Malkioni Sorcery

Submitted by Jeff on Wed, 16/05/2012 – 01:35

The Malkioni venerate the Invisible God who created the Runes, worshiped as gods by the barbarians. The Runes in turn, created lesser versions of themselves, often in combination with other Runes. One of these lesser creations, Malkion the Founder, revealed the laws of the Invisible God to men. This abstract Invisible God gives little if any direct magic to its worshippers, but knowledge of the divine laws give Wizards the power to define and manipulate the rest of the world, and turn it into raw materials for their cosmic alembic. Malkion himself died in the Gods War, killed by rebellious gods. Malkioni wizards now shape the universe without consent from gods who elsewhere are believed to rule everything.

Malkioni sorcery works around applying one of the following principles to a specific rune:

  • Summon/Dismiss
  • Command
  • Combine/Separate
  • Tap

The correct identification of things is extremely important for Malkioni sorcery. One favored technique is geneaological – determine what a thing is by identifying its Runic precedents.

So for example, the Debaldan School of sorcery studies the Water Rune. Its spells include Summon Water (summon water elemental); Summon Progenitor of Water (uses present water elementals to summon an identified “ancestral water”); and Combine Water with [Power Rune]. Although Tapping is considered immoral and evil by most Malkioni, the Debaldan School does teach Tap Water (the spell is easily derived from the logical techniques used by the Malkioni in any case).

The God Learners used their detailed understanding of Gloranthan mythology to virtuoso effect. For example, at one magical battle, the God Learners summoned specifically identified water elementals and used them to summon a sea god, as if it were just an another elemental. Then they made the sea god call its father, forcing it to act as necromancers force an act of demonology. They then commanded the father to summon a different child – the god of Sky Water, Tanian. They unleashed Tanian upon the unsuspecting Waertagi who had thought the very concept of Burning Water was impossible.


Submitted by Herve on Thu, 27/09/2012 – 15:15.

The four principles do indeed apply to Energy as well as Matter. Movement, Truth and all the other Runes are Energies. You can manipulate them as you would manipulate Matter, if you study the Runes hard enough.

Some vile sorcerers do indeed tap Truth or Harmony (and thus destroy the love between persons to power their dirty spells). Some glorious pacifiers tap Disorder. I met a sorcerer who tapped colors and another who tapped Hatred (this one did explode from overcharging while trying to Tap a zorak zorani troll).

As the Revered Teacher says: “Matter and Energy, Energy and Matter, are all the same, born of the One, just beginning to devolve in the many”. What goes for one, goes for the other.

Malkion blesses us.


Submitted by tindalos on Thu, 27/09/2012 – 12:29.
Does this mean all Malkioni Grimoires relate to physical things, or can the four principles apply to non-material things, such as Movement, or Truth?

I’m curious because Tapping has been described as turning matter into energy for use with spells. Can one tap Truth, or Disorder?


Submitted by Charles on Wed, 13/06/2012 – 05:29.
In my view, as sorcerers take runes, they are just “ordinary” abilities, without the magical or personality effects. Unless, of course, the sorcerer takes action to power them up to “extraordinary” abilities, or are somehow forced in a HeroQuest to power them up.

On the other hand, I still think that sorcerers do have runes that form a deep part of their personality. Once the runes are powered up, whether due to being one of the first 2 or 3 runes on the character sheet or due to in game actions and choices, then the runes have personality effects. However, their culture tends to see the runes as something they know, not something that they are, so the effects are likely not as obvious as they are for the Orlanthi.


Submitted by Araknir on Wed, 13/06/2012 – 03:54.
Would this mean that sorcerers are not as much influenced by the runes they know and more by the belief system they use. For theists, the the runes defines who they are and hints of personality, but would sorcerer be much more conflicted the more runes they learn, ultimately leading to madness or highly conflicted personality ? or would sorcerers just “ignore” mainly the moods of the runes ?


Submitted by Rungard on Sun, 20/05/2012 – 06:50.
I like this a lot. I like it much more than the Xeothan Dialogues. ūüôā
It reminds me a bit of how magic works in Ars Magica, which I think is a good thing. I wonder if the guys at Design Mechanism will be able to adapt this to their imminent RQ6 rules for sorcery.


Submitted by Jeff on Fri, 18/05/2012 – 01:57.
Most of what you have described would fall within the category of Combine. Water combined with Stasis equals freezing; Water combined with Disorder results in big waves, etc.
BTW, I am not so sure the Asharans specialize in communication magic in the way you think. By 1621 the Trader Princes practice a henotheist variant of Malkionism that venerates the Invisible God alongside worship of the Orlanthi gods. They tend to rely upon wizards taught in Safelster (or even in Seshnela) for more impressive feats of wizardry.
Editor-in-Chief, Moon Design Publications


Submitted by Herve on Thu, 17/05/2012 – 16:43.

Perhaps the four principles described are not enough ; elemental runes are manipulated using all four ancient polarities, making 8 x 5 = 40 basic combinations possible, each with several variants. Water with Stasis means freezing ; with Disorder means big waves, with Death means drowning, with Harmony water breathing etc.

Focussing on a non-elemental rules perhaps follows other rules. The Malvonian school studies the Magic Rune and can combine it with Harmony, Disorder, Change, Stasis etc. The asharans focus on the Communication / Exchange Rune, itself a combination of Harmony and Change. Could they associate it with elements ? And the furlandan school focusses on the Spirit Rune, a Form Rune, which they can and do associate with others.

But I love the malkioni feeling alien to the other cultures. They are scientists. They use Reason and Logic in all things. They worship nothing. What kind of people are that ???


Submitted by Hyperlexic on Thu, 17/05/2012 – 13:36.

I like it.  That said, i particularly liked the Sandy Petersen approach, with self-sacrifice and vows being a necessary step.  I liked how it resulted in ‘fantasy’ sorcerors: rule-bound and prickly.  It also tied closely to real-world secret knowledge groups (gnostics, etc) and ‘sorcerous’ types such as ancient egyptians.


Submitted by mikegibb on Wed, 16/05/2012 – 07:38.

I like the way this is headed – it makes monotheism less “alien” in Glorantha for me. It is an alien way of approaching things, from a theist’s POV, but it is tying things in together by making the Gods=the Runes.

Me likey!


Submitted by Charles on Wed, 16/05/2012 – 05:54.

Really enjoyed the post! The way that I read this suggests to me that possession of runes is just as important to sorcerers as it is to divine magic users. But the way the runes are important to sorcerers is different.

For divine magic users, their use of runes is to be more like their gods, so they will tend to focus on 1 or 2 runes only, 3 at a stretch.

For sorcerers, to be able to develop their magic past “simple recitation of formulas” from grimoires, they must know several different runes and will have to balance depth (“ratings”) versus breadth (number of runes). For example, with the spells from the grimoire of the Debaldan school, those sorcerers would tend to first concentrate on their Water rune and then, later, start to pick up various power runes to enable further ways to use Water.

What do we think?

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