Voices of the Dead: Part II (The Tiger Nomads)
Date: Wed, May 14, 2003
Topic: Spells of Oerth

A treatise on the ancestor worship traditions of the Tiger Nomads. Including two exclusive new spells for Clerics in 2nd Edition AD&D and 3rd Edition D&D; Detect Unrest and Spirit Ward.

Voices of the Dead: Part II (The Tiger Nomads)
By Kirt
Used with permission, do not repost or redistribute without the express consent of 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 will suggest that ancestor worship is common among the Rovers of the Barrens and, for unique historical reasons, the Flan of rural Perrenland. I will present new spells for ancestor worshipping clerics and describes the ancestor-worshipping practices of five lands in the World of Greyhawk.

The spells presented were chosen to 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.

The Tiger Nomads
The Chakyik, or Tiger Nomads, honor both their dead ancestors and some traditional Baklunish gods. Ancestor worship is focused more on the integrity and continuity of the clan or extended family than on veneration of specific ancestors. Family spirits are believed to partake collectively in the guidance and protection of their living relatives.

The Baklunish lands saw millions die horribly in the Invoked Devastation, and tens of thousands more in the desperate migrations that followed. Very few of the dead received funeral rites, with the result that restless spirits were once very common in Baklunish lands, and often manifested as undead. In the civilized west, these undead have long since been put to rest, mainly due to the ceaseless efforts of the clergy of Al-Akbar. The unsettled and desolate lands of the Tiger Nomads, however, are still haunted by thousands of such things. With Detect Unrest, the Nomads ask their ancestors to warn them of such malign presences before they make camp in a new location.

The ancestors are also asked to protect the living from extra-planar beings. During successful raiding seasons the Nomads incur the wrath of their civilized neighbors. Baklunish mages often summon invisible stalkers, djinn, elementals, and other such creatures to retaliate against the Nomads. Those Nomads who command the services of powerful clerics can ask to have Spirit Wards placed upon their dwellings to keep such creatures out.

Third Edition Spell Version
Detect Unrest (Divination)
Level 2 Cleric Spell
Components: Somatic, Divine Focus (Holy Symbol)
Casting Time: 1 round
Range: 10 yard /level radius circle
Effect: Allows cleric to Detect the presence and nature of emotional residues
Duration: 1 turn per level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: None

This spell is similar to the psionic ability of Sensitivity to Psychic Impressions and the spell Rary?s Replay of the Past (GA). Upon casting it, a cleric can determine whether the area within the range of the spell is resonating with an emotional disturbance. If there are undead or lost souls bound to the area, for example, the priest will certainly feel their presence whether they are currently manifested or not (no save required). Other types of strong emotional situations (murders, betrayals, passionate encounters) create disturbances, but these gradually fade with time. A bitter argument might leave an angry residue for a few hours, until ?the air has cleared?, while the terror of a horrific murder could remain for years. The success of the spell is automatic if the DM has determined that such a disturbance is present. The cleric is then allowed to make a Will save at a DC 10 to gain knowledge of the kind of disturbance ? an overall feeling of pain, love, etc. ? as well as the general kind of person at whom the emotion is directed (a rival, a father, etc.). If more than one such disturbance overlies an area, the strongest one is saved for first, then the next strongest, etc., with each successive impression adding 2 to the DC. As long as each save is successful the cleric may continue to read impressions. Any failure indicates nothing more may be sensed, but the spell may be cast again. Each impression requires d6 minutes of reflection to receive. If a cleric has exhausted the impressions in a given location but the spell has duration remaining, the cleric may walk slowly to bring new areas into the area of effect of the spell.

Spirit Ward (Abjuration)
Level 3 Cleric Spell
Components: Verbal, Somatic, Divine Focus (Holy Symbol), Material (incense, hair)
Casting Time: Varies (see below)
Range: 0?
Effect: 1 place (maximum 1000 square feet per level) is protected
Duration: 1 day per level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: None

This powerful protective spell is cast on a physically limited space such as a building, plaza, garden, copse, etc. It infuses the entire area with spirit essence. This is only possible if a similar space exists in the spirit world, inhabited by the spirits of the dead. Thus, at least one of the family dead must have had a strong connection with the area while living. For example, a house (or tent) that has been in the family for generations is certainly present in the Land of the Dead and could be the subject of the spell. A house to which the cleric?s (now deceased) parents moved after their marriage might or might not be present, depending on how emotionally important the house was to them.

The material components of the spell are a stick or block of incense that has been partially burned in a memorial service for one of the family?s dead (one who had a strong association with the area), and a lock of hair from the current, living family leader. The cleric burns these and prays while (s)he slowly walks counterclockwise around the perimeter of the area to be protected: the duration of this walk sets the casting time of the spell.

Once the spell has been cast, the area is infused with spirit essence. To a small extent, it exists in both planes simultaneously, much like a magic item. The area will detect as magical, and as aligned as the plane on which the family dead are located. Dispel Magic or Dispel Evil can be used to break the spirit connection and cancel the spell, but only if the entire area protected by the Spirit Ward fits within the area of effect of the Dispel. While infused, the area is protected from extraplanar or spiritual visitors as follows: The area itself, every round, turns (or destroys) any undead present as a priest of level equal to the one who cast the spell (even if that particular priest does not have turning ability). Ethereal, astral, out-of-phase, probability-traveling, or otherwise dimensionally-traveling beings may not enter the area at all, although they may stop at the boundary, fully materialize in the Prime, and physically move into the area. Creatures attempting to use teleport, dimension door, blink, or similar instantaneous transport to arrive within the area must make a Will save (DC 20) to successfully enter; failure indicates they arrive just outside the protected area, with double the normal chance of arriving too high or low. Creatures susceptible to Dispel Magic or Dispel Evil will automatically have these spells cast at them each round they are in the area, at the level of the Warding cleric (if high enough, otherwise at the minimum level).

None of these abjurative effects influence spirits of the caster?s family, who may enter the area without hindrance. Family spirits summoned by means of spells (e.g., Summon Spirit Guide, Summon Spirit Warriors, Summon Heroic Dead, Speak with Dead, Speak with Honored Dead) have their spell durations doubled so long as they remain within the area of effect of the Ward. They are also immune to the effects of cockcrows and temple bells while within the area. If a non-family priest attempts to turn or destroy them within the area of effect, they first receive a Will save (DC15) as the priest who cast the spell, with success indicating that the turning or destruction attempt fails.

Second Edition Spell Versions
Sphere: Divination, Ancestor
Range: 10 yards/level
Components: S
Duration: 1 turn per level
Casting Time: 1 round
Area of Effect: Self
Saving Throw: None

The priest is allowed a Save vs. Spells at +4 for the first impression. Each subsequent impression is at a cumulative -2 on the Save.

Sphere: Ward, Ancestor
Range: 0?
Components: V, S, M (Incense, Hair, Symbol)
Duration: 1 day per level
Casting Time: Varies
Area of Effect: 1 place (maximum 1000 square feet per level)
Saving Throw: None

Beings attempting instant transport inside the protected area must make a save vs. Spells with a -4 penalty. This Save is made at level of the caster who provided the transportation magic, whether present or not.

If an attempt is made to turn family undead within the range of the spell, the undead are turned as if the cleric was 4 levels lower.

This article comes from Canonfire!

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