[Runequest] Sandy's Sorcery

Gary Sturgess gazza666 at gmail.com
Wed Jul 29 02:10:42 EST 2009

2009/7/28 Hibbs, Phil <phil.hibbs at capgemini.com>:
>>us had ever really played around with sorcery before. Having run it
>>for a while now, I've got a few fairly serious balance issues with it.
> How much Presence do your characters have, and what kind of Vows are they
> using in absence of a Western framework? If your characters are Adepts with
> access to all the arts, then they are rune-level characters and should be
> equivalently powerful to a priest or shaman.

Low 20s, I think. I got the impression that the Art Vow and the Vessel
are universal, and that's easily enough to get a 20+ Presence.

Only one of the PCs is currently able to have other Vows (he's the
only one with spells that are 90+, which appears to be a requirement),
and he only has a couple (I've pretty much allowed any non-Saint
related Vows to exist; I think he has vegetarianism or something

As I say, they're still journeymen sorcerers, not adepts - if they had
a familiar plus all the secondary arts (as opposed to one or two each)
that adepthood would imply then they'd be far stronger still.

>>I was under the impression that it was supposed to go (in
>>terms of power) Divine > Spirit > Sorcery.
> Point-for-point, yes, but overall, a practitioner at the top of their game
> in either should be roughly on a par with each other.

Yeah, I guess that's my point. It's not that I couldn't see priests or
shamans being a credible threat, but even a priest or shaman will
struggle a bit. Most of the PCs have a POW of 15+ (other than
enchantments they don't have any really compelling reason to burn it),
so attack spells not exactly sure things either (I've played shamans
and priests; I don't, as a general rule, keep my POW much higher than
15 as it lowers the chance of a POW gain roll too much). A shaman can
smack them with spirits, of course - they're definitely vulnerable to
that sort of thing.

But even there, these are somewhat transitory weaknesses. As I say,
they're not minmaxing to any real extent; there is no tactics like one
of them Multispelling the Boost Damage spells on everyone's weapons,
or anything like that. If they wanted to, it would be fairly easy for
them to have fairly strong Resist Spell and/or Resist Spirit spells
maintained as well - obviously I can control access to such spells,
but if I do that I'm kind of conceding my point. :)

It's not really priests or shamans I'm concerned with. Given time to
prepare, a priest can get Extension on all of his spells that will
pretty much be "presence without limits" - and in any case divine
magic is fairly quick to cast. A shaman has lots of ways to fight
back. But these guys are not Rune level (I think Adept is supposed to
be the equivalent, right?). I was more concerned that they seem to be
quite a lot more powerful than spirit magicians or initiates of
similar experience. I freely confess this may be more my ignorance
than reality, of course.

To simplify a bit: it's fairly trivial for a Sandy sorcerer of even
Apprentice level to have, say, a "permanent" Boost Damage 5 and Boost
Sword 5 up (it would require a magic bonus of +10, Intensity, and 41
or better in both spells). That is, in many ways, the equivalent of
Bladesharp 5 forever. Not only is it unlikely that the divine/spirit
equivalent of a fairly inexperienced initiate would even HAVE
Bladesharp 5, even if they did it will cost them (basically) a round
of combat to cast it, with a significant chance of failure, and 5
magic points even if they succeed. The newbie sorcerer, on the other
hand, gets to try it as many times as he likes in the privacy and
security of his study, and once he gets the spells up they're pretty
there until he decides to drop them. He'll get all the magic points
back, and he can engage in multiple battles with this bonus.

While the current campaign has all PCs as sorcerers (and therefore
there isn't really any issue - I do not consider it necessary that PCs
be balanced against NPCs), I would imagine if there were an initiate
or apprentice shaman in the group I'd start to notice a disparity.
Would you disagree?

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