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Spirits and Umba Representation

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  • Spirits and Umba Representation

    This is a question that might need a long answer. So anyone who likes to talk is very welcomed to answer!

    Now I know not everything is represented in the Umbra, which is why the Rite of Awakening exists. I also know spirits of concepts and natural forces can exist, be corrupted or die. This can also apply to technology with Weaver spirits. So my question is really a few questions:

    Firstly, let's say you have an old and large lake. If you go into the Umbra, the lake will be there as well. There's also likely to exist water Spirits in the area. If you kill the spirits, but do nothing to the actual water in the Umbra, is the lake in the physical world affected? If so, how? If nothing happens, what if you start bringing in Banes to corrupt the spirit representation but do nothing in the physical world, would how long would it take for it affect the physical world? And what would happen?

    The same question but for animals. If you somehow killed every cat spirit in a city, would the cat population start to die off to a mysterious illness?

    Now how does this affect technology? If someone has a security system in their house, how and does it show up in the Umbra? Will there actually be Weaver spirits that would be looking for Intruders? If so, if those spirits are killed, will the systems just shut down?

    I've read parts of Velvet Shadow and will be reading it again, but don't have access to the book at the moment. Any answers would be greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    The cats do not die off, but they will probably suffer from more accidents and diseases without sympathetic spirits watching over them. Now, killing off all of the cats in a city would probably destroy any resident cat spirits, but the reverse would probably not be true. Now, if you murdered the Incarna of Domestic Cat, then every cat on Earth would probably go feral until another spirit became the Incarna of Domesticated Cat because the concept was damaged on some level.

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    • #3
      If there is a particular spirit associated with a single living creature (like a tree), then destroying the spirit (which requires more than just defeating - reduced to zero Essence simply means the spirit goes into Slumber) is supposed to eventually lead to the death to the creature. But it is not automatic.

      For a spirit associated with something not alive (like a lake) it is not going to die as it was never alive. But it would likely start showing some kind of damage. Its ecosystem begins to break down and certain species who live there might start dying off. It might start becoming more polluted because it isn't able to filter toxins as well. People may no longer associated good feelings towards it like they had.

      For spirits that represent life forms, but which aren't on a one to one basis (cat spirits are generic cat spirits, they aren't the spirit of specific cats), this will begin to affect the creatures they represent in the realm. Werewolf cosmology works according to animist principles, so failure to properly thank spirits of prey for example means those animals are born less in the Realm. This is why hunters thank the animal spirits of the prey they kill so that there continues to be more of them. So in your example, we would begin to see less cats. Some of it may be do to cats having a higher mortality rate for whatever reason, but not necessarily because of a new illness. And less cats are likely to become born. But that population decline will likely occur over a long time period, multiple generations. Which is also plenty of time for new cat spirits to come back and revive things - whatever is killing cat spirits will likely have to do so for many, many generations before all cats are driven out.

      Spirits of technological items are unlikely to exist unless they are awakened first. Technology spirits are different from the more generic Weaver Spirits (like Pattern Spiders) which don't represent a specific technological item, but serve the general purpose of the Weaver of putting things in order, preserving the Pattern Web, reinforcing the Gaunlet, and things of that nature.

      Structures created by mankind are barely visible in the Penumbra originally. There are only faint outlines of gossamer webs. They become more solid over time only because 1) Weaver spirits like Pattern Spiders solidify them, and 2) if humans become attached to those places and assign a spirit to that place based on their own experiences. But individual things like security systems, TVs, even doors and windows aren't "activated" or perform any function. Only if someone awakens the spirit of those items, do they become real/operational in the umbra.

      It is very unlikely that there will be Weaver spirits looking for intruders except for places heavily enfused with the Weaver's power like downtown cities, research centers, or other places that are already "fueled" by the perception of humanity that those places are particularly secure and have that kind of resonance. A new bank might have some level of (likely weak) Weaver spirit guarding the place, because in popular imagination a bank is a secured location. In a downtown area where there are many security cameras, police patrols, or other things people associate with security, there will be many more kind of spirit defenders who are much stronger. And in areas where the Weaver's hold is particularly strong, there might be all manner of specialist spirits acting as guardians. But they won't necessarily reflect any specific technological item - just the general sense people have of the place's spirit.

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