Thursday, March 28, 2019

Sponsamancy - An Unknown Armies Maigick School

Objectifiers, Doll-Humpers, True Reborners, Puppeteers & Pygmalions (Self)

The only thing that we make of ourselves is what we leave behind. But most people focus on the small things like family, fame or fortune, you focus on the one thing that really matters: Love. The truest form of love to you isn't some churlish lust like the men of Cyprus had for the Propoetides. It's clean, pure and selfless in a way that loving another person could never be, because what you love is beyond mere men and women - it's divine. The recipient of your love is as eternal and unchanging as the elements that make it up, after all, objects don't age like us mere mortals. You know that your crush can never let you down, because it has been invested with the power of the gods. You know that's true because You did it.

Humanity used to respect it's idols. In the cities of ancient Mesopotamia, the gods were believed to inhabit the statues of their images, which were housed in the ziggurats that lay at the heart of the settlement. Only their direct servants, the priests, were allowed in these sacred structures, and only they were allowed to attend directly to the divine ones. The priests would treat the statue as if it were alive; feeding it, clothing it, bathing it, even taking it out of it's home and parading it around the streets so that it's worshipers could see that their divine benefactor was a part of their lives. When a city was conquered, the deity would be dragged down from it's pedestal and then back to the victor's city, to sit in acquiescence at the feet of their new ruler's god. The Semites and their god changed that for a time, but the idols came again in the form of the icons and representations of the Lord, his Saints and the Mother, the words were different, but the veneration was the same and the icons became almost ever-present in religious art. As the renaissance dawned, the art of sculpture flourish once more and the objects of the Sponsamancer's affections became ever more commonplace. In the modern day we no longer even need them to even be wrapped in the accouterments of the sacred, they are all around us in the form of mannequins, statues & sex dolls. The religious aspect was never important to the true believers anyway, it was always about the Devotion, the Love & the Moe.

The odd members who make up this school, often called "Objectifiers", "Doll-Humpers", "True Reborners" or when among one another, "Pygmalions" or "Puppeteers", are generally people who have been unable to establish fulfilling and lasting relationships with others, but especially those of the opposite sex. Instead they began to invent one, usually out of whole cloth and with a subject generally derived from an external source - anime, television or video-games are almost overwhelmingly the most common, though dead relatives and deified statues are represented among their ranks as well. The rise of the internet was a huge boon to the puppeteers, at first, they were always social and the community-focused aspects of the school by which it was founded have never entirely faded, though it definitely has taken on more of a misanthropic cast as it came into the present day society. The new form of communication allowed them to identify and then organize with one another in a way that they hadn't since the old days of Uruk and Babylon. It seemed to most of them involved in the project that they were on the cusp of gaining a nearly limitless river of charges from their fellow Pygmalions, working together to conduct their rituals, but it wasn't to be. The nature of their school demands that the objects of their adoration must be supreme, and the idea of not just tolerating, but venerating the Crush of another filled most of them with profound disgust. The ensuing magickal brawls from the few meet-ups sealed the fate of the endeavor in the minds of most of the objectifiers - the wounds are still too fresh for any forgiveness yet.

The central paradox of Sponsamancy is that it's about forging a connection that can never, ever fail you – though conversely it will never allow you to truly connect with another. By heaping their affection and love upon something that cannot love them back, they lose the chance to truly love another in the way that most of us understand it.


Generate a Minor Charge: Make another person (or small group of people) treat or acknowledge one of your idols as if it were a real person. This doesn't necessarily have to be willing, but it cannot be coerced from a position of violence. Acknowledging for our purposes is something like giving up your seat to a cardboard cut-out on the bus, asking them if they'd like to be included when buying tickets to a movie or having groceries specifically bought for them. The object in question must be the one that is recognized as having agency in regards to the request or accommodation, asking the Sponsamancer if their crush would like the seat wouldn't be enough, they would have to ask Kimiko the Body Pillow herself how she feels, the Sponsamancer can 'translate' however, giving their assent to get their charge. The lengths that they'll go to aren't particularly important, if they give up their seat and then ask for it back thirty seconds later after the shame sets in, that's fine - they already admitted that the object was real, if only for a few moments. The person who is doing the accommodating has to be there in the flesh as well, no teleconferencing in charges. You can only gain a charge from a single person or collective group a single time per week.

Generate a Significant Charge: Make a group of at least four other people acknowledge or accommodate your crush for at least a half-hour. It's similar to the minor charge behavior, but the scale is different; convince a group to celebrate the Crush's birthday, have them attend a commitment ceremony for you and your Crush, bring your Crush to the office Christmas party and have them take a couple drinks with your co-workers. This suffers all the same restrictions as the minor charge version, and it has to be at least four, if it's three you get nothing more than three minor charges, with the same applying if say two of them peeled off early because they were freaked out. Each group of people can only give you a charge once per week

Generate a Major Charge: Arrange for your beloved to be officially recognized by either a large group (say, 100 or so) or by an actual government - this is big stuff like getting an official birth certificate, having image boards or conventions dedicated to them or even starting a minor religion based around the object of your love. The edge between a true believer and a casual one is a bit murky, so to a certain extent it is up to the adjudication of the ST and the players, but a good rule of thumb would be that anyone willing to defend their notions of an inanimate object’s reality would count as a believer. The recognition only has to be kept going for a couple of weeks, but if it unravels at the first sermon or court injunction against an illegal marriage, no charge. The charge is only given the one time per Crush, once Kimiko the Body Pillow becomes the centerpiece of a cuddly faith, she can't then go on to become a real girl in the form of being granted a marriage license, the symbolic nature of the Crush's relationship to humanity has already been fundamentally altered too much.

Taboo: The gods are jealous, possessive creatures, and they will accept no other position than that of the centerpiece of the Pygmalion's life. The only Favorite relationship that an Objectifier is ever allowed to have is their Crush, they don't have to take it at character creation, but most do anyway. Having a relationship with another person, whether intimate or otherwise is fine, but they need to know that Kimiko will always come first. In game terms the relationship is functionally nil beyond being it being able to used to threaten or cajole you. After all, if you're not willing to die for your Crush then it's not really true love. The other half to their taboo extends to relationships in general, not only can the Sponsamancer never have a Favorite outside of their Crush, they're not allowed to raise any of their relationships that concern a particular person without being in violation of their mystic vows - that doesn't include organizations, that sort of generalized love for a group isn't nearly as straining on the Sponsamancer's Crush.

...About Your Crush: The types of objects that can be a legal 'Crush' for the Sponsamancer have to be anthropomorphic in nature; body casts with a picture taped on the front, statues of the beloved sculpted out of discarded gum and gym socks, fur suits (as long as no one is in them!) are cool, but just straight sex-robots without any pretension towards the human form are not, as would be lamps or coat racks, no matter how fetching they may be. It must also be a real object and roughly correspond to the actual height of the crush in question, so a body pillow, wall scroll, stuffed corpse or mannequin would work, but a picture on a phone or monitor would be right out. There is no limit to how many Crushes that a Sponsamancer may have, though they generally only have a few, given the nature of their love. A crush can be someone who is, or was alive, but only the actual object that is their physical facsimile is the Crush, a puppeteer would gain no power from someone acknowledging the sentience of a real, breathing person.

Random Magick Domain: The power of sponsamancy is in affecting possessions which are important in an emotional sense, as well as the relationships that those feelings towards an inanimate object are generated from; grandpa's old pipe is important even if you don't smoke and even the cheapest of wedding rings can tug at the heartstrings of their owners. A pygmalion could make you love your mailbox openly and without shame, or ratchet your anxiety level while driving your brand new sports car up to the point where you simply give it away. This also applies to the opposite, objects which have no value can be made to be seen as important or vital in the same way that a treasured keepsake would be. Nearly all sponsamancy effects need some sort of object to perform, the more (or less in some cases) emotionally charged the better.

Sponsamancy Minor Formula Spells

Always Presentable
Cost: 1 Minor Charge
Effect: Many doll-humpers aren't fastidious about their countenance, exultation and exhortation of the gods takes a lot most of their time and effort; the gods demand the best of their followers, even in such a pedestrian manner as their appearance. Casting this spell makes you look adequate, not great or stupendous, just alright and it lasts for 24 hours. The biggest benefit is that you look adequate in any situation, you could show up to your court date in a shirt plastered with anime girls in various states of ahegao, a pair of lime green shorts and flip-flops and the Judge wouldn't raise an eyebrow at your appearance. You never gain a negative shift for your appearance itself, but this only extends to your clothes and level of grooming, if you were covered in blood the police officer would still likely have a few pointed questions for you to answer.

Say A Few Words, Charlie
Cost: 1 Minor Charge
Effect: This unsettling spell allows an objectifier to control objects in their vicinity in a specific way, making them speak a few words in either their voice, or a different one if they have an Identity associated with mimicking or otherwise modifying their own speech patterns. The thing that the pygmalion wants to make chat has to be within their line of sight, and the volume cannot exceed what the caster could make with their own vocal chords. Each use of the spell allows the Sponsamancer a half-dozen words from a single object, though the number doubles if it is used on their Crush or an object that is associated already with speaking; a telephone, ventriloquist dummy or a talking doll. Witnessing this happen without framing it as a natural event (such as having a phone receiver or radio speak) is an Unnatural-3 check.

There Are Many Like It
Cost: 2 Minor Charges
Effect: The ubiquity of objects is a funny thing in the modern world. It used to be that if you owned a rake, or a shovel, or a knife, it may have been in your family's possession for a Century or, more if they're particularly well-taken care of. They were treasures, mostly because they couldn't be replaced almost offhandedly like they can be now. Unable to deal with the shoddy workmanship that mass-production often entails, an enterprising pygmalion from Kansas City Missouri came up with a way to make any off-the-rack object feel as if it were worthy of being in the family legacy. Cast this spell when you pick up a mass-produced object, it cannot be anything that has an emotional resonance to anyone beyond, "Hey, don't steal that." While you are wielding the object for its intended purpose you gain a +10% shift, which lasts until you drop it or stop actively using it. Once an object has been used as a target for this spell, it cannot be used again as it has been stripped of the banality necessary to be a target of the spell.

Home Is Where The Heart Is
Cost: 4 Minor Charges
Effect: A person's home is their castle, it's a place that has been suffused down to the walls with their essence, one that they know almost every corner of by heart. The house protects it's owners possessions, and with this spell it provides even more security. The adept casts the spell by dribbling some sort of bodily fluid of theirs onto the floor of their abode and spending the charges. If successful, the spell lasts 24 hours and it provides the following benefits:

  • The caster always knows when someone enters the structure, and from which entrance. This functions whether or not they are currently there.
  • If present, the doll-humper can with a successful roll on their adept identity to mystically bar any point of egress from the home. Trying to open the door, window, etc without some sort of violence requires them to beat the adept's roll to magickally lock the place down.

Your Waifu Is Trash
Cost: 3 Minor Charges
Effect: We surround ourselves with those we love or who love us, drawing strength from those close to us, and we can do amazing things when in service to others. This spell allows the objectifier to seal off the ability for others to draw upon that connection in a small way, rendering them unable to draw upon that particular relationship for any sort of action, whether it be Coercion, Substitution or otherwise. You need to have some sort of object that the target of your curse owns, it can be literally anything, something as small as a staple or a paperclip would work, but it must definitely belong to the person who's relationship you want to wreck in relation to the target. The object is discarded during the course of the spell, generally into the garbage or a source of flame. The curse target still knows the victim, and may even still think of them fondly if that's the normal context of their relationship, it's just that they cannot help them in any meaningful way - their car blows a flat on the way over, their advice on how to fix the garbage disposal gets lost or garbled over the phone, they can't come over and help them with their science fair project because they have to work, etc.

Isn't It Just The Best?
Cost: 4 Minor Charges
Effect: Sometimes you just have to make someone fall in love with a toaster. The true reborner must find an object that has some bit of emotional value to the target, it doesn't have to be some family heirloom, so something like their cell phone or just one of their favorite coffee mugs. The Sponsamancer has to touch the item and charge it, nothing more. For the next number of hours equal to the 10s place on their die roll for the spell, the owner feels a compulsion to touch, protect and yes, even lavish the object with adoration both physical and emotional. The unfortunate new lover feels the need to defend their charge, and will respond with naked hostility if someone tries to remove the object from their presence. Seeing the object destroyed is a Rank-4 Violence check and it will certainly provoke a violent response from the victim.

What Do You Love?
Cost: 2 Minor Charges
Effect: To many people, what they own is what defines them. If you own a sporty car and a big house, you're a Big Shot - even if you may be a bit behind on the car payments and have two mortgages. You can see those connections with this spell, so if someone spends a lot of time rebuilding a car, you may get a flash of that, if they obsessively clean & maintain their guns, you'll see that. The information comes to you in a swell of emotion, similar to what the owner of the object feels when they handle or take care of it themselves.

Sponsamancy Significant Formula Spells

The Mannequin Method
Cost: 1 Significant Charge
Effect: Most doll-humpers want their Crushes to be real, or at least more animated than they naturally are. This spell goes in the complete opposite direction and brings the caster closer to their idols in nature. Casting the spell makes the caster appear to all outside observers to be a statue, mannequin, wax sculpture, any sort of immobile object which would make the most sense in the circumstance. This isn't foolproof, if you're in the middle of a crowded movie theater, a statue of any sort will look weird, but you'd be surprised the amount of time that people can completely overlook statues or other such decorations in places that would seem odd. The spell lasts as long as the adept stays still, moving in any way breaks the spell.

See, They Are Real!
Cost: 1 Significant Charge
Effect: In many ways this spell is a refinement of 'Say A Few Words Charlie', but the effects are far more broad. The objectifier can only use this spell on one of their Crushes, and they cast it by spending the charge and then showing it some sort of outward sign of affection, such as hugging, kissing or groping their fetish object. For the next hour any one (with the exception of the caster) within a close vicinity of the Crush (about 30 feet or so) sees them in the image that the sponsamancer wishes so desperately that they could be. They can converse with them, feel them and even smell them just as if they were a real, breathing person, the only major limitation being that it is still in reality an object and thus cannot move under its own power, though the case could be made for an animatronic or other such self-ambulatory device. The illusion is remarkably resilient and victims of it will resist any attempts to persuade them otherwise, even after clear evidence is presented after the fact that what they were speaking to was an object. This spell cannot ever be used to gain a sponsamancer charges.

Fuck Your Couch
Cost: 1 Significant Charge
Effect: People care about the things they own, they represent time and effort poured into them, sometimes weeks, months or even years of effort for big purchases. Cursing their enemy to see the things they most love destroyed, the puppeteer makes it true with an investment of mystical power. Basically this spell makes the objects which are the most important (not necessarily the most valuable, though they certainly can be) in the target's life simply take damage from an outside, seemingly source less force. Cars are covered in dents and gash marks, a wedding ring warps and falls apart, a beloved house loses shingles, has it's windows broken and develops a dozen creaking floorboards. This damage is represented by simply rolling 2d10 and reading the damage similar to a firearm attack, with the cap being the caster's Sponsamancy identity. It would take several uses of this spell to destroy something as large as a vehicle or a dwelling, but something small like a treasured set of china would be gone after the first attempt.

Agony Poppet
Cost: 2 Significant Charges
Effect: It's unclear whether this technique was simply incorporated into the school via pop-cultural osmosis, or if the doll-humpers themselves inspired the occult practice - what is clear is how deadly the fetish that the spell creates can be if used and crafted correctly. Build a small representation of your enemy, it could be made of stitched fabric and stuffing like an actual doll, or it could be something like a human sized figure carved out of wood or potato. It doesn't  have to be a work of art, a head, torso, two arms and two legs would do, just enough that someone could recognize it as a person. Then you need to have something to correspond to your target, such as a lock of hair, a piece of stationary or a discarded hunk of gum - if you want to do minor blast damage. If you want to do significant blast damage you need to have something that corresponds to them, that's also near and dear to their heart; a locket from their mother or the tassel from their college graduation cap. The Poppet, once invested with the significant charges can be used at any time by inflicting damage to it, and it only works once. The damage done to the target reflects the types that was inflicted upon the poppet, so if it was thrown in a bonfire they would suddenly break out in burns & blisters, if it were smashed repeatedly against the ground then the unfortunate victim would find themselves covered in bruises and contusions seemingly instantly.

Cost: 3 Significant Charges, or 3 Significant Charges and a Taboo Break
Effect: Named after a kenning, which is a sort of word mashup metaphor that Anglo-Saxons used to describe their deeds, this technique is used to enhance relationships that are otherwise so heavily damaged or stymied by the normal day-to-day, isolating activity of engaging in being a sponsamancer. The puppeteer must sacrifice an item of theirs in a short ritual in which they destroy it in front of a photo or other representation of the target of the spell, burning is the most popular, but a lot of objects simply can't be destroyed in such a way. The object in question determines the effects and whether or not the spell is considered a taboo break. The minor version of the spell simply requires a personal object that the puppeteer chooses, it can literally be something as simple as a fork or a book purchased from a thrift store, the adept rolls a 10-sided die and simply adds the result to the relationship that they wish to bolster, please note that increasing it in this way does not count against the adept as a taboo break. The significant version of this spell calls for the pygmalion to destroy one of their Crushes, it is an extremely traumatic undertaking which always causes a Rank-7 Violence check and causes the adept to be in violation of their vows, but on the other hand they are allowed to roll two 10-sided dice and add the sum of the roll to a relationship of their choosing, even an entirely new or dead one.

Mea Tulpa
Cost: 4 Significant Charges
Effect: Have you ever looked around and just invented random backstories for people on the street? That haggard looking woman used to be a talented grifter until she fell in with the Russian Mob, that man in the raincoat used to farm on his estate in Spain until the financial crisis of 2008 made him sell it off, this bloke in the fishing hat raises chickens in his basement so that he has a source of income outside of his...The possibilities are endless, and we can create whole casts of imaginary friends in this manner, but with this spell you can make them real. The Tulpa of a person is built around a 'seed' from which is grown the rest of their personality and identity, if you were to use a plastic police badge as your seed you could create a being focused around investigation, protection or intimidation, if you were to use a toy truck, you could use it to craft a being that was a truck driver or a child with an interest in construction equipment. The minds of these thought forms are extremely simplistic in nature, but are able to superficially pass as a person and are able to make rolls directly relating to the identity that they were crafted around. Appearance wise they tend towards a sort of banal average, no matter what race or gender the adept chooses to make them, unless the seed object was from a specific person which the caster intends for it to ape, then they function as perfect replicas. The Tulpas are also relatively fragile, only having a number of wounds equal to the sum of the die roll used to create them, and if they are forced to make more than a single stress check of any sort in a scene (success or failure) they shatter into random bits of trash and refuse, with their seed object in the center of the wreckage. Seeing this unfold without being prepared is a Rank-7 Unnatural check, and even when informed that it may happen the shock still causes a Rank-3 check. A sponsamancer can use a Crush of theirs as a seed object, but they can no longer use that object as their source of charges and the results are often an extreme letdown, given the limited nature of Tulpa personalities.

Sponsamancy Major Effects

Transform one of your crushes into an actual, sentient person or turn a living person into a statue/sculpture/figurine of themselves. Cause someone to irrevocably fall in love with an object of your choosing, treating it similar to a Sponsamancer's Crush but with no mystical benefit to them. Completely strip a Pop Idol of all of their fame and cause them to fall from the public's eye, or cause a relatively unknown star to become an absolute sensation overnight.

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