[Runequest] RQ Magic System Flaw

Gary Sturgess gazza666 at gmail.com
Sat Aug 24 13:55:41 EST 2013

It depends on what you call the rules. Certainly Glorantha has ways to do
it, and I dare say you are correct that an Illuminate can pretty much get
whatever powers they like. However, the core RQ3 rules do prevent you from
being an Adept and Shaman simultaneously; the Gloranthan options are
exceptions, in effect (with Illumination being the ultimate exception).

Now, that doesn't mean that there are no exploits possible here. Consider:
a shaman gets a fetch, which (at least once it gets a higher than species
max POW) is a very useful ability that has no real equivalent without
becoming a shaman. A priest gets to resuse his divine magic, which again,
initiates can't do.

But all an adept sorcerer has over an apprentice is a familiar. Now,
familiars are cool. But they are not "fetch" or "reusable divine magic"
cool. I don't believe shamans or priests are prohibited from knowing
sorcery, merely from being adepts.

Also, consider that theoretically a sorcerer can quit being an adept (or
magus) if he wants. A shaman (if he even could quit) would lose his fetch.
A priest would find all his reusable magic becomes one use. But at absolute
worst, an adept would only have his familiars bugger off (and it is far
from clear even this would happen). You can learn all the sorcery skills
without even becoming an apprentice, technically. (Note that one of the
thing Sandy's rules do is make it much more appealing to be an adept or
magus, but I've had issues with those rules too).

In actual play, though, while spells can be improved by experience the
skills cannot be, which means that it is difficult to create a powerful PC
sorcerer "from scratch", as it were. As far as balance is concerned this is
very reminiscent of old school D&D where the "balance" for a high level
wizard being much more powerful than his fighter peers was that he was much
less powerful at low levels - which is to say, it is not balanced at all
(though of course in RuneQuest the sorcerer's peers are likely to be
shamans or priests, who are, at least, able to hold their own - certainly
the high level side is not as problematic, but it is really frustrating for
low skill sorcerers).

On 24 August 2013 11:34, Craig Simons <craigms at q.com> wrote:

> More on Blueface as an example of extremes:
> He is a human "Hunter/Brother-Dog Shaman-Priest". He has a fetch and 3
> familiars; familiars described as "bound spirit in hawk familiar", "bound
> spirit in fighting dog familiar" and "bound spirit in cat familiar".
> (Quotes from Griffin Mountain).
> I have more to question concerning familiars (bound spirit in animals),
> but that's a forth-coming discussion after this one is clarified. For now,
> just assume that there is a way to have allied spirits, a fetch and
> familiars. Besides, being a shaman and a sorcerer at the same time is not
> against the rules, just unlikely. One could also be a priest and/or rune
> lord, too: Illumination appears to unlock everything under some
> circumstances. Another topic for an upcoming discussion.
> Thanks,
> Craig Simons
> craigms at q.com
> Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?
> Steven Brust, Dzur
> PS - Blueface is not the only example of extremes, just a good one for
> this thread.
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> Runequest at rpgreview.net
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