# The Spirit World

The Spirit World is a place of sublime beauty and life, but is also the place where lost spirits wander, where broken dreams coalesce, and where nightmares feast. Some spirits are bound to specific regions, while others wander throughout the Spirit World. This otherworld is made of many smaller parts that are distinct but connected to other locations through spiritual pathways. To most visitors, it appears as simply a limitless grey zone of nothingness.

To shamans, however, the Spirit World appears differently, an exotic realm full of strange, impossible terrain, metaphoric environments and spectacular landmarks.

# The Shaman

Spirit magic is common in Glorantha, and the shaman is the expert in its use. Shamans are specialists committed to spirit magic and knowledge of spirits and the Spirit World, developing specialized skills, knowledge, and powers. Shamans are quite powerful because they exist in both the corporeal world (the Middle World) and the Spirit World at the same time, viewing the whole of existence.

Their main responsibility is to tend to the spiritual protection and knowledge of their kinfolk and tribe members. Shamans are the keepers of ritual and spirit magics, and act as enchanters and summoners.

# Discorporation

A shaman’s spirit can leave its body in the Middle World and wander deep into the Spirit World, a process called discorporation. To discorporate, a shaman must sacrifice 5 magic points in a one-hour ritual. The duration of this discorporation is 1D6 hours. Every additional magic point spent at the end of that period increases the time that the shaman can remain discorporate by another 1D6 hours. This discorporation process cannot be Dispelled.

While discorporate, the shaman can sense other spirits and sources of POW at a range of roughly 10 meters per point of POW. Within a range of 1 meter per POW, the shaman can sense the POW of entities to within 10 points. At that range, the shaman can also sense Runic affinities over 50%. When in direct contact with another spirit or entity, the shaman can sense exact POW, INT, and CHA. The shaman can also sense cult affiliations. Neither the shaman nor the fetch (see below) recovers magic points while the shaman is discorporate.

The state of discorporation can also be achieved with the Discorporation Rune spell.

# Spirit World Skills

Shamans and discorporate characters use these skills often:

  • Spirit Dance (00): Avoiding a hostile spirit while discorporate and returning safely to one’s body.
  • Spirit Lore (00): Knowing a spirit’s affinities, abilities, or what appeases or drives it away.
  • Spirit Travel (10): Navigating the Spirit World, required when moving from the inner regions of the Spirit World.

# The Fetch

A shaman gains extraordinary abilities by awakening a portion of their soul called a fetch, their Spirit World alter ego. The fetch’s appearance is different, based on the shaman’s tradition. Through their relationship with the fetch, a shaman is aware of both the Middle World and the Spirit World at the same time. When the shaman is wholly present in the Middle World, the fetch is present in both worlds, and both the fetch and the shaman are fully aware of everything the other is doing.

The shaman and fetch relationship provides the following:

  • Once awakened the fetch can never be put to sleep or separated from the shaman. A fetch can never be Dispelled, Dismissed, or Neutralized. If the fetch is ever destroyed, the shaman dies.

  • The fetch cannot be seen by normal entities without some ability such as Mystic Vision or Second Sight.

  • The fetch’s magic points are always accessible to the shaman, and its POW can be sacrificed whenever the shaman desires.

  • A shaman automatically has permanent Second Sight at no magic point cost to use. The shaman can even see POW in the dark.

  • The shaman can use the fetch’s CHA for storing spirit magic spells but does not add to the shaman’s CHA for other purposes.

  • The fetch shares the shaman’s INT and can act and react just as can the shaman.

  • The fetch inhabits and protects the shaman’s body when the shaman goes into the Spirit World, becoming visible to others in the Middle World. The fetch can cast any spell available to the shaman, including spells and spirits trapped within it or on the shaman’s body, but it cannot move or animate the shaman’s body. Spells cast by the fetch have the POW and magic points of the fetch instead of the POW and magic points of the shaman.

  • A discorporate shaman can use the fetch’s magic points for spells, but not to defend or attack. A discorporate shaman cannot use the fetch’s magic points for defense while traveling in the Spirit World.

# Traveling in the Spirit World

A shaman normally searches for spirits on the Frontier Region of the Spirit World. Occasionally the shaman must journey deeper into the Outer and Inner Regions in search of specific spirits into areas more difficult to navigate. Moving inward is easy, as the spirit gravity of the Inner Regions pulls everyone inward, and one must only ‘let go’ to move inward. To move outward from one region to another, the shaman must make a Spirit Travel roll.

# Spirit Combat

Interaction with hostile spirits often ends in Spirit Combat, which can occur between two discorporate entities or between a discorporate entity and an entity in the corporeal world. Spirit combat may be initiated only by a discorporate being. If a spirit wishes to attack a corporeal being, the spirit makes itself visible to the Middle World the melee round prior to its first attack. Shamans can always see spirits using Second Sight and are normally aware of the spirit’s intention to attack, before it materializes. If both combatants are already on the Spirit World, there is no delay.

Spirit combat is always resolved on SR 12 of each melee round, regardless of any other actions taken by the characters. If a spirit is attacked with physical weapons or spells, that is resolved on the attacker’s normal melee SR.

Once begun, spirit combat lasts until one of the following conditions are met:

  • Both parties agree to end the conflict.

  • One of the combatants disengages.

  • One or both parties are reduced to 0 magic points. Once a spirit attacks, it continues to attack until it wins, loses, negotiates a deal with the target, or the target disengages. The Spirit Combat skill is used for attack and defense in spirit combat, as an opposed resolution of the combatants’ skills.

  • Winner and a Loser: The winner does spirit combat damage to the loser.

  • Tie: A tie (where both participants succeed but roll the same quality of success) means the situation is temporarily unresolved. If both participants rolled a critical success, the result is a tie, and both parties do spirit combat damage to the other.

  • Two Losers: Nothing happens unless one of the rolls is a fumble. The fumbling character loses 1D6 magic points. Once a corporeal being is engaged in spirit combat, they may not attempt any skill or engage in physical combat without first succeeding an INT×5 roll. Corporeal beings engaged in spirit combat may cast a spell if they succeed at a concentration check (INTx3). Spirits may cast spells if they possess that ability and do so in the same manner as other combatants.

If an entity’s Spirit Combat skill is unknown, use its POW×5.

# Spirit Combat Damage

Spirit combat damage reduces the target’s current magic points, unless absorbed by spirit armor.

  • On a special success, rolled spirit damage is doubled.

  • On a critical success, spirit damage is rolled twice, and bypasses any spiritual armor.

On a special or critical success, actual physical damage to hit points may be inflicted to a random hit location on a corporeal target, equal to the number of D6s rolled for its damage.

When a spirit is reduced to 0 magic points, it can then be controlled by a shaman. If uncontrolled, it retreats to the Spirit World. A corporeal being reduced to 0 magic points becomes open to possession (see below) or falls unconscious until they recover 1 magic point.

# Attacking with Weapons and Spells

Corporeal beings may attack a spirit with enchanted weapons and spells if it is engaged in spirit combat. The attack is resolved normally, but damage from physical weapons is based on any magical quality. Generally, only magical effects and damage from Rune magic affect a spirit, and spirit magic does not. This damage is applied to the spirit’s magic points.

# Disengaging from Spirit Combat

An entity may declare during the Statement of Intent that they are trying to disengage from spirit combat. To do so requires a successful Spirit Dance or Spirit Combat roll. One attempt may be made each round. If using Spirit Dance, there is no opposed roll that round, and if Spirit Combat, the combat ends at the end of the round. When a combatant disengages, they do no damage that round and the combat is over. Spirits return to the Spirit World.

If the spirit wishes to renew combat, it must first materialize for one round before it can initiate spirit combat again.

# Possession

When a spirit reduces a corporeal entity’s magic points to 0, the spirit may possess the entity. There are two kinds of possession: dominant (where the spirit’s INT and POW replace the body’s owner, along with its personality) and covert (a haunting, exerting no influence on actions or consciousness, with the body’s owner unaware of the possession). In dominant possessions, the gamemaster assumes control over the adventurer until they are freed from possession, and in covert possessions, the spirit influences the host’s behavior.

# Bound Spirits

Some characters in Book 2: The World of Glorantha and Book 3: Adventures possess bound spirits or elementals, defeated in spirit combat and either bargained with or forced to inhabit a specially prepared enchanted item or animal. This process is beyond the scope of the Starter Set, but when dealing with bound spirits the following rules apply:

  • Bound spirits have INT, POW, and CHA and a Spirit Combat skill. Most have spells and can use them.

  • The owner of an item with a bound spirit may draw upon its magic points in place of their own, but will not use all otherwise the spirit is destroyed.

  • The owner can command the spirit to cast its spells.

  • The spirit is freed upon the death of its owner.

  • Some owners have rigid conditions upon the control of their bound spirits, while others do not.

  • A suitable Control spell cast on a bound spirit may supercede the owner’s authority over it, depending on the conditions originally set upon it. The gamemaster should determine these if it is not obvious.

  • Bound elementals act according to their Rune nature (Earth, Fire, etc.) when not commanded otherwise.