Saturday, October 14, 2017

Patreon Double Trouble: Occult Communion and Psychokinesis Revisited

It's Patreon Friday! On Saturday!  How unusual!  I've been busy (and ill) and I've needed to re-prioritize some things, but for your patience, I have not one post, but two!

First, Akashic Ancestry Veneration and the up-coming Divine Masks allow access to facets of Communion without the whole thing, via paths.  The first document, Occult Communion, looks at accessing Communion without psionic powers, and without "total access" to Communion.

The second arose from a discussion on Discord about Psychokinesis, which is also a problem I ran into. The Divine Masks has a cult that makes use of Psychokinesis and Psi-Wars lacks much variety for PK.  Thus, I've returned to take a look at it, including a look at how to fix Innate Attack for Psi-Wars, which will be a change that propagates to other psionic powers and also into cybernetics.

All of this is available to you, dear reader, for one dollar. All $1+ Patrons can access both here (and don't forget last week's esoteric healing!).  If you're a patron, check it out!  If you're not a patron, I'd love to have you.

Support me on Patreon!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

House Kain Ancestor Veneration

Kusari Kain

Era: War of the Four Houses

True Destiny: The Faithful Hound

The Akashic Order struggled to integrate House Kain, and would have rather Alexus never elevated them in the first place, but when Kusari Kain slew Shio Daijin, the Akashic Order knew they had a legend they could work with.

The Akashic Order presents Kusari Kain as the exemplary member of House Kain. He subordinates himself to the will of the Order and the other nobility. He sees his place as a knight, rather than a lord. He hunts the enemies of the Akashic Order and the Alliance with ruthless, machinelike efficiency. He knows his place, as the weapon of the Alliance.

Those who have the Destiny (Faithful Hound) can expect to hunt down the enemies of the Alliance, slay them, and to never die while in direct service to the Alliance, no matter how grievously wounded.

Legacy

Kusari Kain worked tirelessly to hunt down the enemies of the old Eternal Empire, and that drive to preserve the power of the nobility with devoted, violent service, remains in his descendants to this day.

Descendents who follow Kusari Kain must take the Obsession (Slay the enemies of the Alliance) [-10].

Milestones

The descendant is spiritually troubled. In his wandering, he meets a wise master, who assists him in overcoming his spiritual trouble. The descendant swears undying loyalty to the wise master.

A great enemy threatens the boon companion or wise master of the descendant while the descendant is away. The descendant must abandon his current quest, allies and friends to rescue his boon companion or wise master. He returns to find much of the Boon Companion or wise master’s property destroyed, but is able to rescue them.

The descendant realizes that to succeed at his quest, he will need a legendary artifact. However, none presents itself, but his wise master directs him to several places where he can collect fragments of an artifact and then he returns with them, and reforges them into a new legendary artifact, which becomes his signature item.

The wise master, having been betrayed by a traitor, sees how that treachery threatens the stability of his domain and the stability of the galaxy. He commands the descendant to hunt down and kill the traitor. The descendant agrees, and arrives at wrongfully acquired stronghold of the traitor to find a small army arrayed against them. He kill them all, and then executes the traitor.

The wise master unrighteously commands the descendant to hunt down and kill a good man. The good man, when confronted, refuses to fight back and instead offers an explanation for his actions and reveals the unrighteousness of the wise master’s request. The descendant chooses to follow his master’s command and slays the good man.

Associated Miracles

Kainian Grit

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, either Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 3.

The Descendant pursues his prey with ruthless efficiency. He gains Tough Guy 3 for one hour or until it has assisted him at least once, which ever takes longer. This talent is cumulative with any existing talent, and may exceed +4.

Statistics: Tough Guy 3 (Divine, Path -15%) [13], Rule Exception (This talent may exceed +4) [1]

Divine Hunter

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points.

This miracle grants the descendant perfect knowledge of the direction of his target. It only works with targets the character has attuned to (by meditating with something that belonged to them), and the character can only have a single target at a time.

Statistics: Super Memorization 1 (15) (Divine Path -15%, single form of Detect only -80%) [15]; Detect (Single living target only; Cosmic, no die roll required +100%; long range 2 +100%, No Analysis -10%)

Unstoppable (Enhanced)

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Communion 7.

Learned Prayer Cost: 6 points.

For the next 3d seconds, the descendant gains High Pain Threshold, DR 20 (hardened x3), takes no visible damage and is unkillable until he reaches -10xHP, unless he is wounded with an attack that originates from Communion. Furthermore, in addition to his High Pain Threshold, he gains +3 to resist unconsciousness. Finally, when the power wears off, the character must check for death based on his current state, but even if the roll fails, even if he’s automatically dead (-5xHP), the character merely falls unconscious and is not dead unless someone deals a death blow.

Statistics: New variant of Blessed derived from Blessed Be (Pyramid #3-78) [14] with grants the following advantages DR 20 (Hardened 5 +150%, Force Field +20%) [54], High Pain Threshold [15], No Visible Damage [1], Hard to Subdue +3 [6] and Unkillable 1 (Achilles Heel, Divine Attacks, -10%) [45]

Lothar Kain

Era: The Rise of Alexus

Dark Destiny: Bloodthirsty Warlord

The Akashic Order never liked Lothar Kain. They saw Alexus Rex as making a deal with a devil when he allowed him into the ranks of Maradonian Nobility. As such, the Akashic Order goes out of its way to present the memory of Lothar Kain in as sinister a light as it can. It portrays Lothar Kain as a ruthless conqueror and bandit who left destruction and suffering in his wake. They then emphasize to the members of House Kain that if they follow Lothar’s path, they will likely suffer a similar fate.

Unfortunately for the Akashic Order, many members of House Kain fail to see the drawback of this.

Those with the Destiny (Bloodthirsty Warlord) can expect to achieve great success on the field of battle, to crush their enemies, to drive them before the descendant and to hear the lamentations of their women. They can also expect their victories to be bloody and terrifying.

Legacy

Lothar Kain had a complicated relationship with the Maradonian aristocracy. He both despised their weakness, but craved the chance to prove himself better than them. This ideal still pulses deep within the veins of most members of House Kain.

Descendents who follow Lothar Kain must have Obsession (Be recognized as the greatest of nobles) [-10].

Milestones

The descendant faces an impossible battle. He can choose to surrender, make a great sacrifice to buy his allies some time, or he can engage in massive slaughter of innocence to achieve victory. He chooses to engage in slaughter, wins, gains access to a reward, and is honored by the moral authority.

The descendant wins a great military victory. His newly acquired spoils contain a corrupted legendary artifact. The descendant cannot unlock that power alone, however. He must seek a boon companion to sacrifice to the legendary artifact, which will give him mastery over it. He doe so, corrupting or slaying the boon companion and, in so doing, gains great power with no real consequences to himself.

The descendant faces a worthy rival, who represents the moral authority, in battle. The two fight to a standstill. Rather than finish the battle, the rival offers to allow the descendant to join forces with him and to be honored by the moral authority, in exchange for great power and prestige. The descendant agrees.

Many virtuous suitors vie for the attention of a beautiful, virtuous youth. The descendant uses underhanded tactics to tempt and seduce the beautiful, virtuous youth. He succeeds, but she is corrupted by his love. Nonetheless, she proves to be a powerful and capable Boon Companion. As a result, at least one of the suitors becomes a rival.

The moral authority requests that the descendant undertake a quest to recover a legendary artifact on their behalf, and promises riches and prestige when he succeeds. He journeys far from home, acquires the artifact and returns. He finds that the moral authority has betrayed him in the meantime and has taken his home from him. When confronted, the moral authority confesses that they thought he would betray them and agree to return his home in return for the legendary artifact. The descendant may either trade the legendary artifact for the return of his home, or he may wage war upon them, defeat them, and keep the legendary artifact for himself. Either way, the moral authority will portray him as a villain.

Associated Miracles

Dark Warlord

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, either Dark Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 3.

The descendant excels at the pursuits of war. He gains Born Warleader 3 for one hour or until it has assisted him at least once, which ever takes longer. This talent is cumulative with any existing talent, and may exceed +4.

Statistics: Born Warleader 3 (Divine, Path -15%) [13], Rule Exception (This talent may exceed +4) [1]

Dark Prowess

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Dark Communion 8

Learned Prayer Cost: 9 points

As Power of the Abyss (Enhanced) (Pyramid #3-36, page 11) but with the additional Path modifier and without DR 1. This reflects the Lothar Kain’s enormous physical potential.

Statistics: Blessed 6 (Heroic Feats; Divine, Path -25%) [45]

Dark Glory

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Dark Communion 8

Learned Prayer Cost: 8 points

As Dark Glory (Pyramid #3-36, page 11) but with the additional Path modifier and a -2 to fright checks..

Statistics: Terror 2 (Divine, Path -25%) [38]

Kira Kain

Era: War of the Four Houses

Free Destiny: Romantic Adventurer



Kira served a Grimshaw master during the war of the Four Houses, and when he died, she set out to avenge him. On her long quest, she had wild adventures across the galaxy, uncovering treasures, defeating vile enemies, and she once ruled a planet as a living goddess for a very brief and ill-fated escapade. The whole time, she found herself just a few steps behind the increasingly intriguing and romantic assassin. Eventually, when she caught up with him, he successfully convinced her that it wasn’t her fight, and asked her to join him.

The Akashic Order used to hold Kira up as an example of what happens when a Kain abandons his duty, but this tended to have the opposite effect on members of house Kain, so they’ve just quietly discouraged her veneration, and the leader of house Kain largely agree, as stories of how great life if once you leave the service of the Alliance is counterproductive to Kainian goals.

Those who have Destiny (Romantic Adventurer) can expect to never have a boring life, to gain success at wildly improbable ventures, and to see fate conspire to keep them moving on to their next adventure.

Legacy

Kira had an obsessive goal, but abandoned it. Her legacy is less of a goal, and more of a mind-set.

Those who follow the path of Kira Kain must have Impulsiveness [-10].

Milestones

The descendant serves a master in a time of war. The enemies of the master hire an assassin to slay the master. The descendant tries to protect her master, but fails. She swears an oath of revenge. In so doing, she is able to escape any lingering duties or bonds she might have had.

While far from home, the descendant encounters a magnificent vice. The moral authority had warned her not to partake, but they are far away, so she does. While under the influence of the vice, she encounters a sworn enemy, but because of her vice, she is unable to defeat him and he escapes. She suffers no additional consequences, and gains some great insight thanks to the encounter.

While far from home, the descendant finds a map to a lost treasure, one her rival also seeks. Both pursue the treasure and arrive to acquire it at the same moment. The descendant wins the battle, but must choose between acquiring the treasure or defeating the rival. She chooses acquiring the treasure.

While far from home, the descendant discovers a beautiful youth who is destined to rule a local Moral Authority and is in great peril. The descendant rescues the beautiful youth, who instantly falls in love with her. The beautiful youth requests her assistance in restoring the moral authority, and she agrees, succeeds, and is acclaimed a hero. The beautiful youth offers to let her rule beside the beautiful youth, but seeing that she would become too tied down in the complicated politics of the world, she refuses.

While far from home, The descendant tracks down an enemy she has sworn to defeat after a very long and rewarding journey. She defeats him, but he explains that he was never her enemy, and offers to let her join him. She chooses to let him live, but refuses to join him.

Associated Miracles

Dark Courage

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, either Dark Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points.

The descendant fears nothing, except possibly for unspeakable cosmic horrors. She is immune to all fright checks. This miracle lasts for an hour or until it has helped her at least once, whichever takes longer.

Statistics: Unfazeable (Divine Path -15%) [13]

The Tao of Hyperspace

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Dark Communion 7.

Learned Prayer Cost: 6 points.

As Traveler's Blessing (Divine Favor page 10).

Free Movement

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, Dark Communion 5

Learned Prayer Cost: 4 points.

After making a successful Meditation roll, the descendant suffers no DX penalties for unstable terrain of any sort. This lasts for the remainder of combat, or an hour, whichever is shorter.

Statistics: Terrain Adaption (Divine Path -15%, Active +300%) [20]

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

House Elegans Ancestor Veneration

Esau Elegans

Era: Rise of Alexus

True Destiny: Left-Handed Fool

The founder of House Elegans troubled the Akashic Order and they’ve struggled with his inclusion into their Mystery Play. The childhood friend and sometimes rival of Alexus Rex, the Akashic Order wanted to cast Alexus as the hero, and that meant a modification to the legend of Esau. In the Mystery Play, he is usually portrayed as the one who disagrees with Alexus or with Sissi, or who tries some inappropriate tactic, and then proves to be wrong.

House Elegans holds to a slightly different legend. They see their founder as a “contrary warrior,” a man who made points by going against the grain, who challenged the status quo to help prove it, and was willing to try new things and, if they proved to work, to use them.

Those who have the Destiny (Left-Handed Fool) are destined to successfully challenge the status quo, to be the first to spot a flaw in a plan or a tactic, or to defeat their opponents while using unconventional tactics.

Legacy

The true legacy of Esau Elegans is something of a mystery. Very little in the way of records on his goals or ambitions survive to this day, and his descendants argue that it was Esau’s way to have no particular way. He took what came before him, and flowed like water around obstacles. Others note that Esau primarily served as a foil and strawman for Alexus Rex and thus, ultimately, was an empty character for the Mystery play.

Descendents who follow Esau may choose to have no obsession, in which case the Miracles of Esau Elegans automatically fail when they come into conflict with any other miracles, or they may choose to have Obsession (Challenge Orthodoxy) or Trickster.

Milestones

The Descendant faces a rival in battle. The Descendant holds his own, then is clearly defeated but not yet harmed. At the mercy of the rival, the Descendant laughs. The rival, impressed, spares the Descendant and becomes a Boon Companion.

The Descendant and the rival meet two beautiful youths, one who is finer in appearance than the other. The rival wins the affection of the finer beautiful youth, while the Descendant wins the affection of the less fine beautiful youth. The latter proves more virtuous and capable, and becomes a Boon Companion.

The Descendant and his peers face a threat, and have two choices before them. The Descendant sees which choice is superior, and takes up the inferior choice. He is soundly defeated by the threat, but suffers no consequences as a result of his choice. The peers see that his approach was flawed, and choose the right approach.

The peers of the Descendant feel their faith in the moral authority wavering. The Descendant denounces and humiliates the moral authority. One of the Descendant’s peers rises angrily in response and defends the moral authority and the rest of the Descendant’s peers rally around the moral authority. The Descendant suffers no consequences for his challenge.

In a time of crisis, the Descendant uncovers lore or a relic deemed corrupt by the moral authority. The Descendant takes it up, uses it to defeat the crisis, and suffers no ill consequence. The Descendant’s peers question the validity of the moral authority.

Associated Miracles

Dark Charisma

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, either Dark Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 2 points.

See Servant of the God of Lies (Pyramid #3-36, page 10)

Interesting Times

Reaction Required: Neutral

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, Dark Communion 6

Learned Prayer Cost: 5 points

Things can always get crazier around the Descendant, and he seems to thrive on the chaos he generates. After making this prayer, something absurd, hilarious or exciting shortly happens. The rule of thumb for this miracle is that it can only make things more interesting or more fun, and that the Descendant may profit from it.

Statistics: Serendipity (Wishing +100%, Divine, Path -25%, Aspect “Only wishes that directly result in greater hilarity, excitement or chaos”) [24]

See Truth

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Dark Communion 8,

Learned Prayer Cost: 9 points

While under the effects of this miracle, the Descendant cannot be tricked, either by mental illusion, a contest of Acting skill, or his own failing senses. He can fail to notice things, or miss them, or not know/understand what something is (“I don't know.”), but he won't believe that something is something that it is not. He automatically wins any such contests. As a general or specific prayer, this miracle lasts for one hour, or until it has protected the Descendant once, whichever is longer.

Statistics: Immune to Deception (Cosmic, includes misperception +50%, Divine: Path -15%) [41]

Jax Elegans

Era: The Fall of Alexus

Dark Destiny: Heretic



Jax Elegans betrayed the Akashic Order and slew the last Alexian Empire, earning him the undying enmity of the Akashic Order. On the other hand, Jax Elegans revealed flaws in the Akashic Order, and defeated a mad tyrant who terrorized the galaxy and slew his own kin. The Akashic Order uses whatever thin justification it can to undermine the memory of Jax Elegans, even using contradictory arguments (“Yes, Lucian Alexus was mad, yes, the Federation that came after was good, but Jax Elegans is still a monster!”).

The Akashic Order fears Jax Elegans because he represents the fate of the Elegans who refuse to play along with their agenda as Esau Elegans did. Jax challenged the orthodoxy, but refused to back down or be a laughing stock, and it literally ended the Eternal Empire. So the Akashic Order denounces the memory of Jax Elegans, but members of House Elegans see him differently, as an unsung hero. They just know enough not to voice their respect when an Akashic priest wanders past.

Characters with the Destiny (Heretic) can expect to uncover a new or lost philosophy or tradition, they can expect to rapidly attain a powerful position within that movement, they can expect to use its secrets to great success, and they can expect to achieve great successes in undermining the Akashic Order.

Legacy

Jax Elegans converted to True Communion because he believed that it held a more complete understanding of the threats that faced the Galaxy. He believed that all of humanity, and that all alien races, were necessary to defeat the Coming Storm, and he believed that True Communion was the best tool to do this. That the Akashic Order would fall to make way for this new order was an unfortunate, but necessary, side-effect.

Descendents who follow Jax Elegans must have either Obsesssion (Restore True Communion) [-10] or Obsession (Otherthrow the Orthodoxy) [-10].

Milestones

The descendant, having been granted power and prestige by the moral authority, encounters a poor and weak man who follows a heresy that undermines the moral authority. They debate the merits of their philosophies, but the poor and weak man proves to have the superior philosophy to the princely descendant. The descendant meditates beneath a great tree on the merits of the poor man’s arguments, and converts.

The descendant brings his new heresy to his peers, and points out the flaws in the moral authority. Most of his peers reject him and the moral authority demands that he recant or lose his power and prestige. The descendant refuses and is exiled. One of his peers, convinced, joins him as a Boon Companion.

The descendant witnesses oppression of the weak in the name of the moral authority. The weak call out to the descendant for liberation from this oppression. The descendant fights against the oppressors and emerges victorious. The weak hail the descendant as a hero, but his peers believe he has committed a grave crime and condemn him.

The corruption of the moral authority grows so great that it begins to devour the peers of the descendant. They either refuse to acknowledge the corruption or fear to challenge it. The peers secretly call upon the descendant to slay the moral authority. He accepts and succeeds, destroying the old order and allowing his peer to create a new order. The peers of the descendant thereafter condemn him as a criminal.

An assassin in the service of the moral authority comes to slay the descendant. The descendant refuses to fight, but speaks instead. The assassin cannot bring himself to kill the descendant, and instead converts and becomes his Boon Companion.

Associated Miracles

Words of Truth

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, Communion 5

Learned Prayer Cost: 4 points

See Sermonize, Divine Favor 9

Guide My Hand

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Communion 8

Learned Prayer Cost: 8 points

As Guide My Hand (Pyramid #3-36, page 12) but with the additional Path modifier. Remember, Weapon Masters have exceptional defaults!

Statistics: Weapon Master (All; Divine, Path -15%) [39]

Moment of Truth



Minimum Reaction: Very Good

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 3, Communion 11.

Learned Prayer Cost: 17 points.

This miracle may be prayed for before making any non-prayer success, damage or reaction roll. The player may dictate the results as fate aligns perfectly behind him. As a learned prayer, this may be used once every hour.

Statistics: Super Luck (Divine Path -15%) [85]

Tia Elegans

Era: War of the Four Houses

Free Destiny: Beloved Mother

House Elegans took no sides during the War of Four Houses. Perceived by the other houses as having colluded with the Knights of Communion and assisting in the fall of the Eternal Empire, they struggled for a time to survive, only to rise meteorically during the era of the Federation. Tia Elegans, the Marchessa during the War of the Four Houses did much to preserve her family and ensure that their legacy carried on.

The Akashic Order doesn’t dislike the legacy of Tia Elegans per se, but they fear her example could encourage other Elegans to focus on house and family over the Golden Path, where their focus should be. The modern Elegans, faced with a new crisis, feel differently, and turn to her lessons as a way to endure.

Those who have Destiny(Beloved Mother) can expect romance, to protect members of her house from threats, to overcome obstacles with virtue and hardwork, to successfully heal and lift others up, and to bring fame and prestige to her entire house.

Legacy

Tia did whatever it took to keep her House alive during a time of crisis. Her single-minded focus likely saved the House during this dark time!

Those who follow the path of Tia Elegans must have Obsession (“House Elegans must rise!”) [-10].

Milestones

The descendant encounters a wicked suitor, who would tempt her away from her path of virtue. She refuses him. Her virtue, patience and hard-work convinces him of the error of his ways and he becomes the righteous suitor, and her boon companion.

An enemy threatens the safety of the descendant’s family and her property while her allies and boon companions are away. She gathers together her family and places them somewhere safe and faces the enemy alone. She cannot save her property, but she saves her family and drives the enemy off.

A member of the descendant’s family has been wounded and is dying or is presumed dead. All of the descendant’s peers give up hope of saving the family member. The descendant sets out to find a cure, or to find the family member. She succeeds and “brings back the dead.”

The descendant undertakes what she believes to be a simple, unrewarding task out of a sense of duty and virtue. In fact, her task turns out to be of the utmost importance! The descendant’s peers recognize both her virtue and her accomplishment and she, and her family, gain prestige and power as a result.

The descendant has a (literal or metaphorical) child. The child will face tragedy and suffering, but as long as the descendant remains faithful to the child, it will survive and eventually gain glory and prestige that eclipses even that of the descendant.

Associated Miracles

Healer

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, either Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 3.

The Descendant excels at healing others. She gains Healer 3 for one hour or until it has assisted her at least once, which ever takes longer. This talent is cumulative with any existing talent, and may exceed +4.

Statistics: Healer 3 (Divine, Path -15%) [13], Rule Exception (This talent may exceed +4) [1]

Lay on Hands

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Communion 8

Learned Prayer Cost: 8 points

See Lay On Hands from Divine Favor page 11.

Aura of Vigor


Reaction Required: Very Good

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 3, Communion 11

Learned Prayer Cost: 17 points.

After making a successful Meditation roll, the descendant and any allies within 2 yards gain +3 to HT. The descendant may apply a -5 to his Meditation roll to expand the effect out to 4 yards away. On a failed meditation roll, the descendant can spend a point of fatigue (or psionic energy reserves) and try again on the next turn. This lasts for the remainder of combat, or an hour, whichever is shorter.

Statistics: Aura of Vigor 3 (see Pyramid #3-19 page 10)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

House Grimshaw Ancestor Veneration

House Grimshaw Ancestor Veneration

Tae Grimshaw

Era: The Eternal Empire

Destiny: Aristocratic Inquisitor

Tae Grimshaw first gained the notice of Tanaquil Alexus when she uncovered a conspiracy against the Elegant Empress and suffered at their hands. Tanaquil gave Tae the power she needed to root out the conspiracy and ruthlessly defeat them, which she successfully did. The Akashic Order holds Tae up as finest example of a Grimshaw, who keeps the rest of the Maradonian houses pure and true to their purpose on the Golden Path. They began to emphasize Tae over Janus Daijin after Shio Daijin betrayed the Maradonian Houses by attempting to seize power.

Those who have the Destiny (Aristocratic Inquistitor) are destined to find conspiracies and destroy them, to destroy tools of forbidden power, to drive back the ideological enemies of the Akashic Order, and to increase the purity of the Akashic Order.

Legacy

Tae Grimshaw worked with Tanaquil Alexus to uncover conspiracies against the Alexian Empire, and her Grimshaw descendants carry on this tradition. Modern descendants of Tae Grimshaw feel driven to uncover real or imagined conspiracies against the Alliance, or against the power of the Maradonian Houses.

Descendents who follow Tae Grimshaw must have Obsesssion (Uncover conspiracies against the Alliance) [-10].

Milestones

The Descendant uncovers evidence of a conspiracy against the moral authority. She attempts to reveal the evidence to the moral authority, the conspiracy attacks her, scars her and takes the evidence. However, the moral authority recognizes her efforts and appoints her to a position of power.

The Descendant faces and defeats a powerful member of the conspiracy and retrieves a corrupted legendary artifact. With the blessing of the moral authority, she purifies the legendary artifact and takes it for her own.

The Descendant uncovers evidence that a boon companion is a member of the conspiracy. The boon companion offers to allow her to join, and offers her either great power or his love. She refuses, reveals the boon companion’s treachery to the moral authority, and condemns the boon companion herself.

The Descendant faces and defeats the conspiracy’s master in battle and destroys the conspiracy. For her deeds, she receives honor and high position from the moral authority.

Fragments of the conspiracy remain even after its death. When the descendant is exultant in her victory, an assassin attempt so kill the descendant. The descendant successfully slays the assassin, finally ending the threat of the conspiracy for once and all, but then dies (literally or symbolically) of her wounds.

Associated Miracles

Truth Seeker

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, either Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 3.

The Descendant excels at uncovering conspiracies. She gains Truth Seeker 3 for one hour or until it has assisted her at least once, which ever takes longer. This talent is cumulative with any existing talent, and may exceed +4.

Statistics: Truth Seeker 3 (Divine, Path -15%) [13], Rule Exception (This talent may exceed +4) [1]

Clarity

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Communion 7.

Learned Prayer Cost: 6 points.

Communion blesses you with momentarily perfect insight into the world around you, pulling back the fog of ignorance and fear. For the next 3d6 seconds, gain Unfazeable, Enhanced Time Sense and +1d6 IQ (including Will and Perception). This explicitly improves your psionic skills and extra effort rolls.

Statistics: New variant of Blessed derived from Blessed Be (Pyramid #3-78) [26]

Sense Sin

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Communion 9

Learned Prayer Cost: 10 points

As See Evil from Divine Favor page 12, except it detects that which the Descendant's moral authority deems inappropriate, and not just what they've done, but what they're capable of doing (That is, you'll detect not just whether someone has committed murder, but also that they have bloodlust, and so that it's in their nature to commit murder).

Statistics: Sense Sin (Divine: Path -15%, Cosmic, no die roll required +100%, Vision based, reversed -20%) [50]

Shio Daijin

Era: War of the Four Houses

Destiny: Usurper


Shio Daijin kicked off the War of the Four Houses when he attempted to seize the Alexian throne for himself. As such, the Akashic Order holds Shio Daijin up as an example of what happens to those whose ambition drives them to derail the Golden Path and to usurp their position. The shaming of the name of Shio shamed the name of Daijin and lifted up the name of Grimshaw.

Today, the legacy of Shio Daijin has grown more complex. Some Daijin argue that with the death of the Alexian line, perhaps Shio could have done what was necessary to restore the Golden Path and rebuild the Empire. Alternately, they see what he was doing as attempting to restore order, rather than seizing power.

Characters with the Destiny (Usurper) can expect to gain numerous allies, to gain access to conspiracies, and to receive opportunities to attain a great position of power via unlawful means.

Legacy

According to tradition, Shio Daijin wanted to be Emperor, and this naturally drove him to commit the acts that he did. Naturally, all descendants of Shio Daijin feel the same and push to gain greater and greater power and have endless ambition. A more recent, apologist view sees Shio Daijin as merely attempting to restore order to a chaotic galaxy and nothing more.

Descendents who follow Shio must have either Obsesssion (Rule the Galaxy) [-10] or Obsession (Restore the Eternal Empire) [-10].

Milestones

Over the course of an adventure, the Descendant uncovers a threat to the moral authority. He returns and warns his peers of the threat. His peers, suspicious of his motives, disregard his warning and accuse him of attempting to manipulate him, all except for one, who become a boon companion.

As the Descendant prepares to meet the threat, jealous peers attack (literally or metaphorically) the allies of the Descendant, unintentionally assisting the threat. The Descendant must choose. He either allows the tragedy to unfold, in which case he will lose his boon companion and many innocents will die, but he will regain the respect of his peers, or he makes a pre-emptive strike, in which case he commits an atrocity and is vilified by his peers, but protects his allies and his boon companion.

The Descendant learns that without the help of his peers, he can never avert the threat. Because his peers will not voluntarily work with him, his only recourse is to seize power over them and force them to assist him. If he attempts to do so, he succeeds.

While at his most powerful, the Descendant meets a beautiful youth. The youth offers herself as a bride to the Descendant. If he accepts her, she will give him an heir that will outlast his regime, but she will also betray him, as she seeks marriage only for power.

As the threat reaches its climax, the peers of the Descendant move against him. The Descendant must choose: either he allows them to defeat and kill him, in which case his legacy will continue and the threat will be defeated, or he faces them and defeats them and retains power, in which case the threat fully manifests. It will not harm the Descendant or his allies, but it will destroy the peers of the Descendant and ruin their moral order.

Associated Miracles

Daijin Statesman

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, Dark Communion 6

Learned Prayer Cost: 5.

The Descendant excels at statecraft. He gains Intuitive Statesman 3 for one hour or until it has assisted himi at least once, which ever takes longer. This talent is cumulative with any existing talent, and may exceed +4.

Statistics: Intuitive Statesman 3 (Divine, Path -25%) [23], Rule Exception (This talent may exceed +4) [1]

Restore Order

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Dark Communion 7

Learned Prayer Cost: 6 points

Once per session, the Descendant may restore proper order merely by wishing it so. After completion of this prayer, a coincidence happens (that the player himself may choose) that sets the world back on its proper course, and reduces tension.

Statistics: Serendipity (Divine, Path -15%, Wishing +100%, Aspect: Return the world to its proper state -20%) [26]

Aura of Focus

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Communion 9.

Learned Prayer Cost: 11 points.

After making a successful meditation roll, Communion empowers the Descendant with +3 willpower, as well as all allies he wishes to empower who are nearby (generally up to 2 yards away, though the mystic may apply a -5 to his Meditation roll to expand it out to 4 yards away). On a failed meditation roll, the Descendant can spend a point of fatigue (or psionic energy reserves) and try again on the next turn. This lasts for the remainder of combat, or an hour, whichever is shorter.

Statistics: Aura of Focus 3 (see Pyramid #3-19 page 8)

Janus Daijin

Era: Rise of Alexus

Destiny: Strange Sage

The Akashic Order has a strange relationship with Janus Daijin. He predates the strong bond between the Akashic Order and the Alexian Dynasty, and his unusual behavior and unorthodox beliefs challenge the Akashic Order, but at the same time, he had an undeniable influence on the first Alexian Emperor, features strongly in their legends and has the respect of both the Daijin and the Grimshaw, from whom they descend. So the Akashic Order carefully portrays him in terms of an eccentric sage, and advisor to Alexus who tread previously untrodden roads. Fortunately, with the fall of the Daijin, the Akashic Order can afford to push Janus into the background and emphasize other members of the line, such as Tae Grimshaw.

Those who have Destiny(Strange Sage) can count on having interesting lives, will encounter strange technology, lore and relics, and can expect to be called upon desperate rulers in need of their unconventional wisdom.

Legacy

The memory of Janus has faded over time, for he was already old, very old, when Alexus was on his rise, and the House Daijin may well be the oldest of Maradonian houses. Those who follow the Path of Janus find that they’re not particularly driven to do anything at all, except what they wish. Thus, no two such descendants are alike. However, the strange ways of Janus does creep into their lives, creating strange evens, drawing weirdness to them, and even twisting them to make them something other than human.

Instead of gaining an obsession, those who invoke the miracles of Janus instead suffer Corruption. Neutral miracles inflict 1d Corruption, Good reactions inflict 2d Corruption, Very Good reactions inflict 3d Corruption, and Excellent or better inflict 4d Corruption.

Milestones

A great evil threatens the Descendant’s home. None of his peer has the courage to face the threat, and so the Descendant volunteers. He departs his home on a quest that will successfully avert the danger, but he finds that he can never return. If he does return, he finds that his home rejects him.

Upon defeating a great evil, the Descendant uncovers a corrupt artifact or corrupt lore, which empowers the great evil and will allow it to rise again unless contained. The Descendant finds he cannot destroy it, so instead contains it. While so contained, the corrupt artifact both empowers and slowly corrupts the Descendant.

The Descendant meets a beautiful youth (virtuously pure and/or physically desirable) and falls in love. However, the Descendant discovers that to be with the beautiful youth, he must either corrupt the youth or use his corrupt power against the youth. The Descendant chooses to remain alone instead.

Because of his wisdom and power, the moral authority offers him a place of power and asks for his advice. The advice the descendant gives is considered abhorrent by the moral authority. If the moral authority ignores this advice, it will fall.

Death looms for the descendant, and the corrupt artifact offers him the power to escape death and gain a form of immortality. To forestall some future evil, the Descendant accepts and returns at a future date. However, he discovers the price of immortality is unredeemable corruption.

Associated Miracles

Unspeakable Knowledge

Reaction Required: Neutral

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, Broken Communion 6

Learned Prayer Cost: 5 points

Corruption: 3

Upon completion of this prayer, the Descendant opens his mind to the universe. The GM can thereafter give him whatever knowledge he seeks, but the knowledge that the character gains is in such a format that the Descendant cannot express this knowledge to any character who lacks the Broken Communion advantage.

Statistics: Oracle (Inspired +100%, Broken Communion Path -25%, Nuisance, unable to communicate truths found -10%) [25]

Daijin Nova

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, Broken Communion 4 or Archetype

Learned Prayer Cost: 1

The unbridled power of Janus Daijin flows into the character. The character gains 25 energy points that must be immediately spent on a single use of psionic power. Even when the character buys this as a Learned Prayer, they must still spend 1 impulse buy point to activate it. Alternatively, characters with Communion my purchase it as Psychic Nova instead.

This power inflicts no Corruption!

Statistics: Optional Rule (Points for Energy)[1]

The Lore of Janus

Reaction Required: Very Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 3, Broken Communion 10 or Archetype

Learned Prayer Cost: 4 points

Corruption: 1

Janus had collected a wide array of subtle, small tricks that allowed him to surprise his opponents or to gain access to insights others lacked. As a miracle, or a learned prayer with Broken Communion, this allows Janus to have a single use of any psionic power worth up to 15 points, rolling with a skill equal to his IQ. As a learned prayer (with the Archetype advantage), the Descendant can use this power once per day to gain any psionic power worth 5 points of less, rolling with a skill equal to IQ. What is a “single use” is up to the GM, but should generally constitute no more than an hour of an active power.

Statistics: Wild Talent (Aspect, Psionic only -20%, Divine, path -15%) [13], as alternative ability, and Unusual Background (May use Archetype as basis for Psychic Wildcard Power) [1], as a static trait.

Monday, October 9, 2017

House Sabine Ancestor Veneration

Sissi Sabine

Era: Rise of Alexus

Destiny: the Faithful Princess

The Akashic Order holds Sissi Sabine up as the ultimate example that all Sabine’s should follow as their “True Path.” She sacrificed her needs, love and happiness to see to the furthering of the Akashic Order’s goals. Characters with the Faithful Princess destiny are destined to empower the Akashic Order, to be rescued when in danger, to have people fall in love with her, to have their sacrifices make a meaningful impact on the world.

Legacy

Sissi Sabine’s driving passion, more than even her own well-being, was to support the Akashic Order, but she also mothered the Alexian line. To Sissi, the Alexian line was the Golden Path. She did whatever she could to improve the situation of her children, and considered that first and the needs of the Golden Path second.

Descendents who follow Sissi Sabine must have Obsesssion (Restore Alexian Line) [-10].

Milestones

The Descendent, bound by duty, gains access to a unique conspiracy that would allow her to escape her duty, empower herself, and gain the services of a wicked Boon Companion. She refuses the temptation, unravels the conspiracy, betrays the Boon Companion and faithfully returns to her duty.

The Descendent, bound by duty, will meet the man she is destined to marry, and will not feel about him as he does about her. Nonetheless, she will accept her fate and marry. In so doing, she gains a Boon Companion.

The Descendent faces a grave enemy that threatens to overpower her. She has the insight necessary to escape, but allows herself to be captured instead, knowing that her suffering at his hands will motivate her allies to come together in a great show of force and defeat the threat, which will result in greater power in her chosen faction in the long run.

The Descendant, when faced with heretical diversion from the Golden Path, speaks out against the heretic. This shames a Boon Companion, but also reminds those around her of the need to remain true and converts at least one doubter to the side of the Akashic Order.

The Descendant will have a child with great power and destiny, but tragedy will befall that child, and the Descendant will witness it. Nonetheless, the Descendant is duty-bound to have said child, and to do nothing to avert the destined tragedy.

Associated Miracles

Esper Focus

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, either Communion 4 or Archetype

Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points.

According to legend, Sissi Sabine was the most powerful Esper born to the Sabine line. Those who carefully emulate her gain a fraction of her insight. This miracle grants +3 to ESP. These bonuses last for one hour, or long enough to make use of a bonus roll, which ever is longer.

Statistics: ESP Talent 3 (Divine -10%) [14] + Rules Exclusion: May Exceed the +4 Talent Cap [1].

Pure Beauty

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, either Communion 4 or Archetype.

Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points

According to legend, Sissi was the most beautiful of all the Maradonian aristocracy. For a moment, her ancestor can share in some of that transcendent beauty.

Statistics: Appearance (Trascendent, Glamour Will-5%, Divine, Path -25%) [14];

Prayer of Hope

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Communion 7

Learned Prayer Cost: 6 points

After finishing the petition roll in which the character expresses (silently or verbally) her wish for what should happen, she may make a roll against IQ-based Meditation. This roll cannot fail. She applies her margin of success (with a minimum of +1) as a bonus to a roll that someone else makes, provided his actions closely resemble that which she prayed for. This may not apply to combat rolls.

Statistics: Visualization (Divine: Path -15%, Blessing +0%, Reduced Time, 1d6 seconds +80%, Cosmic, No Die Roll Required +100%) [27]

Jaina Sabine

Era: The Eternal Empire

Destiny: the Manipulative Witch



The Akashic Order portrays Jaina Sabine as a wicked woman who manipulated those around her for her personal gain. Jaina sought forbidden and wicked powers so that she could avenge herself against minor insults, and twist the hearts of beautiful men so that they loved her, and then abandoned those suitors for the deeply inappropriate Lothar Kain. They hold her up, and her exile from House Sabine, as an example of what befalls those who betray the Akashic Order in pursuit of forbidden power.

Legacy

Jaina Sabine pursued mystical enlightenment and forbidden power. She tamed the Hammer of Caliban and learned the secrets of the Devils of Persephone despite the wishes of the Akashic Order. Those who follow Jaina Sabine tend to be driven by the same hunger to increase their knowledge and power, no matter the cost to their social standing or the wishes of the Akashic Order.

Descendents who follow Jaina Sabine should have Obsession (Attain Mystical Power) [-10].

Milestones

Many men pursue the Descendant, but one is unsuited for her, due to a lack of virtue and position. The descendant chooses the “wicked” suitor over the “righteous” suitor. Her choice proves correct when the “wicked” suitor proves to be a true, boon companion, nonetheless she suffers the scorn of her peers.

The Descendant stands on the threshold of a haunted place that contains a forbidden power. The peers of the Descendant warn her of the danger of both. The Descendant chooses to enter the haunted place and gains mastery over both it and the forbidden power, but only by allowing it to corrupt her in the eyes of her peers.

The Descendant suffers insult or injury from one of her peers. She chooses to take revenge, and uses a forbidden power to do so. She successfully takes revenge, but her duplicity is revealed by the allies of her enemy; they successfully slander her as an unjust monster, and paint the target of her revenge as an innocent victim. Her peers believe the slander.

A threat faces the family and peers of the Descendant. She offers to assist with her forbidden power, but her peers reject her offer, fearing that they will be tainted by her power. Because of their stubbornness, they suffer defeat, and the Descendant is unable to assist. She loses at least on loved one from her old life.

The peers of the Descendant reveal her crimes. They condemn her, except for the beloved peer, who still sees “good” in her. Her peers seek to exile or kill her. The Descendant has new allies, those associated with her forbidden power or her wicked suitor, who rescue her. In so doing, a beloved peer is wounded, or sees something that convinces him that she is truly guilty. She loses her beloved peer.

Associated Miracles

Dark Beauty

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, Dark Communion 4 or Archetype

Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points

Jaina Sabine had the power to twist men’s heart with her great beauty. Her descendants can invoke the same transcendent beauty.

Statistics: Appearance (Trascendent, Glamour Will-5%, Divine, Path -25%) [14];

Curse

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Dark Communion 7

Learned Prayer Cost: 6 points

Upon completion of this miracle, during which the Descendant visualizes/describes the failure of the target, the Descendant rolls IQ-based Meditation. Success applies a penalty to the target's actions as long as they more-or-less resemble the moment he described.

Statistics: Visualize (Divine, Path -25%, Curse +100%, Reduced Time 1d6 seconds +80% [26]

Untameable Spirit

Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Dark Communion 7

Learned Prayer Cost: 7 points

Jaina could not be controlled, tamed or manipulated. For details on how this works, see Self-Mastery from Powers: the Weird, page 34. As a general or specific miracle, it lasts for one hour, or until it has protected the Descendant at least once, whichever takes longer.

Statistics: Immunity to External Influences (Divine, path -25%) [34]. applies her margin of success (with a minimum of +1) as a bonus to a roll that someone else makes, provided his actions closely resemble that which she prayed for. This may not apply to combat rolls.

Valria Sabine

Era: War of the Four Houses

Destiny: the Rebel Queen




The Akashic Order struggles with the legacy of Valria Sabine. She refused to be the wilting flower, the puppet for the Order, and she refused to work to restore the Alexian legacy. Instead, she fought for what she believed in, rescued herself, and defied the original order to bring about a principled stand for greater equality for everyone. Nonetheless, as the founder of the Federation, she attracts many admirers, especially in her own house.

The Rebel Queen Destiny means the character is destined to see the injustice the people must endure, to face danger that she can rescue herself from, and to receive the acclaim of the people and a position of power where she can right those injustices (though whether she actually does...)

Legacy

Restore the Federation or End Injustice In the Galaxy

Nothing moved Valria Sabine quite like the suffering of those around her. She willingly sacrificed her own aristocratic privilege to tend to the weak or weary, and respected and admired those of lesser station than herself. She envisioned a Galaxy where all were equal and where the War of the Four Houses had ended.

Descendents who follow Valbria Sabine should have either Obsession (Restore the Federation) [-10] or Obsession (End Injustice in the Galaxy) [-10].

Milestones

The Descendant, when faced with injustice caused by the very social system that empowers her, refuses to turn a blind eye. She rescues the victim of injustice, who becomes a Boon Companion, and faces the scorn of her peers.

When faced with impossible odds, the Descendant gathers up what a rag-tag band of victims and offers them words of encouragement. They together cannot hope to defeat the overwhelming opponent, but she nonetheless instructs them on how to defend themselves and they face down the enemy. They secure enough time to allow reinforcements to arrive, and achieve a major military victory, but at the cost of many lives (not the Descendant’s though).

The Descendant faces a grave foe who threatens her chosen faction, and is captured by them. Rather than allow members of her faction to face the grave enemy, she defies her captors, defeats them, and emerges victorious, carrying some vital advantage she can use to strengthen her faction.

The Descendant sees an opportunity to denounce the very social system that empowers her and she rises up to do so. Her speech shakes the foundations of that social order, and brings allies to her side. She must abdicate a great portion of her power, but in so doing, she creates a new social order on the ashes of the old social order.

The forces of the old order seek to destroy the new order forged by the Descendant, in a last ditch effort. The Descendant has sufficient power to overcome them, but doing so will cost her her life, or that of her boon companion. The new order must be born of blood.

Associated Miracles

Purity

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, either Communion 4 or Archetype

Learned Prayer Cost: 3 points

Valria Sabine always stood by her principles, and the descendant can have similarly unshakeable resolve. The descendant may give in to temptation, but only of her own accord: Any attempts to use any influence skill to force her to do something automatically fail.

Statistics: Indomitable (Divine: Path -15%) [13]

Words of Truth

Minimum Reaction: Neutral

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Blood Purity 1, Communion 5

Learned Prayer Cost: 4 points

See Sermonize, Divine Favor 9

Aura of Courage



Minimum Reaction: Good

Learned Prerequisite: Blood Purity 2, Communion 9

Learned Prayer Cost: 11 points.

After making a successful Meditation roll, Communion imbues the Descendant and all nearby (within 2 yards) of complete immunity to fear. The Descendant may apply a -5 to his Meditation roll to expand the effect out to 4 yards away. On a failed meditation roll, the mystic can spend a point of fatigue (or psionic energy reserves) and try again on the next turn. This lasts for the remainder of combat, or an hour, whichever is shorter.

Statistics: Aura of Courage 7 (see Pyramid #3-19 page 6)

Friday, October 6, 2017

Patreon Special: Esoteric Medicine and Psi-Wars

GURPS offers up the Esoteric Medicine skill for those who want an alternative to the standard Physician skill, but what does it actually mean?  GURPS Fantasy Tech 1: Edge of Reality offers some mechanics for Esoteric Medicine, but for Psi-Wars, I wanted to more deeply explore the impact of psychic powers on healing, and what sort of alternate paradigms one might find in the world of Esoteric Medicine, as well as offer some unusual new diseases that perhaps only esoteric medicine could heal!

This document is written from the perspective of Psi-Wars, but is a very generic take on Esoteric Medicine, and can work equally well with other GURPS works (including Dungeon Fantasy or Monster Hunters).  It's available to all $1+ patrons (so it's a steal!). If you're a patron, check it out.  If not, it's one buck, and I'd love to have you!


Support me on Patreon!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Akashic Ancestor Veneration

I want you to think back to the house you grew up in as a child. And I want you to picture a room in that house that didn’t exist. I want you to pretend it did. The whole time you were growing up, into your adolescence, until you leave home, you’re aware of this room in the house. And the room has faces on the wall. Dead people’s faces. The faces of dead people who are related to you. The faces are made of wax. And they were made immediately upon death of the individual whose face it was. The wax was put on the face and like a modern version of a wax museum, an accurate representation of your dead ancestor was made and was put on your wall, connected by a painted line to his ancestor, your even earlier ancestor, whose wax face, also made after death, was on the wall. And that is connected by another line to his ancestor whose wax mask is there as well. These may have been full color versions of these ancestors of yours. And their names were there. And from your very earliest childhood memory, you’re aware of this room, you’re aware of these people, who they were and what they did. It’s a little freaky, isn’t it? Now you know how Julius Caesar felt while growing up.” --Dan Carlin, Death Throes of the Republic

The Akashic Order focuses to intently on the Maradon families to simplify their work in manipulating the future. Rather than track an entire galaxy worth of lives and variables, they mainly track the handful of lives of the aristocracy, looking to the future to see how their eugenic programs and their political machinations pan out in regards to those specific families. They also look at the various possible futures that where the Coming Storm is solved and see what role the various members play in the resolving of the crisis.

The Akashic Order needs to ensure that the galaxy stays on the necessary path to reach that point where the Coming Storm can be averted, and that the various individuals they have ordained as the solution to the problem act as necessary. To accomplish this, they carefully constrained the choices of the aristocracy through arranged marriage, political appointments and offered prophecy. This both put them on the desired track, and created an increasing resonance across time. Changing the life of an ancestor impacted the descendant like a rippling sine-wave, creating patterns throughout time. To ensure these patterns propagated forwards and backwwards, the Akashic Order promoted Ancestor Veneration.

The Akashic Order chooses particularly noteworthy and iconic ancestors and polish their life story and turn them into icons of how one should behave, or possibly, how one shouldn’t. During the Mystery Play, they give selected descendants the names of noteworthy ancestors and have them act out a symbolic version of their ancestors deeds, driving home particular points on how that specific person, a member of the same bloodline, should behave. This resonance, taken together, creates a destiny that propels the descendant on that particular path.

But some particularly driven members of the aristocracy report something else as well. They begin to attune to the memories of their ancestor and they often repeat the heroic deeds of their former ancestor. Their lives begin to line up with that of their ancestor. Practitioners of True Communion argued that what the Akashic Order had unintentionally done was create paths bound to bloodlines, that their ripples in time was really ripples in Communion, that by creating powerful stories, they reshaped how people perceived the nobility, and how the nobility perceived itself.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Akashic Order as Organization

The nature of the Akashic Mysteries and their Shadow Council makes it a highly centralized organization. While ancillary organizations, like the Akashic Knights, certainly exist, and factions within the Akashic Order exist, everything ultimately orbits around the unique power and insights of the Shadow Council.

With the death of the last Alexian Empire and the seeming extinction of the Alexian line, the rest of the Galaxy and many in the Akashic Order itself lost faith in the Akashic Mysteries. They felt the fight lost, the coming storm inevitable, and the promises of the Order broken. For these former believers, the Akashic Order matters not as a way to save the galaxy from the Coming Storm, but as a cultural rallying point. For them, what matters is how the Akashic Mysteries bring everyone together. They see it as a counter point to the cold rationalism of the Empire, and a way to remind the Galaxy of the good old days. These believers attend the mysteries to meet old friends; they still approach the oracles as much for the pomp as for the advice. They seek to make the mysteries more overt, but no longer cling to the harsh strictures of the olden days.

Some, however, still feel that the Coming Storm can be defeated; this will take ingenuity and a new approach, certainly, but it can still be done! This more dedicated faction quietly dispatches its Oracles and Akashic Knights on secretive missions to shift the current timeline on a way that might, possibly, navigate the galaxy through the coming storm. It also seeks to do something that previous generations never tried: to understand the Coming Storm, and to find new allies in the fight. This group seeks to pin down exactly what will destroy humanity in the Galaxy, and seeks to contact other philosophies, like True Communion, that might aid them in the fight.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Akashic Martial Arts

Akashic Fighting Techniques

Third-Eye Fighting 6 points

Third-Eye Fighting is found on page 15 of Pyramid #3-69. Akashic Knights learn it as a matter or course, but Akashic oracles and priests occassionally learn it as initiates, so they can acts as a last line of defense for a temple, or to better protect themselves when they travel the galaxy after their Akashic Initiation. Third-Eye Fighting has an understated manner of combat allowing the oracle or Akashic Knight to defeat their opponent with elegance and an economy of motion. An Akashic victory in battle seems unreal, with the Oracle barely moving to strike exactly the right point to end the fight.

The Akashics add a few additional techniques and perks:

Additional Required Skills: Theology (Akashic)

Additional Techniques: Combat Art (Judo), Battle Precog (Combat Sense), Extended Arc (Awareness).

Additional Perks: Blind Psi, Inner Mastery.

Additional Optional Advantages: Trained by a Master

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Akashic Mysteries as Esoteric Skill

Many people believe in the Akashic Mysteries (via the Believer (Akashic Mysteries) quirk) and might study the Akashic Mysteries (Theology (Akashic Mysteries)) but few outside of the order are allowed to study the Akashic Mysteries as an esoteric style. The secrets of the Akashic Order is open only to those who take the proper vows and join the Order proper.

Anyone who joins the Akashic Order may study the Akashic Mysteries as a philosophical style. In practice, the Akashic Order reserves its “secret” knowledge only for characters who have undergone Akashic Initiation or Shadow Initiation. Priests and Knights can learn everything else (though most characters with ESP will become Oracles; by tradition, though, the Akashic Order does not teach its male members Prognostication).

The Akashic Order has access to the Oracle ability. This is not a secret, and it will willingly teach it to any ESPers who belong to the Order, including men, though women with Oracle are more traditional. Oracle can be used as a complimentary roll to gain a +2 to specific rolls (mainly Strategy, Bioengineering (Eugenics) and Diagnosis). Prognostication can do the same things, though this involves direct verification of the omens, and thus applies a +4 to any of the above! As such, characters who learn Oracle tend to learn it as a first step to learning Prognostication.

Akashic Oracles use their abilities to advise others. The most common forms of advice are on whom to marry, in which case the advice given generally focuses on what children will come from the union; how to fight; and how to find a cure to a disease.

Shadow Initiates learn secrets beyond those detailed in the Akashic Mysteries. For ideas, see the Devils of Persephone.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

State of the Patreon: October 2017

So, where are we as we finish off September, and where are we going in October?

September was a solid month.  The Patreon is basically flat, having lost some patrons, but also gained them . I keep brushing the next goal, but I haven't quite made it yet.  Nonetheless, interest in the blog remains high, and I've seen view gains for the second month in a row, and we've essentially recovered to pre-Orphan of the Stars views.

This month saw the kick-off of Philosophy, which seems well-received, except for some controversy around the facebook post for Neo-Rationalism (the smugness of Neo-Rationalism provokes a response in some, which is fair enough!).   We also saw the kick-off of Tinker Titan Rebel Spy, which currently has three players for sure, and two more in the works.  I'm both nervous about the game (I can never have too much preparation, but at the same time, I can see the gameplay pretty vividly, so it should make for an interesting game).  The characters look interesting, and I'm impressed by how much depth the players are giving their characters.  This almost certainly arises from the quality of players I have, but it's good that Psi-Wars supports that sort of depth.

Shhh. Go back to sleep.  Daddy's just distracting his
readers with a cute picture of you.
For October, first, I need to slow things down a little, because my parents visited to get their first look at my son (who just hit five months!), and he's also teething, which is an awful experience.  He's running a fever, whimpering, and sometimes has no appetite.  Needless to say it's been emotionally wracking and slowed down my productivity.  I had hoped to have a full month of 4 public posts per week and one patreon post per week, but it looks like I'm just going to miss that mark.  Instead, I'm going to run 12 public posts and 3 patreon posts, and give myself a week's break.  My wife complains that I went from 4 posts a month to 20, which is admittedly a break-neck pace, but I hope you guys don't mind.

For public posts, I'm going to wrap up the Akashic Mysteries, including a look at the esoteric style, unique martial arts associated with the Akashic Order, and the organization of the Order, including a look at the Shadow Council, and then a look at Akashic ancestor veneration, with a look at the important ancestors of each of the four Alliance houses.  Then we'll move on to the Divine Masks, and start with the basics.

For Patron posts, we'll start with a look at an in-depth look at Esoteric Medicine. While I have a focus on Psi-Wars, the ideas in the article can be used for any form of Esoteric Medicine (for example, Dungeon Fantasy, or your wuxia games).  This is available for all $1+ patrons.

Then I'll take a more in depth look at how non-psionic characters can access and benefit from the Paths of Communion.  I offer three new strategies.  This will be available to all $3+ patrons.

Finally, the Divine Masks is grounded in the culture of an alien race, the "Sexy Vampire Dark Elves," as they've been code-named up to now.  They now have a name: the Ranathim, and a preview draft will be released for all $3+ patrons.

Last but not least, the first Tinker Titan Rebel Spy game will be on the 21st.  I'll try to have a transcript and an after action report, though I don't know when I'll be able to get to it.

Thank you, everyone, for your support, and I hope you continue to support the blog!


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Friday, September 29, 2017

Patreon Post: Skairos - The Secrets of the Devils of Persephone

Like gargoyles, the images of the devils of Persephone haunt the temples of the Akashic Order, acting as symbolic guardians against unworthy interlopers who would profane the Akashic Record.  According to Akashic lore, the devils of Persephone predated the arrival of human colonists, terrorized the early residents of Persephone, and then gave them the secrets of the Akashic Record.

This could all be symbolic metaphor.  Just as a Oracle needs to brave the perils of her own trance to gain access to the Akashic Record, so too did the colonists of Persephone needs to brave the perils of some space monster to found the Akashic Order.  But could they be more than just symbolism for the danger inherent in exploring deep time? Were they real? What secrets did they know?  And how are they connected to the Shadow Council that rules the Akashic Order?

Today is a special preview that looks at the possible perspectives on the Devils of Persephone, treating them as anything from symbols to space monsters to a secret bloodline to an alien race.  It also looks at the secrets of Shadow Initiation, and what secrets the Akashic Order "learned from" the Devils of Persephone. This preview is available to all $3+ Patrons!  Associated with it is a poll for all $5+ patrons, who may decide what, if any of it, is canon for the Psi-Wars Setting!  If you're a patron, check it out, and vote!  If you're not, we'd love to have you.


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Tinker Titan Rebel Spy

Holographic pixels bloom into a shaky, distorted image of a man, Director Donlan Thorn, a minister of Heritage in a formal, grey imperial uniform, before the noise on the signal clears enough for the image to give a firm impression of the man.  A hard, lined face looks out from the holographic recording, a close-cut salt-and-pepper mustache beneath his nose, and a peculiar, non-regulation set of goggles rest on his brow, ready to be tugged down over his eyes, matched by an air-mask hanging loosely around his neck.  He plays with a tumbler of thick, black gooey drink between his gloved hands.

After regarding the holographic recorder for a moment, he speaks in deep, gravelly tones. "As I predicted, the Grist expedition has proved fruitful.  I found what I promised you, but the local insurgency grows increasingly aggressive, and threatens to undermine my... our... discovery.  But when I move against it, your governor fights me at every turn."

He takes a frustrated drink from his tumbler, and then slams it back on his desk, and leans forward, his deep voice lowering to a growling register. "Worse, I suspect a traitor in our midst.  My... our... project is in danger.  I need outside help."

And with that, the holographic recording ends.

EDIT: The campaign is now filled.  Thank you for everyone who expressed interest!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Akashic Symbolism and Ceremonies

Akashic Symoblism

The Akashic Record

According to initiates of the deepest Akashic Mysteries, a successful initiate finds the Akashic Record at the end of a long and harrowing astral journey. Most initiates describe them as a single tablet of glowing light that once touched, floods the mind with knowledge, but some describe it as an old woman, a statue of an old woman, or an aging book bound in human flesh. Artwork commonly depicts the Akashic Record as a glowing tablet held a loft by an Akashic Oracle, at the highest point of the artwork. The Akashic Record represent enlightenment, and the highest degree of initiation.

The Tree of Time and the Golden Path

Initiates of the Akashic Mysteries describe their astral journey as walking a winding maze until they reach the foot of a mountain that brings them to the road to the Akashic Record. When they look back down, they can see the fullness of time laid out before them. Some describe it as like a tangle of yarn, or a labyrinth, but the most common description is like a tree.

Those who learn the see the future describe a similar “maze” of branching possibilities. For example, when asked about whether or not a woman should accept a marriage proposal, Oracles actually see a myriad possible outcomes, including many possible outcomes if she says yes and if she says no. The near present has the least possibilities, and they’re very likely, the “thickest” branches, while those far away are the least possible and the most numerous, the “thinnest” branches.

The Akashic Order, thus, likes to describe time as a tree, with the present as the trunk, the roots as the past, and the branches as the possible future. The tree of time is ultimately the symbol of the Akashic Mysteries.

When walking the paths of the astral maze, many Akashic Initiates describe being guided by the golden light of the Akashic Record. This makes the preferred path “golden.” This has created the term of “the golden path” as the one true set of choices everyone must make to reach the enlightenment of the Golden Record. Many who follow the Akashic Mysteries like to have a great tree in a garden with golden ribbons hanging from its branches, to symbolize their dedication to following this “golden path.”

The Coming Storm

Beyond a particular point, no Akashic Oracle can see the future. She sees instead the writhing strands of chaotic impossibility. Beyond this point, precognition is impossible, the “Time Horizon.” This may just mean that every precognitive has limits, but the horizon refuses to move past a certain point: it comes swiftly and closes in on the current generation! And events that Akashics can see shortly preceding the Time Horizon depict awful slaughter, mayhem and carnage, though their exact nature varies, and who inflicts this carnage is invisible to the eyes of the Akashics (they can see the burning cities and the dead strewn about, but not who will destroy human civilization). Most have concluded that they cannot see the future beyond this because, for humanity, there is no future.

Within this writhing chaos, some Akashics can see gaps, and can peek at futures just beyond them. These tend to show humanity in a terrible state of subjugation or slow dissolution, but on one, beyond which the Akashic Record is visible, they see a safe and surviving humanity.

Akashic Oracles have a difficult time relating the horror of the Coming Storm (the first time an Oracle witnesses it, the GM might call for a Fright Check), and dislike talking about it. In iconography, artists like to depict it as a literal storm or as a burning tree; Akashics who have seen the Coming Storm prefer the burning tree, as they describe the Coming Storm as “devouring the tree of time,” but feel it might confuse the lay person. Within the temple on Persephone, an obscure wall has been painted entirely black and seems to move and writhe in the torchlight, and has the hellish imagery of skulls and slavery depicted on it; the Akashic Oracles claim the horror of this wall in a dark and foreboding passage comes to the closest to accurately depicting the Coming Storm.

Veils

The Akashic Oracle must isolate herself from the world to make the best possible predictions. Knowing the future, she must refrain from interacting with the world more than necessary lest her actions introduce unforeseen consequences, and she must not let worldly concerns distract her, lest they impact her visions.

The Akashic Order uses veils to symbolize this separation from the “supernatural,” or the silent places where visions take place, and the “real” world, where the rest of us live, and what the visions speak of. Those who enter an Akashic temple must pass through a silken veil, and those who will be initiated must pass through multiple veils, while the Akashic Oracle wears a veil while out in public, especially over her eyes.

The Veil symbolizes innocence and the dividing line between the supernatural and the physical. By wearing a veil, the Akashic Oracle denotes herself as connected to the “supernatural.”

The Devils of Persephone

The Devils of Persephone, important to the origins of the Akashic Mysteries, remain a potent symbol for the Akashic Mysteries. Akashic artwork depicts the Devils as standing between the supplicant and the tree of time, or haunting the labyrinth of time, stalking those who would reach the Akashic Record. They appear twisted or phantasmal creatures with black or shadowy skin, white eyes or no eyes at all, and great, fang-filled maws and long, hungry tongues. If an artwork depicts a point of light (a knight’s upraised force sword, or the Akashic Record itself), they recoil from that light as though in fear. They often decorate the facades of Akashic Temples, and statues of them stand before the veils of initiation. While outsiders interpret them as the monster, Akashic imagery treats them as guardians, as those who stand between the supplicant and the ultimate truths they seek, testing the worthy and devouring the unworthy.

The Symoblism of Time

The standard Akashic symbols tend to represent metaphors for time itself, explaining its shape, the needs of the Akashic Order and the ultimate lesson of the coming galactic calamity and the need for enlightenment and knowledge. The Akashic Order uses these symbols to teach the layman and to enlighten the initiate, but they have additional, more specific symbols.

The visions of oracles tend to be highly symbolic and confusing and often deeply personal. The Akashic Order has compiled entire libraries full of that imagery, to help explain the visions of their oracles, but they also drill these symbols into their initiates. They find that those steeped in the lore of that imagery are more likely to see that imagery in their visions, and thus these symbols create a language of interpretation that makes the visions easier to understand.

The Akashic Order often uses this imagery, in addition to the imagery noted above, in their Mystery Plays, in their ceremonies, and they’ve found their way into the heraldry of the Alliance.

Animals: Small adorable creatures, who often speak. Represent the poverty stricken, the weak, those who need to be protected; also represent the struggles of the common world, and often live in a harsh nature. For powerful, frightening animals, see the Great Beast.

Blood: Guilt, failure, the consequences of a past action catching up to one.

Blossoms: Any number of the poison blossoms of Persephone make their way into the symbolism of the Akashic Order. Their meaning varies from blossom to blossom, but generally symbolize love, innocence or the price of power.

Chains: Symbolize the bonds of vows, or connections between two people.

Darkness, the Void: Calamity, the Coming Storm, the Unknown.

Fire: Chaos, rapid change, the destruction of rightful rule; the Coming Storm.

Stars, Astronomical Phenomenon: A new journey, the need to travel, appointing a desired location.

Shadows: That which could be, but is not

The Blind Woman: Symbolizes oracles, oracular knowledge, or self-sacrifice

The Crown: Symbolizes rightful rule.

The Eye: Symbolizes knowledge, insight, psionic power, or the Akashic Record.

The Fool: Symbolizes innocent violation of rightful rule, an accidental (and possibly fortunate) violation of rules; can also symbolize another perspective.

The Force Sword: If vertical or held aloft, symbolizes a force driving away “Darkness.” If held horizontally or across the body, symbolizes righteous defense. If lowered (at a downward angle) but active, symbolizes restraint or control.

The Great Beast: Symbolizes slaughter, murder, war crime and violent violation of rightful rule.

The King: Symbolizes rightful rule.

The Knight: Symbolizes a powerful ally, someone that will defend or protect rightful rule.

The Lover: Symbolizes temptation away from one’s duty; a violation of the sacred.

The Mask: Usually two toned, with the left dark and the right bright. Symbolizes deception, or a hidden/masked nature, or something that cannot be known.

The Princess: Symbolizes a powerful victim or pawn, someone who others should sacrifice to gain safety or prosperity.

Akashic Ceremonies

The Akashic Mysteries use rituals to induce trances in themselves, to impress their followers, and because by following rigid protocols, they can slowly strengthen destiny to ensure that the future occurs as they predicted. All ceremonies require Religious Ritual (Akashic Mysteries). Such ceremonies may be performed by a priest or priestess of the order, but traditionally an Oracle is always present and the ceremony takes place under her authority, even if she plays no more than a symbolic role.

Supplication

Those who wish to ask a question of the Oracles of the Akashic Mysteries must submit their request in advance. For off-worlders, the Oracles prefer that the request be submitted before setting foot on the world. The Order decides which questions to take and on what schedule, and then notify those whose questions have been accepted.

When the supplicant, the one who has a question he wishes answered, arrives at the Akashic Temple, he is greeted by his companion, a member of the Temple who will accompany him at all times. He is ritually bathed, purified and dressed in preparation for meeting the oracle. Most temples encourage fasting. When the appointed time arrives, the companion gives the supplicant a ceremonial wafer dosed with a hallucinogen (traditionally Dream Nymph, but as that’s a dangerous poison, some temples use a more mild hallucinogen; see B440), and then guides him into the bowels beneath the temple where the Oracle awaits him. To reach her, he must pass through corridors full of symbolic imagery and at least one veil. The exact course depends on the message the temple wishes to give the supplicant (which may be political rather than mystical, something like “Look how powerful we are” or “Behold how much you need us”).

Finally, he stands before the Oracle. She usually sits upon a chair, tripod or throne, often in a room full of vapors. She gives a dramatic display in telling the supplicant the answer to his question (Performance or Religious Ritual). Usually, the temple divines the truth in advance, as the best precognition occurs in silent sensory deprivation chambers. Once the truth is known, the temple then usually decides what they want to tell the supplicant, and the Oracle focuses more on the impact of her performance than on how correct the answer is.

The real purpose of the entire affair is to put the supplicant on the right path. Thus, a man might ask “Who should I marry?” The order then turns their attention to his future and divines how they might answer his question in such a way to best help the Order. For example, if he tricks a local duchess into believing that he’s noble and marries her, he might have a miserable marriage and die to assassination, but their child would be an important hero in the future. And thus, they’ll couch the prophecy in revealing his “lost” aristocratic bloodline, in convincing him to rule, and in setting him on a path where he will meet the duchess, and gives him clues so as to recognize her as the woman he should marry.

Matchmaking and Marriage

Matchmaking is such a common question that the Oracles generally don’t accept such questions, and instead take a pro-active approach. A whole branch of the Akashic Order dedicates itself to keeping tabs on the bloodlines and eugenic traits of the various houses. These “Matchmakers” regularly go out and visit noble houses and consult on the viability of particular matches. These matchmakers tend to be low ranking members of the Akashic Order and might not even be psionic, and do not wear veils. They consult on the genetics of proposed matches and even propose matches to houses that seek them.

Oracles do investigate good matches. Generally, far-seeing oracles will have found particular people in the future that they wish to ensure will come into existence, and the oracle and matchmakers will work together to trace a bloodline lineage to the prophesied child, the Oracle working from the future backwards, and the matchmakers working from the present forward. Once the right matches have been found, the matchmakers will propose the matches and if that doesn’t work, the whole Akashic Order may begin to leverage their influence to push for a particular match. As such, traditionally, one accepted a proposed match from a matchmaker on principle, because one never knew when the entire Akashic Order would throw its weight behind the match.

The Akashic Order does not need to oversee wedding, but the nobility likes their stamp of approval, so a matchmaker will usually attend. They like to use the symbolism of the princess and the knight, the chains of the vow made between the two, and veiling the bride, to represent her innocence and purity. Sometimes, an Oracle will arrive to oversee the wedding, a veiled figure who stands apart from the proceedings as a silent witness. At the end of the ceremony, she might foretell the results of the marriage (usually highlighting the glamorous elements of their coming life, rather than pronouncing doom and gloom).

Note that in the modern Alliance, matchmakers and oracles still exist, but in far fewer numbers and without the influence they had before. Many disregard their advice (and bloodlines decay as a result) and even those who wish to consult with Akashic matchmakers are often unable to find any. “Traditional” Akashic weddings are rare

Judgment

The Akashic Oracles have their roots in psychic criminal investigation, and have a long tradition of predicting crime before it occurs. When an Akashic Oracle uncovers a crime that matters in the context of the Coming Storm, the order will duly note the prophecy and then move into action. The Akashic Order accepts the sovereignty of the aristocracy, and thus leaves it to them to practice law enforcement, but in extreme cases, the Akashic Order will turn up on a noble’s doorstep with a fully veiled and ceremonially garbed Oracle, who pronounces the wickedness of a particular person and demands a specific punishment. As always, the punishment is meant to not only prevent the crime, but to push the rest of society in a particular direction. At times in the past, the Akashic Order has even condemned the innocent because doing so had an important and beneficial impact on the future.

Initiation

Initiation greatly resembles supplication. It begins with a request, the arrival at the temple, the assigning of a companion, purification, ritual garments, the ceremonial wafer and then being guided into the bowels of the temple.

Thereupon it changes, depending on the level of initiation. The Akashic Order has three levels of initation. The first, lesser initiation or noble initiation, either initiates someone as a member of the Akashic Order, or inducts a noble into the “true” mysteries of the Akashic Order and “gives him his purpose.” Traditionally, all ruling nobles underwent the noble initiation, but in the Alliance few bother. Note that this step is not necessary to consider oneself a follower of the Akashic Mysteries; it is, instead, the “next step,” closer to a pilgrimage than a baptism, an optional step that shows intense devotion, or a mandatory step for those who wish to join the religious organization and gain Religious Rank.

The Greater Initiation, or the Akashic Initiation, is open only to precognitives who have undergone the lesser initiation and serve the Akashic Order. It reveals the Akashic Record to the initiate. This step makes one an Akashic Oracle, and is necessary to learn the how to read Deep Time.

The Final Initiation, also called the Shadow Initiation or the Dying, can only be undertaken by predestined oracles who have undergone the Akashic Initiation and have seen the Akashic Record or by someone the Shadow Council wants as their personal assistant. This inducts them into the Shadow Council, the ruling body of the Akashic Order.

A lesser initiate is guided past a veil and into a chamber full of imagery of the Devils of Persephone. There he must prove his worth. The initiate is questioned. The priest demands the initiate answer his name and purpose and then tests the initiates knowledge of Akashic Theology (a basic Theology test at between +0 to +4, usually questions about basic imagery). If the supplicant passes, he must sacrifice. The Priest tests the initiate’s conviction with a test of pain using a ceremonial variant of a neurolash. The target must pass a Will roll at between -0 to -4. Fanaticism applies its usual +3, while High Pain Threshold halves the penalty. If he passes, he makes a vow of secrecy to never reveal what he is shown in the initiation.

If the initiate passes, his companion guides him past the next set of veils, to a room with labyrinthine imagery. There, a priest or priestess reveals symbols pertinent to the initiate, most commonly a small symbolic chain, flowers, and tokens etched with more abstract symbols. Akashic Knights receive their force sword at this time. The priest or priestess accompanies these revelations with seemingly nonsensical pronouncements that, in fact, illustrate something of the initiate’s future, and how that future is symbolized in the symbols shown here.

Then the Companion guides the initiate past a third set of veils to a room where an oracle stands before an image of the Akashic Record. The Companion instructs the supplicant and she pronounces his purpose, the role he plays in the Akashic Mysteries. Then, the Companion instructs the initiate in the words and actions he must say and perform in the Akashic Mystery.

Finally, the Companion guides the initiate past the final set of veils, returning him to the chamber of Devils. There, he must speak the words and perform the ceremonial actions (Religious Ritual at +4) to be allowed out. If the character fails, the Companion couches him quietly until he gets it right, and then he’s allowed to leave.

The Akashic Initiation matches the Noble Initiation, but in place of an oracle, the third chamber has a sensory deprivation chamber or a pool in which the would-be oracle must float The previous steps only prepare her for the rigors of the true test, which begins now. Her companion guides her into the trance necessary to find the astral space in which the Labyrinth of Time resides, and the initiate must locate and read the Akashic Record. The exact rule for this are left up to the GM: it might be a roll of the Prognostication skill, or it might be Akashic Theology with a bonus from ESP talent, or the GM might play out a highly symbolic astral adventure. If the character fails to find the Akashic Record, most of the time, they’re lost in the labyrinth and never return, becoming comatose. A few simply retreat in terror from the experience, and any oracle can tell at a glance whether the character has read the Akashic Record.

The Final Initiation resembles the lesser initiation, except the third chamber is the Shadow Council Chamber itself, and the Shadow Initiate “never returns.” After introducing herself to her fellow Shadow Councilors, she is allowed to leave an enter via a secret passage that all Shadow Initiates use to enter the Shadow Council Chamber, and thus does not “return” to the original chamber as in the other two forms of initiation.

The Akashic Mystery

The Akashic Mystery is a mass ceremony held every 4 Persephone years. The Akashic Order invites attendees, who must be initiates in the Akashic Mystery. As with the supplication, each attendee receives a companion, is ritually purified, given a ceremonial wafer, etc, and then brought to a vast chamber.

An oracle conducts the Mystery. First, she reveals powerful symbols and speaks a prophecy for the coming four years using those symbols. Then she conducts a grand play in which all attendees must play out the role given to them during their initiation. They use the symbols given to them, perform the actions taught to them, and speak the words told to them during their initiation, as directed by their Companion and the Oracle. This grand play reminds them of the role they play, casts their lives as but parts in the grand Akashic Mystery, and gives them insights into what they must do for the coming period of four years.

Afterwords, the Akashic Order treats everyone to a grand feast; the Akashic Order accepts donations from the nobles attending, and most nobles make a point of trying to one up one another by bringing the greatest foods they can, or so it was during the height of the Akashic Order’s influence. Modern Akashic Mysteries are much more somber affairs.

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