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Tupper

Why bind a spirit?

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This might be a dumb question: why would I want to bind a spirit into an item? It seems a pretty expensive process. If I need a spirit for some reason, wouldn't I just summon it and then control it? I guess binding it to an item saves me having to summon it, but is that the only advantage?

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You can use the Magic Points of a bound spirit as if they were your own, which is right handy.

I believe bound spirits are also "automatically controlled" if you release them to perform a task (though they must be re-controlled to return to the binding after). Having a pre-bound spirit then saves at least 2 rounds of spell-casting up front, which can be a very big deal as well.

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31 minutes ago, boztakang said:

I believe bound spirits are also "automatically controlled" if you release them to perform a task (though they must be re-controlled to return to the binding after)

Spitballing from memory, the advantage is that it only costs 1MP to control a spirit in a Binding Enchant for the duration of that spell, and you can order them back into the Binding without further cost. So, real quick. Hypothetically if you've got a low DEX SR you could unleash two spirits in a round (with a 5SR gap between casts). Though I'm not certain how giving orders plays with that.

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Also, if you're using Control Spirit on a freshly Summoned Entity, you have to defeat (i.e. reduce to zero MP) the Spirit before you can tell it to do anything, after which it's not really much use. If, indeed, you want to be starting an additional Spirit Combat in a given tactical situation.

The way I read it, you need to use a Control Spirit (or Command Cult Spirit if appropriate or Dominate Spirit) to poke the Spirit out of its Binding (and it automatically works, rather than requiring Spirit Combat/POW v POW/SpellStrength v POW as relevant contest), then you've got the duration of the spell to order it about, finally sending it back into its box.

I am currently of the opinion that this is the only real practical way to get any use out of Spirits reliably. Even the one-roll contests for Command Cult Spirit are a bit risky to be trying to pull off at the point you need to use the spirit: you may well waste both the resources spent to summon the entity as well as those spent on the attempt to control it, which isn't something you necessarily want to risk in an operational situation: do it in 'downtime' when you've got a chance for retrys.

Also, given the casting time for Sorcery spells, I think the Meldeks have to get creative to be able to hit their freshly-summoned future servants with Dominates fast enough (before the Spirit just skedaddles). Protective Circle maybe? Certainly not going to be an option at the 'point of application' of a Spirit very often.

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35 minutes ago, womble said:

Also, given the casting time for Sorcery spells, I think the Meldeks have to get creative to be able to hit their freshly-summoned future servants with Dominates fast enough (before the Spirit just skedaddles). Protective Circle maybe? Certainly not going to be an option at the 'point of application' of a Spirit very often.

This is where the Sorcery Multispell of RQIII was very useful. In order to Dominate before to be attacked, you were casting both spells simultaneously. Now, this option does not exist anymore for sorcerors.

Kloster

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Okay ... I think I'm getting this.  Thanks for all the helpful answers!  To summarise, I now think that the advantages are:

  • Avoid costly and time-consuming summoning.
  • Avoid risky control spells that might or might not work on the fly, because the spirit is automatically controlled.
  • The bound spirit could be used as an extra source of MPs and spells (like spirits bound by a Shaman), which wouldn't need the spirit to be released.

Here are some followup questions:

  1. If I reduce an unbound spirit's MPs to zero, and then cast Control Spirit on it, does it get a POW vs POW test to avoid being controlled?    
  2. If I cast Spirit Binding on an unbound spirit, does it get a POW vs POW test to avoid being bound?
  3. If I have a bound spirit (which is starting to sound like a very good idea), it seems that Command Cult Spirit (Rune Magic) would work for commanding it, as would Dominate Spirit (Sorcery).  However, would Control Spirit (Spirit Magic) work?  Or would the spirit have to have 0 Magic Points for Control Spirit to work?

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1 hour ago, Tupper said:

If I have a bound spirit (which is starting to sound like a very good idea), it seems that Command Cult Spirit (Rune Magic) would work for commanding it

Only as long as the bound spirit was a spirit associated with your cult.

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3 hours ago, jajagappa said:
5 hours ago, Tupper said:

If I have a bound spirit (which is starting to sound like a very good idea), it seems that Command Cult Spirit (Rune Magic) would work for commanding it

Only as long as the bound spirit was a spirit associated with your cult.

Which has really odd side effects if a player character collects agents of reprisal as magic point batteries... which is bound to happen somewhere. (Mind you, they could have been targeting a no-good initiate comrade of his, while he himself remains rather virtuous.)

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29 minutes ago, Zozotroll said:

Not sure how virtuous you are if you are binding spirits of reprisal while they are about a cult mission

Those were sent by your rival priest to pester your underling.

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9 hours ago, Tupper said:

Okay ... I think I'm getting this.  Thanks for all the helpful answers!  To summarise, I now think that the advantages are:

  • Avoid costly and time-consuming summoning.
  • Avoid risky control spells that might or might not work on the fly, because the spirit is automatically controlled.
  • The bound spirit could be used as an extra source of MPs and spells (like spirits bound by a Shaman), which wouldn't need the spirit to be released.

Sounds about right. :) Except I'm not sure about being able to use all the Spirit's spells when they're bound. The Magic Chapter discussion of Binding just says you can communicate with the beastie and give it orders. It's spirits trapped in Spirit Binding Crystals (GM Screen Pack, Appendix 2) which the rules specifically state you're allowed to access the MP, but do not mention access to spells. Allied Spirits let you share spell knowledge, and Bloody Tusk Rune Magic can create talismans that let you use the bound spirit's spell knowledge as well as its MPs. I have assumed that bound spirits were like (I remember) RQ3 and let you access their MPs, but not their CHA to 'remember' Spirit Magic for you, for the purposes of my Glorantha.

9 hours ago, Tupper said:

Here are some followup questions:

  1. If I reduce an unbound spirit's MPs to zero, and then cast Control Spirit on it, does it get a POW vs POW test to avoid being controlled?    
  2. If I cast Spirit Binding on an unbound spirit, does it get a POW vs POW test to avoid being bound?
  3. If I have a bound spirit (which is starting to sound like a very good idea), it seems that Command Cult Spirit (Rune Magic) would work for commanding it, as would Dominate Spirit (Sorcery).  However, would Control Spirit (Spirit Magic) work?  Or would the spirit have to have 0 Magic Points for Control Spirit to work?

1. Nope. You did the hard part already. The POW v POW is specified in Command Cult Spirit.

2. Good question. I'm not sure what function Spirit Binding serves. I'm thinking you need it to force your 0 MP vanquished spirit into its new home... I can't see it as being as easy as "See Spirit, cast 1MP, beat it in POW v POW, get new bound spirit".

3. I say, for the purposes of my Glorantha, that Control Spirit on a Bound spirit works automatically without having to reduce it to 0MP. Otherwise spirits bound by Shamanic cultures without access to Dominate, or non-Cult Spirits bound in Theist cultures would be one-use. Maybe that's the intent, but I don't like it if so.

Command Cult Spirit, as has been said, only works on Spirits of your Cult. So Elementals, mostly, for Orlanth, for example. Cults do have other spirits (the already-mentioned Spirits of Reprisal for one), and I reckon their MP would be available to the holder of the Binding. As a result, I think the Orlanthi wouldn't be reduced to kidnapping Spirits of Reprisal very often; they can whistle up an Elemental and Command that, instead, if they've got an empty Binding to fill.

I like this discussion: the rules on Binding while lengthy, aren't very clear, and are almost-but-not-quite-the-same as older versions, so hashing out the questions is good.

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10 hours ago, Tupper said:

Okay ... I think I'm getting this.  Thanks for all the helpful answers!  To summarise, I now think that the advantages are:

  • Avoid costly and time-consuming summoning.
  • Avoid risky control spells that might or might not work on the fly, because the spirit is automatically controlled.
  • The bound spirit could be used as an extra source of MPs and spells (like spirits bound by a Shaman), which wouldn't need the spirit to be released.

You're almost right on target. In RQIII, you can not order a bound spirit to cast a spell while it is in the binding enchantment because it can not perceive the target of the spell. You had to release it before. The classic tactic was to cast a control/dominate spell on the bound spirit (it automatically succeed), order it to exit the enchantment, control it for the duration of the spell (including casting spell) and order the spirit to reenter the enchantment before the end of the controlling spell.According to P249, RQG is the same.

10 hours ago, Tupper said:

Here are some followup questions:

  1. If I reduce an unbound spirit's MPs to zero, and then cast Control Spirit on it, does it get a POW vs POW test to avoid being controlled?    
  2. If I cast Spirit Binding on an unbound spirit, does it get a POW vs POW test to avoid being bound?
  3. If I have a bound spirit (which is starting to sound like a very good idea), it seems that Command Cult Spirit (Rune Magic) would work for commanding it, as would Dominate Spirit (Sorcery).  However, would Control Spirit (Spirit Magic) work?  Or would the spirit have to have 0 Magic Points for Control Spirit to work?

1 - No (I think)

2 - I don't know. I have never thought about it.

3 - Control spell worked and work automatically on bound spirit (p249/250 for RQG). Control spirit (spirit magic) and Dominate spirit (sorcery) would have the same effect (but not the same duration). Command Cult spirit (rune magic would do the same if and only if the bound spirit is a cult one.

Hope this helps.

Kloster

 

 

 

Edited by Kloster

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On 12/15/2018 at 10:41 AM, womble said:

which the rules specifically state you're allowed to access the MP, but do not mention access to spells.

P366 RQG: "The binder of a spirit can use any spirit magic the spirit possesses and the magic points of the spirit to fuel spells."

My though's on the other points.

You use different approaches for different spirits. If, for example, you wish to bind an elemental. Sacrifice POW during the Binding Enchantment, Summon the appropriate Elemental (requires roll), Cast Command (roll req.), overcome POW v POW roll to force elemental into receptacle. 

For a spell spirit or other entity. Sacrifice POW during a Binding Enchantment. Cast Summon Entity (roll req.) or enter the Spirt World and find entity. Reduce the entity to 0 MP in spirit combat then cast Control (Entity) Spirit Binding (roll req. but if successfully cast the spirit is bound, no POW roll).

Edited by Psullie
posted before I finished & spell alteration

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15 minutes ago, Psullie said:

P366 RQG: "The binder of a spirit can use any spirit magic the spirit possesses and the magic points of the spirit to fuel spells."

Ah! Thank you! Of course what you can do with a bound spirit is only written once, and nowhere near the place where it describes how to create bindings...

 

Edit: The language used there, though, reminds me of a lack of clarity I noticed a while back, but pushed to the back of my mind: who is "the binder"? And does the p366 reference mean that only they can use the spirit magic and magic points of the spirit, while anyone else would be limited to controlling the spirit and releasing it to do its thang? The terms of reference seem to wobble about a bit in the Magic Chapter, and the section about Crystals in the GM Screen Pack.

Edited by womble
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27 minutes ago, Psullie said:

P366 RQG: "The binder of a spirit can use any spirit magic the spirit possesses and the magic points of the spirit to fuel spells."

Yes, but as it can not perceive the world outside the binding, most of the spells can't be cast (RQG p249).It needs either magic to perceive the world (RQG p249) or cast it's spells on the binding owner (my understanding).

Kloster

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18 minutes ago, womble said:

Ah! Thank you! Of course what you can do with a bound spirit is only written once, and nowhere near the place where it describes how to create bindings...

 

Edit: The language used there, though, reminds me of a lack of clarity I noticed a while back, but pushed to the back of my mind: who is "the binder"? And does the p366 reference mean that only they can use the spirit magic and magic points of the spirit, while anyone else would be limited to controlling the spirit and releasing it to do its thang? The terms of reference seem to wobble about a bit in the Magic Chapter, and the section about Crystals in the GM Screen Pack.

Even if literally it means the character that sent the spirit to the binding enchantment, I understand it to be 'the character that controls the bound spirit, either by touching the binding enchantment, or by casting a spell'.

Kloster

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3 minutes ago, Kloster said:

Yes, but as it can not perceive the world outside the binding, most of the spells can't be cast (RQG p249).It needs either magic to perceive the world (RQG p249) or cast it's spells on the binding owner (my understanding).

Kloster

That's not what it says. It says "...the binder...can use..." Which doesn't necessarily imply that it's the spirit that's doing the casting. The section on Allied spirits also says:

"They can use each other’s magical abilities, including spell knowledge, magic points, and Rune points."

Again, 'use'. You may be right, and you're certainly right that the spirit itself can't (be commanded to) cast most of its spells from within the Binding, but I'd lean towards the 'user can cast spells the spirit knows' interpretation, because the language admits it as a possibility, and it's how it used to work, with no indication that there's meant to be a change. The section about spirits being unable to cast out of Bindings makes no mention of MP-sucking, either; combining the two on p366 reinforces the 'can use' interpretation in my mind.

Wish it was clearer though. Like so many things. Sometimes they're dead pernickity with their terms and other times they just breeze on by using vagueness.

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14 minutes ago, womble said:

mean that only they can use the spirit magic

Yes, only the binder (the one that spent the POW and cast the Enchantment spell) gets the MP bonus and cast spells. But unless a Condition is placed on the container anyone touching it can communicate with the bound spirit and release it. You should be very careful who touches your baubles.

 

4 minutes ago, Kloster said:

most of the spells can't be cast

It's not the Spirit that casts the spell, but the binder. So If my shaman binds a Spirit that knows Disruption 3, the shaman can cast that spell, using his own skill level but without needing to know that spell. This allows character to collect more spells than their CHA. Alternatively he could release it, cast Command (entity) which is automatic, and ask it to cast the spell.

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53 minutes ago, womble said:

That's not what it says. It says "...the binder...can use..." Which doesn't necessarily imply that it's the spirit that's doing the casting.

Correct.

53 minutes ago, womble said:

The section on Allied spirits also says:

"They can use each other’s magical abilities, including spell knowledge, magic points, and Rune points."

I think Allied spirits are a very specific case of cult spirits, not your general joe average spirit.

53 minutes ago, womble said:

Again, 'use'. You may be right, and you're certainly right that the spirit itself can't (be commanded to) cast most of its spells from within the Binding, but I'd lean towards the 'user can cast spells the spirit knows' interpretation, because the language admits it as a possibility, and it's how it used to work, with no indication that there's meant to be a change. The section about spirits being unable to cast out of Bindings makes no mention of MP-sucking, either; combining the two on p366 reinforces the 'can use' interpretation in my mind..

You are right, it can be understood that way:as you said, the language admits it's a possibility, so it is not forbidden.

 

I also wished it had been clearer.

Kloster




 

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1 hour ago, Psullie said:

Yes, only the binder (the one that spent the POW and cast the Enchantment spell) gets the MP bonus and cast spells. But unless a Condition is placed on the container anyone touching it can communicate with the bound spirit and release it. You should be very careful who touches your baubles.

I have not understood 'the binder' the way you did, but why not. Agreed for the last part.

1 hour ago, Psullie said:

It's not the Spirit that casts the spell, but the binder. So If my shaman binds a Spirit that knows Disruption 3, the shaman can cast that spell, using his own skill level but without needing to know that spell. This allows character to collect more spells than their CHA. Alternatively he could release it, cast Command (entity) which is automatic, and ask it to cast the spell.

I got your point. Mine is correct, but what you explain bypass the problem I was describing, because the binder is using the spirit knowledge to cast the spell. I wonder if it is possible to teach a specific spell to a bound spirit, or if you have to go with the spells known by the spirits when you found/summoned them.

Kloster

 

 

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2 hours ago, Psullie said:

Alternatively he could release it, cast Command (entity) which is automatic, and ask it to cast the spell.

Just to be picky, and only because we're trying to sort out how this work, shouldn't that be cast the Command(Entity) first, because it's only automatic while the entity is in the binding? Or does 'bound' as a state apply until the spirit has performed its one required task upon release?

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2 hours ago, Psullie said:

Yes, only the binder (the one that spent the POW and cast the Enchantment spell) gets the MP bonus and cast spells.

I'd count the binder as 'the one that put the spirit into the binding', for the purposes of my Glorantha. That way the restriction works for crystals too, which do not have a 'maker'.

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3 minutes ago, womble said:

Just to be picky, and only because we're trying to sort out how this work, shouldn't that be cast the Command(Entity) first, because it's only automatic while the entity is in the binding? Or does 'bound' as a state apply until the spirit has performed its one required task upon release?

What I have always understood is that the 'automatic working spell' is only for the spirit/elemental/entity that is WITHIN the binding enchantment. If you order it to exit to perform a task, then the control spell follows the normal rule.

Kloster

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1 minute ago, Kloster said:

What I have always understood is that the 'automatic working spell' is only for the spirit/elemental/entity that is WITHIN the binding enchantment. If you order it to exit to perform a task, then the control spell follows the normal rule.

Kloster

That's what I understood, too, from p260

"Control spells automatically work against creatures while they are bound in items." (my emphasis)

If it said "...bound to...", I'd see Psullie's sequence of events working, but I think it may have just been a slip of the keyboard, which is why I was checking what he meant. It may be that the rules mean to put more emphasis on 'bound' and less on 'in', and the state of 'bound' may persist once the critter is out in the world again, until it has fulfilled its required single command. In this case, I don't much mind either way. There's a certain aesthetic preference for the Spirit manifesting out of its prison and being told 'out in the real world' what to do, rather than the more humdrum 'doing it all inside the belt buckle (or whatever the enchanted item is)'.

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2 hours ago, womble said:

Just to be picky, and only because we're trying to sort out how this work, shouldn't that be cast the Command(Entity) first, because it's only automatic while the entity is in the binding? Or does 'bound' as a state apply until the spirit has performed its one required task upon release?

Yes, that would be the safer option. As it takes a round to impart the commands to the entity, you would do that then release. 

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