Saturday, 30 August 2008

Magic in the West

You may recall that, at Tentacles and Continuum, I (among others) said that Heroes of Malkion would work just fine with HQ2. You may also recall that, in this blog, I was unclear as to how that would be the case. Well, it turns out that it isn't the case; the rule sets are not really compatible at that level. (This, incidentally, doesn't mean that, for example, Blood Over Gold or Thunder Rebels can't be used with HQ2 - just that you'll also need a copy of HQ1 to make full sense of the rulesy bits).

But, fear not! I've spent the last weekend going through the draft of HoM, making sure that, when you get to see it, it is fully compatible with the new rules. There was quite a lot more to be done than at first appeared to be the case. This is because the HQ2 rulebook has very little information on Glorantha and its workings - understandably, because it's a generic rulebook, not a worldbook. There are a lot of things about the West, and Glorantha in general, that were in HQ1, but won't be in the second edition. All of that information had to be repeated, for the book to be stand-alone with the new ruleset.

However, all of that is now done, and what I suspect many people will be interested in is how Western magic works with the new rune-centred approach of the second edition. Here's the quick run-down:

  • Knight, noble, and to a lesser extent, commoner heroes, typically gain their magic by following a saint. This gives them access to one rune and one grimoire (spell book) associated with that rune. For example, a follower of Saint Xemela has the Harmony rune, and a book containing healing spells.
  • Members of the clergy practice their magic through holding religious services. This gives them access to one rune, and a set of community-based spells contained in one or more holy scriptures with that same rune. For example, a Rokari vicar has the Law rune, and uses the communal blessings and curses found in the scriptures of his Church. Bishops, incidentally, can further boost their magic by accessing the total devotional energy of their diocese.
  • Professional wizards use exactly the same magical rules as followers of saints, but they have up to three runes, and at least one grimoire for each rune.
  • It is generally possible to follow more than one saint, or be both a clergyman and follow a saint; but you cannot have more than three runes in total.
  • The majority of non-heroic people gain magical benefits from the blessings of the clergy, and use individual spells learned from folk wisdom, or the like. They usually don't have specific runes.
Note that 'adept' and 'mage' are now magical levels, not professions. Whether you're following a saint, a scripture, or a school of wizardry, you're still an adept - and, with study, you can become a mage. Your Church might not want to let you do this, of course, but the option is there. Basically, the same rules apply to everyone, and those of you confused by the first edition wizardry rules will hopefully find these easier to follow.

In short, quite a lot of work for me, in updating it all, but the end result should be simpler magic rules that are easier to use.

1 comment:

L said...

Interesting. This certainly helps me some, but what does it mean to have "access to a rune". It sounds, from this description, that this isn't the same thing as the grimoire. Is "access to the rune" something like what the HQ2 theists have been described as, where they can use the rune actively?