[Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

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[Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:19 pm

I feel like the Rune Magic described in Gaz7 was a bit of a let down. It is both hard to access and a doesnt really have the awesome factor that sort of magic deserves. Has anyone looked at different ways to express the magic of the Norse Runes?

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Sturm » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:56 pm

In Threshold issue #6 Giuliano Michelon wrote "Magic of Runes, Using the Northern Reaches Runes under the d20 rules", but now I do not know if he expanded the rules or just converted them...

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Yaztromo » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:25 pm

I think that rune magic as described in Gaz7 would be perfect in a low magic setting.
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Robin » Fri Nov 17, 2017 11:55 pm

A long Time ago I had created this booklet; Runes. This was part of my book "The Immortals" as I used this knowledge also on the several immortals therein. However, I later decided to keep it seperate, but kept the Immortals section with the runes intact in the Immortal Document. The Rune section thus became a seperate book, which I may have presented earlier here, but I totally forgot.
Here I not only interred the existing Runes, but used my knowledge on Real World assumed magic within Runes to expand on them.
However, it may still be expanded somewhat, with my current knowledge. it may still be of some use to you...enjoy eitherway. :ugeek: ;)
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Yaztromo » Sat Nov 18, 2017 2:11 am

Robin wrote:A long Time ago I had created this booklet; Runes. This was part of my book "The Immortals" as I used this knowledge also on the several immortals therein.
By the way, you did a great job! ;)
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Robin » Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:38 am

Yaztromo wrote:
Robin wrote:A long Time ago I had created this booklet; Runes. This was part of my book "The Immortals" as I used this knowledge also on the several immortals therein.
By the way, you did a great job! ;)
Thanx ;) nice to hear people like my compilation/creation works :geek:

Btw...as the Runes link is from Google Drive i advise to download it by the download option, instead of viewing it through the Drive option, as Google Drive corrupts documents their layout....(in this case many pictures of the Runes may become not shown)...by downloading and viewing it by Word everything will be displayed as I intended...at least this is as far as I know the best solution.

I will make a PDF of this file later, that might be even better :P
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Robin » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:59 pm

Ok..as agreed, I made the former Word Document on Runes into a PDF document. :o
thus also easy to read without downloading. :ugeek:
Runes
Have fun with it :ugeek: :lol:

Shawn...you may post this on Pandius if you so desire.
Last edited by Robin on Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:50 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:57 pm

I haven't yet done anything with Gaz7's system of Rune Magic yet myself, though when compiling the information together with other magical systems at one point, I did think it would be interesting to do a couple of things with it:

1) Create similar rules for the Runic Alphabets of the Elves (CM7: Tree of Life) and Essuria (X11: Saga of the Shadowlord).
2) See if there is some way to combine the Gaz7 Rune Magic system with the Secret Craft of Cryptomancy (Rune Magic) from Gaz3.

Both things are still on my (way too long) to-do list, but if anyone else has any thoughts to share, I'm all ears.
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Big Mac » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:29 am

Havard wrote:I feel like the Rune Magic described in Gaz7 was a bit of a let down. It is both hard to access and a doesnt really have the awesome factor that sort of magic deserves. Has anyone looked at different ways to express the magic of the Norse Runes?
Joseph Bloch wasn't impressed with the rune magic either:
Joseph Bloch at the Google+ community for The Piazza wrote:So many people have wrecked their longships on the shoals of rune magic in RPGs. The Northern Reaches isn't a "system of rune magic", it's a couple of spells with the word "rune" tossed in. The rules in HR1 Vikings Campaign Sourcebook isn't any better.

Perhaps I'm overly critical because I have been a student of (real) rune magic for 30 years, but the stuff that has come out in various D&D supplements never comes close. I wonder if historical rune-magic and seiðr (a different sort of Germanic magic often erroneously called "Norse shamanism") can actually be done properly in a Vancian magic system like we have in D&D.
It's interesting that Joseph wonders if it is actually possible to do rune magic properly. I don't have 30 years to study runes, so I'd love to if there are any RPGs that have managed to make this look a bit more awesome.

Perhaps there is a non-D&D product from one of the Nodric countries that has been built around runes. :?
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by JTrithen » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:39 pm

Big Mac wrote:Joseph Bloch wasn't impressed with the rune magic either:
Joseph Bloch at the Google+ community for The Piazza wrote:So many people have wrecked their longships on the shoals of rune magic in RPGs. The Northern Reaches isn't a "system of rune magic", it's a couple of spells with the word "rune" tossed in. The rules in HR1 Vikings Campaign Sourcebook isn't any better.
I guess this trend may have continued.

In a review of 5th edition's Storm King's Thunder, Tyler Biddle wrote:

"The whole “harness the power of rune magic” and “defeat giants by becoming giant” ideas are, in practice, pretty mediocre. I’m not implying that we were mislead in any way. I was just expecting a bit more, I guess. For instance, rune magic only exists, from a gameplay standpoint, within magic items in the back of the book and in scripted events during the adventure. There aren’t any additional options for players like what was shown in the “Prestige Classes and Rune Magic” Unearthed Arcana Wizards released last October." (Source: http://www.nerdsourced.com/storm-kings-thunder-review/)

I haven't done much with the GAZ7 rune magic. I wrote up a pretty-straightforward (non-playtested) version of the GAZ7 rules for 5th edition. But, I've never played with them or used them in a game.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by shesheyan » Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:51 pm

Fate of Norns Ragnarok rpg is centered on Viking lore. You might find something interesting in the rules since it uses Runes instead of dice :
http://www.fateofthenorns.com/WP/

A review : https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/16/16323.phtml
« Denizens of the North expands and works to clarify the Runic Game System (RGS). You see Ragnarok doesn't use dice, but instead uses the *perfect* prop for a Viking game: Futhark runes. The runes handle all mechanics and they really feel like a resource management game within the game. Denizens of the North adds more cool bits to RGS that make the new archetypes come alive like never before. Each has their own cool way that the runes are used making RGS even more engaging.

This chapter covers new active and passive powers as well as new skills. Some of the new skills are really amazing and cover several pages. Crafting is huge, but you can also use realm ores (molten stone from Muspelheim anyone?), dwarven engineering as well as infusing the souls of the dead. »
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Sat Dec 16, 2017 8:55 pm

I had a look at Fate of the Norns, and it looks intriguing for sure. The Author has a channel on youtube, where he offers a viewing of the books and several vids apparently explaining the game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcrmD69CrEA
The books are gorgeous! I´m sorely tempted to buy at least one due to the artwork alone. They are among the visually most appealing game books I´ve ever seen. The artwork, AFAICT from the vids, is distinctly modern, but does a great job of capturing the vibe of their theme, being inspires by ancient art but not trying to copy it. The artist, Helena Rosova, did a wonderful job there. She is on deviantart: https://hellanim.deviantart.com/gallery/

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by The Dark » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:44 pm

Dragon #257 has an Anglo-Saxon Runemaster wizard kit for 2e that might be convertible to BECMI. Unlike standard casters, they cast most spells (Divination excluded) by scribing runes on objects, then discharging the runes. They can also scribe "bonus runes," which allow a piece of equipment to grant a +1 bonus to one of four categories: to hit, damage, one type of saving throw, or armor class. The runes fade over time, so they don't create permanent magical items.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by stebehil » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:11 am

The kit in Dragon #257 also points to an older set of articles in Dragon # 69 (apparently, the source for Robins title picture in the "Runes" document, btw).

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by The Dark » Mon Dec 18, 2017 5:02 am

stebehil wrote:The kit in Dragon #257 also points to an older set of articles in Dragon # 69 (apparently, the source for Robins title picture in the "Runes" document, btw).
There's not anything mechanically useful in the older issue. There are two articles relating to runes, one about historical runic systems, and one of Ed Greenwood's meetings with Elminster where they discuss dwarf runes, but I didn't see any new rules or spells or such.

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:37 pm

Thanks for mentioning those Dragon articles. I will have to check them out.

A few more things that I noticed:

Mystara Magic said to involve Runes:
  • Rune Magic (Gaz 7)
  • Cryptomancy (Gaz 3)
  • Symbol (Magic User Spell, RC) - Lists 6 different symbols: Death, Discord, Fear, Insanity, Sleep, Stunning. Also mentioned as possible to be made by DM: Polymorph, Teleport, Charm, Geas and more.
Scripts from Mystara Sources:
  • The Runes of Odin (Gaz 7)
  • Auld Gnome Runes (Gaz 7)
  • Elven Runes (CM8) -- Identical to the Runes of Odin from Gaz7
  • Denagothan(?) Script (X11)
  • Lalor (Hin) Runes (Gaz8)
The problem I have with the Gaz7 rules is that they aren't all that fun. I think sacrificing Wisdom Constitution is not a very D&D-ish thing to do. I think this is Ken Rolston being very much inspired by Chaosium RPGs (RuneQuest and Pendragon) when he wrote the gazetteer. I think it could be more fitting if the Cleric had to sacrifice a certain number of spells per level instead. And maybe he could be allowed to regain the spells per level by "forgetting" the Rune if he ever changed his mind?

I am also not really sure about the effects of the Runes.


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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:55 pm

Havard wrote:[*]Symbol (Magic User Spell, RC) - Lists 6 different symbols: Death, Discord, Fear, Insanity, Sleep, Stunning. Also mentioned as possible to be made by DM: Polymorph, Teleport, Charm, Geas and more.[/list]
Note also that there are a couple of other symbols in module CM8: The Endless Stair (Spell Loss and Entrap).
  • Denagothan(?) Script (X11)
The runes from X11 are noted as being Essurian, not Denagothan. They may very well have been Denagothan originally and later adopted by the Kingdom of Essuria, or it is possible the Essurians created them on their own or got them from some outside source. (It isn't really clear from X11 if Nebunar- the kingdom's founder- was a Denagothan or an outsider; just that he was a barbarian that came from the north to Denagoth.)
The problem I have with the Gaz7 rules is that they aren't all that fun. I think sacrificing Wisdom is not a very D&D-ish thing to do. I think this is Ken Rolston being very much inspired by Chaosium RPGs (RuneQuest and Pendragon) when he wrote the gazetteer.
I thought it was Constitution that is sacrificed, not Wisdom? If the latter, I definitely agreed- Odin hanged himself in order to gain Wisdom, not lose it (although lack of oxygen to his brain might have contributed. :lol: ) If Constitution, I think the intent was probably to reflect the sacrifice Odin made when he did hang himself.

That said, I think the gains from even just one of the Runes as listed (much less several) is definitely not equivalent to the permanent loss of Constitution. Maybe there could be a temporary loss of Constitution when using the powers of the runes, rather than a permanent one just to learn a rune? Dunno.

In any event, I thus far have not been successful in my attempts mentioned above to merge the different runic systems. :(
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:11 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Havard wrote:[*]Symbol (Magic User Spell, RC) - Lists 6 different symbols: Death, Discord, Fear, Insanity, Sleep, Stunning. Also mentioned as possible to be made by DM: Polymorph, Teleport, Charm, Geas and more.[/list]
Note also that there are a couple of other symbols in module CM8: The Endless Stair (Spell Loss and Entrap).
Awesome! Thanks for pointing out these! :)
  • Denagothan(?) Script (X11)
The runes from X11 are noted as being Essurian, not Denagothan. They may very well have been Denagothan originally and later adopted by the Kingdom of Essuria, or it is possible the Essurians created them on their own or got them from some outside source. (It isn't really clear from X11 if Nebunar- the kingdom's founder- was a Denagothan or an outsider; just that he was a barbarian that came from the north to Denagoth.)
Ahh, great. I think it would be more fitting if these had been the elven runes and the Essurians and Northmen had used the Norse Runes, but I guess that would be a tweak for an individual campaign.
The problem I have with the Gaz7 rules is that they aren't all that fun. I think sacrificing Wisdom is not a very D&D-ish thing to do. I think this is Ken Rolston being very much inspired by Chaosium RPGs (RuneQuest and Pendragon) when he wrote the gazetteer.
I thought it was Constitution that is sacrificed, not Wisdom? If the latter, I definitely agreed- Odin hanged himself in order to gain Wisdom, not lose it (although lack of oxygen to his brain might have contributed. :lol: ) If Constitution, I think the intent was probably to reflect the sacrifice Odin made when he did hang himself.
Sorry, its Con, not Wis. My bad :) Although the lack of oxygen is pretty funny :D

I agree that it is probably linked to the Odin legend.

In RuneQuest you can sacrifice ability scores (mostly POW), but you are also able to increase them during the game which is why I think it is more fitting in that system than in D&D where increasing ability scores is incredibly difficult.
That said, I think the gains from even just one of the Runes as listed (much less several) is definitely not equivalent to the permanent loss of Constitution. Maybe there could be a temporary loss of Constitution when using the powers of the runes, rather than a permanent one just to learn a rune? Dunno.
Hmmm...I do quite like this idea. It means less tweaking too :)

In any event, I thus far have not been successful in my attempts mentioned above to merge the different runic systems. :(
I guess it would be rather hard to combine all of them, but I do like the idea that they all tap into the same power source. It could be interesting of Cryptomancers from Glantri go to Vestland to study old Rune Stones?

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:34 pm

Havard wrote:Ahh, great. I think it would be more fitting if these had been the elven runes and the Essurians and Northmen had used the Norse Runes, but I guess that would be a tweak for an individual campaign.
I agree. I contemplated the notion that these might be regional/clan versions of the same runeset, but the individual runes sometimes look very different from one another.
I guess it would be rather hard to combine all of them, but I do like the idea that they all tap into the same power source. It could be interesting of Cryptomancers from Glantri go to Vestland to study old Rune Stones?
The biggest hurdle I have so far (and I don't know why I didn't think of it before) is the two types of magic- clerical and magic-user. So I'm trying to reconcile those two things and how rune magic encompasses both, but is different. I may just be making a bigger deal of it in my head than it should be, though.

I really like your idea of including the symbol spells as being connected, though. Maybe there is a broader field of "linguistic/symbolic" magic that could be created, that has both clerical and magic-user applications to it.
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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:23 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Havard wrote:Ahh, great. I think it would be more fitting if these had been the elven runes and the Essurians and Northmen had used the Norse Runes, but I guess that would be a tweak for an individual campaign.
I agree. I contemplated the notion that these might be regional/clan versions of the same runeset, but the individual runes sometimes look very different from one another.
I guess Runes can be used both for normal writing and for magical purposes. If we assume that all of these forms of magic are basically different forms of Rune Magic then there must be thousands of different runes or at least combinations of them.
I guess it would be rather hard to combine all of them, but I do like the idea that they all tap into the same power source. It could be interesting of Cryptomancers from Glantri go to Vestland to study old Rune Stones?
The biggest hurdle I have so far (and I don't know why I didn't think of it before) is the two types of magic- clerical and magic-user. So I'm trying to reconcile those two things and how rune magic encompasses both, but is different. I may just be making a bigger deal of it in my head than it should be, though.

I really like your idea of including the symbol spells as being connected, though. Maybe there is a broader field of "linguistic/symbolic" magic that could be created, that has both clerical and magic-user applications to it.
I am not really sure I like how Cryptomancy works. I do like the free form rules of it, like the Runes of Matter though. I also really like that you can use Runes to create golems. I wonder if Norse Clerics can use their Runes to create Mokkurkalve, the norse equivalent of Golems?

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Rogerd » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:08 pm

There is Deep Magic for Pathfinder with rules for Symbol Magic.
You could try Palladium Fantasy which has some interesting spin on the same.
There are also Runes in Runequest core and Elric which is also for Runequest.
I hope this helps?

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by Havard » Fri Jan 26, 2018 7:45 pm

  • The Runes of Odin (Gaz 7)
  • Auld Gnome Runes (Gaz 7)
  • Elven Runes (CM8) -- Identical to the Runes of Odin from Gaz7
  • Denagothan(?) Script (X11)
  • Lalor (Hin) Runes (Gaz8)
Added the Lalor Runes to this list. Wonder if there are any others i have overlooked.

What runes are those in the book that wizard is reading on the cover of DMR2 btw?

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Re: [Gaz7] Norse Rune Magic

Post by vestcoat » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:01 pm

Just found this thread, I don't play Mystara often, but I've been adding elements of rune magic in my Greyhawk campaign that has moved to the northern barbarian lands. I agree the rune systems in Gaz7 and HR1 are disappointing, so I've been digging for other sources and using an amalgam. So far I've found:
C&C Rune Lore (updated version of the D20 book Winter Runes) -- one of the better concepts for rune magic mechanics, unfortunately only a portion of the magic system is detailed. Most of the book is devoted to a gazetteer and adventure path.
C&C Codex Nordica -- a few good ideas, but light on the rules. Better as a cultural reference and for Nordic role playing inspiration.
Geometer -- a wizard specialist from PO: Spells & Magic. Little relevance to Norse runes.
Runegraver -- a class from ASSH 2e, kind of like a fighter/mage with fewer spells. Like the geometer, the runegraver uses existing D&D spells, plus a few touches and special powers. Simple, but a good, workable system for Viking magic.
DQ1 Shattered Statue -- this old module adds a college of rune magic for the DragonQuest game.

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