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Sorcery

Basic Concepts

Sorcery is the most flexible of the approaches to magic available in Glorantha but also the one method that requires the most preparation and calculation from the players and game master - both before the game and even during play. Individual spells are learned as Powers that require a second of concentration, a skill roll (sometimes with modifiers) and an expenditure of a point of POW to activate. Powerful sorcerers often learn advanced Techniques for the Thaumatology skill which in turn allow them to trade additional points of POW for various manipulations of the basic spell.

The power of Sorcery is unique and special compared to other types of powers in GURPS; it does NOT have a limited set of clearly defined advantages like other powers. Instead, a starting sorcerer can (with game master approval) select ANY advantage(s) to represent their spell(s). After character creation, a sorcerer can only learn new spells by finding a teacher or by self-study of rare texts and scrolls (which must themselves be purchased, stolen, or discovered in-game). It is important to note that no sorcerer can ever know more spells than the sum of their IQ attribute plus levels of Sorcery Talent (see below).

Sorcery uses the Skills for Everyone rules from GURPS Powers (p. 162) which means that every spell consists of both the modified advantage and a Hard skill that is based upon IQ. Unlike the rules stated in GURPS Powers, however, sorcery spells do NOT have any default values and must be studied to be used; there are no "wild" or untrained sorcerers in Glorantha.

Sorcery Talent

The Sorcery Talent, also called Magical Aptitude or simply Magery, represents a sorcerer's natural talent with magic. Each level (up to a maximum of four levels for starting characters) gives a +1 bonus to Thaumatology and all spell skills. Each level also increases the character's IQ attribute for the purposes of determining the maximum number of spells that they may know and their "free intelligence" (see below). Other sorcerers tend to react better to a fellow sorcerer, thus each level of Sorcery Talent gives a +1 to reactions from sorcerers and those that respect the sorcerer's profession. Each level of Sorcery Talent costs 10 points.

Thaumatology Techniques

A sorcerer can never spend more POW on one spell than the sum of their IQ attribute plus levels of Magical Aptitude, less the number of known spells; this calculated value is referred to as a sorcerer's "free intelligence" and is critical for the purpose of determining maximum spell effects via advanced Thaumatology Techniques. These techniques are all Hard and default to Thaumatology-6.

Sorcery Example:
Smother

The sorcerer Tanix possesses three spells, including the spell of Smother [10 points] with the corresponding Smother skill at 15. He has an IQ of 12, a Will of 13, 17 points of POW, and four levels of Magical Aptitude. He knows the Thaumatology skill at 16 and the advanced Techniques of Area Effect (14), Duration (14), Intensity (15), and Range (14). He witnesses a band of three thugs attacking his friend, Sten, roughly 4 yards away from his current position.

When his turn comes in combat, Tanix takes a step towards the melee (closing the distance to just 3 yards), Concentrates, and spends a point of POW (one point is always spent, even on a failure). He quickly decides that he needs to take out all three of the thugs so he decides to expend an extra 3 POW on Area Effect - luckily the thugs are arranged in such a way that he can avoid including Sten in the area of effect and thus doesn't have to expend additional POW for selectivity. He then spends 3 POW on duration, 2 POW on intensity, and 3 POW on range. The total expenditure of POW is 12 points, which is less than or equal to Tanix's free intelligence (IQ 12, +4 for Magical Aptitude but -3 because he knows three spells)

Because he is using Thaumatology Techniques to enhance his spell, he must first roll against the lowest applicable technique. Subtracting the amount of POW spent from each technique yields effective techniques of Area Effect (11), Duration (11), Intensity (13), and Range (11); therefore he must roll against a 11 to successfully modify his spell. He rolls a 11 and is successful in modifying his spell. Then he rolls against his Smother skill of 15 (at -1 for range) for each thug and is successful by margins of 3, 5, and 4 points.

Unless each of the thugs can now make a successful roll against their HT by an equal or larger margin than Tanix rolled, they will each lose 5 FP immediately. Over the following 14 seconds each thug will have to make a roll against HT to resist the continued loss of FP from suffocation.

Sorcery Example:
Crushing Grip

The sorcerer Bron possesses three spells, including the spell of Crushing Grip [10 points] with the corresponding Crushing Grip skill at IQ+1 [8 points]. He has an IQ of 14, a Will of 13, 15 points of POW, and three levels of Magical Aptitude. He knows the Thaumatology skill at 18 and the advanced Techniques of Area Effect (14), Intensity (17), and Range (16). He witnesses a band of three thugs attacking his friend, Karl, roughly 25 yards away from his current position.

When his turn comes in combat, Bron takes a Concentrate maneuver and spends a point of POW (one point is always spent, even on a failure). He quickly decides that he needs to take out all three of the thugs so he decides to expend an extra 3 POW on Area Effect, plus one more for selective targeting. He then spends 5 POW on range and 4 POW on intensity. The total expenditure of POW is 14 points, which is less than or equal to Bron's free intelligence (IQ 14, +3 for Magical Aptitude but -3 because he knows three spells)

Because he is using Thaumatology Techniques to enhance his spell, he must first roll against the lowest applicable technique. Subtracting the amount of POW spent from each technique yields effective techniques of Area Effect (10), Intensity (13), and Range (11); therefore he must roll against a 10 to successfully modify his spell. He rolls a 9 and is successful in modifying his spell. Then he rolls against his Crushing Grip skill of 18 (with no penalties because the range is under 200 yards) for each thug and is successful by margins of 7, 5, and 6 points.

Unless each of the thugs can now make a successful roll against their HT by an equal or larger margin than Bron rolled, they will each sustain 3d of crushing damage (which ignores DR). Odds are, each thug will sustain a serious enough injury to take them out of the fight - or at the very least give Karl a fighting chance. Bron has saved his friend's life. He's exhausted, but in just a little over half a day he will be fully recovered.

Common Sorcery Spells


Crushing Grip
[10 points]

You can crush someone's internal organs with an invisible force. Take a Concentrate maneuver and roll a Quick Contest of Crushing Grip skill (at -1 per yard of range) vs. the subject's HT. If you win, the subject takes 1d of crushing damage; DR does not protect against this!

Normally Crushing Grip targets a victim's torso but it is possible to apply the crushing force of this spell to other body parts. Due to the need for greater precision, such targeted attacks inflict only half the normal damage. When attempting to crush a specific body part, apply an additional penalty to the initial Quick Contest equal to the penalty to hit that a ranged attacker would normally have for that location; e.g. rupturing an eye would be at an additional -9 while just trying to break an arm would be at only -2 to the Quick Contest.

Basic Statistics: Crushing Attack 1d (Based on HT, +20%; Costs POW 1, -20%; Malediction 1, +100%; No Knockback, -10%; No Signature, +20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Intensity: You may increase the basic damage done by 1d per 2 POW that you expend on Intensity.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Smother
[10 points]

You pull the air from someone's lungs and cause them to gradually suffocate. Take a Concentrate maneuver and roll a Quick Contest of Smother skill (at -1 per yard of range) vs. the subject's HT. If you win, the subject loses 1 FP just as if they had suffered from suffocation.

If the subject failed their initial resistance, they must continue to make resistance rolls each second that the spell endures or else lose 1 FP per second. Any success ends the spell and prevents further loss of fatigue. The basic unmodified duration is three seconds. Subjects that lose all their FP will normally pass out and may take HP damage if they continue to suffocate.

Basic Statistics: Fatigue Attack 1 point (Based on HT, +20%; Costs POW 1, -20%; Cyclic 3 resistible cycles of 1 second, +100%; Hazard - Suffocation, +0%; Malediction 1, +100%; No Signature, +20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Intensity: You may increase the amount of FP lost in the initial second by 2 per 1 POW that you expend on Intensity.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.

Teleport
[]

T

Basic Statistics: XXX (Costs POW 1, -20%; Sorcery Power Modifier, -10%)

Enhancements:

Area Effect: You may expend 3 POW on Area Effect to affect all targets within a 2 yard radius, 5 POW for a 4 yard radius, 8 POW for an 8 yard radius, and 10 POW for a 16 yard radius. By default, the spell affects everyone in the area but you may choose to select who is affected by expending an additional point of POW.

Duration: You may increase the basic duration by 4 seconds per 1 POW that you expend on Duration.

Range: You may expend an additional 3 POW to use the Size and Speed/Range Table (Basic Set, p 550) for range penalties or you may expend an additional 5 POW to use the Long-Distance Modifiers (Basic Set, p 241) instead of the normal -1 to skill per yard of range.