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In many ways, Totems resemble the spirits that can be called from the Shadow. But instead of the single-minded drive that controls spirits, Totems are able to identify with other things than the concepts they represent (such as a certain animal, darkness, hate etc.) In order for Totems to display this kind of cognition, though, the mage needs to treat them like something other than spirits. She needs to indicate understanding that the Totem she has summoned is more than a “normal” spirit. This kind of deference to the spirit world is a hallmark of the Thyrsus Path.
Totems manifest often in a way that resembles their concept and have a strong connection to the local Shadow and its denizens. They can also find Verges and even help the Mage if he has problems with werewolves.