Spirit/Ghost Animal


So a thing appeared with a player and we kinda all agreed it would be a cool flavour and since we hardly let rules stand in the way of a good concept we've kinda gone with discussions=>Cool! and handwaved the actual mechanics away.
The question is can it actually work within the raws?

Basicly: Animal/Ancestral spirit stuff. magical animal companion but as an 'animal' ghost one.

Longer: A spirit in the shape of a bear that attached itself to this poor sod as a guide/bringer of omens deal, his family associated with bears and some mild shamanistic norse stuff.
The spirit will do what this spirit does best: tag along watching his ward, be gone for weeks/seasons on spiritual business and then reappear to bring omens //stories//.
Flavour: Naturally the spirit should still remember a bear should eat and will look kinder upon its ward if feed from his game; at which time it should manifest some sort of body/half body and actually gulp its loot(Stealing some meat or tasty tasty berries just left there when hungry? Nom! :stuck_out_tongue:) down. Possibly have a power to fully manifest to protect its ward if it comes to that; if need be rising up to defend your little cub is surely bearly. That is; if its been groomed and feed, else it might feel alittle bit letdown and let the miser of a ward wander alone.
Sofar we've just given it a flat 10 as far as might score goes for dealing with wards and other business that might be bad for the poor spirit, imagine if that /witch/ in the forest snares it or whatnot.
We have not defined powers and the like since one of the bigger arguments is: Should it be a faerie? Should it be a magic ghostly deal? Just designed as magical animal with a power that MuAn(Me)'s it into spirit form for most of the days? Shrugs. As mentioned we just know what the spirit is supposed to do and handwave it since noone of its 'Powers' are very flamboyant, except maybe for going full corporeal which hasnt happened yet.
Heaven knows how it should actualy work or possibly the answer is right infront of us. We couldnt reach a consensus and we are abit curious if the answer is out there in some virtue or flaw or section of texts we're missing that'll make us go 'DOH!'
Got RoP:M/F/I, LoM, AnM, A&A and the HoH'ns to work with so its quite possible theres a book out there that would easily solve our headache :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for any pointers =)

You can start from ArM5 core book's Ghostly Warder (p.43 and an example on p. 193) and go from there to RoP:M.

The mechanics of Fauni (RoP:M p. 103f) might be already close to what you are looking for - and you can adapt them further.


Oh that looks promising.

Fauni, attend living beings, purpose and functioning unknown. Only trouble would be the 'represents an individual living being' but otherwise it looks fairly close, handwaving that living being explanation away.
So design bear spirit give in the powers eidolon, maybe ghost touch or donning the corporeal veil to explain that food going missing. Possibly grant Visions for rp purposes and we are more or less there. SG is making pleased noises over in the sofa.

We did look at the ghostly warder but we cannot for the life of us see why this is a Major virtue, except possibly the part about ghostly warder making a good spy and even that is abit meh when you compare it to the more general usefullness of a animal or magical animal companion which are minor story flaws. Sure the GW acts as a guide and got skills to help you with but 3 pts virtues for an, admittedly invisible, grog character... ?
This bear spirit shouldnt be used as a spy at any rate, more just bringer of omens and leading the way character.

Another question appeared in the room right now thats probably hidden over different sections of texts: Spirits fighting spirits? This is a common enough concept sg thinks?
Two spirits clashing one in defense of someone living, how would one go about that? 'Let them tangle and attack eachothers mightscore with rolls, adding bonuses for great descriptions on how they clash, kinda certamenish'? or is there an actual example/ruling out there ? I think I've read glimpses about incorporeals being vulnerable to other incorporeals but where =( Anyhow, spirit defending vs naughty spirits does sound usefull in some situations and ehm, spirit suddenly going corporeal bear at the scene might be abit to much 'Bear come forth! I choose you!' for us anyhow; granted the guy of us that played ars before and already made a mage(Rest of us are just making/playing comps & grog level characters atm getting our heads around magic part slowly) can probably do something such :stuck_out_tongue:

There are a lot of ways to approach this. The key issue is remembering that in Ars Magica mechanics tend to follow from role, rather than role from mechanics. Now, it seems to me that:

  • The bear is a means of dragging the PC into stories. So it should be represented by Story Flaw. A Minor Story Flaw, in fact, because it is beneficial to the PC.
  • If the only role of the bear were to bring the PC into stories and provide useful advice, and it would not interact with the environment in any other significant way (save "colour" e.g. eating unattended food) I'd just make "ownership" of the bear a particularly flavourful version of the Visions Story Flaw .
  • If the bear were to have a more significant interaction with the environment, from the possibility of being Warded off or captured to that of becoming corporeal to defend the PC, I'd take a different route. The bear's role seems to revolve around interaction with the PC, rather than revolving around its own nature so to speak. If the PC were to die, the bear would effectively vanish from the saga (except possibly by attaching itself to another PC). This is much more characteristic of a being of Faerie than one of Magic. So, mechanically, I'd make the bear a Faerie that derives vitality from interaction with its "owner" and treat its "ownership" as the Faerie Friend Story Flaw.

In principle, a Faerie Friend need not be balanced as a PC, but I see no reason why it should not be (in this way, someone may eventually get to playing it). The mechanics given by RoP:F seem really well suited to a lot of stuff mentioned about the bear.

  • Bear Form? That's the Minor Virtue Faerie Beast, which gives it the same characteristics as a "normal" bear (from the Book of Mundane Beasts, which you can download from the Atlas Games website).
  • Might 10? That's one pick of the Minor Virtue Improved Might.
  • Incorporeality? As RoP:F suggests "design the characteristics for the physical body it takes on when it dons matter and select the Intangible Flesh (Major Supernatural) Flaw". Then, to make the bear corporeal, take Loosely Material as a Personal Power (a Minor Virtue).
  • The bear requires feeding and grooming or will not physically act on behalf of the "owner"? A possibility seems to me the "Might Recovery Requires Vitality" Major Supernatural Flaw - without being groomed and fed the bear simply has insufficient Might to invoke its Loosely Material Power. Or perhaps it's just being spiteful!
  • Faeries can have Pretenses, which are similar to Abilities but can a) cover different ground and b) allow the Faerie to do "impossible" stuff. Using Pretenses can be very effective in depicting Faeries "well". I'd certainly consider giving the Bear some "Omens" Pretense, a kind of "bearly Enigmatic Wisdom" that allows it to interpret signs and portents to advise the owner and drag him into stories. Or perhaps, you can make this more mechanically precise and useful by giving the bear the Minor Virtue Premonitions.
  • You may consider giving the Bear the Minor Virtue Faerie Speech, that allows it to speak with anyone and anything (including other spirits and beasts). Alternatively, note that the bear can speak with the character without need of Virtues, but you need give it some appropriate Language Pretense (which need not be something like "Speak Catalan", but could be "Speak with those who practice the Ancient Ways").
  • Note that in general an incorporeal being does not treat another incorporeal being as "physical": it can neither perceive it nor interact physically with it. I'd simply represent the ability to do so as a Minor Virtue (it's essentially what the "Half Taltos" Virtue does, from HMRE), perhaps giving access to a Pretense I'd call "Spirit Ways" that could be used as Awareness and Brawl when interacting with other Spirits.
  • Remember that every Faerie needs a Ward (something that repels and harms the Faerie) I'd just go with a Traditional Ward Minor Flaw.

That is an excellent post ezzelino! Many thanks =)

Yes we did have that debate and the 'eats and gets groomed' argument lead to faerie and their seeking of vitality from what we managed to digest; it is alot of information to takein now in the beginning.
The distinction between what is a faerie, and/or when it should be a faerie, and when it should be magic at this time still feels very counterintuitive at times but we are sort of: If its seeking human attention of some sort its a faerie. If its minding its own business its magic and it dosent matter if giants are found in the magic chapter since a giant is most definetly also part of stories and a role fae takes; fae seems to take all roles if it suits them which adds to the confusion :stuck_out_tongue:
This is why we looked at handwaving and magical beings seem alot more, ehm, straightforward to create opposed to faeries but that post of yours certainly put us on a good track on how to read things, maybe we are deluding ourself thinking we've gained increased understanding intepretation the rules :stuck_out_tongue:

Now in the midst of fleshing the actual bear out sifting through faerie book and the 'someone may get to play it' part hadnt occured to us but it also seems very fitting :slight_smile:
As for hitting other spirits, it seemed like a fun idea being not being about physical combat but rather help abit with naughty spirits come to haunt us in the night =)
I'll be some sort of beta sg which is part why I'am trying to get into "critter" rules; alpha is looking at magic, covenants, order of hermes stuff( I dont like the way he cackles to himself now that he moved on to the infernal book.) got one player that played ars before but version 4 or 3 and he basicly says 'Its so much new stuff I dont know a thing beyond house names!'.

Is the Hedge Magic book a good buy? It seems to contain witches which is interesting to alpha the other parts 'Grugragch(o_O), learned magicians(Isnt this in A&A?), nightwalkers(O_o) and vitkir(Rune magic, seems norse so might be interesting to some)' are abit 'What...?'. Found it on warehouse23 costing 15$ so might go ahead and get it but then... more stuff to wrap ones head around this early might be bad for our sanity.

Again many thanks for your time putting us on track!

You used wording about the bear spirit's 'ward' in your OP. That got you the Ghostly Warder - a very useful Virtue for an otherwise mundane companion - in my reply.

I certainly do not wish to meddle with negotiations within your troupe about the cost of this being. Just don't get its costing mixed into the decision, whether to make it Faerie or Magic: that is a major aspect of integrating it into your campaign, and with the 'ward's' backstory.


I'am sorry OneShot, from my readings on forums I've sometimes read arguments where people were arguing for realy the same point but one side was talking about Apples and one was talking about apples =)

When I wrote ward I meant the character that got it so ward or cub easily sneaks in for descriptive rather then /mechanical/ value.

The offshot about ghostly warder was more of a sincere question not (realy) related to the topic, we can't realy see why it is a Major virtue when comparing it to other Major virtues you say its a very useful virtue and for flavour most certainly but is it realy worth the 3 points? An invisible ghost that can eavesdrop for you is certainly not minor but as our discussion about the spirit bear got into looking at that virtue and its merits we couldnt realy see its worth compared to a minor story flaw like having a minor flaw sparrow whisper secrets into your ear. (Naturaly that sparrow comment lead to cats and how your poor defenseless sparrow gets ambushed and put in a cage by the cunning cat and needs rescue by magical mice, no we werent drinking:P)

Trust me, on this forum that happens all the time. We get into extremely technical and arcane discussions about the rules of the magic system and even such a minor thing as Capitalization can lead to everlasting vendettas and flame wars.

But it's all in good fun.