Magical Traditions in Ragnarok: Age of Wolves!

Clint Staples

Groa the Seer

Named Characters (Allegiances: Brigands, Men, Trolls, Nomads)

Rank: Elite (2)

Race and Type: Human Unarmored Seidr Mage

Description: Groa is a young but powerful Seidr Mage. She lives apart from men and gets along passably with Trolls, but will work for any of them if the pay is right or she is desperate. Groa can use Foretelling before a battle begins, possibly winning an advantage for the encounter.

Move: 8”/Charge 1d6+6         Defense: 14     Health: 2

Attacks

• Magic Skill: +2

• Lightning (see “Spell Descriptions”): +2 to hit up to 8”/+0 to hit up to 16,” OK 16

 

Special

• Seidr Tradition Ability: Foretelling (see “Spell Descriptions”): Before a battle commences, Groa can attempt to foretell things that might occur during it.

• Spells (see “Spell Descriptions”): Lightning, Cloak of Feathers.

In Ragnarok: Age of Wolves, magicians all have access to any spell in the core game, and other than the rank of the magician and the spells they know, there is little to distinguish one mage from another mechanically. But inherent in the narrative of the game is an understanding of different Magical Traditions: different ways, of practicing magic – what might be called schools or classes in another game.

 

The backstory for RAW, and the world upon which it is based, have this understanding, and the magicians that exist in the book, and in bonus material, operate according to it.

 

Tradition Abilities:

Tradition Abilities are a subset of “Supernatural Abilities” (as described on p. 18 of R:AW) available to magicians of the tradition. Although Tradition Abilities do not appear as such in RAW, we have played around with them in supplemental material with mages like Guthlac Greysides in our Viking Warriors: A Faction for Ragnarok: Age of Wolves.

 

A mage gains 1 Tradition Ability at Veteran Rank, and another at Hero Rank.

 

As an Elite mage, Guthlac gets one Tradition Ability. Since Guthlac is a Rune-Mage he chooses from the Tradition Abilities available to those of the Galdr  Tradition. The Galdr Magical Tradition understands the metaphysical world as an interplay between diverse powers represented by the powerful magical sigils known in the Mythic North as Runes. As such, Galdr magic deals with scribing runes onto magical runestaves as well as incantations that incorporate the runes. As a rune-mage, Guthac gains the following Supernatural Ability:

 

  • Personal Rune: This Mage starts the game with a single randomly-drawn Rune. If the mage is slain before the rune is played, it is lost. 

 

The rune gained by a rune-mage is personal, and is in addition to any drawn during the set-up for a game. It represents a rune-mage’s unique focus on the manipulation of the runes on the battlefield. Unlike regular rune draws, the rune-mage’s extra rune is tied to his life force, so if the mage is reduced to 0 Health, the use of the rune associated with him is lost.

 

Magical Traditions in Ragnarok: Age of Wolves

In addition to Galdr magic, there are several other Traditions available to mages in RAW. Each tradition views magic and the world around them differently. The Magical Traditions are:

  • Galdr: Rune Magic
  • Seidr: Magic related to Foresight, Fate, Mind and Spirit
  • Sorcery: Elemental Magic, often associated with Giants and Trolls
  • Hidden Way: Primal Magic that partakes of Sorcery, and from which Seidr grew
  • Draugar: The Magic of Death and Undeath
  • Within, or without, these traditions, there exist other lesser traditions like Vald Wulfwarder’s Ulfhednar magic

Note: Traditions and Tradition Abilities are optional in RAW, and RAW Core plays fine without them. Their use makes Magic and Magicians a little more powerful, so if you like the balance as it is, you don’t need to use them.

 

To give you a taste of the new Tradition Abilities, here are those available to Galdr mages:

 

  • Personal Rune: This Mage starts the game with a single randomly-drawn Rune. If the mage is slain before the rune is played, it is lost. 
  • Redraw Rune: Once, during the Magic and Missiles Phase, this Mage can return an unplayed rune previously drawn by her or her forces, and redraw a new rune randomly.
  • Block Rune: Once per game, this Mage can attempt to block the play of a rune by an opponent. Make a Magic Rank check (TN: 14, or opposed by the casting Rune mage). If you succeed, the blocked rune does not take effect and is discarded from the game.

 

In the works at the moment is an expansion that will offer Traditions and Tradition Abilities for all of the above, and which will update the Magicians that exist in RAW Core, as well as those that have appeared in supplemental material. As an example of how this will work, let’s take a look at one of the magicians that exists in RAW Core: Groa the Seer.

 

In RAW Core, Groa’s description, as well as her background and the story text in which she features, indicates that she is a Seidr mage. Her kenning: Seer, is certainly indicative of Seidr Magic’s focus on foreknowledge. Her Special Ability: Foretelling (as the spell) is actually a Tradition Ability for Seidrmadr (seidr workers).

 

So for Groa, there is little to change besides cleaning up the wording of her Description and Statblock: Above

If want to make Groa even more overtly Seidr in style, we can substitute other spells for Lighting and Cloak of Feathers. Alter Wyrd, Counterspell, Evil Eye, and Healing, are all appropriate to Seidr magic. So too would be the new spell: Steal Fate!

 

Steal Fate

Range: Not applicable

Magic Skill TN: 14

You alter the weave of the Norns, wrenching fortune from others and gathering it to yourself. If you succeed on your Magic Skill check, you may remove one Bonus Die from an opponent (who must have Bonus Dice to be affected), and add it to the caster’s personal Cache of Wyrd. Whenever you have bonus dice in your personal cache, you may spend a Phase in the current turn, doing nothing but granting that Bonus Die to an ally’s roll. You may spend a phase that has yet to come to do so, but are then entranced during that phase and can take no other action (though you still gain your full Defense or Rank vs any attack).

 

We have Abilities for all the Traditions, as well as new spells (like Steal Fate, above)! We are also toying with the idea of spell lists specific to each Tradition, but have not decided whether we want to restrict things this way, or reward mages for choosing within their List.

 

We welcome your input.

 

AND - stay tuned!