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    Voices of the Dead III: The Wolf Nomads
    Posted on Thu, May 29, 2003 by Tizoc
    kirt writes "A treatise on the ancestor worship traditions of the Wolf Nomads, which includes two exclusive new spells for Clerics in 2nd Edition AD&D and 3rd Edition D&D: Infuse with Spirit Essence and Summon Heroic Dead.

    Voices of the Dead III: The Wolf Nomads
    By: Kirt (
    (Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.)

    The Living Greyhawk Gazetteer lists three peoples as practicing ancestor worship: the Wolf Nomads, the Tiger Nomads, and the barbaric people of Ull. In addition, this series of articles suggests that ancestor worship is common among the Rovers of the Barrens and (for unique historical reasons) the Flan of rural Perrenland. In this series, I present new spells for ancestor-worshipping clerics and describe the ancestor-worshipping practices of five lands in the World of Greyhawk.

    The spells presented highlight the cultures of their origin, but variations on these spells should be available to clerics in most ancestor-worshipping societies. Since spirits (not divinities) provide the spells, they are limited to the 4th level. I know very little about 3E, so any helpful comments would be appreciated.

    Part III: The Wolf Nomads

    The Wegwiur, or Wolf Nomads, focus their ancestor worship on specific, important ancestors. While all clan members are honored, great heroes receive most of the veneration. A Wolf Nomad relates with great pride to his or her descent from various heroes - particularly those who were important enough to have received burial in the Howling Hills. Shamans regularly call upon such ancestors for advice and guidance. Occasionally they ask for more direct intervention, via Summon Heroic Dead.

    Like most barbarians, the Wolf Nomads are a suspicious people and greatly distrust magic. Yet in the past decades they have been increasingly set upon by demons, undead, and magical constructs in the service of Iuz. Since only magic weapons can harm many of these creatures, their ancestors have steadfastly supplied the Wegwiur with effective weaponry against such abominations through Infuse with Spirit Essence.

    3rd Edition Versions:
    Infuse with Spirit Essence (Conjuration/Summoning)
    Level 2 Cleric Spell
    Components: Verbal, Somatic, Foci (Holy Symbol and Item)
    Casting Time: 2 rounds
    Range: Touch
    Effect: Infuses one item with spirit essence
    Duration: 6 turns per level
    Saving Throw: None
    Spell Resistance: None

    To cast this spell, the cleric must have in his or her possession an item that closely resembles a spirit item currently in the possession of a known family spirit. The spell can then be used to make a magical connection between the two items, drawing off some of the essence of the spirit item and placing it in the cleric's item. For the connection to occur, the items must be greatly similar and not unique. For example, a normal sword decorated in a manner common to the family would be allowable. An exotic weapon from a distant land, a unique work of art, or a magic item would not.

    Any item that has been successfully infused is treated as being simultaneously in multiple planes of existence. Dispel Magic or Dispel Evil specifically cast on the item will sever the connection and cancel the spell but will not harm the item itself or its spiritual counterpart. An item that has been infused is stronger and more difficult to destroy than normal ? it is allowed a bonus of 3 on any saves against harm. Normal weapons that have been infused may be used (for the duration of the spell) to strike creatures harmed only by silver or magic.

    If any item is broken or damaged while infused, the spirit item is equally harmed. In this case, the family spirit who owns the spirit item will expect the cleric to replace it as soon as possible (typically by means of a sacrifice).

    Summon Heroic Dead (Conjuration/Summoning)
    Level 4 Cleric Spell
    Components: Verbal, Divine Focus, Material (sacred earth)
    Casting Time: 2 rounds
    Range: 5'
    Effect: Summons One Heroic Dead
    Duration: 1 turn per level
    Saving Throw: NA
    Spell Resistance: None

    This spell summons into the service of the cleric a single, specific family spirit who was a great warrior. The maximum HD of the spirit is 2/3 the level of the cleric (round down). The HD correspond to the warrior's level in life, so the DM may decide that there are no appropriate family spirits available and insist that the cleric choose one of lesser HD. Ideally, the DM of a player whose cleric has access to this spell should have a list of available spirit NPC's, appropriately detailed. The Heroic Dead can make one attack per melee round per five levels of the summoning cleric (round up, e.g., two attacks per round at 6th level). Missile attacks are at double this rate. Melee damage is 2d6+3, plus 1 point per 3 cleric levels (round down). Missile damage is d6, plus 1 point per 3 cleric levels (round down). For more stats, see the list of monsters at the end of this article series.

    Heroic Dead are highly Intelligent and creative, and are able to draw upon their experience as skilled warriors. Thus, they can interpret the commands of the cleric who summoned them and follow the cleric's intent rather than merely the actual wording of the cleric's instructions. Some Heroic Dead (DM's discretion) had adventuring or tactical military experience when alive and may use this, as well. For example, the spirits of great generals are often summoned just for their advice, independent of their combat ability. Heroic Dead do not need to eat, sleep, or rest. They have excellent senses (treat as above human average), can understand and speak all the languages that they did in life, move silently, can fly, and can travel any distance away from the cleric who summoned them (provided they remain on the same plane). Thus, they are often used for espionage or for scouting dangerous areas. They have a "homing sense" that allows them to return to the cleric who summoned them. Besides their normal melee attack, the Dead can use a missile weapon if they did in life. The supply of missiles for this device is unlimited; fired missiles disappear when the spell expires (although damage done by them remains). The cleric does not need to maintain concentration on the Dead. They will not attack or otherwise harm a member of the family of the cleric who summoned them, regardless of the cleric's commands. They disappear when "?killed," dispelled, or at the end of the spell's duration. If they are destroyed before the expiration of their summoning, the summoning cleric will know that this has happened and will have a vague idea of what caused it.

    The material component of this spell is a handful of the earth originally used to inter the body of the Dead. This is consumed in the casting of the spell, so there is always a call for more. The Wolf Nomads often mount expeditions into the Howling Hills for the sole purpose to gather soil from the graves of specific, renowned heroes. Among cultures that cremate their dead, a handful of ashes from the original funeral pyre serves as the material component.

    2nd edition spell versions:
    Infuse with Spirit Essence (Conjuration/Summoning)
    Sphere: Summoning, Ancestor
    Range: Touch
    Components: V, S, M (Symbol)
    Duration: 6 turns per level
    Casting Time: 2 rounds
    Area of Effect: 1 item
    Saving Throw: None

    Summon Heroic Dead (Conjuration/Summoning)
    Sphere: Summoning, Ancestor
    Range: Special
    Components: V, S, M (Grave Earth, Symbol)
    Duration: 1 turn per level
    Casting Time: 2 rounds
    Area of Effect: Special
    Saving Throw: None

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    Re: Voices of the Dead III: The Wolf Nomads (Score: 1)
    by Argon on Mon, July 14, 2003
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Probably the best article I've read recently. You go a little bit into the Wolf nomads not to much detail but enough to build upon. The worst part is the name of the spells and even then it's barely worth mentioning. My only real complaint is I wish you went into a little more detail with the Weiguir.
    Nonetheless I think your article accomplishes what it set out to do,so I give you a 4 out of 5.

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