Ray Turney's Rune Rule Set

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FIRE AND SWORD-Chapter 6

Shamanic Magic

3/8/98

Shamanic magic basically has three different aspects, awakening the spirits of other, friendly, creatures using the Awakening skill; awakening of the powers of the shamanic mage by through spiritual questing; and the willing acceptance of possession by other spirits, in exchange for the benefits they can offer. Shamanic magic brings us naturally to the topic of spirits.

Spiritis and Spirit Combat

Spirits have visible form on the spirit plane, much as characters or creatures have form on the normal plane. The spirit plane is usually analogous to the physical plane. A spirit appears on the spirit plane as a misty analog of the creature it would be were it embodied. The POW of the spirit is visible as its size on the spirit plane. Not all spirits have embodied forms, some are shapeless mists with tentacles; while others look like creatures which could exist, but do not. No matter what their appearance, though, spirits can communicate with each other using a semi-telepathic, but also partly vocal language called spirit speech. Spirits cannot normally communicate with embodied creatures, or characters, unless they happen to share a language with the creatures or characters, and have the power to vocalize on the normal plane. Disembodied or dreaming creatures or characters automatically acquire a basic familiarity {equivalent to a skill of 4} in Spoken Spirit Speech; characters with the Dreamspeaking skill may use it as if it were Spirit Speech.

The Shamanistic Second Sight skill, and some divine spells, confer the ability to see onto the spirit Plane. Having discussed what spirits look like, and how they communicate, the next question is: what do they want. Most spirits player characters will interact with will be sent or summoned. Spirits which have been sent usually want to do what they sender commanded them to. This will often be to fight the player character. Summoned spirits, unless friendly to the summoner {the most common friendly spirits are cult spirits, though ancestral spirits and healing spirits are also often friendly}, are naturally irritated at having been summoned and are opposed to the summoner. Either situation brings us naturally to the topic of spirit combat.

 

Embodied Characters, whether or not they are capable of seeing onto the spirit plane, are protected from attack by most spirits. The common exceptions to this rule are disease, dream, and passion spirits. There are also some, fortunately rare, ghosts and demons capable of forcing combat on normal plane characters.

If a character is attacked by a spirit capable of forcing engagement in spirit combat, the fight occurs according to the following spirit combat rules.

Spirit combat takes place on the spirit plane. Movement, actions, how many spirits can fight each other at once all take place using the rules applicable to combat on the normal plane, unless the GM specifies otherwise at the time of the fight.

A character has his POW in spirit points, and attacks and defends in spirit combat using his POW as the equivalent of a combat skill. Spirit points are different from magic points. If the character has the Spirit Combat skill, or a spirit has the spirit combat ability, this skill or ability may be rolled in addition to the POW roll, and the better result used. If a character has the Elusive Dance spirit skill, or a spirit has the similar ability, it is rolled in addition to the POW based defense roll, and the better result used. A hit results in one point of harm, plus one point of harm per ten POW points of the character or spirit that hit. Thus a POW 12 enemy will do two points of harm in spirit combat. This harm is halved, rounded down, if the attacker is a bird or small animal spirit.

Harm is subtracted from the spirit points of the victim. A crit doubles the harm. A successful roll of the Spirit Mastery skill doubles the harm as well, thus a crit on the attack and a normal success on Spirit Mastery quadruples the harm.

When the spirit points of a spirit combatant are reduced to zero,the combatant is subject to possession if embodied. If not embodied, the spirit disappears, but continues to exist, and regains one spirit point per game week. If subject to possession, and reduced to zero spirit points, a character or creature will be automatically possessed by the victor, if the victor chooses to do so. If embodied and not possessed, a character regains spirit points at the same rate as he regains magic points.

The duration of spirit combat, relative to normal combat, is unpredictable. Spirit combat is performed before normal combat, and each spirit combat round ends whenever anyone rolls a 5, 10, or 20, that takes effect {rolls not used because other rolls are better, do not count}.

Awakening

Awakening is the art of evoking the spirit of an object normally inert, such as a sword, or the art of evoking the latent intelligence in a normally stupid animal. When used on an object, such as a sword, the Awakening skill can creates 1D6 spirit points in the object per point of POW used in the Awakening. Spirit points can be used to enhance any skill the user of the object uses it in, at a cost of 1 point for a +1 to skill, 3 points for a +2, or 6 points for a +3. Each fumble using the object also costs one spirit point, even if the spirit of the object was not being called upon. Likewise, each crit adds one spirit point, even if the spirit of the object is not being called upon. Finally, each Sacred Time causes the object to gain one spirit point, up to the limit it was created with.

Example:

Bardas has a spear, inherited from a brother who died in a peasant revolt against the Empire. It has a claw shaped copper tip, and was spiritually awakened by a shaman associated with the Heron Goddess, SurEnsLeeb. When she awakened it, it aquired a spiritual power of 7 spirit points. Not having been used in seven years, the spear has returned to its original spiritual power, at the rate of one point per sacred tim. If he crits with the spear, its spiritual power goes to +8. If he fumbles, its spiritual power is reduced to +6. If Barda's player rolls a thirteen to hit or parry with the spear in combat, he may invoke the spiritual power of the spear to aid his character in combat; in which case his character has an effective skill of 13 and may have crit. If a character criticals through invocation of the spiritual power of an item, he cannot use the resulting critical to increase its spiritual power. So the spiritual power of the spear goes down to 6; and does not go up when a ten is rolled and Bardas crits. To reduce a 15 to a 12 would have cost 6 spirit points, reducing the spear to a barely magical one point.

At the option of the creator, and the GM, spirits may be able to call upon powers similar to divine magic spells, at a one spirit point cost for a 1 point spell, three spirit points for a two point spell, and six spirit points for a three point spells. These should be defined at the time of the spirit's awakening, not on the fly when the character using the item thinks they might be useful.

An item's spiritual powers, when invoked, always have episode duration and affect only the item itself and things it touches. When an item is spiritually awakened, it ceases to decay.

Example:

Bardas's spear above could have had the ability to invoke the Turos divine magic spell, Firespear, if the shaman had been associated with Turos. This would have cost one point and created a spear that always did D12 damage. Instead, since the shaman was connected with SurEnsLeeb, the spear can fly, in effect as if it had SureShot cast upon it. Thus, for one point Bardas can hurl the spear, guaranteed to hit the target; and he can for another point call upon it to return to him.

Animals, such as a cult's holy animals, differ in that they require one power point to forge a link between the Awakener and the animal, and one power point to raise Int to the level normal for a human. Once this is done, the Awakener has a cooperative {but not suicidal} animal familiar that can be treated as a human character for the purposes of these rules, and can also have spiritual powers awakened using rules similar to those affecting objects. Once spiritual powers have been awakened, an animal familiar can sacrifice power to obtain increased uses, as if it were an awakener.

Spiritual Questing

A character can go on a quest on a Dream, Spirit, or HeroQuest, causing him to learn spiritual or heroic abilities, possibly taught to him by a mentor spirit. This frequently involves dream, spirit or heroic combat which uses the rules discussed below under this heading. Once learned, these powers follow the rules outlined above; the character is effectively in the position of an animal whose spiritual powers have been awakened.

Cooperative Spirits

A character may willingly allow himself or herself to be covertly possessed by spirits which are, or are thought to be, friendly. This involves summoning the spirit with a summoning roll, and allowing yourself to be possessed.