Secrets & Magic

From: Tim Ellis <tim_at_...>
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001 23:53:49 +0000

(No, not the title of the new Mike Leigh Glorantha Movie...)

I've been considering Wulf's questions about putting Cult Secrets into magic items, and it strikes me that it is really three questions

  1. Can you do it?
  2. How?
  3. Who can use the item if you have managed to make it?

Taking the first question first, I think it depends on the nature of the secret. Those that work like Integrated Passion Spirits would seem to be ideal candidates for using in magic items. (As a rules artefact rather than a Gloranthan reality, I think Passion spirits are a good model for magic Items, and the bonus working at 1/4 (for secrets) or 1/10 (for regular spirits) of the rating conveniently makes it expensive to improve compared to "regular" abilities). On the other hand those that give you an automatic success in a contest if you have used a particular affinity may be less suited for use in an item. (On the other hand, if you do make it into an item it will be no use to people with out the relevant affinity).

Ultimately though, it's up to the narrator. If you want to give someone an amulet that allows them to turn into a wind and travel to any destination in that form (Kolat's secret) then why not? It is, after all, your campaign.

The second question is more tricky. The rules for the creation of permanent enchantment (HW:RiG pp232-233) are fairly vague on what exactly can be enchanted into an item, and how, culturally speaking it happens.

Animists, presumably create magic items by permanently integrating spirits into items as a sort of fetish (HW:RiG p210)

Theists probably generally create magic Items in a similar way, only by summoning or awakening a daimon into the item rather than a spirit. Wyters work this way - a Daimon offering its powers to a group in return for a degree of sacrifice/worship embodied in a ritual item. Magic items are generally going to be less powerful than even Hero Band Wyters, so will need less sacrifice/worship to support them.

I like the idea suggested here about enchanting items in a similar way to Heroquest Challenges, putting your own ability into an item in effect, but for the final part of this post I'm only going to consider items containing a daimon.

Mystics are probably the easiest to deal with here, by and large I don't see mystics as great creators of magic items.

Sorcerers probably do use the mechanical method suggested on p232-3 to create items, with some orders creating items much more commonly than others.

Finally who can use these items, and how would they be regarded by the community?

I think anyone can use a Fetish if they have it in their possession. The spirit so embodied has no say in the matter. None animists may treat fetishes with mistrust , and an animist discovering someone from outside their tradition using one of their fetishes may be suspicious or even hostile depending on the nature of the spirit, but if the shaman chooses to give or loan a fetish to someone, their are few who could argue with his decision.

Anyone can normally use a sorcerous item, although most animists and theists will treat such an item with suspicion as it does not appear to contain the spirit/daimon they would expect. The Sorcerers attitude to the use of the item by others is likely to vary from order to order. Religious orders are likely to take a very dim view of non believers having access to their powers in any form. Openhandist Mostali on the other hand regularly trade such items with outsiders. The HW rules don't seem to suggest any restrictions being included in permenant enchantments, though they were, IIRC a part of the RQ sorcery rules. I'm not sure how this would affect the creation rules, but I would certainly allow or introduce items with restrictions on them "May only be used by a follower of Saint Whoever" for instance.

Daimones used by Theists are possibly more able to withhold their abilities than the animists spirits. (I assume this based on the fact that Wyters require a certain amount of worship). This means that some theist created magic items may be able to strike new bargains with every new owner. This may be a one off request, or the need for a regular ritual (for a source of non-HW inspiration you could look at the rules for Demon items in Elric!) - This will obviously make it harder for nontheists  to use them. Since the Daimones used will be servants of the enchanters God then obviously handing out the items to non-cultists may be grounds for the sending of Agents of Retribution.

Hopefully this will provide some food for thought.


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