I was monotonously busy at work (I work in files) and I came up with some interesting ideas for my RPG setting, the Old Crown.
Whilst there'll be more to follow in other posts, I just wanted to wander down my mindtrack openly for a while.
The way magic is set up in the setting, there are three basic ways to access it: intense schooling (Arcanists), divine sponsorship (Oathed), and natural affinity (Witches).
The Arcanists learn to bend the various elemental energies of the world to their will. The Oathed have more powerful abilities, but with a narrower focus, bound to the powers of their patron.
The Witches have melded their soul with a spirit to act as a sort of liaison with the magical world. Truly powerful Witches have bonded with several spirits, or else somehow became aligned with strong spirits that needed them in some way - a spirit of lightning springs immediately to mind as one that would cease to exist almost instantly without bonding with/striking a Witch.
But I was also thinking about Barrowights, the ghosts of those long dead. The soul of a deceased mortal might hang around (at great danger) in order to fulfill some task or other.
The thing about Barrowights is, these things are LONG dead.
Somehow, they've held on to the last echoes of their life, watching whilst everyone they knew died off as well, whatever their reason for continuing slowly disappearing into dust.
And then they go slowly insane.
Eventually, you get something like a mad ghost/banshee/rusalka, and it might attack anything living out of spite or in abject grief.
Or, and here's where my interesting idea comes in, perhaps a Witch might bond with one.
Barrowights don't get about much, as their range of haunting shrinks from 'everyone and everything they knew in life' to 'close to their physical remains' (since everyone/thing they knew is now all gone). Maybe one isn't quite as mad as all the others, and it somehow finds a kindred soul in the mortal Witch.
So, along with flashy spirits of lightning that make the Witch mildly static at all times, and pack one hell of a magic punch, there's little lights and heat from candles or campfires, light and sound from Will O'Wisps, silence and shadow from spirits of the dark, growth and healing from earth or tree spirits, and now some kind of other powers brought from a bond with the long dead.
Could be cool, right?