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Thirteen is your lucky number.
Nickname: Black Cats
Friday the 13th. More than a movie; it's been the focus of attention for many for countless centuries. Most people pretend to be affected by it, but in general they laugh it off and go about their day. Thirteen, for them, is just another number.
But for the Triskadekomancer, it's not just any number. It's THE number around which life revolves. Many Triskadekomancers started their life born under this number, such as being born on the 13th day of a month, and it becomes a lifelong obsession.
Everything the Triskadekomancer does revolves in some way around the number 13. This number can appear in many different ways -- for example, the time of day, the day of the month, the number of french fries left in a carton -- and it is precisely because thirteens can be found everywhere that the Triskadekomancer becomes so obsessed with it, looking everywhere to find it, consciously and unsconsciously. Their favorite channel is 13. Their favorite movie is The 13th Warrior. Etc.
The Triskadekomancer's focus on this number can become so intense that she will repeat actions or alter surroundings to create repetitions of thirteen: twelve chairs around a table is never enough, and fourteen is one too many; taking the elevator to the top floor of a 12-story building necessitates a trip to the roof (or, if there is one, the 13th floor); even something as mundane as ordering a pizza can become a chore, because of course the pizza must have thirteen toppings. No more, no less. Thirteen articles of clothing, thirteen pieces of jewelry, thirteen spoonfuls of sugar in the coffee, etc.
It is this exactitude that limits the Triskadekomancer and drives her to obsession, because anything short of thirteen is somehow flawed and in need of improvement (by a factor of one). Likewise, everything that counts out to fourteen or more is useless and broken; a fourteen can never become a thirteen, and so anything involving such a number, or higher, is mundane and meaningless.
Obviously, this constant counting of things stands a chance of being noticed by other people, and can put a strain on the Triskadekomancer's relationships with friends, family and even total strangers. The lady on the subway might not appreciate the Triskadekomancer counting the buttons on her blouse, and the police officer she calls will not be amused in the least when the Triskadekomancer asks him how many letters are in his name.
But for the truly obsessed Triskadekomancer, every action resulting from an appearance of a thirteen is significant and somehow magical. The lady clobbered the Triskadekomancer with her purse not because she was pawing at her blouse to count buttons, but because there were thirteen of them. And it was that thirteen that led the Triskadekomancer to the next thirteen, with Officer Tom Williamson arresting her, and so on, to a cell with thirteen bars, a thirteen-day sentence, and so on.
In this way, the number thirteen drags the Triskadekomancer on through life from significant event to significant event. It is the unavoidable cause of everything that occurs in her life, both good and ill.
Charging and formulas note: Triskadekomancers gain charges through encounters with the number 13. Obviously, this could quickly get out of hand, since the world is full of thirteens for anyone intently looking for them. Thus, it is the curse of the Triskadekomancer that despite their obsessive search for thirteens, they only truly gain power from natural encounters with the number. Being the thirteenth member of a dinner party is meaningless if this fact is arranged beforehand, but if the Triskadekomancer were the 14th member, and one member were to take ill, then the 13 would be natural, random, and worthy of a charge. Carrying a box of 13 crayons around does nothing but make the Triskadekomancer feel better, but buying a new box of 12 crayons and discovering 13 inside would generate a charge. And so on.
Generate a minor charge: Completely by random, natural chance, encounter a thirteen that directly impacts you, and be aware of it in the moment that it happens. Triskadekomancers can automatically gain minor charges any time a 13 appears on a clock; this must be a personal possession of the Triskadekomancer herself, such as a wristwatch, and the 13 must occur exactly as she looks at it. If she's clock watching and anticipating it, then the magic of the moment never happens. A watched pot never boils, so to speak. However, a Triskadekomancer could set their watch to beep at 1:13 every day (thirteenth hour, thirteenth minute), and if they heard it beep and perceived the 13 as it happened, a charge would be gained. OPTIONAL: The Triskadekomancer gains a minor charge any time the dice naturally show 13, but loses a charge if the dice naturally show 31.
Generate a significant charge: Completely by random, natural chance, the Triskadekomancer must herself create a thirteen, or supply the thirteenth in a series, and be aware of it as it happens. For example, the Triskadekomancer arrives at a meeting and becomes the thirteenth person at the table, or she orders randomly from the menu at McDonald's and the price comes out to exactly $13.13. Triskadekomancers also gain a significant charge on any Friday the 13th.
Generate a major charge: Completely by random, natural chance, the Triskadekomancer must encounter a natural thirteenth repetition of the number thirteen. Although the Triskadekomancer can set up twelve of the 13s, this is harder than it sounds, since the last one must come naturally. One example might be as follows: on the 13th day of the month, at 1:13:00 exactly, gather twelve friends in a circle (making a total of 13), each wearing 13 items of clothing and 13 pieces of jewelry. Each person chants a 13-word phrase (each word having 13 letters), then pulls out a serrated silver knife (13 knives, each with 13 serrations) and sheds 13 drops of blood before cutting off 13 strands of hair. All of this must be completed in 13 seconds, such that the final action occurs at exactly 1:13:13, nature providing the final 13. If it's even one second off, it's a failure.
Taboo: The Triskadekomancer cannot bear repetitions of numbers that are not exactly thirteen, and must try to force thirteen whenever possible, even if doing so is socially or physically dangerous or uncomfortable. This is especially difficult if the number involved is close to 13 (such as 12 or 14, or even 11 or 15). Triskadekomancers can learn to tolerate being the fourth person in a group, but if the group consists of 14 then someone has to go, at any cost.
Symbolic Tension: The Triskadekomancer is driven to force repetitions of the number 13 around her, yet forcing an unnatural 13 makes the occurance meaningless. Though she is always looking for it and forcing it, it must find her naturally to be meaningful.
Blast: The Triskadekomancy blast makes the target completely aware of a repetition of thirteen that directly affects them, causing them to superstitiously, but truly, believe that it will impact them in a negative way. Victims feel that bad luck will follow in whatever they do, and this intense belief actually causes that perceived bad luck to actually ensue (whether through faulty action, lack of confidence or fearful inaction). Example: During a bank robbery, the Triskadekomancer points at a robber and says "You have thirteen buttons on your shirt. That's bad luck." The robber, pausing to superstitiously count the buttons, is shot dead by a police sniper. Bad luck indeed. The significant version of the blast has an opposite effect, causing everyone in the area EXCEPT the victim to believe in the bad luck; effects will obviously vary, but at the least will cause them to avoid "getting near" that person.
Random Magick: The Triskadekomancer, being obsessed with the number 13, can through direct or indirect action cause others to become temporarily obsessed as well, thus making the superstition about the number 13 being bad luck a reality. In this way, the Triskadekomancer can affect people in countless ways by basically forcing them to affect themselves through their own beliefs.
Charging Tips: The Triskadekomancer can theoretically gain countless charges based on natural occurances of the number 13, but in reality, the Triskadekomancer is generally so focused on looking for them that they ruin the moment most of the time. In practice, a Triskadekomancer can easily gain a charge a day (through the watch-setting trick above), though if distracted at that exact moment, even those "gimme" charges can be missed. Simply through blind luck, the Triskadekomancer can probably gain one significant charge eery week.
Starting Charges: None
1 minor charge
This is the Triskadekomancy minor blast.
2 minor charges
The Triskadekomancer can "make it known" to another person (through rumor, positioning, arranging thirteens, etc.) that another inividual in their group, including potentially the Triskadekomancer herself, is likely to be a danger or liability to them. This will cause that person to view the "Judas" with emotions ranging from distrust to anger. For example, a security guard might be convinced that a high-ranking official at the company is a "Judas" because he happens to be the thirteenth member on the board, has thirteen letters in his name, and has a number 13 on his ID card; thus "convinced," the guard might refuse entry to the official. The Triskadekomancer can use this effect on herself, if necessary, to draw attention away from others.
3 minor charges
The Triskadekomancer can imbue an object that has some relation to the number 13 into a good luck charm (for example, a hat with 13 feathers, or an orange-striped billiard ball). The charm will allow the Triskadekomancer to escape any unlucky event of her choice at the moment it occurs. For example, the Triskadekomancer could leap out of the way of a bus, but could not decide while in the hospital that leaping would have been a good idea. In escaping fate, the good luck charm is "used up" and either lost or destroyed in some way; the lucky hat is sucked into the jet engine instead of you, or the billiard ball tumbles from your pocket and causes the mugger to slip and fall.
How Many Licks...
3 minor charges
The Triskadekomancer can temporarily cause another individual to become focused on counting to thirteen. The Triskadekomancer must first perceive an occurance of the number, and uses this power by asking the victim a leading question inviting them to count that number. For example, "Hey, are there thirteen buttons on your shirt?" or "Hey, I think there's thirteen letters in your last name." While the victim is counting (mentally, physically, or a combination thereof), they are focused on the task of counting, and cannot do anything else, no matter how crucial (bandaging a patient, stopping a robbery, etc.)
Papa Needs A New Pair of Shoes
1 significant charge
You can twist fate in such a way as to affect your very existence, changing any die roll result that affects you into a 13. You cannot change rolls that affect other people unless the roll impacts you directly in some way.
2 signficiant charges
This is the Triskadekomancy significant blast.
Always After Me Lucky Charms
3 significant charges
The Triskadekomancer must first have imbued an object into a Lucky Charm, as above. By spending the additional charges, she may then cause that Lucky Charm to seem so lucky and desirable as to cause a victim to desire it, even in the face of significant danger. The victim will not pursue the charm directly into the face of certain death or obvious danger, but if there's a chance they could retrieve it, then they will do so. For example, if the Triskadekomancer rolls the lucky 13-ball off a cliff, the victim will not leap off after it. However, if she rolls the 13-ball into a busy city street, the victim will watch traffic patterns and make an attempt to dodge cars and get across the street to retrive the charm, even though there is some danger present. When the victim retrieves the charm, the compulsion ends, and though they will perceive of the charm as lucky, it will have no effect for them.
Could You Repeat That?
4 significant charges
By simply asking a target to repeat a task, the Triskadekomancer forces them into a logical loop which compels them to repeat it twelve more times (for a total of thirteen). The target must comply with the request, though they will not do so illogically; for example, saying "Could you repeat that left turn?" to a driver will not force the driver to turn left into a brick wall, though it will compel him to drive around the block a few times until thirteen left turns have been made. Upon completing the thirteenth repetition, the victim will realize what they've done but will not think of it as unnatural (though others around them might; imagine a police officer who shoots a subject in the leg, and is asked "Could you shoot him again?" while standing over the wounded target).
13 Going On 30
5 significant charges
The target (who must be over the age of 13) mentally and emotionally regresses to the point of being 13 years old again, feeling as awkward and emotionally unstable as any 13-year-old. More importantly, they only know what they knew at that point in their lives, forgetting everything learned after their 14th birthday (E.g., a police officer would forget how to drive or shoot a gun, a brain surgeon would forget how to operate, etc.) The effect normally lasts for 13 seconds, but on a successful roll of doubles it lasts for 13 minutes, on a natural roll of 01 it lasts for 13 hours, and on a natural roll of 13 it lasts for 13 days. This has no effect on individuals under the age of 13.
Cause someone to regress to age 13, physically and/or mentally. Force a natural occurance of 12 to always come up 13 (A dozen eggs or donuts become 13, a gun holding a dozen bullets now always fires an extra shot, a pair of 6-sided dice somehow add up to 13, etc.). Always able to join any group of 12 as an unacknowledged 13th member of equal stature and importance (Jury duty, anyone?). Add an extra month to the year, or a 13th hour to the clock.
What You've Heard
Judas Iscariot and Merlin the Magician were possibly Triskadekomancers... or were they actually Avatars of a "13th Warrior" Archetype?
Suggestions welcomed... I write this as a novice, having only seen what's on this site and what's in reviews, and will play UA for the first time tonight.
An absolutely beautiful addition. I think my players could use some shaking up; considering one of them owns a PC-operated bar & grill called "Lucky's Tavern", which has an address of 1313 E 13th St, it can only lead to pure fun.
Mr Unlucky | profile | Jan 12, 05 | 8:51 pm
For a first attempt it is good, but the blasts? No, way to unclear, and thirteen cuts (or bruises for minor blasts) appearing on the victims body is just too cool not to have.
Mattias | profile | Jan 13, 05 | 4:07 am
Mattias, yes, having now played the game myself, I can see where the things you mention are issues with the way this is designed. Working on other ideas for it in my head now. Thanks for the input.
As a note of interest concerning the number, some speculate that the reason 13 is unlucky is due to the tensions between the original Mother Goddess type religions that were dominant to start with and the emerging (and now dominant) masculine theologies that began to develop as procreation became less of a mystery and herd animals began to be tamed. Why would 13 be chosen? Because 13 is the number of periods women go through in a year. It appears often on "mystical" depictions of women and female dieties. It was the magic number of women. So, y'know, to gain power, the new, masculine clergy called the number bad. A subtle attack without overt violence.
I would suggest that the charge structure would go like this: