[Runequest] Multispell (RQ 3)

David Cake dave at difference.com.au
Fri Feb 12 20:46:45 EST 2010

At 4:10 PM +0800 12/2/10, Gary Sturgess wrote:
>On 12 February 2010 15:46, David Cake <dave at difference.com.au> wrote:
>>         In practice, the support of both community and of your church
>>  organisation is a more crucial asset to sorcerers, who often absolutely
>>  depend on ritual magic, having huge amounts of MPs to burn, etc.  And you
>>  assume that Church sorcerers are likely to cast long duration spells on each
>>  other etc.
>Well yes, but I'm not really as interested in what NPC sorcerers do as
>what PCs do. I can hand wave the NPCs. From the perspective of a PC
>adventurer, there is no mechanical reason not to grab the spells and

	I think this is an intentional part of sorcery. Atheist 
sorcerers are supposed to be able to operate independently, Church 
sorcerers are supposed to be both supported and constrained by being 
part of a large organisation. In both cases, it is the approval of 
fellow humans that matters, not the approval of otherworldly powers.
	I think the mechanical reason for being an adept is the 
support of apprentices, who offer both magical and mundane support in 
return for training. If that benefit isn't useful, then a sorcerer 
need not be an adept.

>Sure, you can make a good adventure or even a campaign out of the
>whole "fugitive from justice" sort of idea, but a shaman wouldn't
>normally WANT to stop being a shaman (he'd lose his fetch), and a
>priest wouldn't normally WANT to stop being a priest (he'd lose his
>reusable spells). An adept seems to have no mechanical reason not to
>stop being an adept.

	As I said above, I think its intentional. It is very easy to 
give PCs incentives to remain an adept in whatever sorcerous 
organisation they are part of, such as access to enchantments and the 
threat of excommunication.
	One thing about sorcery in RQ3 is that they have no intrinsic 
need to keep dumping their POW into a Fetch or divine spells, so they 
end up with a LOT of POW gain rolls that they don't use much. For the 
most part, I assume this means they have a lot of POW to put into 
enchantments, which are even more useful to sorcerers than they are 
for other magicians (most other magicians can use enchantments to 
cast more spells, but enchantments allow sorcerers to cast more 
powerful spells). I play it that most of the really good enchantments 
have a Use Condition of 'only usable by members in good standing of 
my Church' or similar. But thats how I handled it in my game, YGWV 

>  >        I like the basic mechanism of Sandys system - I have never 
>liked Free
>>  Int, and replacing it with skills as a limit on levels of manipulation seems
>>  to make more sense (albeit making very high powered sorcerers more
>>  intimidating, as in theory there is no limit to skill). And I really like
>>  the idea of dropping incredibly long Durations and replacing it with the
>>  Presence concept (I recall being a vocal voice in favour of this option back
>>  in the era of RQ4 debates in the 90s) . Presence makes the amount of ongoing
>>  magical power available to a sorcerer dependent on the amount of sacrificed
>>  POW makes them intrinsically more balanced with Shamans and Priests (whose
>>  power is based on the amount on sacrificed POW in their fetch or spells
>>  respectively) - whereas the logarithmic nature of the Duration system meant
>>  that while it took a lot of effort to reach a really useful level, it them
>>  fairly quickly flipped over to unbalancing.
>Well, I prefer "fairly quickly" to "instantly". :)
>A student level sorcerer in Sandy's system might have 30-40% in a
>couple of spells like Boost Damage or Boost Armour, and a 30-40%
>Ceremony skill. That gives him potentially Boost Damage 8 and Boost
>Armour 8 pretty much all the time. And I get the impression - perhaps
>wrongly - that such a character is supposed to be roughly the
>equivalent of perhaps a skilled Initiate or Apprentice Shaman. This is
>without any funky saint stuff, mind you.

	Yeah, its problematic.
	Though actually, in Sandys system having both those spells up 
at once would still require a Presence of at least 16, which would be 
more or less unachievably high for a student, and still quite high 
for an apprentice.

>  >        A lot of the details of Sandys system I'm not too keen on, 
>though. In
>>  particular, its fairly easy for a sufficiently fanatic sorcerer to buff
>>  their Presence a lot through vows etc.
>Yeah, I found that a lot less of an issue than the whole "shamans and
>priests have to cast their spells; sorcerers have them up forever"
>deal. I mean, sure, there are weaknesses - if you want an instagib
>spell, it's hard to beat Sever Spirit - but their ability to buff is
>lightyears ahead of what their supposed peers can manage. You'd need
>to start seriously abusing stacking Extension to get close. Held
>spells overcome the requirement to cast even attack spells in the
>middle of combat.

	I don't necessarily think that is an issue - the other magic 
specialists get their own various advantages. For example shamans can 
quite quickly build up an enormous effective MP total vs offensive 
magic when at rest (as they add their fetch MPs to their own).  And 
divine magic is generally effectively instant cast while sorcery 
spells are very slow (which Hold obviously helps overcome somewhat if 
you are using Sandys system). Swings and roundabouts where the 
various types of magic have very different advantages and 
disadvantages are, in my opinion, a feature not a bug.
	I have no big problem with the intrinsic design of Sandys 
Sorcery, just lots of the details and numbers. The limit on sorcerers 
having a huge bunch of spells maintained at once is Presence in 
Sandys system - and the balance problems in his system are probably 
that Presence starts out at a really quite high level, at least 
	This is why I, at the time, much preferred the (closely 
related) idea of Paul Reillys ideas, in which Presence was replaced 
by the very similar Vessel, which rather than being a number that 
started out moderately high and then was gradually pushed up with 
Vows and various learned achievements, was in rules a lot like a 
shamans fetch without INT. So the Vessel would start with just a 
handful of points (the POW donated to it at creation) and gradually 
creep up as the sorcerer donated his POW gain rolls to it, just as a 
shamans fetch does. So in this system you can't maintain permanent 
spells without a significant investment of POW - to maintain 16 
points of spells permanently is possible, but requires as much 
investment as a 16 point Fetch or 16 point of Rune spells, which 
seems ok to me (though a bit of a rip off for the shaman, really).

>I just think that the ability for sorcerers to have long duration
>spells, regardless of the ruleset that permits it, is inherently
>unbalanced (though I'd be more than happy to see suggestions for a way
>to balance it - I love the flavour of sorcery, but I just cannot
>permit it due to balance concerns).

	I don't think sorcerers having some access to long 
duration/effectively permanent spells available is intrinsically 
broken, any more than having Enchantments in the system is. The 
problem I think is the way the number of such spells available leaps 
up so very quickly. If you can maintain 1 permanent spell on 
yourself, then 1 point more and you can maintain 2, 2 points more and 
you can maintain 4, 3 points more 8, etc.
	It gets to the point where you pretty much have to assume 
that most soldiers etc in sorcerous cultures are going to have a 
bunch of permanent spells on them - which generally more or less is 
necessary for game balance in the RQ3 system as well, as a 'student' 
or even apprentice level sorcery user will usually have considerably 
worse spell casting ability. Sandys system tries to reverse this a 
bit, where long duration/permanent spells are less common, but the 
spell casting ability of average sorcery using mooks is a bit higher.

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