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Spirits


Noita

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From what I understand everything in Glorantha has spirits...rocks, trees etc.

So what happens when something is constructed using several things, such as  furniture?

Does something built from wood and stone have a wood spirit and a stone spirit or is a Bench spirit conceived?

Or is it a dead thing? Does a house have a spirit?

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A bit of this was discussed for ships in Men of the Seas.

Quite often substances don't have a single spirit, but form a collective spiritual agent for interaction. Activities like crafting leave spiritual marks as well, not tied to substance, but tied to shapes. All of these fall together to a new whole.

Except when they don't if certain parts aren't integrated well.

 

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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28 minutes ago, Iskallor said:

From what I understand everything in Glorantha has spirits...rocks, trees etc.

So what happens when something is constructed using several things, such as  furniture?

Does something built from wood and stone have a wood spirit and a stone spirit or is a Bench spirit conceived?

Or is it a dead thing? Does a house have a spirit?

Looking at real world animism (and shamanism), the answer is quite broad. Using a house as an example, it may have an overall house spirit, and/or individual room spirits. There could be a spirit of all the furniture, or just Grandma's chair. The answer is variable. It also depends on what you are trying to contact in the house. If you are blessing the house, you may experience the house spirit. If you are blessing the room where a birth is going to take place you could meet the spirit of the room or the house or both. The bench could have a bench spirit, and/or wood and stone spirits or be part of a greater bench spirit that is all the benches in a park, or just the park spirit of which the bench is part of...

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On 5/27/2016 at 2:15 AM, David Scott said:

Looking at real world animism (and shamanism), the answer is quite broad. Using a house as an example, it may have an overall house spirit, and/or individual room spirits. There could be a spirit of all the furniture, or just Grandma's chair. The answer is variable. It also depends on what you are trying to contact in the house. If you are blessing the house, you may experience the house spirit. If you are blessing the room where a birth is going to take place you could meet the spirit of the room or the house or both. The bench could have a bench spirit, and/or wood and stone spirits or be part of a greater bench spirit that is all the benches in a park, or just the park spirit of which the bench is part of...

So in "made" objects, do you end up with "one big happy family" situations, with (e.g.) a matriarch/patriarch(*) "house spirit" and individual "children" in the room-spirits?  Older "teen" for larger and more-prestigious rooms, younger for the smaller/informal rooms?  Or is it more a "quarrelsome" than a "happy" family?  Or are the spirits more independent of one another?  Or compositing, in a multi-facets-of-larger-whole?  Or something broken -- like a human "split personality disorder"

Or are ALL those human referrents irrelevant???  Or...?  

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4 hours ago, g33k said:

Or is it more a "quarrelsome" than a "happy" family?

I'd say 'It depends'!  I think it really comes down to whatever makes MGF in the context of the game you're running. 

In my old Imther campaign, each clan had specific seasonal spirits which they honored.  These were not static and unmutable, but depended on the needs of the community.  It was not uncommon for a community to shift their spirits, much like they might change who's on the clan ring.  And many spirits became unhappy with such choices as when the Woman of the Long Reeds was offended and cursed a village with disease.  These spirits were often associated with specific locations, had relationships with other nearby spirits, etc.

In my current Orlmarth campaign, my PC's ventured into the Spirit World and encountered the Assembly of Small Spirits - many spirits that once inhabited a small grove in the material world, but had been lost and forgotten.  Though they all honored Little Rock, their ostensible leader, they were typically quarrelsome, jealous, or envious - petty in their demands and needs.  Yet in other places, the spirits were well-ordered and well-behaved.

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9 hours ago, g33k said:

So in "made" objects, do you end up with "one big happy family" situations, with (e.g.) a matriarch/patriarch(*) "house spirit" and individual "children" in the room-spirits?  Older "teen" for larger and more-prestigious rooms, younger for the smaller/informal rooms?  Or is it more a "quarrelsome" than a "happy" family?  Or are the spirits more independent of one another?  Or compositing, in a multi-facets-of-larger-whole?  Or something broken -- like a human "split personality disorder"

Or are ALL those human referrents irrelevant???  Or...?  

(Note that this is a materialist's attempt to quantify things from an animist perspective).

From the animist perspective, there are aspects of the spirit world tied to everything in the mundane world, even to items/material mostly connected to divine or essence realms. It is this that the spirits interact with.

A spirit may have a well defined appearance, or a set of these, but its manifestations rely strongly on the people on the mundane world they interact with. People in this sense includes sentient beings, animals, plants, other manifest spirits, and items.

In order to manifest a spirit, it takes a gift of magic from the mundane world. The gift may be given by a minor ceremony . a smoke, a song, a touch. It involves assigning a name to the spirit manifested. That name needn't be the result of a sentient calling out syllables, but may reflect naturally occorring events and moods. "A whisp of light in a gentle breeze upon leaves", for instance.

Ambient spirits gain their identity from the stuff they emerge from, initially. Assigning a name cements this identity. Giving a consciously chosen name to something that already has another name will add to the identity, and define the interaction with the name-giver.

(A leftover of animism is an engineer's habit to curse at engines and equipment. Personifying these inanimate objects is an attempt at a charm to complement the craft or scientific method applied. Whether or not it helps the material process, this does help the human vent his exasperation and focus on his task. We hope...)

In applying magic to a target, the magician calls forth a property of the material. Pronouncing the sharpness of a blade, or its dulling, pronouncing an earlier state of integrity of an item, or challenging the integrity of an item or a being. (Bladesharp, Dullblade, Repair, Shatter...) This is an act of animist naming for manifesting the spirit pronouncing this specific property, though not really an identity. That identity remains with the spell (spirit the caster integrated into his magical make-up).

There are a lot of potential spirit entities in an item that can be called forth. Some of these can become people in the sense above, and have an identity. They can contribute to another identity related to the same ambience or object, or they can interact with that identity from person to person (using person as singular of people in the sense above, here).

 

Gotta catch a bus, maybe more later.

Edited by Joerg
bad phrasing on identity of spirit spells

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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It may be a mistake to separate the objects and their spirits as two different entities. Does the "spirit" of an object inhabit it, or is it instead an image of it on the spirit plane, like it would be a kind of soul ? The spirit is actually the object. The spirit itself would then be consubstancial to the object, and not inhabit it. A piece of furniture would not result in the gathering of wood and craft spirits, but would give birth to a new "furniture" spirit.

In a homocentrist point of vue, one could even say that (some?) spirits are created or are gaining reality only when conceived, named, summoned, or in any way involved in an interaction. As would say the famous Great Shamans Ay-Zen-Berg and Shröd-Ingair.

 

But that's only a game, we can imagine whatever we want.

Wind on the Steppes, role playing among the steppe Nomads. The  running campaign and the blog

 

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The object is not the spirit - it remains if the spirit is banished, drained or whatever. Also, an object may only temporarily be affected by a spirit - as in spirit spells like bladesharp or glow. Likewise, the spirit of an object may well survive the destruction of the object - in fact, that is how I picture all these bladesharp spells to have come into existence. Probably from flint blades or similar.

Sometimes (or rather quite often), the magic is in the shape, not in the object. As in ritual masks. The spirit invoked when wearing the mask in a ritual is not inhabiting the mask, but will be drawn to its representation, and strengthened by it. Choice of material with a spirit affinity to the target spirit will of course increase the efficiency of the mask, the spirit(s) inside the artifact joining up with the target spirit, but the mask won't be the spirit outside of the ritual.

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Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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On 30 May 2016 at 9:40 PM, g33k said:

So in "made" objects, do you end up with "one big happy family" situations, with (e.g.) a matriarch/patriarch(*) "house spirit" and individual "children" in the room-spirits?  Older "teen" for larger and more-prestigious rooms, younger for the smaller/informal rooms?  Or is it more a "quarrelsome" than a "happy" family?  Or are the spirits more independent of one another?  Or compositing, in a multi-facets-of-larger-whole?  Or something broken -- like a human "split personality disorder"

Or are ALL those human referrents irrelevant???  Or...?  

Part of the problem with Animism (and the practice of shamanism) is that it's experiential. There's no liturgy or doctrine that specifies what's going to be there ahead of time. It's down to the purpose of your visit to the spirit world as to what will you will meet when you get there. In an RPG, you want to know what's there ahead of time for the GMs sake. So everything you wrote above is true, including the last line.

Disharmony in a spirit situation is likely to be caused by external forces. a quarrelsome spirit in a house is likely indicative of something going on, like the breaking down of a relationship between those living in the house. Disease spirits found in a house might be indicative of an illness present in someone, but hidden. A completely out of place spirit might be portend something happening, etc. 

I've often toyed with the idea of running an introduction to shamanism at cons, but it would take too much con time (I normally run courses over 6 six weeks, one evening a week). An afternoon wouldn't do the subject any justice.

 

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40 minutes ago, David Scott said:

Part of the problem with Animism (and the practice of shamanism) is that it's experiential. There's no liturgy or doctrine that specifies what's going to be there ahead of time. It's down to the purpose of your visit to the spirit world as to what will you will meet when you get there. In an RPG, you want to know what's there ahead of time for the GMs sake. So everything you wrote above is true, including the last line.

I am disappointed that shamanism / crossing over the border/veil in person, or summoning across the border is represented as the only form of spirit interaction.

I want a practitioner to be able to interact with spirits approaching the border to the mundane world, or extending themselves into the mundane world. You don't get the variety of spirit contacts a shaman gets, but you do get to interact with those spirits who are drawn to the world of the living.

 

40 minutes ago, David Scott said:

I've often toyed with the idea of running an introduction to shamanism at cons, but it would take too much con time (I normally run courses over 6 six weeks, one evening a week). An afternoon wouldn't do the subject any justice.

How about a seminar sprinkled with samples of play instead?

Telling how it is excessive verbis

 

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49 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I am disappointed that shamanism / crossing over the border/veil in person, or summoning across the border is represented as the only form of spirit interaction.

I want a practitioner to be able to interact with spirits approaching the border to the mundane world, or extending themselves into the mundane world. You don't get the variety of spirit contacts a shaman gets, but you do get to interact with those spirits who are drawn to the world of the living.

That should be in HeroQuest Glorantha (it's the Prax book where the text can from), Practitioners can take one step into the spirit world (so they are very localised), Shaman's assistants can enter fully and take a few people (including non-spirit practitioners), Shaman enter fully, can take more people and have a protective fetch.

Some spirits can corporate into the Middle World, but not all. As a practitioner, you get access to the Tradition spirits (spirits with the same runes as the tradition, and those of any spirit society you are a member of. Shaman can get you spirits from their societies, and if Daka Fal, spirits with any runes with a back story. 

49 minutes ago, Joerg said:

How about a seminar sprinkled with samples of play instead?

Possibly, but that maybe a bit specialised for a con (might just be me and you :-)

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