Magic and the multiplicity of gods.


Magic in role play gaming is where so much of the story happens. It is also where the wheels can quickly fall off the chariot. Fortunately, it is also one of the many strengths of the Runequest system and one that easily lends itself to Bronze Age Wales.

Celtic chariot with wheels still on


Buy this book! I am using pictures from it...

A little bit of a primer on the systems and mechanisms of magic in the game is warranted before we launch into an exploration of the Shires leading from South to North in Cymru:


Spirit Magic, originally called Battle Magic, could also be termed folk magic or hedge magic. An integrated spirit and material world is what exists in Glorantha and is immediately accessible for translation into Cymru. What fisherman plying Mor Hafren wouldn’t want a Repair spell for that torn net? Or, if he was far enough out, to fix that sudden leak in the coracle…


The tricky thing about spirit magic is how does one acquire it? Well…spirits of course! Ancestor worship and the mechanics of shamans work extremely well for family spirits and other friendly human spirits. 

And unfriendly spirits… 

This would be a friendly ancestral spirit

And nonhuman spirits…

That bull ain't normal!

The game mythos defines the Axis Mundi as a spirit nexus affording the shaman an opportunity to learn and an opportunity to be lost. Whether Rafiki or the Witch of Endor, or the Owl Witch of Modron, examples of those who commune with the spirit realm abound.


Axis Mundi

What then of the gods? Part of divinity is the mystery of the unknowable and I am not going to diminish Lyr any by sharing his backstory at this point! Primal myth being what it is, so many of the gods of Glorantha could be morphed a bit and become the Welsh gods of antiquity.


So, you want to be a RuneLord of Lyr?

The key in unlocking this came from the Mabinogion and the god Arawn. Really, its hard to tell whether it was Arawn or Humakt who took off their respective mask first, revealing one god. Humakt in Glorantha was a bit of a lonely god. Taking him to Cymru, he was much happier in Annwn, or what would be known to the Greeks as Hades.


When Humakt becomes Arawn, and Magasta becomes Lyr…all of a sudden the entire scope of Rune Magic becomes accessible to the Druid Beli, priest of Cerunnos. More on him in future blogs, I think! As a brief aside, one thing that has delayed this project is finding suitable imagery to capture the magic of the moment without fostering occult yearnings. Hades is not Tarterus and Death is not forever. More on Cthulhu later...

Yeah...this will probably come up...

The final category of Runequest magic is sorcery. Ngl, I am not a fan of its introduction into the game and one of the best parts of centering the game in Bronze Age Wales is I can pretend largely that it does not exist. I mean, it does…and it was important for historical backstory, but I am not telling you any more about Lyr! Or the Cosmic Wheel!