Re: Digest Number 1706

From: Chris Lemens <chrislemens_at_yBu0b53V8uBbpAXtafgNNW5Xhm2cBixZSrCRv4cSt4Uv1Ji_lXXkAo1P4qzxHuyk>
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2008 07:35:07 -0700 (PDT)

> Matthew Cole
> I'm running a scenario set in prax for praxian heroes and I

> asked the players to come up with taboos for their spirits.
> Three out of 4 are experienced gloranthaphiles and *none*
> of the 4 knew could come up with the goods.
First off, I would say that the bigger the spirit, the bigger the taboo. So, when you worship Waha and Eiritha, you get many taboos. Because everyone you know has the same taboos, these seem like societal norms to you -- that men do the butchering and the killing, and women break a taboo by doing it; that women birth the calves and the children, and men break a taboo by doing it.  
For smaller, personal spirits, I'd go with taboos that somehow reflect the spirit's story. I like linking them with the spirit's story because it gives a reason for something that may seem non-functional on its surface. Depending on the tone of your campaign, these can range from comical to deep. The taboo may reflect your ancestor spirit's pet peeve, for example smoky fires (taboo: burn no wet dung) or members of the Storm Sable clan (taboo: never offer aid to a Storm Sable). Or it might arise from some utterly obscure conflict -- the war between the rabbit and the gophers, for example (taboo: eat nothing but rabbit one week per year). Or it might be about what the spirit lost in the god's war (taboo: use no missile weapons), or how the spirit's magic came about (taboo: participate in no ceremonies that lack water, or who the spirit loved (taboo: marry no one but a healer). The taboos should be more meaningful as the spirit gets larger. So a small spirit might have the "eat nothing but rabbit one week per year" taboo, while a larger one might have the "participate in no ceremonies that lack water" taboo.  
The point is to come up with a backstory for the spirit; the taboos will grow out of that. If the spirits are important (like spirit allies), I'd let the players elaborate on the stories as they go, discovering new facets of their important spirits. (Besides, that way they don't have to do all the work ahead of time.)  
Reflecting back on what I just wrote, I think I'm probably telling you things you already know. But I'll hit send in case I'm wrong.  
Chris Lemens            

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