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The power of being a geek
In his words:
This is pretty sweet, look at this. So I had some free time at work the other day and I figured Iíd try to do something fun. I thought Iíd try to derive the equation for the volume of a sphere without integrals. I know, I know, everyone says itís impossible. I think it probably is impossible, but I found something cool along the way.
I was using Reimann sums, but that was too easy, it felt like cheating, so I tried to use vectors. Yeah, I know you canít really use vectors to find volume, but I really like vectors so I figured Iíd try. Man, dot products and cross products are so cool. You know, a normalized times b normalized times the cosine of the angle between them? You donít know? Oh, sorry. Yeah, Iíll order. I think Iíll have a hot pastrami sandwich and a cup of coffee. Yeah, lots of cream please. Thank you so much!
Personality: Extroverted and extremely annoying. He is a nice guy, no doubt about it, but he never shuts up about the math he loves. Thereís always some formula heís deriving or formula heís proving, and if you talk to him, you will hear all about it. Very, VERY vindictive, but only when he has been genuinely hurt.
Appearance: Skinny, young, black hair, pale, freckles. Usually with glasses, often wears a white short-sleeved collared shirt with a black tie and black pants (think Michael Douglasí clothes in ďFalling DownĒ).
Obsession: Information, challenges, and (rarely) revenge.
Fear Passion: Johnís life is built around the fact that he is a solid fifty IQ points higher than anyone else he knows. If anyone were to be better than him at math, it would absolutely destroy him.
Rage Passion: Not unlike the nerd that gets rich and uses his cash to destroy his old high school bullies, John Gorman hates the kids that tortured him, and anyone that reminds him of them. He can and will use his powers any time he gets bullied.
Noble Passion: Information sharing. John has discovered some amazing stuff, and a lot of it is worth a lot of money to the right people. John believes that information should be free, and takes out no patents or copyrights on anything.
Inventory: Apartment key, car key, suit, tie, shoes, cell phone, wallet with credit cards, drivers license, and $120 cash, security pass to his defense industry job.
Possessions: Small apartment and car, full wardrobe, a job calculating rocket trajectories ($80,000/year), a radio and TV, $50,000 of student loans, a PhD in astrophysics, 3 filing cabinets full of notes and proofs. The notes are badly disorganized, but understandable (or they would be if anyone but John could understand the math behind them). They cover every field of mathematics, statistics, and physics, and go into greater depth than most PhD theses.
Using John Gorman:
Old high school buddy or kindred spirit. If you are willing to talk math with him, John will love you forever. You donít need to contribute anything, you donít even need to understand, John just likes to spread his love of numbers far and wide. At his job, he has access to a lot of classified information, and he is too naÔve to consider the fact that sharing it constitutes treason. In fact, he could easily be goaded into spilling any secrets, if you show interest in his work. As an adept, he is less useful: he isnít a criminal at heart, and it would be hard to get him to hurt anyone.
Enemy: John could be one hell of a bad ass to fight. The Mathamancy spells arenít as powerful as some other schools, but he has amassed an absurd amount of charges (a minor charge almost every day for three years, at least ten significant charges, and perhaps a major charge). If you bully him, or if you bullied him in the past, you are in for a world of hurt. He wonít do anything that will get him arrested, but then again he doesnít need to.
The school for nerds. Math geeks whose love of numbers lets them exploit the physical world. Much like Johnny Cochran can exploit legal loopholes without actually breaking the law, geeks can seemingly go against every law of physics without actually breaking any.
Paradox: Math was designed to make things easier and to describe the real world. Geeks charge by doing the most difficult things they can, and use their charges to alter the way the world works.
Blast Style: NA
Taboo: Nerds must always be as efficient as impossible. They need to take the fastest route to work and drive in the most fuel-efficient manner. If math would enable them to eliminate any waste, they must eliminate it.
Minor charge: Spend eight hours working on math. You need not do it all at once, but it must all be done before you go to sleep. It must also be just at the edge of your abilities. If you had only gone through algebra in school, you could charge by working on calculus, but if you already took calculus, you couldnít. No matter how good you are you must find something that is still difficult for you in order to charge.
Significant charge: Prove or disprove a theory. It must be a theory that more than a thousand people have been aware of for more than five years but none have solved: in other words, you must succeed where other people have failed
Major Charge: Solve one of the great mathematical puzzles (i.e. Fermattís enigma), or do something that has already been proven impossible (squaring the circle or trisecting the angle.
Human calculator: 1 minor charge
You are able to function exactly like a powerful calculator. Assuming you know how to do it at all, you can perform any function nearly instantly, including arithmetic, statistics, calculus, physics and chemistry. You work faster than even the most sophisticated super computers, but if you wanted to, for instance, find the value of pi to the thousandth decimal place, you would still need to concentrate on it for a long, long time. Any interruptions stop the progress and you would need to spend another charge to continue.
Meter stick: 3+ minor charges
Make an estimate, accurate to 99.99% of the dimensions of a given object no bigger than a truck. 3 charges for length and mass, five for volume, six for density, twenty-five for a complete list of all dimensions. You will not forget this information for one day.
(A note: all significant spells require the use of meter stick or human calculator to be fully effective)
Leverage: 1 significant charge
Use physics to find the easiest possible way to do something. For instance, break down a door by finding the weakest point, or throw a man across a room by using his own momentum. Essentially makes you a judo champion. The more charges spent on meter stick the more effective this becomes.
Statistics: 4 significant charges
After watching something, you can predict its short term future actions. You can find patterns in the stock market, what play the other coach will call, or what move your enemy will pull in a fight. The longer you spend watching the more accurate your call will be. Using meter stick lets you account for other factors to generate a better result. Nothing is definite, but it gives a measured advantage in anything.
Find a weak point in a building to collapse it in one punch to the right location, predict the long term behavior of something generally considered totally random (the stock market, tornadoes), etc.
Statistics is probably too expensive, and significant charging seems too expensive as well. Major charging works, with the inclusion of winning the Nobel prize for a charge (or the equivalent prize in your field)
Mattias | profile | Oct 24, 06 | 4:19 am
Good points, definitely.
Now, english is not my first language, but: which of the spells does that? (put the right force on something) And: just because you know exactly how it should be done doesn't mean that you can actually do it.
Mattias | profile | Oct 25, 06 | 1:40 am
I think Arithmancy would be a more linguistically "correct" name for the school than Mathamancy. Of course it's postmodern magic, so the users can call it whatever they feel like.
Bicornis | profile | Oct 25, 06 | 9:21 am
Well, since I only played once and don't own a rulebook, I can't remember all the rules for combat and skill tests, so you can use it as you like. Obviously my examples are extreme, and you would need to roll for successes and all, but knowing how to do something is the first step to doing it. I would use it as a way to make a seemingly impossible action do-able, albeit difficult. But, like I say, I can't really remember how to do that in terms of the game rules.