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Copyright TedPro

A minor school - crazy beards, crazy dignity, crazy competition.

The beard has a long cultural history, and ties in closely with ideas of dignity and masculinity. Many faiths (such as Islam, Orthodox Judaism, and Sikhism) see the beard as holy or religiously significant. Culturally, beards are sometimes seen as signs of virility, knowledge and dignity, and sometimes as a sign of wildness, eccentricity, or poor hygeine.

There's a lot of meaning that you carry with your beard, and so you carry it spectacularly. You make yourself a sublime spectacle, but never a ridiculous one. You are the inheritor of kings and barbarians, priests and gurus.

And so you prove it. You wear your beard proudly with triumph. With your beard, you rule over others, majestic and virile.

...and you ignore the giggles of those who see your grandeur as strange.

(Note that while the skill relates primarily to beards, you can also get charges and use formulas for other facial hair, such as moustaches and sideburns.)

Some helpful links for reference:
World Beard Championships: http://www.worldbeardchampionships.com
Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Beard_and_Moustache_Championships
Images page for inspiration: http://www.drivl.com/posts/view/466
More Images for Inspiration: http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&oe=ISO-8859-1&q=%22beard+competition%22&btnG=Search+Images

Generate a minor charge: Win a formal beard contest. The contest must have been arranged by people who don't know about Pogonomancy, at least a day beforehand.

The good news is, you get a lot of charges at once. For every ten people who entered the contest, you get one minor charge.

You don't get any charges for second prize (or any other side prizes.) If the contest is broken up by exclusive involuntary divisions (like age or region), you get charges only for thesize of your own division.

As a minor school, pogonomancy has no significant or major charges.

Taboo: You must maintain serious dignity at all times. Your behavior must be serious, respectable, and upright. Any levity or self-effacing behavior will cause you to lose all charges.

Symbolic Tension: A beard is both respectable and ridiculous. It is a symbol of venerability and eccentricity.

Random Magic Domain: Pogonomancy effects deal with respect and dignity.

Mechanic: Beard judges are fickle and unpredictable. Winning a beard competition requires that you roll a skill like "Crazy Beard" (usually a Body- or Soul-based skill) and get a successful result at least equal to the number of contestants, to a maximum of 70. If you don't have a skill like that, you can use something like "costuming" or "attractive" or "perform for a crowd" at -15% penalty, or even Charm with a -30% penalty. If there are any other named contestants, such as other Pogonomancers or competitors trying to foil you, you need to beat their result too.

Charging Tips: Pogonomancers get their charges in bursts. Attempts to incite a beard contest never succeed, so every contest is probably a game event or plot device. Be ready to do all your big mojo right after a contest.

Beard contests happen irregularly, as the GM sees fit. A large city will probably have one every year. Big international ones happen a few times a year, but about half of them have a pogonomancer on staff and are therefore ineligible.

Starting Charges: Variable! Pick a size for your most recent competition and roll to see if you win that competition.

Minor formulas

1 minor charge
Usable immdiately after you fail any Stress check. You get a success on the check instead, and you get an immediate hunch.

1 minor charge
A single target faces you and falls to one knee with an elaborate gesture. They can get up afterwards. In combat, they'll spend the next round kneeling and can get up later.

2 minor charges
If you have a Crazy Beard skill (or something similar), you can use it in place of any Mind-based skill for a single roll.

Emergency Cache
2 minor charges
You pull a single object out of your beard. It must be worth no more than $500, and it must be something that could have been concealed, sight unseen, in your beard.

Wild Nobility
10 minor charges (or more - you spend all charges when using this formula)
You are fueled with a surge of holy power. You immediately heal all wounds, poisons and diseases, but you're not immune to further harm. For the next hour, you have a +30% shift to all Body and Soul skills (including Crazy Beard skills and avatar skills), which can take you above your attribute, and you feel neither pain, nor hunger, nor fatigue. You cannot gain charges while this formula is in effect.

What You've Heard:
Margaret Rabeaux, one of the few female Pogonomancers, works at a circus and takes hormones regularly. She acts as a diplomat and go-between to help minimize conflicts between other Pogonomancers, a prickly and competitive lot in great need of mediation.

Some say that she's also pursuing the Mystic Hermaphrodite avatar path, and that she's trying to organize and build the power of Pogonomancy enough that she can take the role of Godwalker, either by challenging the Freak or taking the role when the Freak dies. Margaret denies all this, and so far the Freak doesn't seem too worried.

TedPro | profile | Jun 23, 08 | 10:20 pm

Visitor Comments

Yay! The site's back up!

I wrote this because I got a random message that said "Pogonomancy is the fear of beards" and within three hours it was written.

Beard contests are crazy and the people involved with them make great plot fodder, so I figured I'd take all the beard stuff and adapt it to beard competitions.

This is a minor school, so it should be pretty simple to use. The charging structure is a little odd: charges come in batches, rather than a little at a time, but probably an adept will be getting charges only between sessions and even then it's never a sure bet. Charges are rare so most abilities are cheap. In keeping with the kingly aspect of the school, I added one very hefty formula at the top that's about as beefy as a significant formula, but really hard to reach.

The school also goes nicely with a few different adepts.

Some taboos I thought about and didn't use:
Must never trim beard (too close to real-world faiths, and besides the craziest beard do get trimmed, just in strange ways.)
Must never shave fully (no effect on game play)
Must never lose/skip a beard competition (not very interesting.)

I like the dignity one because it taps into the school's taboo (which is definitely a minor-class taboo) and because it means you've got a bunch of Emperor Norton-like guys; dignified but very offbeat, never admitting to anything unusual about them, odd but never wacky, full of pomp, for better or worse.

TedPro | profile | Jun 23, 08 | 10:29 pm

Ascent of a Pognomancer in three acts:

stange_person | profile | Jul 08, 08 | 6:39 am

I've got little to say: I absolutely love this, and I wish one of my players would use it.

Sage of Darkness | profile | Jul 10, 08 | 3:24 am

stange, you totally get it. Rad. Woot for Red Meat!

Sage, I hope one of your players uses it too! It's designed to be a school that's easy to pick up and play for beginner players. I would love to hear how it turns out! Also, thank you for your kind words!

TedPro | profile | Jul 10, 08 | 3:38 am

According to the Somalian Minister of Tourism,


the "emergency cache" formula could be used for items such as a collapsible rocket launcher or a small case of grenades.

stange_person | profile | Jul 15, 08 | 1:19 pm

Dude, I had an idea for a hair-based school! You beat me to it!

dedhed | profile | Jul 20, 08 | 8:24 pm

dedhed, post it! I'd love to see it!

(I think Postmodern Magic has a brief mention of a hair-magic pseudo-adept.)

TedPro | profile | Jul 20, 08 | 9:37 pm

Sorry Ted, but I'm caught up in making Pervertomancy, The Book of Random Ideas, and an Otherspace-manipulation type of school.

dedhed | profile | Jul 21, 08 | 7:14 am

actually, I was reading through PoMoMa and I saw the hair magic. Begins with a T.

dedhed | profile | Jul 30, 08 | 10:36 am

Incidentally, a fan of crazy beards might well enjoy reading issue #45 of the Doom Patrol comic.
I won't spoil the plot, but it involves beards in a central way. The rest of the comic's run is kind of appropriate for UA too, especially the parts written by Grant Morrison.

Bicornis | profile | Mar 29, 09 | 12:56 pm

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