RE: Animists and ancestors

From: James A. Holden <jaholden_at_...>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2000 08:27:22 -0700

Peter writes:

> Thus bargain and other communication skills are permissible for
> persuading a spirit into a fetish. I think it more appropriate
> for the animist to use these skills to make an ancestor fetish
> rather than use spirit combat as the be-all end-all of animist
> magic.

I gather you want Spirit Combat left just for actual battle-o'-wills combat. That suits me fine.

I understood differently for two reasons:

(1) There is no Bargain with Spirits ability in any HW shaman's keyword that we've seen so far. (Admittedly, we haven't seen many.) Grazer shamans do have Intimidate, which I always understood to be intimidating people, but in hindsight that might well be viable for spirits, too. Kolati spirit-talkers either engage in spirit combat, or they get to bargain with a sideline skill. Jakaleel is a slightly different case (there isn't an occupational keyword for Lunar shamans), but she has no communication skills in her magical keyword either. Presumably, Spirit Combat would be used for spirits outside the tradition, while bargaining would be the preferred choice for spirits inside the tradition (with plenty of exceptions, no doubt). But we don't see any ability to facilitate that bargaining (and Roderick said Tradition Knowledge helps determine whether to bargain or fight, so we know Tradition Knowledge isn't it).

(2) Roderick, when asked if Spirit Combat was inherently hostile, defined Spirit Combat this way:

> It's the way to get spirits to do what you want. Usually this is a
> thing. It isn't necessarily a "bad" thing from the spirit's point of view
> (it is to some spirits, though!)

And later:

> You can beg, promise, grovel fight, etc. (page 206). I was trying to
> to the "spirit combat is a hostile act & shouldn't be used on friendly
> spirits" (and obviously blew my roll). Let me back up. Spirit Combat is
> perfectly okay to use on "friendly" spirits asuming the Tradition
> says it is. Can some spirits get annoyed by it? Probably, but if you beat
> them, they don't have much say in the matter :-).

I read these messages as saying that Spirit Combat included begging, promising, grovelling, fighting, etc.

But, okay, I'm not attached to the name of the ability you use. Let's say that if you're an ancestor worshipper, you either can use your Tradition Knowledge or a special Ancestor Lore ability or something else to forge those connections with your ancestors.

That said, what do you think of the idea of fetish-as-a-ticket-for-ancestral-favors vs. fetish-as-spirit-trap? (This is a possible way to sidestep the the "I have Grandpa Joe in this rattle. You can't summon him." problem.


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