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Copyright Hotel Detective

Telephone of the dead.


This ritual creates a magickal artefact similar in function to the Necrophone, which Thomas Edison was rumoured to have attempted to create to contact the dead.

This ritual allows contact with demons, with some of the associated risks but a higher degree of safety.

Cost: 5 Signifigant charges
Ritual Action: This ritual requires a telephone of any kind (Rotary, Cordless, Cell Phone, etc.) and a target who the caster knows to be dead.

First, the caster must use the telephone to call a number the target would have used for at least a year. Home, work or mobile telephone numbers work, as long as the target could reliably be contacted by them over the course of a year.

When the phone is answered (It is useful to have an accomplice to pick up at the other end) the caster spends the charges, makes an appropriate casting roll and ritually kills the phone.
(If the phone is not picked up or the caster hangs up before it is answered, the charges are not lost.)

The "killing" of the phone requires three elements:
1: The killing action must terminate the call.
2: The killing must render the phone unusable in some meaningful way, usually by damaging an important component such as the earpiece, mouthpiece, cord or the phone's innards.
3: The killing action must mimic the death of the target in a meaningful fashion. For example, if the target had his throat slit, cutting the reciever cord with a knife would work.

This last requirement can complicate some ritual attempts.
First and foremost the phone may lack the nescessary symbolic anatomy. While you can back your car over basically any telephone to replicate a fatal traffic accident or crushing, you can't slit a cell phone's reciever cord.
Secondly, some deaths are hard to replicate on a phone. Out of the fifteen or so people who know this ritual, none of them have managed to give a cell phone cancer. (Though some have managed to replicate death through toxin by "poisoning" a phone with salt water.)

After the killing action, the phone must be rebuilt to working order, using most of the phone's original matter. (Replacing components or holding it all together with duct tape is fine, as long as you rebuild the phone rather than just sticking the dead phone's old microphone into a new phone.)

When the phone is rebuilt to an at least partially usable form (So it can be used to make calls on the telephone network again, which includes plugging it into a phone socket or having a SIM card installed as appropriate.) the "necrophone" is ready.

To use the necrophone, the user must chant the target's birth name as they dial the number called during the creation ritual, pausing a second between each number.
Only the caster of the creation ritual may make the call, but once connected he can hand the phone off to others at his leisure.

(Though the necrophone can make mundane phone calls, calls made from the necrophone to the number called during the ritual no longer conncet, even if the number is still reachable from normal phones.)

The caller must make a ritual-casting roll as they dial. (Those using an adept school must also expend a minor charge.)

A sucessful roll grants three minutes of time to speak to the targeted demon before the call abruptly terminates.
A matched or critical sucess allows the call to last until the call is terminated by either party.
(In any case, the demon on the other end of the line may will the call to end at any time it desires, but can't ignore calls as they come in. Some dukes have used this to severely annoy demons in the past.)

A failed roll gets a random demon who may try to pretend to be the demon you contacted.
A matched failure or fumble causes the demon to sieze control of the caster's voice, allowing it to say anything and sound like the caster whenever the caster opens their mouth. This triggers a rank 7 Helplessness check.
Treat this as posession for the purpose of control time and excorism, though it only effects the casters voice. (This also leaves open the possibility that the demon may annihilate the caster's original voice, which causes a Rank 10 Self check.)

Three additional notes on this ritual:
First, if cast on someone who hasn't become a demon, the caster finds out when they make the first necrophone call and no-one answers.
Second, it works on demons who are currently posessing something or someone on this side of the veil, handily enough.
Thirdly, most ritualists have found calls made to demons are charged at international rates. One plutomancer ended up tabooed at the end of the month when his phone bill arrived.

Hotel Detective | profile | Dec 13, 07 | 2:24 pm

Visitor Comments

Great minds think alike, or at least use similar names: http://www.unknown-armies.com/content_comments.php?id=2105_0_3_0_C4

Seriously, not knocking you. Pretty cool idea, though somewhat limited. Maybe you could tone it down to a minor ritual and make it one-use?

Basilisk | profile | Dec 13, 07 | 3:31 pm

Heh, weird. I really like your artefact though.
It's unsurprising we'd see more than one telephone artefact, given how ubiquitous they are in modern society.
Both items could comfortably exist in a campaign together.
(Also alike, I got my name from Munchkin Cthulhu.)

It's limited, yes, but has a few advantages.

1: It's non-unique.
2: Aside from the charges, it's fairly cheap and simple in terms of ingredients.
3: It's permanant for that demon. Useful if you need to consult, say, your dead grandfather to untangle the mess he left in the local underground.
4: The worst that can happen is actually something you could reasonably cope with, which is a mcuh better deal than you'd normally get with demons.

As a demi-five I originally thought about three charges as the initial outlay, but I decided that it's also quite useful as a way to determine if someone has become a demon or not.

As for making it one use... I just like the idea of investigators finding a stuffy old demonologists lounge with dozens of iconic bakelite telephones dominating the flat surfaces of the room...

Thanks for the words!

Hotel Detective | profile | Dec 13, 07 | 6:52 pm

pretty good, but 5 charges is quite expensive. One of my players got a fumble, and I chose a random demon to take his voice away. The player was mute for two game sessions, until they grabbed the demon and beat the voice out of him...The once-mute player always checks twice now before taking a phone call...lol

matth3w | profile | Dec 22, 07 | 1:48 pm

I endorse it. I might let it be variable charges depending on if they can REALLY make the death and the phone-break match up well, how long the person has been dead, if they are using the phone of the dead person itself, etc. Or if the demon is one who'd want to pick up in the first place...

Neville Yale Cronten | profile | Dec 30, 07 | 7:06 pm

I'm thinking if I posted this today, I'd probably make it 1-3 charges or thereabouts. Something to keep it out of the hands of minor dukes and lesser norms.

Matt3w: I know it's been months since I posted this but I'm pleased as punch to hear someone used my idea in-game. Thanks!

Hotel Detective | profile | Jun 04, 08 | 6:07 pm

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