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by Carl Quaif

These are primitive, crude magical items, made from pieces of other beings and intended to confer some power over the creature concerned, or impart a portion of their power to the user. Because they are usually quite poorly preserved, if at all, fetishes tend to have either a limited number of uses or a finite period of usefulness. Fetishes are most often made and employed by humanoid Shamans and Wokani who, because of their limited clerical or magical prowess and crude working conditions, are unable to create more powerful and permanent items.

Most fetishes are created using long, difficult and somewhat nauseating ceremonies. The following spell forms an integral part of many of these:-

Preserve Essence
Level: 3 (Shaman) or 2 (Wokan)
Range: 5'
Duration: variable
Effect: enchants a fetish
This is the catch-all spell which allows the highest-level Shamans and Wokani to create objects of power. Shamans invoke the aid of their Patron Immortal to imbue the item with an infinitesimal portion of their Immortal essence; Wokani drain a little of their own life-energies into the item to achieve the same effect. Each version has its advantages and disadvantages: The Shaman must rely on the good offices of the Immortal, who may or may not comply with their request, but rarely lose something of themselves in the process, whilst Wokani are more certain of success, but sacrifice XP to achieve their goals.

The duration of the spell varies, depending on the power of the item. It can take anywhere between a few hours and a few days to cast, and almost always involves much chanting, dancing, and use of ritual objects and powders. When creating a fetish, both Shamans and Wokani must make a Save vs. spells to succeed. The following modifiers may apply to the roll:-


-1 per level of the effect (if a non-spell effect, the DM decides what level the modifier should be).
-1 per item already enchanted in the last month (the Immortals don't like being bothered too often).
+1 per level of Shaman over 6th.
+1 - +3 for each propitiatory sacrifice made in the last month.

NB: if the Shaman fails his roll by 6 or more, the Immortal is displeased; apart from a failed enchantment attempt, the Shaman suffers a Curse of some kind, and a -2 penalty to his next enchantment roll. If the failure is by 10 or more, the Immortal is gravely displeased; the result could be loss of experience, denial of spells for a set time, or even death (DM's decision). Conversely, if the roll succeeds by 6 or more, the Immortal is pleased, and may grant the fetish additional powers (again, DM's decision).


+1 per additional 100 XP sacrificed during the ritual (at least 100 XP per level of effect must be sacrificed as a matter of course - this "basic" sacrifice provides no bonus to success).

NB: if the Wokan fails his roll, the XP is lost anyway. if the failure is by 6 or more, roll 1d6; this is the amount of additional XP (in multiples of 100) that are lost by the Wokan. A roll that succeeds by 6 or more may cause the fetish to gain additional powers at no extra cost (DM's decision).

Assuming the roll is successful, the spellcaster now has a working fetish. The powers of the item, the frequency of use, and the duration of the enchantment, are up to the DM.

NB: the name "Preserve Essence" was coined for this enchantment by the Sage Uriman of Darokin, who made a lifelong study of primitive and humanoid magics; the humanoids themselves have as many names for it as there are different races or tribes, most of which do not translate into the Common tongue.

Some example fetishes are outlined below:-

Ear of Hearing:

This item is the ear of a still-living creature which is cut from its head. Part of the enchantment process involves boiling the ear in vinegar for several hours, giving it the consistency of leather. Holes are then punched in the ear to allow it to be worn on a thong around the caster's neck.

When grasped and placed to the caster's own ears, an Ear of Hearing allows the caster (only) to hear anything the Ear's former owner can at that moment, so long as the former owner is still within 50 miles of the caster. Using an Ear of Hearing takes great concentration; the caster cannot take any other actions while doing this. The Ear may be used in this fashion once per day, for up to three Turns. No further powers are conferred by the enchantment (but see the spell Whispering Madness, below).

An Ear of Hearing is one of the more durable fetishes, and can last for up to 10 years before rotting into uselessness, if not damaged. A caster may own as many Ears of Hearing as he can enchant, although only one can be used at any one time.

Whispering Madness
Level: 2
Range: touch
Duration: 3 Turns
Effect: permits 1-way communication
This spell, when cast by a Shaman or Wokan on an Ear of Hearing, enables the caster to speak into the Ear and be heard by its former owner, so long as that being is within 50 miles of the Ear. The voice (as heard by the target) is distorted and inhuman; those who hear such a voice may believe they are going mad, hence the name of the spell. Often cast at night, the spell disrupts the target's normal sleep patterns, leaving them susceptible to the commands of the speaker (save vs. spells, with -1 on the roll for every week of disturbed sleep).

The caster of this spell cannot use an Ear of Hearing for both speaking and listening purposes on any one day.

Teeth of Mastery:

These are canine or other teeth, taken from a normal or giant animal, worn about the neck on a cord. The donor may be living or dead. The average necklace has anywhere from three to nine teeth, which must all be from the same species of animal.

Once enchanted, they may be used to attempt to control individuals of that species as a Ring of Animal Control. The creature must be captured, and the Teeth anointed with its blood (only a small sample is required for this). The controller must match his Will (Intelligence + Wisdom) score against that of the creature to command it; if successful, the creature serves as if Charmed. The controller may make one such attempt (including the anointing) per day until successful. The controlled creature is permitted a saving throw vs. Spells once per week to throw off the enchantment; if it succeeds, it will either seek out and destroy its former master, or run away at top speed (DM's choice). Each necklace can control one individual at a time, and must be worn at all times to maintain control. A controller may wear and use up to four necklaces at any one time.

The number of Teeth on a particular necklace may give a bonus to the command attempt. Three teeth is normal, five is +1, seven +2, and nine +3. However, a spellcaster who attempts to enchant more Teeth than the basic three lessens his chances of success by the same levels.

Once a controlled beast is either killed or breaks free, the Teeth of Mastery may be used to ensnare another individual. The Teeth may be used in this fashion 1d6 times (rolled when they are first enchanted) before losing their enchantment and crumbling into dust. Anyone can use the Teeth of Mastery, whether they enchanted them or not.

Cloak of the Bear:

This is a coarse, uncured pelt taken from a grizzly, brown, or black bear (depending on the region). The head of the bear is still attached, and is worn on the user's head, with the pelt cascading down the back. The Cloak is enchanted to grant the wearer some of the bear's natural abilities. So long as the Cloak is worn, the wearer gains -1 to AC and +1 to strength.

To create this item, The newly-dead bear must be skinned as part of the enchantment ceremony, then the bones and offal burned, and finally the ashes (mixed with powdered herbs) sprinkled over the pelt. The whole ceremony takes roughly 24 hours.

Other items may be manufactured in a similar way; for instance, a Bonnet of the Eagle would provide enhanced vision, while a Cheetah Cape would grant doubled running speed over short distances. Beasts from other climes might give even greater powers. To use the original example, a Cloak of the Polar Bear could function as a Protection from Cold spell in addition to its other powers.

Such items hold enchantment poorly; a typical Cloak of the Bear will remain enchanted for 1d6 + 2 months before rotting so much as to be unusable. Long before this, of course, the stench from the decaying pelt will make wearing it unpleasant in the extreme for anyone with a sense of smell....


These are totem sticks, made from pieces of wood or bone and wrapped with the skin or hide of a particular creature, intelligent or not. Pieces of bone, stone fragments, or bits of shell are tied to the Gri-Gri in order to make rattling noises when shaken.

Gri-Gris, like the Teeth of Command, grant the Shaman or Wokan some control over the species of whatever creature is used to make it. In this case, it grants a bonus to success (or penalty to saving throws for the targets) for spells cast on that species. Examples of effects include penalties to saving throws for half damage, enhanced chances to hit, or reduced chances to shrug off the spell in question. adjustments to rolls should range from +/-1 to +/-3, depending on the creator's wishes when making it (each point should alter the creator's save vs. spells by -1). The Gri-Gri cannot be used in conjunction with any other magical item (such as the aforementioned Teeth of Command).

A typical Gri-Gri will last for a year, if not damaged, before losing its power. A Shaman or Wokan may have any number of Gri-Gris, but only one may be used at any time.