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The Encyclopedia of Magikal Methods
Spirit School of Magic
The Spirit Spell School encompases the following Subschools of magic:
Since the beginnings of culture, humans have sought congress with the spirit world, seeking aide, comfort, or control. The Spirit School of magic deals with the contacting and using of spirits. The Subschools within this School are the methods for dealing with spirits developed by different cultures. There are other methods of dealing with spirits that are not included in this School, what is included are the Subschools which are Intuitive magics. The methods which are a result of shamanistic and wholisitc cultures. The view perpatuated by this School is that tbe spirit world and the material world are one, undivisible. That when dealing with one, you automatically and unequivocally effect the other.
All Subschools within the Spirit School deal with the spirit world, but they each do so in a different way. See the "Mechanics" section of the individual Subschools for complete descriptions.
Because the Subschools within this School are related only in general principal, but not in mechanics, each one has its own required procedures. There is no single general procedure required of all Spirit School spells.
Spell Formula Standards
There are again, no standards for all spells within the Spirit School.
The Astral Plane Subschool of Spirit Magic
The Astral Plane Subschool did not develope at any one time, in any one place. It is the magic of dreams, and can appear in any culture that values dreams.
The Astral Plane Subschool is the only type of magic which allows the mage to directly manipulate mana to cause effects, without the need for components or ritual. Using this Subschool, you may change your perceptions to that of the astral plane, the land where dreams take place, and cause magic to happen using only your desire to make it so. The limit of dream magic is that the mind of a material being cannot simultaniously perceive both the material and astral planes. It's either one or the other. When you are using dream magic, you must "turn off" your normal senses, and only perceive astrally. When you "turn off," you also lose all ability to move or know what is happening to your material body. (I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say that you can remember where you left it.) While you are switched to astral, you can cast any of the Astral Plane spells.
You must use the mental discipline Astral Projection before you cast any of the spells in this Subschool.
Spell Formula Standards
These spells do not need any associative components or procedures.
The Native American Totemic Subschool of Spirit Magic
Native American Totemic magic developed out of the shamanistic traditions of the aboriginal inhabitants of the Northern American continent. It is a very personal form of communication and interaction with the spirit world.
Basically, the mage invites a Totemic spirit to join her, then petitions that spirit for help in return for a sacrifice of food or service. The spirit will usually bargain, then a deal will be struck, resulting in the creation of a Totemic Contract between the mage and the spirit. Totemic spirits are the spirits of animals, elements and plants; like Bear, Thunder, Ivy, Ant, and Eagle. Totemic spirits are big and powerful. It is unwise to attempt to contact them for a frivelous or trivial reason. It is also very easy to offend them, so be polite.
As with all other Totemic Contracts, using the Native American Totemic Subschool the mage may only cast the spells on themself, and the effects of the spells are limited to augmentation and protection of the mage's own material and astral bodies. The perk is that the Force of Totemic Contract is limited only by the size of the spirit called, not by the caster's Spell Force Limit.
To successfully cast any Native American Totemic spell, you must first perform the following procedures:
Spell Formula Standards
- Cast the spell "Medicine Wheel."
- Cast the spell "Summon Totemic Spirit."
The Totemic spirits called upon should originate from North American Indian mythology. The mineral totems used in the Medicine Wheel should be appropriate to the spirit called and to the purpose of the contract. Again, use Native American symbology and associations.
The Pictish Runes Subschool of Spirit Magic
The Picts of northern Britain and Scotland developed the method of creating totemic contracts with nature spirits long before the Celtic, Roman, and Saxon invasions of the isles. This spell Subschool developed out of the Picts' traditional tribal practice of drawing pictures of animals on themselves to gain the abilities of those animals in battle.
The basic idea of Pictish Runes is to decorate your body with designs which seem appropriate to the Totemic spirit to be called, then summon the spirit and make a deal with it to augment or protect you. These designs are called runes. The "appropriate" part is important. The rune chosen does not have to have deep mystical significance, but for the spell to work, the rune does need to "feel right" to you. (This is an Intuitive School, remember.) Once the runes are drawn, they will act as a focus for the spell. A Totemic spirit is then called, and once it arrives, you must cut a deal with it. You ask the spirit to provide you with what extra abilities or protections that you want, and in return, you offer to perform some sort of sacrifice for it. This process is the creating of a Totemic Contract between you and the spirit.
As with all other Totemic Contracts, using the Pictish Rune Subschool the mage may only cast the spells on themself, and the effects of the spells are limited to augmentation and protection of the mage's own material and astral bodies. The perk is that the Force of Totemic Contract is limited only by the size of the spirit called, not by the caster's Spell Force Limit.
To successfully cast any Pictish Rune spell, you must first perform the following procedures:
Spell Formula Standards
- Cast the spell "Create Pictish Woad" (a Nature, Herbal Remedies spell), or get someone else to make it for you.
- Cast the spell "Summon Totemic Spirit" (you have to do this one yourself).
The runes used should be of Pictish or Celtic origins, knotwork and zoomorphic designs are best. To chose a rune or design that is appropriate, think of the spirit you are calling, and what qualities you wish it to lend you. The Totemic spirits called should ususally, but not necessarily, be related to the animals and plants of the British Isles. The sacrifice offered needs to be something that the animal or plant the spirit is representing would like.
The Fetish, Stone Talismans and Amulets Subschool of Spirit Magic
The superstitious use of rocks, semi-precious, and precious stones as Talismans and Amulets can be traced around the world as far back as the bronze age, possibly further. People of nearly every culture recognized that every stone possesses certain affinities and various virtues, to some degree. They may be used to make Amulets and Talismans of many different kinds, as well as to conduct spell effects corresponding to the affinities of the individual stone.
Lady Aglaia Faithe MacGregor (aka Jaime) performed extensive studies on the subject of "magic" stones; spanning many, many decades and most of the globe. She discovered that anyone could learn the vast number of accepted superstitions pertaining to living stones, but that no one seemed to know much about the possessed ones, except that they worked. One thing that all the tales and wise women agreed upon is that the obtaining and usage of magic stones was based on having the sheer luck to accidentally find one.
Lady Aglaia also ascertained that few could use any living stones with any efficacy, and in all her studies had never heard of anyone deliberately calling spirits into the stones; or making contracts with them. But researching other spell schools made her wonder whether it could be done. Through study and experimentation, Lady Aglaia determined the natures and habits of the spirits that might possess stones, as well as those of simple living stones. When she was done (as much as anyone can be "done" studying magical topics) she had used the Nature sub-school Stone Remedies as a stepping stone (pardon the pun) from which to create a unique sub-school of Fetishism: Stone Talismans and Amulets. Although recent evidence has revealled that Native American Shamans have long taken advantage of the powers of living spirit stones, the Lady Aglaia is still the recognized expert on their enchantment and use.
Note: One must have achieved an Initiate level of competence in the "Nature, Stone Remedies" school of magic to complete one's Novitiate in this school.
All rocks fall into one of the two following categories: Living stones with potential powers of their own, and living stones inhabited or "possessed" by spirits. This spell school is concerned only with spirit-possessed stones.
A Caster may utilize two basic procedures when casting spells in this spell school:
Note: Talismans and Amulets created in this school, using these techniques, have exactly the same effects and results as Talismans created in the "Nature, Stone Remedies" school of magic except that:
- Summon a spirit and convince it to greatly enhance any target stone's innate folkloric abilities (or ones suggested by the target stone's appearance or formation process) in exchange for a specified compensation.
- Summon a spirit and convince it to perform a specific task (or combination of tasks) in exchange for a specified compensation.
Regardless of which method is used to create the Talisman, the specified compensation to the possessing spirit always includes permission for the spirit to possess the target stone and Caster's payment of the Maintenance Psyche.
- The spell's force is determined only by the strength of the possessing spirit, not by the caster's personal spell force limit.
- The spell's initial force cost is paid by the possessing spirit, not by the caster.
- These Talismans have much greater potential for versatility and sheer power.
The spirits which will possess stones are sentient and possess varying degrees of intelligence. Generally speaking, the more powerful the spirit, the more highly developed is its personality and cognitive abilities, and vice versa. Although their personalities and priorities may differ, a common trait they all share is a certain fussiness about appearances, and pride. For example, if a spirit-inhabited stone is ill-cared for, poorly displayed, or sold, the spirit may take offense and leave, thus breaking the spell.
One last note, this one regarding terminology. (Yes, I know you read this in the Stone Remedies sub-school description, but it's still true, so read it again.) Amulets are magic thingies (gizmos or spell foci) created in this sub-school whose primary function is to protect or ward vs. something. Talismans are magic thingies (gizmos or spell foci) created in this sub-school whose primary function is to attract or cause something. These are in-game or "in-character" terms and should not be confused with the "Spell Type" listings on your canon sheets. The "Spell Type" listings pertain only to game mechanics and have nothing to do with you as a character. In terms of game mechanics, Amulets are actually a specialized sort of Talisman.
Don't think about it too hard. It'll just give you a headache. Just trust me when I tell you that using the spells and techniques of this sub-school it is possible to create both Talismans and Amulets which may be listed on your canon sheet as: continuous effect Talismans, limited charge Talismans, unlimited charge Talismans, charged magic items, continuous effect magic items, or held spells. Versatile, neh?
There are a few requirements to fulfill before you can go around casting Spirit, Fetish, Stone Talismans and Amulets spells. First, it really is quite pointless for you to read any further if you cannot perform Nature magic. If you can, count yourself lucky. Some people can't, you know. All right, let's assume you can work in the Nature schools. In that case, let's go on to the next requirement: You must have a basic understanding of the use of rocks, semi-precious, and precious stones as Talismans and Amulets, as well as the multi-cultural folklore surrounding it. This is what it taught in Nature, Stone Remedies. To complete your Novitiate in this sub-school, you must have completed your Initiate level of study in Stone Remedies.
So, have you completed at least your Initiate level in Stone Remedies? Yes? Oh good. Then we're cookin'.
Okay. For every spell in this school, it is necessary to have a consecrated Erthame (Consecrate Erthame spell) and know how to get the attention of and bargain with the right kind of spirits (Summon Spirits spell).
An "Erthame" is basically an earth focus created specifically to facilitate the joining of Spirit to Earth. In other words, the Erthame is needed to help attract the right sort of spirits. When in use, the Erthame is a glowing beacon that says "Now Renting!" It also serves to show the summoned spirit(s) that the person sitting next to the stone is the Landlord and not just some guy. Without it, the spirit would not recognize a need to acknowledge you at all. It would simply move in without so much as a by-your-leave. It is virtually impossible to achieve anything without an Erthame (unless you enjoy spending thousands of Psyche points for a simple summoning, with iffy results), which is why it is listed as a requirement of this sub-school. Erthames grow in effectiveness with prolonged use, rather like "seasoning" a skillet. Thus a mage may use the same Erthame for centuries.
It is also a good idea, thought not strictly necessary, to use the Stone Remedies spell "Verify Health" on each Target Stone before attempting anything with it. Spirits can get kind of indignant when you try and house them in a sickly or damaged stone.
One last recommendation before we send you out to create magical mayhem. Look over the "Spell Sub-School Standards" sheet included with this description. It will show you how a spell of this sob-school generally is cast.
The Voodoo Subschool of Spirit Magic
Throughout the centuries, people have sought to use their connections to the spirit world to influence events and circumstances in the material plane. A combination of ability to access spirits and natural chemical tools, this sub-school (even in its purist, cleanest form) can be very powerful. The form of Voodoo we see today was developed as a means to do more than influence. Modern Voodoo is about control.
Somewhere along the line, some unknown mages realized that the power of fear grants more control over material world than magic alone. Speculation exists among the Mystic population that this turn may have been spurred by a private vendetta between two or more Mage Households. In any case, contemporary Voodoo is the result of a gradual change in emphasis. It went from communicating with the spirits to the use of a combination of chemical and spiritual tools to habitual manifestation of the worst horrors imaginable.
Today's Voodoo Master would generally make a great addition to any psychology text.
Before medical science reached its current level of comprehension, much of the Voodoo practices was either misunderstood or not understood at all. The Voodoo mage uses chemicals harvested from exotic animal and vegetable sources to create astonishing effects. Most of the chemicals are deadly poisons which are used in conjunction with direct spirit contact and an intimate knowledge of human (and other) fears to produce what the Targets undoubtedly wish was a nightmare.
All the spells in this sub-school involve the manipulation of Spirit or Psyche (mana). This can be embodied or unembodied, but is usually claimed in some way. Unembodied spirits can be drawn into already-occupied bodies of either willing or unwilling Targets. Embodied spirits can be made to perform ghastly tasks upon their own bodies. Unembodied spirits can be petitioned for information or made to perform tasks, usually horrific in nature.
Contact and communication with spirits is facilitated by a chemically-altered awareness and physiology. Probably the most common method is the use of hallucinogenics, such inhaled bay leaf smoke. Other times, intoxication will serve, or even the consumption of certain street drugs. Street drugs are a last resort due to the lack of integrity among the dealers (not to mention the ease with which a rival mage could include their own ingredients to what is bought). An impurity of sufficient magnitude could get the Caster killed if the resultant reaction caused the mage to lose control over whatever spirit was summoned.
Voodoo mages commonly use their vast arsenal of incredibly esoteric and poisonous chemicals in spellcasting where the Target's spirit is only lightly touched. The most famous example of this sort of spell is the creation of a "Zombie". 90% of the spell is simple magically-enhanced chemistry, 5% is manipulation of the Target"s spirit, and the remaining 5% is pure psychology.
Generic instruction for any budding Voodoo practitioner is this: Focus on what event or circumstance will unnerve or frighten your Target into exhibiting the behavior you desire of them, then combine what you know of biochemistry and spirit services to produce it.
Somewhere in the casting of each spell the Caster's awareness must be chemically altered to aid in the manipulation of mana/Psyche and communication with whatever spirits are involved.
It is permissible to use a very few non-organic materials in the casting, but most must be as close to their original, natural form as possible. The more processed components a spell uses, the less likely you are to like the result, and in this magic sub-school that could get really nasty really fast.
Another constant in the castings of this sub-school is the use of chicken blood and pieces. They must always be fresh, and it is best if the Caster is the one who separated the chicken's body from its spirit. Killing is the ultimate show of spirit manipulation and establishes the Caster's mastery over the spirits of others. This is a good precedent to have set when you know you are going to have to face down and/or bully denizens of the astral plane.
The only other information you should have before attempting any of the spells of this sub-school is given on the "Spell Sub-School Standards" sheet included with this description. It will show you how a spell of this sub-school generally is cast.
Spell Formula Standards
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