Re: Norse Runes

From: Benedict Adamson <yahoo_at_...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 22:28:07 +0000

Jane Williams wrote:
> Read the Sagas, Egil's Saga in particular. There are some quite good
> descriptions, and cautionary tales.

I have. There is not much there, and what there is there was not written by practitioners of rune magic. And for good reason, because the word 'rune' is related to a word meaning 'secret'.

>>and anyway magic does not actually work in the RW, ...
> This is probably the wrong list on which to make that sort of
> assumption.

I see no assumption here, only a statement of fact. A million dollars awaits you if you can prove otherwise (see This is a game rules list, not a Wiccan list. A list for a non-simulationist game, what is more.

My point is, since we do not have any *real, good* idea what 'traditional viking rune magic' would be like, either through historical research or modern reproduction, the Narrator is free to create whatever system would be best for their game, and need not get hung up on whatever has been presented in other game systems (e.g. GURPS).

As you say to, there can be difference between 'flashy' and 'subtle' magic. Which is it to be? And how subtle, if subtle?

Havamal might hold the closest to pagan rune lore. It formally gives 17 spells (although #6 is describing two: curse and reflect curse), plus one kept secret. Described as 'songs', they are immediately after the section describing the wining of the runes, so they might be rune spells (c.f 'runo' as the name for a section of the Kalevala). Most could be subtle, at a stretch, but numbers 5 (halt arrow), 10 (befuddle witch) and 12 (talk with hanged man) would be difficult that way.

There are also several references to 'ale runes', which is/are some kind of blessing-cum-good-luck spell.

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