Unknown Armies Update Wiki

aka Eggheads, Knowitalls

You're a genius, plain and simple. You don't have the best job in the world. You certainly didn't spend your money on a fancy degree, and you may not be recognized by any of the so-called experts in any field. You're beyond those paltry distractions. You know that true wisdom can't be bought, and it can't be given. You discover it, snapping up every last fact and tidbit you can get your grubby hands on. You fill your head with all the knowledge you can, and you apply it in ways that those tweed elitists could never understand. All the scientists, all the professors, all the "experts" in the world can't possibly fathom the workings of your intellect. You're a genius, plain and simple.

It all goes back to the scientific method. You see, the use of carefully applied reasoning has debunked quite a few of the world's most beloved spiritual beliefs, removing dangerous ignorance. This is good, but it also takes many people's sense of meaning and belonging, replacing it with complicated mathematics and impersonal physics. The scientific method also allowed us to produce useful medicines and technology, which is now indispensable to many modern societies. This has created a weird sort of working relationship to science in the mass human conciousness. While it's known for its usefulness and necessity, it's distrusted by many for its impenetrability and coldness.

The sad thing about this is that science is ostensibly more accessible and free than religious mysticism. Education is considered not only a basic right, but a need by many, and, with more and more of our habitat being replaced with increasingly advanced technology, it's become all the more important. However, the really advanced stuff is difficult to teach, and not really necessary to operate much of the tools we need, so much of it is omitted. Most people know about the immune system, but have no clue what immunoglogulin does. People send e-mails every day, but couldn't tell you which direction network addressing is read. Roller coaster rides may be free, but good luck guessing how fast you're going, or how it was built.

This discrepancy is where Sophiamancy comes in. While someone, somewhere knows the chemical kinetics of those pills you take every day, they probably aren't the ones who designed the system that produces them, and they sure as hell didn't do the research that discovered the mechanics of the illness they treat. Sophiamancers make it a point to know all of this, and their magick lets them use that knowledge to refine those pills into a more potent form, or learn all of the processes used to produce the pills, or even determine the future of the company that sells them. Sophiamancy is all about using expert knowledge faster and better than the experts do, in ways that expert knowledge says isn't possible.

The central paradox of Sophiamancy is that it relies on scientific knowledge being exclusive, alien, and impersonal, while in reality it is accessible to, and dependent on, everyone with the time and willingness to learn. Many Knowitalls were once bright, wide-eyed young students who were bitterly rejected from their academic pursuits for one reason or another. Other practitioners are just that rare intersection of the scientifically curious and pathologically anti-social.

Blast: No blast, though you might borrow one with Universal Arcanotech Fundamental Theorem.


Generate a Minor Charge: Spend four hours studying academic literature covering a single topic that corresponds to one of your applicable skills. The "applicable skill" in question is a skill you must have at no less than 5%, and it must be at least as specific as the topic you study. This obviously includes reading books like "The Art of Electronics" by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill when you have a skill like "Firmware Hacking" or "Electronics Engineering" but this particular topic wouldn't include "Car Maintenance" or "Online Gaming". Also, "academic" in this case doesn't have to refer to something you can get a degree in at a university, but it must be material that was written by an expert and is recognized as a legitimate resource by most of the other experts in the field. For example, if you have "Capoeira" at 5% or more, you can charge up by reading "Roots of the Dance-Fight-Game" by Nestor Capoeira, as it's a resource recognized by most Capoeira experts as correct and useful. You as the player really don't have to know every particular book and paper read for the charge, just know the topic it covers. Having multiple skills that the study material could apply to does not grant additional charges.

Generate a Significant Charge: Using your insight and all you have learned, you must complete an Hermetic Thesis on a specific aspect of a topic that corresponds to one of your proficient skills. The particulars you wish to write about this topic must be at least as specific as a non-magickal skill you possess at no less than 20%. The work must also be exhaustive, a rush job taking at least a week's worth of mundane research and experimentation, and another week of writing and revising to complete. Your Theses are the crystallization of your personal take on your accumulated knowledge, and must never be published or shared, willingly or not, with anyone else. It's also highly likely that you'll need to refer back to your work when using your more powerful spells (this doesn't really affect gameplay, but it's important for playing a realistic character). You receive the charge once the Hermetic Thesis is completely printed or transferred to a paper medium. Some Eggheads buy several heavy leather-bound books in which to write their Theses, while others just type them up, buy a nondescript plastic binder and print the pages off at Kinko's. The charge is contained in the entire body of your work, and each addition provides a charge as well as an avenue to the power contained within. Creating copies of an already existing Thesis can be done, if you think you might need it, but this doesn't grant you a charge and adding extra books to the body of your work makes it that much easier to taboo.

Generate a Major Charge: Create a new branch of mundane science, complete with a Numinous Dissertation containing thorough research and comprehensive proofs of its workings. At this level of innovation, it doesn't matter if you're the only one who knows about it or not, but you must be recognized by all who know of it as its founder. Albert Einstein's "Annus Mirabilis" papers would have counted for this if he were a Sophiamancer, as would (if Sophiamancy were somehow plausible way back then) Al-Jazari's "Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices" way back in 1206 AD.

Taboo: Sophiamancers have a two things that are supremely important to them. First off, your work is precious to you, and something for your eyes only. Anytime someone else learns from any of your Hermetic Theses, regardless of how much was learned, you lose one significant charge, or ten minor charges if you don't have a significant charge (if you only have less than ten minors, you completely wipe). This only happens once for each person who reads your work, but nothing's stopping them from passing that Thesis on to others who haven't read it yet. For this reason, most Knowitalls jealously guard their work, whether it serves them any purpose at all, and many develop secret codes that they write in, to keep others from understanding anything (and therefore causing the adept any trouble) even if they possess them. Furthermore, if any of your Theses somehow get destroyed or are rendered unreadable, you wipe all of your charges. The second condition of Sophiamancy's ethos is that you must never allow someone else to teach or give you collaboration on any of the mundance sciences while you work or study. You can build on the work of others, if you can acquire it impersonally, or without supplicating yourself to them, but you can't ask for their help. You must always play the role of one superior in knowledge, never a colleague or a student.

Random Magick: Sophiamancy is the magick of exclusivity. It's great for influencing things or producing effects that would be beyond the hoi-polloi's comprehension. It also works well for showing up another expert in an advanced field, asserting your intellectual dominance, or influencing the abilities or expertise of others, usually negatively. However, it's terrible at influencing people, manipulating social situations, or affecting things that people usually know or specifically care about.

Formula Spells[]

Minor Formula Spells[]

Theory in Practice (1 Minor Charge): Much like Cliomancy's "Instant Zen Master", this spell allows you to use your Sophiamancy skill, flip-flops and all, in place of a skill you already have. Unlike "Instant Zen Master", while this spell is in effect, you can't gain any charges or use any other spells. This lasts for six rounds of combat, or about an hour in a relaxed situation.

Plebeian (1 Minor Charge): The target of this spell must succeed a Mind check with your Mind skill as a minimum roll, or they get a -20% shift to all their skill rolls involving skills that overlap with yours. Usually, "overlaps" means that their skill is being used for something that yours can also do, but each case is determined by the GM. This effect lasts for two rounds in combat, or fifteen minutes in a relaxed situation. Adding an additional charge increase the duration by one combat round or five minutes, with a limit of two more charges.

Analytic Insight (2 Minor Charges): This divination spell affects one manufactured object you are touching with one hand. By focusing intently on the object, you can picture the design of it, from the general principles used all the way down to the equations involved. More specific information requires a few seconds of concentration to attain. This works much like having a book open about the object. While using this spell, you can refer to it, but you don't know it any more than you know something from a book you're skimming. When you break contact with the object, you can use as much of the information as you can remember from the spell, but you're not guaranteed to know anything you didn't spend time commiting to memory. Also, you may not necessarily understand everything you see. While using this spell, you can't divide your attention enough to, say, write anything down, but nothing's stopping you from telling someone else who can about how the object works.

Intuitive Leap (2 Minor Charges): To use this spell, state a problem you are trying to think of a solution to. The spell will give you a hint for the next step to take towards that solution. The answer usually will only be a small push in right direction, giving you only the vaguest of information relating directly to the problem. You'll have to do the rest of the brainwork. Having a more detailed problem statement usually gives a more specific answer, but the spell tends to nitpick and sometimes seems to actively misinterpret what it's told. Some Eggheads try to be clever by phrasing their problem so that the response will say more than just the obvious answer. They sometimes get their wish, but almost always with frustratingly vague or contrived answers that are useless without the adept's smart-assed intentions to provide some context.

Words Escape Me (2 Minor Charges): A favorite for those who love humiliating their rivals, this spell lets you snatch words right out of another's mouth. When you use this spell, you must purposefully interrupt the speaker, but not not in a way that would change the subject. For the number of minutes equal to the roll used to cast this spell, the target becomes unable to articulate the idea they had been trying to get across before they were interrupted. This doesn't stop them from saying other things, like their apology to their guests or their outrage at how rudely you interrupted them, though. In addition, you learn exactly what they were going to say within that time span, as they had planned to say it. Using this spell almost always ends up making you look like a smug, elitist asshole, which honestly isn't likely to be that far off the mark.

Elementary (3 Minor Charges): You may cast this spell on a manufactured object, or the remains of one, that you have access to somehow. The object must also relate to a mundane skill which you have at 15% or higher. You will be able to deduce how, when, and where the object was used in the past 24 hours. This can provide quite a wealth of information. Unfortunately, like with your spell "Analytic Insight", you can only refer to this data as long as you maintain contact with the object, and walk away with only as much as you have committed to memory. A higher skill percentage and greater relation between the object and the skill can yield more relevant information, even some stuff you're not supposed to technically get from this spell. Using it on a tablespoon when you have 16% in "Microwave Gourmet" won't give you much more than the bare minimum. On the other hand, if you have "Pharmacology" at 43% and use this on an empty pill bottle, you could learn when all the pills were taken, if some were lost, if they worked well, what symptom lead to their purchase, and the user's top three favorite party tracks.

Perfect Induction (4 Minor Charges): Inductive reasoning is an important tool for scientific discovery and application, but most people don't find it too practical outside of the ivory tower. This spell proves that those people are all idiots. State one obstacle in the way of your goals that you've overcome in the last 24 hours with one of your mundane skills. You get a number of hunch rolls that apply only to that skill equal to the tens place of your magick roll for this spell. As with all hunch rolls, these must be used as soon as you get a chance to use them. Unlike normal hunches, however, these only apply to the skill you've chosen when you cast this spell, and can be applied in any order you desire. You can only use this spell when you have no hunches set aside, from this spell or not.

Significant Formula Spells[]

Technobabble (1 Significant Charge): This spell allows you to completely change one manufactured object's function. To cast this spell, you must touch the object in question, and provide an "expert" analysis of its capabilities. This involves using as many polysyllabic words as you can squeeze into a bullshit explanation, and speaking as authoritatively as you can. Once at least one person present is convinced that your description is true, the spell takes effect. For the next thirty minutes, the object will operate as you described, regardless of how ridiculous your explanation was. You can double the duration by spending two minor charges when you cast spell, up to a total of six charges for a four-hour effect. However, this spell will end if someone in the presence of the object determines that your analysis was wrong. At this point the object will resume its normal function, with whatever other weirdness it did being written off as bizarre malfunctioning or a prank. If you're around when this happens, plenty of people will be pissed off at you.

Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering? (1 Significant Charge): Similar to Words Escape Me, this spell lets you steal a target's thoughts, but does so in a way that the target won't notice. You must verbally interrupt the would-be victim's thought process as you cast this spell. If successful, the victim can only think about whatever you used to distract them for the a number of minutes equal to the magick roll. This will be seamless and not seem like an interruption at all to them. In addition, you learn the subject of the target's thoughts at the time of your interruption, and everything that would have gone through the target's mind about that subject had you not derailed them. This will only get you a small amount of information about that topic, and only information relevant to that topic. AYPWIP'ing a physics professor during a lecture will get you a taste of their expertise in that particular lesson, not what they happen to think of their students.

The Toaster Project (1 Significant Charge): This spell allows you to manufacture in your own home a product that usually requires extensive industrial equipment to produce. State what you intend to construct and cast this spell, and you'll understand how to recreate the needed processes with things you can cheaply access. Want to build a computer from scratch? Cast this spell, and you'll be able to create the semiconductor material, press it into microchips and electronic components, and assemble them into a working machine ready to be programmed. The GM determines how you acquire and work with the materials, but no one piece should ever require more than an hour's drive and twenty bucks to get. The result will not be as efficient as an industrial-made product, and it will clearly be of DIY quality. If you want to create a consumable, only enough of it for three uses will be made. This can only be used to create mundane products. More complex products require more time and effort to construct, but are still possible.

Insatiable Curiosity (1 Significant Charges): Reduce a manufacured object down to its most basic active components, then destroy those and cast this spell while doing so. Rather than memorizing how the thing's put together, you gain new insight to how it works. This allows you to either increase a related skill you already have by the sum of the dice for the magick roll (up to the score of the attribute that governs it), or gain a new related skill at 10+X%, where X is the sum of dice for the magick roll. The skill must be directly related to the destroyed object, or something that the object specifically is required to do. You can take apart a laptop and gain or improve a skill like "Computer Hacking", or chemically reduce a drug to its base components, then dissolve or dilute those to uselessness and gain or improve a skill like "Biochemistry". This gain is permanent and can be improved upon like any other skill, however it only applies to mundane skills. There is no way to gain or improve magickal skills like this short of a Major charge.

From Beyond the Outer Fence (2 Significant Charges): Statistics are the third most popular way to lie in the USA, coming up just behind Damned Lies with a frequency of 27%. This spell allows you to ignore the approximations and estimates that those less intelligent favor, and act with exact, unfiltered reality in mind. When you cast this spell, describe one event that you expect to occur within the next 13 days and 21 hours, and state how you'd like the results of that event to be. This spell will tell you which of your skills will be needed to make that result come true, and how many times it will be necessary to use each of them. If you use the given skills the answered number of times in relation to the predicted event, the result will be, by happenstance at the least, what you intended it to be. Including more details in your description of the expected event will provide you with more useful information about the skills you'll need and even some clues about how you'll need to use them. If you are wrong about any of the details of your expectation, the reply will be muddled, being general enough for the incorrect details not to matter. There are rumors, however, of terribly off-the-mark details being met with entirely nonsensical or misleading answers. When staring the truth of the universe right in the face, make sure you're doing so from the right premises, or you'll end up looking in the wrong place.

Black Box (2 Significant Charges): The short version is that this spell allows you to construct a device that will reliably perform any one specific function in one specific context that you state when the spell is cast. The longer version is that, upon casting this spell with some particular intention in mind, something strange and wonderful clicks in your head and you'll know how to make that intention into reality. The result of this inspiration will be a contraption, made from things you already own, that will function as specified for the exact conditions of the initial intention. For example, if you think "I need to be able to boil an egg in my kitchen for breakfast instantanteously without needing water,", you'll be able to create a black-box device that will do just that. However, the exact air and heat flow from your fridge as it cycles in the morning will be an absolute requirement for it to work, so it will only work in your kitchen around breakfast time. This ignition of the neurons makes whoever casts this spell able to see connections and applications that seem obtuse or even illogical to everyone else. This new understanding can only be used for the construction of the Black Box, and will be completely forgotten once it's completed. From that point on, everyone including you will see the Black Box as a mysterious configuration of seemingly random parts with no comprehensible internal logic, even though it doesn't use any sort of magick to operate. Unnatural checks of appropriate severity upon completion and use of the Box are almost always appropriate. You can make a lot of things with this spell, but with this spell alone the function cannot be something explicitly magickal (you can't say "I want a TV remote that can do a blast effect at whoever's in front of it when I push 'play'"), and must be something conceivable by our understanding of modern science, though it will certainly stretch things a bit. Time travel is probably out of the question, but something that can destroy an object and instantly recreate it elsewhere out of garbage isn't. Whatever you don't specify about the requirements and function it performs is left to the GM to interpret. The more technical and complete your stated intention, the more is left to you for this spell. Black Boxes usually take about as long to construct as an Hermetic Thesis requires to complete, and tend to become defunct after about a year months. Each Egghead can only have one working Black Box at a time. Even if you spend the charges, making a new Box when you already have a working one is impossible. That isn't to say you can't take a sledgehammer to your old creation first, though.

Universal Arcanotech Fundamental Theorem (3 significant Charges): This potent spell requires you to observe one of another school's formula spells under controlled conditions at least six times. Once that is completed, you may cast this spell while writing out a theoretical model of how the spell works. Completing this model will probably take as much time as writing out one of your Hermetic Theses, but you only need to cast the spell at the start of the process. The result of this effort is a working mathematical model of the spell in question. From that point on, as long as you have this model on hand for reference, you may use your Black Box or Technobabble spells to recreate the effects of the modeled spell. However, using this formula when casting those spells requires an additional investment of charges equal to the modeled spell's cost (which you'll definitely know, having worked out all of its details). Using mojo that is not your own warrants some serious Unnatural and Self stress checks, at greater severity for a stronger spell. The model can be re-used for different spells, but each time it's used pushes your ability to reconcile such an alien worldview, giving your magick roll a -5% for the first use, and doubling each subsequent time after that. You can reset this accumulation by destroying all existing copies of the model, preventing you from using it again until you create a new one. However, destroying the physical proof of your effort also renders any devices utilizing the spell as defunct. Copies of the model count as Hermetic Theses for the purposes of Taboo'ing, so keep a close eye on them. The model for the spell cannot be worked out from any devices utilizing that model. Each Knowitall can only have one model at a time, and can only use this spell if the prerequisites for it are met if a model is not already possessed by the adept. If you want to learn something new, you must forget what you already know.

Sophiamancy Major Effects[]

Create a one-of-a-kind device that does something blatantly impossible and doesn't use magick to do so. Gain all of the expert knowledge of an entire research-centric institution, while rendering those in that institution too lethargic to get anything done ever again. Codify the formula spells of another school of magick into a new branch of science, allowing anyone who understands the principles of that new branch to use those spell effects through mundane means. Take apart a Significant magickal artifact, and gain its function as a permanent skill.