Embodied & Disembodied Spirits Q&A (2004)

HeroQuest Q&A with Christian Kuehnemund & Greg Stafford on the HeroQuest-rules mailing list. 29 Apr 2004

Q: I would really like to hear some “official” statement on that topic because it would clear a lot of questions I still have about animism.

A: I will make a small stab at this.

Q: The way i understand it a lot of spirits are already in some way in the mundane world

A: This is correct. the official line is that the natural world is the world of spirits. They were disrupted from their idyllic existence and, disembodied, were sent to the Spirit World. In a way, that is how they are defined as being spirits: they go to the spirit world when they are dislodged from their normal life.

Q: …or at least have a connection to it, that’s why you want a friendly relationship with them.

A: That is correct. Normally they are the animating force for trees, rocks, rivers, and so on. They are your neighbors, and the forces that sustain your life, so of course you want them to be friendly.

Q: They are native to the spirit world but do some kind of “job” in the mundane world somehow.

A: In normal cases, their job is to be a wolf, or a tree, or to bring forth berries every year and so on. And some are to make your sharp rock cut better, or to help you run faster, to make things cold and so on.

Q: Animism sees the world as animated by spirits.

A: The animist part of the world IS MADE OF embodied spirits.

Q: The wind is made by a spirit, gold shimmers because of its shining-spirit,

A: (A type of) wind IS a spirit. Gold spirits shine, for it is their nature.

Q: …fire spirits eat the wood the fire consumes etc. In the winter nature spirits sleep, that’s why its winter and vice versa.

A: Yes.

Q: Why does any spirit want to help you? Because it has certain needs or wishes.

A: More likely that it has a certain nature which is wants to express. Not so much a need, nor a wish, just “the way it is.”

Q: It wants to expand its personal “view” of life, just like humans do.

A: Not necessarily. This gives ambitions and desires to spirits, which are (generally) not in their nature. Fire wants only to be fire, not to help you, not to hurt you, just be fire.

Q: Why would I help you? Because it helps me in some way, too. The same with spirits i’d guess.

A: Not necessarily so. The fire spirit does what you want/ask because you allow to to be fire. NOW, exceptions exist. SOME spirits have acheived a consciousness like a person has. SOME have desires, ambitions, and so on. But most want to just be what they are, and anything that helps or lets them do what is good for them.

Q: Spirits who have no natural connection to the mundane world, have certain goals too so that’s how you can make a deal with them.

A: Spirits which have no connection to the mundane world are, in general, hostile and “unhappy,” because they have been taken, thrown, forced or otherwise removed from their natural existence. Thus (to humans) they seem hostile, unhappy or hateful. We can not tell what their nature is. They are disembodied beings without a nature.

Q: Maybe that deal “as a reality” is enough to give them the ability to temporarily transcend the border between the worlds to aid you for a short time, before they’ll fade back.

A: To have a body again is a great desire for those miserable spirits, and so they will work for you to have that body.

Q: Maybe that deal “as a reality” is enough to give them the ability to temporarily transcend the border between the worlds to aid you for a short time, before they’ll fade back.

A: Yep, in general.

Q: Just some thoughts.

A: And in general, good ones that are right on.

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