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Omar the Falcon
For the purpose of a NPC, how can you tell the difference between an Insect Shaman and a 'regular' shaman?

I ask, because I want bugs to be a strong antagonist in my game, but later.. once the players have gotten a good grasp on things. I think a story where we have a fairly powerful Inspect Shaman who is trying to summon a queen spirit would work.. where the players can either fail to stop him (or her?) and have a rough time with a queen as well as the shaman, or stop him and have a real shot in ending the threat.

Anyway, do bugs favor specific ethnic groups or (meta)human types? Do they seek out their shamans, or do the shamans generally go looking for them? Is there some sort of 'taint' another shaman or mage might notice, or can they mask such things? Would they be able to mask their entire presence as a shaman (so they can appear mundane.. perhaps as they try to secure hosts for more bug spirits)? I seem to recall reading something about how some will begin to mutate into the totems they serve, even in small ways.. but I dont know if thats canon or not.

Not sure what edition you're playing so I don't know if they've changed the rules or even mentioned them in 4th.

From what I can remember usually Insect Shamans can be of any ethnic group or metatype just like regular shamans. Either the magician seeks them out or the Totem does. It works either way.

As far as the taint stuff goes. I wanna say yes, but I'm not sure. Anyway a Magician or Shaman can always mask when they Initiate, again that is 3rd Edition though.

Magic in the Shadows has all that stuff.

Plus there might be some stuff in Dumpshock. Just do a search.
omar's playing 3rd ed, which is what makes him so damn sexy.

bugs have no favored metatype. most insect shamans are called, though some do seek out contact with bug spirits (it seems to imply that a regular shaman can become a bug shaman by contacting a bug queen).

i'm actually not sure how hard it is to spot a bug shaman. there's no taint or anything to notice, but it seems like a quick assensing test would tell you that he's a bug shaman. if you really don't want your players to find out he's a bug shaman, give him an initiate grade and the masking metamagic, and maybe a masking focus.

shamans don't mutate into looking more like their totem, but they do get a 'shamanic mask' when they cast spells and stuff. see SR3 pg 163.
I don't know about physically changing to match their totem, but their mental and emotional processes would definitely alter, as the books repeat over and over that insects just don't think or see things like we do.

I don't think there's any way to tell if someone's an insect shaman by looking at them, astrally or not, unless they're in the process of casting a spell and assume their shamanic mask. But I haven't got around to reading Magic in the Shadows in depth, so I might be wrong there. But I think interaction with them would provide some clue to an observant character that they're not right in the head (assuming they've been an insect shaman for a while).
Darkest Angel
There's also the issue of potency, as a magical threat they get it, and add it directly to their magic attribute - a basic assensing test would give that away, if not where that potency comes from - it should certainly set alarm bells ringing. Again that could be covered with masking though.
i don't think potency shows, when you assense. at best, you could stretch the definition of "magic attribute" to be "magic attribute + potency", and you'd see the insect shaman as having much higher magic than you.
Omar the Falcon
I am that damn sexy... wink.gif

I will check into the rules about metamagic and such. Our Street Shaman just crapped out on us, so I might have to have them hit this bug idea from a different angle. Work the DocWagon thing.. perhaps they get called into assist in pulling people out of a nest while some sort of corp or government response team fights them. Without magic, I cant see them lasting long against bugs.

Trying to get a decent feel for the horror of the bug spirts and such, but without it being an "Aliens" knock-off.
Omar the Falcon
QUOTE (mfb)
bugs have no favored metatype. most insect shamans are called, though some do seek out contact with bug spirits (it seems to imply that a regular shaman can become a bug shaman by contacting a bug queen).

Now.. I wonder what would happen if a shaman (or mage) decided that the power offered by the bugs was greater than what his/her totem could provide?

shamans don't mutate into looking more like their totem, but they do get a 'shamanic mask' when they cast spells and stuff. see SR3 pg 163.

Hmm... I might have to use that angle once he/she is cornered and forced to reveal the power that is there.
Shamans do tend to adopt behaviors that are in-line with their totem's personality. This is most obvious in the behavioral disadvantages that some totems have, but many shamans do develop far subtler habits and eccentricities. An insect Shaman might start doing things that are cliché for his insect totem's species and begin to develop more insect-like thought patterns that would be noticeable via mind-probe. Though an insect Shaman would probably go to lengths to hide these behaviors and if you can mind-probe him then his nature will be more than obvious.
I don't think shaman's can just switch totems like that. possibly through a long astral quest, but usually the voice that you hear is the one that you follow. It may not be the one that you want, but if you play them like a spirit guide, eventually the shaman will wisen up and follow his totem.

Insect shamans do not wind up getting twisted up and looking like an insect, but the flesh form spirits that he summons into human hosts do.

Insect shamans are so dangerous and alien because of the things that they are required to do in order to get more power. They have to build a "nest" which is appealing to insects and their queen.

1. Insect shamans get power by building a hive, and summoning a queen. A queen and shaman are tied together and boost each other.

2. They are continually in conflict with the queen, as she demands power from him, but she in turn gives him more influence over the members of the hive. Her spirit energy can be used on this threat rating, and his threat rating can be used to boost her spirit rating, and in the long term force.

3. They are continually looking for shortcuts to earn karma to increase his threat rating and the spirit force of the queen.

4. Insect shamans are exposed to completely alien ways of thinking. They do have to initiate to summon a queen and are subjected to things on the astral quest that would drive most people insane.

The shamans are rarely communal, and can only summon 1 queen. the queen can however have more than one shaman under her power, although I think that she would quickly replace them at the earliest opportunity, if the conflict was great enough.
Zeel De Mort
From SR3, p172, 5+ successes on assensing tells you, amongst other things:
The general cause of any emotional impression (a murder, a riot, a religious ceremony, and so on)

So I guess you could argue that the insanity and constant thoughts about giant insects are... caused by being an insect shaman. smile.gif
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