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Nikk Effingham's Sorcery Rules

These rules adjustments are intended for use with Sandy Petersen's Sorcery System, which is one of the best sorcery substitutes you can find on the Internet or, for that matter, anywhere else. I have made a few adjustments, described in my house rules, but also came up with my own ideas and additions, such as Vows, spells etc... not dealt with in Sandy's rules. I would advise anyone who wishes to make use of the system to also look at Philip Hibbs' Notes, which include rules for Journeys, stale presence and other ideas you may consider using.


Number in brackets refers to amount of Presence gained for taking the Vow


Seclusion (2): The sorceror must spend one week of every year in total seclusion. This week must be the same every year, and no contact with the outside world is allowed. The sorceror meditates during this time. If the vow is "broken" then the presence is lost until next year when the sorceror has the chance of seclusion again.

Attendance (1): The sorceror vows to devote themselves to a certain item. The item must be kept safe, and ordained, given ornamentation, routinely polished etc... If the item is ever broken then the Vow is considered broken and the presence is lost. Sorcerors often select staves as their chosen itm, although the Hrestoli Wizards often choose their swords.

Abstain Weapons (2): The sorceror vows never to use a weapon of any form, even to parry with. They may carry normal, everyday items with them i.e. a staff, but may not use it to fight with. They vow never to carry any implement designed as a weapon i.e. a sword, or a dagger.

Silence (2): The sorceror vows never to speak to anyone, or make sounds that imitate communication or warnings. They may use Telepathy, hand signals or the written word to communicate. This does not prohibit a sorceror from casting spells.

Ritualisic Magic (1 or 3): The sorceror vows to use rituals before casting each and every spell. For 1 presence, they must spend 1 melee round preparing to cast any magic. For 3 presence they vow to use a 1 hour ritual before every spell.

Henotheistic Church of Otkorion

All members of the Church of Otkorion may not take the vows of Abjure Rune Magic or Shun Storm. The Vow, Shun Tap, must be the third vow that a Church member selects. To become an Adept in the Church, the canidate must possess the Vow Shun Tap aswell as having three Saints - St. Lhankor Mhy, St. Orlanth etc... each count as a Saint.

Never Speak to non-Orlanthi (1): This includes worshippers of Storm Deities other than Orlanth, so a worshipper of Entekos or Kargzant is out, but an Orlanthi from Lankst, an Aeolian, or a member of Urox (but not the Praxian Storm Bull) are legitimate.

Skill Mastery: A special vow like Lore Mastery. The Sorceror gains one presence for every skill over 90% out of the following, Sword Attack, Speak Stormspeech, Hide, Jump, Listen, Orate, Read/Write Stormspeech and Scan.

Lawspeaker Vow (1): This Vow can only be taken by members of St. Lhankor Mhy. The sorceror must Vow to attend and arbitrate all matters of law. They are required to pass judgement over a variety of matters. In accordance to their activities they must serve 5% of their time as magistrates. Only those with Human Lore of 50% or more may select this Vow.


The Uz have a lot of bizarre and odd Vows. They usually enter into sorceror via the Cult of Arkat. If your troll sorceror is not in Arkat, then different restrictions may apply. Members of Black Arkat gain access to the spells Project Darksense, Boost Elemental and See Rune Magic. They may not select the Vows of Never Kill a Human, Shun Darkness or Vegetarianism. To become an Uz Adept requires the Black Arkati to be intiated into five cults possessing the darkness cults, although Kyger Litor and Arkat himself both count towards this number, as does membership in spirit cults.

Eat Only Aldryami (2): The Arkati must eat only Aldryami, dead or alive.

Eat Only Burnt Food (1): The Arkati must roast their food to the point of being burnt and blackened before eating it. In the case of non-trolls, the lack of sustenance makes this vow impossible to take. If the troll cannot find a fire to burn their food, or if the food will not burn, they must go without.

Gluttony (1): The Arkati must ritually devour enormous amounts of food every day. They must eat five or six times the normal amount of food daily. Not only is this expensive, it results in an increase of SIZ over time, and often a decrease in CON as their condition worsens.

Devotion (1): The Arkati devotes a lot of time to mystical rituals of Arkat. They must attend the temple at least 1 day a week, preventing long distance travel and long adventures, and spend that day in ceremonies.

Illumination: The Arkati gains one presence for every 10% of Illumination they possess.


The cult of Vivamort, and it's vampric powers, disallows the Vows of Never Kill a Human, Shun Harm, Shun Darkness, Shun Immortality and Shun Tap. Virtually all sorcerors are, or become, Necromancers although this is not obligatory. An Adept in Vivamort must pass the harrowing examination. Failure results in painful death.

Necorphilia (1): The sorceror must ritually sleep with one dead victim a week. They maky take Celibacy, if they so wish, as the two are compatible (celibacy does not prevent necrophilia).

Eat Only Human Flesh (2): At every meal the sorceror may only eat the meat of humans.

Devour Foe (2): A sorceror must eat whomever they kill. Even a small bit will suffice. If the victim is buried and given the last rites before the sorceror has a chance to exact their penalty then the vow is considered to be broken. Only a finger, or other small piece, must be eaten (even a successful bite attack in combat will suffice).

Abjure Daytime Magic (3): The sorceror must vow never to cast magic during daylight hours. If they are casting ceremonies they must ensure that the cermony concludes in the hours of darkness.

Abstain Holy Ground (2): The cultist vows never to enter the holy ground of any non-chaotic cult. If they are taken their against their consent, the Vow is still broken.


Mostali are a highly trained sorcerous society, and have advanced furthest with the sorcerous arts. Each is considered to be a specialist sorcery with their specialist spells being those that relate to their tasks i.e. a Brass Mostali would have Animate Metal, Holdfast and various enchantments as their spells whereas an Iron Mostali would have Resist Death, Resist Damage, Boost Damage etc... with comparatively few enchantments. Routinely, all Mostali learn the Basic Arts before long. Only Silver Mostali go beyond that. Whenever a Mostali has mastered five spells (and thus gained five more Vows) they are considered to be "Foremen", the equivalent of Priests or Rune Lords in Mostali society.

The Mostali High Vow defines the basic purposes of the Mostali, all Broken Mostali have broken this Vow, and thus all apostates have very little magical potential. All Mostali gain additional Vows in connection to their caste acitvities. These "Routines", as the Mostali call them, are worth two presence each. Example Routines are polishing a certain set of items every five work cycles, creating the same item continuely for the rest of their lives, going on chaos killing missions at the end of every season, or attending to the Mostali Complex Sewar system (in the case of Lead Mostali). This means that most adventuring Mostali will be breaking their Routine Vows.

[I like this idea, as it brings home the point that Mostali are like robots. Those players with heresies like Individualism will suffer as they will not be able to select the Routine Vows as this will inhibit their activities too much. It also limits Apostate Mostali.]

Mostali do not have the Lore Mastery Vow, they have the Skill Mastery Vow. Every time a Mostali with this Vow masters a skill in connection to their caste tasks i.e. a Rock Dwarf masters Masonary or Evaluate, then they gain one Presence.


New Spells

Adding to the hoard of internet spells, I've got my own here. Some of these are mentioned in the "Specialities" section of Sandy's sorcery rules.

Mind Probe
ranged, active
When this spell is cast, the intensity must be matched against the targets magic points. If overcome then the caster can obtain one truthful answer from the victim for every 3 intensity in the spell. The answer is transmitted via telepathy, and the caster does not need to know the language of the target to understand. It is effective only on non-fixed INT beings. If the caster is already in telepathic contact with the target then the target immediatly fails their resistance against the incoming spell.

Hide Life
touch, active
This spell, known by necormancers, conceals life. For every 3 POW the target has the sorceror must use 1 intensity. When in use, the target cannot be detected by any means, detect/find/sense spells, sense chaos, sense assassin etc... As this is an active spell, the caster must concentrate for this to take effect.

Weather Detection
ritual (ceremony)
By means of this spell a Weather Mage can detect coming changes in weather etc.... The can accurately predict the weather for the next day if the ritual is successful. If the Weather Mage fumbles their ceremony roll, then they make an inaccurate prediction.

Invoke Wind
ritual (ceremony)
[Should this be a ritual summon spell????]
With this ritual the sorceror can increase the strength and power of the wind. For every intensity used, the wind STR is increased by one. This is cumulative with any Rune magic used, such as Increase Wind. The reverse of this spell, Abolish Wind, decreases Wind STR by one. For every intensity used in the spell, the spell takes one hour.

Spell Changes

Treat Wounds
I've always found that in a Western campaign the lack of Divine Magic and Heal spells makes combat an ulitmately lethal affair. RQ combat is already exceedingly deadly, but with the prospect of immediate aid removed then PC warriors will have rapidly diminishing lifespans. I suggest that Treat Wounds should heal one point per point of Intensity. If you don't like this, you could always use 1d(intensity).

Making Spells

One of the listed requirements for Magushood is making spells. Here are some basic rules for covering such a feat. Making spells i.e. new, as yet unknown, sorcerous rotes, is a complicated process.

Firstly, the sorceror must purchase a laboratory of area 100 square metres minimum, and outfit it with the neccessary oils, blams, magical and non-magical salves, blessed equipment, statuettes of Malkion etc... Normally this costs, all in all, 8-10,000 pennies. For every hour spent in researching the spell to be created, the sorceror must spend 5 pennies to replace used materials, as well as covering the cost of newer, more up-to-date texts.

Secondly, the spell must (obviously) be acceptable to the GM. A spell which duplicates another spell, or combination of spells, is not acceptabel. Ditto for spells that are too powerful. "Advanced" or "improved" versions of spells are disallowed. A sorceror with Venom 50% cannot create an Improved Venom spell to cut down the casting cost. Instead, it's called Venom 100%.

Thirdly, for every 250-(INT+POW+1/10th presence) hours, the character has a chance of finally creating the spell. This chance is caculated as follows:

For Example: Samas the Short has 37 Presence, INT 19 and POW 15. Every 250-(19+15+4)=202 hours he has a chance of creating his spell. He is trying to make the spell Evoke Acid, and has a magical bonus of 16, and so has a base chance of -4%. It is modified as follows:

This give him an overall 10% chance of success every 202 hours.

For every roll, the player adds 1% to their chance of successful research.

For Example: After 202 hours, Samas gets a second roll at 11%, after 404 hours he has another roll at 12% etc...

It is impossible to research a spell with less than 1% chance of succeeding.

Lastly, while researching, a sorceror must devote 1/5th of their presence to the process of the spell. Thry cannot use this presence, just as if a spell was "up". If the character drops this presence to cast another spell then the research is lost and the whole process must be started anew. A player may choose to devote less than the full amount of presence, but suffer a penalty of 2% to successfully researching the spell for every point of Presence it is reduced by. In any case, at least one point of presence must be devoted.

Once a spell has been researched it must be perfected by increasing it to 90%. If a spell is not perfected then whenever it is cast and the roll fails, there is 10% chance of something malign and horrible going wrong. The GM should create a table of random results, not letting the player know what is on it. For example, in the Evoke Acid context, failure may cause all water within 10m to turn to acid, cause the caster to evoke urine, create a soaking acid rain, or even cause the spell to cover the caster in acid!!

A sorceror can raise a spell to 90% through either normal research, or experience. They need no longer devote presence to it. A sorceror cannot teach the spell until he has mastered, nor make a spell matrix out of it. Attempts to do so are, at best unsuccessful and, at worst, explosive.


Necromancers and Stacking Taps

The ideal of having the ability to tap at will, stacking the taps eternally, never having to drop them, is ridiculous. For instance, if you taps INT on a victim a week for two years, then on average your necromancer will have an extra 294 Presence!!!! As I said, a bit ridiculous. Therefore I came up with a few ideas to resolve this, comments will be gladly received.

Alternative One: Necromancers gain the ability to use Presence to maintain their Tap spells, plus the additional "free" tap you have.

For Example: Evil Nim the Necromancer casts Tap INT, as normal, and drains 2 INT form his victim. Then he uses Tap INT again, draining another 2 points from his victim but this costs 5 Presence to maintain as that is the intensity of the Tap spell. Using it again costs another 5 Presence.

Alternative Two: Necromancers can have one of each Tap spell in effect. For instance, they may have a Tap SIZ, a Tap INT and a Tap CON all in effect, but not two Tap INT's.

Alternative Three: Necromancers may have a number of Tap spells in effect limited by their POW/5 rounded up.

For Example: Evil Nim the Necromancer has a POW of 14 and so can upto three Tap spells of any type in effect at once.