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Progressive Spells for RQ6 - Glorantha and Other Settings

posted Dec 11, 2012 22:31:52 by lawrence.whitaker
These rules are currently a test framework, created by Bruce Mason, for Gloranthan Folk Magic. They are presented here for those looking to use RQ6 for Glorantha, convert older RQ material, or introduce progressive spells as an option into their campaigns.

We do stress that this is a framework. As work on Glorantha takes shape the rules here may be subject to some tweaks, changes and additions, albeit we do not anticipate any major overhauls to what is presented.

Casting Folk Magic
Folk Magic follows the usual RuneQuest rules except that the casting is considered to be an Automatic Success (RuneQuest page 57) unless the spell is cast against a resisting target or is cast at range in which case the Folk Magic skill must be rolled as normal. This may seem like a huge advantage compared to the RuneQuest default but Glorantha is a world suffused with magic and the ability to be use minor folk magic is as normal to Gloranthans as the ability to ride a horse or plough a field. Of course circumstances may impose difficulty grades as normal and remember that casting at range or casting any spell with the Resist trait will require a standard Folk Magic skill roll.

Progressive Folk Magic (optional)
Veterans of RuneQuest and Glorantha will remember previous versions of Folk Magic with progressive spells that could exceed the limits presented in RuneQuest 6. There are good reasons for keeping Folk Magic as it is presented in RuneQuest 6 in order to differentiate it from higher magic. However should you wish to reintroduce progressive Folk Magic into your game, we suggest the following.

A progressive spell can be cast at any Intensity up to or equal to half the caster’s critical score in Folk Magic. So a character with Folk Magic 63% has a critical score of 7% allowing them to cast spells of up to Intensity 4. The Magnitude, casting time and other parameters of the spell do not change. The precise effect of the extra intensity varies by spell and is given in the list of progressive spells below.

Skill Intensity
01-20 1
21-40 2
41-60 3
61-80 4
81-100 5
101-120 6
+20 +1

The Magic Point cost of the spell is 1 Magic Point per point of Intensity. A character cannot deplete his Magic Points below 0 through casting a progressive spell. So, a character capable of casting Bladesharp 4 but having only 3 Magic Points remaining, would only be able to cast Bladesharp 3.

Characters can choose the Intensity of the spell they want to cast: they need not cast it at its full available Intensity if they do not wish to.

Some spells that were progressive in some previous editions of RuneQuest (such as Disruption) have not been made progressive here as they are seen to be out of line with the normal capabilities of Folk Magic. Other spells such as Multimissile which were omitted in RuneQuest 6 remain absent here but may well be found as cult secrets. Finally, you should note that as a side-effect some progressive spells actually end up being weaker at Intensity 1 than the standard RQ6 version.

Avert
Avert is used to dismiss another Folk Magic spell of equal or less Intensity within range.

Bladesharp
Each point of Intensity adds +1 damage (instead of a dice step). E.g. Bladesharp 2 adds +2 damage. At Intensity 6, any damage done by this weapon automatically gains the Bleed Special Effect in addition to any others normally chosen.

Bludgeon
Each point of Intensity adds +1 damage (instead of a dice step). E.g. Bludgeon 2 adds +2 damage. At Intensity 6, any damage done by this weapon automatically gains the Stun Location Special Effect in addition to any others normally chosen.

Dullblade
Each point of Intensity reduces the damage done by 1 point per Intensity to a minimum of zero damage. At Intensity 6, any damage done by this weapon cannot cause the Bleed Special Effect.

Mindspeech
Each point of Intensity allows the caster to communicate with one person. The targets cannot communicate with each other this way though.

Mobility
Each point of Intensity increases the movement rate by 1m. So at Intensity 1, the spell adds +1m (not 1d3), at Intensity 2 it adds +2m and so on.

Pierce
Pierce ignores 1 Armour Point per Intensity.

Protection
Protection will work a number of times equal to its Intensity before it dissipates. Thus Protection 4 can protect against damage up to 4 times.

Slow
Each point of Intensity reduces the target's Movement rate by 1m, to a minimum of 1m. A target cannot be immobilised using Slow. Thus an Intensity 6 Slow spell would reduce a human to 1m but would not bring him or her to a complete standstill.
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16 replies
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VaughanCockell said Dec 11, 2012 23:43:41
That is looking good, and definitely appears to evoke the feel of the old Battle/Spirit Magics! One question though, in the weapon enhancing spells you say that Intensity 6 produces a special effect in addition to any others chosen.

To clarify, you still have to produce a special effect to get the additional one, or any successful hit will produce the effect? Or hit that does damage?

It seems to say the success level has to be better, ie producing a special effect to gain another one with the spell, but I just want to be clear.
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lawrence.whitaker said Dec 12, 2012 00:02:47
To clarify, you still have to produce a special effect to get the additional one, or any successful hit will produce the effect? Or hit that does damage?


Any hit that does damage produces the appropriate Special Effect (Bleed or Stun) irrespective of whether or not the attack generated one. Bear in mind that you can hit and do damage but not gain an effect. An intensity 6 Bladesharp is potentially granting you a bonus. You could think of it in terms of the weapon itself being imbued with the effect, rather than the quality of the strike.

Hope that's clearer.
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Skoll said Dec 12, 2012 06:53:49
In previous versions you had to learn first Bladesharp 1, then Bladesharp 2, then 3. From this I'm kinda understanding, that you learn Bladesharp only once, and you get access to the higher levels as you progress in Folk Magic. Is this correct?
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BruceMason said Dec 12, 2012 08:32:20
Hi Skoll, that is correct. Once you have learned Bladesharp you then gradually get better at it.

For those that are interested, the Chaosium RQ2 treatment of Battle Magic was my main inspiration for the draft framework. That's why it has been made much easier to cast "personal" spells. In RQ2 you had a fixed 95% chance of successfully casting Battle Magic on yourself.

Bruce
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ismurray said Dec 17, 2012 04:44:56
I like this framework. What about casting time? Does a Bladesharp 6 still take just a single turn? I rather like the idea of one turn/AP per two points of intensity so as to make more powerful battle magic less attractive than higher magic to the power gamers.
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BruceMason said Dec 17, 2012 07:20:39
Hi Ian. As written the costing time doesn't change. Reason for this is tat Magic Points in RQ6 are much more precious and access to MP stores very limited: far more so than previous editions of RQ. So paying 6 Magic Points makes it pretty much a one-shot spell for most people. And it does require 101% plus in Folk Magic skill to be able to cast Intensity 6 which is a major investment of Improvement Rolls. Taking those into consideration I think that increasing the casting time might de-power folk magic too much.

Cheers
Bruce
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ismurray said Dec 20, 2012 20:10:43
That makes sense. My campaign has been going since RQIII days and still has a few MP stores lying around, so I might vary it with a house rule, but perhaps my players will be willing to swap their stores for a super-quick bladesharp... In any event, I think this framework makes a lot of sense going forward. Good job!
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BrianP said Feb 06, 2013 15:56:48
Hi Bruce,

What do you use for restoring MPs in your RQ6 game? I initially thought 1/hour, but that would probably be a bit high for the rules outlined above.
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BruceMason said Feb 06, 2013 16:52:15
For RQ6 Glorantha I use personal MP regeneration because that seems to reflect the common understanding. I do have an unsystematic perception that it can be reduced by all sorts of banes and curses, not making appropriate sacrifices/observances and so on. I have tended however to be quite liberal in MP regeneration precisely because for me, any sort of MP store should be very rare. So for example, I'm quite happy for a good night's sleep to be enough to regain all your MPs in most cases. It also cuts down on book-keeping.

What this tends to boil down to is that in a crisis, PCs can run through all their MPs on the basis that if they get through it, they'll probably be ok the next morning. Some players though hoard MPs just in case the GM is a right barsteward...
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BrianP said Feb 06, 2013 16:57:42
Excellent, thanks. That's pretty much how I've always run my games as well. Sometimes of course, running the PCs through the hoops when they run into a much more powerful magic user who runs them ragged (me being an occasional "barsteward" as you say).
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Skoll said Feb 28, 2013 10:31:27
After playing a couple of sessions with these rules, I thought I’d share our experiences…

I found the intensity, calculated with the given formula, to be a bit too much. So I houseruled the intensity to be one step lower, ie.
Skill Intensity
01-20 0 (not possible to cast Folk Magic spells)
21-40 1
41-60 2
61-80 3
81-100 4
This is mainly because in Glorantha every characters gets a +30% bonus to Folk magic (or at least got in MRQII and that's how we play). (In other settings I'd probably use the guidance given above.) The required intensity for the extra SEs of Bladesharp and Bludgeon is also decreased by one.

To balance Bladesharp and Pierce, I have ruled that Pierce bypasses armor worth of intensity x 1,5 (rounded up).

I found that with the automatic success of personal folk magic spells it’s too easy to do combat healing for my taste. So I ruled, that all Folk Magic spells require a skill roll in combat or other stressful situations.

Not quite sure how much Heal should heal with the progressive rules, so I ruled, that one point of Heal heals HPs worth of the maximum intensity of the character. In other words, a character with skill 68%, can cast Heal 1 to heal 3 points, Heal 2 to heal 6 points or Heal 3 to heal 9 points.

In addition, with an intensity 5 Heal, it’s possible to restore seriously wounded location (with failed Endurance roll) back to functionality. No HP’s are regained in the wounded location; the wound is treated as if the character succeeded in the Endurance roll.
[Last edited Feb 28, 2013 10:35:45]
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BruceMason said Feb 28, 2013 10:55:35
Hi Skoll, really useful feedback. Some points arising.
I was working on the premise that Glorantha characters don't get +30% automatically. Instead they get automatic success unless otherwise stated. This means that most times the skill determines Intensity rather than cast chance.
If you don't add +30% to all characters, I think the problem with Intensity being too great goes away. At least that was the balance I was striving for.

Heal is not listed as a progressive spell. In RQ6, Heal completely heals all HPs from a minor wound but has no effect on serious or major wounds. This framework doesn't change that. You could return Heal to a progressive spell but then it becomes strictly worse as you seem to have found out.

Your point about healing in combat situations is a good one. Depending on the situation I think it's perfectly fair to make it more difficult than normal however my experience is that you don't need to. If you are healing yourself you are losing Action Points which might be a case of the cure being worse than the injury. Remember as well, it doesn't work on serious or major wounds.

Thanks for playing with this. Really nice to hear about it in actual play.
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Skoll said Feb 28, 2013 11:14:53
Hi Bruce,

Thanks for your comments.

If you don't add +30% to all characters, I think the problem with Intensity being too great goes away. At least that was the balance I was striving for.
This is a good point. We generated the characters before this rule was posted, so that's why I ended up changing it. Now that you mention it, I think I'll suggest to my players that we remove the bonus they received when creating the characters and move back to the intensities in your guidelines.

Heal is not listed as a progressive spell. In RQ6, Heal completely heals all HPs from a minor wound but has no effect on serious or major wounds. This framework doesn't change that. You could return Heal to a progressive spell but then it becomes strictly worse as you seem to have found out.
I felt, that healing all damage (of minor wounds) with one MP was a bit too powerful. On the other hand, healing just one HP per MP would have been too weak. Besides, I like the concept of getting more powerful spells as you "level up", so I like to change as many spells to be progressive as possible.
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BruceMason said Feb 28, 2013 17:20:03
Skoll. I must admit that I like Heal in RQ6 because it deals with something that always bugs me. Trolls finding it hard to heal themselves. E.g. a troll with a minor wound and just 1 HP left in a location (say 8 damage to a 9 HP location) finds it takes more to heal itself than a duck with 1 HP left in location (say 2 damage to a 3 HP location.) It's not exactly a huge issue but it does tend to surface with any HP system.

On the other hand, I never really liked being able to knit together broken bones to be as a good as new (i.e.heal serious wounds) with common/folk magic. That's always seemed like it ought to be the preserve of gods and mighty magicians. Letting Folk Magic heal serious wounds is pretty much the best healing magic in the game outside of Theism.

That said, I think these are essentially matters of opinion.

Finally, personally I would make First Aid (treat minor injuries) work the same way as the Heal spell.
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Skoll said Feb 28, 2013 17:42:19
Skoll. I must admit that I like Heal in RQ6 because it deals with something that always bugs me. Trolls finding it hard to heal themselves. E.g. a troll with a minor wound and just 1 HP left in a location (say 8 damage to a 9 HP location) finds it takes more to heal itself than a duck with 1 HP left in location (say 2 damage to a 3 HP location.)
As you said, this is a matter of opinion. I like it that you need to spend more (magical) energy to heal bigger creatures. After all, there is simply more to heal.

On the other hand, I never really liked being able to knit together broken bones to be as a good as new (i.e.heal serious wounds) with common/folk magic. That's always seemed like it ought to be the preserve of gods and mighty magicians. Letting Folk Magic heal serious wounds is pretty much the best healing magic in the game outside of Theism.
I quite agree with this. In case it was unclear from my previous comments, even with my house rules the folk magic spell Heal would still heal only minor wounds.

Finally, personally I would make First Aid (treat minor injuries) work the same way as the Heal spell.
In what way? To heal all the damage?
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