Katabasi, A Magic Tradition for LARP Gaming

The Penance of Eleanor, Edwin Austin Abbey

Sorry for the long absence from the blog, but I’m returning with inspiration that came to me during a slow, end-of-day chat session. Another magical tradition for a live action roleplaying setting/game (LARP)…

The Katabasi are a necromantic tradition in the vein of conjuring and channeling spirits for knowledge and powers. When the unusually enduring spirit of person or creature with a particularly defining gift, ability or power dies, it can sometimes be found by the scrying of a Katabasi, summoned and allowed to partially possess the caster who then gains temporary access to that gift.  This power is not without a price however, and the Katabasi must take on a trait, geas or motivation of the spirit in exchange for access to its signature power(s).

Each spirit has a unique profile, a name and story that accompanies it.  While it is unusual, it is not unheard of for a particularly powerful or gifted spirit to have its aspects divided up into many shards, accessible to multiple Katabasi.  For example, an ancient lore master might be called upon to access her mastery of a single topic she studied.  However, the vast majority are singular entities, often just poignant footnotes in history.  No matter what the case, the more powerful the gifts, the greater the cost and not all spirits are kind or goodly.

Among the Katabasi, there are rumors that there are entities that dwell in this gulf of spirits with grander designs. Posing as minor spirits, and dividing their essence among hosts to coordinate minor, seemingly trivial actions that when considered together orchestrate a master scheme in the living world. 

Some examples of spirits, their abilities and “price”:

Seeking great ability with complex mathematics to help solve a puzzle/code, the character summons Anese Lovette.  She was an 8-year old math prodigy from a small rural village. She never got to learn much more, because she died taking a lunch pail to her father, who was a mine worker. Both perished in a cave-in. You have to prepare and serve food to three strangers today.

Needing tracking abilities to find the lair of some bandits that have stolen a vital item, the character dons the mantle of Tufty, an old but fit hound that perished beneath the tusks of a rabid boar. Tracking leads them true to the bandit hide-out, but Tufty's spirit weighs upon the character to seek and slay a dangerous wild beast before dawn. Once complete, the character must bay as a loud as they can to the sky and find a soft place to rest their weary head.

Gascon was a sensitive boy and claimed to see a glow around all things magical and enchanted. On his way to a dance where he would meet his true love, he was lead astray by the wisps of the swamps and never seen again. In exchange for his vision, complete one slow, sweet dance in his memory.

Coragene was a girl with eyes black and unblinking like a shark. Her playmates would often go missing while the villagers were out at sea fishing, but Coragene was always there with a healthy appetite to greet the fisherman when they returned to butcher their catch. The character's hands sprout long, wicked claws like those of a Kelp Hag, but they must spend 30 seconds shredding the flesh of every foe they slay with them.

Rowan loved walking among the old orchards. Even though the fruit had gone feral and bitter over generations from lack of tending, their limbs welcomed him alone with the occasional rare sweet prize. His gift for finding healing herbs was a boon he shared readily; leaving balms and unguents for ailing folks up and down the Five Hollers, never asking for payment or thanks. Legend say he sought shelter in a hollow tree trunk one fierce winter and in the spring it grew over his remains. You may use the Herbalism/Gardening skill today provided you bury one human bone in a garden and tend it over the coming month (BGA).

Agrippina Fivestones was born with clever hands. All the adventurers said that the Travelers' Charms she crafted could lead even the dead home again. Long after her death, many grieving family and friends, claimed to see weary spirits shuffling back to empty graves in their homelands after being lost abroad. You may Banish one undead or ghost this day, but you must offer up a small crafted trinket of some value when you do so.

Player could be allowed to collaborate with Plot/GMs on the backstory and power-set of new spirits but Plot/GMs would ultimate determine the geas/cost.




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