> You can increase a spirit ally's skills with HP providing you first
> spend the 3 points to make the spirit ally a sidekick. I don't
> think the rules say this directly, but the cost is in the
> improvement chart and I think Roderick confirmed this to be the case
I gave a couple reasons why it *might* be so....
The "Spirit Ally as Sidekick" combines two rules concepts. One says: "You can't make spirits stronger with HP". The other says: "You can buy up your Sidekick's abilities with HP". My work-arounds were to make Rule 2 over-ride to Rule 1. However, you can always decide to make Rule 1 dominant and, even if the Ally is a Sidekick, not allow HP increases to a Spirit Ally. It's a Glorantho/philosophical point that is clouded by rules.
> I don't recall, but would presume that the initial cost of a Spirit
> Ally is related to their ability as with charms & fetishes, so
> either way round a high ability spirit ally will have cost more HP
> than a low ability one. (Whether it is sufficiently more I'd not
> like to say - especially without reference to the charts and/or more
> empirical evidence...)
It costs 1 HP to ally a spirit as a retainer, 3 as a sidekick (HP Costs box on 140). *But*, you must already have the 'Friendship with [Soon-to-be-allied-Spirit]' ability (which is used in the 'Ally the Spirit Contest'), which has the costs shown in the box on 141. Basically, you turn an existing Fetish spirit into an Ally spirit.
>> But I'm not sure that they can add like a
>> spirit released from a fetish does.
>It isn't quite explicit, but it seems to be implied that they can. P137.
>With a lot of back-references.
Yes, it does. It "releases itself" from the fetish. Basically, you don't need to do the unrelated action to release it, and there's no contest to see if it will be released. All the rest of the "release" rules appply.
Fetishes and Allies are powerful, yes. But the downside is that there is significant delay in re-using them and they can be relatively easily lost or stolen if the fetish is a "medicine bag" type. (Binding spirits into tattoos just means a really *painful* way to eliminate fetishes...). But since the thumb-rule in HQ is "If you paid HP for an item, you have a chance to retrieve it if lost or stolen*", the narrator shouldn't destroy fetishes willy-nilly.
*Rule not applicable if item lost or stolen in an Otherworld. Void where prohibited. Local statutes may vary. Issaries, Inc. will not replace lost or stolen articles. Caveat Possessor.
>Though I believe (never checked) that a starting character can't be a
>shaman anyway. So given the amount of effort you have to take to become
>one, maybe having them powerful is fair enough?
Gaining a Fetch is the Capital-S Secret of Shamanic practices, and requires 3 abilites at 1W2 (or greater). Definitely out of reach of a *default* beginning character.
C'est par mon ordre et pour le bien de l'Etat que le porteur du pr�sent a fait ce qu'il a fait.
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