Totems

New and Expanded List of Shamanic Totems

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ANT

Environment: UNDERGROUND
Advantages: +2d CAVERN spirits; +2d all spells cast BELOW GROUND LEVEL
Character: A single ant is nothing, but the hive overall is a force to be reckoned with. Ant is steadfast and patient. It knows its own small life is of no consequence in the grander scheme, so it is unafraid of death. The only wrong is to fail the Queen. Ant, as an insect totem, is not appropriate for player characters.
Disadvantages: Well, for one thing, how does being cocooned to serve as food for a nest of hungry Ant spirits sound? All insect totems will eventually destroy their shaman-- either because he's getting too dangerous or because he can better serve them as a bug (Flesh Form spirit). Basically, you'd have to be nuts to be an Ant shaman for any length of time-- but then again, most Ant shamans are nuts, so I guess that's okay.

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ANTELOPE (or GAZELLE)

Environment: PRAIRIES and MOUNTAINS
Advantages: +2d PRAIRIE and MOUNTAIN spirits; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: Antelope is a doer-- a mover and a shaker. Antelope shamans are always pushing for action; long intricate planning sessions just piss an Antelope shaman off. They are improvisers. They are full of advice and are usually really good listeners as well.
Disadvantages: Antelope gets annoyed when others dawdle or fail to take his advice. Also, while they DO manage to avoid leaping before they look, Antelope shamans will usually fail to consider contingency plans. They don't expect failure, so a back-up, to them, is a waste of time.

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ARMADILLO (or ANTEATER)

Environment: DESERT
Advantages: +2d PRAIRIE, FIELD, and DESERT spirits
Character: Armadillo is, well, the joke of the totem world. Other shamans love to make wise-cracks about "Road domain", and roadkill humor abounds. And the truth is, Armadillo is a little, squishy guy who does tend to spend a lot of time on highways, making a convenient target for cars. But Armadillo shamans are a proud lot, and most are very secretive and introspective, so the ribbing from others bothers them very little.

Disadvantages: Aside from their lack of spell-casting bonuses, Armadillo shamans tend to be easily distracted, and they frequently just tune completely out of normal reality-- not quite going Astral, but certainly with-drawn from the mundane plane. Armadillo shamans are big into escapism; most are into gaming, video, drugs, simsense, or other escapes.

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BADGER

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +2d COMBAT and MANIPULATION spells
Character: Badger is usually content to waddle along, minding his own business. But the instant something interferes with him, or someone crosses him the wrong way-- WHAM! Out come the claws and teeth. Badger is very persistent and aggressive in getting what he wants, and few people are willing to match swords with a Badger shaman for a second time, unless they were lucky enough to get the upper hand the first time. But this is dangerous, because nothing is more vindictive than a beaten Badger.
Disadvantages: Badger holds grudges-- LOTS of grudges, with lots of people, over little and stupid things. Badger shamans also tend to be gossipy, spiteful, and (on occasion) cruel. You piss off a Badger shaman and you'll be pissed on for months or years to come. Their vindictive and vengeful nature, combined with their endurance and persistence, make them among the most troublesome of enemies.

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BAT

Environment: CAVES by day, ANYWHERE by night
Advantages: +1d any spirits conjured at NIGHT; +1d any spells cast at Night
Character: The Bat is not afraid of death, because he understands the cycle of life and the potential for rebirth better than anyone. Bat shamans are secretive, and are more interested in discovering things for themselves than in just researching and learning what others have already done. They are every bit as nocturnal as Owl.
Disadvantages: Bat suffers the same daytime/daylight penalties as Owl, except that daytime does not inhibit his daytime magical activities IF he is in Cavern domain at the time.

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BEAR (most any kind)

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +4d HEALTH spells

Character: Bear is powerful in body and slow-moving unless he has to move fast. He seems clumsy and unaware of his surroundings, but he is in harmony with the world and what goes on around him. He is slow in speech but powerful in battle. Bear is a powerful healing totem found in shamanic cultures wherever bears are known, be it North America, central and northern Europe, or Asia.
Disadvantages: Bear shamans may go berserk when wounded. Whenever wounded, the shaman must make a Willpower (4) test; he goes berserk for 3 Turns, less one Turn for each success. The shaman will attack the nearest enemy, using his most powerful weapons (either physical or magical). If the enemy is killed or incapacitated, or the time expires, Bear snaps out of it.

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BEAVER

Environment: RIVER
Advantages: +2d RIVER spirits; +2d HEALTH and MANIPULATION spells
Character: Beaver is an achiever. Beaver shamans are not into sitting around accomplishing nothing, nor are they into hastily rushing in to improvise a plan. They are thorough, methodical, and decisive. Beaver always tries to leave two or three contingency plans as well-- nothing irks Beaver more than getting cornered through his own stupidity.
Disadvantages: Beaver sometimes gets caught up in details, but usually it's not bad enough to slow things down. However, Beaver will never go into something without a backup plan and he HATES surprises. Beaver shamans get really pissed off when other people slack off or fail to get their part of the job right.

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BOAR

Environment: FORESTS and MOUNTAINS or PRAIRIES and DESERT
Advantages: +2d FOREST and MOUNTAIN or PRAIRIE and DESERT spirits; +2d COMBAT spells
Character: Boar is straight-forward, unsubtle, and unswerving. Boar shamans are into taking the most direct tactic available. Pussy-footing about just asking pisses them off. Boar is a terrifying combatant-- his strength and stamina mean that he will go into combat ready to see it through.
Disadvantages: Boar is often unaware of impending death in combat. To break off combat, a Boar shaman must make a Willpower (6) test. They ALSO have a tendency to go berserk (see Bear). In social situations, they tend to be crude and tactless. In everything else, they are just plain messy.


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BOBCAT

Environment: MOUNTAINS
Advantages: +2d MOUNTAIN spirits; +2d COMBAT and ILLUSION spells
Character: Bobcat likes to hunt. Nothing gets a Bobcat shaman more excited than stalking, tracking, searching, investigating.... They just like to hunt things down. The kill is not as important as the path taken to get there. When the hunt is over, they may take the kill (in a metaphorical as well as real sense) or just let the "prey" go free.
Disadvantages: Bobcat tends to be real random about things. Bobcat shamans try not to plan their lives more than a day in advance. They flake out on commitments with some frequency. They are always changing their minds, which makes them hard to work with.

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BUFFALO

Environment: PRAIRIE
Advantages: +4d PRAIRIE spirits; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: Two hundred years earlier, the buffalo was the source of nearly everything for the Plains Indians of North America-- it provided meat, leather, bone, and hoof glue. The Buffalo is one of the great Givers among the totems-- he shares with anyone who he feels needs or deserves the help. Buffalo shamans are also among the most fully religious, with the most elaborate prayers and ceremonies.
Disadvantages: Buffalo's giving nature often leads to having less than he needs for himself. Buffalo is also a bit slow sometimes-- both in the body and the mind. A Buffalo shaman is usually fairly easy to intimidate (+1 penalty when resisting Presence Attacks).

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BUTTERFLY

Environment: ANYWHERE
Advantages: +3d ILLUSION and MANIPULATION spells
Character: Probably the most benign insect totem; Butterfly is into ideas and concepts. Butterfly shamans are incapable of putting any master plan into action, simply because they loathe putting effort into their ideas. They are about the only insect totem that could be used as a PC, but they are not great Shadowrunners (usually) because they don't like running around, beating up on stuff, etc.
Disadvantages: They lose 1 die from Combat spells. Their dislike of direct action is a problem at times as well. Finally, any Butterfly shaman will eventually metamorphize into a Flesh Form Butterfly spell-caster, which is still not all that dangerous-- except to the shaman.


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BUZZARD

Environment: DESERT
Advantages: +2d WIND and DESERT spirits; +2d MANIPULATION spells
Character: Despite years of bad press, the fact is that Buzzard is NOT a scavenger. Buzzard is a hunter, like Hawk or Falcon. Buzzard shamans are proud of this fact and are quick to point out to those who imply that they are less than majestic. Buzzard shamans tend to scrutinize things carefully and ponder all their major decisions for some time before deciding.
Disadvantages: Buzzard shamans tend to suffer some kind of persecution complex; they think everyone else is dumping shit on them, or just being nice to their face and then talking about them behind their back. Many Buzzard shamans go over the brink of sanity into hardcore paranoia. They also tend to take a long time to make even simple choices.

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CAT (domestic)

Environment: URBAN
Advantages: +2d CITY spirits; +2d ILLUSION and DETECTION spells
Character: Cat is stealthy, vain, and sometimes cruel. She is cunning and learns many secrets, but does not like to share her knowledge with others. Cat is an Urban totem, for she is quite at home with mankind, either in their company or as a solitary huntress in the streets and alleyways. Cat shamans are solitary types, with no commitment to anything but themselves.
Disadvantages: Cat may toy with an opponent in combat, even when the situation is desperate. She will threaten, sneer, and hiss, displaying her dominance. She will also use showy magic, flashy combat, and other irrelevancies in the process of the kill. Unless she is wounded, a Cat shaman must make a Willpower (6) test when casting a Combat spell; if failed, she will hold successes so as to only inflict one or two SC's of damage. If wounded, this playing around stops. Cat is fastidiously clean, suffering a +1 penalty to ANY Actions taken if she is dirty or unkempt.

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CAT, JUNGLE (Panther, Leopard, Ocelot)

Environment: JUNGLE
Advantages: +3d JUNGLE spirits; +3d COMBAT spells
Character: All the jungle cats (we'll use Panther as the typical) live their life cyclically-- long periods of relaxation and self-fulfillment, and then a burst of fierce hunting activity. They dislike steady work, or long-running jobs, much preferring to make a living where a living is readily available at the moment. This makes most Shadowrunning very convenient for Panther. They are often very hedonistic, living it up every moment they are not working.
Disadvantages: Panther gets bored very easily. Doing the same thing for more than a few days, or working towards the same goal for long at all, makes Panther start looking for other ways to pass the time. If a Panther shaman doesn't finish a project fast, it'll never get done at all.

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CHEETAH

Environment: DESERT
Advantages: +3d DESERT spirits; +3d COMBAT spells
Character: Cheetah is concerned with image and style. Cheetah shamans are always into current fashion trends, hip colloquialisms, new tech, and all the other little state-of-the-art things. Cheetah shamans are also fairly impatient and full of a lot of energy-- they are always going places, doing things, meeting people.
Disadvantages: Cheetah shamans tend to be highly superficial in their dealings with people-- quick to judge and rarely interested in more than surface appearances. Their magic is usually flashy, with lots of visible special effects. Cheetah doesn't like to wait for anything, and will get loud and obnoxious if forced to be patient.

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CHICKEN

Environment: FIELD
Advantages: +4d FIELD spirits; +2d MANIPULATION spells
Character: More common than you might think. Chicken is NOT a coward by any means; she just doesn't go looking for trouble. Chicken shamans hate to antagonize anyone, or cause inconvenience in any way. They always seek the path of least resistance, unless that would result in someone else being fucked over. They are usually scrupulously honest and sincere.
Disadvantages: Chicken shamans do not make great Shadowrunners because they are always concerned about those who might be affected by their actions. They are usually fairly socially awkward and introverted (+1 tgt penalty in social situation test).

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CHIMPANZEE

Environment: JUNGLE
Advantages: +2d JUNGLE spirits; +2d MANIPULATION and ILLUSION spells
Character: Chimpanzee is much like Coyote-- always joking, always playing tricks, and highly random in his behavior. Chimp shamans delight in sleight of hand, parlor tricks, and other frivolous uses of skill and talent.
Disadvantages: Chimp is often a bit, uh, randy. Chimp shamans, both male and female, are suckers for members of the opposite (or attractive) sex. The men are usually chasing some skirt and the women are flirting with wannabe samurai in some downtown bar. They are usually undependable, since it takes very little to make a Chimp shaman change his goals completely.

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COW

Environment: FIELDS and PRAIRIES
Advantages: +2d FIELD and PRAIRIE spirits; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: A 24-hour-a-day thorazine trip. Cow shamans are placid, mellow, calm, sedate... even when they're terrified. Cow lets very little concern her for long; she knows that what comes around goes around, and that sooner or later opportunity will knock again.
Disadvantages: It's hard to get Cow to be enthusiastic about anything. She just doesn't really care. Cow shamans are loathe to expend energy, travel long distances, or deal with large amounts of money or property. They are fond of eating, often to the point of gluttony-- many Cow shamans are more than a bit overweight.

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COYOTE (or JACKAL)

Environment: ANYWHERE ON LAND
Advantages: NONE
Character: Coyote is the Great Trickster-- unpredictably bold one moment, cowardly the next. He can be a friend or a dark joker who leads you into danger. Coyote is also the great Magician. A Coyote shaman is too independent to be bound by anything except his word. Like Grandfather Coyote in the legends, his is intensely curious. He is often greedy and fond of taking risks just for fun.
Disadvantages: None. A Coyote shaman wouldn't let himself be tied down by such concepts. He is beyond rules and lives by his own wits. However, his lack of magical advantages is not entirely helpful, and his random nature makes him a debatable choice as a Shadowrunning companion.

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CROW

Environment: ANYWHERE UNDER OPEN SKY
Advantages: +2d WIND spirits; +4d MANIPULATION spirits
Character: Crow is the bringer of Change. Crow shamans are big into manipulations that physically change things, especially themselves. Crow is also the keeper of the Great Spirit's laws, and her shamans believe in order and law as the highest creation of mankind. This does not mean that Crow shamans just blindly accept federal, or state, or other authority as being right, or truthful-- but it is better than total lack of control. While Crow shamans are fond of bending (or breaking) the rules, they concede when caught. It is doubtful that any Crow shaman has lied in a court of law, jumped bail, or otherwise betrayed the existing system of law and order-- even if it was (perhaps) morally the right thing to do.
Disadvantages: Crows belief in the authority system often causes trouble in Shadowruns-- Crow would rather turn herself in than fight police, unless those police were not acting under true authority. Crow shamans have a tendency to lie to themselves about what they are doing, however.

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CROW (Version 2)

Hearth Spirits +2d
City Spirits +2d
Detection Spells +2d
Manipulation Spells +2d

Crow the messenger of doom, the scavenger and lurker in the shadows, the thief, has always been a companion of mankind during its journey through the dark aeons of its history. Constantly watching and biding his time, he is the dark guardian keeping eternal vigil over his flock as it goes through hardship and pain in all eternity. Waiting for the
ultimate moment of release of the immortal soul, Crow swoops down from his hiding place amongst the shadows to seize this glittering prize and to send it on its way to its ultimate destination. Crow is a dark character and may easily appear to be cold and dispassionate maybe even evil, but his wisdom is great and his heart does bleed when he sees injustice being done and sometimes even Charon can do naught else, but intervene...

Crow shaman are extremely rare, about 40 years after the awakening only a handful exists in the whole of north America. Little is known about them mainly because of their secretive attitude. They seem to be an indecisive lot tending to stalk their target or topic of interest, examining its progress and very often just doing nothing about it. On the other hand they are sometimes given to mysterious bouts of atypical activity. These chaotic bursts seem to have one thing in common- justice. Crow does not tolerate injustice and although he very seldom intervenes, when he does he really makes his presence felt. There is one last point that Crow shaman themselves choose to ignore or outright deny, but its a definite fact that Crow is a most romantic figure. Followers of Crow often exhibit an inane flair for the dramatic, as well as a love of beautiful objects they always manage to dig up no matter where they are (not always by honest means). These objects apparently play for them the role of emotional 'souvenirs' that remind them of precious moments in their past. These character quirks and their cold, dispassionate image are probably what's responsible for their weird, eerie sometimes evil reputation they seem to enjoy.

Disadvantages: Willpower test (6) and a good reason along Crow's mindset, in order to take direct action. All foci, fetishes etc. must be items of great emotional importance. Loyal to the death, once a crow shaman has pledged himself to help someone he will come through or die trying. A crow shaman will always attempt to take direct action in the face of outright injustice, if his Willpower test fails (GM's discretion) he will give whatever indirect help he can and promise to return in the future.

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DEER

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +2d ILLUSION and DETECTION spells
Character: Deer is friendly, caring, and gentle. She tries not to see the bad side of things, and believes (overall) that people are good and life is going well. Violence is almost unheard of among Deer shamans.
Disadvantages: Deer loses 2 dice from Combat spells. Also, Deer tends to be somewhat moody-- when her belief in the goodness of life and people is shaken, she will drop into a deep depression. Deer shamans are often naïve EOF and far too trusting for their own good.
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DOG (domestic)

Environment: URBAN
Advantages: +2d FIELD and HEARTH spirits; +2d DETECTION spells
Character: Dog is loyal to friends and family. He fights furiously to defend his home and holdings, but is not generally aggressive outside his own territory. Dog loves people and defends them pitilessly from dangerous spirits or evil magic. Once a Dog shaman gives his loyalty or love, he sticks to it even if the person he loves is unworthy. A Dog shaman will try to protect humanity from evil magicians at any cost.
Disadvantages: Dog is single-minded to the point of stubbornness. A Dog shaman must make a Willpower (4) test to change his plans or tactics. The test itself requires one Action as Dog struggles to change his mind.

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DOLPHIN (or PORPOISE)

Environment: SEA
Advantages: +2d SEA spirits; +1d any spells cast in or on the OCEAN
Character: Dolphin is inscrutable to most land-dwellers. Dolphin shamans are fond of games, and they like to play around. However, they are not frivolous, and they know when to take things seriously. They enjoy solving problems and puzzles, or finding elegant solutions to complex situations. It is rumored that there are dolphins capable of entering Astral Space, and any Dolphin shaman would tell you that it is so.

Disadvantages: Dolphin tends to get caught up in the problems of others, and is always devoting herself to several causes at once. Dolphin shamans will often throw themselves whole-heartedly into a problem or cause with-out looking fully into it first.

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DOVE

Environment: ANYWHERE
Advantages: +1d ALL SPIRITS OF THE SKY; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: Dove is a universal symbol of two things: peace and mourning. Dove shamans are almost all strict pacifists, refusing to either take part in violence or condone it in the actions of others. Dove shamans are also often very morose and morbid. They dwell on doom and failure a lot, which makes for some interesting imagery in their incantations.
Disadvantages: Dove shamans are manic-depressives, usually. They will range from periods of slightly optimistic hope for the future to despair for mankind and the Earth on the whole. When in the latter mode, they get really fatalistic about everything ("Why try? We're all going to die anyway...") and in the former mode, they tend to ignore anything that suggests the possibility of failure.

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DRAGONFLY

Environment: SWAMP
Advantages: +2d WIND and SWAMP spirits; +2d ILLUSION spells
Character: Dragonfly is a deceiver. Like all insect totems, they are bad news to both the shaman and to those around him. Dragonfly lies, cheats, steals, and just generally seeks to get ahead by defrauding every-one else. Though they are not hive-minded, they are rabidly into reproduction, so the shaman will soon find himself an egg sack if he refuses to get victims for the baby Dragonflies to follow. About the only positive thing that can be said about Dragonfly is that he is very, very adaptable.
Disadvantages: Well, aside from having few (if any) friends, and a ravenous taste for implanting egg sacs into living human flesh....

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EAGLE

Environment: MOUNTAINS
Advantages: +2d WIND spirits; +4d DETECTION spells
Character: Eagle is the highest-flying bird in the sky, and so he comes closest to heaven. He faces the rising sun at dawn and is lord of the highest peaks. Eagle is proud, solitary, and sees everything which happens on the Earth over which he flies.

Disadvantages: An Eagle shaman will not tolerate evil or ignoble actions. He is a fierce defender of the land and the purity of nature, with a strong distrust of technology and its tools (+1 penalty on tests that involve dealing with highly technological items). Polluters and others who would damage the land for profit are Eagle's enemies, and he will brave any danger to defeat them. Double all ESN cost of added cyberware, because of the psychological impact this has on Eagle.

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ELEPHANT

Environment: JUNGLE and PRAIRIE
Advantages: +2d JUNGLE and PRAIRIE spirits; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: They say that Elephant never forgets. Perhaps he manages this by stealing the memories of his shamans, because most Elephant shamans are rather absent-minded. They are fun-loving; great at parties. Elephant shamans take everything with just the right amount of humor and joviality; they are capable of taking things seriously, but they don't want to if they don't have to.
Disadvantages: Elephant shamans are not always large, but most are slow and slightly clumsy of movement. They tend to forget things easily-- stuff like times and places and other abstract details. They are often guilty of making extremely stupid jokes.

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ELK

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +4d FOREST spirits; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: Elk believes in pacing himself and going the distance. An Elk shaman has the patience and stamina to see nearly anything through to the end-- and he will. They also tend to get along better with members of their own gender than with the opposite sex. This has resulted in something of a reputation as a totem for homosexuals, but in fact there is no higher rate of homosexuality among Elk shamans than any other totem.
Disadvantages: Aside from the slight social stigma (and it IS fairly slight, especially in larger cities), Elk also has a tendency to overexert himself, or drive himself too hard towards a goal. He is also hard to dissuade from a course of action, since he is unwilling to abandon a project or goal. He must make a Willpower (6) test to just give up a course of action before it has become completely hopeless.

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FLY

Environment: ANYWHERE
Advantages: +1d ALL SPIRITS OF THE SKY; +2d DETECTION spells
Character: Fly is sneaky and duplicitous. Fly shamans are always looking for the loophole, or just an opportunity to backstab an ally for personal advantage. Fly's one thousand eyes see all, and its mastery of the forces of air is superior to most. Fly's way is the way of subterfuge, deceit, stealth, evasion, and escape.
Disadvantages: Fly spirits have a hard time working together; their shamans are always arguing. Like all insect totems, eventually, Fly will consume and subvert its shamans into flesh form spirits, or use them as breeding material for its maggots (always a popular choice). However, groups of Fly spirits cannot cooperate for long before they fall into bickering confusion. Fly shamans (and spirits) tend to live in filthy, unsanitary conditions—even worse than Rat, most of the time!

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FOX

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +2d HEALTH and ILLUSION spells
Character: Fox is something of a self-contradiction; she is both the master Thief and the Protector of the family. On one hand, she skulks about, silent and unseen, but on the other, she rises up to defend those in trouble. She has a fondness for the underdog, and finds nothing more despicable than stacked odds.
Disadvantages: While, in many ways, Fox is among the most cunning of totems, she has her foolish side-- and it's a doozy! Fox often tends to leap into situations without careful consideration first; her emotions carry her into action before her logic tells her she's heading for trouble. This is why Fox is often in a trap. Fox tends to not learn lessons of experience very well, either.

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FROG (or TOAD)

Environment: SWAMP
Advantages: +1d all SPIRITS OF WATER; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: Frog is always concerned about the well-being of others. He has a great affinity for water, be it in a river, lake, or even rainfall. Frog is a great fan of relaxation for its own sake, but he is not lazy about it the way Gator is. "Helpful" is about the best single word there is to characterize Frog's behavior; his shaman's are always helping others without as much thought for themselves.
Disadvantages: His urge to help others often results in a Frog shaman being used by others. Frog is also a very vocal totem-- he tends to blurt things out, or talk to himself at times when silence is important. Frog shamans are often overweight, and most are slower than average.


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GATOR (or CROC)

Environment: SWAMP or URBAN
Advantages: +2d SWAMP or CITY spirits; +2d COMBAT and DETECTION spells
Character: Great fighter, big eater. Swift to act when action is cal-led for, but lethargic, even torpid, the rest of the time. Gator is often ill-tempered, especially when prodded to action. But once he grips, he holds, and will not turn away from a path he has chosen.
Disadvantages: Gator is lazy and greedy. As an eater, he prefers to glut himself with food and then laze around. As a Shadowrunner, he prefers a job with a big payoff that will let him take it easy until the money's gone. It can take some hefty argument to make Gator exert himself. His greed makes him loathe to share material goods and he will almost never make loans or pick up a check. Once on a job, he goes for a direct solution and is impatient of subtlety. It takes a Willpower (6) test for a Gator shaman to break off a fight, a chase, or other direct action. Gator loses 1 die from Illusion spells.

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GIRAFFE

Environment: PRAIRIE
Advantages: +3d PRAIRIE spirits; +3d DETECTION spells
Character: Most Giraffe shamans are tall and thin; they tend towards herbivorism. Their big kicks are humor and altitude; most Giraffe shamans either know how to fly aircraft, or really want to learn. They have a fairly solid sense of humor, and are often making others laugh with improvised jokes and ideas.
Disadvantages: Giraffe's ego is not hard to deflate; say a few disparaging things to a Giraffe shaman and he'll rapidly drop into a depressed state. Also, they lose 1 die from Combat spells and generally dislike conflict of ANY kind. When a bar fight breaks out, Giraffe will usually head straight for cover and wait out the fight there.

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GOOSE

Environment: LAKES and FIELDS
Advantages: +2d LAKE and FIELD spirits; +2d MANIPULATION spells
Character: Goose is a great orator-- often given to flowery language and elegantly-worded prose. She is usually very skilled at negotiating and dealing with people, because she knows just what to say. Goose shamans are always willing to open their mouth with an opinion-- they have one for everything under the sun.
Disadvantages: Goose can be tactless at times, when she's pissed off. The skill in knowing just what to say has its dark side, too: Goose shamans will often deliberately say something that just sets someone else off in a big way. And their highly-opinionated nature is not always welcome in some circles. Goose shamans usually keep Incantations on all their spells.

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GOPHER

Environment: UNDERGROUND
Advantages: +1d ALL SPIRITS OF LAND; +2d ILLUSION spells
Character: Gopher is almost maniacally happy, nearly all the time. Gopher shamans are always looking at the silver lining, the bright side, the good things in life. They are always searching for a higher level of relaxation and enjoyment, which often leads them into a somewhat hedonistic lifestyle.
Disadvantages: Gopher shamans are subject to a bit of inertia-- when they get started on something, they don't want to give up; and if they stop for any length of time, they just drop into full-out relaxation mode. They are also (often) a bit clumsy, with a tendency to break things, lose things, or fall over things. Great for comic relief.

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GROUSE

Environment: PRAIRIE
Advantages: +2d PRAIRIE and FIELD spirits; +2d MANIPULATION spells
Character: Grouse is rather difficult to categorize or pin down. Grouse shamans are fairly active (some range into hyperactivity) and most will use dancing to Center, because that is one of their strongest tendencies: the urge to dance and frolic, even when not happy. Grouse has strong self-discipline most of the time.
Disadvantages: Grouse shamans will find themselves easily bored or burnt out on something that they do for too long. If forced to sit in one place for too long, they'll begin to squirm and complain. They are easily distracted from their tasks, especially if it was something boring.

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GULL

Environment: ANYWHERE NEAR THE SEA
Advantages: +2d WIND and SEA spirits; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: Gull is a noble creature; he is honest, honorable, and chivalrous. He is usually very concerned about higher principles and in the carrying out of duty and honor-- both for himself, and in those around him. He will never deal with dishonorable, ignoble people for any length of time-- and only to further a lofty goal or important achievement.
Disadvantages: His principles often make him appear stuck-up in the eyes of the typical street-dweller. And, for all his posturing, Gull rarely does anything to help those of a "lower station" improve themselves-- he's content to be at the top and leave them at the bottom. Gull shamans are often rationalizing all kinds of things, especially when it comes to dealing with "scum and riff-raff".
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HAWK (or FALCON)

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +2d COMBAT and DETECTION spells
Character: Hawk is the Messenger. He is a swift and silent hunter—not as high-flying as Eagle, but every bit as noble and certainly a lot more forgiving of failure in others. Hawk has a great memory.
Disadvantages: For a bird, Hawk is really quite earthy. A Hawk shaman will quite often say the wrong thing at the wrong time, for Hawk really likes to make his opinion known. Hawk shamans also usually have a rather, um, low-brow sense of humor, which they are fond of sharing. This can really be troublesome in social situations.

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HIPPOPOTAMUS

Environment: RIVER
Advantages: +3d RIVER spirits; +3d HEALTH spells
Character: Hippo is a big, lazy guy. He is always looking for a simpler way-- one that requires less effort. Hippo shamans prefer to let others plan, and then just do what little part he needs to take care of. He is certainly not a leader, a planner, or a manipulator.
Disadvantages: Hippo tends to have expensive tastes and can never hang onto money for long. Hippo shamans are always splurging on things they don't need, then tossing them aside later when they get bored with it. If it's on sale, Hippo wants it-- who knows when you'll get a price like this again? Thus, Hippo is often hungry for lack of money for food-- a problem compounded by Hippo's enormous appetite.

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HORSE

Environment: FIELDS, PRAIRIE
Advantages: +2d FIELD and PRAIRIE spirits; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: The Horse shaman is usually large and strong. Horse is very loyal to friends and family (and what Horse considers "friends and family" is a rather large and generous definition). He is ever the optimist, and very one-minded about accomplishing things-- he will continue, no matter the adversity or distractions that may seek to pull him away.
Disadvantages: Horse's loyalty, ease of making friends, and highly optimistic nature all conspire to make him a bit gullible as well (+1 penalty resisting any deception, magical or mundane). He is also rather stubborn sometimes-- he must make a Willpower (4) test to change his mind, just like Dog (see Dog).

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HUMMINGBIRD

Environment: ANYWHERE NEAR FLOWERS
Advantages: +2d WIND and MIST spirits; +2d MANIPULATION spells
Character: Hummingbird shamans tend to be deliriously happy most of the time. Most HB shamans are very small and fast (i.e. BDY 1, QCK 6). They talk fast and are always moving about, expending energy. Most people find them easy to get along with. They don't keep secrets, they are usually honest and outspoken, and they're willing to try anything once.
Disadvantages: HB shamans are easily led by their emotions—especially love. Hummingbird is always in love with somebody (or at least thinks their in love), even if it's just some gorgeous woman he saw walking down the street or something. They are a sucker for members of the opposite sex (or attractive sex). They lose 1 die from Combat spells as well.

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HYENA

Environment: DESERT
Advantages: +2d DESERT spirits; +2d ILLUSION and MANIPULATION spirits
Character: You might think that Hyena is another totem with a sick sense of humor, but actually Hyena is often rather serious. Hyena shamans find most humor bland and boring-- they hate slapstick and sight gags and physical humor, and prefer subtle black humor and the like.
Disadvantages: Hyena has a cruel streak a mile wide; for some reason, Hyena shamans get a real kick out of seeing others fail miserably and get the shit kicked out of them. They are fairly selfish, sarcastic, and generally tactless in social situations.

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KANGAROO

Environment: DESERT
Advantages: +2d DESERT spirits; +4d MANIPULATION spells
Character: Kangaroo is the original party animal-- wild, spontaneous, willing to go to any lengths to get attention. They are also into material acquisition-- they packrat stuff and just seem to accumulate a ton of bric-a-brac. They want souvenirs of everything they've ever done or seen.
Disadvantages: Kangaroo shamans are often quite irresponsible. It is not uncommon for a Kangaroo shaman to jeopardize his security and life, and the safety of those around him, on some wild dumb-ass stunt. Kangaroo can't keep a secret to save his life, and is often bragging or exaggerating things to boost his rep.

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KOALA

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +2d ILLUSION and HEALTH spells
Character: Koala is cute and fuzzy and basically harmless. Koala shamans are an unambitious lot, and usually not suited to direct Shadowrunning. However, they all show a marked interest in beating the system. They also have a strange gambling streak that often gets them in trouble. Koala shamans are a great source of background contacts-- they make great info brokers, computer hackers (some even get wired to go Netrunning), and other sources of inside data.
Disadvantages: They lose 2 dice from Combat spells. They are easily panicked, startled, or distressed. They tend to be wary of other people, though not necessarily suspicious. However, many Koala shamans eventually go very paranoid in later life.

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LION

Environment: PRAIRIE
Advantages: +2d PRAIRIE spirits; +4d COMBAT spells
Character: Lion is the brave and powerful warrior. His method is direct and pointed, for he is not a creature of subtlety. Lion prefers to work from surprise and ambush, allowing others to perform tasks for him while he holds his strength in reserve. He will take the offensive if necessary. Any threat to his kin and family is a threat to him.
Disadvantages: Lion loses 1 die from Health spells. Lion is vain and demands the most from himself, especially when it comes to his physical condition and appearance. He must live well and demands respect and loyalty from those around him.

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LIZARD

Environment: DESERT

Advantages: +2d DESERT spirits; +2d DETECTION and ILLUSION spells

Character: Lizard is the Dreamer. Lizard shamans are always drifting off into daydreams, Astral wanderings, or REM sleep. They are often cryptic and enjoy codes, puzzles, and other devices that try the mind and the wits for long periods of time. Lizard shamans are often smaller and quicker than average.

Disadvantages: Lizard is often not paying attention to what he should be. Sending a Lizard shaman to do Astral recon is often a bad idea-- he will wander off, looking at this and that and the other. Lizard is easily distracted and sometimes doesn't make complete sense to others. Lizard shamans are often into hallucinogens.

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LYNX

Environment: MOUNTAINS
Advantages: +2d MOUNTAIN spirits; +4d DETECTION spells
Character: Lynx likes secrets. He likes knowing secrets, he likes discovering secrets, he likes telling secrets. To a Lynx shaman, a locked door is an invitation to adventure. Shadowrunning is a perfect life for a Lynx shaman, because Lynx also loves receiving gifts-- including money.
Disadvantages: Lynx can be a penny-pincher. Don't try to short-change a Lynx shaman, because he'll know it. Lynx is willing to pay his fair share, but he expects to be paid well for his services as well. Lynx shamans cringe at the thought of low-paying runs. They also enjoy lording the secrets they know over those who don't.

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MANTA

Environment: OCEAN
Advantages: +3d SEA spirits; +3d ILLUSION spells
Character: Manta is mysterious. She is always keeping secrets. She likes to play it low-key, but often does overdoes it-- to the point of making it obvious that she's trying to be subtle. She prefers life in the slow lane-- why rush things? You never enjoy anything you do in haste.
Disadvantages: Manta tends to be clingy at times, getting hooked on people or things and generally refusing any change in life. She also can be rather annoying at times with the "mysterious" bit, since she often over-estimates the importance of some of the "secrets" she carries. She will often exaggerate these "secrets" in her own mind just to boost her ego.

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MANTIS

Environment: ANY LAND
Advantages: +1d ALL SPIRITS OF LAND; +1d COMBAT and HEALTH spells
Character: Mantis is both the wisest and the most deadly of the insect totems. She is infinitely patient and utterly merciless. Mantis shamans are always female-- at least, only female Mantis shamans survive for any length of time. Male Mantis shamans are very quickly sought out by the females for reproduction and consumption. Mantis shamans have probably the easiest time dealing with normal totems, out of all the insects, but that doesn't mean they still aren't dangerous. They just don't actively seek the deaths of
everyone else, like most insects.
Disadvantages: Like all insect totems, Mantis will eventually subvert her shamans into flesh form spirits. Mantis is generally content to avoid others (and, in fact, prefers it this way) but those who cross her are dealt with swiftly and fiercely. She never works with others for very long, preferring to go her own way.

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MINK

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +2d ILLUSION and HEALTH spells
Character: Mink is a social creature. She is always meeting and doing and socializing and partying. Mink shamans aren't concerned with who you are and what you do and how much you make a year-- who do you know? Most Mink shamans have a lot of contacts at low Ratings rather than a few at high Ratings. They are concerned with gaining the widest possible social base of operations.
Disadvantages: Mink shamans are often superficial and trite. They nod in all the right places, smile when you say something witty, and forget what you look like an hour later. They are rarely willing to commit to any long-term project because they've got a million other things to do.

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MONKEY

Environment: JUNGLE
Advantages: +2d JUNGLE spirits; +2d ILLUSION and DETECTION spells
Character: Monkey is more serious than Chimpanzee. He is an explorer and is always taking things apart to see how they work, breaking into things to see what's inside, and generally going to extreme lengths just to see what's over the mountain, so to speak.
Disadvantages: Monkey's curiosity will sometimes get him in trouble. Also, Monkey gets jealous easily-- when someone else does some impressive thing, he feels obliged to outdo it or (if he can't hope to surpass) belittle it. Monkey is often distracted from the task at hand by irrelevant things.

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MOOSE

Environment: PRAIRIE and TUNDRA
Advantages: +2d PRAIRIE and TUNDRA spirits; +2d DETECTION spells
Character: Moose is insightful, low-key, mellow, and calm. Moose has marvelous self-esteem, but lacks the vanity that plagues Lion, Cat, and some of the others. Moose shamans are usually large and strong, and very sedate about nearly everything. Moose knows how to take things in stride; it is very hard to really surprise, shock, or freak out a Moose shaman. But if you do, watch out! He'll really start a fuss then.
Disadvantages: Moose is outspoken and very, err, virile. Moose shamans of both sexes tend to intimidate members of the opposite sex in a big way, but that doesn't stop them from trying at every available opportunity. Moose is also often a bit slower than average, and the tendency to remain calm will sometimes cause a Moose shaman to hesitate just a bit too long before taking action.

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MOUNTAIN LION

Environment: MOUNTAINS
Advantages: +2d MOUNTAIN spirits; +2d COMBAT and DETECTION spells
Character: A great hunter, but not a wasteful one. Mountain Lion finds excessive killing beneath his dignity. He is a proud leader, but doesn't suffer the vanity of the Lion. Keen, aware of his surroundings, and aggressive when necessary-- this is the Mountain Lion.
Disadvantages: Aside from the fact that he is very critical of waste in any form, and from anyone, the Mountain Lion shaman is also possessed of a certain tendency to accident-- consider him to have a point of Bad Luck for every 1 and 2 rolled on his LCK roll at the beginning of a run. Mountain Lion shamans quite often bite off more than they can chew as well, and may often get burned while playing with fire.

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MOUSE

Environment: FIELD and PRAIRIE or URBAN
Advantages: +2d FIELD and PRAIRIE or CITY and HEARTH spirits; +2d DETECTION spells
Character: Because Mouse is so much smaller than many other animals, and because so many other creatures hunt her, the Mouse shaman usually has a well-developed sense of danger. Mouse scrutinizes everything, and has a marvelous ability to categorize and organize. Mouse is not as skittish as Rabbit, or as selfish as Rat.
Disadvantages: To others, Mouse often seems a nit-picker. A Mouse shaman will always try to find new, better, or more efficient ways of doing things. Mouse always wants to go over every little detail, and usually blows all the obstacles way out of proportion. This slows things down a lot sometimes-- which can be bad for a shadow job. Mouse also loses 1 die from all Combat spells.

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OPOSSUM

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +2d HEALTH and ILLUSION spells
Character: Everyone knows the 'possum strategy of playing dead. This is something that Opossum shamans take very seriously-- though they can fight as well as the next totem, they will first try to make the enemy think they are out of the picture. They are into all forms of diversion and distraction, and have a good mind for tactics and strategy.
Disadvantages: Opossum shamans tend to be a bit overdramatic, and blow things way out of proportion at every opportunity. Opossum sometimes confuses himself. Also, Opossum shamans tend to be fickle and change their minds about things all the time.

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OSPREY

Environment: ANY LAND NEAR THE OCEAN
Advantages: +1d SEA and WIND spirits; +1d ALL SPIRITS OF THE LAND
Character: Osprey shamans consider themselves the most stable and balanced of the totems-- they are well-versed in the magicks of the land, water, and air, which no other totem can claim. Just as the osprey dives into the ocean to catch its prey, Osprey shamans will watch from out of range or out of sight, waiting for the right moment to strike. However, Osprey shamans are masters of subtlety-- they dislike subterfuge and violence equally. Osprey shamans are often very much into one or more creative or performance arts.
Disadvantages: Osprey shamans are often stuck-up; they consider themselves superior to most other totems, although they are tactful enough not to say so most of the time. They are proud of their achievements and get really irked when others fail to notice or commend them for their successes. Those Osprey shamans who are into some form of artistic expression are fond of making those around them experience their form, and they expect to be applauded or congratulated on their skill.

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OTTER

Environment: RIVER or SEA
Advantages: +2d RIVER or SEA spirits; +2d ILLUSION and HEALTH
Character: Otter is playful and curious. She thinks combat and fighting are silly-- a waste of time. In her opinion, time would be much better spent swimming about, climbing on things, and looking into new places. An Otter shaman is not likely to be a Shadowrunner for the money, or for ethical reasons-- they run just for the hell of it.
Disadvantages: An Otter shaman is unlikely to take something seriously until it may be too late to escape. Otter is likely to get in over her head because of her curiosity, as well. An Otter shaman will never start combat, and is unlikely to participate unless directly affected by the threat of violence.

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OWL

Environment: NIGHT
Advantages: +2 any spirits at NIGHT; +2 any spells at NIGHT
Character: Owl is a wise and silent observer. She does not speak unless she has something important to say. Owl lives by night and shuns the sunlight, in which she is practically helpless. What she hunts for, she finds. Owl is helpful to her friends and fearsome to her enemies.
Disadvantages: +1 penalty to ALL Target Numbers (even non-magical ones) in direct sunlight. +1 penalty to all Magical test Target Numbers during daytime, whether in sunlight or not.

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PARROT

Environment: JUNGLE
Advantages: +2d JUNGLE spirits; +2d HEALTH and DETECTION spells
Character: Parrot is the great Imitator. Parrot shamans are into funky language idioms, neat vocal tricks like ventriloquism and mimicry, and obscure quotes from old movies, books, and songs. They prefer bright colors for dress, and disdain subtlety and stealth for the small-minded. Typically, everything they own is brightly colored as well, and their magic is the same.
Disadvantages: It's really hard to get Parrot to do anything in a low-key way. He is showy and melodramatic in everything he does. Parrot shamans also tend to overdo the obscure quotes and idioms bit at times.

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PORCUPINE

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +2d ILLUSION and MANIPULATION spells
Character: Porcupine is the embodiment of innocence and trust. Usually not the best traits for a Shadowrunner, really. Porcupine shamans are always looking for a simpler solution, and they loathe any action that will harm, belittle, or otherwise disadvantage another. However, they have their quills-- when someone betrays their trust, they swell up to prevent from being abused a second time.
Disadvantages: Porcupine shamans get used a lot-- so they swing back and forth between openly trusting of everyone and suspicious of everyone. They lose 1 die from Combat spells; the quills are more of a personality thing than a spell ability.

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PRAIRIE DOG

Environment: PRAIRIE and UNDERGROUND
Advantages: +2d PRAIRIE spirits; +1d ALL SPELLS cast UNDERGROUND
Character: Prairie Dog is concerned about the community and cooperation. She hates strife, conflict, and misunderstanding between people. Prairie Dog shamans are often the intermediaries in a dispute, or the peace-maker in an argument. They try harder than most to see both sides of the issue and always seek to make impartial judgments.
Disadvantages: Prairie Dog is ALWAYS right. Her ability to make peace between others doesn't necessarily extend to herself-- Prairie Dog shamans point out the value of compromise, just as long as they don't have to do it themselves.

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QUAIL

Environment: FIELDS and PRAIRIES
Advantages: +3d FIELD and PRAIRIE spirits
Character: Quail is perpetually amazed at the world. Quail shamans seem to find a new and incredible thing every single day. They tend to be easily impressed, but (to their credit) they do manage to assimilate things rather quickly-- so they can go on to the next great wonder.
Disadvantages: Quail's tendency to find everything impressive often means other people see her as gullible, naive, or just plain stupid. None of these is necessarily true, but it's appearance that counts anymore. Also, Quail shamans tend to have a hard time keeping secrets and they often interject into conversations with something that they really shouldn't be revealing.

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RABBIT

Environment: PRAIRIE or FOREST
Advantages: +2d PRAIRIE or FOREST spirits; +2d ILLUSION and DETECTION spells
Character: Rabbit is believed, by many, to be cowardly, but the truth is that Rabbit is wise and cautious. He prefers to flee danger, or to remain hidden, and he usually observes things from a distance. However, if his help is needed, he will not hesitate to get involved directly.
Disadvantages: Rabbit loses 1 die from Combat spells. A Rabbit shaman's first instinct when any sign of danger shows itself is to get the hell out of the area, to a safer place where he can observe the proceedings. No roll is required, but it's a generally proper role-playing hint.

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RACCOON

Environment: URBAN or FOREST
Advantages: +2d CITY or FOREST spirits; +2d ILLUSION and MANIPULATION spells
Character: Raccoon is a clever bandit who can break open any trap to remove the bait. He can also escape any danger, for his paws are like cunning hands. Raccoon fights when he must, but prefers strategy and tricks.
Disadvantages: Raccoon is a loner. Like Coyote, his intense curiosity makes him ignore danger in the quest for information. Raccoon can be greedy (this is a thief totem) and Raccoon shamans like to steal the very best, finding petty theft and violent robberies beneath their dignity. Raccoon shamans lose 1 die casting Combat spells.

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RAT

Environment: URBAN
Advantages: +1d all SPIRITS OF MAN; +2d DETECTION and ILLUSION spells
Character: Rat is a stealthy thief who is too selfish to share anything, even with his companions. He is a reluctant warrior who would rather run than fight. Where mankind goes, Rat goes too, for who else's bounty can sustain him?
Disadvantages: Rat shamans are usually dirty and unkempt. Rat is also a coward, but when he MUST fight, he fights to kill. Rat dislikes working out in the open, for a muttered spell from the shadows (or a silenced pistol from a doorway) is more his style. Subtract 1 die for Combat spells.

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RAVEN

Environment: ANYWHERE UNDER THE OPEN SKY
Advantages: +2d WIND spirits; +4d MANIPULATION spells
Character: Like Coyote, Raven is a trickster-- clever and devious. Raven is also the Transformer, responsible for changes. He is a living contradiction, greedy and generous by turns.
Disadvantages: Raven shamans are either overweight or rail-thin. In either case, they are gluttonous and always hungry, finding it next to impossible to resist an offer of food. (Double all penalties from hunger.) Raven dislikes fighting, preferring to let others handle that part of life. Subtract 1 die from Combat spells. If not under the open sky, Raven suffers a +1 penalty to magical activities of any kind.

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RHINO

Environment: DESERT
Advantages: +2d DESERT spirits; +2d COMBAT and MANIPULATION spells
Character: Easily given to anger, Rhino doesn't take shit from anyone. He does what he wants and fuck anyone who disagrees. Fearless and stubborn: that's the Rhino shaman. If you try to argue with Rhino, he will just tune you out and do it his way anyway.
Disadvantages: Well, for obvious reasons, Rhino shamans can be hard to deal with for any length of time. Also, they sometimes go berserk (see Bear for details). Rhino shamans only know two ways to do anything: their way and the wrong way. Their favorite phrase is "Fine, then. Fuck off."

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SCORPION

Environment: MOUNTAIN and DESERT or MOUNTAIN and FOREST
Advantages: +2d MOUNTAIN spirits; +2d DESERT or FOREST spirits; +2d COMBAT spells
Character: Scorpion is not something to fuck with. It's vindictive and vengeful. Scorpion keeps a scorecard and is very meticulous in tracking down and getting revenge on everyone who has pissed it off. Scorpion, like Spider, is not quite a true insect totem, but it's certainly close. Scorpion shamans are usually psychotic, homicidal, and paranoid. In much the same way as a real scorpion will hide in your shoe, the Scorpion shaman will hide in your home, or car, or other place that you normally consider secure. Then, POW!
The stinger cuts you in half.
Disadvantages: Scorpion is solitary and anti-social. Hang around with a Scorpion shaman for long and sooner or later you'll end up on his black list. Also, Scorpion has the same danger as insect totems-- eventually, it will possess its shaman and convert him into a flesh form spirit. THEN you've got a problem-- the magical equivalent of a cyberpsycho warborg; a psychotic armor-plated alien monster with pincers and stinger.

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SEAL

Environment: SHALLOW OCEAN
Advantages: +3d SEA spirits; +3d ILLUSION spells
Character: Seal is good at keeping other people on task. She is always reminding others of responsibilities, and rarely loses track of the task at hand. Seal shamans are fairly good leaders, but they dislike exerting power over others unless it's necessary so they usually make better assistants.
Disadvantages: Seal is often a drag-- somber, sobering, and always pointing out that this is not what you're supposed to be doing. Seal shamans have a tendency to get bogged down in details of wording, too, when it comes to assigned tasks. Seal has a +1 penalty on any spell-casting that involves directly interfering with the free-will or comfort of another (includes Control Manipulations and Combat attacks).

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SHARK

Environment: SEA
Advantages: +2d SEA spirits; +2d COMBAT and DETECTION spells
Character: Shark is the cold, relentless hunter of the sea—utterly savage in battle. Shark calls no place home, but wanders the sea and knows all its secrets. Shark would be a likely totem for shamans of any sea-faring or shore-dwelling culture: Hawaiian kahunas, Japanese miko, Haitian houngans, Eskimo angekok, as well as the NAN tribes of the Pacific North-west and any surviving shamans among the few Australian aborigines still living in the Dreamtime.
Disadvantages: A Shark shaman may go berserk in combat when wounded, or after a kill. When either happens, the shaman makes a Willpower (6) test and goes berserk for (3) Turns, less one Turn for each success. A berserk Shark shaman attacks the nearest living thing-- friend or enemy-- with his best weapons or spells, or may possibly continue to attack the corpse of his last victim, savagely blasting and hacking it. Even if he isn't dead, Shark believes that the best enemy is a dead enemy. He rarely uses non-lethal methods in combat. If challenged in any way, he does not stop to reason-- he strikes. And when he strikes, it is to kill.

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SHEEP

Environment: PRAIRIES and FIELDS
Advantages: +2d PRAIRIE and FIELD spirits; +2d DETECTION spells
Character: Sheep is an excellent follower, but rarely a trailbreaker or leader. She prefers the status quo, always, and dislikes sudden or radical change. Sheep shamans are very vocal about things that bother them, but rarely follow their words with action unless someone else is taking the lead first.
Disadvantages: Sheep shamans often end up being gun-fodder during runs, because they have a hard time saying "NO". Their vocalization about problems and concerns often runs into the realm of incessant whining. They have very little motivation or initiative. They lose 1 die from Combat spells. They're very definitely not a great choice for PCs.

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SKUNK

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +2d ILLUSION and MANIPULATION spells
Character: Skunk shamans do not believe in threatening another's life; they far prefer to threaten others' senses. They are fairly nonchalant about life most of the time, and (believe it or not) most are fairly charismatic.
Disadvantages: Skunk shamans often use their charisma to emotionally harm others; they have a knack for knowing just what will crush you utterly. Also, they are very concerned about reputation, and about the way others think of them. This often drives them into situations that reason says would have been better avoided. They lose 1 die from Combat spells.

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SNAKE (usually any non-poisonous)

Environment: ANYWHERE except MOUNTAINS
Advantages: +2d HEALTH, ILLUSION, and DETECTION spells
Character: Snake is a wise healer who dwells in many places and knows many secrets. Snake is a good councilor, but exacts a price for her advice. Snake is adaptable, and can confuse the senses of enemies.
Disadvantages: Snake doesn't fight unless she must defend herself or hunt to eat. Snake shamans lose 1 die from ANY spells cast during combat. Snake shamans are obsessed with learning secrets and will take enormous risks to do so.

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SPIDER

Environment: ANYWHERE ON LAND (RURAL or URBAN)
Advantages: +1d all LAND spirits or all SPIRITS OF MAN; +2d COMBAT spells
Character: Spider is manipulative, deceptive, and lethal. However, she is also among the most creative of forces as well. She weaves a web that is both beautiful and deadly. Spider shamans are very patient, willing to wait as long as needed for success. They will go to great lengths, and use elaborate plots, to get their way. Most Spider shamans put energy into some kind of creative skill, which often ends up their Centering tool as well.
Spider is not truly an insect, but she can be bad news as a totem.
Disadvantages: Spider, like the insect totems, will seek to eventually subvert the shaman's body, turning him into a Flesh Form spider creature. Many legends hold that Spider is not from this world, but instead came from the stars untold millennia ago, bringing the written word and other cultural developments to man. Handle this totem with care! Spider has no sense of humor most of the time, and is easily angered.

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SQUIRREL (or CHIPMUNK)

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +4d FOREST spirits; +2d MANIPULATION spells
Character: Squirrel shamans are always picking things up. It's not so much that they're kleptomaniacs, nor are they consciously storing things for later use. It's just a very strong urge-- Squirrel doesn't believe in "useless" things. Everything can be extended into other purposes. But not everything Squirrel does is random-- Squirrel is always thinking about the future, and what may be coming up. She is always storing things up, and taking steps to ensure that change will not take her by surprise.

Disadvantages: Squirrel is just a bit paranoid. Also, Squirrel shamans DO have unconscious kleptomaniac tendencies in many (but not all) cases. Squirrel shamans are always fretting over something-- did they leave the lights on in the house? Should I do this or that? Is that person dangerous? If it's not one thing, it's another. Also, Squirrel shamans tend to live in really abysmally messy homes-- they collect all this stuff and then they utterly fail to organize it in any way. Woe be to any marriage between a Mouse and a Squirrel! (It happens. A lot.)

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SWAN

Environment: LAKES
Advantages: +3d LAKE spirits; +3d DETECTION spells
Character: Swan, above all, is concerned about grace. Swan shamans are into style, appearance, manners, and all that. Swan is also very intuitive and her shamans tend to be very good at reading people from their surface appearances. This is somewhat ironic, because Swan shamans are usually fairly good at masking their own nature from others.
Disadvantages: Swan is usually fairly superficial. Swan shamans are more concerned about style and how things are done than they are about substance and how well things work. They tend to be vain and obscenely concerned about their own appearance and they appearances of those they associate with.

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TERMITE

Environment: WOOD (ANYWHERE)
Advantages: +2d with any 3 spell categories (chosen at start of existence)
Character: Termite is to the insect totems what Coyote is to the other animal totems; Termite shamans delight in tormenting, tricking, and just generally irritating other insect shamans, and (like all insects) they love causing misery and suffering in humankind.
Disadvantages: Most problems that arise between insect hives are caused by Termite shamans causing trouble. They can't work long with anyone, because the urge to start shit is too damn strong. Wasp, especially, has a hard time putting up with Termite.

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TIGER

Environment: JUNGLE
Advantages: +2d JUNGLE spirits; +2d ILLUSION and COMBAT spells
Character: Tiger is the hunter, hider, and stalker. She is a master at concealing herself until the last moment, when she springs and kills. Tiger shamans are into surprise and ambush tactics, and like spontaneity in their lives. She is also a protective mother and loyal companion.
Disadvantages: Tiger has a certain way of doing things, and she does not invite debate. Tiger shamans get irritated when others try to ignore or alter their well-designed plans. Tiger is also very concerned with honor, both for herself and for those around her, to the point of sacrificing tactical advantage or personal gain.

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TORTOISE

Environment: SEA
Advantages: +3d SEA spirits; +3d MANIPULATION spells
Character: Tortoise is wise and ancient. He has seen much and knows many secrets long forgotten to the other animals. Tortoise shamans almost never say anything (most will learn most of their spells with No Incant and often No Gestures as well) but they watch everything.
Disadvantages: Like Turtle, Tortoise is sloooooow. Slow in deciding, slow in movement. Tortoise loses 1 die from Combat spells as well. Tortoise is not particularly social, and usually makes no effort to deal with other people unless necessity calls for it.

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TURKEY

Environment: FIELDS
Advantages: +3d FIELD spirits; +3d HEALTH spells
Character: Turkey shamans are generous-- far more than one would think possible, in some cases. Turkey shamans are always concerned about the sick, the poor, and the aged. They are very service-oriented and will go to any lengths to help and protect the down-trodden.
Disadvantages: Turkey shamans are usually pretty poor, because they rarely hang onto many material things for themselves. In some ways, Turkey is the embodiment of everything that opposes Shadowrunning....

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TURTLE

Environment: RIVERS, LAKES
Advantages: +3d RIVER and LAKE spirits
Character: Turtle is wise but slow, small but well-protected. Turtle shamans are very quite and introverted, and they take everything at the same leisurely pace. But some are snappers, and can bite you pretty bad (metaphorically speaking) if you push them too far. Most Turtle shamans are low in all the physical areas but fairly high in the mental ones.
Disadvantages: Slooooow. Also, Turtle's dislike (or inability) for social interaction creates problems when information-gathering is the task at hand (+1 penalty on any Etiquette and Negotiation types of tests). Finally, when confronted with trouble, Turtle's first response is usually to pull into the shell and ignore it-- his shamans are into escapism, be it through drugs, booze, simsense, or just normal vid.

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VULTURE

Environment: DESERT
Advantages: +3d DESERT spirits; +3d DETECTION spells
Character: Vulture is a scavenger. Vulture shamans are always picking over rubble, debris, trash, corpses, etc. looking for something that might be useful. They take weapons, armor, money-- nothing is sacred. Vulture shamans make superior thieves, but they are usually unwilling to take risks. They'd rather let others do the work and then follow along behind, picking through the leftovers.
Disadvantages: Vulture shamans are rather cowardly-- or, like Rabbit, they act cowardly. It is rare that a Vulture shaman will volunteer to do ANYTHING. Ask if anyone wants to go scout ahead, or guard the rear, or watch the prisoner, and Vulture will keep his mouth shut. On the other hand, Vulture rarely says no if directly commanded or asked to do something, because he dislikes making waves that might draw attention to himself.

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WASP (or HORNET or YELLOWJACKET or BEE)

Environment: ANYWHERE
Advantages: +4d WIND spirits; +2d MANIPULATION spells (HEALTH spells for BEE)
Character: Wasp is arrogant and elitist, even among other insects. Wasp thinks of itself as the top of the evolutionary chain, because in-sects are (of course) far better than any other class of life form on the planet, and Wasp is the best insect because it can fly and defend itself. Hornet and Yellowjacket are less common, but there are far too many Wasp and Bee shamans for comfort. Of those two, Wasp shamans are more capable of independent thought; Bee is much more hive-oriented, although Wasp uses hive organization as well.
Disadvantages: The problem here is the same as with all insect totems-- eventually, they'll take over and use you as host, egg sac, or food. Male Wasp/Bee shamans will become drones or egg sacs (depending on the Queen's needs) and female shamans become inhabited by warrior spirits. Also, Wasp is among the least patient and least subtle insect forms-- they favor Blitzkrieg tactics and overkill.

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WEASEL (or FERRET)

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +2d FOREST spirits; +4d ILLUSION spells
Character: Weasel is thought of by many as the archetypal thief, but in reality that's Raccoon. Weasel is just the master of stealth and evasion. He uses his skill at disguising appearances to help in his hunting. Weasel shamans take great delight in confusing, confounding, and ditching people for the fun of it. Weasel shamans also tend to run at high levels of energy, bouncing off walls if contained or bottled up for long.
Disadvantages: Weasel shamans tend to be loners. They've also gained a rather undeserved reputation as thieves and back-stabbers, which is not necessarily true. Their reputation as incessant pranksters with weird and often sick senses of humor IS true, however. Weasel shamans also have a subconscious tendency to lie, or at least exaggerate-- to others, and to themselves. It's not like they mean to....

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WHALE

Environment: SEA
Advantages: +4d SEA spirits; +2d HEALTH spells
Character: Whale is the great Record-Keeper, and as such tends to keep a long memory-- it is said that the legends of whales date back to the civilizations of Lemuria, Mu, and Atlantis. The life of Whale is steeped in sound, as well; many Whale shamans get themselves wired for increased hearing and sub/ultrasonic hearing to bring themselves closer to their totem (this is one of the only commonly-found cybermods among shamans).
Disadvantages: Whale's great memory often leads to a tendency to dwell in the past, and also often creates a rather irritating love of the trivial. Whale is always pointing out little coincidences, irrelevant things, or stupid stuff. Whale shamans also tend to enjoy loud sound-- the less like human sound, the more they enjoy it.

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WOLF

Environment: FOREST or PRAIRIE or MOUNTAIN
Advantages: +2d spirit of chosen environment; +2d COMBAT and DETECTION spells
Character: Wolf is a hunter and warrior. He is brother to all his pack, and fiercely loyal to his mate and cubs. As the ancient saying goes, Wolf wins every fight but one, and in that one, he dies.
Disadvantages: A Wolf shaman is loyal to his family and friends until death. Nothing can make him betray those bonds. He will not show coward-ice. When a Wolf shaman extends his protection to another, or otherwise accepts a responsibility, nothing will make him break that promise. However, Wolf will sometimes go berserk, as Bear does (see Bear).
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WOLVERINE

Environment: FOREST
Advantages: +3d FOREST spirits; +3d COMBAT spells
Character: Wolverine is fairly well-known for his temper and his fierce fighting ability. Wolverine is more territorial and dangerous than Badger, and is (perhaps unfortunately) a fairly common totem among shadow-running shamans.
Disadvantages: Wolverine shamans are violent and temperamental, often for no real reason. They just like to rip things up and throw homicidal fits of rage. Whenever someone or something happens to piss off a Wolverine shaman (someone shoots at him, the car won't start, the bank teller says he has exhausted the funds in that account), he must make a Willpower (4) test to avoid instantly laying into the source of his irritation with a physical attack-- either with spell or weapon. For this reason, Wolverine shamans are often having to buy new possessions to replace old ones broken in a fit.

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ZEBRA

Environment: PRAIRIE
Advantages: +2d PRAIRIE spirits; +2d ILLUSION and DETECTION spells
Character: Zebra is somewhat uncategorizable. Zebra shamans tend to have a techno-fetish (they love hardware and techie toys) but they are rabid defenders of the environment. They are usually skilled at social dealings but usually prefer solitary life for the most part. They tend to think in lofty abstracts and then deal in concrete realities. Zebra often contradicts himself, changes his mind without warning, and practices something other than what he preaches.
Disadvantages: Zebra is actually fairly reliable and trustworthy, but he is really hard to predict. Zebra shamans go through mood swings that are severe, to say the least. They seem to often enjoy the problems they create for others, as they feed differing stories to different people. They sometimes have a problem keeping track of what they told who, though, and this often leads to trouble.

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TOTEM LIST by MEDICINE CARD

CARD TOTEM REVERSE TOTEM
01 Eagle Vulture
02 Hawk Buzzard
03 Elk Leopard
04 Deer Prairie Dog
05 Bear Koala
06 Snake Scorpion
07 Skunk Zebra
08 Otter Monkey
09 Butterfly Fly
10 Turtle Tortoise
11 Moose Elephant
12 Porcupine Boar
13 Coyote Kangaroo
14 Dog Cat
15 Wolf Sheep
16 Raven Dove
17 Mountain Lion Lion
18 Lynx Bobcat
19 Buffalo Cow
20 Mouse Rat
21 Owl Osprey
22 Beaver Raccoon
23 Opossum Chimpanzee
24 Crow Gull
25 Fox Hyena
26 Squirrel Gopher
27 Dragonfly Wasp
28 Armadillo Rhino
29 Badger Wolverine
30 Rabbit Cheetah
31 Turkey Chicken
32 Ant Termite
33 Weasel Mink
34 Grouse Quail
35 Horse Giraffe
36 Lizard Gator
37 Antelope Tiger
38 Frog Hippo
39 Swan Goose
40 Dolphin Shark
41 Whale Seal
42 Bat Manta
43 Spider Mantis
44 Hummingbird Parrot









Drohem (10/25/2010): this article was posted to the archived Talislanta Central website.