> The weird wizards tehy meet are unlikely to be so scary when their
> magic is easy to dispel and counter...
Right; which is why I'm suggesting it shouldn't be.
> Looking from the PCs side of things, I prefer the defensive magic to
> be where the advantage lies. It will be just as frustrating, scary
> and odd when offensive stuff just doesn't work like it should.
> Or should all the advantage be to the foreigners?
Well, overall, there won't be an advantage no matter which way you do it, since both sides are up against foreigners from their perspective. In fact, if they're travelling in (to them) foreign lands, its more likely that the outsiders would have specialist magic to deal with their enemies spells than vice versa - at least they know what to expect. It's a question of whether you want:
"Those foreigners are pretty resistant to magic, but their own magic is really puny, easy to counter."
"It's really difficult to stop those foreigners' spells, but they seem to be be pretty vulnerable to true, godly, magic."
Now, the latter seems to be to make more sense from what we know of Glorantha. Having said which, of course, it may not be what you want, and needs of your own story overrides such considerations, I'd agree.
> As I said though, I'm asking for opinion. Would you set the
> difficulty on offensive or defensive magic. If it is both offensive
> and defensive then there is no real advantage anywhere, is there?
Remember, it has to be either an advantage to both sides (which cancels out), or a disadvantage to both sides (which cancels out), because the same rules and problems will apply to both sides. Aside from the possibility of doing Lunar magic differently, the only way to give one side a clear advantage is to make specialist magic more common for them. Specialist cults aside, the only difference between your approach and mine would be whether battles between foreign forces would be high-magic (with defences being unable to work) or low-magic (with everybody able to easily counter each other).
> Remember also that I'm looking at this from an RQ perspective rather
> than an HQ one.
Well, RQ says that all magic is equally effective both defensively and offensively - which would certainly simplify matters. Only HQ has rules for the sort of things you're talking about, so it's difficult to look elsewhere for guidance. But I think it really depends what you want, rather than which approach is 'HQ', and which 'RQ'.
-- Trotsky Gamer and Skeptic ------------------------------------------------------ Trotsky's RPG website: http://www.ttrotsky.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/
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