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Spirit Magic Extensions

Page history last edited by Bruce Mason 11 years, 6 months ago

RuneQuest II House Rules::Spirit Magic


This is a series of extensions for spirit magic. A revised and expanded version of these rules appears in Signs & Portents 89.


Spirits and Intensity

Intensity is used to measure the effectiveness of a spirit and depends on the spirit's POW. If you know the spirit's POW, you can figure out its intensity and if you know a spirit's intensity you can deduce the likely range of its POW. A spirit has 1D6+POW at Intensity 1 and an additional +6 POW for each additional point of Intensity. Ancestor spirits have a minimum Intensity of 2. Spirits with a POW of 6 or less are too weak and fragmentary to provide any benefit when bound. Note that ancestor spirits have a minimum Intensity of 2.

Intensity
POW Range Average
1 1D6+6
7-12 10
2 1D6+12 13-18 16
3 1D6+18 19-24 22
+1 +6 +6 +6

 

Spirit Attitudes

Spirits may be friendly, neutral or hostile. Friendly spirits are those that belong to the shaman’s tradition. Most traditions have 4-6 types of friendly spirit each providing one or two benefits. Neutral spirits are those that belong to traditions which are not hostile to the shaman or are not considered part of any tradition. Hostile spirits are those that belong to hostile traditions or are inherently hostile due to mythic, runic or elemental oppositions. For example Bane spirits are hostile to almost all non-Chaotic traditions.

 

Gaining Fetishes

The following is a summary of the costs for a member of shamanic tradition to gain a bound spirit in a fetish from a Shaman. Shamans will usually only provide spirits to members of the same tradition or in recompense for great favours and Shamans can only bind friendly spirits in this manner. The cost to gain a spirit this way is a mixture of Improvement Rolls and cash (or equivalent). The cost in Improvement Rolls represents the time and personal development needed for a spirit worshipper to make themselves worthy of the spirit. The cost in silvers represents a mixture of goods to be sacrificed and payment for services both to the shaman and to prospective spirits. The process of gaining a fetish in this way is assumed to take a week and at the end of the week the player should roll the spirit’s characteristics randomly based on the spirit's intensity. It is possible that the spirit gained may be too powerful for the adventurer to control.

Spirit Intensity Cost in IRs Cost in Silvers
1 1 200
2 2 400
3 3 1600
4 4 3200

Note that spirits with an intensity of 5 or more will be likely to have a POW of over 30 meaning that only the greatest of the High Shamans can bind them. Such actions should be played out as a session.

An adventurer may “upgrade” the spirit in a fetish to a more powerful spirit of the same type by paying the difference in silvers and IRs. E.g. an adventurer with a fetish containing an Intensity 2 Nature spirit could upgrade it to an Intensity 3 Nature Spirit by paying 1 Improvement Roll and 1,200 Silvers to the shaman. Similarly, an adventurer may swap out a spirit in a fetish for one of the same intensity with no cost in IRs and a cost equal to half its normal cost in silvers. E.g. an adventurer with 1 Intensity Guardian spirit with a POW of 8 could attempt to gain a different guardian spirit of the same intensity for a cost of 100 silvers.

 

Ancestor Spirits

All ancestor spirits know the lore and culture skills of their people and region at 90% plus their POW. They also know  Persistence at POWx4%, and Spectral Combat at POWx5%. In addition, for each level of Intensity an ancestor spirit can choose one additional skill which it knows at 90% plus its POW and choose two from:

 

  • another skill at 90% plus POW
  • Discorporate skill at POW*5% 
  • one heroic ability that it has the skills to know
  • one common magic spell at the maximum Magnitude it can memorise (plus Common Magic skill at 90% plus POW if it is not already known).
  • has a fetch. (The ancestor is a shaman. The Fetch's characteristics are equal to the shaman's +1D6-1D6. e.g. an ancestor with a POW of 20 has a fetch with a POW of 20-1D6+1D6)
  • has an allied spirit of the same Intensity as the ancestor which will appear within 1d3 combat rounds of being summoned by the ancestor. Note that these allied spirits are not ancestors so there is no possibility of getting a huge army of spirits summoning other spirits.

 

Design notes

The idea is to give a simple mechanic for the gaining of spirits that is unified across spirits. I am assuming that spirit worshippers generally gain spirits under the guidance of shamans. I have also had to create a nominal intensity range for Bane & Guardian spirits as they generally don’t refer to intensity.

 

Using Spirits

A bound spirit must be released from its fetish in order to use its ability. Doing so requires a Combat Action but does not cost any Magic Points. Commanding a released spirit requires a free action, spending 1 Magic Point and the successful use of the Spirit Binding skill. The Magic Point is spent regardless of whether or not the Spirit Binding Skill is a success. A "free action" is something that can be freely performed alongside a regular Combat Action. Generally, one free action can be performed per CA. This does mean that a shaman could spend 1 CA to release the spirit and then, as part of the same action, attempt to command the spirit. In fact this is indeed how a Shaman normally attempts to control their spirits because a spirit that is released from a Fetish without being commanded can take whatever actions it wishes.

 

A critical success when trying to command a spirit means the attempt costs no Magic Points. A failed attempt to command the spirit means that the Shaman must wait until their next Combat Action to try again. In the meantime the spirit may be able to undertake actions of its own until the Shaman gains control.

 

Unlike other commands, commanding a spirit that is currently under your control to return to its fetish automatically succeeds and does not cost any Magic Points; this is an effect of the binding ritual. If however you have failed to control the spirit or have lost control of it, you cannot force it to return to the fetish until you regain control of it. An uncontrolled spirit can range up to its POW (not its owner's POW) in metres from the Fetish.

 

Breaking a Fetish immediately frees the spirit it contains. Freed spirits may attempt to flee back to the spirit plane or, if hostile, possibly attempt to attack the owner who imprisoned it.

 

There is always the possibility of losing control of a spirit and the more powerful a spirit is, the more dangerous it is likely to be if you lose control.

 

How to Train Your Spirit

The previous section looked at how to gain a fetish provided by a Shaman. This section examines how a Shaman can gain spirits by journeying to the spirit plan and binding spirits to service. Using Intensity as a measure of a spirit's power, the table below shows what the minimum skill in spirit binding needs to be along with the costs in IRs, goods and services to bind a spirit.

Intensity  Spirit Binding Skill minimum requirement  IRs  Cost 
61%  100 SPs 
81%  200 SPs 
121%  400 SPs 
4 141% 4 800 SPs

For friendly spirits, the minimum skill requirement is reduced by 20%. In addition, a Shaman may pay double the normal cost for friendly or neutral spirits in order to reduce the minimum spirit binding skill requirement by another 20%. So, a Shaman spending 800SPs and approaching a friendly spirit of Intensity 3 needs a minimum spirit binding skill of 81%. 

These figures are based on shamans acquiring spirits during Downtime and represent a minimum of risk and maximum guarantee of success. 

How to find a spirit

It can generally be assumed that it takes 1D6 days of downtime to find and bind a friendly spirit, 2D6 days to find a neutral spirit and 2D6+6 days of careful planning to safely find a hostile spirit that can be bound. 

 

 

 

 

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