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If I am a shaman that adores spirits and worships the ground they float over, but everytime I summon one it gets hurt due to enemies, is that mistreating it?

If yes, how much does a spirit have to get hurt to be considered mistreated?

If it is unintentional is it still mistreating?

Do intentions even matter in this case?

Is only disruption considered mistreating when it comes down to things like this?

Do spirits believe in a "noble cause" or for the most part are they apathetic about the morality and nobility of their services?(This also depends on the tradition, of course)

What do you believe mistreating spirits to be? Where does it begin and end?
Dread Polack
The book doesn't give a lot of guidance in this. Personally, I find it wrong to force anyone to do something if they haven't decided to follow your command, such as a soldier who signed up. If you really wanted to be fair, you'd summon and ask if it wants to help, and why would it ever. If summoning (and binding for that matter), was something good magicians did in good conscious, then it must be assumed that spirits don't have the same sort of free will as metahumans. They may live for a purpose of some kind, and as long as you don't force them to go against it, they will be willing to go along with things.

Binding them for exceptionally long periods without their consent, dissolving them for power, or get them constantly whacked, then that's probably abusive. But what about a phantom berserker warrior or an angelic spirit? Wouldn't they be willing to be disrupted for a good cause/ good fight?

I have trouble with this one as well.

Dread Polack
It really only mentions that Free Spirits have a real problem being bound. Other spirits, so long as you're not abusing them, apparently don't really have much of a problem with it.

Constantly dissolving them for power definitly sticks at the top of my "10 ways to really torque off the spirits" list.
any binding attempts...
not giving them a say in the combat...
you know grabbing them by the beard throwing them to the ground stepping on their face and declaring "I AM YOUR MASTER!"
things like that...
if your shaman adores spirits talk to your GM...
getting 'hurt' in combat isn't, or shouldn't be much of an issue for spirits. I will caveat this by suggesting that this can be slightly different if you are using spirits primarily against enemy mages or spirits.

Against mundanes, not mistreatment at all. Even if they manage to blow the spirit out of the 'real world' with a Panther Assault cannon they haven't really done anything too it.

Against mages, then they are more likely to banish it than anything else, so again, not a major problem for most spirits. Gosh, I was sent home, boo freaking hoo...

Spirit vs. Spirit? Dunno, probably not too bad a mistreatment. If you are sending fire against water you might presume they ENJOY jacking with the opposed element, even if it hurts. Unless your GM is describing the victorious spirit ritually consuming the essence of his slain opponent, I'd just assume that the defeated spirit.... goes home.

The difficulty comes with adepts and killing hands or mages who prefer to burn down opposed spirits with attack magic. Presumably, even if this doesn't kill the spirit permanently, they are suffering real pain, and their dissolution is going to be a drastic one any way you cut it. Of course, I believe there was a comment about spirits retreating from a lost fight as part of the normal summoning. They don't fight to the actual 'death' unless forced.

But I'm out of my depth on this one, so I'll let experts handle it...
Burning the spirits, that is using services that cost them Force, would be considered abuse if used often. Now and then in dire situtations it might not be considered such. Sending a spirit against incredible odds without assistance could also be considered abuse.

There was an old published mission, probably in one of the books I haven't been able to find, where a Free Spirit was hunting mages who abused spirits. It would show up, offer a sort of Spirit Pact, make the caster dependant on them and then kill them. Something to think about.
Also, virtually any tactic involving spirits that annoys the GM is potentially abusive to the spirit and may earn Spirit Bane. wink.gif
Spirit abuse is an interesting subject, and one that falls outside of a real defined rule set. You can make some generalizations, however itís one of those things that is nearly entirely up to the GM. It may even differ from character to character.

Any time you ask the spirit to hurt itself. So things like spell sustaining where youíre depleting the energy of the spirit in order to have a spell maintained. Or asking a spirit to sustain physical drain, for example overcast a spell via its innate spell power or create a ward at its maximum possible strength (2x Magic)

SR Magic hinges directly on the belief system of the magician as well. So Mages who believe that the spirits it summons donít exist until they are summoned and exist only to serve the will of the mage might get away with more than a Shaman who believe their spirits are like friends to be treated as equals.

Consider an analogy, what do you see as acceptable ways to treat a horse? You may have an incredible bond with your horse and still ask it to carry you into battle, and potentially die as a result. Now horses arenít sentient, as spirits are, so the analogy can only go so far. However, I can say that I know horses smarter and more empathetic than some people.
I'd probably play it by ear. If the PC is acting like a jerk toward the spirit or constantly rebinding one and setting it off on dangerous tasks, I'd consider it mistreatment. I don't think intentions matter, just as they don't matter on any other living creature. And as Spike pointed out, mundane combat or being banished should bother a spirit.
It is more a roleplaying matter than anything else. A mage may see a spirit as nothing more than a ectoplasmic robot and any orders he might presume to give it is nothing more than what a rigger may give to a drone - drones don't have feelings. A shaman may have to persuade the spirit to do what he wants, even something as trivial as sending the spirit to do his laundry may be seen as degrading and "abusive".

A mage may view rebinding as nothing more than recharging the "batteries". And using a spirit to sustain a spell nothing more than connecting up the "batteries".
Just draw the line at the characters dikoting their spirit and having sex with them. wink.gif
Here is me praying that Dikoting never quite gets translated into SR4....
it's rare for a spirit to get actually hurt in combat. the worst that usually happens is that they get disrupted and can't be summoned for a month. magic isn't really my thing, so i'm not positive, but i don't think there actually is a way to permanently kill a spirit. banishing, as i recall, just disrupts them.

edit: SL James reminded me. the only way to permanently kill a spirit is to travel to its home metaplane and kill it there. so, yeah, i don't see most spirits getting too upset about getting hurt in the course of performing services for summoners.
Kyoto Kid
QUOTE (Demerzel)
Spirit abuse is an interesting subject...

...hmm gives me an idea for a poligroup.

Anyway, I have been wrestling with this issue myself. There is a PC mage who has on several occasions called on a specific spirit to boost her Charisma so that she can have better odds at binding and invoking other summoned spirits. I've been trying to roleplay the spirit as becoming a bit weary and perturbed of this but it seems to have little effect.

Time for a god like bitch slap to the PC maybe?
QUOTE (djinni)
you know grabbing them by the beard throwing them to the ground stepping on their face and declaring "I AM YOUR MASTER!"

You mean spirits don't like this kind of treatment?? I thought my spirits were the manifestation of my S&M fantasies though...
You had em(spirits) start using edge to resist yet, Kyoto?

Cause if I was being use to enslave my fellows, it would start to piss me off. Have the next run be a cakewalk maybe, but they get jumped by a free spirit thats pissed that the PC is playing god-emperor of the spirit realm.
i've often thought that there should be more codified rules for handling spirit attitudes. for instance, it makes little sense for a devout christian summoner to be antagonized by the angels he summons; they're instruments of divine will, not beings enslaved to the summoner's will. on the other hand, a summoner who practices dark arts might very well bind demons to his service against their wishes, forcing them to do his bidding. in that case, it makes perfect sense for the spirits to chafe against his yoke. default spirit attitude, i think, probably ought to be listed like any other advantage/disadvantage.
.....yeeeessssss, but-

The problem with that is not only is there a default attitude, there would be what they're willing to do for you. I mean, okay, binding a demon. They may resist as hard as they can. Then again, a demon's thing is usually screwing with humans, so maybe they want to be summoned. If it's a succubus type demon, and you want it to do illusiony things to people that will get them hurt, it's probably okay with that. Might even use edge to make sure it does it good. If it's a big bad destructive demon, and you're like, "Go create a distraction by killing as many innocents as you can in that crowd." He'll probably be cool with that as well. Healing someone, or doing nice things, etc, thats when they might start fighting you.

And then to stick to the religious angle, angels will probably be more along the lines of the Genie from Aladdin(*poof* whaddya need?!) You ask em nice, it's for a good cause, sure no problem. You want em to go rip apart a couple corp wageslaves just cause they're doing a better job defending themselves than you thought they would, the angel is gonna fight you like hell.

And these behaviors are going to differ for every single trad. Instead of making up rules for each and every one, it seems better just to leave it under the blanket statement, "GMs discretion." I mean, sure, you could create the rules, and you could probably even make em work, but then you'd have to remember more rules, and in the long run the GM is going to be determining what the spirits are and are not willing to tolerate. I say just leave it as is, and if your PCs are playing a mage that summons goody two shoes spirits and asks them to do bad things, have the spirits fight him, and reduce the karma awards at the end of the run if his character idea is "Kindly Father Timothy" but he's playing him like Genghis Kahn.

Just my 2 cents.
How about a warning from the spirit? If the GM doesn't think that a spirit of a specific tradition wouldn't do something because of the belief structure of that tradition then they can warn them. If they still have them do it have the spirit leave a "Spirit Mark" in the aura of the caster. Once you get enough of these you get a spirit bane. If you help out a spirit or actually negotiate with them (do something in their honor or such) then it could take away a spirit mark.

On the other hand you could have a positive spirit mark for casters that are especially kind to spirits that could develop a spirit affinity.

You could also have spirit bane act as an intimidation bonus for banishing instead of as a penalty.
Kyoto Kid
...a little more background. The mage in question follows Voudoun which is a possession tradition. I have read through the tradition and rules on Possession. would it make sense that a if a spirit became perturbed ("pissed" in my vernacular means "drunk") enough it may try and possess the summoning mage? If it succeeded, would it then have control of her? Or, could it convince a spirit she attempts to bind to possess her? It would make a nice "punishment fits the crime" scenario since she usually uses her bound spirits to possess others basically to eliminate them as a threat or force them to "comply" by having the spirit take away their free will.

In a way her treatment of spirits appears much like the "ectoplasmic robot" Toturi mentioned above. I will say that I am not as up on all the nuances and loopholes in the magic & conjuring rules (which is why I tend to stay away from playing mages as PCs) as the playerin question is. I tend to prefer the "hard tech" of SR more and almost wish they went the same route as Cyberpunk did by not including magic (or making it something the characters really don't want to mess with like in Call of Cthulu). The only part of the Awakened world I like are Adepts, but there are other ways they can be designed (I even wrote a proposal for an alternative adept rule system because of the old Magic Loss rule which crocked adepts more than it did spellcasters).

Anyway, magic is a large part of the Shadowrun and I cannot change that. I just need better (and more sneaky) ways to occasionally slap mages upside the noggin when they step out of line.
The feel I got for spirits (and some useful tips out of the WoD books involving spirits) is that summoning usually qualifies as a sort of bargaining process - you supply the magical power to 'bribe' it to come out and help you. A spirit doesn't have to like this said process - it's simply part of the nature of spirits, they can't help it, so they accept it. That partly explains why summoning a high level spirit has extra risks involved as far as insulting them go - they are borderline gods in their own right, if not of the world then of their spirit kind.

To borrow on the WoD concept, a spirit simply is its concept. A beast spirit is a representation of its said beast, which may be mythical, and usually involving several would be concepts 'like sneaky, hard bargaining, wise, etc". They can't defy their nature without being corrupted by other influences. A spirit of lust (probably man) is all about the lust - they may know how to fight or plot, but the main theme will almost ALWAYS have the lust involved - tease the bad guy during the fight, steal their belt so their pants drop, the super wedgie of doom and Prostration, etc.

Thus, the best way to abuse the spirit is to make it do something horribly against its nature, or just treat it with disrespect. Low level spirits don't neccessarily mind menial labor as much, since for all we know, higher spirits have them doing stuff anyways, so that leaves something against their nature. And of course, for a higher level spirit, the safest way to get them to do something they might not do is with literal bargaining WITH the services - offer them material goods, more energy, whatever. Spirits do develop fascinations with things like food and the like now and then, and they'll do surprising things for the simplest of items sometimes.

Best way to kick a mage that harasses spirits - develop debt. Make spirits that worked for them previously seek them out for additional payment, and as you throw in regular items, put in a few more exotic or not-so-easy ones.

Demon spirits probably like babies, for example. Lust spirits might want you to schmoozy on with another spirit as they watch (perverts), beast spirits might, amusingly enough, want you to kill a few of an opposing spirits material animal representations to satisfy them (and possibly get you in trouble with the said opposing spirit), etc...
The easiest thing to do as someone already suggested is have spirits resist binding and summoning attempts with edge. If these are air or water spirits the mage will most likely go on a metaplanar quest to Crystalwell pg. 128 Street Magic. In fact, there is no reason why there wouldn't be metaplanes for every tradition out there and all of their spirits. If metaplanes are completely out of the question then it will most likely have to be initiated by the player wanting to change his ways and be willing to treat spirits better. For atonement he should do whatever would make sense for the Voudoun tradition. Which might require some research on the GMs part. You could just also have him summon a spirit and do favors for them. I don't know too much about the loa spirits and the beliefs about them.

according to this wiki article the Mage is incorrectly roleplaying his role with spirits.

It is more of a shaman-like role where the summoner would serve the spirit and not the other way around. It also seems Magic in the Shadows an SR3 book has some information on loa spirits. I don't know how much though.
Kyoto Kid
...thanks for the link.

I do have MiTS & will go back through the section on Loa.
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