-Roman period in Britain and Gaul. (The flick with Clive Owen as King Arthur as opposed to that awful Excalibur with a near-tottering Connery as a tottering Arthur and 40 years younger Richard Gere as his age mate Lancelot.) The same problem one has when talking about Hallstatt Celts and Anglophone people think "Irish".

So I wonder, how much of that "Spells in a Book" concept of grimoires is left in RQ Sorcery?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/30/2018 at 12:44 PM, scott-martin said:

 I have a feeling even the New Idealists' manichaean thrust is more nuanced than the standard definitions suggest. For one thing, we know they celebrate the (idealized) human form in ways that are now at best abstracted elsewhere in the West with the Man Rune, seal of zzabur, etc. If the body is worth depicting in devotional art then it has lessons to teach. Maybe the body is unique in a fallen world . . . everything ("all") made to the measure of Man, Man made to the measure of all. 

In practical terms, absolutely yes, nuanced is right - the New Hrestoli believe everyone should engage with the physical world, and care about the maintenance of their body. It is more nuanced than just 'material world bad' - they believe the material world is full of dangers and traps that will lead you off the true path, but the best way to avoid those traps is to learn about them, and learn how to avoid the problems of the body. The New Hrestoli are more than a little bit obsessed with hygiene (physical and spiritual) and living right. Healthy body healthy mind that is the New Hrestoli way! They like to show their idealised bodies in comparison to all those benighted heathens who ruin their bodies with all their bad living (gluttony and laziness and other sensual intemperance, bad hygiene, shape changing and consorting with animals, etc). The world isn't without merits - it is just full of various kinds of danger that you need to avoid (physical, intellectual, moral, magical, spiritual, etc). 

Philosophically, though, the New Hrestolites are less enamoured of the material than basically any other Malkioni sect I can think of. They do think the body has lessons to teach, and you should learn them early as a youth, and move on to the higher teachings quickly, and concentrate on philosophy. Basically, read book 3 of Plato's Republic. 

The Rokari, by contrast, believe that learning about the material world and physical body is the task of the dronar and horali, and it is sufficient in itself to do that to reach Solace, without learning any higher wisdom other than that necessary to live a correct life.

(the New Hrestoli believe that for those unfortunates who are too stupid to study sorcery philosophy, they are probably stuck with mostly studying the physical world, but all they get in return is to be reincarnated for another term of duty in this vale of tears). 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Joerg said:

I know this thread is about RQ sorcery, and has been discussing RQG sorcery, but the sorcery in HQG uses the same six basic techniques as does the RQG system. However, HQ still uses the concept of grimoires that we discovered in Hero Wars and HQ1 and the contemporary Stafford library works Revealed Mythologies and Middle Sea Empire, still the backbone of the published Malkioni information.

The lack of any real trace of the grimoire or even school of sorcery idea in RQG sorcery is one of the things that I do not like about it. Especially as treating spells individually (thus leading to a very small number of spells known at a usefully castable percentage in normal play) is another of the things I really do not like about it. For my own house rules at least, these issues can be solved with one solution. 

(I do tend to think of a grimoire less as a single book, and more as a system of magic comparable to the work of a single great Magus,  likely multi-volume with commentary from their acolytes, but that is a small issue) 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is bookbinding a thing in Glorantha? Or do they use scrolls, or etched copper plates, fired clay in wood frames, palm leaf scrolls, hide parchment rolls, papyrus scrolls etc.?

In short, what is the physical medium people envision these grimoires are stored in?

I dunno, actual bookbinding (as opposed to locked-together plates) seems a bit medieval in my mind, but I might be wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Joerg said:

All that stuff is awfully "churchy" and "chivalrous" compared to the de-mediaevalized version of Western history in the Guide.

I find the information we know about the grimoires of the New Hrestolists very explicitly and unsubtly Platonic. I guess you could think interpret The City of Virtue as a reference to Augustines De civitate Dei rather than to The Republic, and Against the Demons as being more Malleus Malleficarium than (spiritual and practical) hygiene manual and thus come up with a more Churchy interpretation. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, davecake said:

The lack of any real trace of the grimoire or even school of sorcery idea in RQG sorcery is one of the things that I do not like about it.

You must be reading different version of RQG than I have.

Page 381

Quote

This chapter provides a bare bones overview of sorcery, a subject to be expanded upon in future RuneQuest supplements.

I don't understand your sweeping dislike of a bare bones sorcery system that works perfectly well in play. I'd suggest some patience here. The same author of the HeroQuest sorcery rules wrote these ones. They share a common ancestry, he won't throw the baby out with the bath water. Basic sorcery plays easily in games. I've run it at cons now (using Sorala) and in club games. The sorcerer in our group managed quite well on the basics. But i'm sure he'd like more.

Grimoires, by any other name:

Quote

The Lhankor Mhy cult teaches a limited number of sorcery spells from a collection of documents called the Torvald Fragments,

Inscribed spells are clearly a starting point for grimoire rules.

Page 389

Quote

Many schools of Malkionism exist

Quote

There are numerous schools of sorcery within the Lunar Empire,

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

do they use scrolls, or etched copper plates, fired clay in wood frames, palm leaf scrolls, hide parchment rolls, papyrus scrolls etc.?

All the above in various places. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, David Scott said:

I don't understand your sweeping dislike of a bare bones sorcery system

I have great objection to some of the bones. It is certainly possible that the basic elements of the system that I very much dislike will be entirely rewritten, but that would only further justify my dislike of them now. I certainly anticipate that they will greatly be added too - and actually, from the description in the current rules, it seems we don't really have rules for the majority of Gloranthan sorcerers until that has happened, given the Malkioni will differ significantly - but that is a different thing. 

43 minutes ago, David Scott said:

that works perfectly well in play.

I do not find that it does, given that the parts that I object too were the same in RQ3 and caused great dissatisfaction throughout most of the 1990s, and I profoundly disliked then. 

51 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Basic sorcery plays easily in games. I've run it at cons now (using Sorala) and in club games.

Most of the issues I hate about it show up far more in long term play. 

52 minutes ago, David Scott said:

The same author of the HeroQuest sorcery rules wrote these ones. They share a common ancestry, he won't throw the baby out with the bath water. 

Yet, they are different enough in some ways to effectively be different settings. 

55 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Inscribed spells are clearly a starting point for grimoire rules.

No, the concepts are quite different. Inscribed spells in RQG are a personal talisman that happens to be written, and in no way support the idea of spell knowledge being systematically organised. You could literally just replace the word inscription with enchantment and nothing else would need changing - the idea of being connected to writing is just flavour text. And I find Inscription mostly just a weird kludge for free INT that has the effect of changing the nature of practical sorcery to being about 'what you know' to being about 'what you once knew but now have'' which is very confusing. 

I appreciate that the words schools and grimoires and such are used in the flavour text, and are not entirely conceptually absent - just the idea of spell knowledge being interconnected into organised bodies of knowledge that are also spiritual texts is missing from the rules. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally very much like the idea of inscriptions because of the RW techniques of mandalas and magic seals. I see them as the same thing. They focus the buried 'imago' of the spell in the mind's eye, where it has been lodged in the Memory Palace.

A compromise could be made where a spell is learned through an inscription (i.e., a grimoire page), perhaps?

Perhaps there's an undescribed form of Sorcery where the medieval 'recipe' style is used, but not memorized. I don't know. But a grimoire in real life is a lot like a cookbook.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Is bookbinding a thing in Glorantha?

I think so. Stitching, glue, leathermaking are all in place.

1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

Or do they use scrolls, or etched copper plates, fired clay in wood frames, palm leaf scrolls, hide parchment rolls, papyrus scrolls etc.?

Some books are scrolls of various material - papyrus (or a near analogue), parchment, possibly paper (not necessarily from wood, other fibres work as well), possibly textiles. The scripts of the Orlanthi appear to be made for carving into suitable wood, from the names ("scratches" indicates a carving knife or a very sharp pen).

1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

In short, what is the physical medium people envision these grimoires are stored in?

We know that Zzabur used ink on human skin, a technology taken from the Tadeniti. Given that the Vadeli were among the donors of that skin, it is little surprising that the Tadeniti were the first of the Danmalastan tribes to be attacked by them.

Parchment or vellum appears to be the norm as writing material in the cold to temperate, non-dry west.

Scrolls are made of conjoined pieces of writing material, possibly stitched or glued. Not too different from the method to create codices. Documents written in codices could use both sides of the writing material, which works for some substances but is less advantageous for others. Papyrus usually has one side with vertical stripes of flattened stems and one with horizontal ones, and if your script has a preferred writing direction, one side would have been preferred over the other, especially if the script uses something like interlinked symbols in a cursive.

1 hour ago, Sir_Godspeed said:

I dunno, actual bookbinding (as opposed to locked-together plates) seems a bit medieval in my mind, but I might be wrong.

It really depends on how long and flexible you can produce your writing material, and how well the stuff responds to folding. Stitch binding relies on the quality of the thread and the textile used.

The silver bible (the Wulfila translation written with silver ink on purple-died parchment) was produced as a folio:

silver-bible.png

I think that the Abiding Book would have appeared in a similar shape.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, davecake said:

Inscribed spells in RQG are a personal talisman that happens to be written, and in no way support the idea of spell knowledge being systematically organised. You could literally just replace the word inscription with enchantment and nothing else would need changing - the idea of being connected to writing is just flavour text. And I find Inscription mostly just a weird kludge for free INT that has the effect of changing the nature of practical sorcery to being about 'what you know' to being about 'what you once knew but now have'' which is very confusing. 

The use of POW should really be an extension of the sorcerers "sorb" or "magical organ" which has been developed in that way. The material form of it might be the externalized key to the knowledge.

But I agree that a culture that values Mind over everything else, removing knowledge/memory from the mind would be wrong.

The sorcerer spreading out his mind to his personal inscriptions is a similar crutch as it was to expend it to his personal familiar (as per RQ3) or his personal mandala (as per RQ3 Land of Ninja). While the latter sounds like a very materialist method, it is not exactly a humanist one.

 

30 minutes ago, davecake said:

I appreciate that the words schools and grimoires and such are used in the flavour text, and are not entirely conceptually absent - just the idea of spell knowledge being interconnected into organised bodies of knowledge that are also spiritual texts is missing from the rules. 

I wonder about notions like the Abiding Grimoire or the Unencumbered Lights of Reason are translated to RQG rules.

The latter, also called Deinon Genealogies, contained spells so simple that they could be performed by the uninitiated (i.e. normal folk not qualifying for the regular sorcery), but still in the fom of spells rather than animistic charms or theist feats (aka rune spells).

HW/HQ1 had the notion of blessings and curses as a sorcerous form of scriptural magic, with the lecturer of scripture able to bestow them with the support of his congregation.

It is something like this which I see in use by the craft guilds - work supporting or enhancing magics available as a form of associate magic to guild members only.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, jeffjerwin said:

I personally very much like the idea of inscriptions because of the RW techniques of mandalas and magic seals. I see them as the same thing. They focus the buried 'imago' of the spell in the mind's eye, where it has been lodged in the Memory Palace.

 

I imagine something more like a defixio tablet for Malkioni sorcery. But if it is intended to be more like a mandala or magic seal, that would rather imply that it is further away from the 'grimoire' idea, seals and such (eg in the Legemeton) are part of a spell, but absolutely require a great deal of other knowledge to make use of them. I do find the idea that having fully memorised your magic such that you are able to instantly bring it to mind makes your magic less effective very counter intuitive. 

It's worth noting that a lot of what we think of as grimoires might be considered spirit or rune magic rituals in RQ. And also that Gloranthan documents are going to be different just because of their rather more efficacious and reliable experience of magic. 

I do wonder if Gloranthan sorcery (or other magic, for that matter) includes quite as many of the genre of ancient magical spells for cursing your opponent in court cases. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, David Scott said:

I don't understand your sweeping dislike of a bare bones sorcery system that works perfectly well in play. I'd suggest some patience here. The same author of the HeroQuest sorcery rules wrote these ones. They share a common ancestry, he won't throw the baby out with the bath water. Basic sorcery plays easily in games. I've run it at cons now (using Sorala) and in club games. The sorcerer in our group managed quite well on the basics. But i'm sure he'd like more.

I wonder whether we have enough bones to put together a skeleton, and whether the addition of sinew and muscle won't obscure that skeleton beyond recognition.

Right now, sorcery is a materialist magic system because you need lots of material components to make your magician moderatly efficient. The use of Tapping is about the only way a sorcerer can come up with a sufficiently high magic point pool to power more than a single spell worth mentioning from his natural resources. Two average crystals have enough oomph for another such spell, everything else is mostly on cantrip level.

 

Has anybody tried re-creating the HQG sample characters as RQG characters?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Right now, sorcery is a materialist magic system because you need lots of material components to make your magician moderatly efficient. The use of Tapping is about the only way a sorcerer can come up with a sufficiently high magic point pool to power more than a single spell worth mentioning from his natural resources. Two average crystals have enough oomph for another such spell, everything else is mostly on cantrip level.

Yes - in practice, RQG sorcery is very much about 'what you have', in both material but especially magical resources, to be effective. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Right now, sorcery is a materialist magic system because you need lots of material components to make your magician moderatly efficient. The use of Tapping is about the only way a sorcerer can come up with a sufficiently high magic point pool to power more than a single spell worth mentioning from his natural resources. Two average crystals have enough oomph for another such spell, everything else is mostly on cantrip level.

If everybody weren't tempted to Tap there wouldn't be nearly as much effort delineating loopholes. Things might've been different when live crystals were readily available but not in these grim times. 

The spells to subvert the independent judiciary won because the independent sorcerers were the ones casting them and the judges cast on were talars. Q.E.D.

For me the interesting thing is that the logical construction of the "nodes" whether they're expressed as sacred geometry, pathworking, an alphabetically-mediated experience or whatever. The trace of consciousness required to execute an effect. In book communities they love their books. In communities where literacy is prohibited or simply prohibitive, draw a shape on the floor in flour and get moving. Intersections between Western and Eastern sorcery.

 

bloom.png

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×