Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Neo-Rational Disciplines

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

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

Neo-Rationalist Combat Geometrics 5 points

Alternate Names: Shineido

First practiced by the Shinei, the royal guard of the Shinjurai family, Combat Geometrics resulted from a centuries long analysis of blaster fights, sight-lines and human kinesthetics. The result is a technique that allows one to stand in the ideal point to avoid return fire, while knowing precisely where to fire without looking. Practitioners of Shineido learn to treat their blaster pistol as an extension of themselves, perfectly internalizing the orderly katas of Shineido until they see the fight as a rapidly spinning set of vectors, and they learn to act as quickly as they think.

Shineido practitioners master their bodies and their minds to the point where they become competitive with Maradonian space knights. Some of the most determined Shineido fighters, like Dawkins Nigh, pair the discipline with the Art of Noise to defeat Maradonian psionics. The style focuses on precision while maintaining the safety of the fighter. The style almost never makes sighted All-Out Attacks, and retains sufficient mobility to step out of the ideal zone of fire. Experts display an unnerving propensity of closing their eyes during a blaster fight, or not bothering to look at their opponent when attacking, simply moving in a machine-like manner as they cut their opposition down.

Combat Geometrics is a slightly tweaked version of Future Kill, from GURPS Gun Fu.

Skills: Beam Weapons (Pistol), Fast-Draw (Pistol), Mathematics (Geometry), Philosophy (Neo-Rationalism)

Techniques: Combat Art (Beam Weapons (Pistol), Dual-Weapon Attack (Pistol), Fast-Firing (Pistol), Flank Shot (Pistol), Immediate Action (Pistol), Precision Aiming (Pistol), Quick-Shot (Pistol), Targeted Attack (Pistol/Skull)

Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting, Breaking Blow (Blaster), Flying Leap, Mental Strength, Invisibility Art, Zen Marksmanship (Pistol)

Cinematic Techniques: Blind Marksmanship, Timed Dodge, Whirlwind Attack (Pistol)

Perks: Akimbo*, Area Defense (Pistol)*, Bank Shot (Pistol)*, Cinematic Knockback (Pistol)*, Cool Under Fire, Cross-Trained (Pistol)*, Dead Eye (Pistol), Early Adopter (Pistol), Escape Vector*, Fastest Gun in the West, Gun Sense*, Gun Whisperer (Pistol)*, Infinite Ammunition*, Lightning Geometrics*, Off-Hand Weapon Training (Fast-Draw), Off-Hand Weapon Training (Pistol), Rule Exemption (Breaking Blow (Blaster) works against armor)*, Unusual Training (Blindfighting; Limited by Mathematics (Geometry)), Unusual Training (Zen Marksmanship; Limited by Mathematics (Geometry)), Pistol-Fist (Beam Weapons), Walking Armory*, Weapon Bond

*Requires Gunslinger

Optional Secondary Characteristics: Improved Basic Speed and Per

Optional Advantages: Acute Vision, Ambidexterity, Combat Reflexes, Enhanced Dodge, Extra Attack (Beam Weapons (Pistol) only -20%), Gizmo (Gun Fu only -20%), Gunslinger, Lightning Calculator or Intuitive Mathematician, Signature Gear, Unfazeable

Optional Skills: Acrobatics, Beam Weapons (SMG, Rifle, Projector), Connoisseur (Blasters), Holdout, Jumping, Meditation, Observation, Stealth

New Traits

Escape Vector: The character may make side-slip retreats against ranged attacks. Treat this as a lateral retreat that grants +1 to dodge against ranged attacks. You may also make a slip retreat (a forward retreat) for +1 to dodge or parry if doing so would move you into close combat with your opponent.

Lightning Geometrics: Characters with Lightning Calculator gain +1 to Blindfighting and Zen Marksmanship; Characters with Intuitive Mathematician gain +2 to Blindfighting and Zen Marksmanship.

Bind Marksmanship (Hard)

Prerequisite: Blindfighting; Zen Marksmanship

Default: Blind-Fighting-6; May not exceed either prerequisite skill.

You may use Blind Markmanship to shoot enemies you cannot see. It is subject to the same penalties as Blind Fighting, but not Zen Markmanship.

Combat Geometrics Signature Moves

Focus: The Shineido pauses to focus, running the mental calculations for the entire room around him in an instant. Concentrate. On your next turn, roll Zen Markmanship-5; your attack that turn divides size and speed/range penalties by 3 (rounded down).

Forward Vector Cascade: The Shineido brings both of his blasters forwards and sends a withering hail of precisely targeted blaster bolts. The Shineido makes an Dual Weapon (-4) Fast-Firing (-4) attack against his opponent for a total ROF of 12 (+2). Roll Blaster Pistol (-6, -10 for the off-hand) per attack to hit; you may defend normally.

Lateral Vector: Without looking, the Shineido blasts opponents to either side of him. Make a Dual Weapon (-4) Blind Marksmanship (-6) Flank Shot (-2). Roll Beam Weapons (Pistol)-12 fo reach attack (an additional -4 for our off-hand attack). You may attack characters outside of your forward hexes and characters you cannot see. Your opponent defends normally. You defend at -2 and may retreat.

Reverse Vector: Make a bank-shot against a hard surface behind your opponent to attack him from behind. Make an banking (-2) attack. Roll Blaster pistol -2. Your opponent defends at -2 (treat this as a run-around attack). You may defend normally. Requires Bank Shot perk and an appropriate surface to bank your shot from.

Vector Cancellation: The Shineido steps to one side, escaping the primary attack vector. Make an All-Out Defense (Increased Dodge).

Vector Irruption: Step into close combat with your opponent and make a Beam Weapons (Pistol) attack with its Bulk Penalty. Your opponent may defend normally. You may defend normally, and you may parry any ranged attacks with your Beam Weapons (Pistol) skill while you remain in close combat range with your opponent.

Lateral Vector Cascade: Without looking, the Shineido blasts all opponents around him. Make a Whirlwind Attack (-6) Blind Marksmanship (-6) attack. Roll Beam Weapons (Pistol)-12 for each target; any critical failure means all remaining attacks are critical failures. You may not hit more than 12 targets (with two guns). If you succeed, you hit a random hit location. Your opponent defends normally. You may not defend or retreat.

Neo-Rationalist Psycho-Social Analytics 7 points

Psycho-Social Analytics arise from the work of Zeb Lancaster, a charismatic figure within the Neo-Rational community. In his work, Purifying the Mind, he argues that because the mind emerges from the biochemistry of the brain, that it can be “programmed” to react in specific ways, and that all minds do react in specific, predetermined ways to precise stimulus.

Psycho-Social analytics consist of two basic methodologies: mentorship and neuro-linguistic programming. Mentoring has become popular across various Neo-Rational schools of thought. A mentor and his student engage in long, grueling “mentoring” sessions where the mentor slowly indoctrinates the student in Neo-Rational beliefs. In the latter, the Psycho-Social analyst learns to identify key targets for manipulation and then use a carefully pitched voice and coded phrases to subliminally manipulate his target.

Despite its growing popularity, some on the edges of the Neo-Rational community argue that it amounts to a cult around Zeb Lancaster and his disciples. They find the rabid loyalty of Zeb’s followers disturbing, and argue that manipulating people into “rationality” like this is inherently unethical. Zeb, in return, argues that nothing could be more ethical than spreading rationality.

Skills: Philosophy (Neo-Rationalism), Public Speaking, Psychology, Sociology, Teaching

Techniques: Mind Modification (Any Neo-Rationalist or Psycho-Social Analytics optional disadvantages), Philosophical Argument (Neo-Rationalist), Sociometry

Cinematic Skills: Brainwashing, Persuade, Sway Emotions, Suggest

Cinematic Techniques: Beguilement

Perks: Honest Face, Skill Adaption (Mind Modification defaults to Teaching), Technique Mastery (Philosophical Argument), Unusual Training (Brainwashing; only voluntarily), Unusual Training (Persuade, Limited by Psychology), Unusual Training (Sway Emotions, Limited by Psychology), Unusual Training (Suggest, Limited by Psychology),

Optional Advantages: Charisma, Voice

Optional Disadvantages: Belief (Neo-Rationalism), Sense of Duty (Mentor or Neo-Rationalism), Fanaticism (Mentor, Neo-Rationalism)

Optional Skills: Expert Skill (Political Science), Intelligence Analysis, Mathematics (Statistics), Propaganda, Research

Optional Techniques: Going Viral

The Art of Noise: 5 points

Alternate Names: Destructive Skepticism, the God-Slayer’s Way.

Dawkins Nigh popularized the Art of Noise in his work, God-Slayer, which argued that psychic powers were real, but an inherently irrational intrusion upon the rational and should be fought on all fronts. While considered, rightly, a part of Fringe Rationalism, the Art of Noise is the most popular discipline to arise from Fringe Rationalism and has broad, if shallow, acceptance among the more militant arms of the Neo-Rationalist community.

The Art of Noice, at its core, relies on defeating the irrational with with the rational. Dawkins Nigh teaches the destructive skeptic to recognize psionics, and advocates a regime of constantly running mathematical equations in one’s head when faced with a known psion. At the next level, he argues for constantly “coding” ones thoughts via a personal code scheme, thinking in a sequence of internally meaningful, but externally nonsensical, numbers, so that any surface-level mind reader only comes away with meaningless numbers. At the highest level, Dawkins Nigh discusses how to “externalize the code,” by which he means to “project hyperrationality outward” to interfere with any psionic ability! He notes, however, that only the most rational mind can achieve this. Finally, he advocates a regime of procedures that check to see if anyone is currently psionically influencing you or has manipulated your mind.

Required Skills: Cryptography, Expert Skill (Psionics), Mathematics (Pure), Mind Block, Philosophy (Neo-Rationalism)

Cinematic Skills: Mental Strength

Psionic Skills: Interruption, Screaming, True Sight

Psionic Techniques: Coded Thoughts, Tiring Interruption, Tiring Scream

Perks: Lighting Thought-Coding; Personal Awareness, Simple Defense, Skeptic, Stabilizing Skill (Anti-Psi; Mathematics (Pure)), Standard Operating Procedure: Memory Check, Tolerance (Any Telepathic Power), Unusual Training (Mind Shield; Skill limited by Mathematics (Pure)).

Optional Traits: Will;

Optional Psionic Abilities: Interruption, Mind Shield, Screaming, True Sight

Optional Advantages: Eidetic Memory or Photographic Memory, Lighting Caclulator or Intuitive Mathematician, Unfazeable

Optional Disadvantages: Intolerance (Psions), Paranoia.

New Traits – Destructive Skepticism

Lightning Thought Coding: Characters with Lightning Calculator add +1 to Coded Thoughts; Characters with Intuitive Mathematician add +2 to Coded Thoughts!

Tiring Interruption

Prequisite: Interruption

Default: Interruption-5. May not exceed Interruption.

As Tiring Scream, but applies to Interruption. Any psi interrupted by your technique also loses 1 FP.

Coded Thoughts (Hard)

Prerequisite: Mind Block and Cryptography.

Default: Mind Block-6; Cannot exceed Mind Block skill.

See GURPS Supers page 38.

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