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Sumath

Spirit of a Herd/Swarm

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Human communities have wyters. What about very large groups of animals or insects - would they have a communal spirit associated with them? One that could be appeased to prevent e.g. a migratory herd leaving the land or a swarm from devastating it?

With regards insects, Gorakiki seems to be hands-off in terms of their behaviour, so I'm looking for a way to make insects available for negotiation or influence.

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49 minutes ago, davecake said:

Yes. Though it’s often weak, and often not very clever.

Normal insects are still  connected to Gorakiki, just in their own way. 

SPIRIT COMBAT THE LOCUST SWARMMMMMMM

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4 hours ago, Sumath said:

Human communities have wyters. What about very large groups of animals or insects - would they have a communal spirit associated with them? One that could be appeased to prevent e.g. a migratory herd leaving the land or a swarm from devastating it?

 

John Hughs, the gentleman behind Questlines way back in the day postulated that a certain percentage of any Gloranthan animal population was fully sentient. I have always liked this way of looking at it.

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1 hour ago, Bill the barbarian said:

John Hughs, the gentleman behind Questlines way back in the day postulated that a certain percentage of any Gloranthan animal population was fully sentient. I have always liked this way of looking at it.

I like that idea also.

When I was developing my own fantasy setting, I made it so that the familiars/pets of magicians were selected based on near-human intelligences, and a magical talent.

Anyway, diverting a destructive animal flock - or indeed attracting a valuable prey species - seems like exactly the kind of thing you'd want your shaman available to do, so this all seems good.

EDIT: Although, for simplicity's sake, it might be that in most cases of animal groups, their collective spirit is basically just a localized/particularized version/instance of their overarching totem spirit. So a large herd of wild pigs/boars coming down would essentially have some kind of version of Mralot(a). But other ideas include some kind of ancestor spirit - perhaps the "founder" of the herd/flock.

Just my two clacks.

Edited by Sir_Godspeed
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19 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

SPIRIT COMBAT THE LOCUST SWARMMMMMMM

Yes, but what happens if the shaman loses? 

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2 hours ago, EricW said:

Yes, but what happens if the shaman loses? 

then the locusts eat your crops? (and your hair and your clothes?) kind of a no-lose situation attempt because they were gonna do that anyway.

thankfully, locusts are edible and taste good, even if you have to eat them naked with no hair

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18 hours ago, Qizilbashwoman said:

thankfully, locusts are edible and taste good, even if you have to eat them naked with no hair

I should add that locusts are not only edible and taste good (you can get them dipped in chocolate!), but they are also 1. kosher and 2. halal.

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On 10/28/2019 at 7:35 PM, Bill the barbarian said:

John Hughs, the gentleman behind Questlines way back in the day postulated that a certain percentage of any Gloranthan animal population was fully sentient. I have always liked this way of looking at it

This was mentioned in River of Cradles (AH 1992), where intelligent fish are first mentioned where there are "(less than one in a thousand)" in the Zola Fel. The number that I think is better in less than 1 in 10000 or cults like Eiritha and Storm Bull will be made up primarily of animal members. Where actually there are perhaps a dozen or so of each at the Paps.

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On 10/28/2019 at 3:23 PM, Sumath said:

Human communities have wyters. What about very large groups of animals or insects - would they have a communal spirit associated with them? One that could be appeased to prevent e.g. a migratory herd leaving the land or a swarm from devastating it?

Yes. If you look at real world shamanism there is exactly that. While you can contact a singular spirit, you can also contact the spirit of the group as a whole or a single spirit that represents all the others (like a queen bee). It depends on the granularity of your game. 

Quote

With regards insects, Gorakiki seems to be hands-off in terms of their behaviour, so I'm looking for a way to make insects available for negotiation or influence.

Locusts are normally solitary and local, except when exceptional circumstances cause them to group and change their behaviour. becoming social and nomadic. Given insect based spirit warfare amongst Amazon shaman, it makes sense that a Gloranthan shaman would contact a "king" locust, make a bargain and get it to swarm over an enemy's lands. However it also makes sense that shaman propitiate spirits like this to stop this kind of behaviour. Using Gorakiki as an example, it would be easy for a shaman to treat a particular aspect of Gorakiki as a spirit cult. The full version of cult gives all kinds of transformation rune magic, but I'd give the spirit cult version only Speak with Insects:

Quote

SPEAK WITH INSECTS 1 point duration 15 min., range voice, reusable, non-stackable.

This spell allows the individual on whom it is cast to talk to any one type of insect for the duration of the spell. Oratory bonuses apply if the creature needs convincing.

(from Trollpak Classic).

Edited by David Scott
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3 hours ago, David Scott said:

This was mentioned in River of Cradles (AH 1992), where intelligent fish are first mentioned where there are "(less than one in a thousand)" in the Zola Fel. The number that I think is better in less than 1 in 10000 or cults like Eiritha and Storm Bull will be made up primarily of animal members. Where actually there are perhaps a dozen or so of each at the Paps.

I doubt that there is a consistent numerical proportion, I'd say it's more likely to be a geographic distribution.

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3 hours ago, David Scott said:

Yes. If you look at real world shamanism there is exactly that. While you can contact a singular spirit, you can also contact the spirit of the group as a whole or a single spirit that represents all the others (like a queen bee). It depends on the granularity of your game. 

 

Ah, yes, several Amazonian groups operate with concepts such as "Mothers of the Game", which are essentially the collective species of an entire species (or at least as far as the local group is concerned). This concept does have a lot in common with the totemic Hsunchen system in Glorantha, ie. with an archetype spirit named for each (socially relevant) species. 
Not exactly what the OP looked for, but pretty close, and as stated above, can probably be slightly modified so that different groupings have their own versions of this totemic spirit or what have you.

And something that is pretty relevant for the "intelligence among animals"-question: several Amazonian groups absolutely believe that other species than humans have their own shamans. It's a fairly common theme of stories where a stranger visits the village, behaves strangely, leaves, and only afterwards to people realize it was the spirit-self of, say, a jaguar shaman, taking on a human form or something.

All the more reason to keep the Mothers of the Game (ie. collective spirits) propitiated and happy.

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On 10/28/2019 at 3:23 PM, Sumath said:

Human communities have wyters. What about very large groups of animals or insects - would they have a communal spirit associated with them? One that could be appeased to prevent e.g. a migratory herd leaving the land or a swarm from devastating it?

Absolutely, yes.

I play that all flocks/herds have a wyter of their own, very weak and a bit useless, but still there. PCs could gain control of it and cause a stampede, or could cause an insect swarm to go in a particular direction and so on.

On 10/28/2019 at 3:23 PM, Sumath said:

With regards insects, Gorakiki seems to be hands-off in terms of their behaviour, so I'm looking for a way to make insects available for negotiation or influence.

Giant Insects seem to be individual in nature, but I suppose a swarm of giant locusts could have its own wyter the same as a swarm of normal-sized bees.

 

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