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Casting Spirit / Rune Magic


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So I've GMed 3 sessions with my long time gaming group.  5 of 6 of them are old school RQ2 players going back to the 80s.  So we've been playing together awhile.

The one thing that they all universally don't like in the rules is having to make a roll to cast their Spirit and Rune magic.  They truly get very frustrated spending the time trying to cast a healing spell or combat enhancement and wasting all of that time in combat.  They are of course not used to this as we played RQ2 until the RQG was released recently.  I of course let them know they need to remember to augment their rolls as they can, but there really is a limit on how much this can be done.  I also point out it works both ways.  So the question is does anyone else get complaints about this from old school players?  Have you modified the rules in any way to make casting easier, especially when you are outside of a stressful situation?  How do you handle this when it comes up?  Would removing this rule change combat much in your mind?

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When I encountered RQ in its 3rd edition, these rolls were already firmly part of the rules, so I am quite bemused to encounter such arguments now.

Rolling rather low rolls for rune magic is new to me, too but then so is readily available (because renewable) rune magic. Rolling slightly above average rolls for spirit magic is just enough to make it less sure-fire.

As staunch RQ2 players, do they mourn the absence of the 1-point Divine Intervention spell for priests, too?

 

When you are outside of a stressful situation, there is hardly any need to roll. At the end of the combat, with one of the comrades softly bleeding to death, I would rule that as somewhat stressful and time-relevant. Same if the party just takes a short breather in a chase scene, so normal rolls apply.

Yes, I do think that removing the casting success roll will change combat much. I don't know how consequently I will enforce the "spell or strike" rule, taking an entire melee round out of the spell-caster's attack portfolio. I treated the RQ3 strike ranks almost like a pulse system, with spell-and-strike swashbuckling possible.

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I'm used to it from RQ3 of course, and it does bring frustrations. There's another thread about different games needing different approaches... and to a lesser extent the evolution into this iteration of Glorantha-sim requires some comparable paradigm shifting. In the same way that magic takes SR to cast, and adhering to the time-based limitations is important (IMO) as a limiting factor while still allowing for the possibility of flexibility, the chance of failure is something to take into account, rather than ignore, then kvetch about when it bites you in the ass.

Out-of-combat, there are a number of options for improving your chances of successfully casting, which take, variously, time and/or skill checks to achieve. In combat, you'll be wanting to rely on spells that require your strong Runes or keep your POW high (trading off with reduced chances of getting gains...) for Spirit Magic.

As Joerg says, there are compensations in the systems changes between previous versions and this one... We're starting at, effectively, Acolyte levels of power, or even full Priest if you're lucky and good at min-maxing :) Not having 100% reliable magics in combat is a rein back on that.

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11 minutes ago, Joerg said:

As staunch RQ2 players, do they mourn the absence of the 1-point Divine Intervention spell for priests, too?

When you are outside of a stressful situation, there is hardly any need to roll. At the end of the combat, with one of the comrades softly bleeding to death, I would rule that as somewhat stressful and time-relevant. Same if the party just takes a short breather in a chase scene, so normal rolls apply.

Yes, I do think that removing the casting success roll will change combat much. I don't know how consequently I will enforce the "spell or strike" rule, taking an entire melee round out of the spell-caster's attack portfolio. I treated the RQ3 strike ranks almost like a pulse system, with spell-and-strike swashbuckling possible.

No priests yet to bring up the 1 point DI rune spell.  But then again in the past they never really took this anyhow preferring other rune magic.  They always tended to avoid one-use Rune Magic and wasting POW earned.

I also don't see how removing the roll to cast changes the spell or strike rule?  You still follow that.  Just that at the end of casting your spell, it works automatically.  You are still limited in what you can do in your round and with available strike ranks.  And the spells still do take many strike ranks to cast.

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1 hour ago, Skovari said:

I also don't see how removing the roll to cast changes the spell or strike rule?

Rune Magic is about channeling the energies of your cult/god, the more in-tune you are (higher rating in the relevant Element/Rune) the more likely it will work. Those who act against the ways of their deity, represented by a diminished Rune Affinity likewise reduce their ability to cast appropriate Rune Magic. I see this as an integral mechanism for encouraging players to act in accordance with their Runes. Automatic success will only play lip service to the Runes in a way that DnD Paladins were supposed to be Lawful Good.

The same goes to Spirit Magic, characters with poor connection to the Spirt World are at a loss. As it is possible to raise POW and thereby your Spirt Magic ability, this encourages appropriate play. 

In a game yesterday, my Humakti with 90% Death had no problems with Find Enemy but with a POW 9 was better to avoid Spirit Magic. I don't see this as a flaw in the game, rather a flaw in the character. As a player character I can either accept this, leaving Spirit Magic to the shamans, or actively pursue this - so my POW 9 is not a disability but an option for character development.

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1 hour ago, Skovari said:

I also don't see how removing the roll to cast changes the spell or strike rule?  You still follow that.  Just that at the end of casting your spell, it works automatically.  You are still limited in what you can do in your round and with available strike ranks.  And the spells still do take many strike ranks to cast.

It doesn't change it per se but it interacts with it. The time limitations and the chance of failure combine to set the 'rate' of successful casting.

And, as Psullie says, it does it in a truly thematic way. Your Wind Lord will be better at their 'native' Wind and Motion based spells than the ones they get from the Associate cults. I suspect your players will find things improve as their Rune ratings and their POW naturally rise. And surely, that's thematic too: an experienced Hero will be better at the magic of their God than both an inexperienced Hero and an experienced uncommitted person. Part of gaining power in Glorantha is committing yourself to a course: a Rune. They're where Power rests. They're the levers you use to pull on when you find that firm fulcrum.

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1 hour ago, Skovari said:

I also don't see how removing the roll to cast changes the spell or strike rule?  You still follow that.  Just that at the end of casting your spell, it works automatically.  You are still limited in what you can do in your round and with available strike ranks.  And the spells still do take many strike ranks to cast.

That was me going grognard about how I am used to handle magic in combat rather than addressing old-hand RQ2ers. Good thing if there is a significant number of ancients among the roleplayers returning to Glorantha, but even though that is a financially interesting portion of the roleplayer population, I would think that drawing people acculturated to other forms of roleplaying (not necessarily limited to pen-and-paper) to RQG.

I am used to magic being somewhat fickle, rather than guaranteed, and requiring the occasional re-try to get it off, which does affect the strike rank or even melee round the spell goes off.

Automatic spell success is similar to automatic skill success - acceptable in certain situations, unacceptable in others.

I always read that RQ2 battle magic had to be rolled, too, although only a result of 96-100 would indicate a failure. 

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Having played RQ2 (briefly), played & run RQ3, and now running RQG; I still play in a quarterly RQ3 game, though the GM essentially uses RQ2 spirit & rune magic casting rules (no %roll to cast):

That said, I can see your player's frustration at casting spirit magic, though if they are shooting for Rune Priest/God-Talker, that should mostly solve itself, as having an 18 POW gives you a 90% chance to cast spirit magic. While the Rune Magic casting is new, it is quite possible to start with 90% in three Rune affinities at character creation, and since all Rune spells are now re-usable, this effectively makes using Rune spells easier than in any previous edition - especially since the idea of Rune Points is new to this edition (not counting Mongoose, BRP, Legend, etc....). In the games I have run, everyone rolls to cast spells unless time is not a factor (I never roll dice when failure means that dice will get rolled until there's a success).

My campaign is not set in Glorantha: it is set an older, less primal world where the gods are more distant and less immediately agentic. Because faith is an underlying theme of the world, I have re-skinned the Devotion passion as Faith (Cult). When casting Rune spells, a character can use the higher of their Faith or the Rune affinity for the spell. This does allow a little more reliability for casting Rune spells, but not overly so. 

 

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