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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Bound Spirits as Power Source

Magic-Users and MagicThis is the last of the descriptions of individual magical power sources (but not the last post I plan to write on the topic…) Spirit Binding is very concrete compared to Astrology, Words of Power, and Invocation. An animist world view sees spirits in everything, giving every inanimate object hidden power that can be exploited in much the same way as occult properties could… but spirits are not impersonal, like occult forces are. Spirits have their own desires, their own goals, and may agree or disagree with a magician’s plan for them. Spirit binding requires negotiation with spirits to prepare spells. This takes about as long as meditating to refresh psychic powers – half an hour minimum – but the process is different. The magician must make a reaction roll when prepping spells.

2d6 Roll Spirit’s Reaction
2 Very Bad: Spirits are hostile, no spells prepped. Two Very Bad results in a row = spirits attack.
3-5 Bad: One spell prepped. Multiply result by 10 minutes for time required.
6-8 Normal: Half the spells prepped. Multiply result by 5 minutes for time required.
9-11 Good: All spells prepped. Multiply result by 5 minutes for time required.
12 Very Good: All spells prepped in half an hour.

Offerings worth 100 coins or more allow the magician to roll 3 dice and discard one of the results, presumably the lowest. Offerings worth 1000 coins add two dice, and those worth 10,000 coins add three dice.

A stronger version of spirit binding requires pacts with one or more spirits. Each spirit has a rank from 1 to 6 or more and a spell theme (fire, shadow, illusion.) They can cast spells that match that theme as long as the spell level is equal to or less than the spirit’s rank. When prepping spells of a given theme, roll one extra die for every rank of every bound spirit involved. Keep any two dice and discard the rest, then look up the result. When making a pact, the process is similar to spell prep, but magicians can’t use pacts to aid in these reaction rolls, and spirit rank affects the dice roll negatively, depending on how it compares to the magician’s level:

Spirit Rank is… Discard …
=> level/2 1 die
= level 2 dice
=> 2 x level 3 dice

Pacts require something in exchange each time the bound spirit assists in spell prep: the magician must perform a service that causes damage that matches the theme of that spirit’s spells. The damage does not necessarily have to kill, or even affect a living being; it might be damage to property. The amount of damage that must be done matches the number of discarded dice listed in the previous table. Merciful spirits halve the amount of damage required, and Benign spirits require a service that heals or creates instead of harms, but these require discarding 1 or 2 extra dice, respectively.

The most extreme form of spirit binding requires a blood sacrifice each time the magician summons spirits during spell prep. The sacrificial victim must have the same number of hit dice as the max spell level being prepared and must match the theme or themes of the spells being prepared: spells affecting shadow might require sacrificing animals that hunt at night, for example.

Magical Power Source Articles
  1. Astrology
  2. Words of Power
  3. Invocation
  4. Occult Forces
  5. Psychic Powers
  6. Spirit Binding
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