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Mystics of the road, odomancers follow highways, trails, ley lines, and urban labyrinths to enlightenment.
Each of us is a point moving through space. We pilot our bodies along the surface of the earth as we seek out food, shelter, and entertainment. Over time, out travels take on set patterns. We wear grooves into the ground as these routes are traveled again and again by person after person. In time, roads are paved, sidewalks constructed, highways built. The most popular routes, beginning with the paths of migrating herds and evolving into railroads and super-highways, form a network of lines across the planet, demarcating the patterns of life on Earth.
Odomancers -- from "odo", meaning "road" or "path" -- draw their power from these paths of human travel. Although some of them tie their magic to Chinese geomantic disciplines like Feng Shui or to neo-pagan notions about "ley lines" or "faerie roads", most Commuters (as they are sometimes called) tend to associate their power with modern transportation systems and the lure of the open road, the paradox of being freer than ever to travel wherever they want, but at the same time feeling tied to traditional paths. They spend their time moving along popular routes: on foot, in cars, in trains, in subways, and in buses. Although many tie their magic in with a specific mode of transportation, such as motorcycles or cars (Automancy is believed to be a bastard school born from Irascimancy and car-based Odomancy), odomancy is ultimately about the path, not the vehicle. This is also what distinguishes these adepts from avatars of the Pilgrim: while the Pilgrim travels toward a goal, an odomancer's goal is his travel.
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.
Random magic domain: Travel and space. An odomancer could use magic to trace the route taken by someone, to clear up obstacles in his path, or force someone to walk along a certain route. In particular, the magic lends itself to the psychology of travellers as they define the path they will take.
Starting charges: Starting Odomancers have five minor 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.
M. Norwood | profile | Jul 18, 02 | 1:08 pm
This is one of my favorite schools. I have a thing for road movies, and this school is perfect for recreating some of the typical feel of these movies in a game.
I always thought this was the best of the schools posted on the internet and the easiest to adapt to actual game use.
Nick L. | profile | Jul 19, 02 | 10:17 pm
I agree with the previous comments. This is a very well-done and well-written school. The only bit I don't like is the "Feng Shui" spell. To my mind, rearranging the objects in a room or other space is not thematically consistent with the rest of the school.
I like it as a school . . . and the spells are very neat.
But what's the Central Paradox?
M. Norwood | profile | Sep 25, 02 | 3:14 pm
Another good paradox is that most people travel to GET somewhere, but the odomancer travels for no reason. What's the point of a road if it doesn't link here to there? To the odomancer, it doesn't matter where he's going or where he's been, it's the journey that matters.
I agree, Feng shui doesn't make much sense. I also think maybe some kind of spell based on the labyrinths, particularly the big important ones that some old churches, etc. have. Also, all the spells seem very straight-forward, not really drawing on any of the strong symbolism of the road, traveling, etc. Even the Kleptomancer can steal your reputation. Just a thought.