Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Totems: Raven, Part II

Totemic Side-Effects
"The dark raven shall have its say, and tell the eagle how it fared at the feast..." -Beowulf

Roll 1d12 whenever one who calls upon a raven totem uses a special ability or spell.

1. Nevermore: The follower cannot use the special ability or spell again until he or she uses another spell or special ability and experiences a different side-effect. What is more, experiencing this side-effect thrice will also provoke a totem test.

2. Dark Shroud
: Not all magic is easily known. Rather than the intended spell or ability occurring, another raven one does so instead. It is determined at random, even if the follower is unfamiliar with it.

3. Cawing
: Like the raven, the follower must caw loudly, giving away not only his location, but his devotion to the totem too.

4. Ominous Scene: Dark, shadowy bird phantoms circle the area for 1d12 rounds, causing all within 1d12 x 10' to save vs. death/ make a Will save DC 10 or flee in fear for the duration.

5-8. No Side-Effect: Though a raven might be seen to alight nearby or heard at a distance, the spell or special ability occurs otherwise normally.

9-11. Nameless Way: As long as the target of the special ability or spell doesn't know the name of or can see the one using it, then its effect, range, or duration can be increased by 50%. And if the follower has had a chance to stare at the target for at least 1d3 rounds prior too, then one of those aspects may be doubled instead.

12. Quoth of the Raven: The special ability or spell's range, effect, or duration is raised by 50% and the follower may immediately use another randomly determined raven one once after too.

Totem Spell Requirements
In addition to rolling on the table above, shamans and other cleric-types must perform a certain task for at least 2d3 rounds when casting a raven totem spell. It must be done before the spell can be completed, though if they make a Wisdom or Charisma check (DC 15) to better placate the local raven spirits, it can be done that round. Roll 1d6.

1. Caw Loudly or Stare                                2. Dress all in Black                  3. Drum or Rattle     
4. Make an Offering 
or Paint Face              5. Play with the Spell's Target          6. Roll 1d5 twice      

Next week: Totems: Raven, Part III!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Totems: Raven, Part I

Ways of the Raven
* Adapt as needed, remaining dark
* Transcend with your attention
* Be vigilant, helping other raven-types
* Voice skillfully, but beware non-raven magic

Followers of Raven Totems
Special: The raven is followed by shamans and barbarians, along with other classes including thieves, magic-users, and cleric and fighter-types too. 
Associated Divinities: Odin, the Morrighan, Lugh, Apollo
Allowed Weapons: Dagger, short sword, bow, staff, spear
Allowed Armor: Raven feathers or lighter, though always dark
Spirit of the Raven: Those who follow the raven will gain a random special ability for every odd level they have, drawing from the same list whether they are a raven shaman or raven barbarian. Otherwise, See the wolf totem (link) for general guidelines on how such abilities work.

Raven Abilities: (roll 1d12)
1. Raven-skin: Assume the form of a raven, whether ethereal or solid, 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. And if becoming ethereal, the follower's body is left behind for the duration, helpless and comatose. At 5th level, causes fear (as the spell) constantly in these forms. And at 9th level, the constant cause fear effect when in such forms is 5 harder to save against.
2. Raven Aspect: Gain a raven's superior sense of eyesight and hearing for up to 4d3 rounds per level per day. At 5th level, can gain either a +4 Dexterity bonus or can ignore up to 1d4 x 10' of falling damage instead. At 9th level, can glide up to 40' per round for the duration, arms/wings outstretched.
3. Raven Guardian Spirit: Call upon an ethereal raven ally to fight other spirits, scout an area, send mental messages, or detect other supernatural forces. It will obey for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. Starting at 5th level, it can even become corporeal for up to one round per level per day of the duration: attacking, relaying physical messages, or performing other tasks if need be. And at 9th level, it can become corporeal for the entire duration as required.
5. Psycawmetry: Sense impressions from/ know some of the history of an object that the follower holds, up to 2d3 rounds per level day, but must save vs. death/ make a Wil save DC 10 or be unnerved by them (-2 to all rolls for the next 3d4 rounds)..
6. Keen Caw: Gain a +1d3 bonus to a roll involving loud speech (including casting a spell if heard by the target), up to once per day per level.
7. Strange Endurance: Receive a +1d3 bonus that can be added to either saving throws or to reduce damage done, as long as one is acting fatalistically, vengefully, and/or mysteriously. Usable up to once per day per level.
8. Crow's Feet: Detect disguised, hidden, or altered beings for what they really are, or even detect magic (per the spell), a total of up to twice per day per level.
9. Black as Raven's Wings: Can cause fear (as the spell) in those who hear or see them, up to once per level per day. Two daily uses can be used at once to cause fear in even those normally immune, such as undead.
10. Death Caw: Ignore fear and similar mental effects (via spell or otherwise), up to twice per day per level. The follower is also now considered to be undead 50% of the time, even if already fully so.
11. Murder: Gain a cumulative +1 bonus to all rolls when within 30' of other raven followers. It can be used up to once per day per level, lasts 2d3 rounds per use, and has a maximum bonus of +6. Half the bonus can even be added when working with wolf followers.
12. Raven Type: Gain a randomly determined ability from another chosen totem.

Next week: Totems: Raven, Part II!

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Totems: Bear, Part V

Bear Divinities & Folk Variations
"And when Arcturus leaves the main, to rise, A star bright shining in the evening skies; Then prune the vine."
– Hesiod

Characters can opt to substitute specific bear totem abilities, spells, side-effects, and tests for ones they would normally have, reflecting how the bear can come more to the fore with their divinity. Select or roll 1d6.

1. Thor: Berserkers (detailed in Volume I) may become more bearish, substituting some uses of their berserkergang ability to have the greater versatility (but less potency) of bear barbarian abilities. Other Norse characters may even have a bear ancestor, granting them select martial bear abilities mixed with their viking or cleric ones. 

2. Artio: Followers of this Celtic bear goddess instead more often turn into bears or have them as companions. This approach helps them to be focused with the land, favoring healing spells, though all bear abilities and spells can be used by her druids. The bear is also associated with kingship in some Celtic lands (e.g. 'Arthur'), so some Fianna and Gaesatae (see Volume II) may give up their move bonus to instead grant a +1 bonus to the morale of any who fight for them or their king.

3. Artemis: Those who call Artemis patron may tend towards bear transformation, especially for those who remain virgin in keeping with the tradition of Callisto. The same could be said for some other Greek divinities too: Zeus transformed Arcas/ Arcturus into a bear as well in order to prevent him from shooting his mother.

4. Mielikki: Similar to Artio in promoting the nurturing aspects of the bear, Mielikki's way also involves other woodland creatures. As such, her clerics might only select some bear spells of that type. Followers of other Finnish deities could do the same. In any case, they will never say their totem's actual name, instead using terms like "Pride of the Thicket", "Honey Paw", and other pleasant kennings.
5. Perun: Strong but nurturing, followers of Perun may select a variety of bear abilities and spells if they feel such an association. Being so popular, many other Slavic gods and goddesses might do some of the same, but the bear is universally respected in any case.
6. Cave Bear: The worship of the great bear is ancient, and some remaining isolated tribes of cave men continue to follow it as originally done, prizing the strength and endurance the totem gives above all others. Their approaches may be brutal and savage, but they do keep to the old ways.

Next week, our series on totems continues with the Raven!