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Full Version: What is a Spirit of Man? (SR4A p303)
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SM gives good descriptions of the spirits featured there.
Guardian Spirits: Whether a stalking angel of death or a mighty loa, a guardian spirit is a fearless and capable warrior and defender.
Guidance Spirits: Oracles, dream guides, and even ancestral spirits—guidance spirits embody knowledge and omens, and are trusted (if confusing) advisors.
Plant Spirits: Representing a single flower, a centennial tree, or the entire forest, spirits of plants are patient and persistent entities embodying the power and resistance of the green kingdom.
Task Spirits: Brownies and workers, spirits of task are skilled craftsmen.

SR4A mentions Watcher spirits specifically (SR4A pp189-190) -- only a Force of 1, basic instructions, very literal. I can figure out what a Spirit of Earth/Fire/Wind/Water is, fables and stories are replete with those, but what in the world is a Spirit of Man according to SR4A? What do they look like, what do they do?
I don't know where it is in SR4A, but there's a sidebar in Street Magic entitled Spirit Appearances, starting on page 96 and continued on 97.
Man: While some spirits of man appear as actual metahumans, they are not going to be confused with a Lone Star officer or hotel receptionist. Many spirits of man appear as items associated with humanity, such as street signs, trashcans, or household appliances. Others appear as animals associated with metahumanity, either by behavior (monkeys, coyote) or by proximity (dogs, goldfish).
I can't find a reference, but I always thought that Spirits of Man were - well, spirits attuned to the energy caused by metahumanity and civilization. They would have affinities for buildings, laws, technology, and be opposed to things like untamed nature.
Ol' Scratch
Spirits of man were basically the catch-all category for anything relating to metahumanity. Before Street Magic came out, that included the various guardian/guidance/task spirits, much like spirits of earth covered plant spirits. Now it's the catch-all for anything relating to metahumanity not covered by those spirits. smile.gif City spirits, country spirits, hearth spirits, etc.
It depends entirely on the tradition what they appear as.
They could be embodyments of civilization as mentioned here, they could be spirits of a tribe's ancestors (especially deceased spellcasters, legendary warriors could be Guardian spirits, craftsmen could be Task, sages could be Guidance) or other spirits of the dead, representatives of your pantheon's god of magic, a class of demons with particularly strong magical skills, representations of the mage's subconscious, whatever.
If it's not associated with a classic element, it can most likely be lumped into this category, as long as your tradition doesn't offer anything more fitting.

I use spirit types as a very basic template, what they actually are depends on which optional powers i choose.
An Earth spirit could very well appear as a Hearth spirit in my game and take on characteristics of the buildings it was summoned in if it fits the situation's fluff, but so could a spirit of Man.

Spirits are more variable than in previous editions, which means that there are more ways to interpret a specific class of spirit than before.
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