October 12, 2014

Hari Ragat: The Shaman’s Expanded Role

Interesting. I’ve just realized how powerful and versatile shaman characters can be in Hari Ragat, which means greatly expanded opportunities for the player to shine and explore the character.

A shaman can Invoke spirits to compel favors and effects from them, which includes coaxing Anito Dice out of the spirits, banish them, appease them if offended, and very importantly, ask them questions. A shaman can Spiritwalk, to roam the world in spirit form and interact freely with the spirit world including dreaming persons. There’s also a pretty powerful Curse mechanic, though right now I’m in a quandary whether to fold this in with the Invocations or maintain the current mechanic.

If this set off warning bells in your head, you can be sure it did the same in mine … but I think I’ve got the balance questions covered. Shaman magic in Hari Ragat is bounded strongly by difficulty and risk, both of which add to its resource cost; shaman players will have to choose when and how to use their magic carefully, because any working can end up costing more than planned if you roll badly. There are vulnerabilities built into the magic system; the more powerful the effect you want, the more powerful the spirits you’ll have to Contest with to get it done, which very likely means more Bala/Anito Dice spent.

The way the shaman plays, it’s much safer and surer to be a supportive team player than to try to hog the spotlight by scoring the most or the biggest kills. But don’t worry, there will also be times when it’s obvious you’ve got the winning strategy, and the rest of the group will have to support your character by running interference and sharing resources so you can pull off The Big One.

A shaman is also bounded by her need to maintain certain relationships with various spirits. All shamans are very dependent on the favor of the ancestors, for one, and may also have relationships to maintain with other spirits like the Diwatas of their homeland. If you want more power you need to have stronger relationships, but stronger relationships also mean more requirements and more taboos. This can present unexpected complications when you’re in action. For example, what if the villain you’re up against is of the same bloodline as you? Suddenly your ancestors aren’t as eager to help you, because hey, the person you’re fighting is their descendant too.

Playing a shaman should be an interesting role playing challenge.

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