[Runequest] Multispell (RQ 3)

David Cake dave at difference.com.au
Fri Feb 12 22:04:20 EST 2010

At 6:02 PM +0800 12/2/10, Gary Sturgess wrote:
>On 12 February 2010 17:46, David Cake <dave at difference.com.au> wrote:
>>>  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.
>Erm, no, that's trivial. Free Int of 16 would give you that with the
>Vessel, and that's without the high vow (which will quite possibly be
>16 on its own).

	Well, its not exactly trivial, as to have two spells known 
and still have a Free Int of 16 implies Int 18, but yeah, its 
certainly doable.
	Its certainly true that a student can have a pretty 
significant Presence pretty easily, certainly in the mid-20s.

>  Students are better than apprentices - apprentice is
>the lowest rank, student is higher. (At least in the version that I

	my mistake - its the exact other way around in the standard 
rules, so this would seem to be one of those differences introduced 
primarily to confuse people.

>>         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).
>Yes, but that doesn't do much against a Boost Damage spell. And
>sorcerers can simply have Resist Magic to block a lot of the shaman's

	And the sorcerers have usually pretty poor defenses against 
spirit combat, and the shaman can attack discorporately (which 
completely negates the value of a Boost Damage spell), and so on. 
Each has pros and cons - in general, sorcerers are much more able to 
set up useful magical attacks and defences in advance, but often much 
less capable if they need to whip something up in a hurry.

>  >  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).
>Sorcery spells are "better than instant". They're precast. A divine
>magician still has to cast his spells in round 1; a sorcerer has his
>from last week.

	Well, for a start, only true if you are using Sandys system 
or some other varient - in straight RQ3, there is no Hold, so while 
sorcerers can have pre-prepared defences, they can't have 
pre-prepared attacks really.
	But in any case, having pre-cast your spells is great if you 
chose the right one - and disastrous if you didn't, or it is taken 
down, or whatever. No use stacking venom and then getting a Madness 
spirit dropped on your head, or whatever. All magicians suffer from 
this problem to some extent, but the sorcerers suffer from it FAR 
worse - not only do they need to plan in advance to avoid very long 
cast times, they also generally have a far smaller arsenal of 
reliably castable spells.

>>  Swings and roundabouts where the various types of magic have very different
>>  advantages and disadvantages are, in my opinion, a feature not a bug.
>YMMV. That hasn't been my experience.

	Well, the alternative is you'd like the different magic 
systems to be closer to being very similar in play, with no one 
system having major unique advantages. Doesn't sound very interesting 
to me.

>  >        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).
>That does sound like a far better idea, at least. I'll look into it.

	I thought it was a much better idea at the time, but it does 
seem to have largely succumbed to link rot (not surprising, this 
particular debate about sorcery was a big issue in Glorantha fandom 
in the mid-90s).

>>         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.
>If enchantments could mimic spells,

	They can straight up cast spells, how is that not mimicking them?

>  then I would say that enchantments
>were exactly as broken as sorcery is.

	So, not a fan of the general concept of magic items as 
present in pretty much every RPG game system ever then?

>They cannot, however - an
>enchantment can give you more magic points, a new caster (via magic
>spirit, or conditions, or whatever), more spells (directly or via INT
>spirits), and so on. They can't give you the equivalent of a permanent
>Bladesharp 5.

	They can cast you a Bladesharp 5 on command easily enough, or 
just straight up give you more APs etc.  I don't see why a pre-cast 
spell is SO much better than a spell on command as to be 
intrinsically hugely unbalancing.

>Unless it's a Boost Damage matrix, of course, and wielded by a
>sorcerer with enough Presence... ;)

	Sure, but a sorcerer can't DI. A priest or shaman can learn 
new spells in a short time (subject to POW for divine magic), but a 
sorcerer can only get the same new spell at a time beginning cast 
percentage. Swings and roundabouts - of course the sorcerer can do 
cool stuff the others can't, but he also has advantages the other 
	In practice, sorcerers are generally stuck with a tiny number 
of solid reliable abilities, and a few spells that they can't depend 
on without massive ritual.

>>  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.
>Via Multispell, you mean?

Its intrinsic to the logarithmic mature of both Multispell and 
Duration. The more Duration you have, the more spells yuu can 
maintain on yourself at once.

>Unfortunately that's of little use to me as a GM, since the PCs are
>the ones that are going to be taking advantage. I basically found
>Sandy's rules unplayable in practice - and I was running Kralorelans,
>not Malkioni (where it is even more broken). Which was a shame because
>they're a delight to read, and they have a strong underlying logic.

	Yeah. I really have no idea if Sandy playtested them much, 
certainly the version that is widely circulated.

More information about the Runequest mailing list