Magic tradition Example: Primalism

Practitioners of Primal Magic see all of Nature’s plants and creatures as one living thing. Magic flows through Her like blood through veins. Outsiders may think mongrel and Oruskan Shamans are granted their Primal Magic via a kinship with Nature. Such is not the case. They command individual plants and animals by directing Her blood flow where they need it. It’s not a gentle pull of threads in the Weave. It’s not harmonious. It’s not pleasant. It’s forcing Nature to do something against Her will.

This is not to say that every Primal practitioner is a sadistic brute. Some mongrel Shamans see the means of their magic as necessary toward a positive end. But the Primal Magic tradition was born in the Northlands, where Nature is cruel and unforgiving. Nature and her magic are to be respected. Only the strongest can take it and use it. No matter how it’s presented, Primal Magic retains its barbaric heritage.

One such barbaric act involves choosing a totem animal. Blood must be shared between the Shaman and his chosen totem in an ancient ritual. From that point on, all animals of that species are indentured to the Shaman and he can summon their traits to use as his own.

Primal Magic and Burn
Primal Shamans are taught to find Nature’s weak spots and exploit them. Sometimes they find those weaknesses and suffer no ill effects from casting. Sometimes they’re wrong and Nature strikes back. After the Apocalypse, the surviving Shamans have found out the hard way that Nature has changed. She became more cruel and powerful in the After. Her wrath does not stop at storms and earthquakes. It now extends into Her heart, where Primal practitioners draw their magic. In the After, Nature’s weaknesses are all but gone, and She fights against all who try to manipulate her.

Roleplaying Tips
Shamans are attuned to Nature because they are always on the lookout for weaknesses in what they see as the physical embodiment of Nature. They don’t do this out of hatred. They battle Nature knowing She is a more-than-worthy adversary, and give Her all due respect. It is a matter of survival of the fittest. Hunt or be hunted. Only the strong survive in the wild, and that’s exactly where Shamans live — whether they’re in the forests or a civilized town.

Shamans are often seen as barbaric by those not familiar with their customs. They take on the traits and behaviors of their totem so they may often appear to have more in common with their totem animal than with their humanoid companions. Their magic often manifests itself in harsh ways, which can scare off would-be companions.

Shamans who are in an environment that is not the favored habitat of their totem animal may find spell casting to be more difficult. The Shaman’s totem is like a younger sibling to the caster. He or she will protect it. This can prove to be a weakness, so some Primal practitioners try to keep their totem a secret. Others flaunt their connection with the wilds by dressing to resemble their totem.

In order to speed game play, anyone playing a Primal Magic user should calculate the effects of transforming into his or her totem, and using its various aspects, in advance.

What Primal Shamans Can Do
Primal Magic can be used to command and interact with living plants and animals. A Primal practitioner can also take on the characteristics of his totem animal, such as leaping like a deer, moving silently like a mouse or even growing great shark teeth to maul an opponent. A Primal caster can also influence the weather and plant life.

Primal Magic cannot command things outside of Nature, nor does it have specific control over weather or the elements of Nature. For example, it can cause clouds to drop rain over a general area, but could not concentrate the rainfall on one person or structure. It cannot affect the minds of people. It cannot reach beyond the grave. A Primalist is bound to a totem for life.

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Primal Magic Example
With curses shouted at Nature in a guttural growl, Charl took on the characteristics of his totem, a great white bear. His black hair turned white, his arm muscles grew twice their size, and claws and fangs replaced nails and teeth.

He led his warriors to victory over the kobolds who had surrounded Hillsborough. They fled in the face of organized opposition. Half of Hillsborough fled as well. .Some of them refused to return. So great was their fear of magic that they'd rather face life in the wilds of the After than live with a magic user.


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