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mikuel

Spirit Combat

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I've recently been reading about shaman's in RQG.  If a shaman is ambushed by a malign spirit, how does he fight it in spirit combat if it takes him an hour to discorporate? 

What am I missing?  

 

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1 hour ago, mikuel said:

I've recently been reading about shaman's in RQG.  If a shaman is ambushed by a malign spirit, how does he fight it in spirit combat if it takes him an hour to discorporate? 

What am I missing?  

The spirit closes in and attacks... essentially at melee range (magic and iron weapons can be used against the spirit)!

Spirits can attack ANYONE this way -- not just a shaman -- and the victim don't have to discorporate to fight the spirit.

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If a shaman encounters a malign spirit and wants to deal with it, he has a lot of possible tools to deal with it. 

 'Ambushed by a hostile spirit' usually means 'attacked in spirit combat', so the problem more or less answers itself - he fights it in spirit combat. A shaman is usually very formidable in spirit combat - what might happen is the spirit realises it is losing, and flees into the spirit plane - and then a shaman might have to discorporate in order to chase it down and finally defeat it. But if it attacks him, spirit combat is already initiated, so he doesn't need to be discorporate, and he might just defeat it that way. 

If there is a problem with a malign spirit attacking someone else (typically a disease spirit or somewhat possessed by some sort of malign curse spirit, either that is killing them or that is dangerous to others (eg see the Bestiary pg 166-167 - spirits with the still death, active possession, shape change or passion powers)), then the shaman might find discorporation, so that they can actively attack the spirit, is useful. A shaman can also challenge spirits with other spirits that they can summon or have bound, either in an enchantment or to their fetch - they might be able to use a spirit of Healing to fight disease, one animal spirit to drive off another, etc 

The shaman has a few potential spirit magic tools they can use if they have them. If they encounter a malign spirit when travelling physically, they have the Distraction spell that they can use to protect their companions - if a spirit attacks a companion of the shaman, they can force it to attack them instead. Another useful spirit magic spell is Visibility - a shaman (who can see spirits that are still invisible to others in the 'nearby' Spirit Plane using Second Sight, such as ghosts or disease spirits that have not yet manifested) can force it into visible form, so that the shaman or his companions can target it with spells. The Visibility spell is also often used by shamans to allow spirits they have under their control to attack their opponents somehow. The Control spell can also be used to target specific types of spirit, if there is a sort of spirit that the shaman encounters frequently. 

Some shamans have even more tools, via Rune Magic. The Discorporation rune spell of course, but also Axis Mundi, Attack Soul, Free Ghost, etc. And there are many options for opposing spirits with other spirits that are made easier by some  Rune Magic - Summon Spirit of Law, the various cult spirits, etc. 

Then there is the possibility of shamanic abilities - for example, Cure Disease lets the shaman deal with disease spirits. And even abilities from skills (Spirit Lore might tell you how to attract certain spirits to a place) and various more mundane tools like (even the drug hazia a form of Discorporation).

Of course, once a spirit is in spirit combat, there is also the possibility that it can be fought using magical weapons - probably not that useful a tactic for a shaman alone, but potentially very useful for a shamans companions. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, mikuel said:

If a shaman is ambushed by a malign spirit, how does he fight it in spirit combat if it takes him an hour to discorporate?

p366: "Spirit combat may occur between two discorporate entities (entirely within the Spirit World) or between a discorporate entity and an embodied entity (such as a human being) in the Middle World."

There's no need to discorporate to fight a spirit in Spirit Combat. So the malign spirit might engage in Spirit Combat with the shaman, or anybody for that matter, and it would then result in an embodied entity (the shaman) fighting a discorporate entity (the malign spirit). Spirit Combat then happens as per the rules.

Now there are advantages to being a shaman. For instance, still p366: "If a spirit wishes to attack a corporeal being, the spirit makes itself visible in the Middle World the melee round prior to its first attack. Shamans can see the spirits at all times using Second Sight, and they would normally be aware of the spirit’s malign intention to attack before it becomes visible."

So the shaman would probably be aware of the spirit approaching (although I might still make the shaman roll a bit if they're occupied with something else at that moment... I wonder if spirits have a Stealth skill...).

Further more,  p358: "If the shaman is not discorporate, and an attacking spirit comes solely from the Spirit World, the shaman can intercept it with their fetch, so the fetch fights instead."

So the shaman doesn't need to discorporate because they can use their fetch to fight entirely in the Spirit World, effectively intercepting the malign spirit before they become visible and attack anybody.

Edited by lordabdul
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On a slightly related note, I had a situation come up on Saturday where a dragonsnail had the Chaotic feature that, upon death, it attacked the killer in spirit combat. I played it such that the dragonsnail spirit had to manifest to do this, so that the other PCs were able to help with Disruption spells and the like (nobody has any enchanted weapons, Truesword, or similar). Did I make a mistake there - are spirits engaging in spirit combat normally invisible?

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Once a body is possessed, only shaman-like vision can see a spirit (spirit/divine/sorcery spell or shaman power)

But if a spirit (like your dragonsnail) wants to possess or attack someone it needs to be visible in mundane world. Of course a specific spirit could have some powers.

For exemple :

nobody can see it except its opponent (who can use disruption /truesword / etc)

another power could be nobody can see it. Its opponent can only use spirit combat.

if its first attack is critical, nobody can know that there was a spirit attacking someone (well, when the humakti will use a dagger in the back of his friend, you can imagine there is a spirit possessing him or identify him as an illuminate...

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On 5/4/2020 at 2:09 AM, lordabdul said:

 

Now there are advantages to being a shaman. For instance, still p366: "If a spirit wishes to attack a corporeal being, the spirit makes itself visible in the Middle World the melee round prior to its first attack. Shamans can see the spirits at all times using Second Sight, and they would normally be aware of the spirit’s malign intention to attack before it becomes visible."

So does it take a spirit a round of combat to become visible, then the next round it attacks the player?  Or does it become corporal and attack in that same round? Is it then visible for the entire spirit combat, or does it become discorporate the following round? 

If someone is being attacked by a spirit in the spirit realm, what does it look like to those in the material world?  Is the attacked character just staring into space?  Or is he/she swiping at the air?  

 

Edited by mikuel
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43 minutes ago, mikuel said:

So does it take a spirit a round of combat to become visible, then the next round it attacks the player?  Or is it become corporal and attack in that same round? Is it then visible for the entire spirit combat, or does it become discorporate the following round?

My understanding is that the spirit indeed takes a round of combat to become visible, leaving the PCs that round to realize what's happening (I assume it's to prevent very annoying and constant surprise attacks from all kinds of spirits). The next round, Spirit Combat begins (not on the same round the spirit materializes). It can still be quite annoying for the PCs since they will only have that one preparatory round to grab their weapons, cast their magic, etc... so there's still a fair element of surprise if they weren't prepared.

The way I handle it is that the spirit is indeed visible for the entire combat until it chooses to retreat in the Spirit World. AFAICT the only way it could discorporate and keep fighting is if it fights someone that also discorporated (thus taking the combat fully into the Spirit World).

I love cyberpunk so think about it this way:

  • Shodan3, the evil AI, wants to ambush the PCs. As they explore the abandoned factory, it takes control of an assembly line robot arm and attacks the players. It takes one round for the AI to activate the robot shell, and as it lights up and starts whirring, the PCs have one round to turn around and brace for the attack.
  • During the next few rounds, they attack the assembly line robot, only hurting its mechanical shell... they only really hurt Shodan3 when using electrical attacks and stuff.
  • Later, Shodan3 leaves the beaten shell of the robot arm and prepares to activate more traps.
  • The Netrunner in the party jacks into a nearby port and shows up in the cyberspace. "Hey Shoddy, let's dance" he says to the AI. They start fighting in the cyberspace while the rest of the party figures a way to take the entire factory off the grid, all the while making sure the Netrunner's body is safe.

Replace all the cyberpunk stuff with bronze age fantasy equivalents. Of course it's a bit more fun with AIs, who can possess or otherwise materialize multiple times (based on their computing power), compared to a spirit who can only materialize once or possess one person or animal... but, well, I guess we could look into house rules to let spirits possess multiple people based on their CHA/INT? Village of the damned anyone? :) 

Quote

 If someone is being attacked by a spirit in the spirit realm, what does it look like to those in the material world?  Is the attacked character just staring into space?  Or is he/she swiping at the air?

While someone is discorporated, I believe their body is totally inert, so the people guarding their body might not know what's up. If that person is a shaman, however, their fetch can guard the body and, since the fetch is in constant communication with the shaman, it might be able to tell the shaman's friends that things are going badly in the Spirit World.

Edited by lordabdul
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2 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

While someone is discorporated, I believe their body is totally inert, so the people guarding their body might not know what's up.

Correct.  Effectively in a trance-like state and I would not expect any specific indication of what's happening in the Spirit World - the shaman's spirit is far away at that point.

3 minutes ago, lordabdul said:

If that person is a shaman, however, their fetch can guard the body and, since the fetch is in constant communication with the shaman, it might be able to tell the shaman's friends that things are going badly in the Spirit World.

The fetch definitely guards the body.  Whether it can communicate with others is another question.  

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On 5/4/2020 at 7:09 AM, lordabdul said:

Further more,  p358: "If the shaman is not discorporate, and an attacking spirit comes solely from the Spirit World, the shaman can intercept it with their fetch, so the fetch fights instead."

So the shaman doesn't need to discorporate because they can use their fetch to fight entirely in the Spirit World, effectively intercepting the malign spirit before they become visible and attack anybody.

This is rather risky mind as if your Fetch dies, so do you. 

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12 hours ago, jajagappa said:

Whether it can communicate with others is another question.  

In my game: That is one great use of the spell Mindspeech. Otherwise the fetch needs to use something like charades. And its spirit form may not have much manual dexterity. Every shaman should learn at least a point of Mindspeech.

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16 hours ago, mikuel said:

So does it take a spirit a round of combat to become visible, then the next round it attacks the player? 

Yes, but it doesn't have to do it where the PCs can see it. It may do it in the air above them, in the ground below them or behind them.

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20 hours ago, lordabdul said:

 

While someone is discorporated, I believe their body is totally inert, so the people guarding their body might not know what's up. If that person is a shaman, however, their fetch can guard the body and, since the fetch is in constant communication with the shaman, it might be able to tell the shaman's friends that things are going badly in the Spirit World.

 

That could be really convenient for the shaman. 

Warrior:  So Shaman, why didn't you help us there with that Broo ambush?

Shaman:  Sorry guys, I was...uhh.... fighting this disease spirit in the spirit realm.  Yeah!  That's what it was!  :)  

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16 hours ago, Thaz said:

This is rather risky mind as if your Fetch dies, so do you. 

Other than beginning Shamans, the Fetch is likely to have a lot higher POW than the body is, and they share the same Spirit Combat skill... so it's not that risky.

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5 hours ago, GAZZA said:

Other than beginning Shamans, the Fetch is likely to have a lot higher POW than the body is, and they share the same Spirit Combat skill... so it's not that risky.

Not so much I'm thinking. The Shaman burns a lot of Pow to get a decent Fetch but even with a Spirit Dance Crit the Fetch is limited to  Pow+2d6. Say your wannabe Shammy is on 18 Pow. They burn 6 points on summoning of their Fetch so get 6+2d6 thats 14 Pow or so on average for the Fetch and your newly minted Shaman is on 12. The next few POW Gain rolls are going to the Shaman not the Fetch. Plus of course Shaman have a constant demand on pow for enchanting and spirit dealings. I dont see the Fetch heading to really high POW values anytime soon with the current rules. Otherwise you risk being rather weak personally. Especially on trips to the spirit realms sans fetch. 

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I'd count all those as a "beginning shaman". You're not really an established shaman if your fetch has a POW less than the species maximum - 30 or so is reasonable.

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On 5/6/2020 at 12:32 PM, 10baseT said:

Yes, but it doesn't have to do it where the PCs can see it. It may do it in the air above them, in the ground below them or behind them.

Does this mean that the shaman, in spirit form do the same thing?  Could a shaman go scout out ruins by travelling through the walls and seeing what is in each room? 

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35 minutes ago, mikuel said:

Does this mean that the shaman, in spirit form do the same thing?  Could a shaman go scout out ruins by travelling through the walls and seeing what is in each room?

I've played a character that did just this and they weren't even a shaman, they happened eat magical food that discorporated them for a few hours.

One of the big advantages of having a shaman's fetch or a rune-priest's allied spirit is the ability to send them around as immaterial scouts.  Sending your spirit pals roaming like that potentially subjects them to your enemies' unseen defenses, of course, and unless you have one of those reliable rune-level relationships with the spirit you'll need Control (Entity) magic to reliably send it out and bring it back.

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48 minutes ago, mikuel said:

Does this mean that the shaman, in spirit form do the same thing?  Could a shaman go scout out ruins by travelling through the walls and seeing what is in each room? 

The shaman has to become visible to interact with the Middle World, just like a spirit does; and there isn't a precise 1:1 Middle World / Otherworld mapping.

Yes, they can go right through a wall... but the only thing they can really see is magic, and strong life-force.  Roomful of toxic gas?  Crossbow & tripwire?  Nope & nope (unless magic).

Also, they may accidentally "miss" the room they meant to scout.  Sometimes a place will seem like it's just a pace or two in the Spirit-world, and you'll have moved dozens of paces when you enter the Middle World (or vice versa)... and/or moved in an unexpected direction.

And then there's the thing where you need to be visible... Did you just become visible in front of the Prisoners you're rescuing? (yay! found 'em!) or in front of their Guards, who promptly sound the alarm?  Etc...

(also, the whole "lone scout" vulnerability issue arises...)

Edited by g33k
lone scout

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20 minutes ago, g33k said:

there isn't a precise 1:1 Middle World / Otherworld

This is particularly important.  Spirit allies, or discorporate shamans for that matter, aren't traveling through the same physical world in a different state, they're traversing a space that's parallel to ours but not exactly the same.

My discorporate character was specifically looking for spiritual information about the area they traveled while discorporated, if they'd been trying to get exact information on the physical area they'd come back with woefully distorted perceptions

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2 hours ago, g33k said:

Yes, they can go right through a wall... but the only thing they can really see is magic, and strong life-force.  Roomful of toxic gas?  Crossbow & tripwire?  Nope & nope (unless magic).

Mmmh good point, it never occured to me that it was the case... I think there's still a "loose correlation with the Middle World", though (RQG p.371) so it might be possible to kind-of recognize vague shapes and features, especially for old things like ruins and such around which old spirits and general energies are sticking to.

2 hours ago, g33k said:

And then there's the thing where you need to be visible... Did you just become visible in front of the Prisoners you're rescuing? (yay! found 'em!) or in front of their Guards, who promptly sound the alarm?  Etc...

Would you be able to see the spirits of these people? After all, evil spirits are able to track down people, and only materialize a few seconds before they actually want to attack. This means that maybe Spirit World entities can see the material entities' spirits -- a bit like looking at the world through its heat signature with FLIR goggles, I imagine. Or does that all work differently?

(because if it works like that, you would at least be able to vaguely differentiate between the prisoners and the guards based on spatial position and grouping of those spirits... a shaman could materialize and attack a guard without fear of attacking the wrong person)

Edited by lordabdul

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