[Runequest] Designing the New RuneQuest - Part 4 - Rune Magic

Styopa styopa1 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 1 02:13:54 EST 2016

Well, the Rune Points mechanic isn't that novel, it's the classic "spell
points" system which has been houseruled in countless campaigns for decades
to get around the D&D Vancian magic paradigm (cast a spell & forget it) and
its perceived limitations for common/trivial spells.  I believe it's in D&D
5e now GENERALLY for spell casters, in fact.  So it's pretty tried and

For sorcery, given the thematic background of 'mastery of runes' and
'primal forces' I guess I would see a more consistent system based around
If you've played Magicka (the computer game) they use 'element combos' for
effects quite cleverly, and a very similar system would work neatly for RQ
Sorcery: so sorcerers would have mastery of various runes for
spellcasting.  They would learn combinations of these runes for spell
effects.  Casting the spell would require checking against each rune,
meaning to cast very powerful spells (big, long combinations) would take a
lot of disparate skills in different runes.  Here's the Magicka example:
This would tie Sorcery to mastery of primal forms, make it intuitive,
terrifically flexible, intrinsically different from Spirit and Divine
magic, give us an easy spell-casting time mechanic (each rune is a round of
casting time, meaning in combat sorcerers will likely confine themselves to
very simple spells....and people would be wise not to leave a sorcerer 'a
quiet moment' in combat, for sure!), and even a knowledge gating mechanic
(ie you have to be an adept in your school to cast 3-element combinations,
a mage to cast 4s, and an archmagus to cast 5s - although personally I'd
always allow someone to TRY to cast a one-element-higher one but that last
would require a special success ,etc.).  Hell, it even would give us a
ready mechanic for spell fumbles, meaning if you fail (say) the 3rd rune
with a fumble, the spell "pops" with the 2 runes you HAVE cast
successfully, but in a random direction/distance.

I think it would work perfectly for RQ, and have done so since I
encountered magicka.

On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 8:21 AM, Marko Perälä <mperis at luukku.com> wrote:

> I would like to see the magic systems be taken more towards themed
> packages, not just in rune magic but in general as well. For example a
> sorcerer could learn a whole grimoire as a single skill as his core
> specialization. One skill for every spell in that particular grimoire. Then
> the sorcerer could learn individual spells outside his specialization as
> separate skills.
> Now, I'm going to use RQ3 as an example, because that's the one I'm most
> familiar with, but feel free to imagine your own favourite edition. The
> problem with RQ3 sorcery was that there was too little source material. It
> was just a collection of separate spells. Imagine, if you had made a
> sorcerer character, who instead of learning a bunch of spells had first
> chosen a grimoire, say a warmage. A warmage learns the skills Warmage
> grimoire. Then he uses that skills for casting each spell in that Grimoire
> (Boost damage, Boost STR, Boost CON, Boost SIZ, Boost DEX, Damage
> resistance, Magic resistance, Heal wounds, Regeneration, Venom). That is
> ten spells for one skill and they are linked thematically. Each of those
> spells is something a warrior could be expected to use. That sorcerer could
> learn other spells from scrolls and other books, for example Teleportation
> and Fly, boot they are outside his expertise, so he would learn those
> skills separately, like in standard RQ3.
> This was just an example, but I think this kind of thematic grouping
> should be done with every magic system to prevent spells from being just
> loose collections of spells. It works with cult based rune magic in RQ3 and
> it works with those sorcerer sects of Mongoose RQ. I think the same kind of
> themed community thinking should be extended to include all magic system.
> In case you are wondering, I am in favor of runic points (sacrificed POW
> points allow casting of all spells a specific cult offers, instead of each
> point earmarked to a specific spell), in some form or another. One benefit
> of runic points over specific spells is that it would allow PCs to have
> available spells players don't usually bother sacrificing for. Which
> Orlanth worshipping PC ever spent POW points to acquire Wind words(1)? With
> the point system those rarely sacrificed spells would come along for the
> ride and be available in the character sheet, should the occasion arise.
> Kantor Rythmeiger kirjoitti 29.02.2016 kello 12:44:
> > None of it is new.That isn't the point.The point is, does it make
> >  the game
> > playable, fun and make you feel like you are in Glorantha?I have
> >  felt the
> > runic alignment thing has been obvious for years, and the rune point
> >  thing
> > has been fixed/fixable for decades.Thing is, they are writing a ruleset
> > that does it.Let's hope they kill Defense and 5% skill increments. I
> >  guess
> > they won't rationalise the skill list, but hey ho.
> >
> > Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android
> >
> > On Sun, 28 Feb, 2016 at 11:57, Phil Hibbs<snarks at gmail.com> wrote:   I
> > don't see the connection. Your link is about Divine Intervention,
> >  not rune
> > magic.
> >
> > Phil.
> > Don't you just hate self-referential sigs?
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