Thursday, January 18, 2018

Transcendent Principles: The Truths of the Cult of the Mystical Tyrant

The Path of the Mystic Tyrant is a path of transcendence. Those who walk that path violate the norms of the world and show that new things, never thought possible before, can be made to be true through the will of the Tyrant. This allows those who follow the path of the Mystic Tyrant to achieve unparalleled power, but at a cost.

Transcendent Powers are a new power-set available only to followers of the Cult of the Mystic Tyrant. Characters with Transcendent Master or Illuminated may freely learn or create them; other characters may use a Communion Oath to learn a transcendent power, provided a master is willing to teach it to him.

Transcendent Powers consist of the principle and the powers. The principle represents the world-view that the Tyrannical Master has imposed upon the world and represents a “category” or “container” of individual abilities, similar to how a psionic power contains numerous abilities associated with it. To gain access to a principle, a character needs an appropriate Transcendent Principle perk, after which he may gain any associated Transcendent Powers. Characters may only gain the Transcendent Principle perk if they have the Transcendent Master or Illuminated trait, or learn it from someone who does.

Transcendent Powers represent the effects of internalizing the Transcendent Principle. The character so completely believes the vision and so thoroughly changes the world with it that he is fundamentally changed. Thus, characters do not use Transcendent Powers, they have Transcendent Powers. Transcendent Principles can also grant access to new miracles, typically the miracles of Broken Communion paths, or entirely new miracles that the character may invoke.

While beyond the scope of most Psi-Wars games, the GM can allow characters with Transcendent Master or Illuminated to invent new principles and powers, using the Philosophy skill. A new principle is an Amazing invention, while a new power associated with a principle the character already knows is an Average invention.

All Transcendent Powers come with a Transcendent Power modifier worth -10%. All Transcendent Powers come with drawbacks worth no more than a -5% nuisance. Additionally, Transcendent Powers have one of two additional limitations: the character must either have a Communion Oath, or their powers are vulnerable to Communion Miracles. Characters with a Communion Oath must stay true to their Oath, or lose their power immediately; restoring the power requires a week’s worth of adventuring or a minor quest to prove one’s restored dedication to the Oath. Alternatively, for characters without Communion Oaths (generally Transcendent Masters or Illuminated characters), the transcendent power may be countered through the use one of the following miracles:

Restore True Order

Reaction Required: Very Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: True Communion 11

Learned Prayer Cost: 19 points

The character taps into the consensus of natural reality embedded within True Communion and, with a touch, uses it to rip apart the tissue of lies and aberrations that makes up the Mystical Tyrant’s transcendent vision. Upon the completion of this prayer, the next time the character touches a target, he may choose to roll a quick contest of Meditation vs the target’s Will. If he succeeds, the target loses all of his Transcendent Powers for a number of minutes equal to his margin of victory; if he fails, the target loses all of his Transcendent powers for the next minute.

Alternately, the character may touch the subject of a Transcendent Power (typically a miracle gained via a Transcendent Principle) and disrupt that miracle, ending its effects on the subject.

Statistics: Neutralize (Cosmic, No Die Roll Required +100%; Divine -10%) [95]

Unleash Paradox

Reaction Required: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Broken Communion 9, (Broken Communion Path) Legendary Reputation 2.

Learned Prayer Cost: 11 points

Corruption: 12 points

The transcendent principle of the mystical tyrant threatens to unravel reality and feed Broken Communion. With a miracle, the character can unleash that potential. Upon invoking this miracle, the mystic must touch the target and roll a quick contest of Meditation vs the target’s will. If the mystic wins, the target suffers 3d corruption and loses access to their powers for a number of minutes equal to his margin of success. If the target wins, the miracle has no effect and fades.

Alternately, the character may touch the subject of a Transcendent Power (typically a miracle gained via a Transcendent Principle) and disrupt that miracle, ending its effects on the subject; this does not inflict corruption on either the target nor the character using the Transcendent Power.

Unleash Paradox can only be invoked by characters on a path to which the transcendent principle is vulnerable.

Statistics: Neutralize (Broken Path -25%, Link +10%) [43] + Innate Attack 3d (Fatigue; Accessibility: target must have a Transcendent Principle compatible with the character’s path -80%; Broken Path -25%; Corruption +0%; Link +10%; Malediction +100%; Reach, Melee -30%) [8]

The Principle of Amortality

Ever since Anthara made his devil’s bargain with the Ranathim Cult of Death, the Cult has sought to overcome and escape Death, and their whispered promises of the secrets of immortality have drawn many into the fold.

The Principle of Amortality represents the closest the Cult has come to true immortality. The principle argues that death is not real. The tyrant asserts his will, claiming that death is a choice made by fools who do not recognize any other option, or that the Tyrant, himself, is just too important or powerful to suffer the same fate as mere mortals. The principle goes beyond mere immortality, though, and contends that no afterlife exists and that ghosts aren’t real. For the masters of this principle, death does not exist.

Those who master this principle can harness the powers of Death for their own purposes, or walk unmolested through a supposed haunting or, most critically, achieve some measure of immortality.

Drawbacks: The powers of Amortality can be overcome by the Path of Death. Furthermore, all followers of the Path of Death immediately recognize anyone with the Transcendent Principle (Amortality) and react to them at -3. They know the contract between Anthara and the Cult of Death has been broken, and will seek to rectify it!

Inviolate Soul

23 points

Mortals fear the lingering souls of the dead that haunt the world of the living, but the Inviolate Soul of Amortality does not, for he knows that ghosts cannot exist, and therefore, cannot hurt him. Ghosts cannot approach within a yard of him, and cannot affect him, or those within a yard of him, with their powers. The character need not do anything to use this power: it is always true.

This power does not protect the character from non-ghost followers of the Path of Death.

Statistics: True Faith (Chosen One; Cosmic, no active use required +50%) [23]

Twisted Aura

43 points

Those who fear the dead claim that they can twist psionic energy, but the masters of this principle realize that the reverse is true: that twisted psionic energy creates the perception of ghosts. As proof, they can twist their own psionic energy, and teach others to do the same.

The character emanates an aura of twisted energy with a radius of 2 yards. Anyone who uses psionic powers within this region, or uses psionic powers on anyone in this region suffer a -2 to their psionic skill rolls and any failures of a psionic skill counts as a critical failure. The character automatically exempts his own powers from this effect, and may exempt others, as he wishes.

Statistics: Twisted Energy Generator (Advantageous; Selective Area +200%; Transcendent Power -10%) [43]

Perks of Amortality

Alien Path (Death as Dark Communion): You may access the Death path as though it was a Dark Communion path.

Signature Miracle (Corrupt Ground; Corrupt Ground (Enhanced)): You gain a +1 to reaction rolls to use your signature miracle; this perk is leveled and may be purchased up to 4 times.


The most fabled power of Amortality is some form of immortality. Such a thing, however, might not be possible or, if it is, it may have been achieved by a previous master and this master still lives to this day. The following presents three possible forms of immortality, each associated with one of the transcendent masters of the Cult.

The Immortality of Anthara

Anthara made a pact with the Cult of Death to serve and honor their laws. As a result, Anthara always knew he would die, but was able to create his escape in the fine print of that agreement. While he could not live forever, according to legend, he mastered the art of reincarnation. Upon his death, he used his powerful telepathic powers to possess and infect his direct descendants with his own mind, and has continued to do so from generation to generation, with varied results. With the death of Ranagant and the ascendance of the Cult of Satra Temos, the majority of his lineage died, but some bastard children scattered throughout the galaxy remained vulnerable to his possession and, according to legend, bides his time and restores his strength until the Cult of Anthara can find him and restore him to his throne.

If the legends of Anthara’s immortality are true then the descendants of Anthara have the following traits:

Heir of Ranathim 9 points

Advantages: Bloodline (Anthara) [1], Racial Memory (Passive) [15]

Disadvantage: Duty (Puppet of Anthara; 6 or less; Involuntary) [-7]

New Traits

Bloodline (Anthara): This works like the Bloodline perk, but proves to genetic analysis that the character descends from Anthara.

Secret Miracle (Anthara’s Possession): The character has access to a unique miracle. See below.

Anthara’s Possession

Reaction Required: Excellent

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Dark Communion 15, Mystic Tyrant Legendary Reputation 4.

Learned Prayer Cost: 32 points

Anthara has the ability to invoke Dark Communion to swap his mind with that of a direct descendent, or anyone else who has been explicitly prepared for as a host for his mind. Once this miracle has been invoked, it cannot fail unless the mystic who invokes it wills it to fail. However, the target must be close enough that Long-Distance modifiers do not reduce his Meditation skill to below 3 (typically “on the same planet” is enough). Once initiated, the process takes a week, during which time omens begin to haunt the target: he sees the face of Anthara replacing his in mirrors, he begins to dream of being Anthara, people begin to refer to him as Anthara, or omens associated with the Cult of Anthara manifest themselves. Those with Occultism can recognize that the character is cursed, while those with Hidden Lore (Communion) can recognize that the character will soon be possessed by Anthara. The possession can be prevented with the same countermeasures one uses against ghosts: exorcism, protective talismans, etc. The miracle can also be defeated by using appropriate counter-miracles, such as Restore True Order. Killing the mystic that invoked the miracle also ends the effects of the miracle.

If the miracle is not prevented from occurring, the mystic “swaps minds” with the target. He may choose to drop any skills or traits he has and replace them with those of his target. The possession is permanent, and as such, the character must pay for any improvements he gains.

Variations of this miracle may exist if other masters have perfected it. For example, a player character who learns the miracle would be able to possess his own descendants, rather than the descendants of Anthara.

Statistics: Possession (Assimilation +10%; Divine Path -15%; Ghostly Countermeasures -10%; Long Ranged 2 +100%; Mind-Swap +10%; Onset, 1 week or more -40%; Puppet Only -30%; Ranged +40%; Visible (Omens) -5%) [25]

The Immortality of Satra Temos

According to the lore of the Cult of Satra Temos, their founder never died. While Anthara had sworn an oath to Death, Satra Temos broke with the old ways and walked away from all of the old oaths of Anthara to forge a new reign of shadows and terror. He achieved a mastery of the Amortality principle, and transcended death by drawing life from Dark Communion itself.

If this legend is true, then Satra Temos has the following traits (and others might learn it as well). It also means that Satra Temos is still out there somewhere. The Cult may be obsessed with uncovering his location, which only the Knights of Communion may know, leading to yet more strife between those two organizations.

New Traits

Immortality of Satra Temos: 25 points

The character cannot be killed unless he is bodily destroyed, or he is killed, directly or indirectly, by an invocation of True Communion (such as Guide My Hand). He does not age, but he can only heal in places with High or Very High Sanctity, which means his seemingly dead body must be buried in a desecrated grave site.

Statistics: Unkillable 1 (Achilles Heel; True Communion Miracles -10%) [45]; Unaging [0]; Unhealing (Partial; Not In Locations with Dark Sanctity) [-20]

The Immortality of Revalis White

For his treachery, Revalis White was eventually killed by the Knights of Communion; this fact is beyond dispute. Yet, despite this, legends of his continued survival continue, that he managed turned his mastery of all three forms of Communion into the ability to transcend death by returning as a ghost. In this form, he was able to pass on his secrets and take revenge on those who had killed him.

If this legend is true, Revalis White may continue to guide his cult from beyond the grave. He might act as a mentor to promising masters of his cult, or as a terrifying, phantasmal final opponent to finally destroy the last remnants of this traitorous cult. It also means that those who follow him might be able to cheat death in the same way.

The following traits assume the use of Broken Communion ghosts; they might not be suitable to player characters; in which case, consider the perk version instead of the full version.

New Traits

Haunting Death: Perk; see Pyramid #3/69, page 6.

Immortality of Revalis White: 18 points

After you die, you are guaranteed to return as a Broken Communion ghost. Your point value does not change, but you may redesign your character based on your new racial template (and given its high cost, you may have to acquire new disadvantages or remove old advantages). While not required, consider replacing psionic powers with similar, ghostly power.

This form of immortality is subject to all the same limitations as any Transcendent Power, but if someone prevents your power from working or you violate your oath, this simply prevents you from returning as a ghost; it does not disrupt your ghostly state after the power has triggered, re-animating you.

Statistics: Extra Life (Reanimation -20%; Transcendent Power -10%) [18]

The Principle of Nihilism

Philosophies spend an inordinate amount of time trying to sort truth from deception, the real reality from the illusions of our wishful thinking. The Master of the Cult, however, has realized that no such thing exists. No truth is greater than any other truth, and that truth is fundamentally subjective. His truth might not be the same as your truth, but both are equally valid. Moreover, when one tries to get at any objective truth, one must necessarily simplify, and thus all “objective” truths are nothing less than the very wishful thinking, usually tinged with subjective beliefs, that the philosopher accuses others of having.

Masters of this principle can impose this subjectivity of truth onto the world (or, as they would put it, “reveal it to the world.”) They can strip the truth from things others hold to be self-evident, bring in confusion where others profess certainly, and enforce their own vision of the truth, even to the point of turning lies into truth.

Drawbacks: The Path of Madness understands the principle of Nihilism all-to-well, and strips the Mystic Tyrant of all truth, leaving only chaos and madness. The Path of Madness can defeat or overcome the Principle of Nihilism. Furthermore, Mystic Tyrants with the Principle of Nihilism make the world less certain around them. The GM can make any roll that relies on information (criminology rolls to find a culprit; an intelligence analysis roll to guess the intent of an enemy, etc) automatically fail, not for the Mystic Tyrant himself, but for those around him. The GM should do this no more than once per session.

Powers of Nihilism

Amorphous Conviction

21 points

The cultist has learned that the precept of objective truth is false, that all truth is subjective, and that the cultist may choose what they sincerely believe in. The result is a malleable set of internally held convictions: the Cultist will believe whatever is convenient for himself at the moment, which makes reading what he truly believes very difficult!

Any attempts to detect what the character truly believes automatically fail. This applies to attempts to uncover whether the character is lying, or what they truly believe, via the Body Language skill, Detect Lies skill, Empathy, Telepathy, or a Communion Miracle that detects the truth. The character may choose what the person attempting the detection learns. He may choose to reveal that he is lying, or that he is telling the truth, or that he believes he is telling the truth but has some doubts, etc.

Statistics: Resistant to Detect Lies (Immunity, Rare; Cosmic, applies to all forms of sensing deception +300%; Selective Effect +20%; Transcendent Power -10%) [21]

Shroud of Uncertainty

27 points

Psionic powers and Communion offer perfect knowledge of truths that the Cultist knows cannot be true, because nothing is true. The character and events taking placing within 2 yards of him apply a -5 to all attempts to see, detect or divine it with psionic- or communion-based powers, and this manifests and heightened uncertainty. Characters attempting to seek answers or to find things do not see “darkness,” but instead struggle to understand what they see, as they receive the sort of conflicting results typical of a very complicated situation or a simple failed roll. This makes the Cultists manipulation of their senses virtually impossible to detect!

Statistics: Obscure 5 (Divination, Clairsentience and Detect +40%, Defensive +50%, Stealthy +100%; Affects only Psionic or Communion powers -10%, Transcendent Power -10%) [27]

Unknowable Fate

18 point

Destiny represents the weight of the future dragging your character to an absolutely certain fate… but how can that be when the future cannot be known, and when no such thing as true destiny actually exists? The cultist who understands this becomes immune to destiny. No expenditures of impulse buy points from Destiny can affect him, whether it is used to purchase a successful use of a power against him, or to negate a success that the character had. Such characters also cannot have Destiny themselves.

Statistics: Static (Cosmic, any origin +50%; One ability, Destiny -80%; Transcendent Power -10%) [18]

Perks of Nihilism

Alien Path (Madness as Dark Communion): You may access the Madness path as though it was a Dark Communion path.

Signature Miracle (Dark Charisma, Mask of Madness, Fractured Reality): You gain a +1 to reaction rolls to use your signature miracle; this perk is leveled and may be purchased up to 4 times.

Secret Miracle (Truth from Lies): You may access the Truth from Lies miracle, below.

Truth from Lies

Reaction Required: Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Dark Communion 7, Mystic Tyrant Legendary Reputation 2.

Learned Prayer Cost: 7 points

When it comes to sorting truth from lies, most people turn to real world events to tell them what is real and what isn’t, but how can one even trust the real world not to lie? The cultist can state a bald-faced lie and, conveniently, the world makes it true. After invoking this miracle, the GM may create a coincidence that makes a lie (specified by the player) true. The cultist has no direct control of how this occurs, and the GM is free to veto especially ridiculous ones (“I am immortal”), though generally the more absurd lies result in coincidences that make the lie technically true (“His birth name was ‘Immortal’”). Thus, this power is best used on subtle lies.

Statistics: Serendipity (Accessibility, only to make a stated lie true -20%; Cosmic, needn’t be a plausible coincidence, +50%; Transcendent Power -10%; Wishing +100%) [33]

The Principle of Autotheism

The Cult of the Mystic Tyrant claims that no Gods exist, that the supernatural, as a distinct thing from the physical world, does not exist. Instead, all supernatural or divine phenomenon can be explained by the inherent psionic nature of the world and the will of great men. “The divine” is a manifestation of men, not gods.

If no gods exist, the Cult may invent them, and when they do so, they invariably choose to be gods themselves, to declare themselves divine and worthy of worship. For them, Dark Communion is a mere extension of their own will. Their true potential comes rushing out in a torrent, and they may enact any miracle they wish at will. The price for this power is the need for worship and the danger that such hubris posses to the character.

Drawbacks: The powers of Autotheism can be canceled with any True Communion miracle that can overcome a Communion miracle, or with a minor blessing of the Exiled Master. Furthermore, once per session, weird effects occur around the character that tend to reveal an unholy nature to the character and may seriously inconvenience those around him, as though reality is slowly breaking down for everyone but the self-declared god.

Powers of Autotheism

Instant Miracle

9 points

As the Master understands that he is inherently divine, then he does not need to “communion with Communion” to access a miracle: he simply wills it to be, and it is! The character may ignore the -2 to rolls for instant miracles.

Statistics: Faster Prayers (See Pyramid #3/36 page 8; Transcendent Power -10%) [9]

Unholy Power

3 points per 5 ER

The character can draw power from the unholy energy of Dark Communion itself! The character has energy reserves that only charge so long as he is in a site of High or Very High Dark Communion Sanctity. While in such a location he regains his energy at a normal speed of 1 point every 15 minutes. Outside of a site of High or Very High Dark Communion Sanctity, the character loses these energy reserves at 1 point per second. These energy reserves may be spent on any psionic power.

Every 3 points spent on the trait produces 5 energy reserve points.

Statistics: Energy Reserves (Psi; Special Recharge, High or better Dark Sanctity, Energy Bleed -80%) [0.6/level]

Unholy Radiance

45 points

The master’s disdain for the sanctity of others is eclipsed only by his self-regard for his own inherent divinity. Wherever the character goes, he radiates divinity that allows him to treat the local Dark Sanctity level as one level higher than it normally is (thus, in normal circumstances, he behaves as though he were in a high Dark Communion Sanctity area, while he treats a low Dark Communion Sanctity area as normal, etc). This also means that he can never be in a “No Sanctity” area (he treats it as Low Sanctity).

Statistics: Dark Sanctity Generator (As Mana Generator, but for Dark Communion Sanctity Level; Transcendent Power -10%) [45]

Wild Radiance

20 points

The character does not rely on some external force for his miracles. He enacts them himself! As such, he does not need to rely on the uncertainty of Communion to afford him his miracles, he can simply dictate which miracle he wants! This enormous power, however, does not come without risks, for any wavering in confidence and connection in Communion can result in a spectacular lashback.

Once per hour, when the character invokes Communion, he may choose to use Wild Radiance and roll the reaction roll normally. Any neutral or better (10+) reaction allows the character to choose any miracle he wishes to invoke (regardless of the required reaction). Any poor or worse (9-) reaction counts as a disastrous reaction! If character rolls poor or worse reaction, this does not count as the use of Wild Radiance for the hour, but any additional attempts to use the power apply a -1 to the reaction roll when using this power (in addition to any other penalties to reaction rolls picked up as a result of the previous, disastrous reaction).

Statistics: Super Luck (Aspect, only Communion Reaction Rolls -40%; Fickle -20%; Nuisance Effect, Very Bad Reaction on failed Fickle check -10%; Transcendent Power -10%) [20]

Perks of Autotheism

Signature Miracle (Dark Majesty, Dark Power of the Id, Desecrate Ground, Greater Avatar of the Mystic Tyrant or Psychic Nova): You gain a +1 to reaction rolls to use your signature miracle; this perk is leveled and may be purchased up to 4 times.

Secret Miracle (Dictate Fate): You may access the Dictate Fate miracle, below.

Dictate Fate

Reaction Required: Very Good

Learned Prayer Prerequisite: Dark Communion 10

Learned Prayer Cost: 13 points

The character can use his godlike power to dictate the destiny of another. That character must be within a few yards (the better of Meditation or Will) yards of the character when the miracle is invoked. If so, the target automatically permanently gains either advantageous or disadvantageous Destiny (up to the invoker). The exact nature of the Destiny is up to the mystic; the most common use is to force the target onto a Path. This destiny remains unless the target is a player character who chooses not to pay points for it (in which case it fades at the GM’s discretion) or events conspire to grossly violate the destiny of the character.

Statistics: Afflictions (Advantage, Destiny 3 +150%; Alternative Enhancement, Disadvantage Destiny 3 +3%; Cosmic, No Die Roll Required +100%; Extended Duration, Permanent (Unless not paid for or events grossly violate Destiny) +150%; Malediction +100%;) [61]

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