Priestly Sorcerers

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Priestly Sorcerers

Postby pachristian » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:11 pm

Pre-gaming fantasy fiction, also folklore and mythology, generally do not separate the roles of cleric and wizard the way that most gaming does. Somehow, we see divine magic and sorcerous magic as being completely separate, competing systems. However; Thoth-Amon was a priest of Set. Rezo the Red Priest was also a powerful sorcerer. Traditional European witches get their power by worshipping the devil. Elric of Melnibone is "the sweetest slave" of Arioch. Fantasy fiction is packed with characters selling their souls for power.

My objective in this thread is to encourage round-robin discussion of how a Legend setting could use a blend of divine and sorcerous magic.

Concept #1) In this projected setting, most, if not all, magic would be sorcery. “Gods” would not provide magic directly, instead they would enhance the magic of those who learned sorcery.

Concept #2) "Selling your soul" is a matter of committing all of your POW to divine magic from a particular entity.

Concept #3) A sorcery-encouraging entity would have one or more grimoires available exclusively for its priests. These grimoires have the "approved" spells.

Concept #4) A sorcery-encouraging entity would have divine spells that facilitate sorcery. Such as:
a) Provide Magic Points: This spell stores a number of magic points equal 1/2 the magnitude of the spell. These magic points may only be used for “approved’ sorcery spells.
b) Enhance Knowledge: This spell temporarily increases the sorcerer’s Manipulation skill by 2*Critical range of the priest/sorcerer’s Pact skill.

Does anyone have further ideas or discussion points?
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby Fonso » Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:08 am

You could use the sorcery rules, changing the specific Grimoire skill for a Pact skill. Any specific capability the god can "give" to his followers could be manage through heroic abilities or POW sacrifices, using the Elric rules.

For example; Thot-Amon has a Pact (Set) skill that let him cast his demon-inspired sorcery spells, and manipulate them via Manipulation. If Set gives him the ability to transform himself in a serpent, outside the conventional list of spells of the priesthood, it could be a heroic ability or a result of sacrifice 1 POW to access that divine miracle.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby soltakss » Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:03 pm

Holy Books can be used as Grimoires. In a Mythic Earth setting, the Book of Solomon was used to bind demons and the Koran, Torah and Bible were all used for sorcery at one point or another. I would use the Pact skill (Piety in Merrie England) as the effective Grimoire skill. Of course, a Benedictine Priest who knows sorcery from the Torah would have a Grimoire (Torah) skill as well as a Pact (Christianity) or Piety (Christianity) skill.

In Legend, divine magic comes as grants of powers from deities, whereas Sorcery comes from the sorcerer's ability to manipulate magic itself. Whilst these are by no means mutually exclusive, they are not the same magic system and have very different rationales.

Many historical deities also granted sorcery and were known for their sorcerous followers. Hecate, for example, was the goddess of witches and sorcerers, so I would expect her worshippers to be able to use both divine and sorcery magic. Would she grant divine magic that would boost sorcery? Probably not, I see her as providing sorcery based on the Underworld rather than her being a sorcery-enhancing goddess.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby alex_greene » Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:48 pm

Priests could use the dedicated Magic Points system in Arms of Legend's Enchantments section to dedicate Magic Points regularly to their deity, rather than break into their POW. They could use Tap (STR), for instance, to draw the necessary Magic Points, and Restoration after dedicating them to restore the Tapped STR. This could be something they did daily, for instance.

The Pact skill could be based on CHA + dedicated Magic Points rather than CHA + dedicated POW; and the sorts of Divine spells accessible could include Meditate (restores Magic Points within 15 minutes) and Consecrate - a variation which either boosts Sorcery (Grimoire) or Manipulation for those meditating within the bounds of the Consecrated area.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby dreamer_prophet » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:54 am

There appears to be an appetite to sideline Divine magic in favour of Sorcery. O.K. Each to his own.

On topic: you could leave divine and sorcery magic systems intact, but make higher powers the source of Magic Points. These entities would require blood sacrifice to grant Magic Points (à la Arcana of Legend).

If the setting includes Christians barred from animal sacrifice, then could regenerate their MP when they participate in mass/ holy communion.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby alex_greene » Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:21 pm

dreamer_prophet wrote:There appears to be an appetite to sideline Divine Magic in favour of Sorcery.
On this topic, yes. You may note that I've posted a few topics where I've looked favourably upon Divine Magic.

And right here, I'm trying to think of a mechanism that allows Sorcery and Divine Magic to coexist, other than the incompatible mechanisms provided in Legend Core Rulebook and Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic.

Otherwise, all I can think of is that the character just invests his POW in his deity, and invests in a Magic Points-storing Power Crystal from Arms of Legend or learns the Tap (STR) and Restoration Sorcery spells to make up for the Magic Points shortfall from his dedicated POW. If he started off with 16 POW, say, and invested 5 POW, then buffed up his POW characteristic to 21, he'd still have access to 16 Magic Points.

This would work until he increases his Rank from Initiate. Once he becomes an Acolyte, Priest or High Priest, progressively more of his POW would be dedicated each time - half his POW as an Acolyte, 3/4 as a Priest and all his POW as a High Priest.

If the character becomes a High Priest, dedicating all of his POW to his deity, he won't be able to regain Magic Points for himself at all - which means he'd probably have to have some sort of enchantment to Tap his own (or others') STR or other characteristic, and Restoration to recover the loss afterwards, with some sort of periapt or Power Crystal to store the Magic Points that he can no longer generate in his own aura.

You could try porting this mechanism here from Common Magic to Sorcery instead (assuming you only have Divine Magic or Sorcery in your setting, and no Common Magic); each Sorcery spell just costs the caster one accumulated Fatigue level, regardless of the Manipulation factors used in the casting. Critical success costs no Fatigue; fumbles cost two Fatigue.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby dreamer_prophet » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:35 pm

You could use the sorcery rules, changing the specific Grimoire skill for a Pact skill
and
I would use the Pact skill ... as the effective Grimoire skill.
I was thinking that co opting Pact as the active Sorcery skill would mean dropping Divine Magic or else risk making it an overpowered skill, but of course pacts can be made with different powers to access different types of magic, so looking over this again I withdraw the remark.

I think it could get confusing though.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby pachristian » Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:42 pm

alex_greene wrote:
And right here, I'm trying to think of a mechanism that allows Sorcery and Divine Magic to coexist, other than the incompatible mechanisms provided in Legend Core Rulebook and Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic.
You got the point!

There is a gaming paradigm (and I might add it has no relation to magic in the 'real' world) that divine magic and sorcery are somehow "different". Divine casters are servants of their gods. Sorcerers are scientist-programmers. This paradigm traces back to original D&D, where there were three classes: Fighters who fought, Wizards who cast spells, and Clerics who did a little of both. If Gygax & Arneson had named the hybrid class something else, we might have a completely different paradigm.

So, given the flexibility of Legend, can one break the paradigm? Can one have a caster who draws on the powers of spirits and gods, and yet is also capable of manipulating magic?

The answer, I believe, is yes, but first you have find a way to have divine magic and sorcery complement each other, rather than an either/or proposition.

So how do we do this?
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby alex_greene » Sun Jan 19, 2014 4:27 pm

pachristian wrote:
alex_greene wrote:And right here, I'm trying to think of a mechanism that allows Sorcery and Divine Magic to coexist, other than the incompatible mechanisms provided in Legend Core Rulebook and Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic.
You got the point!
pachristian wrote:There is a gaming paradigm (and I might add it has no relation to magic in the 'real' world) that divine magic and sorcery are somehow "different". Divine casters are servants of their gods. Sorcerers are scientist-programmers. This paradigm traces back to original D&D, where there were three classes: Fighters who fought, Wizards who cast spells, and Clerics who did a little of both. If Gygax & Arneson had named the hybrid class something else, we might have a completely different paradigm.

So, given the flexibility of Legend, can one break the paradigm? Can one have a caster who draws on the powers of spirits and gods, and yet is also capable of manipulating magic?

The answer, I believe, is yes, but first you have find a way to have divine magic and sorcery complement each other, rather than an either/or proposition.

So how do we do this?
Pact is (POW+CHA), and can be increased as an Advanced Skill, with Improvement rolls, as well as through the methods outlined in Legend Core Rulebook. Adherents must gather Magic Points from somewhere and dedicate them, as per the Enchantment rules from Arms of Legend. Those Magic Points are not recovered. They can come from his own Magic Points, or gathered from Tap (STR) or Tap (CON) and stored in his POW to be dedicated to buying Divine spells. Remember that Magic Points obtained through the Tap spell can be stored temporarily in one's aura above one's POW, up to a limit of one's POW.

Once the caster has bought the necessary Divine spells, the drained characteristic can be restored with Restoration.

One Divine spell is bought per Magic Point dedicated, and Magic Points dedicated only to buy spells, which requires a Pact roll per purchase. The character gains a maximum number of Divine spells determined by his rank:-

Initiate - 1/4 POW
Acolyte - 1/2 POW
Priest - 3/4 POW
High Priest - full POW

Once a Divine spell is cast, it's gone unless the character rolled a critical success with his Lore (deity) or Invoke skill, whichever is used.

Any time the character wants to replenish his Divine spells, he has to generate more surplus POW and dedicate it as above.

How's that for a possible model?
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby soltakss » Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:37 pm

pachristian wrote:There is a gaming paradigm (and I might add it has no relation to magic in the 'real' world) that divine magic and sorcery are somehow "different". Divine casters are servants of their gods. Sorcerers are scientist-programmers. This paradigm traces back to original D&D, where there were three classes: Fighters who fought, Wizards who cast spells, and Clerics who did a little of both. If Gygax & Arneson had named the hybrid class something else, we might have a completely different paradigm.
Well, historically in the real world they are different. Many cultures make a distinction between priests and sorcerers. Medieval Europe, Medieval Islam and Medieval Judaism to name three examples. Even people like the Norse make a distinction between priests and sorcerers, with sorcerers being feared.
pachristian wrote:So, given the flexibility of Legend, can one break the paradigm? Can one have a caster who draws on the powers of spirits and gods, and yet is also capable of manipulating magic?

The answer, I believe, is yes, but first you have find a way to have divine magic and sorcery complement each other, rather than an either/or proposition.

So how do we do this?
There is no reason why you cannot have all priests using Sorcery.

Each religion would have their own Grimoires, based on Holy Books and traditions. Each Grimoire would have its own skill, as normal. Certain sects may have their own Grimoires based on their own interpretation of the books and also based on extra Holy Books not available to the main sects. Some may even have extra spells in the common Grimoires.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby dreamer_prophet » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:04 pm

I have to state up front that I'm not sold on this project, however one way to go might be to use Pact as the active spell-casting skill, take spells from the Divine Magic portfolio, and apply a modified version of Manipulation to them.

Manipulation could be restricted to Range, Magnitude and possibly Duration, but prohibiting manipulation of Combine and Targets. Maybe a new category of Area could be introduced.

Each Divine spell would need to be individually reviewed to account for the parameters open to be manipulated. I have no idea if it is possible to do this in a balanced way.

Good luck with this. I think it will involve a truckload of work
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby alex_greene » Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:34 pm

The discussions here are just about where Divine magic gets its power from - and the answer is that the energy is accumulated through the Magic Points sacrifices of thousands of adherents of the deity across the region, accumulating in an astral Switchboard which releases its energies focused through the lens of the invocation of the Divine spells cast by the casters.

If casters needed two skills, they should really be Pact (my version described above, with the dedicated Magic Points) to relearn Divine spells (because Pact is the skill of the act of sacrificing those dedicated Magic Points) and Invoke, from Arcania of Legend: Blood Magic, to cast them. Keep Lore (deity) as a Lore skill, to keep track of knowledge about the deity, its scripture, its more famous adherents, shrines and sacraments, along with Culture (deity) for knowledge of the ritual forms and appropriate cants and responses, etc.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby soltakss » Mon Jan 20, 2014 12:54 pm

alex_greene wrote:The discussions here are just about where Divine magic gets its power from
Are they? I'm not sure ...
alex_greene wrote:and the answer is that the energy is accumulated through the Magic Points sacrifices of thousands of adherents of the deity across the region, accumulating in an astral Switchboard which releases its energies focused through the lens of the invocation of the Divine spells cast by the casters.
If you go down that route then you also need to divide that pool up among the priests - How many MPs does each Priest get for worship?
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby alex_greene » Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:38 pm

soltakss wrote:
alex_greene wrote:and the answer is that the energy is accumulated through the Magic Points sacrifices of thousands of adherents of the deity across the region, accumulating in an astral Switchboard which releases its energies focused through the lens of the invocation of the Divine spells cast by the casters.
If you go down that route then you also need to divide that pool up among the priests - How many MPs does each Priest get for worship?
None. It is sacrificed by the Priests - each priest traditionally sacrificing 3 times as much as an initiate, and 1.5 times as much as an Acolyte. The MP go to the gods, and some of the energies go to the Adventurers via Divine spells, almost as an afterthought.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby Tias » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:10 am

There's something I've been wondering about, which applies to this thread: I have in my homebrew setting a God of Magic. This god, Mangar, cares about the manipulation of sorcerous forces for order, peace and the protection of innocence - but what mechanics to use? I'm partial to just letting Priests of Mangar have access to the Divine Grimoires, a selection of Grimoire skills that allow a wide range of 'white magic', alongside their Pact.

On the other hand, one could just allow them to be sorcerors with a couple of Divine spells, I suppose..
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:57 pm

Is there anything in the rules that specifically prevents a character from learning both Divine Magic and Sorcery?

If the player spends the skill point appropriately, his character will be able to do both - within the context of the setting anyway.

Regarding Tias' comment above, Priests of Mangar could have a Sorcerous Grimoire that they gain access to at the Priestly level of their Cult. They would have both the Pact (Mangar) and Grimoire (White Magic) skills.

Probably won't be awesome at both since skill points might become very valuable here - much like a multi-class character in D&D.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby pachristian » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:11 am

soltakss wrote:Well, historically in the real world they are different. Many cultures make a distinction between priests and sorcerers. Medieval Europe, Medieval Islam and Medieval Judaism to name three examples. Even people like the Norse make a distinction between priests and sorcerers, with sorcerers being feared.
Some truth to this - I don't want to get into anthropological details, but among other things, in the mythologies of the three main religions you've, the "sorcerers" are not scientist-programmers, they are in fact getting their power from spirits or demons; in other words, they are not "sorcerers" in the context of Legend, they are either spirit magicians, or divine magic users representing the enemy.

Another point is that in the real world religions quoted above only saints (and equivalent) can petition god for miracles, and expect to get them. That's a key difference between gaming priests and real world priests.

But how about this: Divine Spells that grant a sorcerer-priest power:

Boost Sorcery
Duration 1 spell, Rank Acolyte, Self Only
This spell is cast at the same time as a manipulated sorcery spell. The Caster may add ½ of his Pact skill to his Manipulation Skill for the purposes of that spell.

Grant Magic Points
Duration 15, Rank Initiate, Self Only
The caster draws 1d6 magic points from his god. These points are available for the next 15 minutes, for casting spells other than divine spells. Use of these magic points for spells other than those taught by the cult is considered a sin. The offending initiate will suffer some penalty from his (or her) god.

Manipulate Divine Magic
Duration 1 spell, Rank Priest, Self Only
This spell is cast at the same time as a another divine spell. The caster may manipulate the range, duration, number of targets, and combine the spell with other divine spells, as if she were manipulating sorcery spells. Magnitude of divine spells is unaffected. The spell’s standard range and duration do not apply; the sorcerer-priest must use her manipulated range and duration instead.

Memorize Sorcery Spell
Duration until next Holy Day, Rank Priest, Self Only
This spell grants the priest “Storage INT” equal the magnitude of the spell. Normally, a sorcerer may only have spells equal to his or her INT stored at one time. With this spell, the sorcerer/priest may have INT+Magnitude sorcery spells stored at once.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby Tias » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:43 am

Divine metamagic? Neat!
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby p_Clapham » Wed May 07, 2014 6:48 pm

I like the Lovecraftian take on this in Xoth. There are no true gods, only powerful alien creatures beyond comprehension. Priests worship these beings and either have the magical knowledge burned directly into their brains, or they learn these arcane secrets from their chuch/cult's holy book/grimore.
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Re: Priestly Sorcerers

Postby The Wolf » Thu May 08, 2014 7:05 am

I'm rather fond of that take as well.
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