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Blank stares and doubletakes can be yours today!
Nickname: Whackadoos, Dadaists, Looneytoons
People get into ruts. Behavioral or belief-based, people form habits, "Reality
Tunnels," which flavor their perceptions of the world.
This is bad.
When a human mind is forced to confront a piece of reality which doesn't fit its preconceived notions, or which it would rather not confront, it is at its most efficient. That's the highest human ability: adapting to new situations. Being jerked out of your Reality Tunnel is the best thing that can happen to you.
It also generates some magical mojo.
Absurdomancers are the Johnny Appleseeds of surrealism, spreading doubt and shock. They also reap a benefit from what they sow: power.
Generate a minor charge: Get a doubletake from another person with absurd behavior. This includes things like putting a cigarette lighter in your mouth and puffing at it while holding a cigarette up to the end, but only if someone notices it and only if it takes a moment to register. The behavior must be enough like normal to pass first notice, but upon reflection be pointless, strange, and just somehow wrong. Note that you can't get more than one charge per week from any one person, and that once a person becomes acclimated to your consistently odd behavior, you can't get any more minor charges from them (since you've become part of their Reality Tunnel).
Generate a significant charge: Create a situation which forces another to strongly doubt his basic assumptions about reality. This should force at least a Rank 5 Unnatural, Helplessness, or Isolation check, though while those are necessary, they are not (by themselves) sufficient. The Unnatural is probably sufficient, but the others need to specifically be created so that the sense of Helplessness comes from believing that the world is working incorrectly or the sense of Isolation comes from believing one is insane. (Note - when I played an absurdomancer in a campaign, the GM ruled that sigs were so hard to earn that, when I did earn one, I actually received more than one: specifically, I earned half the Rank of the check (rounded up) in sigs.)
Generate a major charge: Create a situation wherein a group of more than 1000 people each becomes convinced that he or she has gone insane, simultaneously.
Taboo: There are several ways in which a Whackadoo can Taboo himself. First of all, he or she must never form habitual patterns and let them continue past two repetitions. Waking up at the same time 3 days in a row, or maintaining the same sleep schedule (like "wake at 9 on Monday, 10 on Tuesday, 6 on Wednesday, etc.") for more than two weeks will lose him or her charges. Basically, if anyone could confidently predict a specific action at a specific time or place due to a habitual pattern (not does, but could) then it's bad. Also, a Whackadoo must never be confused by a seemingly absurd or strange happening. This includes blowing an Unnatural check. They must also never permanently kill a human, as that removes the victim's ability to be shocked.
Symbolic Tension: Absurdomancy is its own Reality Tunnel. Absurdomancers believe in breaking belief systems because their belief system tells them to.
Blast: Cartoony Violence. A cartoon bomb is delivered to the victim by an ACME delivery van, or an anvil falls on the victim. Like cartoon violence, though, the damage is not permanent. All damage dealt by this blast disappears after about 10 minutes, even allowing people back from the "dead".
Random Magic: Absurdity, expectation, and cartoony things.
Charging Tips: Depends on ingenuity, especially since no magic can help the absurdomancer in creating the charging situation, even unknowingly. A good absurdomancer can get lots of minors in a day, but all of the sig charges I've seen handed out took at least 5 weeks of gametime to plan and create. Having a sleight of hand skill is advisable.
Starting Charges: 4 minor.
2 minor charges
Creates a generic object, which can be pulled from the caster's pocket or purse. The limits are that it must be small enough to carry one-handed, but must be too large to fit in the pocket or purse.
2 minor charges
A target becomes susceptible to confusion in the face of fast patter. Anyone speaking to the target quickly gets a 15% shift on Lie and Charm attempts against the target.
Duck Season/Wabbit Season
3 minor charges
If the absurdomancer can get a target into a repetitive argument ("I can go in there!" "No, you can't." "Yes, I can." "No, you can't!") that repeats for at least two iterations, and then casts the spell, the arguers change sides and the target "wins" the argument ("I said you can go in there, now get on in before I get mad!"). After 30 seconds, the target gets a Mind Roll to realize what they just did (upon failure, repeat mind roll once per minute until successful).
3 minor charges
This is the Absurdomancy minor blast.
A Sign Saying "Ouch"
3 minor charges
By spending his or her next action ridiculously acknowledging the damage done, and spending the charges, the Whackadoo can ignore up to the sum of the (successful) casting roll of the damage, though he or she can't escape at least one point of damage. (For example, when punched in the face for 8 points of damage, Mortimer dances in a circle holding his nose for his next action and rolls a successful 29. He would get to ignore up to 11 points of damage, except he only took 8, so he may ignore 7 of it.)
I Never Studied Law
1 significant charge
Not quite flight, the absurdomancer may treat open air or water as a flat, solid surface to run across, as long as he or she doesn't look down.
2 significant charges
Allows a posted sign's literal (or misinterpreted) meaning to come true, but only if the result is unlikely or absurd. A "Bear Right" sign could create a real bear (or teddy bear) to the right of the caster, but not in a zoo parking lot (or toy store parking lot).
Drawing of a door
2 significant charges
Gives the absurdomancer a paintbrush which can paint doors/holes where there are none. Such a door or hole has a maximum reach/depth of 10 feet.
Work with me here, kid!
3 significant charges
A single subject within line of sight is forced to go along with a piece of improvisational mundane theater created by the absurdomancer. Props and set furniture are provided by the spell, but only last as long as the absurdomancer participates or 2 minutes (2 rounds in combat), whichever is shorter. Examples: you are now in a barber's shop and the absurdomancer is your barber, or you are now in school at the chalkboard being forced to do a math problem by the absurdomancer teacher. The Absurdomancer always gets at least two free actions after the end of the spell while the target is recovering from the confusion (and Unnatural/Self/Helplessness check)
Candygram for Mongo
2 significant charges
This is the Absurdomancy significant blast.
Create a permanent cartoony object. Bring drawings to life.
What You've Heard
He3nry Aaron Furlove ("Ha3nk") (the 3 is silent) is probably the most famous absurdomancer around. He got some sigs by making a poor normal guy believe Hank and a buddy were robotic android simulation humans, and that the normal guy was one as well. He used those charges to make The Freak dance Swan Lake in a tutu and ballet slippers in front of Dirk Allen. He is currently in hiding.
yogshog | profile | Jun 22, 05 | 4:22 pm
My first submission, but it has been played in both a campaign with someone else as GM, and one with me as GM. The player of the one with me as GM has been much darker than I originally envisioned it, but that's okay.
yogshog | profile | Jun 22, 05 | 8:09 pm
Hah. Big cities are full of absurdomancers. Some of them don't even know it. Or do they?
I have to admit that I'm not happy with the ... multiplicity ... of the taboo restrictions, and I wish I could settle on just one or a way to generalize.
yogshog | profile | Jun 23, 05 | 8:48 am
Taboo: Dadists must lie or do it with gobblygook when speaking; to tell the truth would reinforce everyone's habits and reactions.
perhapse the taboo can simply be that the absurdomancer may never have his reality tunnel disrupted. examples might be failing any stress check, or allowing himself to actualy be shocked by something that he didn't think was possible happening. the second seems to happen a lot to characters with limited knowledge of the occult. "what do you mean it cannnot die?"
vagina = fun! | profile | Jun 25, 05 | 10:50 pm
I treated it like unconsciousness, except that they were verifiably dead until time expired. When they awoke, it was as though the same thing had happenned to them, only they hadn't been hurt, only knocked unconscious. I never thought of (and like the idea of) having them retain memories of death.
yogshog | profile | Jun 26, 05 | 12:00 am
personally, i like the taboo of not staying in a fixed pattern. perhaps you should do that with your darker player, but how darker could be then brother judas?
I think the taboo could be changed to this: First, an Absurdomancer must never allow others to see his Reality Tunnel. Any time his behavior could be reasonably predicted, even if it was outlandish, he has broken taboo. This forces Whackadoos to constantly search for new ways to break other people's tunnels, lest they fall into a rut and become predictable and acceptable. This does mean that teaching Absurdomancy can break taboo-but only if you clearly explain it to your disciple!
Benor | profile | Jul 28, 05 | 12:14 am
Yes, it's spelled Raymond Luxury-Yacht, but it's pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove.
John Q. Mayhem | profile | Oct 24, 05 | 6:06 pm
Ten minutes is too brief a "death" for a Significant blast. Maybe two hours instead?
Anon | profile | Oct 11, 07 | 12:14 pm