[Runequest] RQ Magic System Flaw

Simon Phipp soltakss at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 24 21:16:07 EST 2013

Craig Simons:

> What's the problem? There are inconsistencies and outright missing rules about combinations of fetches, allied spirits, familiars and bound spirits. In particular, there are examples of a NPCs having a fetch, multiple allies, and many bounds. Worst case: in Griffin Mountain, Blueface has a fetch, 3 familiars and 6 bound spirits. Granted, he is a special case, but he incurs no penalty for having so many.

In RQ2, you are restricted in the number of spirits you could have. You could only bind CHA/3 spirits, which means a limit of 7 spirits. Spirits could be bound into familiars or objects. A shaman gets a Fetch but generally cannot be a Priest. Priests and Rune Lords get a single allied spirit. Shamans can only have a number of controlled Spirits equal to the POW stored on the Spirit Plane, and spend POW to gain control over the spirits.

In RQ3, there is no limit on the number of bound spirits a person can have, as these are simply enchantments. Priests and Rune Lords get an allied spirit. Shamans get a fetch, which is an extension of themselves on the Spirit Plane. Shamans can bind spirits to their fetch, but the total POW of the bound spirits cannot exceed the POW of the fetch. Adepts get sorcerous familiars. Some cults allow Rune Lords and Priests to awaken animals to serve as Allied Spirits, so they become familiars.

So, an RQ2 Blueface would have spent 13 POW to gain his Controlled Spirits, which is a fairly big cost. He would have spent time binding his 6 bound spirits, which is potentially dangerous but as a shaman is fairly routine. An RQ3 Blueface has spent 250 POW to gain his fetch, plus has created multiple enchantments which also cost POW.

I wouldn't necessary agree that these spirits are gained without cost.

In RQ3, familiars are normally awakened allied spirits, in RQ2 they are simply spirits bound into a creature. Blueface has a number of familiars in RQ2 but none in RQ3. I would give him a dog familiar in RQ3 as he is a Foundchild HeroQuestor and Priest.

It looks as though you are using RQ3 rules with RQ2 stats. Blueface's stats in RQ3 are quite different to those in RQ2.

Mindlink is a two-way process, between the two participants, but is not a pass-through process, so a person with an Allied Spirit and a Familiar can use the spells stored in both, but the allied spirit cannot use the spells kn own by the familiar. Your suggestion actually makes Blueface a lot more powerful than he already is.

If permanent Mindlinks cost Free INT, then this penalises Adepts and Magi, who might have several familiars. It doesn't penalise shamans at all, as they generally do not use Free INT. If it reduces the INT available to store spirit magic then it would have an effect, but only reduces that by a few points.

I would think the book-keeping involved would outweigh the perceived increase in cost.

But, it is an interesting idea.

Craig Simons:
> 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).

Blueface was just a quite powerful person. Have a look at the NPCs in Rune Masters - they all have 7 bound spirits and an allied spirit. In RQ2 this was common. All our RQ2 PCs had familiars and all had bound spirits up to CHA/3.

> 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.

In Glorantha, Mistress Race Trolls could be adepts and priestesses, so they could have sorcerous and awakened familiars. Personally, I don't see a problem with it, as I like high-powered games.


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