Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Totems: Horse, Part I

Ways of the Horse
* Move quickly, traveling far 
* Be unbound, though still enduring

 Eschew non-horse things, especially non-horse magic!

Followers of Horse Totems
Special: The horse is honored by fleet shamans and barbarians, as well as other classes too. 
Associated Divinities & Cults: Zeus (via Pegasus), Poseidon (via Hippocampus, Arion, and others), Mars (via Equus October), Epona, Hengist and Horsa, Odin (via Sleipnir), Raidho rune, Freyr, Jarilo, Dazbog (via his chariot). See also Centaurs (link).
Allowed Weapons (pick 4 from): Club, sword, bow, spear, lance, axe, dagger
Allowed Armor: Horse hide and shield or lighter
Spirit of the Horse: Those who follow the horse totem will gain a random special ability for every odd level they have. See the wolf totem (link) for specifics, as well as rolling for totemic side-effects (see Part II) and even totem tests at times (see Part III.

Horse Abilities (roll 1d8)
1. Equine Aspect: Gain either a horse's speed in open areas (+20'), scent and hearing (+6 to rolls made to detect), carrying capacity (x3), or endurance (x3). At 5th level, two can be used at once, or one can be used with double its usual potency. At 9th level, all four can be used at once, or two can be used with double potency.
2. Fleet-footed
Gain +1d3 x 5' speed. Can also make a Dexterity check (DC 15) with a +1d3 bonus per odd level to continue their move even after making an attack too.
3. Graze: Can live well on just raw grass and water for up to 1d3+3 weeks per odd level at a time, not needing any other nourishment, and be immune to natural elements. Having plenty of land to roam would be a boon too.
 Horse-skin: Assume the form of a riding horse (HD 2), becoming one in all ways but cognition for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. The transformation takes 1d3 rounds, but doesn't count towards the duration limit. At 5th level, they can assume the form of a warhorse (HD 3) instead, and at 9th level, a unicorn or nightmare (both HD 6).
5. Rider: Can improve either their mount's speed in open areas by +1d3 x 5', hit points by +2d6, AC by +1d4, or attack and damage by +1d3. Each effect lasts for 2d4 rounds and is usable twice per level per day. 
6. Sense Danger
: Can detect when something that could harm the totemist is nearby or approaching within 1d20 x 10', gaining a +2d3 bonus per odd level to rolls made to sense such things.
7. Spirit Horse: Can either project one's spirit as an ethereal horse or can call upon an ethereal horse ally to scout the area. Which one may be chosen at the beginning of each day, usable for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. If projecting one's spirit, it takes 1d3 rounds to begin, but doesn't count towards the duration limit, as the body remains behind comatose.
8. Other TotemGain a random ability from another totem, reflecting the specific type of horse totem they have or even a similar animal. For example, a stag totem could draw from both the speed and danger sense of the horse and the gore and virility of the bull.

Next week: Totems: Horse , Part II!


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Totems: Bull, Part V

Bull Divinities & Folk Variations

Characters can select various bull totem abilities, spells, side-effects, and totem tests to replace ones they would normally have, reflecting how the bull can confer its mighty power. Select or roll 1d8.

1. Greek & Minoan: Those who follow Poseidon often respect the bull's potency, physical strength, and fittingness for curses, with bull sacrifices and even minotaurs sometimes being the result. Other Greeks who call Hercules or Theseus their heroic patron instead seek to wrestle or slay the mighty bull, ironically using such tauric power to do so. Still, devotees of the Minoan Potnia focus more on the bull's majestic, civilized form, and are famous for being bull-leapers and shapechangers, if not minotaurs themselves.

2. Roman & Etruscan: Mithra's devotees also see the bull as something to be overcome; it's blood grants strength via the Taurobolium, which is commonplace in their rites. The followers of Fufluns instead take a view akin to those of Potnia- the bull is a beautiful, mighty form, worthy of nurturing, even upon a human mother's breast. Though being a more neutral Etruscan version of Dionysus, Fufluns can also grant the very dangerous bull rages and darker, chthonic power. 

3. Celtic: The 3-Horned, Gallic Tarvos Trigaranus befits his followers specifically with horned and charging attack abilities and spells. He may otherwise be treated as a deified bull totem, and thus druids can harness his power, Other Celts see the bull more as an aspect of Cernunnos, replete with cattle raids and the brown bull (Donn CĂșailnge) and the white bull (Finnbhennach) fighting. In either case, wrapping oneself in a bull hide and even partaking of beef is a preeminent method of their divination (Tarbhfhess).

4. Norse: The Uruz Rune is a mighty and key point of bull access. As aurochs, it can be used by the followers of a number of Norse gods, granting great size and strength in the case of Thor, Magni, Vidarr, and others. To a lesser extent the Fehu rune does so too, though more in the fertility and providing aspect of cattle, and would correspond well with the followers of Freyr. 

4. Mesopotamian: Commonly shown amongst the Sumerian and Babylonian divinities, the bull can manifest as hybridizations or monsters with the followers of Enlil (horns), Ishtar (Gugalanna), Marduk (hooves), Nanna (bull lammasu), and Tiamat (kusarikku). They thus tend towards the mutagenic and summoning aspects of the totem.

5. Egyptian & Colchian: The Egyptians have somewhat less of a demonstration of the bull, with Apis being a manifestation of the totem itself mixed with a sacred adoration of the golden calf. Other divinities might access its horns and fertility as Hathor does. In Colchis, land of the Golden Fleece, the Khalkotauroi are followed as bronze, fire-breathing bulls and their devotees draw on many aggressive and tough bull totem abilities. Some strangely call these beasts "gorgons'.
6.  Slavic & Yamnayan: Notably Chernobog (via the Cherno-bull), can have a few bull totem features added in to bring about even greater woe, though other Slavic divinities can do so too for more noble purposes. The Sacred Bull of the Indo-European Yamnaya of course predates many of the cultures above, and can not only be called upon for great strength, but also the ability to consume milk with ease- a trait of great potential advantage to size and strength when on the move.

7. Baphomet & Minotaurs: Darker aspects of the bull manifest in Baphomet the demon lord. Along with warpings of their body, its cultists bring out the worst in the totem, notably hyper-aggression, overwhelming obstinance, belittling of others, and destruction. Minotaurs themselves reflect this savagery too, though with the proper guidance from Poseidon, Potnia, or some of the other divinities above, can harness their taurine power for more meaningful pursuits.

Next week: our series on Totems continues with the Horse!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Totems: Bull, Part IV

Shamans and other cleric-types who call upon the bull gain access to certain spells. Otherwise, they follow the guidelines of totemic magic (link). 

1st Level Spells (d5)
1. Bovine Protection: as Protection from Evil, but only works in grazing areas.
2. Bull Companion: as Animal Companion (D), but must be a single bull.
3. Charge Light Wounds: as Cure Light Wounds, but the recipient must be holding horns or something else that's dangerous.
4. Lesser Bull Strength: as Strength*, but confers only 1/2 the bonus, and is applied to the recipient's Constitution too.
5. Raging Bull: as Remove Fear (reversible), but only if the shaman is charging.

2nd Level Spells (d6)
1. Bull Hide: as Barkskin (D), but  only works on those who follow the ways of the bull.
2. Bull Strength: as Strength*, but the bonus is also applied to the recipient's Constitution too.
3. Pasture Growth: as Plant Growth (D), but only affects grasses, making them more fertile and produce more food.
4. Phantom Bull
: as Spiritual Weapon, but with a +2 damage bonus and appears as a spirit bull that can keep attacking even if the shaman doesn't concentrate. It also has a 50% chance of charging a random individual each round though.
5. Speak with Bullsas Speak with Animals, but only works with bull-kind.
6. Taurus Blessingas Bless, but grants a +3 bonus to hit and to damage to allies who are charging instead, in addition to any other bonuses they'd gain for charging.

3rd Level Spells
1. Aurochs Form: as Animal Growth, but just works on bull-kind.
2. Bovine Protection 10' Radius: as Protection from Evil 10' Radius, but only works in grazing areas.
3. Bull Cure
: as Cure Disease, but makes the recipient aggressive and bullish for the next 1d6 turns too. 
4. Bull Goring: as Striking, but grants the recipient bull horns for the duration instead, allowing them to make an additional attack each round for 1d6 + 1/2 Strength mod damage, double if charging.
5. Bullskin Magic: as Polymorph Self or Other*, but can only take on or grant the form of a bull or other bovine creature.
6. Greater Bull Strength: as Strength*, but has a +2 bonus, along with no limit of 18.

4th Level Spells (d6)
1. Seeing Red: as Haste*, but but must be used at least as part of attacks.
2. Bull Call: as Summon Animal I (D), but just summons bulls. 
3. Bull's Exorcism: as Exorcism, but only works on non-bull type spirits.
4. Charge Serious Wounds: as Cure Serious Wounds, but the recipient must be holding horns or some other weapon.
5. Massive Bull Strengthas Greater Bull Strength, above, but the bonuses are +2d3.
6. Bull Fertile: increases the next chance of a female within 30' to conceive and successfully give birth by 100%.

5th Level Spells (d5)
1. Bull Communion: as Commune with Nature (D), but only works in areas where bulls inhabit.
2. Rush Evil: as Dispel Evil, but can only be used either before or after charging the targets.
3. Charge Critical Wounds: as Cure Critical Wounds, but the recipient must be holding horns or something else that's dangerous.
4. Greater Bull Call: as Summon Monster III*, but either summons a minotaur or a 6 HD bull gorgon with 3 rounds less duration in the latter case.
5. Greater Bullskin Magic: as Polymorph Self or Other*, but can just take on or grant the form of a minotaur or a 6 HD bull gorgon with 3 rounds less duration in the latter case.

6th Level Spells (d3)
1. Horn Onslaught: as Blade Barrier, but appears as horns, does 3d8 less damage, and can be moved 30 feet each round, harming all in the way.
2. Bovine Realm: as Plane Shift, but only transports to and from places dominated by bulls and bovine-beings.
3. Bull Maze: as Maze, but bull-types are immune and those so trapped must save vs. death/ make a Will save DC 10 every 1d6 rounds or take 4d6 damage from the resident minotaur.

Next week: Totems: Bull, Part V!