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Inspired by Stranger Tides (the book by Tim Powers), I've decided to make juju magic a theme of my shcakles campaign. Below is a bit of campaign background that I thought others might be interested in.
Not all Golarion souls travel to the Outer Sphere upon death. The souls of ancestor worshippers often linger in the material plane. One of the strangest and most-developed ancestor worship systems is the Juju magic of Garund.
The spirits of Juju initiates stay near the place they died, usually in the ethereal plane. (Incidentally, this is why juju initiates fear dying away from their homeland, particularly at sea.) A few spirits become ghosts, but most lack the ability to manifest. These spirits are called "ombers" or "drogues." A typical omber cannot manifest in the material plane, but may be able to influence the material plane in a small way. For example, many juju sorcerors "cast" spells by invoking a particular omber attached to the sorcerer.
Ombers are not static. An omber that is not fed with sacrifice and veneration, will slowly fade away. Contrariwise, some ombers grow in power and status. The most powerful are known as "wendos" or "loas." These spirits are able to manifest many different effects over long distances. However, wendo are usually willful, requiring very particular rituals to get their attention and help. For example, Baron Samedi likes the colors black and red, and is attracted by smoldering fires. By their very nature, wendo have warped, inhuman personalities.
Wendos tend to be regional, with their power fading over distance. Like humans, wendos often organize themselves into groups, based on their region or theme. Some of the most well-known wendos in the Shackles are listed at the end of this text. The most well-known wendos tend to be powerful, but it can be difficult to capture their attention. Most juju wendifa have a more personal connection with a handful of ombers or lesser wendos.
In practice, Juju tends to be syncretic, incorporating bits and pieces of more established and universal religions into their rites; many juju wendifa even identify wendos with particular gods. However, most organized churches view juju as strictly heretical, and work hard to keep the taint of juju outside the faith. The wendifa say that this is because the distant gods are jealous of souls, and have lost touch with humanity.
One of the distinguishing features of juju magic is the use of fetishes. Juju fetishes are charms with finite lifespans, created for the purpose of aiding or harming the possessor, and bound to a particular omber. Many fetishes take the form of ensorcelled pouches about half the size of a human hand, made of skin or leather and containing bones, vegetable matter, stones, spices, broken pottery, hair, blood, grave dirt, and other such ingredients. The exterior may be dyed, or strange scratches may be worked into the surface. On occasion, some other item may be sewn onto the surface, such as the severed foot of a chicken tied with colored ribbon, or a frog’s leg bone etched with strange patterns.
Well-Known Wendos in the Shackles
Baron Samedi (Lord Saturday). One of the most powerful wendo in the Shackles, Baron Samedi is pictured as a black man in formal clothing (including a tophat) with a skull's head. His concern is death, undeath, and protection from death, as well as lust, lewdness and obscenity. He has no weapon, but is attracted by the colors black and red, by smoldering fires, tobacco, blood and by rum steeped with hot peppers.
Brigette. Brigette is depicted as a woman, often dressed in black, and carrying gold or dice. Her concern money, luck and black magic. She is said to be the wife of Baron Samedi and is very subtle. She has no weapon, but her colors are black, gold and purple. She is attracted by scattering gold dust, dice (either loaded or not), bones and bonemarrow and the sacrifice of black goats or chickens.
Donma Goko. Donma Goko is relatively unusual among the wendo because her location is not a secret. She manifests at Ongongte Overlook on Mgange Cove. Donma is a companion to Mfuello. Her concern is with weather, the sky and travelling over water. Her weapon is a blackened knife. Her colors are black with white or silver decoration, and she is attracted to the ripping of wet, black felt and tarnished silver.
Ezulie. Ezulie is a relatively new wendo, who gained much of her power by tricking and devouring an older female wendo. Her concern is fertility, love and lust, but also deceit, trickery and treachery, and somewhat paradoxically, virginity and purity. She is depicted either as a fat, dark woman with exaggerated sexual characteristics or as a demure, mulatto girl. Her weapon is a tooth. She is attracted by the colors green, red and yellow, by fruits, and acts of sexual congress.
Maitre Carrefor (Master Crossroads). Maitre Carrefour is the master of crossings, gates and obstacles, and by extension the barrier between the material and spirit worlds, as well as the barrier between life and death. Many wendifa invoke him before contacting any other wendo. He is depicted as an old man in a sitting position. His concern is with spirits, magic, planar travel and death. His weapon is a baton, his color is white and he is attracted by intricate, four-sided patterns, opium and incense. Sometimes, he is also associated with elephants.
Mfuello the Journeyer. Mfuello is a powerful but distant wendo originating from the interior of Garund. His primary concern is overland travel, and thus is not often invoked in the Shackles, except in concert with Domma Goku. His weapon is the shortspear, and he is attracted by red and brown dust in alternating lines.
Ogoun. Also known as the warrior. Ogoun is thought of as straightforward and effective. Ogoun is concerned with combat, fire and smithing. His weapon is a machete, cutlass or any other iron weapon and his colors are red, black and gray. He is attracted by lava, volcanoes, rum steeped in gunpowder or charcoal, and blood.
Profonomme (Deep Man) This wendo is always depicted as a drowned man with white skin and empty eyes. He is concerned with ocean depths, storms (especially the Eye of Abendigo), drowning, secrets and lost hopes. Juju sailors will always start a journey by throwing gold or copper overboard at the beginning of a journey. His colors are blue and blue-green, and he is attracted by treasure thrown overboard, especially gold and verdigris copper, empty bottles, and squids or octopus.
Serpe Roy (Snake King). Also known as the wise brother, this is a very powerful but distant wendo originating from the interior of Garund. He is said to be extremely ancient, perhaps even pre-dating the presence of humans in Garund. Serpe Roy is concerned with knowledge, illusion and mind-control. His colors are green or a rainbow of colors. His weapon is the quarterstaff, and he is attracted by snakes, especially by cobras and snakes eating roosters, and poisons.