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Sandy's Sorcery Rules


Comments and Discussions on Sandy's Sorcery

Note: I have reversed the order of this list, so new topics are at the top
Sandy Petersen on Range *MAJOR CHANGE TO RULES*
Sandy Petersen on Commoners vs Sorcerors
Sandy Petersen on Conditions
Sandy Petersen on Magic Theory *Very interesting*
Nick Effingham on Adepthood
Nick Effingham on Permanence
Nick Effingham on Multispell
Jean Durupt on Spell Matrixes
Jean Durupt on Breaking Conditions
Jean Durupt on Maintaining Spells
Jean Durupt on Casting Spells with No Presence
Nick Effingham on Art Skills
Andrew Mellinger and Philip Hibbs on Art Skills
Kevin Rose and Philip Hibbs on Spell Matrixes
Philip Hibbs and Andrew Mellinger on Spell Matrixes
Kevin Rose, Philip Hibbs, Andrew Mellinger and Nick Effingham on Use of Spirits
Sandy Petersen on Josselyne's Blessing
Philip Hibbs and Sandy Petersen on Learning Intensity
Philip Hibbs and Sandy Petersen on Poltergeists
Sandy Petersen and Philip Hibbs on Familiars
Philip Hibbs and Sandy Petersen on Animated Dead
Sandy Petersen on Too Many Dice Rolls?
Nick Effingham and Philip Hibbs on Journeys, Vows and HeroQuests
Sandy Petersen on Journeys
Philip Hibbs and Sandy Petersen on Targetted Spells
Nick Effingham on Stale Presence
Sandy Petersen and Philip Hibbs on Stale Presence
Andrew Mellinger and Philip Hibbs on Presence
Andrew Mellinger and Philip Hibbs on Multispell

Andrew Mellinger
        Multispell: Wow this is really powerful. Using ceremony one of our wizards can damage resist the entire group for ~8 points. With the presence he can maintain it for however long. Most times our mages usually always multispell, 'cause for one extra point they can increase their effect twofold. Does anyone else think a party of characters each with a Damage Resist 8 up is unbalancing?
        How does multispell really work? How can a single extra spell increase the effect so much? It isn't an area-of-effect type of skill, 'cause it doesn't follow the law of conservation of magic. Multi-spell should instead be called Multiply.
Philip Hibbs
        I'm interested in this "law of conservation of magic", I've never heard of it.

Andrew Mellinger
        What we will probably do in our campaign is that Multispell allows the caster to cast multiple spells with only one extra presence and SR per extra spell. In essence the caster builds the spell construct then uses it repeatedly to cast copies of the spell quickly. This means that each copy must be paid for in MP but not in time, or presence. The multispell levels will increase presence but not MP. I.E Jed casts his Palsy 4 one 3 brigands who jumped out of an alley. He pays 4MP for the base palsy 4, then uses multispell 2 to get the other two guys. So, the time to case is DEX SRM + 4 (base palsy) + 2 (multispell). Presence is 4 (base palsy) + 2 (multispell) = 6. MP is 3 4-point palsys for 12 points.
Philip Hibbs
        Sounds fair, but one of the principles of magic in RQ3 is that 1MP = 1SR

Andrew Mellinger
        This solution doesn't solve the problem of a whole party Damage Resisted level 8, except maybe they can't get enough MP.
Philip Hibbs
        In fact, SP's rules are more restrictive in this respect, because in RQ3 you could do DR8 on each person individually, provided you had the MP, and it would last for a week, or more if you had a matrix. In Sandy's, this is much more restricted

Andrew Mellinger
        As a comment on posts made long ago sandy talked about using Multispell to increase a wizards chance of Dominate. I was pretty sure that the results of Multispell couldn't be used on the same target if they were the same spell. If they can, then that is *really* unbalancing. The first thing my wizards will do is multispell 6 point lightning bolts into the same guy.
Philip Hibbs
        I don't recall and can't find any reference to targetting multiple spells on the same person, this is a standard tactic in my experience.

Andrew Mellinger
        Presence: Wow, essentially permanent duration. While being easy to conceptualize and easy for characters to use, it strikes me leading to non-gloranthan sitations. I.e. The Ecclesiarh of Seshnela decrees that all wizards will maintain a 2 point light spell on his cathedral at all times, demonstrating his glory to Malkion. Or Guilmarn has each wizard maintaining a light spell in the capital. While these are simple examples, let your imagination roam.
        Maybe to solve this presence should be bound by initial casting range? That means that maintaing spells on oneself are easy, but on others are really dangerous.
Philip Hibbs
        See my Eastern Sorceror rules and look for the "stale presence" rule

Sandy Petersen
        What is your perceived advantage of having Presence go "stale"?
Philip Hibbs
        That was to answer a concern of Andrew Mellinger's, he thought it was too good to let a sorceror use all of his Presence on personal protection/enhancement spells, and to just drop the less essential ones when combat starts. This rule forces the sorceror to be more careful about the spells he keeps up.
Sandy Petersen
        It seems like an extra bookkeeping complication for not much of an advantage. I rather like the idea of sorcerers keeping certain spells up all the time.

Nick Effingham
        Andrew mellinger mentions the UnGloranthan situation of each sorceror maintaining a Light spell on his cathedral, I find this *very* Gloranthan. The Priesthood would merely point that the very spirit of the nation can be seen in the light at the center of the city. And at night, when the sun has gone, the spirit shines on -- just like in the Darkness.

Philip Hibbs
        It seems odd that this one spell (Pasly) should be controllable by just throwing a point of POW at the problem. You can't do this with Dirsupt, or Lightning.
Sandy Petersen
        Hmm. This is a cogent point -- it _is_ unusual to have this spell work this way. Okay. I'll alter it so that you can spend "extra" Intensity to modify the d20 HLT die roll by 1 point per extra level.
Philip Hibbs
        I would prefer to see Range used to modify the roll, rather than Intensity. It seems logical that you could have, say, a Palsy spell at Intensity 5, Range 5, Hold 5. You can then either loose it off at someone 320m away with a random location, or the guy sitting next to you with +/- 5 on the die roll, or 40m down the street with +/-3 on the roll. Accuracy thus decreases with distance. The distinction is less meaningful if the spell is being cast straight away, but it affects such things as St. Josselyne's (add INT to Intensity - is this still right, or has it changed again? ;-> )
Sandy Petersen
        I can go for having Range modify the die roll. I'll add that to the Art description. I especially like the decrease in accuracy with distance. Off hand I can't think if we have any Touch range spells that go for a random hit location. If we do, clearly you could use an "aimed blow" to target better.

Philip Hibbs
        More generally, what do you think of the philosophical side, the Journeys etc?
Sandy Petersen
        I don't like the Journeys as they now stand because they provide a permanent benefit for a temporary inconvenience. I am oddly attracted to them, though, and when I have more time to brood on it, I will no doubt have more intelligent remarks.

Nick Effingham
        I like journeys, but don't think they should replace Vows. I think that Journeys should just be treated like HeroQuests. I had already decided that in the Henotheistic nation of Otkorion they possessed sorcerous HeroQuests merely to increase presence. I think a lot of sorcerous lands would have appropiate HeroQuests, and all use Journeys/Pilgrimages to increase Presence via proving their piety. I think that Atheists would use Vows as well, and using Journeys very rarely when they come in contact with a cult that allows them access to the appropiate rituals to cast the spell neccessary to start the Journey.
        BTW, have you noticed that as a sorceror gains power they lose free will through the aquisition of Vows???? Very Gloranthan, whereas Journeys do not offer this.
Philip Hibbs
        Yes, I thought of this very same analogy just the day before reading your email! This is another justification for the Malkioni being the best sorcerors in the world (if you subscribe to that opinion), in that they are doing it properly by exchanging free will for otherworldly power.

Philip Hibbs
        ... those Pagans that don't like Vows ...
Sandy Petersen
        Huh? Every pagan religion I've ever heard of has Vows,
Philip Hibbs
        The basic thrust of my rules is to cover a classification of people which has arisen through play - that of the atheist sorceror, worshipping no God, owing no duty to any entity, manipulating the world through applied force of will.
Sandy Petersen
        My rules were specifically aimed at permitting atheists in play. The Vows aren't like geasa -- they're not sacrifices aimed at pleasing some big god; they are mental/spiritual disciplines adherence to which gives the practitioner more control over the otherworld. If one's own philosophy happens to be close to one of the disciplines and thus have greater meaning, you might get more power from that Vow. Example: the Rokari are big on chastity, thus the Celibacy Vow gives them more oomph than other sects. But there are plenty of atheist philosophies.
        Why can't an atheist adhere to a discipline in order to gain power. An atheist could certainly choose to sacrifice his own APP, POW, etc. or to keep from tainting his soul with Spirit Magic. One could create special atheist vows, such as Never Participate in Worship Ceremony, or Shun Holy Ground.
Philip Hibbs
        These people are out there, in most peoples Gloranthas (Gloranthae?), and they cannot be converted to the Western Sorcery rules, because their whole personalities and lifestyles would have to be left behind as they take on the Vows necessary to get enough Presence to achieve what they had previously taken for granted.
Sandy Petersen
        Why? Why do the Vows destroy their personalities & lifestyles? Sorcerers EVERYWHERE in glorantha are supposed to be eccentric, and morally peculiar, and often physically malformed. The Vows support this concept. The Vows aren't peculiarly Western.
Philip Hibbs
        That is, unfortunately, the way that they are perceived. There could be a middle ground alternative here - the Vows listed are very 'western' or could almost be called 'christian', and this adds to their reputation for being religious in nature. If a decent set of Vows more suited to the Dragon Pass adventurer could be devised, then this problem would be alleviated. The problem with this is that you would have to keep the list on a par with the western list in terms of diffuculty, while still allowing characters to go on more-or-less as they used to. Otherwise the idea that 'the westerners have the best sorcerors' becomes difficult to explain. This criticism could be levelled at the Journey system, but Journey sorcerors get a worse deal on the High Vow / Vessel equivalent.
Sandy Petersen
        I really am stumped by your perception of my rules. Why can't a sorcerer be self-centered, arrogant, and irrelgious under them?
Philip Hibbs
        That's not the point, they just seem to funnel sorcerors down a particular path, giving them a list of 'things I can't do'. OK, this list is different for each sorceror, but a sorceror still becomes 'a bloke with a list of stuff he can't do'. Journeys has been praised for its tendency to make Sorcerors strange and eccentric, because they keep doing different things, like hedonism followed by chastity, calling everyone by the wrong gender titles for a bit, then later refusing to go through doors, only flying upside-down, etc. It has been suggested that season-long Journeys should be introduced, with an INTx1 roll to gain the presence, to add more variety.

Philip Hibbs
        Andrew has raised some gameplay points, such as how do you handle a party of sorcerors all with Damage Resistance and Spell Resistance, against a similar bunch - the dice rolls get out of hand
Sandy Petersen
        I wrote Andrew about this. Having a lot of Resist spells up does make for a lot of die-rolling. I'm not sure what the answer is yet. I have come up with a few possibilities, but I'm not ready to write them out yet. If you have suggestions, please pass them on.

Sandy Petersen
        I'll post the new sorcery when I'm more happy with it than I am now -- mainly I want to fix the "too many die rolls" problem inherent in the Resist spells. I'm not sure whether to do this by ...
        A) making the Reist spells more costly (but even better, to make up for the cost!), so that not so many of them are being maintained at once, or
        B) making the Rsist spells work totally differently, so that no die roll is involved.

Philip Hibbs
        The Animate Dead spell (6 SIZ or 1d6 STR per Intensity) seems outrageously cheap, compared to the rather crap Divine alternatives.
Sandy Petersen
        To keep a skeleton animated costs only 6 Presence, but it can be dispelled. The Rune spell, as an enchantment, cannot be. Probably the Rune and shamanic versions of creating skeletons & zombies needs to be looked at.
Philip Hibbs
        In my experience, dispelling magic is very unusual, especially vs sorcery, because spells generally have quite a high Intensity compared to spirit or divine magicians' capabilities.

Philip Hibbs
        Is the result of a Sorcery Animate Dead spell detectable as undead?
Sandy Petersen
        I'd say yes. Certainly Humakti & the ilk woudl consider it, at the best, to be an "undeadoid", to coin a word. And I agree that Turn Undead, etc. would match vs. the Intensity of the spell (NOT the total MPs, just Intensity, as with other Sorcery).

Sandy Petersen
        Artificial figurines are reasonably popular familiars among certain groups of sorcerers ... No good in combat, but how many familiars are?
Philip Hibbs
        Chonchons, Hags, shapechanged Sperm Whales, Dream Dragons ...

Philip Hibbs
        Would you think a familiar is subject to the right Dominate [species] spell? I would say it is, but I've heard it argued against, as it is no longer a normal member of that species.
Sandy Petersen
        I think that Dominate works on familiars.

Philip Hibbs
        Can a Magic spirit animate materials?
Sandy Petersen
        Not under normal conditions. [It has no DEX]
Philip Hibbs
        This is a shame. I have used 'poltergeist' effects both as player and referee a few times. I suppose you could use Fly, but there are no rules for attacking with flying objects.

Philip Hibbs
        How can you realistically learn Intensity to 90% without knowing any spells?
Sandy Petersen
        You can learn & cast sorcery spells without knowing any Arts at all. So no one needs to learn Intensity to 90 before learning spells. Most Western non-Sorcerers do this, for instance. As well as East Islanders.
Philip Hibbs
        This point is based on the 'ranks' text, where the Apprentice must first learn one Art, then learn spells and other Arts. I guess non-Sorcerors don't follow this progression, but can an Apprentice learn spells before/during acquiring the first Art?

Sandy Petersen
        Here is the current version of Josselyne's Blessing:
Josselyne's Blessing (6 POW): Josselyne may be invoked for four purposes, depending on one's (current) caste.
        FARMER (temporal): the user's CON is doubled.
        KNIGHT (temporal): the user's damage bonus is doubled.
        WIZARD: Invoked only while casting a sorcery spell. The user's INT is added to Intensity at no additional MP cost.
        LORD (temporal): Invoked over a building, bridge, or other construction, the structure's strength and Armor Points (if appropriate) is doubled until nightfall.


Kevin Rose
        I think that most conceptions of the West include that they make no use of int and magic spirits.
Philip Hibbs
        I've been trying to think of a good justification for not using spirits. They seem purpose-built for use by spellcasters, what could persuade them that they are a bad idea? Surely that's what the Creator intended them for?
Andrew Mellinger
        All the games I play in recently have been based on RQIV which is a lot more lenient with spirits than RQIII. It also deals with spellcasting and other things that changes the dynamics of magic subtlely but pervasively. Personally I like using lots of spirits. Of course, due to the skills and MP required they will only be found by those with money, time, and power, but not the general populance.
        Specifically I would see Wizards using spirits for MP. I wouldn't see them dealing with elementals (leave them to the pagans), other nature spirits, or chaos spirits. Most would consider Demons evil, but otherwise they would use spirits of the Power, Intellect, Healing, etc. varieties.
Nick Effingham
        I think it absurd that sorcerors would not make use of the Spirits. Power spirits, intellect spirits and magic spirits would be staple diet for any Wizard worth his salt.

Philip Hibbs
        Sandy's latest Spell Matrix directly imbues the caster with 10% skill per point of matrix, plus the ability to use Intensity if they don't already have it, and the caster then has to cast the spell with this skill plus his magic bonus, so most people can manage one more point of spell than the Matrix has. I can only presume it also imbues the caster with enough temporary Presence to use the spell. This presence probably stays until the user loses contact with the matrix.
Andrew Mellinger
        Hmm. I remember Sandy once saying that anyone who didn't have presence (i.e. not a wizard caste) could maintain one (1) spell at whatever he could cast it at. Thus a knight could not have presence but use the intensity art and his Bless 50% to maintain a 5 point bless.
        I would probably do the same thing with the magic item. It wouldn't give him any presence, but he couldn't maintain or cast any other spells while the one from the item is in effect. Thus a group of warriors could pass around a holy sword with a 100 Bless matrix on it. They could each cast an 11 point bless and maintain it forever. Sure, imbalancing, but Sandy has often claimed to intentionaly ignore balance.

Kevin Rose
        Why carry around a wand with evoke 10 if it takes the same 15 SR's to cast as if they cast it themselves, particularly if it only works 40% of the time.
Philip Hibbs
        In sandy's new rules, the 10 points adds 100% to your skill, so you end up with 200%+. Thus you can blow some of the extra 10 points on Speed.

Andrew Mellinger
        I prefer the %ile arts to the 'digital' effects of Sandy's.
Philip Hibbs
        By this I presume you mean Arts as a skill, with the Arts being used limiting the chance of success, as per RQ3.
        I'm not sure I prefer it, but it seems the only way of doing it for my Pagans. I think it is one of the ways in which Sandy has tried to 'simplify' the rules, so you don't have to keep working out your chance to cast a spell or the number of points you can do with it depending on *what* you are doing with it, you just have to know your spell %age and it all falls from that.
        If I could think of a compatible way that 'my' Pagans could gain an Art without taking a Vow, I would probably use it.
Andrew Mellinger
        In general for game system I like gradual or widely variable skills. I prefer having a skill rating of 1-20 or greater. Some game systems have skill rating of 1-6 or even 1-4. I don't feel that leads to enough variation in characters and doesn't provide for nice gradual, realistic advancement. One of my favorite things about RQ is that the players get better ~3% every few adventures providing for constants feelings of success and power gain.
        Thus I prefer a gradual % system for increase of a skill and a variable effects produced by such a skill rather than a 'You have it or you don't.'

Nick Effingham
        I play that the arts are skills, so that all sorcerors learn magic just like the Brithini. First of all, this removes the need for expenditure of POW etc... to gain the arts, but more importantly, takes the sorceror back to sprawling over tomes and researching knowledge. The maximum amount that you may manipulate an Art is limited by your skill in that art divided by 10.
        Farmers have no intensity, therefore will never have the opportunity to cast a spell above 1 intensity. Warriors would learn the Intensity skill, requiring no sacrifice of POW, and in doing so would gain a Presence of somewhere between 1-10, as they gain the High Vow. In this case, a spell matrix does not give you access to Intensity.

Jean Durupt
This amendment came after some exchange with Sandy Petersen.
        A character can cast a sorcery spell without presence. He is limited by his percentage in the spell and in the manipulations he uses.
He can maintain this spell until one of these cases:
        a) he sleeps
        b) he casts another spell
        c) he falls unconscious
        d) he loses control of his thoughts (for example he is affected by befuddle, demoralize would not cancel the spell because the character is still in charge of his actions)
        This allows the trap in Maugre's tower to work under the new rules.
        This allows the Malkioni that will not or cannot sacrifice POW to St Malkion in order to learn the arts to still use non instant spells with an intensity greater than 1.

Jean Durupt
        As the rules stands, with one vow you may have a produce light 1 (ie glow 1) that lasts forever.
        Each week a spell stored in the sorcerer's presence grows of 1 point (like regenerate).
        The dwarves (and maybe the Brithini and the Vadeli) have the Art of maintain.
Maintain:
        With this art the sorceror can cancel the growth of the spell he is casting, if he is not using permanency. He has to put as many points in maintain as he put in the highest other art used in the spell.
        The dwarves' special enchantment have now to use maintain instead of duration.

Jean Durupt
Break condition (Enchanter Specialist) touch
        This spell allows an enchanter to break the conditions in an echantment in order to use it. The sorceror has to use as many level of multispell as there are conditions in the enchantment. The spell must have at least half the POW points of the enchantment in intensity to work. The caster pits his MP against the POW points in the enchantment. If he is successful he can now use the enchantment.

Jean Durupt
        I don't like the idea that a sorcery spell matrix increases the percentage in the spell.
        I play that they give a number of points that a sorceror can add to his manipulations.
Example:
        Cybex the sorceror has 65% in Call Light, and owns a matrix of Call Light with 4 points in it. Without ceremony he can put 7 (his skill) + 4 (the matrix) = 11 points in Call Light with a 65% chance of success. With ceremony (assuming he has at least 61% in ceremony and 18 points of free presence), he can put 7 (his skill) + 7 (the ceremony) + 4 (the matrix) = 18 points in Call Light with a 130% chance of success.

Nick Effingham
        I haven't found that Mutlispelling large amounts of magic was a problem. For example, last week my party embarked on an adventure. They had three sorcerors, two of whom had cast between them Resist Damage, Boost Armour, Boost Damage etc... on the other party members, using Multispell to reduce the presence cost. However, when one of the sorcerors was ambushed alone, and slaughtered, the spells all dissappeared. When the second sorceror died (unfortunately the party had a high fatality rate that session) the warriors were charging into combat with a hideous Undead monster. And then suddenly found themselves bereft of all their extra magic. So, if you play in a sorcerous area then the most common battle tactic would be to target the sorcerors first.

Nick Effingham
        I don't like the idea of having to refuel a Permanenct enchantment. It seems pointless, and surely the POW point gives the magic it's "fuel" forever??

Nick Effingham
        Adepthood is exceedingly expensive, three parton saints at an average of 3 POW per saint is 9 POW sacrificed. Most players will try at least to gain a worthwhile patron saint, so might have to spend 12 POW on Saints alone.

Sandy Petersen
I. How does Magic work in Glorantha?
        This question contains a number of false assumptions. First, everything in Glorantha is magic. Birth is magic – there are gods, spirits, nymphs, and entire cults devoted to this one act. Death is magic. The fact that you can see things far away is magic. Your heart steadfastly pumping, pounding, till you die, is magic. A sorcerer’s power to drain another’s soul is just another aspect of Gloranthan reality. The use of the term "Magic" in the RuneQuest game has masked the fact that much of this kind of power works perfectly well on Earth. When you don a witch’s mask, the impulse to cackle is all but irresistable. Hearing a certain inane melody rouses me to tears, because I associate that song with a period in my life. An angry glare and body language can Demoralize an adversary as readily in a Dallas alleyway as in Boldhome. "Psyching" oneself up for a race demonstrably increases both speed and stamina. Much Gloranthan "magic" is no more than the recognition and utilization of these effects on a regularized basis.
        Obviously, there are more impressive powers available for the studious or talented. But these powers have little in common except that all are unavailable to the common ruck of humanity. The underlying principles of sorcery are quite dissimilar to the foundations of spirit or rune magic. At this time, there is no functioning equivalent to the Monomyth to explain magic relationships.
        Each type of magic uses its own unique approach in drawing upon its power source. In all cases, the magic-wielder must train his soul and intellect to understand and internalize the nature of his reality. This discipline, whether formal or inherent, hampers the wielder in comprehending any other power source. Hence, it is impossible for a shaman to learn the higher arts of sorcery, though he might learn a cantrip or two by rote. Similarly, no sorcerer or formal rune priest can gain a fetch. This is not to say that there is no overlap between the varieties of magic, but that the overlaps themselves are based on differing interpretations of reality. For instance, a priest might worship Orlanth with a cult structure. A shaman in the wilds of Prax might contact Orlanth and gain storm powers, but the shaman is dealing with Orlanth as simply a powerful spirit. The priest’s attitude is quite different, and this is why he gains so many more aspects of power from his god, at the cost of certain freedoms.

II. SHAMANISM
        Shamans simultaneously exist in both the mundane and spirit worlds. Actually, so does everyone else, but shamans are aware of this and can see into both worlds at once. Shamans possess spiritual organs which extend into the spirit plane, and can bring spirits "through" the life/death barrier into the mundane (and vice-versa). Spirit spells are simply ripples in the ether, formed by our own focus of will. They are created by concentration and drawing upon our spiritual and emotional strength. The ripples are unstable by nature, and once formed, dissipate at once. The lesser spirit spells are really no more than an adrenaline rush and can be seen every day on Earth. Who has not been Fanaticized by rage, had a mother’s kiss Heal a minor injury, or focused one’s Strength or Coordination at time of dire need? The stronger spells surpass these abilities, but in a quantitative manner only. Now, in a most tedious way, I will explain the various aspects of spirit spells and how they apply to the theory of magic.
        Casting time – it takes time to focus our minds, align our muscles and bones properly, and draw upon our souls’ power to cast a spell. Spirits, to whom spells are far more natural, need only draw upon their power – the focussing and alignment is taken for granted.
        Spell Strength – more MPs in a spell create a larger ripple in the ether. If the extra MPs are just thrown into the mix, they do not make the spell itself more effective, but just add to its "bulk", so to speak. This is what boosting a spell does, to make it likelier to crash through defenses. If you understand how to formulate the spell in a more complex way, you use the extra MPs to make a more powerful spell, not just boost it.
        Duration -- spells have no duration. They evaporate practically at the moment of casting, and are gone. However, the effects of spells can be longer-lasting. The Fireblade spell sets up a framework in which a keen edge actually slices the ether and in reaction produces flame out of seemingly nothing. (Which is why there is no Firemace spell and, if there was, it would work on different principles.) The spell is gone, but the effect lasts for approximately five minutes. And, naturally enough, the strength of the framework set up is equal to the strength of the spell – in fact, the MPs used to support the spell’s structure, ever so briefly, are incorporated into the framework itself. When the framework finally falters, the MPs vanish into the spirit world, where they are presumably recycled.
        Spells lacking Duration, such as Heal, do not create a framework to hold their MPs. Instead, the spell’s form itself directs the MPs as raw energy to affect the target object in the desired way. Thus, the MP contained within a Disrupt spell is used up in causing damage to the target, and then fades off into the spirit plane, leaving the damage behind.
        An interesting variant on this process is Speedart, which is both temporal and instant. The spell sets up a framework on the arrowhead which contains the MP of the spell. When the arrow is launched, the framework "fires", in effect casting a second spell. This spell-within-a-spell takes the energy from the framework (destroying it in the process) and adds it to the missile as kinetic energy, increasing its velocity. Hence, the arrow goes faster and straighter, for a better chance to hit, and more damage upon impact.
Range -- the answer to this is complicated, and I don’t feel like writing it all down right now, but suffice it to say that there are different types of "ripples" and energy patterns that can be created. Two are the static and the transient types, corresponding to the touch-only and ranged spell types. Be it known that Ranged spells are not exactly 50m, but vary a bit from person to person. One man might get only 48 meters, while another got 51.
        Learning spells – spell spirits are, in effect, permanent ripples in the universe, capable of creating their spell whenever suitably powered by MPs. A human who defeats one of these beings through spirit combat is able to get his mind "around" the ripple, feel its impress upon his mind, and thus understand its nature. Thereafter, he can cast the spell himself, assuming he’s capable of doing so. A sorcerer has far more trouble understanding a spirit spell, even if he goes through the same process as other folks, because his mind is the wrong "shape" to readily take the imprint.

        AM: I was hoping to find some magic theory somewhere so that rules fixes could be made easier. One of my questions was: Why is there a range component to spells? Why is it not line of sight?
        SP:Why not? Why should spells be exempt from the effects of distance? For instance, vision and hearing degrade steadily with range. Missiles have no effect at all beyond a certain distance. Spells are a toggle effect -- either there is enough stability for it to take effect, or else it cannot perform the job. So it seems like the spell is full force out to app. 50m, and then goes away, but in reality parts of the spell's creation may extend far more than 50m, but are no longer coherent.

        AM:the God Learners would have spent some time trying to figure it all out.
        SP:Yes. And they're all dead. Not only that, but there is evidence that the way magic worked when they were alive was not the same as it does nowadays.

Rules Digest
     What is the mechanism at work that enables enchantment conditions to work?
Sandy Petersen
     My theory is that trolls, elves, worshipers of Orlanth, etc., each emit a unique psychic aura. If you set up a magical template which is sensitive to that aura, it can automatically trigger other objects in your enchantment. It's the same principle by which Detection spells work -- they're just wave-patterns which react to the presence of their designated auras.

Rules Digest
     What kind of information can the condition act upon?
Sandy Petersen
     Well, I think there are limits. I think that it can identify species, sex, race, god (because you've set up a psychic link to your god), and cult "level" (i.e., whether you're a priest, initiate, lay member). Other things might be detectible by certain enchanters and not others.
     For instance, I would say that an ancestor worshiper or Yelmite could set up an enchantment which could distinguish between people based on their lineage, but that a Malkioni or Orlanthi could not do this. As another example, I think that a Malkioni could set up an enchantment that could distinguish between different sects of Malkionism, but that a theist could not. This is not because the enchantment is using the Malkioni's perceptions, but because he's better-equipped to recognize the minor variations in aura that sect membership causes. Thus, he can set up wave-patterns in his enchantments that can distinguish this.

Philip Hibbs
     If a sorcery user has not taken the High Vow, they have no Presence, thus their spells last for 10 minutes rather than being maintained. A logical extension of this rule would be that a Sorceror who exceeds his Presence can still cast spells, but they will only last for 10 minutes. This avoids the rather embarassing situation whereby a peasant with a spell matrix and a large reserve of magic points can cast more, and bigger, spells than a magus with the same equipment.
Sandy Petersen
     "A commoner can only have one (1) spell in effect at a time. He can drop his spell at any time, if he wishes to cast a second spell. In any case, his spells cannot last longer than ten minutes. If a sorcerer has more total levels in effect than his Presence, he cannot cast any spells, until enough of his spells have been dropped to reduce the total levels below his Presence."
Philip Hibbs
     How about giving lay-sorcerors "temporary presence" equal to their magic modifier, which can be used to hold spells, but only for 10 minutes. This "temporary presence" is converted to proper presence by taking the High Vow. They can thus be targetted by presence-reducing magic, they can use the "Tap Int" variant which gives Presence, and can gain from presence-boosting artefacts.

Philip Hibbs
     I feel that there is a need for two types of ranged spell: Those that are fully ranged, ie they stop working when the target is out of range, and those that are ranged when cast, but are not limited by range thereafter. At present, all ranged spells are in the former category. This is fair enough for spells like Dominate, it would be unreasonable to be able to dominate a wolf at 10m range, and have it run to the next town and eat someone. However, is it right that if you Palsy an opponent, then run away, that they can instantly get up and run after you? Or that you cannot Haste your companion so that they can run quickly to the other side of town with a message?
Sandy Petersen
     Suggestions on how to distinguish? Perhaps active or transient spells require you to be in range, but not passive spells?
Philip Hibbs
     Bob Stancliff suggests that the spell's Range is actually centered on the target rather than the caster, as that is the 'business end'. This would allow all spells to stay in existence regardless of where the sorceror is, but like you suggest, Active spells would become Inactive, and Transient spells would disappear. This solves most problems.


Glorantha is a trademark of Issaries, Inc. Gloranthan material is copyright 1998 by quoted authors, Sandy Petersen and Greg Stafford. Glorantha is the creation of Greg Stafford, and is used with his permission.

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