THE UNDERGROUND | adepts | avatars | rituals | artifacts | dukes | cabals | rumors | unexplained | unnatural | misc | scenarios | mods | fiction | THE OVERGROUND | news | forum | submit! | search | links | downloads | ua-ml | NEWEST SUBMISSIONS | Thin Black Line | Dance of the Red Spiral Part 2: Collateral Damage | Shrekomancy | Ablutomancy |
One of those apprentices out to avenge the death of their mentor.
To understand the man called Tron, it's necessary to understand the woman who taught him magick and the ways of the Underground, Peggy Ann Reed. But then again, to understand Peggy Ann, it's necessary to understand the magick she fixated on; the controversial field of Radionics.
Radionics as commonly understood began some time during the year 1910, with Dr. Albert Abrahms. For one reason or another, he hooked a three dial resistance box to wires connected to his patience and tapped their stomachs, a process called percussing which may or may not have had medical diagnostic value. He slowly but surely discovered that strange effects could be produced using this new, bizarre technology. This work was eventually expanded on by T. Galen Heironymous, and half a century later, by the notorious Charles "Uncle Chuckie" Cosimano.
However, not even Uncle Chuckie, self-styled supervillain and megalomaniac, actually understood Radionics for what it really was. The essential heironymous machine is an amplifier circuit connected to an almost double-blind filtering and tuning mechanism: A prism that lets in light, with a copper wire hooked to a dial so that a section of the wire passes only into a certain wavelength of the refracted light. The output of this wire goes through the amplifier circuit and then to what is most commonly called a "stick pad". Some people, when they touch the stick pad, feel unusual sensations -- stickiness, static electrical charge, vibration -- and some people don't feel anything at all.
A lot has been written on the subject, mostly around people feeling exactly what they expect: Beleivers receive the sensations and skeptics do not. The skeptics naturally denounce it as hogwash, while the researchers in favor of radionics say that the effect is always there and the skeptics unconsciously negate it to preserve their own narrow view of the world. Both are quite wrong; the Heironymous machine, in essence, is a machine based on one of the biggest unresolved paradoxes in the scientific world; the Wave-Particle Duality. The prism is designed to limit input to only the wavelengths of light, while the copper wire and electrical circuitry should only permit input through electron particles. But since energy entered the machine, it has to come out in some form, observable or not, and the easiest wat is through the highly conductive electrical circuitry.
In essence, using the Law of Conservation of Energy as a vice, the mutually exclusive viewpoints of particle theory and wave theory and mashed together; since a multitude of evidence for both approaches exists, neither can be discarded out of hand. People who are, at some level, aware of the paradox and can resolve it somehow can feel a bit of the underlying power of the cosmos, manifesting itself on the stick pad.
At least, that's how Peggy Ann viewed it. Overweight, unattractive, and bookish in an environment that valued the slim, athletic, hot chick, she developed a pretty sour personality over the years. By the time she headed off to college, she was willing to do anything to get revenge on a world that had kicked her in the ass every time she turned around. She considered going crazy and coming back with a skewed perspective a bargain.
One of the hard-to-understand aspects of Radionics was the power of printed circuit designs -- not the wired hardwire itself, but simply ink-and-paper schematics of that hardware -- to perform the same functions as the actual hardware. This makes no sense to the scientist, but to the symbolic worldview of the adept, the lines between action and result are already a bit blurred. Moreso in a ritual fashion. Peggy Ann had made the short-cut in logic between the circuit causing an effect and the circuit being part of the effect, and the hole made by the wave-particle paradox was big enough for her to shove it all the way through. Even though she started out with the standard electronics-based equipment, she eventually expanded into using the symbols of the electrical elements themselves -- Modernist Glyph Magick, in a way. The implimentation of the magick was quite postmodern: She stitched the circuitry designs onto all of her clothing. Just by wearing a certain shirt or pair of pants, she could use some of her powers.
It was during college that she met another social outcast, Daniel Winter. He, like her, was overweight, ugly, and "too smart fer his own good", to use the words of his father. Also like her, he was struggling to resolve paradoxes, namely that his parents simultaneously encouraged him to get an education beyond theirs so he'd have more opportunity than they did, and insulted and derided him for trying to be better than the people who had raised him. (A huge number of self-taught adepts come from toxic family environments; this may explain why.) He had an open, if disturbed, mind that took to the unnatural with enthusiasm once he learned that it could be used to hurt people. Over the next two years, Peggy Ann taught Dan everything she knew, while he secretly fell in love with her.
Since she didn't take kindly to signs of personal affection, Dan was still trying to figure out how to tell her and not invoke her wrath when she was killed in her own dorm room. To this day, Dan still doesn't know who it was. He knows about the Sleepers, about the New Inquisition, about the Naked Goddess and the Sect that grew around the videotape. He suspects there are religion-based anti-magick hit squads, but knows nothing about the actual Cecilites. It may have been a rival duke she pissed off out for revenge. Or possibly even just some lone loser trying to do some sort of fraternity-inspired panty raid who got caught by Peggy Ann, freaked out when she used her powers, and killed her in a psychotic frenzy.
Dan doesn't know, and he doesn't care, so long as he can find the person or persons responsible and skin them alive. To this end, he's adopted his mentor's unique magickal approach and twisted it even further. Over a period of two weeks, he tatooed his arms, legs, hands, feet, and part of his torso and head with radionic circuit designs. The ink used is a special metallic mix that is semi-toxic and will flouresce under certain lighting conditions; it is these circuit tattoos that earned him the name Tron, after the character in the Disney movie.
He's since dropped out of college and started prowling the Underground full-time, only stopping to crash in cheap hotel rooms with cigarette burns on the sheets. He's not above some mercenary work for eatin' money, and in fact has done jobs for TNI twice without knowing it.
Name: Daniel Winter, alias "Tron"
Personality: Between learning magick and having the woman he secretly loved killed, Tron's old personality has been pared away to trace elements in his passions. His new personality is equal parts Michael Douglas in "Don't Say a Word" and Jack Nicholson in "The Shining".
Obsession: (Radionics) Revenge. Tron is going to destroy Peggy's murdered physically, socially, mentally, emotionally, and mystically. There will be NOTHING left.
Wound Points: 50
Rage Passion: Anybody who tells Tron to respect his elders.
Fear Passion: (Violence) He's got this thing about reptiles, thanks to a bad encounter with a snapping turtle once.
Noble Passion: Tron was majoring in Broadcast Journalism at college, so it's no surprise he beleives in Free Speech in general and Free Press in particular.
Body 50 (Shaping Up)
Swim 30%, Brawl 30%, Drug Tolerance 20%
Speed 55 (A Bit Spastic)
Dodge 25%, Drive 15%, Initiative 30%, High Velocity Lead Poisoning 40%
Mind 55 (Thinks Things Out)
Broadcast Journalism 35%, Reporter's Eye (Notice) 40%, Electronics 35%
Soul 80 (Scary Sonnovabitch)
Interview (Charm) 40%, Lie 20%, Magick: Radionics 50%, Stubborn Ass 50%
Violence: 3H/ 2F
Unnatural: 3H/ 3F
Helplessness: 2H/ 1F
Isolation: 2H/ 3F
Self: 1H/ 3F
Tron is addicted to Caffeinne Pills.
Drug Tolerance: Tron's ability to negate or at least survive controlled substances in his body.
High Velocity Lead Poisoning: Tron's ability to use firearms.
Electronics: This is mostly based on video cameras, microphones, and editing software, but covers basic electronics also. In a pinch, it could be used to get around an electronic lock or alarm system.
Stubborn Ass: Tron's ability to resist Charm, Persuasion, and Intimidation attempts by other people. It also protects against mind control magick to a limited extent. anyone trying to convince, scare off, or manipulate Tron must roll above this skill.
Possessions: Tron has a butterfly knife (illegal in many, many places in the United States) that does +3 damage thanks to its sharpness. He's also got a .22 target pistol, capacity 8, max damage 30. There's $80 hidden in a secret compartment he made in each of his shoes. Finally, he has a flashlight and an umbrella, both of which have been discreetly modified to serve as radionics transmitters.
Allies: Tron is on reasonably good terms with three other magickally savvy college dorm dwellers he met in another state entirely, and is owed a favor by a Narcotic Alchemist in the same town.
Enemies: After one barroom brawl gone wrong, a Videomancer has made it his mission in life to make Tron's existence as miserable as possible.
The main paradox of Radionics magick, as understood by Peggy Ann, is the Wave-Particle Duality problem. Examined closer, there's also the paradox of having an unliving, unthinking circuit carry thought and life based energy, and of using a living human being as nothing more than an electromechanical tuner for paranormal phenomena.
Radionics has no blast, but there are a good number of effects that can wreck people's lives in other ways.
So far, Radionics is only a minor charge school. If Peggy Ann ever learned how to gain a sig charge, she never told Tron.
Gain a Minor Charge: Get shocked electrically. It has to be enough to hurt, but not enough to kill. This typically does a few points of damage to whatever body part was touching the power source, say 3-5.
Taboo: Be electrically grounded. The electrical energy gathered for spells is stored semi-mystically in the body until needed, but will turn back into mundane electricity if given the chance. This doesn't do any damage, but it may hurt a lot depending on how many charges were lost.
Random Magick Domain: Energy, mostly in the means of transforming it, retreiving information from it, and imbedding information into it. You can't change people's minds, but you can plant emotional responses in the undecided middle to help them see things your way.
Note that for any Radionicist to use their powers, they must have some sort of machine to act through, sometimes a very specific one. Both Peggy Ann and Tron worked around this by using the symbolic diagrams of those machines, one combining it with her clothing, the other combining it with his skin. Actually sewing up or tattooing on a design like that would take about a week for each specific machine circuit.
Also note that any magick cast on a target without line-of-sight needs what is called a witness: a photograph, personal possession, or body part. Witnesses tend to lose power over time; drops of blood or fingernail clippings are good for about a day before losing their connection, while a necklace they wore every day of their life is probably good for a few months.
Attach Astral Parasite
Cost: 2 Minor Charges
Effect: This lets the caster reach into the astral plane, grab an Astral Parasite, and sic it on somebody they can see or have a witness for. For one more charge, the spell can be used to knock off a parasite already attached to a person.
Cost: 3 Minor Charges
Effect: The caster must relax and meditate in a quiet place. So long as she is undisturbed, for the next five minutes, she can receive a vision of certain physical locations. She can, for example, see what a certain spot on a map looks like without ever being there physically. The spell can be extended by five minutes after casting by spending another minor charge. Needless to say, this is an excellent spying resource, but is subject to anti-scrying spells, artifacts, and other occult countermeasures.
Cost: 4 Minor Charges
Effect: Using a witness (for a person/object) or a sample (for something less specific), the caster can locate somebody or something on a map through sympathetic resonance. It can be used to find lost pets, kidnapped people, water, heroin, salted pretzels, whatever. However, it doesn't let you know if the target is alive or dead, how pure the water or heroin is, or how clean the place is that made the pretzels.
Cost: 4 Minor Charges
Effect: This spell tells the caster just how pure something is, like the water or drugs mentioned above. It can also be used to find a specific chemical or element in the target, as long as a sample of that substance is on hand. So if you have some cannabis, you can use this spell to tell if somebody else is high.
Cost: 6 Minor Charges
Effect: One of commercial radionics' alleged mainstream applications is the ability to control agricultural pests; take a picture of a field or orchard, then broadcast a signal using a pesticide. The bugs die and the crops are protected, without spending mucho dinero to spray lots of that same pesticide on the crops themselves. This spell twists that spell around; by using a small amount of the appropriate herbicide and concentrating, the caster can doom crops to shrivel and die with no readily seen cause. (Peggy Ann payed her way through college by buying certain plant commodities, then killing them remotely with this spell, driving the price up any making a good return on her investment.) This can also be used to attack other people, but requires the caster to be close to whatever toxin or poison they're planning to broadcast into the cells of the enemy. A knowledge of the target's allergies would be very useful.
Cost: 5 Minor Charges
Effect: This actually requires a seperate machine or circuit design, offset from the main hardware. If, while fooling around in the Astral plane, the caster attracts the attention of a demon, this will usually protect against a possession attempt. A demon trying to get into the adept's mind and body will instead be drawn into the machinery, and then into this sub-machine. Once inside, it takes a Soul Roll above the roll made to initialize the spell for the demon to break loose, otherwise it's stuck until the adept lets it out. Note that if the machine is taken apart or the paper circuit diagram burned while the demon is still inside it, said demon may be destroyed. The downside to this is that each circuit can only hold one demon at a time, and two of these same circuits can't be hooked into the same machine, so if the demons gang up, the caster is in trouble.
Cost: 7 Minor Charges
Effect: By siphoning the vital energies of other people, the caster can recover extra wound points per day when recovering from an injury. This requires a witness for each person to be drained from. People who are being drained will feel lethargic and dull, and injuries they have will heal slower, if at all. Only one extra wound point can be recovered from a person in twenty four hours, so one person is one extra point, three people is three extra, etc. The effect lasts one week, and ends as soon as the caster is back up to full health.
What a great GMC and school-let.