Totems of Life
|Symbols||The symbols of each Totem vary. Common examples of symbols for Totems of Might are Owls, Wolfs or Rivers.|
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 Life accept offerings of herbs with the anesthetic quality, alcohol, and bones. Other offerings include meals, insects, and lessons learned.
Followers of Totems of Life take a vow to: Never stop someone from making a mistake. For what is a life lesson other than learning from our mistakes? Should this Vow be broken, the follower will begin to spontaneously Bleed from their hands or other obvious location for three event days or until they properly atone for their broken vow and make an appropriately impressive sacrifice, whichever comes first.
This Bleed condition can be remedied through the use of bandages, but only for an hour before the bandages are soaked through.
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 Life promises the following gifts to those who leave offerings at their dedicated shrine. Anyone can trigger the altar so long as they have sworn the following oath to the Totem along with their offering:
“(Totem Name), I swear myself to you. I will spread your wisdom wherever I go. I will march forth to face trials and bleed in your name. I swear myself to you, and my undaunted will shall honor you as you teach me to push past pain, and to persevere from this day to the next.”
Swearing this Oath places the petitioner under the Vow of Totem of Life.
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 meal, anesthetic herbs, or a drink with the intoxicant quality the petitioner may gain the ability to stop the bleed effect on another person up to three times during the event without a bandage by holding their hands on the wound for the period of a rest.
Rare Offering: Carapace – By offering bones, insects, or evidence of a hard lesson learned, the petitioner may have one Divine Armor call to use once during the event on any location.
Precious Offering: Life Finds a Way – By offering a butterfly, an egg, or all the lifesblood of a human, the faithful may, one time before the next sunrise, become temporarily unable to fall from their wounds. The faithful lets out a bellowing yell, and as long as they can maintain that yell, they will not fall from whatever wounds they receive. When their breath runs out, and the roar ends, all of their wounds received during their yell hit them at once, and they may call no defenses, and if they have received at least three wounds then they are dead and may not call their last rites.
Requirements of an Altar
In addition to offerings at a Shrine, one may make a common offering to a Totem of Life at an Altar dedicated to them. The Altar must contain a representation of the spirit, at least one animal skull and two insects or two eggs.
Dedicate Shrine to Totem of Life
Build and dedicate a Shrine to a Totem of Life.
A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence
~Excerpt from the Teachings of the River De Sangre
Focus – The Totem representing the Spirit one has dedicated themselves to is placed on the Shrine. It should be elevated in some way so that it is not flanked by any other objects, and instead rises above them.
Focus – At least three tagged rare, wyrd or complex objects associated with the Totem are placed below the Totem. These objects should have meaning and resonance with the faithful as representations of protection, healing, overcoming obstacles, birth and death, etc. Examples could include a piece of the shield that shattered defending its owner, a possession passed down from a deceased parent, or special candles that offered guidance through the dark.
Offering – A unit of milk is poured into a vessel.
Act – The faithful’s palm or arm is cut open, taking a wound, and their blood is dripped upon the ground in front of the shrine. They then mix their still-flowing blood with the crushed chalk and anoint the totem with the mixture.
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 Life 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.