Technomancers of the Really Wild West 1: Cartogramancers
Posted by okcstephens
The technomancer character in my Really Wild West campaign “Doomstone,” is a cartogramancer–someone who uses magic to enhance maps and mapmaking tools, and can use those tools to divine some kinds of information.
I noted on Facebook and Twitter recently that in the Really Wild West, the most common kinds of technomancers are Cartogramancers, Edisonades, Lovelacers, Telethurges, Teslics, and the Prophets of John Moses Browning.
I thought it might be fun to examine those ideas, starting with the one I had used the most, cartogramancer.
Cartogramancers focus on cartography, exploration, and the map as a scrying device. It has multiple origins, having developed in different forms separately in Babylon, China, and India. These were all known to and evolved by Greek and Roman mappers, but the major advancements in cartogramancy occurred in the Muslim community during the Golden Age of Islam. The 12th century cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi is considered the Founder of Modern Cartogramancy, and it was his time spent in Sicily at the court of King Roger II that brought this modern version of the art to Europe, from whence it spread to every place the Europeans eventually colonized.
Cartogramancers are among the most in-demand forms of technomancers among major companies, governments, and military groups. Though this ascendency had begun in the past generation to wane as less and less of the world was uncharted, the Martian Invasion changed so much topography, and stirred up so many Hollow Worlds, that demand has spiked again in the past two years.
Technomancer Alternate Class Feature: Cartogramancy
At 1st level, you gain access to cartogramancy. This replaces you spell cache. (You gain a spell cache at 6th level in place of a cache capacitor, and gain cache capacitor ( at 12th and cache capacitor II at 18th level).
You can make a Mysticism check to perform the Orienteering task normally associated with Survival. You double any equipment bonus that would normally apply to an Orienteering task check (such as from a cartographer’s kit). You also gain an insight bonus to checks made for Orienteering equal to 1/3 your technomancer level (round up).
Additionally, if you are in an environment you have taken at least 10 minutes to survey with a cartography kit from a vantage point that grants you a broad view (such as the top of a hill, rather than down in an alleyway), you gain a +2 circumstance bonus to initiative checks, Perception checks, Stealth checks, and Survival checks within the area you were able to see from your survey point.
Once per day, you can divine information about a region using a cartography kit. This takes 10 minutes, and can be combined with surveying an area, as described above. You generally gain information about one biome you can see out to one day’s travel from you. You can learn one piece of information, plus one piece per 4 technomancer levels.
You can learn the direction or distance to the nearest potable water source, what the natural weather will be over the next 24 hours, the CR of most dangerous creature native to the region, what the most dangerous natural hazard is and what its CR is.
If you ask the same question more than once, each answer moves down to the next relevant answer–for example of you discover CR 7 quicksand is the most dangerous hazard in a region and you asked that question twice, you might also learn than CR 5 rockslides are the second-most-dangerous hazard.
Bulk: 1 Cost: 20 credits
A cartographer’s kit includes a compass, sundial, triangles, pens with various nib thicknesses, collapsible tripod, levels, spyglass with level, sextant, and plumb lines. It grants a +2 equipment bonus to skill checks for the Orienteering task or to craft a map. Additionally, if you are trained in a skill that can be used to perform the Orienteering task, and can see the stars or sun, you can take 10 minutes to make a DC 20 check with that skill to attempt to determine your longitude and latitude on the globe… if you know what world you are on.
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