Dreamspeakers

Overview and Paradigm

The Dreamspeakers were formed at the Grand Convocation. Naioba, an African dream-priestess, and Star-of-Eagles, a Powhatan medicine man, saw the Tradition as a brotherhood for shaman from all lands. To the European magi, the Dream-Speakers were a dumping ground for tribal magi who they didn't want to deal with. Native Americans from North and South America, tribes from Africa's endless savannahs and jungles, Australian Aborigines, and pale shaman from the far North were all lumped together in a single Tradition. This offended many non-western magi who weren't shaman, such as the Ngoma and other Crafts, who left the Convocation in disgust.

Star-of-Eagles and Naioba led the Tradition until Naioba's assassination. However, the Dreamspeakers quickly found themselves ravaged by the eras of Exploration, Colonialism and Imperialism. The Spanish conquest devastated the Aztecs and Inca Empire and spread small pox to the Mound Builders, while the Portuguese slave trade ravaged West Africa. Led by a delegation from the Iroquois Nation, many Dreamspeakers left the Council of Nine in protest.

By the 1800s, the Dreamspeakers found themselves fighting alongside the Lakota Sioux, Congolese, Afghan hill tribes, Haitian voodoo cults, Australian Aborigines, Rhodesians and other indigenous people. Many supported the Ghost Dance and Zulu warriors. Unfortunately, they saw their people's traditional cultures eroded away by Indian boarding schools and the Stolen Generation. European Dreamspeakers, a minority within the Tradition, found themselves bolstered by the interest in Romanticism and spiritism. Most were spiritualists who spoke to ghosts, faeries and elemental-spirits.

The Dreamspeaker Paradigm is based strongly on Shamanism and Animism. The Dreamspeakers know that everything in the physical world is imbued with a spirit essence - every rock, tree, river, mountain and animal. By going into trance-states of altered consciousness, the Dreamspeakers can communicate with the spirits. As such, much of their magic is based off affecting the spirit world.

Fall and Reconcilation

There aren't words for what the Dreamspeakers experienced. After the nuclear exchange in Eastern Europe, many of the shamans simply dropped dead in shock. For the Dreamspeakers, the devistation in Eastern Europe was not a mere catastrophe of epic proportions, it was a spiritual holocaust. Those few Dreamspeakers who survived the Fall (of which there are very few) speak of having experienced the nuclear exchange first hand. They speak as if they had been at ground zero when each bomb was dropped. If that wasn't enough, the pain, the burning of the earth, continues to linger, even to this day. To many the shock was too great. Some committed suicide, others turned to the traditional tools: booze and drugs to dull the pain. Some dropped dead on the spot. More than a few became corrupt, joining the Nephandi, hoping they would be given the power to enact vengeance. Whatever coping mechanism the individual Dreamspeaker chose, their activity in the Reconciliation War amounted mostly to either howling in pain or cruel and demented war making the likes of which had been unheard of previously.

Current Status

The Dreamspeakers previously had a reputation of being affable if misunderstood. Now Dreamspeakers are regarded with suspicion and fear. Barabbi Dreamspeakers are some of the most fearsome and consequently hunted warriors in the Tellurian at current. Survivors of the Reconciliation War speak quietly when recounting the atrocities performed by the Barabbi of this Tradition, that is if they speak of it at all. Even the Nephandi fear the Dreamspeaker Barabbi for they seem to live only to kill. It is not enough for the Dreamspeaker Barabbi to kill the body, once dead they have a habit of enslaving or obliterating soul and Avatar a like, proving that there are things worse than death.

The intense pain the Dreamspeakers carry is at once a heavy burden as well as a gift. Previously the Dreamspeakers were more of a fraternity or fellowship, lacking a cohesive paradigm. Language and cultural barriers made organization and cooperation difficult. Now the Dreamspeakers have something immediate in common that transcends culture and language. Dreamspeakers know each other simply by looking in each other's eyes. There they can see their pain reflected back at them.

While each Tradition has a black mark on it's record, no one is as distrusted as the Dreamspeakers. Dreamspeaker Barabbi so cultivated reputations of fear, duplicity and brutality that it has affected the reputation of the Tradition as a whole. Many chantries refuse Dreamspeakers membership because of this. During the formation of the Phoenix Council, there was heavy debate in regards to restoring the Dreamspeakers a place at the Council.

With the rise of Dark Zones where the corporations have no rulership, people have returned to tribal societies. With in these tribes, Dreamspeakers have risen to power. The traditional role of the shaman is highly valued in this society as they can provide food, clean water, protection and medicine for people who have nothing and have no way of getting anything.

Sects

Balamob - Shape-shifting Mayan jaguar priests who keep alive the bloody ways of ancient Mesoamerica. They have recently been drawn into the Tradition by fellow Native Americans who came to Mexico to study the rites of the Aztecs and Mayans. Balamob have a strong presence in Tijuana.

Baruti - Wandering story-tellers, myth-makers and lore-keepers, the Baruti can be traced by to the West African griot but have since spread out across the world. They use story and song to both teach and entertain, passing on their traditions to the modern world. As collectors of legends and histories from many cultures, the Baruti are well respected by the Tradition.

Four Winds - Reclusive and eccentric shaman who retreat to the spirit worlds, seeking to eventually become spirits themselves. Although powerful, they are also alien by human standards and often begin to reflect the surroundings of their environment.

Independents - Lone shaman who were trained by spirits and totems rather than fellow humans, the Independents are a unique and varied lot. Many have strange ideas about magic or are insane, while others are intentionally manipulated by their spirit masters. Independents are widely distrusted, even among Dreamspeakers due to their strange ways and their lack of formal training.

Solitaries - Reclusive medicine men who retreat to the wilderness, abandoning human concerns in favor of pure nature. They commune with spirits of the forest, sea, fire and beasts, often beginning to blur the line between man and nature. Older Solitaries are both confusing, frightening and infamous in their hatred of technology.

Wu Nung - Rebellious young Chinese Wu, transvestite shaman, who broke away from the infernalist Wu-Keng Craft during the Reconcilation. The Wu Nung are true shaman who preserve the ancient spirit arts of China, living largely as refugees in Hong Kong, where they hide from their Wu-Keng rivals. Wu Nung members have recently begun showing up in LATMA's Chinatown.

Many Dreamspeakers consider themselves part of the following sub-groups:

Contraries - Tricksters and sacred clowns, the Contraries cross-dress, speak in opposites and do things backwards as an obligation to the spirits. Through their acts, they both heal the spirits of others and strengthen their ties to the spirit world.

Ghost Wheel Society - Originating with the Ghost Dance of the 19th Century, these techno-shaman have learned to speak with the spirits of the modern world - spirits of electricity, metal and plastic. They are cunning and adaptable masters of technology and the urban environment, and have managed to turn the Technocracy's own tools against it. The Ghost Wheel Society is the most cohesive Dreamspeaker sect and the most active with in Council circles as they keep close ties to the more technomantic branches of the other Traditions. Ghost Wheel members are found with in the deepest poverty of the Dark zones and in the highest level of aflluence in the Bright. Their abilities are strange and their ways secretive. No one is exactly sure what their agenda is, if they have one at all.

Spirit Smiths - Ancient cultures believed in a strong link between smithing and shamanism. Today, these young techno-shaman continue that tradition by forging high-tech devices with spirits of bound into them. The Spirit Smiths maintain close ties to the more technomantic branches of the other Traditions and often work closely with the Ghost Wheel Society, though they are less formally organized.

Foci and Style

Style and foci tend to vary from culture to culture, but common tools include drumming and chanting, feathers, crystals, bones and animal parts, sacred herbs, sandpainting, ordeals, prayers, amulets, fire, sacred elements, dancing and natural hallucinogens such as peyote, ayahausca or psilocybe mushrooms. Many modern shamans also include modern trappings, infusing the old ways with new tools.