I’m back to the idea of how to place modern ideas into a fantasy realm. This time - the internet. Come on, we all love watching action movies where the hacker is defeating systems and also acting like James Bond, even if we know that most hackers would be out of breath running to the refrigerator. (Sorry if that offends! It’s just a joke. Please don’t hack my web site! Actually, if you are a hacker and have an interesting tale, email it to me. I’m still trying to figure out how to handle hacking in my modern games.) Back to the topic.
What does the internet do? Well for me, it provides me nearly unlimited information. It allows other people to communicate across the world. There is actually a very close analogy - the spirit world. To my mind, summoning spirits allows access to centuries worth of history and thus knowledge. It’s great, because like the internet, you cannot always trust the person that is giving you the information. As for the sending messages, I guess you could have spirits do that too, but it is not as close an analogy.
So how does it work? Well, you do your ritual to summon a spirit, carefully choosing which spirit you want to talk to, and get your information form it. So only a few folks can do it. You generally need to be some manner of mystic, but in Legend Quest, you can rely on necromancers or spiritualists or witches. (Spiritualists and witches coming soon. We've been play testing them for years.) By the way - we are using the word spirit here to describe the spirits of the dead. Now learning is great, but hacking would be better.
What does hacking do? Well, it gives you information that people want hidden. But how? Well, the ghosts can do surveillance, both on the real world and on what the other guy is getting from other spirits. Knowing what the other guy is asking of the spirit world might just be the most important investigation available. Spirits might also be set up as a defensive screen; here they would more likely be blocking certain styles of spells, not directly benefiting anyone in the physical world? It would be kind of cool if the PCs tried to cast certain spells at a bad guy, but his spirit forces were able to block them.
If you go down this road, you might wind up having every bad guy needing his own spiritualist or fortune teller. My main campaign is practically there with every one having their own fortune tellers. As always with bringing modern ideas into a fantasy game, don’t get too bogged down in the analogy. Just use the idea and go with it. Forcing an idea to fit an analogy often makes you go too far or in the wrong direction. Still - I’m going to be expanding this analogy for my games. As I come up with better stuff, I’ll post it here.