GURPS Vampire Werewolf and Mage

The dark fantasy series The World of Darkness, created by the White Wolf Game Studio and adapted to GURPS, depicts a contemporary Earth beset by supernatural forces. Superficially, there are many resemblances between that setting and the world of the Shadow War, which may lead GMs and players to try to combine the two. Before doing so, however, it would be best to decide how the underlying principles behind the two settings fit each other. Of the themes of the World of Darkness, GURPS Vampire...

Dream Travel

Spirits do not sleep or dream themselves, but they can enter the dreams of a living person, or become material in the dream world (see p. 20). In either case, the spirit becomes solid and bound to the physical laws of that realm. Entering and leaving a dream or the dream world requires a Will roll and costs 1 Fatigue. When inside a person's dream, the spirit can communicate with the dreamer, and even alter the elements of the dream to suit its purposes, but nothing the spirit can do in a dream...

Minor Manifestation

Move Dodge 7 8 Fatigue 40 Moderate Manifestation ST 30 IQ 16 Move Dodge 8 9 Fatigue 80 Major Manifestation ST 50 IQ 20 This Gnostic spirit is a powerful guide and a favorite of mystics studying and meditating to gain higher Levels of Initiation. Sometimes the god's manifestations engage in metaphysical challenges with Initiates in the dream world. Abraxas is most often invoked in protection and divination rituals, and his symbols appear in protective amulets and mystic symbols. The seven Greek...

Haiti and The Shadow

Haiti is an unlikely but very powerful focal point of the Shadow War, for mystical reasons. The island is the poorest and least educated land of the Western Hemisphere, a stark legacy of slavery and colonialism. Yet as the most powerful center of Voodoo, the island's influence is totally disproportionate to its size and population. Some of the most powerful Initiates in the world dwell on isolated hills, living in primitive conditions as they work rituals that can affect whole continents. As a...

Magic in The Shadow

The system described in Chapter 3 attempts to depict magic as many cultures, from native American animists to European witches to Voodoo priests, think it works. Unlike sword-and-sorcery magic, with fireball-tossing wizards and spectacular effects, the magic of the Shadow War is usually quieter, less obvious and harder to identify as supernatural. Voodoo magic (like other mystic systems such as European witchcraft) has two elements applying one's will to determine the outcome of events, and...

Divination and Predestination in the Shadow

One of the most common powers attributed to mystics and sorcerers is the ability to foretell the future. Voodoo practitioners are no exception. They use several divination rituals (see p. 77). In the Shadow War setting, however, the future at least for Initiates is not fixed or immutable. Most people are the victims of random chance only a few select beings are masters of their own destinies, able to affect probability. What this means in the game is that divination attempts that deal with...

GURPS Cyberpunk and Cyberworld

The Shadow War is a dark fantasy setting. Placing it in the dark future of cyberpunk is easy, and may add even more excitement into a campaign. Initates not only have to worry about evil spirits there are the cybered-up street gangs that control the drug trade, the megacorps, who may know more than they are saying, and a savage, disintegrating world that is driving the Mayombe and other Dark Gods into a feeding frenzy. A cybered-up street samurai can match a Spirit Warrior or even an...

Psionics in the Shadow

Psionics, as described in the GURPS Basic Set and GURPS Psionics, can be used more or less freely in the world of GURPS Voodoo. Initiates of the Third Level and up are effectively psis, due to the Empathy advantage and their intuitive, almost pre-cognitive abilities. Psis can be viewed as following an alternate path of Initiation, and can become active participants in the Shadow War. To assimilate psis into the setting, a few rules on the interactions between psionics and the spirit world...

Karmic Ties Variable

Reincarnation has a place in the Voodoo cosmology (see the sidebar on p. 23). Many Voodoo practitioners believe that there are many elements to the soul, and that at least some of them are reincarnated. Some people are connected by their karma the freight of good and bad experience from past lives. Karmic ties create instant liking or dislike for a stranger, regardless of reaction rolls. Such a person should be evaluated as a Dependent, Ally, Patron or Enemy, whichever seems appropriate. A...

The Ancient Gods

The most powerful loas are the deities of the Voodoo pantheons. There are many types of Voodoo gods the gods of Haitian Voudoun have different names and properties than the orishas of Santeria, but they share the same traits. Each of these gods has control over certain elements, emotions and powers the sorcerer or priest has to choose which deities to invoke in the preparation of his rituals. The gods of Voodoo do not easily fit into categories of good and evil. They can be invoked to bring...

Protection3

This protection ritual can redirect an attacking hostile ritual. Two rolls are involved, one to fix the protection ritual on the subject, and another to resist the first hostile ritual directed at him. If the Reversal ritual wins a Quick Contest of skills, the hostile ritual affects its caster as if he had been the subject. Some Voodoo bizongues call this ritual Curse Mirror, and cast the ritual on a charm, usually a mirror. Only one blessed mirror can be carried at the time. The ritual works...

Roleplaying Rituals

The actual steps of a ritual are mechanistic, even boring. GMs should emphasize the occult significance of rituals, rather than the process itself. The ritual connects the Initiate to the spirit world, opening a window into the supernatural. When the ritual works, it translates participants to an altered state of consciousness. Strange things can occur while the ceremony is conducted this is particularly true of more powerful or intricate rituals. Sometimes the magician sees images from the...

Past Lives

The character was an Initiate in a past life, and a brush with the supernatural awakened the subconscious abilities of his previous incarnation. This requires the Reawakened advantage (see p. 55). The Initiate can pick a number of abilities and rituals retained through reincarnation. The GM will have to determine how much knowledge the Initiate's previous self had to learn more, the Initiate will need to seek teachers. Calling on the powers of past lives also will bring the older personality to...

Shaman Witch

Besides the houngans and mambos (see p. 50), Initiates from other traditions are also involved in the Shadow War. Non-Western mystics include native American shamans, Buddhist holy men, and Gypsy sorcerers. Wiccan witches, although loosely associated with the Lodges through the Servants of Hecate (see p. 28), can also be considered independent. All these Initiates can take sides in the conflict or stay neutral. More information on those magical traditions will be provided in future supplements...

The Royalist Lodge

As its name indicates, the Royalist Lodge believes in monarchy and the superiority of noble bloodlines. This Lodge first appeared in the early Middle Ages, when the Roman Empire collapsed as a result of civil strife partly caused by Lodge rivalries and barbarian invasions. Many Initiates, isolated from their peers, became advisors and ministers of the Germanic kings who took over most of Europe. By the 12th century, these Initiates had become the force behind the royal houses of the continent....

Joshua Carson Spirit Warrior

Mid-twenties 5'11, 175 lbs. black, athletic, brown eyes, very short black hair and a trimmed beard. His chest and back are crisscrossed with knife scars, the result of torture see below . ST 12 20 IQ 13 30 Basic Speed 6.25 DX 13 30 HT 12 20 Move 7 Initiation Fourth Level 70 Patron Loa Lords, on a 9 or less 25 Reputation 2 local gangs 5 Addiction Cigarettes -5 Code of Honor Pirate -5 Duty Loa Lords -15 Social Stigma Minority -10 Hides his gentle nature behind a tough guy facade -1 Hates drugs...

Conducting Rituals

Most rituals and ceremonies have five separate steps see below , each designed to focus the will of the caster. The more advanced Initiates can eliminate some or most steps from a ceremony and still make it effective, but most magicians who take such shortcuts risk having the ritual fail or backfire. Different schools of magic change the elements or the exact order of each step, but for the most part they are always present. Repetition is an important element of most ceremonies. The same...

Drug Lords

Spell Rich

The illegal drug trade produces billions of dollars in revenue every year, more than the total budget of many a small country. Most of that money ends up at the top of the criminal food chain, in the hands of the drug lords. The heads of Colombian drug cartels, the crime bosses in the U.S. and the Caribbean, and the smugglers from Jamaica, Haiti and Panama are millionaires or billionaires with enormous influence. Unknown to the press and the authorities, however, a force behind these drug lords...

The Protectors

These Initiates operate mostly in the U.S. and Canada. They are the sons and daughters of Haitian or Cuban emigrants who have knowledge of Voodoo theology and a Western education and world view, and they have combined the two in ways that often anger traditional Voudounistas. The Protectors concentrate on the fight against the Corruptors. Their goal is to clean up the slums of North America and to mend the ills of the Caribbean islands. Their weapons are Voodoo rituals, Initiate powers and...

The Dahomets

Voodoo Mayombe Monster

During the 1810s, shortly after the Haitian revolution, the self-styled King Henry Christophe imported a number of African warriors from the Kingdom of Dahomey to act as his personal bodyguard. These Royal Dahomets used their war skills and their supernatural powers to subdue Christophe's enemies. The Royal Dahomets disappeared from history books in the year 1820, when Cristophe committed suicide and his kingdom ceased to exist. In reality, however, the Dahomets remained a powerful presence in...

Voodoo in Everyday Life

Leonora crossed herself twice more, gathering her courage. The santero had clearly described what she needed to do if she wanted to end the curse. She shuddered. Mr. Gonzales was a barrister as well as a santero, and his advice to her in legal matters had always been impeccable. She had never sought his services as a santero, though what use did she have for love philters and charms Her looks and her natural charisma had gotten her all the attention she could ever want. And perhaps her looks...

Santeria and Macumbe

All Symbols For Santeria

Santeria is common throughout Latin America, especially in areas with a large black or mulatto population, like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil. The Voodoo forms that appeared in Spanish and Portuguese areas are different from French Voudoun, due to the nations and cultures that influenced them. Santeria and Macumbe are a product of Yoruba beliefs combined with Spanish Catholicism. The Yoruba and Dahomey kingdoms were often at odds in Africa, and their religious...