November 29, 2015

Preview: Folk Magic in Hari Ragat

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There are many things, such as plants, minerals, and the viscera, specially the livers, of certain animals, that are held to have an innate spiritual power. Over the centuries the Vijadesans have become familiar with some of these and learned to use them, and this is the basis of Vijadesan folk magic Charms.

Knowledge and use of Charms enables any character, even those without shamanic talent or training, to cope with the supernatural though in a very limited fashion. Here are some sample Charms:

Wild Ginger
The roots of wild ginger are commonly used in cooking, but even more importantly, they have powerful purifying and warding properties. When you keep a knob of peeled wild ginger in your mouth, most evil spirits, and most witches and sorcerers cannot touch you or directly affect you in any way.

The challenge is to know when to use this charm, to find and prepare the ginger in time, and finally to tolerate the extreme heat long enough, as wild ginger is a very hot spice. You can resolve this by rolling 1d6 (Oracle Roll), on a 4 or higher the character manages to keep the ginger in his mouth. You may spend Bala or Ancestral Favor to reroll the die, one point per reroll.

If you fail the roll, you find the ginger too spicy to bear and spit it out.  Getting caught doing this however is considered a deadly insult to the host, as it’s a tacit accusation that she’s a witch!

There are many things, such as plants, minerals, and the viscera, specially the livers, of certain animals, that are held to have an innate spiritual power. Over the centuries the Vijadesans have become familiar with some of these and learned to use them, and this is the basis of Vijadesan folk magic Charms.

Knowledge and use of Charms enables any character, even those without shamanic talent or training, to cope with the supernatural though in a very limited fashion. Here are some sample Charms:

Salt and Ash
Salt mixed with wood ash is a charm against evil spirits. No evil spirit can cross an unbroken circle drawn of salt and ash; however, cunning beings often find ways to get this circle broken for them.

Evil spirits and tainted creatures such as Asuang are repelled by salt and ash thrown against them, and if you sprinkle salt and ash on the lower torso of a Manananggal or the neck-stump of a Pugot it will perish outright. The challenge is to hit the Asuang with the thrown salt and ash, or to find the body stump and use the salt and ash despite the monster’s interference.

Betel Chew
Betel chew — a wad of betel leaf with areca nuts and lime, often flavored with tobacco or spices — is also attractive to some of the most man-like supernatural beings.  Thus many Vijadesans will make betel chew offerings to local spirits and such when crossing their domains. (Note: betel chewing has been linked to oral cancer, so we do not recommend trying this!)

Alum Crystal (Tawas)
Alum is a mineral salt that is sensitive to spiritual influences and presence, and so is used in a variety of divination and curing rites. A non-shaman character who touches a lump of alum to their eyelids can see the normally invisible spirits and other enchanted creatures.

This ability however lasts only a very brief time, just enough for 2-4 actions (1d3 + 1 rounds),  as this salt irritates the eyes and will cause them to water until you can’t see at all. When you wipe away the tears caused by this, you also lose the ability to see spirits. (Note: we don’t know what alum will actually do to your eyes, but it is useful as a deodorant; GMs could use it cast Purify Player!)

Livers
The liver is the organ in which spiritual power is most highly concentrated. The livers of spiritually powerful creatures, including human beings, thus have great magical significance. Consuming them can restore lost Bala, and the livers of the most powerful creatures can outright increase your Bala if you survive the experience.

The livers of creatures ranked between Datu and Karanduun can automatically refresh all your lost Bala when consumed. The livers of creatures ranked Rajah or higher can increase your Bala, but only if you win a contest vs. the beast as if you were fighting it again. If you win your character’s Bala goes up by +1, but if you lose your character falls sick.

Bile
The bile of certain spiritually powerful animals, usually dangerous reptiles like pythons and crocodiles, is held by the Vijadesans to have powerful medicinal properties. Python, crocodile and king cobra bile may cure minor bewitchments and curses; roll 1d6, on a 5 or 6 a cure has been effected. On a failure, the character likely found the bile just too foul-tasting and spat it out before it could have effect!

(Note: we have no idea whether animal bile preparations really do any good, but we do know it’s often sourced from endangered species.)

Stingray Tails
Whips made from the tails of albino stingrays (which are very rare) have an innate ability to frighten and harm spirits. Simply cracking a stingray tail whip can repel most minor evil spirits, and even a non-shaman can attack an evil spirit or enchanted being with a stingray tail whip and claim Advantage to do so.

Whips are tricky weapons to manage, however. On a Flub (a roll of all 1’s), your stingray tail whip hits an ally, or if no allies are present, it hits your character. Mortal victims hit by a stingray tail whip become Poisoned.

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