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Questions on Spirit attuning/capture magic system

Daily Doses

New Member
Hey there I was just wondering if I could step outside my own head and get the communities thoughts on a magic system I've been developing.
This is in a very early phase.

The world of Torrent is deeply connected to the Spirit World. Spirits are everywhere on the physical world. They exist as though they are made of color and smoke. They often take the shape of small familiar animals. With effort they can exert physical force on the world around them. At the best of times Spirits are a wonderful friend and ally, typically they are a nuisance, at the worst of times they are a plague on society.

All magic on the world of Torrent is exerted by capturing or attuning to Spirits. Attuned spirits take the shape of familiar animals and bounce around their companion helping where they can. They can also surround their living companion in color and smoke and help them achieve all sorts of otherwise impossible feats. The types of feats depend on the type of Spirit.
Spirits can be captured and contained in air tight containers; clay pots, glass jars, etc. Leaving a spirit like this for too long can cause the spirit to become corrupted and dangerous. There are specially hollowed out gems, prisms and glass that can contain a Spirit in a dream like state where they do not become corrupted.

All societies on the world of Torrent are affected in some way (alot of ways) by the Spirits and there connection to the Spirit World. All societies have different small inventions for capturing spirits that are being a nuisance. (Similar to a fire-bellow, eye dropper, blow gun, etc.) Attuned spirits are also quite good at keeping nuisance spirits away.

I'm creating this for a fresh take on a RPG campaign. I wanted to use a hard magic system and I was hoping to create an emphasis on exploration. I'm hoping to keep this far away from a grim dark fantasy.

Now my questions. If at least every living creature on Torrent has a Spirit as well (in their bodies).
How should I handle death?
Should a spirit and a soul be two different things?
If they're not, what does this mean?
I run into some problems, at least currently in my mind they are problems. I imagine if people have spirits within their body, as soon as they die someone's going to be standing over them with a jar waiting to collect. Death becomes a precious and powerful resource. And the fantasy starts to take a dark turn.

Another question. How do you kill a spirit? I imagine this will come up. Do they have to travel to the Spirit World and defeat it there?

I have many other questions but these are the main ones for now. If anyone has any thoughts, problems, questions, critiques, I'm all ears. Thanks for helping!


Ok, I think I got some ideas.
You mention a spirit world which I would assume is separate from a physical world. Like, it’s on a different plane.
Perhaps the souls inhabit the spirit world while the material bodies are in the physical world and a spirit is a being that alternates between the two. Maybe they’re a distinct creature, maybe they’re ghosts who are still tied to the physical plane, whatever.
So, in a way, the mortal body is basically one of these spirit jars which contains a soul however, that doesn’t mean a soul is a spirit to be captured. And the thing that makes spirit so distinct and powerful is because they are basically a bridge between the two planes of existence.

So, killing a spirit wouldn’t mean destroying them but rather banishing them from the mortal plane. Perhaps this can be done with an exorcism in the physical world or setting some kind of trap in the spirit world.

Daily Doses

New Member
First off, thanks for helping woohooman!

Yeah I imagined that the Spirit World is a different plane that overlaps the physical world. That the populants of the two are in a perpetual cycle. For some reason (don't know why yet) ,in some places the barrier between the two is porous and allows spirits out (and physical beings in, tho it can be quite dangerous).

I like the idea that a body is a specially prepared container for a soul. I hadn't thought of it that way yet. And perhaps it would be best to keep souls and spirits separate. Perhaps a spirit is a certain type of species from the Spirit World and a soul is a different type. In this way I imagine that harvesting souls would be an extremely difficult task if it followed a similar ruleset (which would be good enough for me). Or perhaps souls are ethereal, so until my world has the tech to capture neutrinos that wouldn't be happening at all.


Nice I like more physical spirits, they're kinda cute I think.

As for your questions, I thought about it for a bit and what about this:

The spirits go through some kind of perpetual cicle, they start closer to the spirit world in a state where they are less dense and tangible let's say, then they start to get denser. The denser the spirit gets, the closer it comes to the earth world (or the other way around? who knows), then by floating around and stuff it might get to a point where it is so dense it gets stuck in something and begins corrupting.
Since I don't know what you mean by corrupting, I will give my take on it: the spirit gets more and more bonded to the object it got stuck in until that objects degrades and becomes dirt or dust. The spirits are thus dissolved in the earth in a sort of like mystical blanket over the world (don't know what properties they might assume in these conditions, I'll assume nothing in particular).
From this sea of spirit there may emerge some points were matter gets organized into an organism an this might be a point of catharsis, recreating and purifying a new spirit from the spirit stuff all around that will return with great haste to the spirit world.
You could say that recently purified spirits are etheral enough to not be caught by solid things, so you solve the soul harvesting thing.

Ok I might have let my imagination take a ride here, but I hope you find this helpful, have a nice day :D


First off, thanks for helping woohooman!

Glad I could help!

If I can give another suggestion: it might be confusing to refer to the other plane as a "spirit world", especially if spirits are known to be between the two planes. I'd recommend calling it something else like "astral plane" or something along those lines. I guess Spirit World would still work though.

I'd also suggest keeping spirits as being souls who shift between the two planes as oppose to the "free souls" in the other world and the "imprisoned souls" in the material world. Making spirits a distinct species from the soul might raise some questions about their origins and stuff. Not saying you can't do it but I tend to always think about how these things can be streamlined and made simpler.
An idea I like to use and one I think you might be able to get some mileage out of is the concept of supernatural creatures from other worlds being altered versions of deceased human souls. This could go along with the idea of corrupting a sprit, the process the spirit has already undergone to be what it is simply reaching the logical extreme. Or in simpler terms, reaching the last step in the poor soul's mutation. Even if you don't go with that I have a question for you. What would happen if a soul, not a spirit, got "corrupted" in the same way a spirit does? Would the person turn into a lich or some other undead monstrosity? Or something else entirely?

Daily Doses

New Member
So the spirits I had in mind are cute. They're smokey creatures that take on animal forms that are balls of pure energy. They have different traits depending on the Spirit. I imagined a corrupted spirit turning black and shadowy, with red eyes. They're filled with rage and hatred. This happens most commonly when they're imprisoned for too long, but also from mistreatment, or destruction of something they hold sacred. I also imagined greater spirits, like spirit guardians of the forest, mountain, river, etc. This is the closest thing to deities the world would have. Think princess mononoke for both the greater spirits and the corrupted spirits. Think harry potter patronus for the more common type of spirits.

As a game mechanic I imagined that those who weren't going the magic route could focus inward for subtler powers. So they could attune to their soul or to the spirit within (depending on which concept we land on). This wouldn't technically be magic, but it would allow people to do some pretty extraordinary things. This sort of training could vary depending on culture. Cultures with no access to spirits, or who shun the use of spirits are going to be more adept at this.

The idea of spirits going through a metamorphosis, a natural cycle of change is a good idea. Though I'd rather the corruption process was reactionary not just something that happens over time. I'm not exactly sure how I can use this, but I'll keep it in mind. I like the visual of having a blanket over the earth of spiritual "dust".

I do think a persons soul could be corrupted. And nothing would happen until that person died (he/she would just be a shitty person) because their still trapped in that living jar (their body). So the question becomes, what happens to a soul (or the spirit within) when someone dies? What happens to a corrupted soul? Heaven and hell don't really have a place in this universe as I tend to lean toward this universe being neutral, not dualistic. So I think wherever they go, they'll go to the same place.

A thought i just had might make things simpler. Crazy, but simpler. Here's the change:

Spirits are part of a very real and very visible natural process on the world. Spirit energy pools up in different places and in different forms, but the process is similar throughout the world. Spirit energy spawns spirit familiars. Spirits that walk the world without a physical body, existing as color and smoke. When a living creature is born, interested spirits will rush to inhabit that body. A living creature is the perfect vessel for a spirit, though once the Spirit inhabits a creature they cannot leave without rejoining the spirit energy (dying). When a living creature dies, the spirit within changes states and rejoins the spirit energy. When a spirit familiar is slain, the spirit changes states and rejoins the spirit energy.

This might raise more questions than it answers! But I might be on to something. Let me know what holes you see or how I could improve this!