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Concerning Animism

posted Sep 19, 2012 15:54:30 by Sparky_LFC_68
I deleted one redundant post of mine in the thread 'Concerning Animism', and the entire thread gets deleted?
[Last edited Sep 23, 2012 13:29:43]
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136 replies
Sparky_LFC_68 said Sep 19, 2012 16:02:45
Page 206

"Animists of less than Shaman rank are not prevented from undertaking the search and binding a spirit personally"

Shamans of less than Shaman rank can't enter the spirit plane in order to bind a spirit.

Or have I got that wrong?
VaughanCockell said Sep 19, 2012 16:19:51
They can't enter the spirit plane by themselves. They need a shaman, his fetch or a spirit to pull them through. They can travel in the real world to a suitable location and look into ghe spirit world, and once in (with help) coulx go off by themselves to find the spirit. This could be dangerous however. But it is possible.
VaughanCockell said Sep 19, 2012 21:48:21
I might rewrite my "basics of animism" post if you like? I have remembered another couple if general pointers re the use of animism that I would like to get confirmed.
VaughanCockell said Sep 20, 2012 05:04:06
Ok here goes, as best as I can recall.

Animism uses 2 skills: Trance and Binding. A cult will provide a range of spirit types they are friendly with, a range they are neutral with, and some they are enemies of. Depending on the cult and setting the groups could be broad or very specific.

Basic animism magic will be: you are given a fetish by your shaman. This will contain a spirit, limited in POW by your binding skill, therefore also limited in Intensity. The spirit is probably a nature spirit, that grants some kind of personal buff. You release it from the fetish with an action point, then spend a magic point to command it to do its effect. It does this until you tell it to go back into its fetish.

At this level you can also talk to more powerful spirits and ask them to do a single task for you, access to the spirit is via trance, possibly assisted by a shaman. Normal negotiation applies, what will you offer in return, and the spirit has discretion over how it accomplishes the goal. This is always available for Spirits too powerful to fully control.

You can also enter an ongoing arrangement with a spirit to come to help when you need them, this is called an Ally, and requires a spend of 1 improvement roll per year to maintain, and/or some required behaviour change, whether it might be a little ceremony in certain circumstances, wearing particular clothing, or some other quirk. You can then call on them using Binding but it takes a little time for them to appear. Ancestors are likely to do this, as they do not like being stuck in fetishes, and who really wants to have Granny mad at them?

More advanced use will involve using a spirit to attack something else in spirit combat, whether its another spirit, a person, or a magical effect. If your spirit is contained in a fetish, and this is likely if needed for quick usage, it will need to be freed from the binding, that is, permanently released from the fetish. You then make a Binding check and refer to the table on pg211. The best result is that success vs a friendly spirit, where the spirit does the task then comes back and continues serving you. It is not made clear, but you could probably attempt a fresh rebinding into the fetish then, or have the spirit travel along with you for the rest of the adventure.

Its worth noting that Binding limits on spirit POW lead to spirits in fetishes, and in other regular use having a slightly lower "effect" intensity/magnitude less than other spellcasters for a similar magician skill level. To match power level, or even surpass it requires direct negotiation with a spirit for a one-shot service, at the discretion of the spirit. This is essentially a way to balance Animists flexibility with other magic's more focussed effect sets, as spirits totally under the animist's control essentially have no set duration for their effects.

There's a bit more detail in this summary but I hope it wasn't too confusing. Any questions or comments, and have I got the essentials correct?
[Last edited Sep 20, 2012 06:08:53]
Sparky_LFC_68 said Sep 20, 2012 06:11:28
Thank you for this, it's very helpful

And I honestly don't know what happened to the other thread. I edited and deleted one post, and somehow the enitre thread and everyone's contributions got wiped :|

Sorry about that
ArthurReyes said Sep 20, 2012 15:22:59
You said:

You release it from the fetish with an action point, then spend a magic point to command it to do its effect. It does this until you tell it to go back into its fetish.

Minor point, from page 207

Each command attempt costs one 1 Magic Point and requires a Binding skill roll. Depending on the result of the roll the following occurs:

So you can release it for 1 AP, then as part of the same action command it by making a Binding Roll. It may cost you 1 MP, depending on degree of success. Failure and Fumble of the Binding roll releases the spirit from your control.

This was the point I tried to make in the deleted thread. Spirits are very flexible, but unlike the other types of magic, failed magic rolls can have dire effects, eg: releasing hostile spirits which might do immediate harm to the shaman or having the spirit simply return to the spirit plane, thus losing access to the magic.

I recall an argument to limit how a spirit can manifest at the time it is bound. I still think that a spirit should be able to manifest, on behalf of the shaman, any effect that is within its nature to perform. This is the tradeoff for the dangers of dealing with spirits in the first place.

EDIT: Also, keep in mind, a bound hostile spirit is likely to perform actions to the letter of the command, while a friendly spirit will likely follow the intent of the command. A fire spirit commanded to attack enemies may do so by starting a fierce conflagration, setting everything combustible alight as it follows the letter of the shaman's request.
[Last edited Sep 20, 2012 15:33:30]
VaughanCockell said Sep 20, 2012 20:35:12
All true points, but the point of my summary was to describe what normal usage would look like for those who are trying to get a handle on how Animism works in play.

Yes, on a critical the command costs nothing, and if you fail or fumble things can go badly, but a basic animist will not be mucking around with enemy spirits so the most extreme event is likely to be the spirit leaves. Once you hit Shaman status and start looking further afield the situation can get as involved and interesting as you refer to.
Sparky_LFC_68 said Sep 21, 2012 11:01:27
Is it possible for a 'Follower' to get a spirit (with no help from another) to do his bidding, either voluntary or via binding?
VaughanCockell said Sep 21, 2012 12:41:08
No, it is not possible for a Follower to get a Spirit unaided, as both Negotiation, and Spirit Combat leading to Binding require the animist to be on the Spirit Plane. To do this they need assistance.
BruceMason said Sep 21, 2012 12:52:53
Hi Mark, I have a feeling that the questions you're asking are due to thinking the rules are something they are not. The answer is yes unless the GM says otherwise. Generally speaking in RQ/BRP, the rules act as a simple framework with most of the detail to be filled in during play.

For example, Binding has a list of four things it can be used for. Nowhere does it say that those things are restricted by cult rank. This is different from Trance which specifically states that the abilities are restricted by cult rank. Likewise, First Aid and Athletics and both examples of skills that can be used for multiple tasks with no need for a cult rank. However you could imagine a world where treating poison through First Aid is a secret knowledge.

Another way to think of Animism is to compare it to the magical tradition of "Peonism." Peonists know secret techniques for persuading or forcing nameless characters to do things for them. These Peons can carry things, clean things and augment the Peonist's life in many ways. The Peonist uses the two skills of Influence and Credit Rating to communicate, find and bind peons to service. The Peonist's credit rating determines in part the maximum number of peons he can control and the quality of the peons he can afford to control. There are all kinds of ways the Peonist can be interact with peons. The rules provide from fairly abstract measures of number, quality and range of abilities. Most of the fun however comes from going beyond the rules. For example, if the High Peonist of PWC is keen to get his hands on the fabled Uber Butler Peon of Kensington then the GM might decide that it's more fun to play it out.

The animism system is similar. There are a small number of numbers and there is a bestiary of spirit types and their abilities. It is not a system which says "you can only do the actions you are specifically allowed to" it is a framework which says "you can do anything unless it is explicitly disallowed by either the rules or the GM."
Sparky_LFC_68 said Sep 21, 2012 14:31:33
I think you are right - I've been looking at the rules to supply everything.

I know enough to use them as mere guidelines, and that's how I shall treat them from now on.

After all, it does say; Your RuneQuest will vary.

Thanks all
[Last edited Sep 21, 2012 14:32:04]
dreamer_prophet said Sep 21, 2012 17:26:43
The Peonist: “A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.” (IMDb)

Duh. Now I’m confused.
Sparky_LFC_68 said Sep 22, 2012 06:35:46
What throws me a bit, is that trance is used for seeing, observing, communicating, dragging and drawing spirits, but you use Binding to summon (page 208) a known spirit to your location?

So are the steps:

Locate a spirit using trance
Summon a known spirit using Binding (page 208)
Converse with a spirit using trance or enter combat using binding
Draw spirit into physical world using trance (page 209)


Again, sorry, because the last post was deleted; but what’s the difference between using the following two techniques to locate spirits?

Scour the mundane world, using Trance to view the Spirit Plane, on the off chance of noticing a suitable specimen.

Shift fully into the Spirit World to search for a specific spirit

PeteNash said Sep 22, 2012 07:21:23
"Again, sorry, because the last post was deleted; but what’s the difference between using the following two techniques to locate spirits?

Scour the mundane world, using Trance to view the Spirit Plane, on the off chance of noticing a suitable specimen.

Shift fully into the Spirit World to search for a specific spirit "

In essence, none whatsoever. They can both be used to locate spirits.

In practical terms the former only allow you to see what is in your immediate location and can be blocked by interposing objects or terrain. The latter might allow you to rapidly scout a region (ethereally fly about) and physical objects might not hinder your senses (depending on how the spirit plane is conceived in your setting).

Discorporation also takes longer to perform and will leave your body vulnerable whist your awareness is off flying about elsewhere.
Sparky_LFC_68 said Sep 22, 2012 07:47:45
Thanks Pete - I think I'm almost there with the Animist section now. It makes a lot more sense to me after chatting with all the posters here

Thank you all very much for your time and patience!
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