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Old 05-28-2013, 12:11 PM   #1
Reaver
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Default Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

Hi. Do you guys believe the shaman with spirits (or spiriworld), totems etc in a modern world could fit? I am a great Fan of animistic, but I do not know how well animistic harmony with modern world.
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:19 PM   #2
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Default Re: Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

Sure! In fact I included an "urban shaman" template in GURPS Fantastic Cities. There are even traditional spiritistic beliefs adapted to big cities: for one, the Roman idea of lares, spirits who in the country watched over the boundaries of land areas (for example, of farms) but in the city protected houses, lots, or neighborhoods.

I think there are several types of spirits you might look at:

Rural spirits that have more or less adapted to survive in cities
Rural spirits that have taken off in a big way in cities
Spirits of new, distinctively urban things, such as technology, specialized land areas, or even the city itself (Dea Roma and all)

I'd also suggest taking traditional symbolic gestures, such as giving someone "the key to the city," as actual evocations of magical and spiritual forces.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 05-28-2013, 12:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

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Spirits of new, distinctively urban things, such as technology, specialized land areas, or even the city itself (Dea Roma and all)
Among the most influential sources on my own vision of such things isn't classical at all, but modern: Our Lady of Darkness. Its take on urban spirits is a nice counterpoint to the rather hippified "urban shamanism" outlook adopted by many RPGs with an urban fantasy subject matter.
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

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Originally Posted by Reaver View Post
Hi. Do you guys believe the shaman with spirits (or spiriworld), totems etc in a modern world could fit? I am a great Fan of animistic, but I do not know how well animistic harmony with modern world.
Almost any story by Charles de Lint has this sort of thing. I'm even using shamans in my space opera game.
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Old 05-28-2013, 01:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Among the most influential sources on my own vision of such things isn't classical at all, but modern: Our Lady of Darkness. Its take on urban spirits is a nice counterpoint to the rather hippified "urban shamanism" outlook adopted by many RPGs with an urban fantasy subject matter.
That's quite a good book; I have a copy of it. Leiber at his creepy best (one of his several different bests).

Bill Stoddard
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Old 05-28-2013, 02:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

In my idea list I have

Quote:
"There have been household gods and household saints and household fairies. I am not sure that there have yet been any factory gods or factory saints or factory fairies. I may be wrong, as I am no commericial expert, but I have not heard of them as yet." - G. K. Chesterton ILN Dec 18, 1926
Haven't done anything with it but the idea of there being factory/industrial spirits struck me as something that would make an interesting campaign.
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Old 05-28-2013, 04:19 PM   #7
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Default Re: Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

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Haven't done anything with it but the idea of there being factory/industrial spirits struck me as something that would make an interesting campaign.
That is an interesting idea. I find myself with ideas ... I'd expect that in such a world there were always spirits of workplaces, and people thought they had a direct relationship with craftsmen. But when factories started to be built, rather than there being lots of small weak spirits, one at each workstation, there turned out to be one big one for a whole factory. This would probably change the history of industrial development significantly, could have strange effects on labour relations, and when businesses grew to have multiple factories, managing the relationship between the spirits of different factories could be important.
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Old 05-28-2013, 05:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

I played in a Mage:the Acsension game where we had (or at least referred to) The Spirit of the Cappuccino. In case that helps any...
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Old 05-28-2013, 11:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

Urban Shaman make great sense.
Not just in the various kinds of spirits that can be around but the idea of a Shaman protecting a city or neighborhood and mediating between the Spirits and the inhabitants. I submitted an article for Pyramid I hope ot see published with a template and some basic stuff. Eventually hoping to push more but we shall have to see if the first passes.
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Old 05-29-2013, 02:43 AM   #10
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Default Re: Urban Fantasy with Spirits, Totems and Shamans?

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Hi. Do you guys believe the shaman with spirits (or spiriworld), totems etc in a modern world could fit? I am a great Fan of animistic, but I do not know how well animistic harmony with modern world.
You might also checkout GURPS Locations: Metro of Madness which include Rail Shamanism and Spirits of the Subway
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