In the Shadow of Griffin Mountain
Trance Preparation Time
|Cult Rank||Observe Spirits||Converse with Spirits||Project Self or Draw Spirit||Drag Souls|
|Spirit Worshipper||1 Minute||1 Hour||–||–|
|Shaman||1 Round||1 Minute||1 Hour||–|
|High Shaman||1 Action||1 Round||1 Minute||1 Hour|
Trance and Binding
Trance represents the animist’s awareness of the Spirit World and his ability to move between it and the material world. Anyone with Trance can, on a successful roll, detect, but not observe, the presence of spirits within a range equal to their POW in meters. The skill is capable of far more – but such secrets are jealously guarded by tribal shamans and only revealed to those who progress higher in a spirit cult’s hierarchy (see page 286). Each further level of knowledge allows the skill to be used in new ways, permitting observation, communication and eventually freedom to travel the Spirit Plane.
Interacting directly with the Spirit Plane takes time, normally requiring that a ritual be performed to enter a trance-like state. The amount of time required depends on the ability being used (see Trance Preparation Timetable) and costs a single Magic Point.
If successful, the animist can do one of the following:
|Follower||Can observe and identify spirits within range, using their natural senses.|
|Spirit Worshipper||Can converse with spirits within range, via empathic communication.|
|Shaman||Can project their own soul onto the Spirit Plane. They can also draw a spirit into the material world (or expel a spirit possessing a mortal) for a time equal to their POW in minutes. Spirits unwilling to manifest (or depart) may resist using their Willpower in an opposed roll against the Trance skill of the Shaman.|
|High Shaman||Can drag the souls of others onto the Spirit Plane with them, at a cost of 1 extra Magic Point per additional person. Unwilling participants can resist using their Willpower in an Opposed roll against the Trance skill of the High Shaman.|
(If the unwilling target succeeds in resisting, they cannot be affected by the same Shaman or High Shaman again, until a full day has passed. The range of these abilities is the Shaman’s POW in meters.)
The shaman can travel up to his skill’s value in kilometers away from his body. From the Spirit Plane a shaman who succeeds in a Perception test can also distinguish the souls of corporeal creatures in the material world, and thus hunt for particular species or even seek out specific people.
If the roll is a critical success then entering the trance is instantly achieved one step more quickly (with a minimum of one Action). If the roll is fumbled, the shaman is barred from entering the Spirit Plane for a full day.
Binding is the skill used by animists to induce or force a spirit to perform his will. It has a range of applications:
- It can bind spirits into fetishes, and control their actions once bound.
- It can be used to persuade a spirit to perform a single deed for a mutually acceptable service.
- It can be used to summon a known spirit from across the Spirit Plane, provided its corresponding physical location is within the skill’s value in kilometers away.
- It can be used to engage in Spirit Combat, if the animist is present on the Spirit Plane.
The POW of the largest spirit which can be coerced, bound or controlled cannot exceed three times the critical range of this skill. Thus a character with a Binding skill of 45% could control spirits of up to 15 POW.
When used to engage in Spirit Combat, the value of the Binding skill is used to calculate the amount of damage inflicted by the animist – see the Spirit Damage Table, opposite. The same table is used by spirits for their Spectral Combat skill.
If the Binding roll is a critical success, then maximum damage is inflicted. But if the roll is a fumble, then the shaman overstrains himself and sustains the rolled damage to his own Magic Points.
All spirits have an Intensity. Intensity is based on a spirit’s POW and measures three things:
- The benefit it can give to the spirit’s controller.
- How difficult the spirit is to bind and control.
- The spirit’s ability to influence the material world.
The greater a spirit’s POW, the greater its Intensity. The Spirit Intensity table can be used in a number of ways to determine the POW/Intensity relationship.
To determine the Intensity of, say, a recently deceased creature, cross reference its POW range from life with its Intensity; most player characters, when they die, will produce Intensity 1 or 2 spirits, for example.
To create a spirit that originates in the Spirit World, decide on its Intensity then roll POW as defined by the Spirit Intensity table (1D6+18, for instance, for an Intensity 3 spirit).
The lowest Intensity spirits are by far the most prevalent, but offer the least amount of benefit. A spirit with an Intensity of zero cannot affect the material world in any noticeable manner. Intensity 6 (and greater) spirits are starting to stretch beyond the control of a lone animist, but can still be summoned, bargained with or even bound by several practitioners working together.
Spirits also possess two other characteristics: either INT or INS (Instinct), and CHA.
INT/INS reflects their level of intellect when alive or the corresponding physical creature if one exists.
CHA reflects the force of the spirit’s personality in very much the same way as for player-characters. CHA varies widely according to the nature and type of the spirit; more detail is provided in the descriptions of specific spirits starting on page 399, but both INT and CHA values are summarized in the Spirit Characteristics table.
|Ancestor||As per mortal||As per mortal|
|Elemental||See Elemental Spirits (RQ6 p. 402)|
|Fetch (Awakened)||As per animist||As per animist|
|Haunt||As per mortal||As per mortal|
|Nature (Animal)||As per mortal INS||Equal to INS|
|Nature (Regional Nature Spirit||1D6||3D6|
|Predator||As per mortal INS||Equal to INS|
|Shapeshifter||As per mortal INS||Equal to INS|
Use the sum of INT and POW, referring to the below chart:
|12 or less||1|
|For every additional 12 points||+1|
Figure using the average of INT/INS and CHA.
These are equal to POW, and act as the Hit Points of the spirit.
|Skill Value||Damage Inflicted||Average Roll|
|Each +20%||Follow above progression||…|
If a discorporated character lacks Binding, they use half the value of their Willpower on the table.
Binding a spirit always requires the animist to enter the Spirit Plane (using the same methods as with negotiating) and engage the spirit directly in Spirit Combat. If he is able to lower the spirit to zero Magic Points, and its POW does not exceed the limit set by his Binding skill, the animist may then bind it into a pre-prepared physical object; usually an item with ritual significance (see below). Such objects, once bound with a spirit, are known as fetishes.
Creating a Fetish
The creation of a fetish costs one Experience Roll per point of Intensity of the spirit. This represents the time and development needed to prepare it for the spirit to be held by the fetish (often by decorating the object, so that it may be used in relative safety). The ritual usually takes one week, at the end of which the animist should roll the spirit’s Characteristics randomly, based on its Intensity. It is always possible that the spirit gained may be too powerful for the animist to control.
An animist can attempt to improve the fetish’s potency to contain a more powerful spirit of the same type by paying the difference in Experience Rolls. Thus an animist with a fetish capable of containing an Intensity 2 Animal Spirit could upgrade it to hold an Intensity 3 Animal Spirit by paying one Experience Roll. The owner can also replace the spirit of a fetish with the same type of spirit of the same Intensity, at no additional cost in Experience Rolls, provided the spirit can be found or a shaman persuaded to do the finding.
Limits to Bound Spirits
The maximum number of spirits an animist can hold in bondage depends on cult rank:
- Follower: ¼ of CHA
- Spirit Worshipper: half of CHA
- Shaman: ¾ of CHA
- High Shaman: All CHA
If this number is ever exceeded, then the strongest spirit or spirits break free, possibly extracting revenge if they were hostile to the binding. Neutral spirits may be simply mischievous.
Engaging in Spirit Combat
Instead of weapons, most spirits have a Spectral Combat skill which they use in spirit combat. Animists use their Binding skill, whereas those uninitiated in Animism must rely on Willpower at a difficulty grade of Formidable. Attacks and defenses are made using the applicable and relevant skills.
If the attacker wins an amount of damage equal to their Spirit Damage is applied to the opponent’s Magic Points. If the defender wins, then no damage is incurred.
If the defender runs out of Action Points with which to defend themselves, then they are left wide open and the attacker may attempt to make an unopposed attack roll. A character engaged in Spirit Combat may forgo their attack in order to cast magic instead.
Fleeing Spirit Combat is always possible for discorporated mortals with the Trance skill. Instead of trying to damage their opponent, they may declare that they are using a Combat Action to try and escape back to their bodies. An Opposed test is required as above. If the animist wins they break free and the combat ends, but if the spirit wins then the animist fails to get away. It is impossible for souls who do not have the Trance skill to consciously escape from the Spirit World as they have no knowledge or understanding of how to move within it. Only if they defeat or drive off their attacker will they be released from its discorporation. Otherwise they must be rescued by an animist.
Spirits, on the other hand, are not as able to escape. Most are spiritually tied to their location or herd and so cannot flee. Others, like sickness spirits and their ilk, are mindlessly aggressive and refuse to run away, no matter the odds against them. Combat continues until one of the combatants is reduced to zero Magic Points, at which point they are defeated.