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Long-distance communication between shamans


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A shaman assistant PC in my game has struck up a relationship with a shaman from a distant tribe and culture. How easy/difficult would it be for the two of them to meet up on the spirit plane?

I am contemplating the two of them having a spirit baby. Or perhaps "twins" with one of them birthed on the material plane and the other on the spirit plane.

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Interesting idea. Whilst I don't think it's the general case that it's easy for shamans to communicate over great distances, as in if they just set out to communicate with a specific individual that they are separated from, I'm sure it does happen. Chance encounters, spiritual correspondences between distant physical places, a bit like "magic roads". So, a kind of spirit plane magic road, a way of crossing great spiritual distances easily.

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3 hours ago, Scorus said:

How easy/difficult would it be for the two of them to meet up on the spirit plane?

The "narrower" the place or directions, the more likely they could meet up.  If they agree to meet up at the "Great Herd" on Fireday of Harmonyweek, there's probably so many spirits and the "herd" is moving along (like the flow of a lava lamp perhaps), that it would be very difficult.  If they agree to follow the "Old Path" past the Well of the Silvered Fish to the Assembly of Small Spirits and meet there when the Dew is fresh, and they both make Spirit Travel rolls, then I'd say they could meet up.

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17 hours ago, Scorus said:

A shaman assistant PC in my game has struck up a relationship with a shaman from a distant tribe and culture. How easy/difficult would it be for the two of them to meet up on the spirit plane?

As easy as you want it to be. Depending on how you want to drive the story. You could even have the distant shaman "haunting' the other in their dreams (a common theme), communicating messages that way. Of course they could meet up on the spirit plane. Hopefully in the inner world.

17 hours ago, Scorus said:

I am contemplating the two of them having a spirit baby. Or perhaps "twins" with one of them birthed on the material plane and the other on the spirit plane.

Another common shamanic theme. There's loads of good inspiration to be found in 

Shamanism - Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy by Mircea Eliade (https://archive.org/details/shamanismarchaic0000elia/). For example read the section on The Shaman's Female Tutelary Spirits, and there's loads more for inspiration:

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every Teleut shaman has a celestial wife who lives in the seventh heaven. During his ecstatic journey to Bai Olgan, the shaman meets his wife, and she asks him to remain with her; she has prepared an exquisite banquet for them. "/ My darling young Ram! she sings] / We shall sit together at the blue table . . . / My darling husband, my young kam, / Let us hide in the shadow of the curtains / And let us make love to one another and have fun, / My husband, my young kam!" " She assures him that the road to the sky has been blocked. But the shaman refuses to believe her, and repeats his determination to continue his ascent: "We shall go up the `tapti.' (the spiral groove cut in the shaman tree) / And give praise to the full moon" / 27 (an allusion to the stop that the shaman makes on his celestial journey to venerate the Moon and the Sun). He will touch no food until he has returned to earth. He calls her "My darling, my wife," and adds: "My wife on earth / Is not fit to pour water on thy hands."  The shaman is assisted in his labors not only by his celestial wife but also by feminine spirits. In the fourteenth heaven dwell the nine daughters of Ulgan; it is they who confer his magical powers on the shaman (swallowing hot coals, etc.).

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An interesting turn: the two have decided to marry (one year bed marriage, at least for now). They will tie the (non-Gordian) knot at the Ulerian Temple in Apple Lane and I'm figuring that their spiritual connection with each other through their vows and their connection to the location will give them a place they can more easily find and rendezvous.

Did I mention the bride is Telmori? Your reference to the full moon is apt, @David Scott. I shall most definitely read that source!

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10 hours ago, Scorus said:

An interesting turn: the two have decided to marry (one year bed marriage, at least for now). They will tie the (non-Gordian) knot at the Ulerian Temple in Apple Lane and I'm figuring that their spiritual connection with each other through their vows and their connection to the location will give them a place they can more easily find and rendezvous.

Sounds good!  And I'd allow the Love (individual) passion to be used to augment Spirit Travel to find each other.

[Note: this all reminds me a lot of the use of Tel'aran'rhiod in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.]

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On 4/5/2021 at 11:56 AM, Scorus said:

Did I mention the bride is Telmori?

Telmori generally consider sex with non-Telmori to be essentially like bestiality - humans look the same, but are a different race. It generally is regarded as a serious crime. 

Of course, shamans might get away with it for weird shaman reasons if you want them to. 

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11 hours ago, davecake said:

Telmori generally consider sex with non-Telmori to be essentially like bestiality - humans look the same, but are a different race. It generally is regarded as a serious crime. 

Of course, shamans might get away with it for weird shaman reasons if you want them to. 

Really? Well, I missed that and the ship has sailed now. I thought that Telmori bred with both humans and wolves. If it is only fellow Telmori then you'd be looking at some serious inbreeding, I would think!

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12 hours ago, davecake said:

Telmori generally consider sex with non-Telmori to be essentially like bestiality - humans look the same, but are a different race. It generally is regarded as a serious crime. 

They were willing to make an exception for the House of Sartar. Both of Terasarin's (legitimate) daughters married their cousins and bodyguards, sons of Kostajor Wolf-Champion, and Salinarg married a female bodyguard of his about a dozen years before he became Prince.

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On 4/13/2021 at 7:25 AM, davecake said:

Telmori generally consider sex with non-Telmori to be essentially like bestiality - humans look the same, but are a different race. It generally is regarded as a serious crime. 

Some extremists may think that. Most might prefer mating with Telmori, as only Telmori understand Telmori mating. However, some might think that mating with humans is fine.

I'm generally not that keen on blanket statements.

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12 hours ago, Joerg said:

They were willing to make an exception for the House of Sartar. Both of Terasarin's (legitimate) daughters married their cousins and bodyguards, sons of Kostajor Wolf-Champion, and Salinarg married a female bodyguard of his about a dozen years before he became Prince.

Yes. So there obviously are exceptions. I agree that there was probably a special exception for the House of Sartar, with it being adopted as Telmori ceremonially somehow. And there may be some adoption rite or similar. But it seems likely to be very damn rare, and possibly necessarily magical in nature (such as involving the intervention of a Telmori deity). 

11 minutes ago, soltakss said:

Some extremists may think that. Most might prefer mating with Telmori, as only Telmori understand Telmori mating. However, some might think that mating with humans is fine.

Well, Your Glorantha Can Vary significantly if you want. 

But the official write-ups, both RQ3 and forthcoming, say it is considered bestiality and carries the death penalty. Obviously there is some way to get around it, but I don't think is simply a matter of personal preference. 

The Dorastor RQ3 writeup, for example, says (under spirits of retribution) that it is considered one of the worst possible crimes, worse than murder or cannibalism (which merely merit exile and excommunication) and equivalent to murdering a chief or rune lord, and merits being hunted down and killed, with the magical assistance of Telmor to increase the tracking skills of the hunters. 

28 minutes ago, soltakss said:

I'm generally not that keen on blanket statements.

Sure, and I get that in your games players often play pretty fast and loose with significant cult tenets, and no reason you can't find a reason to sidestep the rule for individual situations in this case too (as happened with the House of Sartar obviously), or vary your Glorantha, I'm just pointing out what the cult tenets are. 

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The actual statements about the Telmori and outsiders are:

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Marriage with an outsider is considered to be bestiality and forbidden on pain of death.

Dorastor: Land of Doom p120

Packs avoid marriage with people who are closer than second cousins, but do not marry outside the Telmori, which would be ‘bestiality.’

The Coming Storm p126

Note what is forbidden is not sex with outsiders but marriage.  The death penalty can be considered a Dorastran punishment rather than a Sartarite one (as the latter have a pretty well-known counter-example).  

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