[Runequest] RQIII Sorcery

Peter Maranci pmaranci at gmail.com
Wed Jul 13 23:43:26 EST 2011


It became fashionable to dump on the RQ3 sorcery system pretty soon after it
came out, but I don't think that it's as bad as all that. Yes, sorcerers
tend to be weak when they're just starting out, both in absolute terms and
in comparison to most non-sorcerer types. But if they adventure with a party
of mixed types, they tend to be able to pull their own weight. And I've
never seen them become unbalanced at high levels, although a weak GM can
allow *any* PC to become unbalanced.

The system doesn't have that perfect feel of inevitability that much of the
rest of the RQ system has, true. It's not as elegant. And the "Free INT"
concept can be a choking point in campaigns where POW gains and spell
matrices are difficult to come by. But it's still a good, serviceable system
that does successfully present a more flexible, knowledge-based (as opposed
to spirit-based or god-based) system of magic.

One thing occurs to me, however: although Chaosium designed that system
(Chaosium wrote all of RQ3; Avalon Hill took some flack that they didn't
deserve for the system, since some erroneously believed that they had had a
hand in designing it), no one author has stepped forward and taken credit
for RQ3 sorcery, as far as I know. It would be interesting to hear the
designer(s) thoughts on the subject.

There is one error that a lot of people make when using the sorcery system:
they forget that the first point of Intensity comes free with the spell. So
if they have a free INT of 17, they often assume that they can cast (for
example) a seven-Intensity spell with a Duration of 10, which lasts for a
week. But since the first point of Intensity comes with the spell itself,
they can actually cast an EIGHT-Intensity spell for that duration - seven
points of Intensity added to the original first point. Or of course they
could cast a seven-point spell that lasted for two weeks, instead.

As I said, it's not the ideal sorcery system for RQ. Perhaps there IS no
ideal sorcery system for RQ. But one of the things I like about RuneQuest is
that it's easy to incorporate a huge variety of magic systems into it. The
best one that I ever encountered was a runic system that must have been
sheer hell for the GM, but felt extremely real to the players. I wrote up my
understanding of it, many years later, on my website as "Runic Sorcery". I
don't know if anyone else has ever tried using it, though.

->Peter

On Tue, Jul 12, 2011 at 11:24 PM, <royce at efn.org> wrote:

> Hi, Guys,
>   I've more than once heard the RQ3 Deluxe sorcery system described as
> being broken.  Alas, I've never actually used it.  So, I would be
> interested in hearing more about this.
>   If anyone would be interested in presenting their opinions on the
> merits and flaws of the RQ 3 Deluxe sorcery system, I would appreciate
> it.
>   Further, if anyone has formulated house rules that patch up the
> published rules, while still keeping the original strengths of the
> system, I would also appreciate that.
>   Many thanks ahead of time for any and all responses.
>
>   Sincerely,
> Asher
>
>
>
>
>
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-- 
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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