Bell Digest vol08p09-2.txt

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Subject:  RuneQuest Digest Volume 8, no 9,  part 2 of 2
Comments: Revision @(#)v8n09.2	1.1	93/03/14
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	Peter Maranci - The Runic Sorcery Magic system

	Pete's proposed rules for an alternative magic system.
					- part 2

Henk Langeveld, Maintainer/Editor of the RuneQuest Digest and RuneQuest Daily
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From: Peter Maranci 
Subject: Runic sorcery for RuneQuest
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 93 20:40:29 EST

                      RUNIC SORCERY FOR RUNEQUEST

             An alternate system of Sorcery for RuneQuest

			   by Pete Maranci

			     P A R T  2 


     8) CASTINGS
     9) SPELLS
    10) METHODS 


    A runic sentence, or Casting, is created by a sorcerer using Runes 
he or she knows. To determine the chance of success, take the lowest 
Rune skill among all the Runes being used in the Casting, and subtract 
10% for every other Rune used. Then add the magic bonus, and subtract 
Encumbrance, if such is being used. The standard requirements apply: a 
point of magic will create 1 cubic meter of an insubstantial Element, 
or one kilogram of a substantial one. The time to cast is the caster's 
DEX strike rank + 3 strike ranks if unprepared + 1 strike rank per 
magic point used in the spell. There may be a very rare Condition Rune 
which allows faster casting. There may also be certain methods of 
casting which allow for faster results.

    A Casting requires at least one Magic Point per Rune used.  If 
success is rolled, the desired magic takes place, modified by the GM's 
assessment of the appropriate effect. All the magic points are 
expended. If a failure is rolled, no effect takes place, but *all* the 
magic points allotted to the effect are still expended. On a fumble, 
roll on the Sorcery Fumble Table. The GM must adjudicate the results 
of a Special or Critical success.  

    Remember, knowledge of Runes may not increase through experience.

[Note: I use a Fumble Table for RQ Sorcery, and may present a version 
for consideration at some future time. Since Sorcery is a human skill 
rather than a spiritual/Divine ability, it seems to me that it should 
be liable to spectacular human error.] 

[Note: Can't I find a better name than "Casting"?]  


    Spells are much like Castings. They are formed of the same Runes.  
In fact, Spells may be created by studying a Casting until it becomes 
'crystallized' in the sorcerer's mind. Spells may also be learned from 
books or taught. It is impossible to learn a spell without previously 
knowing all the Runes which make up that spell.  

    Spells have several advantages over Castings: 

    They are less expensive; to cast a Spell, one need only expend 
Magic Points for the Elements and Condition Runes (Range, Duration, 
etc.) used. As a result, Spells are faster to cast, too.

    No Target Rune need be included -- the Spell will hold together of 
itself, and strike the desired target.  

    Spells are less risky to cast -- failure to cast only costs a 
single Magic Point.  

    And finally, Spells are skills, and may increase from experience.  

    However, once a Spell is learned it is effectively cut off from 
the Rune-skills of the caster. In other words, any increase in a 
sorcerer's knowledge of the Fire Rune, for example, will not increase 
his ability with previously learned Spells incorporating the Fire 
Rune. Once learned, changes in the Rune skills do not affect the spell 

[Note: Should it be possible to create a Spell that uses an Element 
Rune more than once? If so, what is the penalty?]

    It takes 100 hours per Rune involved to formulate a Spell from a 
Casting via research and meditation. It takes 50 hours per Rune if 
learning from a book, or 25 if taught by someone who knows the Spell.  
All Runes in the Spell must be known by the caster. Once the Spell is 
learned, the caster gains a skill equal to 1D6 - the number of Runes 
in the Spell + his Magic Bonus. Spells are usually Hard, though in 
some cases a GM may rules that a Spell is Very Hard -- particularly 
when many Runes are involved. Likewise, some Spells are easier.

    Though Spells are less flexible than Castings, a spell with an 
Element Rune in it may still be manipulated by the sorcerer's 
appropriate Element Rune skill. If the Duration or Range Runes are 
part of the Spell, these may also be manipulated. In other words, a 
Fire bolt Spell consisting of: 

                          Fire + Bolt + Range

can be cast with whatever amount of Intensity and Range the sorcerer 
wishes and is capable of using. In addition, the Bolt can be whatever 
size the caster desires.


    The Runes may be manipulated in any number of ways; different 
schools use different methods. Each method has advantages and 
disadvantages. Among the tools used to evoke the Runes are: 

    Speech (in various languages) 

    Song (ditto, with and without a musical instrument) 

    Writing (on specially prepared parchment, in the dirt, in the air 
with enchanted wands, with smoke, etc.)




    Manipulation of Rune-marked blocks

    Touching different Runes inscribed on an enchanted staff (or 
ceremonial robe, silver dagger, etc.) -- as the sorcerer learns new 
Runes, they are added to the item.

    ...or any other means of expression. Combinations are not 
unlikely, either. There is said to be a school of magic which allows 
casting simply by thinking of the necessary Runes, but this would be 
very difficult indeed, and require great powers of concentration.  The 
GM must determine the advantages and drawbacks of whatever means of 
casting is being used. For example, it might be possible for a 
Sorcerer from a school which casts magic by writing Runes to inscribe 
the Runes *over* one another, rather than in a row; forming a single, 
complex Rune. This might be much quicker to cast, but more difficult 
as well; and of course it would be impossible without the appropriate 
writing materials. Such an 'overlaying' skill would require many years 
of additional study.

    Knowledge of one type of sorcerous magic does not enable a 
sorcerer to understand a different method.  


    These are generally treated in the same manner as standard 
RuneQuest sorcery (whatever version you prefer), except that obviously 
the greater range of enchantment Spells possible will have to be 
individually interpreted by the GM. 

[Note: It might be a good idea to posit an Enchantment Rune in the 
Condition branch.]


    Wall of Fire:            Fire + Wall + Duration 

    This would allow the caster to create a wall of fire next to him.  
He could then walk away from the wall. If he wished to create the wall 
at a distance from himself, he would have to cast: Fire + Range + Wall 
+ Duration (+ Target, if this were a Casting rather than a Spell).  

    Moveable Wall of Fire:  Fire + Wall + Duration + Movement
    Magic Bolt:             Magic + Disorder OR Death + Bolt + Range
    Heal:                   Magic + Fertility OR Harmony + Species
    Earth Armor:            Earth + Self + Movement + Duration
    Skin of Life:           Air + Movement + Duration
    Telekinesis:            Air OR Magic + Movement + Duration + Range
    Shapechange Man to Wolf (by touch):
          Magic + Man + Movement + Beast OR Wolf Name Rune + Duration

    Control Distant Fire:   Magic + Range + Fire + Movement + Duration

         (This last may require explanation.  A point of Magic is 
    summoned to act a a carrier for the Spell's effects.  Range allows 
    the Spell to reach the distant fire to be controlled.  Fire allows 
    the Sorcerer to affect the fire (note that 2 Intensities of Fire 
    could be controlled per Magic Point, as the Fire is already 
    present).  Movement enables the Sorcerer to move the fire at whim, 
    and the use of Duration is self-evident.  This Spell would be an 
    active one, as no Shape has been included for the fire.  The 
    addition of a Sphere Rune in the Spell or Casting would cause the 
    Fire to take a Spherical form when affected by the magic, and make 
    the magic passive rather than active. A second Movement Rune could 
    be included to allow the Sorcerer to change the Shape of the Fire 
    for the duration of the magic. If a Sphere Rune were also 
    included, the Sorcerer could change the shape of the fire while 
    concentrating; it would relapse into a spherical shape when 
    concentration ends. So, for a passive Spell that would allow the 
    caster to control the shape and movement of fire from a Distance, 
    the formula would be:

    Magic + Range + Fire + Movement (shape) + Movement (locomotion) + 
    Sphere + Duration 

    Obviously there are many ways to cause similar effects, and there 
can be many different possible results for any Runic sentence. Careful 
GM supervision is necessary. Given that Castings are unlikely to be 
used often due to their low chance of success and high cost, and that 
Spells have standard effects upon being formulated, it is unlikely 
that a GM will have to spend a great deal of time adjudicating magic.  
And this system should give the player of a sorcerer character a much 
greater feeling of involvement with and control of his magic.

    There is no formal grammar of Runic magic. However, the rule of 
logic always applies. It is generally necessary to call up an Element 
before modifying it. On a successful result, the reasonable intentions 
of the caster are generally fulfilled.

[More Questions: 

    What Sorcery Spells cannot be duplicated by this system? 

    How may Spells affect characteristics? How would one duplicate 
Enhance Strength, for example? One possibility: Magic + Fertility + 
Man OR whatever species is being affected) + Duration. This would then 
work for any characteristic; the sorcerer's will would determine the 
effect of the spell. Another possibility would be to link the seven 
Elements to the seven characteristics, combined with the species Rune:

                              Fire  = STR
                              Earth = CON
                              Dark  = SIZ
                              Water = INT
                              Magic = POW
                              Air   = DEX
                              Light = APP

    In which case Enhance Strength would be: 
         Magic + Man + Fire + Harmony OR Fertility + Duration

        My intention is that it should be very difficult to learn many 
sorcerous Runes. This would lead to sorcerers with narrower but more 
interesting abilities, and would involve player intelligence in the 
crafting of magic -- something that I found very enjoyable when 
designing sorcerer characters for Chivalry & Sorcery. Of course, given 
the open-ended nature of this runic system there is certainly 
potential for abuse.]

Copyright Peter Maranci February 1993. This version may be distributed 
freely on a non-profit basis, as long as this message is included.  

May Zzabur bless this work.
Peter Maranci
trystro!               or             rune@trystro.uucp
"Hey! Your Tien fell in my Atyar!" "Your Atyar got in my Tien!" 
Thanatar -- two great Chaos Gods that go great together!