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The rebirth of Mechanomancy
Clockworking has been around for a long time, and it hasn't seen much change since it's inception in Renaissance Europe. It's been long overdue for some kind of renewal, an update into the postmodern era (or at least the modern era). The time has finally come for one young Mechanomancer to make that change, but it won't happen exactly in the way that you'd think.
In 1981, an Armenian immigrant (and old-school Clockworker) named Arakel Nazaryan created a major clockwork while living in Detroit. He wasn't interested in reproducing intelligent life like many of his rivals, he wanted a machine that actually had the power to predict the future with some accuracy. The Nazaryan Prognostication Device (or the Oracle Box, as it is called by the few people who know anything about it) was built with several stolen divinatory artifacts, and it speaks it's prophecies through the skull of the famous New Age prophet Edgar Cayce. The Oracle Box was known in Detroit's underground for being a fairly reliable source on the happenings of the future. The only problem was that no one had any control over when it spoke, or what it's predictions were going to be about. Basically, it spoke whenever it felt like it. It accurately predicted major events like the Bosnian War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and also more mundane things like the winning of the academy award for best picture by Forrest Gump in 1994. It consistently proved to be reliable, but it's very first prophecy has yet to come true.
It predicted that in the tenth year of the new millennium, a great prodigy would come to hear it's final prophecy, and then it would remain silent forevermore. The prodigy would go on to remake the school of Mechanomancy, and save a dying art. Nazaryan died before this ever came to pass, but the Box continues to speak even after his death.
What the players will actually hear when they find the Oracle Box in Detroit will be a little different. The prodigy's task is to become "the Great Maker", whose role is to create a major clockwork that will symbolically represent a rebirth for the school. That newly made automaton will be the one to remake Mechanomancy. This is the Clockwork Messiah.
* There are plenty of things that a GM can do with this adventure seed. It can be used as a sort of "side quest" for a Mechanomancer PC, and thus can be inserted into any ongoing campaign. You can also give your chosen "Great Maker" some more detailed instructions on how to create the Messiah in the Box's prophecy (this is what I did) and thus establish a framework for a longer campaign. Either way, the first adventure should take place in Detroit and be about the players trying to find the Oracle Box, which is hidden and guarded by Nazaryan's apprentice. They may also have to compete with rival Clockworkers who have heard about the Box, and the Sleepers or TNI may be interested as well.
My own ideas about the making of the Messiah are as follows. There are three major components the Maker has to use once he knows what his purpose is (or her purpose, this is supposed to be a modern rebirth after all). First the Maker has to visit another Clockworker living in Pittsburgh named Rafal Wozniak, who has lost almost all of his memories making clockworks. The players have to destroy his creations and then use a special artifact to collect the memories in a physical form. This will incorporate the spirit of the old method, and the power of rebirth, and it will actually work better if the players give the memories back to Wozniak then convince him to sacrifice them again for the Messiah. The second component is the body of an automaton that calls itself the White Rider. The Rider believes itself to be the bringer of the Apocalypse, and killing the Great Maker is one more step to bringing this about. The White Rider should be following the players from the beginning, and then ambush them unexpectedly. I imagined it as a Terminator-esque figure, riding a motorcycle and wielding a shotgun. This component represents the force of Entropy, and the Messiah will become Order's triumph over Entropy's hold on the school of Mechanomancy. Once the players have the first two components, the Great Maker has to sacrifice all of his memories, and this will complete the Messiah. A birth can never take place without an act of true sacrifice, and this particular player will unfortunately become as helpless as a baby.
Everything that happens after that is in the hands of the GM, including the mechanics for the new school (I think some people on this site have already made new Mechanomancy variants). Maybe the player who was the Great Maker could continue playing as the Messiah. You'd have a lot on your plate, but it would be pretty exciting.
VengeanceTheDog | profile | Dec 31, 09 | 1:04 pm
This, I do deeply dig.