Tuesday, 17 December 2019


Part 1: Spirits in a Semi-Material World
A series of posts about primeval spirits

Real world animism: Dogon, an indigenous people of Mali,
Everything has a spirit, everything is alive: and not merely in the way that you are used to thinking of things being alive. The stars move and respire, grow and reproduce: do they have life? Probably.

I've been mentioning spirits a lot in my recent posts about City of Ghosts, and their potential involvement in ritual magic. This is an animist setting, and I am attempting to bake the animism into the mechanics:L as such, I'm a little at a loss as to where I should even begin, so I decided to make this post a platform into various topics, to be updated as the concepts are expanded.

A digital painting by Chasing Art

What is a Spirit?
Simply put, a spirit is a non corporeal consciousness. All living things (and some things we might not define as living, see above) possess a spirit. The degree to which it interacts with physical reality varies from type to type.

The non-corporeal nature of spirits arises from their not being fully of this world: the occupy worlds adjacent to ours, that sit within it and form part of it, but are also quintessentially other.

In vanilla D&D terms, spirit could cover everything from fey to elemental to undead, but in the context of City of Ghosts, I prefer to think of them in the terms below.

Types of Spirit

  • Spirits of Earth: animal spirits, plant spirits, totem spirits, spirits of rivers etc. Associated with HERE
  • Spirits of the Dead: ancestral spirits, phantoms, animated corpses (fading anima riding dead meat and bone), and more malevolent entities. Associated with THERE.
  • Spirits of the Sun & Sky: Energy, fire and lightning elementals, associated with the SOUTH.
  • Spirits of the Dawn, nature's chaotic shadow. Associated with EAST.
  • Spirits of the Dusk, nature's hyper-lawful final form, mysterious insectoid entities of the WEST.
  • Spirits of the Moon: unconscious dreamers, water and time. NORTH.
  • Spirits of the Stars: terrifying entities from beyond space and time.

Finally, there are SPELLS: purposefully crafted slivers of elementary consciousness, invoked in order to fulfil a singular purpose or goal. They are initially summoned by RITUALS

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