[Runequest] RQIII Sorcery

Peter Maranci pmaranci at gmail.com
Tue Jul 12 04:43:14 EST 2011

First, a quick thanks to everyone who suggested starting scenarios for my
new RQ group! I ended up using the Garhound contests from Sun County. So far
they've worked very well, although I discovered that there was something
missing from the "Wall of Death" contest: the chance for falling off the
wall. I made it DEX x 5, with any damage taken that strike rank being
temporarily subtracted from DEX.

The session went really well, and the players definitely enjoyed the system
and the contests - so much so that we're playing next Saturday, instead of
having a two-week interval.

But now I have a new question. One of the PCs is a sorcerer, using standard
RQIII rules, and I've come up with some issues that aren't covered in the

Unlike spirit magicians, sorcerers can learn their spells from books. I
presume that they can also record the knowledge of the spells that they know
IN a book. But if a sorcerer forgets a spell, and later decides to relearn
it from their grimoire, how long does it take them to relearn it? It doesn't
seem right to have them go through the same process as learning it from a
book for the first time. Since I like to have a bit of unpredictability on
these issues, I was thinking of requiring a successful INT x 5 roll for each
interval spent studying. Does a day seem reasonable? If it was any less, I'd
worry that they'd do a lot of spell-switching. Perhaps it should be a week.
What do you think? Obviously if they read and fail the relearning roll the
first time, they can always try again after another reading interval.

And if a sorcerer relearns a spell, do they learn it at the same skill
percentage it was at when forgotten? I don't like that idea - it seems to be
asking for min-maxing - but I also don't want to have them start at their
base percentage, either! That just doesn't feel right. Perhaps the mechanism
should depend on the time elapsed. For example, they could lose 1% from the
spell skill for each full week that passed since they forgot it, plus an
additional 1d6 just to discourage abuse.

Or perhaps it should be a function of INT. When they re-learn the spell,
they must make a percentile roll based on their INTx5. For each
INT-increment they roll, they lose 1d6 skill points in the spell skill. For
example, if Cirur the Sage has an INT of 17, and re-learns a spell, he would
roll against his INTx5 chance of 85%. A fumble (100) would mean that all
learned skill with the spell was lost, and it would start again at the base
percentage. A failure (86-99) would mean that he loses 6d6 skill points in
the spell skill. Simple success at the x5 level (69-85) means a loss of 5d6
points of skill, at the x4 level (52-68) means -4d6, etc. If they crit the
roll, they relearn the spell with no loss of skill. Ceremony skill would
certainly NOT apply to this roll!

Perhaps it would be better to mix the two up, using the INT system but
adding a penalty to the INTx5 roll for each interval since they forgot the
spell. The only drawback to that method is that it requires more
bookkeeping, depending on the interval. What would be reasonable? A month? A
year? What do you think?


Peter Maranci - pmaranci at gmail.com
Pete's RuneQuest & Roleplaying! http://www.runequest.org/rq.htm
The Diary of A Simple Man: http://bobquasit.livejournal.com/
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