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> Spirit Identities, A list of spirits for various magicians to use
Veritomancer
post Aug 24 2009, 08:14 PM
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I'm new to Dumpshock, but as a huge fan of magicians in Shadowrun (and of Conjuring in particular) I figured that it might be helpful to start a list of inventive ideas for the sorts of spirits magicians of various traditions might summon. I mean it's rather easy to say that your Hermetic magician is summoning a "Fire Spirit" but it's so much more evocative to say that he's summoning "Uz'clur the Salamander" or to say that your Muslim conjurer is summoning one of the fabled Djinn that helped build Solomon's temple.

So here are some of my ideas as far as the possible identities for various spirit types (as seen through the lens of various traditions) feel free to add on to the list.

Vodoun: Spirits of man could be the spirits of long-dead Houngans or Mambos that have gone home to serve the loa. Guardian spirits might be servants of Ogun, lord of the Iron blade who will fortify the Houngan in battle. Great Form spirits summoned via invoking are likely to be considered Loa themselves- Baron Samedi might be represented mechanically by a formidable great-form spirit of man that is summoned through the drinking of rum, elaborate veves, and an offering of the finest cigars.

European Witchcraft: Task spirits are likely to be Fieldlings or similiar minor fae creatures, summoned with a bowl of milk and a stale crust of bread and warded off with an iron horseshoe if they get too mischievous. Fire spirits might be fae creatures of the hearth, by turns nurturing and wrathful. Plant spirits are likely to be interpreted as Dryads or Flower Fairies, and might be appeased by the nurturing of their respective "home plants".

Christian Theurgy: Guardian spirits are likely to be warrior angels, called by a righteous prayer to shield the elect. Fire spirits might be Seraphim wielding flaming swords and wreathed by an aura that scorches the sinful.

Self-Taught Magicians: Maybe a little awakened girl has guardian spirits following her around that look much like giant teddy bears-walking talking "imaginary friends" who won't let any harm come to their favorite playmate. Spirits of beasts might take the form of the ghosts of loyal pets, still wagging their tails and panting happily even as they manifest with the wounds that killed them.

Perhaps a self-taught magician believes that the spirits come from various aspects of his or her personality and so all of the spirits he or she summons look like him or her seen through a different lens: a beast spirit is what the person would be like if he gave in to animalistic urges, a fire spirit representing his passionate and impulsive side, the earth spirit representing passivity and steadiness.

Does anyone else have any more ideas?
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Bull
post Aug 24 2009, 08:23 PM
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Welcome to Dumpshock, Veritomancer!

I know to an extent we've adapted versions of some of your ideas in our home games over the years. Obviously tradition is going to factor in greatly here.

Under the old editions, when the Hermetic vs Shamanistic traditions were split up more, we used to rule that Shamanistic Spirits, the ones that you could summon on the fly but only lasted till the next Sunup or Sundown, came in "fully formed". The personalities they manifested would usually be impacted by both the tradition of the summoner, and the area we were summoning it in. A Hearth pPirit summoned up inside an Italian Restaurant that was a Mafia Hangout, for example, might show up as a 1930's Gangster. A spirit that we summoned on the docks in a heavily polluted (but not quite toxic) area showed up looking a bit like Ghost Rider, pissed off and angry.

Meanwhile Elementals usually had no personality, because Hermetics often didn't see them that way. THey were more formulaic in their approach, so the sElementals would show up with little personality beyond what might be reflected in their element (Slow and rumbling for earth, angry for fire, etc). The longer a mage kept their spirit bound (I had a mage who did his best to befriend his elementals, and who would rebind them on a regular basis, so throughout his entire career, he usually had the same handful of bound spirits), the more they would develop a personality, usually imprinted on them by the mage.

But yeah, this is great roleplaying overall, and something that should be encouraged. It adds detail and life to something that can very easily become as routine as "I shoot them with my Predator".

Bull
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Meatbag
post Aug 25 2009, 01:50 AM
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Do keep in mind that there's quite a bit of variation even within traditions, and that several similar beliefs may be lumped under the same general header.

One Wuxing mage may bind a plant spirit by writing an elaborate contract on a bolt of silk, citing his metaphysical standing in the Celestial Order, then burning it.

Another mage, following the exact same tradition, may pace the Wood Tiger constellation around a well-tended tree, threatening its Least God with a terrible curse if it does not immediately manifest.

Same tradition, same goal. and they both work, but these two mages likely won't get along at all.
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Veritomancer
post Aug 25 2009, 02:05 AM
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Quite true-and that's the wonderful thing about magical traditions is that while they're full of distinctive flavor, they can easily be adapted to fit the sort of spell-slinger you want to play.

A Black Magician's summoned creatures are likely to be demons or elemental creatures drawn from tomes like the Lesser Key of Solomon, the Satanic Bible, and Paraseculus's work. I'd also imagine that a binding test with a black magician would be more like an intense corporate meeting than a ritual, as the spirit appears within the solomonic circle and asks "So what's in it for me?". Spirits of air might be imps or similiar stealthy and mischevious demons, whereas fire spirits might be wrathful fallen angels that bring down the fires of hell upon the magician's foes (or perhaps the magician, if he's not careful with what he says).

One thing that I've considered as an idea for a summoner type character is a possession tradition self-taught mage who's a devout Charismatic Pentecostal who believes that the spirits he summons are aspects of the Holy Spirit, come to impart their wisdom and power to the devout, and to turn aside his foes. He'd certainly be loath to command them willy-nilly, making his relationship with them more like that of your typical Shaman than any hermetic magician.

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