Working with the dead is like working with parolees: the authorities do not want them to roam around into places they have no business going, but sometimes they slip by just the same, assisted at times by those up to no good. Which is where you come in. Once you have got a hold of a ghostly presence and have boosted it up to something you can work with, it is the same process you know so well to bend them to your will, whether you play upon their guilt, vanity, greed, or other qualities: one of base salesmanship. With any luck, you will then have a hideous relic from beyond the grave which will serve you well through many campaigns without turning on its creator.
- Get a piece of your candidate. Look for something which is imbued with the psychic energy of your target. With someone close to you (an ex-henchman, for instance), this can be as simple as rummaging through their old sock drawer, with famous people of yesteryear a specialized search engine might be in order. Bear in mind that the spirit you draw out of the token will have access to all of the dead individual's memories and experiences at the time it last was associated with them, so if all you can score is Hitler's pacifier, all you will end up with after you are done will be the spirit of a (probably) disagreeable child.
- Turn up the trace. Once you have a good sample, simply amplify the waves enough to have a stable reconstruction of the person. As in so many endeavors of this sort, you may need alien tech or occult influences, along with a reliable source of cheap energy and a complete disregard for what is sacrosanct.
- Make the pitch. Here's is where you employ your people skills of reading fundamental motivations and values. With spirits who are basically good, you can try convincing them that this second stint on Earth provides them a loophole they can commit bad acts they have always wanted to do and still go unpunished. With the bad ones, you might sell the thrill of doing what is forbidden without adding to their punishment, or what amounts to a chance to escape eternal boredom. If you have done your homework as to their backstory, remind them of unfinished business they can attend to once they have satisfied your requirements. If you are able to get to them before they actually pass away, you can fall back on the old standby, trickery: get them to agree to extremely poorly written contracts obliging them to service after their bodily demise.
- Enjoy. Now you have a minion who cannot claim illness or existential fear as valid reasons to refuse one of your commands, and who owes his or her second stint in our world to you alone. If that does not give you a few ideas of what to do next, then just maybe you need to rethink this evil villain career path one more time.
Strokes of genius
- The body question. Body or no body? Mental aspect only: only the mind/soul/spirit, not the bodily appearance. Reanimate a corpse or charm a living person and insert the mind temporarily/permanently, easier than working with the disembodied. but you can have the spirit of a warrior in the body of a toddler, does not have the trappings. Bodies without spirit (zombies) make good receptacles unless you need them for some other nefarious scheme. When you are just testing out your gadgets prior to exercising them on your real target soul, you might wish to speed things up by providing the soul only a terminal interface or, even more simply, a Captain Pike interface, to communicate with. Poor damned soul.
- Save your work. Once you have gone to all the trouble of retrieving a whisper of psychic energy and powering it up to something substantial, you don't want to have some minor glitch cause you to lose everything you gained. Backups of the soul
- Plan ahead. If you know you will want to summon someone later on after they die, try to snag a token of theirs which has their imprint on it when you have the chance.
- One big happy dysfunctional family. Introduce the shades around to your other minions, emphasizing how you hold the reins of life and death within your grasp. This will serve to impress both the the living and the undead that you are a person best not to be messed with.
Traps for mere fools
- Loopholes. If you go the magical route, you must by all means check all the fine print in your summoning charm, as some notoriously will accomplish the letter of the description but not the spirit (pun not intended), bringing back a copy of your target soul who is upon the point of death, one that doddering, old, and insane instead of young and vigorous version, or some other unsuitable version. In cases of doubt, have a well-regarded thaumaturgical lawyer vet the spell beforehand.
- Communication breakdown. It is a shame to go to all the trouble of resurrecting a person who speaks only some unknown foreign language (perhaps prehistoric and thus lost), or who passed away while too young or too insane to speak. In such cases one is forced to resort to pantomime, which is both tedious and undignified.
- Getting mixed up. It is a rookie mistake to deposit the wrong immortal soul within a body, but these things happen sometimes. You can save face by claiming to have intended to do this all along, for laughs, and commanding hilarity among your followers.
Precious and needful
- Spare bodies.
- How to control the governments of the world
- How to defend against magic swords and other weapons
- How to haunt an evil forest
- How to plan a mass grave
- How to earn money part-time
- How to exploit advanced technology
- How to oppress the meek
- How to inhabit inanimate objects
- How to prank your adversaries
- How to run an institution of higher learning
- How to work with vampires
- How to extinguish all hope
- How to interest young people in evil
- How to worship an evil god
- How to roll with a gang of energy beings
- How to entertain zombies
- How to grow a mighty brain
- How to read minds
- How to rewrite history
- Shakespeare on summoning
- Image credit Penty by Michelle Jones UK
- Image credit smoke screen by pixieclipx
- Image credit Shroud hopes to ride bike by xeeliz
Created by: GrinningSkull. Last Modification: Saturday 29 of August, 2009 11:02:08 EDT by .