Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Totems: Bear, Part II

Totemic Side-Effects
Its ponderous strength endures, whether the follower can bear it or not. 
Roll 1d12 whenever one who calls upon a bear totem to use a special ability or spell.

1. Get out of my way! The follower lashes out at all objects and individuals within 30', attacking for 1d3 rounds or until they're down. What is more, he rolls again on this table due to all the momentum released. For those unfortunate to be in the follower's way, they'll realize one should never poke him.

2. Rest Now... All this tapping into the power of the bear can be  tiring, and the follower feels the overwhelming need to lay down. He must fall into a brief hibernation for at least 10d6 rounds at the earliest opportunity, preferably with something to munch afterward. Until then, he will be quite sluggish, suffering a -2 to all rolls and only being able to move at 1/2 speed.

3. Food! How can the devotee use his powers on an empty stomach? He much gorge on whatever's available for at least 5d6 rounds as soon he finds something!

4. Bjorn: The devotee takes on the appearance of his totem, appearing quite large and shaggy. As a result, he gains a +1 bonus to Strength and Constitution, but also a -2 penalty to Dexterity for the next 1d6 turns, along with a -5 penalty to Charisma checks with those who don't appreciate such bearishness.

5-8. No Side-Effect: Though one might feel the urge to roar, cuddle up in a cave, or gorge on sundry foodstuffs, the spell or special ability occurs normally.

9-11. Ursine Embrace: If the devotee successfully hugs his target or is doing something specifically to protect the old ways, then the special ability or spell's effect and duration can be boosted by 50%.

12. Might of the Bear: The special ability or spell's range, effect, or duration is increased by 50% and the follower also gains a +1d4 bonus to his Strength and Constitution for the next 2d3 rounds!

Totem Spells
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 bear 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 bear spirits, it need only be 1d2 rounds. Roll 1d6.

1. Roar or Gorge Oneself                            2. Dance or Lay Down            3. Drum or Rattle     
4. Make an Offering or Don Bear Parts     5. Bear Hug or Babble          6. Roll 1d5 twice      

Next week: Totems: Bear, Part III!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Totems: Bear, Part I

Ways of the Bear
* Grow large with much eating and rest
* Protect yourself and your loved ones, being terrifying when need be

* Keep to the old ways
Eschew non-bearish things, especially non-bear shamanic magic!

Followers of Bear Totems
Special: The bear is honored by shamans and barbarians, though other cleric-types and fighters can do so as well. 
Associated Divinities: Thor, Artio (Celtic), Artemis (Callisto), Perun, Mielikki, Ukko
Allowed Weapons: Club, hammer, axe, dagger
Allowed Armor: Bear hide and shield or lighter (and often little else)
Spirit of the Bear: Those who follow the bear will gain a random special ability for every odd level they have. See the wolf totem (link) for specifics, noting that those who access the bear's power must also make a Wisdom check first, as well as roll for totemic side-effects (see Part II) and even totem tests at times.

Bear Shamans: (roll 1d6)
1. Bear-skin: Assume the form of a black bear, 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 grizzly bear instead, and at 9th level, a cave or werebear.
2. Spirit Bear-skin: Can project their spirit as an ethereal bear. The shaman's body is left behind for the duration, helpless and comatose. Otherwise treat as #1 above, along with the advantages discussed in #4 below.
3. Ursine Aspect: Gain either a black bear's bite attack, hug or climbing ability, superior sense of smell, hearing, or hit points for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. At 5th level, two can be used at once or one of the grizzly bear's can be used (they can't climb though). At 9th level, three of the black bear's or two of the grizzly's can be used at once.
4. Bear Guardian Spirit: Call upon an ethereal bear ally to fight other spirits, scout an area, or even detect other supernatural forces. It will obey for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day. At 5th level, it can be an ethereal grizzly bear instead, and at 9th level, an ethereal cave or werebear.
5. Hibernate: Can sleep in a cave for 1d3 weeks per odd level, not needing food or water and only waking if truly disturbed.
6. Bear Breed: Gain a random bear barbarian ability or even a magical ability from a similar totem, reflecting the totem being a specific type of bear (black, brown, sleeping, little, or the like).

Barbarians(roll 1d6)
1. Hardy: Gain a +1d3 bonus per odd level that can be added to either increase their damage or to reduce damage done to them each round, for up to 1d3 rounds per level per day.
2. Hug: Can make a free grapple attempt against a foe that they hit in melee, gaining a +1d3 bonus for attempting to do so for every odd level they have.
3. Rage: Can fight in an especially outraged manner for 2d6 rounds up to 1d3 times per level per day, gaining a +2 to hit, damage, and hit points while suffering an AC penalty of 4. To stop the rage early, they must save vs. spell/ make a Will save DC 15, otherwise they may even attack allies until it's over. What is more, the barbarian has a base 33% chance of actually turning into a grizzly bear for every 3 rounds that he is raging, in which case it lasts 2d6 rounds longer and he also gains +2d4 Strength and Constitution during that time.
4. Tough: Gain a natural +1 AC bonus and reduce any damage done to them by 1.
5. Large: Gain +1d4' in height and girth, along with +1d2 Strength, +1d2 Constitution, -1d3 Dexterity, and -5' speed.
6. Bear Breed: Gain a random bear shaman ability or even martial ability from a similar totem, reflecting the bear totem being a specific type (cave, grizzly, polar, mama, papa, or the like).

Next week: Totems: Bear, Part II!

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Totems: Wolf, Part V

Wolf Divinities & Folk Variations
"Geri and Freki the war-wont sates, the triumphant sire of hosts; but on wine only the famed in arms, Odin, ever lives." - Grímnismál, Poetic Edda

The wolf totem is a well-known attendant of various divinities and groups. Reflecting this, clerics and fighter-types of those folk can opt to substitute specific wolf totem abilities, side-effects, tests, and/or spells for ones they would normally have, reflecting how the wolf aspect can come more to the fore with them..

Select or roll 1d8
1. Odin: Ulfhednar (see Volume I) focus on ferocity, and can substitute such wolf aspects at later levels for uses of their unique, Odin-granted Wolf Fury, though such Norse always select that at first level due to its reliability (it, like other divinity-granted abilities can be reliably selected and requires no Wisdom check to use). Odin's clerics can do the same with certain magical side-effects and spells too if they have a particular bond with Freki & Geri, though the Fury of Freki and Geri magical side-effect would be naturally maintained.

2. Fenrir: its fell followers can focus more on swapping certain frightening wolf abilities, side-effects, tests, and spells, though doing so might make them somewhat less murderous and demonic. All keep the Fenris Curse ability at 1st level, of course, though afterwards, others might do.

3. Apollo & Artemis: harkening to Apollo Lykaios, their followers' powers would often wane in the sun and wax under the moon (or vice verse). Otherwise, such Greeks would wear only belts (many being Koryos) and at times even eat the occasional human flesh that happens to turn up in order to be turned to wolves for extended times.

4. The Morrighan & Cernunnos: Celts who follow these divinities can focus on summoning wolves, whether to terrify those upon the moor in the former case) or have a more mystical communion in the later. Morrighan goes further with opting to turn her faithful more often into full wolves, while those who follow Cern tend more to wolf-hybrids.
5. Mars: dutiful always, his Roman clerics might not substitute much in the way of wolfishness. Still, velites are wolfish peltasts (link ), paying special homage to the she-wolf who nursed young Romulus and Remus by coordinating attacks to take down prey. 
6. Veles & Dazbog: focus more on being able to move well and having wolfish senses, Slavs who follow these gods might substitute wolf powers, whether to ultimately be cunning or to discover truth. Furthermore, those who follow Veles tend to gain wolf heads, while those who follow Dazbog instead tend towards having full wolf forms, especially amongst the southern Slavs. 

7. Dacians: known as wolves themselves, they focus on wolf aspects in defending their lands, having wolfish heads, and, when turning completely, being great white wolves. Until their divinities can be examined more at a later date, they would fit closely with full wolf shamans and barbarians.

8. Scythians: like the Gteeks, they have Neuroi that are known to be turned to wolves for long periods of time. And being horse archers, they can get a wolf's speed and sensing ability too.

Next week: Totems, Bear!