25 September, 2012

The Walkabout World: Part 11


Spirits

In Walkabout, a zombie is something more than just a shambling infected undead, it draws its power from the legends that spawned it. To defeat a zombie, the wayfarers need to learn how it spawned otherwise the simple defeat of the monstrous menace will lead to it respawning quickly. To defeat a zombie, one must learn of Voodoun, the Loa, the way dark spirits ride the living, and the rituals used to reanimate the dead...or at least watch a whole lot of zombie movies. The power of focused belief comes from the esoteric, but the deluded belief of the masses carries a lot of weight as well. The movies and stories from the pre-tilt world have instilled the spirits associated with the concept of "zombie" certain consensual traits. When they infect one of the living, they become "susceptible to head shots" and in parts of the world where more traditional zombie beliefs are still upheld, they may become unable to cross lines of salt.

Spirits associated with the concept of "vampire" may show a reflection (or may not)...it all depends on the beliefs of the local populace. The same human host possessed by the same "vampiric" spirit may have a reflection in one town, while remaining void of reflection in another. In both towns, the notion of vampires requiring blood to survive is a constant. This becomes a permanent part of the "vampire" myth, and a constant trait of the "vampire" race. If a host possessed by a spirit doesn’t drink blood, it doesn’t fit the specified criteria of a “vampire”; it doesn’t fit the belief patterns of vampirism and therefore it isn’t one.

With this in mind, spirits in the tilted world of walkabout have a myriad of possibilities. Anything that might be used to define a concept, could become a source of power to a spirit; elemental mysticism, religious ideals, specific locations, emotions, animals or folk-lore.

In the years immediately after the dark times, surviving occultists tried to categorise the variety of spirits according to their respective forms of mystic lore…some naming them after choirs of angels and orders of demons, others defining them by elemental affinities. Surviving scientists tried to delve into the xenobiology of the spirit world, adding categories of order, class, genus, and species to pigeonhole the creatures they were encountering. Yet none of these systems seemed to cover the full diversity of the spirit world. Every day new spirits were encountered, or new tales shared and the old models of description had to be continually revised.

After arguments between occultists, mystics, shamans and scientists a grudging consensus was reached. A system of three categories was used to define the general nature of spirits; Manifestation, Affinity and Agenda. Within these categories, a variety of subcategories refine the nature of a spirit. Often it is impossible to fully identify a spirit, but the classifications of spirit category give a person an idea of where to start…in much the same way that stereotypes of race, occupation and religion might provide ideas about how to start dealing with a person. It is a fine line to walk, stick too closely to the beliefs associated with a category and you risk insulting a spirit belonging to a similar but different category; ignore the categories and you won’t even know where to start in dealings with them.

Manifestation:
Cryptid – (Creature is one of many responsible for the myths and legends of the world)
Subtypes:
Hybrid – (Creature appears as a blend between two “normal” animals)
Legendary – (Creature is humanoid but bears resemblance to a specific subject of a legend or myth)
Sapient – (Creature appears as a normal plant/animal but has human-level intelligence)
Transformative – (Creature has two or more forms and can shift between them)

Extraplanar – (Creature seems to belong to a reality far different to our own)
Subtypes:
Alien – (Creature is small and grey [or green])
Celestial – (Creature bears resemblance to a traditional angel)
Infernal – (Creature bears resemblance to a traditional demon)
Xenomorph – (Creature appears as a horrific monstrosity from nightmare)

Possession – (Creature exists in our realm through a connection to a host body)
Subtypes:
Animatory – (Creature animates the dead corpse of a mortal host)
Parasitic – (Creature fights with a living host for control of the body)
Symbiotic – (Creature cooperatively shares power with a living host)

Spectral – (Creature is caught between the dreaming and the physical plane)
Subtypes:
Ghast – (Creature assumes the memory patterns of the recently departed)
Poltergeist – (Creature thrashes between the worlds causing chaos and destruction)
Shadow – (Creature exists only in the corner of your eye and just out of sight)

Affinity:
Conceptual – (Creature is linked to arcane and abstract concepts)
Subtypes:
Death – (Creature is linked to the concepts of death, decay and disease)
Fertility – (Creature brings life to the world around them)
Hunt – (Creature revels in the act of pursuit)
Knowledge – (Creatures reveres lore of all kinds)
Magic – (Creature is mystically inclined)
Religion – (Creature is linked to a religion or belief system)
Technology – (Creature is connected to the physical sciences and devices of man)
Travel – (Creature is always on the move)
Trickery – (Creature cannot be trusted, ever)
War – (Creature is linked to destructive urges on a massive scale)
Weather – (Creature bears an affinity with clouds, winds and storms)

Element – (Creature is linked to the primal forces underlying reality)
Subtypes:
Air – (Opposed by Earth; Element of movement, communication and surface meaning)
Darkness – (Opposed by Light; Element of stealth, mystery and secrets)
Earth – (Opposed by Air; Element of stasis, knowledge and deeper meaning)
Fire – (Opposed by Water; Element of linear progression, offense and passion)
Light – (Opposed by Darkness; Element of observance, awakening and insight)
Metal – (Opposed by Wood; Element of death, decay, and technology)
Water – (Opposed by Fire; Element of cycles, defence and meditation)
Wood – (Opposed by Metal; Element of life, growth, and nature)

Ephemera – (Creature is linked to aspects of reality only echoed in mortal thought)
Subtypes:
Dream – (Linked to phantasms the of the unconscious mind)
Fate – (Linked to the infinite possibilities of the future)
Illusion – (Linked to the senses of the waking world)

Nature – (Creature maintains enough links to the natural order to control aspects of it)
Subtypes:
Carnivores
Herbivores
Plants
Stones

Place – (Creature bears a primal connection to a specific location)
Subtypes:
Billabong
Forest
Hill
Stream
Town

Noble – (Creature follows the virtuous path and inspires others to do likewise)
Subtypes:
Honour
Justice
Valour

Passion – (Creature is linked to subconscious desires)
Subtypes:
Anger
Fear
Love
         
Agenda:
Controlled – (Creature somehow summoned and under the orders of someone else)
Subtypes:
Bodyguard– (Protects a specified individual)
Infiltrator – (Gathers information from rivals)
Scout – (Sent to explore an area)
Sentinel – (Stands in one place, guarding/protecting it)

Selfish – (Creature has detached itself from the natural order and now has desires of its own)
Subtypes:
Corrupting
Cruel
Destructive
Envious
Gluttonous
Lustful
Perverted
Proud
Savage

Selfless – (Creature has been detached from the natural order and only wants to rejoin it)
Subtypes:
Life/Growth
Law/Stasis
Death
Entropy/Decay
Spirit
Chaos/Rebirth

The list still needs some fleshing out, but this gives a basic idea.
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