AKA Moneypits, Greedyguts
Note: Plutophagy first appeared in Unknown Armies 2nd Edition, in the source book Break Today. All I have done is update it slightly for 3rd Edition.
You know money is poison. Acquisition is the root of all evil. You’ve decided to consume that sin for the good of all. Grab a fork and chow down, because as the world barrels into the future, there’s plenty to eat.
It’s possible that this school was created by a plutomancer after a trip through the House of Renunciation. Since then, others have been taught it as a straight school. A plutophage (“money eater”) fuels their magick of revulsion and alienation by physically destroying bills, coins, and objects of value, usually by eating them.
Capitalism grinds people under its wheels into dust. The system keeps a percentage of the population out of work just to keep the economy healthy for everyone else. Plutophages find the exclusion abhorrent. It leads to a system where slips of paper or manufactured goods are more important than humans.
The central paradox of plutophagy is that you must embrace and take within yourself something you hate: in this case, either money or objects worth a lot of money.
Want to know more about Plutophagy? Read the entire adept school here.
AKA Decorators, Bulldozers
Note: Geomancy first appeared in Unknown Armies 2nd Edition, in the source book Break Today. All I have done is update it slightly for 3rd Edition.
You feel the pulse of the world under the works of man. The dead earth lives only by virtue of the life-support system of civil engineering. Without man, there’s no power; without landscape, there’s no place to stand. You look on the works of the might, and bring despair- to your foes.
Geomancy, strictly speaking, refers to a form of divination through scattering pebbles, seeds, clumps of dirt, or grains of sand on the earth and then interpreting their shape and position, much like the I Ching. Some of the underlying thoughts then synergized with Kabbalistic gematria and Pythagorean, Platonic, and Agrippan mystic math to form the basis of Sacred Geometry. Later, the term came to be associated with Chinese feng shui, where the locations and orientations of houses, businesses, and tombs were balanced to mystically “fit” the topography of the landscape. Even later, the “dragon current” of feng shui got wrapped up with ley lines via Dion Fortune and John Michell, transforming the prehistoric “trading routes” of Alfred Watkins into pseudo-magnetic lines of occult force. All the modern New Agey jibber-jabber is about bringing “heaven-luck” (fate, destiny, or karma) into balance and proportion with “earth-luck” (the energy of a place) and producing “man-luck” (magick).
So close, yet so far.
Geomancy is not about balancing the order of the cosmos to provide energy; geomancy is about imposing order on the cosmos and drawing energy out of the discordant “static” generated by the differences in state. Magick is created by the interactions between people and artificial structures. The Limit is what gives form to - and takes power away from - the Unlimited. That is the paradox of the school: to be free, one must be restricted.
Geomancy is based on disruptions of the earth caused by civilization: roads and highways, excavations, monuments, graveyards, tunnels, public works, urban construction. Anything that changes or binds the landscape into a new form - physically, psychologically, or socially - is key. Here is where Alfred Watkins was closer to being right than his successors: the power of ley lines comes from the fact that they were created by humans, rather than some occult power of the landscape itself.
Geomancers are useless in natural terrain. In altered terrain, they can garner charges, and the more profoundly disturbed the earth is - like the Hoover Dam, or the Chunnel, or the Paris Sewers - the more they can get. Especially if living human beings are moving along, inside, or through that altered terrain.
There is a division in this school between those who focus on subterranean power (Deep Geomancers), and those who associate with summits and other elevated places (High Geomancers), but that’s just a matter of personal preference and internal politics.
Cliomancers and urbanomancers tend to hate geomancers just as much as they despise each other. If a decorator charges up off a structure that’s a suitable cliomancy site (or is part of an urbanomancer’s turf), he’s rubbing the cobweb farmer’s (or rat’s) rhubarb. They look down on that sort of thing, sometimes over the sights of a gun.
Want to know more about Geomancy? Read the entire adept school here.
AKA Charmers, Vipers
Note: Herpemancy first appeared in Unknown Armies 2nd Edition, in the source book Break Today. All I have done is update it slightly for 3rd Edition.
You understand that humans carry a reptile brain, and know how to tap into its power. You follow the twists and turns of the snake through ecology and mythology, and summon magick from its coils. You understand the true gift of the Serpent of Eden: transformation, and you desire to transform humanity, starting with yourself.
Herpemancy came into being as a crossbreeding of religious “sign followers” or “snake handlers” in the American South, mystical practitioners or yoga obsessed with kundalini, the entertainments of snake charmers on the Bombay streets, cracked neuroscientists researching the limbic system, and the terrible (and nearly universal) fascination with snakes.
The complex paradox of herpemancy arises from poisons that cure, and strength that comes from yielding. So it is written for you generation of vipers.
Herpemancers gain charges from handling snakes: that is, absorbing from and relating to a creature that is the focus and symbol of life, death, resurrection, fear, temptation, wisdom, and evil. To a Christian, the serpent is death, the Devil, and darkness. To the old Greeks, the Pythian sun god Apollo blessed physicians and oracles. To most people, this would seem a contradiction. To a viper, it’s all part of the grand Ouroboros cycle.
Charmers have a reputation (earned or not) for personal degeneracy and vast, dark appetites in stark opposition to their interpersonal righteousness and passion in aiding others. They are martyrs, intercessors, healers, and mediators, but not ones who should be trusted too far. Does someone who can stand for everything really stand for anything? Maybe, maybe not, but in any event he’s probably a fine diplomat.
Herpemancers, being concerned with cycles and opposites and grand unifications, tend towards a certain chill aloofness. It’s hard to be a passionate partisan when you see each side as part of a bigger whole. But their very fascination with that gestalt can lead them to a deep understanding, and with it, deep compassion for flaws, that the more ideologically “pure” may overlook.
Yet for all their apparent distance, they possess one thing that draws human conflict like a magnet: power. Herpemancers can display qualities ascribed to snakes in a number of mythologies, and capabilities uncovered through science.
Want to know more about Herpemancy? Read the entire adept school here.
AKA Annihilists, Sternos, Burners
Note: Annihilomancy first appeared in Unknown Armies 1st Edition, in the source book Post Modern Magick. All I have done is update it slightly for 3rd Edition.
The cherry end-table, antiqued lace doily, and turn-of-the-century lighting device. Matching three-piece cushy loveseat and divan, fastidiously doilied and fluffed. Exquisite Matisse over the divan, coffee table, magazines fanned out, carefully diverse to demonstrate the owner’s renaissance upbringing. Egyptian wall hangings, precisely casual draperies. The dust ruffles, tea cozy, novelty spoon collection, printer’s boxes carefully dusted and stuffed with one-of-a-kind salt shakers, a spray of flowers, subtle wallpaper, clever doormat.
The office affair, the one-night stand, the once-friends and occasional-companions who drop into and out of your life daily, forgettably, leaving no impression or regret. One thousand things, filling your life every day, demanding your attention, in need of dusting, maintaining, purchasing, collecting, taxing, arranging, and complementing. The jetsam of a thousand days, pushed on you, occupying you, distracting you from life. Clean the gutters, walk the dog, oil the car, rake the leaves, flush the pipes, rewire the garage.
Somedays, it’s too much.
Sometimes, you feel like dousing the whole goddamn thing in gasoline and lighting a match.
Good for you.
Annihilomancy is about truth, about clearing out the clutter, burning down the lies of responsibility and public expectations, and focusing on the essential nature of life. While the school’s whole mojo is based on destruction, destruction is not the goal. It is the means to a goal. And that goal, simply enough, is truth. No façades, no lies, no presuppositions, no acts. Pure truth. Things get in the way because they give us unnecessary weight and responsibility, burdening us with our social position and the accompanying expectations. Relationships, while not necessarily a sham, nevertheless stand in the way of enlightenment. As long as you have someone else to depend upon, you can never learn the value of yourself. The annihilomancer’s path to epiphany is a downward spiral, a series of losses and purges that take the practitioner lower and lower. Enlightenment lurks in the basement of a burned out building, not the cloud-crowned peaks of some distant mountaintop.
If you want to conquer a thing, destroy the thing. If you want to know your life, destroy your life.
This is how it works. Annihilomancers get their power from setting things back to the primal zero, by brushing aside the trappings of contrived modern life. Sure, they destroy things, they ruin lives, they break up empty marriages, but they aren’t simple vandals. They’re zealots, devoted to a primal reality. Only by losing everything can you know what really matters.
Want to know more about Annihilomancy? Read the entire adept school here.