Totems of Guile
|Symbols||The symbols of each Totem vary. Common examples of Totems of Guile are Foxes, Magpies and the Moon.|
In order to enter the prayer state, a follower of a Totem spirit may do one of the following:
While the moods of the spirits can have a strong impact on the lives of those within the corporeal world, the actions of humanity also have a strong impact upon the spiritual world. It is believed by most totemic priests that the relationship between humans and spirits is reciprocal. Humans provide offerings and sacrifices to the spirits, and in turn the spirits provide their blessings.
This relationship, this pact, is often represented by the Totems the faithful carry. These sacred objects represent a specific spirit or an aspect of the spirit world. The followers of these Totems imbue these sacred objects with respect and meaning. They give them offerings and tend to their care. In return, the spirits provide them with protection, other advantages, or at least temporarily spare the faithful from their wrath. Among the Outlanders, nearly every band carries at least one Totem with them. This Totem represents what they value as a group and who they are as a people. Beyond the Outlands, adherents to totemic spirituality may reverently carry an item of significance that represents the spirit they follow, even if they worship alone.
While the spirits themselves are wildly and deeply varied, they can be roughly categorized into three main types of Totems: Might, Life, and Guile.
Totems of Might tend to be warlike spirits, or entities that place an emphasis on strength, victory, and bravery. Among the Outlanders, Totems of Might must be earned through brute strength, conquest, or other direct confrontation. Stealth, trickery, and covert assassinations play no part in their acquisition. There is no attacking someone from behind. There are no clever ploys. There is only pure skill in combat and direct displays of superiority.
Totems of Life are spirits who are focused on protection, growth, and healing. They expect their followers to have overcome obstacles through perseverance and wisdom. Their followers stand back up, bandage their wounds, and continue forward. They serve as examples to others, guiding, nurturing, and teaching. It should never be forgotten, though, that Totems of Life prefer sacrifices of blood and toil, and death is another aspect of life.
Totems of Guile are tricksters, spirits of intellect, riddles, and mystery. Their followers honor them by doing what is least expected. Misdirection, nimble fingers, and quick wits are their hallmark methods of acquiring what they need. Among the Outlanders, those who follow these Totems are famous for their strategy, sabotage, theft, and subversive assassinations.
Among the Outlanders, acquiring a Totem is a sacred trial and collective rite of passage. They must prove to the spirit that they are worthy of carrying their symbol and being associated with them. However, even after the test is passed and the Totem won, in order to continue the ongoing relationship, followers must continue to provide the totem with sacrifices and act in accordance with the expectations of the Totem’s spirit. Totems of Might expects their followers to be upfront, direct and to behave with Honor. Totems of Life expect their followers to engage in acts of wisdom and to never give up. And Totems of Guile expect their followers to be cunning and to do whatever it takes to win.
The theft or destruction of a totem is a nearly unforgivable act, and the cause of many a feud or vendetta. Those who commit such an act had better hope they are not discovered- or that the totem they stole is powerful enough and willing to protect them. Cultists who enter play as Totemic cultist may come into game with a totem, although they must describe whether the totem is one of Might, Life, or Guile, and submit details about the totem to staff in order to receive a proper item tag. If a cultist or player would like to create a totem in game they may spend glory in order to request a module in which they seek a totem imbued with the proper spirit.
Totems of Guile accept offerings of stolen goods, old imperial silver, lead, and riddles. Other offerings include things like poisons, hallucinogens, sacrifices caught by traps and snares, and symbols of the number five.
Followers of a Totem of Guile make the following Vow: Never do for yourself what someone else can do for you. For the path of subversion and trickery often means being difficult to trace. Should a follower break their Vow, they gain the Traumatized condition for three event days or until they properly atone for their broken vow and make an appropriately impressive sacrifice, whichever comes first.
This Traumatized condition cannot be removed through normal means.
Should the follower accept their punishment and end the three event days without rectifying their broken vow, they are no longer considered a follower of the Totem, and will be unable gain a benefit from offerings until they have made amends through atonement and a precious offering.
Make an Offering
A Totem of Guile promises the following gifts to those who leave offerings at their dedicated shrine. Anyone may gain the benefit of the shrine so long as they have sworn the following oath to the Totem:
“(Totem Name), I swear myself to you. I will lay in wait, embracing change and living by my wits as you guide. Through cunning and stealth, I will subvert my enemies. I swear myself to you and beseech you to give me foresight to destroy the unworthy, to never stagnate, and to claim that which is rightfully ours.”
Swearing this Oath places the petitioner under the Vow of Totem of Guile.
The following must be written into the dedications book as if it was a prayer. The use of an Altar or Shrine spends the user’s daily prayer ability:
Common Offering – By presenting an offering of a disassembled trap, something stolen, or a thrown or light weapon, the petitioner may receive two items instead of one from their successful pickpocketing attempts, provided the target has more than one item that is stealable. This expires at dawn if unused.
Rare Offering: Brilliant Shadow – By offering a deadly poison, hallucinogens, or precious stolen object (spell scroll, lore prop, etc.), the petitioner may for one hour of their choosing during the event, treat their Intellect as +1 higher to a maximum of 3.
Precious Offering: Quicksilver Tongue – By offering a piece of lead, a riddle to which at least five people cannot guess the answer (must report up the riddle and the people who could not get it), or old imperial silver to the altar, the petitioner receives the ability to fool even the gods. Once during the event, the follower may treat one lie as absolute truth for the purposes of any interrogation or truth-detecting skills, abilities, or spells.
Requirements of an Altar
In addition to offerings at a Shrine, one may make a basic offering to a Totem of Guile at an Altar dedicated to them. The Altar must contain at least one stolen tagged item, a representation of the spirit, and a key to a lock you don’t own.
Dedicate Shrine to Totem of Guile
Build and dedicate a Shrine to a Totem of Guile
Deceit is the gentlest of mankind’s sins. Truly, I question that it even be a sin at all. It is a daily kindness; a necessity; a balm to suffering. It is through deception that bloodless wars are won, the imagination stirs, and the innocent are protected. I should fear to live in a world without gentle lies, for that world shall be a brutal, crude, and cruel one indeed.
~ Memoirs of Thibault le Bricoleur
Focus – The Totem representing the Spirit one has dedicated themselves to is placed on the Shrine. It should be camouflaged in some way or placed in an innocuous position, so that it is not immediately obvious at a glance which object is the Totem.
Focus – At least three tagged rare, wyrd or complex objects associated with the Totem are also placed on the Shrine in whatever manner is pleasing. These objects should have meaning and resonance with the faithful as representations of mystery, chaos, intellect, trickery, etc. Examples could include a particularly biting and witty limerick on paper, a flute used to create a diversion, a prize won through gambling, or a cryptic or inexplicable artifact.
Offering – A measure of honey is then poured into a vessel.
Offering – An equal measure of hard liquor is poured in with the honey and mixed. The follower paints their lips with the honey and liquor mixture and kisses the Totem before anointing it with the rest.
Act – The Totem Spirit is beseeched to accept its place in the faithful’s life and its place at the Shrine.
Creates a Shrine to a Totem of Guile that may be used to gain a mechanical benefit from offerings. Anyone can trigger the shrine, as long as they swear the Oath and use their daily prayer ability.
The rite must be reperformed if the Totem is removed from the Shrine for longer than 24 hours.
Wash Your Luck
Protect yourself from consequences
Focus – The Shrine of Guile is approached by the target, followed by the Cultist. If the Cultist is the target, they may approach alone.
Offering – The target places 3 Different Herbs with the Purgative property on the shrine in a vessel like a bowl, mortar, or brazier.
Act – The target grinds the herbs with a pestle and sets them on fire, holding their hands over the flame while the Cultist speaks the Liturgy.
Liturgy – “Clever one! Wise spirit. Dancer in the forever masquerade, we beseech you with this offering. Guide us in our ambitions and keep us from misfortune. Shield us from the eyes of the vigilant, and protect us from consequences. Wash our luck, and let us walk free of ramification. Forever may the subtle reign.”
Act – The cultist blows out the flaming herbs and lets them cool, marking the brow of the target with the ash.
The target loses the Damned state. If they do not have the Damned state, until the next liminal space they may make a Divine Wrath roll twice and take the less severe result, so long as it is caused by desecrating a Shrine that is not dedicated to a Totem of Guile.
The Damned state does not affect this rite with Vulgarity.