The Patron LoaEdit
-While a Houngan will respect and pay homage to every one of the Loa, though will often be a card carrying follower of one in particular.
-The "Hounfour" (place of worship dedicated to the Houngan's Patron Loa) can be created anywhere, unlike the Lodges of shamans.
-Following a particular Loa means that the Houngan must follow the ideals of that Loa, and in so doing, gaining a benefit to certain forms of magic and an inability to use other forms of magic quite as well. These advantages/disadvantages act as tie breakers any time someone with equal ability is tied with the Houngan.
Agwe, the Loa of the Sea, appears as a powerful black man clad in seaweed and dripping water. He is like the Sea that he rules: Strong and gentle but capable of sudden violence. He is proud and takes his role quite seriously. He often hosts his fellow Loa in his fantastic palace under the sea. Rituals to honor Agwe are involved and complex affairs, and the Loa's followers are often capable diplomats and gracious hosts. Followers of Agwe must seek diplomatic solutions to problems before resorting to violence.
Benefit: Illusion sorcery
Disadvantage: Combat sorcery
The eager "younger brother" of the Loa, Azaca is concerned with the growth and prosperity of the land. He tends to be impulsive, throwing himself into each new situation with abandon. Followers of Azaca tend to be rural caretakers of farming communities and the like.
Benefit: Health sorcery
Disadvantage: Combat magic
Damballah is the Great Serpent of the sky, an ancient and primal Loa. He has as slow dignity and grace about him, but he can move with surprising suddenness if required to do so. Damballah is often difficult to communicate with, his wisdom couched in metaphor and riddles. He rarely speaks in any human tongue.
Houngans of Damballah follow a strict moral code. The houngan must not break his word. They love to collect secrets and lore and will go to great lengths to do so, but they dole out their knowledge sparingly.
Benefit: Detection and manipulation magic.
Disadvantage: Must get something in return for any information given.
The Loa of Love and Passion is both the eternal innocent and the worldly-wise seductress. She is the most beautiful of women and the female companion to many other Loa in her various manifestations, loved and desired by all. her desire is more than mere lust; it is motivating the passions that drives all things. Houngans of Erzulie are generally women. They always dress in the finest clothes and have the best jewelry, perfume and other material comforts.
Benefit: Illusion and control manipulation sorcery.
Disadvantage: All magic use when unkept or less than stylish.
Clever Ghede is the Loa of Death and the Dead. He respects nothing and laughs at the mortal fear of death. He is a trickster who enjoys shocking people out of their preconceptions with his sly and ribald sense of humor. He is also a glutton with a vast appetite, for Death must consume all things. Ghede is depicted as a man wearing a top hat, black tail coat and sunglasses (often with one lens missing) and carrying a cigar and a cane. Houngans of Ghede are gluttons, unable to resist an offer of food or drink, particularly rum, the Loa's favorite. They are als tricksters who love poking fun at others.
Benefit: Health and manipulation magic
Disadvantage: Must always do their best to play an inappropriate trick if the chance arises.
Legba is the Old Man of the Crossroads, divine messenger of the Loa, Opener of the Way and the boundary figure between the visible and invisible worlds. He is the first Loa invoked in ritual, so he may open the way for the others, and is well-respected for his great wisdom and authority. Legba is depicted as a bent old man walking with the aid of a staff. Followers of Legba are frequently the best leaders among the Houngan.
Benefit: Detection and manipulation sorcery.
Disadvantage: Combat sorcery
Obatala is depicted as a mulatto dressed entirely in white. He is the Loa of Purity and opposed to all forces of evil. He is also the spirit of thought and protector of the weak. Obatala is a force of peace, harmony and meditation. His followers are expected to oppose all forces of evil and corruption. Houngans of Obatala do not kill without very good reason.
Benefit: Detection, health and control manipulation sorcery.
Disadvantage: All magic use when not wearing at least one piece of white clothing, and cannot use combat sorcery at all.
Ogoun is the Loa of Iron and of War. He is a direct and active force, power in all of its forms. His followers are swagering and proud, great warriors and political leaders. Ogoun is depicated as a powerfully muscled warrior in military dress, carrying a saber or a machete.
Benefit: Combat sorcery
Disadvantage: Illusion sorcery
Shango is the Loa of Lightning and Storm. He is depicted as a savage warrior, full of barely restrained energy, wielding a double-headed ax crackling with lightning. His voice is the pearl of thunder. He is also associated with guns ("thunder-sticks") and fire. Shango and Ogoun are often rivals for the affections of Erzulie.
Benefit: Fire and lightning elemental manipulation sorcery.
Disadvantage: Tend to go crazy when injured or engaged in combat, assaulting the one who injured them relentlessly until they are dead or disabled, or the Houngan is.