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emo samurai
How do you treat your spirits? Do you just kind of assume they're more or less non-sentient and they'll just do what you say, or do you have a mental ritual in which you bow to them? What kind of language do you use when talking to your spirits? Is it formal, chummy, or imperative?

I was thinking of having my character be really respectful to his spirits, minimizing the tasks he has them do whenever possible.

And is it advisable to have your spirits do boring, menial stuff? Like summoning a force 4 water spirit to wash the side of your house?
If you are a shaman then you can be a little more abusive to your spirits.

If you are a mage, summoning elementals costs money using the services could be better spent, in ways better than washing your car or house.

In general I summon them, and force them to pester people who ask tonnes of silly questions.
Purely character perception based interaction in my game. Have hermetics treat their elementals as respected servants, shamens treat their spirits with respect and my PC chaos mage treats them like her friends. One Japanese Shinto follower treats his summoned ancestor spirit with obvious great respect and elementals as minor Kami.
My rule of thumb as a GM is the more munchkiny a service is the more the spirit will resent it.

Barring outright munchkinous behavior on the part of my players, which is thankfully fairly rare these days, individual incidents with spirits won't automatically cause problems for the player, but long term patterns will affect the mages relation to the spirit world. If the character is abusive and doesn't show any regard for the spirits safety in assigning tasks they will eventually get a bad rep in the spirit world. If the character routinely uses spirits for tasks which weaken them, he'll get a bad rep. Using spirits for mundane tasks isn't necessarily offensive to them, it would depend somewhat on tradition, Hermetics are more likely than Shamans or most other traditions to use spirits as servants.
I've mainly played hermetics and in the past characters have pretty much treated them like servants - ordering, not asking kind of thing. But the last character I made, I decided that I'd have him have a much "closer" relationship to the spirit work and he treated them much better in terms of asking vs commanding, etc. Even down to spending 1/3rd of his karma in improving his ally spirit and only 2/3 on himself. It was an interesting way to do thing, but because it was a short campaign, didn't get to be explored much.
Completely depends on the character. Some are fairly abusive. My shamans generally give them lots of respect and buy them sandwiches and things. My hermetics range a bit more.
Ancient History
"Be careful of the spiritual toes you step on today, they may be attached to the spectral ass you have to kiss tomorrow."
Well, if you were pulled from your spirit realm and 'forced' to do a task, which would you prefer: washing the windows, or doing mortal combat with a Special Forces team?

Thought so.
Dr. Dodge
QUOTE (Toptomcat)
Well, if you were pulled from your spirit realm and 'forced' to do a task, which would you prefer: washing the windows, or doing mortal combat with a Special Forces team?

Thought so.


But yeah, definitely a character-by-character basis on how they interact. Ditto for too much abuse and the spirits stop-a-comin or are harder to deal with. I think it's been fairly established that, while not completely sentient, spirits don't like to be treated like an old pair of shoes (this is the garden variety not including allies, etc.)
Wounded Ronin
I always felt that spirits had motivations world views totally incomprehensible to people and thus they do whatever the summoner makes them do within the constraints of the rules.
emo samurai
I figure that each metaplane has a philosophy particular to it. The fire metaplane wants to see things burn, the plane of air wants to have power without substance, the earth metaplane wants to create the permanence through change, and the plane of water wants to caress and soak the universe with its substantial intangibility.
We do know there are a few things spirits don't like to do - manifest, support spells, lose force, etc. Presumably they also dislike being disrupted (since that's why they don't like to manifest). But aside from that, there's no reaosn to assume they especially dislike any other tasks, such as dikoting or sex.
QUOTE (nezumi)
spirits don't like to do - manifest, support spells, lose force, etc.

Did you mean materialise?

In my games, magicians treat elementals like drones: a tool for the job, made entirely of some primary element and devoid of personality. In contrast, Shamen treat their spirits with respect because they know full-well that if they abuse spirits their Totem will take a point of Magic from them, and if they keep disrespecting the resources the Totem makes available to them, that Totem might just deny them any conjuring abilities (or spellcasting bonuses) until they can demonstrate they've learnt their lesson. A bit like the different attitudes casters in D&D have: a mage or sorcerer uses their mental prowess to force magic to do their bidding, whereas a cleric uses their relationship with a higher power to request certain effects take place. Therefore if an Eagle shaman were to ask her summoned spirit to pollute the environment in any way, or if a Sun shaman asked his summoned spirit to do something deceptively ignoble, a service would be spent and the spirit would not follow the order (because as an agent of the Totem, the shaman's orders are at a less significant priority than the Totem's mores). On the other hand, toxic shamen or Adversary shamen, etc. may well be able to get away with asking their spirits to do anything.

Same goes for Great forms (only difference is they are dikoted).

Spirits of the 5 Elements are a kind of middle ground. Wood, Flames, Ground, Metal and Waves. And Winds. An elemental with some personality, perhaps. Not had someone play a Wujen / Path of the Elements shaman yet, but I have a player interested so I'll see what happens.

Ancestor Spirits are entirely up to GM discretion. Some are kindly old grandmothers eager to be helpful and make the most of the time they can spend with their (supposed) descendant. Some are grouchy long-dead meddling old men who resent being disturbed (think Roy's father from Order of the Stick) all too willing to make disparaging remarks about the character's inability to do anything right himself.

Watcher spirits are just a chunk of psychosubstance temporarily brought into being by the summoner's overinflated ego. They can be abused as much and for as long as they can survive it.

Ally spirits and Free spirits have been covered in previous threads.

QUOTE (Platinum)
In general I summon them, and force them to pester people who ask tonnes of silly questions.

Bodak salutes you with respect.
I posted this a while back under the topic "Wash my car".

My current character (fairly high-powered Shaman with a manipulative mindset) tends to treat her spirits like servants. In game situations, it's all pretty mundane stuff (confuse that enemy, conceal our group, etc). In her day-to-day life, I do envision her summoning spirits to do chores like tidying the house, maintaining her landscape, etc.

For people who consider this type of work "demeaning", I would ask you to consider which is worse: Being asked to tidy up a living room or being ordered to engage in a suicidal battle to buy the group some time to run away? The latter may be more "glorious", but hella more painful. "Clean up the room and you can go back to your metaplane" sounds a lot nicer to me.

Now her Ally spirit (just recently conjured) is a completely different ball of wax; she considers and treats her like her "little sister" (inspired by the likes of Kiki's Delivery Service or Skuld from A!MGoddess). The ally spirit doesn't really get "orders" but "requests" and is given a fairly wide latitude of independance (not to mention a fairly healthy 50% earned Karma).
Elementals are tools. Nature spirits are tools that screw up more often. It's not like they're people or anything.

Herald of Verjigorm
Humans are tools that screw up all the time.
In the last campaign I played in, I gave the Earth Elemental I summoned a mug of coffee. He was quite impressed that I had managed to incapsulate all five classic elements in one gift. Needless to say, by that point I had accidently created a free spirit...and quite fortunately befriended it.
I always treat spirits as sentiuent beings. Be polite, be nice. It never hurts and showing repsect to them usually means that they are less likely to screw over your requests. Just like rl.

Elements were more commandable constructs., but it never hurts to be polite. Remember spartacus?
Haven't gotten to play him yet, but the new mage I'm writing up sees spirits as being living beings and therefore entitled to freedom, same as anyone. (He's an anarchist, can you tell? nyahnyah.gif) So when he summons an elemental he negotiates with it, and if he can't offer it anything it wants in return for its help, it gets to go back where he summoned it from. Pain in the ass, sometimes, but he's sticking to his principles.

He sees his Ally Spirit as being somewhat like his offspring -- a life he helped to shape and is therefore responsible for. Right off the bat he's explaining to it that it has rights, and that it can negotiate with him for something in exchange for the things it agrees to do for him -- he can learn spells for it, give it more karma than usual, buy it ice cream to eat when manifested, or whatever. He understands that his Ally Spirit will grow in personality and will and (as he sees it) wisdom and will eventually want to go out on its own, just like a child. He intends to let the Ally Spirit free when it can convince him it is prepared to deal with being on its own, and if it seems unprepared when it starts wanting to be gone, he hopes to negotiate with it to have it stick around a bit longer as they work on making sure its ready. And then he hopes it will visit sometimes.
emo samurai
My dude is going to be pretty much the same way. He'll also ask a lot of questions about life on the metaplanes and the nature of reality.
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