This term comes from Hindu mythology, and means the Earthly embodiment of a god. In our usage, avatar means a mutant who is able to host and exploit the powers of a magical spirit. Avatars are able to do naturally what several magical traditions, such as Voudoun are able to do artificially. The avatar bond creates a symbiosis between the host and spirit which provides the spirit with the energy that it requires, without the draining effect that hosts usually suffer. The relationship between an avatar and their spirit is very intimate, but not always harmonious. Some avatars have to keep very close control of their spirit. In exchange for the life force that they provide, the avatar receives control of the spirit's magical powers. The spirits' powers are reflections of their mystical nature. For example, Geode, a Whateley Graduate who had bonded with a "gnome" or Earth elemental spirit, gained incredible strength as long as he was in contact with the Earth, remarkable endurance and resistance to damage, a limited regenerative ability, the ability to form a shell of packed earth around him, the ability to pass through the ground, and an ability to sense what was concealed in the ground nearby. So, the spirit was an Earth elemental, and the powers that it gave Geode reflected that.
Rough rankings are as such:
AV 1 - an individual spirit... the spirit of the Oak Tree on the west hill of our farm, the spirit of your pet basset hound, etc.
AV 2 - the spirit of a 'class of creature or entity'... Bear, Fire Elementals, Wind
AV 3 - a greater class or an archetype/totem... Thunderbird, Coyote, Raven, Fallen deities, extra-planar entities, etc.
AV 4 - active deities, 'forces' (ie... Champion, Astarte, Fred, etc), higher totems/archetypes like Grandfather Sky, etc.
AV 5+ - Gaea, active and highly worshipped deities, multi-planar entities, stuff that is really powerful enough that it doesn't need a host... and probably shouldn't be trapped inside someone for any reason anyway, even willingly.
- And everyone: remember that these AV levels are wrong. They're DC Comics level AV levels, not Whateley. Remember: Whateley Avatars can't be Superman or the Spectre or Thanos. At the top of the levels, they still won't be Spiderman. [NOTE: the last statement depends on which Spidey in which continuity, because the 'I can catch a thrown VW Beetle' spidey might be okay, but the 'I can lift 30 tons and throw it at you' Spidey will not.]
- Yes, the AV ranking is based on the Avatar himself (or herself), and not the spirit. You're an AV-3 (or whatever) whether you have a spirit or not, right? If Aquerna accidentally captured a really powerful spirit, she would still be an AV-1; however the spirit might rip her to shreds (mentally, if not physically), so that would be a bad thing.
- The current description of the levels for the AV power set is kind of a mess. There is also nothing discussing issues like compatibility: a really powerful AV can capture a spirit that is not compatible and does not want to play nice, and can force it to cough up at least some of its powers. A weak AV *might* be able to handle a powerful spirit if the two of them were an ideal merge of personalities, so the spirit wanted to cooperate and had no interest in turning the AV into a babbling schizo; but things might go really bad, really fast. What happened when Tansy absorbed Jinn sort of gives you a very rough idea of how this sort of problem could play out.
The rankings refer to the avatar's ability to act as a host, how great a hollow is provided for the spirit. An AV-3 might only host the spirit of your pet basset hound, even though he could host Coyote.
When an Avatar is stronger than needed to host his/her spirit, it is possible the spirit will develop further; as they feed well and feel safe and protected. It is likely that the limited abilities the Avatar receives from a lesser spirit may make some jumps over time.
- Main article: Entities
Class 2 and some Class 3 Entities can be hosted by an avatar. The avatar forms the spirit's new hollow, providing it with food and shelter. The avatar can then draw upon the spirit's powers. Spirits can influence an avatar's behavior in subtle and not-so-subtle ways, depending upon how closely matched their characters are; Kodiak, Aquerna, Mongoose, and Miasma all show signs of this. But while the spirit may influence, the avatar remains in control; the spirit does not "possess" the avatar. Some spirits are more distinct than others; Kodiak converses with his spirit in words, while Mongoose has so intimately bonded with his spirit that all communication is subconscious.
Please note that, like all powers, there is some discussion as to whether or not these are actually part of the Avatar trait.
A Paladin is a type of Avatar that, instead of hosting a spirit, is granted power by a free spirit, as long as they follow the precepts of that donating spirit. The Paladin can channel more power from a more powerful spirit, but is more constrained in how they use it and how they live their life.
Paladins are mutants. They are a subset of the Avatar trait. The basic concept being that the divine puts a small piece of themselves into the sustaining hidey hole that spirits like so much. It's not big enough or powerful enough energy-wise to completely support the god... but it is more than sufficient to produce 'side-effects' that give their Paladin powers in the same way that an Avatar gets abilities from a spirit. It also benefits the god in the sense that its a part of them that is now protected and safe (much the way a lich's phylactery protects its soul) and yields a gain of energy from the Paladin's Avatar-like trait... which isn't reliant on being in favor with worshippers. So its win-win... but not all Avatars are suitable for this sort of bond (which is why Paladin is given its own trait name instead of just being listed as Avatar) and not all gods are capable of (or have the nature to) dividing up their power to bond with a Paladin.
If a non-mutant (or a non-Avatar mutant) makes a similar contract with such a spirit - usually deliberately, through the use of magic - they can become what are referred to as 'Imbued'. This is distinct from a Paladin, though they bear a surface resemblance.
A Channeler acts as a conduit for spiritual energy to come into the world. Beyond this, the definition is not very clear, and many uses of the term in canon are contradictory.
Channelers may or may not have pacts with various entities that allow them to channel that entity's energy. They may be able to channel ambient energy. Low level channels may be in danger of being taken over by the entity they're attempting to channel. Channels may or may not have automatic power limiters; those without are in danger of burnout from channeling too much.
Channelers may be a subclass of Avatar, or may be a subclass of Mage, or may be something else entirely. The canon references are either unclear or contradictory.
There is a specialized subclass called an OmniChanneler who has the ability to channel everything. Someone with this trait usually burns out immediately on manifesting. The only known survivor is Tennyo.
An Astral Avatar plays host to multiple spirits, and acts more like a suit that many people can wear. The Astral Avatar gains versatility and power in exchange for not always being in control of their own body, and a higher risk of burnout than any of the other Avatar types.
- ↑ Bek D. Corbin, Canon Material: Explanation of Power Terms.
- ↑ Kristin Darken, New Character Concepts: Fridrika "Fenrisulfr" Snaedis. Victim of The Forum Crash of 2011.
- ↑ Diane Castle on the Cryatal Hall Forums Questions and Answers: Spirit Power Levels Msg 54155
- ↑ Diane Castle Character Discussions:You Can Lead a Squirrel to Water
- ↑ Kristin Darken, Questions and Answers: Distinguishing power classifications. Victim of The Forum Crash of 2011.
- ↑ Dangerous Days