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The adepts who get magick the other way around from music.
AKA NOTELEECHERS, NOISEJOCKS
ďItís Radio Free Sorcery, baby, and the secret antennae is my ear!Ē
Hiding between the sounds and rhythms of music, in each song is the whisper of truth. The music cannot be excised and the whispering truth is just static, because they can only work in simpatico.
By listening to the emotive energy and dynamism of the song, we hear and understand magick, and it pours into our souls.
In the beginning music first entered our minds from the sonorous crooning of a mother to a crying child. And from there, people learned to harness that power for themselves, keep it and covet it. There were magicians whose songs could cause mountains to weep, the stars flit with joy, and stir the dead with dance. Indeed the very firmament above our heads and the fundament under our feet was brought into existence through the song and the word.
When music was first mass-pressed in vinyl and shipped for massive public consumption, old Song Magick died and it became a school of music which, like bibliomancy, racked up magick power through collecting and trading of music. But with technology came cassette tapes and bootlegging.
Soon, the power from hoarding music slipped, first through public domain, then fell with the release if Compact Disks and CD-burners, and then collapsed through internet file-sharing. But it didnít die. Like a snake, music never dies, it just transforms, and so did cantomancy.
Many just struggled hopelessly in denial as their magick waned noticeably day by day. But a few sat locked up with their profound sense of loss, and sat listening to their music collections like it was an aged, sickly sibling. They sat for days without eating and drinking, and then like a phoenix, they where transformed. It was not the collections that gathered power; it was the music all along.
They could see their problem. Music wasnít supposed to be kept in a prison it wanted to be free, to be heard, and if you knew this, you could listen to the music and understand what it said. The cantomancers exploded with furor back into the underground, a changed school, something rejuvenated for a new generation.
From the magickal ashes of Dixie Land jazz and Big Band Swing, came Industrial Music and Hip Hop, with better computers Techno branched into fractal Electronica. The old school burst open with new life. Music will live.
Cantomancy surfed with the choppy transitions from old school magick to post modern magick. Originally cantomancy was the magick brought on by singing, then transformed when bakelite and vinyl albums came out because people didnít need to go and listen when the music could be enshrined at home, endlessly repeated identically. Having the music was better and so the magick changed. The when computer storage devalued the vinyl collections as obsolete, the adepts went to the Long Silent Night of our Souls. Those who couldnít dare to part with their collections where doomed to watch their magick wane, trickling away as interest disintegrated. Those who came up out of the dark for noise realised keeping old collections was stifling their own magick, magick was there to be heard and it was the magicianís duty to look for meaning, hoarding music was the wrong end of the bat.
Some cantomancers sold their dead collections for CD-players and walkmen. The smart ones sold their collections and transferred the vinyl collections into MP3 media and gave them up for everyone.
In ten years, the old cantomancers had a new generation who sought new music, music made on machines, music built from pure noise instead of instruments.
Cantomancy has much in common with basic Videomancy (UA2 159) except that one must listen to the music. From Platoís harmonic theory to modern experimental computer music, all music is the language that encodes the subtle universe. We cannot understand binary that created everything, so music is the musical programming language that allows us to interact with the universe.
The paradox of Cantomancy is that it unites everyone objectively but it isolates them subjectively. The music must be widely accessible in order to generate enough magickal friction so the cantomancer can sift for that mystical needle in the haystack of mass media dross.
Music only gives magick if you give yourself to it completely, immersing oneself to the flow. Listening to music is a shamanís sacrament which acts upon the cantomancerís mind solely changing her lone perceptions.
Technically cantomancy is the magick of singing, but it sounds cooler than musicomancy, harmonomancy, or melodomancy. Rather leave these names for a school just as tacky. Apparently there might be a school called audiomancy based on hearing by being deaf.
Much like music, cantomancy also has a few mutant cousins. Some cantomancers net charges through making music, playing with instruments, or producing music, and even some old cantomancers still reap charges through collecting music. Although technically the same school, they all are as dissimilar and different as individual musical tastes.
Cantomancy Blast Style
The Cantomancerís have a variety of nasty versions. They let loose with a sonic distortion which can only be described as impossible-human-for-the-human throat and extremely difficult for a top-of-the-line amp-and-speaker set. The noise tears everything apart, melts skin, powders bone and explodes steel in slow degrees like tissue paper in a boiling kettle.
There are other music-based blast styles out there. Music may soothe the savage beast but it is anything but peaceful as it constantly forces some action upon the listener for good or bad.
The charging structure for cantomancy is both easy and difficult. The cantomancer must listen to music performed by a living artist or band. For significant charges a specific chosen artist or band must be specified, but any music any of those musicians produce is also valid as long as the original band is still active.
As long as the artist is alive, their music generates charges. If your artist is dead, or your band breaks up, the music becomes magickally stagnant. Bands that reform after splitting up, do not gather charges for the noisejock.
If the cantomancer listens to Britney Spears, fine, but if she listened to Nirvana, she suddenly finds out that their music doesnít push her magick after Kurt Cobain died. The charges are drained after about twenty-four hours. It seems to work on public consciousness as much as anything. As awareness grows so does the noisejockís magick shrinks. The cantomancer has about twenty-four hours to change artists after he first hears about it.
If a cantomancerís lucky and still has charges, he can spend all his remaining charges bridging away from the dead artist to a new artist. Otherwise there will be some random unnatural phenomena and a 10% loss to his Magick: Cantomancy skill.
It is unknown if an artist, faking his death, will affect the charging-music or not (it hasnít appeared so yet). Even if new songs are released posthumously, is too bad. Sorry to all you Tupac fans. What may help is limited public knowledge. If an obscure artist dies or band breaks up the cantomancer may have up to ten days of freebie time before the news does catch up to him.
The music the cantomancer must be the commercially produced in a studio and available. The artist must be famous, commercially accepted, and released by a studio to sell, again Britney Spears is fine, but her songwriter isnít, even if he happens to be Snoop Dog. Your girlfriend who sings a mean karaoke session isnít a viable option, and but a musician or band that produces only instrumental music is fine as long as they produce music to sell.
When listening to your artist you have to do so without any impairment from intoxication or exhaustion. You cannot be doing anything strenuous at the time than pouring coffee or smoking a cigarette, you absolutely cannot have a conversation but you can sing and hum along (provided no oneís listening), tap your fingers, or even dance; your attention must be on the music and its coded occult secrets. It is something best done alone, although hiding in clubs with high volume is fine too.
Generate a Minor Charge: Listen to music for three hours. Any less and thereís no charge and all fractions are dropped. If you have to listen to the same song three hundred times, then so be it. All the music must be produced by living artists.
Generate a Significant Charge: The first time you listen to a new track by your chosen artist nets a significant charge. This includes obscure but official versions of the artist (yeah, released remixes are cool too), but not cover versions by other artists. Best of compilations are of no use unless they have those remixes.
For every million copies a single or album sells or for every week it spends at the number one slot on the Billboard charts, nets one significant charge for the cantomancer for every week it is there.
Experiencing your artist performing live nets one significant charge per hour of the performance from when the artist steps onto stage to when the curtain falls for the last time.
Generate a Major Charge: If your chosen artist sings a song about the cantomancer and it goes gold in the first day of release (one million copies), or spends one month on the Billboard number one slot.
If the cantomancer kills his chosen artist in a public spectacle, all his current charges fuse into major charge (or are replaced by it).
Taboo: If you listen to an artist who is dead, or a band that has split up, you dump charges. If you ever become aware of listening to dead music, your charges go. Covers or samples of dead artists are fine as long as those using the sampled music are alive.
Cantomancy is all about listening to the mass of living music as an audience of one. If you ever knowingly sing or make music for an audience you also throw all your charges away. This is often why the cantomancer spells require little actual vocals, and even then they skim by on spoken word recitations of lyrics.
Random Magick Domain
Music is all about the common language of sound and connectivity, at its basic level it is psychoactive information altering the emotions we share and wave a lit lighter at. Music can crush people down to hell and elevate them to the heavens. It can stop a riot or start one. It can mend a broken heart, literal or figurative. It can derail destiny with the crowbar of tragedy. It can sometimes rewrite history and raise the dead.
No cantomancer can force people to sing with their magick. It may come out as sing song but it isnít enough for charging.
Noisejocks are fond of enchanting artefacts to do their magick for them. These infamous cassette tapes of compilations are no being replaced by enchanted MP3s e-mailed to their targets or compact discs enchanted and left in their victims music collection.
Starting Charges: Cantomancers start with four minor charges.
Charging tips: Despite the seeming ease in lazily sucking up minor charges, significant charges come maybe once every two years but they are easy to plot. The best charging scheme is to get earphones and disconnect all phones and doorbells. This way, no one can hear youíre home and if anyone does break in, your have some fresh bitterness to stab into those who would dare interrupt your sacred meditation to Lindsay Lohan.
Also, you may find that earphones help drown out sings by dead artists. You may not charge from it, but you wonít lose any either.
However, not every cantomancer stays with one artist, they occasionally around by trying to reap as many significant charges off an artist before bailing. Bailing is nasty work but music is best when it compliments the pain and loss in your own life.
Cantomancy Minor Formula Spells
Squawk Synaesthesia (one minor charge)
This spell forces all ambient noise interference and amplifies sound information allowing him to listen to sounds as far away as he can see. No, he cannot see sound around corners.
Infestation of Earworms (one minor charge)
The cantomancer tells someone one short sentence and then they repeat it, telling to someone else once within twenty-four hours and then they pass it on and so forth and so forth until the original twenty fours hours has passed. It cannot pass through electronic media and people must hear the message unaided. It is a desperate way to get information out but it explodes rapidly across congested urban areas. It is up to the recipient to do with the information as they wish.
Guitar Solo Spasm (two minor charges)
This is a cantomancer minor blast. It doesnít cause direct damage but it forces vigorous tremors onto the victim into something like a temporary seizure. He is unable to coordinate any body motor functions but he can talk. This spell lasts one round with an additional round for every additional minor charge spent on the spell.
The victim has to roll a rank-five Helplessness stress check.
Earful of Headache (three minor charges)
This is a minor damaging blast which gives the target gets a painful screech of inhuman noise that runs from his ears into his bones.
A Soundtrack Moment (three minor charges)
This spell lends the precision, energy, and tempo of an upbeat piece of music giving the target of the spell one roll which can be flip-flopped. The flip-flop has to happen in the immediate round or the following one or it is lost.
Riff of the Heart (four minor charges)
This spell generates a magical harmonic within the targetís mind and emotions. What it does is force the target to trigger one of his Passions. The Passion is chosen by the target.
But What Does It Mean? (five minor charges)
This spell completely dyslexically scrambles a persons understanding of speech so it is heard as stupid, asinine lyrics. For twenty-four hours everything crucial he hears requires a Mind Check flip-flopped to the worst result to be understood.
Chorus Line Loop (six minor charges)
When the target wishes to say something, this spell forces a person to repeat the last sentence he said over and over again for one hour. Roll a rank-five Helplessness or Self check.
Dubbing (seven minor charges)
Dubbing allows the cantomancer to hijack someone elseís mouth to speak. The target must be in visual range and for one minute that person speaks what the cantomancer wants them to speak in the cantomancerís voice. It is a rank-four Unnatural check.
Cantomancer Significant Formula Spells
Alternate Category Listening (one significant charge)
This spell allows the cantomancer to change his significant charging band or artist without losing 10% off his Magick: Cantomancy skill.
High Fidelity Dead (one significant charge)
This spell allows the cantomancer to question demons, spirits, and other such intelligent entities. The cantomancer asks the questions while recording a tape and during playback the spirit is heard speaking. This allows the cantomancer to ask questions by writing them down, and the GM can answer them during playback.
One Hit Wonder Tag (three significant charges)
The cantomancer chooses one song and attaches it to a person. From that point, whenever that person is within earshot of the cantomancer, that song plays from the best available musical outlet or random person.
White Hot Noise (three significant charges)
This is the cantomancer significant blast. It does affect inanimate physical objects as well. It goes off like a concussion grenade, blasting everyone in a thin cone from the cantomancer outwards. Anyone within armís reach of the noisejockís mouth takes the full damage; everyone within two meters or yards takes the highest die as damage, and within three meters or yards takes the lowest die result. After four meters or yards, the noise is still painful but it isnít damaging.
Lost in the Music (four significant charges)
The cantomancer can jump time for as many minutes equal to the sum of his Magick: cantomancy skill roll. The cantomancy just disappears and reappears minutes later on the same spot, the time jump is instantaneous for the noteleech.
Soundstage (four significant charges)
The cantomancer can listen to any conversation or any noise that occurred within twenty-four hours in a specific, definable area. The cantomancer can walk about until he hears the conversation he wanted, from beginning to end, jumping forward and back as needed.
Screaming Frontman (six significant charges)
The cantomancer can use Riff of the Heart on a large scale and cause a miniature riot. He triggers a passion check in as many people as the sum of his Magick: Cantomancy roll. Although the people are inflamed with passion, it doesnít necessarily mean a riot although one might certainly occur if too much hostility is flying about.
I always wondered why music-based magick schools never took off in UA. Music is a universal phenomenon but didnít seem to grasp on the minds of the players.
I know there are a couple of other unofficial ones floating about and many suggestions for them but they never quite took off.
To me many adept schools are about consuming for your magick; injury, books, identity, memories, and booze are all variants on the theme. But the other cantomancy schools are about expressing music to get magic.
While they are fine, I wanted a music school that swallowed music as resource and spat out magick. But I wanted a school of music magick that appealed to the average music consumer, the one who just enjoys the music but doesnít want to or cannot express himself through the medium.
I have included the other music-magick cantomancy schools but have not elaborated them. Think of them as incompatible variants like Eastern and Western Cryptomancy.
Thanks and a tip of the hat to the other authors whose schools undoubtedly influenced mine in varying degrees (the history of mine was edited to include Punkey's cantomancy here on the UA website, but thatís it. I think).
I also apologise to those who cottoned onto this idea before me and my thieving mind never allowed me to realise it.
So here below is my cantomancy fresh from percolating in my brain for so long. I had to send it in to stop creating formula spells.
I won't comment on this, this really works. I had a bit of a debate with Punkey over his version of cantomancy, (mostly in the "So you want to write a shool" thread over at misc). But this one works for me, it's weird enough!
Mattias | profile | Mar 06, 06 | 7:35 am
As long as the music is new and officially released.
The problem I see with charging is that it'd be very easy to get lots of Sig charges by following the band around, Deadhead style. Even withoug serious obession it shouldn't be too hard, and if you expand what bands you can charge off it gets sick-- there are moderatly popular local bands i've seen 6 times in a year.
Sure, but then your character doesn't get time to go on all those cosmic adventures.