In anthropology, a fetish is an object that is considered to have spiritual weight or power; for example, voodoo dolls or the holy host. I have heard (though I haven’t had it confirmed) that the term was developed by the Portuguese as a way of describing the religious practices they observed as they began aggressively exploring Africa.
Dolls are my favorite form of spiritual fetish. I’ve moved a lot in my life, and my baby doll is the only physical artifact that has been with me every single place I’ve lived. She’s old, and her hair is shabby, and her once-blinking eyes now stare, sightlessly, across my bed sheets. One of her arms lives in my steamer trunk, waiting for me to find someone who can sew it back on. If it weren’t for the fact she wears a pink floral jumper, she’d be the creepiest thing I own. And I love her.
So! If a little bit of creepy is your thing, or your game is looking for a way to physically represent defensive magic, consider fetishes! The quickest way to incorporate them would be, actually, spell packets. Most games use them as a stand-in for the kind of special effects you can’t really have in a larp, but consider the objects themselves: small cloth sachets full of something neutral like birdseed, that only become magical when imbued with power by a caster, and then lie, spent, on the ground. Well, until some enterprising mage comes and imbues them with power once more.
Or, of course, you could use things like Susie Survivor, above. At $10 a pop, I wouldn’t recommend throwing these dolls around- but they would make delightful phys reps of defensive magic. The company that makes them even has suggestions!
Some of my favorites:
Shown above: Susie Survivor gives you the strength and courage to fight like hell! By Kamibashi. Ships worldwide. Materials aren’t listed, but appear to be string and beads. $10 USD ($5 USD is donated to the Pretty in Pink Foundation, if you buy online during the month of October.)
Gunnar encourages you to fearlessly go where life may take you. By Kamibashi. Ships worldwide. Materials aren’t listed, but appear to be string and beads. $10 USD
Sir Realism (aka Dali) bends time and space to your will. By Kamibashi. Ships worldwide. Materials aren’t listed, but appear to be string and beads. $10 USD
String Blade gives you the power to jam past the pack. By Kamibashi. Ships worldwide. Materials aren’t listed, but appear to be string and beads. $10 USD