Banishing Ghosts/Demons without Faith

I am running a game where the Gods are Dead or Eternally Dying & Diminished. So, Faith/Faith in Dead Gods is rare (insular and hostile to outsiders) and unsanctified dead are an issue (Folklore is by far the most common magic with yearly community rituals to keep the dead at bay).

One thing, I am considering is adding an ability to Summoning to banish or send unwilling spirits to rest. I am looking at using the Ob for Minor/Major Miracles and increasing the time required as these rituals aren’t a snappy processes.

The other option I have is using the existing Bargaining rules, and adding a new Service for sending the dead to rest. This does fall outside existing Services the Sanctified and Unsanctified Dead offer and is way beyond typical low-ob Durations.

I can see how compromises from Bargaining could lead to resolving the dead’s unfinished business or how addressing that could serve as a linked test to the Ritual to Send the Dead to rest.

What are people’s thoughts on this?

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Part of me likes the constraints of having to work within the given toolset of each magic system for this: Folklore has spirit weapons and remedies, while the Summoners have the prison circle from Circination. The idea of having to either deal with spirits “the old fashioned way” or put them in indefinite time-out is really funny to me.

I feel like banishing them is a bit outside the color of Summoning as is (more so than Folklore, honestly), but maybe there’s some room for re-coloring the skill. It seems like banishing a demon is more a direct, protracted test of wills than a negotiation. Maybe use Initmidation or Ugly Truth in place of Bargaining, and maybe Doctrine for Dissmissal? Maybe just change “Bargaining” to “Binding” and have it represent a broader range of spiritual interaction?



Also… You’re running a game again! Hell yeah!


Sounds like fun!

I’m with @Gnosego with regards to often enjoying the challenge of operating within the constraints of magic systems.

There’s also a lot of fun to be had with the Circination skill ( BWG Codex p335). I can see a lot of fun with not only Prison Circles, but also Fortress Circles, especially if it’s there to assist Folklore / Summoning?

What immediately pops to my mind is trying to create large Fortress Circles, although, looking at Folklore again, that might just do the job by itself with the Wards?

Big Wards (Folklore) / Fortress Circles (Circination), to keep populations safe, Prison Circles to try to hold in Something…

Your ideas of how to use Summoning/Bargaining sound like a lot of fun too!

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I’m not sure I agree with banishing being outside the color of Summoning. It fits to me, including Bargaining to appease the dead to stop haunting the place. I was about two steps away form just porting Sorcerer into Burning Wheel but I didn’t went to get too experimental for a game with new players to Burning Wheel (lol).

However, changing/expanding Bargaining services to include options like Banishment with probably strigitent requirements or at least having stronger consequences (things don’t want to leave the mortal world, so Prison Circles is highly recommended) is what I’m leaning towards and would prevent too much.

Part of the premise is that humanity is learning to survive without the Gods, and part of it is dealing with supernatural issues without relying on Faith. While Faith is powerful and effective, I honestly, am not a big fan of the system in play. It’s not to my taste for fantasy (I hate clerics), and usually I throw it out entirely or use Art Magic Schools to represent esoteric rituals/spells or make Faith dice work like Cash dice via sacrificing ritual (inspired by Glorantha - use the Ritual Skill to generate dice of Faith for a specific diety).

Ya! The interplay between Folklore and Summoning is one thing I’m very curious to see unfold, especially as local color is defined via Folklore. I could see Court Summoners holding a prestigious place in more metropolitan areas.

The game is a month or so, and I need to partly pre-generate characters to give new players an option (I am not walking through character burning online again, that’s killed enthusiasm more than once) - so some ideas might be sharpened or discarded too. I’ll probably lean towards a lighter touch until those aspects are brought to the fore.

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I’m reading along and pondering the options myself, but I wanted to add that we did a lot of work on Spiritual Conflicts in the Loremaster’s Manual for Torchbearer. Obviously not a 1-1 comparison, but they might be worth taking a look at!


Yeah, to me, Bargaining includes some element of, “[I brought you into the world.] If you’ll do this thing for me, you get to stay.” So there’s leverage playing into a spirit’s given desire to stick around. One of the reasons why I feel like banishing is off color for Summoning/Bargaining is that there isn’t that baseline incentive for the spirit. You’d have to come to the table woth something really juicy to get, say a daemon, to return to the Lake of Fire in the Plane of Unending Suffering, in my mind. It’s like Duel of Wits-ing someone to commit suicide.

Maybe if it’s a ghost with unfinished business or something – though, ironically, I might even let a simple Duel of Wits have those stakes if the circumstances were right.

Yeah! See? That makes me feel like leaving Banishment off the table is cool and thematic! “Oh, man, how do we banish this daemon?”
"Well, that’s the just it! You don’t. Priests used to be able to do it, but that was back when the Gods took an interest in Earth. Doesn’t it suck that we no longer have the power of Faith on our side? Now the best you can do is stuff it in a Prison Circle and hope.

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Perhaps instead of using Bargaining on the being you want to remove, you Banish by calling upon something else to drag them back. Brings in a joyous risk of ending up in hock to something worse.

You could even throw in some demonic groups as reputations, &c. if you wanted a whole hierarchies of hell thing.

Or have Summoning work on fragments of the dying gods, making it a way of forcing divinity to act rather than begging it as a priest would: if it works, awesome; if it doesn’t, your character just tried to chain a god.


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