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Created On 09 October 1999
Last Updated On 09 October 1999
Copyright (c) Simon E. Phipp 1999

During the GodTime, many beings walked the Gardens of Genert and the Forests of Prax. One of these was a Spirit of Darkness who had been born in the Caves of Fear and had that power. He was mischievous and delighted in scaring the cattle of Prax and watching them flee in Terror. He wandered the land as the Forest was turned to ash and the Plains grew. As more and more herd beats were given by Eiritha, he scared more and more, always managing to escape punishment for his deeds, but he grew bored with his game and wanted a new pastime. He scared the cows, the bulls, the Ancestors and even tried to scare the Protectoresses, but the formed a herd and ran after him, making him flee.

Once he saw Eiritha command a herd of bison to cross a river and watched them cross for a whole week. each member acting on its own, but the whole herd obeying the Goddess' command. Curious, he wondered why this was and kept an eye on the herd until at last he saw the Herd Spirit that guided the herd. He watched other herds and saw that they too had their own Spirit. With this, he had an idea. He crept up to a small herd and scared the Herd Spirit and watched the entire herd run in terror.

He tried this again and again until the Khans caught him and beat him, tying him to a stake so that he would behave. Tied to the stake, he saw some Bad Things approaching and realised that nobody else had seen them. Commanded not to speak, he could not warn the others, so he scared a few of the Bad Things that came close, but there were too many of them. In desperation, he scared the Herd Spirit of the Bison and they ran in fear across the path of the bad Things, crushing them beneath their hooves. The Khans realised what had happened and thanked the Spirit, promising to release it if it would only scare things when they wanted it to. He agreed but soon gave in to the urge to scare things and carried on doing it until Waha himself captured him and imprisoned him in a black and white gourd from where he can be called in times of need.

The Stampede Spirit is one of the Spirits of Prax that is officially an enemy of Eiritha but which can be called upon in times of desperate need. Khans, Shamans of Waha and Eiritha Priestesses may join his subcult and sacrifice for the Stampede spell which they must swear only to use in defence of the Herd. If they use it for other reasons, such as raiding, they are deemed apostate from Waha or Eiritha and may be excommunicated. "Defence of the Herd" is a term left deliberately vague but has included running from raiders, running over raiders, running from a bad place, running to a good place, running past a bad place. It is only used when the whole herd must be made to run quickly and irrationally in a single direction for a period of time and when the herd needs to ignore any obstacles or impediments.

The Stampede Spirit can also be reached by those not of Waha/Eiritha since he began as an enemy. Typically he is worshipped by Hunter or Raider shamans in Prax, The Wastes and also in Pent and the Elder Wilds. He is never worshipped in the form of a Spirit Cult, only through Shamanic Contact, so only those Shamans that have contacted him may use the Stampede spell and each time they wish to sacrifice for the spell they need to contact the Spirit once more. The spell is typically used to drive off a herd, leaving stragglers to be picked off, to drive a herd over a cliff, to scatter a herd to slow down a clan, or just to cause trouble.

Stampede (3 point Divine Spell, Reusable, Non-Stackable, Instant)

When cast on a Herd this causes the Herd to stampede uncontrollably. When in stampede, the Herd will ignore obstacles that would normally stop it, such as small fires, people, hunters, chaos or scrub and will run until exhausted or until the Herd is calmed. The Peace and City Harmony spells will both calm a stampeding Herd.

The Herd will run in a direction determined by the caster on a POWx5% roll- if he fails the Herd runs in a random direction, if the roll is fumbled the Herd runs directly towards the caster. Once the Herd has begun to stampede it is not controllable by normal means and acts as the GM wishes.

Anything in the path of a Stampeding Herd will be trampled - struck by a member of the herd and a POWx5% roll or be trampled each round.

This spell works on any creatures that form groups that act as a single whole, so it would work on flocks of sheep, horse herds, flocks of birds, skeins of geese, packs of dogs, shoals of fish and insect swarms. It would not work on groups of Unicorns, owls, cats etc.

Intelligent animals within the Herd are affected by the Stampede spell if they are awakened creatures or Hsunchen-changed people, so were-bison would be affected by a Stampede if in a bison herd, but not if in a Sable Herd as would an awakened Bison Allied Spirit.