Totem Bearers are a type of person who has access to magical abilities by a special object, known as Magic Totems. These should not be confused with Magic Artefacts which are another type of mystical object as the method of use is different. Totems act as a source of magic magic whilst Artefacts help to channel a particular type of magic, thus a non-magic wielder can gain magical abilities with a Totem whilst, lacking the necessary skills would be unable to use an Artefact. Conversely a magic wielder could use both. Since Totems contain magic they grant the user far more power than using an Artefact which has to source magic from an external source. This means in the hands of a magic wielder any Totem can make them more powerful still. This means that they are often sought after by members of the magical community, particularly those with evil intent because they can never have enough power.
Totems are all formed the same way. Normally, upon the death of a Magic Wielder or Entity, magical energy is released and returns to either the light or dark realms, the two source of magic. Sometimes though that energy can become trapped inside an object, either accidentally or deliberately and when that happens a Totem is created. Two types of Totem exist, Benign, Active. Though named as such Avatar Totems behave differently and are more powerful still, hence are a different classification.
Benign Totems are always created upon the death of a human with magic skills, and their creation is usually deliberate, the Magic Wielder “transmitting” their last energy into an object. Usually the deceased would be some sort of magical protector and the Totem is created as a means to continue his or her legacy, allowing the protection to continue in the hands of a person not skilled in the use of magic. Since the death occurs by non-violent means these Totems all channel “light” magic.
Unlike Active Totems which contain a living essence, Benign Totems have no such “Soul” and in most circumstances can be used by anyone, good or evil. However when the Totem is created, at the moment of death the “creator” can place safeguards in place in the form of magical incantations to ensure only specific people can use the Totem afterwards or to be used in a particular geographical area.
Despite such safeguards, in the hands of a skilled magical wielder, usually one with evil intent, the protection can sometimes be bypassed and the Totem corrupted. Also of note is the fact that if an actual magic wielder is in possession of a Totem and is killed violently then the death can actually change an Benign Totem into an active Totem.
These are amongst the most powerful magical objects and are all created upon the violent death of a magic wielder or entity such as an Angel or Demon, but only when in the mortal realm. When death occurs in this manner, the magic being wielded is expelled suddenly and often contains remnants of that person or being’s soul, known as the living essence. If the magic returns to the light or dark realm’s uninhibited then the living essence enters the spirit realm. However, if the Magic and living essence becomes trapped in an object then an Active Totem is formed.
Unlike Benign Totems which have no living essence, an Active Totem by its very nature contains an intelligence. In most cases this intelligence can choose who to bestow its power upon, not unlike protection spells on a Benign Totem.
As well as being able to choose who to give its power to, an Active Totem has the means to influence its user. At close range it has the power of suggestion over the human mind and this is greatly magnified upon actually physical contact. Using its means to compel a human mind, a Totem can target specific individuals in turn to physically move from one place to another. This allows Active Totems to “find” a host that they consider either suitable for its needs or worth of its power, or both. Often when moving in this manner none of the people transporting the Totem are aware or its nature or that their thoughts are being manipulated.
Upon finding a host, an Active Totem can choose to reveal itself, by manifesting itself as an apparition that can only be seen by the wearer. This usually happens when an Active Totem chooses to willingly work with its host, when they have similar goals or drives. At other times an Active Totem, will simply choose to take over the host’s body. Skilled magic wielders and strong-willed individuals can resist this but those that are neither become victims. This is particularly true of Totems formed upon the death of evil magic users who see a host as a new means to live again.
Active Totems formed from users of light magic do not usually take over a host unless a situation calls for direct intervention. Instead the living essence tends to act like a tutor, a skills the Totem wielder in getting the most out of the power contained within.
Since active Totems have an intelligence they can choose to withdraw their power. However just as some Active Totems might choose to take over a host’s body, very strong magic wielders can actually force the Active Totem to comply to their wishes. In this way followers of light magic can sometimes wield dark magic Totems and dark magic wielders can use light Totems. Doing this though is not without risk for the Totem will do its best to corrupt the user as a means to free itself of forcible control. Unlike Benign Totems which can be corrupted through powerful magic, Active Totems cannot be corrupted. Trying to change a light magic Active Totem to a dark magic one simply forces the host and Totem apart not unlike like sided poles on a magnet.
Whether Active or Benign the magical power channelled by a Totem is normally the same specific magic that previously belonged to its original creator. For instance if the original creator of a totem specialised in nature, based magic then the Totem is imbued with that same power and it cannot be changed. Totems, like Magical Artefacts thus are “specialised” in a particular field of magic.
The only exception to this are Totems which have transformation capabilities. These literally transform the wearer into another, usually more powerful form. Such Totems were normally created by placing a “protection” spell on an object. This was often a fail safe by a wizard or mage who was charged with protecting something. If they failed, upon death their power would be imbued within an object. Transformation Totems have one disadvantage in they act like Active Totems and during each transformation can start to “modify” the psyche of the wearer. This makes it hard to transform back into their normal “human” guise.
All Totems can to a certain extent protect their users. Benign Totems do this via protection spells placed upon them at their time of creation. In the case of Active Totems, the living essence within fulfils this role and since it channels magic it sometimes has the means to limit the aging process of its host. Unlike Benign Totems though, a living essence though also has the option to withdraw its power and/or protection.
As all Totems channel magic, they are extremely difficult to destroy, particularly the Active ones which is one of the reasons the dark Totems are often simply hidden to prevent them falling in the wrong hands.