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Hello everyone, tonight I'm going to discuss spirits - that's right, the headache of the Awakened world.

Now, you might be saying: "Are you nuts!? They're hard enough to deal with as it is! Why do anything with them?" That's a good question, mind you. I felt I may have thought up something that was partly reasonable in, not just dealing with high powered spirits, but possibly low powered ones too - making them a little more desirable without over-abusing them by much.

This concept is still in the rought draft stage, but I wanted to see others opinions on the idea, if not the the immediate mechanics of it.

Contract Binding
Metamagic technique!

Contract Binding is the age old concept of signing legal documents with supernatural entities - you do something for them, they do something for you. Stealing this concept, Professor NoSurnamey devised a metamagic technique that allowed him to perform safer summoning rituals with spirits by making mutually agreed upon conditions for their use. Being a magical contract, the mage cannot break the writ and rule, but neither can the spirit (as the contract limits the 'concept' of the spirit temporarily).

Magical contracts work as thus: In exchange for not allowing particular actions from either spirit or summoner, the Binding ritual receives a bonus or penalty to the tests involved. a condition that limits what the summoner may have the spirit do, for example, gives the summoner a little extra edge in summoning by causing the spirit to be more willing in his appearance (in short: you create a threshold for the spirits force dice, limited potential drain). Likewise, a condition that limits the spirit from doing something to the summoner (or others, or just plain on its own accord) Provides the Summoner with added safeties with his summoning, but also makes it harder on him to perform the ritual (the summoner is penalized by a certain amount of dice).

Note that no matter what conditions either side may make, unless both agree to the conditions, the benefits of a Contract Binding will not come into effect. This may require the summoner to perform a negotiation test with the spirit, or else make some alternative offers in order to ease the process.

Regardless of conditions set, a summoner may NOT bind a spirit with more conditions than he has binding dice. So if you have binding 3, you may only take up to 3 'points' of conditions. This does not include conditions that do not cost dice.

Possible conditions could be as follows:

The spirit cannot/will not cause havoc if it 'goes out of control'. This usually results in the spirit simply leaving, but if the spirit truly wishes to stay, they may without fear of services out of their summoner (they are still bound by the contract, however). Such spirits will leave by next sunrise or sunset regardless. This applies if the mage is unconcious, dying, or dead.
-2 binding dice

The Summoner promises not to use the spirit for particular actions, which can include the use of powers, use in specific area's, or even participating in combat (supporting the mage is considered separating from fighting for the mage). If the spirit is attacked, it may defend itself, but it will not willingly put itself in harms way if it can be helped. If there is no way to keep the spirit safe, but the spirit is still made to help the mage in support, an extra service is used for each situation.
-3 binding dice in exchange for +3 to spirits resistance threshold If you choose combat.
-1 binding dice for +1 to SRT per other restriction (GM negotiable, some things might be worth more than others)

The summoner gives the spirit free will, though the spirit is still obliged to perform a service as normal, they cannot be used to fuel spells using their own force, and they may act in their own way if they desire, so long as it still fits services that may be involved. It's usually implied the spirit won't attack the summoner with this agreement, but particularly angry spirits have been known to rough up their summoner in acts of rage if the summoner is forgetful.
-2 binding dice for a +1 to spirit resistance threshod, or just -1 binding die if you don't require your safety from their actions (Hopefully you trust the spirit!).

The summoner offers the spirit an offering or sacrifice of its choosing in exchange for their services, usually pre-picked. Offerings can be as simply as a good soy burger for lesser spirits, or the burning of something expensive for a stronger spirit (of fire). Offerings can also sometimes involve acts of service from the summoner as well, such as performing community service for a park (nature spirits).
By 'paying' extra nuyen equal to half the cost of ritual materials involved, you may 'buy' an extra service from a successful binding. These payments are only used up if you succeed in binding the spirit (though an uncontrolled spirit may destroy them too). As long as you successfully bind the spirit to one service and are still conscious, offerings will give you the extra services and be consumed as appropriate.

One of the more gruesome contracts a summoner can use is a contract of life force - the summoner literally uses his own physical well being to fuel the spirit. Unlike Blood Sacrifice, this sort of binding is temporary. Penalties accrued in this fashion last until the spirit is dismissed entirely, free from services, or is otherwise destroyed and no longer bound to you.
For every point of physical attribute you give up (you can't go to 0 in an attribute), you can exchange one binding die for 1 point of Spirit Resistance Threshold. If you sacrifice physical health boxes, you instead get the point of SRT, without paying the binding dice (1:1 ratio). health spent this way is effectively 'used' and unavailable from then on. The summoner cannot be healed of these lost boxes by any means. Once the bound spirit is no longer bound (by whatever reasoning) The summoner can heal these lost boxes as normal, but not by magical means (consider it like drain). Naturally, a mage cannot kill themselves using this method, for their death ends all contracts they place, so the spirit isn't obliged to stay from that point on (with the exception of the condition of not causing havoc).

I don't think this really is a metamagic technique, so much as something the magician could just do. Depending on your tradition the act of binding a spirit may allready be like making a contract. While a hermetic using their binding materials as bindings to force the spirit into extended service, a shaman's binding materials may be a gift to convince the spirit into extended service.

Generally speaking, unless your making a spirit do something they don't like (like draining their force, or causing them to be disrupted), I don't think you need to make special conditions. Spirits obviously allready feel some sort of obligation to help their summoner, perhaps they like existing outside of the metaplanes, maybe they gain karma for working for a magician, or maybe they really are just magical constructs created to serve mortals.

The price for being friendly/unfriendly with spirits should be handled with roleplay, and the use of edge. I spirit who likes their summoner and agrees to the terms of their binding is more likely to fulfil their services to the best of their ability and use edge to help their summoner when needed, while a spirit who dislikes their summoner will attempt to pervert their summoner and will use edge to resist summoning and binding attempts.
True, but regardless of the spirits relationship to the summoner, the dice test is always the same (except for when karma gets used on either side). I had just wanted a sort of way to ease the flow by a certain amount here and there. *shrugs*

It was a spontaneous idea, so I wasn't expecting it to succeed. Thank you for the post though. Hopefully I'll see more on it too, to get a spread around feel.
Ancient History
The idea of such contracts has been passed around evr'y now and again (usually in regards to free spirits) - the original Faustian bargain, in many ways - but the current rules for spirit pacts kinda rule them out as more than fluff.

Besides, and you have to ask yourself this, who would enforce the contract in event of a breech?
As noted, you can't voluntarily breech a contract (though I didn't expand on cosequences of somehow breaking one). Basically, the mutual agreement of both binder and spirit makes it impossible to cheat and lie the spirit to just make the binding easier. You have to live up to the contract or bad things happen. If the binder breaks the rules somehow, then the spirit could go uncontrolled, automatically be allowed to leave regardless of services and conditions, etc.

A spirit can't in theory break the conditions, they will either sit there and do nothing if they run into a contradictory state, or they will simply refuse the contract at the start because they are aware of the flaw in design. A particularly moody spirit might simple refuse contracts by default, if the summoner managed to call up a unique one. You can't force a contract without the spirits agreement, or less I suppose you'd have to have a marvel of a threat to convince them to do it. At that point, however, you are probably on the Spirits 'Most Wanted' list.

I did say it was rough draft. ^-^; And I am aware these are similar to free spirit pacts, but this was designed for summoned spirits you'd intend to bind. Not quite like dealing with free spirits.
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