Monday, September 25, 2017

Introduction to the Akashic Mysteries

Despite the many philosophical arguments that spring up around Star Wars, the real intent behind “the Force” was to discuss religion. Of course, the line between philosophy and religion blur quite a lot in the best of times, but for the second philosophy, I want to discuss theology and, especially, mysticism, rather than “pure” philosophy (whatever that means).

I noted with Neo-Rationalism that Star Wars combines sci-fi tropes with the beats of fantasy. It has far future technology combined with spooky, ancient mysticism. Neo-Rationalism allows us to handle science, so we need our mysticism, and that’s the Akashic Mysteries.

Why not just jump straight into Communion? For a few reasons. Exploration is a deeply important part of space opera, not in the same way that it is in Star Trek, but more like the sense of wonder one gets when encountering a new culture or a new people, as so often depicted on the pulp adventures that inspired Star Wars. I want Communion to have the mystique of a distant and remote faith, something exotic and strange.

Star Wars treats the Force as an exotic and strange faith, one with ancient roots that Luke eagerly wishes to adopt. But the rest of the Star Wars works treat it as the only faith in the galaxy. Luke’s excitement would thus be comparable to a farmboy discovering Jesus: it’s not actually all that exotic. Consider, instead, the first Europeans, who already have a culture steeped in a tension between atheistic science and theistic faith, encountering Buddhism or Daoism for the first time. These faiths and philosophies have deep ideas that might seem new and, at least in the case of Buddhism, took certain elements of Western culture by storm! To me, this better reflects the intent of the Force, and is thus what I want to do with Communion.

That means we need to steep our native, human culture in that tension between atheistic science (Neo-Rationalism) and mystical spiritualism (the Akashic Mysteries). We can see the Akashic Mysteries as the human alternative to the mysticism of Alien religions. In fact, you could ditch Communion and center your game on the secret truths of the Akashic Mysteries, if you wished! An important element of an RPG setting is not revealing the truth of that setting to the reader, but helping the reader create his own truth. But the default assumption is that the Akashic Mysteries represent a cultural foundation for the Galactic Federation that has since faded when faced with new realities and the superior philosophy of Communion, and only has enough of a presence remaining to allow those players who wish to defy convention to get that rebellious thrill of uncovering a subversive philosophy that is both morally and mystically superior.

So, welcome, initiate, into the Akashic Mysteries, which (and I probably should have led with this) are the next iteration of the Oracular Order which has become so central to the Alliance and the Federation.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Akashic Mysteries Preview Document

The Akashic Order dominated the Galaxy hand-in-hand with the Eternal Empire and the Alexian Dynasty, in a bid to protect the galaxy from some existential threat that only they could see.  In time, however, power corrupted them, and the Eternal Empire fell and the Alexian dynasty vanished, leaving only a hollow shell of the Akashic Order, laid low by their broken promises.

Today, the Akashic Order has been reduced to a vestigal organization that centers on their homeworld of Persephone, a cultural curiosity for the Alliance that still supports them, and a small band of devoted followers who do what they can to still fend off the "Coming Storm" that threatens to devour the galaxy.

Today, I offer a preview of this ancient theology to all $3+ Patrons. If you're a patron, check it out!  If you're not a patron, I'll be unveiling the Akashic Order over the next three weeks (though, as usual, I'd love to have you).


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Friday, September 22, 2017

Patreon Post: Neo-Rational Technology

Neo-Rationalism promises a new golden age of technology and delivers!  Neo-Rationalists also gain access to limited TL 12^ gadgetry via the Cutting Edge Technology (Neo-Rational Tech) available to all Neo-Rationalists.  For today's Patreon post, I offer a first draft of that technology.  It's available, as a preview, to all $3+ patrons. If you're a Patron, check it out! If you're not, I'd love to have you.


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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Neo-Rational Organizations: Institutes and Salons

No single, overarching organization governs Neo-Rationalism; one can better think of Neo-Rationalism as a movement. Organizations form within that movement for the express purpose of exploring, expanding and teaching the ideas of Neo-Rationalism. Broadly speaking, these organizations break down into two categories: institutes, official organizations that teach Neo-Rationalism in a formal manner, and Salons, which teach Neo-Rationalism in an informal manner.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Neo-Rational Disciplines

Unlike the philosophies of the Akashic Mysteries and True Communion, Neo-Rationalism doesn’t have a strict set of disciplines deeply associated with its philosophy. Nonetheless, Neo-Rationalists have, over time, applied their deeply scientific approach to combat, social interaction and even to defeating their ultimate nemesis, psychic powers. While not every Neo-Rationalist institute teaches all of the following disciplines, especially depending on what specific branch of Neo-Rationalism the institute adheres to, but the following represent the most common Neo-Rationalist disciplines.

The alien race known as the Traders cross-pollinated extensively with Neo-Rational disciplines. Some practice Combat Geometrics, while some Neo-Rationalist humans attempt to master Hyperdimensional Meditation.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Neo-Rational Schisms

Neo-Rationalism does not follow a strict hierarchy, nor it is a dogmatically organized philosophy. Instead, Neo-Rationalism is better described as a movement, an attempt to return to, and understand, the rationalism of old. As such, it has no strictly agreed upon interpretations or ideologies. The standard Neo-Rationalism described thus far is really just the most common form of Neo-Rationalism, and the exact nature of Neo-Rational dogma changes from person to person, and experiences fads and trends.

Neo-Rationalists offer far more respect to Neo-Rational schisms than they do to other “irrational” philosophies. To the Neo-Rationalist, a “wrong” Neo-Rationalist is still rational, just not as rational as he is. As such, members of Schisms tend to vigorously debate one another and possibly disparage one another in papers, but they respect whatever laureates or credentials the others have.

A character who wishes to follow an alternate form of Rationalism may note the alternate name in their belief, eg Belief (Cyber-Rationalism) rather than Belief (Neo-Rationalis). Neo-Rationalism schisms default to one another at -2; optionally, the GM may treat them as familiarities: once a character has spent some time arguing with members of a schism, he can waive the penalty.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Neo-Rationalism as Esoteric Style

Students of Neo-Rationalism attempt to re-orient their minds towards “rational thinking.” This tends to create a cold and logical outlook on the world, but masters of the philosophy tend to be genuinely more stoic and mentally focused than non-practitioners.

Neo-Rationalists argue that they have superior moral and philosophical insights to all other philosophies, but even most outside observers agree that their philosophy is exceptionally well-suited to describing “the natural universe.” If someone is able to attain it, Neo-Rational Heuristics, when paired with appropriate optional skills, allows for superior results. The precise determinism of Neo-Rationalism also allows reasonably accurate predictions of the future, giving some followers a spooky, nigh supernatural foresight events, thanks to Foresightful Planning. While not ubiquitous throughout the Empire, many Academy trained individuals are also Neo-Rationalist trained; some of the best admirals or investigators supplement their practice with Neo-Rational heuristics and foresightful planning.

Neo-Rationalism has modest anti-psionic benefits, mainly in the form of skepticism and the tight logic and mental discipline of a practiced Neo-Rationalist. Anti-Psionic characters, like Dawkins Nigh, like to subscribe to Neo-Rationalism, as it makes them feel like their strange powers have a purpose, namely in hunting down the “irrational” psions, and especially in proving their claims wrong.

Neo-Rationalists tend to ascribe inhuman feats of intellect to their founders. There might be a case for “supernatural” powers or some variation of the Illumination advantage, especially if Neo-Rationalism is “true.”

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