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Tilly Bomas
Tilly Bomas's picture
The Sorceries
sorcery

Hey I was curious what everyone thought of the new sorceries.  I have been reading that allot of people have disliked the new Avalon Knights sorcery, and I haven't read much into that (I wasn't huge into Glamur in the old edition, spending more time studying Pyrum, Zeorstrum, and porte.).  So I have been focusing on trying to learn about the Commonwealth's Sorcery, and Matushka's Lessons. 

 

Sanderis seems.... kinda scary.  It has no limits except what the GM puts on it, since the book says that Dievas can do anything (except perdict the future).  Also, their rule of law makes them very interesting, akin to how I play Devils in DND.  The last part, is the fact that both know, the end result is one of them losing.  The losejas for becoming corrupted, and becoming a villian, the Dievas for being... something, since it is clear that the writters are leaving it up to GM's (at least for now), what happens if a Losejas discovers his Dievas's full name.  Their are some 'theories' but nothing concrete.  

 

Something that I didn't see in allot of detail, is what the rules and stuff of the Ratas are.  They say every Losejas is part of the Ratas if they want to be or not, and violating it's rules brings forth the Valytuvas to hunt down the 'rogue' Losejas.  Maybe this is vague on purpose, so that the GM can make the circle what he wants it to be.  Maybe it is described somewhere else and i missed it, I don't know.  All i know, is that with the right GM, this sorcery is some of the scariest stuff I can think of....

Also, the Dievas.  Does anyone think they are possible Unseelie?  Or do you belive they are somethign else entierly?  Also, the way they are worded in the text confuses me a bit... in the Sarmatian portion of the book, they talk about the gods and spirits walking among them, breaking bread, finding lovers, ect... but the way they are described in the Sorcery, they are not a physical manifestation....

 

 

As for Matushka's gift, does she seem a bit more.. Malevolent this time around then before?

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Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
As with everything, it will get clearer when we see sourcebooks. Nobody should have learned a name before we see a sourcebook just based on time for gameplay. A player would have to play non-stop to push that much In story points before we get to a nation book.
Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture

On the Ratas, I remember that one of the later PDF's described that Fate Witches had a similar sort of organization. They realized that Stregas with enough power could conceivably upset the entire balance by rewriting fate, regardless of what restrictions men placed upon them. Knowing this, they help enforce the current structure in order to prevent a mad Strega from trying to rewrite an entire nation out of existence. (Like one legendary Strega attempted at one point)

A group devoted to trying to keep the peace among themselves, that may often end up becoming meddling and overbearing upon those who would rather have nothing to do with them, similar to the White Council from Dresden Files.

 

I kind of think that the Sidhe, Dievas and Matushka (and her Leshie) are all ultimately part of a greater spiritual family, which may eventually cover other such beings such as Djinn in the Crescent Empire, the living gods that rule many tribes of the new world (that Wick and his crew have been hinting at.), and possibly other more exotic beings in Ifri and Cathay. It's possible that at one point the Dievas were Sidhe (especially considering that the Unseelie were kind of bland in 1e, mostly just disorganized monsters, while the big bad of the Sidhe was Queen Mebd, a Seelie) but the way that operate is subtly different enough that how related they all are is difficult to say.

 

It's interesting to see that so far these spirit creatures all function off of various human concepts. Sidhe like stories, the glamour surrounding legends. Matuskha (and likely the Leshie as well) teach lessons, encouraging certain kinds of behavior from humans. Finally the Dievas make deals, for largely unknown but generally malevolent reasons, including the corruption of mortals.

 

As for Dievas as physical beings, I think they can manifest as such, like Sidhe typically can, but it's possible that their power is limited in these forms. Sidhe have to abide by certain oaths and banes, while Matushka may only be able to show her displeasure upon those that break her rules, similarly, the Dievas may make deals because it is the best way they can affect the physical world in any lasting capacity, but while bound they are largely unable to manifest in a truly physical sense. (though they can probably hang around their Losejas like the proverbial devil on your shoulder all they like.)

 

As for Matushka, I feel they've shifted the focus of her character from the mother Russia concept (which while it existed, was largely a product of Soviet era propaganda) to a much more accurate character of the 7th sea era.

Namely, Baba Yaga.

Matushka being this stern yet caring protector of Ussura was interesting, but I feel it made the nation too static and isolationist and thus, rarely used as a setting. Baba Yaga was also seen as a protector in some cases, but she was first and foremost a witch, bad tempered and easy to offend. It helps to add legitamacy to the Progressivists that would rather the country evolve past the need for her.

True Iskander
True Iskander's picture

I agree about Matushka, based on what I've read so far.  In 1e they made her persence far too overt and obvious, to the point that she can hear every word uttered in the nation and dramatically alter the weather at a moment's notice (such as in The Lady's Favor).  It seems like it'd be tough to have a party that wanted to challenge her in any meaningful way.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture
You do not challenge her. You embrace her or you suffer her wrath. Same reason we fought to keep the O'Bannon from having stats, there are some things in the world that you just cannot contend with.
Jason Patton
Jason Patton's picture

I was very impressed with the Sanderis. I'm a fan of temptation spirits who may or may not be malevolent. (Sometimes testing people is the best way to teach them about themselves.) I think I like the changes to the Ussuran sorcery (Dar Matushki), though some of its character seems to have been lost. My biggest concern is Glamour.

I like the new mechanics for it, but I really dislike the feel of it. I think there's a missed opportunity here. First, seven Gesa are incredible. I get that the goal is to have knights act like Knights, but if Le Morte D'Arthur teaches us anything, it's that no knight lives up to the knightly code. This is partly because it's impossible and partly because the stories would be less interesting. (After all, the stories are supposed to teach us.) Gesa are supposed to be difficult, and any one of these would be. Following all seven is a nightmare even with the leeway of "interpretation".

Next, I'm disappointed with all Glamour sorcerers being associated with Knights. Where did the powers of the knights come from? What stories did they emulate? And here's where the missed opportunity comes in. Glamour could be associated with any story of a hero, coming with a Gesa associated with that particular story and hero. Certainly the knights of King Elilodd would make up a significant portion of these stories, but there must be others. Given the nature of the Sidhe, why would they encourage stories of just heroes to provide power, why not villains? (Though I'd understand completely if these aren't in the player's guide in a game like 7th Sea.)  And each Knight could be associated with one Gesa from the code. Something notable for them adhering to. How else will we have powers associated with someone like Agravain, or Lamorak, or even Gawain in some stories? Agravain (or King Elilodd's equivalent, naturally) would make an absolutely outstanding Villain to emulate in a story. But aside from Knights, there must be older stories, or even just different stories. Knights aren't the only heroes (or villains) in Avalon.

LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

While I have the same thoughts and concerns about Glamour (I'm discussing with my crew the possibility of making something similar to the classic Glamour mages by allowing each purchase of Sorcery to unlock a Trait in addition to the points; waiting to see if anyone wants to use Glamour first before I re-write the book), I do have two short points to note:

First, Queen Elaine is very much like King Elilodd. In a real-world equivalency, Queen Elaine and her knights are a cross of Queen Elizabeth and King Arthur, and the 1st Edition made it quite clear that she was very much an Arthurian figure. By making Elaine embody Elilodd (i.e. Arthur), the designers are staying true to that original ideal.

As a follow-up to this, the Sidhe may be relying on the legends of those that held the Graal last. Theoreticaly, Elaine probably has Glamour, but has the legend involving Elilodd, as she is holding his seat. In a way, it does make sense for the Sidhe to do this; these are heroes that were worthy of the Graal last time, and their legends inspire people to greatness (which is what they want). Why not bring this about again with the hopes that people will do even greater deeds?

Second, as previously mentioned by others, we will probably see more in later sourcebooks. The Sidhe Book of Nightmares, for example, had a collection of living Sidhe, and not all of them were nice (look at Red Cap, for example). The Avalon sourcebook also included a few legends that might have been less than heroic (but they were dramatic!). Maybe we'll see more coming along in the future, even if it's just for the GM side of things (or maybe we'll even see the Unseelie Cup make a return and offer much darker magic).

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Jason Patton
Jason Patton's picture

My apologies if it was unclear, but of this, I'm well aware. That is, that Elaine is Elilodd/Arthur. And certainly this is a good reason for knights to exist and corrolate to the old knights. But it's not a very good reason for them to be the only knights. Also, with the way the Gesa work, you lose out on why Arthurian knights are so interesting. Chivalry is an ideal that no knight of King Arthur's court could uphold. Not a single one. Some were better than others and some were really good at one thing but very bad at others, but none of them were perfect. Galahad is the only one close and he wasn't added to the stories until *much* later.

Seeing more in later books doesn't particularly help the knightly focus of the magic now. Certainly my point isn't that there are less heroic or villanous people outside of the Arthurian literature (or the Elilodd of 7th Sea legend) but that Avalon (the Highlands and Innismore included) have many heroes and villains. And that while stories of Elilodd's knights are probably among the most popular, they are not the only legends. And finally, that some legends must be even older than them. Each of these legendary knights emulated an older legend when they had magic, did they not?

 

LibrariaNPC
LibrariaNPC's picture

I think the matter here isn't revolving around Chivalry, but rather the deeds that made them legends in the first place. The Knights we are given here all had some major deed or forte (such as breaking seiges or being able to hold a specific bit of ground), and the thoughts in the Inismore section blatantly state that its a goal to become your own Legend.

As for them being the only nights: I know "We might see more later" isn't an answer, but perhaps here's a view for the setting: the Sidhe are relying on the best-known legends at the time (and the best known of Avalon, of course). The more well-known the legend, the more powerful it is, after all.

As for legends that are even older: Perhaps the original knights tapped into something older than made more sense for them, but there's also the possibility that they were living legends (see Jeremiah Berek in 1st Edition).

 

I do think that the rules are light and easy enough to work with to easily convert any other legend (especially one tied to Avalon) into a Glamour ability. 

Alternatively, here's a quick little alternative:

Glamour: Each time you purchase the Sorcery Advantage, choose a trait. You may now purchase Glamours associated with that trait. You are then able to purchase ranks in 1 Major Glamour and up to 2 Minor Glamours associated with any traits you have unlocked.

This way, you completely omit the need of the Knights and you get more traditional Glamour mages. It also scales a bit more in overall capabilities (even though the ranks limit it); most other magics are either mastered by the time you get Sorcery seven times (Mother's Touch, Sanderis, and Hexenwerk) or downright powerful when you get to that point (Porte and Sorte). This approach does make players wonder where to spend their ranks, though, but it gives you a bit more freeform options (and lets players and characters mix and match).

If you wanted to instill a limit, you could enforce that they may only know one Major Glamour for each trait. Not sure if it fully balances the scale, but it's an option.

"Smilies exist because no one's bothered to create a sarcasm font." --Lost_Heretic

Jason Patton
Jason Patton's picture

Again, I feel like I might have been unclear. Chivalry is the code for King Arthur's knights. The Gesa are the code for the Knights of Avalon. My issue isn't that the code exists. It's that a set of Gesa seven lines long is impossible to follow, even with the leeway of interpretation. And not only that, but it strips the code of meaning if all knights must follow all parts of the code perfectly. This comes with two separate problems:

1. If people are forced to follow all of the code, it makes the code have less thematic value. If all the knights in King Arthur's court followed every rule of chivalry perfectly, none of them would be special. A code exists because it's difficult, or impossible, to live up to. That's its value to a story.

2. The second comes with the difficulty of following such a code. I like Gesa being tied to being allowed to tap into the power of the story. That's very thematically appropriate to Glamour magic. And any one of the tenets would be fine. All seven is...bad. (If you need proof, I suggest reading any celtic myths involving such things and note that they're never very long and yet always impossible to escape.)

In fact, it'd be much more interesting if they only had to follow one (or even two) but were heavily encouraged to fail often, maybe with extra hero points. Sure, they'd lose access to their magic, but it'd make for a much more interesting story.

Mike McCall
Mike McCall's picture

The Gesa of the Knights consists largely of fairly generally heroic behaviour, as well as behaviour expected of a gentle, so it's probably not all that difficult to follow. Certainly not as difficult as some of the classic Celtic gesa, which tended to be in violation of societal norms.

And if you fail at one of them? You have to confess to another servant of the Graal (who is probably not going to be all that hard to find in many games) and go on an adventure. I think that things are being set up so that Knights are often in a state of atonement...which is exactly what was going on with the Arthurian knights, constantly struggling to be worthy.

Jason Patton
Jason Patton's picture

A constant state in which they can't use their magic? That sounds even less fun and interesting. Both ways only manage to make upholding the code thematically irrelevant to the specific character.

 

Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture

You don't lose your magic the second you break a tenet. Your mantle is merely in jeopardy. You can still use your magic (with the fluff that it feels more tenuous.)

You can also still atone while it is in jeopardy.

Once you break a tenet twice, your magic is gone until you atone, but hopefully you can be on good enough behavior to complete your atonement before you screw up again.

Jason Patton
Jason Patton's picture

Sure, I suppose that maintains the "fun", but still strips the story. It's certainly acceptable, but not good. Especially since it can so easily be so much better. Again, as I said originally, this is a missed opportunity (as it stands right now.)

Mike McCall
Mike McCall's picture

And I see it as working well. We will have to agree to disagree.

Salamanca
Salamanca's picture

I agree on this, the Irish legends are just as worthy if not more of sidhe influence.  

Mike McCall
Mike McCall's picture

Except for two things: first, it's the Graal that brought Glamour back, so it's natural that the core source of Glamour is the Knights of the Graal. Second, the Inish are explicitly about becoming a legend yourself, instead of relying on the legend of others.

I fully expect that we're going to see more Glamour sorceries in Nations of Theah 1. My guess is we'll see rules for becoming a legend, as well as at least one additional Heroic source of Glamour. We'll probably also see more details on Villainous sources of Glamour.

Salty Dog
Salty Dog's picture

"Second, the Inish are explicitly about becoming a legend yourself, instead of relying on the legend of others."

Which is why Knights of Avalon is fundamentally flawed - it makes little narrative sense to play an Inish glamour mage or even a Highland March glamour mage using those rules. It's too Avalonian. A character hailing from one of those nations should have the option to embody legends from their homeland.

I expected the core rulebook to provide something more inclusive and feel the developers left out Inish and Highland players with KoA.

 

Mike McCall
Mike McCall's picture

Personally, I'm okay with that.

Evan Sageser
Evan Sageser's picture

I still like the idea that one could get glamour from each of the Sidhe queens. The knights of Avalon are granted by the Lady of the Lake, while a more traditional pantheon of trickster characters (like Robin Goodfellow and others we saw in 1e glamour) were available from the Sidhe Queen of Air. (Along with a more malicious group for Queen Mebd, the Sidhe Queen of the Sea)

We could even throw in the Horned Hunter as a more mystical "druidic" Glamour source.

 

Frankly the only difference would likely be the geasa and possibly the opportuntity for a few "pantheon specific" glamour powers, beyond that the different glamour mantles are ultimately down to fluff for each Major and Minor trait combo.

Salty Dog
Salty Dog's picture

This is probably the route they'll go with in the Avalon portion of the Nations of Theah Book. The 2e version of Glamour is easily adaptable since you just pick a major and minor trait and write some fluff around it. A Cuchulain analogue would probably be Brawn/Resolve and tossing in the Horned Hunter from 1e would be a good start.

Figuring out a geasa is a bit trickier. Probably having a list of options to choose from would be the best course of action.

James Anderson
James Anderson's picture

So, I played a Strega over the weekend, and came up with some questions.

1.  Does clearing lashes require a Raise as well or just the wound cost?  We played it as a free action for the night, but I'm not sure that's right.

2. Despite being generally weaking than 1st edition, the fluff is still more powerful than the mechanics.  The opening paragraphs make blessings and curses out to be powerful longlasting things, but even their Major versions only last the one scene.

3. Inanimate objects.  While it no longer states that the fragile Vodacce buildings are held in place by fate magic and we no longer have Twisted Blades, it seems that some objects would still have strands to them.  They can have destiny either through what they're capable of or what they inspire others to do to obtain them.  This is most important for the Pull weave.  I ended up using a Minor Pull to snatch an important necklace towards me during the game, which we thought was fine, and also to keep a mast from falling away during a storm.  But it opens another door to something more troubling (and hilarious).  If you use a Major Pull on an immovable object, do you instead get moved towards it?  Keep that up and you've got Spider(wo)man.