The moment that the world came into being, so to did the primal sprits. Primal spirits are aspects of nature that flow through the world and its inhabitants, they govern natural laws and the natural order of the world.
There is much debate about the origins of the primal spirits. Philosophers of a divine-bent say that the gods inadvertently created the primal spirits when they imbued the mortal world with permanence. Some divine scholars even go so far as to say the gods created the primal spirits to serve as guardians to the mortal races. the truth most likely lies in the belief of those people whom the primal spirits are like kin; they believe that the primal spirits arose sontaneously by creating themselves. While the gods are beings of thought, idea and emotion; given form by the elements; and the primordials are beings of force and elemental power, given life by the astral mists; primal spirits are the perfect reflection of the world, being spirits comprised equally of astral and elemetal power. The druids and shamans that make these claims believe that together the primal spirits are the mortal world's soul.
The following is an account of primal power as told by a scholar who follows the spirit way. When the gods discovered the mortal world, the primal spirits had already been long at work, creating and governing the forces that would hold the world together. As the titans toiled away on the surface of the world they never saw the primal spirits, much less interacted with them. The gods on the other hand immediatley saw these great spirits and took inspiration from them.
The Primal Beast insired the gods to make animals in his image, and just as every god saw him differently so did these creations become different animals. Lolth based the forms of the first spider after the primal spirit Fate Weaver. This same primal spirit also wove the threads that tie the fates of the Feywild, the Mortal world and the Shadowfell all together. Some gods modified the laws the spirits had set in place and some became one with the places in which the spirits dwelled. Melora fell in love with the deep woods and the deep waters and became as kin to the many primal spirits.
Not all tales of the primal spirits are ones of creation and inspiration though. During the Dawn War, primal spirits protected the mortal races from the fury of the gods and the primordials alike. Many primal spirits fought alongside the gods, and some opposed both side of the conflict. After the end of the dawn war, the goddes Kahla started the War of Winter, and while the gods fought her in the Astral Sea the primal spirits destroyed her forces in the world. When the side of righteousness was victorious the gods looked upon the world to claim their prize, only to see that it had been claimed by the spirits. The primal spirits decreed that no force, immortal or elemental could lay claim on the world. The decreed that the world would forever remain a neutral ground; ruled by the forces of life and death and the constant change of seasons. The gods, who were still weakened by two wars and unwilling to destroy the world to spite the spirits, agreed and a pact was made. In all the uncounted years since the end of the dawn wars the decree of the primal spirits has held strong.
The Primal SpiritsEdit
The primal spirits are guardians of the world and figures of change. they inhabit everything in the mortal world from the talest mountain to the smallest stream. The primal spirits are venerated by nomadic tribes and isolated peoples; anyone who interacts with nature in order to survive. The primal spirits are not worshiped in the same way as the gods or even like the cults of various non-divine entities; instead the primal sprits are treated like friends, family members and allies. Small offerings are made to the spirits and they are called upon in times of need, but unlike the fearful sacrifices the religious make, the offerrings made to the primal spirits are more akin to gifts.
Anyone can hear the spirits if they try, but few excell at it, those who do sometimes sequester themselves in order to learn more about the world around them and to learn about the beats within, these hermits usually become Druids, Protectors or Sentinals. Others are naturally gifted with a sight that lets them see the spirit world around them, and sometimes the people become bonded to a particular spirit for a vareity of reasons, these people are usually held in high regard and are treated as Shamans of tribal communities. Sometimes people will not be aware of the the primal power they possess, these people do not go seeking primal power, but it is instead drawn to them because of a particular traight, their veneration of nature or because of their innate ferocity, these people usually become, Scouts, Hunters, Barbarians or Berzerkers. Some people are trained in the spirit way, learning to evoke the primal sprits in amazing and terrible ways, these people are tasked with protecting the natural world or in some cases avenging it, these people are Wardens and Seekers.
Almost all primal spirits are local spirits. Local spirits inhabit a particular geographical region. These regions can be as small as a lake or forest, or as large as an ocean or continent. The local spirits can inhabit a particular landmark such as an ancient oak tree or a type of animal that hunts in the region. Most primal tribes venerate the spirits of their region and know how to differentiate between a normal geographical feature and the home of a mighty spirit.
The veneration of ancestors is a common component of the spirit way, particularly in a tribal context. Ancestor spirits are not literal paranormal spirits, or even the soul of a deceased ancestor. A person's ancestor spirits are found within themselves and someone attuned to the spirit way can call upon their ancestors for advice and help. Sometimes ancestor spirits can become local or even Great Elder spirits.
The Great EldersEdit
For most followers of the spirit way, local spirits and direct ancestors are the most important primal spirits, treated as members of their immediate family. Most primal evocations call upon these lesser spirits. However greater spirits do inhabit the world, these spirits are referred to as the Great Elders. They are seen as being the wisest and oldest of all the spirits, they are mighty beings whose power flows through the whole of the world. No elder spirit in omniscient or all-powerful, but then again, there is a reason why the decree of the primal spirits has never been contested by the gods.
A great spirit of water in motion, stongest around rivers and waterfalls. Those who commune with Always Falling find it is easier to learn of a location's various local spirits because Always Falling interacts with all water spirits and anything that interacts with water. It is said the spirit as met everyone worth meeting.
An elder spirit dedicated to maintaining harmony between diseparate tribes. She is regarded as a force of innovation amongst followers of the spirit way and new primal traditions are usually acredited to her. In her name friends of differnt famalies, tribes or races somtimes adopt each othr as "blood cousins", pledging cooperation and support amongst eachothers people.
It is said that Blood Cousin was an ancestor spirit before she became a Great Elder and that in her mortal life she was a barbarian. It is because of this that barbarians believe she favors their kind. It is said that Blood Cousin was born and reborn as several different races during her many lives before becoming a primal spirit and that during each life she taught her people in each various tribe that they could welcome newcomers into the tribe without weakening it or disturbing the ancestor spirits.
Carver lives in the final moments of each wave as it breaks upon the shore. His name is evoked far from the ocean though, because he represents the ceaseless power of nature as it carves the world into its ever-changing shape. Coastal tribes count Carver as a symbol of bounty and change because the ocean is constantly wearing away the land even as it supplies sustenance and casts its treasures on the shore.
Wardens and barbarians are often drawn to Carver because of the spirit's subtle combination of power and grace.
The Deep Winds Edit
The Underdark was never shaped by the migh of the gods and never blessed by the everflowing primal spirits. Those lands are still made from the raw material of elemental creation and as such the primal spirits hold no sway in the kingdom of He Who Crawls. There are large swatches of the Underdark that were pulled down by the King that Crawls and others that fell in during the Dawn War. It is because o the presence of these lands that The Deep Winds live. This spirit is a collective of various lesser spirits that is revered by the rare followers of the spirit way that call the Underdark their home. The Deep Winds flow strongest in the shallows but they can be found along the King's Highway and sometimes flow along the paths of mighty primal heroes that find themsleves in the inhospitable land. Unlike the ageless great spirits of the surface world, individual spirits of the Deep Winds become lost and perish in the Underdark's ancient labyinth tunnels.
Some followers of the sprirt way are migratory, staying constantly on the move and subsist only on what nature has to offer. Earth Wheel provides for these tribes, offering boutiful food to substain them on their journeys. When these tribes are in harmony with Earth Wheel's turning, their travel becomes part of the area's natural pattern. With the spirits of that area in harmony, whole fields of berries, herbs and fuits ripen just in time for the arrival of the tribes that depend upon them.
Most primal spirits of flame are young. They burn bright for a time, then flicker away to be replaced by new spirits. But not all flame spirits are so ephemeral. EverFlame is an ancient flame spirit who has taken on a unique protective role. This guardian spirit ensures that great fires blaze strongly enough to eventually burn themselves out.
This great elder is also referred to as Grandmother Spider. Those who face great challenges or have to deal with a perilous or uncertain future call upon her as Fate Weaver. Those who are content with their prospects or those who are intent to look at the future through an optimistic lense think of her as Grandmother Spider. Aside from her role in weaving the webs of fate, she is also a protective spirit and is often called upon by shamans who know the evocations, Fate Weaver's Shield and Tentridls of the Fate Weaver.
Fate Weaver i said to have spun the webs that hold the planes together, keeping the Feywild and the Shadowfell closly linked to the world. It is for this reason that events in the world often echo in these two parallell planes, and that the spirit bond of primal characters can be called upon in these other planes. Travelers who understand Fate Weaver's web patterns can use he strands of her web to cross inbetween worlds.
It is believed in legend that Gnaw is the mibegotten offspring of the Primal Beast and Whisper. In these legends Gnaw clawed its way free from Whisper's womb and Whisper cast it away, sickened by what she had brought into being. Having never known a mother's love and being driven by the same primal hunger that powers the Primal Beast as a force of violence, Gnaw exists at the edges of the spirit world, always creeping and crawling, living off of the scraps left behind by the other spirits.
As the primal spirit of scavengers, eaters of the dead and creeping things, Gnaw revels in twitching corpses alive with vermin, in the sound of carrion flies buzzing and the screech of the vulture.
Primal people appease this dark spirit by offering viscera, burning their dung, and by cowering before dawn in hopes of keeping his killing presence at bay.
An extended group of female ancestor spirits. They are treated as a single elder spirit because almost all tribes who folow the spirit way call upon them with the same name, and because the grandmother spirits of any one tribe are capable of sharing information and memories from any other tribes grandmother spirits. The Grandmothers are on good terms wih most other ancestor spirits but are often at cross-purposes with Old Grandfather.
This spirit is a powerful warrior and protector sprit who defends the world with the ferocious might of a she-ber protecting her young. The common folk think fondly of Great Bear, and they show a certain fondness for those things that share her form (except for the owlbear). For those who respect Great Bear, hunting a bear is undertaken only with humility and the proper sacrifices. However defending yourself from a wild bear's unprovoked attack is a nonissue.
During pregnancy and childbirth, some mothers call on ancestor spirits or gentler spirits of water and earth. However, sometimes the spirits tell an expectant mother that the child she bears is destined to become a great hero. These mothers are inclined to call upon Great Bear to ensure that their offspring follow in the protector's path to defend the world from harm.
A vast number of shaman's learn to channel the power of Great Bear with regularity, becoming Bear Shamans and often evocating a power called Great Bear Guardian. Some go further and become full-fledged Great Bear Shamans. Druids call upon Great Bear when the evocate Roar of Terror and Barbarian call upon this spirit when they fall into a Clawed Ancestor Rage.
Great Current is not a singular entity but a collection of ancient water spirits who live throughout the entirety of the ocean. Great Current moves the deep waters of the ocean and is considered a provider and protector to tribal peoples who call the islands their home.
Great Watcher is an enigmatic formless primal spirit who is said to to see and hear evrything that takes place on the surface of the world. She carries the winds of change across the world and is an harbinger of autumn. Shamans often call upon her because she is known to bring omens and signs of the future to those that know how to watch for them.
Great Watcher is revered for her insight and prescience and she advocates detachment and balance from any who would call upon her. The evocation Great Watcher Spirit can be evoked in order to grant a bit of Great Watchers insight to mortals and some shamans can become champions of Great Watcher, which are called Season's Heralds.
The Hunter TwinsEdit
The Hunter Twins were a mortal brother and sister who would have been born just before the Dawn War. While still in the womb, they realized that if they were both born it would surley kill their mother, so in order to save her the struck a deal which proclaimed that one of the two would be born and the other would slip their spirit into the world to take the form of various animals that the other sibling could hunt; then when the mortal twin died they would swith places in a constant cycle of birth death and rebirth. Sure enough when one of the twins was born, it quickly became the greatest hunter on earth, and never had to hunt far for bounty and so the twins have taken turns as hunter and hunted for all time.
Depictions of the hunter twins typically show a male whereing an antlered headdress alongside a she-wolf or a female barbarian wearing a wolf skin, accompanied by a mighty elk.
Hunter of WinterEdit
In the form of a great white tiger, the Hunter of Winter is said to hunt in the eye of great blizzards and ice storms. Some try to channel the power and grace of this elder spirit while others ask it to drive prey to them, to provide food in scarce locals and in the depths of winter.
Barbarians can channel the elder spirit using the evocation White Tiger Rage.
The Monster Slayers are a group of heroic ancestor spirits that warriors and heroes of all tribes look up to and claim as their own. When a primal child turns his or her eyes to the threats of the wide world, parents remember Monster Slayer ancestors and support the child's dream of adventure. The Monster Slayers represent heroes who fight for the security and preservation of the world.
Old Grandfather claims to be the first ancestor spirit - a bttered and embittered mortal who endured a hard life and death and who has never stopped complaingin about both. Old Grandfather is much less helpful than other ancestor spirits, most of whom are dedicated to maintaining dignity and respect for their family lines. As a result, no group, or tribe claims a connection to him.
In truth, Old Grandfather's original race is long extinct, which inspires his role as a sort of ancestoral gadfly for clans and tribes across the world. Fortunately, his spirit can't be everywhere at once, and most folk have learned that the better Old Grandfather is treated, the sooner he tires of having nothing to complain about and moves on.
The Thri-kreen believe that Old Grandfather, or as the call him Sand Father created them. They say that when the world was young, Sand Father looked aceross the vast deserts of the world and seeing that they were so empty, plucked a desert beetle from the sand and made the first Thri-kreen. Realizing that they would need more than just a hard shell to protect themselves he gave the Thri-kreen the wisdom of the lizard and the cunning of the desert fox.
The Primal BeastEdit
The Soul SerpentEdit
A great snake said to guard the Gate of Dreams. The Soul Serpent has gleaming iridescent scales and glowing eyes which constantly shift color with its everchanging mood. Mortals who pass through this gate become like dreams and can freely see and interact with the primal spirits. Some primal evocations draw spirits through the gate and give them physical form for a time. The Souls Serpant watches over these passages, coiled in a perpetual state of watchful dreaming.
The evocation Form of the Soul Serpent allows warden to call on the Soul Serpent's power.
A great elder spirit that goes by many names. Whisper is a capricious trickster spirit who is known to play tricks on dieties, primordials, mortals and other elder spirits.
The World HealerEdit
After the Primal Pact banished the Gods and Primordials from the world, the World Healer moved across the surface of the earth like a gentle wind. Where once untamed primordial energy had warped the world back into its raw elemental state, the World Healer reshaped and repaired it. Where divine power had scorched the world, consuming forest in fire and drying up oceans with schorching light, the World Healer restored life and health to the injured land. Even now, the World Healer helps the world recover from tragedy and devastation, reinforcing the natural cycle of rebirth and renewal.
Shamans can sometimes evoke the mightiest powers of healing by calling upon the World Healer with the evocation Spirits of the World Healer.
One of the best known Primal Spirits, known by even those who have no other knowledge of the spirit way. The World Serpent is a being of great power, capable of producing earthquakes and being able to drag land into the underdark.
The World TreeEdit
The most ancient primal sprit of the forest. The World Tree is closely associated with Tree Father but they are not one in the same spirit. The roots of the World Tree extend to the foundation of the earth, circulating life and primal power throughout the whole of the world. Some shamans say that the World Tree is not an aspect of the world like most primal spirits but the spirit of the world itself, the entire creation, its interconnected inhabitants and balanced environments.
Those of a divine bent claim that Corellon planted the World Tree. Fanatic followers of Tree Father claim that it was he who planted the first tree, but those who are well versed in the spirtwaty say that Tree Father and Corellon working together plucked seeds from the World Tree and planted the fiorst forests of the worlds together.
The World Tree can not be called upon by normal fllowers of the spirit way, for it is the mightiest of all spirits, being the spirit of the world itslef. Only World Tree Guardians have the power to evoke its name.