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Social workers for torture.
Needs work, but I like it.
Aka Sadists, Vigilantes
Nothings going to change the world, but someone’s going to rule it. We live in a World of Sorrows and Suffering. No matter how great our technology, the condition of our life is always ruled by fate and always ends in sorrows. You are the operator on the great machine of life, causing joy in Calcutta to cause sorrow in Berlin.
There are those who struggle vainly to achieve material happiness. But we are all in the hands of fate. Our technology and wealth are great, but still billions of people suffer from disease, hunger, and oppression. Some people live in luxury. Why? Who chooses?
People make mistakes. They chase after illusions. They marry people they’ll later loath, they kill for no reason. They fail to take opportunities sitting in front of their face.
Suffering never stays in one place. Once inflicted, it echoes a thousand times. The woman who was abused as a child marries an abuser as an adult. A starving man robs a struggling storekeeper. A man with a broken arm can’t do his job. How to stop it?
The first step was understanding. You saw through the illusion, saw that everything exists on a continuum from black to white, with grays in the middle. The rest of the colors are illusions. Everything is pain or pleasure, good or bad; and the rest is nonsense.
The next step was to break the cycle once. Help someone. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked. The normal next step would be for you to receive some reward for your do-gooding. Maybe you got paid for our services, or maybe you earned a ticket to heaven, or maybe you let yourself feel content for a job well done. But you weren’t going to allow that. You needed that energy.
Buddhists believe in the wheel of life – what goes around, comes around. Karmamancers have, if you will, a supernatural pencil. They draw lines from one point to another and watch the suffering flow. The first point on the line is a mundane act of charity. The second point is the magick.
The Paradox of Karmamancy is that you help in order to hurt. To build charges, you have to be a saint, doing good but accepting no reward. When you do your Magick, you’re a devil, inflicting pure pain on the world.
Karmamanacy Blast Style: Inflicts some of the pain you prevented onto someone else. In the case of the Significant blast, the kind of damage that manifests is directly related to the kind of damage you prevented. Minor blasts just manifest as generic pain. (because who remembers where they got all their minor charges?)
Generate a Minor Charge: Stop minor pain. Heal the wounded, feed the hungry, clothe the naked - the whole Jesus schtick.. This has to be done personally - buying a poor family $100 bucks worth of food is great, but isn't worth a charge unless you deliver it personally.
Generate a significant charge: Stop an event that would be hugely painful from occurring. This has to be something that could effect someone for their entire life. Prevent a murder, rescue a writer’s prized manuscript, or get an alcoholic on the wagon for good.
Generate a major charge: Stop an event that would have brought pain to an entire city, nation, or other large group. You have to play a large role in whatever helpful action occurred. This is practically impossible to do, but the good news is that you can use minor and significant charges to help you earn a major one.
Taboo: Personally benefit from ritually helping someone. You need to decide ahead of time exactly what constitutes “ritually” helping someone, and your reasoning has to make sense, if only on a minimal level.
Karmamancy Random Magick Domain: Karmamancers have domain over the worse half of their “black to white” spectrum, and can do anything that fits their. They also deal in redirection of negative energies, whatever the hell that means.
Charging Tips: Making a small difference in someone's life is surprisingly easy, 10 hours of charity work could easily get you 20+ charges. Making a serious difference in someone's life is very, very difficult. A particularly dedicated social worker would consider themselves lucky to pick up one charge per month.
Cost: 1 Minor Charge
Effect: Breaks stuff. This will break or rip apart any small object that can be broken in one motion by a particularly strong set of hands. A window or a t shirt are fine. A gun is not fine.
I'll take That
Cost: 2 Minor Charges
Effect: Transfers whatever damage someone has taken on to you. You have to take all the damage or nothing at all. The damage might manifest differently on you, especially if you have much higher or lower health than whoever you’re taking from. This only works one way. You can hurt other people all you like, but you can’t heal yourself in the process.
Cost: 2 Minor Charges
Effect: Simple – whoever you throw this at feels some nasty pain. It comes through at the strength of an electric shock or strong hit to the face – strong, but not supernaturally strong. Most people will stop what they’re doing and back off if they feel pain. (If that pain has no rational cause, they’re likely to freak out too.)
This doubles as the minor blast. You can choose to do damage, or just inflict pain. Your call.
Its all the Same
Cost: 2 Minor Charges
Effect: Moves a hardened or failed notch from one meter to another. This can’t change a hardened notch for a failed notch or change the number of total notches. If you move a notch to a gage where you have more notches, it comes through at the fist unfilled spot. This is generally cast on yourself as a reaction, although you can cast it on someone else in anticipation of a check they’ll make anytime in the next month. (you have to name the two meters to be affected, but not the type of check.) You should role-play the effects of this spell, ie. “And when I saw the knife, it made me realize how helpless we all are in the face of our inevitable doom.”
You can't cast this on a month acquired in the past
Play the Fool
Cost: 3 Minor Charges
Effect: Works like the Fool’s second level channel: as a reaction to taking damage, you cast this spell and the damage gets dumped on someone else. You skip your next action, and the GM gets to choose who takes the damage. Unlike the Fool’s channel, you can use this spell on someone else (although you can only cast it once per round.) This spell also tends to be less subtle than the Fool’s channel. It might make the bullet hit the guy next to you, but its just as likely to make it bounce back and hit your attacker. (which is great until people start blowing stress checks.)
Cost: 4 Minor Charges
Effect: Negates the effect of any good luck the opponent had going on. This can turn off certain low level magick, tilts, et cetera. If the opponent has anything of the sort going on, it gives him a little bit of bad luck instead: he gets a -20% shift on his next action. This spell isn't strong enough to take on major tilts, significant magick, high level adepet channels, et cetera.
Significant Formula Spells
Cost:1 Significant Charge
Effect: The significant blast. The target suffers whatever harm you had earlier prevented. If its not applicable or you can’t remember, then the target looks like they were the victim of some nasty violence. Some of their skin is flayed off, they get the shit hit by a hundred invisible hands, whatever.
Cost: 1 Significant Charge
Effect: Allows the caster to move to the Astral plane, where he may wander around at his leisure. This works like the Dipsomancy spell “Astral Stumble”, described on page 129. Luckily for you, Karmamancer blast does work on Astral creatures. Unluckily for you, you can’t gain charges by helping unnatural creatures.
This spell has a significant catch. You can only enter or leave the astral plane at a “place of pain.” This could be a prison, a hospital ward, or just a site where criminals are breaking legs. (a fight doesn’t count unless someone is getting seriously hurt.). Once you leave the astral plane, it doesn’t take another casting to go back.
I’ve Got Something For You
Cost: 2 Significant Charges
Effect: The best torture spell Charity work can buy, this spell inflicts supernatural pain on whomever you put it on. The target feels years worth of pain, in the form of both physical pain as well as images and emotions, compressed into a few seconds. During the Victim’s next action, they do nothing but experience pain. After that, they have to Unnatural, Violence, and Helplessness 7 stress checks. (If they fail one, they don’t have to make the rest.) If they fail any of those, they fell down during the pain, dropped whatever they were holding, voided their bowels, and now have to deal with a failed stress check. If they passed all three of them, they’re real bad asses and can proceed with their actions.
Cost: 2 Significant Charges
Effect: This works exactly like the ritual “Spellbreaker”, except that it can be cast on other people, specific places, et cetera. In other words, it removes the lingering effects of magick.
This spell doesn’t actually destroy the Magick, it just pushes it away. It could simply move somewhere else, but usually it shatters and reforms as unnatural effects in the area. (or sometimes, it doesn’t do a damn thing.) For an extra 2 charges, you can try to control where it goes. Otherwise, its up to the GM
Cost: 3 Significant Charges
Effect: Focuses the energy of pain into a physical form, creating a large, semireal object. As mentioned, the object can be pretty large, but shouldn’t have any moving parts. Ie, a staircase, a bridge over a small river, a wall, a big sword, whatever. Generally speaking, the objects are invisible, but they appear on some suitably symbolic occasion (midnight, Halloween, whatever.), although they can be used at any time.
Cost: 4 Significant Charges
Effect: Remember those cartoons where the bad guy would scream “dance!” then shoot at the ground, and the hero would have to dance up and down to keep the bullets from hitting their feet? Puppet Strings works kind of like that, except that instead of bullets and feet, its got the victim’s entire nervous system to play with. This spell lets the victim know exactly what the adept wants them to do. They can either spend the round doing it or spend the round screaming in pain, experiencing horrific hallucinations, et cetera
After the first time this happens, the victim has to make a rank-10 Violence check (for submitting themselves to torture) every time they try to resist the adept’s actions. If they fail, they do whatever the adept wanted them to. If they succeed, they suffer the pain. Either way, they get a mark of the appropriate type. If the adept forces the victim to do something wholly against their nature (like kill their children), then they resist whether they make their Stress check or not, although they still get the appropriate mark. The victim does have to keep making checks after they’ve already failed one, meaning one casting of this spell can wreck someone’s mind. (The GM should feel free to limit this if its going to mess up his campaign.)
Major Charge Effects
Create a nuclear explosion. Condemn someone to spend eternity in their own personal hell. Curse the economy or culture of an entire country or region. Create a new disease.
What you Hear: Karmamancy
Harry Truman was a Karmamancer. The explosions on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were really Karmamancy powered by the Allied victory in Europe. The Nuclear bomb is a myth cooked up by the US government.
There's a reverse version of Karmamancy that charges up by hurting people and uses Magick to heal. Saddam Hussein is secretly an adept, his torture of the Iraqi people was an attempt to create peace on earth. No that he’s gone, the world will fall into chaos, which is the goal of the Zionist conspiracy controlling the US Government.
Looks cool, but it breaks one of the core tenets of the adept world: can't use magick to garner additional charges. I figure if you hung out with enough of the same ilk (a cabal of Karmancers: Doing Good Doing Bad), then I figure it could be a cooperative effort to aid each other's charge-gains.
Mr Unlucky | profile | Jan 22, 04 | 1:23 am
rasputin must have been a practioner of the revearse version as well. all his bad habits and mistreating of people was to keep the rominov family together. he cured poor alexi. when he was killed (eventually; surviving being stabbed, poisoned, shot, beaten, shot again, and dropped in an icy river (maybe his powers made himself resistant to death)), the socialist movement gained power, the royal family was killed, one thing leads to another and you've got a world war on your hands.
Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but the taboo doesn't seem to be particularly limiting. Unlike other Schools, it doesn't really stop you from living a perfectly normal life alongside your magick, if all that it means is that you can't be rewarded for good deeds done for magickal charges.
Jakob Pape | profile | Jan 22, 04 | 3:16 pm
Hm. I agree with Jakob - it needs something to make it so this person isn't just a Florence Nightengale - they're helping you, but not because they _like_ you, they're doing it because they need the power.
Shawn | profile | Jan 26, 04 | 12:52 pm
Well, one way would be to use the Passions rules, and taboo someone if they try to gain a charge from their Noble passion. (It's not perfect, but it's a starting point.)
Doug Atkinson | profile | Jan 26, 04 | 1:42 pm
Hmmm....yeah, I agree.. I do need to play up the psychological aspects of the school, or otherwise add a second taboo. (the current taboo definitily needs to stay there,)
I think it is importaint that everyone understands the true meaning of this paradox. The paradox would work on a scale of emotion. Maybe the Karmamancer feels the pain of everyone, both emotional and physical, all the time. That type of pain can be overwhelming. Yet the charges that the Karmamancer gains are charges used that inflict that pain which the Karmamancer must forever feel.
Toshi | profile | Feb 07, 04 | 9:01 pm
A possible taboo: You must cause as much sorrow as you cause joy, and vice versa. If you have have a serious net positive or net negative effect on the world, you've violated taboo.
An interesting addition to the taboo might be that the Karmamancer can't cause pain to anyone else except through magic. The only pain they can cause must be redirected, not direct - if they so much as prick someone with a thumbtack, they'd lose all their charges.
A note about my taboo suggestion - self-defense would have to be okay, as would defending someone else (since to help someone, particularly in a life-threatening situation, hurting or killing someone else can be necessary). However, I do think the Karmamancer should only be able to gain a charge by committing an act of violence if it's the only reasonable solution to the situation; if helping someone to escape or calling the police would work too, then violence should break the taboo.
For the record, it's noted in Statosphere that Rasputin's toughness was his Godwalker power for his Healer archetype.
Requiem_Jeer | profile | Jul 17, 10 | 7:39 am