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Augury, Haruspicy, and Divination

    • 13 posts
    November 2, 2021 4:08 PM EDT
    Hello friends! So I'm working on a character in Skyrim that I intend to play a bit - a shaman type - and one of the quirks of the character is their reliance on divination to make decisions, a way to keep some of the personality in the typically mundane goings-on of gameplay.

    I currently have two ideas. The simpler one is Blood Reading: in a moment of simple choice selection or snap decision making, such as deciding a direction to go or option to pick, the diviner will simply use the pattern of bloodspatter to decide. Typically, this will require creating a new spatter near the point of decision. Any source will do. Usually the corpse of an animal is ideal, but humanoid corpses work, or even one's own blood if the situation necessitates. Get it any way you can, most easily with a simple stab at the body, but auto-exsanguination may require external aid such as a trap. Of course, followers are also chock full of the stuff! Just be careful not to be too demanding, they may not be so compliant the third retry. If things are really dicy or you just want to get going, you could of course try to read the bloodspatter from a nearby battle if possible. At its simplest, just go with whatever way it seems to "point," such as a long branch of spatter that stands out, or the nearest option to where the spatter lands, but of course feel free to try to read more into the signs!

    The more complex one: Bone Casting. This one requires a bit of set up, you will need a few items. Firstly, a respresentation of the self, or an indicator of some kind. This can be a doll, a gemstone or soul gem, a feather/quill, or a tool that represents the character well (be careful of using crafting materials for this purpose or the rest of this process - they can be consumed in the crafting process without you realizing it). Next, the omens/auspices. Collect various bits and bobs as you go, but be sure to assign a meaning or two to each one, and try to keep them relatively small if possible. I'll detail a few suggestions later. It may be most fitting to make sure all of your materials are natural ones, ideally animal parts and bones. Optionally, a basket, bucket, or kettle - a large basin to drop your materials into to cast them more effectively.

    The process of Bone Casting is simple:
    • before setting out on a leg of the journey, at the start of the day, or at the entrance to an area, do a reading.
    • Find a safe spot to do the reading, ideally away from enemies and in a place where you are unlikely to lose items or have them disturbed, such as a nice flat area. Place your container on the ground if you wish to use one.
    • Go into your inventory and select a small number of the objects which might be relevant to the upcoming situation or area, or randomly pick them if you have the means to do so. I suggest limiting this to no more than five items.
    • drop each of the selected items in front of you, one at a time. You should close your inventory after each item, so that they all drop in the same spot or end up inside your container.
    • drop your indicator/self item in the same spot after you have dropped all the other items.
    • if you used a container, you may try to lift it and shake it, but be wary of the physics engine. Tipping the items out may be more of a challenge than you expect, so simply picking up the container into your inventory may be the most effective way to "dump" the items.
    • look at how the items landed and where the indicator item landed as well. The closest item should have the most consideration in meaning. The rest of the items may be disregarded if you wish, or you may attempt to read how they are all arranged relative to each other.
    • don't forget to collect all your items! If you wish, you may discard the "main" auspice either by leaving it behind or disposing of it ritualistically, such as in a brazier, both to keep it from coming up again too soon and maybe even to have it come true.
    • you may do the reading multiple times if you wish, considering each result as it comes up or simply to find the result you think seems most interesting. It's an imprecise art. Discarding the "main" item for each repeated reading may also be done to make the results more dynamic.

    Of course, neither of these will ACTUALLY have any predictive power, but if you decide to do these, make sure to have them inform your character's decisions, even if you wouldn't otherwise make that choice in a normal playthrough. It's to add a bit of character personality to the choices, after all!

    Item ideas:

    • Feather/Quill: A situation that will require quick thinking OR a situation that you will need to escape from. Be wary.
    • Skull: a very dangerous situation, potentially fatal, but not necessarily to you OR a situation in which knowledge (or magic) will play an important role. Keep your wits about you.
    • Goat Horns: a situation in which hard work or skill will have great significance OR a conflict such as combat. Keep strong.
    • Horker Tusk: a situation that will have you face natural danger/the elements OR a situation in which Fire Frost or Shock will play a particular role. Resilience is key.
    • Antlers: the road will split, possibly in many different directions, and which you choose will have great consequences OR your success or failure in the near future will hinge upon how you represent yourself or how others perceive you. Beware the eye of the beholder.
    • Eyeball: Something evades your notice/lies hidden and awaits discovery OR someone or something will or is currently attempting to deceive you. You must have sight beyond sight.
    • Ear: Great wisdom will be given to you soon OR you are missing something that should be very obvious. Listen well.
    • Charcoal: great destruction lies ahead OR what has happened or is soon to come can give great energy for the task you must do. A heart of fire.
    • Doll: an innocent or someone for whom you are responsible will need protection or aid very soon OR innocence is the key, whether in action or in trust. Keep corruption at bay.
    • Ashes: You must not let others discover you or your true intentions OR your success will require the failure of another. Predators stalk the unwary.
    • Stone/Ore: Do not let the pressures ahead sway you from your goal OR be asured of your correctness, even in the face of doubt. Be unyielding.
    • Bones: the events of the ancient past will soon suddenly hold powerful importance OR evil or an enemy looms close, ready to strike at any moment. Remember well the lessons learned before.
    • Gems: great wealth or loss lies close ahead OR a situation will soon come to pass that can greatly change your fortune - for better or worse. Fortune is fickle.
    • Claws: you will soon be confronted by the potency of nature's will OR heed well the wisdom and might of beasts. Respect nature, mother of all.
    • Scales: great change will come, and you must emerge unscathed OR hardship will test your resolve. Like water over a Slaughterfish.
    • Chitin: disease or illness looms close OR you will need to overcome some ailment or deficiency to find success very soon. Illness is guaranteed, recovery is not.
    • Heart: Something significant will soon happen in romance, be it good or bad OR freedom from sufferig or ailment will soon find its way to you. Take heart.
    • Egg: Something you had planned or had been expecting will soon come to pass OR you will soon form a plan or lay the foundation for something to emerge later - make sure to protect this. Great change comes in small packages.

    I'm certainly open to more suggestions, whether for auspices and meanings, or of additional divination techniques!
    This post was edited by Krishahl at November 3, 2021 8:25 AM EDT
    • 47 posts
    December 18, 2021 4:10 PM EST

    Since Shamanism involve a practitioner who interact with the spirit world through an altered state of consciousness, i suggest you use a potion of damage magicka/stamina/health or skooma before casting the bones.