Silence Is Golden

A new school for the silent.

Nickname: Mimes. Many practitioners of this school are also mimes, and many mimes are practitioners of this school…

Paradox: Humans developed language and music, codified systems of rhythmic sounds, to facilitate communication – yet so much of communication is nonverbal and that means it really isn’t necessary. Mimes can still communicate, and by holding to this restriction they can bend the rules in other ways.

Taboo: Mimes must not withdraw from interaction. If you go a day without a meaningful interaction with someone you know, you could lose charges. You can skate on thin ice by interacting with acquaintances (the familiar cashier at your corner store) and strangers on the street, but you’ve got to stay connected to people who know you. Better hope you don’t fail too many Mind rolls for those communication skills.

Bronze: Spend a whole day in silence, during which you still interact with other people. OR, conduct a reasonably complex social interaction without using sound or verbal cues. This could be a Mak taking the food orders of an entire lunch rush of customers; hanging out with close friends for many hours; going on a first date (time spent in a movie theater doesn’t count, you have to be interacting). Pointing, gesturing and facial expressions are fine; grunting and verbal fragments are not.

Silver: Spend a whole week in silence, OR, conduct a very complex or significant social interaction without using sound or verbal cues. Get a loan from the bank, admit yourself to a hospital, attend a court date, interview for a job…

Gold: Spend an entire year in silence, OR, conduct a once-in-a-lifetime social interaction in silence. Examples: direct an entire film or play from start to the opening day, attend the IPO of your giant start-up corporation, witness the birth of your child, celebrate your own wedding. (Funerals don’t count.)

Spells (in progress) (also needs a couple of mime-related spells, invisible objects or something)

Unless otherwise specified, the target of a spell must be within speaking distance. (Also see the first spell!)

Hey! Listen!
(1-2 bronze)
Target’s next full breath of words is amplified as if through a loudspeaker.
The caster can spell himself to widen his “speaking distance” for the purpose of another spell, but that costs 2 bronze instead of 1. Also, they’ll hear you casting the spell on them.
Inside Voice, Outside Voice
(2 bronze)
Target can only speak too loudly or too softly, which means they talk over everyone, or everyone talks over them. Lasts for minutes equal to the sum of the dice. Any social interaction skill is halved, due to their sudden brash volume, or sudden timidity.
Another’s Words
(4 bronze)
Target switches voices with a second person within range, selected randomly, who cannot be the caster. Lasts for minutes equal to the sum of the dice. This is an Unnatural-5 or Self-5 check for the unprepared.
You Might Say
(6 bronze)
Caster and target switch voices for minutes equal to the sum of the dice. Target can be within speaking distance, or identified by name. Great for impersonation over the phone, or recording audio for blackmail.
The drawback is, while your voices are switched, the target knows where you are, and your name. She forgets these things afterwards, unless she wrote them down…
Trying To Tell You
(1 silver)
Target’s voice is ignored or interrupted for three minutes. This happens by a series of coincidences – she bites her tongue, a loud bus rumbles by, the person she’s speaking to is suddenly distracted, she’s bumped into by a stranger on the street when opening her mouth, etc. This spell is great for using on lookouts or guards.
Cutting Remark
(2 silver)
This is the blast spell. For the next hour, every sentence (or interjection) the target speaks wounds them by 1 HP, and they bleed from inside the mouth or cough up blood. When they realize what’s happening it’s an Unnatural-7 stress check. (It’s Unnatural-4 if, god forbid, it’s happened to them before.)
Shut Up
(3 silver)
Target is unable to speak at all for a number of hours equal to the tens place of the caster’s magic skill, and takes an Isolation check at that level. (A Silence Is Golden skill of 42 would make this last for 4 hours with an Isolation-4 check.) This could really screw up your day.

Silence Is Golden

Unknown Armies - Seattle panhopticon