[1e] Spirit folk ancestry

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Illuminatus
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[1e] Spirit folk ancestry

Post by Illuminatus » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:35 pm

So I’m thinking about running a 2e game using 1e OA as a basis. Naturally it needs heavy house-ruling, not just for the conversion but also to fix all the massive holes and imbalances in the not-ready-for-prime-time 1e ruleset. So I’m going through, making some notes on what needs to change. For the most part things are pretty common sense…(samurais shouldn’t be larval Gods…check)…but there’s one thing I just can’t figure out. So maybe somebody will have some thoughts on this…

Spirit folk. Part human, part spirit. Description says they need a family chart just like humans. OK.

Except…they AREN’T just like humans. How in the world does a spirit/human pairing fit into the family chart!? What are the mechanics of the whole situation? Do spirit dudes marry human chicks and just hang out around the house watching football, or vice versa? Or are we talking about an extra-/pre-marital affair here? What would THAT do to family honor? Gods forbid bringing non-consensual couplings into the ruleset, routine though it may be in folklore and mythology.

If you treat the spirit side of the family just like humans, you demystify spirits: “Don’t mind uncle scooter, he just likes to float around in semi-corporeal form like that.” Treat them as a mystery? Then you’re kind of stuck with extra-/pre-marital flings or non-consensual sex and have to jam THAT into your family chart and honor system. Mundane or scandalous are the only two options I see, and I don’t like either.

Has anyone else ever dealt with this, or is there anything in later editions regarding the genesis of spirit folk? Maybe somebody knows something about the actual folklore this race was based on?

(In the Events charts there is a miraculous birth event. The description talks about children leaping from a piece of cut bamboo or appearing from the waters of a spring. I kind of like this, and I wouldn’t mind just saying that all spirit folk started this way and were adopted by a human family. But then that begs the question…aren’t they just spirits? How are they part human?)

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Re: [1e] Spirit folk ancestry

Post by Sock Puppet » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:27 pm

There is a Japanese myth of issun boshi, the inch high samurai. He is a foundling child of clearly magical origin. I'd use that as the default background for any spirit folk pc. The character s spirit parents may or may not take part in raising the character.
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Re: [1e] Spirit folk ancestry

Post by Boneguard » Thu Sep 13, 2018 11:15 pm

Actually a Dragon Magazine article on Half-dragon might be of help to you. Esssentially, the children of Oriental Dragon (with natural Polymorph Ability) were Spirit Folk, so this could be one option.

Kumiyo, Kitsune and other shapeshifting Spirit could also be the "Spirit side" of the Spirit Folk.
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Re: [1e] Spirit folk ancestry

Post by Big Mac » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:21 pm

Illuminatus wrote:
Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:35 pm
So I’m thinking about running a 2e game using 1e OA as a basis. Naturally it needs heavy house-ruling, not just for the conversion but also to fix all the massive holes and imbalances in the not-ready-for-prime-time 1e ruleset. So I’m going through, making some notes on what needs to change. For the most part things are pretty common sense…(samurais shouldn’t be larval Gods…check)…but there’s one thing I just can’t figure out. So maybe somebody will have some thoughts on this…
The Kara-Tur product line took over over from Oriental Adventures. Spirit Folk might already have been converted to 2e by the Kara-Tur team.

Echohawk's Complete D&D Monster Index should be able to help you find the names of any 2e products that can help you.

You might still want to do some tweaks, to get things to fit in with your own playstyle, but if there are existing 2e versions of the monsters you want, that should get some, most or maybe even all of the prep work done for you.

As for the flavour, there might be 3e, 4e or 5e versions of Spirit Folk where designers added things like "Ecology" sections. If there are other versions, you might be able to raid ideas from them.

Good luck!
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Re: [1e] Spirit folk ancestry

Post by Cthulhudrew » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:38 pm

It isn't really all that clear, to be sure. They are supposed to be the result of couplings between humans and spirits of nature (other spirit folk, actual elementals, who knows). Whether they can breed true like half-elves, for instance, is not clear.

The implication seems to be that they should be considered a part of standard human families, but an alternative might be to do something like the following: tie their family to their geographic location. Clans could then be tied to some aspect of their element - a species of bamboo, a particular bend of the river or maybe an adjective (flowing), etc. IEx. "I am Daumar of the Chungii clan of Maviddi.")

If you own or have access to the Kara-Tur boxed set for Forgotten Realms, there are a couple of named clans of Spirit Folk in that (such as the Katsuhara clan of Kozakura).
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Re: [1e] Spirit folk ancestry

Post by Illuminatus » Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:39 pm

Thanks for all the great suggestions!

I have looked over some 2e and 3e material, which didn’t help much. (And the spirit folk clan from the boxed set…yikes! Way to take the problem and multiply it by 1,000, TSR! The ol' homestead looking like a scene from Spirited Away. I'm just going to pretend that I never saw the words "spirit folk clan" in print. La la la la la la...)

I think I'm going to go with the “miraculous birth” scenario, at least for PCs. Their foster family is completely human, their magic/spirit origins are a complete mystery to them (and perhaps fodder for later adventures and role playing as the PC actually encounters some spirits.)

Some or most NPC spirit folk might still be the result of spirit/human mingling, but I’d confine those messy backstories to NPC characters.

The “miraculous birth” scenario implies that the character is “all spirit,” rather than “part spirit,” so there’s some conflict there with the official race description. I guess you could argue that the spirit folk was a spirit cloaked in a human-like physical body, and therefore part spirit/part human, regardless of whether they were the result of procreation or spontaneous generation.

Of course I’m nerdalyzing this to a ridiculous level. It probably won’t even come up!

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