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The daily grind is for slackers...
AKA BusyBodies, Salarymen, Stiffs, some folks who know a lot about Platonism or Gnosticism call these guys "Private Workers", to the confusion of pretty much everyone else
Art..., science..., progress..., civilization...
These are the sorts of things that humanity needs to survive, and these are the sorts of things that human beings will invariably end up making.
None of this would have been possible without time, effort, sweat, and, most importantly, hard work.
Only you, and the few others like you, know how important that last one is. In fact, you know that it's far more important than any of those other things. Work is what drives our society, and it is what allows you to survive each day and bring home the bacon. But any schmoe can work just 9-5 to feed himself. You, on the other hand, are more than capable of working overtime, in your spare time, and pretty much all the time. How much work you can do, how much of yourself you can pour out in sweat and blood, is equitable to how powerful you are.
So, you work. And work. And work. And work... Everything else is unimportant before how much energy you expend. It doesn't matter you work on, as long as you're expending of yourself in pursuit of a task. And once you've put in the time, you receive your paycheck, your vacation, the fruit of your labors.
You receive power.
Stiffs are a rather introverted lot. When they're at work, they spend their time doing anything and everything they can to be getting something done. No time to talk, they're all Busy Men. When at home, or when the work is done, they always have little pet projects that they work on. Whether it's refurbishing old furniture, or wheeling and dealing on the drug market, they always apply themselves to something, and it is always to the detriment of their physical and mental health. Any friends or family they have invariably drift away, and they often actually work themselves to death.
The paradox of Ergomancy is that you put effort into being "productive", but only for the sake of putting in effort. It's not too uncommon for Stiffs to spend time making something, then spend more time systematically taking it apart, then building it again. Yes, you're applying yourself, but you're not really being productive per se, because whatever you produce is either ignored or rarely put to use working on something else.
Generate a Minor charge: Spend time working on something when it would be better for your health to do something else. Pull an all-nighter. Skip a meal when you're starving. Try to build a birdhouse when your left thumb's been severed and is bleeding all over the place. You get the picture. It's up to the GM how much of a penalty this induces, but a good rule of thumb is that after an all-nighter, you get a negative 10-15% shift on mind and speed related skills until you rest, and of course going without food will start to penalize your body stat. You also get a charge whenever you complete a small task or project (one you could finish in an afternoon). If you manage to finish it in a day while making it prohibitively harder than it has to be (use no power tools, do all the math with paper and pencil or in your head, etc.) you net another minor once it's completed.
Generate a Significant charge: Harm a loved one for the sake of toiling. Whether a task you're working on actually involves something like destroying your toddler's beloved doll for raw materials, or "forgetting" a long-planned date with your fiance in favor of working. In one action, you must seriously hurt their image of you, and put heavy strain on your relationship. Doing this too many times is probably bad for your soul stat, if the GM wishes. A less dramatic way of getting a sig is to complete a long-term project, something that is incredibly risky, difficult or takes weeks or months to do. Finish your masterpiece. Build the Best Treehouse Ever. Become the dope supplier for an entire university campus. Get away with murdering everyone in your neighborhood whose last name has less than four consonants. The sky's the limit!
NOTE: The specific projects you work on are important to your spells. Write down the side projects you finish as you finish them.
Generate a Major charge: Complete a project that affects everyone across the globe. Building up a multinational drug empire would work, as would making something that is purchased and used by pretty much everybody. Usually this requires an extensive support network, but to get the charge, you must do it on your own.
Blast style: Exhaustion. The target suddenly finds their body's resources depleted. We've all been worn down and tired over time, with no physical damage done, but if it happens all at once, bad things happen to the body. Imagine muscles tearing apart in an instant instead of gradually over repeated use, or how messed up your cellular mechanisms will be once they burn off two big meals and ten pounds of fat in an eyeblink, or how frayed your brain will be after... well, you get the picture.
Random Magick: Ergomancy is the magick of efficiency and productivity. They can make things work with little effort when it would be nearly impossible, or cause a week's worth of careful planning be useless and riddled with unforeseen errors.
Taboo: You must never slack. You can't sleep in, miss a day of work, or rest more than them minimum necessary amount of time to keep working. The important part here is when you decide not to work when you know you're capable of doing so. Since Stiffs are a devoted lot, they tend to have harsher restriction on "capable of working" than normal people. If you think you can, you must, even if your doctor says you can't.
Charging tips: Work on multiple projects at once, and time it so you finish them all roughly in time to do something big. Also, keep in mind that there are very long-term projects that you can be working on 'all the time', such as the objective of the game, or research in an academic field. These won't net you any charges, but even thinking about them is enough to avoid taboo. Hell, even some of the more compassionate Stiffs think "raising a happy, healthy family is one of my life-long projects" and can avoid both wiping and divorce.
Okay, that was long. Now for the fun stuff:
MINOR FORMULA SPELLS:
Unpaid Overtime (3 minor charges): This is the Ergomancy minor blast. The target suddenly becomes hazy in the head and sorely fatigued everywhere else. Minor blast damage is inflicted, and the target spends his next round pulling himself together. After that, though, he's feeling right as rain, except for the damage.
Slow and Steady (1 minor charge): This spell is cast while attempting a slightly complicated task, one that most people don't know how to do, but isn't too difficult with the right know-how. You take an extra minute or two, or three rounds, working at it, and you get a positive shift in the relevant skill equal to ten times the tens place die. It works only with technical tasks like picking locks, stealing cars, or building barricades.
Rush Job (1 minor charge): This spell, like Slow and Steady, is cast while attempting a slightly complicated task. However, you manage to finish it in record time. Something that would take two hours only takes fifteen minutes. Attempting to fix something or patch together an improvised weapon or device in the heat of combat only takes one round. However, the job doesn't last long and some flaw or other will soon become apparent.
Traineefication (2 minor charges): This spell is cast on someone else while they're doing something, and it renders them completely incompetent at it. The target gets a -15% shift on their next action. Spending another charge can make this last a number of rounds equal to the sum of the die, if it pleases you.
Brain Fart (2 minor charges): This spell makes someone suddenly forget how to do whatever it was they were attempting to do. They spend the next round or next few minutes staring stupidly into space, drawing a blank. If they were already doing that at the time of the spell's casting, it takes effect on whatever they were going to do next.
Enervation (3 minor charges): This spell makes someone feel suddenly fatigued and disinterested. Whatever's going on becomes barely relevant to them. This won't necessarily effect them all that dramatically while attempting to perform an action (although they're bound to whinge while they work), but it will make them feel hazy and less motivated to start doing something. Specifically, this burdens their Notice, Dodge, and Initiative skills with a -10% shift for a number of rounds equal to the sum of the dice.
Taught by Experience (4 minor charges): This spell is cast when you use a skill that is more-or-less the same as something you have used for one of your personal projects. By re-applying your expertise making birdhouses, you suddenly know what to do to remove a locked door from its frame, or something to that effect. You get a +10% shift to the skill being used at the present. There is a caveat: you can only this once per project. Your experience with one birdhouse only works once, so once again you should keep track of what you've done to charge up.
SIGNIFICANT FORMULA SPELLS:
Karoshi (2 Significant charges): This is the Ergomancy significant blast. The target's physical and mental resources and then some are burned away uselessly, inflicting significant blast damage and putting them in a severely weakened state. They must make a successful body check with -10% shift to avoid immediately collapsing into convalenscence for a week, in addition to the physical damage. For each extra sig you spend, you can add -10% the shift, up to a total of -30%.
Fast, Right, Well (1 Significant charge): This spell is cast while attempting to do a complex task that is difficult even with tech knowledge, and while you're under no significant stress. The time it takes to complete the task is reduced to about one-fifth of the normal time, and you get a +30% shift to the relevant skill. You could build a car, develop a secure OS. You need to already know how to, and you need the materials.
Gibbs' Free Lunch (3 significant charges): This spell works on one mechanism while you are interacting with it, although the definition of 'mechanism' is a bit nebulous. Everything in the mechanism suddenly works better and in record time, and you get a +10% shift for all actions involved, and all output from it until you stop using it. A mechanism can be a car, but the first BusyBody to use this (he was a real math nerd, too) managed to motivate the entire staff at a steakhouse to get him a four-course meal ready in ten minutes, with a discount.
Burnout (2 significant charges): True to its name, this spell afflicts the target with a severe case of burnout. They will become so fed up and frustrated with whatever it is they're currently trying to do, that they snap and lose all vestige of caring about the outcome. What happens after this depends on the target and a rank-7 Self check. If they pass, they'll keep going, but putting in only the minimum effort, and being alright with settling for failure if it means they can go home sooner. If they fail, they'll just give up and leave, possibly lashing out at anyone who tries to convince them to do otherwise. Either way, after a good night's sleep, they'll be feeling back to their old selves.
Peter Principle (4 significant charges): Sometimes, people get promoted to their height of incompetence. This spell, on the other hand, brings someone's height of incompetence crashing down around their ears. For a number of rounds equal to the sum of the dice, all of the target's skills that are immediately relevant to their current objective are reduced to 15%. Someone attempting to assassinate you finds their Struggle and Firearms skill affected by this, but their Drive or Crochet skills would be left intact. Suddenly finding that you can't do what you identify yourself as doing incurs a rank-4 Self check.
Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger (5 significant charges): This whopper of a spell boosts your resolve, mental clarity, and energy for 24 hours. During that time, these manifest as a +20% shift to all skills that have been used on your past projects, and if you have any skill at or above 30% (before the shift), you automatically pass minor skill checks with that skill. While you will no doubt feel like you have the ability to work for 24 solid hours, you won't really, and will need to sleep for at least 16 hours afterward. This will almost always cause you to taboo. Nonetheless, it's awesome while it lasts.
ERGOMANCY MAJOR EFFECTS: Complete an impossible labor in a day, make someone completely unable to perform any sort of skilled labor for a week, make yourself and thirty other people able to work together to complete a world-changing objective, cause everyone in a multinational corporation to flub up and cost the company millions.
pheeed | profile | Nov 03, 10 | 9:11 pm
Here is my first adept school. Looking at it now, I'm wondering whether or not it's too powerful, or if the charging and taboo rules aren't harsh enough. What does everyone else think?
pheeed | profile | Nov 03, 10 | 9:12 pm
That taboo is fairly harsh, but perfect for the school. You can grab minor charges fairly easily, but then that makes sense for this school as well.
offiox | profile | Nov 04, 10 | 4:55 am
This'd be both a really fun PC and NPC character - mundanity taking into the realm of surreality.
They're capable of a wide range of feats, which can make them seem really potent, but since they can only do the Taught By Experience once per project, this can peter out fairly quickly.
AAAAAAAAAAAND since they're driven to constantly do and if you're constantly Doing something it's hard not to become obsessed with it... Ergomancers might be particularly likely (comparatively) to accidentally do the ol' "learned two schools of magick, went crazy" tango. Or, potentially, to be more prone to having what "school" they belong to shift or specialize. Transition out of being an Ergomancer and into a (whatever those "make tiny replicas of things"-mancers were called) or Numeromancer or a Musculomancer or an OCD-o-mancer (like a Bricklayeromancer or a Tappingtheirfingersomancer or a Washingtheirhandsomancer).