Shamans

Spiritual Kidnappers And Exorcist's on the Run


Shamans are unique users of the arcane arts. A shaman walks right into the metaphysical plane and takes the power others bargain for. They bully celestial entities like spirits, angels, and demons. They bargain with the gentry and hunt ghosts. The shaman wanders the land, binding entities they cross paths with, performing exorcisms on the malevolent, and holding the benevolent hostage until they give something of value in exchange for their freedom. The shaman has a unique gift: they can travel between the physical and metaphysical world with ease and have the power to manipulate the metaphysical realm just as easily. Regardless of the method, it is alarmingly effective.

 

Between Two Worlds

A Shaman walks a fine line, always shifting between worlds. Many seem eccentric or at their worst, insane. They are impulsive and hard to predict, as its always possible they can be influenced or possessed by an entity they encounter. Some shamans have heard dark whispers on their journeys, whispers of a coming doom and a war in the heavens. These hushed words have driven many shamans over the edge and as such, like many in this world, a shaman's life is often short-lived. The entities they encounter seldom enjoy being harassed by lesser creatures and will attack if they get the chance.

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He came across the first grisly scene. A large stain of dried blood that must have been weeks old. He looked around and saw the victims various items. He saw cloths, a money pouch, a sword, and even an ornate ring, still attached to the finger. It seemed whatever did this wasn't trying to rob him. It wasn't an animal either. The mutilated neat was tossed aside and only the bones were taken. Energy resonated from the stain on the ground before him. This was the place of the man's death and apart from the blood, it was empty. Nothing desecrated the space as if the killer deemed it holy. He pulled a metal rod from his belt and stroked a canine fang that hung from his ear. The apparition appeared in a burst of green light. The form was that of a large bloodhound. It began sniffing the space and immediately gave him a confused look. "Gone?" he asked. And the hound seemed to nod. The shaman has a sigh and focused on the metal rod. He felt it twitch and turn until it was pointing to the east. He brushed a finger against a feather embedded in his hairpiece and a raven emerged in a burst of blue light. They exchanged thoughts and the raven flew high into the air and scouted the forest. Moments later, the raven returned. Squawking angrily. The spirit was there and almost waiting for him. This was an unsettling thought...
— The Ballad of Lucy Rotten
 

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Becoming A Shaman

Very few become a shaman willingly, those who do simply do so out of loyalty as being a shaman in many cultures is a great honor and sacrifice. The process involves training, mostly focusing on learning the various abilities a shaman uses. Usually you are taught by a teacher but many shaman are self taught and learned the profession out of necessity rather than desire. An important step in understanding what a shaman is would be to know what a shaman isn't.

Shamans vs. Summoners

Summoners are mages , which means they harness and channel arcane energies. A shaman does not. Shamans use their connections to the metaphysical plane and the process is instinctive. They do not actively need to harness the energy and they do not channel it. Furthermore a summoner is a mage who focuses on Arcana Creaturae. This focus allows them to summon celestial entities much as a shaman does. The difference is an entity that is summoned by a summoner may choose not to answer the call. Shamans bind the entities to them in some way, and the entity is bound to answer. More importantly, once bound, the entity is under complete control and cannot lash out at the shaman.

   

Shamans vs. Druids

A druid takes their magic from the world around them. They use nature and spirits much like shamans do, but their abilities are powered by the energies present in the physical world and druids have little to do with the metaphysical. Shamans do not need energy at all and have feet placed both in the physical and metaphysical planes. Druids are also fairly neutral favoring balance rather than one side or another.

Shamans vs. Oathbound

The Oathbound are bound by an oath as their name suggests, but their powers are limited to what the domain they have sworn too gives them. While powerful oathbound can summon avatars of their domains and those entities are bound to answer, they cannot summon entities of a different domain. Shamans are not limited in this way and can summon any entity they bind.

 

Shamans vs. Clergy and Cultists

While clerics can summon entities related to their God and the domains if their god they are limited to that god and domain. Furthermore, their powers are fueled by faith, unlike a shaman. A shaman rarely wastes time courting divine entities. They see it as a waste of time due to the fact that gods and Titans cannot be bound and tend to ask for more than the shaman is willing to give in exchange. There are shamans who can summon divine beings but it is quite rare.

 

Shamans vs. Bards

The Bardic University of Estalia doesn't use magic in the way many do. They feel magic deeply and use their art to harness and channel it rather than their own power. A bard summons thoughtforms and egregores but requires shamanic knowledge or mage training to do what shamans and summoners do.

     
He entered the forest cautiously, surveying his surroundings. The forest seemed to be dying. He pondered backing out, he wanted to leave. He knew better than to not trust his instincts but he could handle even greater spirits just fine. Deeper into the wood he found that this was no spirit. This was a trap. He felt her gaze first. He felt marked the way a deer does moments before the hunter releases the arrow. He turned and he met her eyes. They burned with a black flame. His eyes widened in fear when he saw her smile. It seemed pinned on and jagged from the scars. Her clothing was filthy and ragged. She wore brown trousers and a white jerkin that draped lazily over her and in her hand was a massive woven sack. He heard him, Old Whisper chattering in his ear as the woman laughed maniacally through her whimpering. She started to sing as she stepped forward, inching closer no matter how far he backed away. "Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around...
dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around..."
— The Ballad of Lucy Rotten
 

A Shaman's Power

A shaman is a kind of medium. They allow the metaphysical plane to work through them and in the process can journey to the other side. The shamans refer to this as a spirit walk and it is crucial to their profession. The entities they meet on these travels are bargained with for power or even bound and held hostage until the power the shaman desires is given to them. A shaman also has the ability to perform exorcisms on celestial entities that exist in the physical realm. They are called upon to deal with possessions and hauntings and often get much more than pay. This along with the many tools of their trade makes them formidable foes and valuable allies, so long as their sanity is kept in check.

   

Binding

Binding is a process of trapping a celestial entity either within an object, often called an anchor, or within yourself. Binding is often done against the will of the entity and once complete, the bound entity loses most of its autonomy and becomes enthralled by the shaman. The shaman can summon and banish it at will and even tap into its powers to enhance themselves.  

Exorcism

An exorcism is a process of removing an entity from an anchor. In the case of possessions and hauntings, an entity uses a body or a location and in some cases an item as an anchor. The shaman can force the entity out of a body or force it into an item from an anchored location. Should the shaman find an item an entity is anchored to, the shaman can place binding enchantments on it and the entity is then bound to the shaman. The shaman will often hold the entity hostage or threaten banishment once the exorcism is over.

 

Banishing

Banishing is a process of sending a celestial entity back into the metaphysical realm from the physical. This can be done in 3 ways. One can destroy an anchor and unfetter the entity if the entity has a physical form then the destruction of the form will banish them, or one can use enchantments to banish them if they can trap the entity within it. Many entities that exist on the physical plane do not want to banish. Some even prefer being bound to the idea of returning to the metaphysical plane for one reason or another.

 
He turned and ran bolting through the trees as fast as he could. He burst from the treeline and stopped to catch his breath, looking in all directions for any signs of her. His heartbeat pulsed in his ear. He felt his muscles burn from the run and then he heard it. The sound of something heavy dragging along the ground accompanied by heavy labored footsteps. He turned slowly and say her, Lucy Rotten, nearing him. She never changed pace, but she seemed to be gaining more and more every step she took. He tried not to listen but the whispers in his head began to sing along.
"Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around.
Now hear the word of the lord."
He turned to run and felt a sudden sharp pain on the back of his head.
— The Ballad of Lucy Rotten
     

Spirit Walks

A spirited walk is a form of astral protection that happens usually due to a particular trigger. Hallucinations have been used to do so by the shaman for ages. Some, however, prefer to enter a trance like state, leaving their body and entering the other realm. They will explore for a time, catching what spirits they can in their mirror boxes and then use what they call a closing trigger, to snap back to their body. For the most shaman, a closing trigger is a phrase, movement or action not normally made or said that they condition themselves to end the walk. Spirit walks are used to commune with entities in the metaphysical world, find rare items only found in the metaphysical and bring them back, or to study the metaphysical in ways that are impossible in the physical world.

       
The dragging sound grew louder as he tried to open his eyes. He was bleeding out and disoriented. The footsteps seemed to echo in his head as Lucy rotten stood over him still singing her song.he opened his eyes to see her with a large stone over head, blood already dropping from a tagged edge. He let out a scream that was cut short by the stones fall. She knelt before him and continued her song as she reached into her bag for sharper stones. She sang with great effort as she worked, singing off each bone as she cut them from his corpse with a crack and squelch.
"Your toe bone connected to your" crack! "Foot bone, Your foot bone connected to your" crack! "ankle bone, Your ankle bone connected to your" crack! "leg bone, Your leg bone connected to your" crack! "knee bone, " she continued until she was finished. She placed each bone in her bag and stood up still singing as she stumbled off in the night. Lucy Rotten with her bag of stones and bones...
"Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around
dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around,
I hear the word of the lord!

Images in main body from first to last Cover by TacoSauceNinja, Guweiz, Odobenus,

Totems cover

tools of the trade

The shaman does not control magic on command the way mages do. They can't wave their hand cause flames to emerge. Like many other magic users, they rely on tools as much as their powers. These tools are things that almost any shaman has at all times.


Totems
Item | May 11, 2019

Items of spiritual significance that allow one to tap into a spiritual form of power.



Devil's Toy Boxes
Item | May 11, 2019

A trap for Spirits and other lesser celestials.


 

Spirit Animals

A spirit animal is a totemic spirit that a shaman bonds with. They are similar to Familiars but are not bound to the shaman. A shaman refuses to bind their spirit animals as their friendship acts as a bond enough. They can summon and banish them at will and can have many spirit animals that guide, protect, and provide moral support to the shaman. For many shamans, solitary life is essential. These friendly spirits make this journey much easier.

   

 

The Shamanic Faiths

The Tablin, as well as the Mhirrians, have a shamanic faith. Shamanic faiths are religions that center around spiritual connection rather than gods and as such a shaman can worship who they please. In the case of Mhirriah this deity is Mhirriah herself but other gods can be worshiped so long as you do not hold them above her. Shamanic faiths hold all faiths to be true, and choose to adhere to whatever works for the practitioner.



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Old Whisper

Old Whisper is the name given to the source of the whispers heard by all shaman. It echoes from the void and haunts every shaman's life from beginning to end. They often try to imagine what it looks like, to give a face to the name, to make it easier to fight. Such hopes are often dashed when all they can imagine is the black maw of the void consuming whatever knowledge they can find. Any who witnesses the void will forget what they see. Any who listen to it will misunderstand its words. The shaman knows the void more than anyone else, even the gods. They speculate that the void tells of the end of the universe. They believe old whisper is the architect of this grand destruction and their beliefs are accurate. Old whisper causes the dilation of time and space along with all the universal maladies that plague reality. Old Whisper isn't a god or a titan. Old whisper isn't just a part of the void, he is the void. An outsider and stranger to the world.

 

The Chosen of the Void

There are those who worship old whisper and the void. They are given horrible power by the void in return. The chosen are pulled from time. Some are from the ancient past, others from the far future. They are thrown into our world and time naked and cackling. When they arrive, they hunt the enemies of the void and kill any who cross their path, whether they interfere or not. To be noticed by the void is something shaman go to great lengths to avoid, but sooner or later, all will encounter a member of the chosen. Sometimes it's by chance, a chosen seeks and they find, other times its the unintended consequence of the shaman's profession, as the chosen are much like spirits and shaman confuse the two quite often. Regardless it often leads to the death of the shaman. The chosen are the solitary reason why shaman are nomadic, often living in any one place for No longer than a year or two. Their life on the run means they can be found in the strangest of places. They often settle in areas where the barrier between the two planes is thinner and stay for as long as they feel safe.

   

The Ballad of Lucy Rotten

The story featured in this article is meant to illustrate just how dangerous the life of a shaman is. Lucy Rotten is one of the chosen and is still at large to this day, dragging her bag of stones and bones singing a song from the distant future. The tale was first recorded by bards in Xiander and now is retold by shamans everywhere as a cautionary tale.

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Your Just A Suit of Meat and Bones

Shamans live a life that is filled with danger and hardship. They constantly risk possession and insanity with their trips to the metaphysical realm and it isn't uncommon for a shaman to bite off more than they can chew. Binding powerful entities takes time and considerable power and are best bargained with or avoided. A shaman also must be prepared with anchors, totems and other tools for binding and defense as to bind an entity to yourself are widely considered a bad idea, while you have the upper hand in the physical world, celestials have the advantage in the metaphysical. At any point, an entity can possess your empty body which makes returning to it very difficult. Shaman tends to live in solitude or with one or two other shamans. Those who live alone have nothing to fall back on should they be possessed.

After all of this, you have the void. The void is a domain of emptiness and entropy with no gods or even Titans beholden to it. The shamans were the first to notice it millennia ago. A new domain that shouldn't exist. Despite its emptiness, the shamans have stared into the void and quickly turned away, as something started back into them. The shamans all over the world hear whispers that tempt, entice, and corrupt. For the unlucky few, the whispers promise destruction.

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Articles under Shamans


Comments

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25 Dec, 2018 03:36

I really enjoyed the balance between the academic-style descriptions with the interesting narrative examples. I also love your way of using the side bar for smaller sections that really add more depth to the setting. Great job!

25 Dec, 2018 03:37

Also, they seem really badass and dangerous, marching into the supernatural realms and forcing their will upon it. It seems like a good way to either get super dead or become a legend.

25 Dec, 2018 03:42

I like to add my narrative that way cause i find its easier to read and also give a reader an idea kf what comes next and Oh yessss your quite right. The shamans are often legends at least to those who are aware of them. Most do end up super dead though. Lol. Thanks for the like and comment and follow. I hope u enjoy my world and i always try to give a critique when i get one. :)

25 Dec, 2018 04:03

That, is one beautiful use of the sidebar. The art you included is absolutely amazing! I would like to know, how well do shamans get along with other shamans?

25 Dec, 2018 04:11

Ehhhhh depends on the shaman lol they are all a little crazy and while do get along, for the most part, some are just too far gone. Thanks for your kind words my friend. I appreciate it. Sidebars are a fairly new thing I've learned lol

25 Dec, 2018 09:27

As it has been said by the other commenters, the way you use the artwork and the sidebar is simply amazing. Comparing the shaman to other "magic users" is a great idea that give the reader an idea about their differences. About the shaman's powers, I could only imagine why celestial entities could be a little angry towards the shamans that use their powers against them.   You say that the shamans can be influenced or possessed by the spirits and other entities. I wanted to know if shamans have any way to defend themselves (even if a little) from that, such as talismans or simple mantras? It would be also nice to see what the shamans think of other "magic users" from their perspectives, such as examples of interaction or quotes from the shamans.

25 Dec, 2018 16:41

thanks for the kind words and like :D ok so first off yes. They do have defenses. Sometimes other shaman sometimes wards and talismans. Etc. They do have defenses. I have though of using perception of other magic users but haven't quite fleshed it out yet.

25 Dec, 2018 16:21

  • The opening quote is good, however it felt slightly over detailed. For example "place he didn't want to be" is implied already, so it doesn't need repeating. Carve it down to the essentials, and you'll have a lot more powerful quote. Similarly in the second quote "and saw the victims various items" is already implied by the following line that tells us he sees stuff.
  • Nice use of art inter-spaced with your prose, and quotes to build up the narrative. The story told is creepy and sets atmosphere nicely. Your formatting is great. You have a lot more paragraph breaks in this one, so that is great to see.
  • The idea of the Devil's Toy box is really nice. Is it drawn from actual lore or did you come up with it or reinvent it? I'd not heard of something like it before. It's a fun little concept, and I know its meant to be scary, but the idea of the spirits being captured because they think they're in the mirror was kind of cute haha.
  • Your final quote is missing the author tag for Ballad of Lucy Rotten.
  • What is a Chosen? It's mentioned Lucy Rotten is one, but I'm not familiar with the term in context of your universe and it is not linked.
  • I admit I wasn't sure what to ask here as you've covered so much detail. One curiosity is how totems are chosen/created? You mention that shamans are always on the look for them, so are they naturally occurring?

25 Dec, 2018 16:52

I will revise the quotes. Thanks for the like and comment as well :) i worked all day on this one to try to get it just right. So the devil's toy box is based on several things. Lore, urban legends, and a kids toy that i kind of made me own. Its actually called a devils toy box and i do recommend looking it up, its pretty cool. And the being trapped in the mirror idea actually came from effects of hallucinogens in various studies. People who took psilocybin reported being trapped in. Mirrors much in the same way spirits do in this world. I debated using this or using mirrors as portals to the metaphysical world but didn't want to deal with the continuity that is have to follow. I'll be sure to add how totems are made but they are found naturally. If you find a talon or tooth you can use it as a totem. The chosen of the void are only lightly covered here in the sidebar but their article isn't ready yet. I do believe I'll be doing it next as they are some of main antagonists for the players. Again thanks so much for your awesome critiques. I always love seeing what you have to say.

26 Dec, 2018 06:51

Oh so she's a chosen of the void. Duh. I didn't connect the dots of Chosen being short for Chosen of the Void.

26 Dec, 2018 14:42

Thats perfectly fine. Its my fault. Their two separate entities. Lol i may just add of the void to fix confusions lol again thanks so muchhh

31 May, 2019 16:33

Quite the well written piece. I'm curious - In the first bit you write that it's arcane magic. I'm still not fully sure if you've covered this elsewhere, but in many systems there's two different forms of magic, such as arcane and divine or arcane and natural. If you have two forms like previously mentioned, wouldn't shamanism be better suited for the type of magic that's not arcane? Certainly your world and your call, just curious.   Overall, very well written and an amazing choice of images. It was certainly inspiring.

31 May, 2019 18:25

Anything that has to do with magic is Arcane it's kind of an umbrella term. To say that use the Arcane does not necessarily mean that they are like Mages or clerics. For the purpose of my role playing system and the game, magic users are not divided in the kind of magic they use but rather how they use it. All magic comes from the same place this is an article I'm not sure if it's public I'll check on that make sure to change it if it isn't. I believe it's called the Arcane and The World of Magic, it may need to be updated but you're welcome to take a look to see how it works. I'm glad it was inspiring and thank you for your kind words. My latest article was in some ways inspired by conversations in comments between us so I'm glad that there's some mutual inspiration going on

31 May, 2019 20:28

You honor me with your words. I look forward to reading more from you.

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