Perhaps even more so than Croakamancy, Carnymancy is one of the most widely hated disciplines and is almost always considered bad news.
Carnymancy is described as a magic to fight Fate and succeed, or - in the words of Parson validated by Jeftichew - "the magic of rigging the game."LIAB 63 Carnymancy does not seem to directly affect unit specials or other stats. Instead it affects the actual rules upon which Erfworld operates.
Carnymancy abilities include:
- The most common Carnymancy spells "break one rule, for one turn, for one unit." The stronger the Carnymancer, the more rules can be broken.
- Making a unit unable to be hit by any ranged attacks.
- Keeping an incapacitated unit alive when it would normally croak (breaking the rule that incapacitated units croak at the end of the turn). This is known to have unnatural side effects, and it can only delay a fated death.
- Overlord Charlie survived poisoning "at a terrible price".
- The warlord Sylvia was fated to die in a burning garrison, which almost happened while she belonged to Unaroyal. Her side's Carnymancer, Jeftichew, was able to keep her alive despite incapacitation from burns for several turns until she recovered. Sylvia went on to fight in The Battle For Gobwin Knob, where she was decrypted. Still fated to die in a fire, Sylvia was nigh-immortal in combat and had unnatural luckamancy until she died after setting the garrison of Jetstone on fire.
- Dispelling the Summon Perfect Warlord Spell (or possibly killing Parson outright, according to Isaac).
- Able to loophole, or stall, Predictions and Fate. This does not always require actual spells, but Carnymancers are the best at it because of their mindset. For example, if a city is Fated to come under massive air attack, Fate could be satisfied by simply having the owning side attack itself.
- Cooking books well enough to fool an allied side's Moneymancer. When Dove was hired by Homekey, her first task was to hide mercenary expenses from their parent side Delkey during an audit.
- Creating the Deal of a Lifetime in a caster link with a Signamancer, an unbreakable magic Contract that forces signers to keep secrets at the cost of mental and physical pain if they try to share it.
Carnymancy can be combined with other magical disciplines to make them operate outside their limits. For example, Dove Barstool and the dirtamancer Digdoug were able to create a lightning trap in the tower of Homekey (which normally requires a thunderstorm in the same hex).
- Charlie, the ruler of Charlescomm
- Jeftichew, aka Jojo, formerly in service to Unaroyal, now residing in the Magic Kingdom. First Intermission 43
- Sean Mattox, a Carnymancer that is part of the group of Carnymancers that oppose Parson's passage through the Spacerock portal. Apparently resides in the Magic Kingdom.
- Lady Dove Barstool, a barbarian mercenary and another member of Jojo's gang in the MK. Met DigDoug and was hired by Posbrake.
- Abner Washboard a barbarian Carnymancer that is part of the group of Carnymancers that oppose Parson's passage through the Spacerock portal. Resides in the Magic Kingdom.
- Jefferson Carver a barbarian Carnymancer that resides in the Magic Kingdom.
- Bugs Lifer a barbarian Carnymancer that resides in the Magic Kingdom.
- Monica Sobriquet a barbarian Carnymancer that resides in the Magic Kingdom.
- Can be used to manipulate Fate so as to railroad Erfworld into going down a specific path like a cheating game master. The Titans are the most prominent users of this ability, but Carnymancers frequently try to impose their own will on Fate as well. This allows Carnymancers to cheat Fate, in a struggle to railroad against the Titans themselves. For example, when Parson tried to determine the odds of casting a Carnymancy scroll, the Titans' Carnymancy made his Mathamancy Bracer say zero, but Charlie's Carnymancy allowed it to show the "true odds" for a fraction of a second. When Parson attempted to use the scroll, an event conspired to prevent him from casting it.
- It is worth noting that from what we see, most Carnymancy involves making the Fate technically come true, but in a very different way; Jojo averts Lady Sylvia's fate of croaking in a fire, but she still croaks in fires (twice), just much later in life, and at the Battles for Goblin Knob and Spacerock instead of wherever she was first caught in a fire.
- Possibly the Fate magic behind the Arkenhammer.
- May reduce enemy abilities or make them irrelevant, similar to how carnival games are 'fixed' to be disproportionately difficult.
- May be able to emulate the abilities of other magic schools (more than normal, since many schools of magic can emulate other schools). This would explain why the Arkenhammer has so many different and wild abilities.
- May involve taming of wild units, which would correspond to the Arkenhammer, like in a circus carnival. This may also have something to do with Charlie's affinity for natural allies.
- May involve mesmerizing the enemy with flashy production values, if Carnymancy was the extra element in the Vanna "Wheel of Fortune" linked Turnamancy spell. Since carnivals involve fooling the "townies", are there links to Foolamancy?
- Being in the Fate axis, could involve the alteration of cause and effect, totally redefining the show.
- Because it breaks game rules, Carnymancy might be capable of such feats as modifying archery attacks so that they could hit targets across hexes off-turn instead of hanging in midair, or preventing a specific unit from being injured or incapacitated by falls, and so on.
- It may provide a means to dispel or cancel other magic, as Jojo claims that he has a spell that can send Parson (who was summoned by magic) back to Stupidworld.
- Alternately, its effects might operate further outside the rules, as Sylvia suspects that, when they both served Unaroyal, Jojo might have made a deal that would prevent her from ever being permanently croaked.
- Carnymancy might serve to alter the 'rules' (or morals) which a unit 'plays' by. To keep this distinct from Hippiemancy (which alters a target's perception and might 'suggest' a course of action a unit would already be open to under a given circumstance), Carnymancy might instead influence that unit, to change what they consider to be an acceptable course of action in a given situation. As it is a form of Stagemancy, along this line of thinking it would also not be unreasonable for Carnymancy to be used to 'teach' a unit a new 'trick' (e.g., 'teach' them a new Special such as Archery).
- As indicated by the Predictamancer Marie Lavraie, like a carnival carny it may be that carnymancers take non-carnies as stooges or suckers to be played. It is possible that carnymancers lie to these suckers as required to manipulate or alter Fate. After all, who but a master cheat would claim to be able to cheat Fate itself?
- Charlie's Archons are fanatically Loyal to him to a degree seen in no other side. Even the decrypted Archons find it hard to think badly of him. Also notable is the fact that Charlie can pop them faster than any other side, and he only bothers to pop them in his capital, where he has a direct presence. It is possible that Carnymancy can influence the natural Fate magic responsible for designing units in production according to the Carnymancer's desires. However, this may simply be a loyalty bonus from the Arkendish.
- It has been said that Love cannot be directly influenced by any spells, aside from a handful of minor effects from Hippiemancy (which can prevent violence or cause intoxication, but cannot create true love). Wanda and Jack speculate that even the Titans cannot control it, and Love is said to mess up the dice. It may be that Love forms a bridge between natural Thinkamancy and Carnymancy.
- Carnymancers might be able to change a unit's fate entirely, or transfer one unit's fate to another. It appears that the Carnymancer makes a 'deal' with Fate, at least when the Carnymancer is trying to cheat a unit's Fate. The exact nature of this bargain is unclear. It is also possible that the unit affected by the deal may then owe a debt to Fate (or whomever), which may have to be paid back in some fashion.
- The effects of Carnymancy must somehow be distinct from the effects of Luckamancy, as they each occupy a separate magical axis, and Luckamancy so far seems less permanent than Carnymancy (one 'borrows' to produce its effects, the other makes a 'deal'; one operates within the 'rules', the other changes them). However, they both may involve some form of cosmic 'debt' that will be paid back in some fashion. Luckamancy pays back good luck (numbers) with an opposing force of bad luck for the unit's side or good luck for the enemy. Carnymancy pays back good Karma (fate) by rigging the rules in one unit's favor while rigging the rules to another unit's detriment (possibly trading one units fate for that of another).
- Based on Jojo's statement in LIAB 90, that the Carnymancers should work their specialties, "stir up trouble" and "Get 'em in a real lather," Carnymancers can likely cause both negative emotions and conflict between two or more units.
- This manipulation likely puts it at odds with Flower Power, which seeks to end conflict and promote peace, and Thinkamancy which uses intellectual over emotional manipulation.
- This is also fitting with Charlie's work style. As a ruler and Carnymancer, his Rules encourage his units to cause problems so that he can be hired to solve them.
- Similarly, Carnymancers may also be related to modern day con artists for their tendency to trick 'marks' into participating in their scams.
- Alternatively, Carnymancers may adhere to a 'trickster' archetype, where their actions are not exclusively meant to harm or inconvenience an individual, but may also help or instruct. At times, however, the two might be difficult to tell apart.
- In Digdoug 13 Dove helps Digdoug make a lightning trap on Homekey's tower, something that normally requires a storm in the same hex. What exactly happened is not enumerated, but we can surmise that Carnymancy can partially extend across hex boundaries.