Commune wi’ Animal

Art: Divination

Ruling Planet: Moon, Mercury

Sphere: Common

This dweomer touches the animus of any single animal within sight, opening its heart and spirit and enabling the caster to commune with it, to extend his consciousness to merge with the animal’s consciousness and sift through its experiences in order to gather information OR in order to Tap that beast’s eyesight or sense of smell, in the same manner as the Tap Sense charm, BUT with the restriction that the beast remain at least partially within sight for the DUR. Thus, a beast might be used as something of an advance scout. Loss of visual contact with the beast breaks the magick as surely as if it had been dispelled.

The POT of the dweomer must be equal to or greater than the HRT of the animal in order for the caster to be able to get inside the beast’s spirit. The magick may be exercised upon either mundane or mythical creatures, it matters not.

Once the dweomer has manifested, the caster must settle down in a meditative state. If merging with the beast for the sake of seeking information, the practitioner must remain eye-to-eye with the animal in question and with as few distractions as possible in order to garner the information desired from it. In this way, this aspect of the “Commune” magick is exactly like the “Read” skill.

The caster may glean up to [(POT) + (HRT att. mod.)] pieces of information from the animal, and he has up to (DUR) as allowed by POT if tied-off, normally, to accomplish that, unless the DUR is maintained by the caster at his pleasure. Animals with whom the caster communes have only a bystander’s knowledge of items, people, events, or places they have seen or been themselves, or of which some animal they have encountered has shared with them (strong message of “danger” or “safety” originating from a particular direction) within (DUR) time as allowed by POT, but counted back through time into the past from the point in time of the dweomer’s casting, for the caster’s benefit.

It is up to the caster to use enough POT to make the DUR into the past yield a significant or useful period of time, with the understanding that a beast can have NO memory of any events transpiring before it was born, hatched, etc.

Of course, any information sought among the animals would have to been recent or striking from their point of view (radical contrast from the normal run of events in their daily struggle to survive) for them to remember it to relate it to the caster, and even more so for them to have passed it along to other animals outside the locale from which the information originates.

Dealing with the consciousness of an animal should be a lot like dealing with a child of about three years of age, with a similar attention span. Avians in particular are more like children aged five years. There are some definite limitations in the complexity of concepts the animal is able to comprehend if the caster is trying to communicate with the beast in addition to simply gathering information from it (GM’s discretion). The animal spirits communed with through the dweomer are always granted Encounter Reaction checks in the same manner as any NPC, which may directly influence the manner in which they deal with the caster. They may lie by omission or give evasive answers, but they must answer truthfully any direct question that can be given a “yes” or “no” (or “neither”) answer. They are ALL bound to interpret any questions posed as literally as possible, BUT due to the fact that the caster is actually communing with the spirit, consciousness to consciousness, true and accurate communication cannot be avoided in the end. The caster always eventually gets to the information he seeks, IF the beast does possesses it.

As the period into the past available for the caster’s perusal in communing with a beast can be quite long (according to POT) and most of the events transpiring during that time very likely holding no interest at all for the caster, he can effectively “scan” through the experiences of the beast with whom he is communing. This may be done in one of two ways; the first allows the caster to dictate a specific date and time from which the beast’s experiences. This may be changed and repeated as desired without restriction or penalty.

The second allows the caster to skip along the emotional high-points of events in the beast’s life, as these are the easiest to find. In this approach, the dweomer focuses only on those events permeated by high emotion, great love, bitter hate, tears of sadness or of joy, verbal and especially physical violence. The actual events replayed may be nothing more than mother and child walking by together, prey watching a predator pass by, or two predators warily passing one another by but the emotion between them be sufficient in tenderness and love or stifling fear or rivalry to make the dweomer stop and take note. The emotions of humanoid folk encountered by any beast are enough to be a matter of note if the emotion is strong enough, as animals are in tune with all life on that level. This approach is best when the caster is not quite sure who it is he is looking for or exactly the nature of the events he is looking for.

The player must understand that when communing with an animal he is looking at the world through its eyes. However, the visions of the beast’s experiences ARE sufficient to enable the caster to identify encounters with those with whom he is already familiar by sight and especially those he knows through previous personal experience, AND sufficient for the caster to identify a person he has seen through communing with an animal if he should run into him in person and see him with his own eyes later.

In the same vein, the caster can share directly, spirit to spirit, knowledge that he has that might be of interest to a beast, such as the identity and whereabouts of a malefactor who once left the beast in question scarred by some weapon, by fire, or attempted drowning, or who set a trap that necessitated the chewing off of a limb to escape, or the like. In the same vein, the Commune magick may be used to Soothe or Calm a beast that is agitated or in danger of becoming so, in the same manner as the charms of the same name and with POT equal to the Commune charm being used at the time, or to similarly enrage the beast with whom he is communing, even to giving it a particular target at which to be enraged, but with the same limitation based on POT.

The animus in the beast touched by the dweomer is visible only in the beast’s eyes and then only to the caster. The beast stands quietly or settles down in place when the dweomer takes effect, according to its nature/habits and the Encounter Reaction result, and remain there for as long as the caster needs to gather the information he seeks from it, BUT for only as long as the beast feels safe. Should it be startled and/or threatened, it’s “Fight-or-Flight” response be triggered, the dweomer is broken as truly as if dispelled and the beast flees.

The “Commune” magick is directly related to and derived from the “Read” skill, more specifically the “Read Body” skill.

All of the “Commune” magicks (Animal, Elemental Spirit, Plant and Shadow) are different aspects of the same skill. By taking the “Commune” skill, the character has access to all. Each “Commune” skill is tracked separately in SL during play, according to the use it gets, normally.

IF the “Commune” skill is not already in the practitioner’s repertoire, as well, the “Read” skill provides the practitioner with a bridge to it, giving him the means and background to research it and develop a treatise on it and learn it by virtue of his own studies and practice.

This dweomer may not be resisted.

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