What are Gaian Spirits?
Gaian Spirits are the essences of concepts and things from the physical world that exist in what is typically the Shifter's Umbral realm. Not everything in the world has a representation in this spirit realm, but most things do and more are coming into existence constantly as the physical world progresses. Even many lost or mythological creatures have representative spirits in the Umbra. While many Shifters think of these spirits as their allies, most spirits could care less about the fighting among the Triat or the wars the Werewolves have been involved in. Despite that, spirits often talk about and carry on the deeds of the wolves – they seem to find it interesting.
How are Gaian Spirits organized?
Spirits use a very generic ranking system based on the power level of the Spirit. This power level also ties directly into the sentient of a Spirit. The least sentient of Spirits are referred to as Lesser Gafflings and are barely sentient and exceedingly ineffective at anything except their natural activity. Above that come Greater Gafflings, then Lesser Jagglings, then Greater Jagglings – these are the levels that player characters rank at. A Greater Gaffling has approximately 20-30 Gnosis. A Lesser Jaggling has 31-49 Gnosis, and a Greater Jaggling has 50-60 Gnosis. The ranks among Gaian Spirits apply far more to how important they are to Shifters than much else – spirits don't generally give each other orders, but they will defer to more powerful spirits. Above the Jagglings come Incarne and Celestines. A Shifter Tribal/Fera Totem usually ranks among Incarnae and the major spirits such as Gaia (the Earth), Luna (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun) rank as Celestines.
What is the Triat?
The Triat are the primordial forces of nature, creatures even above Celestines in the order of things. The Wyld, the force of creation and chaos, drives the birth of matter in the physical realm as well as building new spirit energy. The Weaver, the force of both stasis and order, drives molds energy and matter into useful material – in the mid-1800s, the weaver has been growing with humankind's progress, becoming more powerful as time goes on. The Wyrm, once primarily the force of entropy that destroyed creations in order to allow for more effective creation – part of evolution, has become something disturbing of late; the destroyer, the devourer, and the corrupter. Long ago these three forces were balanced against each other, but today the balance has collapsed with both the Wyrm and Weaver becoming much more powerful than the Wyld. Again, most spirits don't seem to care too much about this war, but it does impact them.
How do Gaian Spirits interact with the Physical Realm?
Long ago, when the Triat was in balance, the barrier between realms was much weaker and spirits could come and go from the world whenever necessary, people could communicate directly with them. As the weaver went mad, it began to strengthen the barrier, keeping spirits separated from the world. Lesser Gafflings are incapable of crossing realms on their own in most cases, and more powerful spirits tend to stick to the Umbra because they know their place. In the West the Storm-Eater has started shredding the Gauntlet between the Umbra and the Realm, allowing for greater interaction.
Most spirits in the world are generally neutral – they don't lean toward a member of the Triat, but some spirits find themselves drawn more to one aspect or another. Aspected Spirits tend to be versions of other spirits that have been corrupted toward a member of the Triat, so while not all spirits of fire are wyrm-aspected, a spirit of oil-fire may be. A particularly Wyrm-Aspected spirit is usually referred to as a Bane.
How Spirits Work
Spirits do not have health as we know it. They consist entirely of energy and as they expend that energy they become less substantial. A Spirit being damaged has bits of energy torn from it as well. The mystical abilities that Spirits have are referred to as Charms, powered directly by the life-force of a spirit. Because Spirits aren't real living beings they're fairly difficult to permanently destroy. Normally when a spirit is 'killed', they instead dissipate. A dissipated spirit has the ability to reform over time.
Becoming a Totem or Spirit Familiar
Spirits can become more than just a simple creature of Gnosis by bonding with groups or individuals. These bonds allow the creature(s) bonded with the Spirit to channel power to the it, granting additional Charms.
Spirits can sometimes either agree to enter or be forced to enter into an item, allowing them to grant a certain amount of power to that item. These items are usually either Fetish or Talen items.
Article by Brian