Invocation is widely considered the most fundamental of shamanic disciplines, the one upon which all others build. At its heart, Invocation amounts to bringing another within, becoming other. An Invoker gains a firsthand, intimate comprehension of something else's place in the world, its nature and role and purpose for being; he knows his subject from the inside out. An Invoker takes on the Identity of what he Invokes, thinking and feeling and perceiving the world as it does; he may physically transform into his subject, and even make of himself a bridge between two subjects, such as a medicinal herb and a patient requiring treatment. Notably, Invocation is always focused and specific in application; it applies to a discrete concept and requires the central involvement of the shaman himself.

Learning Invocation

Invocation begins with knowledge of oneself. A trainee Invoker first takes up meditation and self-reflection, learning their own distractions and desires, teaching their mind to become quiescent and immersed in their environment. Mentorship is usually necessary to guide the trainee towards understanding, and to keep them persevering through their inevitable failures with meditation. Some practitioners prefer to use an hallucinogenic aid such as datura, salvia, or belladonna; such drugs both make the meditation easier and provide a ready means for ending it when the drug wears off, but have their own side effects and ultimately leave the shaman dependent upon a crutch to even perform Invocations. Others train themselves to enter the appropriate meditative state at will, but snap out of it upon a particular signal, usually audible in nature; however, that requires having a ready means to provide the signal, such as a convenient assistant.

When they are comfortable with meditation, the practitioner chooses a specific subject of study, for example a wolf, and observes it to learn its habits and nature — is characteristics, the environment it prefers, its relationships with other creatures and things. When they feel they understand their subject well enough, the Invoker will fast, meditate upon everything they know about their subject, and attempt to losing themselves in its identity. The first few Invocations should be undertaken with an assistant, often their mentor, who monitors the practitioner and provides what support they can, such as keeping them hydrated and trying to jar the trainee back into themselves if they seem to have gone too deep into their borrowed identity.

Success of the first Invocation is marked by the subsumption of the shaman's own identity and their natural senses; rather, they think and experience the world as their subject does. One who has Invoked a wolf would find themselves more attuned to sound and scent; they would go about on all fours, and feel the drive to hunt and chase. One who has Invoked a tree would sit unseeing, attuned to the warmth of the sun and the texture of the soil, listening to sounds passing by the leaves they didn't actually have. Notably, the first Invocations of any subject always have strictly mental and perceptional effects. With time and experience, the shaman learns to delicately balance their own identity with the identity that they Invoke, retaining just enough of themselves to remember their goals and appropriately terminate the Invocation.

Performing Invocation

An Invocation starts wit the shaman setting aside his own Identity. Invokers of low proficiency may need considerable time, a peaceful environment, or even a mind-altering drug to realize this state, while a highly proficient Invoker may set his self aside as easily as a set of clothes. The Invoker then builds the Identity pattern of his subject and pours his formless self into it. How readily he does so is again dependent on proficiency; Amateurs might need to iterate things they know about the subject in order to envision it, putting their subject together piece by piece, while a Master may have internalized his subject such that he can draw up the entire conceptual pattern with just its name.

An Invocation fails altogether if the shaman has not built a sufficiently detailed conceptual model of his subject, or if he fails to empty out his self. Such failures are simply exercises in meditation, and cause no harm. The same cannot be said of a success, as the truly tricky part of Invocation is the shaman's return to himself. The shaman must include in his model pattern a thread leading back to his own Identity, and the concept of a trigger that will remind him to revert. This may be the passage of time, a particular visual or audible cue, or upon an event; notably, simpler triggers are the most reliable. Even simple cues have a high incidence of failure, whether because the shaman did not build his trigger correctly or because his adopted Identity overrides or ignores it. Failure of this sort results in the loss of the shaman's natural Identity.

Mental Invocation

In a purely mental Invocation, the shaman takes on only the thoughts and behaviors of his subject, without changing anything about his physical form. Mental Invocations are the first method learned, as it is relatively easier to snap a lost Invoker back to himself when his physical aspect remains his own.

Mental Invocations lend themselves to any task where the shaman needs to think like or gain familiarity with something else. They can be used for predicting where to find quarry when hunting, for finding where a particular type of plant grows, to borrow an intuitive understanding of the care needed for a given animal or plant, to determine the properties of a given plant, to identify the characteristics and flaws of a material, and other similar tasks. Knowledge gained from a mental Invocation is inherently short-lived due to being borrowed from a different Identity; once that Identity is set aside, the information begins to dissipate from the shaman's mind much like a dream. Whatever the shaman learned can be spoken to others or otherwise recorded before that happens; however, in most cases, the intended application of the knowledge is immediate and it does not matter if it fades afterwards.

Physical Invocation

Note that these are complete transformations of mind and body; an Invoker who becomes a rock is a lump of rock, not a person with stone skin. Full transformation into a dispersible material, such as air or fire, is immediately fatal as the Invoker's own personal substance is lost and cannot be reconstituted.

Bridge Invocation

Bridge Invocations are complex, as the shaman must balance three Identities: his own, that of his Invoked subject, and that of his target.

Bridge Invocations lend themselves most readily to medical applications, allowing an Invoker to bypass physical treatments, directly target tissues for treatment, and continuously regulate dosage. One drawback is that unlike a physically applied medicine, the treatment ends when the Invocation does; however, persistent aftereffects still occur, such as the analgesic affect of willow, and treatment by Invocation can be done without the medicine being actually present, provided the Invoker has studied the relevant subject. Bridge Invocation can also be useful for tasks such as starting fires (Invoking fire and a piece of wood), applying dye to fabric (Invoking a dye-bearing plant and a piece of cloth), and others that take properties from one source and apply them to a target.

Partial Invocation

Proficient shamans may use a partial Invocation to leverage therapeutic (or toxic) traits from a subject upon themselves, such as Invoking fire to counter a chill environment, or Invoking the analgesic properties of willow.

Fields of Expertise

Invocation has one Expertise for each of the major techniques described above: Mental, Physical, Bridge, and Partial. In addition, Invokers may take one or more subject specialties which denote their most favored and practiced subjects; these may be floral, faunal, or inanimate substances. For living subjects, a subject specialty must be conceptually inclusive and reasonably specific, e.g. Oaks, Canines; typically plant specialties include all members of a genus, while animal specialties may operate at family level (for small, cohesive families) or at genus level (for more disparate families). Substance specialties include all materials under a given common label, for example Stone, Crystal, and Glass are discrete specialties.

Bridge Invocation may only be earned after either Mental or Physical Invocation. Partial Invocations may only be performed after taking a specialty Expertise, and only when Invoking subjects within one's specialty.

Notably, gaining an Expertise requires documenting the PC's study of their subjects as well as showcasing Invocation experiences.

Note: Individual Invocation subjects are not tracked, i.e. for all but partial Invocations, a player is free to use any subject the character may reasonably be familiar with. However, successful Invocation is strongly dependent on one's depth of knowledge about the subject; knowing an oak tree exists is not enough to Invoke it, one must understand the stages of its lifecycle, its symbioses and pathogens, the local ecology that it is part of, etc. Failure to account for this requirement will result in a subject tracking system being implemented and the use of Invocation curtailed accordingly.

Proficiency Levels


An Amateur Invoker spends most of his time in meditation and study. He becomes familiar with basic meditation techniques of a style that promotes inward focus and attention. Using meditation and introspection, he contemplates himself and his own Identity, and begins to get a very broad sense of his own nature. He also chooses some other subject of study and becomes familiar with its characteristics and behaviors, ideally throughout different times of year and different phases.

An Amateur is only capable of mental Invocation, taking on the psychology and behaviors of his subject — when he succeeds in Invocation at all. Whether in meditation or in actual practice of Invocation, an Amateur is plagued by distraction and loss of focus, and is apt to require many attempts before finally achieving success. Even then, that success can only be held for a matter of minutes. However, an Amateur is largely unlikely to face detrimental consequences for their Invocation attempts, as their own natural Identity remains strong.


A Professional Invoker is someone who has surpassed purely mental Invocations — the idea of Invoking — and realized the complete transformation of their Identity, mind and body, into something else. They are well-versed in the nature of their subject, understanding it from within on a very visceral level, and at understanding extends to closely related subjects as well. For example, a Professional with Fauna (Wolf) expertise can Invoke not only a wolf, but also other species in the same genus, though they are always most proficient in their first expertise. Subjects that are not related to their area of Expertise, they still have to study in detail before attempting a new Invocation.

For their advancements in skill, Professional Invokers pay with changes to their own nature — they become in some small way more like the subjects of their Invocations. The precise effect varies depending upon the shaman and upon his subjects of choice; it could manifest as a change in dietary preferences, affinity for sunlight or shade, preferences for open or enclosed spaces, a tendency to stillness and silence, a seemingly irrational fear, and many more things besides. Professional Invokers also have a small chance of losing themselves in their Invocations, but remain fairly likely to snap out or be snapped out by something around them.


- bridge invocation
- more mental changes
- modest chance of losing oneself

An Exceptional Invoker is able to serve as a "bridge" between their subject and another person, but only if the person shares the same racial heritage. In so doing, the Invoker is able to grant a single trait to the target person; typically this is a therapeutic effect from some herb or other medicine. The effect only lasts as long as the Invoker actively maintains it, though treatments with lasting aftereffects, such as analgesics, have their ordinary durations from the time the Invocation is terminated. Such Invocations must be undertaken with care, as the Invoker must juggle three Identities — his own, his patient's, and that of the Invoked subject — as well as monitoring the effects of the bridge in real time.


- direct invocation of others
- quick process, adept at new subjects
- alien thinking
- high chance of losing oneself


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