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A vampiric school based on living through other people's lives.
Witnesses, Momenteers, Kairos Vampires
You saw it. You were the Witness. When they ran around, calling the ambulance, panicking, shouting; you watched it. The guy died, of course, most would when shot during a daylight store robbery. But you saw his eyes, and the spark going out. You bore witness to his finalÖ everything.
You realised that every day, every minute, people do astonishing, outrageous and beautiful things. Babies are born, artists draw, soldiers kill, men cry and women fight. If you stop rushing around for a while, you can see it too, be there in those moments. Not watching people live and die on television, but right in front of you, in the street, in the office, behind closed doors. Humans and their lives are wondrous, terrible things, and deserve to be seen. Maybe recorded. A testimony, like a grave marks the passing of life, and a medal marks the courage of warriors. It gets to you that so many go unseen, unknown, unnoticed. Each moment is a gift, and when you bear witness, you take a part of it with you. At first you just felt like you were taking a tiny piece of wisdom, of insight into anotherís life. Then, gradually, you realised you were taking a lot more.
You saw it. You were there. That means, you control history. You get to tell the story first hand, and decide how to tell it. After all, history is written by someone, somewhere. You take away a tiny slice of someone elseís life, their joy or sorrow, feeding off it and the insight it brings. Did you SEE that foul by the German player? Why, yes, I did. (And I have the power of deciding if you get to know, or what version of events you get to hear. I was there. I am chronicle, I am testament, I am gospel. For a moment, I WAS that German player.)
Awe and wonder fill the life of the Testamancer. She sees horror, beauty and sin, not necessarily in that order, and sometimes upside down in a gimp suit, because thatís what people do. Testamancers are a kind of vampire or parasite, leeching the sanctity of being there during a personís deepest and most vulnerable moments. The downside is that of the writer or artist: while watching the wonder of the world, you are unable to actually take part. Time spent watching other people live is not the same as living.
Short version: Testament. I saw Ali beat Foreman, but I could never have done it myself.
Testamancers are parasites, getting the experience of an interesting life by leeching the lives of other people. Their blast style is based on this; they can actually drain away your health and give it to themselves, taking your life force like a vampire. They use their charges to give someone the experience of being hurt, which actually wounds them, and heals some damage the Testamancer was suffering from. For example: Mia, a Witness from New Jersey, blasts a guy who is trying to force himself on her. She implants in him the experience of being stabbed in the thigh (it doesnít actually happen to him, but the wound is real, and it feels like it happened, inflicting mental stress checks where necessary). She rolls 36, doing 9 damage to him, and gaining 9 wound point herself. If this hits her full wound point capacity then her total wound points go up to include it. This can be done to a maximum of twice her starting wounds points (and does not affect Body score).
Generate a Minor Charge:
Witness an event of minor importance to someoneís life. Meeting a new lover, making a deal that could earn big bucks, a man running to catch a bus to see his sonís football game. You have to know the significance, so you will need to know the context (new lovers meeting up is fairly obvious but for the running man, you need to know that heís trying to catch the game, not just speculate). Watch a friend vote.
Generate a Significant Charge:
Witness an event of significant importance to someoneís life, and be the sole observer. Those actively participating do not count as observers. See a friend propose to his girlfriend, or see someone admit to his wife that heís cheated on her. Bear sole testimony to a birth, a marriage, or a killing (seeing an actual death is different). Watch a person quit their job when they really canít afford to, or get the job of their dreams. See someone being exposed to magick for the first time.
Generate a Major Charge:
Again, you must be the only witness to gain a major charge unless GM decides itís huge enough to be otherwise. See a general order a nuclear attack. Witness a unique event of life changing significance to many people, like the football match played in WW1, or the Beerhall Putsch before Hitlerís rise to power. Watch as a man slays his entire family. Witness an ascension.
The Testamancer watches the real, genuine state of human life, good or bad. If he ever tries to take part or interrupt an event, he loses all charges. E.g. watching a man blow his girlfriendís brains out would be a great charge, but if you try to save her, itís taboo. Only raw human connections have power for the true Witness. Lastly, they may not charge off the pivotal moments in their own lives when they do occur, but they do not cause a loss of charges either.
Witnesses have power over moments, including choices and pivotal situations. They can control the flow of news to some extent, and human emotion, their fuel.
Starting Testamancers hold 4 minor charges.
A good Witness can harvest 4 or 5 minors a week, maybe a significant if he knows a lot of people. If your job is a journalist, photographer, councillor, priest etc then your chances go way up. Hell, youíre paid to pay attention to human interaction.
Testamancer Minor Formula Spells:
Good Idea, Bad Idea- 1 Minor charge. The Testamancer can give advice that is hard to ignore. When using this spell, the next advice he gives seems to come from a deep understanding of life and a shrewd wisdom, and the listener will follow the advice blindly. If the advice puts them in physical danger (ďIn my experience, sleeping on train tracks is a good ideaĒ) then the victim gets a mind check to break out of it, and anyone under the influence of this spell can be woken out of it by a third party slapping them and telling them to stop. ďMom! You canít just give a drifter a ride into New York!Ē
I calls Ďem like I sees em- 3 minor charges. The Testamancer can use this spell and get an insight into the way people act, and for a story segment he can take a soul check to get an insight from the GM as to what the people around him are doing. This means their goals, their aspirations, their desires, and whatís actually going down. You will detect someone manipulating you or realise that a person is setting himself up for a bad relationship.
I saw it happen- 3 minor charges. This spell allows the user to tell their version of an event and be very believable. So long as no more than 5 people witnessed the event, the Testamancer tells his own version of the story, which is automatically believed. This cannot be used to totally change things- if you saw a man hit his wife, you canít tell them that he in fact chopped her up and ate her. But you could tell them that he smacked her with a side of beef while she screamed something about being in love with a cop from Amsterdam. You bastard. The user must have witnessed the original event, but now each person you use this on will believe only you and not any other version, even if told otherwise by the actual persons in the event.
Believe me- 1 minor charge. The Witness is totally believable for one statement, bypassing Lying rolls, but his lies will not hold up to long inspection. ďSheís 18, officerĒ.
Mi Casa Su Casa- 3 minor charges/day. The Witness has leeched off enough experiences to start dragging more from his victims/symbiotes. The target must be a person that the Witness has charged off in the past. They suddenly decide to let him further into his life- after all, he seems to really understand them. They treat him like a close friend for up to a week, putting him up in their house, lending him money for food. Attempts to lie to them, charm them and get secrets from them are at a +10% shift.
Iíve Seen People Bleed- 2 minor charges. This is the Testamancer minor blast. The lucky victim gets to experience an attack of minor damage (it will do the sum of the dice, but the vision of being hurt could take any form of the casterís choosing, such as a knife attack or punch to the face. It can even take the form of another schoolís minor blast. The only thing governing it is that the caster must have witnessed this attack somewhere at some time, he cannot make you see something that he has not seen). The Testamancer leeches this damage, not just hurting the enemy but healing any damage he is under and if at full health, permanently increasing his wound points.
Testamancer Significant Formula Spells:
I know what you did last summer- 1 significant charge. The Testamancer fills his target with a heavy dose of all the shame he has seen over the years. He does not choose what they become ashamed about, just fills them with shame. Whatever shame the target holds, from cheating on his girlfriend to wearing socks with sandals, rears up and smacks him in the face stronger than the actual event was. They must take a stress check in self, regardless of hardened notches, and will blurt out a secret from their past if they fail.
History repeats itself- 1 significant charge. The caster benefits with wisdom beyond his age from all the human life events he has seen. This spell gives a permanent increase of 5% to the casterís Soul rating, to a maximum of 85%, and grants a free hunch roll.
War Story- 2 significant charges. This is the significant blast, doing the dice roll in damage, and leeching the roll divided by 2 and rounded down in health points, again to a maximum wounds total of double the characterís original. Eg, an attack roll of 45 does 45 damage and leeches 22 points of health to the caster. The victim sees a more deadly assault from the Witnessí bank of observed atrocities, with stress checks appropriate to whatever the vision is.
Thatís a keeper- 1 significant charge. This spell makes a permanent record of one of the events witnessed by the caster, not necessarily the one that generated the charge. The caster only has to hold a tape, journal, photograph, some form of capture media, and the event permanently writes onto it. A cassette tape now has a video of the event directly as the Witness watched it. If the Witness is deaf in one ear, the video is missing sound in one channel, etc. The media cannot be overwritten and if destroyed, it will transfer to a new form of media in the possession of the Witness, possibly overwriting something he treasures. If the Witness is not in possession of anything suitable the event is lost to all but the those who already knew about it. What makes these Ďkeepersí unique is that when watched, they give a one-time freebie experience point to the viewer, including the Witness who made it. If you watch other peopleís lives, sooner or later you learn something.
Demonstrate for me- 2 significant charges. The Testamancer learns a skill from the events he has witnessed. If you saw a man fire a gun at someone, you get a firearm skill in the gun type he was using at the percentage that he has. If you watched an amazing lovemaking session, you can now have his (or her) lovemaking ability at the level they had. This can be used to learn how an authentic thaumaturgy ritual was done, but not to get the powers of other schools or avatars.
Testamancer Major effects: Permanently put an event in the global consciousness, so that it will never be forgotten by anyone. Leech a personís memories. Gain a skill such as symbolsight or aurasight. The biggie: completely and utterly consume another human being and all their experiences, doubling your life span and gaining all their knowledge and skills.
What Youíve Heard: The Testamancer
A kairos vampire called named B. Holder witnessed the second gunman shooting Kennedy. Just stood there, didnít try to stop it. Some knowledge hungry Cliomancers tried to find him but they say he can look like anyone whose life he has studied. They also say he charges up from being a cameraman on a reality tv show.
One rumour mill says that the guy who filmed the Naked Goddess as she arose was a Testamancer. At least, he was afterwards.
What do people think? i've never written a school before, so the charge cost or power level might be totally off. In fact, most of it may be!
ervae | profile | Jul 15, 06 | 4:31 pm
probably worth adding that many of these adepts end up as some level of Chronicler avatar
ervae | profile | Jul 15, 06 | 7:54 pm
Basically I like it. I think that we're starting to show that, much as Pornomancy was a specific motion towards magick and away from 'walking the avatar path', here we have an example of capturing the power of the Witness archetype and exploiting it in the style of magick.
I think some of the significant fomulas are waaay too powerful. Specifically, History Repeats Itself and Demonstrate for Me.
Ok i see what you mean. the History thing was based on epideromancys body 5% increase thang.
ervae | profile | Jul 16, 06 | 7:28 pm