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Shaman Spirit Pacts

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I'm a little confused about a shaman's spirit pacts, as described on p. 358-359 of the rulebook. My understanding is that these pacts are distinct from any bound spirits that the shaman might have, but they still serve a similar purpose. The rules say a spirit involved in a pact serves as "eyes and ears" in the spirit world, allows the shaman to use their magic points, and will fight for them in spirit combat. They will not hold or cast spells. 

So if a shaman makes a pact with a spirit, can they use it's magic points at any time? I would assume they can't use all of a spirit's magic points, as that would put it in danger. Also, if a shaman wants to call a spirit to fight for them, does it need to already be present? The rules don't say anything about how to contact the pact spirit after the initial bargain, so I would guess that a shaman would need to discorporate, find it again, and ask it to come along on an adventure first. 

Any insight into this would be helpful, sorry if it's been brought up on the forums already. 

 

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7 minutes ago, Gallowglass said:

Any insight into this would be helpful, sorry if it's been brought up on the forums already. 

 

Great question! I have never seen this on the boards, and am eager to see what answers this query brings. 

good one!

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9 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

The rules say a spirit involved in a pact serves as "eyes and ears" in the spirit world, allows the shaman to use their magic points, and will fight for them in spirit combat.

The implications of being a shaman's eyes and ears are that the spirit is a) ever watchful and b) in communication with the shaman at all times. So I'd guess that the shaman does not need to go and find them. Perhaps they are like a spiritual guard dog, providing warning and deterrent against aggressors. 

It would not be in a shaman's interests to weaken an active guardian, so magic point usage might be a last resort. Or perhaps if a shaman has several such spirits he can allot each of them different duties at different times: lookout, defender, magic point resource. That way, a spirit whose magic points are used is kept out of harm's way.

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10 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

I would assume they can't use all of a spirit's magic points, as that would put it in danger.

The book covers this. If the spirit is reduced to 3 magic points or less, or 5 fewer than an opponent it is facing in spirit combat, the pact ends.

It seems like spirits captured by the shaman's fetch can do everything a spirit in a pact with the shaman could. Thus, making spirit pacts likely only makes sense to recruit multiple and/or more powerful spirits.

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10 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

I'm a little confused about a shaman's spirit pacts, as described on p. 358-359 of the rulebook. My understanding is that these pacts are distinct from any bound spirits that the shaman might have, but they still serve a similar purpose. The rules say a spirit involved in a pact serves as "eyes and ears" in the spirit world, allows the shaman to use their magic points, and will fight for them in spirit combat. They will not hold or cast spells. 

Will not cast spells for the shaman, but could cast spells for others that need them, given the nature of the spirit but not at the command of the shaman. Can cast spells on itself. For example a spirit could heal a bison rider's mount if ill or injured. Not because the shaman asks it too, but because it might have been an animal healer (Eirtha Initiate).

10 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

So if a shaman makes a pact with a spirit, can they use it's magic points at any time?

Yes.

10 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

I would assume they can't use all of a spirit's magic points, as that would put it in danger.

Yes, but these are IMO emergency points.

10 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

Also, if a shaman wants to call a spirit to fight for them, does it need to already be present?

10 hours ago, Gallowglass said:

The rules don't say anything about how to contact the pact spirit after the initial bargain, so I would guess that a shaman would need to discorporate, find it again, and ask it to come along on an adventure first. 

They hang around the shaman in the spirit world unless off somewhere else as part of the adventure.

Spirits bound by pacts are just like sidekicks in HQG. They are simply spirit helpers that have agreed (with POW) to be friends with the shaman. A bound spirit is different in that the shaman has defeated it and bound it to service. I would personalise these spirits giving them their own magic and abilities if needed. In the case of a Deity (don't forget you can easily modify you chances of finding a deity), I'd make the spirit an avatar or just part of the deity's power. So when meeting Chalana Arroy, you might just have a giant healing spirit as a friend that has all of her rune spells (plus rune points to match). As part of the pact it would tip your Harmony rune +20%, etc. This type of spirit represent to me the normal type of spirit helper that shaman have. They are much more useful and provide game hooks.

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44 minutes ago, CBDunkerson said:

The book covers this. If the spirit is reduced to 3 magic points or less, or 5 fewer than an opponent it is facing in spirit combat, the pact ends.

Missed that, thanks.

46 minutes ago, CBDunkerson said:

It seems like spirits captured by the shaman's fetch can do everything a spirit in a pact with the shaman could. Thus, making spirit pacts likely only makes sense to recruit multiple and/or more powerful spirits.

I was wondering what the point of pacts is at all, but when I looked over the spirit contact table on p. 359, there’s a pretty good chance of contacting a spirit with a POW of 20 or higher. Bargaining may end up being more beneficial than binding for powerful spirits. 

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On 7/5/2019 at 8:16 AM, David Scott said:

Spirits bound by pacts are just like sidekicks in HQG. They are simply spirit helpers that have agreed (with POW) to be friends with the shaman. A bound spirit is different in that the shaman has defeated it and bound it to service. I would personalise these spirits giving them their own magic and abilities if needed. In the case of a Deity (don't forget you can easily modify you chances of finding a deity), I'd make the spirit an avatar or just part of the deity's power. So when meeting Chalana Arroy, you might just have a giant healing spirit as a friend that has all of her rune spells (plus rune points to match). As part of the pact it would tip your Harmony rune +20%, etc. This type of spirit represent to me the normal type of spirit helper that shaman have. They are much more useful and provide game hooks.

I like that there is a system in place for shamans having a more "egalitarian" relationship with spirits. I think having them hang around the shaman makes sense, and is probably what the rules are trying to imply. I worry that what a pact spirit does for the shaman is a bit limited however. What I'll probably do, once my player's character becomes a full shaman that is, is say that they can still ask their pact spirits to cast spells or do other tasks, but they reserve the right to say no, or demand additional sacrifices or favors. 

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13 minutes ago, Gallowglass said:

I like that there is a system in place for shamans having a more "egalitarian" relationship with spirits. I think having them hang around the shaman makes sense, and is probably what the rules are trying to imply. I worry that what a pact spirit does for the shaman is a bit limited however. What I'll probably do, once my player's character becomes a full shaman that is, is say that they can still ask their pact spirits to cast spells or do other tasks, but they reserve the right to say no, or demand additional sacrifices or favors. 

Yes, the shaman begins to not only  be very playable in RQ G (skills, spells and abilities) but show some real depth, a raison d'être.  That is vey cool @David Scott and Gallowglass. Thanks for bringing that forward.

Cheers

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33 minutes ago, Gallowglass said:

they can still ask their pact spirits to cast spells or do other tasks, but they reserve the right to say no, or demand additional sacrifices or favors

Additional sacrifices are quite likely. Perhaps the shaman must take on additional taboos as well.

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12 minutes ago, jajagappa said:

Additional sacrifices are quite likely. Perhaps the shaman must take on additional taboos as well.

Depends how powerful the spirit is... A measly little 20 pointer doesn't really have a lot of leverage. Plenty of other fish (spirits) in the Sea .

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8 minutes ago, Shiningbrow said:

Depends how powerful the spirit is... A measly little 20 pointer doesn't really have a lot of leverage. Plenty of other fish (spirits) in the Sea .

Ya know Shiningbrow, you can not look at life as who has the bigger (fill in the blank). Sometimes it is about the wonder and has nothing to do with the size or even usefulness.

not the beginning of a flame war, please.

Edited by Bill the barbarian
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1 hour ago, Shiningbrow said:

Depends how powerful the spirit is... A measly little 20 pointer doesn't really have a lot of leverage. Plenty of other fish (spirits) in the Sea .

But the 19POW spirit you have a pact with now -- when you need that Befuddle! -- is infinitely more useful than the 30POW spirit you're planning to bargain with, once you finish gathering your ritual components to bump your bargaining effort...

Who has the leverage?

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Although from my HQG campaign, the duck shaman, Joseph Greenbeak, led the PC's into the Spirit Plane and brought them to the Assembly of Small Spirits to get a spirit ally to help in their fight against an invading vough. The spirits here were an assortment, though all had in common that they owed no allegiance to any spirit lord but each other.  They gathered at the Little Rock, a place for independent-minded spirits, though they all desired to make spirit pacts with someone who would honor and remember them (they were rather lonely spirits in a sense and wanted to feel useful). They were small spirits (in RQG terms probably of 1D6+4 POW) and each knew one spirit magic.  Each had a particular requirement that their ally had to fulfill (a taboo). If allied, they would enter a Charm that allowed a direct connection between the PC and the spirit. (I pictured this as perhaps different from a Spirit Binding enchantment at the time - more an object part of the Mundane World, part of the Spirit World through which the connection was maintained.)

To ally them, you had to sing a simple song:

Tell me your name, what do you do?

What do you want me to do for you?

These were some of the spirits that gathered at the Assembly of Small Spirits.

  • Little Rock - Detect Spirit (never stack rocks)
  • Fire toad - Ignite Leaf and Branch (never trust a frog)
  • The Carved Pawn - Detect Aldryami (carve only pinewood)
  • Rust Patch - Dullblade (never sharpen a knife)
  • 6 Green Men - Counter Spell (never cast a Spell)
  • Old Moss Face - Endurance (eat moss once per week)
  • Copper Woman - Command Snake (never harm a snake)
  • Shimmerwind (chosen by Dyrrkind) - Shimmerwind (never harm a Wind Child; shelter charm from raging storms of Storm Bull & the Wild Hunter) - was later devoured by a Hell Hound
  • The Opposkunk (white with black stripes) - Perfumed Spray (challenge any skunk encountered to a duel)
  • Flying Bluefin birds - Shoot True through Water or Shoot True through Air (like quarreling children - what one has, the other wants; feed them water and wind once per week)
  • Burning Cattail (chosen by Aren) - Catch and Release the Sunflame (bathe charm daily in sun or fire)
  • Firefeather Bird - Hurl Flames (rub in fresh ash daily)
  • Starspark - Celestial Spark (never use a Lowfire)
  • Giant beaver - Gnaw through Wood (chew wood daily)
  • Long Hopper - Long Hop (never skip)
  • Thorn Bird - Thorn Feathers (hate soft feathers)
  • Earth Shaker - Quaking Step (never harm a quake beast)
  • Shimmershell beast - Shimmershell (only eat meat of birds)
  • Blinker - Dispel Magic (gained by Joseph)
  • Notrd - Gnarly Root - Trip and Twine (carve runes on smooth bark daily)

Some of them are depicted in this image.

 

Assembly Of Small Spirits-2.GIF

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9 hours ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Ya know Shiningbrow, you can not look at life as who has the bigger (fill in the blank). Sometimes it is about the wonder and has nothing to do with the size or even usefulness.

not the beginning of a flame war, please.

First few pacts for the new shaman... Sure. 

 

8 hours ago, g33k said:

But the 19POW spirit you have a pact with now -- when you need that Befuddle! -- is infinitely more useful than the 30POW spirit you're planning to bargain with, once you finish gathering your ritual components to bump your bargaining effort...

Who has the leverage?

Experienced shaman who's looking for something fairly easy to get isn't going to spend not only the POW, but also be restricted to a very inconveniencing or restricting taboo.

I know it was merely a quick example that came to mind, but consider how many players would be willing to sacrifice 2 POW for that Befuddle (plus a taboo). Gotta be pretty dire situation to do that.

No need for a flame war @Bill the barbarian... Just discussing cost/benefit analysis. It's not in any way inflammatory to suggest that some benefits really aren't worth the price asked/demanded.

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The 2 POW that the shaman sacrifices make him a slightly easier target in spirit combat, but they transfer to the compacted spirit. An 18 POW spirit entering a pact becomes a 20 POW spirit  and its MPs are available to the shaman for casting spells. Presumably the spirit keeps the POW even if the pact is ended by the unresurrectable-death of the shaman or the reducing of the spirit's MP below the thresholds. The POW does,'t come back to the Shaman, so unless the spirit passes it on to another spirit in some sort of spirit-world pact, it ought to retain it.

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