Mighty Spirits!

Word up all.

I've got a hankering to include some very powerful spirits in my next game (might 100+). My idea isn't for these spirits to be adversaries but creatures of worship. I've got in mind a great Ocean spirit (literally the embodiment of an entire ocean), a sky spirit, a spirit of a vast marsh/swamp (kind of a mud spirit) and several volcano spirits.

As faerie spirits these things are deeply interested in humans and i'm thinking about setting up mystery cults around their worship, not as exclusive deities but as vastly powerful local beings that desire human interaction. Those making up the mystery cults are as much about guaranteeing their safety by placating the big guys as they are about adoration and veneration.

I want to structure these so that the spirits teach and empower their gifted followers and maybe even their non-gifted followers.

I've got some juicy stuff for the sky spirit (pretty much going down the augury/divination and celestial magic path (planetary magic, periapt, celestial magic, etc), the volcano spirits might teach some kind of rock/lava/fire affinity/focus, maybe some kind of bonus to forging metal objects.

However, i'm getting no where with the ocean spirit. In the background it is a capricious and powerful spirit, once worshipped by a large town. The priests there commanded the fish of the seas making the town a valuable fishing port. During an attack on the town by rivals the priests beseeched the spirit for aid to wash the foe away. The Ocean spirit rose up as a mighty tidal wave and swept away the invaders, along with the entirety of the town and everyone in it. So our spirit has been a bit lonely recently. It will jump on the chance to get new worshippers. But what kind of stuff could it teach? What virtues would be appropriate for a powerful water spirit to teach. I though maybe the alchemy virtues, playing upon the mixing of everything that goes into an ocean, but this seems a weak link.

Also any ideas for the other spirits would be ace.

You could emphasize the hypnotic qualities of the ocean (watching the waves break on shore one after the other), with virtues such as Inspirational, Enchanting Music, Performance Magic, and even Entrancement.

Or maybe its capricious, destructive and changing nature: Berserk, Lightning Reflexes, Reserves of Strength, Side Effect, Cyclic Magic (Rising Tide, now that one is going to make a mathematician of your magus).

And of course, Affinity with Aquam, Puissant Aquam, Greater Immunity (Drowning), Ways of the Ocean are always appropriate.

100 Might is about as powerful as you can get. The Arch Angel Michael and Virgin Mary have Might 100 - and they are ubiquitous, infinite (or as close as makes no difference), and have miraculous powers that basically shred Magic Resistance.

For non Divine beings, you'd be looking at Sol or Apollo with Magic Might of 70 or 80 - Oberon probably the same.

Anyway, read my Hyperborean chapter in Ancient Magic - there's some stuff in there about the "Pole Lords" and other powerful spirits associated with Apollo that could be up your alley.

Hyberboreans! I've literally read that entire chapter a few days ago while doing some research on magical singing (my alternate universe game has Elves who sing their magic).

Loving the idea Wasy of the Ocean (and this will work well for several of the other great spirits), kicking myself i missed that. I'd already got cyclic magic. Greater immunity (drowning) is nice too.

As for the might, what i'm really after is something utterly unassailable. Something so far beyond the power of the PCs to match. 100 might be a little high but at the level i want it, the difference between 80 and 100 isn't a great deal sounds about right. The world i'm sticking them in lacks divine and infernal realms. It does have real gods of the faerie realm and these spirits are essentially earth bound gods. The volcano spirits would be a bit lower (unless i make each one avatars of the one volcano god) but the ocean spirit is literally the manifestation of the oceans, a poseidon god if you will. Having them match the non-miraculous abilities and power of an arch angel seems appropriate. As long as they can effortlessly curb stomp the players without risk of harm, a might of 80 should do.

So far we have

Sky spirit:
Planetary Magical
Affinity/puissant Auram
Focus: Winds
Celestial magic

Ocean Spirit:
Ways of the Ocean
Greater Immunity: Drowning (allowing the ability to breath underwater might also work)
Cyclic Magic (will have to think about how to match this with the tides, more research needed)
Affinity/puissant Aquam
Focus: Oceans

Volcano Spirit:
Affinity: Craft - blacksmith
Focus: Lava
Beserk (can't recall whether this is a virtue or flaw), either works
Greater Immunity: Fire

Mud Spirit:
Ways of the Swamp
Focus: Mud
Hermetic Alchemy
Philosophic alchemy
Lesser Elixir

Any more ideas would be welcome. As would ideas for things to go in initiation scripts. I've got a nice "drown them" script worked out for the ocean and mud spirits and figured some kind of ritual burning or branding for the volcano spirit. Volcano spirit, ocean and mud could all use the practice of sacrificing goods/magic/people by throwing them in the water/lava/mud. I figured a season spent lost, wandering in the swamp, unable to find a well out, all the insects biting and gnawing would be good for the mud spirit.
Sky spirit i figured would be the most intellectual and philosophical of the bunch so i'll need to come up with some more thoughtful ideas for him, however, i want to avoid them being "easy options" rather than the quite brutal initiations that the other spirits might have.

Cyclic Magic with The Moon perhaps.

You might want, then, to rather alter the way might strippers work. This would be much more efficient than simply increasing might.

For exemple, if you give critters a "soak" of about Might/4 (or more) for might strippers, your Might 80 spirits will be invulnerable to might strippers under 20 points. This means that, for a DEO equivalent to affect them in the slightest way, you need at least a casting total + penetration of 100. To destroy them on one turn, you'd need 4 multicast level 40 "DEO".

Also, as these spirits reside in the magic realm, don't forget this very important point: When players meet them, they'll meet Aspects (or whatever the name is). This means that, should they manage to surprise and kill one, the spirit can just create another aspect the next day and crush them^^.

Finally, if you're going to stat them, don't forget to lower the might cost of powers (0 cost is your friend): These won't decrease penetration and might pool.

How about (slightly ridiculous) levels of Vim Resistance (RoP:M), specialized in migth strippers ofcourse.

I've been doing a bit more work on this and have the volcano cult pretty much written up. Any comments would be welcome.

The Great Volcano Spirit

The Volcano spirit is unlike his brothers in that he exists not as one spirit, manifested into many avatars, but many avatars that are part of one greater spirit. An aspect of it slumbers in each volcano, drifting through sleep and communicating with his followers via dreams. Periodically an aspect will awaken and thrash about wildly as it does so, causing the volcano it inhabits to erupt. The dwarves have long known how to pacify local volcano aspects with worship and sacrifice. They have learnt many secrets of forge craft, magic and fire from communion with the sleeping volcanoes.

Should the PCs ever find an abandoned Dwarf hold, it is likely they find devotional temples to volcano gods. Should they go to a dwarven city, they will see vast open pools of magma, bottomless magma chambers of bubbling lava, ringed with temples, altars and forges.

If they are very crafty, then they can commune with the priests and join the volcano cults. These cults however are all situated in Dwarven cities and the PCs must go there to advance.

Rank 1 - The Proving
This rank is about the initiate proving their devotion and dedication to the teachings of the volcano spirit. Candidates are first expected to work for a season lifting, carrying and working as an assistant to more senior cult members. This work is very menial, dull and physically demanding and does not relent, lasting from dawn til dusk. This work is meant to prove the initiates dedication and submission to the teachings, any candidate too proud or slothful will drop out before the season is done. Assuming the priests are satisfied with the initiates performance, the priests begin a second season of instruction, teaching the initiate the lore to volcano spirit and the traditions of their order. Finally, the initiate goes before the great magma chamber, beseeches the spirits aid and ritually marks his face with a red hot poker, heated in the spirits lava. As the initiate passes out from the pain, the spirit blasts into their mind, giving them a brief touch with a vaster and far mightier soul. The spirit leaves some knowledge behind, the ability to craft items of Quality.

Initiates Items of Quality
Target 15
Script: +8
+1 contribute large offerings of “treasure” to the spirit
+1 initiate spends a season performing the most menial tasks in the forges for other blacksmiths
+3 Mystagogue spends a season training the initiate in cult lore
+3 Minor Ordeal (Gain flaw: Disfigured)

Mystagogue needs pre + cult lore = 7

Rank 2 - The Reconciliation
After humiliating work for other blacksmiths and the pain and trauma of physically branding oneself, many initiates consider this rank a reprieve, where their earlier sacrifice is redeeming in learning very potent enchantment magics.
The initiate spends two seasons, first opening an item and then enchanting an effect into it that tests his skills (i.e. must be of a level close to the PCs max lab total but still able to be invested in a single season). The mystagogue then tutors the initiate for a season in cult lore focused around the process of enchantment, using the recently enchanted item as an example. This powerful item is then brought before the great spirit and the mystagogue commands the initiate to throw it into the magma chamber. If the initiate complies, the magma level swells and bursts forth and once again the initiate touches the mind of the volcano spirit. Learning the mystery of the Verditius elder runes.

Initiates Verditius Elder runes
Target 12 (15, -3 for previous ordeal)

Script: +7
+4 Initiate enchants a greater enchanted item spending 2 seasons, 1 to open it and 1 to enchant an effect in it. This effect must be of as high a level effect as the initiate can enchant. This item is then thrown into the magma chamber.
+3 Mystagogue spends a season training the initiate in cult lore

Mystagogue needs pre + cult lore = 5

Rank 3 - The Strengthening
At this rank the initiate is strengthened, tempered and hardened. His skills as a blacksmith are tested as are his skills as a warrior. The initiate is sent to a remote abandoned volcano temple, to arrive at the first day of the ascension of the planet Mars. Once there they must work in solitude for a season, crafting weapons, armour and metal items of all kinds. During this season, they must take a week to craft a master piece weapon for their own use. This is a 12+ difficulty roll. They must then take this weapon and travel to another volcano temple and clear out the monstrous inhabitants using only the weapon. Once it has been cleaned out, they must clean the temple and repair the damaged altar. At the end of this quest the initiate must have skills (below) at a certain level. Upon repairing the altar, the volcano spirit once again touches their mind and knowledge of smithing is left imprinted.

Initiates Reforge enchanted items, Affinity: Craft - Blacksmith, Puissant: Craft - Blacksmith (initiated as a major virtue)
Target 19 (21, -2 for previous ordeal)

Script: +10
+1 forge many different weapons, armours and metal items and then throw them in the magma chamber
+3 Travel to a remote forge hidden in a cave deep within a volcano for the first day of the ascension of Mars and there work in isolation for a season
+2 Craft: Blacksmith at 4, one melee weapon ability at 3, philosophiae at 3
+1 Initiate must create a master piece weapon at the forge (difficulty of 12+) taking at least a week on its construction.
+3 The initiate must find a lost temple of the volcano spirit, clean out the monstrous inhabitants (with the weapon he created) that currently defile it and repair the altar.

Mystagogue needs pre + cult lore = 9

Rank 4 - The Tempering
Building upon the increase in skills learnt during the strengthening, the tempering pushes the abilities of the initiate even further, this time bringing about supernatural changes in him, blessings of the volcano spirit that make him impervious to fire.
First the initiate must meet strict standards in his skills as a warrior, smith and philospher. The initiate then studies with the volcano spirits high priests for three months, learning more lore and deepening his knowledge of the spirit. Then comes the trial. The initiate is given a brazier of lit coals and told to carry the brazier to the next temple along the pilgrimage route. The brazier may not be set down except to sleep at which time it must be placed over the initiates heart while he sleeps on his back. Given the mountainous terrain, frequent monster attacks and so on that the initiate will encounter, this inevitably leads to large, painful and above all, frequent burns as coals and embers drop onto clothes and skin. At the end of the quest, when the initiate enters the temple, he must, with his bare hand pluck out a glowing coal from the ember and plunge it into his eye, burning out his eye in the process. This is unspeakably painful but at the zenith of the pain, the coal ceases to burn, the wounds he has gathered on the quest heal and he feels a cool breeze pass over him. He has internalized some of the fire of the spirits soul and is henceforth immune to flames and fire.

Initiates Greater Immunity: Fire
Target 20 (21, -1 for previous ordeal)

Script: +11
+3 Minor Ordeal (Gain flaw, Missing eye)
+1 Craft: Blacksmith at 5, one melee weapon ability at 4, philosophiae at 4
+3 Mystagogue spends a season training the initiate in cult lore
+3 Initiate must carry a lit brazier from the temple of the volcano spirit to another similar temple. The brazier may not be parted from the initiate or the quest is failed. Although the brazier has handles and is fairly well covered, the travails of the road (especially in the mountains where the temples are located) ensure that the initiate is frequently burned.
+1 appropriate ritual

Mystagogue needs pre + cult lore = 9

Rank 5 - The Summoning
Having absorbed some of the power of the volcano spirit, it only remains for the initiate to learn to bring forth the spirit to smite his foes. At this final rank he learns Major Magical Focus: Lava, allowing him access to the power of the volcano itself. This rank is only available to those who truly excel in the skills the Volcano spirit respects. At this rank the initiate is expected to be acting as almost a priest, and must take at least 1 worthy apprentice, training them and teaching them cult lore for the rank 1 initiation for which they must act as mystagogue. Finally, they must construct a new temple, worthy of the volcano spirit. This does not necessarily have to be actually at a volcano, merely a temple where the spirit is worshipped. This should take a season to consecrate. At some point during this consecration, the weakness to aquam magic is gained, much as cold water turns lava to mere stone, so the initiate becomes weaker to aquam.

Initiates Major Magical Focus: Lava
Target 18 (21, -3 for previous ordeal)

Script: +9
+2 Craft: Blacksmith at 6, one melee weapon ability at 5, philosophiae at 5
+3 Minor Ordeal (Gain flaw, Limited magic resistance - Aquam)
+3 quest: must construct a temple
+1 must take a worthy apprentice and induct them into the cult, spending a season teaching cult lore as mystagogue in the rank 1 initiation.

Mystagogue needs pre + cult lore = 9

For all of them: Shapeshifting skill, limited to a certain class of creatures.

The Ocean is also filled with the bodies of sailors who were lost at sea. Not sure what you can do with that...

A couple of things,

IMO a focus in lava is a minor focus. Its a subset of a subset of an Art. "Stone" is a Major Focus, as a subset of Terram. "Lava" is a minor focus, as a reasonably narrow subset of stone.

Compare to other minor foci that are slivers of one art rather than large portions of combinations:

minor focus: Ghosts (Donatores in HoH: S, Mythic Bloodline - Owl of Virtue in HoH: MC)
minor focus: Djinn (Sihr in HoH: S)
minor focus: wolves
minor focus: acid (School of Sebastian, HoH: Societas)

In HoH: S, the Flambeau wife of the Primus Andru of Jerbiton has a minor focus in molten metal.

Lava is sufficiently rare in both existence, as a subset of terram and in application that it ought to be a minor focus.

I also think that the Flaws incurred in Ordeals are as important to the characteristics of these "cults" as the virtues gained. I'd also like to see some non-magical virtues added in for flavour. A successful cult should colour the personalities and culture of the practitioners at least as much as the magic.

A great inspiration for this is the Cult of Orpheus in HoH: Societas, where the Major Virtue is Sanguine Heart's Blessing, which gives power to a character is specific story-related circumstances. Very cool.

I see these as massively overwhelming cults offering Massive mystery powers, but only at a grave cost, a complete remaking, almost, of the personalities and magic of the practitioners.

Like Criamon paths on crack. Be creative, pull elements from many Cults and feel free to twist them. These are spirits of 100 Might! They're not handing out candy on halloween, this is the real deal.

Some ideas:

Vulcano cult: too simple - magic and being becomes warped in ways that are violent and obsessed with fire, but also violently creative, passionate and expressive.

Wrathful (Major)
Fury (Major)
True Love/Lost Love (Story/Personality - the nature of the cult leads to tumultuous if passionate relationships, with obvious consequences)
Necessary Condition or Restriction : A particular emotional state - i.e. Restriction: Calm, Necessary Condition: True Feeling
Deleterious Circumstances: Cold

Flavour Virtues:

Free Expression, Inspirational, Berserk,

Sample Magic Virtues:

Choleric Heart's Blessing (Major Virtue): Gives + 5 to spells and + 3 to rolls when related to an action associated to a major personality flaw or virtue i.e. Wrathful - exacting punishment.
Items of Quality
Major Focus: Stone
Inner Anima - Like Bjornaer Anima Inner Heartbeast, but skips the need for Outer Heartbeast - you can switch into an elemental being of Fire, Stone, Lava or any other volcano related form. However, its in the form of a man, rather than a beast.
May Refine Powers, but not Qualities, charactersitics or virtues.

Sky Cult

  • Cult of Prideful ascent.

Overconfident (the dzzying heights of power of the heavens does strange things to a mind)
Magic Addiction
Opptimistic (everything seems to bright from up high)
Deleterious circumstances/ Restriction: below ground

Flavour Virtues:
Clear Thinker, Self-Confident, Piercing Gaze

Magic Virtues: Divination (Astrology), Celestial Magic, Second Sight, Magic Sensitivity, Mercurian Magic, Names of Power, Hermetic Therugic Virtues, Therugic Daimonic Familiar, Major Focus: (Part of Zodiac)

Swamp Cult

  • A Cult of Social isolation and brooding, redirecting one's inner strengh to nature and magic.

Low Self-Esteem
Social Handicap
Restriction: Strong (Feeling) i.e. Anger, Joy, Fear etc.
Story Flaws based on Ordeals of Social Isolation (Black Sheep: Must isolate family, Outcast: Must draw away from Society in decisive way etc. Should not be violent (i.e. Enemies))

Flavour Virtues:
Long Winded, Enduring Constituion, Alluring to Animals

Magic Virtues:
Life Boost, Cautious Sorcerer, Puissant Muto, Shapeshifter, Premonitions, Hermetic Alchemy, Philosophic Alchemy, Elixir Phlegmatic Heart's Blessing: As with Sanguine Heart's Blessing, but related to feelings of isolation or calm. Chimera Inner Heartbeast - As with Bjornaer, but with no need for Outer Heartbeast. Pick up to three Creatures. May Initiate increases to Qualities, (non supernatural) virtues and size, but not powers or characteristics.

Ocean Cult

  • Harnesses the relentlessness of the Ocean and intoxicating and entrancing self-absorbtion of the sea.


Higher Purpose
Supernatural Nuissance (Enemies of the Cult become your enemies... obsession can brooke no opposition)
Defficient Ignem
Defficient Terram

Flavour Virtues:
Unageing, Strong Willed, Reserves of Strength

Magic Virtues: Ocean Lore, Awakening, Wilding, Guardian of Nature, Ways of the Ocean, Major Focus: Storms and Surges (or Necromancy... the dead claimed by the Ocean yours to command...) Strong Faerie Blood as a Greater Benediction, Undine Transformation (transform into a faye-like-creature who can swim well, live breath and speak under water), Enchanting Music, Sorcerous Music, Sirene Song (HoH: Societas)

Just my suggestions.


Will you be using the Spirit Votary and Supernatural Pact Virtues on page 88 of RoP: Magic?

Alas i lack ROP: Magic, so no.

What are they? (brief description only obviously, don't want to get anyone in trouble).

Spirit Votary (page 88):
Free , Supernatural
Mythic Companion / Second Sight (Free) / two points of Virtues for every point of Flaw.
Required to take the Spiritual Pact Virtue , along with either three Minor Supernatural Virtues or one Major Supernatural Virtue.
These virtues represent the spiritual gifts of the spirit.
To balance these 6 points of Virtues , the character possesses the Pagan Flaw.

Supernatural Pact:
Pact or agreement with a powerful Magical spirit.
Pact serves as an Arcane Connection to the character of indefinite duration.
Spirit can make itself aware of the current location and state of health of its servant.
Character can channel the power of the spirit by spending a Confidence Point.
Presence + Magic Lore + stress die roll.
This is the amount of Magic Might Pool that the character acquires.
Might points acquired are always less than the current Might points of the spirit.
Botch: lose all current Confidence points.
Can spend these Might points on any of the spirit's powers.
Character does not have a Might score , just a Might pool.
The pool does not replenish.