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Darius West

THE SORCERY RULES YOU NEED TO REMEMBER FOR RQ:RiG !

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Well, my LM with just a total of like 4 POW in inscribed spells has the whole party rolling in +2d6 damage weapons with year long durations, +90 to every Lore skill, he can banish befuddles and demoralizes, and he can locate all sorts of stuff. He hasn't learned any spirit magic but, has acquired a couple matrices thriugh adventuring for a Heal 2 and Befuddle so he can go up in POW. He only has 2 POW storage crystals too, both contain POW 17 spirits. 

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38 minutes ago, HreshtIronBorne said:

Well, my LM with just a total of like 4 POW in inscribed spells has the whole party rolling in +2d6 damage weapons with year long durations, +90 to every Lore skill, he can banish befuddles and demoralizes, and he can locate all sorts of stuff. He hasn't learned any spirit magic but, has acquired a couple matrices thriugh adventuring for a Heal 2 and Befuddle so he can go up in POW. He only has 2 POW storage crystals too, both contain POW 17 spirits. 

Yeah. That's what I'm anticipating out of the Sorceror NPC (I chucked him in for shits and giggles - he's a Sword Sage wannabe) as we go on. It doesn't take much. Lack of opportunity for active seeking of POW gain rolls is the major bottleneck I think I'll see.

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15 hours ago, HreshtIronBorne said:

Well, my LM with just a total of like 4 POW in inscribed spells has the whole party rolling in +2d6 damage weapons with year long durations, +90 to every Lore skill, he can banish befuddles and demoralizes, and he can locate all sorts of stuff. He hasn't learned any spirit magic but, has acquired a couple matrices thriugh adventuring for a Heal 2 and Befuddle so he can go up in POW. He only has 2 POW storage crystals too, both contain POW 17 spirits. 

Okay, for you to have Boon of Kargan Tor at Duration 17 (1 year), at Strength 8 (+2d6) would require a Free INT of 17+8-2=23.  That means that your starting INT was 18 and you spent your fire rune into it for +2 giving you INT 20, and then you used Enhance INT Strength 8 for +3 INT, likely recasting it for a longer duration once you had the bonus in hand.  Boon of Kargan Tor is certainly not in the LM standard Torvald Fragments and means you probably started as a Philosopher, or acquired the spell later.

Most characters will not have INT 18 as a rolled stat.  Few will roll a philosopher.  It also sounds like your GM is very generous when handing out magical treasure.

Edited by Darius West

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Philosopher starting package, 18 total INT after fire rune and such at creation. He has invested in increasing his Boon of Kargan Tor inscription through adding POW, and has created an Enhance Int inscription but, it is only basic. I thought he would need up to 25 point with INT and Inscribed +2 Strength. So, he has the currently to cast his Enhance INT and get him to +5 INT for long enough to cast the Boon or whatever else he wants to lay on for a year or so. 

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Okay, for you to have Boon of Kargan Tor at Duration 17 (1 year), at Strength 8 (+2d6) would require a Free INT of 17+8-2=23.  That means that your starting INT was 18 and you spent your fire rune into it for +2 giving you INT 20, and then you used Enhance INT Strength 8 for +3 INT, likely recasting it for a longer duration once you had the bonus in hand.  Boon of Kargan Tor is certainly not in the LM standard Torvald Fragments and means you probably started as a Philosopher, or acquired the spell later.

Most characters will not have INT 18 as a rolled stat.  Few will roll a philosopher.  It also sounds like your GM is very generous when handing out magical treasure.

I have rolled a 16 and added 2 of the 3 additional points to it, going up to 18 (I was below 92 total points).

Professions are chosen, not rolled, so it is sufficient to say 'Hey, I am a philosopher'. I did it to try the sorcery rules.

Kloster

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Lots of tables like 'assign n points' character generation systems so players can play the character they want to. 18-going-to-20 for a given stat really won't be out of the ordinary in the wider PC-sphere. In a society, you're looking at half a percent at 18; how the Runes manifest themselves, from a demographic perspective, I have no idea. Do Solar-focused Societies tend to have higher Fire Runes than Storm ones do (and vice versa for the Air Rune)?

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25 minutes ago, womble said:

Do Solar-focused Societies tend to have higher Fire Runes than Storm ones do (and vice versa for the Air Rune)?

Seems so, according to page 45.

If you're from Sartar, your Air Rune gets a bonus, and likewise Fire Rune for Grazelanders.

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1 hour ago, womble said:

...  In a society, you're looking at half a percent at 18;

18 on 3D6 is 1/216, so around half a percent, but 18 on dD6+6 is 1/36, i.e. around 3 percent, and with the 3 points to add, you need 9 or better on 2D6, which is 28 percent. More than 1/4 of the players wanting to play a sorceror can have the 18 INT, not counting the Fire rune possible bonus.

1 hour ago, womble said:

How the Runes manifest themselves, from a demographic perspective, I have no idea. Do Solar-focused Societies tend to have higher Fire Runes than Storm ones do (and vice versa for the Air Rune)?

According to RQG, yes, you get a bonus to fire/sky rune for grazelanders and Sun County (and praxian impala riders although they are not Yelmites, nor Yelmalions) . You also get a bonus to air rune for Sartar and Praxian Pol Joni (and Bison Riders, althoug iirc they are not Orlanthi).

Kloster

edit: correct some typing mistakes.

Edited by Kloster

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25 minutes ago, Tindalos said:

Seems so, according to page 45.

If you're from Sartar, your Air Rune gets a bonus, and likewise Fire Rune for Grazelanders.

Doesn't necessarily mean more people have the given Rune as their highest-of-3; that 10% wouldn't make a second-pick Air Rune higher than a 1st-pick... Just means everyone's a bit windy, and the windiest Sartarites are windier than the windiest Grazelanders...

However, looking at the NPC stats so far available, it looks like not everyone gets three Elemental Runes, and 50% is actually a notable score for Form/Power runes; Ifni alone knows what their 'lower' Runes are supposed to be... Total of less-than-100 for the pairs? Is that even possible?

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Just now, Kloster said:

18 on 3D6 is 1/216, so around half a percent, but 36 on dD6+6 is 1/36, i.e. around 3 percent, but with the 3 points to add, you need 9 or better on 2D6, which is 28 percent. More than 1/ of the players wanting to play a sorceror can have the 18 INT, not counting the Fire rune possible bonus.

Oh yeah. Good point re: 2d6+6. So minging about a PC having 20 in either SIZ or INT is even less justifiable.

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On 12/15/2018 at 7:37 PM, womble said:

You don't need to be a 'Master Sorceror' to lay that kind of mojo on someone, just have a big enough Inscription (it's why sorcerors are all old and wizened),

Being old and wizened (and knowing spells to a high level so you can cast them with ritual preparation, and having a large number of power points in Inscriptions) IS being a master sorcerer. 

On 12/15/2018 at 7:37 PM, womble said:

and a platoon or company full of troopers willing to fill up your MP stores (or a Tap source).

Yeah, you think you are arguing against me while arguing my point for me. Yes, a platoon or company of troopers who are able to fill up your magic point stores - versus a big crowd of initiates who are individually able to cast good magic. The point being the sorcerers are able to cast a small number of powerful spells - while an equivalent group of theists is likely to have individually weaker magic, but a LOT more of it. 

 

On 12/15/2018 at 7:37 PM, womble said:

Orlanth doesn't have any extrinsic offensive spells that are not Air.

Orlanthi culture does though. Imagine spending 5 years learning how to cast Neutralise Air at a decent level because you want to take on those Orlanthi over the hill, and then dying in 5 minutes to the priestesses Earth Elemental. So you go back, get another sorcerer to spend years learning Neutralise Earth to a decent level as well, and the clan Champion Sever Spirits you. So.... you learn Neutralise Death as well and then... get ambushed by trolls. Neutralise <Rune> is an excellent example of why the inflexibility of sorcery goes too far for my taste. 

I actually have no problem with sorcerers being inflexible in the short term, and powerful in the long term, but the problem for me is they are also inflexible and by far the least interesting in the long term. Almost everyone who is saying sorcerers are powerful in the long term are accepting that sorcerers will essentially be powergame obsessive who focus on being incredibly good at a small number of spells, spending all their time in training and all their POW in Inscriptions to be good at a very small number of spells. How incredibly dull. 

On 12/16/2018 at 7:12 AM, Joerg said:

If you want Shaman-Sorcerers, go ahead, and why not give them RuneQuest Sight, too.

FWIW, I think there are probably shaman-sorcerers in Glorantha. But they are almost inevitably Illuminates of some kind, and maybe have to learn from other Illuminated weirdoes. And even then damn unusual. Its heretical to the Malkioni, and unthinkable to most shamans, and weird as hell. But we are only incidentally talking about shamans, the question is spirit magic. So the issue is more like 'why would some Lhankor Mhy think the most common magic taught by Lhankor Mhy is irrational'. Or 'why would the magical experts of the Malkioni have far less access to day to day useful magic than those around them. 

On 12/16/2018 at 7:12 AM, Joerg said:

In D&D terms, you want to have MUs with Cleric magic.

Of course, Magic-User clerics have been in D&D for roughly three decades (and the Mystic Theurge class, that lets you advance as both at once,  for close to two decades.).

Its one of those arguments that doesn't really work the way you think it does. 

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On 12/16/2018 at 5:58 PM, womble said:

POW keeps coming to those who 'act' and there's always something you can do with that POW to make your Sorcery more powerful. There are only so many spirits you can Bind, Rune Points you can stash away. There is a limit to how many stored MP you can usefully use with Spirit Magic and Rune Spells (even if that limit is how fast you can refill the stores).

This might mean that 'adventurers', especially starting ones, find Sorcery a bit pointless, because it is, obviously, weaker in the short term and tactical time frame.

There is essentially almost nothing you can do to broaden your repertoire of spells that you can cast in under a day, apart from studying for multiple years. And there is plenty you can do with POW gains to make your shaman or Rune Priest both more powerful and more versatile. The sorcerer doesn't really have any easy way to become more versatile (except the obvious one of... getting some spirit magic matrices). So a sorcerer mostly remains a one or two trick pony. 

 

23 hours ago, womble said:

The cosmological incompatibility of Spirit Magic and Sorcery in the canon setting has been laid out

The cosmological relationship of spirit magic and sorcery has actually changed in practically every edition of every Gloranthan game. This is actually a major change in how Glorantha works from literally the last roleplaying game rules Jeff wrote, only three years ago. 

From HQG 2015

Quote

As a member of a spirit society, you may use abilities or keywords granting you divine magic or sorcery. You will face the disapproval of your community if these are not part of your tradition.

The version of sorcery therein is almost completely different in detail too. This is one of the things that most bugs my about RQG sorcery - we are told 'that is just how sorcery is in Glorantha', but it is actually a radical rewrite of how sorcery was in Glorantha until very recently. And it is a rewrite that makes it less fun in practically every way, and goes in the opposite design directions to other parts of the game. 

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4 minutes ago, davecake said:

 

The version of sorcery therein is almost completely different in detail too. This is one of the things that most bugs my about RQG sorcery - we are told 'that is just how sorcery is in Glorantha', but it is actually a radical rewrite of how sorcery was in Glorantha until very recently. And it is a rewrite that makes it less fun in practically every way, and goes in the opposite design directions to other parts of the game. 

David - as the writer of both HQG AND RQG, I probably have an idea what I am doing. To be honest, I think RQG sorcery does a much better job of reflecting how the setting "works" than HQG sorcery.  With perfect 20/20 hindsight, I don't think my sorcery rules in HQG captured the "feel" of sorcery nearly as well as the RQG rules. But then again, Jason, Sven, myself, and others spent a lot of time going over sorcery, trying to fix what I did not capture in HQG.

That being said, HQG is an utterly different rules system from RQG. Trying to use HQ rules to explain how anything "works" (as opposed to using them purely to narrate a result) is probably a mistake.

Jeff 

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1 hour ago, Darius West said:

Okay, for you to have Boon of Kargan Tor at Duration 17 (1 year), at Strength 8 (+2d6) would require a Free INT of 17+8-2=23.  That means that your starting INT was 18 and you spent your fire rune into it for +2 giving you INT 20, and then you used Enhance INT Strength 8 for +3 INT, likely recasting it for a longer duration once you had the bonus in hand.  Boon of Kargan Tor is certainly not in the LM standard Torvald Fragments and means you probably started as a Philosopher, or acquired the spell later.

Most characters will not have INT 18 as a rolled stat.  Few will roll a philosopher.  It also sounds like your GM is very generous when handing out magical treasure.

Give it a few points of POW for inscription, and the Free INT limit becomes a nuisance rather than a hindrance. You will have to cast the spell with a base intensity of nine (for the 2W6) or something like that, but then you can decide on how long you want it to last even with an INT 15 sorcerer.

It doesn't have to be that high strength if you add a Neutralize Armor spell of similar strength to the same weapon. Having sorcerers on your side can make The Arming of Orlanth (or some other deity of choice) turn out quite overpowering.

In the military, you would expect a squad to pool up magic points for a week or so, with one member getting such a spell per day. All it takes for something like that are two good or three average dead crystals and a sorcerer willing to spend an hour a day on this, possibly syphoning off a few surplus MP from those crystals of his for other purposes. Likewise, magicians bodyguards will most likely contribute a few magic points a day as per contract, receiving magical protection on their job in exchange for that. It doesn't have to be blood magic (as in Trudy Cavanaugh's trilogy) if volunteers can fill a medium to pass on to the magician, although some blood letting might heighten the input of the volunteers.

 

 

 

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59 minutes ago, davecake said:

FWIW, I think there are probably shaman-sorcerers in Glorantha. But they are almost inevitably Illuminates of some kind, and maybe have to learn from other Illuminated weirdoes. And even then damn unusual. Its heretical to the Malkioni, and unthinkable to most shamans, and weird as hell.

There might be a few Uzuz demigoddesses who could approach something like this, but that's about it. Lunar magicians may have glamours similar to that, but such combinations would be rare (and madness-inducing), too. Basically you need a split personality, one with the magical organ developed in the shamanic ways and the other in the sorcerous rigors.

 

59 minutes ago, davecake said:

So the issue is more like 'why would some Lhankor Mhy think the most common magic taught by Lhankor Mhy is irrational'.

Try getting three scholars to agree on a single topic, you will end up with four or more opinions.

Rational thought isn't really what Lhankor Mhy is about. This is the deity who hogs all knowledge, of whichever kind, for whichever purpose. If it can be known, the deity knows it.

However, spirit magic isn't something you know, but something you have, much like other magical tools.

 

It is quite ironic that the sorcerer inscribing magic to items is reducing his own speciality to this "something you have" level. Even though this is only usable by himself, the sorcerer objectifies and materializes the brilliant realm of pure thought into something almost profanely material.

59 minutes ago, davecake said:

Or 'why would the magical experts of the Malkioni have far less access to day to day useful magic than those around them. 

Do they? It looks a bit like Western magic aids pursuits reminiscent of Japanese calligraphy or other such ritualized formerly mundane activities, a lot of preparation, a very short release of activity at a maximum of concentration and involvement, and a masterful work is delivered. Apart from the magical healing (and the slightly flawed repair spell), the effects of spirit magic are fleeting, gone faster than you can hold your breath.

A western sorcerer will have a retinue of assistants doing menial tasks for him, with some student-level assistants doing menial sorcery for them. One-trick-pony magical assistants may be called in for preparations. Having your mnenonic enhancer (a subservient sorcerer specialized on providing you with Enhance INT) probably is a mark of status. When attempting to dominate an entity, you have your students cast Drain Soul on the subject, giving them the opportunity  to flex their magical muscle and saving you quite a lot of spell intensity to succeed. It may be a one man show, but that one man will have a whole staff of folk paving the way. Having some exotic or barbarian magician at your beck is part of this style.

 

Perhaps the combination of spirit magic and sorcery can be compared to the skills of a gunslinger (fast draw and shot from the hip) vs those of a sniper (able to eliminate the influences of wind etc. to make well prepared shots at near impossible ranges). While the skill sets aren't mutually exclusive, training the one muscle memory will distract from the other.

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2 hours ago, Jeff said:

David - as the writer of both HQG AND RQG, I probably have an idea what I am doing. To be honest, I think RQG sorcery does a much better job of reflecting how the setting "works" than HQG sorcery.  With perfect 20/20 hindsight, I don't think my sorcery rules in HQG captured the "feel" of sorcery nearly as well as the RQG rules. But then again, Jason, Sven, myself, and others spent a lot of time going over sorcery, trying to fix what I did not capture in HQG.

That being said, HQG is an utterly different rules system from RQG. Trying to use HQ rules to explain how anything "works" (as opposed to using them purely to narrate a result) is probably a mistake.

Jeff 

This does make me wonder, what are the core traits of Gloranthan sorcery?

As far as I can see it, the following points are broadly true in both RQ:G and HQ:G:

  • Sorcery is something known. Anyone could theoretically learn a sorcery spell, without regard for talent. They may not be good at it though.
  • A sorcery spell is a particular interaction of one or more Runes, with one or more Techniques/Principles to effect a change in the universe.
  • At their base, a sorcery spell is less potent than a comparable spirit magic or rune magic effect.
  • Groups that teach sorcery concentrate on a few specific areas of magical knowledge. (Represented by a rune in RQ:G and their spell lists, or their grimoires in HQ:G)
  • Sorcerers can learn spells outside of this, but must locate an appropriate source.

What differences I can see seem to be connected to the different systems used:

  • In RQ:G, sorcery spells can be enhanced by adding more magic points, up to a level of Free INT. As HQ:G has no MP or Free INT, you can't do that there (Unless you allow sorcerers to augment their grimoire ratings using their Intelligence or their highest rune to imply an bolstering by using their magical reserves.)
  • In HQ:G, sorcery spells can only do one specific thing and cannot be "stretched." This doesn't have a comparable equivalent in RQ:G, so is a bit of a moot point.
  • In RQ:G, knowing spirit magic penalises your Free INT, and can negatively affect your sorcery. This doesn't have a real comparison in HQ:G (although it could again be simulated by treating any known charms or other animist magic as a flaw, and penalising the use of sorcery.)
  • HQ:G has no equivalent of Inscription.

These are what come to mind as facets of sorcery. I may be mistaken or forgetting other important details though.

 

(And as a side note, I think what HQ:G describes as Basic Magic, i.e. the stuff used by nearly everyone (HQ:G, p.133) seems more akin to RQ:G's Runic Inspiration (RQ:G, p.227). These are both non-overtly-supernatural usages of one's personal runes to enhance relevant abilities.)

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8 hours ago, Darius West said:

Okay, for you to have Boon of Kargan Tor at Duration 17 (1 year), at Strength 8 (+2d6) would require a Free INT of 17+8-2=23.  That means that your starting INT was 18 and you spent your fire rune into it for +2 giving you INT 20, and then you used Enhance INT Strength 8 for +3 INT, likely recasting it for a longer duration once you had the bonus in hand.  Boon of Kargan Tor is certainly not in the LM standard Torvald Fragments and means you probably started as a Philosopher, or acquired the spell later.

Most characters will not have INT 18 as a rolled stat.  Few will roll a philosopher.  It also sounds like your GM is very generous when handing out magical treasure.

You build your own inscriptions with POW gains. And I dunno if you have ever been to the rubble but, EVERYONE seems to drop POW srystals when you shake them. Lol

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5 hours ago, davecake said:

Being old and wizened (and knowing spells to a high level so you can cast them with ritual preparation, and having a large number of power points in Inscriptions) IS being a master sorcerer. 

At which point any sucker of average intelligence or better (13 for a human, right?) can be a master sorceror. And the only reason they're old is because getting POW gain rolls is slow. But classes of Sorcerors can take a week, if the Government is paying.

Which means at least half of the platoon are able to cast something at substantial effect. When you've got 50 guys working together, and 50 more troopers providing their mojo:

5 hours ago, davecake said:

Yeah, you think you are arguing against me while arguing my point for me. Yes, a platoon or company of troopers who are able to fill up your magic point stores - versus a big crowd of initiates who are individually able to cast good magic. The point being the sorcerers are able to cast a small number of powerful spells - while an equivalent group of theists is likely to have individually weaker magic, but a LOT more of it. 

Isn't supporting your point. Those non-sorcerors can be Theists or Spirit Magicians; they're not casting Sorcery, ever, cos they can't learn a Rune or a Technique. And who cares if every other trooper is 'only' casting one spell at 'considerable' effect? There's 50 of 'em supporting their mates. They're all  immune to something, Castbacking, +2d6 damage, bouncing half the 15-point hits they take and ignoring the target's armour half the time or better.

 

5 hours ago, davecake said:

Orlanthi culture does though. Imagine spending 5 years learning how to cast Neutralise Air at a decent level because you want to take on those Orlanthi over the hill, and then dying in 5 minutes to the priestesses Earth Elemental. So you go back, get another sorcerer to spend years learning Neutralise Earth to a decent level as well, and the clan Champion Sever Spirits you. So.... you learn Neutralise Death as well and then... get ambushed by trolls. Neutralise <Rune> is an excellent example of why the inflexibility of sorcery goes too far for my taste. 

Only it doesn't work like that: the Earth Elemental just gets shredded by the combined melee damage of the unit before it can really do any damage; maybe it gets to engulf one guy. There aren't many Large Elementals floating about; they're a beyotch to Command. And how many Sever Spirits are we going to see before one of the Castback spells works and drops your Champion stone dead. Or the Champion kills, let's say, half a dozen guys with his full 18CHA of sacced POW; 7 if he's really good, but has then shot his Rune Point bolt, and there are still a bunch of mincing machines coming his way, and he's no Shield or Truesword. We're not talking about one-on-one, or dozen-on-dozen, which is what Orlanthi are 'optimised' for; we're talking about Society-on-Society, if you're going to talk about how Realms can and can't exist under a given metaphysic.

Sure, the wives could've "Bless Champion"ed their hubbies with what protection spells they can mange, but unless you bring the whole Tribe with you, you can't mount an offensive longer than, oo, a week or so, and still have very much magic left for actual defending rather than prolonging the spell. And even with the wives along in tow, they're getting 3-4 points a week back, which means they'll soon not be able to make their Champions' buffs last til next Clayday. That is more magic than they have available. To date, I don't think we have any way of storing Rune Points...

And versus a General with 2-300 in Battle, you just know you're going to get led on until your buffs run out, and then monched. 

The first City-sized polity that can get this model rolling will soon dominate its neighbours and have the root of a pretty unbeatable operational/strategic machine. Sure, it takes some organising, but so does any army.

 

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5 hours ago, davecake said:

There is essentially almost nothing you can do to broaden your repertoire of spells that you can cast in under a day, apart from studying for multiple years. And there is plenty you can do with POW gains to make your shaman or Rune Priest both more powerful and more versatile. The sorcerer doesn't really have any easy way to become more versatile (except the obvious one of... getting some spirit magic matrices). So a sorcerer mostly remains a one or two trick pony. 

There's a limit to how much more powerful a Rune Priest can get: their CHA. Rules how many bound spirits they can have, how many Rune Points they have (which, in a campaign, is actually limited to d6+1 a week if they have a weekly Holy Day, and they'll soon enough be down to that), and how much Spirit Magic versatility they get. The Sorceror becomes more versatile by getting together with other Sorcerors and getting them to do their one trick on the same target the first Sorceror is. One body doesn't have to do everything. A team of one trick ponies can do quite a few tricks. A team of people who can all do lots of tricks (that don't stack and wear off in 15 minutes) worse, won't match them.

Any organised society can ensure that their troopers all get a POW gain roll every season. That 500L price is for Adventurers, not scholar-phalangites.

Repertoire, Schmepertoire.

Yeah, from a freewheeling Adventurer's point of view, Sorcery sucks. Who wants to sit in a library for a season for a chance at a d6 in one spell? But why does the effective Sorceror Adventurer care about what they can, or can't, cast (for almost sure) in less than a day? It all lasts a year, anyway. Or you can go for a half-hour ceremony and try again if your spell doesn't work, or just spam it Unceremoniously until it works if you're that desperate. Casting effective Sorcery in actual combat is chancy at best, given the long cast times when you get down to Strike Ranks.

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2 hours ago, Tindalos said:
  • A sorcery spell is a particular interaction of one or more Runes, with one or more Techniques/Principles to effect a change in the universe.

It specifies the effect beyond this rather general combination of tech(s) and rune(s). 

2 hours ago, Tindalos said:
  • At their base, a sorcery spell is less potent than a comparable spirit magic or rune magic effect.

Depends pretty much on how you calculate potency. Some strength 1 spells are pretty good deals, and they last significantly longer than spirit spells. A strength 1 Neutralize Magic will protect you against half the disrupts thrown at you, and won't dissipate when overcome. A strength 1 Neutralize Rune will give you an additional saving throw against that rune's magic - still a 25% chance of success vs. a Thunderbolt or a Sunspear, or a Sever Spirit, which is a lot better than getting none. Finger of Fire is a remote melee attack quite similar to Firearrow, and lasts for up to five minutes (25 melee rounds). Boon of Kargan Tor offers 1D3 magical damage bonus for the strength 1 spell, for five minutes- not too shabby, really. Against leather armor, a strength 1 Neutralize Armor has a very good chance to bypass that armor, corresponding to another +2 damage. Conflagration as the sorcerous Ignite may be slower, but can be maintained for a while, can cause 1D3 damage a round to a person until that person moves away from the point where the fire has been called (which can be quite a while... I wonder whether a Conflagration cast on a saddle will remain stationary or move with that saddle, but either way it will create a hot seat that may persuade a rider to dismount and a steed to buckle.

Create <sensation>, the sorcerous illusion spells, duplicate rune magic effects at low cost, and are the envy of every Eurmali even at strength 1.

Cast Disappear on your spirit bound into a small beast (e.g. a Vrok Hawk you cannot ride) and you can do all kinds of sneaky stuff.

Attract Magic is quite potent at strength 1. Attract missiles at strength 1 requires a veritable hail of missiles to be effective, but set up several such alternate targets and any missile gets to roll lots of dice to check for deviations. Since you can apparently choose unarmored locations, this may be nastier than expected. Attract Spirits at strength 1 is likewise a lottery strategy, but can be quite decisive in the later stages of a spirit combat.

Other spells at strength 1 require some situational prerequisites to be interesting. Animate Dead can turn a normal person moving a head into an apparent Thanatari, can cause trophies on the wall or on the belt to move and possibly attack folk, etc. - quite the thing to distract a terrifying Death Lord hung with trophy skulls or similar. Carapace armor might be undone, etc.

Preserve Item at strength 1 is a wonderful spell to make fragile or water-susceptible items survive such ordeals. Many a scroll has been saved that way. And many a prank has created non-writing pens or stain-proofed parchments in the scriptoria.

 

In all fairness, you have to compare strength 1 sorcery spells with the 1 point battle magic spells in case of variable spells. Spirit magic is more quickly released than a sorcery spell, but lasts less than half as long (10 melee rounds rather than 25). The MP cost is generally higher.

 

The weirdest thing about sorcery is that the spells act as magical entities which interact with their environments - often it is no longer the sorcerer himself but instead the spell strength which contests with whatever it comes in contact with. The Resistance Table is almost overused when having sorcery confront other magic.

2 hours ago, Tindalos said:
  • Groups that teach sorcery concentrate on a few specific areas of magical knowledge. (Represented by a rune in RQ:G and their spell lists, or their grimoires in HQ:G)

In this, they are quite similar to cults. Except for a few everyman cults, most cults are quite limited in the magics they offer, too.

2 hours ago, Tindalos said:
  • Sorcerers can learn spells outside of this, but must locate an appropriate source.

They still need to have mastered the runes, or at least implied runes, and techniques (less of a problem for most sorcerers).

Lhankor Mhy libraries - at least the restricted access sections - have a good chance to provide such sources.

 

2 hours ago, Tindalos said:

What differences I can see seem to be connected to the different systems used:

  • In RQ:G, sorcery spells can be enhanced by adding more magic points, up to a level of Free INT. As HQ:G has no MP or Free INT, you can't do that there (Unless you allow sorcerers to augment their grimoire ratings using their Intelligence or their highest rune to imply an bolstering by using their magical reserves.)
  • In HQ:G, sorcery spells can only do one specific thing and cannot be "stretched." This doesn't have a comparable equivalent in RQ:G, so is a bit of a moot point.
  • In RQ:G, knowing spirit magic penalises your Free INT, and can negatively affect your sorcery. This doesn't have a real comparison in HQ:G (although it could again be simulated by treating any known charms or other animist magic as a flaw, and penalising the use of sorcery.)
  • HQ:G has no equivalent of Inscription.

These are what come to mind as facets of sorcery. I may be mistaken or forgetting other important details though.

To me the absence of grimoires is the most jarring difference, but then the Torvald Scrolls are the only grimoire really covered by the RQG rules so far.

HQGs equivalent of Inscription might be the breakout abilities from the grimoire.

HQG stretches would be the equivalent of improvising a spell using rune and tech mastery in RQG, which is verboten.

 

2 hours ago, Tindalos said:

(And as a side note, I think what HQ:G describes as Basic Magic, i.e. the stuff used by nearly everyone (HQ:G, p.133) seems more akin to RQ:G's Runic Inspiration (RQ:G, p.227). These are both non-overtly-supernatural usages of one's personal runes to enhance relevant abilities.)

Agreed. In HQ1, you had to be a devotee to use a magical ability as an active ability (i.e. casting a spell) rather than just augment some other ability (like Sword Combat through Bladesharp).

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8 hours ago, Joerg said:

There might be a few Uzuz demigoddesses who could approach something like this, but that's about it. Lunar magicians may have glamours similar to that, but such combinations would be rare (and madness-inducing), too. Basically you need a split personality, one with the magical organ developed in the shamanic ways and the other in the sorcerous rigors.

Yes. And there are probably a few other historical and obscure weirdoes, but its rare and associated with Illumination at least. It is quite likely a hero thing for most cultures - probably the most common way for a Malkioni sorcerer to experience the Spirit World is by becoming a 'kaelith' through returning from the Underworld with the ability to discorporate. 

The Lunar magicians almost certainly have developed the combination of sorcerery, shamanism and rune magic - but it is a uniquely Lunar form, quite possibly only works with Lunar sorcery and Lunar shamanism, and almost certainly requires Illumination. And, of course, madness inducing goes without saying, at least as far as non-Lunars would claim. But I don't think it would be that uncommon for a Major Class magician. 

The really interesting question is what combinations of magic have been mastered by Argraths Warlocks. 

But this is all kind of beside the point. You can always special case such rules, and the combination of sorcery, shamanism and mysticism is a pretty obscure corner case where it seems reasonable. No one thinks that sorcerer-shamans are a common thing. It's the much more day to day magic as used by those who are not specialists, let alone weirdo specialists like Arkati, that matters. 

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7 hours ago, Tindalos said:

Sorcery is something known. Anyone could theoretically learn a sorcery spell, without regard for talent. They may not be good at it though.

In RQG its clearly a minority that having any significant natural talent (with the minimum 13 INT to master a Rune), and so sorcery becomes a clearly fairly poor choice of magic for a lot of the population - this is clearly a change from early HeroWars/HQ1 material, but was not that clear in HQ1. It is consistent with the Guide, though, which has the Rokari rejecting any magic beyond the trivial for non-zzaburi. 

 

7 hours ago, Tindalos said:

In RQ:G, sorcery spells can be enhanced by adding more magic points, up to a level of Free INT. As HQ:G has no MP or Free INT, you can't do that there (Unless you allow sorcerers to augment their grimoire ratings using their Intelligence or their highest rune to imply an bolstering by using their magical reserves.)

This is exactly the sort of thing where I think Jeffs warning about trying to extrapolate from the rules of HQ can lead to confusion. In HQ, if you succeeded, and it was dramatically significant, then you clearly were able to muster the significant magical resources you need somehow. If you didn't succeed, you were not. That says nothing really about the process of how it was done. If you have a high ability in HQ2, that might include all sorts of personal qualities, skills, resources and knowledge, it only needs to be dragged out into a separate ability (like Intelligence) if it is narratively interesting to do so. Similar arguments apply to all the rest of the things on your list. 

But there are differences between the systems that are not artifacts of the game system, but reflect basic principles of the Gloranthan magical world they are trying to model. 

For me the differences between RQG and HQ2 sorcery that are significant are:

  • incompatibility at the non-specialist level. In HQ2, while there were prohibitions on shamans, sorcerers and devotees becoming one of the others (for the most part), it seemed as if using charms, spells or affinities did not restrict each other. (and I, at least, assumed that pretty obviously a lot of what we call spirit magic in RQG was, if the source was a God, abstracted as part of an Affinity in HQ2, rather than being treated as a Charm). 
  •  In HQG, you learnt spells, but the fundamental determinant of knowledge and ability is the Grimoire, and this was quite explicit - you couldn't even specialise in an individual spell if you wanted to. In RQG, the fundamental determinant of ability is the individual spell, and the more skilled/powerful you are as a sorcerer the more this becomes true. In RQG the concept of a grimoire is basically just flavour text. 
  • In HQ2, the concept of sorcery as clearly based on 'what you know' was pretty core. In RQG, it is muddied to the point of no longer being all that meaningful as a design concept - for powerful sorcerers, their practical level of power is clearly determined largely by Inscriptions and Enchantments. 
7 hours ago, Tindalos said:

HQ:G has no equivalent of Inscription.

And it is explicitly forbidden, more or less. 

3 hours ago, Joerg said:

HQGs equivalent of Inscription might be the breakout abilities from the grimoire.

And Joerg missed the rule that explicitly forbid them

Quote

You use these spells at your grimoire’s rating; these are not breakout abilities and cannot be independently raised.

In HQG you could not make a single spell better than the others in your grimoire - and making a single spell better than the others is exactly what Inscriptions do. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, womble said:

At which point any sucker of average intelligence or better (13 for a human, right?) can be a master sorceror. And the only reason they're old is because getting POW gain rolls is slow.

I literally just pointed out the in the line above that the reason they are old is because it takes years to master a spell. We clearly are not longer meaningfully arguing if we are just ignoring arguments that don't support our thesis. 

5 hours ago, womble said:

A team of one trick ponies can do quite a few tricks.

Indeed, but the point is it rapidly fails to scale, and requires years of preparation to do well (you can't just decide you want a specific spell specialist, if you want them to able to cast the spell without days of preparation, it takes them at least a season). And you need a lot of them just to replicate the level of flexibility your rune magic users get just from common rune magic. 
If the other magicians learn to get similarly organised (which is precisely what the Sartar Magical Union is), sorcerers are in trouble. 

5 hours ago, womble said:

Which means at least half of the platoon are able to cast something at substantial effect.

You are imagining a version of sorcery that is supported neither by any version of Gloranthan society we've ever known, or by the rules. As your putative soldiers have not mastered their runes, casting at max Free INT (so 12 for the average soldier, presuming they know one single spell) takes twice as many magic points as they have, and is wildly unreliable, and if they cast at a duration of hours or more reduces it to a level of potency that is about on a par with normal spirit magic levels. If they cast at short time, higher level, they are vulnerable to magic and all the enemy commander has to do is delay. And it is highly unreliable to cast (to boost it being reliable would require your opponents letting you wait around). 

Your average Orlanthi can just cast a little spirit magic before battle for the same effect as a long duration spell. And has far more flexibility. 

And it flat our contradicts what we've been told about Western society in multiple places. I don't really want to argue about alternate Gloranthas in which the Malkioni reorganise their society around the optimisation of details of the RQG sorcery rules. 

Besides, we've already been there - there was a period when the Malkioni understood the Runequest rules and reorganised themselves accordingly, and they ultimately chose to Learn about the Gods. 😁

6 hours ago, womble said:

And versus a General with 2-300 in Battle, you just know you're going to get led on until your buffs run out, and then monched. 

Battle covers tactics and leadership, not strategy. And sure, it helps. But so does having the magical advantage. 

6 hours ago, womble said:

We're not talking about one-on-one, or dozen-on-dozen, which is what Orlanthi are 'optimised' for; we're talking about Society-on-Society, if you're going to talk about how Realms can and can't exist under a given metaphysic.

Sorcerers don't have multispell any more - if you are talking about a strength 12 Boon of Kargan Tor, you aren't able to cast it on many people, you probably have a tiny number of sorcerers able to reliably cast it in your army, and those sorcerers are quite limited in the number of people they can cast it on. It really IS about one to one, because the number of people you will be able to buff like that will be a comparable percentage of your army to the number of rune levels (maybe) on the other side, and that is probably if you have spent literally decades training war wizards. 

My strong impression is that, society vs society, almost every zzaburi war wizard makes the same arguments you are making - and many a talar discovers, to his regret, that he just can't seem to ever have enough of the right kind of sorcerer when they need it. Sorcerers are a very limited resource, incredibly slow and expensive to 'make', and very inflexible. 

And next thing you know, the talar is hiring foreign mercenaries or making alliances, discreetly enquiring with the War societies about their secret magic (if Rokari), falling into some heresy or another, or desperately heroquesting. 

Or, if they are Brithini, acknowledging sorrowfully that an embarrasing military defeat every few centuries is a small price to pay for immortality 🤣

6 hours ago, womble said:

The first City-sized polity that can get this model rolling will soon dominate its neighbours and have the root of a pretty unbeatable operational/strategic machine. Sure, it takes some organising, but so does any army.

Well, briefly. It takes a very long time to organise, at minimum many years. It requires a very significant domination of your sorcerers, so you are able to get many of them to spent many years and many points of power becoming specialist war wizards. It requires a degree of centralised control that is alien to the bronze age societies we discuss. And probably just requires too many sorcerers to cover too many bases to work. The flexibility provided by common rune spells and the ability of shamans to teach/cast any spirit magic is significant. For example, you'll need a number of specialist spirit defence sorcerers to not be very vulnerable to spirit attacks - while almost every Rune magic user already has Spirit Block. 

And it ends up being (especially if you rely on Neutralise Rune as your magical defence) being kind of an extended game of Rock, Paper Scissors in which you have to invest several years effort to change option - your system is sufficiently inflexible that one attack you don't have the means to defend against, and that is smart enough to target your sorcerers, effectively destroys you as a power. A horde of ghosts, or an earthquake that destroys the castle you are in, or a bunch of werewolves when you don't have enough magic weapons. 

Sorcery based states that rely only on sorcery are historically brittle. The Brithini either fall into henotheism (dawn age seshnela) or get beaten despite being master sorcerers (Arolanit falls to God Learners, First age defeat by Nysalorans). The Rokari claim purity, but ignore that their Horali caste flagrantly prefer their War Societies non-sorcerous magic. The Loskalmi were not notably martially powerful pre-Ban (being conquered by the God Learners, White Bear Empire, Black Hralf the Weasel, etc and was losing to Nysalors armies until they got Lightbringer and Hsunchen aid), and their fine wizard knights will probably get chopped into mincemeat by the Kingdom of War. The God Learners, of course, got so much of their success by NOT being purist sorcery users. In general, sorcery using cultures (other than the Brithini) either seem to not be that effective militarily, end up not that purist after all, or hope a hero saves them with a great magical act. I think that this is pretty much what the rules will support as well - pure sorcery users can be very effective with preparation and near perfect organisation and execution, but it is very easy for their lack of flexibility to be their downfall. Or for them to have to rely on big magical effects to save them when their military falters. 

(The Vadeli and Mostali are special cases, because I don't believe either qualifies as relying on standard sorcery. The ancient Vadeli relied heavily on demonology, the modern Vadeli on deceit. The Mostali have many magical techniques that go beyond the limits of standard sorcery, especially jolanti and other constructed beings, and alchemy including gunpowder.)

And you know, this whole argument is why I hate the 'spells and spreadsheets' effect of Duration. It immediately leads to long explanation of how sorcery 'obviously' works based on a bunch of back of the envelope calculations that have nothing to do with Gloranthan flavour, and are the opposite of fun, and don't stand up in practice. 

 

 

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