Of the three kinds of magic available in RuneQuest, Sorcery is the one that isn’t involved in worship, but is deeply rooted in study and logic. By understanding the nature of the Runes that form the foundation of reality, an Adventurer who practices sorcery can achieve powerful effects, at the cost of a large amount of Magic Points and time.
The act of casting a spell of Sorcery involves not just identifying the effect you’d like to do from a list of spells, but also setting the parameters: distance, duration and so on. While this makes Sorcery very flexible, modifying these parameters means spending Magic Points. This makes it very difficult to cast too often as even a single spell might end up draining you of your power.
Sorcery makes for an interesting element in RuneQuest, given how it looks at the metaphysics of magic itself, separated from the need to worship a god or barter with spirits. As such it is also regarded with deep suspicion among people, and many keep their distance from Sorcerors… even as they acknowledge that power and versatility of Sorcery.
Among the three, Sorcery is the one given a bare-bones treatment in RuneQuest. This is because the art of Sorcery will be given more extensive treatments in other supplements, which will likely delve into the kind of depth that I’ve come to expect.
Still, I’m glad that Sorcery exists in RuneQuest. I’ll acknowledge that while having many magics tie into the nature of spirits and gods is amazing, the fact that there are other routes to power simply make the world more compelling as there’s always another mystery!
RuneQuest’s Sorcery adds another layer of mystery to the deepening metaphysical framework of the game. While not as fleshed out as the other two means, it’s presence is a nice touch as to make players understand that there is a much bigger world out there outside of the worshipful practices of magic and could be a neat way to introduce some culture clash in the game!
In our next (and last) entry in this Let’s Study series, I’ll wrap up with a review of RuneQuest Roleplaying in Glorantha, and share my thoughts after having had the time to really sit down and chew through the book.
For those interested in the hardcover, I’d recommend buying from Chaosium as they’ll be issuing a coupon for those who bought a PDF to discount the price from the physical copy!