Shamanism for fun and Prophet

Discover the Legend RPG, Mongoose's fantasy game.
Exubae
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Shamanism for fun and Prophet

Postby Exubae » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:47 pm

Nice article in S&P89 guys, can't wait for the second part.
Deleriad
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Postby Deleriad » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:12 pm

Thanks. Glad you liked it.
ThatGuy
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Postby ThatGuy » Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:23 am

I know what I'm downloading when I get home :)
Let's say, just for argument's sake, you're right...
Vagni
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Postby Vagni » Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:49 am

It's great to see it in the pages of S&P now. :D
I am a sexy shoeless god of war!
danonano
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Postby danonano » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:04 pm

nice job!
Sir Gawain
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Postby Sir Gawain » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:36 pm

Illuminating!
Now many things are clear (to me, anyway...)!
Your humble servant,

Sir Gawain
Deleriad
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Postby Deleriad » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:56 am

Thanks for the compliments. The second part of the article which includes things like a bestiary, spirit plane encounter tables, sample cults, additional heroic abilities and sample NPCs is probably the more 'fun' of the two. This article was really just to explore how spirits and spirit magicians worked in play.
ThatGuy
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Postby ThatGuy » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:15 am

I enjoyed the article! A lot of the clarifying stuff we have discussed on the boards, but it was nice to see it all in one place, instead of having to troll through old threads for a specific thread that had the specific clarification you needed. And the new wrinkles were nice too.

I look forward to the next one!
Let's say, just for argument's sake, you're right...
languagegeek
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Postby languagegeek » Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:55 pm

We've got two new spirit magicians starting next week, so such an article could not have come at a better time!
Heresy is the life of a mythology, and orthodoxy is the death — J. Campbell
gran_orco
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Postby gran_orco » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:00 pm

Deleriad wrote:Thanks for the compliments. The second part of the article which includes things like a bestiary, spirit plane encounter tables, sample cults, additional heroic abilities and sample NPCs is probably the more 'fun' of the two. This article was really just to explore how spirits and spirit magicians worked in play.
Nice job! I have understand all, finally!! :D
I want the second part! Awesome!
Loran
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Postby Loran » Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:08 pm

Really great article... after so many years, shamanisn is understandable and playable... felicitations!
Deleriad
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Postby Deleriad » Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:13 pm

Good to see that people are finding it useful. It would be interesting to see how @languagegeek's new PCs work out.

There was a great thread on rpgnet which was 101 days of RQII and running through Griffin Island. One of the players had a spirit magician and was very creative in his use of spirit walking.
PhilHibbs
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Postby PhilHibbs » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:28 am

I can still see that shamanism can be seen as substantially more dangerous to use than other magic systems. Lets say I want a shaman that can hurt people, I need some kind of nasty spirit. Not a bane, but some kind of pain spirit or maybe a fear spirit. Those things are likely to be generally hostile - it may be that some spirit traditions have some nasty but friendly spirits but I can't take that for granted. So, if I fail my control roll, I have a bad tempered, disgruntled spirit attacking me. For a starting character, that's a one-in-three chance of my magic turning on me. Compared to the others, that's an unusable magic system. Okay, I'm taking a very negative stance, coming up with a list of friendly spirits isn't much harder than coming up with a spell list for a cult, but it's easier to see the negatives than the positives in the system and I'm talking from painful personal experience of a player who ditched his character because the magic system seemed to be just too damn dangerous to use. It discourages creative and interesting usage.
Deleriad
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Postby Deleriad » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:50 am

PhilHibbs wrote:I can still see that shamanism can be seen as substantially more dangerous to use than other magic systems. Lets say I want a shaman that can hurt people, I need some kind of nasty spirit. ...It discourages creative and interesting usage.
Well the brief for spirit magic is that it is supposed to be dangerous to the user if you try to bind malicious spirits. In that case it's up there with demonology and necromancy. Complaining about binding bane spirits being dangerous to the shaman is probably akin to complaining about demons being dangerous to a demonologist. That said, I'm not convinced that it is as dangerous as you make out.

Quoting from the article:
In game terms, assume that a spirit with a lower POW than the magician will attack the intended target. Optionally, call for a Spirit Binding roll opposed by the spirit’s Spectral Combat Skill. If the magician fails to win, the spirit simply departs. If the magician fumbles, or if he fails while the spirit succeeds and the spirit is of greater POW than the magician, it will turn on him instead
This gives two optional systems. In system 1 providing the spirit is lower POW than the shaman it does what he wants. In system 2 the shaman has to make an opposed roll but the spirit only turns on him under specified circumstances. In both cases I think it's fair to say that if you go around binding hostile spirits with higher POW than you then let them out and expect them to do what you say then you are possibly making a bid for this year's Darwin's awards.

Finally, the article does explicitly make provision for the possibility of a cult which is friendly to hostile spirits so can draw on things like disease spirits as spirit allies. One of the sample NPCs in the next article is a disease shaman.
PhilHibbs
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Postby PhilHibbs » Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:57 am

Deleriad wrote:Complaining about binding bane spirits being dangerous to the shaman is probably akin to complaining about demons being dangerous to a demonologist. That said, I'm not convinced that it is as dangerous as you make out.
I specifically said NOT a Bane. Anyway, I'm enjoying the article, and I think it might help, thanks a lot.
Deleriad
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Postby Deleriad » Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:13 am

PhilHibbs wrote:
Deleriad wrote:Complaining about binding bane spirits being dangerous to the shaman is probably akin to complaining about demons being dangerous to a demonologist. That said, I'm not convinced that it is as dangerous as you make out.
I specifically said NOT a Bane. Anyway, I'm enjoying the article, and I think it might help, thanks a lot.
Hope it does help. My bad about bane spirits but given that a Shaman is able to bind any type of spirit then their array of potential attacks (curse and sickness spirits) is really only limited to their imagination: from a simple intensity 3 death spirit to agony, paralysis, nausea and so on.

That said, I think the key for players using the system is binding spirits to future service rather than binding to a fetish.
Instead, if the magician wishes to send such a spirit against an enemy the usual procedure is to journey to the spirit plane and defeat the appropriate spirit; once defeated the shaman can compel the spirit to one service.
The pros of an attack spirit in a fetish is that you can break the fetish as an action and send the spirit to attack instantly. The con is that it might turn on you if it is more powerful than you.

The pro of binding a spirit to one future action is that it's guaranteed and you can take on a much bigger spirit with the help of allies. The con is that it takes time to appear when summoned so it's not a lot of use in combat.

Of course all this is focusing on binding hostile attack spirits. That is something that is generally what the bad guys do and is inherently more dangerous than venerating your ancestors.
preacher65
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Postby preacher65 » Tue Feb 08, 2011 8:57 pm

Indeed - excellent article, went a long way to laying things out more clearly. Thank you. "Free-form" spirit magic is a noble idea, but when the rest of the system isn't free-form, we need (or I need) a more defined framework than the rulebook provides. In a while I expect I'll know the game system and settings well enough to know what fits and what's balanced, but as a starting player it's difficult to know what's appropriate and what isn't. So I'm particularly looking forward to next month's article, with some specific examples and whatnot. :)

One quick question about embodying an elemental spirit - does the spirit magician always undergo a physical transformation into the appropriate type of elemental? That seems to be the implication, but perhaps I've read it wrong. If so, while incredibly atmospheric, I can see that being a bit limiting. Perhaps that's deliberate though. I know it's our game and we can decide for ourselves, but I'm curious about the intention.

Anyway, thanks again, it's good food for thought and I can't wait till next month! :D
Deleriad
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Postby Deleriad » Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:12 pm

preacher65 wrote:One quick question about embodying an elemental spirit - does the spirit magician always undergo a physical transformation into the appropriate type of elemental? That seems to be the implication, but perhaps I've read it wrong. If so, while incredibly atmospheric, I can see that being a bit limiting. Perhaps that's deliberate though. I know it's our game and we can decide for ourselves, but I'm curious about the intention.
That is indeed the intention. One of the key elements [ahem] of spirit magic is that when you 'use' a spirit it is always on. For something like a nature spirit that's not usually an issue but for an elemental it certainly is.

I wouldn't worry too much about the free-form balance. Most spirits have defined effects based on their Intensity. Where it becomes free form is once you start dealing with ancestors or as a GM you want starting to create different types of spirits, new diseases and curses and so on. If you stick with the basics at first then explore new options later then you should be ok.
languagegeek
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Postby languagegeek » Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:15 pm

Deleriad wrote:That is indeed the intention. One of the key elements [ahem] of spirit magic is that when you 'use' a spirit it is always on. For something like a nature spirit that's not usually an issue but for an elemental it certainly is.
I haven't got the article in front of me right now, but one question I do have is: If a spirit magician succeeds the spirit binding roll with a fire spirit of intensity 1, do they become a 1 metre squared salamander? Or do they take on certain aspects of that elemental. If the former, then they can attack by enveloping opponents, if the latter, they cannot but they do get burning touch, resistance to fire, and whatever other nifty things we come up with.

I kind of like the idea of only taking on aspects instead of a total physical transformation.

BTW, I'm looking at some of those elementals from the Compendium as bindable spirits. All kinds of potential there!
Heresy is the life of a mythology, and orthodoxy is the death — J. Campbell
Deleriad
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Postby Deleriad » Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:54 pm

The intent is an actual physical transformation though the style is dependent on taste I reckon. So if you are embodying a 10 cubic metre salamander spirit then you are at the centre of a ball of heat. That might actually be a ball of fire or it could be that you are physically hot that everything within that volume is at the temperature of an inferno.

This does make elemental spirits incredibly dangerous.

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