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So what sort of free spirits have you made use of in your setting? What about the unique ones? Named spirits? What are your thoughts on them? What sort of things would you look for from using something like this?
I once used an hermetic elemental Lord during a metaplanar quest as a story device.
In order to get her disrupted ally spirit back the spirit just asked her to summon an agent of him into the sixt world ...
Free spirits in general? They can be anything which traditions and folklore come upp with, anything in between and something totally different too.
As long as they are expressions of the earthen manasphere.
the most interesting free spirit I've seen was a shinto tradition rollerskating samurai courier.

Turns out PC's go FAST with roller skates and Movement. The samurai part was literal. Between Natural Weapon and the Kick Attack maneuver(gm approved spirit martial arts) they had a built-in sword, with the proper reach and everything.

Since going free, the spirit has decided to explore the world in a completely gun-ho attitude that being incredibly curious, never needing sleep, and nigh-indestructable brings. I think a major source of their inspiration was discovered 'old' flatscreen movies, which aren't a trid projection, so they can actaully see and enjoy them.

So yeah. Shinto/beast spirit samurai gets hooked on james bond flicks, decides 'why the hell not, I'm free now', and runs off to become a runner.
So far, I've only spoken about two, Jet from my first story, and the Alice Cooper-esque spirit that offers to buy Karma for Cash.

Honestly, I think I scared the group, "I don't want Alice Cooper to eat my SOUL!!!"
Aren't all free spirits unique and named?
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Dec 23 2011, 12:04 AM) *
Aren't all free spirits unique and named?

I think you're on to something. Something like the "free" part of "free spirit".

I would say that every PC free spirit would certainly count as "unique".
One that I designed but never played was a spirit with realistic form that would take the appearance of a mobile and dangerous metahuman sized Pyracantha bush. That shit's nasty enough without having ITNW. Fun concept. We've told our GM if he ever sends awakened pyracantha at us, we're done.
Whats the problem with pyracantha?
A lot of people have this plant in their gardens... It is quite dense, thats true...
It's used as a barrier because of its thorns. So, I assume, a thorn bush that is nearly indestructible might be a nasty opponent.
Have you ever fallen into a pyracantha or had to try and remove one?

The thorns will pierce the leather or soles of military combat boots. You can cut them down to stumps and they regrow fully. Even copper rods and root killer don't always work. The thorns are coated with a chemical that even the slightest scratch burns for hours (hence the alternate name Firethorn). They. Are. Nasty.

Now imagine that nightmare bush as an awakened plant. Immune to fire perhaps? Eff That.

In New Mexico here, it's a local joke that if we had a hedge of pyracantha along the US/Mexico border, illegal immigration would cease entirely.
Nah, don't give an Awakened pyracantha Immunity to Fire.

Give it Engulf. vegm.gif

And then maybe Binding (Self Only) if the GM's feeling sadistic.

Corrosive Secretions, maybe, in a toxic zone (it's amazing what they treat the flower beds with these days; "it looks so natural!" Trust me lady, it's not...)
Hell, if I were building the awakened, non-spirit version, I'd give it Immunity: Fire, Influence, Engulf, Venom and Regeneration. A nigh invincible plant that influences you to walk into it. Enjoy.
The Krampus has appeared in my holiday games before.
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Dec 23 2011, 03:04 AM) *
Aren't all free spirits unique and named?

It's one of the funnier things about Shadowrun they pretty implicitly hint that most spirits are "unique", while occasionally hinting that at least some people in the game world speculate that simpler spirits may be a small portion or piece of their native plane.

Are fire elemental's truly unique? Are they all named?
How do you bind a unique spirit? Unique up on it!
Even so, Paul, I thought that all *free* spirits were unique by their very definition. smile.gif And any unique spirit, again by definition, has a true name. Just to bring it full circle: all free spirits have true names. biggrin.gif (Again, AFAIK.)
And so it was writting in the holy book of crunch.
There's probably not that much sense in spending too much time on the semantics of "unique" as they pertain to Shadowrun free spirits. If it matters deeply, just make it clear which meaning you're using, and nevermind what Paul might have intended.
smile.gif *shrug* He's the OP, so I wanted to figure out what his question was. As it stands, it doesn't make sense to me… 'Do you like cars? What about automobiles? Ones with wheels?' biggrin.gif
It makes sense if you're sharing the same semantic values, but rather than work those out, I'd recommend you just read the question as, "So what sort of free spirits have you made use of in your setting? What are your thoughts on them?"

That's not to say it's a bad rule, typically, to try to figure out what someone means - it's definitely not - only that, in this instance, the important topic is, "free spirits," and not, "what did Paul mean by unique." One thread of conversation will be profitable; the other will be futile and frustrating. Certainly you're under no obligation to follow my recommendation, I'm just saying I've been talking with Paul about Shadowrun for 22 years, and I might be able to save us some time. biggrin.gif
QUOTE (Yerameyahu @ Dec 25 2011, 01:20 AM) *
Even so, Paul, I thought that all *free* spirits were unique by their very definition. smile.gif

Agreed. I was poorly, as 3278 pointed out, asking several questions. Heh. Sorry.

QUOTE (3278 @ Dec 25 2011, 09:55 AM) *
Certainly you're under no obligation to follow my recommendation, I'm just saying I've been talking with Paul about Shadowrun for 22 years, and I might be able to save us some time. biggrin.gif

As usual he knows me better than I know myself sometimes.

Sorry for the confusion folks. So back on topic how many of you have made use of free spirits, and in what ways?
Ah. biggrin.gif I definitely didn't have your inside knowledge that Paul is crazy, hehe! Okay, moving on. smile.gif

I did a Jamaica campaign where the team had to investigate (presumably corporate or criminal) attacks on smuggling routes, but the culprit (surprise!!) turned out to be an angry, territorial free spirit.
As far as I can remember, the only free spirit I've seen in a game was a PC who used movement, psychokinesis, and possession. His favorite vessels were a katana and the cyborg.
I'm a big fan of free spirits. Paul used to have a lot of just random ones in the game, as stuff you'd see while walking down the street: "What appears to be a Plymouth Duster stands up and walks over to the actor's Eurocar and just starts bashing on it, muttering something about, 'Kids nowadays.'" Another personal favorite is the free spirit that no one knows is a free spirit, like Billy in Baptism of Fire. I've thought about doing this as a player, but I'm not sure I could reasonably keep the secret for very long around our players.

In my own fiction, free spirits often act as overlords of some niche, whether that means they become a fixer for a stable of runners, or a guardian angel for a neighborhood, or the president of a local clock-makers guild. Their nature makes them the distilled essence of something, made sapient, and that something often becomes a major facet of their personality*; similarly, free spirits who were conjured [particularly allies, pace Seeks-the-Moon] often contain some facet inspired by their summoner; sometimes, the material of which they're made [for example, the car in the case of the city spirit above] informs their nature, as well, such that a spirit summoned in the shape of a beautiful human woman is likely to act at least a little like a beautiful human woman, while a spirit summoned in the shape of an animated bundle of sticks and leaves is unlikely to act like a billionaire playboy. But then it's extra interesting [or funny] when they do.

Those three aspects - focus, summoner, and material - are joined by a fourth: mana, the common thread to all spirits and magic, the burning heart of some reality far away from our own. All spirits are different vessels, filled from the same pitcher, and they're all connected in some subtle way; this usually manifests itself in a vague sense, whenever you're dealing with even the most basic spirit, that there's something it knows about reality that you don't, and that it's not telling you, particularly when it comes to your treatment of other spirits, or things that happened when other spirits were present. I like even my Watchers to seem like somewhere deep inside them lies an intelligence beyond our comprehension, and it's just not quite shining through the dim lens that is a Watcher, until every once in a while it turns its attention on you and something beyond shines through. If you can give people goosebumps with a force zero ball of astral fuzz, you're doing magic the way I like it.

*edit: Wow, what an awful explanation! Most of my spirits have a focus: if you're a fire elemental, that focus is pretty obvious. But when free spirits arise spontaneously, it's usually because - and here's where you have to bear with me on some SR/ED "basics of magic" bullshit - if enough people think or feel something, it becomes real. So if there's enough passion for clock-making in the world, eventually a sapient clock-maker will exist. If the belief is strong enough, and believed fervently by enough people, the being that arises will be godlike in its power: if we all believe really strongly in justice, eventually a God of Justice - call it a Passion, if it please you - will arise, with real power that it shares with real followers. This is the nature of mana: it turns intention into reality, whether that intention is purposeful [spellcasting, for example] or unconscious [we all subconsciously think often enough about rusted hulks of cars coming to life that eventually, one's actually going to]. So that's what I mean by "focus," whether you're the "God of Justice" or the "President of Clockmakers" or the "Guardian of Some Neighborhood."
Generally I use free spirits as a random element, you can never know precisely where one has made it's home and what it's nature is, until it has been observed, and of course the greater spirits, the ones with their own lore are quite literal forces of nature, embodying some element or force of the world. To use my earlier example of a spirit I've used the Krampus is, as I currently use him concerned with order, so he appears randomly but most often at the solstices to punish the wicked. In one game he was seemingly obsessed with a pornomancer pc who abused her powers.
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