How would you go about mystical travel means in BWG?

I’m trying to get some kind of ancient magic travel system sorted for a campaign idea I have. Something cross between Glorantha’s Dragon Plinth roads and the Shamanic travel magic of Pendragon.

Basically this entails the user going to certain sacred stone arrangements [basically permanent powerful magic circles], performing a ritual [not sure if I should use Summoning, Spirit Binding or a separate skill] to cross the veil, and then traversing the spirit realm to their destination, another circle somewhere else. The idea is that great distances can be travelled in days instead of weeks. Besides the usual Summoning stuff, consequences of failure might be increased travel time, bringing back a passenger, earning the ire of superstitious peasants or official authorities that frown on playing with that kind of magic.

It is intended that folk of official religions shun this magic as heresy and positively demonic. Groups of filthy throwbacks, weird wiccan cultists or gypsies might know of or perhaps use even use it. Elves know about it, and can use it, but generally don’t.

Basically, I’m interested in how people might suggest I try to implement this.

Unless you just wanted it to carry all of the baggage of some other field of magic, why not just creat a new skill? Stone Journey Ritual or something like that. You’ve already loosely defined some lifepaths that would have access to it and it sounds like all elves have access to it.

Too simple?

It was one approach I’d considered, subbing the ritual skill in for Speed for overland travel rolls.

How big a deal is it to use this mode of travel? Can anyone walk up to the stones, say the right words and poof? Or is it more fraught with danger and risk? Using the sacred stones could be an adventure all by itself!

Or just create an Ob list for the new skill. Ob based on whatever you think is important. Distance and “passengers” being basic but obvious suggestions. You could even make the Stone Journey Ritual be all about the triggering the effect but require a Waypoint-wise or something like that as a linked test leading into the ritual. That way the wise covers knowledge of these mystical locations scattered around the game world. Helps when you know if there’s a “waypoint” near your destination.

Pete, do you have to make the journey on foot before you can make it in a jump? Can people on the other end tip over the stones and block their use? Do you have to pay an arm and a leg a la summoning or do you burn out a la tax?

You do know that Luke will visit you when you least expect it and take your books away because you are breaking the teleport rule?

The question to ask is, “How often do you see players using this?”

A) It’s an epic event, once a campaign

Like summoning the dead army in Lord of the Rings, a big fucking deal. If so, use an existing skill, and give it a high Ob and or requirements ("Needs Resource Ob7 test to get the gold dust, bones of 7th sons of 7th sons, etc.)

B) Rarely, it’s an option, but dangerous

Like “The Gloom” in Nightwatch/Daywatch - you can do it, but man, you’d rather not. Use an existing skill, give it a medium-high Ob, and make the costs be things that will complicate and stick with the players. Corruption might be a choice as well.

C) Semi-regularly with potentially disastrous complications

Use your basic Sorcery skill, along with the complications of the magic wheel and miscasts for failures.

D) Regular with the odds of going bad very quickly

Folklore, Sorcery, or many other magically- related skills might work. There’s a minimum Ob you use (Ob 4 or 5?), and you can raise it as high as you want. Why would you want a higher Ob? Well… that’s exactly the same Ob being faced by a random extra dimensional creature who will be trying to tear through your gateway for a stroll in a new world…

In which case, all the superstition about this dangerous magic is completely justified and frankly, the fact the magic exists at all is like a bomb waiting to go off.


Maybe you’ll want to restrict these “gates” to only “chosen” people (like the Gifted requirement for casting spells). When entering the other realm people might go blind if they don’t have the Second Sight or the Dreamer trait.

Instead of Observation, Navigation and Track the characters might have to use Symbology, Sorcery and Aura Reading.

Maybe you risk getting Possessed or Corrupted by using the gates, or loose yourself in the oblivion.

Even go further and change all the Agility and Speed-based tests to Perception and Power and Forte-based tests to Will, so only that the strong of mind can successfully travel across the parallel realm.

Just throwing some ideas.

Stay cool :cool:

Like I mentioned earlier, utilizing existing skills obviously carries ramifications you may not be looking for. If you just utilize Sorcery or Summoning then you’re declaring that anyone that can utilize these gates also know the rest of the magical stuff in that field (unless you hack the skills, but then, it’s just a new skill anyway). Which is fine. You’re light description above didn’t give me that impression though. Sounds like you want an alternate skill instead of saddling gypsies, elves, and back woods village elders with full fledged sorcery/summoning.

Is there a reason this needs to be a skill check? I get that you don’t want “magical highways” going to and fro, but if these stones are generally distant from civilization, few know of them and using them is somehow dangerous (which seems necessary, otherwise there would be a large town around the gate offering airfare), doesn’t that take care of things?

I’d be itching to ask the players to roll the dreaded “Die of Fate” here… :slight_smile:

Perhaps these routes are shared between many worlds, which means a risk of encountering dangerous creatures, phenomena, alien weather and the like? Perhaps the area around the stones is likewise dangerous, because of things “seeping through”.

The way you describe it, Chris, I’d use a wise for it. Low obstacles are knowing about it, where gates are, etc. Actually using the road should be Ob7+.

If you wanted Faerie Roads to be more common, go with the skill idea suggested above.

I initially wanted to recommend it as just a wise, but the super high obstacle doesn’t fit well with the description. All elves can do it but typically choose otherwise. Seems unnecessary to add Faerie Road-wise B10+ to every elf.

I could get behind making it a wise for knowledge stuff and requiring a trait for actually being able to travel with the wise. Like needing Gifted for working magic.

Thanks for all the replies folks… I’m sorting through them and hoping I can make sense of it all. I’m a bit tired though.

Definitely an adventure to use. Fraught with danger [Hence the few remaining elves shun it. Knowledge of the ritual is ‘lost’ to humanity. Only the most well versed folks know if it, with High Folklore, Spirit Realm-Wise. Knowledge of the ritual requires a High-Ob check, probably Ob7.

Rarely to Epic I’d say.

Absolutely you need a supernatural trait to activate a gate, Second Sight or Dreamer are perfect, the ability to perceive the supernatural realm. Normal folks can’t do it at all. Using Symbology, Folklore, Aura Reading and the like to move around the realm is a good idea, but I’m starting to think of it as a more physical place that you traverse, like an “elsewhere” Moria you have to wander through. Like taking a stargate to a place and walking overland to another that will get you to the place you really want to end up at. Possession, Corruption, Death and Disappearance ARE intended to be a risk of using the gate.

The are from a pre-human civilisation period. They are in remote and haunted places, sure, and stuff does seep through. These are know things of the gods to the common folk, and avoided lest you draw their wrath. The things that built them, they aren’t human, and people who tamper with their stuff suffer.

Journey on foot to the remote places I think, and the gates take you to another realm to traverse, to get to another gate to get back [This is changing shape in my head as I write]. Spirit Realm-Wise or something will let you navigate your way around the place. Tipping stones could happen, but is generally avoided, as it’s a stupid thing to tamper with the supernatural.

If Luke steals my books I’ll teleport to NY and re-appropriate them.

I’ll be going as a separate skill, definitely, perhaps even something as simple as a Training that lets you open the gates then other skills or wises to navigate your way around. In the setting I imagine, Summoning and Spirit Binding are repressed and outlawed, preached as evil. Only outcasts and outsiders practice them. So, some gypsy or peasant witches might have access to Spirit Binding practices of the ancients, some less scrupulous folks might practice Summoning and Necromancy to further their goals. Gypsies and Peasants would be butchered on suspicion of cavorting with devils. High ranking Cultists would need to be tried first.

Not all Elves can use it, but as a society, they know about them, but shun them. Elves in this campaign are a fallen people, rare as hens teeth after betting a bollocking after a war. They are for the most part ancients, with few born in the last few centuries. The reason for this is their tools of war turned on them and destroyed their civilisation.

I’ve got lots to ponder.

OK, now solidifying thoughts.

I’m thinking there are rituals to open gates to the other place. Most of the power for this comes from the circle, There are no summoning bargains to do, as the circle has the power. Tax is reduced by the power of the circles, but still has a risk. I like the idea that Wise rolls let you target a particular place, and change the nature of where you end up. A failed roll might lead you somewhere different, somewhere nasty, or nice, but most definitely lost. The other realm is a spirit realm, so it is built on ideas. It might vary a bit, but one scary aspect might be a subterranean place of twisting corridors and caves, devoid of life and light, another might be a huge looming forest that seems to go on forever. Wises are needed to traverse these places, lest you get lost. Perhaps the gates travel to particular places only. Hmmm…

Shit, as you see, these ideas are still rolling around in my head. I guess when it comes down to it, we can decide in world burning.

You know this whole teleport thing is so I don’t have to have scenes of shuttles flying to the mother ship all the time, right? :wink: