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By Chris Cooper and Ted Pro.
Cobheads, Spider Witches
Spiders are everywhere. They sit and intrude on our awareness with a violent quietude that nothing else quite does. They do not hold your boundaries and privacy to any importance. They invoke a fear in us, because of their viciously alien forms and we all know that they are relentlessly patient predators.
You know and understand these differences. You have wanted them for yourself. You exploit the horror of the spider’s mere form and settle in the driving seat of their spirit. The spider is the consummate spider witch. Their evolution has made them tool-users and given them an extra-ordinary degree of intelligence for their body sizes and shapes. They can be taught tricks and have displayed a functioning memory.
You can become the spider. You can stalk your prey or trap them with cunning. You can evoke primal horror and become the pinnacle of predation. You are the spider, it is your totem, your very soul.
Arachnomancers are primitive adepts, perhaps more like shamans with a spider totem. Even their magick comes from being predators, consuming that which he will become. There may be many regional variations of this school as many are self-taught sorcerors following a path that seems spiritually intuitive.
Spiders evoke a terror at worst, disgust at best. Spiders are repulsively alien predators, but they only kill those who come to them. By consuming the terrifying spider, you become the spider through fulfilling the symbolic tension.
Minor school: Arachnomancy is a minor school. It produces minor-equivalent charges and has no significant or major effects.
Generate a charge: Hunt for spiders and swallow them live for three hours. They must be free and caught be the magician’s own hand. Using magick to summon the spider negates the accomplishment of the ritual hunt. At least one spider must be consumed in the ritual hunt.
Yes, it is possible to swallow scorpions and whip spiders or any arachnid for a charge. Remember that the arachnid doesn’t have to be unharmed or whole, just alive when swallowed.
Taboo: Spiders lure their enemies - they don't seek them out. You can't do any harm (physical or otherwise) to other people unless they're in your home, or in a place you've taken at least eight hours preparing and decorating. Self-defence to unprovoked attack is permitted.
Arachnomancers cannot cage spiders, coerce them, or try to domesticate them. The spider witches can allow spiders into their domiciles but not in any way that encourages them to stay. The spiders must come and go of their own accord. The arbitrary killing of spiders is acceptable.
Blast: The arachnomancers have an unusual Blast in that it compounds the damage from a successful attack instead of a usual ranged attack.
Random Magic: Mimicking spiders and their abilities; The school has a usual assortment of spider-like effects but eating an exotic spider allows you to magickally simulate the effects, such as the bolo or trapdoor spider.
Charging tips: while breaking taboo is unlikely, actually finding charges can be troublesome. Access to a garden or park can find spiders under nooks and crannies. An arachnomancer can also find spiders in other people’s houses.
Starting Charges: An arachnomancer starts with four charges.
Arachnomancy Formula Spells
3-D Buzz (One Charge) The cobhead can sense motion in three dimensions and three axes through changes in motion as long as he keeps his eyes shut. The cobhead only senses motion, so if he stands alone and dead still in a room he is still blind. The cobhead can sway or gently move an arm or see the rest of the local area because it is moving in contrast to him. The spell ends when the arachnomancer sees with his eyes again.
Once Bitten (Two Charges) This is a minor, variant arachnomancer Blast. It enchants the arachnomancer’s teeth to give +3 H2H damage. The magick also poisons the victim, giving him a debilitating, burning fever of lethargy. The victim loses a like amount off all his Body and Speed stats equal to the Wounds. This fever penalty lasts until the victim heals the wounds suffered.
The Once Bitten enchantment lasts indefinitely until used.
Scuttle (Three Charges) As long as the arachnomancer is touching a surface with his hands or feet he can move with jogging speed across any hard surface. The cobhead is still susceptible to gravity but can orient and move as well as over the floor. This spell lasts until the cobhead touches any floor.
Still Waiting (Three Charges) The arachnomancer can sit still and enter a consensual blindspot, hiding right under the noses of everyone. This lasts until the arachnomancer moves, makes a sound, or direct light is shone on the sorcerer. When discovered, it is like the arachnomancer suddenly appears from nowhere but has been there all along; an unnerving experience.
Always My Prey (Six Charges) Usable against anyone you've bitten with Once Bitten and who is in line-of-sight by the cobhead. The victim takes damage equal to the sum of the dice, and you heal that damage immediately. You can only use this if the victim is still wounded by your use of Once Bitten or Always My Prey.
If used in actual hand-to-hand combat, the magick takes effect, but the arachnomancer has to choose the physical or the magickal damage.