How do you GM a Shek Pvar in Harn?

sword-dancer's picture

How do you GM a Shek Pvar,

How does society react to them, how do zhey interact?

How do theyuse magic

and so on

Jack's picture


. . . because every GM would handle those things just a little differently. Here's my take - perhaps it will give you some ideas:

Society as a general rule doesn't have the opportunity to react to them most of the time. The rules of the Shek P'var prohibit bringing the scorn of the Kvikir (sp?) upon themselves. The Kvikir are the common (non-magical) folk. Additionally, I would expect that the common folk who actually witnessed magic might react very negatively to it, given all of the stories circulating about mages.

I think Shek P'var maintain a very low profile in their day-to-day activites. They don't walk around proclaiming to be mages - they claim to be scribes or scholars or lorists maybe, but not mages. If I had a PC walk around my p-Harn proclaiming his magical abilities, I'd make life very difficult for him. Some people would think he was a gasbag, others would avoid him or refuse to serve him, some would think he was a charlatan, and real mages would be embarassed and probably assume that he was trying to make a place for himself above the Kvikir (also prohibited). No NPC would react positively, unless they were hopelessly naive and enamoured of magic.

How would all these NPC's react to the casting of a spell? Well, first I'd have to determine if they even knew a spell was cast, which would be a function of their Alertness, the mage's casting style, and the flashiness of the spell. As an example, if a Savoryan (sp?) quietly cast a simple spell in a dark corner of an inn to help him decide if someone was being truthful, then it would probably go unnoticed unless the observer was really on the ball. On the other hand, if a Peleahn mage lit the village tithe barn on fire at high noon in front of eighty-seven witnesses, then he can expect a lynching right then or a posse hot on his heels, depending on the courage of the villagers.

How do they interact with the common folk? As described above. How do they interact with each other? I think that two Shek P'var unknown to each other could establish their bona fides in just a few minutes or even seconds of conversation. (A casual remark referring to a commonly known Pvaric fact that would be picked up on by another mage and misunderstood as nonsense by a common listener, for example.) Once two mages know of each other, I would expect that they would interact as any two members of any profession. They have a common bond, but they might be competitors. The younger one might respect the older one's skill and wisdom or he might be looking to make a reputation the hard way. And so on - it would depend on the situation.

The general idea is that (in my opinion, obviously) magic on Kelestia exists but is fairly low-key. People hear stories of it, but actual encounters are rare and as a result, people don't really know what to look for or what to expect. Therefore, the wise mage knows he can get the most bang for his Pvaric buck with subtlety.

You also asked how they use magic. I personally think that they wouldn't use magic at all if a mundane solution was available. (That's based upon several low-magic fantasy settings that I've read. David Eddings "the will and the word" from the Belgariad series comes to mind.) I also think that while gesticulating or raising the voice might help the principle flow from the aura to the form of the spell (as represented by casting modifiers that exist in HM3 and probably in HMG), most Shek P'var consider such displays to be beneath their dignity and the mark of an amatuer. That goes back to the subtlety thing . . .