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  1. This article is about spirits, and animism, and animists, and about animists in a Mythras game. Here's what the Mythras Core Rulebook has to say about animism. Animism is magic worked through communion with spirits and the spirit world. It is the magic of shamans and spirit walkers. Such practitioners do not treat with gods or learn their abilities from books or tomes; instead their powers come from the myriad spirits that inhabit the spirit realms, and interact occasionally with the mundane world. As far as Adventurers go, what ever is the point of animists? They take up to an hour to get into the right trance state, they just sit there chanting while everybody is fighting, and when they bring back a spirit ally it's an invisible, intangible presence which might as well not be there. What good is an animist if they can't pick up a sword or fire off spells? World of Spirits To an animist, the whole world is sacred. Every part of the world - rocks, plants, the sky, the rivers - is alive, and their souls are the spirits. An animist has only two powers, to speak of - Trance skill, and Binding skill. Unless they also moonlight as sorcerers or Folk Magicians, or they also worship a deity as theists, an average animist has no access to spells. Relationships and Connections Animists' power comes from the connections they make with the spirit reflection of the earthly realm. As intermediaries, their job is to bridge this world and the other one; to intercede between people and the spirits. They are medicine people, because most of what they bring to the world is medicine - cures and healing of physical, emotional, and even mental ailments, injuries and wounds. The animist makes connections with the spirits. They know the spirits by name. Their traditions allow the animist to call upon those spirits for aid, or for divination, and so on. This is important enough to describe below. Animist Traditions Every nation has its own animist traditions, and examples of such include real-world animist practices such as shamanism. The word "shaman" possibly comes from a Tungusic word saman, meaning "one who knows." In Mythras, animist traditions can be created which bear a resemblance to real world animist traditions such as Shinto, and hopefully these analogues can be created with a little cultural sensitivity so as not to offend people for whom their local animist tradition is of real cultural significance. Real world animist traditions have often very different mythologies, ways, practices, and taboos. It is not as if every animist is cut from the same cloth, all around the world. Strengths An animist's power comes from their relationships and connections with the spirits. The strength comes from the understanding that the spirits mark aspects of the world - the winds, tides, water currents, mountains, storms, fires, animals, plants, and landscape features of nature, and the hearths and streets of human cities. Nature's Power The power of spirits can be called up to attack the animist's enemies in the form of storms, tsunami, rip tides, animal attacks, curses and diseases, spirits of a location (genius loci) attacking interlopers, crop failures, infertility, and technological failures, failures to communicate and even financial disasters in the human realm. The most versatile abilities of spirits include Comprehension - the ability to converse with creatures associated with the spirit, such as wolves to a wolf spirit, or cats for a cat spirit; Demesne - the control of a spirit over a location with which it is associated, such as a natural glade, a street corner, or a hearth; Domination - the ability to command all associated creatures; Passion - the ability to infuse powerful emotions, usually in people; and Puppeteer - the ability to possess and manipulate a body, usually a person's body. Echoes In a city, the reflection of the spirit world can take on some of the features of the original nature spirits which it replaced. A street built over what used to be a meadow can acquire some strange characteristics from the original meadow spirit which used to dwell there. The street might be known as Meadow Street; there might be a florist on the corner; and the locals might all have gardens full of brightly coloured flowers, or flowerboxes hanging over balcony railings. A bend in the road which is notorious for accidents might have hungry death spirits lurking nearby to feast off the corner's deadly bounty. They may not be the cause of the black spot, but the locus itself might be generating a large, deadly spirit of its own. Possession Spirits may also, in some cases, possess a being, occupying their bodies overtly or covertly through Covert Possession or Puppeteer. Spirit possession may allow the spirits to communicate to the people either through the body of the animist who channelled them, or through someone whom the spirit possessed, in order to utter prophecy or to communicate. Exorcism The animist can be called upon to remove a possessing spirit from a person, by discorporating and entering the spirit world, then engaging with the spirit in combat. This is one way that an animist can help solve a possession - the other way being to use a bound spirit to do the job for them, such as a fetch, or a Medicine Spirit to attack a Disease Spirit. Animists In Game An animist can do their best work if they can call upon the spirits of an area to help out. An animist can ask for help from a spirit of nature, who can guide them to safety through a hazardous environment. They can ask the spirits to help in the hunt by channelling a wolf spirit, permitting the animist to think and hunt and track like a wolf. The spirits of medicine can possess the animist, granting them the spirit's healing abilities. Ancestor spirits can be brought in to help bless a family lineage; spirits of a specific beast, such as a beast of burden, can be brought in to a farm or similar establishment to bless the herd with fertility during the breeding season, or the spirit of a wild beast summoned to aid an animist against their enemies by driving those animals to turn and attack the animist's enemies. On the street, a spirit of humanity (street spirit, park spirit, hearth spirit, business spirit) can help provide an urban animist with knowledge of the area - which street corners see the most accidents (usually marked by clouds of death spirits hanging around them); whether an area is good or bad for a business (animism could be verging on a kind of feng shui); and whether or not a business is entirely legitimate or has some secrets in its back rooms. Animists work best with the environments they are passing through. And if a local spirit is not handy, animists can still help out, by bringing in spirits bound into fetishes to unleash upon the area, causing such strange events as fish falls from the sky, odd animal sightings, unexpected business collapses, or even extremely localised fires or flooding. A swamp spirit released from a fetish into a field on the eve of battle could turn that battlefield into a deadly mire of soft mud for any cavalry and infantry advancing through the area. A fire elemental could wreak havoc for that enemy, who would be sitting targets unable to advance or withdraw due to the cloying mud underfoot. The Animist As Protagonist A movie, The Emerald Forest, focused on a non-local American boy who became involved with an animistic tribe in the rain forest. The movie explored the boy's gradual learning of their customs, ultimately to the point where he brought down a dam by causing an intense rainstorm to build up the river's levels beyond the dam's ability to hold back the waters. Animism in the real world may not have such profound effects (we can only wish), but in a fantasy game the power of animism can do incredible things. As a player of an animist, you just need to know how to respect and venerate your spirits, and the land which creates them. Animism In Your Game As a Games Master, you get to choose what the local spirits are in the environment, and where they can be found. If every place has a soul, the animist can call upon their Trance skill to see the spirit echo of the material world, and to call upon them and petition them for aid. From helping them with Locale, Navigation, and Streetwise skill checks, to obtaining knowledge they could not obtain through Perception alone, an animist can make themselves valuable assets to the adventuring party. More than being able to scout out a battlefield or to attack the shadows; given enough time to prepare, the animist can marshall those shadows and turn the very battlefield itself against the enemy. Just give the team's animist time to get a feel for the lay of the land. That is all the adventurers need to assure victory.
  2. This month's issue of Monster of the Month is now available on the Jonstown Compendium! In this month's issue of MOTM, our attention returns to the smaller scale of Glorantha. Petty spirits provide unusual explanations for in-world phenomena: Bookwyrms plunder libraries, Children of Daga cause liquids to evaporate, and Child's Fortune presents mischievous imaginary friends to children. Each of these spirits provide texture to the mythic world of Glorantha by both subverting, and supporting, our terrestrial "common sense." They're suitable for use by both gamemasters and player adventurers alike. About this Series: Monster of the Month is a series of bestiary entries for Chaosium's RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha. In addition to statblocks and behavior, most issues include supplemental detail and advice for gamemasters and/or new adventurer options for players. Bookwyrm illustration by Laura Galli
  3. Something that’s come up a couple of times for me now when running The Grey Crane and also Crimson Petals is multiple adventurers engaging the same spirit in spirit combat at the same time. This led to what initially looked like quite tough opponents more or less vanishing with little effort or risk. Especially given that in a tie per RQG p368 both parties do spirit combat damage to the other, but if you have 5 adventurers all getting ties on the same spirit, that spirit's magic points will melt away like a sandcastle in the rain. Also, in the case of Crimson Petals, I awarded the POW boost to the only one of the adventurers to win the matchup with the disease spirit, even though one of the ties did more actual damage. What are people’s thoughts on managing rewards when multiple adventurers do damage in one round that cumulatively defeats the spirit?
  4. I'm going to start a long term campaing involving the "awakening" of Gbaji's pieces in Dragon Pass. Since our Shaman apprentice is going to become a Shaman as the prologue of the campaign, I would like to find a way to interlace his "awakening" ritual with Gbaji's fist piece awakening. In order to do this I'd like some insight on how Chaos interacts with spirits and the Spirit World: this will be my input to create "my glorantha" in this regards, functionally to the campaing i have in mind.
  5. So I saw there stats in the bestiary but was more confused on who had access to them? I personally feel that Lunars wouldn't have access to them due to it being a separate Moon/Goddess entirely but it still begs the question who know/uses these elemental? Note: I do know that these are from dead goddess who was killed.
  6. Yet another nephew (12yo) wants to play as the group's Rhino. To work this in with my very urban Pavis game I'm running a YGWV scenario in which he's the much reduced remnant of the clan wyter which can transfer between the rhino and a rhino horn knobkerrie (an idea which delights him). Has anyone got tips and tricks they've used for this sort of thing?
  7. The RQG combat system is crunchy enough to obviate much of the description of melee, but spirit combat’s opposed rolls are more abstract, so narrating what it looks/feels like is wide open to interpretation. I've been wondering how best to do this and would be interested to hear from anyone who's given this some thought or had some cool in-game spirit combats. The following could conceivably be true for two spirits fighting in the spirit world, or for the subjective experience of someone in the middle world being engaged by a discorporate spirit: Unreal – the two warring spirits closely resemble Gloranthan combatants with weapons and armour, or a warrior versus some terrible monster (with jaws or claws etc). Spirit combat success corresponds to a wounding blow being described, with blood and guts. Their appearance (and the setting of the combat) may be exactly akin to how they look(ed) in the middle world, or there may be something slightly off about everything. The physics of their duelling space may be like the middle world’s or strangely different. A classic example of this is when a character in mythology crosses to the spirit world without realising, and it slowly dawns on them as things get weirder. Otherworldly – one or both spirits appear as spectral figures, and the physics of the duelling space are free of gravity, if not inertia. The space is an abstract one – perhaps a white or black void – or perhaps a place associated with the life of the attacking spirit (if a ghost). Two spectral figures grasping at each other could be less interesting to narrate, but could perhaps be combined with brief, emotive flashbacks from a spirit’s memories every time it wins/loses a round (this would also give the GM the opportunity to tell the spirit's story). Characteristic Manifestations – the two spirits’ appearance is determined by their individuality: e.g. a dominant attribute, Rune or Passion, a totem animal, their clan/cult emblem, or an object emotionally associated with them. This manifestation may stay the same throughout the combat, with their spirit damage being themed accordingly (e.g. a stag might charge with its antlers). Alternatively, the two spirits might change their appearance constantly as the combat develops (think of Ceridwen chasing Taliesin), morphing from one shape to another (in response to success/failure with the dice). Trippy – a mixture of the above elements. Also, the landscape may morph constantly in response to the spirit combat, stretching, slowing, fracturing, or transforming completely. This could be quite disorientating if it turns into an extended combat. Since the spirit world is not fixed in nature, any of the above could be true at any given time, or the combat might segue between them.
  8. So I've been fiddling a bit with the Summon Ancestor spell in our RQG game (and to a lesser extent with its adjacent spells) and it seems both powerful and fun to use, but also a bit incomplete. Thus I figured it might be interesting to see how others have used the spell, and if y'all feel similar holes exist in the description, and how they've been filled. One of the first things I've done is, at the start of play, let an adventurer who knows Summon Ancestor have D6 ancestors generated using the charts on p. 342-343 of the Core. To my mind this represents past use of the Summon Ancestor spell, which can then be called up if Summon Ancestor is stacked with Summon Specific Ancestor per those spell rules. For me, generating some of these random ancestors was a big revelation. Over time, even just an initiate of Daka Fal generates a huge pool of different ancestors they can call upon, giving access to a wide variety of spirit magic spells for 2 RP (well, for friendly ancestors). Although there are some limitations involved, often substantial, it still introduces a great deal of strategic flexibility for the adventurer. That being said, there are several gaps in the spell's material as written: Ancestors are described as being able to engage in spirit combat, but have neither a skill percentage assigned nor a CHA characteristic to roll for determining SC damage. INT can sometimes be relevant too--for instance, ancestors probably possess INT and therefore require a 3-POW Binding Enchantment to be contained--but this isn't as important for spirit mechanics. My solution was to approximate the ancestor's POW roll on the Ancestral Summons table to the POW and CHA rolls for random spirits on p.165 of the Bestiary in order to determine the ancestor's CHA, and then determine SC damage as usual. Additionally, there's no Spirit Combat skill rating attributed to ancestor spirits. I assigned such spirits a Spirit Combat skill of POWx3% because they're the spirits of random mortals from stickpickers to shaman-priests. A POWerful ancestor (5D6+6, average 23-24, SC 69-72%) still maybe doesn't have the high percentage it ought, but this felt more representative than using POWx5% for unremarkable Uncle Joe who's spirit has POW 12 (max of 1D6+6). As far as I can tell, there's no actual generic entry for ancestor spirits in the Bestiary. Ghosts have a flat Spirit Combat 70%, but that didn't feel right as an approximation of an ancestor spirit due to a ghost's malign nature. I'm not certain what to do if a randomized ancestor's spirit magic is rolled twice. My solution, for variable spells, was to roll 2D6-5 again and add the new points atop the old. In one case, this resulted in a spirit which knew Heal 9 (which was interesting, but is basically fine). I think I've been rerolling non-variable spells. I'm not certain how to handle ancestral spirits which know enchantment spells (like the Magic Point Enchantment, random spell 52-54 on the D100 table). For the moment if a player brings it up, I'm thinking to handle it that if the caster sacrifices POW in worship of the summoned ancestor, the ancestor would then use some or all of that POW casting the relevant enchantment. Alternately I suppose you could use Control Ancestor Spirit on one, and force it to cast the enchantment, but even doing this on a malign ancestor feels super sketchy and Chaotic to me... Finally, ancestor spirits who have Rune points only know Daka Fal Rune magic; but most Daka Fal rune magic deals with summoning more ancestors, or manipulating ancestor spirits. This feels... odd, to me? For the moment, I'm ruling that such an ancestor can use spells like Spirit Guardian and Spirit Melding upon its summoner, and the result is effectively as if the summoner had cast the spell himself. Or maybe an ancestor's Discorporation can target willing mortals, to bring them into the Spirit World? I could see myself varying up the cult from just Daka Fal, depending on the caster's culture. For example, a Bison Tribe worshiper of Daka Fal might call forth an ancestor who worshiped Waha, Eiritha, Storm Bull, or even perhaps Orlanth. Does anyone else have tips for utilizing ancestor spirits? Felt there are gaps in the spell description too, and filled them another way?
  9. I´m playing a Kolati shaman in the eleven lights campaign in RQ Rolelaying in Glorantha (a Free Adaptation from my GM) and I want to take the Spirit Affinity to bargain better with the Air Elementals, so I don't know which is the correct category for that kind of spirits: Main category which gives me a 10% in command and -10% to others to control my spirit or the minor category, which gives 20% and -20%? Thanks for your answers.
  10. sorry for all the questions, but it really helps me set out on the right path at the start So here's a Shaman, with a fetch , engaging with some PC's -the shaman's fetch has intensity 2 action points 3 spirit damage D10 discorporate 81% folk magic 73% spectral combat 84% spirit fetch ability- persistent -conjugated- autonomous-recurring trait - shapechange -possession (usually the shaman or cult animal) Am I correct that this shaman can roll on his binding skill to set the fetch loose- fetch can then act independently of the shaman, but remains in telepathic contact- it can use folk magic against the PC@s or on the shaman and can also drag a mortal target onto the spirit plane(discorporation abiltiy) and then engage them in spirit combat ( spirit's spectral combat against character's binding or half-willpower) and does D10 damage to their magic points when it (likely) wins - this will eat up their magic points in a few turns if it beats them - when they are down to zero, it may ?possess them but not kill them as it lacks the deadly trait. If it possesses a character, can it have that character attack his/her mates? Can the fetch , if not possessing but simply draining all of a players magic points, ,then attack all the PC's in turn and do likewise ? does it need a binding roll success from the shaman for each instruction or just to "set it on its way" as it is in telepathic connection with the Juju man? If it has the "deadly" trait, would one such spirit not be able to kill all the player characters in short measure? as it cannot be magically dispelled because of the "persistent trait" - unless the PC's have a beefy character who is a beast on the spectral plane, are they surely doomed ? It it has "cannibalistic" trait, it can shore up its magic points at the rate of 1MP/ intensity of spirit that it sunders...(1-3 MP points per character killed) And this is ONLY an Intensity 2 spirit(!) And a decent shaman has SEVERAL spirits at his beck and call..........
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