The Spirit Plane

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Created On 17 September 1997
Last Updated On 17 September 1997
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 1997

The Spirit Plane is one of the planes of Glorantha. It is, in effect, the soul of Glorantha. It is the place where disembodied spirits exist and is adjacent to most of the other planes. In fact, the Spirit Plane co-exists with the other planes at almost every point, so there are Spirit Plane equivalents of the Mundane Plane, the Hero Plane and the God Plane.

The Spirit Plane resembles the places it is adjacent to, thus the Spirit Plane of Sartar will appear to be rolling hills populated by sheep, shepherds etc., that of Wonderhome would be a featureless grey plain and that of an Aldryami Forest appears as a Great Forest filled with plant spirits and the ghosts of dead Aldryami.

The Spirit Plane can only be seen in its true form by Shamans, whether discorporate or not, the dead, other spirits and people who have partaken of certain drugs or have undergone certain rituals. Otherwise, it appears as a confusing jumble of all the senses, up to a distance of the character's POW, and as an impenetrable mist thereafter. The Second Sight spell will allow spirits to be seen, but will not show the Spirit Plane in its true light. People on the Spirit Plane may be able to make out the forms of nearby spirits, but would be unable to identify them in any but a general sense. Certain HeroQuest Rituals will allow participants to enter the Spirit Plane and perceive it in its true form. These are usually used for Magic Road travel.

Spirit Plane Denizens

There are two main types of inhabitants of the Spirit Plane - naturally occurring spirits and the souls of the dead.

Natural Spirits

There have always been naturally occurring spirits in one form or another. They include servant spirits (such as spell spirits, passion spirits, healing spirits and disease spirits), elementals (such as shades, undines, gnomes a, salamanders, sylphs, lunes and selenes), nymphs (Hags, Naiads, Oreads and Dryads) or demons (conchons, hellions etc.). Many minor deities are natural denizens of the Spirit Plane. Other examples can be found in the RuneQuest Vikings Pack and include Bush Grandmothers, Disir, Draugr, Hulda Folk, Landvaettir, Mara, Nykr, Sprites and Wood Wives.

Some of these Spirits are found close to certain places, so River Daughters are bound to their rivers, Naiads are bound to their pools, hags to their caves, dryads to their groves, individual spirits may also be found in special locales, so Silver Fox is in Foxgloves Woods, The Blue Boar is found near Blue Boar Fort and The Old Hare is in Hare Woods, near Greydog village. There is a Cacodemon Spirit in the Caves of Chaos in Snakepipe Hollow and Isig is found at Isig's Well.

Other spirits are found in elemental fastnesses, so gnome spirits are in the halls of Earth, salamanders are found above the Sky, or in Lodril's Pools, or even in Amanstan's Halls, lunes live on the Moon and sylphs live on the winds.

Servant spirits can be found in the homes of the deities they serve, or, if they do not serve deities, in their original source. Thus, pain spirits may be found in Ikadz' Halls, Subere's Kingdom, or at the Source of Pain.

Local Spirits may be placated or befriended with certain rituals, so a farmer may ask a meadow spirit to improve his crop yield and to fight weeds, whereas his wife may offer sacrifices to malign spirits who would sour her cream or frighten her children. Most of these rituals are available in Spirit Magic form from local shrines or even the Spirits themselves.

It must be borne in mind that these spirits are not always friendly to people - water maidens are notorious for drowning the unwary and there are always spirits similar to Long Lankin who steals in and slays children. However, many can be befriended and live in harmony with mortals.

These local spirits are those normally known as the Land of Faerie, immortals who live near to the normal world, but are not part of it. The Land of Faerie is merely another name for that part of the Spirit Plane which is near to the Mundane World.

Spirits of the Dead

These are those who once lived, but have since died. When anything dies, with the exception of true Mostali, Dragonkind, Brithini and certain other beings, their spirits go to the Spirit Plane. Where it goes from there depends on whether or not it received proper burial rites or belonged to a cult.

If a person has been given burial rites, his souls will go to an afterlife of some sort. Otherwise, the spirit will remain and haunt the place where it died, whether as a ghost, wraith or something even more sinister - a succubus, for instance.

When a spirit goes to an afterlife, it is drawn to that place best suited to it. Those of no cult are drawn to the Halls of the Dead, in Hell, where Daka Fal sits in judgement. Those belonging to a cult are drawn to the Paradise of the cult. Those of more than one cult are drawn to the Paradise of their main, or strongest cult, unless there are special circumstances. Some say that Daka Fal judges each and every spirit, where each deity in turn makes a case for who should take the spirit. This may be true - some HeroQuestors have seen the ceremonies where this happens, but this may be a misunderstanding of the actual events.

Once drawn to a place of abode, the spirits are judged according to their cults. Those found to be Evil are taken to the Place of Punishment of their cult and subjected to the tortures of the cult. Those found good are taken to their Paradise to await rebirth or to reap the rewards of a good life. Thus, good trolls are taken to Wonderhome where they can eat all they want, whereas bad trolls are taken to a place in the sky where the Burner rules. Occasionally, once person's Paradise is another's place of punishment, so a good Ikadz worshipper may be placed in a position to eternally torture those who were wicked. Such is life.

Occasionally, spirits may return to the world as cult spirits in order to serve their deities in a special way. Such spirits include Temple Guardians, Allied Spirits, and magic spirits. They have been given special dispensation by their deities to leave and will. return to Paradise if freed from their bonds.

Some people do not go to the Spirit World, thus Brithini cease to exist, Mostali become part of Mostal's energy to be used again, Dragons do something else, and Malkioni go to Solace, which has never been found by others and may, or may not, be a part of the Spirit Plane.

DeityParadise NameParadise Location
Storm BullEternal BattlePrax
Waha/EirithaLand of the Wondrous DeadPrax
GagarthThe Wild HuntPrax (Storms/Wind)
HumaktHall of SwordsHell
Seven MothersRed MoonRed Moon
Red GoddessRed MoonRed Moon
Lhankor MhyLhankor Mhy's CourtTower of Ivory
OrlanthWandering Upon the WindsAir
Orlanth's Band of HeroesCastle of Storm
Kyger LitorWonderhomeHell
Zorak ZoranFortress of LeadHell
Argan ArgarXentha's Train of DarknessNight Sky
XenthaXentha's Train of DarknessNight Sky
AldryaAldryami ForestAldryami Forests
YelmLands of the Bright DeadHell
YelmalioLands of the Bright DeadHell
YelornaLands of the Bright DeadHell
Caladra & AurelionPools of Liquid LightUnderworld
Diamond HallsUnderworld
LodrilWarm Paradise Beneath the EarthUnderworld
ErnaldaParadise Beneath the EarthUnderworld
[N.B. Note the distinction between the Underworld (the bodies of Ga, Gata, Ernalda and the other Earth Deities) and Hell (the area of Darkness beneath the Earth).]

Once a person dies, they can be resurrected within seven days, after that they are lost forever, unless a HeroQuest is performed to bring them back. Afterwards, they are Spirits and may be summoned back to the real world to perform tasks or to be enslaved. When a Spirit is summoned, what it is depends on the spells used. For instance, a Spirit summoned as a ghost would be a ghost, whereas the same Spirit could be summoned as a Magic Spirit, a POW Spirit, an Ancestor or an Intellect Spirit. In fact, the Spirit is the same until it is bound - the binding defines the Spirit type.

Spirit Plane Encounters

These are not rolled on a table. There is no such place as the Frontier Region, Outer Region or Inner Region. Spirit Plane Encounters are made by Discorporate Shamans on their Travels, or by Shamans in a locale, or by people in Spirit Pools. The GM should devise tables reflecting the Spirit Plane of the area, so encounters in an Aldryami Forest would be drastically different to those in Prax or in SnakePipe Hollow. I see no reason why everywhere should have the same chance of encountering a conchon or wraith - what is the chance of encountering a wraith in a Humakt Temple for instance? (I know of one character who met Humakt, Vivamort and Zorak Zoran whilst spirit binding in the Castle of Lead, using the RQ2 rules, obviously Vivamort had fled through the Castle of Lead, pursued by Vivamort and chased off by Zorak Zoran!)

Any GM not wishing to create tables should use his judgement to see what pops up, perhaps using the powerful spirits of the region, after all why should minor spirits bother an intruder shaman?

Spirit Pools

These are areas where the Spirit Plane and Mundane Plane overlap. They are often at places where the normal fabric of space has been rent by powerful forces, such as GodTime events or HeroQuests. Sometimes they are at places of power, for instance in Temples or on the Hero Plane - Cragspider's Castle and the Dragon's Eye both have Spirit Pools in their centres.

Spirit Pools are important because they are places where Spirits can interact easily with the normal world, and vice versa. So, Spirits may travel and become visible, and people may come to bind spirits, or speak to the ghosts of the dead. Some areas are plagued by bad spirits coming from a Spirit Pool and have to take action to protect themselves.

Spirit Pools in Temples attract cult spirits, usually spell spirits, magic spirits or servant spirits. Allied spirits are encountered here. Ancestor worshippers who use an Axis Mundi spell open up a Spirit Pool which attracts both their Ancestors and the traditional enemy spirits of their clan or family. Spirit Pools in other places may have a more varied clientele - so the pool in the Caves of Chaos in SnakePipe Hollow may have many Earth Spirits, both ghosts and servants, and also those Chaos spirits attracted by the area.