[Runequest] RQ Magic System Flaw

David Cake dave at difference.com.au
Sun Aug 25 03:20:31 EST 2013

On 24/08/2013, at 4:16 AM, Simon Phipp <soltakss at yahoo.com> wrote:

> 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.

Yes. 13 POW isn't a big cost to Blueface, who has been steadily accumulating POW for many years (not only is he extremely long lived, presumably as a shaman he engages in spirit combat and magic often enough to get POW gain rolls very regularly). 
Though note that there the enchantments need not have been created by Blueface. It could be a previous Blueface, or anyone for that matter. 

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

	No, but in RQ3, as bound spirits were enchantments, the cost was not necessarily borne by the owner. 
	I always assumed that in RQ3 priests, shamans and sorcerers all gained POW gain rolls at about the same rate, but while priests used theirs mostly to gain more divine magic, and shamans mostly to boost up their fetch, sorcerers would tend to place theirs mostly in enchanted items, as enchanted items are the one easy way to manipulate a spell beyond Free INT, and even a low powered basic enchantment still frees up a point of Free INT. And of course Enchanted items can be passed on to future sorcerers of your cult (or created by specialists as support for main casters). Plus attack conditions and such can compensate for slow casting. So I always figured that RQ3 sorcerers would be pretty much hung about with powerful enchantments. 

> 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.

 	Having an active spell costs no free INT, only being able to cast it. Having a familiar or an allied spirit or fetch isn't the same as being able to cast Mindlink. 

> > 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.

	Any troll priestess who was also a member of the Arkat Kingtroll cult could be a priestess, a ahaman, and a sorcerer. It isn't that unusual. It also isn't of necessity that powerful, as resources get spread between the three, so they would not necessarily have a huge amount of raw power, though possibly a great deal of versatility. There are synergies, though (for example, the Arkat cultist can cast Boost Elemental on an elemental summoned using divine magic). 

	Having access to all three forms of magic is unusual, but in RQ3 most shamans also had access to at least some divine magic. 



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