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Spirit Magic Extensions

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Saved by Bruce Mason
on November 23, 2010 at 5:30:52 pm

RuneQuest II House Rules::Spirit Magic

This is a series of extensions for spirit magic.

Spirits and Intensity

Intensity is used to measure the effectiveness of a spirit and roughly correlates to the spirit's POW. I propose a single unified system.

Type of spirit Intensity 1 Intensity 2 Intensity 3 Intensity +1
Nature, elemental & curse spirits - POW 1D6+6
1D6+18  +6 POW
Bane & Guardian spirits - POW 3D6  3D6+6  3D6+12  +6 POW
Ancestors - POW 1D6+12  1D6+18  1D6+24  +6 POW

This does mean that some times spirits will have a higher or lower POW than average for their intensity; especially among bane and guardian spirits.


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. Shamans will usually only provide spirits to members of the same tradition or in recompense for great favours. Shamans can only bind friendly spirits in this manner. 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.


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