Re: Improving spirit abilities--possible?

From: Paul May <kax_at_...>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 2004 11:33:12 +1000

At 05:22 AM 28/10/04, Andrew Solovay wrote:
>Paul May <kax_at_...> wrote:
> > Spirits are Otherworld critters and therefore can't change. Doing a
> > HQ Challenge and /adding/ an ability (never 'adding to') is the only
> > exception as far as I know.
>But your *knowledge of* the spirit can change--and possibly the spirit can't
>use its full abilities until you help it.
>Example: I ally my fetish spirit. It used to be a "sword combat" fetish. Now
>it's an allied spirit with "sword combat", "fight from horseback", and
>"seduce honest women". Has the spirit changed? No--but my new relationship
>has made more of the spirit's power available to me.

  Note: when you ally it, it still has only the abilities of a practice spirit, however many it may have, although the narrator might add a personalising touch (as you wrote above).   I just read the Animism chapter. If a spirit has been allied, it becomes 'as a follower'. Which strongly implies that it becomes bound to you as well as what you have bound it into, and acts as if it's no longer an Otherworld being and can therefore change.

>Example 2: A god can dwindle, through lack of worshippers, until it
>functions as a mere clan guardian. But as the clan grows, and heroes serve
>it, and holy men learn more about the god's history and quests, the god's
>stature can return to what it was. Again, the *god* hasn't changed--but the
>way it interacts with the mortal world *has* changed, because the mortals
>have changed how they deal with it.

  Yes, but it's regaining something lost; it's 'healing'. And it's not something you can do with HP. ;)
  An animist's spirits are fixed (except, as noted above, an ally); they aren't damaged and need healing, they are at that level when you get them. And because they are Otherworld beings, they can't change that.   This came up a little while ago in a thread about improving a shaman's spirits.

>Example 3: (Not directly apropos, but a useful model) Newby player wants to
>start out with a "Sword of Instant Death". Narrator says "Sure, put it down
>as 'Sword of Instant Death 17'." The PC can't use it to kill instantly with
>any reliability, but that's because he doesn't really know how the sword
>works. As he spends HPs to buy up his skill, his chance improves--not
>because the sword changes, but because the PC understands it better. A few
>campaigns down the road, the player has "Sword of Instant Death 10W3". At
>that point, he really *can* kill instantly with the very same sword--maybe
>just by casting the sword's shadow on a victim.

  Also in the Middle World, and can change.

>So given those examples, I don't think it's unreasonable to allow an allied
>spirit's skills to increase. What's going on (in that case) is this: The
>*spirit* isn't changing, but the character, by spending the HPs, improves
>his understanding of the spirit's abilities. Maybe the spirit is used to a
>sword that's shaped like *so* and used like *such*--the PC adapts his
>weapons and style, and the spirit can help better. Maybe the spirit's "throw
>fire" magic works better if the PC doesn't wear copper, or holds his hand
>like *so*, or always puts on the left shoe first--the PC has learned that,
>and now the magic works better. And maybe by devoting extra time (and
>ecstatic attention), the PC has enabled the spirit to provide more of the
>power it always *latently* had.

  Yup, but doesn't work for most of an animist's non-ally spirits; they are still of the Otherworld.

>Does that sound reasonable?

  Yup, for non-Otherworld spirits and beings. ;)

  bethexton added:
I'll add one more: your hero band guardian can definitely be improved- -it is right in the rules :) Sure the easiest way is to have more people support it or to quest for powers for it, but the rule is there to allow the whole band to chip in to improve it. And gee, just like spirit allies, guardians have three abilities, and if you consider a hero band of 1 person, with a spirit as the guardian, the abilities don't line up perfectly with those of a spirit ally, but they come reasonably close.

  Also Middle World, not Otherworld.

| Paul May               | paul.robert.may_at_...
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    I'm an omnitheist. You can't have too many messiahs.

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