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Rite of Spirit Summoning Spirit Dispositions.

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  • Rite of Spirit Summoning Spirit Dispositions.

    Am curious, hows a 'friendly' servant of wolverine, or Fenrir act?

    Or a hostile Unicorn spirit

    Would like ideas for the listed dispositions and how to improve them?

    The listed Dispositions are



    Passively Benign


    Is Chiminage the most Effective Solution?

  • #2
    I feel those dispositions are in regards to their initial attitude to the summoner and how likely they are to help them. It is not their personality. Think of it like the summoner is a door to door salesman wanting the spirit to buy from them, and the spirit is having to interrupt whatever they are doing at home to answer the door.

    So friendly means the spirit is in a good mood, and already predisposed to help the summoner.
    Passively benign means the spirit is in a good mood, but is neither inclined to help or refuse the summoner. He is willing to hear him out though.
    Neutral means the spirit is willing to meet the summoner, but how he acts depends on what the summoner wants and whether it is something he would want to do.
    Hostile means the spirit has been angered by the summoner in some way. He is irritated and is inclined to not help the summoner.

    Usually I use the spirit's initial attitude to determine if the summoner has to perform additional chiminage just to get the spirit to listen to them (for whatever purpose the ritualist summoned them). So for friendly and passively benign spirits, the summoner does not need to do anything. For neutral spirits, the summoner may need to provide 1 point of temporary Gnosis or equivalent. For hostile spirits, the summoner will need to perform some sort of penance for having offended the spirit - besides giving the Gnosis, he may need to provide more Gnosis, or give an oath that he will perform a specific service for the spirit, provide some other form of sacrifice, or perhaps do some sort of grovelling with appropriate rolls (Expression, Empathy, Enigmas or anything else the ST thinks is appropriate for the spirit).

    So yes, I rule that Chiminage helps.

    Only then can the summoner then move on to whatever reason he actually summoned the spirit (which may require additional chiminage).

    Certainly the type of spirit summoned impacts what the spirit will accept, or even if it is worth asking it to do something. In my chronicles, it is a principal that Garou should only summon those spirits already predisposed to be friendly to the Garou because of their tribal or pack totem spirit. That way, even if a spirit summoned is hostile, you can likely turn things around. Summoning a spirit that is not predisposed to help adds an additional complication.

    So a Get of Fenris summoning a Sturm spirit (part of Fenris' brood) can probably turn an initially hostile spirit around to his favor. But if he summons a spirit from Pegasus's brood, an initially hostile spirit may become appeased by proper chiminage and apologies for disturbing, but won't ever agree to whatever task the Get of Fenris summoner asks for it - regardless of what he offers. In fact, even a neutral spirit may not help, and a passively benign spirit may only agree for a heavy, heavy payment.

    If you summon a spirit that is not part of the normal Gaian spirit brood (say an Elemental or Epiphling), a hostile spirit may not even accept apologies for being so badly summoned, but attack if they feel they can get away with it. Perhaps not with the intent to kill, but to do enough damage to chastise the Garou permanently. If you try to summon a spirit that is normally hostile - say one of the Weaver's Brood or a Bane, they might try to outright slay the Garou provided they think they can win. With such spirits, even one summoned that is "Friendly" in initial disposition won't erase their normal intentions or allegiance, though they may be impressed at the skill of the ritualist.

    So I always adjust how a spirit acts based on that spirit's normal attitude to the Garou's totems. I typically use a sliding scale - Totem Spirit Brood, Neutral Gaian Spirits (most other tribal Spirit Broods), Hostile Spirit Broods (like Pegasus to the Get of Fenris, or Griffin to any Homid), Non-Gaian Spirits (like Weaver spirits, Epiphlings Chimera), and then to Enemy Spirits (Banes). Each group will act differently in the same category (Friendly, Neutral, etc.)

    I typically go by tribal totem, but will make some adjustments for pack totem if that compensates.

    I also keep track of how well that individual character is viewed in the spirit world. The more a Garou interacts with spirits, treats them respectfully, fulfills his chiminage, keeps his promises, and otherwise builds his reputation among spirits. A skilled ritualist who nevertheless has a terrible reputation for being a liar and a bully, will be at a disadvantage to a spirit who recognizes him for what he is.

    Friendly servants of Wolverine and Fenris will be friendly, but in the way a wolverine or wolf may play with a packmate or one of their kits. So there is likely a lot of playful roughhousing which may even be a brief combat scene (though limited to Bashing damage) before the ritualist can get down to business. Again, this should be impacted by who is doing the summoning. A Get of Fenris or other martial Garou (a Garou whose tribal or pack totem is War, or who may have earned a lot of Glory) will be greeted more enthusiastically like if the spirit is an old friend. A Garou whose nature, auspice, or tribe/pack is antithetical to the spirit, will still be treated warmly, but not as enthusiastically.

    A hostile Unicorn spirit will likely act in a way a horse acts when it is in panic or feels it is in danger. So his ears will be pinned back, his tail will rapidly swish, his muzzle will tighten and he'll show his teeth. He'll snort and squeal. He'll stomp his feet, and may buck or kick his legs. He'll act like an untamed animal whose territory is being trespassed. How hostile or angry the spirit reacts again depends on the nature of the Garou. A Child of Gaia likely only encounters a spirit that is heavily annoyed, snorting and squealing while his tail rapidly wags, while a Get of Fenris or Red Talon summoner may have to watch out for bucking and kicking legs.

    That is how I would run the scene.


    • #3
      Fair enough...

      Oh one more thing, how might a Shadow Lord Summoning a Falcon Gaffling,, or Silver Fanging Summoning a Storm Crow, be treated?

      I think a Shadow Lord Wanting to see a Philodex Cliath Learn Truth of Gaia will have a moderately Easy time though in one Game on Rpol A guy beseeched for the Gift and was taught it, but Geased to perform a Task for Falcon.

      Sound Reasonable?

      "Use him to do our dirty work for us"


      • #4
        For the Gift descriptions, assume the spirit mentioned in the description is just an example of the type of spirit that can teach the gift. Not the only spirit that can teach it. So if for flavor purposes, it is alright to use another appropriate spirit that should know that gift. Otherwise, you can get weird combinations at times. For example, Chameleon teaches various stealth type gifts. But the actual animal is only found in Africa and some coastal areas nearby. So in games set in North America or Australia, I usually use another trickster or hiding type spirit of an appropriate local animal - maybe an octopus if they live near the coast, a stick bug, dragon lizard, Pacific tree frog, or certain beetles. (I generally like to use spirits that can be typically found in the local area when I can). As long as it makes sense. Learning Gifts for one's auspice, tribe, and breed should be routine.

        For the purposes of spirits teaching Gifts, remember that these are governed by Pacts. The spirits have already agreed to do this. So if for some strange reason an auspice gift is given by some kind of spirit that would normally be hostile to the Garou, that spirit will still teach the Gift to that Garou like they would any other member of that auspice - because that is what they had agreed to do long, long ago. Outside of that relationship (and this would include teaching non-auspice or out of scope Gifts to Garou), then it would be as normal. As an ST, I would never screw over a Shadow Lord or Bone Gnawer Philodox from learning a gift (or having to do more than other Philodoxes) from one of Falcon's brood simply because the spirit might otherwise look down at Garou from those tribes.

        You should also remember that the relations between spirits aren't always the same as that of the tribes they are totem of. So while relations between the Silver Fangs and Shadow Lords may have deteriorated over time, the relationship between Falcon (and his brood) and Grandfather Thunder (and his brood) are probably the same as it was thousands of years ago even if they get tetchy when discussing their children. (And the relationship between those two tribes are probably the ones I've seen the most variety in how STs and PCs portray them.)

        Both Falcon and Grandfather Thunder live in the sky. Both are totems of Respect. So they have a lot in common. They do have differences - Falcon is associated with Helios, while Thunder only typically appears when clouds block out the sun. Falcon is more honorable and trustworthy than Thunder who is more bullying and obsessed with status. One is about doing the right thing while the other is about obtaining power.

        So I wouldn't rule the totems to be in opposition or hostile to one another. They do act differently. And they certainly favor Garou of their tribes. But we don't have anything like Pegasus outright refusing to have Get of Fenris in his packs, or Griffin refusing to have homids in his. Or even being natural rivals like Owls eating Rats.

        So one thing I might do is while Falcon might just assume a Silver Fang does the honorable thing, he might ask a series of potentially embarrassing questions to the Shadow Lord (or anyone else). "When was the last time you lied?" "Who was the last person you stole from?" "Did you ever attack an opponent not of the Wyrm when his or her back was turned?" And the spirit might assign some kind of penance before the conversation can move on.

        While a Stormcrow, who enjoys signs of cruelty and dominance and act as spies for Thunder, may ask the Silver Fang to share some embarrassing secrets, or ask how he has displayed his power and gained status and then perhaps subtly mock or praise the Silver Fang depending on whether he acted more like Falcon or Thunder.

        You can think through most of this stuff yourself. Just read through the totem descriptions, and for those spirits that don;t have published totems, think about how they act or are portrayed in culture.
        Last edited by Black Fox; 09-01-2019, 04:31 PM.