Neutral Mages and Good Priests ...

LokiOne

Mongoose
In a world full of 'evil' sorcerors, I was wondering if Anyone had explored option for a player to try a neutral (Khitai?) or 'good' scholar, shaman or priest ...

There seems to be some room for them somewhere - even as NPC's.

I was re-reading the Priest of Mitra discussion. I have created a Priest of Ibis - in (secret) opposition to all the Set worship.

I must be possible for some 'neutrals' to exist - perhaps drawing their energy from devotional rituals of the lesser priests or acolytes. Perhaps an expansion of the Sorcery charts, so that sacrifices would not be necessary to cast mighty spells (Esp. those that protect, ward, guide, dispell, heal, etc).

I don't want to destroy the game 'flavour' - but not Everyone wants to be an evil, sadistic bastard (???).
Are there any shamans devoted to War (Besides Picts), who could gain their spell points by dispatching their enemies with a sacred weapon or suchlike? (I seem to recall some Sorcery Feats ..?)
 
Magic is not a healthy work for man. It is driven by success, marred by impermanence, heightened by obsession, dominated by masters and poisonous to the soul. The universe cries out against the use of magic, and too much abuse will create a backlash of power as the universe tries to right itself.

Power corrupts - and those who seek magic in the Hyborian Age usually seek power... and when that power is found and used, it corrupts.

On the other hand, if you want your games to resemble a Steve Perry pastiche, he did introduce the Squares of Corinthia, with Black, White and Grey Squares to show evil, good and neutral mages.
 

InsomNY

Mongoose
Why not have some non-diabolic sorcerers? There is precedent for such people in Howard's own work -- Epimetrius (the long-deceased guardian of Aquilonia) and Hadrathus (helpful priest of Asura) are both good-guy wizards he created.

Of course, such characters should be exceptions to the rule. Power most definitely corrupts in this setting, so sorcerers of Epimetrius' calibre should be exceedingly rare.
 

dalmagar

Mongoose
I think a good/neutral type Sorcerer is very doable. There are certainly many useful non-evil type spells in the main book (I'm saving desperately for Scrolls of Skelos). It might be easier to do as a socerous version of another class/cross class charecter. But Counter Magic, Divination, Hypnotisim, Nature Magic, and Prestadigitation are certainly not evil in nature. It may be harder to generate the big power point totals, but there are ways around that as well. For one, I think a Priest in good standing with his religion, if he can find a temple, should be able to arrange a ritual to help build power. And even without a lot of points, several low powered spells used well, can be better than one really big one.

I am working on a Soldier/Scholar character, a sort of anti-barbarian. A cultured, educated Shemite or Turian Calvary officer assigned to the court philosephers honor gaurd in his early career, becoming interested and studying on his own (an independent). Later his unique skills combination would make him ideal as the Empire or Cities "Man on the Spot" trouble shooter. Studying Counter-Magic and Divination, later he may expand into Hypnotisim, or Nature Magic (in order to gain a loyal, trained falcon). However he's still a stand up guy in a fight. He mostly tries to fight his way to a position to use a defensive blast, then finish the job with cold steel.

So thats one idea, anyway.
 

argo

Mongoose
First off please don't forget that concepts of "good" and "evil" are much more maleable in the Hyborian age than elsewhere. For example, even the civilised "code of honor" says that an adherent will "If religious, make war upon the enemies of his religion without showing mercy or offering quarter." and that is about as close to a "good" code of ethics as you are likely to find.

That being said, it is certainly possible to be a good sorcorer/priest. You simply have to be aware of all the temptations and pitfalls that surround you and make a conscious effort to avoid them. The easiest way to see this is in the Summonings style: the Demonic Pact spell can be taken easily at first level, offers some nice perks, ensures the scholar has a way to learn advanced spells without being subject to a master or the like and opens the door to the powerful summoning spells. It also forces significant corruption saves on the scholar and paves the way for fruther dark acts. Now on the other hand the Master-Words and Signs spell cannot be taken until 12th level at the earliest but likewise offers some nice perks (arguably better than Demonic Pact) and gives access to the summoning spells. the added benefit is that if you wait for the Master-Words spell you get to avoid those corruption saves.

This paradigm prety much holds for all magic in Conan. Magic requires massive ammounts of power/time to pull off. If you want to achieve those results quickly you will have to turn to the dark paths in order to achieve the results you desire. Those with the self-control to avoid the quick and dirty route will have fewer resources than the wicked ones and must therefore be more creative and darring (or simply settle for being weaker) but it is doable. Just remember that evil can be subtle and seductive as well, being a good sorcorer requires perservance and restraint.

Hope that helps.
 

LokiOne

Mongoose
Was the bald headed little oriental shaman in the Conan movie a 'neutral' from Khitai? He seemed to be quite useful and helpful to Conan and friends.

I refer to the time when he prepares Conan's body with the mystic runes, while chanting and preparing for the night-long Ritual ...

I use the reverse of 'Draw Forth the Soul' (From The Scrolls of Skelos) as a sort of Last Resort to save a "dead" character (Restore the Soul?). The effect (In reverse) closely simulates the scene where the Spirits attempt to take Conan, and Valeria promises to "Pay the Gods".
Maybe the later could become a new Sorcery Feat (modified?). In addition to the ritual and point costs, there could be a 'fee' such as;

i) Use of a Fate Point from both the caster and subject.
ii) 'Pay the Gods' - a player could forego other costs if they are forbidden from using a Fate Point to save themselves for the duration of the next Adventure ...etc.
iii) Invocation of the ritual may provoke a 'cost' from a random character (Or favoured NPC). The next death from the chosen character is final ...

The 'Pay the Gods' Feat could be used to prevent the 'restoration ritual from being used too often.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I like your reverse logic about the anti-'reverse the soul', it makes sense. I think you have a good understanding of Hyborian age magic!
Mako uber alles!
 

Mayhem

Mongoose
I would have thought that any priest of a non-evil god could qualify as a "good guy" sorcerer.

(Except for the obvious exceptions of religions that have no truk with magic at all)

Any independent could also qualify.

The trick wuld be concentrating on more defensive and beneficial magics, and staying away from the less wholesome stuff.

Of course, the less wholesome stuff tends to be more powerful - a sorcer who embraces "the dark side" will most likely be far more dangerous than one who doesn't, so even the best intentioned independent faces being seduced by the power unless he is very focused.

I can imagine player and character alike following the slippery path to hell:

"Just one offensive spell, that'll be OK. Just to give me something to defend myself from my enemies."

"See, one spell was fine. I'm not corrupt, maybe I should pick up another."

"If only I had more magical energy so I could use magic more often. Maybe I can get ritual sacrifice, and just sacrifice animals."

"Darn, I really need more magical energy, and I've run out of sacrificial goats. Well, this guy is an enemy anyway, if I don't kill him the barbarian will, might as well put his death to good use..."

"Well, really, if I'm killing the guy anyway, its not really evil to torture him to get more power. I mean, he's going to die anyway, a few extra scars on a corpse, what does it matter..."
 

LokiOne

Mongoose
Well done Mahem ... Conan Magic has been designed to put that sort of temptation in front of aspiring Mages (Sorcerors).

I formerly Gm'ed WestEnd Games 'StarWars' RPG, and the Dark Side was keyed to produce this kind of 'easy' power.

I recall reading a Conan story (Most of my books are by Ace or Sphere books - and I recall reading my first edition of Conan at age 18 ... Gad: I'm now 43 ..).

I think that I was reading from Robert Jordan's 'The Conan Cronicles 1'. where Conan faces off against the Sorceror Jhandar and the Cult of Doom.

The Hyrkanian Shamaness Samara mentioned that there was always a 'price to pay' for Sorcery ...
 
I don't much care for the "good/neutral" label being used in Conan, like it is in Steve Perry's pastiches. It sounds too much like DnD. The question is, is a sorcerer corrupt or not? Yes, a sorcerer can avoid outright gaining Corruption points. Argos' post is spot on in that regard.

As for supposed "good" sorcerers in the Saga, we really don't know what they are like on their own, but we know that when their goals matched Conan's they were helpful. I doubt issues of morality really bothered them anyway.

Was the sorcerer in the movie a good guy, or did his goals just match Conan's? He lived alone in a cemetary and boasted of his ability to summon and command demons...

Same issue with Pelias from The Scarlet Citadel. Pelias, of course, pratised necromancy and saw no problem with forcing a dead man to open doors for him. Pelias is described by Howard as laughing "mercilessly" as this happened. He delighted in the defiling of his foe's body. He even describes his own powers as "my black arts." His naked soul was hideous enough to scare a giant snake...
 

Strom

Mongoose
Mayhem
Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 9:07 am    Post subject:
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I would have thought that any priest of a non-evil god could qualify as a "good guy" sorcerer.

Like you point out there is numerous roleplaying opportunities with this type of character. If he/she maintained their priestly lifestyle perhaps coinage would be scarce and a evil NPC could "corrupt" with silver as a slope leading to power and dark sorcery. Even if the character leaves his duties and takes up adventuring the lure of gold and the need for more could again lead to conflicts for riches/power and the desire to stay good. In the Hyborian World, the slope to corruption taints everything and good intentions walk side by side with human weakness and the need to survive in a grim world. As a DM I would make sure to tempt the good scholar many times over and over
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The feat of Meditation and super meditation really are superior than sacrificing when it comes to power points. With no tweaking, there's no reason a 'good mage' could not kick an equal level evil mage.
 

Strom

Mongoose
I think the chapter titled Sorcery - Route to Corruption in the Scrolls of Skelos said it best. A "good" scholar is on that road in the Conan RPG and he/she may be able to resist for a time but eventually corruption will come a knocking. Knowledge and/or Power - which will be your doom? :evil:
 

dalmagar

Mongoose
Strom said:
I think the chapter titled Sorcery - Route to Corruption in the Scrolls of Skelos said it best. A "good" scholar is on that road in the Conan RPG and he/she may be able to resist for a time but eventually corruption will come a knocking. Knowledge and/or Power - which will be your doom? :evil:

I have to disagree. It dosen't seem to me that there's that much more oppertunity for corruption for a scholar than for any other adventurer. And the extra oppertunities that do exist are easily side-stepped.
 

Strom

Mongoose
I have to disagree. It dosen't seem to me that there's that much more oppertunity for corruption for a scholar than for any other adventurer. And the extra oppertunities that do exist are easily side-stepped.

Corruption is certainly not limited to scholars. A happy go lucky scholar who kills animals for PP. To me that is a ripe PC who a GM could lead right to corruptions front door. The day of sorcery is over in the Hyborian world. None can match Acheron or Old Stygians and to try to master the arcane arts comes with a price. All I am saying is it is up to the GM to create this atmosphere. Otherwise we would just be playing D & D and lobbing fireballs.[/quote]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Gault Hagar's Son said:
The feat of Meditation and super meditation really are superior than sacrificing when it comes to power points. With no tweaking, there's no reason a 'good mage' could not kick an equal level evil mage.

Execpt that meditation will take some time... Ritual sacrifice and opportunistic sacrifice will give you power points much faster if you are caught in a tight spot... Of course, meditation is a must-have feat for good or neutral scholars with oriental magic...
 
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