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Subject: RuneQuest Daily, Thu, 03 Jun 1993, part 2
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RuneQuest-Request@Glorantha.Holland.Sun.COM (Henk Langeveld)


Subject: Sorcery
Message-ID: <>
Date: 2 Jun 93 16:32:12 GMT
X-RQ-ID: 929

Guys and Gals, sometime ago I wrote up a sorcery system. It was going to 
be refined and added to when my exams were finished. During the time since 
I have written the system, I have learnt slightly more about Glorantha and 
the various runes, so some of the Rune representations are slightly wrong
or even completely wrong. The mechanics fit with glorantha and just about 
any other world I can think of. I would ignore the introduction about 
beliefs...that doesn't fit now with what I believe. I did not get a copy
of Paul's sorcery system so don't know what his was like. 

There are a number of things I would remove from my system. Firstly the 
reduction in ability if you sacrifice for a rune which opposes any runes 
you already have. (This refers to the elements only) Increases in ability
would only be 1d6% for a runic sacrifice, and finally damage combination 
should be calculated when using elements which are explosive when put 
together as 1d10 not the combined amount of damage possible.

Within the system are a number of holes. Ie the use of ceremony, and I haven't
provided a fumble table. I considered a good one to use, as a modification 
of the MERP spell table. Although we are talking a complete revamp!

Spell casting will differ, as to where you come from within your world. 
The symbolism/casting could be enhanced to make things more interesting.

Anyway, enough it is. 

PS: Coudl somebody send me Paul's system?

\author{Adam Reynolds \and Stephen Hunt}
\section{Runequest Sorcery}

Compiled by Adam Reynolds from discussions with Steve Hunt with contributions from Mark Plowman. 


        You are what ignorant people would consider to be a 'God Learner'. You 
must hide what you are from the world yet the world is beginning to accept 
unusual feats of magic and many times have you explained how you travelled with 
a hero from a far away country who taught you a new style of magic and fooled 
the questioner.

        You cannot understand how those ignorant peasants can simply believe in 
the gods as mighty beings of unfortold power. All they are, are manipulators of 
the powers just as you. What's so impressive about that. You find it difficult 
to cast their type of magic. It seems to go against the grain. You've tried many
times to learn their magic but never succeeded. Anyway, yours is a superior 
power. It is on par with the gods and with time maybe you will show the world. 
You'll readily accept the casting of spirit magic and divine magic on you, but 
don't talk about it much afterwards. It acknowledges a certain weakness in your 

        Sorcery is based on the basic runes from which the whole of glorantha 
was made. The elements are devided into four classes; Elements, Forms, 
Conditions, and Powers.

        A Sorcerer aligns himself with a particular element. Naturally certain 
races will already have themselves aligned with certain elements. There are six 
elements within Glorantha these are shown below with their relation to each 

FIRE          MOON
       \       /
         \   /
EARTH  ---------- AIR
         /   \
       /       \

A sorcerer aligned to one element will find it difficult to use other elements. 
The further he moves around the spoke away from his element the harder it 

        Bob is a human and was born under the Water Element( Based on when 
during the year and on which day he was born. Trolls automatically are aligned 
with the Darkness rune etc.). He discovered sorcery and found it reasonably easy
to learn to control the water rune when he attempted to train in the other 
elements he came to this conclusion:
Darkness,Air :- Medium Difficulty Skill
Earth,Moon   :- Hard Skill
Fire                :- Very Hard Skill 

        A sorcerer is tied to his particular rune that is relevant to his 
species. Learning in this skill is a medium skill, but is a hard skill for all 
other forms.

        These runes will usually be present within the formula that the sorcerer
uses when casting. Reasoning being that these runes effect the final outcome of 
the spell. The following is the difficulty to learn each rune:
Mastery :- Medium

                        This rune is the way a sorcerer forms the shape that he 
wishes his spell to take(The shape of a fire bolt). It also represents the 
independence of the sorcerer.

Magic   :- Medium

                        This rune is used in the subtle aspects of sorcery. The 
changing of an object (for example healing.).
Infinity :- Extremely Hard/Impossible

                        The sorcerer becomes a god. It is a lost art. Why do you
think the god learners were killed. They discovered this rune and began using 
it. (A GM should start having unusually powerful people after anybody who knows 
how to manipulate this rune.)

        These runes are are formed in mutually antagonistic pairs. These powers 
affect the way a spell acts. 

                Bob combines Fire + Mastery + Movement to create a missile of 
flame which he then directs towards a target.

A sorcerer may align himself to a power but may not align himself to the 
opposing power. This would cause an internal conflict which would quickly 
destroy his soul and body in an appropriate manner. If a sorcerer wants to 
align himself with Luck when he has 2 levels of Fate then he must first 'delete'
the 2 levels of Fate, by sacrificing 2 points of POW before the sorcerer can 
align himself with Luck.

The runes are :
Harmony -------- Disorder
Fertility ------ Death
Stasis --------- Movement
Truth ---------- Illusion
Luck  ---------- Fate
        Learning these skills is a medium skill.

Please note that the only exception to the above ruling is Stasis and Movement. 
These runes only oppose each other and thus have the same mechanics as opposing 

        A sorcerer aligns himself with a particular rune by sacrificing a point 
of permanent power to a particular rune. (The exception being the first level of
one element and one form). This alignment can shift somebody from being aligned 
to a Fire element to the Earth element if the sacrifice of power for earth 
alignment means his level in the Earth is higher than fire. Sacrificing 1 point 
of power gains you 1d10\% in the relevant rune skill.
This also sets the minimum skill level that a rune can be at. The reason I 
mention this, is that by gaining skill in one rune by sacrifice makes it more 
difficult to use other opposing runes. 

        Sorcery skills all start at 0\%. Initial training is needed from an 
appropriate teacher. You must find a master of the appropriate rune and must 
then sacrifice a point of permanent power to the particular rune to allow 
yourself to manipulate that rune. 

        This means that the sorcerer automatically gains Training Gain + Spell 
Bonus for the initial training in a particular rune skill. 

        Bob could easily sacrifice 10 points of power into the Water element, 
but could still only have 15\% skill with water. 

        Alignment within elements can cause problems. Somebody aligned to 
Darkness sacrificing for Moon will potentially add 10\% to Moon but subtract 
2+1d3\% from Darkness. They are opposing forces, and thus, more difficult to 
control within one mind. At the same time 1+1d2\% is both taken from Fire and 
Air and 1d3-1\% from both Earth and Water.

        One thing that must be considered is how much power can be put behind 
each rune. For every power point above a level, half the skill chance. For spell
casting only consider the lowest percentage from the runes used in the spell. 

        Bob has 2 levels in Fire(@60\%), Movement(@40\%), and Mastery(@80\%). 
He's worried, his opponent is hard. He decides to put 3 points of power behind 
his Fire rune. As he has only 2 levels trying to control more than 2 points of 
fire is hard. (For each point above halve the sorcerers skill). Bob therefore 
only has a 30\% chance of pulling this off. He rolls a 29 and a bolt of flame 
goes flying towards his opponent. He gets a random experience tick in a rune 

\subsubsection{Specialing and Criticaling with a spell}

        This allows the sorcerer to do something particularly well so may add 1 
extra level on a special and 2 on a critical to the runes of his choice or 
damage/dice rolls can be full value (Special) or full value + rolled value 

\subsubsection{Casting Time}
        One SR for every power point behind the spell and one additional SR 
for every rune used in the spell.

\subsubsection{Spell Creation }
        Ok let's put it this way. It's limitless. Go with what feels right. Most
runes cannot be cast on there own. Usually they must be combined. Obviously the 
combination of two elemental runes is more powerful but is also more difficult. 
It requires a controlling rune which is equal to the level to be applied + 1 and
the final resulting chance is halved again.
        Bob has decided to combine water and fire to produce a jet of steam 
(Knockback/scalding etc). Bob is at 80\% in Fire (level 4) and 68\% in 
Water(level 2). He also has mastery at 90\% and level 3. He decides to put 2 
points of pow into Fire, 2 into Water, and needs 3 points in mastery. (He would 
only of needed 2 if he had only put 1 into both runes. He would still have had 
to put 3 in if he had put 2 in Fire and 1 in Water). This gives Bob a 34\% 
chance to pull this spell off.

Spell concocting cannot be done on the spur of the moment. It requires 40 hours 
per rune used. Half this time if the sorcerer is a master of that rune, and any 
spell can be learned from someone who already knows that spell and is a master 
of that spell within a week. To become a master of that spell requires mastery 
in all runes used in that spell. Spell creation allows the creator experience 
in the relevant skills for that particular spell.

\subsubsection{Spell Control}
        Missile spells all hit at Missile Control skill + plus Movement Level 
* D10. Missile Control skill starts at DEX + INT.
        Bob has movement at level 4 and a Missile Control @57\%  . If bob casts 
a missile with 4 pow in the movement rune he has the potential hit chance of 
87\%. Then again he may wish to add damage to rather than increase his chance 
to hit.

Missile spells can also have there speed increased, similarly to speedart. Each 
speed increase adds +3 to damage factor only. No 15\% increase to hit.

        Using particular form runes in spells allows the spell to be applied to 
particular races. Therefore, healing spells have a greater chance of being 
successful as each level used of a particular form adds 25 \% chance to the 
success of a spell or the amount of healing to be added on 50\%, then 100\% 
then 150\% etc. This healing is accumulative. The sorcerer must touch the 
recipient for such a spell to succeed. This only works if the recipient is 
willing and not resisting a sorcerer.

\subsubsection{Other effects}
        Most spells will require the Mastery rune or the magic rune. 
        A mastery level is needed to shape 3 m$^3$ of material into a particular
The Magic rune is used to transform runes into other aspects of those runes. 
( Magic and Moon will create a befuddle/madness spell). 

        Most mind effecting spells will require the Magic rune and most physical
spells will require the Mastery rune.

        Some spells may require the stasis rune to allow the effect to stay 
around for a particular number of minutes. 10 minutes per level of stasis up to 
level 6 and then double the time.

        Most spells have a particular range. Rather than define particular runes
as being associated with range, all spells have a range of 50m. If a sorcerer 
requires a spell to go beyond that range then adding a level to the appropriate 
rune will increase the range by 100m. 

        Experienced is gained in the various runes, not in particular spells. It
is the combination of the runes which is the spell. A focus is needed for a 
spell. This is usually a symbol containing the correct combination of runes for 
that particular spell. Rune symbols themselves can also bee used.

        Power versus Power is still necessary when casting mind/body effecting 
offensive spells.

        Also note that it is possible to cast spells which do not contain any 
element runes.

        Illusionary spells are unusual in that the number of Illusion levels 
defines the size of the illusion, 20 size points per level.

        Spells can be prepared and held back. No other action may be taken as 
the caster is controlling the power and is aware only of what he can sense
(See/Hear/Smell/etc). If he disturbed in a way that causes him to loose 
concentration (Is hurt.) Then roll on the spell fumble table.
        Yes fumbles are possible. Modified version of the attack fumble table 
to come up.

\subsection{Power Gain}
        Due to the attitude of the Sorcerer, they have the same power gain rolls
as a priest. This means they gain power more readily.

Examples of spells are listed although it is easy to make up your own.

        The name is given followed by wether the spell is ranged or touch. If a 
condition is given in brackets then a optional rune may be added and affect will
be changed as described in the spell.
        In most cases, the magic or mastery rune will effect range. 
Healing : Ranged (TOUCH)
Magic + Fertility + Earth/Water/Fire/Air (+ FORM)
        Does 2 points of healing per point of fertility. FORM rune works as 
previously described. One point to make, the form rune also allows the 
heal to affect the whole body not just one location.

Disruption  : Ranged (TOUCH)
Magic + Death + (FORM)
        Does 1d2 points of damage per point of Death. Form has similar 
effect to healing spell

Nightmare : Ranged Area 
Magic + Moon + Illusion + FORM + stasis
        Causes one or more people to have there worst nightmare come true.
 Consider character and extrapolate. E.G. Storm Bull worshipper suddenly
 sees all his friends turn into Chaos beasties. Person covered in horrifying 
spiders etc. Per point of FORM, allows one more person of the FORM rune
 to be affected. Affected is allowed a INT * (6 - points in (MOON+
ILLUSION)/2) per round to recover.( Round Up.)

Mental Harmony : Touch
Harmony + Form + Stasis + Magic

        Creates a link between people so they know excactly what each of 
them is doing, thinking, about to do. Both parties must cast this on each 
other or else nothing occurs. More than 2 people may do this, as long as 
each has Mental Harmony cast on them, ie a rune loop.

Spirit Binding : Touch
Harmony + Magic + Spirit + FORM
This spell allows a sorcerer to bind a spirit into a suitable item. The form
 rune must be the sorcerers rune.

Wall of (MOVING) Element : Ranged
Element + (Movement) + Stasis + Mastery
This spell creates a wall containing 1m^3 of element per level of Element.
 Effects of particular types of walls are listed below.

Earth         1 AP/Level of Element
                1d6 HP/Level of Element

Fire         -1 PT to Damage done by weapon/ Level of Element
                1 PT Heat Damage to Objects/ Level of Element
                1d6 Damage/Level of Element
                Random Hits only for missile fire.
                1 Extension Spell reduces 2 levels of Wall.
                15 Litres of water reduces 1 level of Wall.

Air                -5% chance to hit/Level of Element
                1d8 STR/ Level
                Match STR of wall vs. SIZ + ENC/3 to penetrate wall.
                If failed consider STR of wall as knockback in random 
                direction (1d3) from which victim came. Knockback Damage.
                For each metre still to travel, target takes 1d4 damage. 
                Armor protects.

Water           -5% chance to hit/Level of Element
                -1 pt to damage done by weapon/ Level of Element
                Drowning Possible.
                For each level of movement used to move water add 1d3 STR 
        Rurik stands in a wall of water to fight Bob the sorcerer. In round one, he has prepared, so he has a breath of air. He is immersed in water.
If Rurik does not make a successful asphyxiation roll he will begin
 drowning, taking 1d8 damage in the chest.

Dark                Random Hits only.

Cold                -1 AP/Level per Element to someone in wall.(All Equipment)
                -1 HP/Level of Element to overall HP of person in wall.
                Level * 5% chance of armour breakage each hit for level * 1 min
                (Each min 1 level drops off)
                Wall is slightly dark area.

Moon         -10% chance to hit for Weapons passing through wall /Level 
                of Element
                1d6 POW/Level matched vs. POW of individual moving through.
                No magic helps. If successful, move through, else caster 
                redirects target. If caster does not concetrate on wall, target
                emerges randomly (1d8 for direction). 
                If individual is inside wall, +10%/Level chance of hitting 
                target, he is at -10%/Level to hit.

Bolt of Element: Ranged
Element + Movement + Mastery

Fire         1d6/lvl of element + 5%/lvl to ignite target location if 

Earth        1d6/lvl + 1d3 STR for knockback

Water        1d3/lvl + 1d4 STR for knockback + - 10%/lvl from chance not to 
                fall over + 5%/lvl to disarm.

Air                1d8 STR/lvl for knockback + -5%/lvl from chance not to fall
                 over + 10%/lvl to disarm.

Moon         No effect.
I could develop anti-magic shells, telekenesis. You could have an anti-magic 
bolt rather than a Element bolt. The whole point is that if you think it works, 
then discuss it with the GM/ other players. If it doesn't seem unreasonable, use

\subsection{Combination Magics}
        Two sorcerers can combine there magic to produce something that would 
not be possible on there own. ie the combination of Fertility and Death to 
create undead creatures. Sorcerers can also cast simultaneously into the same 
space (Ie earth wall and air wall). The effects are tremendous and powerful, and
surprisingly easy to achieve as there is no internal conflict. 
        There are only a number of ways of going about this. 
Using the spell mental harmony, the casters know exactly when each other are 
ready and can time the casting at to the right moment. In this way only can 
power runes be combined. 
        The sorcerers can hold the power within until a particular signal and 
then let go. The effect is instantaneous and requires the power contest 
described below to allow continuation.
        One sorcerer can cast his spell within the area being affected by the 
other sorcerer's spell. They then do POW versus POW checks and if they both 
succeed then they both continue there spells. If both loose the spells stop 
and if one wins then that spell is only working.

        Bob and Bill have snuck up on a Malia worship and have decided to 
combine spells. Bob, now a Air Master and Bill a Earth Master decide to just 
create a humongous wall above the heads of the 50 Broo. Bob casts and holds the 
power waiting for Bill. Bill takes 5 SR longer and holds back on his 15 point 
Earth wall. On the signal they cast together at a particular point directly 
above the altar. The walls appear horizontally over half of the congregation 
within each other. There is a humongous explosion. There is a total of 10d10 
damage done to all area around the explosion. 20 metres away from the explosion 
only 1d10 worth of damage is done. 
        In this instance the elements have annihilated each other and the spells
go down. Now all Bob and Bill have to worry about is the collapsing cave system.

\subsection{Spell Interaction}
        There are two aspects to Sorcery spell interaction. Sorcery to Sorcery 
and Sorcery to Spirit/Divine magic. Sorcery spells are temporary creation of 
magical elements. These elements vanish at the end of the spell duration as the 
power which is holding these elements in the real world has been used up. 
Therefore, although a sorcerer creates an amount of water which may last for one
hour, the water will seap away at the end of the hour.
\subsubsection{Sorcery to Sorcery}
        One other aspect of sorcery to consider. It is building block magic. 
I.e. if somebody cast a protection spell on a person somebody could happily 
cast another protection spell on the user, which would add to the original 
protection spell.
        Spells with particular elements within them will distort other spells 
with similar effects, either beneficially or benanely. 
        Bob casts a protection spell which incorporates the fire rune (heat 
protection) onto himself. Bill trying to be helpful casts a protection spell 
incorporating the darkness rune (Cold protection). In this case the spells are 
at conflict. The power within each spell is matched against each other, if both 
fail they both go down, if both succeed then they both go down. If one wins 
Naturally in certain instances where the spell is active i.e. Walls of ... 
combination should create new effects, darkness + water = ice. Of course even 
then cancellation of effects is possible.
        Because the elements thus called up are magical, it is possible to cast 
elements within elements with the relevant effects.

\subsubsection{Sorcery to Spirit/Divine}
        Sorcery magic can be considered on par with spirit magic when pow 
considerations are taken into account. (Ie Shield, countermagic ) Dispelling 
sorcery works on the most dominant level within the spell.

        Bob has Rurik cornered and calls up a Fire(5th level) wall and sends it 
towards Rurik. Rurik has never seen this magic. He only has Dispel Magic 1, but 
decides it's his best chance. He casts it, and realises the wall gets smaller. 
Rurik continues casting dispel magic. The wall will shrink to level 1 strength 
at which point the Stasis level will be reduced. On the next dispel magic, one 
rune will be reduced to level 0 and the spell goes down.

For countermagic and shield spells, sorcery spells are considered by the total 
amount behind the spell.

Sorcery and Divine/Spirit spells are incompatible. Somebody may have a sorcery 
spell and a spirit spell working at the same time as long as the spells do not 
interact together (Fireblade and a Protection spell). This is due to the 
refinement of spirit/divine magic from the often cruder form of sorcery magic. 
The spell already in effect takes precedence.

\subsection{General Rune Rules}
Level increases are not combined effects you must choose to put a number of 
levels into each effect described for each rune. Ie Bolt of Fire in the shape of
a house range 450m would require 11 levels in Mastery. 9 for range and 3 for the

All spells need to have either a Mastery or Magic rune within them. 


Each level increase range by 50m up to 500m, then double range thereafter. 
1000m, 2000m, 4000m ....
Each level increases the complexity of an object created.


1       Ball,block,square,triangle. Maximum 6 faces.

2       Spike protruding from block. Max 12 faces

3       Simple house shape 24 faces

4       48 Faces

5       96 faces

Magic        Range as per Mastery rune.

                Each level increases: one location per lvl. Where spells have 
specific locations to work on. (healing) 5 SIZ/lvl Where spells work on general 
areas. (Protection) 5 INT/lvl Where spells effect the mind.
        The elements can best be described by their use within spells given. If 
a spell uses elements in an unusual way that cannot be defined from the example 
spells supplied, consider the relevant aspects of each element.
Air       Air, storm, violence
Darkness  Darkness, cold
Earth     Earth, solids
Fire      Light, Heat
Moon      Illusion, balance
Water     Water, liquids
        In the same way that sometimes it will be difficult to define exactly 
how a particular element will effect a spell, use the same ruling here. Look at 
the individual aspects of each rune.

        For spells where the main rune used is not a power, for every 3 
lvls of the rune 1 lvl of power is needed.
Bob casting a level 4 fire bolt against Rurik, who is beginnig to wonder where 
Bob is getting all this power from has to put atleast 2 levels into the movement

        For every lvl increase the movement factor by 1. ( For missile effects 
add 3 to damage(or 10/% to hit). For walls add 3 more movement factors.)


        For every lvl increase duration by 6 minutes until 60 minutes, then 
double duration (2 hours,4,8,16,32)


        For every lvl increase effect by 1 pt.

Hope you like it! And Yes I have used latex!