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Author Topic: Starting characters and magic  (Read 7797 times)
Rich Forest
Member

Posts: 226


« on: March 31, 2004, 06:13:43 AM »

Hi,

So I finally have a chance to start a Hero Quest game, and I have a couple questions about magic and beginning characters. Now to put this in context, we sketched out the characters and the initial situation the last time we met, using the copy of Hero Wars that I had brought with me. Since then, I’ve managed to pick up Hero Quest, which we'll actually be using when we play on Sunday. Now we’re doing the little things necessary to get the characters into Hero Quest form, and magic is part of that.

We went with a Heortling group, and the players expressed interest in getting involved in guerilla activities harrying the Lunars, so that’s the general situation/context. So we have all Heortlings, from the same clan, and with relationships to each other along with the rest of the clan, families, etc. The characters are a hunter, a warrior, and a spirit-talker, which is where the questions start coming in.

For the hunter and the warrior, both the players immediately jumped at choosing specific gods and going in as worshippers of these gods (Yinkin and Humankt, respectively). My question here is pretty basic, but I couldn’t quite find it in the text—how far along in devotion do characters typically start? Initiate, I assume, and I’m wondering about devotee. I basically get how Affinities work, and I’m not too concerned about actually dealing with the magic in the case of these two characters—it seems pretty straightforward, and of course, we’ll start in gradually with it. I am very happy we started with Hero Wars in this case, actually, because of the much more focused Orlanthi religious options as compared to the more bland/broad approach of Hero Quest, but I’m glad we’ll be switching over to Hero Quest before actually starting play, just because of the clarity of the systems.

Which brings me to the shaman, a worshipper of Kolat, and a couple questions. I'm still working out how animism, starting spirits, etc., all work in Hero Quest, along with more specifically how to best approach typical spirits for a Kolati shaman (I know I and/or the player can make them, but I like the example ones for other Animist “gods” in Hero Quest and am looking for equivalent specific examples for Kolat). So I guess the question here is, what should a starting spirit talker of Kolat look like mechanically, as far as occupation and magic keywords, and more specifically spirits. If anyone has a nice summary of key points in Animism, I’d love a pointer to that too.

I hope I'm not asking overly broad questions here—I am reading (and re-reading) the Animism chapter, but I think it’ll be more effective to talk it out with some Hero Quest experts as well.

Thanks for the help,

Rich
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2004, 09:38:11 AM »

Quote from: Rich Forest
My question here is pretty basic, but I couldn’t quite find it in the text—how far along in devotion do characters typically start? Initiate, I assume, and I’m wondering about devotee. I basically get how Affinities work, and I’m not too concerned about actually dealing with the magic in the case of these two characters—it seems pretty straightforward, and of course, we’ll start in gradually with it.
Worshipper, Initiate, Devotee - all are viable starting character options. I see no one of them as a particularly suitable place to start. And the sample characters don't imply otherwise, either. What about the Initiate level makes you think it's somehow more suitable?

Quote
I am very happy we started with Hero Wars in this case, actually, because of the much more focused Orlanthi religious options as compared to the more bland/broad approach of Hero Quest, but I’m glad we’ll be switching over to Hero Quest before actually starting play, just because of the clarity of the systems.
Hmmm. What's blander about HQ? The options seem pretty similar to me, actually.

Also, don't be surprised if you find out that the HQ rules aren't as clear as you thought. Maybe more clear than HW, but there are still parts that need a lot of clarification. Get to know the errata FAQ on the web site.

Quote
Which brings me to the shaman, a worshipper of Kolat, and a couple questions.
As it happens, this is one of those areas that needs a lot of clarification to understand properly.

Quote
I'm still working out how animism, starting spirits, etc., all work in Hero Quest, along with more specifically how to best approach typical spirits for a Kolati shaman (I know I and/or the player can make them, but I like the example ones for other Animist “gods” in Hero Quest and am looking for equivalent specific examples for Kolat).
I'll let someone else (one of the Gloranthaphiles) handle this part.

Quote
So I guess the question here is, what should a starting spirit talker of Kolat look like mechanically, as far as occupation and magic keywords, and more specifically spirits.
Well, the first problem is that Shaman isn't available to normal "starting characters" as an option due to the requirement for the 1W2 ability. So, you have two options there. Have the character start as a Practitioner of some spirits, or allow the character to have the advanced experience neccessary to be a Shaman.

Consider the latter option. "Starting characters" are inexperienced in general. That may not have struck you yet, but they're low men on the totem pole in terms of ability levels in HQ - much lower than a starting character in HW. So, only go with the suggested levels of ability if you're sure that's the sort of characters that you want to play. Note that the standard start level doesn't prevent the characters from being competent or heroic - that shouldn't worry you. It's just where they are in the pecking order of society. If you don't want characters that are something like just graduated apprentices, then see the section on "Advanced Experience". Using this, you can make a Shaman possible for a character.

Now what charms and spirits does this give you? There's a little debate there, but this is what I get. Essentially, when you take the Cultural Keyword, you get a free religion keyword that goes along with it. This Keyword provides you entry level into the religion. In the case of Animists, these are Spiritist keywords. These aren't technically specialized magic keywords, they're religion keywords. So you get one even if you then take a more "advanced" keyword in that religion. IOW, a Practitioner or Shaman is also a Spiritist in that tradition first. The benefit of being a Spiritist is that you get several tradition charms (5?). These are tradition spirits, and provide only augments. A character who is just a Spiritist gets just these.

Before I go further, there's the matter of common magic. The GM can allow (and from what I've seen, usually does, despite it being putatively optional) a character with a specialized magic keyword to also have the common magic keyword. So, a character will, of course, have any common magic abilities that come from this including charms. A player can concentrate their magic, and this causes a loss of all common magic except that from the same realm. Thus a character concentrated in Animism can retain his charms.

Interestingly, a character who is concentrated in Animism can use common magic charms as active abilities, instead of just augments. This leads to the interesting situation where the player might have common magic charms that he can use actively, and tradition charms which he can't. The explanation for this, apparently, is that the common magic charms are from spirits native to the mortal world, while any charm or spirit from a tradition is from the Spirit World looking for a way in. As such, they're less potent.

Anyhow, Practitioners, get to have fetishes, which are objects into which befriended spirits are "bound." I put that in quotes because such a binding is a friendly thing - the spirit, again being from the Spirit World (meaning, apparently it was booted out at some point from the mortal world) - wants a portal to our world. And the Practitioner is providing just that in the Fetish. The spirits themselves are, as you've noted, created by the GM with ability limits in the ranges that the book suggests. What the player gets is a relationship, Friend of X, where X is the spirit in question. These seem to start at the keyword level of 17 for a starting character (they start at 13 otherwise), and opinions differ as to how many a PC should start with. Some say that one Spirit of each type available to the practice is appropriate, but this is rather potent. Note that releasing a spirit to affect a contest is about the most powerful boost a starting character can manage. So consider fewer fetishes, maybe as few as one.

Practitioners also can have Spirit Allies (if concentrated), and you may want to allow such to exist for a character, again with a relationship at 17. But it doesn't appear to be de rigeur.

Shamans get a Fetch - having one is the definition of being a Shaman, in fact. The ability requirement is what you need to have to get a Fetch for that Shamanic practice. Otherwise, they would probably start out with fetishes like a Practitioner - though maybe a few more to represent the Shaman's experience.

As far as occupation goes, just use the Spirit-Talker occupation from the animism section of the book. They should be at least a Practitioner, and many are probably Shamans.

Does that help?

Mike
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Rich Forest
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Posts: 226


« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2004, 07:23:15 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Does that help?


Yes.

Yes, it does. For one, it not only clarifies how some things work that I was fuzzy on, it also shows me how I was mixing and matching terminology. I mean, I knew the shaman needed that mastery, or I had noticed it at some point, but that didn't stop me from treating it almost like a synonym of the occupation "spirit-talker." So ok, it's starting to come together here. Let's see how I do.

So bog standard, if we don't go the advanced experience route (which we might actually do, but for now, let's just say), the spirit-talker would most likely be a Heortling: Spirit-talker: Practitioner of Kolat, with concentrated Animist magic. This would give the character the ability to actively use 5 common magic charms, in addition to having a spirit (or more) "bound" to a fetish. How many spirits? Well, that's kind of debated, but they're powerful, so keep that in mind.

Meanwhile, the hunter and the whatchamacallit, warrior, they can both start right out as devotees if they want to, which starts them with all the Affinities and I think this or that other benefit (and they have to have concentrated theistic magic). They do not, however, start out with the cult secret? (You asked where I got the idea Initiate would be most likely for a starting character. I was kind of guessing, but it was based on the resistances that a character would face to become, say, a Devotee during play. I just ballparked it and figured I'd use it as a guideline until I got more specific direction. I see what you mean about the example characters, though, now that you've pointed them out.)

Now back to the spirit-talker. Looking at Kolat in HW, I'm seeing this broad set of "traditional spirits" that's pretty unlike the more focused sets of "Practice Spirits" that the HQ gods tend to get. Kolat, ok, uh "Air Spirits, Cold Spirits, Water Spirits, Weather Spirits, Wind Spirits." Hm, I suppose I can produce some more flavorful versions of these, unless Gloranthaphiles have any specific recommendations. There's a certain overlap between these spirits and Orlanthi Storm Pantheon type powers, so I'd like to make some of the spirits do different and interesting things that the Orlanthi gods don't, so that's on the agenda.

I'll take a look at the advanced experience section, Mike, thanks.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Hmmm. What's blander about HQ? The options seem pretty similar to me, actually.

Well, yeah, the options are pretty similar in a way, but in the little details I guess is what I was thinking about in my, more or less throwaway, comment. I suppose it was the greater focus on Dragon Pass and greater detail on the religions of the Orlanthi and the Lunars that made HW click for me. I'm a Glorantha know-nothing, and while HQ does a much better job of painting broader strokes and making more variety available, HW drops you right down into Dragon Pass and pretty much forces you to make a Hero Band that is a part of a community, not wandering, mixed sell-swords like the characters used in all the examples in HQ. So HQ certainly isn't flavorless, but this is a new group of players for me, and that probably had something to do with why I appreciated the greater detail/focus on Orlanthi religion in HW. I'm glad I didn't have to convince them while flipping through the books that they should all make say, Orlanthi barbarians when people are (understandably) going, "ooh, I wanna go with Esvular." "Hey cool, I'm going to make a Bison People person!" "Ah, yes, Teshnos looks cool." With HW, it's just like, ok, here are the Orlanthi, and here are their gods (quite a few of them), and here's the enemy (even if the enemy isn't necessarly Evil with a capital E).

Rich
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Harrek
Member

Posts: 15


« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2004, 09:19:45 PM »

Quote from: Rich Forest
Meanwhile, the hunter and the whatchamacallit, warrior, they can both start right out as devotees if they want to, which starts them with all the Affinities and I think this or that other benefit (and they have to have concentrated theistic magic). They do not, however, start out with the cult secret? (You asked where I got the idea Initiate would be most likely for a starting character. I was kind of guessing, but it was based on the resistances that a character would face to become, say, a Devotee during play.


Your first impression isn't altogether wrong - if you look at p. 18 you'll see it says " indicates initiate, practitioner, liturgist, orderly, or adept level." However, it also says "A hero can begin with a higher magical level with his narrator's approval." So Mike is spot on, too.

Take a look at p. 21 for another guideline: the player's should spend their creation points to gain that improved magic. "You may use 3 points to change your level of membership in a specialized religion from initiate to devotee, with your narrator's permission."

And no, a devotee does not start with the cult secret. That's really big mojo, the sort of thing they'll have to work for. Quoting again (p. 120): "The hero must be a devotee of the deity, and must have a minimum rating of 1w2 in each of the deity's affinities..." Since your affinities start out at 17 (or a wee bit higher), and affinities are quite expensive to improve, that's a long haul. (41 - 17) * 3 affinities = 72 points needed, at 3 hero points per: a whopping 216 HP to reach the secret! Yikes!

Quote from: Rich Forest
I suppose it was the greater focus on Dragon Pass and greater detail on the religions of the Orlanthi and the Lunars that made HW click for me.


Agreed, although I think you'll find the Hero's Book and Dragon Pass have a tighter focus than the core rules. I don't know which HW sources you have, but if you like the Heortling/Lunar thing, you really ought to check out Thunder Rebels, Storm Tribe and the Imperial Lunar Handbook (technically HQ, but released before the core).

Hope you enjoy the game.
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Josh R.
Rich Forest
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Posts: 226


« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2004, 09:49:08 PM »

Thanks for the extra info Josh--those page numbers are very appreciated. I'm in the process of drafting an "adjusting your character to HQ!" email for my players, and it's coming together nicely now.

As for available HW/HQ resources, those are pretty limited right now. There is only one store in all of Hong Kong that sells RPGs, and it's primarily a board and wargaming store. I was lucky (and thank SJ Games) to find a single copy of Hero Quest on the shelves. So basically, I have Hero Wars, the Narrator's Book, and now Hero Quest. I'd love to get my hands on more materials, but ordering from Warehouse 23 may be my only good bet on that.

So the Hero's Book, and Dragon's Pass, are both Hero Quest books then? Are further Orlanthi gods included in revised form in one or the other, say Kolat and Yinkin perhaps? I'll have to do some research on HQ websites now to see what treasures are out there that I'm missing.

Looking forward to playing,

Rich
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Harrek
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Posts: 15


« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2004, 10:18:16 PM »

Warehouse 23 sounds like your best bet. They carry just about the entire line, including a number of third-party sources. (Off the top of my head, the only exceptions are probably the OOP things - like the HW core rules.) Here's a quick rundown:

Hero Wars
Core Rules
Narrator's Book
Glorantha - good general writeup of the entire world, with a focus on Genertela.
Anaxial's Roster - bestiary. The numbers are a little outta whack, but the myths given for each creature are useful.
Thunder Rebels - enormous gobs of information about the Heortlings, and the cults of Orlanth and Ernalda.
Storm Tribe - the 'minor' cults of the Heortlings, like Humakt, Yinkin, etc.
Barbarian Adventures - part one of the Hero Wars in Sartar. Good general info on the tribes of Sartar.
Orlanth is Dead! - part two of the Hero Wars in Sartar. A more focused set of adventures; also contains a questionnaire to help generate your clan.

Hero Quest
Imperial Lunar Handbook I - broad overview of the Empire, with a number of homelands defined.
Core Rules
Hero's Book - distilled version of the core rules. Not terribly useful on its own, but may be helpful for players. Focuses more on the Heortlings/Lunars than the core.
Dragon Pass - gazetteer of the center of the world.
Masters of Luck and Death - heapin' helpin' o' Hero Bands.

Whew... And that's just the Issaries stuff. W23 also carries some other quality sources like the Unspoken Word and Moon Design Publications.

Also, there's a ton of free stuff online. Much of it is old RQ material, but it's still useable. I'll lay a few links on you:

http://www.glorantha.com/library/index_old.html
http://www.glorantha.com/new/londarios.html
http://www.glorantha.com/new/mythology.html

http://www.lokarnos.com

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/HeroQuest-RPG/
http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/HeroQuest-rules/

Enjoy!

(Kinda a hijack here... If you have more rules questions, maybe we should start a new thread, m'kay?)
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Josh R.
Rich Forest
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Posts: 226


« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2004, 08:01:34 AM »

Thanks for the links--some great resources there. And yeah, unless someone swoops in with all the answers on Kolat (I figure if I say the name enough times, it'll be like a "summon expert on Kolat" charm), I'll say this thread has answered my major questions. I'll start a new thread if any new questions come up.

Rich
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2004, 09:37:59 AM »

Quote from: Rich Forest
So bog standard, if we don't go the advanced experience route (which we might actually do, but for now, let's just say), the spirit-talker would most likely be a Heortling: Spirit-talker: Practitioner of Kolat, with concentrated Animist magic. This would give the character the ability to actively use 5 common magic charms, in addition to having a spirit (or more) "bound" to a fetish. How many spirits? Well, that's kind of debated, but they're powerful, so keep that in mind.
You forgot that the character will also have the Kolat Tradition Keyword as his religion keyword. Very important, yet easily forgotten (I made the same mistake several times when I was starting out). This makes the character a "Spiritist" meaning that the tradition keyword will give the character "Tradition" spirits in charms. See the section on Spiritists.

The five common magic charms would only pertain if you chose to allow this - having both a specialized keyword and a common magic keyword. That is, the text indicates that this is exceptional, but something you can allow. That said, I'm not really sure what the downside to allowing it is, most examples have characters who have the common magic keyword in addition to the specialized keyword, and

Many of these details can be found on P.18.

Oh, and when I say that bound spirits are powerful, to be precise, they can be released adding a bonus to an ability equal to their appropriate ability. That's right, if I release my spirit of fierce fighting with a Fight Hard 15 ability, I get to add 15 to my ability level. That's the same as a 5W7 ability augmenting. The downside is that your spirit then goes off (to explore or whatever) for a while before it has to return to the Fetish. Meaning in practice that this is usable once per adventure or so. Still, its nice to have that punch for the critical fight, and Practitioners can briefly operate at a level way beyond their normal power level.

Quote
Meanwhile, the hunter and the whatchamacallit, warrior, they can both start right out as devotees if they want to, which starts them with all the Affinities and I think this or that other benefit (and they have to have concentrated theistic magic).
With the restriciton that Harrek points out of the 3 point cost. Thanks Harrek.

There is some debate about feats - does the character start with the Feats, or does he have to develop them. The typical advice is to give three Feats in each Affinity (I think this may be official via the FAQ or something at this point). This often means all of them, however, so if you want the character to have something to develop into, you may want to give less. Gives them something to work towards before thinking about the Secret.

Oh, and devoting (or even initiating) in the cult of Humakt comes with all manner of special canonical baggage. I'm not sure how much you're concerned, but there's a lot of detail there if you want to use it.

Quote
They do not, however, start out with the cult secret?
Like Harrek said. OTOH, there are shortcuts to getting to a secret. Most notably advanced experience. That is, instead of playing through all 200 + HP, you may have the character take some time off at some point, and gain in keywords. If, for instance, you ruled that a seven year break resulted in the Devotee keyword going up by 5 points, that elevates each affinity by 5. Reducing the total HP needed by 45 points.

Also there are ways for the Narrator to just give the character points in an ability, and other considerations. Still, it's not something that comes quickly or easily, and would represent a major milestone for such a character to shoot for.  

Quote
You asked where I got the idea Initiate would be most likely for a starting character. I was kind of guessing, but it was based on the resistances that a character would face to become, say, a Devotee during play.
And this is why I think you see Initiates. Devotees are just plainly stronger, and the three point cost doesn't really deter. I think that most players taking an Initiate really are looking forward to getting to Devotee in play.

Those who do not take a specialized keyword, are probably playing a character looking for one. Which is also cool.

Quote
Now back to the spirit-talker. Looking at Kolat in HW, I'm seeing this broad set of "traditional spirits" that's pretty unlike the more focused sets of "Practice Spirits" that the HQ gods tend to get. Kolat, ok, uh "Air Spirits, Cold Spirits, Water Spirits, Weather Spirits, Wind Spirits." Hm, I suppose I can produce some more flavorful versions of these, unless Gloranthaphiles have any specific recommendations.
What I do know about Glorantha Spirits is that they are simple. That is, they really are primal embodiments with no personality - Greg made that point personally on another list not too long ago. So, sure, come up with a Spirit of the Icy Breeze or something, but don't make Normak the playful spirit of Icy Breezes. That's making something of spirits that they're not.

OTOH, that's if you want to play by canon. If you want to make spirits in your game more complicated, that'll probably work too. That's what I do in my game - spirits come fully loaded as individuals, albeit single-minded individuals.

Mike
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Alai
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2004, 10:06:27 AM »

Quote from: Rich Forest

So the Hero's Book, and Dragon's Pass, are both Hero Quest books then? Are further Orlanthi gods included in revised form in one or the other, say Kolat and Yinkin perhaps? I'll have to do some research on HQ websites now to see what treasures are out there that I'm missing.


I don't think there's a full-length write-up of Kolat _anywhere_.  There must be some web-resources on same, though -- or so I fondly imagine.  Yinkin has a chapter in _Storm Tribe_, and very funky it is too.  Granted it's technically for HW, but this isn't an area where one'd notice any huge amount of discontuinity. (Theism in general has changed very little, animism a good deal moreso.) I'd heartily recommend ST, and _Thunder Rebels_ too, though moreso in that case if the initial premise of your game is to some degree explicitly Heortling -- it'd be of less value for the "wandering, mixed sell-swords" type of game, though still grist to the mill. (I'm not so sure that so much of a HQ vs. HW thing as the nature of the supplement, though I take your point on the difference in tone on that too.  When/if 'HQ Thunder Rebels' comes out I wouldn't expect it to be _much_ different, though that's just a guess.)

Quote from: Rich Forest
Looking forward to playing


Enjoy!

Cheers,
Alex.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2004, 10:56:24 AM »

Hi Mike,

Quote
Oh, and when I say that bound spirits are powerful, to be precise, they can be released adding a bonus to an ability equal to their appropriate ability. That's right, if I release my spirit of fierce fighting with a Fight Hard 15 ability, I get to add 15 to my ability level. That's the same as a 5W7 ability augmenting.


!!!

Yeeks, that detail, I missed!  That makes a big difference in my campaign! (and a good one, IMO).  

Chris
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2004, 11:44:02 AM »

Excellent post Mike, just two small things to add.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
That's right, if I release my spirit of fierce fighting with a Fight Hard 15 ability, I get to add 15 to my ability level. That's the same as a 5W7 ability augmenting.


Almost as good. However, the spirit doesn't add it's bonus to your AP. So if you had an ability of 20 with a 5w7 augment you'd end up with 15w and 35 AP. If you have a spirit bump you, then you end up with 15w and 20 AP.

I point this out because I always forget this durring play.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
There is some debate about feats - does the character start with the Feats, or does he have to develop them. The typical advice is to give three Feats in each Affinity (I think this may be official via the FAQ or something at this point).


The FAQ says thusly:

Quote
Question: I can't find anywhere in the rules where it states how many feats a beginning hero starts with if he chooses to be a devotee. Is it all the feats listed for his affinities, or just 3 per affinity?

Answer: The default is that the hero knows all of the feats listed in his affinities. (Note the sentence on page 30, "...if you join the organization during play, you do not automatically gain all these benefits..." [emphasis ours] -- which can be interpreted as meaning, "But if you join during character creation, you do".)

If, however, this seems to make the hero too powerful, your narrator might rule that he only knows three feats per affinity, as he would if he were an initiate becoming a devotee during play (as described on page 118). Another suggestion is to give as many feats as a hero has "Advanced Experience" keyword advances (page 178).

If the hero is described in his narrative as having been "a devotee for twenty years...", it makes little sense to limit his magic to that of a mere beginner. Remember that he has given up Common Magic entirely, which can actually significantly restrict what he can do (devotees of Orlanth Thunderous don't get Belch Fire!).

Ultimately, it is up to negotiation between the player and the narrator, and the power level of the campaign. A new devotee might get fewer feats and an older one more, or all devotees might start out with all of them, reflecting a slightly higher-magic or higher-powered campaign.


For the record, I generally let the character start off with most or all of the listed Feats -- but also allow them to gain new feats if they make up a short myth about the deity or find a lost secret in game. That way they start off tough, but still have more they can achieve.
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- Brand Robins
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2004, 12:30:22 PM »

Several follow ups here.

First, there's the twisted subject of concentrating your magic. The FAQ would imply that the concentrated user has to give up all of his common magic. This isn't true. If the character has magic that fits into his character's concentration, he can keep it. For example, Animists can keep Charms.

What happens in chargen is that the wily player, knowing that he'll lose anything that's not appropriate given his choice to concentrate, takes only appropriate abilities. So for the concetrated Animist, he'll take five charms, which isn't much of a limit, really.

I like how the FAQ says that "in play doesn't get all" implies that at chargen that you do (like we're dumbasses and should have known). This just isn't logical, and needs the errata to be clear. Still, I knew that they'd made it official somehow, I just couldn't remember the ruling.

Yeah, Brand, that's basically right. The rule is that the points can either be used for AP, or for a bonus, whichever the player prefers. I'm guessing that most of the time that the bonus is taken, but there is an option. You just don't get both in an extended contest (the one time my Darjiini Practitioner has done it was for a Simple Contest, so he didn't really have an option).

Chris, I'm not so sure it's a good thing. Using "active point" measurments from Hero System, sure the power is limited in that sort of use, but it still makes the character more of a protagonist. Every time a player decides not to use such an ability, he's still "protagonized". And the character tends to outshine the others when they do finally use it. As a glaring exception to the rules, I'm not sure that it's really a good idea at all. I don't even see the theory behind it. Should probably start another thread if we want to debate that point, however.

Mike
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Rich Forest
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2004, 06:56:51 PM »

Hi everyone,

Thanks for the clarifications.

I see what I was doing with the “Kolat Practitioner”: I was slotting it in as a magic keyword instead of a kind of stage of the Kolat Tradition magic keyword. That makes a whole helluva lot more sense more now. (I had this vague sense of “where does the “spiritist” keyword go when he becomes a “practitioner.” Now I get it.)

And wow. Those bound spirits are something crazy.

I am interested in all the canonical baggage for Humankt’s cult (he said in his ignorance). I’ll take a look over the relevant materials that I have access to, just to see what kinds of things I’ll need to know to get going. I might as well do as much with Glorantha as I can, now that I’ve decided to use it. I’m going  to start canon and see where it takes me… although I do like your idea about single-minded spirits, Mike, so you may have already quickened my (inevitable) process of moving beyond canon.

I noticed that bit about concentration and loss of other-tradition magics. The players don’t have access to any HQ books or anything, so I went ahead and made the wily decision for them—I assumed their common magics and so on were from their appropriate traditions. Common magics are cool enough that I don’t see any reason not to allow them right off.

Thanks for all the clarifications, everyone. Above all, it’s nice to hear some of the implications these decisions have on play. And now I have a clearer idea of what Animists and Theists start off with. I suspect my theist players will start right out Devotees, since they’ve already picked specific religions and were very excited about Affinities and Feats.

Rich
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Harrek
Member

Posts: 15


« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2004, 08:43:52 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
What happens in chargen is that the wily player, knowing that he'll lose anything that's not appropriate given his choice to concentrate, takes only appropriate abilities. So for the concetrated Animist, he'll take five charms, which isn't much of a limit, really.


Right. Even better, if you concentrate, you can use those common magic *charms as active abilities (i.e. not just as augments), even at the basic *spiritist level. (* substitute feat/initiate for theism, or spell/adept for wizardry). That's pretty rockin'. And as Mike points out, it's easy to cherry-pick common magic so as to abuse this 'feature.' I'm still not certain I like the way that works out.

Quote from: Rich Forest
I am interested in all the canonical baggage for Humankt’s cult (he said in his ignorance).


Then you'll want Storm Tribe, definitely. Humakt is an old Gloranthan favorite, and he gets 20+ pages in that book. It's also one of the best cults to see 'optional features' - frex, any cult can impose geases on worshippers (and no doubt many do), but Humakt is the only one I can think of that actually does so in the writeup.
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Josh R.
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2004, 06:34:26 AM »

Quote from: Harrek
Right. Even better, if you concentrate, you can use those common magic *charms as active abilities (i.e. not just as augments), even at the basic *spiritist level. (* substitute feat/initiate for theism, or spell/adept for wizardry). That's pretty rockin'.
Yeah, I tried to clarify that above. The common magic ones would be active, but any tradition spirits would still be passive.

Quote
And as Mike points out, it's easy to cherry-pick common magic so as to abuse this 'feature.' I'm still not certain I like the way that works out.
The GM can nix the common magic entirely for a character with specialized magic if he wants (though I think that doesn't mean that a Spiritist can be so restricted - is it a religion keyword, or a specialized magic keyword?). So I think there's room for discussion on how many to take. OTOH, I'm a "more is better" sort of GM, so I'd likely allow it. I mean, some specialized keywords just get more stuff than others, so the method isn't "balanced" in terms of number of abilities at all. Just in terms of the power level of abilities (except for those damn fetishes), which works out fine. So I don't think it's a problem to give a few more common magic charms even if they are active. Moreover, if everybody exploits this loophole, then there's no imbalance at all.

From an in-game POV it makes sense, too - the Hero was so fascinated in common magic of a certain sort that they eventually concentrated in that area. I think that seems to follow pretty well.

Oh, one more consideration that I hadn't mentioned - If you do have the Common Magic Keyword, and Concentrate, then it costs you one HP (I have that right?). If you forgo the common magic keyword voluntarily it does save you a HP for what it's worth. Not a balanced trade off, but more a remuneration for going with a concept that doesn't include common magic.

Mike
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