Saturday, May 24, 2014

Call of the Wild

{Author's Note:  This one does have game mechanics, this was based on 2nd Edition rules.  The concepts still work.  They mirror what many Shamanic Cultures do.}


For Shamans their Totem is the sum of their magick ability.  It is through their connection to their Totem (for Nature Magicians it is their Idol and for Houngans it is their Mait Tete) that they can cast spells or conjure spirits.  This connection, according to the lore of Shamanic Peoples, is so strong that should a Totem abandon the Shaman, they believe the Shaman would die.  In the Shadowrun rules it is not totally shown how strong the connection between Shaman and Totem can be.  When the Totem calls upon the prospective Shaman they make an agreement to mentor and teach the Shaman the ways of Magick and the Spirits.  Basically the Totem teaches the Shaman everything he needs to know about magick.  Part of that agreement is that the Shaman will offer his services to the Totem when the Totem asks.  The Totem agrees to also guide and protect the Shaman at any given time.  The same holds true for the Idol of the Nature Magician and the Mait Tete of Houngan.

According to some Shamanic beliefs one starts with a Totem that watches over the Shaman when they are a youth.  Once the Person becomes an Adult, another Totem takes over the task of guiding the Shaman.  So it is possible for a change in Totems in an amicable manner.  This happens when a radical change occurs and the original Totem knows that another is needed to continue the Shaman's training and protection.  This happens after certain things occur to cause a radical change in the Shaman's outlook in life.  For Example a Wolf Shaman decides to become a Total Pacifist after killing a child in an accident.  Since Wolf is not a pacifistic Totem, Wolf would guide the Shaman to a new Totem say like Dove or Turtle to incorporate the radical change in the Shaman.

The Totem will come to the Shaman and ask that certain things be done with no questions asked.  As for example, a Shaman will be asked to show up at a certain time and place and deliver a message to someone the Shaman does not know.  The Totem can also initiate quests and Shadowrun for the Shaman to complete as part of their Mentorship of the Shaman.  The relationship between the Totem and the Shaman is one of complete trust.  The Shaman must Trust that the totem has his/her best interests in mind.  When a Totem give direct advice or gives the Shaman a directive, i.e. a restriction or warning from certain behavior, it is best that the Shaman obey, which is known as a Taboo amongst the Polynesians and a Geas amongst the Celts.

If the Shaman does not obey a direct order, the GM should treat it as a violation of the Totem/Shaman agreement.  The Shaman therefore loses his/her Totemic advantages till they rectify things with the Totem.  The manner in which things can be rectified are by Astral Quest, doing a task for the Totem, or going through the proper purification ceremony. After the proper things are done the Totem will then return the Totem Bonuses to the Shaman.  However the next time the Shaman misbehaves the Shaman will lose a Magick point per offenses as well as advantages.  This also goes for behavior by the player that goes against the Totems Archetype.  A player should remember that the Totem is also the personality Archetype of the Character as well.  This is all found in the Shadowrun 2nd Edition page 123. 

In order to recover the Magick points the Shaman must complete a purification ceremony, a task for the Totem or an Astral Quest.  The difficulty of the act of penance to the Totem is gauged by the amount of lost Magick points.  The larger the loss the tougher the redemption.

When the Shaman has misbehaved so much to lose all his Magick points and therefore lose his Magick and all Magickal Potential, He risks death.  Due to the Trauma of sudden loss of Magick the Shaman must make a Body Test(4) if they get two successes they Shaman survives the Trauma.  If the Shaman does not get two successes, the Shaman dies because of the Trauma of having all his Magick pulled from him/her.

The surviving Shaman can try to find another Totem to take him/her.  However the other Totem will be reluctant.  They will figure if he/she would not listen to his/her first Totem why would he/she listen now.  So the Shaman must go on an Astral Quest much like a Physical Adept would.  The Shaman must make a Charisma Test(10), four successes and the Shaman finds a new Totem.  Other wise no Totem/Idol/Mait Tete will listen to the Character.  If he does find a Totem the Shaman starts at three Magick point and  must complete a Quest to regain his total Magick points.  If the Shaman misbehaves once with the new Totem he/she loses both his/her Magick and must make a Body Test(8).  The Shaman needs four successes to live otherwise he/she has blown it for  the last time.  If they live they will live the remainder of their days as a Mundane.

The Rules I have stated are optional for the GM, but they help expand things to follow the Lore about the Relationship of the Totem and Shaman according to the Beliefs of Shamanic Cultures.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Modern Idols

{Author's Note:  This Article is a different view of Nature Magick Idols.  Idols are like totems, but instead of animals they represent mythic archetype i.e.: Drangonslayer for Thor and Hercules, Horned God for Pan and Cernunnos, Sky Father for Zeus and Odin, and Great Mother for Gaia.  Here I went a little crazy.  I took the ideas of the collective unconscious, popular culture influencing magick and Nature Magick Idols, and ran with it.  The idea of someone following Superman or Elvis as an Idol was fun.  Brother Ardu was one of my Campaign contacts.  An University Professor and Dog Shaman.  Most of this is an in world explanation.}


>>>>>{Well, folks it turns out that one of the cutting edge discoveries in Shamanic Magick was spearheaded by a local Denizen.  Our very own Brother Ardu is a Professor of Shamanism at Pacific University and has been doing research on a somewhat new Shamanic Phenomenon.  It is called Modern Idols, these are Shamans who follow idols based out of figures from Popular Culture.  The Following is excerpts from his lectures and research papers.  So without further delay here is Bro A.}<<<<<
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      As everyone knows Nature Magicians follow Idols; those Idols are based on Mythological figures: Gods, Heroes, Villains, Angels, Saints and the like.  One theory I have had is that since Shamanic Magick is partly based on belief of the practitioner so anything could be possible.  One possibility I have thought of was, that a Shaman or Nature Mage could follow a Totem based not only the Mythos of the Distant Past but also the mythos of the Present and recent Past. 

With the introduction of Self-Created Traditions to Magickal Theory, a lot has been opened up.  I however, before that possibility came to light, kept saying that certain Modern Archetypal figures were more than likely to manifest themselves in the form of Idols.  In the last few years I have been able to amass examples of Nature Magicians who follow new Idols whose Aspects are from Modern Culture: Comic Books, Literature, Movies, and some Modern Celebrities.

Many of the Modern Idols when initially discovered were seen as self-created traditions.  With further time it was shown they were not, when unrelated Nature Mages began following the Idols.  Most of the Idols I listed are from Western Culture.  They are rarely found outside of North America and Europe. These new Shamanic types I refer to a Mytho Mages.  The Archetypes they follow are part of our modern collective consciousness and have become an integral part of our cultural identity.

Mytho Mages do not use Medicine Lodges per se they use what they call sacred spaces or shrines.  These areas are dedicated to the Aspect of their Idol they follow.  Most of the materials can be seen as simple everyday items but once again they need special consideration due to their importance to the Mytho Mage.  Besides, a 20th Century era comic book intact or a movie poster from the same century is fairly expensive as well.


Champion

The Champion Idol is based on the Heroic Archetype of the Superhero figure.  Most specifically tit is he one that fights for Truth, Justice and the American Way.  The Idol protects the weak and loathes corruption.  The followers of Champion tend to prefer the direct approach and are not skilled in subtlety.  The followers of Champion cannot allow an injustice go unpunished, they will go at any length with in their strict codes of honor to rectify the matter. 

I discovered a group of Champion Mages in Seattle that called themselves the Scions of the House of El.  They seemed to follow the aspect of the Champion known as Kal-El, which I believe is the comic book figure Superman.  Another one I met in my research called the Sentinel followed the Champion in the Aspect of Captain America.  At first I thought these were two different Idols but my research proved that the Archetypes were too close for that.


Avenger

The Avenger Idol is about waging war on Evil and Crime.  It is about protecting society from within the Shadows.  An Avenger Mage prefers not to fight in the open.  They are masters of Fear Tactics and Subtlety.  They are also extremely obsessed with their chosen crusade, whether it be against corrupt officials, crime syndicates, BTL dealers, Drug Trade, Gangs, or polluters.  The common thread amongst all Avenger Mages is they have a personal crusade against a facet of crime, corruption or evil.   Common Aspects are The Shadow, Batman, Daredevil or the Darkman.


Amazon Princess

The Amazon Princess is a unique idol in that its followers are only Female.  The Amazon Princess is the Protector of all women regardless of race, color creed.  She is the embodiment of the protective side of the female spirit.  She is strong and a warrior, but she is also the champion of peace and is known for her calm demeanor. She is strong and forceful, but does not lose any of her femininity in such instances.  Her two main aspects are Xena and Wonder Woman.


The Wild Child


The Wild Child is based on the Archetype of a human raised by wild animals.  The Archetype itself is seen as a Shaman and most shamanic cultures would follow the same totem as the Aspect.  However since the Followers are from Urban areas they use the Wild Child as a way to get back to Nature.  The Wild Child is one born of Human Culture that is thrust upon the Wild and must find balance.  Wild Child's Followers try to emulate that experience.  Common aspects of Wild Child are Mowgli and Tarzan.


Sleuth

The Sleuth is the finder of truth and exposer of evil deeds.  He is an Idol that exemplifies the need to solve the unknown.  Like the Idol his Followers are eccentric and often mysterious themselves.  The Sleuth does not allow his prey to know what he is up to.  Not only can he see through deception he uses it himself to aid in his objective to fight evil.  A few examples of the Sleuth's aspects are Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Inspector Poirot, Lieutenant Columbo, and Jessica Fletcher.


King of Rock and Roll

This Idol is one of the few based on a real person.  This idol is based on the legendary musician Elvis Presley.  Yes, folks Elvis. The followers of this Idol exemplify The need to entertain and help their fellow man.  They are very loyal to family ties both by blood and by choice.  There is a large concentration of followers in The CAS, especially in and around Memphis.


Secret Agent

The Secret Agent Idol is based on the Archetypal figure of the Agent who protects his or her nation from threats, both within and without.  The Secret Agent is a charmer and quit wit.  The few Followers of this Idol I have met usually work for the Government of their homeland.  Although most of the common Aspects are British, the Idol does not differentiate based on National origin.  The British government once discovering the existence of this Idol has been actively recruiting its followers for service in its various Intelligence agencies.  The most common Aspects are James Bond, John Steed, Emma Peel, Napoleon Solo, Illya Kuryakin, Matt Helm, and Danger Man (also known as Secret Agent Man and the Prisoner).


The Force

This Idol is based on the philosophy of George Lucas' Famous Film series Star Wars.  The Force is seen as the binding force of all life.  It is the creative and nurturing side of nature.  The followers of this Philosophy say that fear, hate, jealousy and other negative emotion cause disruptions in this delicate balance.  These followers are often referred to as Jedi, like the followers of that belief in the Lucas works.  The followers of the Idol do not see direct manifestation of their Idol, instead they are presented with images of the heroic Jedi from the Movies, books, Comic books, Vid-games and other Star Wars Material from Lucas Ltd.  Toxic versions of this Idol are referred to as Sith.