Resurrecting the Forest Spirit

This Thread follows up on the "Solo Saga" thread I started a month ago:

I"m starting a new solo saga for a player playing an Herbam Magus. He's a "failed" Pharmacopaen Ex. Misc, with Mythic Herbalism and Root Cutter virtues; however, he's much more interested in the mystical nature of plants than he is in actually helping people. He's also got Strong Faerie Blood, and a Faerie Friend (awakened tree.)

In the first thread I mentioned the rough story arc, namely:

"The Forest Spirit was once mighty, but at some point in the past a chtonic cult of witches (or perhaps Diedne?) built an altar, and were performing blood sacrifices there. Eventually this ancient magic warped into something darker, and an infernal aura grew. A religious order came and did battle with the infernal forces, trapping them deep in a new Divine regio, sealed beneath the burial place of a martyred saint. A monestary was built on the site to guard the regio.

The Infernal and then Divine auras diminished the power of the Forest Spirit, but it has maintained it's magic nature. Perhaps there are a few ancient trees scattered around the periphery of the forest, around each is a grove with a slight magic aura? If this spirit can get someone -- the mage -- to remove the Divine saint's remains, the divine aura / regio will fade away, and the Forest Spirit will regain it's former Might.
Of course, once the mage removes the remains... the infernal spirit will be released also....

I'm thinking that the Monestary itself is empty. Perhaps the monks were all wiped out (viking raid? plague?) So the monestary is in ruins, but the regio is still in place. There can be a nice battle with Divine guardians, and/or spirits of the monks.

We start out slow, with the mage knowing of one magic grove because of the vis source. During one of the harvests, he has a vision, and starts to puzzle together what the Forest Spirit is trying to tell him. The mage will grow in power slowly, figure out a way to connect some of the groves maybe (one of the Forest Paths?), and then get powerful enough to do battle with the Divine forces."

Now, I want to start nailing down the first chapters. I need to figure out the obstacles to A) finding the different magical groves, and B) joining them.

I think 5 groves sounds like a good number, roughly at the 5 points of a star. A 6th grove will be the Altar / burial site at the "heart" of the star. After removing the Divine remains, a new tree will need to be planted as the final piece of the puzzle.

The player is starting with a Faerie Friend, and Secret Vis Source.
I figure that the Vis source will be the First Grove (magical aura.) His Second Sight will allow him to realize that the magical tree at the center of the grove could be awakened, and from there he can learn that the Genius Locus of the Forest was long ago splintered, and the tree is longing to be joined to his brothers. Mechanically, the idea is that as each grove joins with it's brother, the magical aura of each will increase by +1 (thus, if there are 3 groves joined, each will have a an aura boost of +3. I haven't decided yet if each grove will initially have an aura of 1 or 2.
I was thinking that the Faerie Friend can be the 5th Grove (Faerie aura). Thus, he'll have known about that grove from the beginning, but not realize that it's part of the Genius Locus. That story will involve the faerie gaining cognizance, and sacrificing itself in order that the aura can revert to magical. I figure it could be a nice emotional climax to the 5 groves story arc.

That leaves 3 groves.
I"m looking for ideas as to the nature of these groves. What has happened over hundreds of years to the magical tree at each core? What is the obstacle to finding it? I think there should be at least one mundane obstacle -- perhaps a stream was diverted by villagers or something. Perhaps another one has vanished into a regio? Perhaps its on a high craggy peak, guarded by magical birds of prey? Another has devolved into swampland? (this could be an infernal obstacle, with a nasty "bad air" spirit?) I welcome any other ideas!!

Once I've established what each grove is, I need to figure out how to "join" the groves. Some sort of magical lay line? Simply a means of communication? Or planting Seedlings to form a road? I want something cool, that the magus would need to do original research to discover. Any thoughts are most welcome.

Make each grove one realm. You need to remove the taint for them to revert to magic

Infernal got the sacrifice altar
Divine got a monastery. Tree in the yard in front of the door of the church
Mundane got a village built there and he tree is the centre of the village green. You can play with a manor house as well if you want to introduce nobility
Faerie is being used as the seat of teh "forest king" court.
Magical got a magical biug guy moving in because the tree was comfy (chair)

He needs to make sure each site is cleansed of the taint and reverts to primal nature. Not touched by anyone, nor nothing: pure, raw natural site. So even the ,magiocal one, that is a home (and hence, domesticated by the creature) needs to be cleansed-. He can enter with guns blazing or he can talk with the inhabitants tfor them to move out or whatever, but he needs the place to revert to nature. He needs a ritual to cleanse a place, so it is not automatic success.

Just some ideas. Pretty obvious after the third grove is cleansed (he should have noticed the realm approach by then), but still cool IMO :slight_smile:

Hope it is useful!


I'm thinking of something a bit similar. In my version, the magus needs to visit the Forest Spirit in the Magic Realm to actually talk to it and there strike an "alliance" to awaken its aspects in the "mortal world". Something like this - a communion with the forest spirit - could awaken the first grove from its "slumber".

I am also planning on having an aspect of the forest spirit around - initially very weak and lacking any powers or memories. It will increase in power as the forest is reunited. I am planning to have the forest spirit bring back parts of the forest by roaming them, once they are released, and spending Might to regrow and nurture them. Perhaps your magus could initiate some similar actions directly, cultivating the forest somehow to bring it back into sympathy with the forest spirit?

This also raises the point that mundane construction that removed the forest from its natural state - such as a dam, road, bridges, and of course village or so on - may be an obstacle that needs to be removed in order to "heal" the mundane grove; obvious, and mentioned already, but still.

In my version, the initial fragmentation of the forest was done by Faerie Gods at the behest of their priests, in order to subdue the wild forest. The ancient site where the forest spirit was "chained" is the central location, rather than a Divine one. A cult descended from the ancient priests still lingers around, perhaps. While your Faerie grove has the whole Faerie-Friend cool shtick to it, perhaps you can still use this somehow. Perhaps the faerie friend was once such a god, or perhaps he is part of a court of one, or so on.

A related point is that as part of his awakening the forest spirit, or rather the PCs, will free other chained titans, that will help the forest spirit awaken in turn. You may want to consider that at least one grove is linked to some lake spirit or something, so that freeing it will be gaining an ally against that grove's primary corruption.

Finally, consider that as the forest awakens and the aura rises, the area will change. This may harm the interests of powers outside the area, or arouse their interest. In my plans (well, daydreams, at this stage) this includes mostly Divine-magic wielders and mundanes, but for your purposes perhaps some Hermetic resistance would add some variety?

At any rate your ideas sound very, very interesting, and I'd like to subscribe to your newspapar. :smiley:

Thanks for the replies, guys. I've been thinking about it, and have a few additional thoughts.

YR7 -- I think your idea about an early visit to the magic realm and meeting the Genius Locus is a good call. I'm thinking perhaps there will be one large Forest within a Boundary, and either the main spirit will be represented as a dying tree, with most of his limbs cut off, or perhaps there will be 5 spirits (Vestiges?) all running around in the Forest, with no knowledge of each other. The latter might be a nice idea, because then it makes the player work it out for himself that the spirit has been divided, and that he needs to figure out a way to join them on the mundane realm.

Where are the rules for defining Genii Loci, btw? I seem to recall them mentioned in several supplements, but can't find them right now....

Off-list, Erik Dahl mentioned that one of the 5 Magical Trees could have been turned into a mage's talisman. The Spirit could still live within the wood of the talisman, and needs to be returned to the original grove for the Spirit to take root again. I like this idea, but does anyone think this is kind of a rude, railroad-type obstacle? There's really only one way this can go -- a rival mage must lose his talisman. Obviously, I could make the mage an actual rival or "bad guy," but I'd like the story to have some shades of grey to it if possible.... Thoughts?

Erik also suggested that one of the groves could now exist as a Loamwalker (RoP:M).

It may not be necessary for the magus to lose his talisman.

The characters might devise some way to extract the Spirit without destroying the talisman. Maybe just a ReVi effect would do --- or something more complicated might be required.
Or a way could be found for the Spirit to be in both places at once (this might involve convincing/helping the magus to enchant some kind of effect allowing this into his talisman).
Alternatively, a substitute Spirit could be found.

And I'm sure inventive players could devise something else. It's only going to be a railroad if you block other solutions. If you want the players to try to find an alternative (to merely destroying the talisman) then make the magus with the talisman an ally.

I would not make the talisman guy an enemy. Just make him neutrral to start with, but fairly powerful-ish,. so you cannot go, beat him and take his talisman. I would not define a method of extraction. It can be done in a multiplicity of ways. Destroying the talisman IN THE FOREST is one way, PLANTING the talisman in a sacred grove might be another. A ritual of purification in one of ehte groves of the forest might work. Turning the talisman to cinders might work, or it might destroy the spirit.... etc etc. Whatever is cool and the player comes up with. :slight_smile: Thousands of ways to skin a cat