Magic Systems in Glorantha

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GbajiTheDeceiver
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Magic Systems in Glorantha

Postby GbajiTheDeceiver » Sun Jun 11, 2006 11:02 pm

Since magic is so integral to Glorantha, I thought I'd share a few thoughts on what we've seen in the third preview. These are totally restricted to how things might work in a pure Gloranthan setting.

So far we've had a preview of Rune Magic, which looks like a reworking of the old Battle/Spirit magic. In fact, doing a comparison of the new spell descriptions with those in RQ3 reveals almost identical sentence structure, with only some word re-ordering.

I'm not sure that I like the idea of Runes - it smacks of a descent into collectable card game territory, although in it's favour it does provide for an internally consistent structuring mechanism. It would work well in a computer game, though......

The "blood of the gods" bit in the description obviously does away with crystals though, which is a bit of a bummer. Oh well...... ya takes the rough with the smooth........

What I'm beginning to get interested in is the rest. Bearning in mind that this is purely based on the brief descriptions in the preview, some guesswork and extrapolation, and a lot of wishful thinking, here we go...

Presumably Divine Magic will correspond to RQ3 Divine and RQ1/2 Rune Magic, although the statement that it's only accessible to higher cult levels will make it far less prevalent in the world than it has been before (or should that be "afterwards", given that we're now talking about the Second Age?) I don't see this doing much harm, as the old Divine Magic was really only available for a few uses per year by Initiates (unless you got into the habit of handing out regular POW increases). It doesn't take away the motivation for joining a cult, as it's stated that cult members will have access to more powerful forms of the new Rune magic (although that's probably just all Rune spells associated with their cult, without the need for finding and integrating a Rune....)

I'm assuming that Dragon Magic will be largely unchanged (but maybe expanded), but the EWF setting will make it available beyond Dragonewts. This could be very interesting indeed.................... with loads of potential for creating fun and/or havoc.

I'm really hoping that Sorcery will be used to represent God Learner magic. The old Malkioni/Invisible God thing seems to have been a totally artificial construct intended to fit Sorcery into the Gloranthan mythos and make it accessible to PCs. It never sat comfortably, and I'd always see it working better as forbidden God Learner magic - hell, using it as God Learner magic even fits the description in the old rules, as well as that in the preview! And fingers crossed that it won't be the barely playable botch job that RQ3 Sorcery was.

I'm not sure what Shamanic Magic will be or where it might fit in, given that Spirit/Battle magic is now gone as an option. Maybe as a subset or reworking of Ritual Magic? Something like Ceremony/Enchant/Summon, but restricted to binding Spirits, and perhaps even with Spirits being allied to Runes, thereby giving access to Rune Magic. That would sound roundabout right for a Shaman.

Demonology looks like nothing more than a Dark Side of Shamanic magic, so it'll be used by Bad Man folks such as Broos, rather than Horned Man folks. Otherwise - going by the description - there's no real difference in mechanics.
andakitty
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
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Postby andakitty » Sun Jun 11, 2006 11:53 pm

So you don't think demonology will manifest as physical entities from another reality, but just be 'dark spirits'? Nothing like Stormbringer? I suppose that latter would be way to un-Glorantha like, though...

As an aside, I am currently reading the Lankhmar stories, and it looks like the magic as given so far will fit that setting better than Glorantha. But that is beside the point here... I think you are spot on about the EWF and Godlearner sources. It (the overall magic system for MRQ) certainly promises to be flexible enough to handle all the different 'flavors' of magic necessary for Glorantha.
Harshax
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Re: Magic Systems in Glorantha

Postby Harshax » Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:06 am

GbajiTheDeceiver wrote: So far we've had a preview of Rune Magic, which looks like a reworking of the old Battle/Spirit magic. In fact, doing a comparison of the new spell descriptions with those in RQ3 reveals almost identical sentence structure, with only some word re-ordering.
I think this is not quite correct. Battlemagic was essentially generic. You could be a Humakti, Zorak Zorani, or Gbaji cultist and have access to healing magic for example. In RQ3, some cults expressly forbid the learning of certain spells. (Yelmalio couldn't learn darkness spells, IIRC). But now each battlemagic spell comes with an associated rune. My guess is that there will be a natural inclination to make spells learning more restrictive. If for example Healing is of the Harmony Rune, those who follow a cult with the Disorder rune will probably refrain from learning that spell. It's not a terrible idea.

This new spell structure seems to replace most divine magic. I suspect that we won't see divine magic spells like Heal Wound, or Fantacism (their are already battle magic or, shall we say, Lesser Rune Magic equivalents). I believe that Divine magic will encompass only those special divine magic spells: True Sword, Resurrection, Grow Arm, and Gnome to Gargoyle.

I guess will have to wait and see . . .
SteveMND
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Postby SteveMND » Mon Jun 12, 2006 2:10 am

I'm not sure that I like the idea of Runes - it smacks of a descent into collectable card game territory, although in it's favour it does provide for an internally consistent structuring mechanism.
Although I'm a little leery of the power level of rune magic from what (admitadely) little we've seen so far, I personally am quite pleased with the idea of Rune-based magic.

Glorantha always stressed the importance of runes in its mythology, but with the exception of the odd 'prefers these spells' or 'hates these spells,' there was actually very little application of the runes of Glorantha aside from a means to decorate armor. :)

With the concept of Rune Magic as a magical system, it looks like they've given the proper importance to the runes again. It also makes me happy from the perspective of my own home campaign I'm working on, which already had plans to implement Runes in this fashion. Having this setup in the main books just means less tweaking I'll have to do. :D

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