Author Topic: Can anyone think of a good fluff explanation for elemental and spirits conflict?  (Read 417 times)

Senko

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There's rules in forbidden arcana that allow you to summon elementals rather than spirits in exchange for never being able to summon spirits. The mechanics for this I don't have a problem with but I prefer to have fluff to back it up and I've not been able to come up with anything better than elementals are baby spirits and they won't work with people who use them. Which obviously has a lot of problems so I'm wondering if anyone has a good fluff reason for this please?

legionof1

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If one one looks more carefully at the written fluff about elementals starting on FA.166 you have the answer about the division. There is a general regard of elementals being purpose built/made slaves. Spirts being generally free shun such practitioners. But in reverse elementals being near perfect servants prevents them of speaking ill and trafficking with the others .

A situation of mutually enforced silence/division occurs. Also elementals existed since the early days of magic, they are after a fashion an expression of the hermetic tendency to order and logic. Not alot one can do about a pre-existing condition of willing servitude.     

Senko

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I can see the not wanting to work with slavers part its the custom built and not having free will anyone that I'm trying to justify. Where do elementals come from essentially.

SunRunner

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My general understanding is spirits are beings that live and roam around on the meta plans and mages summon them into the world, but they are intelligent beings that have lives and such when not on the prime plane doing things for a mage. Elementals are basically lobotomized spirits, its why they are an either or thing. No one is gonna work for some one who the 1st thing they are going to do is lobotomize you and turn you into a slave drone. Basically part of the formula for summoning elementals lobotomizes the spirit and turns it into an elemental. This is kinda my pieced together interpretation as in classic SR form they dont spell alot of this out.

Senko

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Ah, thanks I can work with that.

Reaver

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I think this was a nod back to an earlier time in SR... UP to 4e. Shamans and mages where entirely desperate styles of magic, with their own spirits, spells, stats, and styles.

Mages followed the hermetic tradition, which is very formulae in it's approach. Everything is regulated and regimented. Shamans followed the shamanic traditions (duh!) And was more expressive in it's forms and ways..

For a mage, a math problem, a computer program, lists , procedures are all valid spell formulae. They summoned elemental based off of the 4 elements of alchmemy, etc.

For a Shaman, a scripture, poem, painting or statue are all valid spell formulae. They summoned spirits - the living heart and soul of the area they where in. Such as City spirits, hearth spirits, nature spirits, ext..

Both sides had limitations on them that were unique like spirit masks and nimbi. Mages had to prep there summons ahead of time with reagents and hours of summoning. Shamans could auto summon a spirit, but only as the environment allowed. (So no tree spirits in a building, etc). But had to agree to a spirit request as well. (Usually something small. Like leaving a shot of whiskey on the table for a hearth spirit.).


Over time to make things easier on everyone, things simplified. And as expansions got written, things had to change from the simple 3 lane approach they used.... So here we are.
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Senko

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Interesting, I rather like the request part.

Mirikon

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And if anyone ever wanted to summon a City Spirit, you just smack him with the phonebook until he stops being a danger to himself and others.
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Reaver

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City spirits were pretty 'meh in 1 to 3.

Aside from the usual spirit powers (flight, astral travel, immunity to weapons, etc) their ranged attack was to spew garbage at people! That's it. Garbage.

Course, it did Force rating damage. But still garbage.


Keep in mind too. The game was a much different animal back then. Everything has changed. From stats to dice pools, to your very health bar. Everything has changed and you can't compare the 2 anymore without doing a lot of number crunching - made harder by concept changes, gear changes, and everything else.


The skinny of it is: Elementals and Spirits in the older editions were fundamentally the same. They had the same powers, same weaknesses, same damage and drain codes. The only difference was style, personality, and what their ranged attack was described as.

A burst of flame, a spout of water, a stream of acid, or a spew of garbage all did the exact same damage, with the exact same effect. (The nifty bonuses to elemental attacks didn't exist back then)
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Mirikon

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I phrased that badly. I didn't mean 'city spirits', but City spirits. As in the Spirit of Denver, the Spirit of Seattle, and so on.
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Longshot23

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I phrased that badly. I didn't mean 'city spirits', but City spirits. As in the Spirit of Denver, the Spirit of Seattle, and so on.

So by someone, you meant player rather than character? 'Cause beating a character capable of summoning a Spirit around THAT power around the head could be . . . problematic.

Mirikon

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The beatings occurred when someone thought they were capable of summoning a Spirit like that. Because some people just don't understand why, just because something is possible, doesn't mean you should actually DO it.
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legionof1

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The Spirit of a City, would likely be utterly unsuited for most applications, aside from massive scale chaos/destruction or a rambling history lesson. An entity formed from the collective astral impression of a major city would likely be fragmented and so other as to render most attempts at communication/calling impossible. Something like the Borg Collective but with no driving goal. Massive, hyper-complex, but dosen't give 1 fuck about most of the rest of reality.  Unless your deeply off your rocker, one would likely be aware easier paths. 

The Wyrm Ouroboros

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Nnnnno.  I agree that the Spirit of a City is going to be utterly unsuited for most applications, but mainly in the 'using a Thor shot to kill a pesky mosquito' sense.  The concept of the Spirit of a City being 'fragmented' and 'so other' ... well, while it's an interesting thought, and in your game that may work, but for how Shadowrun has been stated 'to work, it isn't really correct.  The fact that this exact thing was not only successfully accomplished in the 21st century, but done so at the same exact instant is part of the official metaphysical explanation as to how and why Denver became a fractured city - a simultaneous summoning of the City's Spirit (Zebulon) sundered it into several fragments, which is what Ghostwalker was doing for those first months in Denver, 'spirit-hunting' to put that Spirit back together again.

Every city has a 'core self-image'.  If you want some place to start, start with their best-known nickname.  The Big Apple.  The City of Brotherly Love.  The Mile-High City.  Windy City.  The Emerald City.  New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Denver, Seattle.  Evolve from there: Seattle, especially in SR, is an outpost of civilization in a 'low-tech' area, a city under siege, the only city on the West Coast that's still UCAS amidst elven and Native American nations.  It's also almost the only city in North America that has such an intense megacorporate focus on it; EVERY Big 10 (and a lot of other AAs) have a major structure in the area; even S-K has focus in Seattle, though they don't admit to it per se.  It's the high-tech wild west, cybernetic cowboys vs. shaman-mystic indians.

Despite its gaping wounds in Redmond and Puyallup, the Seattle Metroplex is an intensely vibrant city with virtually one thing on its mind: success.  Despite its history and age, it is young, intense, growing, eager to seize new opportunities, develop new ideas, constantly striving to create and break out and be the single most important city in the world.  It wants to be New Mecca.

As a consequence, it DOES have a cumulative sense of drive, destiny, desire, and - yes - concern about 'most of the rest of reality', specifically the city of which it is the Spirit.  And yes, there are vastly easier paths to take.  But if you're the GM, and you have a group of NPCs that are off their rocker ... can you think of a better way to poison the entire town's essence than to turn the Spirit of the City toxic?




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legionof1

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Thanks for that info, Wyrm, the Denver books are about the only substantial source for such an entity, and not something i have read.