by James Palmer (jrp36@hermes.cam.ac.uk)

Cities are complicated things. Thousands upon thousands of people, acres upon acres of concrete, the sewers beneath, the skyscrapers above, the tangled ecology of rats and pigeons and the bloody feeding chain of the streets ... all forming a huge, chaotic, living organism. Graffiti, traffic, crime, McDonalds, riots, parks - they all come together, if you look at them closely enough. Urbanomancers can see the patterns of the city, probe them, and push them into new shapes. They know there's only one city, the one we half-glimpse in dreams, the Archetypal City, that Ascended in the sands of the Middle East five thousand years ago, and that appears once in a century to swallow up foolish explorers. All other cities want to be that City, and if you know what something wants, you can control it.

Urbanomancers always know the mind of the crowd. They sense the thin gaps between districts, the gaps you can fall into. They keep albino alligators and mutated rats for pets. They know why time becomes a thick as treacle late at night on the subway. They know what happens if you knock on the small green door at 92nd and 4th. They read the names behind the names. They can send you to Rat's Alley, and you really don't want to see what's been made from the dead men's bones. No urbanomancer would ever go to St. John's Wood at night.

The word "urbanomancer" combines Greek and Latin, which annoys grammarians and old-school occultists. Most urbanomancers couldn't care less, and think the correct term - "Polisurgist" - sounds dumb.

Urbanomancers are much like cliomancers, not much immediate use, but quite deadly over time. An NPC urbanomancer (particularly a councilman, who can rack up *tons* of significant charges) against a PC group in his city would make for an interesting game. You can't find him, you can't get out, you keep ending up where he wants you to go, cars keep crashing near you ...

An additional thing: use of My Turf on an area including a cliomancy site allows the urbanomancer to drain charges from that site as a cliomancer would. However, a cliomancer who drains charges from that site also drains - but doesn't receive - an equivalent charge from the urbanomancer whose turf it is. Urbanomancers and cliomancers *hate* each other, and fight very subtle and very long magickal wars.

Urbanomancy Blast Style: The city senses it doesn't like you, and lashes out. Bricks dropped by builders, a dog's bite, a sly knife in the crowd, a car 'accident.' It's a useful style for casual attacks, but it only works when the target is in the right place at the wrong time. If you put a blast on a target when you're in the middle of a fight in his house, it's not going to take effect until he drives to work tomorrow. Of course, if your target's chasing you through a crowd, it might be a little more immediately effective.


Note: Each urbanomancer may only ever be attuned to one city, which must contain at least one hundred thousand people.

Generate a Minor Charge: Study the city for four hours. This can be anything from walking the back alleys and noting down the patterns of the trash cans, to staring from your window at the faces in the crowd, to going over the crime and fire maps (and seeing how they form a word ...) Generate a Significant Charge: Interfere with the city in a significant way - i.e block a major intersection, cause a bomb scare, increase policing in a crime-ridden area, organise a concert that attracts thousands of people. Alternatively, get part of the city named after you - a street, a building. Depending on how important it is, this could bring you in anything from a charge a year to a charge a day, regularly. Town planner is a *fine* job for an urbanomancer to have.

Generate a Major Change: Permanently change a large part of the city. Starting the Great Fire of London would qualify, or being responsible for the addition of a subway system. Alternatively, get a city named after you.

Taboo: An urbanomancer's magick fails completely outside the city, but he still retains his charges for when he returns. Being outside the city is *uncomfortable*, however - it's like a chain-smoker trying to go without a butt for a while. At first it's just unsettling. Then it gets uncomfortable. Eventually it gets downright unbearable -- he *needs* his city! Force of habit and "addictive" sensation get the better of the Urbanomancer, and he becomes an outright basket case. Skill shifts of -10% or -20% might be appropriate, depending on how long he's been away from his city, and perhaps a Helplessness and Isolation checks might eventually be in order.

Random Magick Domain: Anything that draws upon the forces of the city - not specific individuals, but groups, crowds, and so on. Gaining information about the city.

Urbanomancy Minor Formula Spells

Cost: 1 minor charge.
Effect: You can divine any fact about either the city itself or the groups within it, but not about individual inhabitants. For instance, you could learn where the entrances on a building are, what percentage of the population would support Jeffrey Archer for mayor, or which gang controls the area between Fortescue and Montgomery. You couldn't find out whether John Appleby would support Jeffrey Archer for mayor, or where he lived - though if you knew he was a member of, say, the Islington Freemasons, you could find out where they met and work from there.
Brick Chameleon
Cost: 1 minor charge
Effect: The urbanomancer, as long as he remains still, appears to be a part of the urban landscape - a dustcan, lamppost, or whatever. Many an urbanomancer has spent a panicked moment standing very still and thinking "I'm a postbox, I'm a postbox."
Cost: 1 minor charge
Effect: You can leave a message concealed in any part of the city, which can only be read by people meeting the qualifications you set when casting the spell (e.g "Brenda Lawson" or "All members of the New Inquisition"). You must be in the area you intend to leave the message when you cast the spell. For 3 minor charges, you can have the message find your targets, which it will, provided they are in a city. (For example: Leo Theophilus, a noted London Urbanomancer, wishes to contact Dirk Allen. He casts Spraypaint, using 3 charges, and the ragged garbage around the park bench on which Allen is downing a bottle is blown by the wind for a few seconds, landing in the shape of words.)
The message may take many forms - sprayed and seemingly illegible graffiti, chalk marks on the pavement, a song sung by passing children, the scurrying sound of rats that suddenly resolves itself into words. The message can be up to twenty words long. The downside to this spell is that any Urbanomancer passing the area where you left the message knows Spraypaint has been used there, and can spend a minor charge to read the message himself. The message stays present for up to a week.
Day Pass
Cost: 1 minor charge
Effect: This allows the caster to use any public transport system completely free of charge and as effectively as possible. Barriers open, conductors fail to notice her, she makes all her connections, and so on. It lasts for one journey. A minor variant of the spell lets the caster avoid major traffic while driving.
Face in the Crowd
Cost: 2 minor charges
Effect: The caster disappeares into a (preexisting) crowd. His features do not change - he just becomes incredibly hard to spot, part of the great teeming mass of humanity. All attempts to follow or detect him are at -50% until he leaves the crowd.
Vermin's Eyes
Cost: 2 minor charges
Effect: The caster must be holding a rat, pigeon, or similar urban animal to cast this spell. He now sees through the eyes of that animal, and exert control over its actions, as long as they remain natural for that animal - for instance, he could direct a pigeon to a particular area, but not have it attack somebody. This effect lasts until the caster cancels it - but he can't switch back and forth between his vision and the animals; as soon as he changes back, it's over.
Break Your Mother's Back
Cost: 3 minor charges.
Effect: This is the Urbanomancy minor blast. As described above, the city, through whatever normal-seeming means, attacks the target, if they're in an appropriate situation.

Urbanomancy Significant Effects

My Turf
Cost: 1 significant charge
Effect: This establishes your magical dominance over a particular area - this can be up to a square mile of the city, but it must be defined by clear boundaries, such as "Platt Fields" or "Kingsford." You automatically sense any magick cast within that area, and can specify other events to sense - i.e criminal activity, a member of the Sect of the Naked Goddess entering, and so on. This spell has to be renewed once a week, and can only be cast on one area at a time.
Alone in the Crowd
Cost: 1 significant charge
Effect: The target of this spell becomes a pariah for a week. Nobody attacks him or openly mocks him, but everybody subtly avoids him. If he's in a crowd, people will keep a distance of at least a foot. Conversations will be kept as short and sharp as possible. The only exceptions are close friends. Isolation and Helplessness checks are probably in order for the target.
Wrong Turn
Cost: 2 significant charges
Effect: This ensures that the target of the spell will, next time they travel in the city, end up where you want them to, provided it's a public area. This can be just by your house, in the middle of the worst part of town, whatever. As usual, crowds, traffic, and coincidence force this upon them. The only way it can be avoided is by the casting of a different travel spell - resisting it otherwise just makes the effects more obvious, and possibly more painful - being hit by a car and taken by ambulance to just outside the caster's house, for instance, where the ambulance then breaks down.
All Cities Are One City
Cost: 2 significant charges
Effect: This lets you travel instantly from one city to another, without losing charges. You must be in the middle of a crowd to cast this spell, and close your eyes. When you open them again, you'll be in the middle of a crowd in a different city. Obviously, there must be a crowd in the other city for you to appear in - so be aware of time zones and the like.
Napoleon of Notting Hill
Cost: 3 significant charges
Effect: This causes any individual to rise to a position of power and respect within his district. This will happen within three months. The exact position cannot be chosen by the caster, but will depend upon the individual - it could be community spokesperson, gang leader, borough representative, head of the Neighbourhood Watch. You can cast this spell upon yourself. The target can quite happily go further on her own merits once given the initial boost, of course.
And the Crowd Goes Wild
Cost: 3 significant charges
Effect: This starts a riot. There must be pre-existing tension over some issue - possibly created by Urbanomancy, admittedly - for the riot to explode around. You can specify the area in which the riot starts, and the targets against which the mob will direct their wrath, which must be appropriate to the tension you drew upon to cast the spell. The riot will form within half-an-hour of you casting the spell, after which point it is completely out of your control.
Ragged Warriors
Cost: 3 significant charges
Effect: The longer you stay on the streets, the more you become a part of them. Long-time homeless begin to lose their identify, merging into the patterns of the city, and becoming susceptible to urbanomantic control. This spell lets the urbanomancer send his mind out from his body to control one of these poor wrecks completely, who must be on his Turf at the time of casting or otherwise sensable by magick. The urbanomancer cannot control his own body at the same time, and must cancel the spell to return. On the other hand, for every additional significant charge spent, an extra homeless person can be controlled at the same time.
For example, Julius, a corrupt councilman and urbanomancer (let's stereotype for a moment here ...) is seriously annoyed by some intrepid PC's, who are breaking into his Turf one night. Spending six significant charges (impressive), he leaps into four people, and gaunt shapes emerge from the alleys around the group, clutching broken bottles.
There are two downsides to this spell. Firstly, the people controlled are obviously not going to be fine physical specimens. The caster can use his own physical skills, but they'll be limited by the Body of the targets, which will likely be 20 + d10 or so. Secondly, it's an extremely evil and disturbing thing to do. It's a Self-6 check just to cast, Self-7 to control more than one individual and Self-8 and Helplessness-10 for the targets if they realise what's going on.
In some big cities, there are homeless who have lost all their individuality to this spell, and who just sit there, rocking gently, until one urbanomancer or another decides to use them as a tool.
Traffic Accident
Cost: 3 significant charges
Effect: This is the Urbanomancy significant blast.

Urbanomancy Major Effects

Cause somebody to become mayor of a city, start riots in several cities across the world, lower the crime rate across America, form a new building in the middle of a city which nobody notices wasn't there before ...