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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Wed, 02 Jun 1993, part 1
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The RuneQuest Daily and RuneQuest Digest deal with the subjects of
Avalon Hill's RPG and Greg Stafford's world of Glorantha.

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RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Henk Langeveld)


From: (Malcolm Cohen)
Subject: RQ3 sorcery patching
Message-ID: <>
Date: 1 Jun 93 15:19:45 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 909

>   For non-Gloranthan games we want the magic system to resonate with our
> stories and legends, thus imparting the right "feel" to magic, and to fit
> logically in the world-system of the game  Luckily this is not incompatible 

Actually this depends on what sort of campaign one is running, and if running a
campaign on several planes, the differing physical (magical) laws on each

This leads to changes in several parts of the magic system, not just sorcery.

For instance, the "aether" in my world is "magically noisy" (like static on a
radio) so that one requires an above-average POW characteristic to be able to
manipulate magic at all (and even higher POW to be able to create magical
effects at a distance rather than at close range).  This affects all types of
magic, even Spirit Magic which is otherwise more or less unchanged from RQ3.

>   For story purposes, magic should enhance the story without overwhelmingly
> dominating everything.  When magic is totally dominant, the story gets
> so far away from the real world that we lose the ability to identify well
> with the characters.

Of course all these are your personal goals; it can definitely suit the story
to have magic dominant, giving a different style of story.

>  Problems with RQ III Sorcery

The problems I have with RQ3 sorcery are:
   Free INT -- does not have the right "feel", effects are not nice
   Intensity skill -- chance of casting a spell of intensities >1 is the same
                      for intensity 2 as for intensity 20.
   Duration  skill -- chance of casting a spell of duration 1 year is the same
                      as for 20 minutes.

The basic solution to this is to allow any manipulation of the spells
characteristics, not limited by "Free INT".  Further, I consider each
MP-worth's of manipulation (both increased intensity, increased range and
increased duration) to increase the difficulty of the spell by 5% (i.e. reduce
the spell-casting success roll).

I have had to basically rewrite the sorcery spell-list because it contains
spells which should be impossible in my world and also misses out many effects
(or has them being too expensive) which should be there.  This is a
straight-forward alteration to provide the desired atmosphere etc. for the

Even the spells which I have kept I often do not like much, e.g. Damage
Resistance which is very "brittle" (either the mage is totally protected or not
protected at all, depending on whether he is lucky!) and practically worthless
at low intensity.
...........................Malcolm Cohen, NAG Ltd., Oxford, U.K.


From: (Curtis Shenton)
Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Tue, 01 Jun 1993, part 1
Message-ID: <>
Date: 1 Jun 93 16:55:14 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 910

> From: (P A Snow)
> Subject: Where's the Magic?
> Message-ID: <9306011228.AA01195@Sun.COM>
> Date: 1 Jun 93 12:27:46 GMT
> X-RQ-ID: 905
> Paul Snow here.
> In response to Paul Reilly's excellent comments on Sorcery I would like to bring
> another aspect to be considered into the discussion. This bolis down to :-
> 	How "magical" do you want magic/sorcery to feel?
> The current rules for cults and shmanism do work well but ultimately lead to a
> world view where magic is technology. This is fine if this is how Glorantha is
> seen to be. However, if sorcery in Glorantha is intended to feel like magic in
> stories from Earth, it must be made more mysterious and unknown. The latter 
> parts of Paul R's analysis took sorcery down the Sorcery is technology route. Is

Overall I agree with this. I've always hated saying bladesharp 4 or
protection 5, etc. It's waaaay to mecahnical. I'd much rather have
something like bladesong and roll to see how well I cast/sing/whatever
the spell and have my degree of success determine how powerfull it is.
So magic would be different each time cast.
> this really what people want? If western culture/magic is going to be constructed 
> to parallel western european development then surely sorcery should be difficult
> to master and unpredictable so society has to rely on technology and learning
> and move away from sorcery in order to progress.
> Pendragon took magic totally out of player's hands (well originally) so that the
> magic of magic could be conveyed by the DM alone. Magic loses its mystery as 
> soon as the players know the rules and can manipulate them without thought to 
> their own ends. (I mean without worry rather than without thought there I think)
> However, I believe that some of the unpredictability of magic could be 
> maintained in a well written system. For example, if characters made a skill
> roll in order to learn a basuc spell then  variations could be imposed on the
> spell learnt according to the goodness of the learning roll. Variations need
> to be in true game variables that affect play such as range, duration, damage
> etc. , not just in irelevant chrome such as color and smell. Then there will
> be genuine variation between spells in a group of Sorcerers and players can
> not exploit/master the rules by knowing exactly the powers of any NPC
> sorceror. This might work to keep doubt and uncertainty about spell effects in
> players ind and thus work back to give the mysterious feel of the unknown to
> sorcery in general.
> So do you want magic magic or not?
> Paul Snow

While I really, really think Gloranthan magic needs to become less
mechanical I think SORCERY should be mechanistic. Look who uses it, the
dwarves and the godless Brithni(whatever they're called). Sure other
western cultures also worship the invisible god much like other cultures
worship their gods and maybe sorcery should be less of an exact science
for them. But I think the scientific feel of sorcery would work well
_if_ the spirit and divine magic was less mechanical.
Curtis Shenton internet              Too lazy to do a
	       4@3091 WWIVnet				"real" .sig file
Currently working on a war of the gods adventure for WotC. If you're
intrested email with SUBSCRIBE LOC-L 


From: (Brandon Brylawski)
Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Fri, 28 May 1993, part 1
Message-ID: <>
Date: 1 Jun 93 17:09:47 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 911

In his posting on Sorcery,  Paul Reilly notes how great an effect on society
spells with any significant duration can have, and gives an example of an
apprentice sorceror maintaining an army in damage boost.
I agree that duration spells should have SEVERE limitations, expecially in
Glorantha, where all other magics, spirit and divine, have very little
duration (some, like bless crops, have a lasting effect, but those work in
a very limited sphere and are part of the culture that they operate in).
Additionally, though, I would like to argue strongly for limitations on 
bound spirits. INT and POW spirits increase one's personal ability to cast
Spirit or Sorcerous magic so much that they should be not merely difficult to
acquire, but also difficult to maintain. If they have no maintenance cost nor
limit on the number of spirits that a person can control, then highly
experienced characters will all be festooned with bound spirits. This has some
bad effects on the game : first, it creates a great deal of detail for players
and GMs to keep track of, as a player or NPC going into combat gives rapid-fire
commands to his many bound spirits and they take varying lengths of time to cast
their spells; second, it decreases the heroic stature of characters, insofar
as it moves the focus of their power away from their personal capabilities
to that of items that they carry, reminiscent of item-ridden D&D campaigns;
third, in creating a valuable commodity that any powerful opponent will have,
it creates a windfall for anyone that defeats such an opponent, and impoverishes
anyone defeated but not killed. I strongly urge everyone to adopt rules that
encourage personal growth and not acquisition, for the above reasons. I have
seen many campaigns damaged by magic goodies that got out of hand.
  Sample rules that might accomplish some of the above goals :

1. Cut down the INT and Power of most spirits severely. They have been on the 
spirit plane for a while, perhaps they have attenuated. A POW spirit with
10 points of power effectively doubles one's spirit magic ability, and permits
casting a lot of magic without decreasing one's resistance; it should be
hard to get.  Perhaps spirits should be classed:
Common		D3	D3+2	
UnCommon	2D3	D6+2
Rare		2D6-1	2D6+1
Very Rare	2D6+2	3D6

with the higher classes having penalties to the chance of finding them, with
attendant longer searches and greater risk.

2. POW to bind a spirit = (INT + POW of Spirit) / 3, round UP .
3. A spirit must be re-bound every sacred time; no spirit combat is necessary,
but the POW must be repaid. Many cults will accept POW sacrifices from 
characters during the course of the year, to be repaid at sacred time for this
purpose. An alternative is to say that spirit binding lasts one year from the
time of binding.

Brandon Brylawski


Subject: Re: Odds and sods
Message-ID: <9306011910.AA03535@serdlc14>
Date: 1 Jun 93 19:09:58 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 912

 Loads of stuff to get through and not much time so...

 Paul R 
> Instead of the Test of Holiness, perhaps the GM can keep track of "cult 
>virtues" for the character.  This would be easier in a Pendragon-style 

 We use this sort of system. When someone wants to get to the higher
ranks of their local cult they have to try and roll beneath these
traits, although I prefer to roleplay such things if at all possible.
Personality traits are useful for NPC's; recently one of the players
did the 'egg joke' on a Storm Kahn. He was pissed and pissed off and
was in the middle of a heavy drinking session, so I made him roll an
energetic to  actually be bothered to chase the character and luckily
he fumbled it. The only problem I've found is trying to remember
everyone's traits; the other day I caught someone with a cowardly of 17
challenging the local toughs at the village fair!!

>Since SUN COUNTY came out I've received a number of letters from players
>describing the outcome of the GARHOUND CONTEST (Melisande's Hand).  It
>got me wondering who the most common winner of the contest is:

 When we played it (I actually got to play!!) my character BADCOE
BROOBANE the stormbull won it. I can't remember who came second, but
the NPC's were pretty down the field. Badcoe became totally smitten
with Melisande and joined the local Orlanthi's. When he qualified as a
Storm Kahn he declined until he could become a Wind Lord at which point
he became an associate Storm Kahn. So winning the contest had a
profound effect on his life; he settled down (previously he was a Rhino
Rider) and changed his primary cult, but he still goes on reckless
chaos killing missions given half a chance (much to Melisande's disgust!).

POW gain rolls

 There's been alot of discussion about POW gain rolls so I thought that
I'd chuck in my bolg. As well as the normal system, we use a thing
called 'CULT POINTS'. People get CP's for doing things that their god
likes and lose them by doing things he doesn't like. The more you have,
the more difficult it gets to get more of them. 

 We use CP's as a measure of standing in a cult. To become an initiate
you must have at least 1. To stay an initiate you must not go negative
(although you can go to 0). To become a Rune Level you need 5 and to
stay there you must not fall below 3.

 Each cult point gives

 +1 Species Max POW 
- It makes sense that a god will help out his loyal subjects, making
POW gain rolls easier and higher POW's possible. In the big scheme of
things, a point or 2 of extra POW doesn't really tip the scales too much.

 1 attempt at D.I
 - These attempts must be renewed at a temple just like divine spells.
Again, a god is more likely to answer the call of those who do what he wants.

 +1 to D.I chances
- i.e an initiates chance of D.I is POW + CP's on D100. CP's can be
lost instead of POW when D.I's are made (as long as you don't fall
below the necessary threshold - if you do then you fall down to the
level corresponding to your current CP's) Using DI, CP's can never fall
below zero, so you can never fall below initiate level.

 A cult point can be traded in for a 1D3 POW increase (just like a
normal POW gain roll but without the risk). This must be performed at a
temple and is normally charged for.

 Cult points have the added advantage of forcing PC's to play in
accordance with their cult wishes and not just conveniently forget them
when they wish; the reason I developed then in the first place was
because I got fed up with a Zorak Zorani death lord who ran away from
elves just because they had poisoned weapons.

 For those without gods e.g sorcerors, I give a minimum 5% chance of a
POW gain roll regerdless of POW, so they may increase their species max
independently (as sorcerors do).

 Close Combat
 And finally, the strike rank debate. RQ IV just about handles closing
etc but I've never been happy with the way a VERY quick and tall person
with a dagger (min SR 4) can beat a very small and slow person armed
with a pike (max SR 8). In fact, you don't even need to be very small!

 I think the way to get round this is to use figures and, as they
suggest in the rules, a hex grid (may I also recommend a white board to
draw scenery, etc. on). Using the RQIV engagement rules, as soon as you
get within 3 hexes (meters) of a pike wielder, you have to stop unless
you can beat your opponent in  a maneuver contest.

 What I would suggest is that weapons have 'ideal ranges' at which they
are used; 3m, 2m, 1m and point blank. At each range, there is a
multiplier of the weilder's attack and parry skill listed with the
weapon with 0 indicating that the weapon can't be used - imagine trying
to use a pike while someone is grappling with you.  Most weapons rely
on a fair amount of leverage and an impact point to deliver damage so
when a shorter weapon user closes with a longer weapon user, he is at a
very real advantage. However, with many weapons, especially one handed
weapons, you can still use the other end of your weapon e.g the pommel
or butt, to hit the enemy so at some range all weapons except SR 3
weapons should do the same damage e.g 1D3.

 Naturally, some consideration as to HOW a weapon is used should be
included; you can shorten your grip on a quaterstaff quite quickly so
that it is effective a quite a few ranges. 

 An example of a few weapons;

 Weapon       3m  2m  1m  PB
 Pike         x1  x.5 Bt  x0
 1H sword     x0  x0  x1  Bt
 Dagger       x0  x0  x0  x1
 Qtr Staff    x0  x1  x1  Bt
 Kite shield  x1  x1  x1  x0
 Buckler      x1  x1  x1  x1

 Where 'Bt' means you have to use the butt of your weapon.

 Using this system means that weapon SR's are irrelevant,a ll that
matters is your SIZ and DEX. I'd also say that the modifiers to attack
and parry also apply to DEX and SIZ, so someone wielding a dagger has
much more chance of knifing you in the back while grappling with you
than you have of hitting him with the pommel of your sword reagardless
of how quick you are.

 Closing with an enemy requires a beating your opponent in a manouver
contest. This takes a misc action to perform. 
 If your enemy is at your ideal weapon length i.e at the x1 range, but
you aren't at theirs, then they must decalre their actions first; the
person who has the advantage can better anticipate their adversarie's moves.

 Comments anybody?



From: (charles gregory fried)
Subject: Re: RuneQuest Daily, Sat, 29 May 1993, part 1
Date: 1 Jun 93 18:27:08 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 913

A few words about the 'combat sense' skill I proposed several postings back
and which Paul Reilly brought up today.  I originally mentioned this skill in
response to someone's question about how to get PCs to use more of their
combat skills.  We all know players who get *really* good with one weapon and
slog out each combat in the same old predictable way.  It'd be nice to find
some way to encourage those swahbuckling Three Musketeer combats -- but who
wants to head-butt, kick or pull a curtain down over an enemy when he's got
115% in bastard sword to use instead?!  'Combat sense' is a skill that allows
combatants to survey a combat situation and then employ unusual tactics at a
considerable advantage.  

Someone (sorry, I forget who!) quite reasonably said something to the effect
of: "'Combat sense'?! Ach!  Phooey!  Another skill to clog up character
sheets!  Away with it -- and 'Maneuver' too while yer at it!"  Fiar enough. 
I don't much care for Maneuver either -- just use a DEX roll.  But the
question is, how do we encourage more interesting (and realistic?!) combats? 
I'm open to suggestions!  (And btw,in my campaign, Combat Sense is a special
skill available only in combat-oriented cults.  Each use of it delays action
by 1SR and permits the user to gain a general idea of an opponents skill
level in a weapon, OR allows the user to predict the opponent's intended
action so that the user may then attempt an _appropriate_ surprise move.)

-- Greg Fried