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Carnivals. Clowns. Methamphetamines. Adepts. Guns. Avatars. Knives. Videotapes. Terror. Popcorn. -- All's faire in love and war.
Take your players through some Hell, and reward them with: more Hell. Because you're that kind of person.
Concept: players are tested: morally, intellectually, and emotionally, to check their suitability for membership intoMak Attax. Should they deal with the local menace(s) in a timely, efficient, and non-repugnant fashion, their expertise would go on, to further the goals of Mak Attax. Should they fail, prove incompetent, or be/act utterly deranged, it’s a sizable chance that Alex Abel will find a use for them. He’s always looking for dupes and pawns, unless circumstances dictate otherwise. The general elements of the game involve:
Illegal actions – burglary, auto theft, breaking & entering, among further, violent crimes
Wholesale abuse of the masses for personal gain – beyond normal opportunism
Morality plays …. You’ll see where we mean, folks.
Group of PCs are involved in the low-level world of the occult underground, which at times, means criminal activities, ranging from burglary and fraud, to kidnapping, and murder, with arson, strong-arming, and dope-slinging thrown in for good measure. The ‘boss’ of the local Underworld is a medium-level heavy known as ‘D-Rail’, and shows an expressed talent in metallurgy and mysticism. His troops all carry silver and gold bullets in their Mini-Uzis, and a gold filigreed letter-opener-looking knife. Some wear jewelry with the icon of D-Rail, a stylized ‘D’ with a train and a ring of fire, usually opals or red quartz, on silver. His skill with metals stems from his unique school, known as Ferromancy, allowing him extremely tight control over the qualities of metal. As such, he is also forced to operate under the effect of a severe ‘curse’, as it were, and can not be heard, seen, or physically contacted while in daylight, and is living underground, in several respects. More or less in darkness at all times, he runs his ‘kingdom’ from his palace, known in the Underworld as the House of Steel and Iron. It is widely feared.
His people are highly-disciplined, having been shown what a steel foundry can do when it’s turned into a fortress, complete with a melting pot called ‘the stewpot’. Unrepentant and untrustworthy individuals are fed into it, one piece at a time, by D-Rail himself. The process formerly took about twenty to thirty seconds; at it’s current incarnation, it takes about five hours, and involves a saline drip and an intravenous painkiller in a mixed IV.
As such, his rule is absolute over the region, with few incursions from Adepts and Avatars taken without a fight. First-time offenders are shown a tapeof the feeding of a homeless person to a pack of wild dogs.and men with heated branding irons. It’s gross.
The fun begins with the appearance of a few new faces, described below, and the arrival of the carnival. And who doesn’t love a day at the carnival, right? Except for this one.
A Day at the Fair: the city is abuzz with the arrival of Captain Spaulding’s Travelling Show of Wonders, Magic, and Fun. To the Adept, it reads: “RUN AWAY, CHILD”. To the Avatar, it reads: “GOD IS NOT HERE”. If you don’t take the hint, keep reading. The paints and inks involved are definitively supernatural, and no checks are required; those come soon, and in long waves.
The layout, as viewed from the front gates: a sea of SUVs, pickup trucks, minivans, campers and family sedan sprinkled throughout the parking lot, dotted with roaming families winding back to their vehicles, invariably with a child clutching a balloon, and crying loudly. The gates themselves are a pair of cargo containers, with a welded pair of iron gates, topped with festive-looking sharp-looking spikes, curved slightly inwards. OK. Not so ‘slightly curved inwards’. ‘Heavily’ would be a more appropriate choice of words. The clear plastic protecting the ticket sellers is chipped, dented, and has seen better days, but is covered in festive and happy stickers. Behind the glass sits the first of many happy faces to greet the PCs. Invariably, the two gates are closed, with only one opening occaisonally, and even then, begrudgingly. The occupant of the now-functioning booth is namtagged ‘Rudy’, and is a statuesque redhead, with beady eyes, a narrowed chin, and a sly smirk.
Tickets are a quarter each, and it takes two to get in, and only one for each ride, with the prices going to two each after six o’clock, and five for the rides and attractions named below. Food may be used, at the usual exhorbitant rates – two bucks for a cup of orange soda with a leaky lid or bottom, three for a greasy gas-inducing hot dog of dubious heritage, and a buck for a swirl of cotton candy destined to induce a sugar headache. That aside, the rides are on one end of the three rows of shops, stalls, and attractions, with the farthest one from the gates being the Big Top of Horror, and on the other side, towards the parking lot area, but nowhere near the gates, is the Big Top of Delights. You can imagine the rest; long lines at the chemical toilets, the dubious personnel gathering tickets, all reeking of speed, gin, and where in life you wind up if you drop out of middle school and join the circus. In short, put ‘em behind glass, and call it a study in anthropology or in a rubber room, and dub it ‘therapy’. Either way, life’s full of ‘em, and at least they aren’t going to stick around for too long, endangering the children and livestock with equal abandon. The Petting Zoo seems almost inappropriate. A pig is attempting to mate with a goat, who seems content to eat a dropped cellphone, which has since started dialing and answering, doubtlessly leading to a unique conversation on both ends of the ordeal. Three sheep sit stunned under the ministrations of the local youth gangs, who are doubtlessly planning their sacrifice to the mighty Firecracker Gods. The chicks in their egg display are surrounded by a quacking ocean of mutated geese and ducks, brought about by the previous town’s children shaking their own eggs. Prenatal plastic surgery, if you will. Away from the animal pens is the Freak Tent, where a variety of ‘God’s Mistakes, Cursed, and Damned’ sit in oversized plastic containers, lit from above with what appear to be electric candles, and count among their members The Rubber Child Without a Head, The Rubber Child With Two Heads (found that other kid’s head, I think), The Rubber Skeleton of a Yeti, a dead Rubber Mermaid, and the perennial Abortions Who Look All Fucked Up in Formaldehyde, the pickled punks.
Gosh, the carnies must have been inbreeding again; there are almost fifty of them in jars.
The fun is just getting started – the locals who’ve taken up occupation with the carnival are dotted here and there, all working booths, being cheered up by the cheap speed and homemade gin-and-Snapple mixers arriving every other hour to each booth. The rides are tended to by the carnies themselves; they look pretty fucked up, on general principles.
The rides, as it were:
Tilt-A-Puke – a rotating platform for inducing mass vomiting.
Spins-A-Fuckload – an upwards-facing variant of the Tilt-A-Puke.
Zipper-of-Dubious-Safety – this like a normal Zipper, just wildly unsafer.
House of Warped Mirrors – proof positive something can make a carnie uglier. Sort of.
Shrieking-Child-Magnet – this ride serves to keep children highly unstable and terrified.
Haunted House Painted by the Mentally Ill Children of Carnies – title says it all, don’t it?
You get the idea.
And now, time for the shakedown. Of course, any PC who doesn’t show up armed to the carnival is misunderstanding why they are there; to get a piece of the action, or to threaten the joint with a severe case of Shit Catching Fire-itis, or the rare-but-often-terminal Folks Getting The Shit Kicked Out Of Them-itis.
It proceeds with the invitation of the PCs and their NPC handler, to the main trailer, at the request of the main barker, known as Screaming Mad George, with a proud smile, English accent, and striped clothes which would offend a colorblind pimp who golfs.
“You say you are here for your share of the proceeds from the Happy Pill concessions, then?” -- He needs no prompting. He knows the score, and at some point, folks were due to show up for the hustle. The number of glasses filled with gin-and-Snapple attest to his preparations, as does the lead jackman outside, in a chaise lounge, armed with a Glock 19 and a claw hammer. No weapons frisk occurs; such a thing would be rude, and he does make mention of it. No fear, just preparation. With a big dopey grin, he instead offers to simply leave town, for the sum total of two hundred fifty thousand dollars, in small bills. Or, the locals will suddenly come down with My-Ears-Are-Missing-itis, They-Have-Stolen-My-Legs-itis, and the perennial favorite, I’m-Fucking-Blind-itis. He then claims that one case per day, for each member of the approaching characters’ families, until they are paid off, in full, in cash. Needless to say, this ends the meeting on a low point, to say the least. Upon returning, D-Rail simply shrugs, and says, “… then we pay *them* a visit, and if they touch one of our’s, we give ‘em a little dip in the smelter.”
Let the retribution begin.
:: Send in the Clowns :: a PC catches a single male entering the dwelling of whomever he/she is watching over, with the appropriate fight ensuing. Apply medium stats, but arm the chump with a pair of gardening shears and a kitchen knife (unpowered; requires an outlet to work), who will, if captured, spill the beans – they are a local paid off with a five-hundred dollar pile of crack rocks and a videotaped copy of him fucking a corpse. Claims no memory of the event, and that’s it’s not him. He has the tape on him. All trace results point the VCR seen in the trailer of SMG. Each PC will get a chance to spot their chosen attacker once, upon entering the dwelling of choice, and once, upon exitting. They are using stolen minivans and pickup trucks, and all are moving in pairs. The one in the vehicle is a carnie, and is armed with a twelve-gauge single-barrel, wearing a Second Chance vest (stops up to 2x Body damage from bullets, requires a minor charge to work once, per user, for one hour). The vests are reusable, if they are found in groups of five or more, and are cycled frequently. Hope you’ve got the juice to spare.
::The Worm Turns:: at this point, the nearest phone to the re-collected PCs nets this phone conversation, doubtlessly taped very little time ago. You’d hope so.
Handler Bob: No. Don’t make me. *PLEEEEEEEEEEEEASE*. (shriek of pain)
Creepy Voiced Girl: Do. It. (does something hideous)
HB: (long protracted shriek)
CVG: Do. It. (does it again)
HB: STAY AWAY FROM THE FUCKING CARNIVAL! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!
CVG: Say. It. Right. (does it again)
HB: (shriek) YOU’RE WARNED. (aside -- <Are you happy, you dopey cunt?>) (Shriek)
CVG: Excellent, Bob. <aside> Cut the other two off, Franklin. <to the phone>
CVG: Screaming Mad George sends his regards. Stay away, or suffer severely. No fucking around. We did this to Bob to prove our point. OK? If we meet, this is you, in pain, for a long time to come.
Bob is discovered on a local public park’s slowly-spinning merry-go-round, a little fucked up looking. He’s missing all of his fingers, and both of his eyes are gouged out. For a Bibliomancer, this is as close as it gets to mystic and magickal castration; not even Braille exists for him. This proves a few points:
1.) They are probably fucked in the head fairly well, to say the least.
2.) They weren’t fucking around, to further hammer home the point.
3.) They know fear magick, or got lucky on Bob’s worst fear, which just happened to him.
4.) They haven’t seen what a motivated cabal can get done in a two day span.
:Back at Casa de D-Rail::
D-Rail: “Fuck these people up. If you need to fuck a few locals up to accomplish it, so fucking be it. I want fucking blood in the fucking streets, fucking gore on the fucking sidewalk, and fucking entrails in your fucking hair when next we meet, or I’m fucking sending you fuckups into the smelter. I’ll tolerate a fucking valiant opponent, but I won’t tolerate fucking losers. So, get these fuckers the fuck out of my fucking town, in a fucking hurry. If you need some fucking juice, take a battery each. Otherwise, fuck off.”
Bob: “You just said ‘fuck’ eighteen times in eighteen seconds. Weird.”
Bob: “Yes, D-Rail?”
D-Rail: “Fuck off.”
Bob: “Fucking off, sir.”
And out come the wolves. With the sounds of D-Rail’s trusted lieutenant’s near-demise, the workers under D-Rail are gathering forces for personal advancement. As such, resources just suddenly got stretched thin, and the timeline is contracting violently and quickly. Of the weapons, all that is left is two cane swords, one chainsaw, and a folding shotgun which looks like a boombox when folded up. Takes ten gauge, but can only fire three times. Of the ‘juice batteries’ offered, there’s eight minors ‘hits’ in the form of Duracell 9v batteries (apply to tongue for the juice), and two lamp-style batteries with a significant hit each (ditto). The local gun dealers have folded shop, wishing to be left out of it; to an enterprising Adept, they might as well have left them on the pavement in front of the building. Oh. By the way, happy Friday the 13th. PC paychecks: 500 cash, each.
Local factions to worry about:
Amoromancers – they will seduce anyone, *except* for a carnie. They do have standards.
Annihilomancers – they want to burn it down, Saturday at midnight. No sooner, no later.
Bibliomancers – they won’t do a thing until Bob’s better, dead, or elsewhere.
Cryptomancers – Westies offer aid. Easties call them liars. Don’t bother.
Dipsomancers – three offer assistance, if they can get bailed out of the drunk tank.
Entropomancers – unseen since the arrival. Probably on the Tilt-A-Puke, laughing.
Epideromancers – they’ll offer up aid, but not in direct action.
Iconomancers – Sorry. No help from the Dead Presidents. They’re robbing banks again.
Infomancers – Can offer up aid to keep the cops/firemen/ambulances/media occupied.
Irascimancers – one member to spare: Joe Hate. Specialist in all matters vehicular.
Kleptomancers – they’ve got one to spare: specialist in pickpocketing. No, really.
Mechomancers – D-Rail has forbidden them entrance into his fair city.
Personamancers – they’ve got a guy inside, sort of. They lost him today, at noon.
Plutomancers – one financial advisor will offer aid, so to speak, by freezing their ATMs.
Pornomancers – of the ten available, none can stop fucking long enough to be relied on.
Urbanomancers – they’d go, but it’s in a field of grass. Those fuckers know about them.
Groups of Note:
Threadbare Attire Cleansing – laundry outlet run by a pair of Annihilomancers, Steve and Alice.
Rock-Ohs! – gay strip club, owned by a Amoromancer. Known as ‘Lonely Heart Jack’.
Freek-Loths – Kleptomancer-run shop for street kids needing Gothwares. Yes, it’s stolen.
Soups for the Soul – Mystic Tai Chi instructor’s community outreach soup kitchen.
Buck’s Funeral Home – residence of a Thanatomancer cabal. Very fucking scary people.
KWAK – radio/TV outlet for Public Broadcasting and Public Access. Infomancy front.
“The Moo People” – mentally ill people dressed as cows, periodically beating people up. The 'wildcard' of the city.
Clowns – Stats as follows:
Body 60 (Beefy) |Speed 50 (Speedy) |Mind 30 (dumb-y) |Soul 30 (Wacky)
Clown-Fu! 45% Dodge 45% Melee 35% Be Obstinate in the Face of Torture 45%
Locals – Stats as follows:
Body 40 (Strong-ish) |Speed 50 (Fast-ish)|Mind 45 (Smart-ish) |Soul 45 (Passionate-ish)
Local-Fu! 30% Dodge 25% Melee 20% Drive 30% Whine Pathetically to Live 40%
Carnies – Stats as follows:
Body 70 (Dope does a body good) |Speed 65 (Exactly!) |Mind 30 (Gee: for a carine?) |Soul 25 (What soul?)
*Carnie Fu! 50% Dodge 30% Melee 35% Operate Scary Ride Badly 50%
SMG – Stats as follows:
Body 80 (Healthy) |Speed 50 (Nimble) |Mind 85 (Brilliant) |Soul 80 (Creepy)
Freaky Kung-Fu! 50% Dodge Gunfire 40% Misuse Sharp Object 50% *Phobomancy 58%
CVG – Stats as follows:
Body 100 |Speed 85 |Mind 50 |Soul 65
Pound You Badly 65% Dodge Stuff 50% Hurl Sharp Things 45% *Odomancy 65%
SMG’s School of Magick: Phobomancy.
Blast Style: Damage from a Phobomancy blast is different from victim to victim, and generally takes the form of whatever is going to freak out the target most. Minor blasts take the form of unusual and inexplicable aches and pains that could, quite frankly, be caused by anything – after all, a sudden burst of excruciating agony in your nether regions is all the more scary if you don’t know what’s causing it.
Generate a minor charge: Intimidate someone into performing some relatively minor service for you, e.g. ‘loaning you’ $100 or committing a petty crime on your behalf. You get the charge as soon as the task is undertaken, either successfully or unsuccessfully.
Generate a significant charge: Intimidate a very big favour out of someone, such as getting permission to treat his house as your own for as long as you like, or committing a serious crime on your behalf and risking a hefty prison sentence. One again, you get the charge as soon as the task’s attempted. For the purposes of getting a significant charge, anything short of murder counts as a serious crime.
Generate a major charge: Terrorise a person to the extent that he’ll kill someone, betray someone he loves or do something else that similarly goes against his deepest-held convictions. To do this, you have to uncover and then play upon his deepest, darkest fear, and you only get a significant charge if the person caves in too easily – this needs to be the sort of betrayal that will irrevocably violate the core of his identity and trigger, in game terms, a rank-10 Self challenge.
Taboos: A Phobomancer loses all of his charges if he ever shows fear or is perceived to be acting on his Fear Stimulus.
Random Magick Domain: Fear, as they say, is all in the mind. So is Phobomancy. It is subtle and powerful, and by altering or controlling the perceptions of others, Phobomancers can make their decisions for them, cause them to act in ways contrary to their personalities, or just re-write their personalities altogether.
Starting Charges: SMG is currently packing ten minor, five significant charges.
Minor Formula Spells.
Give You the Creeps.
Cost: 1 minor charge.
Effect: This spell afflicts the victim with a strong sense of insecurity, paranoia and general anxiety that lasts until the next time he sleeps. It also causes him to make madness checks with a –10% shift and gives anyone who’s trying to intimidate or coerce him a +10% shift on related rolls.
Look Before You Leap.
Cost: 1 minor charge.
Effect: This spell convinces the target that one course of action, determined by the Phobomancer when he casts the spell, would be so insanely foolish and dangerous that he must make a relevant stress check if he wants to try it. Just about anything can become a taboo, no matter how innocuous, but the target gets a chance to resist the spell if the caster specifies something that would be ridiculous or wildly out of character for him to have reservations about. He can shrug off the effects with a successful Soul check, but if the victim is an adept or anyone else who knows about magick, he’ll have to face a rank-4 Unnatural challenge as he realises that someone’s been trying to play with his head.
I’m Your Nemesis.
Cost: 2 minor charges.
Effect: The Phobomancer takes on the appearance of the person that the victim is most afraid of. Caveat emptor: this spell only works while the caster is in sight of the target, it doesn’t reveal to the Phobomancer who he’s masquerading as, and it only affects one person at a time. Everyone else will see the Phobomancer’s real appearance, and so will he if he looks in a mirror.
It’s Not a Tumour.
Cost: 2 minor charges.
Effect: This is the Phobomancy minor blast. It affects the target with one of a variety of excruciating pains and freaks the hell out of him at the same time as he tries to figure out what horrible, life-threatening condition he’s got. For an extra minor charge, it can temporarily simulate the effects of something truly scary, such as blindness, deafness or paralysis. This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to the sum of the dice on the caster’s roll.
Cost: 3 minor charges.
Effect: Phobomancers know that if they can control fear, they can conquer it as well. That’s what this spell does – it frees the target from inhibitions of every sort and renders him immune to most stress challenges for a number of hours equal to the sum of the dice on the caster’s magick roll. The target can simply ignore stress challenges of a rank equal to or less than the number on the tens die from the same roll. E.g. Schreck, a Phobomancer, casts Indomitable Will on Klaus, an enforcer, and gets a successful roll of 52. Klaus can ignore all stress challenges of rank-6 or below for the next seven hours. This may sound great, but when it also stops people from being afraid of the consequences of their actions it can have a very dehumanising effect.
Significant Formula Spells.
Just a Bad Dream.
Cost: 2 significant charges.
Effect: This spell reaches into the victim’s psyche, pulls out his Fear Stimulus and forces him to confront it in a hallucination that’s indistinguishable from reality. In other words he must make an immediate stress check as his worst nightmare plays itself out inside his head, in horrifying Technicolor. However, if the victim can make a successful Mind check that also beats the Phobomancer’s magick roll, he’ll realise that he’s hallucinating. There needs to be some sort of external stimulus for this to happen, such as a physical attack on the victim, or the efforts of a friend to jolt him back into reality.
The Smell of Fear.
Cost: 2 significant charges.
Effect: For twenty four hours everyone who sees, hears or speaks to the target will perceive him to be a nervous, insecure wreck, even if he’s actually as brave as a lion. This impression wears off pretty quickly in the case of targets who obviously don’t have yellow streaks a mile wide, but it’s a serious hassle for anyone with good reason to be afraid, such as something to hide. It’s a nasty spell to cast on someone as they’re coming through customs checks at an airport.
Big Brother Is Watching You.
Cost: 3 significant charges.
Effect: This spell has two effects. It allows the caster to watch the target as if he were following him with a video camera, as long as he concentrates on the spell and has a medium to work through, as well as a photograph of the target. What happens is that the Phobomancer casts the spell, switches on the nearest TV and concentrates while he watches, and he’ll get a crystal clear image of the victim and whatever he’s doing at the time. It also gives the victim an unpleasant feeling of being watched, or being maliciously whispered about behind his back. This can be dismissed as simple paranoia, of course, but Phobomancers have found that it’s ideal for keeping their enemies on edge and jittery.
Nerves of Steel.
Cost: 3 significant charges.
Effect: The target’s capacity for fear and self-doubt are reduced drastically, as this spell allows him to flip-flop or re-roll failed stress checks for a number of days equal to the ones die on the caster’s magick roll. This can be very useful, but it also makes the target callous and unpleasant to be around as he generally ceases to care what other people might think about what he says and does.
Cost: 3 significant charges.
Effect: This is the Phobomancy significant blast. It immediately causes whatever form of horrific injury the victim is most afraid of, although it doesn’t inflict any permanent damage unless the Phobomancer’s magick roll is 50 or higher. Even so, the damage will often look permanent unless the victim gets serious hospital treatment, and even after that it might look agonisingly touch-and-go for a while.
This is Your Nightmare.
Cost: 4 significant charges.
Effect: This spell gives the victim a new Fear Stimulus of the caster’s choosing. This effect, while powerful, isn’t permanent and it doesn’t over-write the victim’s original Fear Stimulus, which starts to re-manifest after d10 days. The re-adjustment process is generally traumatic and unpleasant, especially if the victim’s magickally induced Fear Stimulus was frequently triggered and resulted in lots of Failed Madness Meter notches.
Phobomancy Major Effects.
Make someone’s worst nightmare come true. Permanently re-write someone’s Fear Stimulus, or make him completely and permanently immune to fear. Cause someone to die of fright.
CVG’s School of Magick, explained:
Odomancy blast style: Odomancy's blast only works on people or vehicles that are traveling. It works by putting some kind of harmful obstacle or object in the target's path: a nail in the road pops a car's tire, a root trips a runner, a subway train stops suddenly and throws the target to the ground, or a stair collapses under the target.
Get a minor charge: Travel for four hours at a normal pace along a well-traveled route: anything more popular than a city side street will do the trick. The travel must be uninterrupted by diversions onto less popular venues. The same stretch of road (or subway tunnel, or sidewalk) may also only be used to gather charges for a particular odomancer once per month. Thus, an odomancer wishing to garner charges while traveling in a city would have to take an entirely new route every day. The travel may be in a vehicle, as long as that vehicle touches a solid surface for the length of the trip: water and air travel don't seem to lay down paths of mojo for odomancers to follow, leaving them cut off from the network of set paths.
Get a significant charge: Travel a culturally significant route from start to finish. As above, the same route can only be used once per month. Route 66 in the US, the Freedom Trail in Boston, the original route from Marathon, the trans-Siberian railroad, and the Via Doloris in Jerusalem are all suitable, but the path must be traveled in the manner prescribed: e.g., the route from Marathon would have to be walked or run.
Get a major charge: Plan out and follow an elaborate, year-long journey along a route determined by odomantic calculations. The GM decides the path of the odomancer, and it must be followed without deviation for its entire length. Those portions of the trip along major thoroughfares will rack up minor charges, of course, and it might even include a few culturally significant portions for significant charges. If the adept ever strays from the route planned at the beginning of the year, though, he loses his chance at a major charge. These paths are often calculated to follow paths of maximum magical energy, so it is likely that the commuter will run into more than his fair share of the Unnatural during his trip.
Taboo: An Odomancer loses all charges if he ever strays from an accepted walkway or path: climbing over a wall, jumping off the side of a set of stairs, or driving on the sidewalk or through a yard are all forbidden. A commuter can get away with stepping off a forest trail a few feet or lying in a bed, as long as the intent is not to use the space as a means of getting from one point to another: only socially-sanctioned pathways are acceptable for that.
Starting charges: CVG is currently holding eight minor, three significant charges.
1 minor charge
The adept feels the pull of the network of roads around him and knows exactly where he is in relation to roads and paths within 100 miles or so.
2 minor charges
Track someone's path from a point where they passed through the same day. Lasts one day or until the target is met.
Speak to the Path
3 minor charges
The adept may sense things about a road or path: the nature of those who have traveled on it in the past day (what they traveled in, what they carried, where they went), current conditions along the length of the road, etc. Works on an entire road or a part of it, but the longer the stretch, the less detailed the information.
1 minor charge
This is the Odomancy blast. It only works on targets who are traveling, and it often works better on vehicles than people. If the target is moving slowly (walking, driving below 40mph), the blast only does damage equal to the lower of the two dice as his shoulder collides with a signpost or a tack in the road makes a slow leak in his tire. If going a moderate speed -- jogging or driving between 40 and 60 mph (depending on road or path conditions) -- damage is normal. If moving faster, however, the target must make a skill roll to avoid crashing or falling down in addition to the normal damage as he trips on a root, the subway train he is in comes to a sudden stop and flings him to the ground, or another car scrapes him while changing lanes. Car crash damage is as normal if the roll is failed badly enough.
Keep on Truckin'
2 minor charges
The adapt draws on the Earth's power channeled through the pathway to keep him alert and energetic for a full day. Cars need no fuel and walkers or drivers need no rest or food for 24 hours after the casting of this spell. The effect ends if the adept ever stops traveling for longer than it takes to wait for a red light.
1 significant charge
By casting this spell and taking an hour to align objects in a space, the adept harmonizes the space for the performance of one sort of task. An alley could have its trash cans rearranged for an ambush, an office could have its furniture positioned to put visitors at ease or intimidate them, or a laboratory could have tools and benches in positions optimizing efficient work. The space allows its user +10% on any one skill used there for about a month, or until objects in the space are put in disarray. Alternately, it could be used to give -10% on any one skill, such as -10% Sneak Around for the entrance to a high-security building.
The Shortest Distance Between Two Points
2 significant charges
The target of this spell is limited to a single path, defined by the caster, if he wants to get to a point in space of the caster's choosing. Thus, a policeman spotting an odomancer across the room might get hit with this mojo, making him think that the most direct route to where the caster is standing is actually to run outside, go to the park, and circle back around the building twice before coming up the back stairs. It might take a moment for the target to realize that this probably isn't the best course of action (make a Mind roll), but even then, he can't think of a better way of getting there. Although the target could just choose another spot close by that would get him closer to his intended destination, it doesn't occur to him that that would help; although it's possible that PCs who get slapped with this spell a few times will start to figure out that when dealing with Odomancers, you might want to consider several paths before stepping down one of them. The spell lasts an hour... many is the enemy of an odomancer who has stopped driving halfway through New Jersey to realize that that probably wasn't the fastest way to catch up with the adept who fled New York City toward Canada.
1 significant charge
This is the odomancy significant blast. It works by making a path completely impassable, and like the minor blast, it does damage based on how fast the target is traveling. A slow-moving target only suffers damage as a minor blast as a stair collapses under him or his car hits a major pothole in front of a construction site. A moderately-fast target takes significant damage and must make a skill roll to avoid crashing or falling, while a fast-moving target crashes automatically, usually spectacularly. Cars smash into massive pile-ups or strike rocks and careen off embankments, trains derail and kill dozens within, runners get pinned by falling trees that block the path.
Make Straight the Way
2 significant charges
All obstacles are removed from a path dictated by the adept: doors open, guards regularly posted along the route don't question the adept's passage, traffic cops don't question the adept's speeding, lights are all green, etc. The adept must know the route beforehand, but it may wind through buildings that the adept only knows superficially. Once the adept has completed the path, people who should have stopped him return to their senses and may react, but until then, nothing can impede his progress except outside interference.
Ditch Your Shadow
3 significant charges
The next time the adept passes through an intersection or crossroads after casting this spell, anything pursuing him or "shadowing" him -- demons, astral parasites, or human pursuers -- get diverted or left behind at the crossroads. Astral Parasites disappear in a day or attach to the next adept to pass through; demons remain to haunt the crossroads for a month or until someone with Soul 80+ passes through; human pursuers take a wrong turn at the intersection.
Redefine an entire road network (usually most of a continent) over the course of a year, curse someone to travel the world forever, force anyone in the world to travel straight to you.
D-Rail -- born in 1975, he's the average American late-20's going-nowhere-fast teenager past his prime. A childhood in the suburbs of Detroit, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Newark, and Tijuana, he's been around the block enough to flip the odometer, but still is clueless about the meanings of honest, hard work and 'making a difference' in the world.
Essentially, his viewpoint on the above is: "I care."
His formal education began and ended with inspiring possibilities, but with no outward progress; a grant and scholarship were exchanged for bong repair training and advanced studies in copious amounts of binge drinking. What's left of his education fits in a pamphlet, and his memory is worse than Oliver North's.
His failings aside, he has had some rather unique accomplishments; his rise to drug-dealing fame, prowess with the ladies (and boys; it's that kind of day), and the odd murder rap being dodged through clever interpretation of 'jury tampering' and 'chain of evidence' laws. As such, his nickname comes from two sources, almost independent of each other: to the courts in his hometown (this year -- Portland, OR), his cases are constantly being derailed through incompetence, tampered juries and evidence, and the odd spot of vague threats of hideous violence. To the kids on the street, and the runners of the Occult Underground, he likes to watch the trains in the yards, smiling when he hears the bang of the engines slamming into their respective load-lines.
Sometimes, he puts someone 'naughty' between the two clamps, and he'll claim to hear the faint 'splut' noise it makes when they conjoin.
Over the last eight years, his 'friends' and cohorts in crime have seen him crawl out of enough destroyed buildngs, wrecked cars, and gunfights, they no longer fear his wrath; they fear him, in general. He is, to them, as unnatural as a cockroach on a wedding cake, and hopelessly insane.
This, it seems, is his point.
In a recent incident, a carnival passing through town made a stop off in his favorite park, and set up shop; the Entropomancer duet who ran the shows and rides were racking up charges with unsafe and unsavory protocols for 'client and consumer safety' to a large enough degree that even D-Rail had to 'step in, and take measures'.
Police refer to the gory leftovers of the attack as 'a cross between a shark attack and a Colombian chainsaw duel', and are calling it a perennial favorite: drug-related homicide.
His modus operandi for newer adepts and avatars entering his fair city is a few scheduled meetings, with rapidly ascending degrees of friendliness; should someone wish to make their house on his grounds, he's a congenial host. Should they turn his town into victims and sufferers, his wrath knows no bounds. Annihilomancers, Entropomancers, human-targetting Thanatomancers, and the like, as a rule, are expelled quietly and without issue: one warning, no more.
His weakness for the Amoromancers and Irascimancers is still unexplained, but his unstoppable rage against 'the Naked Goddess tapeheads' is probably due to it's relative newness, as far as records go; if he can't research it (or more commonly, see to it's research) he won't stand it in his town. Period.
Body 90 |Speed 65 |Mind 60 |Soul 55
People-to-Chopped-Meat-ism 75% Dodge 50% Hurl Dangerous Things 45% Ferromancy 65%
Ferromancy: NEW SCHOOL
Other uses of the skill: it doubles as a knowledge base of anything involving metals, and in some cases, metals either affected by, or created by, magick.
Blast Style: typically, it takes the form of superheated, magnetized, or similarly affected metals in the area of the target suddenly becoming considerably more dangerous than before; a knife may sear into it's wielder, while a gun may fuse into a ball of molten slag in a millisecond, and an onrushing vehicle may encounter an engine problem akin to hitting a brick wall at top speed -- specifically, it jumps into the driver's lap. If there's metal, there's the potential of severe damage. For a minor blast, it does 'sum of the dice' as damage, to one person. For a significant blast, it does damage as per a firearms attack, to a number of people equal to the sum of the roll, cut in half.
Generate a minor charge: smelt or forge an item of approximately one cubic foot of raw ore, or five cubic feet of processed metal. The act of construction is a requirement; if not enacted daily, it is in violation of half of the taboo. Alternately, reworking the metals commonly used in day-to-day life to create something unique, valuable, or useful in a non-conformist fashion.
Generate a significant charge: as above, but the requirements are ten times more severe, and the materials are not reusable, recyclable, or renewable. They must continue to exist, or the next charge of equal value is lost, as soon as it is attained. Alternately, gaining access to the higher end materials, and working on a smaller scale; gold pocketwatches, silver Frisbees, and platinum teeth fit into this category.
Generate a major charge: develop a new metallurgical technique, method, tool, system, or other advance of the science. Work with uranium (depleted is probably best), a mystic material, or a meteoric alloy.
Taboo: working a single material other than metal can sweep clear one's charges; the attunement to metals is complete -- were one to cut an English muffin in half, one is not in violation. Yes, it's a little open-ended, but leaving a footprint in mud won't do it, until it dries. Taking photographs, filming, carving initials into a tree, or spraypainting a mural -- all of these are in violation. Similarly, if one takes apart a metal construct of one's own design, the charge it caused is lost -- if one does this while 'empty', no charges are lost, unless it was a significant charge.
Random Magick Domain: metallurgical matters, finished alloys, and the like being adjusted, modified, made safe/dangerous, ignored or made suddenly very important all fall into the random domain of Ferromancy.
Starting charges: Ferromancers begin with 3 minor charges and one metal object of their own creation; a custom gun is possible, if they have the right skills. Alternately, it can be of a semi-valuable material.
Iron Bullets of Pure Love
One minor charge
Arguably the nastiest of the tricks of the Ferromancers is their ability to avoid the paths of oncoming metallic objects; for a short period of time. The duration is about ten minutes, and permits the caster to reroll dodges when facing the aforementioned threats; only works on ranged combat.
Two minor charges
Favorite amongst them is their potent blast; in this case, it can cause severe blisters in the mouths, eyes, ears, and soft tissues of a target. The range is the length of the nearest metal object; fighting a Ferromancer in a sewer can have him or her hurling these things around corners, up walls, and down shafts.
Three minor charges
Almost a party trick, this effect permits the warping of a small amount of metal, causing it to become unusable for its original intentions, by design. Turning a gun into a throwable object is usually possible, but the inverse is rarely an accomplishment possible. Door handles can be turned into cold taffy, locks into needles, and expended shell casings into caltrops. Each casting requires three minor charges, plus one for each additional cubic foot of material after the first. The range is touch, regardless, unless the object or objects in question are uniform, but scattered.
One significant charge
Temporarily causes an object to become radioactive; it can ruin film negatives, set off an x-ray machine, or utterly fuck up someone’s day, if they’re entering a nuclear power plant. It can, if used repeatedly, wilt plants, cause birth defects, stress metals, and mess with the nearby ecology. The sum of the dice is the number of pounds of materials which may become irradiated. This effect has a range of 10 yards, plus 10 yards, per significant charge expended at the casting. If used three times in succession, it can cause cancers, lesions, radiation sickness, and burns. This is not a nice thing to do, but it can also be used to strip the radiation from uranium, making depleted uranium; this may not be used to create a mystic item. That must be obtained through mundane, or at least, non-Ferromantic circles.
Two significant charges
Known to cause severe anxiety attacks, it brings about the attentions of nearby Gremlins, who begin having serious fun on any and all mechanical objects in range, targetting specifically the given victim, provided the caster can identify his mode of dress, occupation, and ideally, their given name. The number appearing is equal to the sum of the dice, which equals their initial stay in minutes; they may elect to stick around longer, if the target proves to be entertaining, difficult, or they become too bored too soon.
Three significant charges
A sudden case of arson or auto-explosia seems to follow a victim of their patented significant blast; where they run, the damage will follow, at a Speed equal to the Soul stat of the caster, with a range of the caster’s concentration, but it does require the victim be on the run, expecting the damage, or at least be moving somewhat. It never strikes home on the first shot; extenuating circumstances permitting, of course. Someone standing hip deep in gasoline is probably mincemeat, but the point is, they tend to be very, very worried by the time it arrives. Watching a car melt around is one thing, but to watch it become a wave of glowing steel and hurl itself about before body-checking you, now that’s another…
Turn any metallic item into mithral, adamantine, or meteoric alloys. Turn a city block’s worth of metal into plasma. Pull the copper out of the bloodstream of a victim with a glance. Permanently become immune to the Earth’s gravity field (why, we’re not sure, but it’s your problem, sweetness…) Be immune to iron.
Okie-dokie. To the writer of Phobomancy, you are a gifted genius; a thousand salutes. Simon, this one's for you. Next up: to carnies, ex-carnies and affiliates: been there, done that. Finally: to the good people at 7-11: the Big Gulp -- pure genius, man, pure genius.
Mr Unlucky | profile | Jun 21, 04 | 3:13 am
I suggest that you just make a link to the schools already listed on the site. Easier on the eyes and lets you keep the story straight from the index.
Menzoa | profile | Jun 21, 04 | 7:38 pm
Thanks very much for the compliment! It's nice to see some of my stuff playing a part in generating such a dose of mayhem...
Oh, you know DAMN RIGHT that this is going to cause some mayhem in my game.