The main magic systems in RuneQuest are: Rune magic (wielding a fraction of the power of the gods), Spirit magic (communication with the spirits that reside in the natural energy currents of the world), and sorcery (manipulation of magical energy through known patterns and laws). The first two are the most common, the third is practiced by a handful of cults (including the Invisible God cult).
But of course these are not the only magic systems in RuneQuest. Here are a few others:
Dwarf sorcery: This is the magic of Mostal. It is conceptually similar to sorcery (and some theorize that it may have inspired Malkioni sorcery), but it follows different rules. To the best of my knowledge, no human culture has mastered this.
Illumination: it is perhaps odd to think of Illumination as a magic system, but it opens possibilities in other magic systems ordinarily impossible. It also dangerously makes possible working with Chaos without some of the repercussions. It is perhaps a magic system that alters how one interacts with the other systems.
Lunar magic: This magic requires both Illumination and mastery of Rune magic to use. Ironically it allows the user to radically twist Spirit magic, extending its duration, effect, etc. All Lunar magic is affected by the phase of the Red Moon – which suggests that perhaps all Lunar magic is really part of another magic system that just looks like the others.
Dragon magic: This magic enables powerful reality transforming effects, but seems to require a certain mastery of one’s own psychology in order to perform – and its practitioners seem reluctant to use it. Used by the dragonewts, some Kralorelan mystics (and such figures as the Exarchs and the Dragon Emperor), and by the leaders of the Empire of the Wyrms Friends.
Chaotic magic: Chaos enables the impossible. Any magic tainted with the Chaos rune might contradict what are otherwise the established rules and limits of a magic system. There are a few Chaotic phenomena that cannot even be rationalized as one of the other magic systems (such as the notorious Chaotic Feature).
Note that experimental heroquesting is not on this list as it is an effort to go to the source. I don’t consider it a “system” more the source of systems.
And this is something I cannot emphasise enough – the approach towards heroquesting taken in King of Dragon Pass (and in Heroquest for that matter) misses the point. Heroquesting lets us directly interact with the world of gods and spirits to gain magic – it is the ultimate Source. The various systems represent the easily repeatable known paths – and we know what they provide in the form of spells and effects. That stuff is so predictable that we largely abstract it away as rules mechanics.
But experimental heroquesting – that’s where we get new stuff. Stuff outside of the rules and the cults books. But it is unpredictable in the same manner that a scenario is unpredictable. You never know exactly what you are going to come back with.
Now Dragon Magic and Illumination often get lumped together under the rubric of Mysticism (or even Illumination). In fact, Illumination often seems to happen where we have Dragon Magic (Kralorela, but also historically Dragon Pass). So much so that the God Learners claimed that Illumination was necessary for humans to wield Dragon magic…
If true, this is something very worth contemplating the ramifications of. Is it possible that Nysalorean illumination (or something very close to it) made it possible to talk with the True Dragons – and if so, do the Pelorian illuminates close connection to the Red Goddess blind them to this possibility?