[Runequest] MRQ 2 was Re: RQIII Sorcery historical brain dump

David Cake dave at difference.com.au
Fri Jul 15 15:00:20 EST 2011

At 10:37 PM +0800 14/7/11, Sean Foster wrote:
>Has anyone on this list tried MRQ2 Sorcery, and in fact there whole magic

	I had a look at MRQ 2. I had a brief look at MRQ 1, but the 
rabid madness in the MRQ 1 Spellbook put me off rather.
	MRQ 2 Sorcery seemed pretty straightforward. The switch from 
skills for individual spells to skills for grimoires looks both a 
great one for game play, and for Gloranthan flavour. It means 
sorcerers can have a few seldom used utility or novelty spells, 
something that never happened in RQ3 sorcery, and makes having a 
relatively useful and fun sorcerer PC quite achievable. Not sure 
about collapsing all manipulation skills into one - I'd have to see 
how it feels in play - but I suspect it probably adds to the 
flexibility of sorcerers and has reasonable game balance. Not at all 
surprised to see that they did away with Free INT and went for skill 
based limits.
	A lot of the historical discussion I talked about took the 
idea that sorcerers had roughly permanent spells from Duration as 
part of the 'flavour' of sorcery, and constructed rules to allow that 
by other means (due to the perceived unbalancing nature of the 
exponential nature of Duration). MRQ 2 skips that entirely - they 
(and apparently everyone else - certainly the Moon Design crowd 
responsible for current HeroQuest) no longer see sorcerers as hung 
about with maintained spells, but just casting them at need like 
everyone else. MRQ2 has Duration, but its linear not logarithmic, so 
20 odd points of Duration takes your spells from 10 minutes to 
several hours (POW x 21 minutes) rather than over 20 uears in RQ3). 
Interesting, Range is still roughly exponential, though less so - so 
a high powered sorcerer can still cast spells at very large distances.
	The interesting Manipulation in MRQ2 would seem to be Targets 
- MRQ2 sorcerers are still very capable as support casters, because 
they can easily cast spells on entire parties (or other small 
groups). Combine is also potentially very interesting.
	A big change is that in MRQ 2 sorcery, Intensity of spells is 
not a manipulation, and does not cost MPs or add to casting time - 
the power of a spell is based on the level of skill of the caster. 
Generally speaking, high level sorcery spells are more for high level 
play than in RQ3, and does not require huge reservoirs of MPs 
(quicker to cast is a more complex question, given different ways of 
measuring casting time).
	The sorcery spell list looks very similar.
	The MRQ 2 enchant rules do look to be, at a quick glance, 
quite complete, so I presume sorcerous enchanted items are still the 
order of the day for an experienced sorcerer.
	As far as other MRQ 2 magic rules go -
- Common Magic is what they used to call Rune Magic and we used to 
call Battle Magic in RQ2 and Spirit Magic in RQ3. They have added to 
the spell list - most of the additions seem quite reasonable and 
unsurprising, such as spells to increase stealth or communication 
skills or such. A notable addition is a small number of spells that 
do a serious amount of direct damage (something that was restricted 
to sorcery or divine magic in RQ2 &3), which is quite a big change.
- Divine Magic is a really big change. Instead of sacrificing POW for 
spells, you dedicate part of your existing POW to your god, thus 
reducing your magic points (but making that POW available for Divine 
Magic) - so using Divine Magic decreases your ability to cast other 
magic (quite a notable different to RQ2/3, where divine magic users 
also used a lot of 'Common' magic). A dedicated Divine Magic user can 
then have very little (or even none at all) other magic available to 
them, but specialists can recover the use of Divine spells very 
quickly. So a priest can have their entire POW worth of divine spells 
(but probably not other magic at all), and can start recovering their 
use in an hour. It looks as if the MRQ 2 system is minorly different 
(but usefully a bit more flexible) at low levels, quite a big change 
at high levels. Most spells are more less as they were in RQ2/3, but 
a few have changed in significant ways.
- Spirit Magic is basically dedicated Shamanism - capturing spirits, 
and binding them, with only limited access if not a shaman (most 
Spirit Magic users would, as in RQ3, also have access to Common 
Magic). It is significantly fleshed out, and makes playing a shaman 
sound quite fun. In particular, it fleshes out the things you can do 
with bound spirits, and there seems a lot of flexibility here (eg a 
captured gnome can let you travel through the earth like the gnome 
does, a nature spirit can enhance your physical abilities, etc). 
Playing a Shaman looks fun.
- the cult rules (for all magic types) include some rules for dealing 
with the game effects of the cults core myths, I think this is pretty 
nifty. I think it is interesting that people from sorcerous cults are 
also assumed to use Common Magic, rather than simple sorcery spells.
- I quite like the addition to the game of 'Heroic Abilities', and I 
think it is a great way of representing characters who attain that 
sort of status rather than just loading them up with more and more 
magic and high skill levels. The core rules book seemed a bit light 
on Abilities for heroes of a kess physical/combat oriented nature, 

	In short, I'd be pretty keen on playing MRQ 2, it looks to me 
like one of the better RQ iterations for playing a Gloranthan game, a 
lot more fun and interesting to play at high levels than RQ3, but 
without quite getting as over the top as MRQ 1 seemed to.

>I'm currently getting a group together to run Blood of Orlanth, and hope to
>get players trying each of the systems outlined in MRQ2...
>>  Actually, that was always a big problem with RQ3 Sorcery - it didn't seem
>to have a lot of Gloranthan flavour at all.
>David don't really understand  this, although it could well be a personal
>thing.  Is it that the rules did not 'dove-tail' In nicely with the other
>magic systems?

	Somewhat - but my real issue is that essentially three pages 
or so in Gods of Glorantha was almost all we got to cover the whole 
of Malkionism from official sources. The short writeups in Gods of 
Glorantha were sufficient, and most major PC divine cults got long 
form writeups (some in 'official' pubs, some in TOTRM etc). That 
never happened with sorcery. We had to rely on (often inconsistent) 
fan material for everything else. It seemed a tiny amount (a single 
spell and a paragraph or so on what was specific to your sect).

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