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Ilikefooddude

Totems.

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Totems
It’s widely accepted among those who practise the art of shamanism that conversing with intangible beings from alternate planes tends to be awfully taxing. Simply limiting one’s own mana flow to allow the travel of consciousness to these planes requires a constant mastery, and on top of regular duties it’s a process most shamans leave for the Farseers or for times like ‘Some other day’ or ‘Perhaps tomorrow’. Thankfully, laziness is the creator of innovation, and certain Elders of the four sects of the magic have found handy ways around their more demanding duties.

Use

A Totem is, in effect, a medium through which a shaman may directly commune to a specific spirit. When an aspiring shaman first enters the spirit realm, they’re met with a ever surrounding wall of what’s best described as ‘fuzz’. White noise. The compilation of all of the information of the spirit realm around them, presented to being who, in this realm, has no eyes, ears or even body to comprehend it. As a student progresses they learn to extrapolate from this fuzz; piecing together senses bit by arduous bit. First comes noise, then sight, and so on, however this requires a constant conscious effort and will always be so, even to the most experienced of Shamans. A Totem cuts out the middleman by releasing this ‘Spiritual White Noise’ for a Shaman to directly interpret, making travelling to the spirit realm to contact this certain spirit unnecessary. Unfortunately, there are limitations to a Totem’s usefulness. While in the direct vicinity of a Totem, convening with the spirit that it represents will be quicker and, ergo, obtaining blessings from said spirit rather prompt. However, shamans close to a Totem will find they are only capable of contacting this single spirit; his white noise drowning out that of the entirety of the spiritual planes with its closeness. Should it, by example, be a Totem dedicated to a minor earth spirit, Elementalists would find that they couldn’t control any other element but that of earth when around the Totem. Witchdoctors, Lutaumans and Farseers would find it impossible to contact their respective planes, however each is still capable of talking to the Earth Elemental, should it wish to talk back. Their own duties as Shamans must be done elsewhere, which is why separate, secluded areas are chosen for a Shamans’ abode, shielded from the constant buzz of a Totem. It is true, however, that totems may be used as conduits for feats of great Shamanism. Should enough shamans meet at once they may create a communal blessing larger than any one Shaman would be capable of; performing feats such as converting tracts of lands to deserts and even, it is loosely suggested, and only in theory, contacting the Long, Long dead, such as Dom herself.
In this case, the totem must be constantly upheld for as long as they wish this blessing to be present. Blessings changing nearby environments last only as long as the directions of the Shamans do- otherwise the power leaked from the totem will simply disperse, and be wasted. As a result, festivals are the favoured way of maintaining a totem; the spirit gains power through their prevalence in the mortal realm, so convincing a spirit to take up this duty may be a bit less arduous, should their service be praised regularly enough. In regards to contacting the long dead through Totems, it’s a tricky process. Experienced Lutaumans and Farseers alike must be present, and over hours- even days, in extreme circumstances -, the Ancestor’s name and deeds must be repeated through the Old Blah, and sacrifices of food, relics and animals gifted in front of the Totem. Even then, it all comes down to chance. The longer a spirit has been departed from the mortal realm the less likely it will be that they’ll contact it, so summoning any Ancestor from the early days of Aegis would be fruitless or short lived.

 

Construction
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Depending on the spirit being summoned and on the Shamans erecting it, a totem’s construction can vary radically in its composition. As a rule, a Shaman who’s capable of summoning the spirit in question’s power must be present- That is, a Lutauman for an Ancestral, an Elementalist for an Elemental, and a Farseer or a Witchdoctor for an Immortal. The first matter of business to attend to when erecting a totem is, in fact, finding a willing spirit. Unfortunately, this is no easy task. Spirits are beings of Apohet’s Realm- Very few will enjoy the experience of being constantly bound to the mortal planes, as a general rule of thumb. While bound to a Totem, a spirit’s power in their own realm is null and void- Put on hold, as it were. They don’t answer to any greater spirits above them, but neither can they control lesser spirits under them, which is a big deterrence to any of the more powerful Immortals or Elementals of the Spirit Realms. A Farseer’s a useful addition, in this regard, as convincing spirits is a task they perform on a daily basis. Once a spirit has been contacted and has agreed to the binding, the totem can be built.
Totems, in a way, can be compared to the shrines that often adorn the furthest reaches of the Uruk desert. Each totem is suited specifically for the spirit in question- depending on which aspects they represent or, in the case of an Ancestral, the aspects of their past mortal life, the totem can be astonishingly unique. Elementals tend to enjoy an artful manipulation of their element about them. In some cases, a small amount of a spirit’s power can be used simply to uphold aesthetics, such as floating orbs of water or an un-fueled brazier. An Immortal’s totem can be more vague, and can simply represent their aspects in certain ways, such as a spirit of fertility’s shrine being covered in writhing human fetuses.  
To begin, a central pole should be set in the sand. More often than not it’s a massive piece of wood, carved with the ancient runes of Old Blah, dictating aspects of the spirit. Next, a form of decoration about the central totem should be made- A good example would be the shrine of Enrohk in Athera, which was shaped in likeness to a giant eagle. These totems can often stand stories tall, and will loom over the desert for leagues. About the shrine, offerings and further aesthetics can be made to aid in the spirit’s binding- then, the rituals may begin.

The Shamans must start by contacting the spirit in question- two capable Shamans of the subtype in question or one rather experienced Shaman (~T5) will call upon the spirit to inhabit the shrine. This is accompanied by the general chanting of all available Shamans nearby and the preparation for the blessing. For an Immortal Spirit, a Farseer must dictate to the spirit, through the channel of the Totem, how their power will be used upon the land. The spirit, as in a usual blessing, will grant the Farseer their power and the blessing will be made. In this case, the spirit’s connection to their altercation on the world is linked to the Totem as well as the Shaman in question- through this, contacting the spirit and receiving other blessings will become much quicker in the general area. Of course, the blessing must be remade by the Farseer about every Elven month, since the direction of a spirit’s power is only temporary. As for Elemental spirits, an Elementalist must make a pact with the spirit in question- again doing so through the Totem which the Spirit will be channelled. The renewal of this pact must be made in the same was as the renewal of a Farseer’s Blessing every Elven Month. In regard to Ancestral Totems, a Lutauman must make contact and bless themselves through the Totem, for the Spirit’s power to be tied to the construction. They must bless themselves in a way so that the Spirit may speak through them- the way in which to do so in a closely guarded secret, and of course it is so for good reason. Every Elven month this must be repeated, but such a feat becomes easier through the already present connection.
Once this is all done, the Totem is complete. For the next Elven month connections made to this spirit through the Totem will become quicker and more coordinated blessings become possible. It should be noted that a Totem does not, inherently, increase the power of a Shaman- instead, it creates the opportunity for several shamans to aid in a single act of Shamanism. Although contact to this spirit becomes possible for Shamans of all subtypes, this doesn’t allow them to call upon its power either. Should the Totem be destroyed, or the Shaman who made the original bond killed or disconnected, the spirit will return to their true power in the Spirit Realm, and although there is a bond present between the Shaman and this Spirit, it’s a completely willing one by the latter, and at any time if they become displeased or they recieve a lack of worship,  they may remove their power from the tie of the Totem.

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Too long didn't read, but I like the sound of totems.

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This lore has been Accepted!

 

It will be moved shortly to it's rightful place.

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